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Washington Nationals (W-4)

Well, along with the Houston Astros, the Nationals currently have the longest winning streak in baseball. The Nats haven't matched four games in a row since April 27-May 1. You can read more about last night's win here. I'd call it the most impressive of the four so far by the Post-Purge Nats. Tim Redding had sub-par stuff; the lineup was missing three of its most important hitters; Colorado had an all-star pitching for it.

Said Acta: "At the beginning I thought it was gonna be tough."

Tough turned into a 9-4 win.

You can also read another Nats story in today's dead tree -- a feature examining Lenny Harris's work this year (and one young hitter's progress, for that matter) through the prism of one pitch and one swing.

Anytime Harris is offered up as subject matter these days, people raise a question: When is he going to be fired? Maybe that's unfair, given the injuries that have decimated the lineup; maybe not. In the end, others will judge.

Harris doesn't know for certain that he'll be back next season; he hasn't been told, he said. But that's not surprising. The season's is still two months away.

At one point in our conversation, I asked him: Do you think you'll be fired at season's end. He answered without a Yes or No: "Well, you know, it's a business. (That kind of talk) really don't bother me at all. I'm having fun doing this job each and every day. You know, it's something I can't control. I'd love to manage one day, and I know whatever happens happens. That's life. I've seen a great manager like Willie Randolph get fired because his team wasn't playing well. That's how it works. It's our job to get them ready. Now I've got all these young guys learning how to play in the big leagues, and I'm just gonna keep pushing them."

By Chico Harlan  |  August 5, 2008; 10:35 AM ET
 
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Next: Dukes to DL?

Comments

"The season's is still two months away."

This is great! I had this terrible nightmare that our gritty, gutsy Nats were, like, 28 games under .500 or something.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 5, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Bob L,

You know and I know that this team is not the same team that is 28 games under .500. Sure, the Nats are 42-70; but that does not describe the current lineup.

Sit back and enjoy the rest of the season. The future just got a whole lot brighter.

Posted by: Mike | August 5, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Thing is, I don't know enough about it to know if another hitting coach would've made a difference. I can't see the front office watch the destruction that was Wily Mo Pena's 2008 without doing all they could to rescue him. Didn't they have Brett Boone coaching him? If Stan Kasten and JimBow or Mannie thought that a new hitting coach who would make a difference was available, wouldn't we have him by now? Scheinen, who knows much more about baseball than do I, said that Lenny should be fired and Felipe should be cut. He also said we should add Barry Bonds to the roster.

Posted by: flynnie | August 5, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

That's a nice piece of copy on Lenny Harris.

By the way, while they're updating the WaPo's blogs, you might want to ask them to do the same with the descriptions on the blog directory at washingtonpost.com. That's the page that blurbs Nationals Journal as "Barry Svrluga on D.C.'s very own baseball team."

Chico, you deserve more respect!

Posted by: Sec 222 | August 5, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Remember when the 2008 Nats v1.0 were 3-0? We all had such high hopes. Watch out, everyone--unless you want to end up heartbroken (again), you're probably best off keeping your hopes a lukewarm medium-low. Just in case.

Posted by: darcy | August 5, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

hitting coaches are among the most scapegoated instructors in baseball. how many times during the past few years have hitting coaches been fired because players haven't hit up to management's expectations? this is not a defense of lenny, because if you check his career stats he was a hackmaster supreme. he hit with very little power, didn't walk much and didn't see a whole lot of pitches per plate appearances. lenny also spent the bulk of his career as a pinch hitter, who couldn't afford to be too selective at the plate. doesn't seem like the kind of guy i would want working with my young hitters.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 5, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

That's what I was saying about a month ago: these guys are all going up there looking like pinch hitters. Watch 'em. Every at bat is a pinch hit.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 5, 2008 11:09 AM | Report abuse

If the Nationals are going to change hitting coaches after the season, I would favor bringing in an instructor with a solid minor-league background in developing nascent hitters. It really wouldn't do this team a lot of good to bring in some "name" instructor, who is used to working with more finished products. This team has to first develop its offensive foundation.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 5, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Flynnie - thanks for the shout out. Of course, when they'd yell, I'd hit my shot.

