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Hot Stove Dinner, Cold Town

It takes a serious conviction and fortitude -- as well as a durable North Face jacket -- to travel up to Syracuse, N.Y., this time of year; I say this based on years of personal experience. Given the context of those wintry unpleasantries, the trip made yesterday by a caravan of Washington Nationals officials, coaches, players and mascots left the townsfolk in Syracuse with a good first impression. They came. They cared.

Yesterday, at a Holiday Inn, the Class AAA Syracuse Chiefs had their 48th annual hot stove dinner. But this was their first time doing so as an affiliate of the Nationals. Team president Stan Kasten attended. So did Nats pitching coach Randy St. Claire, and a likely member of his rotation, Collin Balester. As you can read here in the (Syracuse) Post-Standard, such a traveling party helped assuage some of skepticism in Syracuse, which had long felt neglected by its previous organization, the Toronto Blue Jays. Last year, the Jays didn't send a single big league representative to the Chiefs' hot stove dinner.

As Kasten mentioned yesterday, Washington this year should be able to stock its Class AAA team with a fair portion of prospects. And that would be a departure from 2008, when the Nats used Class AAA Columbus mostly as a storage area for older, marginal talents.

Said Kasten: "This year for the first time, we will have a roster full of people at Triple-A that are literally a heartbeat away from the major leagues. We've never been able to say that. That's an indication of how far we've come... Finally, we're in a position that we wanted to be in where the minor leagues are a pipeline feeding guys to us on a continuing basis."

By Chico Harlan  |  January 17, 2009; 1:02 PM ET
 
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Comments

Said Kasten: "This year for the first time, we will have a roster full of people at Triple-A that are literally a heartbeat* away from the major leagues".

*Or a broken leg / wrist / hand / toe, torn wrist sheath / mcl / hamstring / groin, elbow, forearm or shoulder surgery.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

wow, they're strict! Looks like Felipe Lopez got off light.


"We will have a roster full of people at Triple-A that are literally a heartbeat away from the major leagues."

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

On a more serious look, Kasten spoke the truth. SYR should get more than a handful of the 40-man roster - CA)Montz, IF)Gonzalez, Desmond, OF)Davis, Bernadina, SP)Clippard, Martis, and some of the non-rosters as well (if they agree to go back down).

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

or dugout step / really hard sneeze
or "B-12" injection
or court order / DUI / accidental discharge of a concealed weapon (OK, that was a football player)

Man, it's a JUNGLE out there.

and that's not even counting
triple-digit ERA
double-digit BA
single-digit RBI ...

************
Said Kasten: "This year for the first time, we will have a roster full of people at Triple-A that are literally a heartbeat* away from the major leagues".

*Or a broken leg / wrist / hand / toe, torn wrist sheath / mcl / hamstring / groin, elbow, forearm or shoulder surgery.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 1:54 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Said Kasten: "This year for the first time, we will have a roster full of people at Triple-A that are literally a heartbeat away from the major leagues".

Uhhh... what's he talking about. I'm not usually too much of a Kasten-basher, but

a) Aren't AAA players always a "heartbeat" from the major leagues?
b) If he means "prospects", where is this "roster-full"? There might be a pitcher or two, but even the rosiest evaluators still put almost all of their hitting prospects in AA or lower this year.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 17, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"On a more serious look, Kasten spoke the truth. SYR should get more than a handful of the 40-man roster - CA)Montz, IF)Gonzalez, Desmond, OF)Davis, Bernadina, SP)Clippard, Martis, and some of the non-rosters as well (if they agree to go back down). "

In all serousness.....who on that list is a real big time prospect? Montz? come on.....best of them is Martis....but even that is a leap....yes it is better than Pokey Reese but ....prospects...no.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 17, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Stan was referring to all the Nationals he'll be sending there.


**************

Said Kasten: "This year for the first time, we will have a roster full of people at Triple-A that are literally a heartbeat* away from the major leagues".

