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Word Coming Today On Tex?

The latest word on the Teixeira derby comes from Thom Loverro, who has a source saying that an announcement on Teixeira's signing is coming today. The story goes on to say "there are strong indications that the Red Sox will announce they have landed the highly-coveted slugger."

One Nationals spokesman I just talked to said that, as far as he knows, the Nats have no plans for an announcement today regarding Teixeira.

More to come as the baseball world finds out more.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 23, 2008; 11:55 AM ET
 
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Comments

What's that sound? Oh: that's just the air leaking out of the balloon. Say hello to 65 wins and heavy Redskins coverage starting in May.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 23, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It ain't over 'til it's over. Especially between Boras and the Sox.

Still, odds are looking long at the moment. But weren't they always? I'm hoping the same as I was this morning.

Posted by: Section506 | December 23, 2008 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Everyone has sources. We won't know until the deal is done which sources - if any - were accurate.

If you ask enough people, I'm sure you'd find a source willing to state that the announcement won't come today, and that Nats are leading the chase.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 23, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

The point to getting Teixeira is that he'll make the WHOLE team better, not just the 4-hole and 1st base defense. The draw is winning, not the personalities (c.f. Bonds in SF, and the Caps lately). And I'm among those who think he could do that here, like Pudge in Detroit, and Kirk Gibson in LA.
But here's the rub--most of those "cult of personality" winning models wind up as "win once or twice now and lose tons later."

There are other ways to raise the level of play of the whole team: like, sign better players, be they expensive (Yankees) or cheap (A's), that are probably less risky, but more work. If your player development is good enough, you seldom need a specific player. But that's a big IF.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 23, 2008 12:28 PM | Report abuse

The announcement won't come today. The Nats are leading the chase.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 23, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Ding!

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 23, 2008 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Or chasing their tail. I might have misquoted my source.

Posted by: CEvansJr | December 23, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Pretty much no point getting disappointed or excited until he is standing at a press conference, holding a new cap with an awkward smile on his face.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 23, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Well, if they've got $180 million to toss around, they could actually sign 3-4 pretty good players and make the team much better than if they just got Tex. Sure, it loses the luster, but it's not the end of the world.

Or, you know, they could sit on the money, and just keep doing what they're doing, which is at least good for comedy purposes.

Posted by: pondaz | December 23, 2008 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Who are the 3 or 4 players they could sign for 20-25 million?

That's about the average price for your typical Paul LoDuca.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | December 23, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira was never going to sign here, anyone with a brain could have figured that one out. This was a win-win for the Nationals and Scott Boras. The Nationals go to show they were willing to spend legitimate dollars and Boras was able to get extra years and dollars out of the Red Sox as a result of Washington's upping the ante on the player.

It was much more realistic to think that the Nationals would end up with Adam Dunn or making a trade for a power bat.


Posted by: leopard09 | December 23, 2008 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, joemktg1... Even if they sign Teixeira, the Nats will still suck.

Posted by: redskins91 | December 23, 2008 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The tune I'm whistling as I walk past the graveyard is entitled 'Since When Is Loverro Bud's Best Friend'? I fear Thom is right but since when does he have sources?

Posted by: Section314 | December 23, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey, joemktg1... Even if they sign Teixeira, the Nats will still suck.

Posted by: redskins91 | December 23, 2008 12:52 PM
-------------------------------------------

And not make the post-season...oops. Sorry.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 23, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I've cleared enough room under my Christmas tree to fit a 6'2", 215 lb. switch-hitting first baseman. I'm going to have to do a lot of last-minute shopping to fill up that space if Mark Teixeira isn't sitting under there when I get home.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 23, 2008 1:02 PM | Report abuse

So there you have it, Thom "2 Ton" Loverro handicaps the derby in favor of the Evil Empire Part Duo.

Texi been nice getting to know ya in cyber-space. Now thinking about it, it wouldn't have mattered if you actually did come to the Nats, the DC media would have chased you around for about 5 minutes and once they figured out that your uniform didn't include a helmet with a face mask you would have been kicked to the curb by the time mini-camp starts in May. Sanity wise your better off in Boston.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 23, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Buster Olney is reporting on ESPN that an announcement is imminent, and it'll be either the Red Sox or the Nats. Combined with the Loverro item, that makes it sound like they're soon going to be much happier in the Fens than on South Capitol Street

Posted by: greggwiggins | December 23, 2008 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Two hours have passed and no one, including Buster Olney, has confirmed Thom's scoop. I whistle as I write. . .

