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The Budget for the Draft

In the last few days, as the spin-cycle following the Aaron Crow non-signing has finally slowed, we've seen arguments from both sides. A columnist for Baseball Digest Daily, Brian Joseph, called Crow's bonus demands "ridiculous" and credited GM Jim Bowden for never losing sight of pitcher's reasonable market value. A columnist for ESPN.com, Keith Law, called the Nationals' miscalculation of Crow's real monetary desires the "worst case of signability analysis" I've ever seen.

But I think that perhaps the best way to look back on this is by removing as much emotion as possible -- the e-mail-heavy negotiations; the absurd August 12 $9 million demand; the Lerners-are-cheap frustrations -- and simply isolate one variable. The money.

As we now know, the Nationals were willing to give Crow a $3.5 million bonus.

They were not willing to give him a $4.0 million bonus.

Knowing this, we can start to get a sense of the team's budgetary limits.

Yesterday, Baseball America posted a list of how much each Major League team spent in bonuses given to the players it selected in the first 10 rounds. In those rankings, the Nationals stood 27th among 30 teams, having spent $3,001,000. (Belated credit, too, to the Nationals Farm Authority Web site, which fills the sort of niche that could have never existed several years ago, but whose information -- always solid -- and ideas I've found invaluable in the last few days.)

Again, giving full credit to BA, here were this year's top 5 spenders and bottom 5 spenders.

1. Kansas City Royals -- $10,165,000
2. Tampa Bay Rays -- $9,357,000
3. Boston Red Sox -- $8,990,000
4. San Francisco Giants -- $8,703,000
5. Pittsburgh Pirates -- $8,256,000

...

26. Detroit Tigers -- $3,284,500
27. Washington Nationals -- $3,001,000
28. Colorado Rockies -- $2,998,000
29. Seattle Mariners -- $1,769,000
30. Los Angeles Angels -- $1,743,000

Looking at what teams spent on just the first 10 rounds is a bit simplified, sure, but not by much. Teams almost never pay bonuses exceeding $500,000 to a player drafted after the 10th round. Sure, there are exceptions: The Rockies this year paid $525,000 to an outfielder in the 14th round. The Indians gave $750,000 to a left-handed pitcher in the 16th round. And yes, the Nationals gave $1 million bonus to J.P. Ramirez, the 15th round pick. (But that was only money they had because of the failure to sign Crow.)

So in actuality this year, Washington's "big money signings" equaled something more like $4 million, which would rank them 22nd.

Say they had signed Crow for $3.5 million, though -- which they were obviously willing to do. (And thus, sacrifice the Ramirez signing.) That would have meant a total spending of $6,501,000, which would have put them 9th in the spending rankings, just behind Minnesota ($6,708,000) and just ahead of Baltimore ($6,077,000).

Signing Crow for $4 million -- which they were unwilling to do -- would have jacked the spending total up to $7,001,000. And that would have ranked them seventh in the league, just behind Milwaukee ($7,408,000).

Of course, we cannot be certain that the Nationals went into this draft with a set-in-stone number of how much they could spend; according to Bowden, it was an unwillingness to overpay for a player, not an unwillingness to exceed a budget, that halted the Crow signing. Still, with all of this said, we can safely conclude that the budget the Lerners had allocated for draft spending ranked among the top third in baseball. It was a top-10 budget, but not a top-5 budget.

If nothing else, they've saved some money that they'll need for next year, when they'll need a top-5 budget for sure.

By the way, I posted this tonight so I can get up early tomorrow morning and drive to Philly. (What's spinning in the rental car CD player?, you ask. New Chris Knight CD. $13.99 on Amazon. Very reasonable signability if you ask me.)

By Chico Harlan  |  August 18, 2008; 10:09 PM ET
 
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Comments

Please stop beating me!

Posted by: dead horse | August 18, 2008 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Chico,

All that matters is they do not have a top player and they have money unspent. You do not need much baseball sense to know this is a loss no matter how you or Nats try to spin it. Nats gave up a year of development of their top pick. Crow may well have desearved what he got and so will Jimbo when he is fired but that is not the point. The real losers are the fans who are paying full price now and now must wait a full 12 months for a replacement player. Nats blew it, they had to sign the 9th pick and it did not need to be Crow. No excuses...look at the bottom line....no player in the system that is all that counts.

Posted by: JayB | August 18, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

My initial thoughts after reading about what happened over the weekend was to side with the Nats. I think the Hendricks were pretty terrible to work with and did a very bad job for their client. They definitely made things hard.

I just can't get over the fact that the fans miss out on Crow over $500k. Sure $4 mil would have been overpaying for Crow, and sure the Hendricks didn't give the Nats very long to consider their last minute offer.

It is just a big mess and both sides are to blame. It is ridiculous that for $500k the Nats are without Crow and Crow is pitching for the fort worth cats.

Failure

Posted by: Willie Harris' Uncle | August 18, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I have learned from Project Runway and Top Chef that you spend every penny of your budget. If not, you are probably going to have an inferior product than your competitors. This proves to be true for the baseball draft too. The Nationals had a more inferior draft than every team.

Posted by: Andrew Stebbins | August 18, 2008 11:01 PM | Report abuse

as earlier stated on the board, the nationals when they selected crow really only drafted exclusive negotiating rights until august 15 and crow was not obligated to sign no matter how much money he was offered. there are losers on both sides of this issue. the nats lose face with the public and within the industry for not signing their first-round pick. crow loses valuable development time and more than $4 million. but stop acting like crow was obligated to sign with the nats at the team's price. pro athletes are for the most part well-paid indentured servants whose only option to not have to work for a specific organization is to not reach a contract agreement. crow and his agents may have been hiding an injury, which is why they wanted so much money and a major league contract without a physical exam. how many of y'all would go ballistic on the front office if the nats had signed crow and then found out he needed shoulder or elbow surgery and couldn't pitch for 12-18 months? the bottom line is that draft picks are not obligated to sign with the team that drafts them.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 18, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

"I just can't get over the fact that the fans miss out on Crow over $500k."

Look at it this way. The two sides were moving toward a deal, going back and forth with offers as parties do in a negotiation, and the clock ran out at midnight with them still $500,000 apart. Whose fault is that? Perhaps the side that waited until virtually the last minute to even start playing the game, d'ya think maybe?

Posted by: sometimes there is a clock in baseball | August 18, 2008 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Granted, the "Cheeeeeeeap!!!!!111!" angle is completely unfair most of the time, but in this case: let's not underestimate the role that budgetary constraints played in these negotiations. Our sources tell us Ted Lerner spent most of the early morning hours Saturday rolling in a pile of cash in his money room...they're not holding up their end of the bargain, folks...

