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Tex Talks Nats

Sheinin, who took the train up to Yankee Stadium for Mark Teixeira's introductory press conference in pinstripes, just e-mailed me a few Nats-related highlights from the proceedings. Below, you can read what the slugger said about Washington. Sheinin will have more for tomorrow's paper.

Teixeira on Nats: "With Ted Lerner and his family -- man, what an impressive guy. That guy is a very successful businessman and he's trying to make the Nationals a successful team. The Nationals and Orioles were definitely up there -- a chance to play close to home. But my goals as a ballplayer, to be a world champion, the Yankees were just so far above and beyond everyone else in that realm."

Tex on process: "In the back of my mind the Yankees were always at the top... I won't lie to you: at the same time, contract was important. I wasn't going to take half the money to play in New York... I wasn't stringing other teams along. But at the same time no one had stepped up (to make the decision easy). For a long time there all of the (offers) were basically the same."

Tex on final choice: "The five teams we negotiated with, I could've played in any of those places. But once my wife told me (on Dec. 12) that she wanted me to be a Yankee, it was pretty much a done deal... The Yankees hadn't made their decision yet but that's when we made our decision."

By Chico Harlan  |  January 6, 2009; 5:25 PM ET
 
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Next: Acta, Entering 2009

Comments

Screw Teixeira. And I hope tomorrow's is the the last story about the whole thing.

And thank you for the new posts today Chico.

sec307, I'm right there with you on Lannan. He absolutely should be the default number 1 starter until someone else proves better.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 6, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

So now, per Boswell, the Nats not only have to convince the high-priced player that it's an up-and-coming franchise, they have to convince the wife. Tall order.

Posted by: JohnRVA | January 6, 2009 5:45 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 5:49 PM | Report abuse

What's with that guy, letting his wife make all the decisions...

Wha? The trash? Oh, coming honey...

..gotta run, let's hope for 0 for 15 when we play the Yanks in June.

Posted by: CajunD | January 6, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

#4 - Pudge - tigers. I forget what the Marlins record was when he signed there.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 6, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

JCATBNL, picking up from the last thread, I agree that Lastings' second-half line is good enough to lead off. You could also leave Guz in that spot and bat Lastings second, followed by Zim, Willingham/Nick and Dukes. Overall I think the team has done a decent job at acquiring some assets, but they don't fit very well together at the moment. Hopefully Trader Jim can pull something off sooner rather than later.

As for Tex, sounds like a class act.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 6, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Re-post from prior thread...

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

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the posts, Chico.

The Yankee Wives' Club (minus one, I guess) must have convinced her.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 6, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Mrs. Texiera! Why have you forsaken me.

Posted by: 6thandD | January 6, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

First base remains our top priority, and whether the Lerners like it or not, we will have to bid high to get it. I'm sure they don't like the idea of committing to Dunn, for multiple year, but at the end of the day we don't have the parts to trade for a playable prospect to understudy Johnson until he gets injured, and so overpaying for Dunn my be our only choice.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 6, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

#4 - good re-post, worthy of discussion.

Re: Free Agents - (Dunn, Hudson, et al currently under discussion). On the high-salary teams (NYY, BOS, CHC, LAA, LAD), these players would be 'plug-ins' to solve a short-term (1-year) gap; On teams looking to stay or become competitive (PHI, TB, NYN, CWS, CLE, TOR, StL, DET, OAK, AZ, COL, HOU, SF, MIL) they are considered as 'Complementary players' that fill an immediate need until the team develops a player to replace them. In terms of the rest, they're either restricted by finances (SD, FLA, maybe BAL), or by record / reputation; Those teams seemingly have to make heavy commitments to 'players of interest' to get them on-board. Should Washington be willing to make the financial commitment to players like Dunn, Hudson, et al to literally buy them out of a possibly better opportunity?

re: trades - You're right, a "BIG" trade probably won't happen; But there may be a couple of deals out there over the next six weeks that could help the club in 2009 & beyond.

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 7:32 PM | Report abuse

jca:

Yeah my buddy gave me that response today when I made the same point with him. Pudge is the exception that proves the rule. That's one free agent out of how many? It's also one who had had a decent experience signing with a 4th place (but not horrible) club the year before. You're right that Detroit was 43-119 the year before he signed there. The Marlins were a respectable 79-83 the year before he signed there though.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 6, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Dunn gets us through the next year or so, but Hudson just gets in the way of letting Hernandez get his shot. Or, Guzman does. I can never decide.