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, how much DO they charge for beer in Syracuse? It might be cheaper to fly there to see these "prospects" than watch this bunch up here.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

that would be "up" strictly in terms of the organizational hierarchy.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Actually, you might want to check out the Chiefs's Web site -- they have a nice promo package that rebates the full price to the first 200 takers (in gasoline or Visa/Amex gift cards, apparently).
http://tinyurl.com/8bcnb7

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

@#4: Not always - on occaision, teams will call-up players from AA, rather than AAA, based on proximity / skill levels. Now that the Nationals have signifcant growth in the minors (3 years of decent-to-good drafts) and a AAA team in close proximity to the home club, look for more call-ups from SYR.
It's a closer proxinity than NO was, and it looks to be a better-stocked team than CMB was.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@ the ever-negative, full of vitriol jaybeee:
Did Kasten say anything about prospects in his speach? In essence, all he said was tha the Chiefs would be getting more major-league ready players from the Nationals in 2009 than they had been getting from the Blue Jays in the last few years.
I'm just pointing out that that is by-and-large a true statement.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I so enjoy the humor here. Nice spin job Stan, ya gotta love it.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 17, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Stan was referring to all the Nationals he'll be sending there.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 17, 2009 2:20 PM
--------------------
@CE: LOL. If he'd been thinking that, I think he would have the Freudian slip of "... a roster full of people in WSH a heartbeat away from AAA."

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Ever Incompetent Nationals Front office is the real issue here.....Have you seen the Farm System has dropped down to #21 out of 30 in BA rankings.......That after 3 years of piss poor baseball at the MLB level and a front office that claims that building the Farm is the highest priority and Stan's recent quote that the job is complete now.....Sure attack the messenger if you like but this team is dead and going backwards.

No I do not want to be a Red Sox or Yankee fan, I want my home team to be well run and fun to watch...it is not.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 17, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

BinM:

I understand that. This isn't my first rodeo.

My (and others') point is that there will be no more "almost ready for the big leagues" AAA players at Syracuse this year than there were at Columbus last year. I haven't done the research but the players brought up last year when all the injuries occurred were from AAA, not AA. I would expect this year's Syracuse roster to be very similar to last year's Columbus roster - a bunch of marginal prospects and AAAA retreads. The only exception(s) MIGHT be a pitcher or two. Remember though, Stan said "a roster full". That's what I was reacting to.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 17, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@#4: Understood. The "roster full" may have been an over-generalization, but 23 of the 63 40-man+STI listed for Viera project to the SYR roster.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Jaybee

Not to sound patronizing but you are suffering a little from a sickness that effect people who are new to baseball. You believe everything you want to believe, and get angry when you get told what you don't want to.

BA's ranking was artificially high. We took a step back this year partly because we drew a line in the sand with Crow, and partially because some of our top prospects didn't quite develop as quickly as we hoped. But to imagine that an organization with barely a major league ready prospect could be #9 was always hopeful. To think we are really 21 is harsh at best. Either way, take all this with a pinch of salt. Farm systems fluctuate for exactly this reason.

We are still trending up, and have two top ten draft picks. So settle down a little will you?

Posted by: soundbloke | January 17, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@ the ever-negative, full of vitriol jaybeee:
BA skews their rankings heavily, based on the last draft & their player ratings. That's a huge part of why the Nationals have yo-yo'd from #30 (2007) to #9 (2008), back to #21 (2009).
The overall success/failure ratio (W/L record) does not figure into BA's ratings, as far as I can see - The Nationals' farm clubs won TWO League championships in 2008 (DSL & A+/Carolina) last time I looked.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Syracuse is closer than New Orleans, but the NATS really need to strike a deal in Richmond. If they want to build their fan base, what better way than moving to VA. The 'cuse could work for a year or two, but wouldn't it be nice to drive two hours to see the "fully-stocked" (dripping w/ sarcasm) AAA team?!

Posted by: reverendnat | January 17, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

@revnat: I'd love to see a Nats' farm team in Richmond, but the stadium would need serious upgrades (overall facilities, consession areas, etc), or a complete rebuild - the current economy won't allow that to happen. The Braves operated there as a AAA team in a 'legacy' mode (AA or lower facility, w/AAA association) for years, IMO.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Richmond would obviously be terrific, but the other problem, in addition to a bad stadium, is that there is no team there to affiliate with - the Braves' AAA team was actually owned by them, and recently moved to Georgia.

