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This, and That [Update]

It's Sunday, so I'll keep it brief.

On the lighter side:

Saturday was the first day of spring training ticket sales at Space Coast Stadium, and Florida Today reports there was a line of buyers.

On the darker side:

San Diego Union-Tribune writer Tom Krasovic outlines one way the Nats could get hosed in the Stephen Strasburg sweepstakes.

And finally:

Tom Glavine would pitch for the Nats?

By Tracee Hamilton  |  January 18, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
 
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Next: Strasburg

Comments

Boras is a snake, but I don't see him pulling that move. He will go after the highest offer possible, and I don't think San Diego offers a more lucrative contract than us, especially after the Teixera sweepstakes.

That's just San Diego's way of making themselves feel better for sucking, but not sucking bad enough to get a prize like Strasbourg.

Posted by: NattyDelite | January 18, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

This is nothing more than pipe dream thinking from San Diego. If the Nats pass on Strasburg there will be a fan revolt! Although the Lerners are cheap and anything can happen. However, I think all the fans know if the Nats don't draft and sign Strasburg than clearly Kasten, Bowden, and the Lerners lose all credibility in this town. I believe the chant will go from "Lerners are cheap" to "DIE LERNERS DIE"

Posted by: PNatsFan | January 18, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

If (and that could be a BIG if) Strasburg is the definitive #1 in the 2009 draft, the Nationals need to pay the $10M freight charge & get him on-board as soon as possible. If he wants to play for SD, he'll have a chance to in 5-6 years, come free agency.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Glavine -> Nationals = No. Why sign a 42-Y.O. LH soft-tosser coming off an injury as a #5SP? That would be completely contrary to everything that Kasten & the F.O. has been putting forth as "the Plan".

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

That Padres story is pie-in-the-sky. The Padres didn't even make a real attempt to keep Trevor Hoffman, and they are in a bit of shambles after the owner's divorce. I see no reason for Boras to steer Strasburg clear of Washington.

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

Adding Glavine to a team trying to get .500 makes no sense at all.

Way off topic, what's this about the Bowie Baysox possibly moving to Richmond? How could the Nats let the O's move into yet another Virgina area where Washington ought to be building a fan base? It's bad enough the O's got Norfolk.

If the O's move out of Bowie, shouldn't the Nats try to move their AA affiliate there from Harrisburg? (None of this would happen for a couple of years at least.)

Posted by: nats24 | January 18, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Fun story on the ticket lines (but, 37 degrees? Lightweights!). Also, the Italian team isn't the only one to feature good-looking men, IMO.

Hope that it is a Padres pipe dream. Otherwise, I could become *really* cynical about the whole draft process.

Glavine again, eh? Is it a concern that he is visiting The Doctor Who Shall Not Be Named?

(and, again, props to CE for ad momma-nem)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 18, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

From the MASN site (Viva Los Tigres!):

Tigres advance to the Finals
By Kristen Hudak

The Tigres clinched their spot in the Dominican Finals on Friday night when Erick Aybar's walk off single scored Ronnie Belliard. In the game, Belliard went 2 for 4 with a double.

Thursday night's win was also impressive. Anderson Hernandez hit two triples and scored twice, while Jesus Flores launched an eighth inning home run.

The Tigres went 12-6 in the Round Robin Playoffs. The Finals will begin sometime this week depending on how the remaining teams finish.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 18, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

by the way, if it is JiM with the post of the day duties, he missed this:

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

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

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 18, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

IMO, the keys to the 2009 draft are to: 1) Draft the best player available in the 1st three rounds, 2) Offer the #1 a $7-10M deal, (depending on player) w/callup rights in September, 2009.
3) Offer the #10 pick something above slot (again, depending on player), with callup rights in September, 2010 or earlier.
4) Shoot for getting 60-70% of draftees under contract by July 31; that gives them some time in the minors, and sets the stage for next year.
The F.O. needs to be more agressive in player acquisition - this would be one way to do it.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I would not hesitate to cheer for a Glavine signing. He would be a useful Member of the clubhouse and would be a potential mentor to Olson, Lannan and the rest of the staff. Plus he's an automatic Hall of Famer, and an asset in every since of the word. His greatest value might even be on days that he does not start. Let him sit with Olson and Lannan everyday. Have him show the other pitchers how to field the position and help them understand the value of being able to hit, bunt, and run the bases.

