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Chico, Bruce and Two Mannys

Chico's traveling home today, and I believe his spring training departure date is now officially less than two weeks away. Maybe things will liven up next week.

Nats fans aren't the only ones frustrated; I read a blogpost this morning -- which now, of course, I can't find -- about the Angels' lack of action in the free agent market and if you substituted "Nats" for "Angels" it would sound very familiar.

From The Post's fabulous Marc Fisher, this Binary Man debate on whether to buy Nats tickets.

For laughs, here's a quote from Albert Pujols on his desire for the Cards to sign Manny Ramirez:

"Maybe St. Louis doesn't have the money to sign him, but he could give them a discount because St. Louis is a great city that supports its players."

That cracked me up, especially since his agent is Scott Boras.

Ken Rosenthal had an interesting piece this morning, suggesting that perhaps with the economy in a downspin, more players will follow the Roger Clemens model and sit out spring training and even the beginning of the season. If you think about it, it makes some sense -- players don't exactly love spring training, and it's a long season. If you haven't blown all your 2008 money (hello, Elijah!) maybe it makes sense to wait until teams get desperate.

If you are a Springsteen fan, please mosey over to Baseball Insider this morning.

Finally, for those of you who were unable to get to FanFest, here's a little snippet of Manny Acta. (We'll be posting more videos next week.)

By Tracee Hamilton  |  January 30, 2009; 10:00 AM ET
 
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Next: The Sabermatricians Are Coming! The Sabermatricians Are Coming!

Comments

The Nats lost 102 games last season. The Angels won 100 games. I think that the Nats fans have a better case for being peeved at the inactivity.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 30, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

comish, I don't think Tracee was trying to make a point about who has a better case for being peeved.

Posted by: Section506 | January 30, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The Nats lost 102 games last year? Man, why didn't anyone tell me?

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 30, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

JCA, the fangraphs link you posted in the last thread made me think that maybe half a season of Shawn Hill followed by a Zimmermann call-up might not be a bad thing.

And speaking of fangraphs, here's a link to a story that has a good perspective on prospect development (including Elijah):

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/unbusted-prospects/

Posted by: BobLHead | January 30, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Way to slide in a ridiculous excuse for why the Nats haven't signed anyone - because the Angels haven't either. Please. The Angels fans are upset bc they feel like they are close to a title and need a piece or two in order to contend. The Nats have nothing. Literally, nothing. I'm going to guess that Vlad Guerrero makes more money than the whole Nats roster (not that anyone on the team deserves more than the league minimum). Angels fans have a reason to go to the ballpark each game. Nationals fans do not. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I HATE THE EXCUSES FOR NOT SIGNING ANYONE!!!!

Posted by: drobins7 | January 30, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nats payroll has actually DECREASED since the end of last season with the salaries of LoDuca, Lopez, Redding, etc. coming off the books.

So, the inactivity by the team is that much more unforgiveable.

The least the team could do is admit that there are players below the level of an Albert Pujols or Mark Teixeira that could improve this club and be part of the immediate future here.

The Nationals are the ultimate Goldilocks.

This is too warm, that is too cold. And when all is said and done, the club is left with a 29 year old outfielder with a history of back injuries (Willingham) and a pitcher with a history of being wild (Daniel Cabrera) as two of its 'name' acquisitions in the offseason.

Shameful for a team with a $600M ballpark.

Was it really envisioned that the club would have to lose 102 games in order to build the farm system and be more competitive on the major league side?

Posted by: leopard09 | January 30, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, who are these people and where did they come from?

Posted by: Section506 | January 30, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, who are these people and where did they come from?

Posted by: Section506 | January 30, 2009 12:50 PM

short-sighted morons who think that free agency is the only way to improve a team and that if you don't spend 200m on free agents then you've done absolutely nothing to improve the team.

they probably came from a Redskins board. and they need to go back there.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

PITCHERS (11 / 3 LHP, 8 RHP)
LHP Matt Chico
LHP Ray King
LHP Odalis Perez
RHP Luis Ayala
RHP Jason Bergmann
RHP Jesus Colome
RHP Chad Cordero
RHP Joel Hanrahan
RHP Jon Rauch
RHP Tim Redding
RHP Saul Rivera

CATCHERS (2)
C Jesus Flores
C Paul Lo Duca

INFIELDERS (7)
INF Aaron Boone
2B Ronnie Belliard
SS Cristian Guzman
1B Nick Johnson
1B Dmitri Young
INF Felipe Lopez
3B Ryan Zimmerman

OUTFIELDERS (5)
OF Elijah Dukes
OF Willie Harris
RF Austin Kearns
OF Rob Mackowiak
OF Lastings Milledge

that was our opening day roster last season.

this is our currently projected roster for this upcoming season.

Pitchers
LHP John Lannan
LHP Scott Olsen
RHP Collin Balester
RHP Daniel Cabrera
RHP Jordan Zimmerman
RHP Steven Shell
LHP Mike Hinckley
RHP Garrett Mock
RHP Saul Rivera
RHP Joel Hanrahan
RHP Shawn Hill

Catchers:
C -Jesus Flores
C- Wil Nieves

Infield:
1B Nick Johnson
2B Anderson Hernandez
3B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Cristian Guzman
2B/3B Ronnie Belliard
1B/3B Kory Casto
SS/2B Alberto Gonzalez

Outfielders
OF Josh Willingham
OF Elijah Dukes
OF Lastings Milledge
OF Willie Harris
OF Austin Kearns

anyone who looks at those two rosters and says we did "absolutely nothing" to make the team better, and we have "absolutely nothing" is a short-sighted buffoon.

and that's not even taking into account that half the available free agents haven't signed anywhere yet, and that we're still in on Dunn and Hudson as far as we know. and it doesn't take into account the potential for people to win/lose their jobs in Spring Training.

for example, I do not expect Kory Casto or Alberto Gonzalez to make this team in ST, I only put them on this roster list to fill the slots. I expect them both to be beaten out by someone else in ST.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind that in the Above 2008 Opening Day roster, the only reason Dukes was even on the roster was because Wily Mo Pena was hurt. otherwise, Pena would have been there, and would have been our Opening Day LFer.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The same people who look at the Tori Hunter contract and say "I wish we'd signed that."

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

And who still argue we could use Livan Hernandez.

Wait, that was Ladson.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 30, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Tracee, are a baseball fan?

Posted by: longterm | January 30, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

So everyone who doesn't agree with you is a "short-sighted moron"...? Please, dude. Just b/c some of us don't advocate the starving approach to long-term success, doesn't mean that we're morons.

The fact remains, that for 2 years now, we've been told that payroll would increase, free agents would come this off season. Now, when they are at their cheapest, where are they? Last time I checked, giving a player a 3 yr/$30 mil deal wouldn't be spending 200m on free agents. Nor would a 1 yr 6mil to Garland. And no, Balester can't even carry Garland's luggage.

I don't know if you were wearing blinders last season, but it was ugly and should never be repeated.

Bob L., not trying to pick on you, but "half a season of Shawn Hill followed by a Zimmermann call-up might not be a bad thing"... We'll be lucky if Hill makes it through Spring Training. That's the unfortunate fact, but then again, that's what we get for signing that guy 2 years ago to a minor league contract when no one else would touch him with a 10-foot pole. I guess we now know why.

Posted by: jctichen | January 30, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

No, disagreeing with me, doesn't make one a "short-sighted moron".

ranting about how the team has done "absolutely nothing" because they haven't signed a FA yet, while the roster going into this season is improved from the crap we put on the field last season is what makes one a "short-sighted moron".

Short-sighted, because all they think about is payroll. if it doesn't cost 100m dollars, it doesn't count as a move that improves the team.

which is why the Willingham/Olsen trade counts as "nothing". because neither Willingham or Olsen was a FA that costs 80 million dollars.

and make no mistake about it, I WANT us to sign Adam Dunn. He's what we need in the middle of our lineup.

But I just find the notion that the team has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to improve the team is comical.


Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

and yes, I watched nearly every ugly game last year, I don't need to be reminded of it, thanks.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

This team is in deep trouble right now.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I've been a Nats 20-game package buyer three of the years they've been back in town. The only way I'm buying a package for next year is if they sign Manny Ramirez. Best, most entertaining player available. Just puttin' it out there.

Posted by: TheGreenMiles | January 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

>But I just find the notion that the team has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to improve the team is comical.

On a scale of 1-10 -- 10 being the most they could do this offseason, what would you rate it at?

I can tell you where I'd rate it. 2.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

admit it Brue, yer just mad cause they said they aren't interested in MAN-NY.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

>Short-sighted, because all they think about is payroll.

The Lerners are the only ones who care about the payroll. Them, and their apologists. That appears to be most of the problem here. If I have to wait another 10 years before they get better, I'll be a friggin old man.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

>admit it Brue, yer just mad cause they said they aren't interested in MAN-NY

Of course. Then there's Sheets, Garland, Wolf, on and on. And did we get any bullpen help? Hell no. Gary Glitter? Josh hit the showers Towers?

Who's kidding who?

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Brue - I promise I'll give you a detailed rating and explanation when I get back from picking my daughter up from school.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

On a philosophical notes, we'll all be old men (or women) in time, anyway, regardless of how the Nats fare. Some of us have a ways to go in that regard, others have a good jump on it, and still others are already there.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 30, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1,
You don't stop playing because you grow old.

You grow old because you stop playing.

As a very experienced youngster, I'm still playing, but my goodness the Nats do tend to age one.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | January 30, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, I like that one, SlowPitch!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 30, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

With respect, do we need to savage the Manny fans? Can't we all just get along? Lord knows we need all the eyes on these blogs we can get or WaPo will further derrogate its Baseball/Nats coverage. And, Mr. M, if these folks hang out and read more of your well researched and carefully thought out posts, they might learn something and develop a real appreciation of the game.

