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Nats Sign Five (Including Two Named Gustavo)

The Nationals today signed five players to minor league contracts: infielder Jose Castillo, outfielder Corey Patterson, catcher Gustavo Molina, right-handed relief pitcher Jorge Sosa and left-handed starter Gustavo Chacin.

Here's a little about each player.

* CASTILLO -- Once Pittsburgh's everyday second baseman, Castillo, 27, is a lifetime .254 hitter who can also play short and third. He appeared in 127 games with San Francisco and Houston last year, hitting a combined .245 in 426 AB with six home runs and 37 RBI.

* PATTERSON -- Patterson, 29, is a nine-year veteran and a lifetime .253 hitter who is coming off a difficult 2008 season, where he hit .205 with 10 home runs and 34 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds. Patterson played previously for the Chicago Cubs and the Baltimore Orioles.

* MOLINA -- Molina, 26, has played sparingly in two major league seasons divided among three teams. He played in two games last year with the Mets and went 1-for-7.

* SOSA -- Sosa, 31, appeared in 20 games last year with the Mets, finishing with a 7.06 ERA. His best season came in 2005, when he pitched 134 innings for the Braves (including 20 games as a starter) and finished 13-3 with a 2.55 ERA.

* CHACIN -- Chacin, 27, had spent all four of his big league seasons with Toronto, where he went 25-15 with a 4.18 ERA. His best season came in 2005, when he went 13-9 with a 3.72 ERA in 34 starts. Left shoulder problems, though, hampered his 2007 season -- and he returned in 2008 only to pitch 11 games with Class A Dunedin.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 23, 2008; 8:05 PM ET
 
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Next: Boras: For Tex, It Just Came Down To Winning

Comments

Oh yeah, these signings make it all better.

Worst Festivus present ever.

I get home and see a present under the tree. I open it up and all I see is a steaming pile of TeixeiraBoras in the box. And I can't get the stench out of my house. Thanks for ruining the holidays.

Posted by: erocks33 | December 23, 2008 8:26 PM | Report abuse

My two-cents worth on the signings...
>IF Jose' Castillo: Meh - duplicates Orr around the IF at SYR, just younger.
>C Gustavo Molina - Provides depth to MiL catching corps at either SYR or HAR; good signing.
>OF Corey Patterson: A waste - He'll tease the parent club into giving him a contract with great numbers in ST, then revert to form with the big club.
>LHSP Gustavo Chacin - Coming back from shoulder problems, worth a look on a MiL roster, even at a POT-HAR level.
>RHRP Jorge Sosa - Still (by my observations) under a 50-game MLB suspension for PED usage; WTF?

Posted by: BinM | December 23, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

okay, so now where do we turn? prince fielder? adrian gonzalez (!)? adam dunn? i like the idea of bringing in sheets. some how or other we need a type a free agent addition this offseason. doubt on hudson with all these 2b options we keep adding. 1b gets thin quick. ugh, we may be close to our team. let's see some trades!

Posted by: longterm | December 23, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

longterm - I could see the Nats' either offering a short-term (2-yr+) to a #1SP like Sheets & trying to trade for a LH-power bat (pick one, the're all pricey), or signing one of the remaining LH-power bats (Dunn, Abreu, Giambi) for 3-yrs & trading for a SP.
The team is deep in OF's & mid-level SP/RP prospects right now, so they have that for value.

Posted by: BinM | December 23, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Also to be considered - If a team (the Nationals) could sign an Arbitration-A level player that meets an immediate need (Lowe, Sheets) to a short-term deal (2-3 years), why not do it when their first two picks are protected? That way, it's only a 2nd-round equivalent draft-pick lost.

Posted by: BinM | December 23, 2008 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Patterson's OBP has never been good, but last year's was particularly bad. He is an above average centerfielder so if the Nats have another year of incredibly bad injurry luck, Patterson could be helpful at the back of the lineup. He's got some power and speed, but if they have to use him for more than 100 at bats it would probably be bad.

Chacin could eat up some innings, but again it will probably not be a good sign if they need him in the rotation. But when injurries strike he might be able to fill in.

Castillo also provides some depth, but his OBP is worse than Patterson's.

I am going to guess that Castillo and Molina were signed to fill spots at AAA. Molina could back up Montz and Castillo could hold down second until a prospect moves up.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 23, 2008 10:46 PM | Report abuse

OK - so on the day that we DON'T get Teixeira -we get a bunch of AAA filler instead - whoop-dee-flippin'-do.

Posted by: comish4lif | December 23, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Oh my god, with the signing of Corey Patterson and Daniel Cabrera (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=As2_9msgcibiz_ebwYrWErwRvLYF?slug=ap-nationals-cabrera&prov=ap&type=lgns), are the Nats trying to be the "NL" version of the Orioles? If they suck in the American League, how will they be any better in the National League where Cabrera also has to hit too? He is 6-7 for crying out loud! And with his penchant for wildness on the mound, he will be a sitting duck for opposing pitchers!

Posted by: JohnWWW | December 23, 2008 10:55 PM | Report abuse

Some nats fans are just down right stupid. When we get a few former Reds were now the Reds of the east, now i know we have Alot of Reds but minor deals who cares were they played before? Then when we make a trade with the Marlins some people on this blog said we are the Marlins up north, now that we sign two former O's were now the new O's? Wow you guys are really dumb Jim is trying to bring in people who will either compete for a job or just play at AAA and people complain just chill and relax that we are not the pirates who do NOTHING almost ever off-season atleast we are making some news even if it is minor big stuff will come sooner or later hopefull sooner. TRADE FOR NICK SWISHER PLEASE.

Posted by: j-dog1 | December 23, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Okay. Moving on.

With the Nats abstaining from another trip to the Metrodome in 2009, I'm forced to take my shenanigans on the road.

Like last year, I will be at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

Unlike last year, I'm actually going to make it out to Wrigley in 2009. In late August, just after catching the first game of the Baltimore/Minnesota series, I'll be driving from the Twin Cities to Chicago. Then I'm off to St. Louis to catch the next three games.

Rather than continue on to San Diego, I'll be peeling off to Dale and Thomas Popcorn Field to catch the low-A Cedar Rapids Kernals (Angels) finish off an eight-game home stand against the Peoria Chiefs (Indians). Then, hopefully, I'm off to Davenport, Iowa, to see the Quad Cities River Bandits (Cardinals) take on the Beloit Snappers (Twins).

There's baseball life after Teixeira. (You just might have to go to Iowa to find it, though.)

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 23, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Nats can also hold the record for most Gustavos on the field at the same time.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 12:03 AM | Report abuse

I think they would secure that record with just two, right?

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 24, 2008 1:03 AM | Report abuse

There was Gustavo Alou, the lesser known, evil Alou brother...

Posted by: mike8 | December 24, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Well those five should be good for about 2 more wins. Hey look at the bright side 2 wins means only 100 loses instead of 102.

Nats dug a hole a mile deep over the past 2 years, Bosewell is spot on in his article. There is no way they can go forward without a big hitter in 2009 and expect to do any better then last year. Time for the JimBo junk yard and scrap heap searching to come to an end.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 24, 2008 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Yeah! TWO Gustavi!