756* - getting to the point where a couple of trades / signings can put the Nats over the top is a step towards the goal of Lastings first title. And, in fairness, Lastings may end up being Al Jefferson, a talent we develop to the point we can trade him for the final pieces. Watching the Nats young players is like watching Rondo, Perkins, Jefferson, etc... from '04 - '07. Major odor some games, trackign the projected #1 pick, and having no confidence in the GM. Count the "Can Doc / Can Danny" posts from Bill Simmons before last year. Jimbo and Manny can take heart.

Posted by: NR World B. Free | August 5, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Woah! That's the instruction coming from Lenny?

"He's flying open."
"He's trying to pull the ball."
"He's trying to hit homeruns."

What fantastic insight!!!!!!!!!! (read with oozing sarcasm)

And in response to this, Lenny takes Lastings to the cage where he gives him such startling feedback like:

"See how quiet your head is now? Just keep that head still! That's how you see that outside pitch!"
"Easy swings."
"Now you're starting to feel it!"
"Stay on it! You're coming at me. One more! Nuh-uh; try again."


Lenny, if you are reading this, I would suggest having the team go through hitting drills, have them practice hitting the ball the other way = staying back. If I see another batter lunge at the ball and hit a weak grounder to 3rd, I might go insane.

Nats mgmt, it's time to get ball players. Put them on the field and fill the coaching staff with them. I don't know how Milledge has gotten this far without knowing that he is flying open.

Posted by: 756* | August 5, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"To date, 12 of the 19 Washington hitters with more than 50 at-bats this season are hitting below their career averages. Such a high percentage of failure provides ammo for fans who call Harris unqualified. Earlier this season, the scrutiny stressed him so much that Manager Manny Acta took him aside and told him that he couldn't control everything."

If you read this, you say why does Lenny still have a job? If he were a school teacher or principal or in sales, the front office would be calling for his head. But this front office is smart, not dumb, and want these players to succeed more than we do. They see the dedication, the work hours, the obsession with helping a struggling player, the ability to diagnose the problem and they feel that Lenny is the best man for the job.

What that Scout said is important, too. Players become over-anxious when they get to the Bigs, but this is cured by playing time. How many of the players-in-decline had limited playing time? The print edition has a nice graphic with pictures of how each player in the 19 player sample is doing this year compared to their career ave. Guzman and Flores are hitting better. Lopez (-.024); Kearns (-.036); Zimmerman (-.018); Harris (-.004 - this is batting average, not power numbers); Pena (.054) and Belliard (-.020). All of these guys were either injured or fighting for playing time. The slump made them press more. maybe the front ofice knows something when they don't think that they could do better than their current hitting coach.

Posted by: flynnie | August 5, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I sense more cuts coming in the paper that is hosting this blog. For those of you who do not subscribe, you missed a terrific baseball sports page today with Chico's aritcle being featured on the front page, and 4 full pages devoted to baseball. You also missed unforgettable photos of the athletes training in the filthy Chinese air, pronounced clean by the Chinese regime. Please subscribe. These people who work at the Post bring us a lot of joy and truth. Please do what you can to save their jobs.

Posted by: flynnie | August 5, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Please subscribe. These people who work at the Post bring us a lot of joy and truth."
___________________________________________

Joy and Truth in sports coverage, yes. Joy and Truth in political coverage, no.

Posted by: Keeping It Real | August 5, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Almost time to head over to the neighbor's pool . . .

Posted by: Bob L. Head | August 5, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"Joy and Truth in political coverage, no."

Might I recommend you head over to Howard Kurtz's media notes, or any of the many political blogs. This is a line we don't cross 'round these parts.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | August 5, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Seeee youuu laater!

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 5, 2008 12:02 PM | Report abuse

*yawn* a hammock is calling my name.

Posted by: misschatter | August 6, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Are we back online yet? Where's our wednesday chat?

