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Worth A Return?

After a start Sept. 1, a victory against Philadelphia, Tim Redding had already done the math. He knew he had 10 wins (tying a career high). And he knew he had four starts remaining before season's end. Said Redding: "I plan on winning all of them."

He won none of them.

Redding's end-of-the-year slide doesn't diminish his value this season -- the team was 20-13 in his starts; he remained healthy; he firmly met all reasonably expectations -- but it does raise some questions about his future. Redding, who earned $1 million this year, is arbitration-eligible at year's end; the Nats, in deciding whether to bring him back, must determine whether Redding can return to his first-half form.

Here are his numbers, split before and after the all-star break:

Before: 7-3, 3.85 ERA, 114-2/3 IP, 38 BB, 75 K, .258 OPP BA
After: 3-8, 6.82 ERA, 67-1/2 IP, 27 BB, 45 K, .303 OPP BA

Said Redding: "First half, real good -- you know, the type of half you'd like to have a full season like. Second half, you know, the numbers show for themselves. Not good. An ERA over 6.00. You know, team's win loss-record with me out there was .500 or just under .500. As a whole, I can take some good and I can take some bad. It's sad having to have to look back on the last two months knowing I let some things slip away that were within grasp for myself, and that just makes hungrier and ready to go next year."

And yes, Redding wants to be back in 2009.

"I said all year that I'd like to be here, and I've made it publicly known with the people that need to know. This is where I'm comfortable. I think the team is going in the right direction. I think we're going to be very good next year, and we've got the pieces that we need.

So here's my question:


A few other notes, marginalia and "trivia." As you can read in my notebook, unless 34,859 pass through the gates tonight (and check the weather before you go), the Nats will finish with the lowest attendance in a first-year ballpark since 1992... You can read the gamer here... You can check the weather here.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 25, 2008; 7:39 AM ET
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Yes, Redding should be back next year. He's been solid.

Incidentally, Manny is quoted today in the dead-tree edition as saying he had a bit of a "soar throat."

Really? How high did he soar? Does anybody read this stuff before it gets printed?

Posted by: shepdave | September 25, 2008 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Redding has posted a career high in big league innings this year. Even including his minor league innings over the last 4 or 5 years i would imagine that this was probably a career high for innings total. Its not surprising that he has experienced fatigue over the second half of the season but he would certainly be one of the organization's best 5 pitchers going into spring training unless drastic changes are made. I do not think that he's a long term solution but he is a valuable stop gap type option that we have been discussing. We should shop him around however, you never know what you might get.

Posted by: VT Nats Fan | September 25, 2008 8:17 AM | Report abuse

As hard as it has been to watch Redding in the second half of this season (molar grinding hard at times) he was the most consistent of pitchers for the first eighty games. I have just assumed all along that he would be a member of next year's staff. I thought that Bergmann's and Perez's spots were in flux for next Spring, to add Redding's would be quite an upheaval that we may not have the staff to cover.

Posted by: Dale | September 25, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

About those O's fans being so into the game until the end.

Post's 9/24 gamer

The performance provoked a torrent of boos from the remnants of an announced crowd of 15,215, frustrated by a team limping to one of the worst Septembers in franchise history.

Post's 9/25 gamer

Tampa Bay closed it out in the eighth when Orioles reliever Randor Bierd walked a pair of inherited runners with the bases loaded before yielding a two-run double to Dioner Navarro. By then, the ballpark was populated by mostly Rays fans, who were hoping to celebrate a division championship. (13,632 announced with tix available for $1)

Posted by: Attn: Marc Fisher | September 25, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Redding has to stay. We don't have enough endurance in our rotation as it is. At least with Redding you know he can always go 6 innings. But I agree, shopping him might be the best overall option.

An FYI to all:
At the end of the series I’m currently running over at DCSportsPlus.Blogspot.Com (sometime this Friday), I’ll post my prediction for the opening day 25 man roster, including offseason acquisitions, callups, etc. I’d like for all other bloggers, commenters, readers and fans of the Natmosphere (and anyone else, for that matter) to do that as well. I’ll tabulate everything and post it up and we’ll give bragging rights to the winner. Feel free to have any Nats fan you know post there (or email me) their predictions-the more the merrier! Chico, you're invited too!