Take that, Yankees.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 24, 2008 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Lost in the Tex sweepstakes is that they actually have made the 40 man roster worse after a good start w/ Olson and Willingham.

Out -- Boone (clutch hitter, good clubhouse guy) and Redding (lead team in wins, great w/ young pitchers)

In -- Patterson and Cabrera.

Criticism of Bowden for getting Patterson because he was a Cincinnati Red is silly because Patterson was never a Red when Bowden was there. The fact he played a year with the Reds is coincidental. The fact he is a low priced player who has bounced from team to team is not coincidence. Nook Logan. Wily Mo Pena. Willie Harris. See a pattern?

Really I'm afraid that what we saw last year is going to be our fate for years to come. These five signings do nothing to dispell that fear. In fact, they enhance it.

I know this is old news and I know I'll get flamed for this opinion, but I think the Willie Harris signing was AWFUL. Its Dmitri Young and Paul LoDuca, circa 2008. Harris was playing over his head for three months, then fell off the table. A contract they will be regretting by July 4. They should have cut bait when they had the chance with Willie.

Posted by: raymitten | December 24, 2008 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Ray, it sez here that Patterson was signed to a minor-league contract. I kind of assumed that meant he wasn't added to the 40-man.

And I don't really think it's fair to say the roster was made worse after a given point, when it was a clear improvement up to that point. I prefer to view the offseason in its totality, and it ain't close to being done yet.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 24, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Trying to understand the thought-process behind these signings (and subsequent signings of similar nature). Is it a body-grab where the dice is rolled to see if at least one pans out? Is it to fill gaps in the organization, i.e., filling out a minor league roster with bodies?

And do these signings act as roadblocks for the younger prospects, preventing them from moving up?

If they're not young prospects with the promise of big league performance, or a proven player who can significantly contribute to the 40 man roster (and replace one of the existing walking cadavers), then why bother?

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 24, 2008 8:46 AM | Report abuse

What, Gustavo Nunez wasn't available? We could have achieved the rare Gustavo triple...

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/item.aspx?&type=photo&photo_id=06gsfst8wb35T&pn=3&tid=000000000

p.s. I liked Gustavi, Scooter.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Also, now I have this playing in my head:

http://www.actionext.com/names_t/tom_lehrer_lyrics/alma.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals are not - repeat NOT - the only team signing tier 3 players to minor league contracts. There are many reasons to sign marginal AAAA players and declining veterans to minor league deals. These inclue: 1) Don't put the organization in position of having to promote a prospect to a higher level before his time. 2) Give the organization depth to protect against injurries. 3) Cast a wide net in hopes that a player like Gustavo Chacin can return some value as a starter or middle reliever at some point over the course of the season (see Shell, Steven). 5) Create enough depth that should you need to trade someone later (e.g. Belliard, Kearns) you have s player who can replace them on the bench (e.g., Castillo, Patterson) if necessary.

None of these five recent signings nor the previous 13 signings were made with the intent of filling a major league roster spot on opening day. Perhaps 1-2 of the 18 players will crack the 25 man roster, but most will be released or farmed out to Syracuse or Harrisburg.

Actually, the previuous group of 13 signings had a couple of more interesting names including Joel Guzman who has some potential to become a useful player someday.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 24, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Seriously? Another catcher named Molina?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 24, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Only I don't think that he's related to the catching Molina bros., NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey this signings have nothing to do with the Tex mess. These would have happened no matter what. Look at the reasons for these minor league deals....

Patterson....a true CF, something that is not at AAA or even in the bigs right now. It will help Syracuse

Molina....help at the catching spot, still young

Castillo....still looking for any kind of 2b player. Will be at AAA, unless he proves he is back at MLB level. Gives more to look at 2b with Hernandez, Anderson, Belliard, always a good thing.

Chacin....this is one of those, is he healthy deals. If he is, it is a great pick up. He is still young and has pitched in the bigs.

Sosa.....is just bullpen fodder for the spring. Little chance he is more than AA bound, if at all.

Now if in the next month the Nats don't try for Adam Dunn (I can hear the groans of the Bowden haters now) or for Orlando Hudson, then I will start to complain. Or some bigger starter than Cabrera, like Jon Garland or Olivier Perez, or maybe a play for Fuentes. That would be a good sign. All young so to speak,could help be building blocks and hopefully make the team competitive

Posted by: sazzwho | December 24, 2008 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Silly me - I actually got hopeful that the Nats would sign a Major League player. Thank God I didn't renew my season tickets yet.

Time to face reality - the starting Nats lineup for 2009 is already on the team. Tho in fairness to the Lerners this team will probably only lose 90 to 95 games in 2009.

I am guessing Kasten is gone soon. The grass really is greener on other teams.

Posted by: CountDemoney | December 24, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

To the poster who denigrated the Harris signing; are you sure you actually watched Nats games last year? Harris was probably the team MVP, damn near lead the team in HRs despite having 2/3rds the ABs of Zimmerman and Millege.

You think he "fell off the table" halfway through the year? Look at his splits:
http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/bsplit.cgi?n1=harriwi02&year=2008

first half batted .221, second half .270 with more HRs and twice as many hits in fewer games. Yeah he really plummeted there. Plus, he played FIVE different positions and provided the absolute best defensive option for us in Left all year (even getting a couple of ESPN worthy catches in to save games).

the fact that we got him for ONLY $3M a year is a brilliant move by the Nats front office. By having Harris, we don't have to carry a loser 5th outfielder like Langerhans, we don't need a useless extra middle infielder like Orr and he is a decent PH bat off the bench.

Posted by: tboss | December 24, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Good God, what a bunch of moaners you are.

This is nothing more than a few pick-ups and try outs for depth purposes. None of these are instead of a big agent signing. They are just a few minor league contracts chucked out to guys to see if they can improve.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 24, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Oh, hey, welcome back, Count Demoney. So funny you should show up today...

These five guys all have minor league contracts. If they block someone, or suck it up, just cut them. That's the point of giving someone a minor league contract.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I know. That's what's sort of remarkable about it.
********************

Only I don't think that he's related to the catching Molina bros., NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 9:42 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | December 24, 2008 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Well somebody has to recycle other teams' trash to keep Fehr happy. Even better - we don't need to worry about these players "blocking" anybody.

Posted by: CountDemoney | December 24, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Now taking the field at Nationals Park, let's hear it for your 2009 Syracuse Chiefs!

Posted by: 6thandD | December 24, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Good point, NatsNut.

Re. moves, I have a feeling that the Nats aren't done yet...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Count Demoney...isn't that what Tex and Bor-ass are doing this holiday season?

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 24, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Interesting bit about the market for Manny evaporating. If we could get him for 2 years, $22MM, I would feel very different about him. Though if we could get Dunn for that price, I'd also feel very different about him.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Dumb is as dumb does, or, as dumb fails to punctuate run-on sentences.....

Posted by: fischy | December 24, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Any updates on Texeira?