Posted by: advocate2 | January 30, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I do think there is one important thing that JB is looking at in potential free agents, and that is compenstion. I don't think someone like Hudson or Sheets will be signed if there is a draft pick to lose (unless there is some way around that). I would like to add Dunn, and think that those that cost "only" salary are going to be the ones signed...

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 30, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Good points, advocate.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 30, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Other than the Yanks and Sox (and MAYBE Cleveland), who has improved their team this offseason? If in 2 weeks we haven't done anything more, and other teams have, then we should all be pi$$ed at the FO.

Actually, what the Lerners do about Strasburg will tell you all you need to know about how they view ownership of this team business-wise.

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"That's the unfortunate fact"

That's the problem, friend, it's not a fact. It's your opinion. A fact is a something that's provable. If Shawn Hill is on the DL on March 30, then it is a fact, but not until then.

Posted by: Section506 | January 30, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Not buying tickets does not mean that people are not Nats fans. Here is a thought that some may overlook when persisting to think that the nats should just spend.

What is the benefit to having Bobby Abreu at anything over 8 million dollars when he is projected to produce 6 more hrs and 30 more RBI than Lastings Milledge who costs $500K? Not to mention this team is rebuilding with the hope that all of the players they drafted, and are developing will develop into legitimate professional players and do you think they will come cheap at that point in time? Nope, therefore, resources have to be allocated for that, as well. Think about that before continuing to rip the Nats for their "lack of spending". Mark Texeira was different because of all the intangibles he brings.

So for everyone out there, for the love of god, have some fricken patience, this is why Washington fans are so annoying ( I happen to be one, for people who may think I am a fan of non-Washington teams, but not annoying), have some *&%^%! patience. If your complaining about ticket prices, then that's what HD tv and MASN is for. Stop complaining and whining about everything. Our president built the longest baseball dynasty we have seen in a while last decade, so have some faith. You think that took an off season?

Posted by: amavroukakis | January 30, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Other than the Yanks and Sox (and MAYBE Cleveland), who has improved their team this offseason?"

A's. Braves. Mets. Rays. Cubs.

Posted by: jctichen | January 30, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

jctichen, not sure if you read the fangraphs post JCA cited, but the story was about how a great but oft-injured pitcher for 120 innings plus a journeyman for 80 innings could outperform an MLB average "innings-eater" like Garland over the course of a season. I wasn't predicting anything for Hill, just picking an example of how that (admittedly hopeful) scenario might play out for the Nats.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 30, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

From above:

"I do think there is one important thing that JB is looking at in potential free agents, and that is compenstion."

That's it! The Lerners have compenstion. They really have to go (spend money on free agents), but they just can't get it out.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 30, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

ama, with all due respect, annoying is in the eye of the beholder. Even if I don't think that I'm annoying (well, actually, I do, but bear with me for the sake of argument), others might (actually, almost certainly do, but again, working on a point here) feel differently.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 30, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Making moves doesn't necessarily mean you've improved your team. Maybe I'm forgetting some transactions, but I don't know if those teams markedly improved themselves (the fans for these teams are probably not that happy with only these moves, except Cubs fans who think every move puts them over the top!)...

Cubs - basically traded Pie and Cedeno for Heilman. Traded Marquis for Vizcaino. Traded DeRosa. Signed Bradley.

Rays - signed Burrell. Lost Gomes, Baldelli.

Mets - got K-Rod, Cora, Garcia, and Redding. Traded prospects for Putz. Lost Alou, Pedro, and Perez. Still have Castillo (and Minaya). Didn't get any SP.

Braves - overpaid for Lowe, but didn't get Furcal or Burnett. Traded prospects for Vazquez. Lost Smoltz.

A's - signed Giambi.

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 30, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Off topic, but interesting tidbit from Stark:

Adam Dunn would like Manny to sign earlier, as he's waiting to see what the Dodgers (his preferred team) do. The Nationals have been Dunn's most aggressive suitor, the Orioles have mild interest, and the Braves have backed off.

So, if Dodgers sign Manny, we end up with Dunn?

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 30, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Abreu for a year is not worth draft pick. He makes more sense that Dunn because he can play right field, and if Dukes is competing for centre that would leave us with kearns as our only choce. And that's no choice at all.

But even so, he's not worth a draft pick.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, if you're going to call out teams for not improving (like the offseason's even over yet with around 100 FAs still unsigned) then you also need to call out teams for taking steps back. Here's one: Phillies replaced Pat Burrell with Raul Ibanez.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 30, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Right, and then they paid Ibanez more than Burrell ended up getting. And then they re-signed Jamie Moyer, to a two-year deal no less. I guess you can do whatever you want if you win the World Series though.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 30, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"I guess you can do whatever you want if you win the World Series though."

Including be from Philly. Don't worry, I'm not going to let that one slide.

Posted by: Section506 | January 30, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

I am a faithful fan who recognizes that there are many areas for improvement on this team. I understand that the team has made progress on paper since last year, but last year the team was 59-102. Huge progress is not enough. They need humongous progress. And one trade, a low end major league free agent signing, and a dozen minor league free agent signings are not enough. I understand that a losing team is not attractive to free agents, but there is nothing in the three-plus decades of MLB free agency to suggest that players won't sign with a losing team as long as they are offered an average salary. I applaud the goal of trying to find a bargain or two, but based on results to date, you have to conclude that it is in part the money. Sign somebody! (Somebody good!)

Posted by: natbisquit | January 30, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Ok, a few things going on here. First off, I agree there are several ways to improve a ballclub, and free agency is only one of them. But we've done nothing in free agency besides get Daniel Cabrera, who last time I checked, was a total bust. The trade of Bonifacio for Willingham and Olsen was definitely solid, although still strange because Bowden was trying to get Bonifacio for 2 years and then immediately turns around and trades him. Are Olsen and Cabrera an improvement over Odalis and Redding? I guess. Definitely younger, but not really much better. Willingham is an improvement, IF he can stay healthy which is a major IF. So we've got 1 trade in the offseason that made us better. 1 free agent signing that didn't really do anything.

Another way to improve your club is thru developing the farm system, right? Well last year we were ranked #9 in farm systems, and this year we are ranked like #25 (not sure of the exact #). The reason for the dip in ranking? No one thinks any of our prospects are "special". We don't have any top prospects that other teams want to get their hands on. We've been working on this farm system for 4 years and we don't have ONE SINGLE GUY in the minors that other teams are salivating after. The Nats management keeps saying "Look at the Rays, we are doing things the Rays way." But the Rays have had great prospects that everyone knew and wanted for YEARS. Upton and Price are guys that the whole MLB loved. The Nats have no one like that. And don't start talking to me about this pitcher Zimmerman bc he's not that big of a deal to anyone outside of the capital beltway.

Another way to improve your ballclub would be a change of management. We replaced our hitting coach (THANK GOD) and our bench coach (Riggelman???) but ultimately, this is still Acta, Bowden, Kasten, and the Lerners. So nothing much has changed.

The teams I compare us to would be: Royals, Pirates, Reds. Totally inept from bottom on up to the owners' box. We stink and we aren't going to be getting better anytime soon unless we bring some veterans in who know how to play ball. Young guys need people to learn from who are STARTING AHEAD OF THEM. Dunn, Hudson, Wolf, Oliver Perez, Abreu, Nady/Swisher. Any of them make our team better. And if we get better, then maybe, just maybe, next year free agents will actually WANT to come here. Now wouldn't that be a shocker.

Posted by: drobins7 | January 30, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

>On a philosophical notes, we'll all be old men (or women) in time, anyway, regardless of how the Nats fare. Some of us have a ways to go in that regard, others have a good jump on it, and still others are already there.

Is that right? It's not philosophical when you have arthritic knees from playing basketball almost every day of your life as a youth. I didn't know it was gonna be this way 10 years ago. In fact, it's not whimsical or any other damn thing, it's just age, and the people that don't get that are the ones that haven't gotten there yet. Screw patience. Patience doesn't pay the bills, never has. I waited 38 years for this. That's long enough. I want to see good baseball more than once a week this year, and it doesn't look like that's gonna happen.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Fixing a farm system is not like a computer game. you don't just invest and it get's better every year. Injuries and the inexact nature of talent scouting makes it tough to grade. We probably weren't 8th best last year and we probably aren't 22nd this year.

We will probably see a spike back up next year because we will start signing international free agents (now that Bowdens trial is winding down), will have two high draft picks, and I can't imagine Detweiler or Marrero will be as bad.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I realize its not an exact science and that farm systems are naturally a hard thing to gauge, but the word in the MLB is that the Nats system is poor. It's a fact that after 4 years of trying to rebuild this system, there's yet to be someone in there that everybody else is looking to get their hands on. That seems like a bad job of scouting to me. We've been collecting young arms this whole time and no one is impressed with any of our pitchers in the minors. That's a failure.

I don't expect the farm system to move so fast that these guys are immediately in the Majors and becoming all-stars, but I do expect some positive feedback about the young 'uns from people outside the organization. I haven't seen that yet.

Posted by: drobins7 | January 30, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

That's really not true. Ladson (oh, God! I'm quoting Ladson) claims that the Nationals have been fielding calls all post season for J. Zimmerman. Also, let's not forget that a kid takes three to four years at least to realize their potential. There might be a jem in there.

I also mentioned international free agents. If this time next year we have not been extremely aggressive in the international market then I will agree with you.

I certainly agree that more could be done to improve the farm, I just think it's important to recognize that progress is being made.

I'll certainly express no disagreement with your blame of Bowden. It's been a while since there was a good old fashioned restless mob in DC. We should dust off the pitchforks...