Posted by: Section314 | December 23, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

As convinced as I am that Tex was never going to sign here, I do give the Lerners a whole lot of credit. This was clearly not just posturing or PR. They stuck in there like they meant it.

But I also understand that this was a special case and i have no illusions they'll take the spurned offer and divide it around for another 3-4 regular players. That won't happen either.

Posted by: NatsNut | December 23, 2008 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Ok, some statistical fun while we're waiting to hear that Tex is going to lead the Sawx to the '09 - '16 World Series...

I created a player. I'm calling that player "AaroPauNickTriOn LoBooBelliYoungson." AaroPauNickTriOn played 1b for the Nationals last year, and batted 659 times while playing 1b. As you recall, he didn't play that well. He put up a line of .258/.343/.385 with 37 2b and 15 HRs, 77 RBIs. For those of you into some of the more advanced stuff, that all worked out to a -1.7 wRAA - or in plain English, 1.7 runs less than the average player. LoBooBelliYoungson was also not exactly a defensive wiz - defensive stats are hard to aggregate, but if you take the component UZRs and add them, you get a combined UZR of 2.2. So, in total, you've got a player with a runs above average number of .5 - that is, pretty much any old 1b man would do - which makes sense - Nick Johnson's 106 ABs helped all year long, Belliard and Young were better than terrible, and LoDuca and Boone were awful. So good old LoBooBelliYoungson was pretty close to dead even.

Now, for the soon-to-be 1b-man of the Red Sox: He only batted 574 times, so LoBooBelliYoungson has an 85 AB advantage on him. Despite 85 fewer ABs, Teixeira put up a line of .308/.410/.552 last year, with 33 HRs, and 41 doubles - a grand total of a 46.1 wRAA, if you're into that sort of thing. Add in his UZR of 11.7 and you get 57.8 runs above average.

Bottom line of this quick and VERY dirty calculation - if we do nothing else, if nobody else progresses, if the pitching is as mediocre as it was, putting Tex at 1b (accounting for none of the intangibles) adds something like 5-6 wins over LoBooBelliYoungson. Marginal wins are valued at something like 4.5m per. A 5-6 win swing for us for one player then values out to something like 22.5 - 27 million. Believe it or not, signing Tex to a 20m contract, based on production over what we've been getting at that position, might actually be a bargain.

For all you real statheads out there - I'm sure I screwed up the run calculations, so any fixes are appreciated.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 23, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Highway295Revisited: great stuff.

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 23, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

according to the Boston Globe:
-------------
The Nationals are offering 9 years at $180 million.

The Red Sox have not appeared to change their offer of 8 years at around $170 million.
----------------

I'm conditionally pleased with this effort.

the condition being that if we don't get Tex, that money gets spent on further improvements. Dunn and pitching, preferably.

if that happens, I can't fault the Lerners for not landing Tex.

Posted by: MrMadison | December 23, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

No offense to Hwy295 and his/her very well thought out post, but to put it bluntly, we will be a helluva lot better with Tex than without him.

In fact, based on the stats he/she presented, we could put a corpse over at 1st base and be better than we were last year.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 23, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I hate to say it because I hate to agree with the "coverage is lacking" crowd but, why in the heck is the Post getting scooped by every form of Media in America on this thing? ESPN, SI, the Boston Globe and the Washington Times, to name a few. What gives?

Posted by: Section505203 | December 23, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Assuming we don't get Tex, why would Dunn want to come here knowing that he was our second pick (resisting the urge to quote Sean Avery here)? The minute he fails to live up to expectations, he'll be a pariah. Everyone will be whispering, "Well, he's no Teixeira."

I sure as hell wouldn't want to work in that environment.

Posted by: Aterio | December 23, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

What are the chances we could get 400 plate appearances from Nick? We're paying for him already, right? Between that and Willingham or Meathook being over there some, if Kearns becomes an average producer off the bench in a corner spot for Willingham, it's likely to not be as bad as last year anyway. His mechanics aren't great, but I bet Ben Sheets at the right price/contract length would help us more than eight years of Teixeira, with the last three or four blocking a cheaper prospect who's probably better by then.

Posted by: mockcarr | December 23, 2008 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, at least they put in a genuine effort. Of course we are forgetting that Boras can make him a lot more money in endorsements if he is at a high profile club like Boston. I fear the deck was always stacked against us.

We'll get there, we just need to add enough talent to never embarrass ourselves like last year and keep adding youth, youth and more youth.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 23, 2008 1:43 PM | Report abuse

He might be right but I don't read Loverro. He seems to enjoy rooting for the Nationals to fail.

