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Nats, A's Revive Nick Johnson Trade Talks

The Nationals and Oakland Athletics, who discussed a potential trade for first baseman Nick Johnson all the way back in November, have revived those talks in recent weeks, according to a source familiar with the discussions. At one point last week, the source said, a deal seemed very close.

It is unclear what players the A's would be willing to give up for Johnson, but the Nationals have shown previous interest in 23-year-old first baseman Daric Barton, and a deal centering upon Johnson and Barton would make sense for both sides.

The Nationals, who made a failed run at free agent Mark Teixeira this winter, are searching for a young first baseman with upside, and Barton, a former A's top prospect who is under club control until 2013, fits the bill. He hit .226/.327/.348 (batting average/on-base/slugging) with nine homers and 47 RBI in 523 plate appearances last year, but was a .299/.410/.456 hitter as a minor-leaguer.

The A's meanwhile, are in go-for-it mode after acquiring Matt Holliday and Jason Giambi this winter, and are looking for a more established player at first base. Johnson, 30, is a career .269/.396/.456 hitter and a superb defensive player, but injuries have limited him to fewer than 100 games in three of the past five seasons. The A's received Johnson's medical records back in November as part of those initial discussions; he is currently recovering from a torn ligament in his wrist, but has said he expects to be ready by spring training. Johnson is in the final year of a three-year, $16.5 million contract that will pay him $5.5 million this season.

By Dave Sheinin  |  January 15, 2009; 10:43 AM ET
 
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Comments

Lets hope the Barton thing is nothing more than speculation. Trading Johnson is not necessarily a bad thing -- but for a "former top prospect" who hit .226 at the major league level last year? Sounds exactly like the Milledge trade. And that hasn't exactly worked out well, has it?

Posted by: raymitten | January 15, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't say that the Milledge trade hasn't worked out. Milledge is only 23 with a lot of upside. I don't think you judge that trade after the 1st year.

Posted by: FloresFan | January 15, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Unles the Nats are purely looking to move salary, why would they want Barton, who had the lowest BA/OBP/OPS among American League 1Bs last year? In fact, all of the A's infielders ranked dead last in those offensive categories relative to their positions last year.

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 15, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Can I play first base next season?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 15, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The Milledge trade hasn't worked out well? Patience my friend.

Note that as a 23 year old last season, Lastings made a lot of progress and batted .299 after the All Star break with an .803 OPS - which is very solid. Now, if he can improve his defense, we're in good shape.

That said - would you rather have Ryan CHurch and Brian Schneider in 2009 - or Lastings Milledge.

Regarding the trading of Nick Johnson - I'd gather that the Nats front office is as frustrated with Nick as us fans are. He's talented and you get enticed into penciling him in the lineup for 150 games and then he gets hurt. And misses a season - and then most of the following season. As a fan, I'd give anything for a healthy Nick Johnson for 150 games. But it cannot be counted on.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 15, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

If this trade goes down, it shouldn't be considered a solution for the problem at 1B. It's an option, and it might pan out. But another move would be required for insurance or stability.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

i'd take milledge over church and schneider this year also. that's an even easier trade to make now.

Posted by: longterm | January 15, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

One way to see why a Barton/Johnson deal would make sense for the Nationals is to compare the players' stats from a similar point in their careers:

Johnson ('01-'02):
152Gs 445ABs 17HRs 66RBI .236/.341/.389

Barton ('07-'08):
158G 518ABs 13HRs 55RBI .243/.341/.388

As you can see, the numbers are eerily similar. The one difference that isn't reflected there is the fact Barton (23) is about a full year younger than Johnson was at that point.

Posted by: Dave Sheinin | January 15, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I would be very nervous if the Nationals made this trade and annointed Barton as the team's first baseman.

Here is his TSN.ca scouting report:
ASSETS: Has power and run-producing potential, a good eye at the plate and the ability to hit for a high batting average.

FLAWS: Is a poor fielder and a slow runner. Strikes out a bit too much as well. Must prove he can hit lefties with regularity.

CAREER POTENTIAL: A solid slugger best suited for a DH role.

Well, he's only hit 55 minor league homers in more than 1800 at-bats. In 516 at-bats at 'AAA' Sacremento in 2007, he hit 9 homers.

????????????

Where's the evidence that he's going to be a slugger?

If we can't find anyone else, I'd feel much better with Nick at first this year.

Posted by: rushfari | January 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh Lawdy I hope this doesn't happen (unless the A's throw in someone else with Barton).

Barton hit .226/.327/.348 last year.

While playing 1B, Kory Casto hit .244/.314/.346 last year.

I don't want either of them as my everyday starting 1B.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 15, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Could the target be pitching?

With $5.5 mil off the books, the Nats can afford to over-pay Dunn to man 1B. Well...they can afford to do anything, but may have to over-pay a bit anyway.

Posted by: jctichen | January 15, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

i'd rather take my chances with NJ than Barton. unless they want to give us a nice pitching prospect also.

Posted by: longterm | January 15, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

other than the fact that Barton is 23, I don't see what's so special about him.