Posted by: fischy | December 24, 2008 11:12 AM | Report abuse

tboss: Yes, I actually watched the games, in fact I attended over 70 of them -- from Viera to Cincinnati to Nationals Park. I knew I was going to get flamed for this opinion -- I heard the same thing over Dmitri Young. I stand by it. You can go through the statistical categories, but he lead the team only because many of the regulars were hurt for much of the year. And compare Harris' numbers before and after the All Star break. Much was made of Redding's decline in the second half, but Harris' decline was more dramatic IMO. The team is not going to get better relying on and overpaying journeyman utility players.

Posted by: raymitten | December 24, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Is it to fill gaps in the organization, i.e., filling out a minor league roster with bodies?

-----------

yes.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 24, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Scooter -- I suppose you're right that it isn't fair to pick a point and say the roster was made worse from that point. And I hope that more moves are in the works, but when Teixera refuses to take $184 mil to play here because he's thinks the team is a loser, and when I read things like there are 'internal debates' about Adam Dunn when you're looking at the roster as it currently stands, its discouraging.

I'm not Boswell's biggest fan, but his column today is right on point. Teixera wanted to be a Yankee, but now the real test of what happens to the Nats is what they do from here. They need to stop making moves like getting Milledge for Schneider and Church and improve the major league team. Now. Zimmerman isn't going to stay here if the team doesn't improve either.

Posted by: raymitten | December 24, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Now that the dust has settled, I think it's safe to say that this was more interesting than watching the stadium cam last year. In the spirit of the holidays, let's review the gifts we have received. In 2005, we got a baseball team. In 2006, we got new owners capable of spending money to improve the club. In 2007, we were finally able to draft like a major league team, and we spent the money and improved our depth in the minors, resulting in the jump from 30th to 9th in the rankings. In 2008, we got a new park. We've also assembled some young players that might develop into future stars, players like Zimmerman, Milledge, Dukes, Flores, Olsen, Lannan, and Balester, and possibly Maxwell, Marrero, Burgess, Rhinehart, Desmond, Smiley, Zimmermann, Detwiler, Smoker and McGeary. This year, we attempted to take the next step by signing a big ticket free agent. We were in the game early and we played hard until the end, making a competitive offer across the board, with the right dollars and years, and out clause. In the end, it didn't work out, but it wasn't for lack of effort. That's progress folks. Progress may be slower than we would like, but it's still progress. And there may yet be some gifts under our tree this year, even if, in these lean times, we missed out on the Corvette in fire engine red.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 24, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Harris' numbers before and after the All Star break. Much was made of Redding's decline in the second half, but Harris' decline was more dramatic IMO. The team is not going to get better relying on and overpaying journeyman utility players.

Posted by: raymitten | December 24, 2008 11:14 AM

Overpaying !!! Come on...Willie was a nice 10th player. We paid him a baseball pittance for what he gave us last year. I agree in kind about Redding. I think by taking Cabrera we're walking away from Redding. We're letting go of a known quantity with some possible upside ( he fix his booboo and is probably going to play at he first half levels) for a shiny toy that we found at a yard sale. Look just a few scratches Mom I have daddy St.Claire look at it and make it better. We may live to regret that one, but I'm all for giving Willy the love...

Posted by: Berndaddy | December 24, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Bob L Head,

Nice glass half full view, but if you look without the Rose colored glasses you see 2008 product and Crow....you see Ross D as a true signablity pick and Zim getter worse every year he plays. You see Acta not having a clue how to manage a game to win. What has changed the facts here.....nothing really....Acta is the perfect choice for a Single A Development team.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 24, 2008 11:44 AM | Report abuse

oh look Jaybeee is back, now that Tex has gone elsewhere.

when it looked for a moment that Tex might actually have a chance of coming here....Jaybeee was nowhere to be found.

very nice.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 24, 2008 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Naaah, JayBeee, you're wearing sunglasses at night. 2008 was the product of injuries and a serious lack of depth. We'll make a run at .500 this year even if we don't add any more players. We might not get there, but we'll make a run at it. If we can add (or develop) a pitcher and a bat, we might just contend for the wild card.

Also, I'm all for these signings that are designed solely to improve the Syracuse Chiefs. The reason we have them as our affiliate (instead of the comparatively unfavorable New Orleans or Las Vegas) is that we promised to do what Toronto failed to do -- give them some decent players. Hence, paying a AAAA outfielder like Corey Patterson $800k to patrol CF down there (or should I say up there?) and possibly serve as our 4th or 5th OF in the event we experience catastrophic injuries again.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 24, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Raymitten: I posted the direct link for Harris's first half/second half splits. Since you apparently think Harris "tailed off," i'll post his relevant numbers here:

1st half: .221/.335/.379, 5hrs, 13rbis
2nd half: .270/.351/.441, 8hrs, 30rbis.

Please explain to me how this is "tailing off" in the second half.

He signed for 2yrs, $3M to basically provide backup cover for 5 positions. We signed Belliard to a 2yr $3.5M contract to provide backup cover for second base. How do you see this as anything except a great deal?? He's not the starter in left, or second, or short or anywhere else. He's the known 4th outfielder, gives us a good backup option at 2nd/ss/3rd/left/center (the 5 positions he played at some point last season) and he provides good power off the bench.

We're not talking about Young, Kearns, Johnson, Pena or any of the other multi-million dollar deals you could possibly have an issue with. Just having Harris on the roster means we don't have to carry Langerhans AND someone like Orr or Casto on the 25-man, giving the team great roster flexibility to carry a 13th pitcher or to carry a rule-5 guy all year.

Plus he's a GREAT defensive outfielder, (a perfect late inning replacement for Willingham or Pena), is a great pinch running option (13/16 in stolen bases last season), and hits for decent power (13 hrs in 367 at bats, a far better hr per at bat ratio than anyone else on the team)

If you don't see the value in this signing, then I don't know how you see value in any signing.

Posted by: tboss | December 24, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Bah Humbug. Signing Harris proves the world is ending in 8 days. Somebody take this 100 pounds of oppression off my back so I can keep complaining and lamenting the indignities of life. I deny the existance of cold hard facts and insist that up is down and that Harris was worse in the second half. My curmudgeonly existance depends on it. blather, blather blather....

Oh and Happy Holidays everyone!!!
:)

Posted by: natbisquit | December 24, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"even if, in these lean times, we missed out on the Corvette in fire engine red."

Speak for yourself, Bob. VRRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

tboss makes a good point, I think, but there is a broader point to make as well based on this statement:

"We're not talking about Young, Kearns, Johnson, Pena or any of the other multi-million dollar deals you could possibly have an issue with."

As Bob pointed out to JayB, this really is extraordinarily bad luck. Now, I agree that in baseball and life the winners make their own luck to some degree, but really - seriously -

and I'm putting in weird spaces to encourage you to really think deeply about this

Does it really seem reasonable to predict the absolute worst case scenario occurring for ALL FOUR of these major league players? I mean, yes, anyone could have predicted that one of Young, Johnson, Kearns, or Pena might have season-ending injuries...

BUT ALL FOUR OF THEM?!

