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A Last-Minute Run

Credit must go, first of all, to MLB.com for the news blurb that the Nats have their eye on Milton Bradley. He served primarily as a designated hitter last year with the Texas Rangers, but he could fit in at almost any outfield position. He earned a trip to the all-star game last year during a season in which he batted .321, hit 22 home runs and knocked in 77 in 414 at bats. Of course Bradley, now looking for his eighth team, has the reputation as a mercurial talent and a hothead.

But as far as the Nats go, there are bigger problems.

It seems like Bradley has a fairly firm but not-yet-formalized deal in place with the Chicago Cubs. One source in Chicago I spoke to today thinks it's just a matter of time before Bradley puts on the C -- especially because Chicago just dumped some salaries to clear space for the 30-year-old free agent. This recent story in the Chicago Tribune mentions a bit more. Nationals officials were not up for comments of any sort today, and Bradley's agent, Sam Levinson, did not return phone calls.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 2, 2009; 5:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

OK, so no Milton Bradely with a curly w. Not a bad thing. Mr. Bradly might easily mistake Acta's easy hand for a license to go full diva. But, it's looking like Andrew Jones is available, cheap. Is that a project worth pursuing?

Posted by: advocate2 | January 2, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

No advocate it is not. At all.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 2, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Have you considered your source? This could just be Bill Ladson making stuff up. Again.

Posted by: wahoo2x | January 2, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Harlan: At last, the phoenix rises from the ashes.

If there is a 'firm-agreement' in place between the CHC & Bradley, good; sobeit. He's excess baggage with the Nationals; there's already 10 OF's in the 40-man roster.
The team needs to look at MI depth (Hudson?), and SP depth (???) first - Bradley would just add clutter to a problematic OF.

Posted by: BinM | January 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

But if Pinella & the Cubs are really looking for an OF, lets' offer them Kearns & Milledge & a CA prospect for D. Lee.

Posted by: BinM | January 2, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

... Then we flip Johnson & some pitching prospects to SF for Cain.

Somebody stop me, please!

Posted by: BinM | January 2, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Olney on ESPN had a column ripping the Cubs for the Bradley deal. he says they would have been better off holding DeRosa and signing Edmonds as a stop gap until teams start dumping players next year. He says if they were to dump DeRosa, they should have targeted a Peavy deal rather than Bradley.

As impatient as we all are, maybe the front office is figuring there will be a real price crash this month, and is somewhat indifferent who he gets. Chico, anyone who actually knows saying the Nats actually have offers out there for anyone? Or, put another way, are they following several players, have a price in mind, and waiting for the market to adjust to what they perceive the right price to be, or are they looking to grab players before they are left with "leftovers?"

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 2, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Shaun Hill on MASN hot stove show in a few minutes.

Phil Wood said that he was told by a childhood friends of Tiexiera's that he was actually a Yankee fan growing up.

Posted by: db423 | January 2, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

I must be psychic. I was just wondering about Shawn Hill over on baseball insider. This is one of those times I wish I had a TV. Can you post a synopsis here when it's over?

Posted by: NatsNut | January 2, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It was of course Shawn Hill the Nats pitcher, not Shaun Hill the Niners QB. Sorry for the misspelling.

It was unfortunately a whole lot of nothing. He said that his rehab was going well. He's mostly "resting" and is on a throwing program. He's symptom-free and feels good. He likes that he's approaching spring training "under the radar". He's looking forward to competing for a spot and feels confident. No one asked him if he'd be full speed for spring training amazingly enough.

He feels like the club has improved itself. He thought that if people stayed healthy they had at least a .500 club. There was one interesting exchange when Jim Hunter asked him about how it felt to be part of the young and developing rotation that Bowden is putting together. He replied that it will special when the Nats win because they will have all come up together. He specifically pointed to Tiexiera as an example of a guy who might win but will miss out on that feeling. He also commented about how he loved the Rays chemistry and identified things like team haircuts as important little things that help teams win.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 2, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm on MLB TV right now and they are talking MB to the Cubs. No mention of DC by Harold Reynolds, Al Leiter, and Barry Larkin.

Posted by: 6thandD | January 2, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. I'd rather have Andruw Jones. They're both done.

**************
But if Pinella & the Cubs are really looking for an OF, lets' offer them Kearns & Milledge & a CA prospect for D. Lee.

Posted by: BinM | January 2, 2009 6:13 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 2, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Well whaddaya know? Apparently all those Yankee fans at Camden don't come down just for the game--they're actually locals.


***************
Phil Wood said that he was told by a childhood friends of Teixeira's that he was actually a Yankee fan growing up.

Posted by: db423 | January 2, 2009 7:12 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 2, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I was watching MLB Network Hot Stove -- in the last minute, they asked Larkin about the Nats. He said thay had money to spend and committed to reinvesting all profits in the team. That was about it.

I am holding my breath that Bradley goes to the Cubs. We've had Guillen already -- didn't anyone learn a lesson there? Sign Dunn.

Posted by: raymitten | January 2, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet on MB to the Cubs. He doesn't fit into any slot that the Nats have open and the Cubs are desperate. Of course, they are in an odd position, with their owner, essentially, going belly up. Harry Frazee anyone?

So a childhood friend of Tex's said that he was really a Yankee fan, all along...More stuff spread by Boras, who had his eyes on the Bombers all along. Was listening to a Mid-December Podcast from B/A this PM, re: Rule 5s. They were into serious discussion about how the Yankees staff looks loaded, but the other eight (this was before the Tex signing) are, basically, on the way down. I repeat. The Yankees needed him more than he needed them, and Boras knew it and used it.

Posted by: Catcher50 | January 2, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Signing Milton Bradley wouldn't be much different from signing Jose Guillen.

Would it?

A switch-hitting bat and the ability to play center.

Other than that, even the volatile personalities are the same.

Posted by: rushfari | January 2, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ti-andruwjones010209&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

-----------------------
With the Dodgers paying his salary, Jones would become a no-risk invitation to spring training. Twice in the top five in MVP voting and a five-time All-Star, he would seem to fit in a place such as Washington, whose GM Jim Bowden is drawn to such projects.
------------------------

if this happens, I'm jumping on the Jaybeee bandwagon.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 2, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"So a childhood friend of Tex's said that he was really a Yankee fan, all along...More stuff spread by Boras, who had his eyes on the Bombers all along."

So let me get this straight. Boras calls up one of Tex's childhood friends and tells him to call Phil Wood to say that that Tex is a Yankee fan? I mean Boras is slimy, but we're getting a little carried away aren't we, C50?

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 2, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

It's like déjà vu all over again.
I think Barry Bonds has more "upside" at this point.