Posted by: The Nationals Enquirer | August 18, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

here's a link to a nice summary of the Royals draft, which shows how an owner and GM can work together on a budget and hard negotiations at the last minute to improve a team. Contrast this with Chico's interview of Bowden.....

http://www.kansascity.com/sports/royals/story/751939.html

Posted by: vaclipper | August 18, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

ken rosenthal said today the nats are the kings of excuses and he wonders what is next. I agree. So they cant spend 4 mill on crow, but 2 top ten picks is at least 8 mill combined---MAYBe more. If they take strasberg, it will be interesting. My guess is they pass on him. HE will ask for around 10 I bet and settle for no less than 7 or 8. Add that to the 10th pick..OH man..this is getting beyond embaressng

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2008 11:13 PM | Report abuse

cuz we all know you run a baseball team the same way you compete in project runway and top chef...

Posted by: idjit | August 18, 2008 11:14 PM | Report abuse

If they don't take Strasburg next year and sign him I will be besides myself

Posted by: Strasburg | August 18, 2008 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Chico, was your salary set by how much money the Post has, or how much it thought you were worth?

Posted by: Not Stan Kasten | August 18, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Even though I grow tired of the topic, I appreciate the effort. Real facts, real analysis, real simple.

(as for day to day, it's the best I can hope for)

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 18, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse

You mention Keith Law and Brian Joseph, but not NFA, from where you obviously stole this whole post? Tsk tsk. Not impressed.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | August 18, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

So to recap, the Nats for now won't spend money on free agents and significantly increasing big league payroll because they want to focus on player development first. And yet the budget that they commit to player development is average to slightly above average. Isn't the idea that we pretty much need to do better than everybody else on the player development side of things given the sorry state of the team and the inherited farm system? Why not blow the doors off the signing budget if the players are there to be signed, both domestically and internationally? That would show a real commitment, and would be a real Plan.

Chico, thanks for this post, I hope you are able to really develop this into a feature that puts some scrutiny on "The Plan" and asks some tough questions directly of Mark Lerner, Kasten and Bowden. How many millions more than the Nats are the Mets, Phillies, Braves--not to mention pretty much every other team in MLB--paying out in big league payroll? So conversely, why aren't the Nats budgeting themselves on the draft budget side of things to be on the top of this list? Where are the international signings?

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | August 18, 2008 11:59 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't you be trying to get your 11th signature on your dumb petition, or sell t-shirts or something?

Posted by: SOCH go back to your own blog | August 19, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Willie Harris' Uncle:

There was a lot more at stake than $500k. If the Nats had signed Crow for $4 million after the unusual negotiating tactics and outrageous demands that Crow made, it would have set a terrible precedent that would have haunted the Nats for years.

What is most suspicious to me is that the Hendricks brothers are not neophyte agents. They appear to know what they were doing. But give that, they played their hands very strangely:

- All of their meaningful dialog was by email. This isn't very efficient, and interferes with the basic premise of a negotiation, that being, to arrive at an agreement.

- While they didn't explicitly fail to present Crow for a physical, they had to know that a physical would be a requirement of Major League contract. These things take time, and sometimes require multiple visits, MRIs, etc. You'd think if they were serious about a Major League contract, they would have allowed for a physical.

- They refused to bring Crow to Washington to see the facilities, meet the press, etc. While I think that the average fan probably isn't that sensitive to that kind of exposure, those of us here certainly are, and those kinds of visits are a good way for a player to start making inroads into the team and the community.

- Crow signed a contract to play in Fort Worth (assuming the Nats contract would fall through, or as a way to exert leverage on the Nats).

- Crow waited until very late in the process to even begin negotiating.


I can only draw two possible conclusions that match these sets of events. First, Crow thought he had a desperate organization in the Nats, and wanted to rake in a payday... and by forcing the negotiation into the last few meaningful hours, thought he might get them to make a mistake. Second, Crow never intended to sign, or if he did sign, the money would be so good that it would be worth the misery of playing in the organization.

I think the latter is closer to the truth... and if you think back to the last $4million player that didn't want to be on the Nats, pretty much all of us were glad to see him go after the trade deadline...

So, Willie Harris' Uncle, the Nats not only saved millions of dollars, they saved the fans the heartache of watching a chronically unhappy player in the organization.

Posted by: Wigi | August 19, 2008 12:20 AM | Report abuse

The Nats selected 9th. As Chico said, if they signed Crow for $3.5 million, they would have spent the 9th most. Also the difference in "slot" value from beginning to end of the first round is greater than the difference in slot value for any other round. If you look at who spent the most, except for the BoSox, they all picked before the Nats.
Also, teams have differing quantity of picks, due to compensatory picks. So some teams have more than 10 picks and a few teams have less. More picks = more money.

Of course, we have no idea if it was money well spent (for any team, not just the Nats). Money can buy real talent, but it also can buy FLop.

Posted by: Sactown | August 19, 2008 12:52 AM | Report abuse

I'm no math whiz, but . . . If you take away the $1 mil for the Ramirez signing and add $3.5 mil for Crow, wouldn't this put the Nats' signing budget at $5.5 mil instead of $6.5?
3-1+3.5=5.5

Posted by: History Major | August 19, 2008 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Emili Boniface give away.
Ohplease was lamenting the lack of Nats' giveaways. I've decided to do my part and have formed an army of volunteers (AOV)to provide for the Boni giveaway so it will put no dent in the Nats miniscule Plan budget.
I will comb the Lorton recycling center with my AOV and gather all the empthy perfume bottles we can find and present them to Stan.
When you get yours be patient and wait for Boni's first at bat. As Boni steps in hold your bottle up and open it slowly and you will get....... a whiff.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | August 19, 2008 7:33 AM | Report abuse

"The Nats not only saved millions of dollars, they saved the fans the heartache of watching a chronically unhappy player in the organization."

Posted by: Baa Baa | August 19, 2008 7:37 AM | Report abuse

You were correct, History Major. You are not a math whiz.

It was ~3 million without Ramirez, and ~4 million with Ramirez. Thus, the $6.5 million figure given was correct.

___________________________________________

I'm no math whiz, but . . . If you take away the $1 mil for the Ramirez signing and add $3.5 mil for Crow, wouldn't this put the Nats' signing budget at $5.5 mil instead of $6.5?
3-1+3.5=5.5

Posted by: History Major | August 19, 2008 1:24 AM

Posted by: faNATic | August 19, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

Can we please stop discussing how not signing Crow sets them up for next year?? Not signing any free agents was supposed to set them up for the draft, and all it did was serve to put more money in their CHEEEEPass wallets.

Posted by: Rage | August 19, 2008 7:47 AM | Report abuse

Correction: I'm sure their wallets are an expensive brand and thus not cheap. The cheeeeeep in "cheeeeepass wallets" referred to the wallet owner.

Posted by: Rage | August 19, 2008 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Now that we have covered the draft budget - and by the way, I have enough trouble understanding my own budget with lots and lots and lots fewer zeros in back of the numbers I might add, do any of you understand how some of these other trades and garbage dumps work? Do we still have to pay plod and flop? Do we owe anything for Rauch and Ayala? Or are all of these moves freeing up salary for a big name next year (yeah, I'm just so sure we're going to do that!)?