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

why can't I submit my comment. there are absolutely no curse words in it, but I keep getting that filter screen.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

this is starting to get on my nerves. why am I getting a perfectly fine post "held for Blog approval".

no curse words, no insults, nothing of the sort in my post. why is it being held and why can't I simply post it.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Haven't we drafter Cordero and Zimmerman (3B) in the last 4 years? Had MLB not pillaged our system, they would have been top 5 prospects on our farm. Milledge was a top Met prospect in the last 4 years, and I imagine A. Hernandez and Dukes was in TB as well. Olsen probably was with the Fish. Flores would be a top 10 prospect for us had he not been required to be on the MLB roster.

I guess what I'm saying is that if we would have had legit MLB players for the past 4 years and been allowed to keep our prospects, much of what has been forced to be on our roster recently would have made our farm look a lot better.

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 30, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Just heard that Ryan Zimmerman and Rob Dibble will be guests on MASN's Hot Stove Show, tonight from 7-8 pm. MASN is devoting the entire show tonight to the Nationals.

Posted by: Shocker1 | January 30, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree. Our Major League team is a great farm league team. Hence we need to sign some free agents who are veterans so that the young guys have to EARN their playing time.

Posted by: drobins7 | January 30, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

On a scale of 1-10 -- 10 being the most they could do this offseason, what would you rate it at?

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 1:54 PM

If we are judging within the scope of merely signing Free Agents and not considering anything else, I'd give them a 1, because in this realm all they've done is taken a chance on Cabrera, and made a few minor league signings that are inconsequential to the Major League team(on a curious note, why is everyone making such a big deal about people who are clearly signed as AAA filler? seriously people, these minor league signings are NOT NEWS!)

Now if we are looking at the ENTIRE offseason picture, I'd give them a 5. Here is why:

1) We cleaned out the back of the house, so to speak. New Trainers, new Medical Staff, new coaches, etc. We kicked the dunces to the curb and got what appears to be some truly competent people in there. Yes I know that these things are not anywhere close to as important as free agent signings, but they do and will contribute to the success of this franchise, and they were moves that truly did need to be made on a "kick em all out" basis. We kept the two people that have arguably been doing their jobs decently(St. Claire and Acta), emphasis on "arguably", and the rest of the incompetents were shown the door.

2) We swept out most of those 30-something, bottom-barrel has-beens from last season. And what's left of them has a very slim chance of making the roster this season, and will likely be minor league filler at best. Addition by subtraction.

3) Replacing the players from point #2, we went young and are going with what appears to be a younger and far more talented roster. You may not believe in the youngsters, and they may not be the known commodities that the older Free Agents are, but I think that they'll surprise you this season. Especially in the Bullpen. but that's just a personal opinion.

4)We acquired a young left-handed innings-eater that isn't even in his prime yet, and a proven solid(but not superstar) outfield bat for what amounts to Bonifacio and some minor league filler.

5) I'm leaving the rating rather low still though, because we haven't acquired the Middle-of-The-Order Bat we need. If we sign Dunn, my rating goes from 5 to 7.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Stan has taken some of you comments personally Mr. Madison.

All comments must now be submitted in Stan Speak.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

are you serious? that whole post was held up because of the phrase "What The Phantom Menace"?

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

anyway...

don't get me wrong, I am not so blind, or so much of a "Lerner Apologist" (insert eyeroll here) that I don't see that there are needs that haven't been filled. Of course there are, and I believe that we DO need to do something more here. We particularly need to get an Impact Bat for the middle of our order. Perhaps a SP as well, but I'm not very fond of giving big contracts to pitchers(that sort of thing just burns you, so often, giving a big deal to a hitter is a bit more dependable), and I think that acquiring a bat takes precedence.

I just don't subscribe to the theory that the entire offseason was a miserable failure, then Team was completely inactive for the entire offseason(completely disregarding the things that *have* been done this offseason that no one seems to care about in their FA-fervor) and we are destined for another 100-loss season unless we sign 4 or 5 free agents and basically remake the team with free agents.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

If we had a Red Sox type MLB roster, our top 10 prospects could look something like this - not too bad.

1. Zimmerman
2. Dukes
3. Milledge
4. Zimmermann
5. Balester
6. Cordero
7. Burgess
8. Detwiler
9. Marrrero
10. A. Hernandez

Oh, and if not for MLB stewardship, our MLB roster could contain Sizemore, Phillips, Lee, Bay, Young, etc.

Hard to fully blame our current FO for these short comings, but they have the opportunity to turn things around with some FA signings, Int. signings, and a kid named Strasburg.

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 30, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Just heard that Ryan Zimmerman and Rob Dibble will be guests on MASN's Hot Stove Show, tonight from 7-8 pm. MASN is devoting the entire show tonight to the Nationals.

Posted by: Shocker1 | January 30, 2009 4:24 PM

nice.

is there an email to send questions in or something?

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Madison

Your first point is correct other than when you point out that signing better coaches is not a important as a free agent. It is, in my humble opinion, much more important. I feel like most players who have joined the nationals in the past few years have regressed through injury or plate discipline. Good coaching should address that, and with fewer injuries, which these changes were made to combat, we should be able to look forward to bigger years from a large number of talented players. If players improve on last year across the board then we see improvements that signing one free agent is unlikely to touch.

Also, I liked Bonafacio. Why does everyone pick on him?

As to the rest, you are spot on.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Lucy, you have some 'splainin to do.

Seriously, it's not like anything else is going on. Care to expound upon this hunch?

-----

You may not believe in the youngsters, and they may not be the known commodities that the older Free Agents are, but I think that they'll surprise you this season. Especially in the Bullpen. but that's just a personal opinion.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 30, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I did, too. At first.

Then the dude just couldn't get on base. It really started to wear on me, and I think fans' frustrations about the entire team peforming poorly led to him kind of being a symbol of offensive ineptitude.

It really could have just been a tough stretch for a young player on a very bad team. But we lost patience pretty quickly, myself included.

-----

Also, I liked Bonafacio. Why does everyone pick on him?

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 30, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Funny, I'm usually only half joking about my love of Bonafacio but, I think we did give up on him too fast. His batting practices were being mirrored across the whole team, and i honestly think he could go on to be a very good player. That belief was confirmed when Florida asked for him. They have a really good record of signing youngsters and fixing them up.

I was more angry because we signed Willigham who is not as good in left as Milledge, not good enough to take over from Kearns in right and is generally just not that good.

I really liked where this team looked like it was heading at the deadline but I'm not sure Bowden hasn't taken the reigns back so he can full fill his life long dream of stock piling fat, slow, power bats with no discipline or defense.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"Also, I liked Bonafacio. Why does everyone pick on him?"

He strikes out waaaay too often. Speed is worthless if you can't even get on base.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 30, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"A's - signed Giambi."

Matt Holliday. Furcal.
Don't give me a traded away Carlos Gonzalez rebuttal until he actually amounts to something.

Posted by: jctichen | January 30, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke, I hate to break it to you, but by many objective measures, Bonifacio had the worst year of any second baseman offensively, and was actually subpar defensively (mostly due to bad hands). Plus, he's redundant of Alberto Anderson. They tried him for 1/4 of the games. They gave him a chance. Maybe he could improve, but he was horrible.

I'll spare the stats post. Just look at his OBP and SLG relative to other 2d basemen with comparable plate appearances, and look at his fielding percentage, range factor, and zone rating defensively.

You can even point out that Fla must have thought he was worth something, and that he is athletic enough to deserve another chance. A lot of his defensive problems look like hands rather than range (e's would ripple through a few of those defnsieve stats).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 30, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"Phantom Menace" should not be allowed on a family blog.

Posted by: Section506 | January 30, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Matt Holliday. Furcal.
Don't give me a traded away Carlos Gonzalez rebuttal until he actually amounts to something.

Posted by: jctichen | January 30, 2009 5:16 PM

Furcal signed with the Dodgers.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

By the way, the article BobL linked to in fangraphs points out that a lousy 1/4 of a season is no reason to give up on a prospect, and points to ED as Exhibit C. So Bloke, you may be right in the long run, and I'll usually take beinfest over JimBo's judgment.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 30, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I honestly didn't mean to hold up a whole post because of my wildly optimistic admiration for a not-especially-good player. I know he was an extreme long shot at best. Like I said before, I just like the look of where we were going when we signed the defensive kids, and umped some age last year. Wild optimism more than anything else. If he turns out to be good I'll be angry/amused.

Also, Mr. Madison Phantom Menace was a truely terrible film and deserves to be censored.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 30, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

>Your definition of insanity: Doesn't that apply to what the Nats are doing with the starting rotation? Hoping some young kids will suddenly blossom, balanced with perennial prospects like Daniel Cabrera? At what point do the Nationals realize they need to take the minimal step of adding a proven, competent (not even great, just competent) starting pitcher or two? I think that, as much as injuries, caused last season's collapse. They never had a guy who could break a losing streak by going eight innings (God forbid anybody throw a complete game anymore), and give up 2-3 runs and snag a win.

Tom Boswell: I wish you had been on a party line with Stan and I this morning when we were going 'round-and-'round on that.

