Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Right Off The Stove

With Milton Bradley headed for Chicago and a few number of other mid- to upper-tier free agents (Giambi, Burrell) now finding takers, it seems like a good time to run through the Nationals' remaining options/strategies from now 'til Viera, Fla. This is skeletal, and for that I apologize, but some of these things I can flush out in subsequent entries. For now...

* Nats officials say their primary concern remains building a young nucleus and developing/acquiring players who can still be in their primes come 2010 or 2011. That's why older free agents (Manny Ramirez, for instance) aren't attracting the team's interest.

* Adam Dunn (29) and Orlando Hudson (31) are young enough that Washington has legitimate interest, and those players appear to be their primary targets at this point. But the team is pessimistic about signing either player; their initial asking prices seem a bit high, one source said, and the Nats will probably become a realistic contender for Hudson and Dunn only if league-wide interest in either player cools.

* Though the Nats had interest in trading for Xavier Nady last summer when he was with Pittsburgh, they don't intend to make a play for him now. Nady is a right-handed hitter, and Washington's lineup already has a surplus from that side. Washington also believes it does not have a legitimate shot of trading for Yanks slugger Nick Swisher.

* One-time closer Chad Cordero, cut loose by Washington earlier this offseason, is feeling optimistic about his recovery from July labrum surgery. This week, Cordero will audition for a host of teams, his agent, Larry Reynolds said.

The Nats are among the teams that have expressed some interest in Cordero, a source said, and one member of the team's front office plans to watch the right-hander throw some time later this month. Among the other teams that so far have expressed interest, according to reports: The D'backs, Angels, Mets, Rangers and Tigers.

Reynolds said that Cordero will be throwing off a mound in a "couple of weeks," and by March, "he'll be throwing competitively against hitters."

"As Chad told me yesterday," Reynolds said, "his arm is outstanding."

* Washington hasn't ruled out bringing back starting pitcher Odalis Perez, but at this point such a decision is not a priority. As it stands now, Washington will enter spring training with the following five in line for rotation jobs: John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Collin Balester, Jordan Zimmermann and Daniel Cabrera. Shawn Hill and Shairon Martis will be given chances, too.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 6, 2009; 3:02 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Robbie Tolan
Next: Tex Talks Nats

Comments

Nice summary Chico -

There's no excuse for this team not to add at least a couple more viable bodies than D. Cabrera in the next month. Enough waiting - its time for a little action!

Posted by: Bazz | January 6, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

If the Lerners don't get Dunn and/or Hudson, there will be one less nats fan in the seats at Nationals Park.

It is just one story after the next with them.

Posted by: mike1205 | January 6, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

2009? More of the same. All that talk of spending money was just hot air. Until the team becomes respectable, it will be hard to sign free agents. Who in their right mind would come to DC over Wrigley? Maybe later, yes. But now? No. The team must get better, and must get better players to get better. Chicken or the egg?

Posted by: jctichen | January 6, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Chico, I concede that I am in a snarky mood, but I hope your skeleton gets fleshed out, not flushed out. Further, the Nats cut Chad loose, apparently to cut losses, so they would not lose anymore.

Posted by: Traveler8 | January 6, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Total agreement w/what has been said so far. This is a dysfunctional organization. Players at the mid-career point don't want to wait around for 2 or 3 more years just to see if the team they picked will be in the playoffs, so its not at all surprising that the bulk of the 1st and 2nd Tier FA's seem to pass DC right on by.

I'm more to the thinking that this is a 10 year process and in all reality the Nats are only entering year 3 of the program. That probably will bode well for the "baseball in DC" naysayers, it will give equal folly for what little media coverage the team will get and of course there be no limit to the sea of empty blue seats on display from April-Sept. I hope I'm wrong but...., it becoming painfully obvious that the good ship Nats is "geer adrift".

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

If you are flushing skeletons, I'd imagine it's get pretty jammed up by the time you got to the metatarsals. Femur, fuggedaboudit.

As for the rotation, no thinking that Bergmann is a 5th slot possibility? If the Nats put JZ in the rotation from the get go, that would be evidence that they do not care about him being arb eligible after 2011. If they wanted, they could delay his arbitration date for another year by keeping him down until mid to late May, I'd guess. In light of that, I'd think Hill or Bergmann would be the dollar and cents hope of Stan/JimBo.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 6, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Early Prediction - 2011 rotation:

Zimmermann
Lannan
Balester
Strasburg
Detwiler or Martis

We have not talked about bullpen upgrades. Anyone think a Dennys Reyes or Joe Beimel might be brought in? Both are Type B FAs, so no lost draft choice, and would be signable at $2 - 3 million / yr. This would allow Hinckley to be 2d lefty and be used earlier and in lower leverage situations. It's cheap, and solidifying the bullpen helps the newbie starters.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 6, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Ladson says the Nats are interested in Randy Wolf. True?