Oakland better be giving up something else too.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Sheinin's post should shed some light on why the Nats are considering this move. Like I said, it's not necessarily a solution at first, but it does bring another prospect into the fold.

With another veteran 1B added, Manny could work out a platoon situation for Barton. There's also the possibility that a regular 1B is added via FA (Dunn?) or trade (Swisher?) and Barton is sent to Syracuse.

Nick's one of my favorite players. That being said, I don't think this move is necessarily a bad one.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Barton was injured in a swimming pool accident last season, which just might account for his subpar performance. Provided he's recovered, he could be worth a look.

His projections for 2009 are something like .255 / .350 / .395, not magnificent but not disastrous from a low-priced 23-year-old 1B with upside.

Posted by: Hendo1 | January 15, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

and how the hell did the Milledge trade "not work out"?

Church got two concussions and then underachieved after recovering, The Mets are trying to get rid of Schneider to anyone who will take him after all the Mets pitchers did horribly with him catching, Milledge had a really solid second half last year at age 23 and will be one of our starting outfielders next season at age 24.

how the f*ck did that trade "not work out"?

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

This trade better be for pitching and Barton, with the idea of freeing up money to pay Dunn/Hudson. By the way, I MUCH rather see Miledge out there than Church or Schneider. Is it me, or does it feel like everyday I check the updates and news, it just get's worse and worse.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | January 15, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

how is barton for johnson fair?

johnson makes 5mill, a free agent after 09, has barely played in 2 yrs, wont even be healthy to start 09

the cost should be minimal like murton, denorfia, etc

the nats only get barton if this is expanded to include milledge

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

how is barton for johnson fair?

johnson makes 5mill, a free agent after 09, has barely played in 2 yrs, wont even be healthy to start 09

the cost should be minimal like murton, denorfia, etc

the nats only get barton if this is expanded to include milledge

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:04 PM

Barton hit a whopping .226/.327/.348 with 9HRs and 17 doubles in 446 ABs last season.

please don't act like you are giving up the world here.

if anyone should be expanding their offer it should be the A's. Johnson may have been hurt, but he at least has a credible record of being a great hitter at the Major League level (see 2005, 2006).

and forget about adding Milledge to this deal please, unless you are including some prime pitching or Holliday.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Unless the A's change their playing surface to sponge, any NJ trade will be a disaster.

Posted by: jctichen | January 15, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Alright, Johson for Barton does rob Oakland a little. But Johnson and Milledge for Barton robs us a lot! Barton for Milledge robs us a lot.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 15, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

barton is also cost controlled for 5 yrs, why would the A's suddenly give up on a 23 yr old player. nats already asked for barton in november and were turned down. what has changed since?

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

barton is also cost controlled for 5 yrs, why would the A's suddenly give up on a 23 yr old player. nats already asked for barton in november and were turned down. what has changed since?

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:20 PM

because in order to get, you have to give.

so basically to you his salary is more important than the quality of player he is.

then we should have no deal.

Barton is barely worth Nick Johnson straight up, and he DAMN sure isn't worth Nick Johnson and Lastings Milledge. not even close.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

you are overrating your players based on how much they cost, and not on how good of a player they are.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

New rule: snakebit players should have to play for Arizona.

*********
Barton was injured in a swimming pool accident last season, which just might account for his subpar performance. Provided he's recovered, he could be worth a look.

Posted by: Hendo1 | January 15, 2009 11:56 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Dave - thanks for the perspective on NJ's '01 and Barton's '08. I think a deal of Barton + 2 A-ballers of Rizzo's choice would be good. NJ probably has more value in trade than he does on the team. He's simply too much of an injury risk to be counted on for a rebuilding franchise, but a "win now" franchise can hope they catch him on a healthy year. If he plays 130-140 games of 130-140 OPS+ ball for the A's, he'd be well worth Barton.

As for those of you that are looking just at Barton's HR numbers and saying "not a slugger," a career .450 SLG in the minors is pretty good - you'd expect him to grow into his power in MLB as well. He had 36 doubles in '05, and 38 in '07 in the minors, and 26 in 500 ABs in MLB so far - some of those will become homers. It would be nice to have another 1b with some upside in the organization, just so our strategy isn't entirely "Marrero or bust."

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | January 15, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

But AsFan raises a relevant question You had to give to get back in November, too. But the obvious answer is, the mercenary sob strung us along and then signed with the Yankees, is what happened.

********
barton is also cost controlled for 5 yrs, why would the A's suddenly give up on a 23 yr old player. nats already asked for barton in november and were turned down. what has changed since?
Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:20 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

No way would Johson be a better choice than Barton for us. Anyone else remember that we are building for the future? At very least Barton is a possibility to be a long term solution. Johnson does not.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 15, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I think the Milledge trade is the best thing Jim Bowden has done as GM of this team, quite honestly. I don't know how it "didn't work out."

Johnson for Barton is worth it just to get rid of the salary and to add a pre-arbitration player with upside. Having Nick Johnson for this year (or, knowing him, about 15 games) does nothing to help this team. May as well add another "potential" guy and see how he does.