This is where the whole thing crashes and burns - Stan is locked in to saying that FA pitchers are almost entirely not worth the expenditure, and he's completely tied to that rationale, as if that somehow is the basis for precluding ANY involvement in acquiring a starter. This is rigid, mediocre thinking -- by a lawyer, no less -- who's making BASEBALL DECISIONS. I thought that he let his baseball people make the decisions, but apparently not. Lawyers are trained to use facts to bolster an argument - not make acquisitions, take risks and project the future based on something as fickle as a human being. There's no security in that - you have to take chances in order to move forward. If anybody thinks this situation is even remotely on a par with Atlanta 15 years ago, and they're using that as an excuse for inaction, once again shows nothing but mediocre thinking - hey it happened once, it'll happen again. Man, it NEVER happens again. Every player, every team, every era is different. This team is way out in the weeds if they think some weasel bs-ing non-answer giving lawyer is gonna evaluate talent for them. Someone else had to have made the decisions in Atlanta - how the hell else could he have run three teams at once? He surely wasn't the one acquiring all the talent - he would never have enough hours in the day to accomplish that. And now we get the privilege of him lecturing us because what we're seeing really isn't what we're seeing.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

JMad - I love you man, and the Willingham/Olson trade was a good one for the Nats. They're better than what we gave up, but how much better does it make us? Not much, and the reason is because in order for them to realize the full benefits of the trade, they would need to make MORE moves. The trade as it stands alone isn't going to be maxed out. Let's say they get Dunn, and Nick stays healthy, and say Willingham goes to the bench, or is a spot starter. Do you think that would bring us up a level as opposed to simply replacing Kearns or Milledge in the lineup? See, talent trickles down, and you have different categories of players on the team, so if we have a guy with starter's stats, and he's now a bench player, we've truly upgraded the team. The scrubs we picked up for bench players are STILL BENCH PLAYERS no matter how old they are. Seems like the team is hiding behind the fact that since the young guys haven't done much, that you can't point to that issue because they're young. This is where the evaluations come in - not every guy you draft has all the talent needed to succeed, but they're playing this game of 'how do you know how good they're going to be' if you don't play them. I'll tell you how they'll know - when they're playing in the minor leagues and as was said on here earlier -EARN their playing time. These guys barely get in one decent minor league season, and next thing you know, they're on the menu! Jordan Zimmerman? He went three levels last year. Do you think he could work on his stuff in AAA without screwing the big league team first?

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Madison,

You seem like a nice fella, who is loyal to his Nats and knows a little something about baseball.

That being said, I have one question. What flavor of Kool Aid do you prefer?

As I pointed out the other day on this blog
7 of the 8 playoff teams in 2008 were in the top 15 in payroll spending. in 2007 5 of the 8 playoff teams were in the top 8 in spending.

There are a few exceptions to the spending rule but, by and large it is a proven fact that teams that spend money have a better chance of winning. Period.

I gave the Lerner's the benefit of doubt the first couple of years because they had a "Plan." However, this not spending money on a few FA's and being in the bottom 5 every year in payroll is flat out ridiculous, for this big market team.

For example they could spend money on Dunn, Wolf and a solid reliver and probably not crack the top half of the payroll rankings. Do that and this club is better and it takes pressure off rushing some of the youngsters and guys like Zim and Dukes.

This isn't the NFL were spending money DOESN'T give you a huge advantage to being a playoff team (I'm looking at you Danny Snyder and Jerry Jones) and it's ALL about drafting talent. MLB Teams that spend money have a HUGE advantage.

Why can't the Nats do both, spend a little money and build through the draft and International signings.

What say you?


Posted by: Section505203 | January 30, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Brue - We can actually run a controlled experiment on pitching over the next couple of years. Beyond Matusz / Strasburg, the Os and Nats have two fairly comparable pairs of young pitchers in Chris Tillman and Jordan Zimmermann and Jake Arrieta and Colin Balester. On BA, I think Jim Callis said he prefers each of the Os pitchers, but rates Tillman and Zimmermann as practically a coin flip (About 6 -8 places apart in his top prospect, both in the 20s). I forget how far apart he'd say the other two are.

In any event, the Os and Nats are taking two vastly different approaches to these high end young pitchers. The Os are bringing in the Mark Hendricksons of the world to round out their rotation and keeping the kids down for seasoning and strengthening. The Nats, OTOH, are going to force feed JZ and CB at the major league level in a trial by fire. It worked for Lannan last year, and worked for Glavine years ago. It'll be interesting to see in 2012 which pair Parkway Pitchers is regarded as better.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 30, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats, OTOH, are going to force feed JZ and CB at the major league level in a trial by fire."

Or so it might seem at the moment, but there's still time left. At this point last year, had Odalis Perez even been signed yet? And with all the free agents still on the market now, the timetable for picking up a serviceable starter cheap on a one-year deal has been extended from where it was last year. The Nats may yet make one (or more) moves to acquire pitching - but not the kind that Boswell is telling Kasten he absolutely _must_ get. Boswell and Kasten are really arguing at cross purposes. I bet Kasten is oh, so tempted to just hang up on Boz every time he calls and launches into one of his diatribes on how to run the team. But alas, he can't, because at least until the Post folds in a couple of years Boswell still has the power of the press behind him to take into full spin mode.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 30, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

From above:

"I do think there is one important thing that JB is looking at in potential free agents, and that is compenstion."

That's it! The Lerners have compenstion.

They really have to go (spend money on free agents), but they just can't get it out.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 30, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Yeah my patience is a little short with experiments, but that is a good one nonetheless. I know from living here in Harm City that the O's wouldn't move forward with the Bedard trade unless Tillman was included. From what I understand, he's pretty much got top-notch stuff and can beat you several different ways. He still might make the rotation, because all they have is Hendrickson and Guthrie. They traded Olsen.
I don't think that Balestar got a helluva lot out of the experiment last year, and he started getting tattoed toward the end after the league had accumulated some film of him. He needs to have better command of his pitches within the strike zone. Hitting the upper-inside corner of strike zone with a fastball for example. All of the stuff that comes with experience. That's what Dibble was talking about on MASN tonite - and how Jim Palmer knew he could throw his fastball 80% of the time and know that he could put a pitch in the exact spot he needed to. Visualization.

Lannan will always be walking a tightrope, because he just doesn't throw that hard, and if he's afraid to throw strikes, it gets rough for him too. I don't know enough about Arieta to have an opinion on his prospects. But don't kid yourself, the O's are currently desperate for starters too.

Another factor to look at is - who made the better move, the team that released Cabrera, or the team that signed him? He could very well be one of these veterans that people gripe about that's a known quantity for the most part and is in the way of the less experienced guys.

FWIW - Dibble might get interesting this year. Real interesting. He already mentioned that from what he knows about Detwiler is that he can't repeat his windup, and if he could, he'd be in the Nats rotation with that kind of stuff. So there you have it - fix somebody's windup and fix a whole bunch of headaches for the big club for years to come.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

I thought compensation was talking about giving up draft picks.

I'll keep it short this time...

Hudson is NOT worth losing the first pick in the second round. NO NO NO NO NO!

Go get Dunn only cost us years and dollars and you can potentially have him at LF and Johnson at 1B (for 38 games or so anyway).

Posted by: estuartj | January 30, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Separate note from the MASN Natsfest interview with Jim Bowden. JimBow says he looks at last years injuries as getting us "Steven Strasburg or Kevin Green" he the injuries got us the top pick and we're going to have the "top player" in the draft.

My thoughts are either he's setting the table to pass on Strasburg or he's saying were going to take the player on our board, not most signable.

Posted by: estuartj | January 30, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

"Separate"

I can spell, I just don't want to...

Posted by: estuartj | January 30, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

>I bet Kasten is oh, so tempted to just hang up on Boz every time he calls and launches into one of his diatribes on how to run the team.

Delusional. Kasten deserves what he gets. If it was in NY, they would be so far up his ass he wouldn't be able to breathe. He's got a cakewalk in this town.

Posted by: Brue | January 30, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

"Delusional. Kasten deserves what he gets. If it was in NY, they would be so far up his ass he wouldn't be able to breathe. He's got a cakewalk in this town."

Oh, I'm sure Kasten is laughing all the way every time he talks with Boswell. He knows Boswell is a lightweight. That's why he doesn't even bother taking Boswell on specifically whenever he talks about these things, like at NatsFest last week. He just lumps him in with everyone else by saying "the media would have you believe..." and then proceeding with his point. Boswell thinks the Nats were mad at him for writing that column? He's the one who's delusional. Did he get his head chewed off by Kasten like Svrluga and Sheinin did a couple of years ago? No way. They basically ignored his column and moved on.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 30, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

"My thoughts are either he's setting the table to pass on Strasburg or he's saying were going to take the player on our board, not most signable."

If you were at NatsFest and you were paying attention, you'd have heard Bowden basically guarantee that they're picking Strasburg. They're not passing on him. The comments you're taking from Bowden, he's referring to the #10 pick, not Strasburg.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 30, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Madison,

You seem like a nice fella, who is loyal to his Nats and knows a little something about baseball.

That being said, I have one question. What flavor of Kool Aid do you prefer?
------------------

Cherry.

the rest of your post is largely irrelevant in regards to addressing me, because I am actually *IN* favor of spending money and adding some players.

whether it is a good idea to sign free agents or not is *not* my argument here. and it never has been. anyone who frequents this blog while I'm around can vouch for that. I've been a supporter of signing a Power Hitter. I wanted Tex. I want Dunn. or Abreu. or MAN-NY.

so attempt to label me as a "kool-aid drinker" is misplaced and ineffective. I've never been so, and I won't ever be.

what I *am*, is rational, and even-keeled. I didn't use to be so, Brue can attest to that.

I just don't agree with the popular sentiment that the Nationals have done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to improve the product this offseason. they have.

and I've explained what I believe they have done in a previous post, so I don't need to repeat it.

so you'll have to excuse me if I don't fly off into a whiny rage because the Nats haven't signed every Free Agent on the block yet.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

I was also in favor of trying to trade for Prince Fielder.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 11:05 PM | Report abuse

But that's just it Mr. Madison, you are drinking the "cherry" Kool Aid because you are saying that the Nats didn't do "ABSOLUTELY NOTHING." OK, you are correct they made some moves, like every other ML team, great. No teams roster is completely the same. The Nats need to do more after 102 losses.

There are a lot of people on this blog that are OK with a poopy product. After 2 1/2 years of the Lerner's "lipstick on a pig" schtick I'm fed up and I'm speaking out. It's time to spend some damn money.

I'm now on my 5th year of being a 20 gamer with 2 kids, and I don't live in Great Falls. If I'm willing to spend, the Lerner's better be G Damn willing to spend, in this big market.