And anyone could predict that four players with unstable stats could be unable to perform, perhaps even nose dive into a black hole of performance.

BUT ALL FOUR OF THEM?!

It's kinda like Yahtzee. You could always role a yahtzee (the same five numbers on all five die) on your first role, but you're an idiot if you expect it to happen.

2009 will be a better year, if only because it would defy the laws of probability for so many misfortunes to befall us again.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Bob L. Head,

I do like your view of the last 4 years. I am a "Plan" guy and I think we have added some young pieces with upside.

My one beef is with the no adding of FA's to mix in. There is no harm in adding a Dunn, Hudson and solid FA starter (O. Perez, Ben Sheets) to make the roster more solid and competative now, while the youngsters develop with no rush to the Bigs.

If they were going to spend 20-25 Mil for the next 8 years on one Guy, Tex, why not spend that or 30-35 for the next 2-3 years to make the product better and more competative by adding 2-3 guys.

It's simple business. Put a poo poo AAA product on the field and even a shiney new stadium won't completely help attendance. Make some offseason moves and spend a little money, thereby putting a quality product on the field and people will come.

You can still stick with the "Plan" as the overall goal but, spend a little more money to make more money.

Injuries did kill the Nats last year and I hoping that the injury bug passes us by this year and therefore, be a better club.

I'm just not liking the tone coming from the FO now of, "we lost out on Tex so back to the Plan of spending minimally and picking up every "stray cat" hoping that 1 or 2 become quality pets", so to speak.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 24, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed with the Tex non-signing, but here's what I'm more worried about. I'm a big believer in the Plan. It's hard to argue with the idea that building through the draft is bad thinking. Having said that though it may be time to question the draft picks. Where are the potential offensive stars? Burgess? Marrero? Maxwell? Gonzalez? None of these guys is producing in the minor leagues at a level that would lead one to believe that they will be a a top ten OPS guy in the big leagues. Some of them may prove to be pieces, but not stars.

All is not doom and gloom on this end though. I am glad they changed up their medical staff. I don't agree that it's coincidence that the Nats suffered a lot of injuries last year. When you combine scrap heap players with questionable medical histories and throw in sub-standard training, you get what you deserve.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Paging Mr. Applegate. Mr. Applegate, you have Washington on Line One.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 24, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Boz rightly points out that the Nats have no credibility after the Front Office tanked it for both of the last two years. In 2007 they got lucky, and in 2008 they got really unlucky, but they made no attempt to even look competitive either year, and this is what that cost them.

Maybe Teixeira was planning on the Damn Yankees all along; Boras established what he is, and all this was just negotiating.

And while Zimmerman is no Mark Teixeira (he's not even the second-best 3rd baseman in his own division), that just emphasizes the point: having a rep as a loser will cost you good ballplayers who have a choice.

*********
What saddens me more is that when the day comes, Ryan Zimmerman may very well seek a payday like Texiera. And even if the Nats met his demand, he may very well choose the Yankees or the Redsox over DC. Salary caps now, Bud, please.
Posted by: 6thandD | December 24, 2008 10:17 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 24, 2008 1:44 PM | Report abuse

But no salary caps, please, at least not without caps on ticket prices and the team's net profits, or serious revenue sharing MLB-wide.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 24, 2008 1:50 PM | Report abuse

raym: Teixiera may not have wanted to wear pinstripes for the next 8 years, but Boras made the best deal ($22.5M AAV + no-trade) with the NYY. Moving on...

BobL, 505203: Gotta agree, progress is being made at all levels. But 2009 could be sweeter for the fan base if the FO could "Welcome Home" a short-term need-filler (LH-power, top-end SP, or 1B) without creating another hole to plug with a 4A retread.

#4: Remember, the farm system was gutted by the previous two regimes (Loria/Minaya, MLB). The Lerner/Kasten braintrust has done reasonably well since 2006 at the minor-league level. Draft lists are normally a look at what you think will help a club in 3-5 years; the system is starting to bear fruit again, just keep the faith.

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

CE: Maybe not a salary cap, but either 1) lower the ceiling on the luxury tax, 2) make additional revenue (Cable/Radio/etc.) part of the threshold value, or 3) make each teams' total revenue "transparent" (like that'll ever happen). In addition, install a salary floor, requiring owners to devote X% of total income to player salary.

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@Section505203 - "...picking up every 'stray cat'..." - very funny and very accurate.

Though frustrated, I can hardly fault Texeira from wanting to be on a team that can win. I am sure Dunn, Sheets and Hudson have the same desire - so I would be surprised if any of them come here if they get comparable offers elsewhere.

Posted by: CountDemoney | December 24, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

BiM:

That's a reason for current futility. I accept that. My concern is the guys we have in charge now have not drafted well when it comes to hitters. To me, that's more important in getting Zim to sign here than whether they blow $20 million on Manny or Dunn. He needs to see some long term help coming.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, your Lordship, he wanted to play for a team that can win so bad he was willing to accept $22.5 million per year for eight years with a no-trade clause. You can really see the desire!

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

#4, I believe I remember Bowden specifically saying he was overdrafting for pitchers with the belief that it was much easier to convert pitching to hitting than the other way around.

1a, do you know of some statement like this? It would have been around the time of the 2006 draft.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Section 506,

You are correct, I remember that statement about having an overabundance of pitchers that can be traded to fill in needs elsewhere.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 24, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

506:

Your memory is accurate, and I think JimBo is probably right about that. It's just that you'd like to think with all the high draft picks, they'd have uncovered one guy who'd be ripping it up in the low minors. None of their prospects are putting up .300, 25, 100 numbers on any level. Shoot, I'd take just a .300 hitter with some pop. If you look at Pujols and guys of that ilk, they did stuff like that.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Not sure where it might have appeared, 506, but you might find something relevant in the archives of Bowden's old Washington Examiner columns:

http://www.examiner.com/Topic-By_Jim_Bowden.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Oh. Never mind. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

You guys are great. #4, if three years from now, it's still all pitching and no hitting in the minors, I think we will have a huge reason to worry.

I was watching the Man v. Wild Marathon today (note to MASN, please higher Bear Grylls to do color commentary! "This is by far the most dire pitch count I have ever come across!") and Bear fell in a hole. To get out, he had to kinda leap back and forth between two walls quickly, pushing from his right foot to his left foot, back and forth.

Likewise, our farm system has to lift one foot first, that's pitching, then the other, hitting, until we're out of this hole. You obviously know all this, but I think it makes a good visual why at Year 2 of the Plan, the lopsidedness of our talent bunch isn't a huge concern.

Loss of commitment by committing to mediocre free agents resulting in a lifetime of mediocrity is.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I think the quote from Bowden was "pitching, pitching, pitching".

506: When did you start channeling Yoda?

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 3:26 PM | Report abuse

#4: Part of the reason you're not seeing the numbers is that hitters are moving up through the system quickly (ref: Detwiler's comments on the tide change at PAT in 2008). Not excusing, just saying...

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

506: Also, I think when Mr. Grylls referred to "pitch count", he was referring to the % of slope he was facing - but as an analogy, it works at a certain level.

