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Nationals Sign Two Dominican Prospects

You might not read this on the MLB Trade Rumors Web site, but the Nationals today announced the signing of two international players, both 16-year-old Dominican prospects. Catcher Bill Pena and left-handed pitcher Gregory Baez both agreed to professional contracts with the organization after being scouted recently at the Loma del Sueno complex in San Cristobal.

Two Washington front office members, scouting director Dana Brown and new special GM assistant Deric Ladnier were on hand to scout the players.

Pena is described by Brown as a two-way catcher with a strong arm. Baez is 6-foot-2 with an easy motion and late movement on his pitches.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 18, 2008; 11:29 AM ET
 
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Next: Teixeira: Still Unemployed For The Moment

Comments

The dreaded re-post

Well soundbloke... let's see what they do before we bury them.

With all these machinations, the only things that will really frustrate me is if 1) they trade Milledge, Dukes, Zimmerman, or any of the young pitchers including Olsen and 2) if they don't end up with a significant LH bat to stick in the middle of the line up. The three amigos above need a veteran LH power hitter to take the pressure off. All this stuff around the edges with Maxwell, Harris, and which light hitting 2B there are going to choose is relatively insignificant.

As far as the pitching goes, including the bullpen, I think they have enough young arms coming along that they do not need to do a lot more there. Keep things fairly open so as not to block the progression of the guys they have coming. Remember that where their system is weak is in hitting.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 18, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The more Dominicans the better, as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | December 18, 2008 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Even for the most outlandish roster-bation I don't think you can include Pena or Maxwell in the plan for '09.

As I've outlined a couple of time before the outfield situation can't be resolved until we have a definative answer on what will happen at 1B.

IF Texeira signs you'll have a 1B & OF (CA, 2B, 3B and SS being more or less set) of Teixeira, Willingham, Milledge, Dukes.

If we don't get Teixeira, but instead sign Dunn AND Nick Johnson is healthy it would be Johnson/Dunn/Dukes/Kearns (or Milledge or Willingham if either can realitically play RF, which I doubt).

If we don't get Teixeira, sign Dunn and NJ is hurt then it would be Dunn/Willingham/Milledge/Dukes.

If we don't do anything and Nick is healthy is would be Johnson/Willingham/Milledge/Dukes and when Nick gets hurt you'd have Willingham/Milledge/Dukes/Kearns.

Now that we've got that worked out! I'm guessing Hernandez will be our 2B for '09 (especially if Dunn is at 1B, we'll need some good D to make up for Guz and Dunn). I think that Belliard will be traded and the MI will be Guz, Hernandez and Gonzalez.

Posted by: estuartj | December 18, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

"This thing about not getting more pitching because it would stunt someone's development doesn't wash. You never deal from a negative when you can add talent."

I can't say I agree with you Brue. I don't believe that the spare parts we have will get a pitcher in return that I'd rather give innings to. The types of pitchers we'd get in a trade for Kearns, etc. are #5 starters and so-so set up guys. I'd rather roll out our prospects and see if any of them can be #3's or better.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 18, 2008 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Richard Justice on Teixeira:
http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=498198

Entertaining quote:
"Who thought hiring Jim Bowden as senior vice president and general manager was a good idea anyway? He has almost no chance of signing Teixeira, but he at least has gotten his franchise a couple of headlines."

That's just not good...

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 18, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

I'll agree with you again db423, but this time not spiral into Bowden-Hate.

If go into the season overloaded with pitching, by August you will have just the right amount. If you go in with 4 guys, and maybe five, then you end up depeted and pitching no hope-ers. The worst case scenario with being overstocked is that trade some away because the you guys are demanding to be played. But relying on guys like Zimmerman, who has never thrown a big league game, let alone a mont of them, let alond a season is stupid, and will lead to more of our injury problems of last year.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Actually, soundbloke, I think you're agreeing with Brue, not me.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 18, 2008 12:20 PM | Report abuse

already read about it on MLBTR

Posted by: toastisgreaterthanthepost | December 18, 2008 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, toast. Please keep us apprised of every other thing you do. We care, we really do.

