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"They Tried To Bully Me"

Time to break the silence. Umm, not my own; I'm in Chicago for some ALDS action. I'm referring to Aaron Crow, who needs no introduction in these parts -- but who apparently needs a reminder to show up for his interviews. Check out this story in The Kansas City Star, which describes Crow's world now that baseball season is over and life with a major league franchise is on hold.

The Star's Bill Reiter describes Crow's current existence in Columbia as this: "Life is made up of staying up late, hanging out with friends, swinging by Missouri's practices to feel like part of a team again, sleeping in and, yes, at times zoning out in front of the television and forgetting where he's supposed to be."

Crow's take on the negotiations with Washington?

"I was seeing nothing was really going to happen," he said. "It was a long process. Sure there's stuff I'd do differently now. For some reason the Nationals thought what I was saying was not what I was saying. They thought they were going to break me. That I'd fold and do whatever they wanted me to do. I wish I'd made it more clear that this is what I wanted. They tried to bully me."

By Chico Harlan  |  October 6, 2008; 9:13 AM ET
 
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Next: The (Quiet) International Signing Period

Comments

Poor Aaron Crow was the victim of the Nationals trying to bully him out of another million dollars he deserved! So he stood up to the bullying and got no money. He showed them.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Really... bullied by the .... Nationals. I would not be saying that in too many more interviews unless he wants the class nerd to start stealing his lunch money. How very sad for Mr. Crowe. Enjoy the year sitting in front of the tube and not developing. Good Lord he probably could have been in the rotation next year.

Posted by: Nats Fan in KC | October 6, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

I hear this kind of crap for my sixteen year old. Mr.Crow it was nice knowing you, good luck with your life and I hope you grow up before next year.

Posted by: NiceNat | October 6, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

“I thought I’d be in a lot better situation, a better organization next year, better from top to bottom,” he said.

Well, maybe he wasn't adverse to being a Nationals when he was drafted, but the article makes it clear that he wanted NO part of the organization once he saw he wasn't going to get his money. I read it as he had no intention of even discussing terms on the deadline day.

Posted by: Section 138 | October 6, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

If anyone wants to bully me into a multimillion dollar deal, please go right ahead.

Posted by: Capybara | October 6, 2008 9:36 AM | Report abuse

You tell 'em, Aaron.

The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.

Posted by: NR Gordon Gekko | October 6, 2008 9:43 AM | Report abuse

The idea that they did not get this kid in the barn just amazes me. The kid projects to be a very solid starter and soon, the price for that kind of production is high at the MLB level and at the draft level, where the Plan is supposed to be focussed, it is relatively low. How Bowden keeps his job after stuff like this, I have no idea. Maybe the Lerners are culpable for being micromanagers or something, I dunno. But the club looks like crap and is no closer to pitching respectablity than it was 1 year ago.

Posted by: dh | October 6, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Aaron Crow is a "prima donna," which is Italian for "leading lady," used to indicate the top female singer in an opera.

If Crow continues to sleep all day and drink beer all night, he's going to end up becoming the size of one of those singers.

He'll probably end up pitching like one too.

Posted by: The Beltway Boy | October 6, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Maybe he can become a closer and then we can say, "It's not over until the fat lady crows!"

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post, Chico. I share the perception that Crow did not want to be part of this organization. Also not sure why what seems to be cast as hard-nosed business negotiations on his side is cast as bullying on the Nats side. GHF, Crow got to start his lounging early because the Cats did not advance to the championship series. He sounds like a piece of work.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 6, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

On an unrelated note, we took a tour of Nationals Park the other day. It was interesting and fun and I recommend it if you've not already done so (tour proceeds are donated to the Nationals Dream Foundation). It took some site sleuthing to determine that the tours are still running in the offseason (the team store was open as well). I wore my P-Nats championship t-shirt (maybe the "P" on it stands for "Plan"?) to bring some good mojo to the park. Among other sights, we got to see where the press corps sits during games (nice view, Chico).

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 6, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Crow: "For some reason the Nationals thought what I was saying was not what I was saying."

Ok, Aaron, I'll bite. What exactly were you saying?

Several things are clear to me after reading this article:
1. Crow needs to finish his senior year at college. Learn how to express yourself guy.
2. "he says as he cups a cold beer in his hand" He needs to work on the cupping issue.
3. "Until then he’s learning to cook so he can eat healthy" vs. "For now, he’s sitting in Booches, chowing down on his burgers"...seems like a whole lot of contradictions.
4. He needs to improve his work ethic. "“I get to sleep in all day, which is awesome, then I go and work out for an hour, an hour and a half and then I go play catch with somebody."

Posted by: 756* | October 6, 2008 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I think Crow is probably another Boras victim. In short, he'll become a bad guy to have around the club house regardless of who gets him. I don't see him as a good fit for Washington any longer.

Posted by: BaseballinDC | October 6, 2008 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone else seen the blog that Adrian Nieto's agent has? After Nieto signed with the Nats, his agent put up a post that went out of its way to thank by name pretty much everyone in the Nats organization except for Bowden. I would post a link if I could find it myself, hopefully someone else can.

We can make fun of Crow all we want--and based on this article I think he deserves it. But the fact is that Bowden is paid to deal in Crow's world, to make guys like him feel welcome, and to sign them, however twisted their immature worldview might be. Here, Bowden didn't get it done, he clearly alienated the guy, and it wasn't just about $$$. It seems to me based on this article, along with the comments from Nieto's agent and other comments, that some guys are signing in spite of Bowden, or not signing partly because of him. Bottom line, that's not good.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | October 6, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Crow was not represented by Boras.

Posted by: Brian | October 6, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

@CiL - Here it is (http://39ontheline.blogspot.com/2008/08/savage-journey-to-heart-of-american.html)

Posted by: Brian | October 6, 2008 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Just a heads up that Chico's link above took me to page 2 of the article. You'll need to navigate back to read the first page.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 6, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Bowden didn't deal with Nieto, much as GMs delegate the handling of other non-1st rounders to the rest of the front office. Nieto's agent said as much - he didn't deal with Bowden on this contract.

Posted by: Carl Williams | October 6, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Carl, I'm not sure what you're referring to specifically, but Nieto and his agent certainly had contact with Bowden, regardless who negotiated the details of the deal. I doubt that the Lerners and Kasten--also thanked by the agent in the post that Brian linked to--handled negotiations on the deal either. Anyway, let's not get too bogged down on this point, it's just one data point on the bigger issue whether Bowden affirmatively turns off guys who he's paid not to turn off. Seems to me that he does.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | October 6, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I'm far from a JimBo fan, and while I don't doubt he exchanged pleasantries with the Nieto camp, he was not primarily involved in the negotiations. Based on what Nieto's agent has said, he has no problems working with the team (see below). That said, I'd love to see Bowden sent out on a rail.

Nieto's agent: "I dealt mostly with Rizzo and it was a very fair negotiation. Ill be blogging on it somewhat tonight but obviously nothing inside since I like having a good relationship with the team."

Posted by: Carl Williams | October 6, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Bowden was involved far beyond pleasantries.

Posted by: Deep Throat | October 6, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

I've never rooted for anyone to blow their arm out... until now.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | October 6, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

To Aaron Crow: Next time you say, "would you like to supersize that for only $.89" remember you could be playing in the majors. You were just greedy. Now go away and live with regret the rest of you life in Columbia where you think you are somebody.

Posted by: ChrisC | October 6, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Crow will be signed again next year. For less than the Nationals offered him this year.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Chico, this will be a good follow-up in the Fall 2009. MLB Scouts love players that sit around in the off season watching TV and drinking beer.

Posted by: ChrisC | October 6, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

756*,

Add a step 5:
Fight urge to develop meth habit with nothing but time on your hands

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Did the Redskins win yesterday?

Posted by: John in Mpls | October 6, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand y'all taking solace in thinking Crow was dumb or looks bad (or why Harlan seems so solidly behind the Nats' efforts to trash the kid).

Say whatever bad things you want about him. We're worse off without him than we would have been with him at the very reasonable $4.4m he asked for.

BTW--buck sez Crow gets more than 4.4 mil next year. Almost half the top ten got 6 mil this year. A year ago only one guy did. Bonus inflation is real. Wouldn't you wait a year to get an extra mil?

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse

A lot of sour grapes in this room today. Crow is all of a sudden ready for the scrap heap due to eating a burger and having a beer in the off season? He's the Meat Hook now? Listen, he took a calculated risk by not signing, that is his choice. Maybe it is his greed or maybe it is the Nats' cheapskate arrogance -- who cares, Crow can afford to not play this year and come back next year for what will be big money -- if it is less than what he would have grabbed from the Nats this year, then it will be less, but it will be Millions. Playing for another club has value for him, he made that clear. The Nats did not have the luxury of being happy with burgers and beers until next year; the club lost out on a big talent and the compensatory pick just pushes the Plan back for what amounts to another year. The Nats dropped the ball big time on this and heads should roll over it.

Posted by: dh | October 6, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

draft is a lot deeper next year. crow will be lucky to go in the first round and even so will get no more than $2 mil.

Posted by: dcsportsplus.blogspot.com | October 6, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Crow will easily go in the first round and most likely top 10. The 2009 draft class realistically has two top college bats (Ackley & Green) compared to five in 2008(Alonso, Posey, Alvarez, Smoak, & GBeckham). The 2009 HS crop, at present, is no better than 2008 [it's probably slightly worse]. The only strength is college pitching and Crow will be in the mix with White Gibson & Oliver.

Posted by: Brian | October 6, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Steven, can you send the link on draft bonuses again? Does "almost half" mean... four? Out of how many drafted?

What makes you think that Crow will be in the top 10? I'll take your bet. I'm setting aside my dollar now and trying to think what I'll spend yours on.

Crow not taking the Nats offer because he thought he could make more: savvy, worthy of respect.

Crow whining about being bullied out of making $4.4 mil instead of $4.3 mil and not being put on the major league team right away: childish, worthy of mocking.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Crow hits 100 mph on the gun with control -- he's going to be a MILLIONAIRE with another club in less than a year. Mock the guy all you want, but it is not his problem that the Nats could not sign him it is the Nats problem.

Posted by: dh | October 6, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

dh, he's going to be a millionaire alright. But not a 4.3 millionaire.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I hope Crow gets drafted in the mid-teens where he deserves to be given next year's draft depth and he's forced to sign a deal for half of what Washington offered him. And he'll have to take it and suck it up because he's screwed him self by removing his negotiating options.

He was offered MORE than the highest other pitcher taken, MORE than 6 of the top 10 players drafted, and was even offered his coveted 40-man roster spot. He demanded an absolutely ridiculous amount of money to start ($9M), refused to visit us, and his agents refused to take phone calls!? They preferred to do all the negotiating by emails (what are they, high school girls)?

Then they claimed the Nats failed to meet their demands when they stood firm on a $4M deal (again, $800k more than Matusz took to sign with the Orioles despite his being drafted 4th instead of 9th).

I hold the Nats Zero percent accountable in this situation. Unless it was widely known that Crow was going to be this big of a pain in the rear ahead of time (which some people have said).

What I don't get is, no matter WHO drafts you you're tied to them for 6 years. Its in a guy like Crow's best interest to go to a weaker team frankly, since his odds of getting on the 40-man roster are better and he can start his service time sooner. If he gets drafted by a deep minor league franchise like Tampa Bay or Oakland, you think he even sniffs the 40-man roster for several years? He'll be 25-26 before he debuts.


To hell with Aaron Crow, i hope he turns into another Matt Harrington.

Posted by: Sec131 | October 6, 2008 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not usually a pessimist, but I have this nagging concern that the Nats might NOT take Strasburg with the first pick next year and then argue that the reason for doing so was that they could not afford another Crow scenario and therefore selected a guy that agreed to a deal before being picked.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 6, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

what a tool! here's hoping he becomes the poor man's todd van poppel.

Posted by: natsscribe | October 6, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Lerners are still cheap

Posted by: Dagger | October 6, 2008 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you Bob L.

Add a potential signability pick for #9A and what should have been Crow & Strasburg may well end up being much less attractive.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | October 6, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Can someone please bully me into multimillion dollar contact? PUHLEEESE. I could be bailed out of a ton of personal debt right away.

Posted by: Elwood | October 6, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

MiLB.com has an analysis of the Nats minor league season here:

http://www.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080929&content_id=460785&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

Among other things, it says that Crow was poorly advised, and thus appears to blame the agents, rather than the team, for the failure. My position remains that both sides played chicken and lost.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 6, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse

@506--Sorry, I said "almost half" because it was from memory. PG Crosschecker used to have all the bonuses listed in one place but they don't anymore. Here's a link to the top bonuses ever, which lists the 4 6m+ bonuses: http://www.pgcrosschecker.com/draft/2008/bonuses/top_ten_bonus.aspx

Hosmer, Posey, Beckham, and Alvarez all got $6m+. Last year only Weiters did.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I still maintain that - spoiled brat public statements aside - Crow lost more. There's always a new phenom every year.

There's never a new year of your youth.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Chico slipped one by us:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/discussion/2008/10/03/DI2008100301296.html

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 6, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/draft/news/2008/266625.html

You can also get all the bonuses here, but only if you are a BA subscriber.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Also, don't read anything into Nieto's agent's failure to mention Bowden in his post ... this issue was raised on the night he signed over on Nationals Farm Authority and the agent himself posted the following:

Joshua Kusnick | 11-Aug-08 at 12:52 am |

Adrian has games locally tuesday and thursday I believe so ill get to see him play. Ill be blogging. Mahalo J.

I thought I thanked everyone in the blog, if I missed anyone they should be covered in the not limited to statement.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 6, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

@506--fair enough. I don't think everyone has to be a Crow fan. I'm just tired of listening to this kid get trashed by the team, fans, and the Post. The team was trashing him weeks before the deadline and even more since. I fully expect them to start in on how Strasburg is overrated and blah blah before long. Draft picks have zero leverage in negotiations and every one of them from Buster Posey on down are getting a fraction of the market value of their talent. Rooting for him to get hurt, as some people here seem to be, is worthy of the worst Phillies fan knuckleheadedness.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

What if Crow made a spot start in September and won, thereby losing us Strasburg? The mind boggles!

______________________
I'm with you Bob L.

Add a potential signability pick for #9A and what should have been Crow & Strasburg may well end up being much less attractive.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | October 6, 2008 1:27 PM

Posted by: Scott in Shaw | October 6, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

The audacity of an unproven talent be absolutely so demanding. We can give Steve Strasberg, the Olympic Phenom, Aaron Crowe's uniform and number.