It's not anti-Plan it's Plan advancement!

Good Role Models are very desireable.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 18, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@nats24:
I raised a question about Richmond earlier this week, either here or on nfa. The problem would boil down to contracts - the Richmond facility is a AA-franchise rated stadium. If the O's deal with Bowie(MD) expires before the Nationals deal with Harrisburg(PA), they would have the 1st opportunity to negotiate & move there.

It might come down to marketing - Do the O's want to expand into Nationals 'territory' versus a possibility of 'surrendering' a Maryland slot to the Nationals (Bowie)?

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

@bisquit:
I give Glavine a lot of respect for his career, but if he signed with the Nationals, he'd only talk to the starting staff on the golf course on their off days, trying (& I imagine, succeeding) to take their money in nassau bets.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Not sure where you're getting that. From everything I can see with a brief search, Glavine was very helpful to other young pitchers on the Mets and Braves teams.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 18, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Krasovic doesn't seem to make much of a case here - other than to say, if the Nats and Mariners didn't select Strasburg, the Padres could.

But Krasovic doesn't state any facts or offer a reason why or how the Nats and M's would pass on Strasburg. Again, I guess I can assume that Strasburg will be expensive and the Nats and M's will pass on him for that reason.

Krasovic seems to imply that Strasburg has some choice here. If the Nats draft him, he has the option to sign with the Nats, or wait a year and go into the draft again.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 18, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Richmond... the reason that the Braves left is that it is not a god facility. And after years of working together, they are no closer to building a new stadium than they were several years ago - so, the Braves solved the problem and moved the team to Gwinnett.

I don't know why the Eastern League would abandon Bowie, it's a newer facility that makes money and the O's have no reason to want to leave - especially to a lesser facility.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

@bisquit:
Sorry, I was being sarcastic. Glavine would be great on the bench w/the younger pitchers, but I'm still not convinced that he's be of a huge help in the current situation.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@commish:
Exactly - The Braves left an older rental facility (Richmond) for one that I believe they own (Gwinnett County). Lower overhead, closer to MLB club for callups.

Along with you, I can't quite understand why the O's would consider a move from Bowie to Richmond, other than to tweak the Nationals, or lay 'first-claim' to the market.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Vintage flynnie is back. Welcome!
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Out of curiosity, how far is the gap between Strasburg and (1) the top position players) and (2) the next best pitcher? At this time last year, Pedro Alvarez was #1 but he slipped. What are the other names we should be conscious of?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 18, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I know that this talk has quieted, especially given our current glut of outfielders, but Felix Pie just got traded by the Cubs to the TTMNBN for a mediocre (and that's being kind) young pitcher in Garrett Olson and an A-ball pitcher.

If we were looking to stockpile young, athletic talent that could be a legitimate center fielder, that would have been a trade offer that we easily could have trumped. An outfield of Milledge (LF), Pie (CF), and Dukes (RF) could have been solid for a decade. Pie still needs to get his bearings in the majors, but he hit well at every level before, so there's good reason to believe that he just needs more seasoning (and more support than Sweet Lou gives to youth).

Posted by: faNATic | January 18, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"The Tigres went 12-6 in the Round Robin Playoffs. The Finals will begin sometime this week depending on how the remaining teams finish."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 18, 2009 3:13 PM

Off topic, but I love the play off system in the DR winter league. After a regular season they take the top four finishers, play a 18 game round robin and then the top two teams play a best of 7 (or 9, perhaps) for the title. I wish MLB would do that. I've always been bothered that it's too easy for a team with a weak back of the rotation to win a World Series. A round robin format would solve that. It would work something like this:

1. Go back to a 154 game schedule which would shorten the season 1 week.

2. Play an 18 game round robin in each league among the division winners and wild card. Each team plays each other team two 3 three-game series, one in each park. Rotate so that teams aren't playing each other six times in a row.

3. There is one scheduled day off per week to make up rain outs. That would take a total of three weeks so that you start the WS at approximately the same time as now.

4. Play a 9 game World Series with fewer days off.

While each team would lose one home series worth of revenue during the regular season, it would be made up and more by the increased TV play-off money. There would be 36 playoffs game potentially in each league, as opposed to the current 17. Most importantly it's more like the regular season and would produce a truer champion.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 18, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

It was -22 when I went to catch the bus on Thursday morning.

That's with the sun out.

At this point, I'd probably wear shorts if it got to 37!