Posted by: masnstinks | August 19, 2008 7:53 AM | Report abuse

"The Nats not only saved millions of dollars, they saved the fans the heartache of watching a chronically unhappy player in the organization."

Yeah, the bad thing about having to watch a chronically unhappy player in the organization is that it steals time away from having to read all the chronic whiners in this blog.

Posted by: just sayin' | August 19, 2008 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I have learned from Project Runway...

Posted by: Dude? | August 19, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

"Do we still have to pay plod and flop? Do we owe anything for Rauch and Ayala?"

Yes, the Nationals are still paying the salaries of Lopez and LoDuca (and Estrada and Mackowiak as well) because they were released with time remaining on their contracts. In essence, they are getting severance pay from the Nationals in the form of their remaining salary, so the fact that both LoDuca and Lopez have found employment with other teams doesn't alter that. The Nats are still paying them.

Rauch was traded before the deadline,so his contract went with him to the DBacks. The Nationals got Bonifacio and his contract in exchange.

Not sure about Ayala, since that was a waiver trade. It may be that the Nats continue to pay Ayala and the Mets continue to pay the Bonifacio clone that they traded for him, or maybe since it's a trade the new teams pick up the salaries of the players they've now got.

At any rate, though, all of these players have deals that will be done after this season. Getting rid of Kearns, Young or Johnson as many have advocated is a tougher call, because they all have contracts that run at least through next year. Those contracts are guaranteed whether the player plays or not (unlike the NFL, for instance) unless some other team agrees to take the player in trade, in which case they have to pay them. This is what makes these guys so hard to get rid of.

Posted by: Cal's Stance of the Day | August 19, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Well looking at that list, I'm happier than a Mariner fan, that's for sure. I thought they were going to start rebuilding too?

Posted by: BF | August 19, 2008 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Well, if they weren't cheap, how come they didn't buy the Cubs, instead, huh?
/s
We could be windging about Smulyan &c. now instead of Kasten and Lerner, and they'd find out what Advanced Losing is really like.

Posted by: CE | August 19, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

That should be a standard expression--it sounds like the definition of mixed results.
I mean, who really gets poked in the eye with a sharp stick anymore?
***************
I'm happier than a Mariners fan...

Posted by: BF | August 19, 2008 8:13 AM

Posted by: Odin | August 19, 2008 8:25 AM | Report abuse

if we ever pass over a player purely because of signability concerns i will call ownership cheap (for that moment, not for all time). i doubt that will ever happen. we draft and hope we can sign them. much smarter.

i wish we could have taken a shot at tim melville.

i suspect if strasburg is healthy and maintains next year we will set a new all time signing bonus record with him. any takers?

Posted by: longterm | August 19, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

NJ

Nats are on pace to lose 105 games and rising.

Acta plans to do nothing different in approach or use of his personnel. What he is doing is completely ineffective. There is no way the Nats should be this awful. Zim is not hurt, Kearns is not hurt, Belliard is not hurt, Milledge is not hurt, and starting pitching is not hurt.

My question is this, who should be held accountable? What changes need to be made? When should these chances be made? OR do you believe that Nats do nothing, just more of the same, teach and preach approach and hope for the best?

If you care to hear what I would do, here are my moves up till Oct 1.

1. August 19th – Fire Jim Bowden, Jose Rijo, Barry Larkin and appoint Rizo interim GM.
2. August 19 – Fire Lenny Harris and Tim Tolman and replace with the best coaching talent from Farm system on a interim basis thus rewarding someone who has done a good job this year.
3. September 1 – Call up young arms and bats and use them every day.
4. September 1 – Tell Acta he has one month to save his job. Tell him you want to see a team that hustles everywhere all the time. I mean Pete Rose hustle. I mean sprinting to their positions at the start of the game and running between each inning. Make a statement to the fans those who will follow in future years.
5. End of season – Fire rest of coaching staff save Randy S. C. and Acta only if he is able to light a fire under the young and hungry players that you gave on Sept 1.

Posted by: JayB | August 19, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Well, there is certainly CHEEEEEAP fodder here, but we shouldn't just forget last year's results either. Crow's demands were absurd; I'm more concerned that the Nats evidently didn't have a clue that this was coming. Wasted pick when the Plan needs all the help it can get.

Now the day off is over and I have to try to watch again tonight. I do not expect to enjoy it.

Posted by: NatsFly | August 19, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Nice justification for not spending the extra $500,000 on a guy who would have been the #1 prospect in the Nats' farm system. But this is only a good rationalization in a small, narrow context.

What about all the money this franchise saves on not giving contracts to expensive veteran free agents?

What about how dismal this team's talent level is, and how much it takes to climb out of the depths?

What about all the new revenues from a gifted new stadium--couldn't that net you the $500,000 all by itself?

And why should Kansas City and Tampa Bay--much smaller regions than the Nats' region--be expected to outspend the Nats?

When you answer all of these larger questions, then and only then should you begin a rationalization process that helps you understand why the Nats should not sign their top pick in the draft.

Posted by: EdDC | August 19, 2008 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Well, not signing Crow and the release of LaPuca and others frees ~$10M for next year. The only problem the Learners will only spend $5M on players that are washed up, not part of "the plan", or a current Red or Diamondback.

If "the plan" is to build the farm system and you can not sign your draft pick, "the plan" is a failure. Their picks are a failure. What happened to "you will see Smoker, Detwiler, ect... in the majors soon"? Do we get these draft picks in the majors right away? No, we get Perez and other wastes of space.

Just to add more salt to our wounds, we currently have 6 of 8 position player on the team now. Not much to look forward to next season… and it is still the 2008 season.

Posted by: ChrisC | August 19, 2008 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Guys, this isn't very hard. Crow did not want to play for the Nationals and would rather take his chances next year - even if it means less money.

Posted by: mrm0to | August 19, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Bottom line, the Nats are the worst team in baseball with one of the more tenuous fan bases...
Shouldn't the ownership do all in it's power to get the best player's here now that fit "the plan"?
And I think, based on comments from Bowden and others, that Crow was that guy, I believe the name David Cone was thrown out there in comparison.
Either way, regardless of who got signed, the fact that a signing wasn't made speaks more to this ownership and this regime than anything else.

Posted by: CB | August 19, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could find it as easy as many of you do and put all the blame on the Nats on this one but that's impossible. My biggest complaint with them is not seeming to have any idea what Crow would want to sign before drafting him. They should have been able to get a clue, which would have helped (or led them to draft a more signable player).

But I can't argue with their eventual decision. Go back and look at the picks taken over the last 25 years (I went back to 1983). Out of all of those #9 picks, none of them became stars; the best players were Barry Zito, Preston Wilson (??), Geoff Jenkins, Derrick May, Kevin Appier and Mike Cuddyer. Most of them became journeymen big leaguers and some never made it at all (Ty Griffin, Matt Brunson, Colt Griffin). In other words, just because Crow is highly regarded and your first pick, you don't go nuts and blow your budget to sign him. Of course, again, it would have been a good idea to avoid this problem in the first place.