***********
With the Dodgers paying his salary, Jones would become a no-risk invitation to spring training. Twice in the top five in MVP voting and a five-time All-Star, he would seem to fit in a place such as Washington, whose GM Jim Bowden is drawn to such projects.
------------------------

if this happens, I'm jumping on the Jaybeee bandwagon.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 2, 2009 11:00 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 2, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Well, no loss if MB goes to the Cubs. I do think that Milledge needs to be moved out of centerfield. He has a girlie arm, no offense to any of the ladies reading this, just sayin. The only corner outfield slot for him would be left as right needs a strong arm. I've heard that Andruw Jones has worked hard this off season, lost weight. He does have something to prove and this simply fits into the type move that Bowden would make. A natural centerfielder at that...hmmm.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 3, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Andrew Jones - ugh. That guy is 'stick a fork in him' done. But if memory serves, there were one or two voices that raged on this blog when the Nationals' didn't go after him last time; anybody think he's a real player of interest now?

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Jones is absolutely done. The Dodgers thought 2007 was a fluke, but his OPS was .505 in 2008. Based on their records last year he wouldn't beat out Roger Bernadina for a bench spot.
Geezer

Posted by: utec | January 3, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

For The S. Hill interview, for those who don't get MASN (me), you can go to masnsports.com, click on media lounge and find the link there.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 3, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

A. Jones turns 32 April 23rd. I wouldn't classify that as a geezer just yet. If, and it's a big if, he should return to form, he could be a bargain. Supposedly, the Dodgers would pay a huge chunk of his salary just to move him. This hinges of course on their ability to resign ManRam.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 3, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"I think Barry Bonds has more "upside" at this point."

Yes, because Bonds was also good before he got on the sauce.

Posted by: Section506 | January 3, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

MLB.com says the Dodgers have reworked Jones's deal to eat his salary and then they'll trade or release him (possibly soon).

I think he's done too, but if we can get for cheap, why not bring him into spring training and see what he's got. Willingham can play first and Kearns and Pena can play in Syracuse for all I care.

Posted by: sec307 | January 3, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

307: I think it would be like watching Dmitri 'lite' playing CF - but at least DaMeat could still hit.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the masn tip, cokedispatch (scnf in disguise). Great interview. I'd love for Shawn Hill to be the sleeper ace this year.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 3, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

I think it is really sweet that Mark Teixeira was a Yankees fan growing up and Phil Wood is a real sweetheart for saying letting us know. I was beginning to think this baseball thing was just a business to these guys. So a big thank you to Phil Woods and the rest of the insightful analysts on MASN.

Posted by: Juliasdad | January 3, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Well played, Juliasdad.

Posted by: driley | January 3, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

NNut: We'll see. I'd love to have Hill in the #5SP spot and move Bergmann to a LR-MR role on the staff.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Additionally, I'd like to hear or see reports on the rest of the Nationals 'walking wounded' in the near future (Matt Chico, Slick Johnson, WMP, Kearns, Flores, even Belly & R.Zimm).

I still think Hill might start the season in extended ST to get his arm strength back.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing that after all this time....going on 5 years for me......some of you are still thinking about Hill as a contributor......."build arm strenght"......come on people wake up......he is going to get the same pain he always gets in his forarm after 10 starts as always.........The quicker we Patterson him the better off the team will be.....I have no idea why he is even back on the team really accept is is one year short of the Patty line I guess.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 3, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Come on Jaybee, there's no harm in trying him out in Spring Training.

Then we Patterson him...

Posted by: soundbloke | January 3, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I agree, there is no sense in cutting bait on Hill just yet. IF he is ever healthy he could be the poor man's Jake Peavy. If he and Nick Johnson can ever stay healthy enough to be a Major League Contributor I don't know, and I doubt, but it doesn't cost us anything to throw him out there in ST and see what he has.

If the pain comes back we DFA him (or release aka "Patterson") him. Even if he is healthy it might be a good idea to keep him in EST or Syracuse to make him prove he's healthy before you burn a spot on the 25 for him to make 3-4 bad starts and then head to the DL.

Posted by: estuartj | January 3, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

What is the point of that.....move on and sign real options for the pitching staff. Just like with Patterson, Hill allows the front office to neglect the facts that and hope for something that is not going to happen. Seems like more of the same again this year....no 1B no CF no Leadoff Hitter, no 2B, NO PITCHING AGAIN!

Posted by: JayBeee | January 3, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

It is amazing that after all this time....going on 5 years for me......some of you are still thinking about Hill as a contributor......."build arm strenght"......come on people wake up......he is going to get the same pain he always gets in his forarm after 10 starts as always.........The quicker we Patterson him the better off the team will be.....I have no idea why he is even back on the team really accept is is one year short of the Patty line I guess.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 3, 2009 12:28 PM

-----------

agreed.

we need to move away from injury-prone players and basing the team's success on praying that people can stay healthy for more than 2 weeks. that means getting rid of both Hill and Nick Johnson. leave sentimentality at the door on this one. neither of them are good to us on the Disabled List for the whole season.

the only thing in Hill's future really is a role as a reliever. i think that's the only real way he can feasibly stay healthy.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 3, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

this like what...3 years in a row of praying that Hill and Johnson can be healthy enough to develop into the superstars they are supposed to be?

no thanks. get me some new players.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 3, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I share the frustration about the losing. JB's right. We will go into the season with similar issues to last year. The issue though is that I'm not sure how one addresses them. I think what we're facing is the following:

1. The Nats are still digging out from under having a completely barren farm system in '04, '05, and '06. The holes that JB points to could be filled by prospects coming up through those drafts.

2. Another way to fill these holes would be through free agency. The Lerners appear to be willing to spend some money on the right people. Unfortunately in this off season, there was really only one or two players that were worth it - Tex and O-Dog. The problem is that because the Nats are so far from being a contender, these guys don't want to sign here, even for more money.

3. The last way to fill these holes is through trade. I think we need to face the fact that the drafts of '06, '07. and '08 were just OK. They did not provide the Nats with an abundance of talent in one area to exchange for talent in a weaker area. Any trade we would make now would be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The bottom line is that the Nats are still a ways away from having a competitive, contending ball club. I cannot blame the Lerners or JimBo too much for problems #1 and #2 above. I suppose not making an effort to be a little more competitive in 2007 and 2008 did hurt them with FAs perhaps. #3 is completely on them though.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Agreed Mr. M., Some things were not meant to be and we need to build with sturdy blocks even if we make some mistakes along the way. I would rather trust players that have proven they can play a whole season than put eggs in the Hill, Johnson basket yet again. Time to be a real organization that does not hope and pray for good things but rather executes a plan that is based on solid track records of solid MLB players....Hill and Johnson are not going to help us at all.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 3, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Jeezus JayB. Nobody's putting any eggs in any basket. I just said I hope Hill stays under the radar and then surprises us.