Posted by: pondaz | January 15, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Alright, Johson for Barton does rob Oakland a little. But Johnson and Milledge for Barton robs us a lot! Barton for Milledge robs us a lot.

who said that would be the deal? of course more would be added

my opinion, johnson alot is not worth alot if A's take on his 5mill contract...players i see "tradeable" for johnson

A's have alot of relievers and pitching depth that could interest nats

braden/outman/simmons/mazzaro mlb ready sp's

relievers cassilla/blevins/carignan/lansford/bailey/demel etc

mlb depth guys like denorfia/murton/patterson

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

This has been said already. However, being a mega-Milledge fan, one who thinks Bowden made one of his single best moves to obtain him, I'm aghast that anyone could possibly think the deal did not work out.
I have mixed feelings about Barton. He was on my fantasy team last year and a disappointment. But he was injured as Hendo pointed out. I like most things about him in that he's young, gets on base and I believe will be overall, a good offensive player, although the lack of power at that position is a concern.
My biggest concern is his defense, although, to be fair, he has only recently become a 1st baseman.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 15, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Johnson for Barton would be a good trade for the nats. But does fielding an entire team of 23 year olds (or thereabouts) make sense to ANYONE? They have to have some veteran leadership on this team...

Posted by: WrongDog | January 15, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

One reason - looking at Barton's minor league stats - that makes him an interesting prospect is an OBP over .400. He walks more than he whiffs. True, he had only the 9 homers at AAA, but as a 21yo, he did hit 38 doubles. Typically, as young players age, those doubles turn into homers. His .866 career OPS is pretty impressive for someone playing at levels that are considered advanced for his age.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 15, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind, too, that minor league slugging stats (among others) would be artificially depressed in general compared to MLB goals. The "phenom" guys with really good numbers don't stay down there, they move up, which skews the distribution low.

*********
As for those of you that are looking just at Barton's HR numbers and saying "not a slugger," a career .450 SLG in the minors is pretty good - you'd expect him to grow into his power in MLB as well.
Posted by: Highway295Revisited | January 15, 2009 12:28 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson will be a FA at the end of the year. Daric Barton will be under club control for several years. Trading one year (which, given his injury history probably won't be a full year) for several years of a player that has shown potential in the minors is a trade the Nats needs to make. Barton had a terrible year last season, but one bad season does not conclusively mean that he's going to be a bad player. If Barton was offered for Johnson straight up, there's no question the Nats should do it.

Posted by: Offense-offensive | January 15, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

if the nats had a cost controlled mlb ready 3b/ss type i'd have no issue giving up barton

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Watch Nick go to the A's and become the Comeback Player of the Year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

or put another way: probable worst case, Barton isn't very good, Nick plays about 15 games in early summer and then gets hurt again.

If Nick stays healthy, the Nats win more games, but still finish no better than fourth, and then he moves on in 2010. If Barton becomes an MLB average 1st baseman, they have a decent backup or trade bait.

I'm going with the cheaper guy every time, there.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Why did Milledge even enter this conversation? Did I miss something? Just because Beane covets him doesn't mean he'll get him. How many years of active pursuit did it take Jimbo to land Wily Mo?

Everyone's itching for a blockbuster trade. Milledge and NJ for Barton? Try NJ + prospect for Barton + prospect.

Looking at the A's depth chart, http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/depth?team=oak, it looks like they could use more OF help and less 1B/DH help. High OBP Kearns would help.

Posted by: jctichen | January 15, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

from your keyboard to g-d's ear, JiM

*******
Watch Nick go to the A's and become the Comeback Player of the Year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 12:41 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

if only because you don't want all the other GMs thinking "geez, nobody they trade is ever any good."

********
Watch Nick go to the A's and become the Comeback Player of the Year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 12:41 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@jctichen is on to something... moving NJ's salary and going all in for Dunn, while securing a backup 1B in Barton who has ML experience and could turn into potential trade bait or turn into a utility infielder...

Posted by: andreekless | January 15, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

jtichen, see the very first post here

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

It would be just our luck that Nick will go west and hit .280/20/80 and Barton comes here and goes .240/10/30 and is a stiff at first base, and is DaMeat hook out of here for good?

Posted by: dargregmag | January 15, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought you were speaking out of some sort of altruistic support for Nick!

Honestly, though, it'd be great for everyone involved if Johnson goes to Oakland and performs.

-----

if only because you don't want all the other GMs thinking "geez, nobody they trade is ever any good."

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

The Milledge trade was great for the Nats: we trade two guys (Church, Schneider) who were NOT going to start for us in 2008 for an up and coming outfield starter. Look at our roster now: if you could trade (say) Nieves and Pena for a starting player, you'd do that in a heartbeat as well.

The Nats have spent the *entire* offseason trying to replace Johnson. If you were Nick, would you even want to play for this team anymore? The Nats need to trade him somewhere, anywhere, and get back what they can.

Posted by: tboss | January 15, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@CEvansJr even if NJ is CBPY... he'll prob pull a Demitri Young/get hurt the following year...

Posted by: andreekless | January 15, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Nick will play hard wherever, because he just does. For as long as he actually does play.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Man, talk about selling the guy short. The Nats haven't even acquired him and already he's trade bait or a utility infielder.