I just can't knock this front office for lack of commitment to the farm system. I can knock them for overemphasizing the farm system, not balancing it out with some quality big league talent and expecting us to accept mediocrity (look at the pretty ballpark!) while we wait for The Plan to flourish. Someday.

Posted by: baltova | August 19, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Actual headline in today's NY Post sports section...."Hopes Pinned on Ayala." LOL!

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 19, 2008 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Good analysis by JayB and good plan, too. But it will never happen. Remember the old adage: a fish stinks from its head. The problem is Ted Lerner. As many Washingon business people know, his reputation is that he is a mean-spirited, tight-fisted SOB.Witness their suit against the City that gave them a brand new stadium. Unfortunately, Lerner's penny-wise and pound-foolish approach to payroll and player development is going to turn off so many fans that they will permanently undermine the fanbase, which will keep attendance down, which will mean less money for payroll, which will mean a consistently poor to mediocre team. The real question is: why did Bud Seaweed pick the Lerners over the Malek/Zients group, who are better business people as well as great public servants

Posted by: disgusted | August 19, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

good post, thanks chico

Posted by: laxbigj | August 19, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

This looks to be a tough week - perhaps there will be some nice surprises as we seem to expect the downward slide to continue. Even though Manny has stated that he sees effort , I seem to see giving up. That being said, these are young adults ( some of them just barely) who get to play baseball for a living, are being given a big opportunity , and make tons more money then most of us. We have to show up every day at our jobs even if things are tough and do our jobs. Hustle and effort should be the minimum expectation.

Posted by: masnstinks | August 19, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh and Oct 1 - Fire the whole medical and training staff as well as club house staff.

When Nats show up to Spring Training they can not miss the fact that big changes are made to give a fresh feel to the team and changes in players approach and preperation is expected over the winter. Business as usual is not acceptable.

Posted by: JayB | August 19, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Chico,

Why are you driving a rental car to Philly?

Posted by: Brewer | August 19, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

He don't have no car.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Give the Lerners a break. The real estate market is hurting. They can't afford Crow. That extra $500k will make a lot of mortgage payments.

Posted by: Remax | August 19, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Because it's too far to bike

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I have always been the glass is half full when it came to the Nats and "The Plan." I must admit though, that I'm frustrated with all the losing.

I personally think a shake up needs to happen in the offseason. That could simply mean signing 2 big FA's, firing someone like Jimbo, Lenny Harris, the marketing dept.(because they stink on ice), etc.

They need to make a run at guys like Sabathia, Sheets and Texeira. I'm not talking about a low ball offer just to say "we tried", I mean a serious offer(s). This town needs some excitement when it comes to this team and landing one or more of those guys would do it.

I never understood why you can't go after a stud 28 year old 1st baseman and/or a 28 year old pitcher and it be not part of the plan. If they are 35 well then I get it but at 28 you are in your prime.



Posted by: Section 505/203 | August 19, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Section 505/203:

I agree with you. I don't think Tex would want to sign here, but I think we should definitely try. Firstbase has been a revolving door for us here. If there is any chance they can get him, they should do it if for no other reason than to ensure we don't see Belliard or Casto playing 1st again.

Posted by: Willie Harrris' Uncle | August 19, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

What kind of leverage will we have over the 9a pick next year? None. Get ready to shell out the $$$$$!!

Compensatory draft pick rules:
Teams can also earn compensation for unsigned picks from the previous year's draft. If a team doesn't sign a first or second round pick, they will get to pick at the same slot plus one the following year. For instance, if the team with the #5 pick does not sign that player, they would have the #6 pick the following year. The regular draft order would continue around those picks. For compensation for not signing a third round pick, teams would get a pick in a supplemental round between the third and fourth rounds. If a team fails to sign a player with one of these compensated picks, there is no compensation the following year.

Posted by: 756* | August 19, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Nice work on this Chico,

Telling numbers, and my compliements to you for starting to get it . . .

Posted by: C'ville Nat | August 19, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

NFA BRIAN IS OUR OVERLORD

ALL YOUR BLOG ARE BELONG TO HIM

Posted by: Wily Mo Pena's Landscaper | August 19, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

"Well, not signing Crow and the release of LaPuca and others frees ~$10M for next year. The only problem the Learners will only spend $5M on players that are washed up, not part of "the plan", or a current Red or Diamondback."
_____________________________________

More sympathizing and venting. Releasing players who had 1-year contracts, doesn't free up any money. The money would have been there regardless. And the idea of "freeing up" money hinges on whether it is there to be spent.

Posted by: 756* | August 19, 2008 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I meant:
"The money would have been there (NEXT YEAR) regardless."

Posted by: 756* | August 19, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Nice analysis JayB. I agree completely.

Wish it would happen.

Posted by: Cville | August 19, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

756,

You are right, we have no leverage on the comp pick next year other than we might be stupid enough not to sign them.

Posted by: Willie Harris' Superpowers | August 19, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Sec 505/203,

Because the Nats saved a half-million on Crow, they should compensate by spending $150,000,000 or more to sign Texeira? Well, that would make the fan base feel much better about the ownership of this team.

Realistically, however, this team is spending as little as possible on even the very small amounts it takes to sign their draft picks. We can blame the agent all we want, but Crow was sitting there in time if the Nats would just spring for $500,000. So indulging in legit MLB stars like Tex is way out of the question.

In response to "disgusted" above, I agree with you that the problem is the overall direction and financial commitment to the team--ownership. MLB chose the Lerners over the Malek group precisely because of what we are now seeing. The Lerners promised the other owners that they would not use the resources of this populous, affluent region (8th largest in America and higher than that in regional income) to compete excessively against the other owners. MLB was afraid the Malek group would do just that. It was in MLB's best interests to select the Lerners.

Posted by: EdDC | August 19, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I think Wigi's analysis is right on target. But all the comments here are all mostly hyperbole and speculation. I commend Chico for trying to look at it objectively. But as for the speculation as to the motivations of Crow/Hendricks her is an idea - why doesn't someone ASK AARON CROW??

Chico??

Posted by: CoachD | August 19, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

YES! MLB CHOSE THE LERNERS SO THEY WOULD TRY TO LOSE AND MAKE THE REST OF THEM LOOK BETTER! WHEN WILL YOU FOOLS SEE THE TRUTH! I BELIEVE!!

Posted by: TIN FOIL HAT | August 19, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

With all this talk about draft budgets and cheapness, has anyone thought about how much the nationals spent last year to sign their draft picks? They had a ton of picks, signed everybody and shelled out way over slot money to McGeary. They had the best draft in the majors according to Basebaball America. Now everyone thinks they cheap and not committed to the draft?

The Crow scenario was an unlucky hiccup in the Plan -- an agent who thought he could intimidate the desparate Nationals into an unfavorable deal and a player who is either listening to bad advice or doesn't want to play here. I think the Nationals did the right thing in making a stand on this one -- otherwise you get the reputation of being a puchover franchise.