Posted by: Nick the Nat Fan | October 6, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"The team was trashing him weeks before the deadline and even more since."

I'm surprised Lerners ARE Cheap isn't all over you about making things up here. Oh wait, you're not ABM, are you? That's LAC's favorite attack object, for whatever reason. Anyway, how exactly DID the team trash Crow weeks before the deadline, anyway? All I recall is some statements from Kasten saying it looked like they might not get him signed. Other than that, silence. So that qualifies as trashing how?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

"Steve Strasberg ... Aaron Crowe"

Neither of those last names contain me

Posted by: The Letter E | October 6, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Value for his talent, Steven? What talent? They were offering him $4.4 million based on one amazing season and two darn good ones... in college ball.

In comparison, Odalis Perez made $0.85 million last year based on nine years of sometimes good, sometimes rocky seasons.

The point? We knew Perez would give us probably $850,000 worth of talent (I think he gave us a bit more and his contract next year will show that, too). We have no idea if Crow is going to give us his college style pitching in the big leagues. But we were willing to bet he would be 5.2 Odalis Perez's.

How is that UNDERvaluing him?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Do thats have the highest B selection in next years draft or did any team above us also fail to sign their pick?

Crow sounds like a real winner from this article. He doesn't get paid so he decides to become a bust before next years draft even takes place.

Unless he eats enough to become the next bartolo colon or sidney ponson.

Posted by: Patrick | October 6, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

yes, what a shame we missed out on this beer swilling lazy little whiner. Enjoy sitting on the sofa son because unless you get out of the habit before the draft next year, you might be making a career of it.

Posted by: Ben | October 6, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@506--It's a one-time payment of $4.4m, then 3 years of minimum wage, then arb-depressed salary, then free agency, when he's finally paid what he's worth on the market.

Potential has value. Ask yourself this--what would Crow get if he was on the open market and the Nats had to bid against the Yankees and the Red Sox? That's how you would gauge the market value of his talent, and it would be far over a one-time payment of 4.4m.

@Anon--they were presenting anything above slot as totally unreasonable. Maybe that's less 'trashing' and more just 'aggressively negotiating in public,' but either way I don't like it.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh and we got far more than 800k of value from Perez. Teams will easily pay $6-7m/yr for guys they think will give them 160 IP of 4.34 ERA.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

I think what I ultimately don't understand about Crow and his agents is their risk calculus. I understand that the agents are probably much, much smarter about this than I am, but, assuming that their top priority is dollars for their client, how will this help? Crow takes a year, plays for this independent team - is there any reason to think this is going to help his development significantly, to raise his draft stock? Throw in the risk of injury and the time value of money and, to make this turn out to have been a good bet (follow that sentence!), doesn't he have to get *significantly* more than what the Nats were offering?

I'm not letting the Nats off the hook on this - I think you have to sign the guy for an extra few to several hundred thousand - but it sure does look like his agents are playing a high risk, low reward bet.

Posted by: 220 | October 6, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Their risk calculus is that looking at bonus inflation he'll stand a good chance of getting $4.5-6m if he goes in the top ten again.

In 2007, picks 1-10 signed for a cumulative $31.325 million. This year, even with Crow getting nothing, numbers 1-10 signed for a total of $39.32 million. In a market like that, waiting is smart business, regardless of how badly people want to believe that we're not the boneheads here.

We could easily look back at 2008 as the last year a top ten pick ever signed for the $3.5m we fell on our swords over.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, my Perez comment was dramatic understatement. I don't know if he'll make $6/7 mil next year, maybe a 2-year, $10 mil deal, but it will be more than $850,000.

I seriously, seriously doubt that the Red Sox or Yankees would pay Crow more than $4.4 million in the free agent market. I think that what you're trying to argue is that the signing bonus is like a 6-year contract, in which case a prospect like Crow could be a bargain at that price.

But he's also an extreme risk in a pitcher. He could be the next Detwiler. If there was a free agency for young prospects instead of a draft then you would see smart teams loading up on all the best position players and then trading them for the pitchers that panned out. There'd be more money payed for the less flaky bats, not for kids like Crow.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Steven, I hope you are setting aside that $1 you are going to owe me, it looks like money is going to be scarce next year.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

You know where to find me.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

It's too soon to give up on Detwiler BTW. Lefties who can throw 96 are not the kind you give up on after one slightly sub-par minor-league season.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"I think that what you're trying to argue is that the signing bonus is like a 6-year contract, in which case a prospect like Crow could be a bargain at that price."

Right. In exchange for the one-time bonus we get 6 years of team control, half of which we pay him min wage, approx .5m a year. That's the system. This isn't a 4.4m salary he was looking for. There's good reason to wait a year for another mil or 2 if you know you're not going ot get to negotiate again for another 4-5 years.

Posted by: Steven on Capitol Hill | October 6, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

SoCH wrote: "Maybe that's less 'trashing' and more just 'aggressively negotiating in public,' but either way I don't like it."

Wait, really? SoCH didn't like the way the Nats Front Office conducted its business? I'm shocked - SHOCKED, I say. And is that "buck sez" gambling? There is GAMBLING in this establishment?

Most interesting part of this to me is the comparison between Crow and the story from last year about McGeary - just two totally different ways of going about your business. No idea if ultimately not signing Crow is going to matter a lot, a little, or not at all, but I'll tell you, I'd rather root for an 18-year-old kid smart enough to get a Stanford education and a professional baseball contract than a 21-year-old kid who apparently hasn't learned that it's important to do the little things in life like show up on time.

My uninformed opinion is that the kid comes off like a classic "million-dollar (or 4.3 million-dollar) arm, 10 cent head" kind of guy. Maybe he's got the stuff to be a major-leaguer for a long time, maybe he's Mark Prior, and maybe he's Todd van Poppel, and maybe he never makes it to the majors, but he sure hasn't acquit himself well here. It sounds like he picked out the highest number he could think of, held to it like a petulant child, and then felt burned when the Nats wouldn't meet even the "lower" number he agreed to. Sounds like a pretty lousy job of expectation management on the part of the agent.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | October 6, 2008 3:46 PM | Report abuse

You're counting the 4.4m and then you're not counting it. We don't give him 4.4m and then don't ever think about that again. It's included in the amount of money we pay out for him, if we're adding it up like you do. So it's 4.4m PLUS major league minimum (not that close to $500,000, if I recall).

In exchange we might get a prospect like Detwiler who we gave such a large contract to because we thought he was major league ready (as was argued a possibility with Crow then and above), but who disappointed by taking a significant step back. If we knew Detwiler would perform like he did this year then we would NOT have taken him first round and offered the large, over-slot bonus.

That's baseball, that's not my point. We were right to go after Detwiler as we were right to go after Crow. We may have been wrong not to sign Crow, too, I'm not interested in reopening that, because, frankly, I don't care. But to say that all unproven talent is drastically undervalued, even when evidence of a more lauded talent not panning out (in the manner in which he was payed expecting him to perform) is front and center, is a very bold thing to say.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Drafted players do not remotely approach their market value when signing. Inoa signs for $4.25 mil and three other 16 year olds sign for $2 mil+ as international free agents, Matsuzaka cost the Red Sox $100+, Fukodome signs for 4 yrs/$48 mil. The possible posting fee & salary for Yu Darvish is estimated at well over $125 mil. And Darvish is on 21.

The last time draft picks were set free, Patterson, White, Lee & Seay all set signing bonus records in 1996. White's bonus was $10+ mil and is still the highest of all time.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | October 6, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Of all the pool parlors in all the towns in the world, he has to walk into Booches'...

Posted by: Gambling? | October 6, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Steven on Capitol Hill wrote:

"Potential has value. Ask yourself this--what would Crow get if he was on the open market and the Nats had to bid against the Yankees and the Red Sox? That's how you would gauge the market value of his talent, and it would be far over a one-time payment of 4.4m."

Except that he isn't a free agent and won't be a free agent in the forseeable future. For salary and bonus purposes, the only player Crow can compare himself to is himself, but one year older... His road to enter into the big leagues is through the draft, and while there is something to evaluating signing bonuses against what other comparable players are worth, it isn't a bidding war like free agency is... so to even head down that road is meaningless.

Crow calculated that he will make more in the 2009 draft than he would have in the 2008 draft. The Nats calculated that there was more at risk than the $3.5 million offer was worth, and decided to hold firm. Part of that calculation is that the Nats would get that same pick again next year. Part of that calculation may have been that Crow was a little quirky in his chosen negotiating style... perhaps indicative of some aspects of his future progress in the organization.

Unless Crow really lights them up next year, I think that he will probably NOT get a comparable offer to this years, because Crow can't afford to walk away a second time. GMs know that. Add to it that Crow isn't helping himself in the PR arena by showing up late for an interview and telling the reporter that he sits on his butt all day. I would be a lot more impressed if Crow had said that there was a crowd at the gym and his workout took longer than usual.

Ask Ryan Zimmerman how many consecutive days he sleeps late and goes drinking with his buddies...

Posted by: Wigi | October 6, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Of all the pool parlors in all the towns in ALL the world, he has to walk into Booches'...

Posted by: Line... | October 6, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Crow? Who is Crow? I want to know who the Nats get with the 10th pick next year. Two picks in the top ten is exciting. Could be Oliver, could be Scheppers, could be a big bat, who knows. All I know is the Nats have the first pick in the draft next year. I'm liking their season better than the Mets or Cubs!

Posted by: Ira | October 6, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Poor Cubs fans. My red-headed Cubs-fan girlfriend (formerly and once-again known as a member of the only Cubs fan family in southeast Missouri) is being harassed relentlessly by her college and high school friends.

What did the Cubs do? After worshiping the Golden Calf the Israelites only had to wander in the wilderness for forty years.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 6, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I love how people say a prospect's "upside is unlimited" and "he projects to be a solid starter." Baseball is not like some other sports. Top 10 picks are consistent flops. Based on this report, it sounds like Crow does not have the work ethic to be a pro.

Posted by: BT | October 6, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Having been to Wrigley Field for the first time this year, it appears the Cubs sin is not having a scoreboard worthy of a little league field! Even Fenway has a scoreboard! Video displays with such modern amenities such as pitch count and pitch speed too.

Posted by: Ira | October 6, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

As Wigi notes, SoCH points out the potential value of Mr. Crow in a free market. What isn't also pointed out is that the Nats scoring potential would increase greatly if they got 4 outs in an inning.

Rules is rules, everyone's gotta play by 'em, even if you don't like 'em.

Posted by: AC | October 6, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Be modest in your purchase aspirations, 506. Say what you will about bonus inflation, monetary inflation is a reality.

-----

What makes you think that Crow will be in the top 10? I'll take your bet. I'm setting aside my dollar now and trying to think what I'll spend yours on.

Posted by: John in Mpls | October 6, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand the knocks on the kid's work ethic. So he was having a beer and a burger in the off-season, he works out for an hour, hour and a half every day, is glad not to have to go to class every day, etc. Some of you equate that to him being fat and lazy and happy NOT to be a guaranteed Millionaire. (Though many of you likely love Young and Belliard who are fat and lazy and who LOVE being guaranteed Millionaires.) The story did not say, and there is nothing in this kid's history to suggest, that he is some unfit, loping idiot. He did not sign with the Nats, he had his reasons, the Nats had theirs for why he did not sign. Maybe the kid is nuts to walk away from the deal, maybe not. But his talent has not changed because of the deal not going down. More importantly, the drama of it all does not change the fact that the Nats should have gagued his signability better, should have worked harder to get the guy in the barn and they did not get their man (the kid THEY wanted). It was not Crow's job to be gotten, it was the Nats job to go get him.

Posted by: dh | October 6, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

The kid didn't want to sign. I heard Bowden's side and I'm inclined to believe it. Especially after reading this article. We didn't get Crow, and he wasn't even the pitcher they wanted. So this year they get Strausberg (sp?) and another pick? That's not too bad. They might get a BETTER pitcher and a nice hitter too.

And no I don't think you just give him whatever he wants. You set that precedent and you become the Redskins of MLB. WITH NO CAP. That's definitely not what they want.

Posted by: DC Fan | October 6, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

BEEEEEEEEEEEE ESSSSSSSSS young man. I can only wish that once in my life someone would bully me into millions of dollars.

Posted by: 6th and D | October 6, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

crow will be picked high if he maintains his current level of play. by the looks of the article about him, he won't maintain that level.

Posted by: dcsportsplus.blogspot.com | October 6, 2008 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Here's the knock on the kid's work ethic: He almost stood up a reporter from a major newspaper because he 'forgot' an appointment. It left an impression, because the reporter included it in his story. Once he gets there (a half hour after being reminded by a phone call), the kid emphasizes sleeping late and staying up until all hours, but mentions his conditioning routine only in passing. He takes almost no responsibility for the failure of the negotiations.

This is supposed to be someone that aspires to being a premier professional athlete. He should be doing everything in his power to building his brand. Almost nothing in that article helps that... and that is his fault, not the reporter's.

Posted by: Wigi | October 6, 2008 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, dh. He doesn't really need $3.5 million, not nearly as bad as the Nats needed him instead of the same pick next June. I get it now. What 20 year old needs that kind of money anyway?

Posted by: Ira | October 6, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Two things stand out for me about the Crowe debacle. The Nats too easily dismissed pre-draft warning signs about his maturity. And, makes one ponder if the Nats pre-draft interview and background check procedures were adequate for a very important #9 pick. Comments attributed to Crowe in Chico's article appear to reflect an easy "immature" read.

Posted by: Scot | October 6, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Wigi -- So, the kid was late for an interview and that means he has a bad work ethic? I still don't get it. And I don't think that you can take the content of an article and presume what may or may not have been said beyond it. The author chooses its content, it is not the text of a discussion. Mentioned the conditioning in passing is what the author did, it may not be what Crow did. Whether Crow went on and on about his work-out routine or not we do not know. But that does not matter. The kid can play. No one disputes that. College pitcher of the year, 100 mph with control STUD. If he has that ability w/o the work-outs, then even better -- but my guess is he works hard enough.
How come no problem with Bowden's guy calling Crow's father to negotiate after they asked that it stop? Only Crow is some bad actor in the KC pice?

Ira: The one fact that cannot be disputed in the piece is that Crow does not need the money offered by the Nats. The kid walked away from big guaranteed bucks from the Nats and he did so for some reasons. He decided that he did not need the Nats' money. Next year he will be 22 and he will STILL get Millions and Millions of Dollars and NOT have to play for this organization that he thinks "tried to bully him". Some might say the fact that the kid thumbed his nose at the money shows he is thinking about more than the money -- can this be!? Could he actually be above the greed of it all?? Could this be about love of the game??? Ok, probably not, it's greed. But the kid had high level professional guidance and he made the call and he is not likely to end up too far on the short end next year, if at all.

