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For Now, Kasten Is In Charge

Team President Stan Kasten greeted a few media members just before lunch today by saying, "I'm here at the advice of my advisors." Those would be his PR guys, Mike Gazda and John Dever, who notified Kasten of the Fourth Estate's collective desire to chat. But as Kasten made clear, most of the people at Space Coast Stadium are now taking orders directly from Kasten.

Brief Q&A explains.

---

Q: If somebody called right now and wanted to make a trade, a deal, who's in charge?

It has happened. I'm in charge.

No, I've done this before. I'm doing what we need to do to keep the franchise moving forward, and I'm pleased to say that's exactly what has been happening. I met with the staff this morning, made sure everyone understood their roles, made sure all of our tasks were getting covered. Also made sure that everyone understood that adversity invariably creates opportunity, too. And everyone should view this as an occasion for opportunity, an occasion to demonstrate initiative. And to show the same enthusiasm that all of us around the team feel about the team itself; we should feel that way about the front office as well. I do think there are opportunities for renewed initiative. I'd like to see it. It would get rewarded.

Q: Do you have a preference to hire [Jim Bowden's replacement] from in-house versus outside the organization?

That would be an excellent question for some time later in the week, when I address it. I'm not addressing it today.

Q: Has anybody else's role changed, or are you filling what Jim did in addition to what you normally do?

I would say the latter is more closely descriptive of where I am at the moment. We have exhorted people to step up. We expect them to step up. And, I need them to step up. To a man, that's what they have already done.

Q: Stepping up, does that include physically being in more places for scouting, longer hours...

In some cases it means that. It also means, as I said, I would appreciate initiative now. I know you had roles before. I want you to continue to do that. But if you have more ideas, new ideas, this is a great time to be throwing them out, putting them out on the table, and letting us take advantage of an opportunity to take advantage of our capabilities. So that's what I've invited. I've also challenged them. And I have to say I am so pleased at the reaction so far. We have a deep bench. That's not an accident. It was a philosophy of Jim's, it was a philosophy of mine. And when I came in we did make some hires. We brought in senior people like Mike Rizzo. We brought in the guys I called the Mod squad -- the guys who work night and day on sabermetrics and all kinds of other new media tools. And they have performed a wealth, a broad range of functions in the past, and I invited and challenged each of them to do even more. And with aggressive young people, that's music to their ears, so that was received extremely well I think.

Q: Certainly Jim has long ties with at least a few of the remaining guys in that front office. Do you anticipate any more turnover in the coming weeks or months?

Well, I'll talk about turnover when it comes. There's nothing I want to say about that today. I think, though, that - I like... I support everyone who is a Washington National. You've heard me say that before, but it's how I feel. It's just truly how I feel. The senior people are all close to me, and I hope that continues.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 2, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
 
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Comments

Interesting words from Kasten...

Posted by: wigi | March 2, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

"I'm in charge at the White House"

Posted by: Section506 | March 2, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I've been appreciated with how Kasten has handled this situation to date, and I trust that he'll make the right decisions going forward.

p.s. I just knew that somebody would come up with that, 506. It is DC, after all.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Is this the first management reference to having an entire "Mod squad" of employees on board purely for sabermetric purposes?

Would the (presumably ongoing) presence of that group assuage any Bill James disciples' fears about going with a GM candidate from a scouting background?

Posted by: faNATic | March 2, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Kasten can trade some of the unused $35 parking spaces or the playground in centerfield for some bullpen help.

Posted by: Batboy05 | March 2, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

As a follow up to faNATic's query, who would play the role of Hayes, Lin-coln?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Also, the Bog has a Screech post, with visual aids.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I must say...I'm fairly intrigued by the notion of a stats-savvy Peggy Lipton-esque figure running mad sabermetrics calcs behind the scenes.

This Mod Squad analogy Stan hit on has potential. Perhaps they could replace the Racing Presidents.

Posted by: Ted_Striker | March 2, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

So what is the over under on a new GM or interim GM being named?