Posted by: Section 113 | August 19, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Coach D., from today's print edition (perhaps Crow was too tired to talk):

QUOTABLE

" No thanks, I'd rather just move on and not talk about it."

Aaron Crow, declining an interview request to speak about his decision not to sign with the Nationals

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 19, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

All the Lerner haters here are whacked. They never claimed they would spend like the Yankees and RedSox. Hendricks/Crow were trying to extort ridiculous $$ form the team and most likely didn't really want to sign here at all. I would also give odds that most who say they should have broke the bank on Crow would be at the front of the line in 2 years, condemning them for saddling the team with bad contracts if Crow turns out to NOT be the saviour they assume he will be. He is a pitching PROSPECT; granted their top pick this year but he is a PROSPECT. There is a reason that the baseball draft is 800 rounds instead of 2 - most of them (even 1st round picks) don't end up with long MLB careers.

They signed 9 of their top 10. BREATHE, RELAX, BREATHE, RELAX.

Posted by: Arlington Fan | August 19, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Bowden needs to go. I don't have the venom for him that many on this site seem to have But he has made several blunders this season. More than one of them have to do with him running his mouth.

1) Tell the radio station that Cordero will be non tendered before he told Cordero himself.

2) Saying that they signed Ramirez only because they had money left over after not signing Crow. Even, if it is true, he should have just said that they were working on multiple deals on Friday. Instead what he said makes the team and ownership look cheap.

3)Signing horrible free agents (Lo Duca and Estrada and Machowiak, and King).

4) Having to cut horrible free agents with nothing in return. Also cutting FLop with nothing in return. Having FLop and PLoD signing with other teams after not being able to get anything in return for them. And I hate the Bowden quote saying that he loves Felipe Lopez and that he traded for him twice. He might want to keep those kinds of admissions to himself.

5)Potential South American scandal

6)Not getting enough for Rauch to the point that other GM's complained that he set the market value to low for their potential trades.

7)Supposedly other GM's don't like dealing with him and some won't talk to him.

I would consider firing him for items 1 and 2 alone, but in light of his entire body of work this year it would be hard to imagine him back

Posted by: Bowden must bow out | August 19, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Chico. Pretty balanced piece, I thought.

Someone touched on it above. $500k can be overcome, but they were at $6.9 million only 20 mins. before the deadline. 15 mins. is not a lot of time to meet in the middle. Perhaps Hendricks slow-rolled things so he could ultimately claim it was the Nats' fault.

As for faulting the Nats for not taking his initial into account. I think it is reasonable to think that they would begin negotiating before the last minute. I hate to defend Bowden because who knows really how it went down, but I don't fault him for taking a shot at one of the best prospects on the board.

Problem is, the PLAN involves NOT spending money at the major league level (which is why they will NOT go after Tex, CC, etc.) in favor of spending money at the MINOR league level. If that's the plan, then why the modest budget--even at 7th or 9th?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

10:50 was me.

Sorry.

Posted by: Choowee | August 19, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Crow was asked about not signing and he refused to comment, wanted to move on -- to his career with Forth Worth no doubt. I agree that he (or his agents) did not want to sign unless the Nat's would pay a sum too ridiculous to pass up. Not sure you want to acquire a player under such cynical circumstances. Seems like he was blinded by the money side and not looking at the opportunity. Now he has lost a year of big league development. What kind of coaching and facilities are available to him for the next year? He could easily have recouped the money by getting quickly to the bigs and on his way to arbitration and free agency. Looks like a bad career move based on desire for the bucks. If they had made a serious negotiation from the beginning he could have probably got the ML contract. The whole thing reeks of greed and cynicism. Not a good way to start a career.

Posted by: NatMan | August 19, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

There is no way the Nats will get Sheets and Sabathia anyway. They would get no run support here. Even if the Nats offered them well above what other teams offer they would be crazy to come here and have a losing record even if they picth well. Lannan has a respectable 3.81 ERA and is only 6-12. That is nuts.

Posted by: No way Jose (Rijo) | August 19, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I don't have the irrational "he stole my girlfriend" kind of hate that SoCH has for Jimbo but, I do think it is time for him to go. In my opinion, he did an OK job but, that is not good enough when you are trying to build up a franchise. This team needs a breath of fresh air and I think Mike Rizzo as the GM could be just that.

I really don't give a crap about Aaron Crow. He was foolish to turn that kind of money without a physical, no less. They signed a good amount of their draft picks for the 2nd in a row. Looking at the big picture that is good sign.

My problem is the ML roster. I know we have had a lot of injuries this year but, I don't want another offseason of Jimbo's bargin bin shopping for retreads that 90% of the time fail.

Posted by: Section 505/203 | August 19, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

To natsfan1a - Thanks I did not see the no comment from Crow. But I think it speaks volumes. He is not angry at the Nats for not getting a deal done because that is not what he wanted in the first place. Even more, it sounds like he knows he just walked away from $3.5M and may have made a big mistake and wants to forget about it and not have to admit it.

Posted by: CoachD | August 19, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

"The real question is: why did Bud Seaweed pick the Lerners over the Malek/Zients group, who are better business people as well as great public servants?"

From http://tinyurl.com/4nx8mj

Q: What grade would you give the Lerner family as the new owners of the Washington Nationals?

Fred Malek: I’d give them an “A.” Of course, I wish I was on the winning team for the competition to own the Nationals. It was a pleasure to work with a visionary leader like Mayor Tony Williams and all the members of my Washington-based ball group team. That said, I am pleased that the team is in the hands of strong local owners like the Lerner family, with a solid team president like Stan Kasten. I’m also satisfied with the way the management team has kept salaries under control. Runaway salaries are a big issue in baseball today. The Washington Nationals are proof that you can have a team with a lot of heart and will to win, but with respectable salary levels. Not many teams can boast that. As far as individual players go, I think Ryan Zimmerman is someone they need to hold on to forever. They can build a future around that kid.

Q: What would you do differently if you ran the team?

Fred Malek: That’s easy: I’d mandate that Teddy win. If he doesn’t, I’d probably fire Abe, George, and Tom, and have Teddy just compete against the Geico Gekko.

From this, all you Lerner haters have the answer as to what would be different if they didn't own the team: Teddy would be winning the Presidents Race.

So will you quit all your whining already?

Posted by: Cal's Stance of the Day | August 19, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

"They signed 9 of their top 10. BREATHE, RELAX, BREATHE, RELAX"

Not one of those was ranked among the top 50 prospects. 2008 was a complete wasted year by this organization. Failure to produce in the majors, failure to add talent in the minors. (Lerner laughs and looks at his profits, nothing was wasted.)

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Tongue and cheek

Posted by: You don't get it | August 19, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Analysts like Rosenthal, Law, Gammons, Callis, etc... are paid not only to break news, but give opinions. Criticizing a struggling team's management is what you call 'low hanging fruit'. Easy Pickings. Not to nullify their points - because many are valid - but why would they offer praise. Results matter. And right now the results are very bad. Then when you don't sign your draft pick, you are going to get criticized. I really would prefer to have a lesser player this year than 2 next year, but the decision not to cave on Crow was the correct one at the time.