So many Nats fans ready to crucify this kid when the fault lies at the feet of the club. The club that has more hits than misses in palyer personnel and that has the draft as the focal point of the much fabled Plan -- Crow might be a jackass, he might even be the slacker Wigi claims him to be, but there can be no doubt that the Nats blew it either on picking the kid in the first place or on not signing him once picked.

Posted by: dh | October 6, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Is Josh Beckett considered to be a "good guy?" Nope. What was he like at 21? Would you all readily toss him aside too?

Sometimes, stud pitchers are assho1es. It's actually part of what makes them so good. We're not talking about choir boys here.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 7:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not going to waste my time wishing Crow ill. Unless the Braves grab him. Then I'll wish him blisters when he pitches.

Posted by: PTBNL | October 6, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

"Because sports -- all leagues, really -- have greater parody, greater competition top-to-bottom, must we loosen our definition of a dynasty?"

Posted by: Chico, I think you meant PARITY. | October 6, 2008 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Let's get a grip, here.

Crow, no matter what he, or any of you say, is definitely the loser here (assuming that he wouldn't have taken all 4+ million and put it in the stock market, last summer).

1. He has blown a full year off of his career, with virtually no return. That means one year less of baseball income, at the tail end of his career.
2. He has delayed arbitration/free agency for a year.
3. He was drafted in a particularly weak draft year. That is projected to be the opposite of '09.
4. He didn't get to show off in any of the showcase events of late summer.
5. He won't get to display his wares in an arena that the scouts/FOs are comfortable with (i.e. evaluatable quality H.S. ball or D1 College ball). Instead, he will be playing in an independent league. For those who don't know, these are non-affiliated leagues all over the country. They send almost no players to the majors and are, basically, about a cut and a half above MSBL/MABL...a rec league.
6. Doubts about his durability will grow because of his odd throwing motion.

My bet, such as it is, is that Crow will be drafted no higher than 15 and maybe even drop to the 2nd round. That will get him under $2M and possibly under $1M.

Bad move on his part.

Posted by: Catcher50 | October 6, 2008 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute -- did C50 just confirm I'm playing (only) a cut and a half below pro ball?? Woohoo!

Posted by: ce | October 6, 2008 9:13 PM | Report abuse

"The last time draft picks were set free, Patterson, White, Lee & Seay all set signing bonus records in 1996. White's bonus was $10+ mil and is still the highest of all time."

And none of those guys panned out the way the clubs hoped. This is precisely why the draft system exists, precisely why the commissioner's office recommends slotting, even if we all know most teams ignore it -- because of all the drafts in all the sports, baseball's is the most unpredictable. It's bad enough when NFL picks, who are much more likely to fulfill expectations, get signing bonuses high enough to dwarf more established teammates, but when a guy like Crow comes in to a contract negotiation demanding a bonus of $9 mill, which is the same amount that Jeff Kent made this season after 16 seasons in the majors and a likely Hall Of Fame career -- $9 mill on potential alone, before he's ever thrown a pitch for money -- sorry, nope, there's something wrong there.
For whatever reasons, this kid and his agents just did not want to have anything to do with the Nats and that's up to them. But I'm not going to blame Bowden or anyone with the team for not getting the deal done, given that they have shown the willingness with other players in other drafts to be flexible and get something done. I would even be willing to bet that HAD Washington met whatever number Crow's people were throwing out there, something else would have prevented them from signing.
You can't just give these people what they want. Sometimes money has to be earned.

Posted by: MJ | October 6, 2008 9:15 PM | Report abuse

and speaking of the stock market, don't underestimate the possibility of the baseball market dropping out from under the talent.
Scenario: money tightens up all over. Revenues are way down.
The contracts in place are already in place--nothing owners can do there. Free agents would take a hit, but you still have to sign players to win, and with attendance down, it may be all the more important to have a quality product on the field (ahem. But I digress.)
One other place to cut: high-risk investments that may or may not ever play MLB.

And that's on top of the odds of the average college kid with no school, no alarm clock, and plenty of PBR getting into an accident, the kind that might be an inconvenience to a roofer's apprentice but would be catastrophic for a top-shelf pitcher.

Catcher is right, Crow loses, because the Nationals have many years to lose, and he doesn't.

Posted by: CE | October 6, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Chicago, Illinois, December 14, 1913.

OLD PAL: Well Al I have not got much to tell you. As you know Comiskey wrote me that if I was up in Chi this month to drop in and see him. So I got here Thursday morning and went to his office in the afternoon. His office is out to the ball park and believe me its some park and some office.

I went in and asked for Comiskey and a young fellow says He is not here now but can I do anything for you? I told him who I am and says I had an engagement to see Comiskey. He says The boss is out of town hunting and did I have to see him personally?

I says I wanted to see about signing a contract. He told me I could sign as well with him as Comiskey and he took me into another office. He says What salary did you think you ought to get? and I says I wouldn't think of playing ball in the big league for less than three thousand dollars per annum. He laughed and says You don't want much. You better stick round town till the boss comes back. So here I am and it is costing me a dollar a day to stay at the hotel on Cottage Grove Avenue and that don't include my meals.

I generally eat at some of the cafes round the hotel but I had supper downtown last night and it cost me fifty-five cents. If Comiskey don't come back soon I won't have no more money left.

Speaking of money I won't sign no contract unless I get the salary you and I talked of, three thousand dollars. You know what I was getting in Terre Haute, a hundred and fifty a month, and I know it's going to cost me a lot more to live here. I made inquiries round here and find I can get board and room for eight dollars a week but I will be out of town half the time and will have to pay for my room when I am away or look up a new one when I come back. Then I will have to buy cloths to wear on the road in places like New York. When Comiskey comes back I will name him three thousand dollars as my lowest figure and I guess he will come through when he sees I am in ernest. I heard that Walsh was getting twice as much as that.

The papers says Comiskey will be back here sometime to-morrow. He has been hunting with the president of the league so he ought to feel pretty good. But I don't care how he feels. I am going to get a contract for three thousand and if he don't want to give it to me he can do the other thing. You know me Al.

Yours truly, JACK.

Posted by: Ring Lardner | October 6, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Chicago, Illinois, December 16.

DEAR FRIEND AL: Well I will be home in a couple of days now but I wanted to write you and let you know how I come out with Comiskey. I signed my contract yesterday afternoon. He is a great old fellow Al and no wonder everybody likes him. He says Young man will you have a drink? But I was to smart and wouldn't take nothing. He says You was with Terre Haute? I says Yes I was. He says Doyle tells me you were pretty wild. I says Oh no I got good control. He says well do you want to sign? I says Yes if I get my figure. He asks What is my figure and I says three thousand dollars per annum. He says Don't you want the office furniture too? Then he says I thought you was a young ballplayer and I didn't know you wanted to buy my park.

We kidded each other back and forth like that a while and then he says You better go out and get the air and come back when you feel better. I says I feel O.K. now and I want to sign a contract because I have got to get back to Bedford. Then he calls the secretary and tells him to make out my contract. He give it to me and it calls for two hundred and fifty a month. He says You know we always have a city serious here in the fall where a fellow picks up a good bunch of money. I hadn't thought of that so I signed up. My yearly salary will be fifteen hundred dollars besides what the city serious brings me. And that is only for the first year. I will demand three thousand or four thousand dollars next year.

I would of started home on the evening train but I ordered a suit of cloths from a tailor over on Cottage Grove and it won't be done till to-morrow. It's going to cost me twenty bucks but it ought to last a long time. Regards to Frank and the bunch.

Your Pal, JACK.

Posted by: NR RL | October 6, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

ce...Yes, some of the games that I've done at Povich and other fields have not been that far below independent leagues. That is also saying that they aren't even that close to the eight teams playing in Omaha in June. Sorry!

Also, and semi-off topic: Tiexiera: 7 for 13 this series, just upped his price by big bucks.

Posted by: Catcher50 | October 6, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

You Know Me Al, I think? Here's some more Runyon:

"Always try to rub up against money, for if you rub up against money long enough, some of it may rub off on you."

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 6, 2008 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Perspective on the anger bleeding through the blog: The economy is in the tank and lots of us are struggling to get by. People are losing their houses, jobs, retirement savings. This snot-nosed young kid who has never actually proven himself to be worthy of anything at all is sitting around eating, drinking and whining about being bullied out of an extra million bucks. Pardon me while I wipe a tear from my eye and play my tiny violin for him. Just shows his immaturity and lack of any awareness of how lucky he is to have this talent and opportunities that most don't have..... Maybe he will grow up a little before next season.

Posted by: masnstinks | October 7, 2008 6:48 AM | Report abuse

Good point, masnstinks.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 7, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"So many Nats fans ready to crucify this kid when the fault lies at the feet of the club"

How often is blame in a contract situation really exclusive?

I do not have a problem with Crow holding out for more money (I wouldn't have!). I do not have a problem with Crow sitting around and drinking and playing video games (I would have!).

I mock this kid because he whined about being bullied. According to his story, being bullied means not getting what he wants. THAT, my friends, I have a problem with.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 7, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

506: Did he whine or did he tell it like it is? Who cares, I guess, maybe it is whining, but it is no different than the club whining about how unrealisitic Crow's demands were, or how his agents were arrogant morons or how the sun was in their eyes, etc. The Nats should have either not picked him or signed him once they did. The Nats blew this draft and everyone in MLB thinks them fools for doing so.

Posted by: dh | October 7, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"I wish I made it more clear this is what I wanted." -- Aaron Crow

From what I have gathered so far it was the Hendricks that were the mouthpiece for Crow and that Crow did not have any direct negotiations with the Nats. So, who was Crow talking to? Did the Hendricks actually let Crow set the figure, the infamous 9 million, that was a non starter?
I put 99% of the blame on Crow's agents, who appear to have done the real bullying here. It seemed to me that it was the Hendricks who were the non-communicators, who failed to see that as of 11:30 pm on the expiration date that their demands were tragically absurd. I believe that Crow was guilty of being naive and for buying the Hendricks' preposterous promisses. I imagine Crow is indeed feeling pretty lousy about the whole situation and is expressing himself in a confused, defensive, wounded manner. Some of his comments do sound immature but I cut him some slack. In a just world the Hendricks would be paying Crow some of the money that they just cost the kid, but instead I imagine they are spooning him some more sweet promisses.

Posted by: Dale | October 7, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Not to switch topics or anything, but are the Nats going to hold organizational meetings anytime soon? I read that the Braves are currently holding them and discussing off-season strategies, etc. I would be nice to have some coverage on when the Nats will hold theirs, and after it happens, what was discussed.

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse

IT would be nice...

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 9:52 AM | Report abuse

No, dh. Side A makes an offer, but Side B names a higher offer. Side A comes back with a better offer, but Side B sticks by its higher offer. Side A agrees to even more elements of the demands of Side B, but Side B insists on all or nothing. This continues until time expires.

Side A is negotiating. Side B is "negotiating" as well, though one might question its negotiating abilities. And one can certainly conclude that Side B is an irrational negotiator, perhaps even unreasonable.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 7, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

506, I would agree with you up to a point, but we still haven't heard the full story (and probably never will).

For instance, Bowden's original retelling of events to Chico happened before the revelation that they/he were granted a time extension beyond midnight. I would like to know what happened during that extension. Unfortunately, I haven't seen or heard anything to suggest that Chico or anyone from the Post has bothered to ask Bowden that.

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

506: You lost me in the Side A - Side B tennis match there, but I think I get the gist. The bottom line is that parties come to the table from different bargaining postions; it is not about abilities to negotiate so much as it is about will or need to do so. Crow was ready, willing and able to walk if he did not get what he wanted, and he did so. The Nats misjudged him -- wildly. The Nats did not have the luxury of losing a first round pitching talent over less than $1Million. Crow won the negotiation -- he got what he wanted. Maybe he will not get the same coins next year, but the kid seems fine with that possibility. And, not that you 506 were making the assertion -- but, the fact that Crow did not take the money does not make him a snot nosed, never proven anything lazy punk, nor does it dimish his considerable, proven talent -- as some of the other posters in here seem to think or hope. I just hope the Nats get their act together soon to bring MLB talent or very soon to be MLB ready talent to the organization. This drama with Crow does not help the cause at all.

Posted by: dh | October 7, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Crow might be reading the Nats correctly. Maybe Crow preferred to wait and sign with an organization that is more committed to building a winning club than the Nats are.

If you look at the Nats' extraordinarily small budgets in all aspects of their operations, it is easy to be skeptical. When you sign, it means you can be stuck in the organization for a half-dozen years.

Crow is likely to end up with a more committed club next June. Since he pitched a full 2008 college season (going 13-0 by the way), he really only loses spring 2009, when he still plays with the Ft. Worth Cats. Crow finishes 2009 with his new organization. Then he can also play winter ball in 2009-2010 for his new organization. Money aside, it might be a wise decision, if he is searching for organizational quality.

Why is Zim not signing long-term? Is he a greedy jerk too? Or (more likely) is he looking at this Nats' organization and asking if it is committed to building a winner?

Posted by: EdDC | October 7, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Interesting piece on how the Rays were built. It seems that they had a...what's that word? Starts with a P, I think...oh yeah...Plan.

http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081006&content_id=3600016&vkey=news_tb&fext=.jsp&c_id=tb

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 7, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Do you guys really think the Independent leagues are lesser talent than the summer college leagues? With the exception of the Cape Cod league, I'd say these independent teams are a step above any college season (to whoever talked about the games at Povich, i'm assuming you're talking about either Clark Griffith baseball or its sister league the Cal Ripken summer league).

Whoever said Independent leagues send no players to the Majors is wrong; there's been dozens of players that have played in these leagues then gone on to play in the majors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_League_(baseball)

Posted by: Sec131 | October 7, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

dh - "Crow won the negotiation -- he got what he wanted. Maybe he will not get the same coins next year, but the kid seems fine with that possibility."

For somebody who got what he wanted, he doesn't seem very joyful. I have no quarrel with hitting the bars night and day, but he just doesn't seem too happy about the whole situation to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 7, 2008 11:30 AM | Report abuse

No one has commented on my last post, so I will pontificate by myself.

What we know: MLB/Selig granted Bowden an extension beyond the deadline.

What we don't know (based on Alvarez case):
1. Whether Hendricks/Crow were informed of the extension.
2. The length of the extension.
3. If the two sides used the extension to continue negotiating.