Posted by: Traveler8 | January 17, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Last year, they graduated an quite a few rookies out of their "prospect" status by hitting 41 innings and losing rookie status - Lannan, Balester, Shell, Mock, even Charlie Manning (not a prospect); we did not sign Crow as a replacement; we had our top position prospect get off to a slow start and break a leg; and our best pitcher take a step back. That's a good chunk ofthe reason why they took a hit in BA's ratings. The only thing negative that the organization did was not sign Crow. Sign him, we're middle of the pack. Note also other comparably ranked organizations took a step back to because they graduated prospects. From an organizational standpoint, having guys make the 25 man for an extended period of time is usually thought of as a success for your development program.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 17, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

@Traveler8: When the Braves' pulled out of Richmond, it became a question of who owns the Stadium?
If the city owns the stadium, they're free to negotiate with any ML franchise that has a franchise that is ready to move, given the stadiums current overall facility rating (AAA / AA / A).

If the ML Team (ATL) owns the stadium, they then have negotiating rights with any other team or franchise (Major or minor-league) that may want to occupy the space, based on financing of required upgrades.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

@jca:
Forgot about the 'graduated player' aspect of the argument; Thanks for bringing it up.

Posted by: BinM | January 17, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

FYI ... Mock is still technically a rookie. He appears in the 11-15 range of this year's Baseball America Top 30

Posted by: Brian_ | January 17, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

My mistake, I thougth the cut was 41 innings. What is it?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 17, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

130 ABs or 50 innings, or 45 days on active roster during 25 man limit (excluding September and time on DL). Per Cots (I don't dare post a link b/c the webstie has knocked down 2 posts today with too many tin yurls).

Shell jsut pitched 50, Mock 41, Manning 42. so mock and manning are rookies still.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 17, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

The thing about discounting the BA rankings is that many of the same people touted the rankings last year as indicative of some great success. The Nats certainly trumpeted them to the high heavens. Either the rankings are important, or they are not. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 17, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

LIC beat me to that point by what really needs to be pointed out is that "graduating" players is a joke with the Nats. What level of prospect would not be able to make the 2007 or 2008 Nats team.....Mike Basick, Robert Fick, Cory Casto, Charlie Manning....Come on....are you trying to tell me that our farm system would be ranked higher but all our our good players were already MLB ready and helping the Big Club.....Lannan I like.....that is just about it.

I am also not new to the rodeo, I even spent some time on a horse….This organization is sinking….I am just seeing way before many of you…..the old timers around here will tell you I have made many right calls long before they were fashionable…….Hope I am wrong about this…..but I think our scouts suck.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 17, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Oh and winning in the DSL mean nothing at all and having your top pick #6 over all pitching for your Single A club at age 23 two years after he was drafted tells you all you need to know about PNats Crown. How many of the prospects over the two years they have been dominating those leagues have made it to VT short season even?

Posted by: JayBeee | January 17, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Look, we're not paying these people to be optimistic or raise hopes that their efforts are beginning to bear fruit. He should have told those people at their silly banquet that the Nats are terrible and will continue to be so forever because the Lerners are cheap and Jimbo is a drunk who wears funny pants and rides a seque, nuff said. Also, Syracuse is the bush leagues and no one in Washington really cares about them. It's a shame we can't get some professionals to speak for the team.

Posted by: markfromark | January 17, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Earlier this week Youk resigned with the Bosox for 4/40. The Baltimore Sun is reporting that Markakis is close to signing for 6/64. Does this give us a better handle on what Zimmerman should/will get? Does it put the heat on JB now to get a deal done?

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 17, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

CiL - Not touting the BA ranking. Just explaining the drop. Graduating Balester and Lannan had some impact. Balester was the Nats #3 prospect in '08 per BA, so by not signing Crow, he was not replaced. They did not have Lannan top 10, but thought he showed promise. Shell probably was off BA's radar. Marrero and Detwiler's problems knocked down a couple of well regarded guys, too. Look at the Red Sox and Yankees rankings. Similar drop, similar reasons.

Yes, the drop off is real, but getting two rotation regulars and a middle reliever is not a bad partial reason. This does not even mention coming up with Dukes and Milledge, who were not "prospects." In a way, Dukes did cost a top 10 graduate, because Glenn Gibson was #8. 5 players. That's pretty good development.