I am a proud supporter of the plan, the budget, and many of the decisions that have been made. But like a manager of a losing team, eventually you may have to fire a GM simply because he is the man in charge. But you only do that when you have a legitimate, experienced, candidate in place who agrees with ownership and executive managmeent direction of the team.

I still think Bowden has done a remarkable job of re-building and that he has made mostly good decisions in the face of very limited options, but there may come a time (soon) when you have to look for change. Just make sure the next GM is sustainable for 5-10 years. No 2 years and out Pat Gillicks or 2 years and fired Wayne Krivisky's. Stability matters. I'd rather keep Bowden and let him see this through than begin a cycle of hire/fire at such a key organizational position.

Posted by: NatBisquit | August 19, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I didn't want to comment for fear I would break down and cry over the fact that I am pitching for Fort Worth.

Posted by: Aaron Crow | August 19, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

For Bowden, it must really be a lousy feeling to wake up each and every morning knowing that you have constructed one of the worst baseball teams in history.

Posted by: 756* | August 19, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

"I didn't want to comment for fear I would break down and cry over the fact that I am pitching for Fort Worth.

Posted by: Aaron Crow | August 19, 2008 11:25 AM"

Don't cry, Aaron. Now that we realize you would have been the savior of the franchise had you only signed here in Washington (although, to be truthful, none of us even had a clue who you were before draft day) we're gonna relocate to Fort Worth and cheer you on. (Unless you lose or don't hustle, of course. Then we'll boo and hound you out of town.) When's your next start, anyway? We need to start packing.

And wow, while we're down there we can check out the Texas Rangers and learn what happens when you actually DO have bad ownership in Washington and not owners who are doing a good job but just haven't managed to put a winning team on the field yet, in only their second year.

Posted by: JayB ARE Lacking | August 19, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The CBA changes to the draft process were supposed to increase leverage for the owners. A player has to sign by August 15th if he wants to play professional (excluding independent pro leagues, of course). What has happened is that players and their agents have flipped it around using the deadline to exert leverage on the owners. And what the Hendricks Bros. did was exploit their leverage to the extreme. By not engaging with the Nats until the last few minutes, they basically tried to name their terms for the Nats.

So just for giggles, let’s assume for a second this is a Rockies or Astros or A’s blog and we are dispassionately looking at what happened to the Nats based on available information:

The Nats were willing to go over slot for Crow. They were willing to pay him more than the top pitcher selected in the draft. They were willing to spend money on Crow that would have placed them 9th overall in bonuses. It’s pretty hard to argue that the Nats were being unreasonably cheap with the offers they made. They made a decision that Aaron Crow was not worth the money he was asking for. I am sure everyone on this blog has refused to spend money on an item or service because they simply thought the asking price was more than it was worth. I don’t recall reading any evaluations of Crow that he is a can’t-miss, Cooperstown-bound player. The Nats will draft at 9A next year in exchange for failing to sign Crow. It is just hard to see how the Nats have much of a net loss in this situation, and passing on Crow is not that much of a risk. Having a reputation that you will accede to any demand going into next year’s draft holding the #1 pick is far riskier for the Nats.

The Hendricks Bros. played chicken with Aaron Crow’s career and lost. They successfully maintained their reputation for not caving and driving a hard bargain. That will benefit their other clients to be certain, but it doesn’t do much for Aaron Crow. He better stay healthy; he better pitch really well wherever he pitches. Absent injury or collapse with Strasburg, there is no chance Aaron Crow is the first pitcher drafted next year. The Hendricks Bros (on behalf of Aaron Crow) walked away from the most money for a pitcher in the draft so he could barnstorm around the independent American Association for a few weeks then hope for the best next year. That is a far greater risk than the Nats took in not signing him.

If you set aside your hatred for Bowden (and man, oh, man is there a lot of it around here), it’s hard to criticize the Nats unless you think they should spend money without limit. Seriously, those of you who think the Nats should have signed him at $4M, would you have said the same if the Hendricks Bros. final offer was $5M? How about $6M?

Posted by: Arlington Nats Fan | August 19, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Not to jinx him, but maybe Detwiler has turned a corner this season. Since July 24, he has a 2.42 ERA in his last 4 starts. He has pitched 22.1 innings, with 23 SO and 5 BB. Granted it is just at Potomac, but this is the first sign of life from him this season

Posted by: No Way Jose (Rijo) | August 19, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Just an idea regarding Strasburg. He was born in San Diego and pitches for San Diego State. The Padres are currently 3rd in the Strasburg sweepstakes.

Personally I would love it if the Nats draft and sign Strasburg, but I think the Nats should explore what they could get (if anything) from the Padres by swapping 1st round picks with them so they can sign their hometown hero. Maybe we can get some good prospects or get additional high draft picks.

Just a crazy idea.

Posted by: No Way Jose (Rijo) | August 19, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Swapping draft picks is not allowed.

Posted by: 756* | August 19, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Good analysis Chico, although it's not really accurate to say
"Still, with all of this said, we can safely conclude that the budget the Lerners had allocated for draft spending ranked among the top third in baseball. It was a top-10 budget, but not a top-5 budget."

It's relatively impressive that the Nationals weren't at the bottom considering they didn't sign their first rounder.

To say, however, the proposed budget was in the top ten you would need to know the proposed budgets for every other team. I'm sure Alverez, Posey and Hosmer could have signed for more without keeping the Pirates, Royals and Giants from signing the other draftees. And if Smoak or Alonso insisted on top five money the Rangers or Reds would have been idiots to let them walk.

It would also be interesting to see how this is broken down per draftee. How many players did the Nationals, Tigers, Rockies, Mariners and Angels each draft?
What percentage did they sign?

Posted by: NOVA Giants Fan | August 19, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

ken rosenthal said today the nats are the kings of excuses and he wonders what is next. I agree. So they cant spend 4 mill on crow, but 2 top ten picks is at least 8 mill combined---MAYBe more. If they take strasberg, it will be interesting. My guess is they pass on him. HE will ask for around 10 I bet and settle for no less than 7 or 8. Add that to the 10th pick..OH man..this is getting beyond embaressng

Posted by: Anonymous | August 18, 2008 11:13 PM
-----------------------------------------
Where did he say this? I'd like to read it or listen to it...thanks.

Posted by: NatsFan7 | August 19, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

that's not like tongue-and-groove, is it?

IN. it's tongue-IN-cheek

_______
Tongue and cheek
Posted by: You don't get it | August 19, 2008 11:12 AM

Posted by: Þ & (|) ?? | August 19, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Anon- If you think the Nats don't want to have to pay for Strasburg then the best way to avoid it is to win this season and get out of last place.