Posted by: mike8 | December 18, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Haha, Chico, MLB Trade Rumors got you back!

Posted by: Section506 | December 18, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

"already read about it on MLBTR"
"Haha, Chico, MLB Trade Rumors got you back!"

To be technical about it you DON'T read it THERE since they link you here...

Posted by: OldDude | December 18, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

A little comic relief:

http://masnsports.com/2008/12/my-past-with-scott-boras.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 18, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

What if the outfield isn't really that crowded?

Check out these numbers:

.264/.386/.478
.266/.361/.472
.260/.354/.435
.268/.329/.407

Those belong to our four starting outfield candidates.

The first line is interesting, more so when you learn that it belongs to a 24-year old with just two partial seasons in the majors, and who has the physical skills to play plus defense at any outfield position. So he's clearly a starter, right? Sure, as long as he can keep his personal demons in check and stay off the DL. Dukes was on the 15-day list twice last year, played in exactly 81 games and was limited to 276 at-bats. So, here we have one-half of a potentially very good outfielder. Do we have the other half? Jury's still out.

The fourth line looks like it might belong to the odd man out. But that line happens to belong to another 24-year old with less than two seasons in the majors, a potential five-tool guy with speed and a live bat. And as 506 alluded to above, our man Lastings hit .299/.355/.448 after the All-Star Break. He might have a ways to go in the field, but he doesn’t belong on the bench, or in someone else's clubhouse, for that matter.

That brings us to our two 30-year old veterans, whose lines appear in the middle. One of them is regarded as an offensive disappointment, particularly in the power department, but as a defensive ace. The other is an average defender at best, but one with enough pop in his bat that he’s an acceptable starter. These guys are two sides of the same solid, unspectacular coin. And both of them lost significant time last season to injuries (Willingham had 350 at-bats, Kearns 313). That’s right – two players that together add up to one solid major league outfielder.

So who sits? The answer may be nobody. And everybody. Need some pop in the lineup today? Go with Willingham-Milledge-Dukes (or possibly Milledge-Dukes-Willingham). Time for a late inning defensive switch? How about Milledge-Dukes-Kearns? Better yet, Harris-Dukes-Kearns. Facing a tough lefty? Sit Milledge, who struggles a bit, and play Kearns, who excels (.278/.386/.473), as in Willingham-Dukes-Kearns.. Milledge as an occasional sparkplug pinch-hitter off the bench is not a terrible idea, as long as he gets 450 at-bats.

And that’s if everyone is healthy. Including our first baseman, if it’s not Teixeira or Dunn. If we’re left with Johnson and Meat, well then, perhaps Willingham is at first and the other three play every day. Bottom line: Our five outfielders give us a lot of depth, and a lot of options. We don’t necessarily have to get rid of anybody, even if we do sign a free agent first baseman.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Also, a two-way catcher? That sounds cool. If there's a wild pitch, he can catch it off the backstop without even turning around.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 2:15 PM | Report abuse

BobL, any idea what a two way catcher is?

Also, thanks for pointing out what strong fielding skills Kearns has - while Dukes is certainly strong enough for right field, he will need a lot more practice until he knows instinctively how to do it right. I still remember one game last summer when Dukes caught a foul ball in right field, but a runner was able to tag up and get home. Our discussion at the time was that Kearns would have known to just let the ball drop in foul territory. (Sorry, don't remember the date or outcome of the game, but I think we lost it - hope it wasn't just by one run.) Kearns also had a Harris-worthy catch the prior year that you all may recall was Barry Svrluga's play of the year.