Isn't there just as much of a chance he'd end up in AAA and develop into a legit 1B option in 2010?

-----

moving NJ's salary and going all in for Dunn, while securing a backup 1B in Barton who has ML experience and could turn into potential trade bait or turn into a utility infielder...

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

And can Bowden just release WMP already. We might as well chalk up a 1 in the L colum everytime he plays. He is supposivley in there for his stick but when you give up 4 runs because of your bad defense and strike out 4 times at the plate what is the reason to play him....

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

andreekless, it wouldn't matter anyway, cuz it'll be someone else's problem in 2010 ...
unless --- he stays healthy, has a great start, and they give him another 2 years at $10MM each. THEN he'll get hurt again.

and is that Andree Kless, "and without reek" or "and don't reek so much"?

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Guzman is a vet. So, is Kearns. Belliard too.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 15, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Managing Expectation, John.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Milledge trade awful for the Nats. Church should of always been starting for us but for whatever reason Frank and Manny wouldnt. He have a better season (if healthy) than milledge. Also Church can throw a baseball which Milledge cant do at 23.

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

He was hurt last year. Release him and you pay him to go away, and probably retire. Might as well pay him to rehab at Potomac and see if there's any chance. Don't know that I'd want him on the 40-man without a good showing, though.

*******
And can Bowden just release WMP already. We might as well chalk up a 1 in the L colum everytime he plays. He is supposivley in there for his stick but when you give up 4 runs because of your bad defense and strike out 4 times at the plate what is the reason to play him....

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 12:51 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 15, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Huh? Milledge was in his first full year in the bigs. The trade has worked out just fine. Talk to us in 5 or 6 years and then evaluate it.

Posted by: JDB1 | January 15, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to understand why some people think that Johnson who has played 38 games in the last two years, That is right, TWO years, is worth more than a 23 year old Barton. Let see, the A's would trade what was their #1 prospect about a year ago, who had a poor first full year for a guy that on twice played 130 games in the last seven seasons.

The A's just signed Giambi for about the same 5 million that Johnson is payed. I think it is more likely Washington is looking to throw money at someone to take Johnson and pick up someone like Dunn to play first. And maybe the A's are looking for Barton to go back to AAA for a season and get Johnson as a stop gap. More likely some grade B prospect for Johnson and money if this deal/ report is real.

Posted by: dougald1 | January 15, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

>Well, he's only hit 55 minor league homers in more than 1800 at-bats. In 516 at-bats at 'AAA' Sacremento in 2007, he hit 9 homers.
????????????
Where's the evidence that he's going to be a slugger?

He probably has the build for it. That's what all the scouts do - if he's a big guy, half the time they'll project him as a slugger whether he can hit or not.

Posted by: Brue | January 15, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson - WAS

The Washington Post reports that the A's and Nationals have revisited trade talks for Nick Johnson.
Oakland was linked to Johnson previously, but that was before signing Jason Giambi. The newspaper speculates that the Nationals may ask for Daric Barton, but that seems like a stretch even considering his disappointing 2008. Johnson is set to make $5.5 million in the final season of a three-year deal, but he hasn't been healthy since 2006 and the A's aren't exactly hurting for options at first base or designated hitter.
Source: Washington Post

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

It will take you 5 or 6 years to realize he cant throw a baseball??? That he takes awful routes running to the baseball then makes up for it diving for the baseball when he could of just taken the correct route and not have to dive for it. Church assuming he doesnt have the NJ health problem every year will put up 40 doubles and 20 plus HR's every year. Bowden must go

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm warming to Barton after taking closer looks at his stats.

it looks like he started really slow last year(like Dukes did, only not as bad), but his 2nd half stats are a lot more encouraging.

281 ab, .266/.356/.477 10 HR, 17 2b,

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It will take you 5 or 6 years to realize he cant throw a baseball??? That he takes awful routes running to the baseball then makes up for it diving for the baseball when he could of just taken the correct route and not have to dive for it. Church assuming he doesnt have the NJ health problem every year will put up 40 doubles and 20 plus HR's every year. Bowden must go

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:03 PM

Church is 30. Milledge is 24.

Church is right now, what he's going to be for the rest of his career. Milledge still has growing to do.

please quit with the "Church is a superstar in the making, Milledge is a bum" crap.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

If we can we should get Barton, should NOT get Dunn. No sense in getting a player who strikes out like WMP but granted hits 40 HR. strikeout hitters are terrible and will not be on winning teams. With a strikeout you dont move up the runners, wasted ab. I think Barton for NJ is a no brainer and maybe a couple prospects throw in there as well

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Church is gone and he isn't coming back, so get over it already.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

MRMadson.... i not saying Church is a superstar, he is not and wont ever be. What he is though is a smart ball player solid gap/doubles hitter and terrific defense. Milledge wont ever be a good defender... Time will tell but i bet there was a reason other than the fan thing in NY as to why the mets got rid of thier #1 prospect at the time for a not so great OF and Defensive catcher...

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina should have more of an opportunity than Milledge

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

strikeout hitters are terrible and will not be on winning teams. With a strikeout you dont move up the runners, wasted ab.