Just like a lot of people on this blog that grew up in this area, I waited a life time to have a baseball team but the newness is over. I will always buy a least a 20 gamer but, this isn't Pittsburgh and I expect the owners of this team to start spending some money to improve the product. Is that to much to ask?

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Matt Holliday. Furcal.
Don't give me a traded away Carlos Gonzalez rebuttal until he actually amounts to something.

Posted by: jctichen | January 30, 2009 5:16 PM

Furcal signed with the Dodgers.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 30, 2009 5:26 PM

And Holliday was traded for during the year last year.

Point being Yanks spent $.5 billion to get better on paper (hasn't worked much for them the past decade), and BoSox overpaid for reclamation projects to maybe be better. Other than that, the Nats have done just about as much as everyone else.

Oh, not that I'm a huge fan (other than him being a Nat now), but the O's didn't release Cabrera, they refused to offer him arbitration.

Oh and oh, if the Nats don't sign Strasburg, there will be an official fan revolt....and the FO knows it - don't see that happening...

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 31, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

goexpos2,

No offense, but your another Kool Aid drinker. The Yankee's (as much as I hate them) up until 2008, made the playoffs 13 years in a row and won 4 WS titles. The Red Sox won 2 WS titles in this decade. So, don't give me this crapolla about not making moves.

Those two franchises spend money. The Lerner's, not so much.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

"Young guys need people to learn from who are STARTING AHEAD OF THEM."

NO. I will use capitals since the quotee did as well. Young guys need good minor league instuction and then they need the experience of playing every day to get better. If there is no one on the major league roster who is better at their position then why not bring them in for the major league experience and have them play? Did Ryan Zimmerman need to have Vinny Castilla playing ahead of him for another year while he sat on the bench? Just what did Flores learn from Lo Duca and Estrada last season? The exception to this rebuttal is the case of pitching where a starting pitcher is resting between starts he would be wise to observe everything about what every other pitcher is doing. There is no lack of instruction in the major leagues. Players learn from coaches, watching videos, drills and by talking with other players and coaches. Playing at the major league level is the test of all they have learned. To state flat out that young players have to sit on the bench and watch someone else play their position in order to learn is just not a well thought out position.

Posted by: driley | January 31, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

goexpos2,

No offense, but your another Kool Aid drinker. The Yankee's (as much as I hate them) up until 2008, made the playoffs 13 years in a row and won 4 WS titles. The Red Sox won 2 WS titles in this decade. So, don't give me this crapolla about not making moves.

Those two franchises spend money. The Lerner's, not so much.

Posted by: Section505203

How you spend the money is more important. Look at the Orioles in the last 15 years as example one. There was a hue and cry last year for us to pick up Andrew Jones or Livan Hernandez.

The revenues of the Red Sox and the Yankees are vastly superior that of the Nats. They can afford to make mistakes, huge mistakes, and then spend their way past them. They can afford the long term commitments that players are demanding now before signing. Would you pay for a 4 year contract for Sheets? for Ramirez? for Abreu? for Hudson? As the season nears these free agents will soften their demands for money and long term contracts. But I am sure you would have felt better signing them by now at the cost of a long term commitment to each.

Posted by: driley | January 31, 2009 7:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm making my first pitcher of the year today, flavor de jour is Kiwi-Banana.

I was all for signing Teixeira, I believe they did everything they could.

After that, who do you propose we sign? Dunn and Hudson have been discussed to death. Sheets, Wolf, Garland...yea yea yea I don't see any or all of those guys making the team better.

If you look at the turnover in the roster I think you'll see they are doing tons of things to make this team better, so many people seem to see FA as a cure all, but really if you get specific what guys might they have signed that will lead this team to a championship?

Bowden readily admits he wants (and from his interview broadcast last night in this order), 1. SP, 2. bullpen 3. LH power bat 4 leadoff hitter.

OK diatribe over, best thing about the digital age is I don't have to put on my hoodie and sneak down to the post office to deliver my rant.

Posted by: estuartj | January 31, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

I think the team has made plenty of moves to get better. I'm soooo bored with these endless 'Lerners are cheap' 'Nats do nothing' bs posts that you negative ninnies write all the time like there's someone in the front office reading these just waiting to hear from you.

Grow up.

Support your team.

When the Mets were created in 1962 they had 6 consecutive 100 loss seasons. Their circumstance was very similar to ours in many respects: no farm system, aging veterans on the first team fielded...

Washington lost two franchises because fans stayed away. I'll say this again - read the Montreal Expos wiki. Understand the Lerners have had exactly 2.5 years to work with this club. The new ballpark is exactly 1 year old!

I chalk up these comments to people who don't understand baseball and what it takes to build a consistent winner. Fortunately, the front office of the Nats do know - in spite of the awful TV deal they have.

2 top 10 draft picks
Anderson Hernandez = Dominican Winter League MVP
Scott Olson, John Lannan, Daniel Cabrera
Jack McGeary pitching full time
Josh Willingham
A healthy ballteam
They went after Teixera
Resigning Guzman
Eating FLop, LoDuca and Estrada's salaries
Some outfield competition
The emergence of Jesus Flores
All new coaching staff
Keeping Manny
All new training staff

I think Nick Johnson's gonna have a 2006 year this year (without the painful ending). He and Willingham will make a pitcher chuck 15 balls at them back to back. Our team is much different when healthy - last year we never knew who our starting lineup was from day to day. I get the feeling that'll change this year.

Our team went 2-15 against the Florida Marlins last year. That's our team to beat this year.

So you guys prattle on with your whining about how you're not the owner or the GM - I'll keep scanning for the insightful posts worthy of my time to read.

Oh - and the newness has not worn off. Unless you're an ADHD baseball fan.

Go Nats!

Posted by: dand187 | January 31, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Section505203, none taken - guilty as charged. I run out of Kool aid on June 1st. If they haven't signed a decent FA that makes sense and signed Strasburg et al by then, I won't be drinking Kool Aid, I'll be spitting venom!

Your argument about the Yanks and Sox doesn't hold much water. The Yanks won all those years with home grown players - its when they started signing the Giambis and A-Rods of the world that they quit winning championships. And the Sox are really the model for growing from within THEN supplementing with FA.

And Riley, with the Sox, our revenue could compete with their's if we start winning. Our park holds more folks, and the DC metro area has about a million more people. RSN needs huge work though.

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 31, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Grow up.

Support your team.
____________________________________________________

Yeah your right, people being on a Nats blog ever day in the middle of winter, aren't very supportive of their team.

Whatever buddy. Everybody on this blog with the exception of few O's trolls love and support the Nats. So you know where you can stick that comment.

The stats don't lie. If you don't spend money on the big league roster, your chances of winning go down. Of course it doesn't guarantee that you win but, it does give you a better chance. We are not in the same category as the Yankees or Red Sox, no one believes that. But we are with Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago's, Houston.

There is absolutely no logical reason why the Nats can't spend maybe, 20-30 million a season on say, 2-3 extra players and still be able to stick with "The Plan" which I happen to support.

They are putting a lot of strain on a bunch of young guys. Some guys like Lannan thrive, some like Bergmann fold up like a card table. A few proven players takes some of that strain away.

That is not an unreasonable demand.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Section505203, it's ok if all you care about and all you know is "sign Free Agents."

that's your right as a fan.

but there are many other things that go into improving a team.

if we had just signed Dunn and Wolf, without doing any of the things I mentioned in my earlier post, you and a lot of other people would be ESTATIC. Until the season starts, and the team still plays like crap, they are still the most injured team in baseball, and still with a bunch of 30+ bargain basement reject players on the roster.

but at least they'll have spent money on Free Agents, because apparently that's ALL that matters. *chuckle*

you know what? If being rational and even about this, and not flying off into a rage because the Nationals haven't signed any free agents yet(even though there are 90 free agents who STILL haven't signed with anyone), realizing that we could still sign free agents, and realizing that there is more to improving a team than simply "spend money on free agents" makes me a "kool-aid drinker", then so be it.

Drinking Kool-Aid helps relieve short-sightedness and tunnel vision.

and just a note: Nowhere in ANY of my posts in ANY part of this forum have I *ever* said that we SHOULD NOT spend money on free agents. Because I believe we should.

But I don't believe that the offseason is a waste simply because we haven't signed every free agent on the market yet.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 31, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Madison,

Believe me, I know plenty about baseball, I played for years. You're not talking to some Stat Geek who thinks he nows baseball because he can crunch some numbers.

I think you are missing my point. I agree with and support "The Plan." I don't think we should throw money around like a drunken sailor on leave. I would not be in support of siging 36 year Manny or throwing 160 some odd million at pudgy CC Sabathia.

What I am in favor of is signing a few 2nd tier FA's, if you will, that fit in here. Like 29 year old A. Dunn. It would take some pressure off some of the youngsters.

Some kids get messed up when they don't do good in "The Show" and get sent down and their careers are never the same. I worry that we are rushing some of these guys.

I have never called the Lerner's "Cheap." I'm getting frustrated and have probably implied it but, I have never said it.

I just wish they would be a little more open-minded when it came to the ML roster. It's OK to take a risk once in a while

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

It's coming down to what the fans want (better overall baseball) vs. what the team needs (a LH-power bat, defense 'up the middle', a stable 1B situation, & stronger SP).

Those questions might not get resolved until spring training is underway and the team sees what players like NJohnson, Willingham, Kearns & Dukes can offer to the offense & defense in 2009; Can Hernandez/Guzman & Milledge/Dukes handle the 'middle'?

Signing Dunn/Abreu/Hudson & their ilk as 'stop-gap' players acquires offensive strength for defensive or injury liabilities. MLB seems to be undergoing a 'sea-change', given the current economy regarding FA's - 'flawed' fits aren't getting signed. I'd rather see the team make a trade than sign someone just to put 'butts in the seats'.