Posted by: Traveler8 | December 18, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm tired of agonizing over Teixeira. Ain't no way he's coming here.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 18, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Traveler, my push-me pull-you reference aside, a two-way catcher is one that can hit as well as play defense behind the plate.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

No, there really isn't is there? But we knew this back in September. We all just let ourselves believe.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

1a, thanks for the humorous Boras story. Anybody want to cop to posting on NJ in the buff?

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Bob L Head, hats off.

Posted by: Section506 | December 18, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Bob L, thanks much.

Posted by: Traveler8 | December 18, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks 506. Just a hat?

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Anybody else's heart skip a beat when they read the words "Nationals Sign..." before reading the rest of the headline?

Posted by: Juan-John | December 18, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

aaron fn boone is an astro

Posted by: longterm | December 18, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Heads off? If someone must be sacrificed, I nominate NatsNut!

Posted by: Section506 | December 18, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Did JimBow make sure that the buscones got their gratuities?

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 18, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I think that I understand why Justice left the Post. Just couldn't stand the scrutiny. He makes the statement that both Nats and Os had made essentially the same offer. All he had to do was double check and he would have gotten that the Nat's offer was larger, to begin with, and that they (according to most sources have not been shy about raising the offer and indicating that they might not be through negotiating. The Os OTOH made a low-ball offer and have indicated that they have no intention of raising it. For Justice to bring up the Ripken purchase of the Os in this article is pure nonsequiter and he should have known better.

It is quite obvious that Justice knows nothing of developments within the Nats organization, nor within the Os, where Weiters seems to be the only real bright spot.

I'll still bet on LA/Orange County/Anaheim, but the reasoning behind this article is a joke.

Posted by: Catcher50 | December 18, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

How is it that nobody knows anything at all about Tex? I mean, no one's leaking ANYTHING to ANYONE?

I'd at least feel better if Chico posted that he's placed phone calls to _______ and _______, but the calls haven't been returned. Or something.

Posted by: SkinsMasonNats | December 18, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse

SI's Jon Heyman has this:

"There were signs in recent days that the Red Sox, Angels and Nationals were the three highest bidders. One source said he believed that Boston was in for close to $180 million over eight years and the Angels in for about the same. The Nats may be as high, or even higher than that. Some suggest they have either hit the $200 million mark, or gotten very close. Or that someone else has."

Keep hope alive!

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

506, my "just a hat" comment was related to 1a's post (which involved a reporter confessing to have interviewed Boras over the telephone while naked).

So, NatsNut can keep her head for now, even if it's hanging a little low.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

From the old news department on MLB Trade Rumors:

According to Heyman:

"'One source said he believed that Boston was in for close to $180 million over eight years and the Angels in for about the same. The Nats may be as high, or even higher than that. Some suggest they have either hit the $200 million mark, or gotten very close. Or that someone else has.'

Heyman expects Teixeira to sign next week, and agrees that the Red Sox are the favorites. He provides odds of each bidding team signing Teixeira."

How are the Red Sox favorites if their offer might be $20 million less? Seriously, I want cash in exchange for my posts from now on, I'm so much smarter than he is.

Posted by: Section506 | December 18, 2008 3:20 PM | Report abuse

506

Because they might be able to give him a ring!!! The man has worked his whole life for a half chance at a World Series Ring! Why does no on understand that these are highly competitive men?

And the difference between 18 million a year, and 20 million is just not that much. To a smart man they are just two different ways of saying 'more than I can ever spend in my life'.

Christ I want him to come but this is a man with a shot at a World Series. You can't blame him if he chooses that.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, unnecessary use of exclamation points. I'm more frustrated with the process and didn't mean to imply I thought negatively of you or your post. I'm just fed up with this thing.

My bad.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Boonie sure does move around a lot.

Posted by: ramgut | December 18, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

> aaron fn boone is an astro

Posted by: longterm | December 18, 2008 3:03 PM

Kory Casto's chances of making the 25-man roster just improved dramatically. Farewell, AB. The bench now looks like AG, Belliard and Casto (plus Willie and another OF).