I'll got with March 9th.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

So, I wonder who called wanting to make a trade already? Would that be the opportunistic GM's who were previously told no by Bowden, the insincere yet coniving GM's who just wanted to know who was in charge, or the jerks who reportedly refused to take Bowden's calls even when they had a glaring need?

Hello, San Diego calling. You still got an extra outfielder?

Posted by: natbisquit | March 2, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@natsfan1a1

Jesus, that's just...wow. Who decided on the anorexic mascot?

Posted by: Section138 | March 2, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

although, it is a little funny that he would refer to the "sabermetrics and all kinds of new media tools" folks with a TV show that first ran before most of them were born.

23-skidoo!

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

side note: i'm loathe to ask them to replace clint now, after seeing how badly they borked the revamped "screech," gorilla arms and all. sheesh.

Posted by: sec231 | March 2, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

I have a prediction to make:

This scandal will not be about skimming. MLB doesn't really care about skimming- if a prospect wants to bribe an MLB official then, really, how is this different than paying off a posse of agents?

This scandal IS about felony immigration fraud. It's been revealed that the INS relied on MLB to police the visas for ballplayers. This about this for a second: The INS was caught outsourcing their regulatory function to those it was regulating. In the age of Terrorism! The INS has egg all on its faces. Jim Bowden may end up looking at some serious time in the federal prison.

Posted by: dime_dropper | March 2, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@506: "I'm in charge at the White House"

Yeah, but the difference between Stan the Man and Al Haig is that Stan really is the president.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | March 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

The new hire will be Kastens alone. He'll take his time because if the shoe falls again it will be directly on him. As we've learned from watching the Redskin debockle the failure of the team is never owner related.

Posted by: pstotts15 | March 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Jim Bowden goes to jail because Smiley Gonzalez isn't his real name? Please, exactly what could lead anyone to believe that JimBow, Rijo or anyone else would knowingly aid in the falsification of player identifications? Just doesn't pass the smell test.

Jim Bowden is gone, end the hate.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

So, I wonder who called wanting to make a trade already? Would that be the opportunistic GM's who were previously told no by Bowden, the insincere yet coniving GM's who just wanted to know who was in charge, or the jerks who reportedly refused to take Bowden's calls even when they had a glaring need?

Hello, San Diego calling. You still got an extra outfielder?

Posted by: natbisquit | March 2, 2009 1:27 PM
___________________________________

All good points and you can probably guess all of the above.

Stan has never thrown Jim under the bus before which is admirable, and in my opinion, I think some GM's have circumvented Jim in the past to go direct to Stan.

They keep the dealings very private and with a few exceptions of giving praise to Rizzo, you never get a clear direction on who made the deals so for good/bad JimBro always got the credit/blame.

I wouldn't be surprised if a trade happens shortly after naming the GM.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 2, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

And why would MLB not care about skimming? MLB is the owners, who are paying the dollars to players, who are bribing employees of the owners.

You're right, no reason for them to care abour that...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"Bowden may end up looking at some serious time in the federal prison."

... oh please God, can we get back to baseball!!??

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

How many times has Kasten invoked the name of Mike Rizzo in the last week and a half?

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 2, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I at least hope they name Rizzo interim soon. I'd like to see him get the job full time but, at least for now someone needs to flip spare parts for bullpen help/maybe pitching/maybe centrefielder.

This team still has work that needs to be done before we start.

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

It seems what has been lost on our newer generation of young people is it is alright to lie about anything as long as those lies are tied into a long list of co conspirators that are on the take. The string ends when someone snitched and rats out the rest when that person feels they did not get enough of their comeuppances.
Didn't Livian Hernandez lie about his age when he was a Florida Marlin when he came from Cuba?

I wonder how many other liars are in Major League Baseball layered behind their scouts, agents, and owners?

Posted by: Sideswiped | March 2, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

new screech = lame duck.