And you spelled "except" wrong too.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 3, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Lord knows we get a handful of surprises every year, at least. And now we're about due for a good surprise somewhere and all I'm saying is it would be cool if it were with Hill.

moving on...

Posted by: NatsNut | January 3, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

MrM, #4, even JayB: Agreed, the team has needs and should move on. The question is, what do the Nationals do with players like Hill, Johnson, et al? - cut bait immediately, troll for low-value prospect offers before ST, jump on a trade-need in ST?
The FO hopefully has more in store than the rumours offered on the various internet sources; otherwise 'they are what we thought they were', and I'm joining SoCH's camp.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

JayBeeee! Once again, right as rain.

Posted by: AnAppallingLackOfBaseballKnowledge | January 3, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut....what is surprising about Hill, Johnson, Patterson and Young all being hurt and being of no help to the team? Did this surprise you?

Should Jimbo have been surprised by this?

Posted by: JayBeee | January 3, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

BinM:

I know this is a hard and perhaps unfair question because it's difficult to pull things out of thin air, but... what trades could the Nats make right now? Trades make sense when one of three things are occurring:

1. Matching under performing players who are talented but need a change of scenery.

2. One team has a glut at one position and needs at another and finds a team that is its mirror image.

3. Teams that are having a fire sale/salary dump.

JimBo already pulled off one of the type #3 trade with FLA. Kearns MIGHT fit the bill for a #1 type trade, although the question of how much talent he has is up to debate. I don't see one place, except maybe in the OF - and that's stretching it - where the Nats have a glut of talent. The Nats can't make any "blockbuster" trades as a result. Anything they do would be just working around the margins.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

"Some things were not meant to be and we need to build with sturdy blocks even if we make some mistakes along the way."

-----------------------------
JayBeee: Hunh? When, or where have you shown any patience for "mistakes along the way"?

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Keyword is "patience" BinM......I am not patient....I accept mistakes like Lopez and Kearns, Milledge in CF, Lo Duca and Estrada, Rob M.......but when it is clear they are mistakes then it is time to move on.......not get them more playing time in hopes that they can be traded....that was a joke last year!

From April on it was clear the Milledge was never going to work in CF.....move on and put Dukes and Harris or even Kearns in CF last year....I am not Patient with mistakes, that was your word....I said they happen......far to often with this team!

Posted by: JayBeee | January 3, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

#4 - You're right, it's hard in an open discussion; off the top of my head, SD is in 'fire-sale' mode, PIT & SEA are putrid but have some value, HOU, COL, and AZ are in disarray, SF, OAK, CHC, StL & MIL all have various needs, KC, CWS, DET, & others want to get better-fast.

Best trade targets may be KC, CWS, OAK, SF & HOU.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

OK, here's a trade to contemplate-Ballester, Lannan, Marrero, and Burgess to KC for Greinke and Kila K. Maybe Bernadina instead of Burgess or possibly Guzman might be of some interest to the Royals as part of the above package.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 3, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

JayBeeee! Not patient, just right.

Posted by: AnAppallingLackOfBaseballKnowledge | January 3, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm trying to recall, but I can't remember why it is that people hat Milton Bradley. I do remember him losing his coold for the Dodgers? But I don't believe there has been a morals issue or an effort issue. Am I wrong? I am not opposed to an occasional verbal outburst of temper as long as it does not affect teammates adversely.

I know the media is gerneally unforgiving of rudeness to their colleagues. They never let it go after it happens, but Public Relations aside, I am not sure that you can link the value of a player to an outburst. Sometimes outbursts and behavior are relevant (e.g. Ryan Leaf, Jeff Kent, Jose Guillen, Albert Belle) because they impact the team. And sometimes any downside is compensated for by other attributes (e.g., Eddie Murray, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds). Robbie Alomar was a model citizen before and after the spitting incident. Babe Ruth and Roger Marris reportedly had drinking problems and personality flaws.

Anyway, what are the list of infractions on Bradley?

Posted by: natbisquit | January 3, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

BinM:

Well the Nats are also "putrid but have some value".

To me the only team that makes sense might be SD because of the fire sale. The four guys they have significant money assigned to for '09 are Peavy, Young, Gonzalez,and Giles. At $4 and $3 million respectively Young and Gonzalez are really pretty good deals for them, so they probably won;t be traded. Peavy would be great but the Nats don't have enough in the system probably to entice that, plus does Peavy have a limited NT clause? If so, I doubt DC is on his list. Lastly, do we really want Giles?

Secondly with all the other teams, their is no one the Nats could give up and feel like they've bettered themselves. These other GMs aren't idiots. Assuming it's fair value for fair value, the Nats really have no way of improving themselves.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Jeeves: Lannan & Balestar are too much - maybe Balestar & McGeary or Willems, Marrero & an IF or OF prospect.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

bisquit:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milton_Bradley_(baseball)

I believe he also made some statements regarding the 'non-existance' of dinosaurs, but that's Darwinism, not baseball.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

The way I see it, it IS more of the same this season. The TBR took 10 years of bottom feeding while stocking the farm and waiting for it to develope. The patience finally paid off. I'm not saying it will take 10 years, it's only been a little less than 3 with the Lerners so far. I think they are trying to accelerate the rise now, though the cards they have to deal are small. It's going to take a couple more drafts, and they can't blow the top signings, as they did last year, if it is going to work sooner rather than later. The best we can hope for now is a longshot that health of the team will turn around and not be the dead weight anchor it has been the past few years. That being said, I do think Bowden has a few more moves before April that will improve the club if only slightly. Let us keep our fingers, toes, legs, arms and anything else we have crossed and hope for the best. SCNF in disguise

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 3, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

#4: But hasn't the greater part of the argument over the last three years is that JimBow is an idiot? Don't idiots like dealing with 'one of their kind'? Just sayin'.

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

coked: Nice riff, no response.

Posted by: BinM | January 3, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill? As long as it is a fair trial before we hang him.

This is such a miniscule cost, it would be senseless not to see whether he did the side trip to Lourdes and has been cured. If he just does not have it, so what at this point? Good teams always try a reclamation project as an extra arm / 7th starter / low risk - high upside move. I'd be very disappointed if we did not try a move or two like this in the rotation. The only difference between bringing him in and signing and Redding '07 or Loaiza '05 is that he has less of an MLB track record and is under team control already (and if you think I'm exagerating about Loaiza and Redding, post their record the two years before they were brought in and post Hill's).