JayBee - you'd really give up on Balester this quick?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 17, 2009 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Not a fan pf Balester yet, he was in the Majors last year only because the Nats were just soooo bad. He does not have a complete set of pitches, he has no comand of the strike zone.....he could develop but to say he is MLB ready is just wrong.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 17, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

After I read some of the posts I saw Charlie Manning's name and I looked him up and saw that he was claimed off waivers on Oct. 15 by the Cards. Why didn't we try to get something for him? Or did we? I guess we wouldn't have gotten much...

Posted by: CluelessNatsFan | January 17, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

JayBeeee! Haven't seen you here in a while. Where ya been, dude? Still right as rain, though, aren't you?

Posted by: AnAppallingLackOfBaseballKnowledge | January 17, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

jca, I was responding to soundbloke and BinM moreso than to you. But to address your point, "graduating" Lannan and Balester is hardly reason for celebration, nor is it justification for such a big drop in the rankings.

Don't get me wrong, I like those guys and I hope they do well in the majors, but as prospects and as minor league pitchers, they just weren't that good. Balester wouldn't have gotten a sniff last season for almost any other team. The fact that Balester was the #3 prospect actually speaks volumes about how weak the system was even when it was ranked #9. Graduate a Hamels/Lincecum/Kershaw/Price type of guy, and then I'll grant you that a drop in the rankings might be an expected and acceptable result.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 17, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

CiL

Well, you right there. Which is why I pointed out that the rankings were artificially inflated last year. They didn't mean much then, they don't mean much last year, or this.

What means something is that Lannan and Ballister are both on the verge of being serviceable major leaguers.

JayBee, taking credit for your remarkable foresight is especially impressive when the team is still only four years old. A farm system takes longer to build. Like I say, calm down.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 17, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry about jaybee he doesn't like anything.

Posted by: natsguy | January 17, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Balester is not a top prospect. In fact, he may not even make the rotation this year. But, the point made earlier that Lannan and Balester's promotion weakened the BA ratings was actually one that I have heard made by BA editors before.

I wish that the Nats were making faster progress with their farm system development, but it has made significant progress in a very short period of time. The reason more of their prospects have been at lower levels is because most of their talent has been acquired in the last two drafts - 07 and 08.

In addition to Balester and Lannan, the Nats also gave up Gibson for Dukes. So I consider that another return on investment. Similarly they got Alberto Gonzalez for Jhonny Nunez so that's another prospect that was moved out of the system.

Still the biggest reason for downgrading the organizatin this year was likely Detwiler's lack of progress, Marerro's injurry, Crowe's failure to sigh, and Lannan's promotion. I would expect a big jump next year - especially if Strasburg is drafted and not yet in the majors when the 2010 ratings come out. Even without Strasburg another draft and continued growth of key prospects will contniue to push out AAAA plyers and retreads.

Optimism is called for.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 17, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Right bisquit.

Also, it's really too early to evaluate the talent brought in in the last draft. And this draft offers more potential as both our first round picks are higher than Crow. And while not signing Crow hurt's it did establish that just because the Nat's are known to be building does not mean they will be bullied by agents. It's a loss in the short term that will serve us down the road. It may not have been the right decision, in everyone's mind, but it was not the total failure the doom merchants like to paint it as.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 17, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm trying to be neither optimistic nor pessimistic, just realistic. The Nats say they have dumped a lot resources into the last three drafts. I would say that their return on pitching seems to be good so far - not great, but good. I'd still like to see a potential #1 or even a dominating closer. I don't see one. At least though there appears to be several guys out of which a rotation seems to be plausible.

On the offensive side of things, I think that one has to admit that there just isn't much there. Look at that 2012 line up BA threw together. No SS - they moved Smiley to 2B. There still isn't a clean up hitter or on bonafide lead off prospect in the system. Nobody is ripping it up like a stud should. I've heard the argument that they focused on pitching with the thought that it's easier to trade pitching for hitting than the other way around. The problem is that their pitching depth isn't so good that they afford to trade any of it, so that hasn't worked out either. #9 was too high. #21 might be a little low, given the "graduating" argument some have made. The problem though is that if they are going to contend by 2012, they need to have championship talent in the system NOW. It won't appear out of thin air, unless they invest heavily in the free agent market. That is both risky and appears to be something they are loathe to do. A more realistic ranking of say #15 won't make them NL East champions in three years.