First, as Boras contended with the Alvarez case, his side was not imformed of the extension. So as soon as midnight struck, it was illegal for him to continue to represent Alvarez as his client, thus the reason why he handed the phone to Alvarez at that point. Were Hendricks/Crow notified by MLB/Selig (or Bowden) that a time extension was granted?

Second, was the length of the extension adequate enough for a resolution?

Third, were the sides still at the table. At the deadline, they were 400K(?) apart. At this point, did one side walk away from the "table" with time left on the extension?

Bowden's claim is that they were apart on the dollars and that time ran out and they weren't able to negotiate longer. This was proven to be a lie. So what is the real end to the story?

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"Bowden's claim is that they were apart on the dollars and that time ran out and they weren't able to negotiate longer. This was proven to be a lie."

Why is this a lie? Even with an extension granted, time did ultimately run out before they were able to complete a deal. It's pretty clear that, extension or no, one or both of the sides did not want to complete the deal, even though they were only $900,000 or $400,000 or whatever apart at the end. Which of the two sides was it that ultimately killed this deal? We'll never know, because likely it was both of them that did. So why this quest to pin all the blame on Bowden and the Nationals? Really, all you're doing is trying to turn a situation of "we'll never know" into a situation of "it's all Bowden's fault", just because you don't like Bowden. Isn't that it?

Posted by: if LAC was here, she'd say you're making stuff up | October 7, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Can you provide a link/source re. MLB having extended the deadline for the Nats? I recall reading about an extension for the Pirates, but don't recall reading about an extension for the Nats.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 7, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

his sense of entitlement is amusing. crow had one exceptional year of ball in school. i'd have loved to see him sign with nats but really couldn't care less that he didn't.

i don't take it as a knock against nats other than in hindsight we should have drafted smoak.

all these stud prospects still have to perform and maintain health for another 9 months or so. if we pass on strasburg for green i can't complain.

Posted by: longterm | October 7, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"...couldn't care less..."

Oh, thank you... a correct version of the phrase brightens my day...

Posted by: The "n't" is just too much to type and that extra syllable wears me out when speaking... | October 7, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Anon: Hitting the bars night and day?? Ok, now you're just making stuff up. Crow said he was happy, he said he's not worried about getting hurt and he said he is happy to go back into the draft next spring. No one siad he was drinking himself into oblivion. Crow won -- he chose his fate. The Nats lost, they got nothing. And someone mentioned Tampa's plan -- I want no part of that stuff, it took how many decades to work? Let's model the Nats after the Marlin's or the D-backs plans instead -- get players that win games and do it now.

Posted by: dh | October 7, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding, 756? The Nats were granted an extension to negotiate past midnight with Crow? Really?

Posted by: Dale | October 7, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm saying Bowden didn't tell the whole truth, probably b/c MLB doesn't want it going around that they're granting time extensions. But regardless, you think that Chico, etc. would check into it...

I'm not laying all of the blame on Bowden, but seeing as he is the only source of information outside of "the Nationals thought what I was saying was not what I was saying," he's obviously the only one who ever talked in depth about what happened, and for that I give him credit. But he still seemed to glass over the real details, as in, the deadline didn't run out. What (if anything) happened after the deadline???

Humble pie:
Trying to locate the article for natsfan1a and have found the text: "MLB has acknowledged extending the deadline for the Pirates' and Kansas City's first-round picks, and Washington also is believed to have been granted one. The Royals agreed to terms with first baseman Eric Hosmer, another Boras client, on a $6 million bonus. The Nationals failed to sign their top pick, pitcher Aaron Crow." So not exactly a glowing confirmation that time was extended, but I'll keep looking.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08255/911174-63.stm

http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/news/2008/266761.html

"Several sources have confirmed to Baseball America that MLB extended the signing deadline by as much as 45 minutes to allow Eric Hosmer (another Boras client) to reach a deal with the Royals that included a $6 million bonus."

45 minutes is a lot of time to continue negotiations...

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats were granted an extension I wonder if the last minute signings of their two other picks played into their mindset not to increase the offer to Crow?
The Hendriks did not mention the negotiations continuing after midnight as far as I am aware. It would have seemed in their best interests to have brought this out to show that they were willing to keep the negotiations alive as long as possible.
But it is all water over the dam now anyways.

Posted by: Dale | October 7, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

The people who are so obsessed with Crow and Strasburg -- or with spending money short-term on free agents -- should read today's NY Times piece on how Tampa Bay did it.

Resist the temptation to throw money at draftees or free agents. But demand that those running the operation are smart and accountable.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/sports/baseball/08baseball.html?hp

Posted by: Meridian | October 7, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I think to get the extension you had to show (or at least claim) that a deal "in principle" had been reached, but needed more time to work out details.

Perhaps the Nats weren't that close, there was a delay before they came out for the press briefing so maybe they did try to work past midnight and failed or maybe they got an extension to work past midnight, but not on Crow.

This would back up Bowden's comment that the Crow non-signing made cash available for the other two signings. I think they had both those deals done and if they had gotten Crow would still gotten Ramirez and the other guy (I'm too tired to look up his name), but I have no proof or evidence of any kind to back that up...

Posted by: estuartj | October 7, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Still looking for the confirmation, but haven't found anything more in depth. So I apologize for claiming something as 100% when it was "believed to have been granted" or "speculated in baseball circles."

It was the 45 minute extension that really caught my eye. If the Nats/Hendricks/Crow had been given 45 minutes to continue negotiating, then there shouldn't be any excuses on either side. Unless, of course, Bowden was describing the end point after the extension (without referencing the extension at MLB's request). Or, if there was even an extension granted in the first place.

I, however, would be interested to know if there was an extension, especially if I were a beat reporter and it was my job.

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Where are the hopes of yesteryear?
Being late and drinking beer.
Where's the Nats' Upton or Longoria?
Where's our hope for Fall Euphoria?
Counting the days when they leave the Lerners
Micro-managing franchise burners
Penny-pinching income earners
In a sorry tradition of baseball owners:
"Who invented swimming?"
"Clark Griffith when he got to a toll bridge."

Posted by: NR Francois Villon | October 7, 2008 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"I think to get the extension you had to show (or at least claim) that a deal "in principle" had been reached, but needed more time to work out details."

I'm not so sure about that. It's all speculation, but I could see MLB granting an extension if, for instance, the two sides who were apart by 6 million for a month, suddenly at the deadline were only apart by 400-700K. OR, two sides who had rarely spoken at all, were now communicating with 15 minutes left.

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Griffith was known for running the Senators on a shoestring. This was almost out of necessity; even with Richardson's assistance, he was forced to mortgage his Montana ranch to raise the money he needed to buy control of the team. With numerous tenants at Griffith Stadium, he was able to turn a profit for 21 years in a row.Griffith died in 1955 at the age of 89. Ownership of the club passed into the hands of his adopted son, Calvin Griffith, who led the charge to have the club moved to Minnesota and become the Twins.

Posted by: NR Clark Griffith | October 7, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Some have mentioned that the Nats got nothing for the first round. However, that is not true. Plain and simply, this was a business decision by both sides. Crow was willing to defer to next years draft in search of a better deal, risking injury and a Detwiler type slide. The Nats were willing to give up the pick for the 9A pick in 2009 with the risk that they might have to sign an inferior player or risk not signing that player and then get nothing in return. I bet they look for a college Sr. who doesn not have another year of college as an option.

Point is, the Nats did get something, perhaps not what we wanted. They got a deffered pick and will deal with the player they can get (and sign) at that pick.

Posted by: NatsWin! | October 7, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

...in part because Minneapolis was a white town and D.C. was "trending colored."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 7, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Penny-pinching income earners
In a sorry tradition of baseball owners:"

Comparing the Lerners to Griffith or Short in only their third year of ownership is being a bit unfair to them, if you ask me. Sure, they're not in the league of free-spenders headed up by Edward Bennett Williams ("I gave George Allen an unlimited budget, and he promptly exceeded it") and Daniel Snyder ("Let me send my private jet to pick you up, and was that three or four more zeros you wanted on the end of your check?"). But despite what Lerners ARE Cheap might lead you to believe (and she wants so much for it to be true she took it for her own fake name), the Lerners aren't skinflint owners like Griffith or Short. Probably the most apt comparison between them and another DC sports owner would be Abe Pollin. And remember, even Pollin managed to win a championship once. So give the Lerners a break for a few more years before you write them off. They may yet surprise you.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | October 7, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

And don't even think about suggesting an extension next year. That extra 45 minutes that Alvarez and maybe Hosmer and possibly Crow got won't be available next year.

MLB and MLBPA negotiated a contract that includes a midnight, August 15th deadline. MLB thought it was OK to extend it since it helped the player, club and agent (he still gets his 10%), but Boras eventually objected and it nearly ended up in front of an arbitrator.

I'd be very surprised if MLB granted any deadline extensions in August 2009.

As for Crow, I'd say that his draft status peaked in 2008. Sure, he can pitch for the Cats next Spring, but they don't start their season until mid-May. By the draft he'll only have made a handful of starts. Of course, he could make the team and pitch in the World Baseball Classic - that's really his only chance to up his status.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | October 7, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

A little sad news; former Senators shortstop Eddie Brinkman died,read this post in NY Times online it was listed that he passed last week in Cincy,Ohio i could be passing along old news thought i'd let old nats fans know,Eddie was a good field no-hit infielder who was part of a huge trade between the Senators and Tigers if memory serves me correct the nats got a washed up mob connected Denny McClain and the Tigers got Joe Coleman,Aurelio Rodriguez,and Brinkman.

Posted by: dargregmag@aol.com | October 7, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I think we got Don Wert(sp?), a shortstop to replace EB, and we got a third baseman, I think to replace Rodriguez. It was, by the numbers, and even trade. In reality, we got screwed. Bob Short raises his ugly head again!

Posted by: Red Porch | October 7, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Elliott Maddox may have been the third Tiger in that deal.

Posted by: Red Porch | October 7, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

to sec131...the Northern League has sent a couple of dozen players to the majors over a 12 year period and only one or two have had any significant impact. And, no, I wasn't talking about the Griffith/Ripken leagues. What I said was that the Indy leagues are only a couple of cuts above MSBL & MABL and definitely not the quality of the D1 teams who play in Rosenblatt come June.

I too was saddened to read about Eddie Brinkman's untimely death. This within a few weeks of Mickey Vernon's death. I'm beginning to feel old.

Posted by: Catcher50 | October 7, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

>So give the Lerners a break for a few more years before you write them off. They may yet surprise you.<

Come on man. Do you think the Lerners have ever given anyone a break? How do you think they got to be so filthy and miserable?

Posted by: Brue | October 7, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for adding to our collective wisdom, Brue.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 7, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I was just out for a walk and got to thinking...what bothers all of us is not the commitement to The Plan, but the lack of a well expressed Philosophy on which The Plan is based.

Not signing Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones or Aaron Rowand we get. Trading for Milledge, Bonifacio we get (though we may all disagree on the price), letting Soriano, Guillen et al go for draft picks we get (though we may hate the result), making trades like Livo for Mock/Chico and Vidro for Martis we TOTALLY get...

The WHAT we get, but instead of just a Plan I think we'd all like from Kasten is a Roadmap. Something to get more depth on the philosophy that says we need to build from the draft and farm, but hold the line on bonuses with Crow. Something to help us understand why we don't want to pick up players with "bad" contracts to improve the major league club right now.

I'd feel better if Bowden or Kasten were willing to say, Aaron Rowand was not worth giving up Nieto in the draft. I might not agree with the choices, but without any idea why they are doing each move it leaves us free to assume the worst, ie that the Lerners are just a bunch of cheap bastards.

Posted by: estuartj | October 7, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Good point, estuartj

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 7, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The WHAT we get, but instead of just a Plan I think we'd all like from Kasten is a Roadmap. Something to get more depth on the philosophy that says we need to build from the draft and farm...
_______________________________________

The only problem with articulating the Plan is that other teams might want to adopt it too. HA! Made myself laugh!

Posted by: 756* | October 7, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your research efforts, 756*

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 7, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Catcher50: I have a hard time believing that low-end professional baseball is on a par with MSBL (I play 25+ coincidentally). But i'm only familiar with local dc leagues and the industrial league. I know Industrial teams are quite good, far better than the best teams in MSBL/MABL. But even in our league, only a few top teams are really that good (Fedlock, Ballston Brewers, North Yuma and the Rattlers)

One of my MSBL teammates played independent ball after he graduated (pitched at Mason). I'll see what he thinks. Sorry offtopic.

We'll see how skilled our GM is by some of his moves this offseason. His two stated goals are a #1 starter and a left-handed power hitter. He's got four guys under contract for 2009 at prices that nobody else in the league will touch and with injury records that make it impossible to depend on them:

Kearns $8M
Johnson $5.5M
Young: $5M
Pena $2M

If Bowden can move any of these guys for value, or can make trades to get his off season targets i'll be ecstatic.

Oh, and here's something that continues to make my blood boil. We try to sneak Whitesell through the waiver wire in March and keep Ryan freaking Langerhans, he of the career .233/.335/.378 numbers. That is for 2 more weeks before we DFA him and (surprise!) nobody picks him up. Whitesell becomes Arizona's minor league player of the year. Meanwhile we paid Langerhans $500k last year in a combo major/minor league deal.

For those of you playing along at home, that's more than we paid Zimmerman, Milledge, Hanrahan, Rivera, Flores, Milledge, Dukes, Clippard, Mock, Lannan, Balester, and a host of other productive players on our 25-man roster.

Why does this guy continue to be employed by the Washington nationals???

Posted by: Sec131 | October 7, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Re. how the how many decades question from dh: the Rays team came into being in 1998. I believe that their current GM has been there for three years.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 7, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

This time last year we heard the team was going to make a play for a FA OFer, we all talked about Hunter, Jones & Rowand, but instead the team traded for Milledge and Dukes. I am a huge fan of both these moves (although I would love to go for a ride on the way back machine and switch Church for Kearns).

Now this year we hear they want a #1 SP, what would be the corresponding target to the above move in place of a FA like Burkett, Sabathia, Sheets or Lowe? I've mentioned Nolasco from FLA, but any other similair targets out there?

As for the lefty bat I think Dunn is still an option, but I doubt we'd be willing to lose our 2nd round pick for him, regardless or the years and dollars required to sign him, any other hot stove names come to mind?