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 3, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I'll beat y'all to it - Loaiza was 2d in the Cy Young in 2003. I just remember his 2001, 2002, and 2004 from the AL East and forgot he sold his soul when he went to the ChiSox. Main point - he was a low risk, high upside reclamation project. And Hill's 16 starts in 2006 were very good, too. Low risk, high upside.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 3, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Cokesdispatch:

You brought up the Rays as a model for the Nats. I thought it might be interesting to look at how they acquired the players that played significant roles for them last year. I found the results surprising. I included the 12 players that got the most ABs and the 9 pitchers who threw the most innings. Here are the results:

10 of the 21 through trade - 5 pitchers and 5 positions players.

6/21 through free agency - 2 and 4.

5/21 through draft and develop - 3 and 2

Year they acquired the players:

2008: 7 (4 players/ 3 pitchers)
2007: 4 (3/1)
2006: 5 (4/1)
2005: 0
2004: 2 (0/2)
2003: 0
2002: 1 (1/0)
2001: 0
2000: 1 (0/1)
1999: 1 (1/0)

Everyone can draw their own conclusions. I was surprised how few home grown guys they had, although certainly they used some of their "home growns" to flip in the trades.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Also, so much for the ten year plan. They acquired 16 of the 21 players in the last three years.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed that someone went out and registered with the Post under this name just to harass JayBee's posts. I may disagree much of the time, but I'll 'fess up and be willing to look like an idiot under my own "name"
--------------


JayBeeee! Once again, right as rain.

Posted by: AnAppallingLackOfBaseballKnowledge | January 3, 2009 2:25 PM

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 3, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The non-existence of dinosaurs was Carl Everett, another ex-Expo.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 3, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The Nats MUST and are going to make a few moves before the season and i want to play GM so here it goes.
Trade Ross Detwiler, Collin Ballister, Colten Williems, and Derrick Norris to KC for Zach Greinke.

Trade Sharion Martis, Anderson Hernedez, Josh Willingham and Chris Marrero, and Luke Motz to SD for Adrian Gonzales.

Then trade A.Kearns to LAD for A. JONES he cant hit like he use to but the Glove is still amazing and hes now cheaper with the new contract just give him a another shot

Then sign O-Dog to 3yr 20 mill contract and either sign another (DUNN OR MANNY)or just keep Kearns (if no Jones)

09 line up

1.2b-O-dog
2.LF-Millige
3.3b-Zimmerman
4.1b-Gonzales
5.Rf-Dukes
6.Cf-Jones
7.C-Flores
8.SS-Guzzie (mabey bat him 2nd)
9.pitcher

Starting rotation

1.Zach
2.Olsen/Lannan
3.Lannan/OLsen
4.Daniel
5.Shawn Hill/Jordan Zimmerman/FA im not sure mabey we resign O.Perez he was leauge average I suppose.


Posted by: j-dog1 | January 3, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

The genius that is JayBeee is underappreciated here. I had no other choice. Who else will come forward and point out how right he always is?

Posted by: AnAppallingLackOfBaseballKnowledge | January 3, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

*Milledge

Posted by: j-dog1 | January 3, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

j-dog1:

If you may those trades, would you care to speculate what the line up and rotation are in 2011?

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Cokedispatch - people draw the wrong conclusion from the Rays building process when they point to their full history. They were putrid basically because of their owner, Vince Naimoli, and their GM, Chuck Lamar. Stuart Sternberg bought in 48% in May '04 with an option to complete the purchase, which he did in 10/05. Andrew Friedman came on board as GM in 11/05.

Among their regulars, only Upton and Crawford were drafted before the June '04 draft (when Sternberg's money kicked in). In their rotation, only Shields was drafted before that date (a low round pick on 2000, so not really a product of lousy finishes). Garza was traded for Delmon Young, an '03 pick. Even Kazmir was not acquired until mid '04. Kazmir was the only established player (Zambrano) for prospect trade before Andrew Friedman became GM, and he's the one who pulled the trigger on Young and Harris for Bartlett and Garza. Basically, all their lousy finishes prior to '04 got them was 2 position players until they got a GM who new what he was doing and a committed owner.

Cue SoCH, LAC, and JayBee.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 3, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

The trick is...you have to have pawns to trade and 3 years has not been eneough time to fully stock the system with eneough quality to work with. Now, the Nats, as no team does, won't copy the Rays diagram exactly. They have there own methods, agree or disagree with them, but the final outcome will hopefully develope into a successful franchise. Boy, I guess I just want to believe the outcome will be positive. So, shoot me. I'm just a fan who tries to think positive....SCNF.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 3, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Pawns to trade, sure, but to also helps to know a bargain. It can come together awful fast, and it does not take much to deal.

Pena was a FA signed to a minor league contract the same year we signed Dmitri.

The right to negotiate with Iwamura cost $4-5 million (also '06). OTOH, the right to negotiate with Kawakami, Uehara, or Iwase is free. Perhaps we have too much pitching depth to bother.

Bartlett essentially was swapped for Brendan Harris, who was released by the Reds. why can't we get players like harris in the JimBo era?

Longoria - their Zimmerman (3d pick in '06 draft out of college in '06).

Upton, Crawford - rewards for lousy finishes (Crawford was a 2d round pick).

Hinske, Gross, Floyd, Aybar - '08 acquisitions - 3 FAs, one minor league trade.

Navarro - traded for Mark hendrickson or Julio Lugo . . .

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 3, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

We had Harris. We traded him as part of the Keanrs/Lopez "steal"

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse


If you may those trades, would you care to speculate what the line up and rotation are in 2011?

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 5:41 PM

Zach and scott is still young so somthing like this

1.Stephen Strasburg
2.Zack Grenkie
3.John Lannan
4.Jordan Zimmermann
5.Scott Olsen

thats what I would pencil in for 2011 barring FA signing's or trades but that is still solid.

Posted by: j-dog1 | January 3, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. One guy who is not in the organization and another who hasn't pitched above AA. Are there any back ups in case those don't work out?

How about the batting order?

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. One guy who is not in the organization and another who hasn't pitched above AA. Are there any back ups in case those don't work out?

How about the batting order?

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 3, 2009 8:23 PM

----------

Well thats with the Steven i mean he is almost 100% going to be picked barring injury thats why i threw him in and the batting order with no trade or FA signings? ill take a shot at it.

1.SS. Esmaliy gonzales
2.2B. Stephen King/Danny Esponsia
3.3b. Zimmerman
4.1b. Adrain Gonzales (wold be in or just out of prime)
5.RF. Dukes
6.CF. Not much mabey Millege is still in ceter or mabey Dustin Hood he tore up rookie ball but thats not that inspiring)
7.Lf. J.P. Ramerize (he looked real good plus he was suppose to be a 1-2 round pick but we bought him out of his college education)
8.C. Flores or mabey Nieto just depends
9.P. Steven Strasenburg

This is a crapshoot but at least its fun to see what options there are.