-----

Fun story on the ticket lines (but, 37 degrees? Lightweights!)

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 18, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

When something that amazing comes along, jca, you don't have to wait for me to award Post of the Day honors.

-----

by the way, if it is JiM with the post of the day duties, he missed this:

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 18, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

So the O's got Felix Pie. Good thing we didn't give up a nothing pitcher and class farm hand for a natural centre fielder ith huge upside.

So instead we will play Josh Willingham the filler guy and pass up young talent. Has no one mentioned the plan to Jim Bowden? Or is he just not watching baseball?

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

@jca:
BaseBall America (BA) should have some preliminary 2009 data (login / subscription required), or Brian over at nfa is always good for a 'local-spin' opinion. Otherwise, it's a BA 'top-100' list prior to the draft vs the actual draft to determine remaining players.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the Orioles, it sure would be sweet to see Brian Roberts in a Nats uniform. The Sun makes the case that the Markaksis extension may mean that the O's can't/won't extend Roberts too. They say the market is soft for secondbasemen and that the fact that Hudson has not signed is proof. But, if the Nats could trade for Roberts and sign him would the price really be that much higher than signing Hudson. To sign Hudson they have to give up a 1st round draft pick. To trade for Roberts you'd probably have to give up a top prospect. But Roberts is probably the better, more consistant player.

I guess I'd still like to sign Hudson, but if he goes elsewhere how about a sign and trade.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 18, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@#4:
Interesting concept, and I like it, but I doubt the owners would bite on it.
Problem #1)- It lowers the # of teams eligible for post-season play, and 2) Lowers the # of teams eligible for post-season earnings.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

@bisquit:
You decide - Hudson & two draft picks (Arb-A player, +2-3 years @8-9M), or Roberts & a handful of prospects for 1 year @ 12M (unless it's a sign-n-trade, then it's 4 or 5-years @??M).

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, I still like Hudson.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

BinM:

It actually does neither. Maybe my explanation wasn't good. Eight teams still make the play-offs - four in each league. It expands play-off earnings because each team would host nine play-off games potentially before the WS. Now the most they can do is seven. What is lost in revenue is 4 regular season home dates for each team.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 18, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

@#4:
Agree to disagree - All teams would lose eight games (4 home, 4 away) each, with corresponding revenue. The playoffs would include eight (Division winners plus best record), rather than ten (Division winners plus top-two records) in the playoffs, excluding two more teams from playoff $$$.
Granted, more $$$ could be generated from a playoff system as suggested (TV/Radio revenue), but would it offset the loss of regular season games to the non-playoff teams?

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 6:08 PM | Report abuse

But what is the point of signing guys like Hudson and Roberts. These guys are of no use to a building team. This is why I shout myself hoarse advocating guys like Gonzalez, Barton Ka'ahue and Pie (&*%!&&!!!!). There is the chance that they will be the foundation of a young team to challenge in the year 20xx. Roberts, Hudson, Willingham, Guzman, Kearns will not.

The problem is that we were so horrified by the terrible season last year that we are demanding results too soon too quickly and the risk with the kids is that they might be repeat that. The other side of this is that manu of them may make up a championship team four years from now. Management don't feel they can take the chance. It makes me sad, and the continual presence of the Willignham, Guzman, Belliard, Kearns and the possible addition of Hudson or Roberts (or whoever) make me feel demoralized about this team in the same way that so many of you felt about our failure to add a big ticket FA.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 18, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

As an aside, I find it somewhat interesting that the WaPo has the 'Redskins Insider' as their #1blog site - Has anyone ever counted (or discounted) the number of posts that are simply claiming "1st"? It must average over two per new post. I know they're the top team in town; just sayin'.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

@sound:

While I think Hernandez deserves a chance to earn the starting 2B job, I believe Hudson would be a better fit in the short-term (1-2 years). He would add more to the Nationals 25-man roster (for reasons stated previously) than anything he would take away (converting Hernandez to an IF backup, turning Belliard into trade-bait).

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if the Nats could create their own AAA team and then locate it in Richmond or do the Nats always have to go with one of the available AAA franchises?

Posted by: CountDemoney | January 18, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

The Nats can not create their own AAA team and put it in Richmond.

Number 1 thing to remember about Richmond - say it along with me - Richmond is a substandard facility. It barely meets the qualifications that are agreed upon by MLB and the National Association.

