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Rivera, Orr To Participate In WBC

For the last few days, Washington pitcher Saul Rivera kept waffling. Maybe yes, maybe no. Finally, he made up his mind: Rivera, the Nats reliever, plans to participate in the World Baseball Classic. Though non-roster invitee Pete Orr will represent Canada, Rivera is the only Nationals' 40-man roster player who will be participating.

He's also a certainty to make the Opening Day roster, barring injury.

Washington's other players who were candidates for the WBC -- Roger Bernadina and Shairon Martis, from the Netherlands -- elected to remain in Viera, in large part to bolster their chances at a roster spot. Starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera, who had the chance to represent the Dominican Republic, also elected not to play.

The WBC begins on March 5.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 24, 2009; 7:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

If I recall correctly, Orr passed up a chance to play on the Olympic team to stay with the Nats last year, so good for him that he'll get to represent this year.

Knocking wood that Rivera won't be injured. Didn't he have a pretty heavy workload last year?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Overall, good for Orr - He'll finally get to represent his home colors in International competition, having been denied at the Olympics.
With Saul, I admit to some trepidation - remember what happened to Ayala in the Classic?
Either way, good luck & good health to both players - it's an honour to be cherished long after your playing days are over.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I personally think that both Bernadina & Martis made bad decisions by declining to participate. Who knows if the'll ever get this opportunity again?
With Cabrera, he's been there before, yes? Taht, plus the fact that he needs work with the Nationals' coaching staff on some issues, and the time away could hurt his earning potential next year.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Saul Rivera's right arm falling off for $100, Alex.

Posted by: Brian_ | February 24, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

@brian_

Yikes! Should that happen, the Nationals would need to immediately gain control of the board, and take Dennys Reyes, for whatever it takes to sign him.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I had a Luis Ayala flashback there for a minute.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 24, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Cavalier - How did you get through the flashback? I'm seeing Ayala -> Rivera -> T.Young/Shell?

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

CHarlan: A nit-pick, but both Bernadina & Martis are from the Netherland Antilles (a possessory interest), but can represent Nederland in the Classic.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

new posted 2x (see the fangraphs article in #2 hitters):
--------------
"JiM: What about LMillz / Harris at #1, followed by either Dukes, Guzman, WMP(!), or even Flores(!!) at #2, depending on who the opposing SP is?

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 6:51 PM

BinM - I guess out of those you name, Guzman would be more of the type Dave Cameron suggests should not be a #2 hitter. Guz is going to get fastballs as a #2 hitter if Harris or Milledge is on in front of him, but he does not drive them (low ISO). In some ways, Guz is a traditional, contact/slap #2 hitter, but what the article suggests is you give the pitcher a dilemma: throw fast balls to help your catcher keep the runner from stealing but give the hitter balls he kills, or attack the hitter's weakness but let the runner move to scoring position more easily through a steal. I'll add Guz would not take pitches and give MillzWillie a chance to run.

I've suggested before Johnson would be better at #2 than Guz, behind LMillz and ahead of FotF and Dunn, and I find the idea of batting him 6th as some suggest hard to understand, but that's not an argument worth having again. What I'd say is that if we do not go in that direction, then either Dunn or Dukes might be worth a try.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 24, 2009 8:20 PM "

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 24, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

BinM-A picture of Albert Haynesworth popped into my head...different sport, but same negative impact(15 mil per year for a free agent thereby making it impossible for my beloved 'Skins to do anything else in free agency and the loss of a prime set-up guy thereby creating a black hole of relievers).

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 24, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Tempting fate there, Chico...

-----

He's also a certainty to make the Opening Day roster, barring injury.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 24, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

@jca:

Granted, Guzman is the 'default' #2 hitter, but I agree with you that he's not the best choice. My other suggestions (Dukes, WMP, or even Flores) could be worth a thought, based on Cameron's criteria. I actually like Dukes as a #2 slot possible, since he has speed should the leadoff hitter fail to get aboard.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

IMO Dukes is the perfect #2 hitter on this team. Dunn or NJ at #2 is a non-starter and Dukes gives you an amazing combination of power (get that guy in right away), OBP (get more guys on ahead of Zim, Dunn, NJ) and speed (some steal ability, but great baserunning speed to get from 1st to home). Milledge would IMO be a better lead-off candidate if he can improve his OBP (more walks). That would allow you to bat Guz 6th (or 7th behind Flores?) so he can drive in more runs with his hits before the bottom of the order comes up. Also batting Milledge in #2 behind Guzman pushes Dukes back to probalby #6 which is way too low for a player of his capability.