Posted by: j-dog1 | January 3, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

O forgot for Back up plans well just hope the FA market is good or mabey a pitcher can rise through the ranks.

Posted by: j-dog1 | January 3, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Among position players, Lastings Milledge led the team last year in games started with 136. Christian Guzman started 134. Only one other player - Ryan Zimmerman (104) had over 100 games started. Harris 87, Kearns 83, Flores 78, Belliard 77, Dukes 74, and Pena 53 are next in order. Double Yikes!!! Its easy to forget just how devastated the team was by injurries last year. And just how much improvement could be made by players just remaining on the field.

BTW, Jose Castillo started 104 games for Pittsburgh and Houston last year, Willingham started 97 for Florida, and Patterson started 82 for Cinncinatti. Nieves (43) started more games than either Dimitri Young (43) or Nick Johnson (34). Bonnifacio started 39.

The Nationals need to add 2-4 more postion players capable of starting 100 or more games. By my count they still need a starting 1B and a 2B. They need another catcher too. I like Flores, but the numbers say he can't hit right handed pitchers yet (.238 AVG, .285 OBP,.368 SLG). And while they have enough OF, they may be short a solid fielding CF who can also hit.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 3, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

BTW, scratch Adrian Gonzalez off the shopping list. With Jeff Morad now in line to buy the Padres, there is no chance that Gonzalez gets dealt - he and Peavy are the most important assets in that purchase.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 3, 2009 10:17 PM | Report abuse

BTW, scratch Adrian Gonzalez off the shopping list. With Jeff Morad now in line to buy the Padres, there is no chance that Gonzalez gets dealt - he and Peavy are the most important assets in that purchase.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 3, 2009 10:17 PM
-----------------

Thats understandable but mabey for the right price Jeff Morad will decide he wants young prospects and alot of them because if u think that our system is lacking in prospects look at SD they have NOTHING so mabey he decides the he wants more to work with and will get rid of him. Adrian would look great in a Nats hat dont you think.

Posted by: j-dog1 | January 3, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I do.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 3, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

CHICO...it is time to remove the picture of Tex from NJ, don't ya think? He won't be part of the cure any longer, just part of the problem for 3 games of interleague play.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 4, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I keep coming back to the fact that the biggest tragedy of last year is that it's leading the fans and management into a knee jerk reaction of trying to build too quickly.

Hernandez has earned a chance, Milledge is too young to give up on.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 4, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

bisquit: In terms of durability, Flores can handle 100+ games at CA - the PLoD/Estrada fiasco stopped him from doing it in '08. Guzman & RZimm are good for 130-140+, Millidge & Kearns are 'gamers' in the OF. Where the team really lacked stability in '08 was 2B, 1B, LF & RF. You can get away with a 'platoon' situation at two positions, but not at the 5 or 6 the team was forced into last year.
Manny had a hard enough time in '08 fielding a healthy starting roster, let alone having any bench strength. If the team can stabilise two of the problem areas (1B, 2B?) without creating a problem somewhere else, they're much the better for it.

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

sound: You may be right there. Milledge may not be the perfect CF, but he's one of the best overall talents currently on the team; I'd want to see a "blow-me-away" return offer before I'd give up on him. I'd also be good with Hernandez as the opening day 2B, even though I've advocated for Hudson on this blog.

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

C.Harlan: has been a quiet point for a while, but are there any rumours regarding bring Frank "Hondo" Howard aboard the Nationals' team as a scout or overall 'good-will' ambassador?

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Gang - for fun, here is a nice graphic on available FAs and their traditional stats last year.
http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2009/01/04/market_watch/

Would people want to upgrade Flores's platoon? he was force fed last year. It'd be nice if someone could start 50 - 60 of the games as his back up. Preferably someone who can hit RHP, but not to the exclusion of Flores getting a fair sahre of the ABs against RHP to learn. Looking at Flores's stats, he seemed to wear down a bit. I think he'll get better offers, but perhaps a Greg Zaun.

Chris Needham suggested (in comments on that BBTF article linked in the prior Chico post) that he might, a bit reluctantly, support Harris being the primary 2d baseman. Thinking about it, it'd be a way to get him regular ABs. One of Alberto Anderson would be a potential defensive replacement, perhaps pushing for time if either bats well enough to be a regular. The defensive switch could also involve Willie to the OF if Willingham is out there. Harris might even be able to bat at the top of the order (1 or 2) along with Milledge (.344 OBP, 4 p/pa). I think he probably would have played more 2d last year if he was not needed in LF. Through his career, he seems about league average defensively at 2d.
http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/harriwi02.shtml

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 4, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I repeat, I like Flores, but the numbers say he can't hit right handed pitchers yet (.238 AVG, .285 OBP,.368 SLG). Those are very bad numbers - not to be explained away by saying he's just a catcher. There are not many (maybe not any) affordable lefthanded hitting catchers on the market, but while Flores appears to be a clutch hitter, he does not have good results overall against right handed pitching.

I wholeheartedly agree that the LoDucca and Estrada signings were disasterous, but the thought process behind them were fundamentally sound. There just were not any qualified free agent catchers on the market. The team was correct in trying to buy Flores more time to develop. He had reasonable success for a 23 year old catcher who had never played minor league ball above A-Level prior to last year.

He was by some measures the most efficient run producer on the team (59 RBI in 90 Games). He should absolutely be given a chance to win the job, but it should not be given to him full time.

Nieves has as much heart as anyone on the team and exceeded everyone's expectations, but the Nats would be tempting fate to go into the year with the same two catchers in 2009. They may have to. Bard was the last young free agent catcher on the market. Zaun (age 37) could be helpful but does not fit the ideal profile (young, left-handed, with untapped potential).

Anyway, back to my main point: As horrible as the Loducca/Estrada signings were, the thought process behid them was correct. The Nats best hitting pitchers were Perez and Redding. Flores should not have to hit higher than 7th or 8th. If he can't significantly improve, the final third of the lineup will be near automatic against righties. They won't have to pitch around him, they'll be able to pitch through him.

(I feel dirty now. I really am rooting for Flores, but facts are facts)

Posted by: natbisquit | January 4, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

bisquit: Don't feel dirty - the FO tried to 'protect' Flores early in the season, but chose badly (PLoD, Estrada). He was subsequently started & placed in #5-6 in the order on a fairly regular basis. I still think he's a very sound CA, but needs to be in the #7-8 slot in the batting order to be most effective.

Between Flores, Nieves, Montz & Ivany (if necessary), the Nationals should be above-average in 2009. The pups (Herrera, Peacock, Soliano, Rooney, Nichols, Norris, Killian, et al) will have gained another year of experience, and have started to sort themselves out in pecking order.