Posted by: BinM | January 31, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

it also needs to be noted that while the Lerners haven't spent any money on Free Agents like Dunn and Hudson yet, neither has anyone else.

they are still out there, and they will STAY out there until Manny signs somewhere.

and no amount of bellyaching is really going to change this. Manny is going to re-set the Market for the 90+ players that are still unemployed.

Dunn is not going to do anything until Manny signs. period. if he were, he'd have done it already.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 31, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@MrM:

Fair point, but the entire market isn't waiting on "Boras's Big Top, featuring Manny Ramirez & Oliver Perez" to come to town. Other teams are still filling spots - PIT, as an example.

Posted by: BinM | January 31, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

My more immediate concern would be to get the Arb-eligible players under contract prior to hearing. As of 1/30/09, 68 of 110 who filed have already signed agreements for 2009 - none of those are Nationals' players. If the Lerner's go to hearings on any of their Arb-eligibles' this year, they prove CiL's point.

Posted by: BinM | January 31, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I still think we should have signed Eric Hinske -- 20 HRs as bench player last year, and a more than adequate replacement if NJ gets hurt. The Pirates got him for $1.5m and incentives. Now, it's Dunn or nothing if a free agent first baseman is the objective, which gives him more leverage for bigger bucks.
Will the Nats be better this year? Of course they will, because they were so bad last season. Even so, do any of us truly expect more than a .500 record? That might win Manny manager of the year. If everything falls into place, the Nats could be better than that, but that rarely happens when you start from so far in a hole.

Posted by: nats24 | January 31, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course these guys were rushed Section505203. There wasn't anyone in front of them to allow them the time to develop. Perhaps now some of these guys will filter through the pipeline, get some arm strength, and gain some perspective - which is what I think the 'spend money now' advocates need.

I still ask all the time who these free agents are that would have turned around what happened last year. Who are they?

Did I like the Metro rides back to Vienna after the 14 losses of 22 games I attended? Nope. Did I like watching on TV when they lost? No. My best friend is a Marlins fan - think I enjoyed watching Willingham hit that game winner off Rauch last year - and the Nats go 2-15 against the Fish? Certainly not. I want them to win as much as anyone, but signing Dunn, who can't catch water in a glass is not the answer in my opinion. We don't need Hudson - Hernandez deserves a shot at the job.

Hernandez - 2B
Dukes - CF
Zimmerman - 3B
Willingham - LF
Johnson - 1B
Guzman - SS
Kearns - RF
Flores - C

The Banged Up Nationals will not repeat this year. Too many good things happening. Hopefully we won't have Zimm out for 50 games, or Kearns rushing back from elbow surgery. Or Dukes and Milledge out. Or lose our closer in week 2. Or play Belliard at every infield position. Or deal with the Lopez loaf, or Estrada drama, or Lo Duca whatever he did.

These are our guys - and they deserve our support.

Want them to spend money? Look at the arbitration numbers for Willingham, Olson, Zimmerman and Hill. Big raises for all those guys.

There are reasons to be hopeful. Few get mentioned here though it seems.

Posted by: dand187 | January 31, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

seriously..Eric Hinske? Eric Hinske? sportsfan882, is that you?

would anyone really be satisfied if we signed him to play 1B? we may as well go get Paul Lo Duca back too then.

there's a reason Hinske was on the way to play in Japan when the Pirates called.

It's not necessarily Dunn-or-Bust.

If we don't sign Dunn, Bobby Abreu is a capable second option. and Abreu is willing to take a 1-year deal.

in that case, Willingham can play first.

----------------
If the main purpose is to win, Willingham will do whatever it takes, and that includes moving to first base if needed, although it's been a while since he's played there.

"I haven't played it in so long, but it was a natural position for me back when I was playing in the minor leagues. It's one of those things that I haven't played it in 3 or 4 years, but I think it will just take a little work [to adjust]."
-----------------------

http://masnsports.com/2009/01/willingham-ready-to-provide-an.html

Posted by: MrMadison | January 31, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"And Riley, with the Sox, our revenue could compete with their's if we start winning. Our park holds more folks, and the DC metro area has about a million more people. RSN needs huge work though.

Posted by: goexpos2 "

Some things are very different. The Boston Red Sox saturate the media markets of New England, creating a vast fan base that is rabid. The Lerners instead have a barrier one county removed to the north and to the northwest have the Philadelphia market. What they should do is make Virginia into their domain. Putting the AAA team in Virginia would be a good start to this plan. (They had a chance to take the Tidewater Tides in Norfolk but Baltimore beat them to it. Richmond currently has no team. The Richmond stadium needs work now but they should very seriously look in this direction. If they work with the city of Richmond they could build up a huge deposit of good will with a major city just 90 miles away.) Finding radio stations that actually send a signal after sundown in Virginia would be another starting point. The Tidewater area of Virginia has sent many fans on its way to Baltimore when that was the closest major league team. When the Mets had the AAA team in Norfolk the NY Mets scores were given top billing on the local television sports shows. Putting the AAA team in New York was done for expediency only--it can not be thought of as being astute in a long term view. It would be simple for the Nationals to mark this area of Virginia as well as the rest of the state as their own. They need to start sending feature stories about the Nationals to local newspapers and get more Nationals on local tv and radio. They need someone that is smart about building a fan base to make this a full time job--(obviously not the one who is in charge of the DC area.) There is a huge potential of doubling their overall fan base every year if they get smart about this. Signing Ryan Zimmerman to a long term contract would be a smart move for this area as well.

Posted by: driley | January 31, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

@MrM:

So, Willingham is finally asked about 1B by the press & seems willing - good for the Nationals. That would still leave Willingham in the OF mix, but would set up a NJohnson/Willingham platoon-injury coverage at 1B, with a Willingham / Milledge / Dukes / Kearns OF.

I'm ok with that, but would rather see a trade from depth (1+ ML-OF & 1MiL-CA and/or 1-MiLP) for a bona-fide SP, then add the LH-power bat via a short term contract.

Posted by: BinM | January 31, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@driley:

Yes, yes, and yes.
Having both the A+ (Woodbridge) & AAA (Richmond) team in VA, along with the current AA/A- (PA-VT) would be very good at growing regional fan bases. If the Vermont franchise could be shifted to the NC-SC market, so much the better.

Acquiring a TV/Radio/news network (radio & news in particular) that 'carries' is critical to the region. That draws listeners from a broader range as initial 'casual' fans into the realm of 'occaisional' stadium-seat purchasers, and "hooks" them as fans when they see an exciting game.

Posted by: BinM | January 31, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"If the Lerner's go to hearings on any of their Arb-eligibles' this year, they prove CiL's point."

What's CiL's point? Is this something we're all supposed to know, like Sarah Palin should have known the Bush Doctrine?

Posted by: nunof1 | January 31, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that BinM may have meant to type LAC (Lerners Are Cheap) rather than CiL (Coverage is Lacking).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 31, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"Of course these guys were rushed Section505203. There wasn't anyone in front of them to allow them the time to develop"
___________________________________________________

It doesn't need to be this way. Last year they did have a crazy amount of injury's but, some of those happened to the same old guys that are always hurt. And my frustration is they are going to depend on those same guys this year, Johnson, Kearns, etc. and then act all surprised when it happens again. Ridiculous.

Then it puts a strain on young guys like Zim who has to press in a situation when he is not seeing good pitches anyway, because he is one of the only good bats in the lineup. Or it puts a strain on a young pitcher like Balester because he feels if he gives up one or two runs they will lose.

I just don't understand the logic of giving DA Meat Hook 10 million after he had one good year or paying Kearns like he was an allstar. I mean 9 million for that guy? Come on. Solid defensive OF, good club house guy but, below average bat and very injury prone. Kasten gives us all that bugle oil saying that FA's are a risk. True. But what is signing those guys? Right, a risk.

They sign risky guys like that but, then get aligator arms reaching for the check book on a proven guy who is under 30 and hit 40 bombs the last 5 years straight, who has never had an injury problem.

Can anyone explain this logic?

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Section 502203

Frankly no one can explain that logic. We have offered some terrible contracts to guys that have overachieved, or not achieved at all.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 31, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1, 1a1:

Yes, I was thinking about the LAC (Lerners are Cheap) acolytes, but typed CiL. My mistake - thanks for the assist, 1a1.
-----------

@505203:
Re-signing DaMeat was a "make-good" contract - It made up for his performance in '06. Granted, it was a bad contract, but not overly costly. The Kearns, if memory serves, was either inherited directly from CIN, or part of a contract obligation.

Posted by: BinM | January 31, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

505203,

I do see a pattern that the Lerners have in which they reward players that have good years here. Young has an outstanding season and he gets a two year reward, Belliard got reupped for two years, Guzman for two. Each of these players "earned" the reward by having their good season here. The fans enjoyed their display and the Lerners wanted to keep the same players before the fans. Kearns came with the multi year contract to the best of my knowledge. So far all the players that have been re-signed by the club have performed very well in their final contract year before being offered a new contract. In terms of this year's free agents we know that they have pursued Dunn, Teixeira and Bradley but we do not know the exact amount that has been offered. I do hope that we will know those amounts at some point in the future and then it may be reasonable to revise the term "alligator arm."

Posted by: driley | January 31, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

driley,

Great, I'm all for rewarding guys. But, there was a risk in signing troubled guys like DA Meat Hook or chubby Ronnie Belliard. Kasten always belly aches about FA's being risky. Well, signing troubled chubby guys (I don't want to use the term fat) is a risk, Stan.

I know I'm complaining and acting like Chicken Little but, I am concerned that they are completely closed minded when it comes to FA's

I will always be a 20 gamer, have been since season 1. I love going to the ball park with my dad, wife and my 2 kids. The atmosphere, the smell of the ball park is awesome, even when your team is God awful. I just wish they weren't so God awful, it would make being there that much better. So excuse my rants lately.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

here is a thought.