If we do trade we need a serviceable 'almost major league ready' prospects. I honestly see Guzman or Willigham as our best chance to get that. Trading Guzman would be unethical, and trading Willingham is only slightly easier than trading Kearns.

On the plus side we'd have to put cholera in the water for this team to play as badly as last year.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 6, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

"Should Washington be willing to make the financial commitment to players like Dunn, Hudson, et al to literally buy them out of a possibly better opportunity?

re: trades - You're right, a "BIG" trade probably won't happen; But there may be a couple of deals out there over the next six weeks that could help the club in 2009 & beyond."

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 7:32 PM

BinM:

One thing we need to remember. Overpaying for Dunn or Hudson doesn't happen in a vacuum. So, the Nats give Dunn 3/36 to "buy him out of a better opportunity". What do they say to Zimmerman then? How about the other young players they will eventually (hopefully) want to sign to long term deals? Overpaying one guy and not the others creates a tough dynamic.

I agree with you on the trades. There could be some smaller deals like the one some blogger floated about Milledge for three Reds' prospects. I just think that pining for a big LH bat or #1 pitcher through a trade is a waste of time.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 6, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

According to this Globe piece, Teix and his wife decided on the Yanks two weeks before Christmas. Break a leg, big guy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 6, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

heh heh, forgot the link:

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/extras/extra_bases/2009/01/the_yankees_off.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 6, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

#4: I perfectly understand that nothing happens in a vacuum - Baseball player salaries = chaos theory in reality.

I might be one of the few who have argued against Dunn from the beginning (or maybe it just feels like it); Dunn's salary (&/or Hudson's) effects the value of what RZimm 'should' be worth to the team, which effects... I understand that fully. I'd honestly rather that the LH-power come from an OF bat (other than Dunn), but the Nationals probably can't secure that via trade.

If they want to get "butts in the seats" in 2009, then Dunn &/or Hudson might be the best way to do it.

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

#4 - does 5 years, $55 million for Gil Meche count? But your basic point, that you have to overpay to get someone to want to come to a team with a bad record is right. Look up the parkway when they signed Tejada.

Dunn is possible due to the market crash. Sure, if the LAA or LAD were really interested, they'd have to pay less to get Dunn. If there aren't many teams still looking for power bats, esp LH bats, then we get to pick up the leftovers like Dunn. Two of the teams still looking are us and Seattle- another 100 loss team. We have a decent chance, especially if we let Dunn go back on the market in two years. A short term overpay in the current market might be 2/20. A 2 year plus an option contract does not block Marrero, or a 1b we take pick #10.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 6, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

1a1: The comment might have even run along the line of "... but you always look SO good in pinstripes...". Next thing you know, Mark is on the phone w/Boras, asking about getting the NYY in the mix.

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

jca:

I guess Meche sort of counts, but I wouldn't call him a "high-profile" FA. I haven't done a count but I think I'd put Dunn and O-Dog in the top ten FAs this year when you combine their past production and age. I don't think Meche fit in that category. In fact people were scratching their heads when the contract was signed because it appeared to be a ridiculous amount of money to pay him.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 6, 2009 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Need a little extra kick while you're down? NY Daily News says Brian Cashman sold Teix on pinstripes "early in the free agency period at a Washington, D.C. hotel".

We came to grips with the reality he wouldn't end up in a curly W ages ago, but for some reason that just really, really makes it worse. Link to the story is here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2009/01/06/2009-01-06_yankees_introduce_180_million_freeagent_.html

Link to a picture of that $180M a-hole and his wife here:
http://www.nationalsenquirer.com/

Posted by: TheNationalsEnquirer | January 6, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

jca: Dunn might be more like a 2/$27M or a 2+/$32M to get him talking, even with the market in its' current state. I could be wrong, given that he's played on non-contenders for most of his career, but I doubt that.

Also, Marrero (if he progresses in '09) will likely be AL trade bait in 2010, unless he can provide a decent glove at 1B. Both Whitney & Rheinhart are better around the bag from what I've heard, and could be ready in the next one-two years.