Posted by: 6thandD | March 2, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Aw, c'mon. The new Screech is not so bad. He'll be more mobile and his shoes are cute. Besides his surprised look, he's a definite improvement. Although, true the bar was a little low...

Posted by: NatsNut | March 2, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

MLB.com has Kasten formally tagged as the interim General Manager, is that official or is he just filling the role until they decide what course to take from here (ie Interim GM like Rizzo or full interview process for LaCava)?

I doesn't help that you can't trust a word out of Bill (IDIOT!) Ladsen. His article has two good quotes from Kasten, but neither one directly support the title of his piece.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

JohninMpls makes an interesting observation. Mike Rizzo has gotten a very nice introduction to any fans who might not have heard of him before this week. Still, it is easy to speculate . . .

Posted by: lowcountry | March 2, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I hope that they go beyond the current organization for the new GM. I want a person with experience with a club that has a culture of winning.

Posted by: dfh123 | March 2, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

There's another Screech post up at the Bog...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Hey, what the hell happened to the RSS feed for NJ? When I try to hit a post via RSS I get a strange error page from something called Pheedo.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | March 2, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Lots of Nats talk this afternoon on XM-175 MLB Homplete. So far they have interviewed Mark Zuckerman from the WASHTIMES, coming up in a few minutes will be Marty Brenamen from the Reds (who apprently is a Bowden hater) and during the 5PM hour Dibble will interviewing none other then Stan Kasten himself. Good listening if you have access.

To bad the local sports talker can't put together to sentences when it comes to the Nats!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 2, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

>Jim Bowden is gone, end the hate.

Sounds like it left a mark. Maybe you'll pay more attention now.

Posted by: Brue | March 2, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

There are some ST Nats photo galleries on the Florida Today site (found thanks to Tracee's link to the Riggleman piece in an earlier post):

http://www.floridatoday.com/photos

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Also, the program about Dmitri Young and his family is scheduled to air at 9 ET tonight according to the front page of the MLB Network. Hope that it doesn't get pre-empted like last time.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

What kind of deals has Kasten been offered? Who are they willing to trade? Who are they refusing to? Come on Chico, work your sources! This is the kind of inside info I am looking for?

Posted by: johnny_blaze | March 2, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Without commenting on Mike Rizzo or any process that Stan may institute, my bet is that, for 09, only an interim GM (either Stan or Rizzo) will be named for a couple of reasons:

1. The new GM would normally want to name his own Manager and I don't think that either Stan or the Lerners are about to dump Manny (and there is no reason to, at this point).

2. See #1 and add other staff (scouting, etc.). Anyone taking a "permanent" GM spot now would be looking over his shoulder at Rizzo for the rest of the year.

3. The MLB rule about interviewing minorities for such major positions. Can you imagine the S... hitting the fan if the Nats were to ask for an exception to that rule in DC? If no exception, that would require a process that would last some weeks, at least.

We play '09 with an interim and bring someone in come fall. If the season is terrible, the position is opened up in September and the new GM will probably replace Manny.

Just a prediction, with no $ on it.

Posted by: Catcher50 | March 2, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

@natsnut

I've been wanting a pair for a while. If only they made Nats ones.

http://tinyurl.com/ag2p67

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Aw, c'mon. The new Screech is not so bad. He'll be more mobile and his shoes are cute.

Posted by: Section138 | March 2, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

enough about Bowden. He Gone.

Stan, fix our Bullpen please, they look atrocious, with the exception of Terrell Young and Hanrahan. our starters are looking good('cept for Cabrera who sucks anyway), but out Relievers have been getting their brains beat in. yes, it is still early, but it's still not good.

Stan better do something about this nonsense.

Posted by: MrMadison | March 2, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm with NatsNut. He's not that bad. Think about it. All were are saying, is give Screech a chance.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Dang it! Bungled the punch line.

All *we* are saying, is give Screech a chance.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

yes yes, it *is* quite early.

otherwise we would have to be worried about guys like this:

F Cordero 22.50
G Meche 27.00
J Rauch 27.00
B Ryan 36.00
J Affeldt 18.00
J Chamberlain 18.00
K Lohse 18.00

etc.

granted, i don't think our bullpen was all that great before anyone started pitching. but "results" after just a couple of ST games is kind of a misnomer.