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

jca: Based on current team configuration, Harris may well get some of the starts at 2B. Between Hernandez, Harris & Belliard, the team has some decent 'matchup' versatility in a platoon-like situation. Belliard should be moved to a contender, either in ST or before the trade deadline - what the Nationals get back for him in return may settle 2B or another 'gap'.

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Zaun was a name that jumped off the list because he hits RHP well enough ('08 - .255 / .347 / .388, '06 - '08 - .244 / .335 / .410). He's supposed to have several suitors, including Balmer and Boston, but he should still be cheaper than V-tek or Pudge. I'm a Flores fan, too, and think he will only become a better power hitter, but we can help his development by easing his burden a bit.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 4, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

jca: Zaun still wants to be the #1CA, even at 37 (same problem with Pudge). I'd rather see the pitching staff grow up with a younger catcher that they trust (Flores), then to try for another 1-yr 'upgrade'.

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

If Flores could come in at a lower weight (say 210, versus the 220 he's listed at), it might improve his RF & PB ratings (better initial mobility), but could wear him down faster. Granted, it's a tradeoff, but it might be worth it overall.

Posted by: BinM | January 4, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Given that Flores was supposed to be in AAA all season, and is as young as he is and, given his effort last year he would have a very good case if he branded fans like you guys as a bunch of ungrateful bastards.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 4, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke, that is unnecessary and totally invalidates anything else you might have to say. Be careful, the Post will likely remove your comment and perhaps your user id from the blog.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 4, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough

It's just amazing to me that no one seems to understand that development is just that. It the point and excitement of following a young team.

If they could play like superstars from the age of 21 there wouldn't be a minor league system.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 4, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Review the comments, no one said to release the guy. There is much support for Flores, but the goal is to develop a better team. Don't confuse a discussion of statistics with treason.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 4, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Of course no one said release the guy, and I'm not suggesting that just because you believe Flores should be supplemented means you stupid or have questionable parentage but:

If you believe that Flores is going to be our everyday catcher bringing someone who has little or no interest in being a back up to hit right handers for him basically relegates him to a role of back up. And active demotion. Tally up the percentage of right handed pitchers. Also the theory that if someone can't do something you protect him from it is actively stunting his growth.

Adherence to a philosophy of player development (or The Plan, if you addicted to DC catchphrases) is more than a broad philosophy, it comes down to a series of decisions each one difficult and most of which actively hamper our team in the short term. Would I rather see Hudson at second next year rather than Hernandez? Yes. Would I rather see Zaun hit all righthanders next year rather than Flores? Yes. Would I rather see Milton Bradly in right rather than Dukes? Yes. Would I rather see Willingham in left ahead of Milledge? Yes. But none of those older players will be in our hypothetical World Series in 2012 team. Each one of the younger ones have a chance. So you give them a chance in the hope that two or three of them makes it. Each on of the decisions is right for next year, and each one is wrong for a team that believes in youth development.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 4, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Soundbloke - Please reread my post at 2:07 Pm on 1/4. What I said is I'm looking for a guy to play as a back up for 50 -60 games, preferably one who hits RHP well. This is important for Flores's development. I even said I wanted Flores to get a fair share of the ABs v. RHPs to learn. I expected to get hit by Wil Nieves fans, but not Flores admirers like yourself.

The kid is young, and skipped AA and AAA. He is doing more at his age than Soto, and is being pushed at McCann, Martin, and Mauer's pace without the opportunities for success they had by coming up at a normal pace. I want to see him succeed. Keeping him from wearing down by having a skilled backup does that, esepcially ones that can hit against tougher pitchers. What I don't want is a warn down kid losing confidence and having it affect his defense.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 5, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

As for Zaun, he's been in platoons pretty consistently up until last year when his manager decided to go with all Barajas all the time. He might prefer to be a #1, and frankly, several teams might be able to ffer him that for one year. His best situation would be to hold the fort until Wieters takes over, then slipping into a back up role there, or perhaps Boston, where he might get the bulk of the PT in a platoon with Bard until they develop an internal option.

If Zaun were a target and we were to get serious with him, it'd have to be on the terms and the clear understanding that he is coming here as a backup with a plan to get 35% of the time. If he could not live with that arrangement, then I would not bring him in.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 5, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

According to MLB.com (Bill Ladson) the Nats are looking to sign Milton Bradley to play CF, Adam Dunn to play 1B and Orlando Hudson to play 2B. If we did that here is your opening day line-up;

1. Hudson (2B)
2. Dukes (RF)
3. Bradley (CF)
4. Dunn (1B)
5. Zimmerman (3B)
6. Milledge/Willingham (LF)
7. Guzman (SS)
8. Flores (CA)

I like it, even if only 1 of the 3 will probably be here. I'd prefer a series of trades to acquire C. Gonzelez from COL for Willingham, Montero (CA) from ARI for Belliard (they don't really intend start Felipe Lopez at 2B do they?) and KK from Kansas City for...well I don't know what that would take, but I like the idea of getting younger and faster and adding potential. I don't mind if we suck because our kids are learning, I do mind if we suck because we signed older vets with little upside to just "hold the line" till our prospects are ready.

Posted by: estuartj | January 5, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

estuartj

Your second plan works much better. The first team mentioned, the Bowden one, is only getting older and less athletic. The second one, the Rizzo/estuartj will probably flop in terms of the win/loss column but I'm sure that of the nine guys on the field five or six will develop into the sort of players we need. That would be a major success, and a huge step forward.

jca

Didn't mean for that to tun into such a ruckus. I prefer sticking with Nieves because he can do more to teach Flores about catching a game but, your opinion is well thought out and reasoned.

We need actual news to happen.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 5, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

...crickets...

Maybe the news will pick up now that we're past the holidays (fingers crossed).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 5, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I'd settle for the posts picking up.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 5, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

"The Nationals would like Bradley to play center field."

"The team is looking for a first baseman to replace Nick Johnson, and Dunn is their top target."

********************
What do you think the normal protocol is for, say, talking to or warning Milledge or Johnson about these things before public statements are made?

I wonder, because hearing these things in the media first could really hurt a team's morale, especially after the Cordero debacle.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 5, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

"The Nationals would like Bradley to play center field."

Now they're just looking for ways to injure injury-prone players.