They need to sign Dunn. There is no power in this lineup. Give him what he wants. Otherwise we're looking at another 100 loss season. Hudson is a nice player, but we need Dunn.

Posted by: raymitten | January 6, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Why don't the Nats have a shot at Swisher? I was optimistic that he would be available once the Evil Empire signed Tex.

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | January 6, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Yeah that pitching staff isn't exactly going to strike fear into the hearts of the '27 Yankees. Maybe we should take a flyer on Ben Sheets after all. Make it an incentive-laden two-year deal with increasingly expensive club options in years 3-4-5. I would also take Hudson on the grounds that he can bat leadoff, play a solid 2b, and provide some sorely needed veteran leadership. I'll take Nick Swisher as well, while I'm at it -- another scrappy vet who can play first and any OF position. If we can't have top-tier free agents, we need as many Super Willies as possible.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 6, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

The best FA out there that meets the "plan" criteria, appears to be affordable and could significantly upgrade the team is Ben Sheets. It would take a creative contract given rumors of injuries but it should be noted he pitched more innings last season than ANY Nats pitcher, and more than any other season over the past 4 years. Whoever gets Sheets will get the steal of the hot stove league, I suspect.

Posted by: Section314 | January 6, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

great breakdown Chico...

any interest on the part of the Nats to trade for Prince Fielder?

Posted by: andreekless | January 6, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

This team is run by liars. If guys fit into the plan age-wise, and talent-wise, then they should be part of the team. They said they would spend money on players and development, but apparently they have artificial limits when it comes to spending, and they use those to squelch progress at the last minute. And the fans are supposed to do what? Act dumb and accept the crumbs? What a load. Just because we didn't have baseball here for 33 years doesn't mean that we don't know what good baseball is.

Posted by: Brue | January 6, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

That black guy might strike fear into the hearts of the '27 Yankees, though!

Posted by: Section506 | January 6, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Talking of rotations for 2009, I think really only 3 spots are totally guaranteed at this point (Olsen, Cabrera, Lannan probably in that order). Balester's numbers were really not that great for 2008 and there's no guarantee of JZimmerman making it happen.

I still think its a bit irresponsible that they cut Redding loose to avoid paying him $3M a year; his first half split sans foot injury coupled with his 2007 2nd half split are pretty good:

2nd half 2007: 2-5, 3.85era, 1.53whip
1st half 2008: 7-3, 3.85era, 1.36whip

I'll take a starter with a consistent 3.85 era who can pitch 6 innings regularly.

That being said, I look forward to a massive spring training competition for the last two rotation spots between Balester, Bergmann, Hill, JZimmerman, Clippard and Martis, maybe Mock and Estrada (though they may be permanently set to being relievers) and even Sosa and Chacin (signed minor league deals but both were somewhat productive starters at some point in the past).

JZimm and Balester seem to be early favorites, but don't forget that a healthy Hill is the Ace of the staff.

Posted by: tboss | January 6, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

WAPO - can we take "down" the picture and story on Tex? We don't need to be reminded everytime we log in what happened. Lets put one of the Nats up there! Thank you. (and now back to your regular programming)

Posted by: 1of9000 | January 6, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

tboss, don't mention the name of Shawn Hill on this board the haters are lurking.

I think Hill signs a 1 yr deal to avoid arbitration, probably for about $600k or so. Not a bad gamble for a guy with his "stuff". I do think he'll be on a short leash though, if he can't take the mound regularly in ST look to see him DFA's to Syracuse or given his Patterson (outright release) early in camp.

Posted by: estuartj | January 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I still think that by the start of ST, at least one of these pitchers will still be available and that the Nats will find a way to sign them to an incentive-laden deal (or at least a minor-league deal).

Freddy Garcia
Pedro Martinez
Mark Mulder
Mark Prior

As for the Yanks trying to jettison some extra OF'ers, instead of thinking about Nady or Swisher, what is everyone's thoughts on trading for Johnny Damon if the price is right? I know he has no arm, but his defense is still pretty darned good in CF (compared to Milledge) and he could still bat in the leadoff position (and he's a lefty bat to boot).

