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Arbitration, Free Agents

Some nuggets from all over the place...

* Washington has yet to reach a deal with any of its four arbitration-eligible players, Ryan Zimmerman, Josh Willingham, Scott Olsen and Shawn Hill, leaving the Nats with a dwindling period of time to work out avoid arbitration hearings -- a stated goal.

"Still just talking back and forth trying to get something done," Hill said.

Added agent Matt Sosnick, who represents both Willingham and Olsen: "No real progress to report. But I don't blame anybody. We're still waiting things out." He said there's still a chance his clients can reach an agreement before their hearings.

The Nats remain in talks with Zimmerman as well.

* The longer Adam Dunn goes without signing in Washington, the more some are interpreting that Dunn doesn't want to play here. ('s Jon Heyman says expresses the sentiment here.) By most accounts, the Nats have gone after Dunn harder than any other team in baseball, and yet still he's not biting. Last Sunday, GM Jim Bowden guessed that some of the big free agents would make their moves within the next 10 days. Well... that was nine days ago.

Nats fans: Keep your eyes on the goings-on with the Dodgers and Manny Ramirez. If the Dodgers turn their attention away from Manny, they could become the top suitor for Dunn -- and provide him a better chance to play for a winner. The latest report from LA indicated that the Dodgers will still pursue Ramirez, despite his latest rejection of their contract offer.

* Orlando Hudson, another Washington free agent target, was interviewed yesterday during the Hot Stove program. When (former Nats front office assistant) Barry Larkin asked him about the teams interested in him, Hudson replied, "To be honest with you man, you know, the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets -- all three of us have had some discussions. And the Nationals also, the Washington Nationals. Yup, yup. So those four guys we are in conversation with and, you know, hopefully things work out in the end, but right now we're discussing some things and see how things look."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 3, 2009; 2:24 PM ET
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Next: Nats Sign Cintron, Valentin


I did like Hudson's "Oh yeah, and the Nationals". Makes us feel really special there Orlando...

Posted by: soundbloke | February 3, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Let me just say this about that ... so far the free agents who have played the waiting game to find more money somewhere else have not found it. Good luck with that.

Posted by: natbisquit | February 3, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

so lemme get this straight:

those horrible cheap Lerners have had offers out to both Dunn and Hudson now?

and they've both been sitting on them/shopping them around to see if other teams will match?

those terrible, terrible Lerners.....

Posted by: MrMadison | February 3, 2009 1:03 PM

Mr Madison = Stan Kasten?

Posted by: Section505203 | February 3, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Section505203, let's be honest - there are far more Kastenly comments to be had than simply noting that we've had offers out and are being shopped around like, well, a last-place team's offer will get shopped around.

No matter how you cut it, that's not a reflection on the Lerners, but a reflection on the players. Debating why or why not free agents have an aversion to playing here is fair game, but this certainly seems to take the "we haven't even tried to sign free agents" argument completely off the table. There's nothing Kastenly or particularly spin about that.

Posted by: faNATic | February 3, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Any free agent that can get another job, will, unless we pay them above market value. Someone in an earlier post talked about the benefits of getting Manny for one year on the cheap. That's crazy talk. For Manny, or even Dunn, we're gonna have to offer more money AND more years than anybody else. Take Tex - we offered more money, but not more years so he took a bit less to be a Yankee. Had we gone 10/200 we would have had a better chance (or at least made it harder for him to say no). To get Manny (or anybody worth a damn), we'll either have to crush somebody's offer or give more guaranteed money over more years. Otherwise, they'll just use our offer to milk a little more out of their preferred destination - see Dunn, Adam.

This is what happens when your "Plan" is loses 100 games. Buster Olney says Griffey is healthy now and that a knee injury sapped him of his power last year. He may be a guy we can get 'on the cheap', but for somebody proven and/or healthy, we'll have to pay out the nose.

Which is exactly what I think we should do for Manny. Toss a 2 yr/$60 mil contract at him and see what happens. Or maybe 3/70. I'd hate give him four years, but if that's what it takes to sign a REAL hitter, then do it. Let's face it, Dunn is a boring player who will do nothing for the Nats Q factor. Manny, on the other hand, will move some merchandise and get us some pub. Hell, sign Griffey too, move Willingham to first to platoon with Nick and watch as the season tickets start getting gobbled up.