Again, signing Texeira at these prices doesn't make sense. I just don't believe that he would make the team significantly better vs. signing Adam Dunn.

And remember, there will be an opt-out in year 3 or 4, and Boras' clients, i.e. A.J. Burnett and J.D. Drew always take it.

Dunn would sign a shorter contract but be with the team longer. and Maybe reuniting with his old friend might make Austin Kearns a productive baseball player again.

The Nats could either bank the savings or sign someone else, be it Orlando Hudson or Ben Sheets (I know, "no pitcher free agents")or someone else who can make a difference.

I just hope that they have been negotiating with their plan "B's" all along so they won't be behind the curve with these other guys.

Posted by: rushfari | December 23, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

why in the heck is the Post getting scooped by every form of Media in America on this thing? ESPN, SI, the Boston Globe and the Washington Times, to name a few. What gives?

Posted by: Section505203 | December 23, 2008 1:38 PM

Scooped on what? Rumor, speculation, no real news and being led around on a leash by Scott Boras?

Posted by: Kev29 | December 23, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Rushfari

My brain agrees with you, but heart wanted a real star at the club.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 23, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

505203: Actually, I was surprised how not terrible our six-headed 1b was last year - it's not true that a dead body would be better, mostly because NJ was NJ when he was playing - if you take NJ's production over his 100 ABs and extend them out to the 550-ish level, Teixeira is still better, but not by near as much - it's probably more like a 2 win improvement. Still an improvement, and given NJ's injury history, probably still a worthwhile investment, but from a pure production standpoint, a much more muddled picture.

But compared to what we've gotten last year, or even in DY's breakout year the year before, well worth it. DY's year in '07, by the way is hurt by the fact that he was hurt for part of it, and that the defensive metrics really hated him at 1b (and with pretty good reason).

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 23, 2008 1:49 PM | Report abuse

From ESPN's Buster Olney/Peter Gammons:

The Nationals reportedly made an offer of eight years and $160 million to the first baseman, and while some within the organization have privately expressed skepticism about their chances of signing Teixeira, they are viewed as a formidable participant because of their owner's deep pockets.

Deep Pockets? So deep nobody can reach the checkbook...

Posted by: TimDz | December 23, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse

How much was LoBooBelliYoungson's salary last year? A lot less than $20 million? I'm guessing a very small bit less (LoDuca, Young, & Johnson were $5 million each, correct?). Even more reason to throw more money at Tex.

Posted by: stantonpark | December 23, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I am hoping this offer to Tex demonstrates a comittment to getting more quality players, even if Tex doesn't sign here.

The FO needs to work quickly on whatever Plan B is (Dunn, trades etc.). Once Tex does sign and if it isn't with the Nats, the next round of signings may go a bit quicker...

Posted by: TimDz | December 23, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Kev29,

Do you have proof that it is "Rumor, speculation, (or) no real news and being led around on a leash by Scott Boras?"

Or is that rumor or speculation on your part?

Posted by: Section505203 | December 23, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"so deep nobody can reach the checkbook"

Really?

For Pete's sake, there is no - absolutely no - reason to be calling the Lerner's cheap on this Teixeira pursuit. In fact they have recieved more criticism nationally for being too willing to spend money.

Oy......

Posted by: natbisquit | December 23, 2008 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Scooped on what? Rumor, speculation, no real news and being led around on a leash by Scott Boras?"

Chico's words:
"The latest word on the Teixeira derby comes from Thom Loverro, who has a source saying that an announcement on Teixeira's signing is coming today. The story goes on to say "there are strong indications that the Red Sox will announce they have landed the highly-coveted slugger."

One Nationals spokesman I just talked to said that, as far as he knows, the Nats have no plans for an announcement today regarding Teixeira."

----I guess the question is...as a WaPo journalist, do you simply wait for stories to happen and THEN play fact-checker, or do you actively pursue stories with initiative?

Posted by: jctichen | December 23, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The thing to remember is that Teixeira isn't just any free agent, and not just because of the magnitude of his contract. He answers the Nats needs at many levels, and other available free agents just don't do that.

If someone is hoping or expecting the Nats to take their Teixeira money (assuming he goes to Boston) and spreading it around to other free agents, I think he or she will be disappointed.

I won't be.

I want the Nats to improve as much as the next guy (more, actually) but I think throwing money at the problem isn't the solution. Money is the tool, not the answer.

Posted by: wigi | December 23, 2008 2:11 PM | Report abuse

.... however on the other matter ... lack of coverage, I am a little disappointed in Chico. As the lead Nationals reporter for the major news organization in Washington, it is a little frustrating that my news is coming from MASN, the Washington Times, the Baltimore Sun, MLB, and the Boston Globe. (Buster Olney doesn't count because he does not have any original sources.)