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

strikeouts are EEEEEVIL! double play balls and groundouts much better!

let's get some guys who hit weak tappers to the 2nd Baseman, but at least they don't strike out!

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina should have more of an opportunity than Milledge

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:14 PM

I think now I can sufficiently ignore everything you say from here on out.

just...wow.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Thats why you bunt the ball to avoid the DP, something Manny doesnt do. Look at Bernadina's minor league stats, granted he may not be MLB ready at this point

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

i was never much of a church fan. it's hard to be crappy and overrated, but he somehow pulls it off.

Posted by: longterm | January 15, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Church is a 4th outfielder, maybe a platoon guy, and that's it. He can't take the grind of being an everyday player and he's too old to keep projecting.

He only played 90 games last year - about half a season is all he's got in him. To say he is and will be better than Milledge is insane.

Here are their lines from the second half of last year:

Milledge - 58 games, .355 obp, .448 slg, .299 avg
Church - 33 games, .305 obp, .307 slg, .219 avg

It was a steal alright... for the Nats.

Posted by: sec307 | January 15, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Thats why you bunt the ball to avoid the DP, something Manny doesnt do. Look at Bernadina's minor league stats, granted he may not be MLB ready at this point

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:25 PM

so then we'll have everyone in our lineup bunt?

well, at least it's not strikeouts. lmao.

and No, YOU need to look at Bernadina's minor league stats. again. and pay attention this time.

and this time, look at stats beyond last season.

you see all those ridiculously low numbers? they aren't coincidence. it's because Bernadina was a BUM until last season.

Bernadina was in the minors for 6 years, and only hit over .276 ONCE.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/b/bernaro01.shtml

read em and weep. lmao "Bernadina should have more of a chance than Milledge".

now I know that your dislike of Milledge is personal and has less to do with actual baseball.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=1226

sorry, here are Bernadina's AWESOME, WORLD-BEATING minor league stats.

lmao.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

I cannot believe someone wrote the sentence "strikeout hitters are terrible and will not be on winning teams" a few months after the Phillies won the World Series with Ryan Howard.

Strikeouts aren't as bad as everyone thinks, because you can't ground into a doubleplay when you strike out, and it means you saw at least three pitches. An out is an out is an out, none of them are good, but an obsession with strikeout numbers is baseless.

Posted by: Section220 | January 15, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Sec307...whats the stats for the 1st half? Church had the concussion syndrome for the second half. Anyways he is gone, and like with NJ if you are hurt and cant play there is not much use for that person.

MrMadson....I suppose the young and developing rule only applies to Milledge huh. When i say for the Nats to bunt more look at the Angels how they play as an example. They bunt move runners over and leave thier sluggers to knock em in

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Trading Johnson for Barton straight up would be a good gamble for the Nats. Barton has the potential to be "Todd Helton Lite". But he has several advantages over Johnson at this point - He's healthy, young, and likely to increase in value. I love watching Nick Johnson play, but he has not done much of that recently.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

i think 15 homers should be the minimum expected from an outfielder.

bernadina would have to steal 70 bases to go with those 3 homers to change my mind. oh wait, i don't like tavaras either.

well if his obp was over .350 and he stole 70 i could dig on that. but i don't see it happening. and that's only acceptable when you get power out of some other place in the lineup (1b anyone?)

unfortunately we are stuck in la la land where we think everyone can hit 20 but nobody has ever hit 30 and everyone actually hits less than 15.

and dunn wants to play the outfield on a winner. ugh.

Posted by: longterm | January 15, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Madison

Give the guy a bit of a break. How about this sentence:

"Bernardina deserves a chance".

I for one and really hoping the Roger gets a shot at the bigs. He hits, and is exciting to watch. With a little patience and some better base running he could be a good player. I'm not going to hold my breath but I think in general we all need to distinguish between "top prospect", of which there are about 15 in all of baseball, solid prospect, and 'worth a look'. We will never fill our system or team with the previous two because there just aren't that many, and minor leaugue scouting is too imperfect a science. Bernardina, like Barton, is worth a look. And if all we give up for him is a broken down soon-to-be-DH then all the better.

But sure, Milledge is bit higher than that.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

I would swap Nick for Barton for the reasons many have cited above (principally, team control, age and potential). Also, he's a LHB. I'm not too excited about his attitude or defense though, so I agree with JiM that this should not be the last move. Maybe Matt Whitney (RHB) will step up and surprise us in Spring Training.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 15, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Nats, A's not close on Johnson talks
Washington looking to make swap for injury-prone first baseman

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Athletics have discussed possible trade scenarios recently, but nothing is imminent, according to a baseball source.

The last time the two clubs talked was last week. The A's have interest in first baseman Nick Johnson and the Nats would love to acquire first baseman Daric Barton, but Oakland is not willing to part with him. Last year, Barton, 23, was the A's regular first baseman. In 140 games, he hit .226 with nine home runs and 47 RBIs.

"Nothing is close," the source said. "Talks have not heated up between the Nationals and A's."