Posted by: Just another anon | August 19, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

For the person who was asking the other day about a topical index to blogs, you might try searching on the subject in question at ballhype.com

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 19, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 756. There is a glaring hole in my baseball draft knowledge.

Oh well Strasburg, welcome to Washington

Posted by: No Way Jose (Rijo) | August 19, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

How can an ordinary season-ticekt holder like me get his thoughts across to Nats mangement? Is there an email address for Stan Kasten or Mark Lerner; so we can express our feelings directly to them? I am sure hey won't be reading this blog; so maybe we should take our thoughts to them, but how??

Posted by: Jeremy | August 19, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

So depressing reading all the negative posts on NJ. Is the sky really falling? I don't think so. Sure, the Nats have made mistakes, all teams do. They had a very poor base to start with. I still have hope that 2 years from now things will turn around and the Nats will be a very competetive team. One lost player in the draft is not going to derail the whole train. So, don't jump off any tall buildings just yet and keep faith that things will turn around. : < ))

Posted by: SC Nats Fan | August 19, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Jeromy,
Try this: stan.kasten@nationals.com

Posted by: HALjr | August 19, 2008 12:35 PM | Report abuse

To Cal's Stance of the Day posted at 11:07 am:

Malek is a class guy saying the things you would expect a respectable owner to say. He is not going to blast the Lerners! Nor would he repeat the Lerners' quite unusual record of budgetary constraint, especially with regard to the draft.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

rosenthal said this on washington post live on comcast sportsnet last night live from camden yards. He joins them every monday to talk about baseball. He bashes when they deserve bashing, and praises when it is deserved as well. He's a very good writer.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

I saw rosenthal also......He did say they make more excuses than anyone in the league and said they NEEDED to sign their first round pick and people in the industry dont want to hear about this "well we have two first round picks next year" nonsense. It's all unraveling.

Posted by: luv da nats | August 19, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It's gonna be funny when Strasburg publicly states before the draft that he won't sign with the Nationals and Boras then steers him to his hometown Padres. Then we'll take a 3rd round talent at #10 and get sold a bill of goods from the organization.

PLEDGE YOUR ALLEGIANCE!

Posted by: Wily Mo Pena's Masseuse | August 19, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

ive got a question for you all:

two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. wild pitch. runner on third scores by sliding wide and apparently swiping the plate with his hand.
the throw to the pitcher covering home goes wild and the runner from 2nd also comes home safely.

prior to the next pitch, the pitcher calls the umpire for a review play at home.
the pitcher throws the ball to the catcher who tags home and then just for good measure walks over to the opposing dugout and tags the first runner who scored.
the umpire calls the runner out for missing home plate.

my question, since there were 2 outs, does that mean the 2nd run that scored also does not count. are both runs taken off the board?

this play actually happened the other night in the os game however everyone was ruled safe. i was wondering what would happen if they were ruled out.
thx.

Posted by: dk | August 19, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Arlington Nat's Fan has it just right. Take a step back and you see that all we did was put ourselves in a stronger position for next year. Agents won't assume that the Nat's are easy to push around just because The Plan dictates. Next years draft picks will be ore willing to sign and there will be two of them. This is disappointing because we are all here spinning our wheels watching terrible baseball waiting for this franchise to take off. But we can't let that blind us into condoning stupid decisions like writing blank checks to unprofessional agents.

Not that I like Bowden. He's just entirely the wrong man for the job.

And anyone who says Acta needs to go is flat out wrong. You can't fire a guy for failing to win the Indy 500 in a chevette.

Posted by: Ben | August 19, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

My best guess is that both runs are erased. If the 2nd runner counted and the first didn't, then wouldn't you have a scenario where the trailing runner passed the leading runner?

I remember a story from one of those books on baseball history. In a WS a long time ago, a hitter had a game-winning hit, but was mobbed by fans and was unable to touch first base. One of the players on the fielding team saw this, retrieved the ball (which by now was in the stands or something) and (maybe even the next day) got the ball and touched 1st, and the runs were erased. Different rule, I realize, but lore nonetheless.

Posted by: 756* | August 19, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

If the inning did not end with the out at home base, the second run scores. If the inning ended (as was the case) then the second run does not score. However, I believe both errors will be scored regardless.

Posted by: SF Fan | August 19, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"this play actually happened the other night in the os game however everyone was ruled safe. i was wondering what would happen if they were ruled out.
thx.

Posted by: dk | August 19, 2008 1:00 PM "

If you quit watching the O's and just start whining about the Nats like everyone else here you wouldn't be running into these existential dilemmas.

Posted by: just sayin' | August 19, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Good grief, some of you people are forcing me to join the Jim Bowden Fan Club. Anonymous: "Failure to produce in the majors, failure to add talent in the minors." Really? Five everyday players under 25 and several starting pitchers of similar age. Then there are the minor league players (but I'm sure you've seen all of them play and have complete scouting acumen to know they haven't progressed) including guys like Jordan Zimmermann, Rhinehart, Detwiler, Burgess...none of them have progressed? Get. A. Grip. Yes, the big league team stinks right now, yes, the Nats are putting a ton of pressure on the farm system, and yes, they need to balance it with some outside talent. But they are at least spending money on player development; now the question can they find the right talent to develop.

Posted by: baltova | August 19, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Others had it right, neither run scores, since the inning ended with the 3rd out on the 1st batter.
Rule 7.12 Case Book material interpretations, 1994:
"If two runners arrive at home base about the same time and the first runner misses home plate, but a second runner legally touches the plate, the runner is tagged out on an attempt to come back and touch the base or is called out, on appeal, then he shall be considered as having been put out before the second runner scored and being the third out. Second runner's run shall not count, as provided in rule 7.12"

Posted by: Section 138 | August 19, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Baltova - GRiP hasn't posted in days.

Natsfanla - thanks. i'll play with ballhype and see if it has the type of indexing I'm looking for. I think Hendo keeps kind of an index to his own posts, and probably a few others.

It's gotten to me that a lot of good info gets buried a bit. LAC actually backs his/her stuff up sometimes with some thorough comparitives, I've tried to do some comparisons with NL rotations in the past, and of course, and I think every blog has had trade / building speculation. I like the feel of Sons of Sam Horn, although I jsut read and do not post there. Really the best way might be some bot with key words. Well beyond my understanding of this information superhighway with tubes that funnel stuff around.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 19, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Great find, Section 138. (You also have a great section. We checked it out on Sunday and plan to buy lots of seats there next year. Unless of course that's an RFK section, in which case, never mind.)

Now, on the other thing: I don't have a lot of use for debating this failure to sign a draft pick, given that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. But I do have a use for intellectual rigor.

EdDC mentioned above that "Crow was sitting there in time if the Nats would just spring for $500,000." This is not so. Crow was sitting there if the Nats would spring for $4 million. Or, put another way, 500,000 EXTRA dollars. Fully 12.5% greater than their final, last-ditch effort. Surely the difference is clear. (I'm not trying to call out EdDC; he's just the guy whose words I felt best fit my point.)