Guzman ss
Dukes/Milledge cf
Manny lf
Griffey rf
Zim 3b
Johnson/Willingham 1b
Flores c
Hernandez 2b

That's a team people would give a poop about.

Posted by: sec307 | February 3, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Any free agent that can get another job, will, unless we pay them above market value."

True that. But the other part of the same truth is that those same free agents will not accept an above-market contract even if made from a team that's not their first choice until the team(s) that is/are their first choice(s) make it clear that they will not be offering a contract. Until then, the above-market contract from the undesired team will remain on the table. It's that second part of the truth that seems to elude Tom Boswell and his disciples. The game is not as easy and as one-dimensional as he makes it out to be.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 3, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Sure, pay out the nose for Manny. But Griffey? You gotta be kidding. Manny has lots left in the tank, but Griffey has been running on fumes for quite a while now. If there's any team where it would make absolute and total sense to pay out the nose for Griffey, it would be the Mariners. And you don't even see them doing it, now do you?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 3, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse


Relax, it was a joke. No need to get the undergarments in a twist.

I'm pleased that they have made offers to some FA's. Something I didn't think they were doing after they lost the Tex sweepstakes.

But, my one concern is that they are not offering enough. Because, as has been said many times before, the Nats need to offer more than market for a player to come to a poopy 102 loss team.

If they are doing that and the players sign elsewhere, then so be it.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 3, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I would rather the Nats lose 90+ games then watch Manny here in DC. That's just not right. Not right I say... Dunn doesn't want to play here. O-Dog doesn't want to play here. Why would Manny? He's old. He'll bring to much drama to the club house. If I want to see a diva I'll go to the opera...and I hate opera,too.

Posted by: Berndaddy | February 3, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

505203, not to worry. There's nothing twisty in my pants.

Unfortunately, until the actual offers come to light, we can't evaluate their reasonability, or "overmarketness", as the case may be.

Cheers to finding something of consequence out at some point in the near future.

Posted by: faNATic | February 3, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Griffey on fumes? He hit 30 homers two seasons ago and the docs are blaming his knee (which he should have had season ending surgery on) for his poor performance last year. He is the perfect candidate for a one-year deal so he can prove to the world he can still play.

Left handed bat, can play right field, will come cheap... why not Griffey?

Posted by: sec307 | February 3, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Whoop de woo - we are a pawn of FAs.

Meanwhile, for those who would rather watch baseball than hunker down and wait until something breaks loose, I just realized that the MLB Network is rebroadcasting Caribbean World Series night games on the following day (usually in the afternoon). Schedule details on the network site.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

There's a game on now, in fact.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 3, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

You're right Berndaddy, no one should want to watch THE BEST HITTER IN ALL OF BASEBALL.

Really? Have you ever watched a game Manny is in (hint: it's nothing like the opera)? The dude is an exciting ball player who will bring something that's been lacking to Nats Park - skill.

If you don't think we should waste money in an aging star, fine, but to suggest you'd rather watch somebody like Casto hack it up than Manny is pretty masochist, even for a Nats fan.

Posted by: sec307 | February 3, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, who are these Manny people? Is this an astroturf campaign by Boras? Former Boston fans?

sec307, do you, or have you ever, rooted for Boston?

Posted by: Section506 | February 3, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if the Lerners are cheap - but without knowing the specifics of what we've offered Dunn, Hudson, et al, none of know if they are truly cheap.

Put me in the camp of those that want Dunn - I really think that he's a power bat, and his patience and power would solidify the middle of the lineup.

As for Manny - if Manny signs a contract and promises to not sulk, I'm 100% behind signing him. He's one of the best right-handed hitters in the game, I'd love to see him in a Nats uni.

Posted by: comish4lif | February 3, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I think the greatest Manny story has to be when he caught a fly ball with men on base and tossed it into the crowd believing he had ended thing inning. Only thing is, there was only one out. I have never seen an umpire look so baffled.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 3, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

No, soundbloke, the greatest Manny story (fielding chapter) has to be when he made a leaping catch at the wall to rob the batter of a HR, high-fived a fan and then turned around and threw the runner out.