As best as I can tell, Chico's tenure has been to date most noteworthy for superb opening paragraphs in his stories and a proliferation of vacation days. Perhaps we could supplement these with actual original reporting and a little stronger work ethic....

Posted by: natbisquit | December 23, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry but the stats from the 6 headed monster at 1st base last year, aren't good enough. That is a power position and 15 HR's and 77 RBI's in 659 AB's are very mediocre at best. And the defense at 1st base flat out stunk. I will admit that the injuries at that position and to the club in general did not help but, that position historically, needs production.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 23, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Texeira ($23 million/yr) vs Nick Johnson ($4 million)

Based on Nick getting 550 at-bats last year (I know, fat chance, right?)

OBP- Texeira:.410 ....... Johnson:.415
Doubles- Texeira:41 ..... Johnson:40
Triples- 0
Homers- Texeira:33 ...... Johnson:25
RBI- Texeira:121 ........ Johnson:100

Defensively, Texeira is a gold glover while Nick is a silver glover.

So, for about $19 million more, Texeira gives you a higher batting average (but a lower OBP), same number of doubles and triples, 8 more homers and 21 more RBI's.

The RBI's, however, are probably the product of being on teams that had more opportunities.

I'm not suggesting in any way that a healthy Nick equals Texeira. Rather, I'm suggesting that $184 million is a lot of money for 20 more RBI's a year.

Posted by: rushfari | December 23, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Farid,

You and I have two different ways of looking at baseball - I want to be as full of heart as you are, but I just don't believe.

"Signing Tex at these prices doesn't make sense" - like I said a few posts up, the numbers suggest Tex is worth 6-ish wins more than our 1b last year. Figuring conservatively that marginal wins tend to cost something like $3.5 per (which is fully $1m lower than the price I've seen elsewhere), that makes six marginal wins worth $21m - so signing Tex at a price of $20m per is actually good value. The higher the price per marginal win, the better the value. And that's true starting NEXT year - no matter if there's an opt-out or not.

"I just don't believe that he would make the team significantly better vs. signing Adam Dunn." Ok - but the numbers don't support your belief. Dunn's .213/.386/.513 line last year produced a wRAA of 29.7, almost three wins better than the average, but the defense KILLED him. As an LF, he was a (-10) in 119 games. As a 1b he was (-2) in just 14 games. As an RF, he was (-10) in just 22 games. Those 1b numbers project out to a (-26) over the course of the full year. The LF numbers are -13. For argument's sake, let's take the less damaging number. Knock 13 runs off the 29.7, and that's 16.7 runs, or basically 2 wins better than average, all told. Compare that with Tex, who's 57.8 above average last year. Tex is 40 runs (or 4 wins) better than Dunn. Figuring Dunn is like a $10m investment per year and Tex is a $22m per year, those four extra wins are costing you $12m per season (whether there is an opt-out or not), so Tex is not only a much better producer (largely because of defense), but also a better investment, despite costing more.

That's the problem with the "Dunn+Hudson" view - the idea of building a good team is not to get slightly-above-average players at all 9 positions. The idea is to get 2 or 3 absolute studs at 2 or 3 positions, and fill in behind them with cheap average-to-hopefully-slightly-above-average players. Dunn+Hudson is tying up dollars and ABs with guys who aren't that much better than the average alternative. Paying (admittedly through the nose) for Tex's ABs is actually a better investment strategy.

The numbers suggest that Dunn signing a shorter contract but staying with the team longer is NOT a good outcome - he's above-average, and he's not a bad signing at $12m, but he's far, far, far, far (one for each win) less good than Tex.

Love the passion, but putting "name" players who aren't that much better than the "no-names" they replace is a recipe for mediocrity.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 23, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

I really didn't base by comment on the pursuit of Teixeira, but more as a global comment of the spending thus far.

If the Lerner's go out and get some quality players (with or without Tex) instead of the usual suspects (head cases, re-treads and other assorted AAAA projects), I will gladly get off the LAC bandwagon.

I just want to see what plan B brings.

______________________________________________________

For Pete's sake, there is no - absolutely no - reason to be calling the Lerner's cheap on this Teixeira pursuit. In fact they have recieved more criticism nationally for being too willing to spend money.

Posted by: natbisquit | December 23, 2008 2:04 PM

Posted by: TimDz | December 23, 2008 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I heard from a "source" that Tex will be signing with the Pirates for 20 years and $500M, and my source is my goldfish. If I print that anywhere online, then I have successfully scooped Chico. Just because you read it somewhere, doesn't mean that it's true.

