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Beimel On Coming Here, American Idol, Etc.

Joe Beimel is in NatsTown at last, and the team has already mapped out his next steps. This morning, he'll throw to hitters on one of the backfields at this complex. On Monday, after a day off, he'll pitch in a minor league game. After that -- possibly in regular exhibition action.

Here are Beimel's incentives, by the way: He gets $50,000 for 60 games pitched, and an additional $50,000 for 65, 70, 75 and 80 games.

Now, your introductory Q&A...

Q: How does it feel to finally sign?

It feels good. Long offseason. I didn't expect it to be that long. If I kind of knew it was gonna take that long to sign I probably would have tried out for "American Idol" or something. I've been watching that show for a couple weeks now, and I think I could have made it. But it feels good. It feels good to be here with a younger team, and some older guys mixed in.

Q: Considering the year that you had, how much of a role did the economy play in waiting?

I think it had to do with a little bit of that. Obviously everybody is hurting right now, and it's not just baseball, it's everywhere. A lot of people are losing their jobs, so I feel pretty fortunate just to have one.

Q: What did it do for your normal offseason routine? What have you been doing the last month while everybody else was at spring training?

Pretty much doing the same thing. The one positive was that I didn't have to cover first 1,000 times a day. I got to go throw and get my work in and then go home, and I got to spend a lot more time with my kids, so that was pretty nice, too.

Q: You were working out at UCLA?

Yeah, I was throwing to one of the catchers there, and it was nice of them to let me come in and do that.

Q: Why was last year so good for you?

You know, I think probably about three or four years ago I kind of caught my stride and started figuring things out and it clicked for me. Last year, I think last year, ERA-wise, was pretty good. But there are a lot of things I can work on and get better on, so I'm just going to try to concentrate on that and do that here and help this team win.

Q: What do you want to improve on?

Just not giving up so many singles through the infield. I gave up a lot of singles last year, and it was just one of those frustrating things where you make a good pitch and, you know, they bloop it over somebody's head.

Q: When you were looking at the teams that were interested, what were some of the biggest factors for you?

Well, at first I wanted to stay on the west coast just because my kids are out there, but I saw the opportunity here and, you know, being able to come in here and have a good chance to be the eighth inning guy and just see a young team, you never know. Everybody saw what the Devils Rays did last year, and you see what can happen when your young pitching starts coming around. If this team does that, I think we're going to have a chance to win.

Q: You're a ground ball guy. How much do you look at the defense behind you?

Quite a bit, quite a bit. I think this team, they've got a very good defense here. When you've got guys that have the range and can make the plays, that definitely factors in.

Q: A lot of left-handed relievers are looked at as specialists. Do you take more pride in getting both guys out?

Yeah, definitely. That's definitely what I prefer. Last year I was used kind of as a left-handed specialist later on in the year, and it was something I hadn't done a whole lot in the past. It was definitely a transition for me. I would prefer pitching full innings, just because you can make a mistake, give up a hit, and you have a chance to get the next guy. As a left-handed specialist, if you give up a hit you're done for the day.

Q: You hit your stride a couple years ago. What helped you?

Actually I had a pitching coach in Durham when I was in Class AAA with Tampa, and he suggested that I turn in to second base and at that point I was like, Alright, I'll try whatever. And I did that, and from that day on I just started pitching really well. I don't know if it was the deception, staying back a little longer, but after that day everything kind of started clicking for me.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 21, 2009; 9:47 AM ET
 
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Comments

awesome. FAs love DC

Posted by: sect104 | March 21, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the Q&A, Chico. Interesting stuff.

Welcome, Joe.

Also, I would suggest a follow-up from Steinberg with an AI audition video.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Also, there's a Hill-related item on Baseball Insider.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Excerpt from above-referenced Baseball Insider piece regarding Hill signing with Toronto: "It also makes sense because this is exactly the kind of move [taking a risk on oft-injured player] that J.P. Ricciardi has to be willing to make if the Jays are ever going to get lucky and make any kind of a run at the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the AL East."