Posted by: Sec131 | August 6, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Wed. Chat is here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/08/01/DI2008080102704.html

Posted by: BF | August 6, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Are we back online yet? Where's our wednesday chat?

Posted by: Sec131 | August 6, 2008 3:17 PM
________________

Good to see all that time fixed everything well (and moved the Washington Post into the Atlantic Time Zone, since it's 2:28 here in DC)...

Posted by: OldGuy | August 6, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Hey, we're back! Too bad no one's noticed...

(Or we're all busy chatting, perhaps.)

Posted by: 3434 | August 6, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Are we back online yet? Where's our wednesday chat?

Posted by: Sec131 | August 6, 2008 3:17 PM
________________

Good to see all that time fixed everything well (and moved the Washington Post into the Atlantic Time Zone, since it's 2:28 here in DC)...

Posted by: OldGuy | August 6, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

WTF?

Posted by: 756* | August 6, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"I think they will be contending next year with Bonficio, Zimmerman, Dukes, Flores, Ballester, et al. Do you think the attemdance will improve too?"

You sir, are a true idiot!

Posted by: 756* | August 6, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

This is progress???

Posted by: | August 6, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

wow people its like a cemetery here... your all just dying to get in.

Posted by: junkbucket | August 6, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

If they can make this much progress in a day, just think if they shut things down for two days! Or a week!

INTERNETS DOMINATIONZ

Posted by: Hot Carl | August 6, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"I think they will be contending next year with Bonficio, Zimmerman, Dukes, Flores, Ballester, et al. Do you think the attemdance will improve too?"

--------------------
Contending? Did you say contending? There's no contending in Washington?

Posted by: junkbucket | August 6, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Either Chico forgot or couldn't update the Journal, but his Weds chat was on today at 2. It's under Sports or, for easiest navigation, go to the front page online and scroll down 3/4 of the way to today's talks and discussions, listed on the left-hand side of the screen.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

...crickets...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris just snorted at that comment and blew himself around the bases to score.

Posted by: nats del negro | August 6, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

...crickets...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Chat was online today at 2. Either Chico forgot or couldn't update the Journal. Listed on front page online 3/4 of the way down the page, left hand side under today's chats/discussions.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

...crickets...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

...crickets...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Honey, I'm home!

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

*sigh*

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star pitcher Dan Haren has agreed to terms on a four-year, $44.75 million contract that runs through the 2012 season with a club option for 2013.

Posted by: 756* | August 6, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Is it broke?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 6, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Where's the rest of the gang? I hope not working. We all know that NJ takes waaay more precedence over work. Just ask my students!

Anybody got a good conversation starter? I have an interesting question, but I have to research possible answers first. Yuck.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Never mind. Guess it's just slow (other than the time stamp thing).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 6, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

They may be having trouble posting. Or they may be working (yuck).

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

luis ayala
luis ayala
luis ayala

Posted by: ARE THE COMMENTS UP AND RUNNING NOW? | August 6, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The time stamps around here seem to be vaguely busted, but what else is new?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I apologize in advance for the massiveness of this post, BUT... Let's assume that we are NOT getting Tex, Sheets or Sabathia. Which FA's would you sign to tangibly improve the club? I didn't include relief pitchers or positions that I think we can all agree are secure (C, 3B, 2B and SS).

First basemen
Sean Casey (34)
Tony Clark (37)
Carlos Delgado (37) - $16MM mutual option for '09 with a $4MM buyout
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Jason Giambi (38) - $22MM club option for '09 with a $5MM buyout
Eric Hinske (31)
Doug Mientkiewicz (35)
Kevin Millar (37)
Richie Sexson (34)
Mark Teixeira (29)

Shortstops
Orlando Cabrera (34)
David Eckstein (34)
Adam Everett (32)
Rafael Furcal (31)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Cesar Izturis (29)
Felipe Lopez (29)
Edgar Renteria (33) - $12MM club option for '09 with a $3MM buyout
Juan Uribe (30)
Omar Vizquel (42) - $5.2MM club option for '09 with a $0.3MM buyout