The National Association oversees the Minors - from short season rookie ball to AAA. THey control things like the number of AAA franchises (30) and the location of those franchises.

The Nats could buy an existing AAA franchise - if one was fore sale - and then request that the National Association approve a relocation to Richmond. But the first thing that has to happen - is for Richmond to improve its baseball facilities.

Posted by: comish4lif | January 18, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

The SD article didn’t make much sense. It’s as though the author thinks that SS can negotiate like a free agent, not a bound draft pick.

Posted by: NatsMan21 | January 18, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

"The playoffs would include eight (Division winners plus best record), rather than ten (Division winners plus top-two records) in the playoffs, excluding two more teams from playoff $$$.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2009 6:08 PM

Huh?? What playoffs have you been watching? Has there been a change I haven't heard about? Four teams in each league make it right now, not five I'm pretty sure. And I'm also sure the extra play-off revenue would make up for the four lost regular season home dates for each club.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 18, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

BinM:

I should have added, even for the teams not in the play-offs. The increased national TV-Radio play-off revenue would be shared.

#4

Posted by: db423 | January 18, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

I understand the pricipal, but at what point do we have to take the training wheels off.

Think about this infield:
Zimm, Guzman, Hudson, Johnson/Willingham.

and this outfield:
Dunn, Milledge, Willingham/Dukes

It's not that good and we don't advance. We have a loosing year and this time next year we will loose out on the next big free agent because wee look like a headless chicken spinning it's wheels in a quagmire of mixed metaphors.

now imagine this infild:
Zimm, Guzman, Hernandez, Barton

and
Milledge, C. Gonzalez/Pie (&^*&!!!!), Dukes

We still may endure a loosing season, and it may be tough but at the end we will probably know who has the capability of helping us to the World Series in the year 20xx.

In the first scenario we will still be debating if Hernandez, Flores and Milledge can handle their job full time. In the second we know. Then we can ditch the ones who can't cut it and bring in fresh new youngsters and try them out. Then, when we have 7 youngsters that are capable of competing for the NL East Championship then splash on some free agents.

But we won't do that. We'll continue to tip our money down the drain paying Belliard, Willigham and probably Adam Damn Dunn and learn nothing. Bowden gets under mys skin. He's a clown more intent on proving how damn clever he is and paying no attention to the mission of this team.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 18, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm a Planista too, but I think many disagree on what the plan is and when the return is supposed to begin. I don't see a series of bad years followed by a miraculous World Series appearance. I see a series of improving years 10-20 wins at a time until reaching the plsyoffs. I think part of that evolution has to be adding above average major league position players (e.g. Hudson at 2b) along the way. Add a Hudson this year, another next year. A team of nothing but 25-26 year olds is not enough. When there is a base of good players at several age ranges, then you add the last pieces. I do believe you can advance the evolution with a few free agents along the way.

And while some of us will be fans regardless of the record, the fact is we need the masses to buy tickets too. Free agents are a necessary ingredient. The right ones pay for themselves.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 18, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

"we look like a headless chicken spinning its wheels in a quagmire of mixed metaphors."
________________________________

I wept at its simple yet terrible beauty.

(And then I cleaned up the typos, because, dude.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 18, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse

True enough, but that's not really what I'm advocating. I'm just saying that wherever possible we should should be giving opportunities to youngsters. I would love to see Hernandez and Hudson covering ss and 2b. but then we'd have to move Guzman. I don't mind signing Dunn, but them Willingham is just another appendix.

I guess my point is that Bowden is constantly filling our roster with mediocre veterans we don't need. If we hadn't signed Willingham and Guzman then signing Hudson and Dunn suddenly become great acquisitions. But sadly our GM has no idea what the plan is or how to impliment it so we are left with a series of unwatchable mid level veterans. And that won't sell tickets.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 18, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

If there is one thing I'm fairly certain 90% of the users of this board will agree to, it's that Boras is a major league jerk. The only way he could "steer" Strasburg to the Padres was if he told the Nats and Mariners that there was *absolutely* no way his client would sign with them.

Could he succeed in scaring these two teams off? Maybe. If he convinced both that it would take a simple outrageous amount of money, both teams might decide it's simply not worth the time, trouble, and expense. In the case of the Nats, theyy would have to carefully consider the PR impact of not signing their #1 two years in a row.

Remember you cannot force anyone to sign a contract. This isn't the Godfather. As much as you may like it's impossible to make them an offer they cannot refuse.