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Here are some facts to add to the mix:

1. Of the 20 picks that the Nats have had in the first five rounds over the past three years, 11 have been position players and 9 have been pitchers.

2. The '08 draftees Hood, Espinosa, amd Nieto are hard to evaluate.

3. Of the '06 and '07 picks only Burgess has had what I would call a decent year - only because he hit for some power. He did hit only .244 between middle and high A.

The others are '06 - Marrero, Englund, King and '07 - Smolinski, Souza, and Norris. One thing that does skew this away from "big" hitters is that many of these picks are SS and C. But, if Hood doesn't rake this year that would be three years in a row that their top hitting prospect was a least somewhat disappointing.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Sorry. My math was wrong. It's 10 and 10.

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

#4: A equitable summary of the high rounds, IMO - Hood, Espinosa, Nieto in '08 = too soon to tell. From the '07 crop, Smolinski already got "flipped"; Sousa could be a player in three years, and Norris seems like a solid prospect behind the plate. Of the 2006 group, Marrero has "pop", but was injured; Englund & King )is he still in the system?) - Meh.

The field players that are now coming up to the ML level (Bernadina, Casto, Davis, Diamond, Maxwell) are the remains of a once-proud MiL system. You can't hate them for that, just hope to get value from them.

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I think the Nats have made admirable progress towards a good minor league system. However, the system was so bereft of players before DC that 'admirable progress' still does not equate to a great minor league system. The five year plan that Kasten spoke about in 2006 is only 2.5 years in. Could they be further ahead if they had drafted better? Yes, but part of the plan including getting a good scouting system in place. That did not happen on day one. You don't just hire a bunch of guys and declare the system fixed. Some work and some don't. Some of this reputation of the 'cheap Lerners' thing (some of it) comes from some of the scouts that did not work out. The failure to sign Crow was beyond unfortunate. The Nats position players are weak. Only Zimmerman and Guzman are proven. Dukes and Milledge are young and widely viewed as flawed players - Dukes because of his temper, and Milledge because of his judgement on fly balls. Only in DC is Flores viewed as an obvious answer at catcher. It is likely 2010 before a starting position player graduates out of the minors. But once the system gets going, 1 starting position player and 1 solid pitcher each year would be an above average return on investment. Like the Dodgers of the 70s or the A's of the 80's/90's or the Rays in this decade, the minor league system return on investment will eventually pay off.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 24, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The good news is that the Nats already have Boras' cell phone #. Get in there Man-ny go with what you know and you know what it's here in DC for you. Get in there you iconic savant.

Posted by: Brue | December 24, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

bisquit: Here, Here!!! Well said in regards to the farm system.

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Brue: If he was a LH-hitter, I'd be with you all the way. As a 36-y.o. RH-hitting, "I only play when it pays" diva, not so much.
He might be the best non-enhanced hitter of our generation, but he doesn't fit here - please stop being Boras' ear-worm & find another target.

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

bisquit: AAK - Opener @5:35 should have read "Hear, Hear".

Posted by: BinM | December 24, 2008 5:45 PM | Report abuse

>please stop being Boras' ear-worm & find another target.

Boras? You mean Strasburg's agent?

Oh Bor-as get your slimy carcass in position to do the Man-eater deal with Ol Ballgame. Mission Impossible no more. There is every reason to believe that Man-ny can be picked off the discard heap and resurrected back into the ultimate hitting machine. It's just a shout away>

Posted by: Brue | December 24, 2008 6:00 PM | Report abuse

But bisquit, my only problem is that this system isn't going to "get going" anytime soon. Who's the position player it will kick out in 2010, 2011, 2012?. They need to be in the system now (at least for '10 and '11), and I don't see it. The only way they produce a strong position player in 2010 or 2011 is by drafting a ready-made one like Zim. That would mean they have one of the top four picks. Here's hoping they don't because that would mean two more 90+ loss seasons.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Exactly, Bob L Head. There is a lot to be positive about. When I read a blog of how Zimmerman has regressed, I throw up my hands. He was hurt or recovering from injury, or beginning spring training all over again. He is one of the best all around third basemen in the majors and some fans are still complaining.
Free agents? How many did Tampa Bay have? None of import. For that matter, how many did Phillie have? Also none of significance.
The Nats are better than many people give them credit for. (excuse the grammar here)
And, of course, Bob, Jaybee is going to be negative. But he's part of the family, and if my memory serves me correctly, he doesn't attack other bloggers, simply states his views, most of which I disagree, but so what. By the way I sure you know that. My comment was referring to those bloggers who attack the person as well as their ideas.
God, that Zinfandel was good. Californian too.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 24, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Merry X'mas to you all from a northern neighbor. Actually, it's going to be +9 degrees centigrade tomorrow, X'mas day.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 24, 2008 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to you all.....

Zim is fine but not one of the top players in the game or a player who would lead a team.

Nobody could have seen injuries to Nick and D Young coming in 2008.....really?

Nobody could have anticipated that Kearns and Pena would suck......Really?

I love the Nats and spend lots of money on season tickets since 2005 and thousands of hours enjoying baseball games but to say this team is improving is just not correct. To say the Farm system is improving might be true but I do not see a single impact player in the system.....not one. Crow would have been one.......but they blew that chance. They needed to out bid everyone for Tex.....not match...not be at the same level.....they had to over pay and they did not do it. I say they never intended to and it was all show but either way....they Signed C Patterson the next day.....that tells me all I need to know about this ownership and front office.

Again, Happy Holidays…..I have paid for my seat in full…….all I can do is tell it like I see it.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 24, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to you all.....

Zim is fine but not one of the top players in the game or a player who would lead a team.

Nobody could have seen injuries to Nick and D Young coming in 2008.....really?

Nobody could have anticipated that Kearns and Pena would suck......Really?

I love the Nats and spend lots of money on season tickets since 2005 and thousands of hours enjoying baseball games but to say this team is improving is just not correct. To say the Farm system is improving might be true but I do not see a single impact player in the system.....not one. Crow would have been one.......but they blew that chance. They needed to out bid everyone for Tex.....not match...not be at the same level.....they had to over pay and they did not do it. I say they never intended to and it was all show but either way....they Signed C Patterson the next day.....that tells me all I need to know about this ownership and front office.

Again, Happy Holidays…..I have paid for my seat in full…….all I can do is tell it like I see it.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 24, 2008 8:49 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to you, too, Jeeves, and to JayBee and whoever else is on here tonight.

p.s. My temperature conversion skills are rusty, but I think it's going to be roughly in the same range here.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 24, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm not guaranteeing a 2010 starter, but Marerro, Burgess, King, and even Hood could make before 2010 is half way over. As the organization develops it is still possible that a prospect not currently in the system could make it. In addition to the draft, there is the trade route. Remember neither Dukes, Flores, Milledge, (or Bonifacio) were in the organization two years ago. To me the ametuer draft is the least efficient way to build the farm system. By least efficient I mean you have to draft many and wait a long time to get a pay off. Absolutely necessary, but not efficient. The other methods - trade, Rule 5, and minor league free agents - are more efficient and faster. Is it a victory of the farm system that we were able to trade Gibson for Dukes in 2007 or flip Bonnifacio and Smolinka (sp?) for Willingham and Olson in 2008? I think both were successes of the farm system. Flores was a victory as were Shell and Hanraham. In 2006 Bray was converted into Kearns and Lopez. In 2007 Flores and Lannan reached the majors. Last year Bonnifacio and Hinckley. Not every farm system product will be a rookie of the year.