Left fielders
Moises Alou (42)
Garret Anderson (37) - $14MM club option for '09 with a $3MM buyout
Milton Bradley (31)
Emil Brown (34)
Pat Burrell (32)
Adam Dunn (29)
Cliff Floyd (36) - $2.75MM club option for '09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Luis Gonzalez (41)
Raul Ibanez (37)
Kevin Mench (31)
Jason Michaels (33) - $2.6MM club option for '09
Craig Monroe (32)
Jay Payton (36)
Wily Mo Pena (27) - $5MM club option or $2MM player option for '09
Manny Ramirez (37) - $20MM club option for '09
Juan Rivera (30)

Center fielders
Rocco Baldelli (27)
Mike Cameron (36) - $10MM club option for '09 with a $750K buyout
Jim Edmonds (39)
Mark Kotsay (33)
Corey Patterson (29)

Right fielders
Bobby Abreu (35)
Casey Blake (35)
Cliff Floyd (36) - $2.75MM club option for '09 with a $0.25MM buyout
Brian Giles (38) - $9MM club option for '09 with a $3MM buyout
Ken Griffey Jr. (39) - $16.5MM club option for '09 with a $4MM buyout
Vladimir Guerrero (33) - $15MM club option for '09 with a $3MM buyout
Bobby Kielty (32)
Brad Wilkerson (32)

Starting pitchers
Tony Armas Jr. (31)
Kris Benson (33)
A.J. Burnett (32) - can opt out after '08 season
Paul Byrd (38)
Roger Clemens (46)
Matt Clement (33)
Ryan Dempster (32)
Josh Fogg (32)
Jon Garland (29)
Tom Glavine (43)
Mike Hampton (36)
Mark Hendrickson (35)
Livan Hernandez (34)
Orlando Hernandez (43)
Jason Jennings (30)
Randy Johnson (45)
John Lackey (30) - $9MM club option for '09 with a $0.5MM buyout
Jon Lieber (39)
Esteban Loaiza (37)
Braden Looper (34)
Derek Lowe (36)
Greg Maddux (43)
Pedro Martinez (37)
Jamie Moyer (46)
Mark Mulder (31) - $11MM club option for '09 with a $1.5MM buyout
Mike Mussina (40)
Carl Pavano (33) - $13MM club option for '09 with a $1.95MM buyout
Brad Penny (31) - $8.75MM club option for '09 with a $2MM buyout
Odalis Perez (32)
Oliver Perez (27)
Andy Pettitte (37)
Mark Prior (27)
Kenny Rogers (44)
C.C. Sabathia (28)
Curt Schilling (42)
Ben Sheets (30)
John Smoltz (42) - $12MM club option for '09
Brett Tomko (36)
Tim Wakefield (42) - perpetual $4MM club option
Kip Wells (32)
Randy Wolf (32)

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

but I don't WANT to be labeled "Anonymous"!

Posted by: | August 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Did you type your moniker in the Name box, anon?

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 6, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Given the number of posts signed "Anonymous" up there, I'm guessing that an unsigned post gets that label automatically.

Posted by: 3434 | August 6, 2008 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Unsigned post test.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

^
^

Yes, that seems to be the case.

Posted by: natsfan1a | August 6, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Chico didn't answer this question I submitted for the chat. I asked if a reason that Guzman hadn't been DL'ed is because other teams may be interested in a veteran shortstop with a below-market contract and Guzman couldn't be traded if he's on the DL?

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 6, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

"Let's assume that we are NOT getting Tex, Sheets or Sabathia."
___________________________________

That is a safe assumption.

Posted by: Spend Thrift | August 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"because other teams may be interested in a veteran shortstop with a below-market contract and Guzman couldn't be traded if he's on the DL"

Other teams aren't interested in a shortstop named Christian Guzman.

Posted by: 756* | August 6, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

We all seem to be one hour into the future.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 6, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

If someone else got sent further into the future, PLEASE don't tell me what happened in the game. I tape them and don't get to watch till morning.

Thank you.

Posted by: Scooter | August 6, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Talking to myself is fun.