Posted by: Hoagie | September 25, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"Really? How high did he soar? Does anybody read this stuff before it gets printed?"

Evidently not. The Post got rid of most of its copy editors during the recent buyout spree. Presumably they've kept one permanently attached to Tom Boswell. Let's hope so, anyway. Otherwise things could get mighty ugly there...

Posted by: barry svrluga needs no copy editor, as the Post is already flying the black MIA flag for him | September 25, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

One might say that copy editors are sorely needed. heh...

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 25, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure there's a yes or no answer here. Another possibility is to non-tender Redding and use some of the savings to go after a Derek Lowe or Jon Garland. I think I could live with that. A rotation of Lowe/Garland, Lannan, Balester, Bergmann, Mock/Zimmermann/Martis/Hill. Then maybe bring in another Perez-type cheap veteran for a mil or less to handcuff the young guys in case none of them come through.

But I'm hard-pressed to believe that Redding's first half will become the new normal for him. His career numbers have a lot more 2nd half of 08 than first half. I don't think he's useless, but I don't think he's any better than league average, probably a decent sized notch worse.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | September 25, 2008 9:23 AM | Report abuse

On the attendance sidebar - If the Nats fail to draw 28,600, I think, then they will not hit 29K/game for the first year. Wow. Can anyone find a link to Boz's happy talk about attendance earlier this year.

I inclined to bring back Redding a filler for the rotation. I have no great expectations for him. His health seems pretty good the past couple of years, and he can go on stretches where his ERA is down (2003, 2007, and 1st half of this year). He and Perez are somewhat interchangeable (just 1/2 year difference in age), but Perez will be more expensive because he is not team controlled and is a lefty. The team will probably need one rotation filler for at least part of the year, so it might as well be Redding.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 25, 2008 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Redding isn't great and he isn't young but at least he pitched a whole season without his arm falling off, which is a major accomplishment for a Nats starting pitcher.

Posted by: Mike Hunt | September 25, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The attendance is pretty good for a team that is going to post over 100 losses and has played so many non-competitive games, such as last night. Its also not that surprising given that every city has these new parks now, and that Washington fans were propping up the Orioles by attending their games in the early/mid '90s. A new park is not, by itself, going to get fans. In a perverse sort of way, I'm kind of glad that the attendance is what it is, because it sends a clear message to the management that adding a couple more bars on the concourse is not, by itself, going to get people in the park without a competitive team on the field.

Compare the records of the teams that have had new parks to the Nationals when figuring in that attendance. Has any team in a new park fielded such a poor team that it is going to lose 100 games? How many of those teams have had multiple games that were over in the first inning (like last night)?

Keep Redding. All the young pitchers speak highly of him, and he's as good as anything the management has been willing to pay for.

Posted by: Ray | September 25, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

So if the weather does what it's predicted to do and the game is called off, given that both teams are eliminated from contention, there won't be a makeup game, right?

Or do they absolutely somehow have to make it up, given that somebody somewhere probably bought tickets to this last home game (my 20-game plan mercifully ended last night).

Posted by: Juan-John | September 25, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I totally agree with Mr. Hunt about being grateful Redding's arm didn't fall off. He didn't miss a single start this year, did he?

Does anyone remember last year? Last year's rotation was like this year's 1B as far as injuries and position stability, so to have someone as healthy and mature and reliable as Redding was a very welcome relief. Keep him.

Posted by: NatsNut | September 25, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm with the keep Redding crowd, for reasons already stated by others.

On the weather, I would doubt that they'd make up the came given that neither team is in contention. Other teams have already indicated that they will not be making up earlier rainouts (i.e., A's @ O's). Options for ticketholders might include refunds or credits.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 25, 2008 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Also, reposting last night's link to Charlie and Dave's Dancing With the Stars tryout, just for fun:

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 25, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

NYT, in an article about Brian Cashman, notes that there could be a GM opening with the Washington Nationals:

There "could" be an opening anywhere, however, given the current state of the state, and Cashman as a CU alum...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 25, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

So I guess this is what Chico ditched us for yesterday:

Posted by: joebleux | September 25, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Forecast looks like the worst of the rain will be between 5 and 7 pm, so I'm afraid this might be one of those games they try to get in no matter what. If so, I don't plan to be one of the few hundred cold and damp fans in the stands at 1 am. Been there, done that.