While the tone of this post may make it seem that I have passed judgment, I haven't. I'm willing to give some of these guys one more season. But if 2 of the 3 of Marrero, Hood, and Burgess don't absolutely rip it up this summer, I'll find myself more in the JayB camp than the BinM camp.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 17, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Once again so many people think we can go from worst - and by far the worst - to a contender in no time. On average a team should win the world series, what, every 31 years but every fan wants it now, now, now. I am encouraged by the progression we are making and fully expect us to get our a**e* handed to us for another couple of years until we see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you can't accept that then root for the Yankees or the Sox.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 17, 2009 9:46 PM | Report abuse

All I am saying is in 2006 and 2007 many of you loved Lopez. I always what a Dog Lopez was from day one. By 2008 these view were common place. Even SBF came around to the Lopez issues in 2007 with prodding......

I called it in April 2008 when I saw how poor a CF Milledge was.....By September even Acta and Jimbo had were publicly saying Milledge was a poor choice for CF.

In the Fall of 2007 I pointed out Young was out of shape and a huge injury risk to go along with Johnson at 1B.....I repeatedly asked Barry for an update on Young and his weight………What happened?

In 2007 I pushed to trade Chad before his value fell to nothing......like it did in 2008.

In Spring Training 2008 while Barry was pumping out posts about the Power of Pena and Dukes in soft toss BP....I asked if that was smart use of Cage time....both ended up injured....Pena with Ab problems in March...wonder how that happened?

I was wrong about Lannan at first but he quickly proved me wrong and I have liked him for a good while now. I love Dukes...He is our best player. I like Flores. I like Hanrahan and I like Zim as a solid player....not a star or #3 hitter that’s for sure.

Four years is enough time to put a improving team on the field…..putting a team that can not hit, field or pitch like 2008’ version is just indefensible.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 17, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

"On average a team should win the world series, what, every 31 years but every fan wants it now, now, now."

Agreed. With that same logic, the average team should win their division every 5 years. I don't think it's too much to ask after 2009 whether JimBo has it pointed in the direction to win the division in '12. That's four years of development projected to seven.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 17, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Jaybee

No offense but no one is going to listen while you trumpet only the facts that already fit your point of view. Being a fan is about supporting your team, not proving you are right on a forum.

Everyone can see the failings of this team. But we are discussing the team, not warring over who is cleverer. Signing Crow was not the mistake, drafting a player who never wanted to sign probably was. Please recognize how empty this farm system was though. You might feel justified in hating Lopez, I didn't much like him either, but the guy had talent and they thought they could that to shine. You may be very clever, but are you really more in the know that both the Cardinals and Nationals coaching staff?

I think you make a lot of valid points but not every post needs to be telling someone else that they are wrong, or ill informed.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 17, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

#4

Tell that to Devil Rays. It's been more than 5 years...

Posted by: soundbloke | January 17, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Jaybee you sound like you think your name is Jim Bowden. Did you ever play baseball? Oh I guess not you don't have the patience. It takes a long time to develop a minor league system and all draft picks are a crap shoot. I'd like to see you try it.

Posted by: natsguy | January 17, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Somebody wants a little recognition for being so insightful because they criticized Lopez, Dimitri, and Cordero long ago? Of course they also criticized everyone else, so that was easy.....

Absolutely right! Lopez was a dog. Dimitri's was a risky contract given to a diabetic after one good year. Cordero could have netted a return if traded before he was injurred. Also, Microsoft would have been an excellent investment in 1989. And I told everyone we should not invade Iraq, but did they listen?

Posted by: natbisquit | January 17, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

N

Posted by: soundbloke | January 18, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm always a little skeptical about the Cordero trade assertions. It seems like we tried very hard to move him.

It's always hard to tell if the Nat's were asking too much, or if the worlds GM's all just spotted that he was busted and weren't interested.

Also, you only say Iraq was a bad idea because you didn't see the intel linking Saddam Hussain to Scott Boras.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 18, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

The Nats have a major league roster full of players that are a heart beat away from Triple A.

Posted by: cabraman | January 18, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's a nice article about Bob Carpenter.

http://newsok.com/baseball-a-lifelong-calling-for-bob-carpenter/article/3338626

I had no idea that he was involved in one of the saddest days in American sports, or that he is "the only guy to go to Washington D.C. to get away from politics."