Again, I don't think the farm system is there yet, but I do think some 2010 harvest is likely.


Posted by: natbisquit | December 24, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to all the NJ faithful.

I don't post as often as some of you all but, I do read almost everyday and enjoy it very much.

Here's to hoping the New Year treats our beloved Nats a lot better than the last.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 24, 2008 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas to you all.....

Zim is fine but not one of the top players in the game or a player who would lead a team.

Nobody could have seen injuries to Nick and D Young coming in 2008.....really?

Nobody could have anticipated that Kearns and Pena would suck......Really?

I love the Nats and spend lots of money on season tickets since 2005 and thousands of hours enjoying baseball games but to say this team is improving is just not correct. To say the Farm system is improving might be true but I do not see a single impact player in the system.....not one. Crow would have been one.......but they blew that chance. They needed to out bid everyone for Tex.....not match...not be at the same level.....they had to over pay and they did not do it. I say they never intended to and it was all show but either way....they Signed C Patterson the next day.....that tells me all I need to know about this ownership and front office.

Again, Happy Holidays…..I have paid for my seat in full…all I can do is tell it like I see it.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 24, 2008 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Bisquit and friends:

I just back from Christmas Eve mass, so in the spirit of the season of miracles, I will cross my fingers and hope you are right about 2010.

Merry Christmas to all. I wish you peace in your hearts.

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 24, 2008 9:38 PM | Report abuse

They needed to out bid everyone for Tex.....not match...not be at the same level.....they had to over pay and they did not do it.


Posted by: JayBeee | December 24, 2008 9:20 PM

from the Washington Times:

-----------------
According to a team source, the Nationals “were not beaten by anybody” on the amount of money or the number of years they offered Teixeira.

---------------------------

The Lerners put forth the best offer in years and money. Tex decided he wanted to play in New York because he wanted to win now.

so...what are you talking about, Jaybeee?

and it's nice that you paid for your seats in full, but that doesn't make your comment any more accurate, nor does it exempt you from being differed with.

and we would have signed Patterson even if Tex decided to come here. I don't see what is so hard to understand about signing organizational depth. He'll hopefully never see the majors and will be in AAA all season.

and I think it is ridiculous that people are acting like Corey Patterson was meant to be some sort of "consolation" for not getting Tex. that's just laughable. He was signed to a MINOR LEAGUE CONTRACT for crying out loud, you folks are acting like we just handed him a starting position in DC or something.

people just complain to hear themselves complain, and then say "I paid my seats in full" as some sort of half-hearted cop-out for it.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 24, 2008 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Mr. M,

No Patterson is not on the 25 man roster yet but he is just one more in a long line of Minor League Contracts that have ended up playing major roles in the Nats losing......The Facts show to date this is just more of the same old losing approach that got us the worst record in baseball and the butt of every joke.

Times reporting is they were not out bid...they were matched. They needed to be 10 years and $200 Million....they did not do it and in my view never intended to go above matching which they new was always going to mean losing Tex...

Paying for seats is just my way of saying I an a loyal fan, have been in the past and will be in the future....just not a very happy one after 2 1/2 years of going backwards with Lerner, Stan the Plan and Acta.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 24, 2008 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Mmm, to you be Christmas merry, mmm. And the third day of the Festival of Lights be joyful, mmm.

~5y0da6

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

I will say this, JayB would be just as thrilled as the rest of us if he turns out to be wrong. He likes the team as much as any of us.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas / Happy holidays to all who need a baseball fix.

Jaybee / Mr. Madison - What the Times said is what others reported - 9 was the most years, 180 was the most dollars. however, the NYY offer was 8/180 - higher average by $2.5 million. Perhaps 10/200 could have gotten it done, as you say, but I think annual average had to be higher, too.

Concur with NatsBisquit on Marrero, Hood, Burgess. Our high draft choice position players are high schoolers. They take a bit of time.

Some cheer - Look at FotF's 2d half numbers. .306 / .370 / .455, with his best power month in September. Maybe he can be a #3 / #4 hitter with a great glove.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | December 25, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

-----------------------
Anyway, just one more note on Mark Teixeira:
I've heard from a reliable source that the first baseman turned down about $5 million more from the Nationals to sign with the Yankees.

And the Nats would have gone higher, but were never given the chance.

Teixeira jumped at Brian Cashman's first offer.
-------------------------

http://masnsports.com/2008/12/for-teixeira-the-choice-was-ya.html

Posted by: MrMadison | December 25, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

I will say this, JayB would be just as thrilled as the rest of us if he turns out to be wrong. He likes the team as much as any of us.

Posted by: Section506 | December 24, 2008 10:48 PM

that's nice, 506 and I admire your dedication to defending him.

but none of that means that he is correct in saying that the Lerners did not present a better offer than the one that Teixeira accepted.

he's wrong. plain and simple. Tex took a lesser offer to play for the Yankees. The Lerners did not lowball Tex in any way, shape, or form. The Nats offer was the highest in numbers, and the best in terms of options.

you can defend him all you like, but he is wrong to beat his "Cheap Lerners" drum because Tex decided to take a weaker offer to play elsewhere.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 25, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

there are many things to bash the Lerners about.

Teixeira not signing with us is not one of them.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 25, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas, NJ!

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 25, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Concur in part and dissent in part.

A few weeks ago, maybe less, the FO characterized Teixeira as Plan A, B, AND C.
Jaybee is right, when you're negotiating from a position of both weakness and desperation, you cannot allow it to become a competition--you have to overwhelm on your first offer. One rule of guerrilla work: Don't engage in a fight you aren't sure you can win. They didn't do that, and I think that was a miscalculation. We'll see.

There are other ways to build good teams, but they said this was a once-in-a-decade chance. "DO. Or do not. There is no 'try'," as said somebody once did.
Maybe Bor-xeira (Teix-as?) always planned on NYY, in which case even an absurd offer wouldn't have worked. Who knows? Not us.

That said, it's easy to say they never intended to make a serious offer, but it's a cheap shot. You can't know what they intended. I understand, that's some folks' model for how the Nats FO operates, but it's a dead-end argument. If the FO sucks, and the team sucks, and there's really no history because the team is basically 4 years old, WTF is there to be a fan OF? You're rooting for some Alternate Universe Nationals.

Just a rhetorical aside, but agreeing with somebody's point--Jaybee's, Lerner's, yours, mine--isn't "defending" them. It's just agreeing with a point.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 25, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

oh, and A Partridge in a Pear Tree to all.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 25, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Merry Christmas everyone.

The Nationals signed these guys as fillers. Sosa & Patterson might one day return to their best but it they don't it's no big loss.