The team feels it cannot rely on Johnson because of his injury problems. In '08, Johnson missed most of the season due to a wrist injury.


http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090115&content_id=3745023&vkey=hotstove2008&fext=.jsp&partnerId=rss_mlb

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Thinking about this a little further, it's hard to imagine Nick getting traded before proving he's healthy in Viera. I bet the trade talks are more about putting out feelers at the moment that they are about pulling the trigger on an imminent deal. My forecast: More waiting in store for Nats fans.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 15, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

MrMadson....I suppose the young and developing rule only applies to Milledge huh.

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 1:43 PM

nice try, but you are still full of crap.

Bernadina is 27. he's not exactly "young and developing" anymore. he's entering his prime.

Milledge is 23 or 24.

Bernadina has *never, ever, ever* hit even close to as well as he did last season in his entire professional career.

Milledge has hit better than he did last year.

Milledge hit .315 in A at age 19. He then hit .318 in A and AA at aged 20. then he hit .277 in AAA at age 21. Then he was called up to the majors.

Bernadina only hit higher than Milledge's .277 ONCE in his entire 6 year Professional career. there's a reason Bernadina has been in the minors for 6 years.

Bernadina was *never* a prospect. at ALL. Milledge was a top 100 prospect.

Bernadina has been minor league filler hie entire professional career, and now all of a sudden you are acting like he's some super-prospect that just came about just because you have a personal grudge with Milledge.

again, lmao.

this time next year, Bernadina is going to be a minor league filler signing for some other club, and Milledge is still going to be a starting OFer for the Nats.

let your personal hate go, and look at the situation objectively.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Madison

Give the guy a bit of a break. How about this sentence:

"Bernardina deserves a chance".

Posted by: soundbloke | January 15, 2009 1:59 PM

fair enough.

I just find it really funny how many people jumped on the Bernadina bandwagon based on last season's AAA stats without actually know the first thing about the guy's minor league career. and to suggest that he deserves more of a chance than Milledge is ridiculous.

it's my opinion that last season was a fluke, until he does it again. because he's *never* done it before, or even come remotely close.

I think people overrate Bernadina just like they overrate Ian Desmond.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina = a lesser version of Brandon Watson.

look at the stats.

Bernadina:
http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=1226

Watson:
http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=15385

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

except that Watson did it over the entire course of his minor league career...and Bernadina only did it once.

Posted by: MrMadison | January 15, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Game, Set and Match to Mr. Madison.

Trade NJ for what you can get and make Dunn a top priority. Love NJ as a player but, he is as durable as balsa wood and can't be counted on as the everyday 1B.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 15, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

i wouldnt call it a personal hate but its of my opinion that Milledge will never quite be as good as people hope.... i (just like you) hope im wrong for the sake of the Nats success. its my OPINION that i believe he and wont ever be a success.

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Just curious - NATSFAN10 - how old are you?

Because of your love of the Sac Bunt and hatred of strikeouts - I'm guess that you are over 50 and hate SABRmetrics.

How close did I get?

Posted by: comish4lif | January 15, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Ask and you shall receive:

Church's 1st half - 57 games, 10 2b, 1 3b, 10 hr, 36 rbi, 19 bb, 50 k, 1 sb, .370 obp, .512 slg, .307 avg

Milledge's 2nd half - 58 games, 8 2b, 2 3b, 7 hr, 29 rbi, 16 bb, 44 k, 11 sb, .355/.448/.299

Of course Milledge played 80 games before the break to Church's 57 and 138 to his 90 for the whole year. The bottom line is that on his best days, Church isn't that much better than Milledge now. LMillz is on his way up and Church can't stay on the field.

Posted by: sec307 | January 15, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

off by alot commish, in upper 20's if u must know

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Also, Hopefully Milledge does better under the new Batting Coach. Its not that i like the bunt, i just feel we should use it more because thats what we have with our team. The team is not full of Power Hitters who strike out, more like contact hitters who strike out, again my example is LAA

Posted by: NATSFAN10 | January 15, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

OK, late 20s, fair enough.

Not to get all geeky, but there's been a lot of statistical work done that shows that a sac bunt - generally - costs your team. If you buy the whole statistical analysis team.

And for Ks, I think it's more of a personal preference. I look at Dunn's power and OBP and am willing to overlook his Ks for the chance to have someone in our lineup that other teams can be fearful of.

Here's a stat that bugs me - the Nats had 5 players in double digits in homers with 14 by Zimm and Milledge being the max. The Nats had 6 players ground into double digit double plays in 2008 with Milledge's 19 being the tops.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 15, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Lack of capitalization notwithstanding, I'm leaning toward declaring this the post of the day.

-----

i was never much of a church fan. it's hard to be crappy and overrated, but he somehow pulls it off.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad the tone on Johnson has come out of the clouds a bit. I couldn't believe some people's indignation over not getting enough for Johnson when, for the past 6 months, they've have been talking like we don't even HAVE a first baseman.

I love the guy to death and would love him to be healthy and stay a Nat forever. But even I know we need to cut bait if we're offered anything by any other team. Maybe not a bag of balls, but if any team's interested, we'd better entertain the offer.