I have thought for a while that Redding's problems might be caused by fatigue and I think vt nats fan voiced that opinion
rather well. I would like to see him back for his work with the young pitchers and I think that Hill's return to the rotation is a question mark.

Posted by: ladynatsfan | September 25, 2008 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Redding - I'm on the fence on him. Which means to me that it comes down to price - how much is it going to cost to get him back? If it's a split deal (major/minor)in the ~$1M range, that seems about right.

- the good: made 33 starts and lasted 6 innings or more in 18 of the 33 starts.
- the bad: had only 14 Quality starts and failed to last even 6 innings in 15 of 18 starts.
- the ugly: completed 7 innings once, and 8 innings once. Lasted 4 innings or less 5 times. Allowed 5 earned runs or more 7 times.

Attendance - as far as I'm concerned. The ~29K is a solid figure. The real concern is the expected (by me at least) decline coming for 2009. Now, why do I think 29K is solid? Washington DC has no baseball history - nothing less than 30 years old anyways. The team stinks on the field. Off the field, the front office has done next to nothing to market the team. No fanfest. Not even free agent rumors to fuel the hot stove last winter. Botched giveaway days - sure, you can blame Customs for seizing the goods, but bottom line, it was botched. You cannot get the games on the radio in Alexandria without struggling through the static. There was doom and gloom regarding parking and even now, sports radio runs Metro ads urging people to drive because the is no parking. I know where the games are on TV, but apparently, alot of people don't. Should I go on, yet, with all of that, the Nats drew ~29k per night.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | September 25, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

There has only been one other 100 loss team in the first year of a new ballparks since OPACY opened.

Pittsburgh, 2001 opened PNC. Record was 62-100. Attendance over 79 games was 2,428,661, or 30,742 per games. Dunno where the two missing home games went.

Milwaukee drew about 1,969,153 for a 106 loss team in the seccond year of Miller (2002).

Detroit opened in 2000 had some pretty cruddy attendance in 02 (1.5 m over 80 games, or 18.8K) and 03 (80 games, 1,368,245 total, 17,103 per game) for 106 and 119 loss teams.

Sources:,, and ESPN's MLB attendance report [ESPN]/MLB/attendance

Posted by: PTBNL | September 25, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

So, the WashPost has decided to add a baseball Blog on September 25th? Just in time for the playoffs, I guess.
So I guess this is what Chico ditched us for yesterday:

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | September 25, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

My 41-game plan began to feel like the Redding-game plan, so I, for one, advocate not bringing him back.

Posted by: are you sure the ERA was only 6.82? | September 25, 2008 11:49 AM | Report abuse

This first tin yurl gives a list of 100 loss teams. Here is the list since 1996:

2006: TBD 61-101, KCR 62-100
2005: KCR 56-106
2004: ARI 51-111, KCR 58-104
2003: DET 43-119
2002: TBD 55-106, DET 55-106, MIL 56-106, KCR 62-100
2001: TBD 62-100, PIT 62-100
1998: FLA 54-108
1996: DET 53-109

In 1993, there were 2 more in 2 division play: 1993: NYM 59-103, SDP 61-101

Not surprisingly, there are quite a few Tampa Bay and KC entries on that list over the past 15 years. I don't think those are fair attendance benchmarks for this team because the Rays play in a lousy stadium and KC is in a lovely old stadium in one of the tiniest markets in the majors.

Hard to figure out what our comparable should be from the list of 100 loss teams. Arizona and the Marlins were the year after a world series wins.

My guess is another 100 loss team goes below Milwaukee's 2d year figure.

Posted by: PTBNL | September 25, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Looks like Strasburg was only a pipe-dream. The Mariners excell at losing!

Posted by: 756* | September 25, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, joe, for the MLB blog heads up. Will look forward to reading coverage of postseason games there. (go Rays!)

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 25, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the new blog, new post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 25, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Depends on the alternative. Redding really pitched some great games -- I thought the Nats had found a real gem -- but he's really struggling now.

Judging from their history, I'd guess the Nats don't invite him back -- a la Ramon Ortiz and Tony Armas. But, I'm not sure that I'd be any more confident in his replacement....

Posted by: Fisch Fry | September 25, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

He had a single 7 inning start and a single 8 inning start.