And regardless of what Jim Bowden says about not assuming the team will transfer Tex Dollars to other players, the team is preparing to do just that. It's just a negotiating ploy with the other free agents.

The Lerners know that not signing anyone after wooing Tex would be tantamount to my not being able to buy my son his #1 choice for Christmas and then not buying him anything.

Fearless prediction: The Nats will sign someone along the lines of Adam Dunn and will package one or more of the spare outfielders, Nick and a prospect or two for a real major league starting pitcher.

I still think Milledge is on thin ice and has some real trade value. Maybe that's why they brought in Patterson -- in case Dukes can't play center (which I think he can).

Posted by: rushfari | December 25, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

I agree with rushfari's assessment of the PR bashing the Lerners will get if they merely stand pat after losing out on the "Teix-as" sweepstakes (Nice name btw, CEvansJr).

As far as a starting pitcher, what about an offer to Andy Pettit? Is his arm dead, or could he be a nice addition to the starting lineup, especially with regards to our younger arms leaning how to win?

Posted by: TimDz | December 25, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Bowden's strength is building quality clubs that are affordable for small market teams -- not signing big-name free agents to compete with the Yanks and Sox. And looks to me like he's doing here what he's done everywhere else.

That earned him praise when the Nats were the gypsy Expos and nobody knew who would own them or if they'd ever get a stadium or if they'd play half their games in Puerto Rico. Now, expectations have changed.

Teams like the Rays and the Mets don't give up on players like Dukes and Milledge unless they have decided they won't regret it three years from now. Those guys were long shots when we got them. They're still long shots of the Gary Matthews Jr. sort. Could be All-Stars next year, could be sent down to AAA.

Cabrera is the same type. Best stuff on the O's last year. Why doesn't he win more? Maybe he's like the pitcher in Bull Durham, a million dollar arm and a 5 cent head.

So he could start the All-Star game or end up on the DL. Who can tell? Certainly Bowden doesn't know.

That's probably why he's signing all these vet backups -- just in case.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 25, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I'm completely ready to give up on Bowden. His last chance here is to follow Boswell's advice and make the team more competitive this year while continuing to cultivate the farm system primarily. Signing Dunn and Hudson and then trading Johnson and a minor league pitcher for a starting pitcher would go a long way toward putting a major league product on the field in April. Kasten's comment that "this has already been an outstanding off-season" due to the Willingham/Olsen trade and Cabrera acquisition makes me worry that they will stand pat, mostly.

Posted by: GoNats2 | December 25, 2008 3:33 PM | Report abuse

tboss: Willie Harris was 14 for 66 (.212) with 1 HR and 2 RBI in September 2008. That's the kind of production I expect from him in 2009. Comparing first half stats with second half stats for Harris is skewed because he didn't play much in April and May. Sorry -- we disagree on this player. I hope you're right, we've got him under contract no matter what I think of him.

Merry Christmas to all. Teixera turned down more money with us to go to NY; its where he wanted to go all along. Can't bash the Lerners for this, they tried. Now they have to continue to work to make the major league product better NOW by signing Adam Dunn in order to dig out of the hole that we are in -- no matter who's fault it was.

Posted by: raymitten | December 25, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

JayB: You're partially right - Teixeira took the lower offer to 1) play with a percieved immediate playoff contender (correct), 2) get a better AAV over the course of the contract, and 3) because Boras sold him on the total contract (AAV+ no-trade).
Boras wants as many of his clients as possible in high-visibility markets; it helps him sell his services to other prospective clients.

I do share your fear that Patterson will show just enough in ST to earn a full contract, then will rapidly progress to his norm.

Posted by: BinM | December 25, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse

rush: At this point, I hope you're right on your 'Fearless Prediction'(Sign Dunn, or someone like him, i.e, LH-power hitter).
Regarding Milledge, he's only 23 - I'd like to see him with the Nationals in 2009, unless we get a "killer" offer (Peavy, maybe?).

Posted by: BinM | December 25, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

A timely Onion classic (discovered by way of the We've Got Heart site):

http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/yankees_to_build_stadiums?utm_source=onion_rss_daily

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 25, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

BinM,
I'm with you regarding keeping Milledge unless we get a "killer" offer.

I think Milledge's ceiling is .290-27-100 w/30 steals in the three hole. He's just a kid and hasn't had a chance to fill out yet. No, he's not a center fielder, but the Nats can't afford not to start Josh Willingham in left and Dukes in Right. Those three could - COULD - combine to hit .275-75-250 with 60 steals.

I don't need to throw the usual caveats in there I think....

Killer deal regarding Milledge?

Lastings Milledge, Kearns or Johnson (plus cover 70% of their salary), Jordan Zimmermann, Derrick Norris and one more of our better/near best prospects. We wouldn't need Zimmermann any more, Norris is probably blocked by Flores (I hope) and if we sign Dunn, we wouldn't need Marrero (though I wouldn't like losing Burgess, I could live with it for Peavy).

My guess is, however, that probably isn't nearly enough for the Padres.

Posted by: rushfari | December 25, 2008 7:35 PM | Report abuse

I see Jordan Zimmerman (every team seems to want him) plus a Kearns, possibly Dukes. Don't see Milledge getting anything of value. At this point one would hope that it would be someone with Tiexiera potential.

I think "Bally" Balester was right. Comparing the Nats current lineup against the Yankees you can see similarities across the board. The Nats are younger, less experienced and haven't won.

And the Nats potential pitching wise seems almost limitless if the pitching talent develops anywhere near expectations.

I hope that Teixiera ends up being really sorry he chose the American League and the hated Yankees (after all HE IS FROM Severna Park) over the Nats.

Posted by: periculum | December 25, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Randy St. Clair is suppose to be good at helping guys like Cabrera. Hopefully, that will be the case this time.

"Cabrera is the same type. Best stuff on the O's last year. Why doesn't he win more? Maybe he's like the pitcher in Bull Durham, a million dollar arm and a 5 cent head."

Posted by: periculum | December 25, 2008 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year to everyone at NJ.

Posted by: leetee1955 | December 25, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Milledge and Zimmermann are, or at least should be, what the building of a good team is all about. They are the foundation and to trade either one makes no sense to me at all. Yes, Milledge could be one of the Nats few good trading pieces, but I guarantee they wouldn't get his value in return. Zimmerman (Ryan) would get a lot in return also but, of course, we're not going to trade him.
Milledge is going to be one of the best trades that Bowden has ever made-assuming we keep him.
And Zimmermann (Jordan) might prove to be one of his best draft picks.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 26, 2008 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boxing Day.