Posted by: estuartj | October 7, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

>Thanks for adding to our collective wisdom, Brue.<

Well, the thing I"m seeing is that the team set up the scenario to fail in signing Crow, and everything else concerning that is noise. If they hadn't developed the reputation that they were dysfunctional - whether they actually are or not is irrelevant - the perception of prospective players and agents is all that matters, and the speed with which they've accomplished this rating is also to be taken into consideration. Perceptions like this tend to linger for quite some time, usually, fair or not. The fact that Bowden comes off like a bully (to Crow) makes sense to me, because if he's the type of guy to usurp the team president and go directly to the owner to CYA, then he has very little respect for the chain of command - he just seeks out a weakness in management and exploits it in order to keep his job. If he has this reputation, then less and less people will be willing to deal with him, which is his main problem. There are at least two facets to every job - technical knowledge, and the ability to deal with people. If his job is dealing with GMs and agents, and they see him as a hard-head, then how effective is the guy going to be? These problems will just keep happening, imo, and the team will have to invariably give up more to get what they need, and the Lerners aren't used to doing that. This is what I mean by dysfunctional.

Posted by: Brue | October 7, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

It's now October. Can't we just move on. The team is.

Posted by: Tom | October 7, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

You may not like what Bruce has to say but he is correct about the problem. The team may have moved on but without but that does not mean that is a good thing. Nats failed to sign the #9 pick....they had a year to scout the picks and make the right choice. They did not and that is an organizational failure. No ways to sugar coat the facts.

Posted by: JayB | October 7, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Why is this taking a 9A choice next year such a bad thing? if a young kid is unreasonable and I can take another high quality player the following year then why give into unreasonable requests. How can anyone side with the kid is beyond me. How can anyone say the Nats failed at the plan when they have 2 of the top 10 choices in next years draft. Do the Nats now have prospects at all levels? Yes. Why is taking a mulligan on next year so bad under those circumstances?

Posted by: Old Franchise Fan | October 7, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have dug such a big hole with their fans with the 2007 and 2008 102 loss season that they can not afford a do over....They pull all the eggs in the draft and then delayed a year, not good.

If the Nats had prospects at all levels then why would Casto be playing First Base? If they had prospects at all levels why would Milledge be in CF. If they had prospects at all levels why would Charlie Manning be on this team?

No the Nats have to draft well and sign all the top picks as long as they put teams like 2007 and 2008 on the field. They did this too themselves......They could have had a competitive team and build the farm....it just would have cost more money and they tried to take a cheaper way out and giving them a pass is not helping build a better team.

Also they must sign the Crow pick this year of lose it so they will have to go with a safe signable pick....someone who is drafted before his potential to insure they can sign him. That is not how you use your top pick. That gives you a lesser player a year later.

Posted by: JayB | October 7, 2008 8:43 PM | Report abuse

>Why is taking a mulligan on next year so bad under those circumstances?<

Well, if they had taken someone who was three or four years away from appearing in the majors, maybe it could have been sugarcoated, but they honed in on a guy that was about 12 months away from getting a shot at starting in the bigs. Now, let's say their hand is being forced by pressure, and let's say they pick somebody who might not be rated as high, but is closer to being ready for the majors, because the fans quit showing up, then they've defeated the purpose of taking the 'best player available' per Bowden's mandate. The first thing that not signing Crow does is heighten the pressure on the organization to show results with their top picks instead of being patient. Now, if they go ahead and select who they feel is the 'best player available', and he's only 18, then they're STILL a year behind the curve because if they were looking for a stick, and wanted to be patient, they could have done that this year. But they didn't - they went for someone who could show up in the majors almost immediately. I mean, the guy throws almost 100 mph at times, and there would have been no one even close to that kind of heat in our organization. And next year they'll have to spin the fact that they didn't take the best hitter available at #9 because there was someone available who was closer to being big-league ready.

Posted by: Brue | October 7, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow. It's amazing that the future of this organization is so fragile that it's been put in irrepairable jeopardy by the failure to sign a kid who's now probably sitting on a beat up couch chugging his third six pack after a dinner of a couple of Whoppers from the local BK. JayB, Brue, you think you guys might be blowing this just a wee bit out of proportion here? Twenty five years from now, if Crow is being inducted into the Hall of Fame, then maybe you guys will have some room to talk. But now, and definitely until Crow begins pitching successfully for some other major league team - if indeed that day ever comes - you guys are just blowing smoke. And you know it.

Posted by: An Briosca Mor | October 7, 2008 11:22 PM | Report abuse

It is not about Crow, it is about having no top pick at all and no reduced leverage with the replacement pick combined with being a year behind in development.

Crow may well not be a player they thought but that was the job of the GM and Scouting department. They used a valuable resource and got nothing at all and that is the problem.

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 6:03 AM | Report abuse

no = now reduced leverage

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 6:04 AM | Report abuse

>It's amazing that the future of this organization is so fragile that it's been put in irrepairable jeopardy by the failure to sign a kid<

Their reputation is fragile, and it may last another 25 years, who knows, and it's going to cause them to compensate because of that. They'll have to pay too much, give up too many players in a trade - a lot of whom are underachievers on this club. If you have underachievers, or guys who behave like Dmitri and just tank it altogether, that shows a lack of respect for the coaching staff and management. See, the lack of respect not only speaks to the way the rest of the league, and agents see the Nationals, but how their own team sees them. I don't make this stuff up, they drafted an impact player this year, and didn't sign him because of their reputation. It'll only get worse, because everything I read is that the organization is seen as a laughingstock. The record's gotten worse every year in DC. The minor league system is bereft of hitting prospects. If you don't believe me, read Baseball America, or Brian Oliver's website if you want to see how impoverished our talent base is. Now the reputation is garbage. I'm as big a fan as anybody, I watched them every night until the end. I just comment on what I see.

Posted by: Brue | October 8, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

All valid points JayB, but still the sky is not falling! The stakes for next June through August 15 are much higher, but we might end up being even better off than if we'd signed Crow or drafted and signed someone else this year. If they don't the difference between the two is not going to destroy the organization. If we had signed Crow and he'd never thrown a professional pitch because of injury or whatever we wouldn't be having all this gnashing of teeth, your afraid that the team won't sign any top draft picks now, but that just isn't realistic give the full draft history of the team under the Lerners.

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Brue is right. All of you billionaire apologists don't like to think about the facts: The Nats, unlike every other team in MLB, did NOT send anyone to MLB's scouting school, where future GM's like Epstein and Josh Byrnes got their start. They did NOT, unlike every other team in MLB, send a representative to MLB summer meetings. The reason is that old man Lerner did not get around to approving the expenses. They have a reputation as being a miserable organization to deal with. When good free agents won't sign here and Zimmerman leaves, when it's too late, you'll all be blaming them while crappy baseball is being played in an empty park. Angelos bottlenecked all decisions just like old man Lerner is doing. It's been 11 years since the playoffs and they're still re-building. Kasten will not play second fiddle to a Vinnie Cerato-like Bowden. He's the next to go. Brue is a prophet, and no one ever listens to them in time to avoid ruin.

Posted by: You Can't Handle the Truth | October 8, 2008 8:48 AM | Report abuse

estuartj: The sky is not falling -- it fell. This club is without doubt in the worst shape of any team in the NL East. The chances that, even with some bold, expensive off-season moves, health to the right guys and some old-fashioned LUCK the Nats can overtake even the Marlins or Braves, not to mention the juggernaut Mets or Phillies -- not good at all. If Crow had signed without incidenct this room would be buzzing with comparisons to Joba Chamberlain and the like, but instead people in here would rather pretend that Crow is some alcolholic, fatass, malcontent B movie frat boy. The Nats let their best chance at rapid, cost effective improvement in the most important aspect of the game slip through their fingers and they managed to make themselves look like idiots while doing so. The Nats' sky is at your feet Stu. Maybe Bowden/Lerner/Acta can push it back up there, given their respective track records I am sure that we all feel confident that will happen in short order.

Posted by: dh | October 8, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

You can't handle: nice post.

Posted by: dh | October 8, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

You can't handle the truth= Good post, but please do not compare Vinny Cerrato with Jim Bowden. At least Vinny's recent draft class is having some success at the professional level and the Redskins are in far better shape than the Nats.

Posted by: Pablo | October 8, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

JayB, if I were you I wouldn't associate yourself too much with Brue and dh. Brue is a prophet like the guy on the street corner with a sign that says "Obama=Cannibalism" and "How many children did you eat today, Sen. Obama?" And if an accusation against a politician hasn't shown up in a campaign commercial, then you know it's truly ludicrous. You make your points better on your own, anyway.

My red-headed, Cubs-fan-in-mourning girlfriend and I have a rule: anytime your offended state is summarized by some sort of "disrespect" you have to drop it and go take a time out. If you can't come up with something concrete that has really gone wrong and rely on "lack of respect" or "laughingstock" then you're really more concerned about yourself being Big Stuff than whatever the other person is doing.

Returning to the sane JayB's argument, those are all similar accusations to those that were leveled at the Rays even last year, according to my friend from Tampa. I'm not saying we're the Rays, because there are many significant differences, but I think it's worth looking at things they've done right and wrong over the last ten years.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 9:26 AM | Report abuse

No the sky is not following....the issue is are we as good as we could be. Do we have the best management we can have or do we have a bottom of the pack management. It is clear what we have.......

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 9:29 AM | Report abuse

you can't handle says: "The Nats, unlike every other team in MLB, did NOT send anyone to MLB's scouting school, where future GM's like Epstein and Josh Byrnes got their start. They did NOT, unlike every other team in MLB, send a representative to MLB summer meetings. "

I recall that Bowden made a very strong statement that these reports were simply not true, that the Nats in fact sent multiple representatives to the meetings. Couldn't find the statement but I suspect others here would remember.

Posted by: tomterp | October 8, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Where is ABM/419+1/RKGF to make some things up when the Lerners need defending around here?

Posted by: Playing with his little Irish cookie | October 8, 2008 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Okay, I did not find a news story regarding Bowden's response to the allegation the Nats sent nobody, but this is what I remembered -wpa2629 posted this on WNFF:

"Bowden was on the radio yesterday and they asked him why the team doesn't send representatives to the meetings -- and he said that was 100% false - and that he had no idea where that came from -- the Nats attend all meetings - held -- at all times -- He did intimate that the part about "... the Nats sent no ONE to the scouting school was technically correct -- because the Nats actually sent TWO people ... " ... FWIW -- Beyond that -- he declined to comment any further on the article ... "

http://www.wnff.net/index.php/topic,11069.25.html

Posted by: tomterp | October 8, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Going back a few comments to the deadline extension question, I found an August 28 mlbtraderumors item that speculated about an extension:

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/aaron_crow/

However, Harlan's post-draft interview with Bowden seems to indicate that there was no extension:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/08/more_than_3700_words_from_jim.html

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 8, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Thanks natsfan1a for performing CPR on my favorite topic.

Boras is one saavy dude *devil* to know that MLB would grant extensions. Can you imagine the uproar if his top 2 clients didn't sign? And for all of that risk, he basically secured another $855K combined for those two.

Posted by: 756* | October 8, 2008 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Question:

To those that are angry that the Nats didn't sign Crow: are you more upset because Crow is "major-league ready" and would have been the Nats' best pitching prospect if he had signed?

Who's to say that if he had signed and had a cup of coffee this September that next season he would have struggled in his first full season of professional ball? Isn't it possible that Crow could have had the same kind of season that Detwiler had? Weren't most of us salivating this past Spring at the possibilty of Det being our "best pitching prospect" and possibly starting the season on the big league staff?

While I personally would have loved to have seen Crow signed early and had him down in Viera then Hagerstown, I can see why the Nats didn't sign him. Both sides were unreasonable and both were trying to show off who's junk was bigger, but both ended up with nothing to show. And I don't buy into the pro-Crow side saying that they didn't want to sign because the entire Nats system is terrible and bereft of talent. I think there has been signifcant changes in the Nats' minor league system over the past year plus. Sure it's at the lowest levels, but it has to start someplace, considering there was absolutely nothing there to work with three years ago. Also, the Nats have proven to me, moreso than most other organizations, that if you sign early and play well for the first month or so, you will be given a chance to come up to DC and show everyone whether you can stick or not.

Posted by: not a Lerner/Bowden apologist ... | October 8, 2008 10:19 AM | Report abuse

JayB is the laughingstock of the Nats blogosphere.

Posted by: Except on days when brue or LAC make a post | October 8, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Happy to be of service, 756* ;-)

Re. the summer owners' meetings, this mlb.com quote indicates that representatives from all 30 clubs were there (full article available at URL below):

"There was a whole lot of talk and not a lot of action on Wednesday, which is typical at these two-day quarterly owners meetings. The full complement of 30 clubs gather in a joint session on Thursday morning."

http://mariners.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080813&content_id=3304739&vkey=news_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 8, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I also heard the WTEM 980 Bowden denial of the Times criticisms. He said he would not comment on the rest of it but said he did send 2 people to scout school. Ten minuets after his interview, Tom L of the times was on the show and explained that the two meetings that Nats did not send anyone to did not fall directly under Bowden's management tree so he was able give a denial from his point of view. Tom L went on to say that he had seen all the supporting evidence of the Times article and stands behind it.

Who knows but what matters are wins and loses and the Nats are going in the wrong direction. None of the class of 2007 draft picks has done anything at the MLB and most have been disappointing to date at every level. Yes the Lerners signed them, but are they any good? Did the same people who completely blew the Crow scouting of his personality type pick Ross D as well? Bottom line is the Nats are the worst team in baseball and the laughing stock of their peers......Those are the facts.

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 10:46 AM | Report abuse

JayB, if they're facts, then show us evidence that they're the "laughingstock" of their peers.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 10:53 AM | Report abuse

JayB shows us every day why he's the laughingstock of this blog.

Posted by: although to tell the truth, I'm amazed he can even spell laughingstock | October 8, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Nationals hire Kerrick Jackson as area scouting supervisor
Washington hires member of Diversity Internship Program's inaugural class

Some quick Googling didn't turn up anything specific associating the Nats with the Major League Scouting Bureau's two week school (assuming that's the school in question), but I did find this item about a graduate from team's minority internship program:

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20071017&content_id=2270231&fext=.jsp&c_id=was&vkey=pr_was

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 8, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Dang, I should have edited before posting. The first two lines of my post are the headlines of the press release for which I gave the URL.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 8, 2008 11:03 AM | Report abuse

I for one believe the clear trend of WTimes and WPost articles as well as SI.com and FoxSport.com, to name just a few National Media Outlets who have stories with quotes from unnamed peers of the Nats organizations that indicate how poorly this organization is though of by others in the Business.