Posted by: rcgib | January 15, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Hey commish, easy on the over 50's stuff. We'll really kids at heart.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 15, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I love NJ as much as the next guy, but he is unreliable and expensive. A trade for barton COULD turn out to be a steal for the nats. this would fit into the plan nicely. trade an expensive older player for a cheap younger player with potential.

Posted by: sect104 | January 15, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

43yo here - just a spreadsheet and stat maniac.

I'll be 50 soon enough.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 15, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I would really like to know where this information came from because I just don't see this happening. First off, Billy Beane admitting he was wrong about Barton after only just one year would be shocking. Second who would take Nick Johnson's contract just for 100 at bats? Barton has much more potential then Johnson, he is young and stayed healthy all of last year.

Posted by: njb23 | January 15, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Count me as among those who would rather see a whole team of 23 year olds than adding a few washed up vets that add nothing to the team long-term. I'd much rather see Barton play 1st and figure it out than a Johnson/Belliard/Boone platoon.

The model for the Nats should clearly be a team like Tampa, who slowly added young pieces until eventually it all blossomed. It's not always fun to watch it develop, but eventually it pays off. Acquire enough young potential guys and eventually the odds become good that some of them will pay off.

Of course, I'd be willing to throw away the whole philosophy and spend $100 million to bring Manny here, so, you know.

Posted by: pondaz | January 15, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

>I would really like to know where this information came from because I just don't see this happening.

It's a leak from the Nats to show that they're doing something. Just like all the leaks that led to nothing this winter.

Posted by: Brue | January 15, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The only things that have happened so far this offseason is that the Yankees have resumed being run by a crazy-spending Steinbrenner and the Braves panicked a bit after losing Smoltz (or maybe after reading Shiner's grade post). Everybody else is sitting around waiting for prices to fall. At least we got Olsen and Willingham. Maybe we can snag Uggla from the Marlins if he wins his arb case and becomes too expensive. I still maintain that all we need to do is to figure out how to merge with the Fish. Nobody in Florida would miss them, and nationally, few if any would notice. And we'd have a pretty good team.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 15, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Of course, there's the chance that this round of trade talks was opened up not by the A's, who are now more secure at 1B after the addition of Giambi, but rather by the Nationals, who see Oakland as the only potential suitor for Johnson.

If this is true, the move would be a) a salary dump, b) an admission that Johnson cannot be counted on for a full season, and/or c) an attempt to get something (a relief pitcher or a prospect, perhaps) for nothing (since Johnson is leaving after this season anyway). Feel free to any use combination thereof, or come up with one of your own.

Obviously, the Nats hope option A frees up enough money to pursue Plan B, i.e. Dunn. However, should that not pan out, I'm wondering if the following might not be Plan C (or even D):

1. Sign a utility infielder, a la Boone, that can play 3B and 1B. If one cannot be found, give Casto a call.

2. Plan to trot out Willingham as the so-called "everyday" 1B. In reality, however, realize he will be in some sort of platoon between 1B and OF. Call it 60/40 or even 70/30, if you will.

3. Use Belliard at 1B when Willingham is in the OF, resting, or hurt, thus creating a 60/40 or 70/30 platoon for Belliard, who will also play 2B behind Hernandez. Hope that more bats for Belly increases his market value in anticipation of a deadline deal.

4. Use utility infielder in step one as the situation (rest, injury, pitching matchup) dictates.

6. Rotate Pena and Harris into OF as needed. Or, preferably, rotate the wheels on the car that will drive Pena out of town.

7. Scrap the whole thing when it falls apart due to injury or poor performance. Curse Dunn and Teixeira, and lament that Broadway never worked out.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

A friend of mine was suggesting that Beane, being no fool, would hold out for NJ + Dukes (presumably for Barton and some other incentive..maybe some pitching?). The A's need outfielders, don't they? THOSE we have...

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

you'd have to be a fool to trade NJ AND Dukes for Barton.

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 15, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Skipping way far down this thread for a few points:

1) Barton is like a young Nick in a way that Dave did not bring up. He missed most of 2006 due to injury. Now the excuse for his worst in MLB for qualifying 1b stats is that he was hurt in a pool? A Nick Johnson is right.

2) Nice OBP, always supposed to have a great eye. his best offensive weapon. But he has played in hitter leagues (AAA - PCL, Texas? for AA). Take his minor league stats and adjust for hitters leagues, and his SLG is less impressive. In fact, the biggest reason for his slide from top 10 or so prospect in 2005 to low 100s IIRC in 2007 was his failure to develop power as projected.

3) I've said it before - one name AsFan08 brought up - Santiago Casilla - is a better trade target. I would rather go with Willingham every day at 1st (actually, I'd rather have Dunn) than Barton. Especially because that would open space for both Lastings and Elijah. A quality middle reliever / potential closer will be important for this staff. The thicker the bullpen, the better.

4) Outman is an interesting name, too. Literally.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 15, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Another tin-foil hat scenario is that Billy Beane has already decided he's done after this season.

Since he'd like to go out as well as possible, he's going to take risks. He knows that in NJ he has a chance to get a $15m season for $5m. He'll break even on NJ's defense and walks alone. As long as he plays 120 games.