Of those listed above, I wouldn't mind seeing Sean Casey signed to play first base, and a solid run at John Garland. Garland and Redding could be our wise old pitching sages (at 29 and 30 respectively). I wouldn't mind Moyer, because I think he could make Lannan nastier, but at the same time, he's quite old.

The last person I think could (emphasis on could) be a possibility (emphasis on possibility) is Bobby Abreu if the Yanks don't pick up his option. He's a beast in the field, swings a good stick, and is originally from the NL East. What say the NJ faithful?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Or in one named Cristian Guzman.

Posted by: proofreading gremlins | August 6, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"What say the NJ faithful?"

I'd still go for Tex, C.C., and Sheets.

Posted by: 756* | August 6, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Flip and I are out here in St. Louis. It's really hot, but we're looking forward to another win against the Dodgers tonight, with Flip going 4-4 with power since he is now at an organization that treats him with the dignity and respect and lineup protection that his great talent deserves.

The Nats will probably be facing Livo tonight, seeing how well they hit against him in Minnesota, and the Rockies signed him just to pitch to the Nats - probably twice in a row, since they're 8 1/2 out and need every win.

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

oh come now, father flynniegan. the words "flop" and "dignity and respect" should never appear in the same sentence.

Posted by: natsscribe | August 6, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

why doesn't manny put steven shell into the setup role instead of ayala?

Posted by: rx985 | August 6, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

@Natty,
Perhaps I should sign this Groucho Marx, but I am suspicious about signing pitchers - good ones are such a valuable commodity that it seems that there must be something wrong with a good pitcher who is not re-signed by his old club - like they must know something about him that the rest of us do not. Fortunately for the Nats, we do seem to have a lot of good talent coming up through the farm system.

Posted by: Traveler | August 6, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

obviously, WaPo still hasn't fixed all the bugs if statements like this get in:

"with Flip going 4-4 with power since he is now at an organization that treats him with the dignity and respect and lineup protection that his great talent deserves."

I'm pretty sure the original post read:

"with FLop going 0-4 with 3 k's and not running hard to first on a grounder to short and slowly walking back to the dugout as if it was an inconvenience for him to have to walk out to the batters box."

Posted by: e | August 6, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey! More time stamp fun. If you don't see your post, scroll up.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 6, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Since some of us like to dream ...

How about the Nats go ahead and sign Tex, CC, Sheets and Manny Ramirez! They'd be able to trot out this lineup:

2B Bonifacio
CF Milledge
LF Ramirez
1B Teixiera
3B Zimmerman
RF Dukes
C Flores
SS Guzman
P

SP Sabathia
SP Sheets
SP Lannan
SP Redding
SP Bergmann

Posted by: e | August 6, 2008 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@rx985

because "gasoline alley" ayala is "proven," while shell is a rookie. it drives me crazy that a manager like acta can see with his own eyes how ineffective ayala has been all year but is reluctant to remove him from his assigned role, no matter the cost to the club. it also saves manny from answering questions after losses like "why did you bring the rookie in for the eighth inning with a one-run lead when you had experienced guys like ayala and colome in the bullpen?"

Posted by: natsscribe | August 6, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

We played the Cardinals 6 times in May and June and went 1-5. Tony LaRussa got to see Flip play 6 times this season (and much more in previous seasons) and now Flip is his starting 2d baseman. Congrats to all who said cut him for nothing. If you put Guz and Zimm on the DL, you could have kept Flip on the roster. You don't think if you told the Cardinals, "We'll pay his $5M (like we're doing anyway) but you need to pay us the league minimum and two prospects," they would have refused, for a starting 2d baseman in a pennant race?

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Hey guys, I have an idea. Stamp your own posts until we all settle back into the now. Otherwise, conversation is impossible.

4:12 PM

Posted by: 3434 | August 6, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

since last night was not even a set up situation, i expected shell to come in for the 8th. no such luck

Posted by: me thinks so too | August 6, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

father flynniegan, repeat after me; "flop is a dog."