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, this is baseball, you can't get angry, because it's how the game is played.

You get even...

Posted by: Section506 | January 6, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, we are starting to sound a little too bitter about Teix wanting to win a world series ring.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 6, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to see some positive comments about the Nats from posters on the Trade Rumors blog.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/01/nationals-inter.html#comments


#4

Posted by: db423 | January 6, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Bitter about Teixeira - No, I personally wish him the best. I do, however think that Burnett will go at least partially 'Pavano" on the NYY, and that Sabathia will eat himself out of the rotation in 2-3 years.

Posted by: BinM | January 6, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Forget about Tex, he's now joined the evil empire. With the Indians picking up Pavano, they've reassigned first baseman Michael Audrey, former 2003 first round pick. Nats should take a flyer on him. Although he has a history of injuries so between him and NJ, we should get one complete player, but at least it won't cost us much. I'm just saying...

Posted by: reverendnat | January 6, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Baseball America's Top Ten Nationals Prospects:

1. Jordan Zimmermann, RHP
2. Ross Detwiler, LHP
3. Chris Marrero, 1b
4. Michael Burgess, OF
5. Jack McGeary, LHP
6. Derek Norris, C
7. Destin Hood, OF
8. Adrian Nieto, C
9. J.P. Ramirez, OF
10. Esmailyn Gonzalez, SS


This is the highest quality top ten we've had since the Nats arrived. Gone are the Casto's and even Maxwell's. There probably are not any pretenders on this list. Some will make it, some won't but all are legitimate.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 6, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Continuing from above, the five best players not makeing the list are a good bit better than anyone on the list in 2006/2007: Smoker, Carr, Desmond, Willems, Martis, and Bernadina all missed the top 10 cut. Each still stands a chance to have a major league career.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 6, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't think you have to worry about that BinM. Sabathia is not in great shape apparently (I know, I was shocked too), and I'll lay good money that his is the next Bartolo Colon. Burnett is really unlikely to stay healthy. Those two contracts look like they will turn out to be deeply regretted.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 6, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Bosewell has a nice piece on Dunn over at the baseball insider blog ...

Posted by: natbisquit | January 6, 2009 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Hey, the MLB Trade Rumors comments got me thinking:

How long does Dukes have off-field issues for? He had zero last year, but I don't think one year is at all enough to consider him clean. But how long?

Posted by: Section506 | January 6, 2009 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Sheinin's a real pro. His lead goes a whopping 79 words before you finally get to a period. Wow!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/06/AR2009010603212.html

;)

Posted by: NatsNut | January 7, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Chico, I'm wondering if there are any changes or upgrades going on at the ballpark (besides the punch list).

Posted by: NatsNut | January 7, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

I'm really sick of hearing about Teixera. He didn't want to play here, period, he wanted to be a Yankee. He used the Nats, Orioles and Red Sox to get the best money out of the Yankees he could. Can we please move on?

Talking about the Nats' efforts for this one player that did not want to come here is not going to make the product on the field in 2009 any better. Right now it stinks and all the promises of big changes for 2009 remain unfullfilled. Big market prices for a team operated like it exists in Kansas City or Cincinnati.

Posted by: raymitten | January 7, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I think the quote about Mrs. Teixeira is taken a little out of context. Earlier in the press conference, Tex explained the decision-making process, pointing out that his wife said only, "Go where you'll be happy." Since it was apparent to her that he wanted to go to New York, she finally gave him the final push, telling him later, "Go be a Yankee."

It's much more a case of her being a supportive spouse than a demanding one, like Chris Pronger's wife, who forced the NHL blueliner out of Edmonton because she hated it there. Or Michael Nylander's wife, who basically convinced him to renege on a spoken agreement with Edmonton because, well, she'd hate it there. (What is it about Edmonton, anyway?)

And since I've brought up the NHL, let me clear up a common misconception. The Caps rebuild was far from a lengthy one. In 2003-04, the team started trading off high-priced commodities for young talent. They tanked the rest of the season, qualifying for the draft lottery. They won the lottery, and subsequently the rights to Ovechkin.

The lockout occurred in 2004-05. The Caps got center Nick Backstrom in the draft that year.

In 2005-06, they were bad, but they still had Ovechkin's ROY season to enjoy.