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I dont' think there is that much differnce between say 10/200 and 8/180, but key factors at this point are no-trade clauses (full, partial or vested) and player opt-outs or team buyouts.

I honestly think that will weigh a lot more on where Teixeira goes than a chance at a WS ring, 8-10 years is a VERY long time, the Red Sox could implode in the next 2 years and we'll be stuck on a crappy team for 6 years if he has no opt out, or if he doesn't get his N/T clause if they miss the WS next year they might ship him back to LAA or god knows where.

What the man wants is as much money as he can get, but as importantly is as much control over his own future as possible!

Posted by: estuartj | December 18, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

And what is with his hedging at the end? He may as well have said:

"Or maybe someone else hasn't or could have but might not have and maybe another team bid 10 years, or not, but got close. Or maybe they didn't."

Posted by: combedge | December 18, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Good voice of reason there estuartj. He will need a lot of opt out clauses to come to us. I don't blame the man for not wanting to play in front of 25,000 people competing to 'not lose 100 games'. I don't personally think that is where we'll be in two years time, but you couldn't blame him for being nervous.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but now we need a new way to say [AB]. Where is Robert Fick these days?

Posted by: Traveler8 | December 18, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Bob, here is my best guess on position players on the roster w/o any additional signings/trades. I'm not even going to get into the pitching...

CA - Flores
1B - Johnson
2B - Hernandez
3B - Zimmerman
SS - Guzman
LF - Willingham
CF - Milledge
RF - Dukes
CA - Nieves/Montz
OF - Kearns
IF - Gonzalez
IF - Harris
IF - Belliard

I think Belliard is ripe for a trade, and of course if Teixeira is signed that would mean Nick is going to be traded. I'm not counting Pena or Young toward the 25 man roster till I see some proof they are going to be healthy or productive.

Posted by: estuartj | December 18, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, ESJ, that's what my cheat sheet says right now as well.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Interesting take on the Teixeira - Red Sox negotiations when he was originally drafted. I had not realized the had drafted and not signed Burrell 3 years earlier. Along with the distance to Severna Park, perhaps a bit of vengeance might be the Nats best hope (along with a no trade and contract length).
http://www.boston.com/sports/ot/2008/12/ten_years_after.html
Odds are, if given a chance, the Red Sox will not be topped on AAV. They take the Nats offer in $$ and compress it a year or two in order to make it more attractive.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 18, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Apologies in advance for those that will feel compelled to visit this, but Collin Balester has a blog:

http://collinbalester.mlblogs.com/archives/2008/12/bally_minute_2.html#comments

John Lannan, he's not.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 18, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't think the difference between 180 and 200 makes nearly as much difference as the opt out and no trade.

The only way Teixeira seem years 9-10 of this deal is if he's hurt, so the total guaranteed dollars is the key factor.

If he remains healthy and productive then he's going to want to pick as early an opportunity to re-hit FA as possible. I don't think anyone will offer only 3 years like Sabathia, but after year 4-5 sounds very reasonable to me. If his yearly salary is less than the league average for his abilities he's going to be very unhappy anyway so better to let him have the opt out then have to risk a disgruntled player wanting to renegotiate. It does give him more leverage over the team, but that the breaks. I also think his yearly salary is its own no-trade clause so don't worry about it. It can tie your hands a bit, but the reason Peavy is such a nightmare is that he's so cheap, not so expensive (as Teixeira would be) so only a handful of teams could ever take on his conract anyway so they would just have to give him "incentive" to waive the N/T if/when it came to that.

Basically I think the Nats go 10/200, full n/t & an opt-out after year 4 or 5 and a few bonus incentives like $1mil for each All-Star appearance or gold glove and $5mil for leading the league in a major batting category (HR, BA, etc).

Posted by: estuartj | December 18, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

It's kinda fun, Bob. Great picture of Boone and Johnson in tuxes.