Posted by: erocks33 | January 6, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Come to think of it, the holidays weren't really the same this year without that picture of Da Yule Log up on the site.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 6, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

oh, for pete's sake, sign Adam Dunn. Overpay if you have to. Cause like it or not, plan or not, we don't have the pitching staff to hold opponents to 2 runs a game. What, do they really think Nick Johnson will stay healthy???

Man, this disgusts me. I'm the idiot who just re-upped my tickets.

Posted by: Section406 | January 6, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

nats.com is reporting that the team is "interested" in free-agent LHP Randy Wolf. Is this another futile pursuit to divert our attention from nothing besides the Olsen-Willingham trade has been done to improve this team with ST six weeks away?

Posted by: leetee1955 | January 6, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

The lack of activity post-Tex is getting depressing. I was afraid they devoted too much time and energy to him, leaving themselves off balance when they didn't get him but needed to move on. Bradley's lost. They need to get at least a Dunn if not Dunn and Hudson, otherwise how have they added pop to their impotent offense and laid any stones in the franchises's foundation--by merely adding Josh Willingham's 15-20 HRs? Get moving, Jimbo, or you're going to find a lot of empty seats and the cycle of destruction will be all but irreversible. No kidding.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | January 6, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

To continue the rotation talk, I think Lannan should be the opening day pitcher regardless of any free agent signings.

I see a lot of posts that put Cabrera ahead of him, which is crazy. Lannan was up with the best in the business when it came to quality starts. He was our best and most consistant pitcher all year. Plus, he's home grown. I think Manny should make a statement - that Lannan is our ace until somebody bests him in a Nats uniform.

As for the rest of staff, my predictions:

Lannan
FA (my money's on Odalis)
Olsen
Hill
Balester

If Hill is healthy enough to get thru spring training, he'll be in the rotation. As it should be. There is no harm to the organization by being patient with him for one more year. Most feel JZim and Martis aren't ready yet, Bergmann is done as a starter, and we haven't drafted Strasburg yet. Hill will probably make around 500K and is not a head case like Patterson. And I think he has better stuff than any of the free agents out there, including Sheets who has his own health concerns. Worst case scenerio (if he makes it out of camp) he buys the youngsters some time.

I like going after Wolf, but I'll believe it when I see it. I think Freddy Garcia would be a solid addition too.

Posted by: sec307 | January 6, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Snark from Rotoworld:

The Nationals are reportedly showing interest in free agent Randy Wolf.

The Nats show interest in everyone, just so it looks like they're doing something. They'll make a pickup or two before spring training starts, and it might even be a big splash with Adam Dunn. Still, most of this idle speculation is fine to ignore.

Posted by: jctichen | January 6, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Da Yule Log. Sigh. Those were the days.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 6, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Check out Boz's plea for Dunn on BI, as well as a thorough and learned comment there.

BobL - do you think we have a leadoff hitter in-house if we do not sign Hudson? I'm thinking that Milledge (LF/CF) or Harris (2b) would be the best options. Milledge's 2d half and consensus projections point to lead-off skills (OBP, p/PA) while his power puts him in the Damon mold. Harris also had patience last year, and there are some analyses that say he was snakebit in terms of balls going for hits. Both should be .340+ OBP, which is adequate. Guz, I/M/O, should be about 6th in the order, given his good contact skills (RBI opportunities) and lack of patience.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 6, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

What is so disappointing about the Nationals organization is the lack of consistent effort. What defines a good baseball organization is one that hammers away in all of the places where talent is found. We get a Ryan Zimmerman one year, a Smiley Gonzalez the next, or a big free agent draft in 2007. But it's all piece meal and at the rate they are acquiring talent it will never be enough to compete in the NL East.

The Washington media market is one of the wealthiest in the nation and yet the Lerners act as if they have to tiptoe around the edges and bargain shop like a Tampa Bay or Minnesota. No one argues with the concept of building a team on young talent, but there is too little evidence of the Lerners spending money to grab tomorrow's talent when it rears its head. They sent Mike Rizzo to the Olympics. Did we sign any international talent as a result? Cuban ballplayers? Asian players. Anyone at all? Nada.

The Lerners went to talk to Scott Boras and could not convince Teixeira. That is understandable, but Milton Bradley is not Teixeira. It is time to start asking some hard questions of Kasten and the Lerners. What is it that Aaron Crow, Teixeira, Milton Bradley and all the rest of them know that we don't?

Posted by: Juliasdad | January 6, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

This whole pot looks like the beginning of apology season to me. They know they aren't going to make a splash with the big guys, and have nothing worth trading.