506, mark me down as a non-Boras affiliated non-Boston fan native Washingtonian who is all for bringing Manny here.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 3, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I would love to see Griffey in a Nats uniform. No, he may not be the best FA still out there and he would be more of a good name then an everyday player. But he still has one of the best swings in all of baseball. He also is not a problem player like Dukes, F. Lopez, ect.

PS - I can say with 99.99% confidence, he has played his entire career clean and put up those numbers.

Posted by: Batboy05 | February 3, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

[Seriously, who are these Manny people? Is this an astroturf campaign by Boras? Former Boston fans?]

You're astonished by the number of people who actually want to have a reason to come to the stadium this year? He's currently the best hitter in all of baseball and will raise attendance by 50% singlehandedly and you're worried about giving him 40 or 50 mil when our payroll is at the bottom of the league? So what if he blows up and becomes a clubhouse cancer? Would that ruin our otherwise magical 110 loss season? At least this way people would actually become interested in the Nats and we would start to build a fan base rather than being embarrassed nightly by the opposing fans in our own stadium. That's more valuable than any inflated contract we would have to give him.

Posted by: RickFelt | February 3, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

This is why the Nats were fools not to spend at least SOME (smart) money last year, even if it didn't fit the "long-term" plan. 102 losses later, and it's "See ya!" from all prospective free agents. And I don't see us avoiding at least 95 losses this year.

Posted by: JamWhitt | February 3, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Amen, RickFelt, amen.

(and no, I'm not from Boston... I just enjoy watching major-league caliber baseball)

Posted by: sec307 | February 3, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

For all the dreamers out there, this is truley how bad things are;

this AM on MLB Homeplate XM-175 the two radio taking heads did an NL East breakdown team by team and they didn't even have the decency to mention the Nats as being part of the NL East.

Are the LernerStans just plain stupid to think that any FA would even consider playing here?

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 3, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

you people are morons for not wanting Manny. He is a top 10 hitter in the history of the game who is coming off a season where he hit 400 in the second half while in the NL. He will have literally twice the offensive output of anyone on the Nats roster next season. I find it a slap in the face the ownership expects people to attend but wont put any money into the team (and dont give me the BS about the huge offer to Tex, they knew he wasnt coming). Manny immediately provides the Nats with some relevancy on a national stage, and a player worthy of the Majors. You morons

Posted by: youMorons | February 3, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Why are we discussing signing a guy who has absolutely no interest in coming to us? Adam Dunn is the safety option for the the team this guy want to sign for, and we are the safety option for Dunn. Maybe. If the Braves don't make a last minute play. Is there really so little going on that we are agonizing over a hypothetical improbable? Ah.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 3, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the clarification, Orlando. For a minute there, I thought Potomac was negotiating with you.


"To be honest with you man, you know, the Dodgers, Yankees, Mets -- all three of us have had some discussions. And the Nationals also, the Washington Nationals. Yup, yup."

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 3, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Sec307 - you're absolutely right about Manny, and don't let the anti-Sox types sway you. He's a certified nut who's also the best hitter going. This season ticket holder doesn't go to games to watch a bunch of shucks-but-we-try hards; go to $3 Big Train for that. Offer 2/55. And sure, get Griffey for a year if he's healthy.

Posted by: VTboy-NowDC | February 3, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I guess I'm a moron. I just don't get the idea of Manny in DC. We have too many right hand hitting outfielders already. Are we really prepared to pay more than $25 million a season, when there's an equal chance he'll be unhappy and disruptive, as there is he'll be productive and positive? I've never been on the Dunn bandwagon but at least he bats left and could play 1st. I still think there's a chance Dunnn will come to the Nats on a short-term deal, at a reasonable cost. I'd put my money on that horse before I took a chance on Manny.

Posted by: grforbes | February 3, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse


So wait. Their bid for Teix was a joke because they knew he wouldn't come. But it is an insult that they aren't bidding for Manny? How does that add up? You're joking right? This is a really clever joke?

You name is the most splendid bit of irony I've seen in a long time. Kudos!