If you want to ignore such reporting, that is your right....again what is the record of the team since Lerners took over? What direction is the Record going? Bury your heads in the sand if you like; maybe that is your only coping mechanism. I for one prefer to fact the facts instead of sugar coat them.

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I call foul, JayB! I ask you for evidence of how the team is a "laughingstock" and you come back with "what is the record of the team since Lerners took over?" Do you really think that I would ignore the record of the team? Please don't give me the straw man response, I've always given you credit and taken your points seriously.

Moreover, I don't ever question your basic rational integrity, only disagree with your interpretation of trends and events. Please don't tell me that I don't understand or ignore the facts because when I put them together they suggest a different picture than you.

On to the real point: unnamed sources always need to be taken with a grain of salt, in my book. I don't think we need to imagine that the Nationals are the perfect organization, they're not. There are a lot of growing pains and mistakes being made with little institutional knowledge. I see commentators and sportscasters and other fans laughing at the Nationals, but they base their analysis on W-L, for the most part.

As for players: I don't see anyone on the Mets or the Phillies laughing at the Nats, they seem to take them pretty seriously, based on play. They certainly act like they have to play their best against them.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Don't feed the trolls

Posted by: Hungry | October 8, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"I for one prefer to fact the facts instead of sugar coat them."

Sugar Coated Facts will be offered at many concessions stands at Nationals Park next season. They will of course be over-priced, and they'll probably run out of them by the third game of every homestand. But until then, though, boy that will be some good eatin'!

Posted by: them's the facts | October 8, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Ask me for evidence of how JayB is a laughingstock.

Posted by: he proves it with every word he rights | October 8, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

All this talk of sugar-coating and good eatin' is making me hungry. Must be time for lunch.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 8, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Sorry 506....I thought I was clear that my evidence is the unnamed sources is many credible media reports.....if you take that as a grain of salt....ok....I do not because what they are saying....like the scout who noted the lack of hustle and professionalism when the Nats take the field.....see exactly the same thing I see 161 games a year....Milledge walking out between inning and then side arm to under arm warm up tossing and dropped balls with basket catches....Lopez is gone but don't get me started on his work ethic displayed here for 2 years......What the many of those unnamed sources pointed out is what I see so I of course feel they are credible, what you see is different....fine.

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 12:19 PM | Report abuse

could it be that the "unnamed source" for all the media outlets is just the same person? Plus, I don't take into consideration another team's scout's opinion. In general, aren't they supposed to not talk up the other team?

Posted by: devil's advocate | October 8, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Could it be that a scout also has a strong love of the game and if deeply ofended as I am when they see such disrespect for the game as the 2008 Nats showed. A dead, AAA at best talent team who could not bunt, field, run the bases or take a pitch.....maybe that is why a lifer in the game would say something off the record. People...the evidence you want is so clearly on the field just watch and you will not be calling for names....

Posted by: JayB | October 8, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Interesting item on media use of anonymous sources and credibility issues:

http://www.apme.com/news/2005/060805anonymous.shtml

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 8, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The problem with the failure to sign Crow is not that he is a surefire ace or that the team is materially worse off without him. The problem is that this organization has blatently, purposefully fielded an uncompetitive team at the major league level and told us that The Plan was to invest in the minors and build a long-term contender with depth instead of wasting money on overpriced free agents past their prime. I'm fine with that plan. But what they have to do to implement it, and to give us faith in it, is to actively and aggressively spend a significant portion of the money they "save" by refusing to pay free agents in the effort to rebuild the farm system. That means signing guys over slot, signing more of your draft picks than virtually everyone else, and having a draft budget that is larger than virtually everyone else. It does not mean failing to sign your first-round pick and having a draft budget that does not allow you to sign Crow as well as the two guys they signed when they let Crow walk away. The problem with the failure to sign Crow, and with all of the other actions related to this draft, is that it suggests a much more limited financial commitment to The Plan than the team's public posturing would have us believe.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Bob, what if the scouts really don't believe that Crow was worth that much? With a deep draft pool next year, having two basically first round picks is far better for the Plan than this year.

I just can't buy that the plan means X must always happen.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I love to look on the bright side, so here it is;

If you could go back to before the draft and take a look at where we would end the season, in record and in terms of immediate team needs, would you still draft a pitcher? Putiing asside Crow's unwillingness to sign IF I could go back I'd advise taking Smoak instead.

So my silver lining is that we get a do over! Smoak is gone, but the list of power bats available in this year's draft looks almost as strong as last year, and with a slew more top pitchers available we might even get a BETTER hitter than Smoak with our 9A this coming June.

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

haven't the Nats shown that they will sign over slot these past two years? Haven't they shown that they will get creative when they really want a player to sign? One peon doesn't sign and all of a sudden the entire organization is in a shambles? I just don't buy it. I tend to look at the majority of the good draft stuff they've done over the smaller amount of bad draft stuff. Crow and his handlers gambled that the Nats would succumb to their ridiculous demands and they lost. As did the Nationals for not signing their top pick. What this shows to me is that while the Nats will sign over slot, they will not be bullied into signing without getting something in return ... namely, face-to-face meetings, a physical, and most importantly a willingness to negotiate down from the $9M to a more reasonable $3.5+M (over slot, more than any other pitcher, etc). I think this will help the Nats next season and beyond when it comes to negotiations with drafted players and their agents.

Posted by: again ... | October 8, 2008 1:03 PM | Report abuse

>Brue is a prophet like the guy on the street corner with a sign that says "Obama=Cannibalism" and "How many children did you eat today, Sen. Obama?"<

Let's not bring politics into this. Or the spoken fart. Or DUI's. Or getting into a catfight with your fiancee. Or working for Marge Schott. Or man-boobs. Or pissing off the rest of the league. Or 3.5 billion, for that matter. This is all in bad taste.

Aaron who?? Let's re-sign Odalis with the money we saved, he deserves a raise. Him being the flaccid 5-inning 100-pitch starter that he is. Like Redding.

Moral: Don't worship the devil. He will steal your time, then rob you blind.

Posted by: Brue | October 8, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Here is what MLB.com had as their top 10 prospective draftees to watch immediately after last June's draft. What two names seem most appealing?

Dustin Ackley, 1B/OF, University of North Carolina: This year's Draft was big for college first basemen types, especially those who hit left-handed. Ackley could help continue the tradition with a sweet swing that has enabled him to hit .405 as the Tar Heels entered Super Regional play this weekend.

Kyle Gibson, RHP, Missouri: Aaron Crow went this year; next year, it will be Gibson's turn. Gibson went 9-4 witt a 3.84 ERA for Mizzou, striking out 96 over 86 2/3 innings and should be its Friday starter next season.


• Draft Tracker
• Beckham No. 1
• Negro Leaguers
• Fantasy fallout


Mychal Givens, SS/RHP, Plant HS, Fla.: A five-tooler and two-way threat, Givens can do it all on a baseball field. He's an extremely athletic infielder with a plus arm. That comes in handy on the mound, where he throws in the low 90s.

Ryan Jackson, SS, Miami: The Hurricanes lost many top hitters in this year's Draft, but Jackson will be around to anchor the lineup. A true shortstop, Jackson has led Miami with a .374 average entering Super Regional play, to go along with a .441 OBP and .528 SLG.

Chris Jenkins, RHP, Westfield HS, NJ: He's 6-foot-6 with big-time arm strength. He throws the fastball in the low 90s, but there were rumors of him touching 96 mph this spring.

Matt Purke, LHP, Klein HS, Texas: He might be the top prep pitcher in the Draft class and almost certainly the best southpaw. He's a projectable lefty who can get his fastball up to 92 mph.

Stephen Strasburg, RHP, San Diego State: If you were going to pick the top college arm in the Draft, it might be this guy. The All-American went 8-3 with a 1.57 ERA for San Diego State, allowing just 61 hits in 97 1/3 IP (.181 average against), walking just 16 and striking out 133.

Donavan Tate, OF, Cartersville HS, Ga.: It's looking like the Georgia high school ranks will be well represented yet again in 2009. Tate might be one of the best position players from the high school crop next year, he's a toolsy outfielder who's also a top-notch football player, just like his father, former NFLer Lars Tate.

Jacob Turner, RHP, Westminster Christian Academy, Mo.: Big and strong (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) with a quick arm, Thompson throws a fastball in the 90-94-mph range to go along with a good breaking ball.

Alex White, RHP, University of North Carolina: A pretty good prospect back in high school who went in the 14th round because of his UNC commitment, White has been a big reason the Tar Heels are playing postseason baseball now. He's gone 9-3 with a 2.66 ERA, striking out 95 over 81 1/3 innings.

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | October 8, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"I just can't buy that the plan means X must always happen."

Or that X dollars must always be spent. The failure to sign Crow had NOTHING to do with money, despite what JayB, LAC and all the other bobbleheads here keep making up.

Crow: "They tried to bully me." Not "They wouldn't pay me the money I wanted."

Wow, how different things would be now if only Crow had signed. The Nats wouldn't have lost 102 games, no one would be laughing at them any more, and JayB would still be a laughingstock around here.

Posted by: two out of three ain't bad | October 8, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

>Brue is a prophet like the guy on the street corner with a sign that says "Obama=Cannibalism" and "How many children did you eat today, Sen. Obama?"<

JayB is a laughingstock like Krusty the Clown was in that Simpsons episode where he stood beside the road with a sign saying "Will Drop Pants for Food".

Posted by: there, i didn't bring in politics. i chose another kind of clown. | October 8, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

My argument is that The (Right) Plan should dictate that any draft pick, particularly a first round pick that is supposed to be close to MLB ready, is worth more to us than to any other team. We have to be prepared to sign our picks and to go over slot, and over market, to do so. There are people whose job it is to figure out which players to pick and how much to pay them. Those people should not pick players they're not prepared to sign. Yes the $9 million demand from Crow's agents was unreasonable but that was an obvious negotiating ploy in an uncertain market that sets new records for signing bonuses every year. Buster Posey got $6.2 million. Tim Beckham got $6.15 million. Pedro Alvarez got over $6 million after the latest Boras trickery, and Eric Hosmer got an even $6 million. Crow should have been signed, be it for $3.3 million or $4 million or $4.4 million -- the difference between the low end and the high end of those numbers should have been meaningless to this team, and the people whose job it is to draft and sign draft picks should have gotten the job done. Bottom line: The Lerners, Kasten, Bowden, Rizzo and whomever else is part of the team booted this one bigtime.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I thought the Nats did raise their offer and even caved on the MLB contract?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I love you Bob, but I can't agree that we shouldn't sign players we aren't sure we can sign. You have to take risk to get the top talent and I'm sure they thought they could work things out with Crow. Sometimes your wrong, and if your so afraid of being wrong you don't take some chances your never going to be successful.

The best part is that both sides used their leverage to the maximum and both are going to now execute their plan B, Crow will pitch in Indy Ball and maybe improve his position and the Nats get to use the 9A pick to get a player they hope will be as good or better than Crow anyway.

This is not a great result for either side, but this isn't a good system in the first place. If it were up to me I'd make the rights to draftees stick for 3 years to give the clubs more leverage. If the idea of the draft (and the draft order) is to promote parity then it needs a big fix - to make teams with worse records pass on top talent then the whole thing is working exactly the opposite of what was intended.

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The nats did offer Crow a major league deal, but then took it back when it was too late to get him in for an MRI. If memory serves they even had a doc near Crow ready in case they got an agreement late on the 15th, but Crow refused to take on or meet with the team or tour the ballclub or anything else.

I don't think that was "I don't want to play for them", I think it was a deliberate part of their negotiation strategy, always holding the option of returning to college or playing independent ball to force their terms on the club.

Posted by: MO Nats Fan | October 8, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

What's a little bit of extra money have to do with signing your top pick or not?

How much did Crow end up wanting--$4 million? $4.4? Supposedly the Nats and Crow were $500 K apart when the midnight bell chimed. Why is that so huge? The $4.4 million is not even one-year money for some old has-been on the free agent market (like Lo Duca). And you get to keep Crow for years.

Suppose you are "financially irresponsible" and spend a whopping $3 million or even $5 million or even $8 or $10 million more than slot. Why is that so horrible when you need to build?

This whole slot system will be fixed soon, so spend now while you are rebuilding. You are not setting a precedent forever.

I wonder if Ryan Zimmerman is looking at the Nats' small budgets for all baseball operations--and it is true, they are small--and saying (like Crow did) that he will wait and join a team later that is more committed to winning?

Posted by: EdDC | October 8, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

That should have read "Draft players we can sign"!

God I need some sleep, the 4 pots of coffee I've had today just aren't getting it done!

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

stop saying that the Nats haven't/won't sign Zim long term? They offered hom Tulo-like money (6yr/$31M) during Spring Training and he turned it down. At that time, the offer, IMO, was a fair one. Zim turned it down figuring he would have a stellar season and would get more this offseason (or at least a Ryan Howard like bump in arbitration). Neither is likely to happen after his medicore season. If he was available in the open market, he wouldn't get too much more than the Tulo-like money he was offered.

Posted by: could we please ... | October 8, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Reading this blog sometimes gives me a headache with all the refined posturing and narrow one-note views. What was refreshing was reading the comments in the Kansas City newspaper blog on the article. 95% of Joe Missouri were calling Crow an idiot with the chance he was getting. Some pointed to the Nats as an up and coming organization that provides ample early opportunity to play for a young talent. One guy said: $900,000, hell I'd take $9 to get out of Columbus." There were lots of common sense midwestern views that this kid needs to grow up. I don't care how good a talent he has, but this "me, me, me" attitude of young athletes ruins sports for the average fan and insults veteran players who never get a fraction of the money untried players are being offered.

Posted by: Eric | October 8, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

It benefits neither Ryan Zimmerman, nor the Washington Nationals to settle on a long-term contract right now. His on-field value is still very up in the air.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying that the failure to sign Crow is the end of the world, or that they should have signed him for $9 million. I'm just saying that if all we have is The Plan, then I want it carried out with significantly more dedication than we saw in this year's draft. There's plenty of blame to go around in the Crow fiasco, and maybe the bulk of it should go on Crow and his agents. But the failure to sign a first-round pick, the apparently low budget for all 2008 picks, and zero movement on the international free agent front have all contributed to my concern that The Plan, which I have so long defended, needs to be implemented and funded better.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Also, 506 is spot-on about the Zimmerman long-term contract issue. The team is right to be offering about what they've offered, and Zimmerman is well within his rights to believe that his upside might be higher. We're going to have to wait on this one. The lack of a long-term contract for Zimmerman is evidence of nothing -- it doesn't mean that the Lerners are cheap, and it doesn't mean that Zimmerman doesn't want to be here. At least, not right now.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Bob, as I've mentioned here before I think way too much is made of Bowden's comments after the draft that Crow's non-signing made room for Ramirez and the other guy.