Two is less than some and if you cannot go more than 6, it wasn't a great game.

Depends on the alternative. Redding really pitched some great games -- I thought the Nats had found a real gem -- but he's really struggling now.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | September 25, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not sure there's a yes or no answer here. Another possibility is to non-tender Redding and use some of the savings to go after a Derek Lowe or Jon Garland."

The great complainer has finally made his recommendations known. Let's take a look:

Jon Garland -- 28 years old and a career 103 ERA+. In other words, for his career he's almost perfectly mediocre.

How about his age 28 season? Made $12m for his 4.90 ERA 90K's in 196.6 IP for an ERA+ of 89!!! (by way of comparison, Redding has an ERA+ of 87 but at 1/12th the cost.)

So what's the price for this incredible crap bag of mediocrity? 5yrs 75m? The team that gives Garland that contract will regret it by May 2009 . . . (see Washburn, Jarrod or Silva, Carlos)

Derek Lowe, now you are talking. 35 years old career ERA+ of 122 and coming off a excellent errr contract drive season with an ERA+ of 135!!!! Bet his opening bid is for Jason Schmidt's 3year/47m and goes up from there.

Overpay for Lowe, I'm OK with that. Garland . . . please for the love of god NOOOOOOOOOOOO. It's bad enough being the Pirates for now but to evolve into the Mariners that's the nightmare scenario.

Posted by: Gal Revels in Pee | September 25, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Redding is a five inning pitcher. Dump him.

Posted by: ohplease | September 25, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I have 8 tickets to tonights game that I will give away for free! Post here if you want them.

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | September 25, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

the only way redding would come back is if the nats had a dedicated long reliever who would pitch every five days after one of redding's early KOs so that the rest of the bullpen wouldn't get fried.

Posted by: natsscribe | September 25, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone see that Baseball America named Josh Whitesell as the 1B on its AAA all-star team?

Yep, the same Whitesell that we gave away for free. The same guy that could have been out starter there instead of Belly/Casto/ Effin-Boone after the Nick/Meat debacle.

Josh's line - .328/.425/.568 with 26 HRs and 110 RBI's (which is a Tucson franchise record)

Also, on the AAA allstar team is Chris Carter. He was the guy we acquired from AZ to send to BoSox for Wiffy Mo Pena...

THIS is why we as fans should be pissed.

Posted by: Angry in Alexandria | September 25, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

So assuming that Balester, Lannan, and Zimmerman are locks for the opening day rotation that leaves 2 slots for:

In house: Bergmann, Redding, Martis, Clippard, Mock, Mike O'Conner, Marco Estrada, Bobby Brownlie, Detwiler, Cory Van Allen

Free Agents

Posted by: Patrick | September 25, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

If they re-signed Redding, he would only be taking innings away from someone who could benefit from it. He's peaked, there's no reason to keep him around.

Posted by: Brue | September 25, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

of course the attendance was horrible. the team was horrible thanks to injuries and the lerner family who don't care at all about the product, just as long as they can make money those cheap and greedy B@ST@RDS!!!

it's just going to get worse. YEAH MORE JESUS COLOME AND PETE ORR NEXT SEASON!!!

Posted by: Dagger | September 25, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

If the game tonight is rained out, the Nats will honor the rain checks next year (whether or not they reschedule the game, which I agree is very doubtful). They did that a few years ago when a Sept. 1 game was rained out.

My question is how the rainout might affect the Strasburg Sweepstakes.

Posted by: Section 222 | September 25, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Check out the Nationals Farm Authority for info on that eventuality, Sect. 222.

Posted by: natsfan1a | September 25, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I am not pissed about either Josh Whitesell or Chris Carter. They may be AAA All-Stars but I haven't seen that either is a good Major League prospect. They are career minor leaguers and we have some of those already.

Whitesell is 26 and his hitting skills don't translate to major league pitching from what I have read. We have a much better 1b prospect in Chris Marrero who was on a fast track to the big club before he broke his leg in June.

Carter, also 26, is a left fielder who is considered a good hitter at all levels but has poor fielding skills and a weak arm.

I'm going to the game to cheer for the guys one more time even if the weather is lousy and we have the same woeful line-up as last night.

Posted by: ladynatsfan | September 25, 2008 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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