Perhaps Chico prefers to write down something that has a scintilla of truth as opposed to nothing but hearsay???

Posted by: erocks33 | December 23, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I didn't say, those defensive numbers are Dunn's UZR last year - all this stuff, by the way, is just me diddling with Fangraphs - I LOVE that site.

Farid, like I said, NJ is the interesting case. His wRAA last year was 5.5 in 110 ABs - if you just straight-line project that out to 550 ABs (no idea if that breaks the metric or not, but wth it's just a comment) that works out to 27.7. His UZR is 11.9 over 150 games to Tex's 11.7, so that's basically a wash, so the difference is just 46.1 - 27.7, or something like 18.4 runs, or (rounding up) 2 marginal wins.

If NJ were a solid player, with a good health history, Tex would be a lousy investment in that case by those numbers - but I just don't think that any team-building strategy that starts with "Assume (NJ/Hill/Patterson/WMP) is healthy" is a realistic approach. He's a great player when he plays, but NJ is sadly, a part-timer at best, and as LoBooBelliYoungson shows, 100 ABs of NJ + 450 ABs of mess does not make a productive player at 1b.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 23, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Don't be so glum, folks. Texiera WILL be in DC ... when the Red Sox come to town in June. Anyone sitting in the left field bleachers or on the scoreboard pavilion should bring their mitts!

Posted by: luv2bikva | December 23, 2008 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Word on the street over at BPG is "its over" the builder says its the SAWX!

Let the flow of tears begin!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 23, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Highway295,

First, how'd you figure out who I was? I don't know how to change that rushfari (my email)to "The Beltway Boy" or "Farid."

You're right with your analysis; well, you could be right I guess I should say.

I am really worried that if the Nationals somehow reel in Texeira, they will pat themselves on the back and wait for the team to 1)get healthy and 2)get better. Adding only Texeira isn't enough of a difference maker by himself and by the time the rest of the organization catches up to him, he'll be long gone. True, he would make others around him much better vs. Dunn or even Burrell, but I don't see the team as currently constituted + Texeira + good health equaling more than 72-76 wins.

Of course, if the team plays up to its potential, then I'm wrong. Zimmerman can hit .300-30-120, and Dukes has .285-40-120 written all over him, and Milledge is .285-25-80 just waiting to happen.

They can. The question is, will they?

While I love Texeira the player, I don't see him being a game-changer, especially if his signing ties Bowden's hands financially.

I don't know if I'm right. I just remember the Senators of the late 1960's that were made of Frank Howard and a bunch of guys named Joe.

That correlation worries me.

Regardless, your views are full of insight. Well done.

Posted by: rushfari | December 23, 2008 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"Perhaps Chico prefers to write down something that has a scintilla of truth as opposed to nothing but hearsay???"

Then why is he quoting Loverro now? That's nothing but hearsay.

And here's some good news that's NOT hearsay. Emilio Garcia-Ruiz as quoted on the City Paper's City Desk blog: "As Bob’s email indicates, we are entering into a new era of cooperation with the Baltimore Sun that will allow us access to some of their content. While this is an important accord, in actuality we are unlikely to use it very often because our newshole, like that of the rest of the newsroom, will shrink next year. As some of you have heard, our Orioles coverage has fallen victim to the budget knife and this agreement allows us to use the Sun’s Orioles copy. But we’d be more likely to use the AP because we won’t have room for a long Orioles gamer by the Sun."

Of course, we all know that the Post's Orioles coverage should have fallen victim to the having-a-clue knife four years ago. But you take your victories where you can get them, I say.

(But I have to admit that whenever I've contemplated the types of holes that must exist at the Washington Post Sports section, Emilio, news holes are not what first comes to my mind. Am I alone in that?)

Posted by: nunof1 | December 23, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Do you think sportswriters feel used about this Tex thing or do you think they're all too happy to get clicks regardless of accuracy?

Posted by: Section506 | December 23, 2008 2:45 PM | Report abuse

Do you think sportswriters feel used about this Tex thing or do you think they're all too happy to get clicks regardless of accuracy?

Posted by: Section506 | December 23, 2008 2:45 PM

____________________________________________________________

If I were a betting man, I would guess that, once this Tex deal is FINALLY announced, several sportwriters will be using the phrase, "He didn't even kiss me first."

Posted by: TimDz | December 23, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Tex to yanks, 8 years/$170M+
Reported on espn.com just now...

Posted by: thoward1223 | December 23, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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