Posted by: natsscribe | August 6, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

So you are Tex, cc and/or Sheets. How much does it take to get you to come to the "worst team in the majors" (the one currently used as the stick in trade deadline practical jokes)?

Or rather than a flat number, how about a percentage more than current contending teams will offer?

Or you could try it this way: hey offer 20m/y-5y, we need to go 23m/y-6yr.

At what point do we say: Nah, that's too much (and get yelled at for not landing the big fish, even if it was justified)?

In my case it would take a big premium to take a flier like that when I could go to a top third team and have a real shot at a WS.

You're Tex, cc and/or Sheets - arguably the top three out there this offseason. Do you _want_ to come here? Really?!? Why?!!!

Oh, and while I'm at it, how much over slot do we go to the early round draft picks? Cause the chorus of "we MUST sign all our draft picks" is all well and good but what if your number one wants a signing bonus 10mil above "slot"? Is THAT a good deal?

Posted by: OldGuy | August 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie,
Never mind - some people just don't appreciate irony and sarcasm. I greatly enjoyed your post (said with a twinkle in the eye!) I hope that Lopez plays well enough to make us regret his leaving (just saying...)

Posted by: Traveler | August 6, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Just checking in.

NattyDelite - An interesting, albeit older, name on that list is Raul Ibanez. This guy is pure professional hitter. He's played a bit of 1st and is an adequate enough outfielder to avoid being a DH. At 37, he would not need much more than a 2 year plus option / buyout signing, I think. He's currently on short money (<$6 million / yr). I don't know if he took short money to stay with Seattle or if that was a market contract when he signed. I suppose we could bring him in at < $10 million / yr, maybe around Guzman money. To me, that is cheap for a .280 - .290 hitter who regularly puts up 20+ HR in a big, low HR ballpark. He could keep a seat warm while one Marrero or perhaps Rhinehart develops, and would have legitimate flexiblity to play the OF (unlike Dmitri).

Posted by: PTBNL | August 6, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I love Casey, but we've got an all-star returning in Nick, backed up by Casto or Belli or Boone or (please, Lord!) a healthy Dmitri. No to Bradley or Jose Guillen (or anyone else crazed with anger) No to Fielder (when vegetarians attack! - Was it the fava beans and a big chianti?) I would love to see Wakefield pitch here - knucksies are so fun to watch!- but no way Boston releases him. Welcome back, Odalis and Livo - good pitching with much-needed pop at the plate! And welcome Jr. Griffey! No to Dunn - too much striking out and worriesome attitude- ome say the Toronto GM wasn't just making that stuff up.

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

2003 was the worst season in Tigers history. By 2006, the team was in the World Series. Ivan Rodriguez joined the Tigers in 2004.

If I were Texeira, Sabathia, or Sheets, I would to sit down and think very hard about Stan Kasten and his Plan. In your imaginary world where the Nationals really are willing to pay these guys to play in Washington next year, it is worth their while(s?) to decide whether they believe The Plan has a shot. Because if I were them, I would be willing to sit around in Washington for three or four years (getting paid more than I would with a current contender, supposedly) and wait patiently for the wins of the future.

Worked for Pudge.

Posted by: 3434 | August 6, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Well said Traveler! I tend to agree regarding pitchers.

My case for Casey and Abreu is different: while Casey is getting on in years he provides a good bat (with some gap power) and Abreu provides great defense with some power as well. Both are relatively high average guys, which can compensate for Boni and whoever is slumping at that moment.

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Dukes MRI no good. Calf strain is severe. Out 4 weeks.

Posted by: Wes Mantooth | August 6, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

so you presume casto, belli, or boone will handle 81+ games at 1B next year, flynnie?

btw, i presume flopez has compromising photos of you.

Posted by: 231 | August 6, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

:(

:(

:(

Posted by: get well soon Elijah!!! | August 6, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

So it's after 5:30 in Nats Journal time, does that mean I can go home for my daily medicine (just because you don't hear of many cases of malaria around DC doesn't mean that couldn't change, we have enough mosquitoes after all)?