Posted by: Section506 | December 18, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

If we are sacrificing Nats related associates, I'm pretty sure we have a consensus on the first nominee. Starts with "C", ends with a "T" and in the middle goes "Annoying between-inning Seacrest wannabe".

Good for Boone. Just goes to show there is always a market for gimpy, non productive, corner infielders that come cheap - even in this economic climate. Drop Wiggington, pick up Boone. Roy Oswalt must be delighted.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | December 18, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

As some commentator noted when the Texiera shenanigans got started, Boras' clients ALWAYS go to the highest bidder. Boras sets the market for players. If his client's don't want to go to the highest bidder, they find another agent.

I am convinced that the highest bidder gets the guy, period. And I mean, highest total dollars, not highest average dollars for a shorter period. He can't be sure to get the same money in 9 years. If money is the same and someone gives him an one-way opt-out, they win. Maybe if two teams give the exact same proposal and one is 39 miles from Severna Park, maybe the team closest wins. Boras clients don't care about winning, lifestyle or anything, just the money.

Maybe it was Boswell who said that in a chat several weeks ago. Wouldn't it be nice if the Post actually had a reporter assigned to follow the Texiera shenanigans and reported on the story like, say, the Globe or Herald or LA Times does? You know, with sources? Instead of only reporting what others report? Maybe someday the Post will report and the Nats will win!

Posted by: Section314 | December 18, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

1a, thanks for the humorous Boras story. Anybody want to cop to posting on NJ in the buff?

---

I wondered the same thing, BobL.

I will also add my farewell to AB. Not sure who will take on the RF/AB role now, Traveler. If we don't come up with a likely player, perhaps some sort of take on Scott Boras might work? :-D

NatsNut, I'm feeling the Tex fatigue as well.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 18, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Opt-outs, and the Red Sox refusal to give opt-outs, may be a red herring in the negotiations. What the Red Sox do is have "mutual options," such as they have with Tim Wakefield. Wakefield's is perpetual and below market, but there are other mutual options out there. Essentially, the Red Sox could offer, say, 6 years, $140 million, and have years 7 - 9 mutual options at $25 million / yr. If Teixeira exercises his option, then the Red Sox would either have to exercise the team's option or pay a buy out of say, $10 million. That makes the contract effectively $25 million year, but for MLB accounting purposes, I believe it stays between $23m and $24m unless the Red Sox let him walk.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 18, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb/12/17/redsox.teixeira.ap/index.html

Not a bad sign. Although, at this point I'm sure it's all just bull...

Posted by: soundbloke | December 18, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

All I'm hearing from the national media is that the Nats, Boston and the Angels are the three teams left, so that means the Nats have no chance because in their opinion no one would play for the Nats if they could go to Boston or Anaheim.

So I don't think any of this is a bad sign.

Justice is a cronie of Kornheiser, who, like Wilbon, are Washington based area 'sportswriters' who know absolutely nothing about the local teams other than the RedSkins. So I put absolutely zero stock in Justice.

Kornheiser said on ESPN yesterday that Tex wouldn't be going to the Nats because "no one goes to their games". How he 'knows' this is unclear.

Posted by: raymitten | December 18, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

How would Korn-pone know anything about the Nationals, the only game he went to last year was the Opener as an invited guest of the Lerner-Stans and according to his own admission left after the second inning.

Geez wiz Washington Sports (aka Redskins 24X7X365) media, give it a rest! If memory serves me correctly the Nats sold 2.4M seats last year, thats a hell of a lot better then the TB-Rays.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 18, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Korn-pone, that's pretty good!

Thanks for the link to the blog, BobL. After reading the entries, I am reminded of why Nick Johnson is one of my fave Nats.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 18, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

For those who haven't read the entries (and in case it sounded like I was slamming Collin), Nick evidently took Balester under his wing and has kept in touch with him.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 18, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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