I don't think it was a strict one vs others with a firm dollar figure that they couldn't go above. I believe they have a ballpark number assigned to bonuses for draftees and when Crow looked like he might not sign they got more aggresive about going after other draftees (and they had picked a lot of guys considered "hard to sign"), but I think after they had those deals they still would have gone to 4mil or so for Crow if they had time to get to a deal. If they had there outlay for the draft would have been a top number among all clubs. What I would like to know is how much they would have been willing to give for Ramirez if Crow had gone for 3.6mil before a deal was set, we'll never know that unfortunately...

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Bob, was it you who said that someone needed to explain the not signing Crow thing better? I agree with you on that. Someone official needs to just sit down and say, "Look, we liked Crow, but he obviously has no clue how to negotiate. We decided that it was better value to take an extra sandwich round pick in next year's deeper draft pool than to overpay for a kid that we don't really believe will ever live up to that bonus. We still believe in the draft as the primary tool for the plan and we still believe in not getting suckered because some punk thinks we're desperate."

Stan needs to appoint a Plan Spokesman, who will constantly talk about the Plan and how what's going on is related to it, instead of leaving it up to fans to deduce whether or not things are going well.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

For the record, this is how one should raise a point of contention with a fellow Nats fan.

Lead with love. Good on you, estuartj.

-----

I love you Bob, but I can't agree that we shouldn't sign players we aren't sure we can sign.

Posted by: John in Mpls | October 8, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Bob,

Maybe Zim plays himself out of a Nat contract with a breakout year or two, and wants way too much money for the Nats to want to pay. In the year 2010, we will all forget the Nats had a chance to sign him in the winter of 2008-2009, when the price was reasonable.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 8, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to believe that, ESJ, and if it could be proven I might even stop ranting about the Crow debacle. But knowing what we (think we) know now about the Lerner's tight controls over the purse strings, I can't help but wonder whether the guys in the room and on the phone at the 11th hour had the ability to react to all of the late signings above slot by improving their offer enough to get Crow in the fold. I'm not accusing anyone of being cheap here, I'm just wondering whether our management team had complete authority or whether an approval from upstairs was needed at the last minute and didn't come in time, or at all. I'm admittedly boxing shadows, but the fact that I am says something about the moves this team has made.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe Zim plays himself out of a Nat contract with a breakout year or two, and wants way too much money for the Nats to want to pay. In the year 2010, we will all forget the Nats had a chance to sign him in the winter of 2008-2009, when the price was reasonable."

Anon, you just nailed why Ryan Zimmerman would be an idiot to sign a deal right now.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

And maybe Zim becomes cursed like Johnson or continues to slide back a smidge at a time (or even just hovers where he is and doesn't progress farther) and we'll look back and curse the idiot who signed him for too much money and so many years.

Posted by: One coin, two sides. | October 8, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"I wonder if Ryan Zimmerman is looking at the Nats' small budgets for all baseball operations--and it is true, they are small--and saying (like Crow did) that he will wait and join a team later that is more committed to winning?"

Or could he instead be saying "Hey, all the more for me when I finally get my piece of that pie"? Which, BTW, begins this offseason when he either agrees to terms or goes to arbitration. And don't expect the Nats to take this one to arbitration. They will pay whatever it takes to avoid that, and you can take that to the bank.

Posted by: i mean, they paid $1M for that POS Mackowiak, after all | October 8, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

506, agreed -- the team needs a plan spokesperson, and a not-paying-rent spokesperson, and a PR operation that focuses on something other than the lack of parking. The public face of the Nats is truly third rate.

Anonymous, agreed, that's the risk we're taking, and if Zim becomes a superstar and we don't sign him for top dollars, I'll walk out the door. But he hasn't shown he's worth top dollar yet, or even David Wright money. So I understand why both sides are where they are.

Hey, the Arizona Fall League started today! I gotta go find a Peoria Saguaros t-shirt.

Also, methinks we should henceforth refer to our unsigned first rounder as Aaron "they tried to bully me" Crow. Seems like a good fit, and it's somehow a little cathartic.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I think I recall reading somewhere that when Kasten was in charge of Atlanta he was known for bad PR, but that Ted Turner's owning of the team made up for it.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

I think The Plan spokesman should be Rizzo, but realistically it has to be the GM making these statements and interviews.

I guess we'll just have to promote Rizzo to GM...

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"I believe they have a ballpark number assigned to bonuses for draftees and when Crow looked like he might not sign they got more aggresive about going after other draftees (and they had picked a lot of guys considered "hard to sign"), but I think after they had those deals they still would have gone to 4mil or so for Crow if they had time to get to a deal."

If ABM had said this, LAC would be on here post haste to accuse him of making stuff up. But you're (presumably) not ABM, and I'm not LAC (thank God). Nevertheless, you're making this stuff up.

Posted by: actually, i think LAC made ABM up just so it would look like someone is paying attention to him | October 8, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen any indication that Rizzo knows how to speak for the press. I think they should hire the soon-to-be-unemployed Dana Perino. Woooohoooo! My second choice would be Frank Robinson, but only because his press conferences were hilarious.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

There you go again, doggone it, introducing politics into a baseball blog.

Posted by: can't we all just get along? | October 8, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

LAC's ears are burning.

Posted by: Better than the burning feeling in ABM's little Irish cookie | October 8, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo has not experience talking to the press, but he also doesn't own leather pants so we'll call that one a toss-up.

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

How is Dana Perino being a hotty whose boss is term-limited bringing in politics?

Point taken on the pants, estuartj.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Is Dana Perino going to wear leather pants?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 8, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"I think The Plan spokesman should be Rizzo"
___________________________

Do you mean Frank Rizzo?
Clean out your ears Jerky!

Posted by: 756* | October 8, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Dana Perino in leather pants? NOW were getting somewhere! Maybe her in a catfight with Dee Dee Meyers and we'll sell out Nationals Stadium for sure!

Posted by: estuartj | October 8, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

So, obviously, the new Nats PR person should be ... Dana Perino ... in leather pants!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Aaack, ESJ beat me to it!

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Correction, Anonymous beat me to it. Perino, in red leather pants, on a Segway ... yep, that's just about right.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

The closer Perino gets to Jim Bowden, the less I'm going to be interested in her. Ugh.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 8, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see Harolyn Cardozo take a more active role. (reference team photo)

Posted by: 756* | October 8, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

>like Krusty the Clown was in that Simpsons episode where he stood beside the road with a sign saying "Will Drop Pants for Food".<

I see nothing wrong with this. I see it every day up here in Harm City. But really, who says that Zimmerman is concerned about signing a max contract anyway? Maybe he just doesn't want to play for baseball's version of Homer and Bart. He didn't sound too happy toward the end of the season. Kinda like the estimated 20% of the season ticket base that won't be buying season tix next year. At least that's what Stan said. They may have to establish another Klownbase.

Posted by: Brue | October 8, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Nationals today announced their goal of being the first team in Major League History to lose over one thousand games in a single decade decade. The team got off to a great start losing 102 games despite being handicapped by only playing 161 games in '08.

Posted by: NR Stan Kasten | October 8, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Bowden needs to bully Zimmerman into signing a long-term contract.

Posted by: Bob L. Head | October 8, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Bully.

That's all. Just "bully."

Posted by: Teddy | October 8, 2008 9:11 PM | Report abuse

"Bowden needs to bully Zimmerman into signing a long-term contract."

And then Zimmeman should whine about it on the record in order to elicit fan sympathy!

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 9, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

How about we "bully" Chico into writing a new post?

Posted by: 756* | October 9, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Singing Zimmerman long term is not a concern -- I think that he is under team control through 2010, no? Ryan Howard -- a guy that has actually done something big in MLB -- is year-to-year also. So, the kid cannot walk away and the team does not have to wager long term.

Posted by: dh | October 9, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I knew that it was only a matter of time until the new post subject arose... ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 9, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Well, it's not a concern in that he won't be leaving anytime soon. It is a concern in that, if you believe, as I do, that Ryan is going to be an excellent, borderline superstar, player, it would be smart to lock him up to a deal that buys out a few of his free agent years. Ryan's incentive to sign that deal is obviously that he gets large dollars immediately, and insures himself against the risk of injury or underperformance. The question, for both sides, is - what is the right price? Impossible to know with certainty right now, for either side, because of the largely lost 2008 season, so if a deal is signed this year it will be a gamble for both sides.

Posted by: 220 | October 9, 2008 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Brian at Nationals Farm Authority has a new post up about two Mock Drafts...and no, they do not predict Aaron Crow will be selected again by the Nats

Posted by: joNAThan | October 9, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I would not sign Zimm long term at this point. Zimm just has not shown that he has the superstar chops and he has had more than 1,700 AB's less than 60 HR's and he has not performed well as a run producer -- hit .200 w/RISP in 08. He's a nice looking player, but, sadly, there is no overwhelming evidence that he is part of the solution at this point.

Posted by: dh | October 9, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The Singing Zimmerman -- isn't that Bob Dylan?

*******
dh, the problem with that logic--he isn't proven yet--is that you are guaranteed to "buy high" if you wait until his value peaks to do it.

Posted by: ce | October 9, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

All of you are discussing these details under the assumption that the old economic system will prevail. With the coming of the second great depression you can expect to see season ticket sales drop precipitously and several small market teams approach bankruptcy. Salaries will fall and Mr. Crow will rue the day he turned down 4.4 million. Don't worry about signing the first pick, he'll be happy to sign for far less than "slot".If any of us have money left, we can easily buy a Presidential seat.

Posted by: outtaluck | October 9, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Doing some house cleaning here and responding to multiple posts...

Crow won't show up in any mock drafts as a Nats pick. The Nats would only be permitted to re-draft him if Crow gave his express written permission through MLB.

Linking players with an MLB team for 3 years after the draft... that seems to swing the pendulum to far back towards the owners. There'd be little incentive for the owners to make concessions - there'd be a take-it or leave-it attitude. This strategy would probably allow the Indy Leagues to expand.

Someone mentioned Crow going back to school. Not for baseball - by playing for pay for the FW Cats, he has given back any baseball eligibility he may have had. And I say may have because I think he tooks the Hendricks brothers as an Agent (Not and "Advisor") which forfeited his baseball eligibility.

And finally... so what if the Nats/Crow were $400K apart when the clock chimed midnight. It's an irrelevant figure. The problem was that the parties did not begin negotiating in earnest until the last hours. They didn't set themselves up in a situation that would forster success.

Posted by: Sec 114, Row E | October 9, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

So SoCH says Crow stands to get a few more million by waiting until next year.

Even assuming he DOES-- Whoopie.

Consider the effects of the year delay to prime free-agent payday, not only in terms of total career earnings before his arm falls off, but the fact that given his tender age, he'd be a free agent for the first time in his mid-late 20s! That's got to be worth many more million in a multi-year deal than, say a 30-year old becoming a free agent (though these guys don't fare too badly either).

Assuming the guy will ultimately pan out as a stud, take the 20-30 mil that he will now not make, and consider if he invests it wisely under competent asset management, and think of what THAT money will add up to by the time he's 60.

All because he didn't want to be dissed over $400k or whatever.

Both sides are losers to be sure, but Crow lost out to the tune of tens of millions.

And while I don't WISH it per se, *if* he blows his arm out pitching in an independent league...

....i'll enjoy seeing him 5 years from now in a blue Best Buy polo shirt helping me select a big screen TV.

Posted by: Jim | October 9, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Singing Zimmerman long term is not a concern -- I think that he is under team control through 2010, no? Ryan Howard -- a guy that has actually done something big in MLB -- is year-to-year also. So, the kid cannot walk away and the team does not have to wager long term.

Posted by: dh | October 9, 2008 10:18 AM
__________________________________

The Phillies also have Hamels on a year-to-year basis. Both players (esp Hamels) are bothered by this. Seems like the Phillies missed out as signeing Hamels long-term last off-season would have cost $$$ while signing him now would cost $$$$.

I tend to think with the Nats and Zimmerman that such cost fluctuations would be reduced. From the time that we drafted him, he has basically been the face of the franchise (no matter what his numbers are). That, IMO, takes him into the upper eschelon.

The other reason why his deal would be larger than Tulo's and Longoria's, is that Zimm has more service time and is arbitration elligible next year.

Posted by: 756* | October 9, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"And finally... so what if the Nats/Crow were $400K apart when the clock chimed midnight. It's an irrelevant figure. The problem was that ONE OF the parties did not begin negotiating in earnest until the last hours. HE didn't set HIMSELF up in a situation that would foster success."

And of course that party is the one that is now complaining that he was bullied in the negotiations.

Posted by: fixed your post | October 9, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"And finally... so what if the Nats/Crow were $400K apart when the clock chimed midnight. It's an irrelevant figure. The problem was that ONE OF the parties did not begin negotiating in earnest until the last hours. HE didn't set HIMSELF up in a situation that would foster success."

And of course that party is the one that is now complaining that he was bullied in the negotiations.

Posted by: fixed your post | October 9, 2008 2:04 PM
____________________________________

Or...the negotiations may have lasted beyond midnight, and (since they were so close at midnight) it begs to question, why didn't they ultimately come to an agreement?

Posted by: 756* | October 9, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

God knows that somebody's got to be the goat.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 9, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Or...the negotiations may have lasted A SHORT WHILE beyond midnight, and (because ONE OF the parties did not begin negotiating in earnest until the last hours and therefore didn't set HIMSELF up in a situation that would foster success) it begs to question, why didn't they ultimately come to an agreement? But the answer is the same."

Posted by: fixed your post too | October 9, 2008 2:49 PM | Report abuse

NFA has links to a couple mock drafts up. Both have us taking Strasburg #1, but draftinfo has us taking a HS lhp Tyler Matzek out of Orange County at 9a and BBA has us taking Crow teammate rhp Kyle Gibson.

Brian suggest instead of Matzek we might take OF Kentrail Davis from Tennessee. Davis has eligibility left as a sophmore so there are pitfalls there as well.

I hope that Ok St lhp Andy Oliver falls to us a 9a, but I'd be more comfortable going for a postion player at 9a and a hs pitcher with the first pick of round two or later (take the best player available, but don't take unnecessary gambles either!).