Posted by: jctichen | January 5, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The problem I have with the Nationals reporting on MLB.com is that Bill Ladson allows JimBow to act as if JimBow had nothing to do with the current mish-mash state of the roster. Today, Ladson has posted an entry about how JimBow would like to mix more left-handed hitting into the lineup. Hello! Who is responsible for the hording of all these "toolsy" right-handed hitters the like gold during a recession? A little more objectivity would be welcomed, Bill.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 5, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

NatsNut, I still think Cordero overreacted on that, perhaps as an excuse to get out of town without bad feelings developing. I mean, the usual line at times like this is "it's a business." That's true and, since Cordero's manager is presumably paid to handle business, he should have been able to see it coming.

Thus, Cordero's agent is either:
1) a liar
2) an idiot

Neither one looks too good, I think. The Chief looks naive the more he complains.

Posted by: Section506 | January 5, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

New post...but on Baseball Insider. Go figure.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 5, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

True, but Cordero hasn't really complained, at least that I heard of. He made one comment but the rest of the "uproar" has come from the readers here. Bill Ladson *speculated* that he doesn't think Cordero will come back here, but otherwise that one story is about all we heard from Cordero.

Really, though. My question is a general one. Is it a general baseball practice to mention these things to players ahead of time or does everyone just have an understanding that their position is always up for grabs?

and speaking of morale, I can't put my finger on it or describe it exactly, but with all these team shakeups nobody ever really talks about how it affects the team's overall mood.

2007 was such a great year, (and I know ya'll know what I mean by that so don't go arguing about the freakin win-loss record) and it was clear that the cameraderie or cohesiveness or morale or whatever you want to call it clearly played a huge part in that. Then the offseason acquisitions/trades really shook that up and they never seemed to get it back.

It could be me being all girly and all but don't you think this matters?

Winning teams have that cohesiveness and comfort with each other. And another year of spring training with yet another batch of new, iffy guys coming in, for god knows how long, with everyone jockeying for influence and leadership and acceptance just can't be good.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 5, 2009 11:04 AM | Report abuse

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/baseball-insider/

You know what? We deserve this. I and only a few others spoke up and said we would love content however marginally related to the Nationals, but all the moaning was a lot louder and now look where we are.

We got nothing.

Shiner is posting over on his blog now, instead of here. We could have had more updates on Nationals Journal, but the obsessive, childish refusal to play with anyone else has stuck us with nothing.

Posted by: Section506 | January 5, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Amen.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 5, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

here, here. Boom-boom probably posted the Cabrera story over there because he said the "O" word once. Some would never let that go unpunished over here.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 5, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Uh oh, it was only a matter of time until NJ denizens started eating their own young. Guess that we're there now. As a "childish and obsessive" reader who likes to see a Nats-specific focus on NJ, I guess that I must be one of those on the menu today. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 5, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Also, I would whether it may be as simple as being the case that only Chico has the NJ keys so that the others can post only on BI.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 5, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I know its only January, but Chico ... dude, you gotta do some reporting. If you have to, report the nonexistance of a story, (... things are eerily quite on South Capitol Street today. Jim Bowden reported to work with a towel wrapped around his head and a disquieting grin. He immediately shut the door and did not come out. However he was overheard pleading on the phone "come on Milton, you know we have a much better clubhouse and look at all the Chicago residents that are leaving Illinois to come to DC ....")

Posted by: natbisquit | January 5, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a, I originally dipped you in chocolate before I started munching on you, but you were just too sweet naturally.

Posted by: Section506 | January 5, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

You're funny, 506.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 5, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Milton Bradley CF? I'm not sure that's a good move i mean even if we get him(i have doubt's, did we wait too long?) is he fully recovered from the knee injury of almost two years ago and can he play CF,I just don't recall him playing that position in the past. We can certainly use him in the lineup,he is a professional hitter the Cub's can offer him a pennant race and we can offer him.............and by the way how's our starting piching shaping up?

Posted by: dargregmag | January 5, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

...more crickets....

I think we've beat this dead horse, and there's no one else out there...especially CH!

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 5, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Chico - an idea for a series of posts. It's about 5 weeks before Pitchers and Catchers. How about every few days going through a position, from most settled to least settled, and discussing projections, rotser battles, or issues? for example:

3B - Zimmerman projections and contract?
C - Flores and ? (see above) What is best for his development?
SS - Guz - is he a leadoff hitter? What is behind him (go through the system and major League roster).
...
1B, 2B
Rotation
Closer
Arms on the way up

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 5, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

yes. great suggestions, jca. Harlan give us something. anything.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 5, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if they ran a feature about the team in the offseason more often. Aren't a lot of our guys playing in the winter leagues (like the Dominican league, which is in the playoffs right now)? And weren't a number of our guys in the Arizona Fall League? There are things to report about the team in addition to potential free agent acquisitions (although all we have really heard about is Teixera).

Posted by: Offense-offensive | January 5, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Great feature ideas from jca and o-o.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 5, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Chico should run a feature about what we are planning on doing with all these outfielders....

Maybe "The Plan" includes changing the dimensions of Nationals park to one that resembles a light bulb...

Posted by: TimDz | January 5, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Here's an idea for a discussion:

Explain to me how this team possibly avoids another 100-loss season.

Maybe I'm just grumpy today, but I got to thinking at lunch about how the 2009 Nationals could end up being just as bad as the 2008 Nationals. It doesn't take a lot of imagination, sadly.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 5, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

How about an article doing some original reporting on Cordero, and what is up with him?--Both as far as his rehab is concerned, and any free agent suitors. We could also use some reporting on what is up with Shawn Hill (though MASN seems to have taken care of this one), Matt Chico, and Dmitri as far as their rehabs and offseason progress is concerned.

On the free agent front, how about some reporting *from The Post* about what the Nats are up to re Bradley, Dunn, Hudson, or any others? It is beyond strange that the Post seems to be almost exclusively citing to reports from Ladson and others, without doing additional reporting of its own.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 5, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

JiM, take die and roll it five times. Repeat this game one hundred times and then count how many times you rolled all ones.

That's a pretty good analogy for what happened to the Nats last year. Though, you might make a compelling argument the Nats were only rolling three-sided die to begin with, but it's still improbable.

Posted by: Section506 | January 5, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Zimmerman.

That's how the 09 version will be better than the 08 debachle. He was hampered by the wrist and then the shoulder. The last month of the season though, he showed much better power (and patience). 08 was a lost season for him in many regards, but I expect him to take a step forward this year regardless of any free agents we put around him. He's putting off signing a long term deal because he thinks he can put up much better numbers, and I agree with him.

I'm also excited to see the young SP's make their way to the big club. J Zimm, Martis, and Bally-star should finally make an impact (along with Lannan). Last season began with only Lannan as a potential bright spot.

Besides, this is the time of year for hope, so live a little... put your faith in the FoF.

Posted by: sec307 | January 5, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

so according to Rosenthal(insert grain of salt), everything is possibly lining up like this:

Rays sign Pat Burrell
Cubs sign Milton Bradley
A's sign Jason Giambi.

that leaves Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn as the premier left-handed hitters on the market.

between those two, which do you take, and why?