Jeeves mentioned earlier trading for c. Gonzalez and Kula. I love this idea, except that I honestly can't see which pieces we move to get them. Would the Rockies want Belliard, Kearns, Pena? Surely not.

Pie is a better choice because he is surplus. But again, who do we have that fits a team with a real shot at contention?

Posted by: Rednational | January 6, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Honorable mention goes to 506's "'27 Yankees" remark, but the English major in me is compelled to declare this the post of the day.

-----

Chico, I concede that I am in a snarky mood, but I hope your skeleton gets fleshed out, not flushed out. Further, the Nats cut Chad loose, apparently to cut losses, so they would not lose anymore.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 6, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Free Agents:

Can someone name a top drawer free agent that has ever signed with a 102 loss ball club? Players that just "go for the money" all always criticized. Anyone who signed with the Nats would get ripped for that. These guys know the Nats are 2-3 years away from winning. They want to play on a good club. You cannot make Dunn, Hudson, etc. sign here. They have to want to come

Trades:

The Nats have very little to trade that would either get a big player in return or not harm them long term. A big trade is not going to happen.

Someone posted earlier that the Phillies main players were acquired many years ago. It made me think about the fact that from basically 1999 - 2005 this team was in short term mode, first as the Expos were facing budget problems and possible contraction, and then as MLB owned them. We are experiencing the bad fruit of that era. I think we all hoped it would be different. It won't be.

This is going to be a long hopefully Caps-like process, so we need to sit back and enjoy the incremental improvement. If we don't have the stomach for that, then we shouldn't be baseball fans. Perhaps Strasburg is the Nats' Ovechkin? Let's hope so, and let's hope these minor league hitters - Marrero, Burgess, etc. are better then they've shown so far. If not, it's going to take even longer.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 6, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

estuartj: Understood on Hill; i'm of the opinion that the Nats should and will do with him what they did with Patterson: outright cut him if he's not 110% ready to go coming out of spring training. They should win any arbitration hearing based on his numbers last year (1-5, 5.83era, 1.75whip) and won't have to pay too much for him. I'll take a $450-$500k risk like that. He made $402k last year, even giving him a 20% pay raise that's $480k. worth the risk.

the Nats have already gotten themselves two new veterans to pitch (Olsen, Cabrera), I can't see them going after Wolf in addition. Maybe so. Where's the youth movement if they sign Wolf?

Oh and sec307, I don't think we signed Cabrera and are paying him $2.6M to not start for us. Unless he puts up balloon numbers in april he'll be in the rotation. He's now (easily) our highest paid pitcher! (well, until Olsen gets $3M in arbitration).

Posted by: tboss | January 6, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I think the Learner's shrinking from Dunn and Hudson is just another indication is
of the Learner's lack of passion for baseball. Not the passion for business, but a passion for the actual game.

If they did they would understand another sub-500 season with no notable signings represents a real hole for them to dig out of in terms of fan interest and their ability to sign free agents in the future.
More than the fans the need to build credibility within baseball. They have to pay.

They seems to view the Nats as another Mall, the players as low level employees and not the top level executives they are, in terms of importance to the team, and fans as mall walking suckers.

Its tough. It oould be Arenas or Ovetckin (sp?), but in baseball you have to pay to win and they are fools to continually tie the free agent arm behind their backs.

Ugh!

Posted by: stpnat | January 6, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

jca: As much as I like Harris, if he starts more than 80 games for the Nationals' in 2009, it will be 2008 redux. Milledge's p/PA could be worth a look at the #1 spot, as long as he's in the lineup (not guaranteed with the current roster composition).

On other matters, I still hold a slim hope the FO can work out a 2-3 year deal with Hudson & work a trade for a LH-power hitter; otherwise, as Boswell said, "just get it Dunn" for 3 years (sigh).

My worst fear in signing Dunn to play 1B is that he'll prove to be such a klunker in the field that RZimm will start 'steering' throws across the IF & damage his shoulder / arm.

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

So, the bottom line appears to be that the Nats are not going to acquire anyone who is likely to make a significant difference in the sorry state of the team -- incredible. It will be hard enough for them to sell tickets in this economy. How much patience does the management of this team think the fans will have, and for how much longer? We did not wait all these years to have an Triple-A team pretending to be of major league caliber.

Posted by: charles6 | January 6, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

tboss: Solid rationale' on Hill (get him signed for $.5M, see what he brings in Viera); if he's throwing well, but needs to build arm strength, leave him in extended ST as a DL-15 & call him up when the team really needs a #5SP. If he 'just doesn't have it' (St. Claire's call), then give him a Patterson & move on.

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

^ New post is up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 6, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company