Every offseason, every team has its own collection of "if"s. Lately, I've been pondering the Nats' ifs. I post herewith a collection thereof and invite comments thereon. The idea is that, taken by itself, each item sounds reasonable to expect or hope for. The catch is, no team ever gets all of its ifs. Sometimes you get blindsided, or get an unexpected gift (like SuperWillie). But here's what I'm hoping for:

IF ...
... Flores can catch 120 games without punking out
... Guzman's 2008 was what he really is, due to his eye surgery, and not just a progression to the mean (average his 2005-08 seasons, and you've got pretty much his career: .281/.317/.396)
... Zimmerman does what we all think/hope he can: .350 OBP, 35 doubles, 25 homers
... Milledge takes a step forward, maybe does close to his second half: .350 OBP, 15 homers
... Dukes produces for a full season and isn't the next Pistol Pete Reiser (or Nick Johnson, if you prefer)
... Kearns goes back to being adequate (not good, just adequate) with the bat
... Lannan holds steady at 2008 levels (180 IP, above-average pitching) -- I'm not even looking for improvement from the 23-year-old
... Balester shaves 0.30 off his ERA (down to 5.20)
... Olsen gives 200 innings of league-average yumminess (same as last year)

THEN ... I dunno. I guess we'll be a man, my son.

I'm actually not sure what the "then" is. Not sure we'd quite be running with the Phils' stacked lineup, but .500 might just be possible (again, if we got ALL our ifs, which we almost certainly won't). I welcome speculation as to our "then," or quibbles about the ifs. Also, what percentage of these should we actually expect? Half? 80%?

Oh, and -- here are a few thing I didn't mention: Willingham and Cabrera, whom I don't know; the bullpen; Anderson Hernandez (can he hold down the 8th spot in an NL lineup?); Wily Mo (was it really just an injury, or was it getting off the juice?); further trades or signings; Nick Johnson (sigh); any kids (Martis, Zimmerrmmaannnnn) who are just too young to reasonably expect anything.

As I said, I welcome critiques of the list.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 26, 2008 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boxing Day to you, Scooter. I'll bite.

1. I'm not sure what you mean by "punking out" but I do know that another season of sub .700 OPS from him won't get it done. In the end he's really just a solid back up, so if they have him in for 120 games, we're looking at a 70-75 win team.

2.I've always thought Guzman was a good offensive player. The guy was an AL all-star for gosh sakes. He'll ht again this year. His defensive is barely average.

3, 4, 5. Zim, yes; Milledge, yes; Dukes, I hope so. Elijah is the only guy in the organization that could be a true offensive powerhouse. His transformation into a consistent player would revolutionize this line up. It's a big roll of the dice though. I give it about a 30% of succeeding.

6. Kearns isn't going to get it done at the plate. The problem is that Manny and JimBo love him because they think he hustles and does the little things well like hit cut off men, etc. I tend to agree, but I'm not sure a MLB team can carry a guy in a corner OF position like that unless they have big offense (.300 30 100) from a SS or C.

7,8,9. One of these three will tank. It's inevitable. My guess is Lannan. Can you say sophomore slump? The freshness will have worn off; the league will catch up a little bit; he'll need to make adjustments - in other words, the usual stuff.

10. As for your other statements: Willingham will be solid .260 20 75. I give Cabrera about a 25% chance of throwing 150 innings. I actually think that there's good chance that one of the pups like Martis or Zimmermann will win 10 games and throw 170 innings. Wily Mo will be released by the end of spring training. Hernandez will start no more than 50 games at 2B and will hit about .235. Nick Johnson will be traded before the season starts. I have to believe he's a little frustrated with the organization's coveting of Tiexiera. He probably wants out to an AL team where he can get a fresh start and DH some.

There is it. Ask me again in two weeks. I'll probably have a completely different set of opinions

#4

Posted by: db423 | December 26, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Betcha Kearns would raise his average 20 points if he took one step back from the plate and moved his wrists 6 inches away from his body.

Posted by: Section506 | December 26, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Happy Boxing day to you, Scooter. I'll have a run at your IF list...
1- Flores catching 120 games means he's getting it done; He's not a steady #6 in the lineup (more like a 7-8 slot hitter), but calls a good game. Needs to shorten his swing, IMO.
2- Guzman, yes for close to 2008 numbers offensively, with a slight decline in defensive range.
3- RZimm, definate yes.
4 and 5- In the probable range. Milledge found his comfort zone in the 2nd half of 2008; Dukes could'nt keep his legs healthy.
6- Kearns may need a change of scenery; he's a decent ballplayer, I just think he tried to take too much on himself last year & it screwed him up.
7- Lannan will probably drop a bit statistically, but might just win more games in '09.
8- Balestar needs to improve on his 2008 numbers if he wants to stay in the rotation for 2009.
9- Olsen should be the staff workhorse (I just hope some of his issues w/anger management don't re-surface).

That's got me at 3 yes, 3 probably yes, 2 probably not, and 1 no; call it 60% to the positive side.

On the other issues, Willingham's a decent hitter (when he's healthy); the Hernandez/Belliard combo at 2B looks ok offensively; Cabrera's a tall ? & I tend to agree with #4's assessment there.

Should the Nationals acquire a steady 1B, Nick will move on; if not, they get what they can from him before the enevitable injury occurs. WMP's recovery from the shoulder injury will determine his fate. The bullpen? Not sexy, but efficient as currently constructed - Shell, Rivera, Hinckley & Hanrahan aren't names yet, but they have skills. You may laugh, but I believe Manning would have been a good fit for 2009.

Check with me after ST starts; like #4, my opinions will probably have changed by then.

Posted by: BinM | December 26, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

A new stats page to play around with calculates the number of wins a player is worth, as well as what the player's salary value should be.

It might not work right, though, because it says the Yankees got a bargain on Teixeira:
http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1281&position=1B#value

Posted by: Section506 | December 26, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Let's nip this one in the bud: It's "REGRESS to the mean," as in, fall back to the middle of the pack. Progress goes in the front, big guy.

and speaking of progress ... Chico's back, and NewPost has got him.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 26, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

What you say is absolutely true, CEvans, and since the situation you describe is the more common usage, that's how it should usually be phrased. But consider: if the dude was *behind* the pack to begin with, his return to the mean would indeed be progression.

Posted by: Scooter_ | December 26, 2008 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Guys like Cabrera and Patterson have been in the majors for the last 6-9 years. They aren't good players, but I can tell you they weren't signed to be in the minor league's with that kind of big league experience. This is your team ladies and gentlemen. As for Texiera, you can't be a virgin and be shocked that you can't score with the Prom queen. You might want to cut your teeth on the Soriano's of the world before you go after Texiera. Get in the game a little bit before you try to bite off the big fish.

The Nationals resemble an Amway pyramid scheme where Lerner finagled a ton of cash out of the DC government to build him a stadium for next to nothing (abe built verizon and Kent Cooke built FedEx all with their own cash, not the case with the lerners) any good pyramid scheme needs a couple rich, flashy pitchmen at the top to pitch the company line and keep the customers focused on the long term so they don't clearly see the plight of their present day, (Kasten, Bowden) and a hardworking middle-manager who gets a small cut of the pie, could be fired at any minute, but holds the front line together (Acta). Cap that off with some low-end laborers working for the minimum (players) and a support staff with a lack of resources (scouts and administration) and your get-rich-quick scheme is complete. I'm expecting that soon Bernie Madoff will be named "Salary Cap Specialist."

Posted by: jpish | December 27, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

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