Posted by: flynnie1 | January 18, 2009 7:26 AM | Report abuse

@Natsguy,

I think I have said this in the past few years but maybe not but if you care so much....I did play baseball for many years....State tournament levels and then in the old SWC with and against many future MLB players and even a sure Hall of Famer.....Roger Clemens, Greg Swindell, Spike Owen, Kevin McRenyolds, Carney Lansford, Matt Williams to name some of the better know players I have been on the field with.

Point is baseball does take time to develop players but the Nats have done a very poor job and giving then more time to do more of the same does not seem proactive approach to solving a huge problem. That is my view.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 18, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Pretty obvious your view is skewed to the negative JB.

First of all - the Lerners have had the team for exactly 2.5 years, not 4.

Second - read the wiki article on the Montreal Expos. Then come back and tell me they've had enough time. MLB and Jeff Loria devastated this club before it got here....and that matters. Loria took the flippin' computers for pity's sake...

Third - with the incessant injuries last year the prospects had no time to get better in the minors, away from critical eyes. IMHO, Flores, Dukes, Pena, Milledge, 1/2 the pitching staff, and a few others should not have been anywhere but AAA - but the Nats do not have the players yet and injuries dictated we had to use our prospects a year early. The pipeline has to be filled and competition created at positions for things to get better - you seem to have some idea of this, so why All Negative All The Time?

Relax - we're all in first right now. Perhaps we'll beat the Marlins more then twice this year too - that'd be a good start.

Posted by: dand187 | January 18, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Team had a better record under MLB ownership than Lerner's......just saying but my real problem is the poor quality of Lerner draft classes or worst no first round pick last year....Chris M was signed by Lerners, Ross D was Lerners, Nobody (crow) was Lerners.....all are mistakes.....where is the Talent all other teams have for 3 years of drafting? Our player development and drafting has been sub par at best...that is the issue.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 18, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

>Our player development and drafting has been sub par at best...that is the issue.

But only one of them. Although, some of the picks on the surface don't seem all that bad, it's what happens to them after they get to the organization that's troubling. There's no excuse in the world for Marrero to balloon the way he did, which invariably contributes to him getting injured. Not sure what happened with Detwiler and his 95 mph heat and knee-buckling curve - now he can't even get out of A ball.
But when ol Ted put out the word that Hudson and Dunn were too expensive after that supposed grab at Teixeira, I believe that the organization is on the verge of becoming completely transparent. I don't think people realize how devastating the negative opinion of the team's owners will be until it's played out over the next decade. There are no boy geniuses in this organization like there are in some others, just a bunch of yes men that need jobs. Like hat-in-hand-good-guy Acta. You think that him pretending to be asleep for 162 games is gonna get the players we have to play better? It's gonna get ugly(er).

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2009 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Sadly that is how I see it too.....I will return when I am proven wrong by the product on the field.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 18, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Can no one here see the genius that is JayBeeee, other than Brue?

Posted by: AnAppallingLackOfBaseballKnowledge | January 18, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The Nats Draft has netted the following players on the likely 25 man roster in 2009:

Willingham (traded draft pick), Olson (ditto), Dukes, (ditto), Zimmerman, Flores (rule 5), Lannan, Balester, Zimmermann, Young (rule 5). That's 9 of 25. Not Bad Really. Four are position starters. Two are Rotation starters. Even if you take out the rule 5 guys, that's still 7 of 25.

It's not the greatest farm system ever, but it dropped from 9 to 21 in one independent evaluation. Some of that drop was on the backs of prospects who did not progress as fast as hoped (Detwiler, Marerro), some because of trade (Gibson, Smolinski, Nunez), and some because of promotion (Lannan, Balester).

I'm still hoping for another trade and I would expect another prospect or two will have to be a part of that. When/if that happens and we look at the then-current state of the farm system it will appear to be further reduced. But the yield will have been increased. You can't evaluate one without evaluating the other.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 18, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Jaybeee's POV does skew negative, and that's OK. You want everyone here to agree all the time? Unlike some folks here, he's usually arguing baseball, not ad hominem, or ad momma-nem in some cases.
The team is a perennial loser and verging on becoming a Clippers-level laughingstock. People who don't care about that aren't in here much.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 18, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

And Tracee was up at 8:00 on a Sunday morning so we could have a NEW POST.
Cheers, TH

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 18, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Props on the ad-momma nem, CE. :-D

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 18, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

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