Barton's value is all in the future. Of no use to a guy on the way out. (And he knows that even if Barton could replicate NJ's offense, there is NO CHANCE he can replicate his defense.)

From what we've heard, it's the A's who have (rightfully) balked at this deal. If Beane eventually caves, we'll know they are playing for 2009. Let us hope so.

Posted by: traderkirk | January 15, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

So are they working on getting you your own baseball blog here, jca? You're ineligible for Post of the Day honors because you'd have a monopoly on the title.

Great point about the low SLG. Right now, I figure being able to get any sort of prospect for NJ would be a plus. But if he's trending down, it might make more sense to go after some bullpen help, which the Nats desperately need.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@1of9000 I DID say "and some othert incentive."

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 15, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey, that was my first post of the day. I can't even be sure it's mine because it does not have a link to Fangraphs or Nick Cafardo.

But seriously, is it time to treat "what a darn trade that Milledge for Church and Schneider" posts as trolling?

Oh, so you know it's me, Barton's minor league numbers:
http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=967

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 15, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

"A friend of mine was suggesting that Beane, being no fool, would hold out for NJ + Dukes (presumably for Barton and some other incentive..maybe some pitching?)."

Does Moneyball cover bail?

Posted by: nunof1 | January 15, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Ok - wow, not to bring up the ridiculous Bernadina v. Milledge canard, but,

Bernadina career 2645 Minor ABs: .265/.348/.384 4

Milledge career 1191 Minor league ABs: .303/.376/.477

In less than half the ABs, Milledge had a grand total of 12 less HRs than Rog. If you take Milledge's HR rate of 1/34 ABs and put that over Bernadina's ABs, Milledge hits 77 to Bern's 47. Oh, and by the way, Milledge is almost a full year younger. (Bernadina's entering his age 25 season, Millz his age 24 season). Add into that that Milledge got a lot better on defense as the year went on, and there is just plain no comparison. Milledge is a potential all-star, Bernadina is a potential Brandon Watson.

As for the A's wanting an OF - How about trading both buddies - NJ and Kearns for Barton and a pitcher?

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | January 15, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, I was praising your consistency, not bemoaning your frequency.

Church will always have fans. Mostly, I think this constituency is comprised of those who tuned into 20 or so games - or maybe had a 20-game plan - and happened to catch a cross section of his performance that was less than representative of his actual value or abilities.

And heck, I wish the guy really was that good. I really do. But he just ain't.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 15, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

new post

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 15, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

A's have enough OF's: holliday/sweeney/buck/cunningham/cust plus depth guys like denorfia/murton/davis etc

milledge is only mentioned because beane has wanted him before and i see that as the the only interesting target on the nats. and yes the deal would have to be tweaked A's add pitching on their side going to nats

that said, i see a deal for nick johnson not involving barton. being a salary dump for a b prospect or mlb useful piece like a reliever or sp.

eric patterson
dallas braden
cassilla
denorfia
josh outman

Posted by: asfan08 | January 15, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Good deal for both... A's get a much better player with a short term upside - if Nick stays healthy (now that has been said 10,000 times by Nats fans) he could be a monster and a steal in any deal and Barton is a young guy on a team that needs young guys. I love Nick but do the deal.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 15, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

"strikeout hitters are terrible and will not be on winning teams. With a strikeout you dont move up the runners, wasted ab. "

really? Ryan Howard had 200 Ks last year, and last time I looked, that was a winning team. What about Manny? David Ortiz? Both had over 110 Ks last year. The aversion to strikeouts is from the 60s when a "power hitter" hit 18 homers. Do the math and maybe read some statistical analysis from this century. Your team full of no-K guys who hit .320 and slug .330 (say, the 88 Twins) would get clobbered by the 2008 royals.

Posted by: Section406 | January 16, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Thats why you bunt the ball to avoid the DP, something Manny doesnt do.
---

Dude, that's BRILLIANT! Let's give up an out FOR SURE in exchange for a 25% chance that the batter will get out w/o moving anyone up. (plus a 15% chance the guy gets on base for free, a 25% chance of a hit, AND a 5% chance of a homer.) That's sheer genius. tell you what, read Earl Weaver's book if you're so determined to stay in the stone ages. Even he knew that was stupid.

look, check out this table:
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/sortable/index.php?cid=310118

That's a table based on last year's numbers showing the average number of runs created when there's a runner on 1b, 2b, 3b, and various combinations, with the different numbers of outs. For instance, bases loaded no outs usually scores 2.3 runs. Bases empty 1 out scores 0.28 runs. On average. Now, if you have a runner on 1b and no out, you can expect .9 runs in that inning. And a runner on 2b with 1 out, .69 runs. So you've given up .21 expected runs with your brilliant strategery. Nice work, Mr. Stengel. the ONLY time a bunt makes sense is if you have a guy who can't hit (pitcher) at bat, and even then, he has to hit under .130 and have 2 guys on for it to be worth it.

So if you're in your late 20s, maybe you should learn something about baseball from someone who's not Joe Morgan or Tim McCarver.

Posted by: Section406 | January 16, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

is it me, or are we getting a mite cranky in here?

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

but there's already three new posts, so nevermind

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 16, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

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