Exactly. And it was also the "kind of move" that the Nats had to be willing to make if they are serious about competing this year and next. Again, there was nothing to lose (except maybe WMP) and a lot to possibly gain... oh, unless you are just worried about saving money.

Posted by: kfisher32 | March 21, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

" ... when I was in Class AAA ..."

Quirky Question # 274583

... why do sportswriters insist on spelling out "Class AAA" or "Class AA", when they could write "triple-A" or "double-A"?

... especially when quoting someone, as the Beimel comment above. I doubt Joe said "Class AAA"; I assume he said "triple-A".

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 21, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg's line from last night:

7.0 inn, 0 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks, 15 k's, no decision

Posted by: sec307 | March 21, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

kfisher32, the Nats took that risk with the oft-injured Hill when they chose not to non-tender him after last year - as, for instance, they did Chad Cordero. In exchange Hill gave them two innings pitched in almost a month of spring training. They took the risk with him, it didn't work out, and they moved on.

Toronto seems to be about six months behind the Nats in taking a risk on an oft-injured player. Maybe they'll get lucky and it will work out for them. But if they need a pitcher to put into their rotation to start the season, it won't be Shawn Hill. Hopefully Toronto realizes that. The Nats did, which is why they cut Hill.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 21, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

kfisher32, the Nats took that risk with the oft-injured Hill when they chose not to non-tender him after last year - as, for instance, they did Chad Cordero. In exchange Hill gave them two innings pitched in almost a month of spring training. They took the risk with him, it didn't work out, and they moved on.

Toronto seems to be about six months behind the Nats in taking a risk on an oft-injured player. Maybe they'll get lucky and it will work out for them. But if they need a pitcher to put into their rotation to start the season, it won't be Shawn Hill. Hopefully Toronto realizes that. The Nats did, which is why they cut Hill.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 21, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

One mouse click, two submissions. Is that the NJ equivalent of turning the double play? If so, I'm HOF material.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 21, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I was glad to see Rob Neyer write well of the Nats' signing of Beimel. I am tired of reading comments on other sites saying it is a waste of $2M that should instead be spent on the draft. I don't see why the two need to be connected at all. I also don't see why the Nats fans can't enjoy a marginally better season through the signing of free agents that don't cost draft picks.

Am I in the minority here? Would others of you have rather seen the sorry collection of reliever we had available so that the Lerners could have saved that $2M? Do any of the rest of you believe that the Nats should know their place and leave free agents alone until they are ready to compete seriously for a playoff spot? Am I crazy to think that preseason predictions don't determine the season, and that sometimes a few changes and some luck can lead to surprises?

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 21, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@kevin

I'm with you. I don't get all the hate the Nats are getting over spending money. They get blasted last year for not doing anything to improve the on-field product and blasted again this year for spending on short term deals to help field a more cometitive product while they continue to build. It simply doesn't make sense. To me it looks like the FO has learned some from last year - spend a little now, make the team watchable while you're building long term. The return at the gates should be well worth it.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | March 21, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I think it's more like an extra-base hit, nunof.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Exactly - fluke double off the end of the bat.

Posted by: BinM | March 21, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Answer to quirky question: All publications have "style books." Usually, a newspaper will start with the AP style book and then make some deviations of its own. Our style is Class A, Class AA, etc. I really hate this one but the style book is the Bible. Another example that drives people nuts: U.-Conn for Connecticut. Somewhere I worked -- and I'm now so old I can't remember where -- did this: 1st, 2nd, 3d, 4th, 5th ... yes, no "r" in "3rd." I have no idea why. Ridiculous.

Posted by: traceeh | March 21, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Perfect, BinM.

Tracee, as a pinched-lip editorial type in my nonbaseball life, I can sympathize re. style book orthodoxy.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 21, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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