2006-07 was another tough year. In the offseason, they acquired Victor Kozlov, and C Michael Nylander. Already ready to make a push after two losing seasons.

In 2007-08, they came out to a rough start, resulting in the firing of their head coach on Thanksgiving. The team then went under a tear under new head coach Bruce Boudreau, winning the division and earning a playoff birth. They traded for some vets at the deadline.

By this season, the transformation was complete. They resigned some players, picked up another goalie, and are now #2 in the Eastern Conference and on pace for 114 points.

I suppose you should count the lockout from a development perspective, but it's no like anyone had to put up with bad hockey in DC. Even if you do count the lockout, the rebuild took three seasons. They were ready to acquire FA talent by the fourth season, and made the playoffs that year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 7, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

JiM, I suspect that many of the spouse-related comments here were tongue-in-cheek.

BinM, good point, pinstripes *are* very slimming...

NatsNut, my fave part of the Sheinin piece was the bulldozer metaphor.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 7, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Let's hope we don't have to dig up this quote in July.

-----

On the plus side we'd have to put cholera in the water for this team to play as badly as last year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 7, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Randy Wolf would be a fine addition to the rotation. If as reported elsewhere the Nationals are pursuing Wolf, it would be a significant signing. With Wolf, Lannan, and Olson as 1-2-3 (or 3-1-2, or 3-2-1, etc...) the Nats would have the luxury of competing Cabrera, Balester, Zimmermann, and other righties for the remaining two spots. The lefty leaning rotaion would have some nice matchup advantages throughout the league.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 7, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Tex is dead to me and I'm ready to move on.
He is a bland robotic personality that will fit in perfectly in that clubhouse in the Bronx. To hell with him...and is wife.

I really hope the Nats FO makes a run at 1-2 FA's that will help this ball club. A Dunn, Hudson, Sheets, Wolf, etc. This fan base needs a jolt and 3rd-4th tier retread FA's signed to minor league deals ain't the jolt we need.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 7, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm still intrigued by the prospect of signing Dunn, especially if we can get him on a 2-3 year deal (I don't care about dollars, easy not to care when its not your money).

I wonder if they view Dunn as a replacement for Nick or a Left Fielder who can play 1B if/when Nick is out?

I love the idea of Dunn and NJ in the same line-up, but the defensive outfield that would result might negate the offensive gain, especially if they have to use Dukes in CF thus leaving us the Dog's Breakfast of RF options between Kearns/Milledge/Willingham.

IMO the better tact to take, especially with Bradley gone, would be to try to work with Colorado to acquire C. Gonzelez and Kansas City to get K.K.

I've also long advocated trading with Arizona to get Montero as a lefty co-starter with Flores. I think the 2nd catcher is the most underutilized position on most teams 25 man roster and wasting that slot on a spot starter makes no sense. This is especially true if you have an emergency catcher elsewhere on the roster (Willingham in our case) so you can pinch hit the backup catcher instead of having him ride the pine in case the starter gets hurt mid-game.

Dunn and Hudson would be nice in the short term, but Gonzelz, KK & Montero would make this team better long term and I'm willing to watch a young team play poorly as they grow than to watch midling older vets. Better to lose 90+ with youngsters (think last years team post LoDuca/Lopez) then to lose 80+ without the hope and excitement of watching talent mature.

Posted by: estuartj | January 7, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

estuartj,

I do like building through youth but, what if a lot of the youth doesn't mature? You need some proven players mixed in that help the process. Dunn, Hudson and a solid starter would be that help.

I love NJ as a lst baseman but unfortunately he can't be counted on to stay healthy. He needs to be traded for what we can get at this point.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 7, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

#4 - I would not count Meche. Especially after he burned my fantasy team when he was in Seattle. Nice to see him realize his potential, though.

BinM - Dunn dollars? I really do not think we have to go to $13.5 AAV. There is still a glut of power out there. I do think 2 years works to his and our advantage, given our top field prospect is a first baseman.

Also, I'm glad the folks at BA (you know, the ones who make a living by their reputation for evaluating prospects) are a bit higher on Detwiler than some of the folks who comment here. He throws hard and he's a lefty. That combo is rare. At worst, he's a set up guy. Most likely, he's in the rotation by 2011.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 7, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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