Posted by: soundbloke | February 3, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke, manny will go where the money is. its that simple. offer him a big 3 or 4 year deal and he would play in the domincan for gods sake. Tex wanted to play for a team that could win immediately. the nats had no chance against the likes of boston, NY, or LAA. None at all and they knew this. they could have outbid all those teams, and he still would have said no. They have a shot with manny if they pony up the cash. Manny and Tex are very different, and if you dont realize it, then yes, you are a moron.

Posted by: youMorons | February 3, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

We have too many right handed outfielders because for some reason we won't release the two who shouldn't be on any major league roster, Kearns and Pena. And again please tell me why him being not disruptive on the Indians, then kind of disruptive on the Red Sox while helping them win two World Series, then not disruptive on the Dodgers leads to him having a great shot at being disruptive with us? And then please tell me why we should care if he's disruptive if he piques interest in the Nats and drives gate revenue? We're not going to the playoffs in the next 5 years with or without him. Dunn will hate it here and could be consequently disruptive without the gate boost, so I don't know why you're advocating him.

Posted by: RickFelt | February 3, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

My main problem with Manny is that he's clubhouse poison. Do we REALLY want Elijah Dukes to have Manny around as a rolemodel? Gah. I can hear the police sirens already.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | February 3, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Manny was never a problem in Cleveland and loved by the front office, and he was disruptive for a season in Boston. lets not forget that boston didnt exactly treat manny well. He wanted them to pick up his contract option, or drop it, before 2008 so he knew what to expect. Instead they left it hanging over his head. He reacted poorly. Owell. Thats one season out of 14. He was great for the Dodgers. Why is there any reason to expect differently with a fresh new contract in DC?

Posted by: youMorons | February 3, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'm out. At least until the season begins, then I'll reevaluate.

Posted by: Section506 | February 3, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

True - we have lots of RH hitting outfielders. I can agree with that.

But do we have any that can hit like Manny?

And one more thing - while Manny was acting out in Boston - you cannot say that he was tanking it. In July of 2008, Manny batted .347 with an OBP of .473 and slugged .587. He can tank on my team anyday.

Posted by: comish4lif | February 3, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

OK. Should they sign Manny or Griffey or Dunn or (fill in the blank)?

I've been reading all the comments and I think it boils down to this. Some of us find it entertaining to watch one really good player take 4 or 5 ABs a game to add some juice to the fan experience. Whether it has any long term benefit to the organization is irrelevant.

Others are entertained by watching the slow development of young players. Seeing their success or failure is interesting and while the quality of play may not be as good in the next year or two, they would prefer to see it all flesh out without the distraction of a shorter-term big name player.

I'll save everyone the epithets about each group's morals or IQ. I'll just say I'm more in camp #2 than #1.


Posted by: db423 | February 3, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Section 307, I'll take that line-up ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!!!!!! Can you imagine getting Ken Griffey Jr. Nationals Jersey? HOT DANG. Oh, and for those who right now are saying that they would hate to see Manny in a Nats uniform, let me tell you something. That guy may be one of the worst team players ever, but the moment you bring that guy into your club house, you just won another 10 games.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | February 3, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

If we could get Manny on a deal that would keep him interested that would be great. If you look at the deals he has already turned down and the premium we'd have to pay to get him and he makes less sense.

Sure he'd be entertaining, but if you want to be entertained by having a winning team? Well then IMO Manny is not your guy.

The more I look at the Hudson possibility the less I like it. First is that we'd lose our 2nd round draft pick (worst case the 55th pick). Secondly I think he already isn't as good a defender as Hernandez, Gonzales or Harris and his skills are declining. Finally, although he would be a marginal improvement on either of those 3 with the bat, given the likely number of years he would require (best guess 3-4) he would not be an upgrade on in-house personnel over the length of his contract.

Dunn is still a mixed bag in my opinion, and given his apparent desire to play elsewhere (either in hopes of winning sooner, or more likely IMO not wanting to play 1B) I'm hoping they have a better plan B (or are we to F at this point?) for a back-up at first base than Willingham.

Posted by: estuartj | February 3, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

People, people; Please - The Nationals are being used by every FA left in the bag as a leverage point for any other team that has a semi-legitimate need for their services. The only legit FA player left on the board that hasn't been associated with a Nationals rumour lately is Abreu.