Posted by: ...mmmm... Gin and Tonic | August 6, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I'd be all for Griffey as someone to teach Dukes and Milledge the craft, while supplementing in a 4th outfielder role.

And I think Ibanez is an interesting suggestion. I believe the team is going to wait on the young arms before really pushing at the major league level, which really means we're looking more for relatively inexpensive placeholders until talent develops... and hoping we land on more Belli's and Guzman's than Lo Duca's.

The only way we go way above market is to get a guy who will still be here (and still be relatively young) in '10 and '11 when we're ready to compete. Only Teix fits that bill. Not saying we'll get him, but he seems worth the effort.

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 6, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Testarossa

Posted by: is this thing on? | August 6, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Honored to hear from you Traveler! Flip might be a dog, but he'll be starting at 2d for a contender tonight, and we gave him away, just like they thought we would. I would've kept him on the roster to keep that from happening. Let La Russa keep watching Aaron Miles at 2d, who is 3-28 in his last 10 games. Eventually, we'd have gotten a prospect or two, or would not have had to watch an ex-Nat shine through September ball while being subsidized by the Nats.

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

On the signing issue, I disagree about Sean Casey, NattyD. Not that the guy isn't a professional hitter and great presence (the most liked player in the majors, by most player polls), but he is not a power hitter. As Mr. Chico points out, we probably need a power upgrade in RF and 1B if we are not going to get power out of our middle infield. But if we did sign Casey, I think he could get a part time job as the White House's spokesman under the new administration, regardless of who is elected, becuause no one ever has a bad thing to say about him.

On a different topic, I asked Chico early a question about whether the Nats are going to shut down any of their pitchers early due to their innings load. Lannan, for example, is on a pace to go from < 160 innings as a 22 year old to about 190 innings this year as a 23 year old. That is a pretty big jump. I have not estimated the loads for Bergmann or Balester, but many teams have strict innings limits for pitchers in their early 20s and for year to year increases in order to avoid arm injuries. Kazmir has been on such a limit for the past couple of years. For Redding, there might be some concern given his past injury history, but he is less of an organizational prize than the other three.

After all the offseason gnashing of teeth about the lack of an innings eater and its impact on the bullpen, did anyone predict that maybe a bigger problem would be our starters pitching too many innings?

Solution is probably a 6 man roatation in September, with Zimmermann, Mock or others who have been healthy and not going to the AZ fall league getting their feet wet, taking a traded pitcher's slot and the 6th slot. Reactions?

Posted by: PTBNL | August 6, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL - Livo! Shut all the youngsters down and let livo pitch every 3rd night!

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, Excellent point regarding Casey on power. My follow up question is: is the power game the game of we play?

I think our team is more built for the small ball, running all over the place game. Sure, we still need a power hitter to provide Zims some protection, but Dukes could easily morph into that.

I think of the 2009 Nats like the 2005 (I think) White Sox. No big boppers (other than Konerko, yes), but solid the lineup through. Dangerously fast.

Also, I think Casey could be a great mentor/model for the young'uns, and potentially negate Lenny's influence (if/when needed).

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"of we play" brilliant.

Why am I allowed to teach?

Posted by: NattyDelite! | August 6, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

What did the Post do to disable it's blogs for so long? Install the cookielator? Save the paper by tracking all web users and selling the data to the Ukraine or Nigeria? What on earth is new? The twirlie letters around the phone they're hawking today? The Air Force was able to show us the beautiful twinklie lights of a major city go dark before the descent of yesterday's iron curtain. We're newspaper readers - we want to know!

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

To continue with the innings load thought - Bergmann pitched in the minors and majors 124 innings in 2006, 142 in 2007, and, thus far, around 140 (29 minors, ~110 majors). Add in 10 more starts, 6 innings each, and its a jump up to 200 innings. That is a huge increase, more than 40%.

Posted by: PTBNL | August 6, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

If I was spending Lerner's money I would be wary of signing players over 33 years old as free agents. I would, however, put all my eggs in one basket and go for Teixeira. I believe that he would be exactly what the lineup needs for the next 5 years.