Posted by: sec231 | March 2, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

awesome slippers, 138. Let me know if your campaign is successful. I'll get a pair.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 2, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hey what is going on at ST today? Any games? Day off? Who is looking good, bad, etc? I've been away for a week and I need my fix. All I've got to read is Bowden stuff.

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 2, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Let's talk about that bullpen, shall we?

Assuming we go seven deep, I can see it shaking out like this:

Hanrahan
Mock
Rivera
Young
Wagner
Bergmann
Hinckley

And that leaves out guys like Shell, Estrada, and any of the starters that Kasten feels may be better suited to the pen.

Is that really so bad? Honestly, I don't know. But I don't think I hate it.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 2, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Ah - just saw it's an off-day. But I still want more... :)

Posted by: PattyinSJ | March 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

FYI Kasten will be on The Potato Team station (980 AM) in about 3-4 minutes...

Posted by: OldDude | March 2, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

At the end of the day Jimbo was in the news for all the wrong reasons and he didn't improve the Nats not one iota,now if we could just get Acta gone then maybe we can put one foot in front of the other.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 2, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

From Bill the Lad on Nationals.com

Kasten is already talking to opposing teams about possible trades and is dealing with agent Brodie Van Wagenen about a contract extension for third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. The two parties hope to get a deal done by Opening Day. In fact, Kasten and Van Wagenen talked on Sunday.

"I have been deeply involved in [the negotiations] recently. I spoke to Ryan's agent yesterday," Kasten said. "As far as trades go -- things like that-- I myself talked trades with teams yesterday. Nothing is imminent, but conversations have gone continuously without anyone missing a beat."
------------------------------------

If Stan gets Zim signed to a multi year deal prior to April 6th then he will get PR bonus points from Sr. Director of Baseball Media Relations, John Dever.

In all seriousness, I hope he gets it done and glad he has continued to make it a priority.

As far as the new Screech goes, he is for the kids and Clint is for the adults (LMAO). Personally, I really like the entertainment at the stadium.

This has not been mentioned so hoping Chico can maybe pick up on it---rumor alert---that Frank Robinson supposedly had a beef with JimBo so maybe now Frank will come back and grace us many times in the future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 2, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

shenanigans. i don't know who clint is "for," but as an adult (in age only), i take umbrage at the notion that he's "for me."

Posted by: sec231 | March 2, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'd be surprised to see Wagner back in the bigs for opening day, I'm very curious to know what his velocity was yesterday. I'm with you on everyone else, but I have Shell in Wagner's place.

One thing to remeber for all the pitchers is that they aren't using their full repetoire yet and many are also likely beign told to lay off a bit on their velocity until their arms are up to game strength.

That's one of my worries for Hanarahan, I really don't want him pressing till he's sure he's up to speed.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Thom Loverro on 980 ESPN Radio live now!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 2, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Glad Stan clarified to Thom Loverro that the Mod Squad has been around for 2 years.

Posted by: dmacman88 | March 2, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

What makes you guys so confident about Terrell Young? I thought he only had a fastball...

Posted by: CluelessNatsFan | March 2, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Kasten on 980, 3 things that stood out for me;

1. "Smiley" will play for the Nats in A ball this year, either Hagerstown or Potomac

2. Org will be very hands on in the DR, no more delegating oversight.

3. Said the team has a "surplus" of position players (and a deep bench), but there was no follow up about potential trades

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that the new Screech has the same expression as Patrick Ramsey in the pocket?