My favorite (though not probable) line-up;
1. Milledge (CF)
2. Dukes (RF)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dunn (LF)
5. Johnson (1B)
6. Flores (CA)
7. Guzman (SS)
8. Belliard (2B)
9. Lannan (SP)

Posted by: estuartj | February 24, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

@Cavalier:

My comment was purely a gut reaction to a suggested injury, not a "glory-grab" by the FO to get headlines.
There's a BIG difference - Snyderrano feels the need to be the best on paper before the season starts - The Nationals' are just trying to build a competitive team.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

@estuartj:

Swap Hernandez for Belliard at 2b/#8 & we're simpatico, mi amigo.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Oops, dinner time - sorry, I'm still Pavolvian about some things. Talk to you all tomarrow.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I keep going back and forth on Belliard vs Hernandez. My hope would be that Belliard can be traded for a decent prospect, this would allow us to keep Gonzalez as back up MI (with Willie Harris).

My latest take is that while Nick is able to play 1B Belliard's bat is a net positive over Hernandez glove. If Dunn or Willingham are at 1B I would for sure start Hernandez.

Posted by: estuartj | February 24, 2009 9:25 PM | Report abuse

BinM--I know. Losing the only real, proven bullpen arm the Nats have would be a serious problem. Hopefully Saul will be able to learn from Ayala's misfortune.

As to the Haynesworth thing, I actually read it as his agent floating the 'Skins to get more money out of the Titans or Bucs. Kind of like the favorite negotiating tactic of Scott Boras, actually.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 24, 2009 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I am not 100% sold on Milledge in the leadoff for the long term as I like Hernandez there eventually. I could also see flip flopping Dukes and Guzman. #3, 4, and 5 sure does look good!!!

1. Milledge (CF)
2. Dukes (RF)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dunn (LF)
5. Johnson (1B)
6. Guzman (SS)
7. Hernandez (2B)
8. Flores (C)
9. Lannan (SP)

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 24, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that you need to break up the RH hitters and LH hitters. Otherwise you make it too easy on the opposing manager to go to the bullpen. I would say:

1. Milledge (CF)
2. Guzman(SS)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dunn (LF)
5. Dukes (RF)
6. Johnson (1B)
7. Flores (C)
8. Hernandez (2B)
9. Lannan (SP)

Guzman is very good at slapping the ball behind the runner. I would even consider a flip flop of Zim and Dukes. Dukes has a better OBP and it would take a bunch of pressure off Zim.

Regardless, I this a LOT more than the pathetic lineup from last year. PLUS, you still have Willingham, Belliard and Harris on the bench. I wish we had a left handed bat on the bench though. Perhaps we can get one for Wily Mo and Kearns.

Posted by: NatsWin | February 24, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

Chico did say that Martis and Bernadina would have reoresented the NETHERLANDS not the nederlands. Both of them turned it down. Martis pitched in the last classic and pitched a no hitter. He has already had his opportunity.

Posted by: natsguy | February 25, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

NatsWin,

... I always read everyone's suggested line-ups, but don't comment because I am woefully ignorant about that particular aspect of the game. But it seems to me - and I'm willing to stand corrected - that NickJ is well-known for his on-base percentage. If that's so, wouldn't it be more productive to have him further up in the line-up than sixth?

Posted by: natscanreduxit | February 25, 2009 7:36 AM | Report abuse

BinM, NatsWin, Estuartj - going back to that fansgraph article, the logic does kind of suggest that Milledge - Dukes would be a very good ##1-2 combo.

Milledge is our biggest base stealing threat. His OBP after the All-Star break was .350, and his projections have him as adeqaute, if not stellar, for OBP this year. Dukes saw far fewer fastballs as a % of his pitches (around 55%, this is from memory) that any of the other names we have been kicking around (Guz, Nick, Belli, and I think Dunn were all in the 60+% range). Batting Dukes 2d behind a base stealing threat would force the pitcher either to watch Milledge and feed Dukes fastballs, or throw breaking and offspeed stuff to Dukes, letting Milledge run. Harris also might have the same effect as a leadoff guy.

Please be very skeptical about all of this.
I'm just trying to apply Dave Cameron's thoughts to the Nats situation. He's very good and fun to read, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to say he is right. That article is just sort of a test of conventional wisdom about #2 hitters that is fun to kick around. here is the link again: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/2-hitters

It'll be interesting to see how Manny orders his line up. He seems committed to FotF and Dunn as #3 and #4, but he has options elsewhere and by reputation is numbers driven.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 25, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

The pitcher sets, looks for the sign, here comes the pitch, ... and the batter lines it to left for a base hit ....

Posted by: natbisquit | February 25, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

I didn't find Roberto Ficko on the latest Italian team roster. Marone!

However, I did find some former Nats playing for various countries. Presented without editorial comments, they are: Chris Snelling (Australia), Odalis Perez and Jose Guillen (Dominican Republic), Luis Ayala (Mexico), Felipe Lopez (Puerto Rico), and Endy Chavez (Venezuela). Did I miss any?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Ayala is pitching again? Can't believe that the Twins are allowing this after his previous experience.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 25, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

this is the best offense we've had in dc in at least 50 years!