Dunn wants 4 years, 56m. and he's not budging until Manny signs and he has an idea of his realistic worth on this market.

he's not going to get that, from *anybody*.

now what I am curious to know, is that when we sign Dunn for a 2 or 3 year deal at a price far lower than 56m, how many people here who have been screaming OMG SPEND MONEY STOP BEING CHEAP will be among the first people to say "oh great deal for the Lerners, this is a bargain!".

it seems to me that folks here think that this is a one-way street and that it is simply a matter of saying "this amount of years, this amount of money" and the players are going to say "oh hey, cool where do I sign?". It's not that simple. Who is to say that we haven't actually offered or even discussed dollar figures with Dunn's agent? especially with the shoddy Nats Media we have to deal with. these guys have as much of a clue about what's going on as we do. who is to say that we haven't approached Dunn with a contract, and Dunn hasn't simply said "uh, no, I'm going to wait."?

even so, I offer the following, just for the sake of discussion.

-------------
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings090129

An official of one team that has had contact with Adam Dunn's agents says Dunn is "definitely" waiting to see what happens with Ramirez because the Dodgers are his preferred destination.

That's not a good development for the Nationals, who have made no secret of their interest in Dunn. But it's becoming increasingly clear they aren't his No. 1 choice.

"If he wanted to be in Washington, he'd already be there," the same official said.

The Nationals remain Dunn's most aggressive suitor.
--------------------------

the Nationals have offered a contract to Tex and got dissed. They offered a contract to Milton Bradley and got dissed. Who is to say that the same hasn't happened with Dunn?

It's not quite as simple as OMGSPENDSOMEMONEY like folks seem to think it is.

Nothing is going to move until Manny signs with the Dodgers. realistically, LA is Manny's only option, it's just a staredown between the Dodgers and Boras. as soon as someone blinks, Dunn and everyone else will follow suit.

The only thing that can really be done, that is intelligent, is wait and see how things shake out.

Nobody else wants Manny except the Dodgers. and nobody else really has any serious interest in Dunn besides us and maybe the Dodgers if they finally get fed up with Manny's act.

so everyone should just relax. the team doesn't need a complete overhaul, but they need some players. they definitely need a middle-of-the-order bat first and foremost. and the players they need are not in any hurry to sign anywhere right this second.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 31, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

on a positive note, there will be ACTUAL baseball on your TV starting Monday!

the Carribbean World Series starts on Monday and will be televised on MLB Network.

Several Nats are playing in the Series.

off the top of my head, Daniel Cabrera, Anderson Hernandez, Jesus Flores, and Ronnie Belliard are playing for Licey

Posted by: MrMadison | January 31, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Mr. M,

You bring up some good points and I hope you are correct. Hopefully, for our sake the Dodgers sign Manny and then the Nats will have a realistic shot at getting Dunn.

You have talked me of the ledge...for now.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

make that "off" the ledge.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 31, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

The error the Nats made with Belliard, Young, Redding, and Perez was they did not watch the Sopranos second season. Pump and dump, just like Webistics. Christafuh knew how to do it.

When you do hit on a fringey vet you sign cheap, sell high! That was the case with Guz last year too. Don't give him the 2 year like you gave Dameat. Send him the Dodgers or the Red Sox when their shortstops went down. They could have even traded Nieves back to the NYY last year when Posada went down. Tell me a lefty who was solid and healthy like Perez could not have gotten something back, again from the NYY.

With the current squad, hope that Kearns and Johnson are just good enough to to trade either in the spring or the the trade deadline. the biggest compalint I have about JimBo is not the trades they have pulled off, it's holding assets too long, like Cordero.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 31, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Compalint - What the Moose said to Sarah before she turned him into burger!

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 31, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

What gives with all this bad-mouthing of Belliard? Is there anything the Nats have asked of him that he hasn't delivered? He's coming off a good season in winter ball. I have no problem whatsoever with him being on the Nats bench and as a fill-in, even if by some miracle the team were a contender.

Posted by: nats24 | February 1, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Another Sopranos shoutout: "Did I learn nothing from Richie Aprile? You've got to nip these things in the bud."

On another note, I'm also looking forward to real baseball starting on Monday, as noted previously.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 1, 2009 6:37 AM | Report abuse

I wonder why, as the Nat's were looking for a natural centre fielder, they don't make a play for Yasser Gomez? The guy is fast, may be able to lead off and would allow us to stick Willigham on first if the Nick goes does (sorry, when Nick goes down).

Also, I'm fairly sure that as a defector he wouldn't cost us a drat pick (but honestly have no idea if that's true or not).

Posted by: soundbloke | February 1, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Washington is not a small market, I see them being easily able to sustain a payroll exceeding 100mil, probably up to 175 or more even. However, there is no reason to pay that now for talent that is little better than what is available internally.

Example, Hudson - he would cost us the top pick in the 2nd round and would require several years on a contract, thus blocking several potentially better players like Hernandez, Desmond, King and Gonzales.

As for Dunn, I think his defense is a huge issue, plus we don't need or want him if he isn't willing to play 1B. I honestly think this is the main issue, he knows we want him at first and he isn't interested so even if we offer him the best deal on the table (which I bet isn't more than 2 years 10-12 million) he isn't going to sign with us unless he willing to give on that issue. Even if we don sign him I don't think he our cure all, he a real mixed bag as a player, both on the field and with the bat. Personally I'd like to see a better option for a back-up 1Bman to NJ.

Also, let's not forget that Willingham is probably penciled in as our back-up 1Bman, so if NJ is healthy we have Willingham/Milledge/Dukes in the outfield and when/if he goes down Willingham goes to 1B and our outfield is Milledge/Dukes/Kearns.

Posted by: estuartj | February 1, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"Washington is not a small market, I see them being easily able to sustain a payroll exceeding 100mil, probably up to 175 or more even."

Of course. Dan Snyder has been doing it for years. Record high ticket and parking prices, throwing boatloads of money at bad players, multitudinous other actions that have totally alienated his fan base. And now that the recession has hit, he's laying off his loyal employees at Redskins Park and FedEx Field.

Be careful what you ask for.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 1, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I think that Dunn fits a need, and is one o a few options. At this point it looks like no one really wants him. LA would rather have Manny, and if the Giants or Braves wanted him right now he'd be grinning next to his brand new GM.

The way I see it is that Oakland is our best hope is either Oakland is going to desperate enough to make a trade for Barton (or if Bowden would wake up Ka'aihue), or Dunn will accept a year or two which is all we really want him for if, and only if, he wants to play first. He has too many holes in his game to be considered a good long term solution. He may be a good fit for a brief plug, but as he isn't going to be around all that long, if we can get a different younger understudy for NJ then of course we should.

What amazes me is that we are all debating whether these moves should happen, and yet the FO has obviously tried, the question is 'if' not 'should' we can make these moves happen.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 1, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Nats24 - I am very much a fan of Belliard. Liked him since his Cleveland days. I think he should be in a platoon with Harris as our starting 2d baseman, with Hernandez available as a late inning defensive sub. A guy with an .845 OPS last year is nothing to sneeze at. A platoon like I'm suggesting I'd SWAG at a .770 OPS, which would be top 3rd of 2d basemen. Better minds out there don't take this seriously and concede the job to AH or an AH/WH split, but I'm just a Ronnie fanboy.

Now that I've established Belliard support, I am pretty unsentimental when it comes to suggesting that certain guys should be off the team aat the right price. My T-shirt days Milledge, but with the log jam in the OF and doubts about him in CF, I still think he is the player on the team that the team could get a high return for and have adequate internal replacements. Belliard should have had value in trade for a team geared to last year (or 2007) success. Holding him through 2008 meant his defensive short comings became more obvious. His prior stats at 2d were not significantly below league average, but last year they were (thus the suggestion of a defensive sub in a platoon). He's not getting younger and his range isn't likely to get better. We may end up holding onto him in his near inevitable decline as he ages. For a team that is building, that is a sin.

But no hate from me while he's here. I think he's useful and I hope is used well while he's here. There's nothing wrong with saying "I hope a guy plays well enough to be traded" when you are building a team.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 1, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@jca:

Your last lines spoke volumes. As long as the FO doesn't either overvalue (i.e. Cordero) or undervalue (i.e. Rauch & Ayala), there are players on the Nationals roster (Belliard, NJohnson, Kearns, Rivera, Marrero) that could yield some talent via trade in the 2009 season.

Posted by: BinM | February 1, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

It seems that the Nationals' are trying to resolve the 1B dilema in-house. They're bringing a multitude of players to Viera w/1B experience (NJohnson, Casto & Willingham from the ML roster, and DaMeat, Whitney, Eldred & Marrero on invites). Nick & Casto both hit LH, and Dimitri is a swich-hitter; the rest are all RH.
-------------------
Willingham & Nick are going to make the team (barring trades), but the rest are in comeback or break-through positions. If two of the others have a solid ST, the trade opportunities should start to open up.
------------------
BTW, Casto's numbers look decent at 1B, given that he picked up the position as a way to make himself more valuable to the team; If he could only hit for a higher OPS.

Posted by: BinM | February 1, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I know that today is all about football, but that hasn't stopped me from searching for some SuperBowl Sunday signings for the Nats! How could Ben Sheets not help this team? When he comes off his injury, he's automatically a #1. Sign him for two years with an option for the third and we get him in his prime. How does this hurt "the plan"? I need some news this week!

Posted by: reverendnat | February 1, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

>Casto's numbers look decent at 1B, given that he picked up the position as a way to make himself more valuable to the team; If he could only hit for a higher OPS.

If there's somebody who ever needed to master going the other way with the pitch, it's him. He could make a good living as a pinch hitter because he's left-handed.