Like others, I do wonder where the money is going, since we've heard lots of places where it isn't going. But at bottom, I kind of don't care. Just as others point to results on the field and say the team is failing, I point to results in the minors and say it looks like they're doing okay. In a couple years, I really want to be able to point to the actual field and see good results. For the most part, I don't so much care how they got there.

Posted by: Scooter | August 19, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

then he shall be considered as having been put out before the second runner scored and being the third out. Second runner's run shall not count, as provided in rule 7.12"
Posted by: Section 138

thx all for setting me stra8 on this.

Posted by: dk | August 19, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Ben, excellent point, especially if the chevette has recently participated in a demolition derby.

PTBNL, you're welcome. I couldn't remember who had asked about that. I think that ballhype may turn up journalistic blogs more than fan blogs but I'm not sure about that (only tried one quick search there). I've heard Sons of Sam Horn cited but haven't frequented it.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 19, 2008 2:36 PM | Report abuse

ive got a question for you all:

two outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. wild pitch. runner on third scores by sliding wide and apparently swiping the plate with his hand.
the throw to the pitcher covering home goes wild and the runner from 2nd also comes home safely.

prior to the next pitch, the pitcher calls the umpire for a review play at home.
the pitcher throws the ball to the catcher who tags home and then just for good measure walks over to the opposing dugout and tags the first runner who scored.
the umpire calls the runner out for missing home plate.

my question, since there were 2 outs, does that mean the 2nd run that scored also does not count. are both runs taken off the board?

this play actually happened the other night in the os game however everyone was ruled safe. i was wondering what would happen if they were ruled out.
thx.

Posted by: dk | August 19, 2008 1:00 PM


Saw the play and Luke scott scored. Dude, they called him safe, NOT OUT. DOnt have a clue what you were watching!!! Its like a tag up play at third and u throw to third, but to home. He was called safe, so both runs score

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Change of topics - With Flores "day-to-day", anyone notice that David Ross from Cincinatti was released? Decent pop and OBP, but low avg.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 19, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I won't comment on some of the recent posts, many of which have turned this SABR member off. But...the "play" at home plate is interesting.

1. Did the umpire make a verbal / mechanical indication of safe? If so, I guarantee that the runner is safe. No blue is going to open up that sort of spit house, and that is what you are going to get.

2. The catcher touching the plate is totally irrelevant. There was no force play.

3. If the catcher went into the dugout to tag the first runner, he has left the field of play, with the ball. The play is over and the runs will stand.

Posted by: Catcher50 | August 19, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous (or 419+1 whichever you prefer):
Chill. dk knew they were called safe. It was a hypothetical question.
________________________
"this play actually happened the other night in the os game however everyone was ruled safe. i was wondering what would happen if they were ruled out.
thx."

Posted by: dk | August 19, 2008 1:00 PM

Posted by: NatsNut | August 19, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

both runners would have been out if scott was out at home. My bad DK i misread your post.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh, the Nationals "took a stand" against the system and won't be pushed around? LOLOLOL

Posted by: Scott Boras | August 19, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It's not so much about 'taking a stand', it's about establishing a bargaining position, for next year and the subsequent ten. Get pushed around the first time, you'll get pushed around the next.

Posted by: Ben | August 19, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

It's not so much about 'taking a stand', it's about establishing a bargaining position, for next year and the subsequent ten. Get pushed around the first time, you'll get pushed around the next.
Posted by: Ben | August 19, 2008 2:58 PM


the nats dont have the luxury of establishing bargaining position. they are in no position to draw lines in the sand. they absofreakinlutely s u c k !!!
if they havta overpay to get some talent they better dig into their wallets and pour out the cash. in case you hadnt noticed, they arent only bad, they are the worst franchise in all of baseball. thats quite an accomplishment.
i dont wanna hear about injuries, money or anything else. get some players, pay em and start acting like a professional franchise.

Posted by: dk | August 19, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Actualy Mr. Boras, yes, the Nats did take a stand. I don't have Baseball America access, but someone who did could answer this question: if the Nats had signed Crow for $4M, what teams would have gone more over slot in the first round than the Nats? Looking at what the Nats did last year signing everyone. Look at a class inclusive of Crow this year with the Nats going over slot for the first five rounds. It's not soley about Strasburg. Every Nat draftee (certainly the first few rounds) would be perfectly justified in waiting until 11:44pm, August 15 and naming their terms to the Nats with an expectation that Nats would have to bite.

Posted by: Arlington Nats Fan | August 19, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

What no one alluded to is the fact that JB is estactic to have two top ten picks next year with Strasburg a very strong possibility of him being our number one.Talk about being over budget!! Srasburg may very well walk away with 8-9 mil and our 10th pick will want at a minimum 3.5 mil. This means that after the first round we exceeded KC draft budget without spending another dime. Add picks 2-5 and we will be at 15 mil. Will the team do it? Will there be any money for rounds 6-15?

Posted by: aspenbubba | August 19, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

*points and laughs at the veins popping out in DK's head as he rants*

Posted by: *snicker* | August 19, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

come and see me!

Posted by: new post | August 19, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Why worry about who was pushed around the most? That won't get you anywhere. Who cares who dislikes whom the most or mistreated the other worse?

The agent and player came down to $4M from $9M. The two sides were only $500,000 apart by 11:45 PM or so. They were essentially there! Why be tough guy over $500K (maybe not even minimum wage level for MLB) when the talent level of this franchise is so weak?

And who knows if the Nats tried for a split-the-difference to take the added "burden" down to only $250K? Regardless, we are not talking about a huge additional commitment here. Remember that the O's coughed up $6M just last year for their #1 pick. If they could do it, why not the Nats?

Posted by: EdDC | August 19, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

giving 6 mill to a position player is a tad different than a pitcher. Pitchers blow out their arms ALL of the time. Position players dont necessarily make it, but they dont get hurt as often, or there isnt as much risk. Plus, wieters is about as cant miss and you can find.

Posted by: natty lights | August 19, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

It seems to me that both sides blew the negotiations.It seems pretty clear that they should have reached a deal, if that's what Crow wanted. The real movement simply began too late. There's no reason why this should come down to the final day, much less the final hours. Just a stupid game of chicken that both sides lost because neither one moved in time. I hope that lessons are learned. Getting Strasburg would be a huge boost to the Nats. Wouldn't surprise me if he beats Crow to the majors, especially with Crow losing that one year leg up.

Posted by: Fisch Fry | August 19, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

THE LERNERS ARE CHEAP B@ST@RDS! it's that simple.

So much for the plan, when we're 27th in the league in bonuses. Yeah build through draft picks!!! Way to go you lying cheapskate's. Can't wait to see more Pete Orr's, Ryan Langerhans, Jason Bergmanns, Jesus Colomes for years to come!!!

Posted by: Dager | August 19, 2008 7:43 PM | Report abuse

http://www.tikk.net/wiki/whelp/adult/4/adult-contemporary-charts.html adult contemporary charts

Posted by: adult contemporary charts | August 22, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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