At this point, the Nationals' overtures are being used or ignored by the players' agents in an attempt to prop up the market. Meanwhile, the team hasen't managed to sign ANY of their arbitration cases either (Oh-for-four).

I'm usually optimistic, but it looks like the Nationals' are really going to 'screw the pooch' going into 2009.

Posted by: BinM | February 3, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Sec 307.

You completely misread my comment on the earlier post.

I am not drawing comparisons between Manny and Wily Mo.

All I was trying to say is that we have plenty of right handed outfielders. According to the FO, part of the plan was to aquire a left handed bat via free agency, and ideally one that can play first base.

While I respect Manny as one of the greatest right handed hitters of all time, all I was pointing out is that signing Manny would not be at all consistent with the plan.

You also failed to note that I stated Manny would increase attendance, something you wrote a few hours later.

Posted by: OptimisticSkin | February 3, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

What is with this unquestioning adherence to "the plan" on this site? Does "the plan" include having a bottom third minor league in its third season since implementation while having the worst major league talent in either league? Who came up with the plan? Bowden? Kasten? Neither will be around for a single winning season. There's an organization that has been following a similar "plan" to ours the past two decades or so and they play in PNC Park. They dealt with their Strasburg last year (Alvarez) and came within about 3 minutes of not signing him. What will happen with another Boras client this year? At least they play in a stagnant town so they have an excuse. I know that this is all irrelevant because we obviously won't be getting any of these free agents (Alex Cintron though yay!!).

Posted by: RickFelt | February 3, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I did like Hudson's "Oh yeah, and the Nationals". Makes us feel really special there Orlando...

Posted by: soundbloke | February 3, 2009 3:09 PM

Haha exactly

Posted by: corneliusmatt | February 3, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse


The plan is to develop talent in the fasrm system and supplement with key FA signings.

The plan is NOT to sign 37 year old right handed hitter, albetit a great one, to a 3 or 4 year deal worth upwards of 100 million bucks.

Look, I'm all for Manny being in DC. But if we really want a winner, we need more than Manny.

Manny sells merch. Manny sells tickets. Manny doesn't make us a winner.

Posted by: OptimisticSkin | February 3, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Looking at the division (NL East) through a crystal ball...

> Philidelphia Phillies [Defending WS champs] - Held their core together; A little soft in #3-5SP, bullpen will regress 10-15% in effectiveness. Utley's injury & Howard's arb case could damage the offense. # of Wins = between 88-95.

> New York Mets - Over-compensated for Wagner's injury in BP (signing both K-Rod & Putz), still have gaps at SP (Santana -> Maine & O.Perez). Offense is good, but not loaded. # of wins = between 90-98.

> Atlanta Braves - Rebuilt SP staff looks both deep & competitive, BP currently lacks closer. Offense looks thin at corner depth & OF defense. # of wins = between 75-92.

> Florida Marlins - SP's are young, but unproven; BP is more of the same. Offensively, they can be explosive, with good depth at most positions. # of wins = between 75-85.

> Washington Nationals - SP staff is young, and lacks a true 'anchor'; BP is by-and-large unproven. Offensive is relatively young, but RH-heavy in makeup. # of wins = between 65-75.

Posted by: BinM | February 3, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Orlando Hudson is big buddies with Felipe Lopez. He probably doesn't have too high of an opinion about the Nats. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: frog7694 | February 4, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree that building from the farm system and adding key free agents is a good plan in theory. But the nats were had the 30th ranked farm system in baseball according to baseball prospectus in 2008. Not exactly something to build on. They have no players with any trade value to add prospects and basically no one worth watching. They are AT LEAST 3 or 4 years away from having a farm system to build off. So why not sign a guy like Manny for 3 or 4 years? Its not like he will be blocking any young talent from gaining experience because they have no young talent! He will be chasing 600 home runs, going after the all time RBI record (an outside chance but a chance), and putting fans in the seats. To me it is a no brainer. If the team had good young talent that could ready to compete in 2 years then I would agree with you, it would make no sense to sign him. But unfortunately they are 3 or 4 good drafts away from having a strong farm system. At least manny gives them hope of being somewhat relevant in the next few years.

Posted by: youMorons | February 4, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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