Posted by: estuartj | October 9, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Howard and Hamels are complete studs, and they have both performed very, very well knowing that the arbitration award is looming. But even Howard will only, hard to say only when you follow it up with this, get $15 Million next year. If the Phils wanted to nail him down long term it would be at something north of $100 Million for 4-5 years, or so. By going year to year they get the relative cheapness of the kid and his trade value is pretty huge should they decide to go in a different direction (no team would have to take on the mega contract). Not to mention that given the market turmoil and bad economics of the day and all, the trend of fat MLB contract numbers might be flattening.

Posted by: dh | October 9, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"ONE OF the parties"
Just b/c you capped it, WHICH ONE?

@dh
The Phils went to arb with Howard and lost (7 mil vs 10 mil = 10 mil). Seems like they paid the price for keeping him in the minors forever. But not negotiating a deal with either of them were/are huge mistakes.

Posted by: 756* | October 9, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

""ONE OF the parties"
Just b/c you capped it, WHICH ONE?

Posted by: the one who's now complaining about being bullied, of course | October 9, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I've never heard of this guy, but metroblog has an off-season rebuilding roadmap worth discussing;

http://dc.metblogs.com/2008/10/09/the-great-washington-nationals-overhaul-08-09/

Some good ideas in there, but also some crazy stuff too.

Posted by: estuartj | October 9, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't think comparing Zimmerman and Howard is quite fair. Besides having completely different skill sets, they both would enter free agency at much different points in their careers.

Howard will be 30 when he hits free agency. Zimmerman will be 26. For Howard, he has one chance at a long term deal. Zimmerman probably has two. Zimmerman has the advantage of locking up his early years with a guaranteed salary and still hitting the free agency lotto during his prime years.

Long term deals which buy out arbitration years are done by teams to first, get a reduced annual salary on the first couple of post-arb years and secondly, to provide cost certainty. Team controlled players agree to long term deals for the long term salary guarantee. Sometimes the deal looks great and players stay healthy and productive like Pujols. Other times the long term deal sours and the player turns into Hank Blalock or Bobby Crosby.

But if a player isnt willing to take a discount on either the front or back end of the deal and expects market value even during team controlled years, then whats the incentive for a team to sign a player long term? Why take that kind of risk for a team controlled player not eligible for free agency for a couple more years?

I'd love to see Zimmerman locked up through 2015. But its not something that has to be done now if there isnt a discount.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | October 9, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

>But if a player isnt willing to take a discount on either the front or back end of the deal and expects market value even during team controlled years, then whats the incentive for a team to sign a player long term? Why take that kind of risk for a team controlled player not eligible for free agency for a couple more years?

I'd love to see Zimmerman locked up through 2015. But its not something that has to be done now if there isnt a discount.<

Here again, the billionaire's point of view. Zimmerman's too smart to let these numnuts control his destiny. He'll just play out the string until he has the leverage, and then leave if things aren't any better. It's a form of holding the team accountable, something a lot of people on here don't seem to like very much. If they don't improve the way they run things, it's AMF. He's not starving, so there's no hurry to sign a new deal anyway. Somebody will want him, for his glove if nothing else.

Posted by: Brue | October 10, 2008 8:27 AM | Report abuse

It's numb not num.

Posted by: name-calling QC | October 10, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"I don't think comparing Zimmerman and Howard is quite fair. Besides having completely different skill sets, they both would enter free agency at much different points in their careers."

I didn't bring it up to compare Howard to Zimm. Brought it up to compare organizational approaches to locking up controlled players. I agree, we shouldn't compare Zimm to Howard for the reasons you stated but also b/c Howard is a perrenial MVP candidate.

Posted by: 756* | October 10, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"I agree, we shouldn't compare Zimm to Howard for the reasons you stated but also b/c Howard is a perrenial MVP candidate."

And also because if we're looking for someone who strikes out as often as Howard does we already have Bonifacio for that.

Posted by: mmmm, numbnuts.... | October 10, 2008 10:18 AM | Report abuse

On signing Zimmerman, I wonder if he will reconsider this offseason. He's clearly had the position before that he didn't want to sign for what he felt undervalued him (like Tulo money) because he thought sure he would prove himself to be in the David Wright/Miggy Cabrera/Hanley Ramirez kind of class. But now, three years into his MLB career, with career numbers of .282/.341/.462 and an OPS+ of 110, he's looking a bit more like a Carney Lansford or an Eric Chavez, or maybe a Ron Santo than a Brooks Robinson or a David Wright or a Chipper. He's got value as a mainstay piece, but if I were his agent, I would definitely be talking to him about the need to secure his long-term future by signing a long-term deal. He had his first real extended bout on the DL this year, and that would certainly change my perspective a little bit. Not to say that he should give up hope of being a really elite player, but that there'd be value for him in letting the Nats buy out his arb years and his first FA year at a better than average price. In uncertain times, insuring against the downturn seems to make a lot more sense.

Posted by: Highway 295 Revisited | October 10, 2008 10:28 AM | Report abuse

>Not to say that he should give up hope of being a really elite player, but that there'd be value for him in letting the Nats buy out his arb years and his first FA year at a better than average price. In uncertain times, insuring against the downturn seems to make a lot more sense.<

Things don't happen in a vacuum, although some stat geeks seem to think so, outside of the stadium a guy plays in. If Zimmerman goes to a team with major league hitters, his number will go up substantially. His first year, when we had a few decent veterans on the team, he had 110 rbi. Last year, when they trotted out 'a bunch of 25 year olds', he didn't do so well. He's a 90-100 rbi guy on a good team - easy. The Nats lineup is not only the worst in the league, it skews numbers for the few decent hitters in it. Dukes and Milledge would have had better numbers if they had gotten any protection at all. Dukes certainly wouldn't have walked as much, and his power numbers would have gone up as a result, because when he makes contact, the ball flies.

Posted by: Brue | October 10, 2008 10:57 AM | Report abuse

i was just going to ask you guys to re-open the trade discussion you guys had going on that was fun to read im tired of hearing about crow and zimmerman? thanks

Posted by: j-dog | October 10, 2008 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Actually, somebody did bring this up, a couple of DAYS ago, on this thread.
Hey, it was ME.
"Posted by: CE | October 6, 2008 9:24 PM"

*****************
All of you are discussing these details under the assumption that the old economic system will prevail. With the coming of the second great depression you can expect to see season ticket sales drop precipitously and several small market teams approach bankruptcy. Salaries will fall and Mr. Crow will rue the day he turned down 4.4 million. Don't worry about signing the first pick, he'll be happy to sign for far less than "slot".If any of us have money left, we can easily buy a Presidential seat.
Posted by: outtaluck | October 9, 2008 12:33 PM
**************************

Posted by: CE -- hey, Chico! throw us a bone, we're dyin here | October 10, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, Chico. We like to repeat ourselves in different threads instead of in the same one.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 10, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Here's my thoughts on "the Great Washington Nationals Overhaul" transaction suggestions:
- Definitely re-sign OPerez; he finished strong, didn't tail off like Redding and had good numbers. I think Redding needs to be let go to make way for JZimmerman, Estrada or Martis.
- Disagree about cutting ties with Aaron Boone. I think he's a valuable asset, a good bat off the bench. Who cares if he's injury prone, you're not depending on him.
- I'm not sure what team he was watching when he says "Harris hasn't made the transition to the majors." Harris was probably our team MVP this year, almost leading the team in Hrs despite half the at bats and playing as a sub most of the season, providing fantastic defense in left and being able to play 5 different positions. He's a lock to be offered arbitration and will be a valuable asset at anything under $2M for next season.
- Agree on his take on Langerhans, Young, Pena, Redding.

- Why would we need to sign a veteran catcher in Rodriguez? We have two excellent options in a power-hitting young Flores and a superb defensive minded excellent game caller in Nieves. Both locked up in pre-arbitration contracts and both young. If Nieves falters Montz is just as able of a backup.

- Adam Dunn; boy the jury is really mixed on this guy. Career .247/.381/.518, never gets injured, strikes out a ton, walks a ton (led league in walks this year). Hit 40hrs every year but in a bandbox in Cincy (though, he hit 8 in 44 games in pitcher-friendly Arizona). Do we want this guy? He's played a number of games at first and could platoon there and/or in left with Pena or Harris. $10M this year, do we want to commit that much money per year on this guy? My guess is no.
- He seems to think Cordero is good. I see him as a one-trick pony with a weakened arm who can't get the ball by people anymore. Teams preferred to hit against him versus Rauch back in the heydey of our bullpen. Not to mention that we'll decline arbitration and cut him loose anyway.
- There's just no way we'll be searching for 2 additional veteran starters, and I doubt we'll spend the money to lock in two FAs like Garcia and Oliver Perez. Not with the number of young arms we have on the 40-man. Lannan, Balester, OPerez and probably JZimmerman are already locks for the rotation next year. Hill is coming back, Martis, MEstrada, Clippard and Mock are all in the mix too.


Posted by: Sec131 | October 10, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman will be back next year and remains under team control for some time, so his long term situation is really not that improtant at the moment. Like j-dog stated above, let's look to who can be added/subtracted from the club to make it better for 09 and beyond.

Posted by: dh | October 10, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Brue's comment about Zimmerman's RBIs going up on another team. Batting third gives Zimmerman the greatest likelihood of coming to the plate with a runner in place other than batting fourth. On another team Zimmerman would not be batting third, fourth or fifth. Another point is that Zimmerman had a very low average this season when runners were in scoring position, much lower for a third place hitter in the lineup should of had. This is entirely on Zimmerman. Given Zimmerman's two injuries this season I hope that 08 will be the abnormal season and that he has his hitter's eye and power back for all of next year.

Posted by: Dale | October 10, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Ray Knight in Newsday on why he didn't attend the final Mets game at Shea:

"His bosses at the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, where he has broadcasted Washington Nationals games the past two seasons, gave him the time off. But he said he ultimately chose not to go on principle.

"It was, believe me, much more important to be at Shea than to be at my desk doing commentary for a last place ballclub, but my devotion and loyalty is a part of what I am," Knight said. "I just didn't feel like it was right to not be there for the final three games of the season. I already used my allotted days off."

Glad to see Ray is so committed to our "last place ball club."

Posted by: ohplease | October 10, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

That's sort of sweet, in a doofy, annoying way.

Much like the man himself, I suppose.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 10, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

New Post...

Posted by: SIKE !!!! | October 10, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Did you mean psych?

Posted by: umm | October 10, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Brue - re: "Things don't happen in a vacuum, although some stat geeks seem to think so, outside of the stadium a guy plays in. If Zimmerman goes to a team with major league hitters, his number will go up substantially. His first year, when we had a few decent veterans on the team, he had 110 rbi. Last year, when they trotted out 'a bunch of 25 year olds', he didn't do so well. He's a 90-100 rbi guy on a good team - easy."

As a stat geek, I have to take that bait. The stat you use, RBI, is not a particularly good way to measure a hitter's value precisely for the reason you identify, namely that it is lineup-dependent. There is no question that Ryan Zimmerman would have more RBI hitting for the Red Sox than he would for the Nationals. But, stats like OBP and SLG are much less lineup-dependent. By and large a hitter is who he is. So, don't beat up us stat geeks for thinking something we don't think - we know RBI is context dependent, like wins for a pitcher. But we don't evaluate hitters by RBI (or pitchers by wins) for precisely that reason.

Posted by: 220 | October 10, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

no psych

Posted by: new post | October 10, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

It's all the same phaolkim post, man...

Posted by: janis joplin | October 11, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

>There is no question that Ryan Zimmerman would have more RBI hitting for the Red Sox than he would for the Nationals. But, stats like OBP and SLG are much less lineup-dependent. By and large a hitter is who he is. So, don't beat up us stat geeks for thinking something we don't think - we know RBI is context dependent, like wins for a pitcher. But we don't evaluate hitters by RBI (or pitchers by wins) for precisely that reason.<

Yeah I know what you're saying about the RBIs, and a hitter needs someone to drive in. The OBP and SLG %s are definitely lineup dependent too, and this is where the geeks miss out on the confluence of the lineup. Since Zimmerman's young, and his stats have fluctuated a bit, I think it's fair to use his case instead of someone who's had 12 years in the league hitting in a variety of different lineups, and in different spots in the lineup for that matter, and it's more useful (and easier) to find patterns in a veteran.

The point I make about not having threats in a lineup is that the guys that the other teams key on -- i.e., 'he's not going to beat me in a clutch situation' invariably have a harder time seeing pitches that they can drive. For example, if a guy is getting on base in front of you, and he's a threat to run, then you'll see more fastballs in general because the pitcher wants to get the ball to the catcher quicker. If the pitcher doesn't have either a hard sinker or a good fastball, his effectiveness is going to go way down. If first base is open, and they're not afraid of the guy behind you, they'll pound your weak areas - say up and in (where you can see it well), but they'll pound you up out of the strike zone where you can't drive the ball. If they were trying to get you out, they'd pound your weak spot FOR STRIKES. Which leads to more mistakes in the middle of the plate and a higher slugging %. See, they won't intetionally walk you, but they'll play on your frustration by throwing near the strike zone. HItters on bad teams get frustrated, and the pitchers know that. You don't see the Red Sox hitters jumping at pitches because they know the guy behind them can drive runners in. The bottom line is that Zimmerman would get many more strikes to hit on a good team, because walks are the thing that beat you against a good hitting team, and the manager will yank you quicker for that than anything. Zim would also see more fastballs when he's behind in the count because they don't want to get into a 3-ball count and HAVE to throw a mediocre strike to avoid a walk. The more fastballs you see, the more consistent your stroke becomes because you're not worried about a bunch of nibbling. To say a hitter, especially a young one 'is what he is' is ignorant, imo.

Posted by: Brue | October 11, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

>Batting third gives Zimmerman the greatest likelihood of coming to the plate with a runner in place other than batting fourth. On another team Zimmerman would not be batting third, fourth or fifth. Another point is that Zimmerman had a very low average this season when runners were in scoring position, much lower for a third place hitter in the lineup should of had.<

On this team, it didn't matter where you hit unless it was directly behind Guzman, which would make hitting second on this team the ideal spot to hit with a runner on. The low BA with runners in scoring position plays to the frustration aspect of a bad lineup. He's pressing twice as much with guys in scoring position, because there are many fewer chances than on a good team. Which makes the pitcher's job even easier. Instead of the pressure increasing on the pitcher because of the runners, it goes to the hitter because he has zero confidence in the guy behind him to do the job. I remember a few swings he had that were ridiculous ground outs to short when he was ahead in the count, or on the first pitch. Some of his eagerness is his fault, but imo most of it is because he felt he had no help. Whether he actually had help or not, he believed that he didn't have any, and that affected his approach.

Posted by: Brue | October 11, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

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