I have to worry that by getting this information out so early that Boras is already sending signals to the Nats and Mariners that they should pass on his client and start thinking of the next best (and cheaper) alternative.

It's a scummy approach to take but it's his job to try to find the best landing spot for Strasburg.

It might be a stressful summer. If you thought waiting for Tex to stiff us wasn't bad enough, now we might have to play a game of chicken for 7 months with Boras before we decide if it's better to select someone who might want to sign with the team or be held ransom and pay an obscene amount to an unproven draftee. (A non-home town premium.) The drama never ends, it would seem.

Posted by: grforbes | January 19, 2009 6:58 AM | Report abuse


I knoow, we've already had a poost of the day, but if there's a Wild Card (or 2), this shoould be it.


*******************
"we look like a headless chicken spinning its wheels in a quagmire of mixed metaphors."
________________________________

I wept at its simple yet terrible beauty.
(And then I cleaned up the typos, because, dude.)
Posted by: Scooter_ | January 18, 2009 11:43 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

and I'm not usually drawn to conspiracy theories, but in this case, several other posters are right, this article doesn't make much sense otherwise. Not that that's an obstacle to getting printed, necessarily, but one does wonder.

*******************
I have to worry that by getting this information out so early that Boras is already sending signals to the Nats and Mariners that they should pass on his client and start thinking of the next best (and cheaper) alternative.

It's a scummy approach to take but it's his job to try to find the best landing spot for Strasburg.

Posted by: grforbes | January 19, 2009 6:58 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I'll second that.

---

I knoow, we've already had a poost of the day, but if there's a Wild Card (or 2), this shoould be it.


Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 19, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

A good point, but I don't think it does mean moving Guzman. Hernandez would get plenty of games in behind Guzman and Hudson, and the competition might be good for all three of them. Even if they both stay healthy, which is the StayPuff Marshmallow Man of ifs, he'd get 60-75 starts.
And I don't believe most people consider Hudson an "unwatchable mid-level" veteran. I don't think it's fair to call Belliard is unwatchable (at 2nd, anyway).

***************
True enough, but that's not really what I'm advocating. I'm just saying that wherever possible we should should be giving opportunities to youngsters. I would love to see Hernandez and Hudson covering ss and 2b. but then we'd have to move Guzman. I don't mind signing Dunn, but them Willingham is just another appendix.

I guess my point is that Bowden is constantly filling our roster with mediocre veterans we don't need. If we hadn't signed Willingham and Guzman then signing Hudson and Dunn suddenly become great acquisitions. But sadly, our GM has no idea what the plan is or how to implEment it so we are left with a series of unwatchable mid-level veterans. And that won't sell tickets.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 18, 2009 11:46 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

delete "is"

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Confirmation, 1a, that we are great minds.
*********
I'll second that.
Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 19, 2009 9:17 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else going to the $35 Hot Stove Lunch Friday?

I am hoping to get some information about why the Hot Stove has gone cold for the Nats. Is there only a limited market for our farm talent or does the front office believe the Nats are set already to reach the goal of an improved MLB product?

Interestingly to see the O's making moves that seem much more Plan like, especially with a major international signing from Japan.

I would be happy to ask a better question if you have one for me. What would you ask Stan or Jim if you had one question in a face to face setting?

Posted by: Season_Ticket_Holder_Class_05 | January 19, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

I know Boras has a lot of power, but if he can even control the draft to the extent that people are suggesting, then baseball is more skewed than I already think it is.
And the godfather concept is alive and kicking,just not in the way that grforbes was alluding to.
Jeeves

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 19, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

and I *wish* Bowden were "constantly filling our roster with mediocre veterans" -- if ONLY. Most of them haven't been that good.

Most successful teams are a mix of one or two really good players, a lot of mediocre (i.e., league-average) veterans having good years, and a few up-and-comings, both in the field and on the pitching staff.

The 2005 Nats team was probably the closest to that we've seen, except minus the really good guys. (If only they'd still had even one: 29 y.o., 141g 95r 32hr 108rbi .317/.394/.565 154OPS+. Not that I'm bitter.)