Posted by: Brue | February 1, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Reverend

I does not hurt The Plan in the least. What's more, any sensible team stocks up on pitching because pitcher always spend time on the DL and are incredibly valuable.

When a guys goes down you bring up 22 year old Zimmerman, and if he does well trade a pitcher at the dealine.

That just makes sense. And I almost never advocate free agent spending.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 1, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

>When a guys goes down you bring up 22 year old Zimmerman, and if he does well trade a pitcher at the dealine.

It all makes sense, but the team is looking for keepers. They don't want a FA that they initially intend to deal. So they're limiting themselves to only those who fit some kind of mold for progress as opposed to someone you could deal at the deadline and get a draft pick for. They don't want to do that. All these artificial limits. It's self-imposed bs. My head is slowly popping off. As we speak.

Posted by: Brue | February 1, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Really Brue? Overstocking your pitching at the start of the season confuses you? Or does trading players if you have cover at a position confuse you?

Posted by: soundbloke | February 1, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Brue, that sounded more snarky than I meant it. I just don't see a long term solution on the market right now. I do see a lot of 'good for a year' free agents...

Posted by: soundbloke | February 1, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

>I do see a lot of 'good for a year' free agents...

Which is exactly what the Nats don't want. I'm not confused, they've told me as much.

You might want them, but the Nats don't. Get it?

Posted by: Brue | February 1, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Got it.

I'm right and they're wrong though.

I see the super bowl is keeping you rapt too.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 1, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

And the commercials stunk, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 1, 2009 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I enjoyed the Joe Cocker NBC commercials, but I'm a Heroes fan.

If someone could explain to me why, after the past two seasons, I would appreciate that.

Back to baseball: I would rather trade NJ for Kyle Blanks (SD) or Lars Anderson (Bos) (jca, what're the odds after Youk got locked up?) for 1B than the Spring Training roster we have going in. This based off of analysis of good 1B under 25 that aren't locked up for awhile.

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/the-best-young-first-basemen-of-2007/

Now, if you excuse me, The Office beckons...

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 1, 2009 10:41 PM | Report abuse

>I'm right and they're wrong though.

Exactly. And that's why the team is screwed. Don't you see it? Their whole approach is limited. They refuse the big picture for their principles.

Posted by: Brue | February 2, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

1. Terrible Super Bowl. When there are 91 combined rushing yards and 162 combined penalty yards, it's not a good game, no matter how up in the air the outcome is. We just yelled "holding, left tackle!" after every play. Thank goodness there are no penalties in baseball.

2. I recommend all half-dozen of you with a sense of humor check out the Mike Wise video on Caps Insider about "Too Much Coverage of the Capitals." Hilarious.

Posted by: Section506 | February 2, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

OTOH, the Puppy Bowl rocked (and so did Mathilda, but Griffy was a bad dog).

At least there will be real games played tonite on the MLB Network. Yay!

If there were some Nats baseball news as well, I'd be over the moon.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 2, 2009 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Ah, its finally over! (the 4th qtr of the game was actually entertaining).

The most overated, overbloated, over-the-top sporting event once again gets tucked away into the Roman Numeral archieves. Of course we still have to suffer thru at least 24-48 hours of ESPN & the NFL network bloviators but gang its February and P&C's are just around the corner.
The NFL glory days are now put to bed for at least 6 months (thank the lord).

BTW, BudCo if your reading the blogs todays, take a lesson from Goodel, start the WS on a Sunday at 6PM and run the weekday start times NLT 7PM. The best part of the Stupor Bowl is, by 10PM it was over and you could still get a decent nights sleep.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 2, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

MLBTR has the list of FA still available, pretty bleak IMO. Couple things pop up;

SP - Perez and Sheets are both type A offered Arbitration and IMO are NOT worth giving up our top pick in the second round. Ditto that for Hudson at 2B.

That leaves Randy Wolf as the only SP I think is worth a roster spot.

RP - Not much better, Dennys Reyes (type B offered, doesn't cost us anything) is the only guy I think is worth a roster spot.

For position players the only guys out there that looks even remotly interesting are Adam Dunn, which is a horse we have beaten long enough and Orlando Hudson who I mentioned above.

I think we are at the point of being Dunn or Done, at least as far as FA go. MLBTR also has a list of players out of options and since we get first dibs at players going through waivers there might be some low risk pickups there, but if were going to improve the ST roster it will have to be Dunn or trade.

As for trades I've thrown out the C. Gonzales from Colorado or KK from Kansas City, anyone have some other ideas on CF or 1B targets?

Posted by: estuartj | February 2, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

estaurtj,

I thought, for 1B, Kyle Blanks and/or Lars Anderson look interesting (SD and Bos respectively). Both teams have 1B that are among the top in their league. Youk just got locked up, I confess to not knowing Adrian Gonzales' contract right now.

But with new ownership coming in, maybe the Pads will commit to some of their players for more years, and thus offer some of their prospects.

There is that problem of Towers absolutely loathing Bowden though...

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 2, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Apparently nobody has any such ideas, ESJ, or anything else to say, for that matter. It's awfully quiet out there. I might even try making my "compenstion" joke again just to break the silence.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 2, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Naturally, as soon as I post that, almost 3 hours after ESJ's post, NattyDelite sneaks in a post ahead of mine!

Posted by: BobLHead | February 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm probably about to get newposted, but wth

MLBTR: "Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to Padres GM Kevin Towers, who said last week he's interested in starter Livan Hernandez and outfielder Cliff Floyd."

and
"According to a press release from the Cubs, they've traded Hill to the Orioles for a player to be named later."

and again:
"According to a press release from the Cubs, they've sent [Michael] Wuertz to the A's for minor leaguers Richie Robnett and Justin Sellers. Given all the additions to Oakland's farm system, neither player ranked in their Baseball America top 30 list this year.
"Wuerz, 30, posted a 3.63 ERA in 44.6 innings for the Cubs this year with a 6.04 K/9. He's signed at $1.1MM for '09."

but wait, there's more:
"[T]he Mets are "close to finalizing" a deal with Perez, perhaps for three years at no more than $12MM per."

Posted by: CEvansJr | February 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

A veritable flurry of posts all of a sudden. Gonzalez, by the way, is in the middle of a four-year, $9.5m contract. He'll make $3m this year and $4.75m next. The Padres hold a club option for 2011 at $5.5m. So he fits right in with our other two $5m first basemen. Now if he would just develop a serious illness or some chronic injuries ....

Posted by: BobLHead | February 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Ben Sheets is not worth a second round pick???

Posted by: jctichen | February 2, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

There should be a limit to the maximum number of posts before NJ has to put up a new topic. (and 150 is way, way too many) This carcass has been over picked a long time ago!

Posted by: 1of9000 | February 2, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh for Pete's Sake, make something up and post it already. Chico took another vacation, but somebody must be at the Post.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 2, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Texas' offer to Sheets is reportedly for one year, plus a club option. A healthy Sheets is clearly worth more than a second-rounder, particularly in a year when we have two first-rounders. But is he healthy? The Rangers are said to be very concerned, hence their lowball, short-term offer. I understand why the Nats might not want to take on another injury-prone pitcher, but on the other hand, beating the Rangers offer here wouldn't hurt us much and could pay off handsomely.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 2, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Let's say we signed Sheets to a 1-year deal, had a productive year, was offered arbitration, and signed somewhere else next year. Would he be typed as a free agent? If so, we'd likely get a type A compensation and maybe a 1st round pick, at least a 2nd rounder. Is this how it works for 1 year deals?

Posted by: jctichen | February 2, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Hooray - I have a sign in button so I can post!

1) Nice story about Jordan Z, even if it took a while for the writer to get the N# right:
http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/washingtons-other-zimmerman

2) Lars - he is firmly in the Red Sox plans now that they missed on Teixeira. Youk would move to 3d when Lowell's contract expires after 2010. Anderson is the system's only real big, all around bat who is athletic enough to play in the field (but see below). He will be in BA's top 20, I think, and BP's Kevin Golstien has him a 5 star.

Were Ortiz hurt too injured in the spring, they might go after Dunn, actually. If Lowell were hurt, they have to decide between the lesser of Lowrie and Lugo, playing Kotsay, or brining up their AAAA bats from Pawtucket, Bailey or Carter If that were the case, perhaps a 1 year rental of Nick would interest them, but I'd think the price would be more like their 3 star ptiching prospects and one of those bats.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Nick Johnson would return a star prospect at any position. Would the Nats trade Jordan Zimmermann for an oft-injured 1B. I wouldn't.

In fact unless the Nats are willing to trade JZimm and/or one of their more proven big leaguers - RZim, Lannan, Dukes, maybe - they won't get KK or any of these guys that are being discussed. It's the point I've made before. You have to have talent to acquire talent - unless you happen to stumble across a team like the Marlins that's dumping arbitration guys.

#4

Posted by: db423 | February 2, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Hm, so I guess that leaves, as potential 1B semi-prospects:

Daric Barton of the A's

Kyle Blanks (or Gonzales) of the Pads

Garrett Jones of the Twins (blocked by Morneau) see this article http://twins.scout.com/2/819076.html

The rest are either top notch/not going to be traded (Justin Smoak, Matt Laporta) or
non entities it seems.

Kila Ka'aihue of the Royals

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

oops, Kila should be above the last part. My bad.

I need some news.

Posted by: NattyDelite | February 2, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

We have a free agent signing ....
..... and it is .....
..... Alex Cintron.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 2, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

re: Justin Smoak

Most people said that the Rangers were lucky that Smoak fell to them. Incidentally, they drafted behind us.

Posted by: jctichen | February 2, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Hmm. There's actually two new posts. Not sure whether I'm more disappointed that y'all didn't mention it, or that my RSS reader still doesn't see them.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 2, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

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