Posted by: MrMadison | January 5, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The Rays are close to signing Pat Burrell to a two-year, $16 million contract, according to FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal.

Quite a bargain for the Rays, who were smart to wait in their search for a DH. Burrell's right-handed bat is pretty much the perfect fit for their lineup. He doesn't have the same upside as Milton Bradley, but at least he can be counted on to stay healthy.
---------------------------------

Pat the Bat for $8mil. Brad Penny for $5mil. Where is that free-agent splash, Lerner Co.??

Posted by: jctichen | January 5, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Either the "Baseball Desk" at the WAPO is working on a breaking story or the "Brain Trust" over on 15th and K has already tossed in the towel 6 weeks before ST even starts and have decided to save cash this year and use Ladson as it main reporting source. Come on EGR and gang the holidays are over, GET BACK TO WORK!

Maybe they figure the few crumbs the Nats get via the MLB Network and MLB Homeplate XM-175 suffices for the 9000.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 5, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I'm also excited to see what new life the coaching staff can bring to the team. Eckstein had been doing good things, Grissom's supposed to be a real positive influence, and Randy Knorr's no slouch, with a fresh championship under his belt.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 5, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Yes, the injuries were ridiculous last year. But who is to say it was an anomoly?

For Johnson, at least, last year seemed more like the norm. And the Nats seem to be going into 2009 hoping either he gets healthy or Young gets in shape. Otherwise, the only backup plan, Willingham, has his own injury concerns.

Then we have Shawn Hill, another walking WebMD. I probably don't need to elaborate.

Two of the guys missing for significant portions of the year, Kearns and Pena, may present even bigger problems for the team if they're healthy.

And this was the first full year up for Milledge. How can we make claims regarding his durability?

Like I said, I'm crabby today. A salty devil's advocate, if you will.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 5, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman is a good answer to my question. Hard to imagine him not making an impact in 2009.

And yes, you also start the year without Lo Duca, Mackowiak, and Estrada. You've heard of addition by subtraction? This is addition by abstinence. Factor in non-producers like Lopez and King, and maybe things are looking up, right?

But then you have to consider that the team, as currently constructed, is also spending all of 2009 without the benefit of a Rauch or - yes, I'll say it - Cordero. And a lot is riding on the sucess of Flores and Hernandez, not to mention the young arms.

If any combination of this formula fails, a healthy Zimmerman and the absence of Lo Duca may not be enough to salvage respectability.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 5, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the injuries were an anomaly at all. This franchise has been hampered by injuries for four years. I think there has been a very serious problem with conditioning and maybe that has been fixed with the new coach but, four years starts to look suspicious.

Posted by: Rednational | January 5, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

>that leaves Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn as the premier left-handed hitters on the market.

between those two, which do you take, and why?

Abreu is looking more and more like a full-time DH. Although, nobody quite works a count like him. And I love that. I believe the guy can still really hit. He's got some of the best gap power in the league. He'd be the best hitter on the Nats immediately, and he certainly would help some of the younger guys be more patient.

All I know is that if they keep screwing around, they aren't even gonna get Dunn, unless they're trying to convince him to go to the team with the worst record in baseball, and it's not working. That's the only holdup I could see in this whole thing.

Of course, Man-ny is still available. Get in there Jimbo you hack excuse for a GM who nobody wants to play for wannabe used car salesman clothes wearing frat boy knob

Posted by: Brue | January 5, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

As I said sometime last week. It does make sense that any one of those guys would get hurt. Just not ALL of them. Rolling five dice, you've got a pretty good chance of rolling a single one, but a terrible chance of rolling all ones. And, given the problems of so many of our team, it's more like rolling three sided dice.

I wasn't even counting Johnson or Hill in my previous post. And I'm not counting on them next year either.

Posted by: Section506 | January 5, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

NatsNut; love the enthusiasm but lets be real. The Nationals are a compilation of has beens, and never will be's. Outside of those two Marlins, what major league talent have they brought on board to give any of those coaches even the slightest chance of making underachievers anything other then what they are?

This is the path the Lerners chose, and now they are going to have to live with it. Tier 1/2 FA's are always going to think twice when it comes to signing w/the Pittsburghs, KC's, Reds, Oaklands and Washingtons of the world, especially guys that have been stuck in bad organizations for most of their careers.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 5, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

And finally, the rotation.

Look, bad mood and all, I'm still excited about the prospect of watching the development of the young pitching talent. Still, bad mood prevailing, I'm not sure it's going to be enough to get us out of the doldrums.

The Nats shed a lefty and a righty (Perez and Redding, respectively), only to acquire another lefty and another righty (Olsen and Cabrera, respectively). Overall, a net gain in regards to potential, but how will that shake out in performance in 2009?

In the end, there may be little difference between a 5.05 career ERA (Cabrera) and a career 4.35 ERA (Redding). A difference between 94 earned runs in 2008 (Olsen) and 77 earned runs in 2008 (Perez) may be negligible. That remains to be seen, and St. Claire is always the X factor here.

Lannan seems to have locked down a spot. I should point out that he's my favorite Nats pitcher, and I make a point to watch every game he starts. However, it's worth pointing out that, this time last year, Matt Chico also seemed to have locked down a spot.

Who will fill the other two slots? Hill? Bergmann? You are obviously aware of the problems - physical and mental - that preclude penciling them in every five days. Balester hasn't pitched a full season in the bigs. Martis only had a taste. It may be too soon for Zimmermann.

Point being, there's a real chance this year's rotation actually regresses from last season.

And don't get me started on that bullpen!

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 5, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod. new post. gasp.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 5, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

How do we avoid last year's debacle?

Phil Wood was saying over the weekend that the NYY were so hot on Tex because they had 6 different starters at 1b in 08
In 08 the Nats had 6 starters at:
1b

2b

3b

SS

If that happens again:

Calling Mr. Applegate. Calling Mr. Applegate!

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | January 5, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

JiM - 3 slots look like locks - Lannan, Cabrera, and Olsen. More likely than not, Colin Balester also is a favorite for #4. The 5th slot will be a game show - National Idol - with Martis, Zimmermann, and Bergmann the early chalk, a fall-through-the-gaps veteran joining the competition, and the scrappy "one last chance" Shawn Hill trying to realize his potential.

No harm giving Hill the shot. He's not likely to earn much above major league minimum, and he is not being counted on by anyone. He does not preclude FAs, and it is not like they have to pitch him out of monetary considerations. He'll have to outpitch the other contestants. It's not a situation where they will give him 10 - 15 starts to prove he can't pitch.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 5, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

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