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Early on in the off season, I had high optimism that the Nats would obtain a worthy productive high end free agent pitcher/slugger. I now see that optimism fading. I get the feeling that the Nats reputation and poor past performance is steering those type of players elsewhere, using what offers they obtain from Washington as motivation for the top teams to better there offers. It is disheartening to feel this way as I truly do believe the Nats are trying to reverse the trends of the past. It now seems that they will have to do this the hard way. Erasing the bottom feeder reputation that has so ingrained itself is not going to be an easy thing to overcome.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 19, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the offer, STH05, and have fun, but I have no confidence you'd get a straight answer to a pertinent question.

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Well, there you have it. This is why one doesn't blow up a chronically last-place team without cause.
***********
Erasing the bottom feeder reputation that has so ingrained itself is not going to be an easy thing to overcome.
Posted by: cokedispatch | January 19, 2009 9:58 AM

Posted by: CEvansJr | January 19, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

First off, welcome back Flynnie!

Second, I second the motion that we should have been able to meet the Cubs' asking price for Pie. MLBTR had a link to this quote from Andy MacPhail:

Asked what he likes about Pie, MacPhail said, "Outstanding speed, plus arm, plus defender, he's hit his entire minor league career and he's won at almost every place he's been. I know the kid. He has great makeup, a great work ethic. He's devoted to becoming the best player he can be. And we'll give him every opportunity to see if he can hit in the majors, which we think he can.

"We said we were really going to emphasize defense, and it's hard to imagine a better defensive outfield in the game than Pie, Jones and Markakis. It really gives us three center fielders."

Ummm, can we have one?

Posted by: BobLHead | January 19, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Also, not to ruin anybody's day, but BA has dropped the Nats from 9th to 21st in the organizational (farm system) rankings. The good news, though, is that we're ranked fifth in the NL East. Ahem.

Brian has the details here:

http://farmauthority.dcsportsnet.com/2009/01/17/baseball-americas-top-nl-east-farm-systems/

Posted by: BobLHead | January 19, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

It's a good point. Hernandez will get plenty of time next year either way. I'd rather see him start but, with our injury record, and sitting behind two aging veterans he will get his time on the field.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Soundbloke - Actually, you could make a credible case that a line up of Flores, Johnson, Hudson, Zimmerman, Guzman, Dunn, Miledge, Dukes would have 5 or 6 above average offensive players for their positions, that Willingham, Harris, Hernandez would be the core of a very good bench, and perhaps bringing in a Dennys Reyes and a right hander would leave you with a team that should top .500 if you have average starting pitching.

What have I been smoking? ZiPS projections.
http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/oracle/discussion/2009_zips_projection_washington_nationals/

They are the ones who project Nick as Excellent, Zimmerman and Guzman as Very Good, Milledge's offseason as very good for a CF, and Dukes likewise for a RF. I'm just going to guess that Dunn and Hudson would project that way too. In fact, the only "average" guy would be Flores in that line up.

To be fair, the rotation looks dicey, but that is where I agree the most with Soundbloke. We've more young guys who are worth looking among the pitchers, and I'd be willing to keep on trotting those guys out to find the right combination. I'm a lot more skeptical about the position prospects.

Oh, and Garret Olson? Supposedly, the Padres love him, and the Cubs wanted him as part of a Peavy trade. Yes, Pie would have been nice, but I don't see us having what was needed for that deal (major league ready LH starter). Our Olson is too expensive for SD, and we aren't giving Lannan for that deal.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 19, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Don't know how that "offseason" got in to the last post.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 19, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

It's the gremlins, jca (or a rogue spellchecker).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 19, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

JCA, I think Olson projects as a situational lefty out of the pen. A useful piece, but not a John Lannan. Even if he's worth more than that (e.g., a swingman), the Cubs didn't get much for their #1 prospect in 2006 and 2007. Maybe we didn't have the missing piece of the Peavy deal, but it seems to me that the Cubbies sold low here and I just wish we'd been buyers.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 19, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think we have to assume that Willigham and Dunn cover left and first. Johnson has to be seen as a plus, if he is fit.

I would love to see it happen though.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

More accurately I think we have to assume that Willingham and Milledge cover first and left. With Kearns in right.

If you're wondering about the typo's it's because I drink heavily. It makes me have fewer feelings.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 19, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

25 days until pitchers & catchers.

If the Nationals go into Viera 'as is', I'd think they have to get Willingham, Kearns & even WMP plenty of reps at 1B. NJohnson is likely to go down at some point - it would be nice to know there is a competent glove at 1st behind him.

Posted by: BinM | January 19, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

New post

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 19, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

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