Posted by: longterm | February 25, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Personally, GGG, I think the Twins are being reasonable. Some folks are being a bit too skittish for my taste about one pitcher getting hurt -- I mean, it's practically a pitcher's *job* to get hurt; probably would've happened anyway.

And natscan, I agree with you; I wouldn't put Nick Johnson as low in the order as some are doing. I do think the other posters, though, are reveling in the fact that we now have several dudes (Dukes, Dunn ... maybe Milledge) who are also quite good at taking the walk. It's nice to have multiple guys with actual, you know, skill.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 25, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

I'm feeling like the WBC is going to be a flop. Not enough top talent is playing and the nationalistic rivalry between the participating countries isn't enough to overcome the 2nd class level of competitors.

I wonder if it would be better to have the classic played in early February right before camp so so many players wouldn't pass on it for fear of hurting their MLB season.

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Last night on MLB Tonight, one of the fellows (can't remember who) was commenting that some U.S. players began their offseason prep earlier than usual so that they would be in game shape by the time that the classic started. That might be even more of a factor if the classic started in early February. The winter ball players would have an advantage in that regard, I would think.

Oh, yeah, there was also a segment on PETCOA where the panel went all Old School on stats generally. Seamheads might want to check it out on a rebroadcast.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

lemme guess. this is tomorrow's dead-tree article. it's good and all but, you know, that's all we get?

Posted by: NatsNut | February 24, 2009 6:07 PM

* * * * *

NatsNut, you nailed it on the Marrero/Hood piece. This WBC note too. Very lame.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 25, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to mention that Barry Larkin's infield drills segment with Harold Reynolds is also worth a look-see, IMO.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey, maybe y'all can help me (1a) ... it's time to decide whether to do the Gameday Audio thing this year. I also looked at the demo of MLBTV Premium, and it mentions condensed games. I really thought about doing the MLBTV thing once, just for that feature, but I'd heard they discontinued it. What's the thought on whether there'll be condensed games this year? And whether one needs the Premium package to get them?

(Hey, and how about this: archived audio of the radio broadcasts? That would be cool, to listen to Charlie and Dave heading in to work the next day ...)

Thanks for any dope!

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 25, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, Scooter, but I've not purchased the Gameday Audio or MLBTV. I get MLB Network through my cable provider and used to hear Charlie and Dave via my radio until they dropped the one FM station that I was able to pick up clearly (grrrr).

Maybe NatsNut or JiM can help on the MLB site options?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

No new posts yet, hopefully Chico is chasing the LaCava rumor??!!

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | February 25, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

...and the source for that rumor would be?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Scooter,
I actually share my dad's MLB subscription (yes, I know. cheap) but I think he just gets the basic $14. I don't have a TV and I rely heavily on our MLB subscription.

I'm pretty sure condensed games are standard. I love it. I put the audio on, plus the gameday graphic during the game. Then the next day I'll check out the condensed game to get the highlights, then go back to the full archive to fast forward to the highlight shots.

Did I mention I like baseball? ;)

Posted by: NatsNut | February 25, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

How about we guess the line-up for today's game, really tough considering the mixed bag we have traveling. Here is my guess at starters;

1. Lannan
2. Flores
3. Whitney
4. Belliard
5. Casto
6. Gonzalez
7. Pena
8. Milledge
9. Kearns

Do they DH in spring games?

Posted by: estuartj | February 25, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

@ VelocityAtrocity--what is the LaCava rumor? thanks

Posted by: Section109 | February 25, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The only LaCava rumor was the one started here. LOL>

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 25, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

GameDay Audio is the greatest thing since indoor plumbing. And yes, the games are archived in perpetuity (look at me with the College Word!) - or at least for a year (Okay, I just checked and the July 4th games for 2008 and 2007 continue to stream, so there's that).

It IS streaming only, so you'll need to do the capture thing if you want to get in on a portable device (there are a number of stream capture methods that you can use).

I've not done the MLBTV thing (the condensed games would be good, but I'd like it if it was every pitch instead of just the pitch that gets the out/hit). The big ad page with the MLB.TV sub info (http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/subscriptions/index.jsp?c_id=mlb&affiliateId=mlbMENUMLBTV) says that condensed games will still be done this year (so there's that too).

Posted by: OldDude | February 25, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

If the Nats can get 2nd 1/2 of the year production out of each of these players, this will be a good lineup.

1. Milledge (CF)
2. Guzman(SS)
3. Zimmerman (3B)
4. Dunn (LF)
5. Dukes (RF)
6. Johnson (1B)
7. Hernandez (2B)
8. Flores (C)
9. Lannan (SP)

Willingham has to see some starts against LH pitching and play some LF and 1B.

Willie Harris and Roger Bernadina are your 2 XFactor Lefties in reserve that give you speed plus late inning defense.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 25, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

http://www.luxist.com/photos/chanel-segway/1381131/

A new Chanel Segway. Can you see Jim Bowden driving this!

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 25, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Make that PETCOTA in my post above.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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