PTBNL,
The six man rotation sounds like a good idea. There is still no good reason to sign an aging Livo or whatever.

Flynnie,
You can not even be half serious about Flop, are you? NO ONE was going to give us warm spit for him.

Knight, Carpenter, Holliday, et al.,
I just knew that since you highlighted over and over last night how good the bullpen was that the whole stinkin' load of fish was going to drop as soon as they came in last night. It sort of reminds me the way you highlighted Zimmerman every broadcast this spring and he responded with a zombie-like performance.

Posted by: Dale | August 6, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Check out what Jeff Karstens is doing to the D'Backs right now. I won't mention what, but let's just say that they're starting the top of the 8th and the Pirates are up 1-0.

Posted by: e | August 6, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

IS HE THROWING A PERFECT GAME THRU 7.0 INNINGS???

Posted by: MR. OBVIOUS | August 6, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"Let La Russa keep watching Aaron Miles at 2d, who is 3-28 in his last 10 games. "

Psst, Flynnie ... FLop is 4-27 in his last 9 games.

I can almost guarantee you that if FLop is still with them, the Cardinals will almost be eliminated from the playoff race by this time next month ...

Posted by: e | August 6, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

There is only one explanation for why it took over twenty-four hours to "upgrade" the blogs on this site. They look the same, there are no added features that I can see, so it must be some kind of tracking situation like they have with the actual articles.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 6, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Visit Steinberg's tour of The Hall of Supreme Harmony with cameraman Barry Svrluga. That's the name the Chinese gave the Post's pressroom in Beijing. Boswell demonstrates what the Chinese government thinks of individual rights by crushing a ball of paper, and Steins says, "See you in prison camp!" Sheinen even makes a brief, sullen appearance.

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Wow...

Posted by: OldGuy | August 6, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL, I'm not sure innings load is a huge issue for Bergmann - first off, he's got 99 IP now in the majors, 29 in the minors, so he's at 130, not 140 now. Besides that, he's 26, so if he's going to start carrying a load, now's probably the time. Thirdly, 200 IP isn't a "high" workload for a starter - it's a normal-to-slightly higher than normal workload. We're all so used to having starters injured that we forget that it's completely normal to have a couple of front-line starters go 200 IP. For comparison, Bergmann is currently #113 in the league in terms of IP - Redding is 44. There are several pitchers younger than Bergmann higher than him on that list.

Generally speaking, we've played 113 games of 162, so we've got ~50 games left. 10 starts for each starter, avg of 6 per start gets you 60 more innings. I'm a little more concerned about Lannan, since he's three years younger than Bergmann, more inclined to pitch deeper into games, and a more steady contributor. That said, I also think this is one of these issues where I just trust the Saint to do the right thing. I'm sure we'll see Mock or Clippard or both for spot-starts in September, once the minors seasons are over. I'm not overly worried about workload.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | August 6, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

per Ken Rosenthal, who must enjoy a job where one can publicly ponder speculation on the job security of others:

"Some who know John Hart say that the former Indians and Rangers general manager is thinking about pursuing a third stint as a GM. Hart, in his third season as a senior advisor with the Rangers, could be a candidate for potential openings with the Mariners and Nationals, among other clubs. He was not immediately available for comment."

Posted by: nat in beantown | August 6, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Since you're taping yourselves over there, how about Sheinen singing "Oh Shenandoah!" or "Take Me Out to the BG" for we fans stateside?

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 6:28 PM | Report abuse

New

Posted by: Post | August 6, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, but he wasn't treated with the dignity and respect that everyone, from the manager to the lowliest employee, gets at Arbie's, I mean, St. Louis.

Did you never listen to Ken Beatrice? Yourrrrrre next on Sportstalk!

*******************************************


Psst, Flynnie ... FLop is 4-27 in his last 9 games.

I can almost guarantee you that if FLop is still with them, the Cardinals will almost be eliminated from the playoff race by this time next month ...

Posted by: e | August 6, 2008 6:24 PM

Posted by: flynnie | August 6, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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