Posted by: Section506 | March 2, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Can't figure out for one second why Loverro spends two seconds on that useless radio station. Thom the people on that station don't give a hoot about you or the Washington Nationals. Unless they are paying you serious coin, why bother.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 2, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Intersting point about Frank's beef with JimBow, I wonder if Zim's agents and maybe Cordero himself will be more receptive to overtures from Stan than they would have been with Bowden, well that is for certain, but to what degree I wonder...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

To continue that thought, what would be the best, quickest and "easiest" way to get focus back on the team, restore some good faith with the fans and basically help everyone move? How about sigining Zimmerman to a long term deal, say a 5 yr $50 mil extension with an escalating AAV and some nice performance bonuses?

You would be defering the money till future years and buying some great PR right now.

Not saying it will or should happen (we'd have to give Zim the money he wants, not the money he's "earned" with his play thus far).

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Kasten on 980, 3 things that stood out for me;

1. "Smiley" will play for the Nats in A ball this year, either Hagerstown or Potomac

2. Org will be very hands on in the DR, no more delegating oversight.

3. Said the team has a "surplus" of position players (and a deep bench), but there was no follow up about potential trades

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 4:42 PM

------------------------------------
Good post. I think those were all interesting especially Stan's comments about Frowney and saying at 25 or 26 he could make it to the big club. I would say a BIG IF....

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 2, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Has the ex-Reds Underground Railroad been dismantled?

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 2, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Intersting point about Frank's beef with JimBow,

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 4:47 PM
------------------------------

Frank Robinson needs to have a VIP style going away party. I have already suggested to the Nats that they should retire #20 and this JimBo resignation should hopefully pave the way!


Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 2, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

... thanx to you guys who directed me (us) to ESPN 980AM. I was able to catch the tail end of Stan, and then the next part with Thom Loverro (at least that's who I think it was).

... anyway, he was asked a (stupid or at least useless) question about 'how long before the Nats are successful, i.e. make the playoffs.' His response was something along the lines of "Say what!!?? We haven't even reached the point where we can start to ask that question!"

... good answer. My own feeling is that when the Nats make the playoffs, the team roster will have gone through a few or more arrivals and departures than what we see today.

... so what do you guys think? How many years?

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 2, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Stan Kasten was just on XM. I don't know if he said the same thing on the radio earlier, but his main points were:

1. He took responsibility for Jim Bowden, calling the theories of survival by working Lerner "poppycock". He said that it was his decision to keep Bowden. "Nobody is smarter, nobody works harder, nobody is better at looking under rocks."

2. He supported the WBC and Adam Dunn and Hanrahan's joining in. He even said that Dunn going to the WBC alows the team to give more at bats to the excess of outfielders (he did not say "excess").

3. He did say it was time for Bowden to go, that he was distracting from the team, and that he would recommend Bowden for teams that need that kind of skill set, knowing that Bowden's personality is a "mixed bag".

4. He sounded very devoted to Ryan Zimmerman, and to signing him long term.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 2, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Was watching Washington Post Live, and who should appear in an early segment but the Blogfather! He looked tired, jet lag maybe? Get some rest, Barry, and thanks for your work on the story. Also, tell the host that it's HANRAHAN not LANNAN in the WBC. D'oh!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

@kevin

I, too, heard Stan the Plan Man on XM. I thought he was extremely gracious towards his former general manager as he has been through this whole ordeal. Stan pointed out JimBow's strong points as a GM - his tireless work ethic and his ability to :Look under rocks" for discounted players - while not dwelling on perceived negatives like being hard to trade with and his personality quirks. But Reds' HOF broadcaster Marty Brennaman just buried JimBow in an earlier XM interview emphasizing all of the negative traits that Stan shied away from. I think the front office is in good hands.

Posted by: leetee1955 | March 2, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

That bullpen list is short a quality lefty. If there is a deal with the As, they have Jerry Blevins. The Olney report on the O-Cab signing says they are talking to Dennys Reyes (who makes a lot of sense for us, but I've said that before). Perhaps Blevins is expendable, but I'd have to wonder why they'd give up a guy making the MLB minimum the next two years.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 2, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

I don't think there is any question that out bullpen needs help. However, if we signed Dennys Reyes we'd have to give up our second round pick. For me the price is too high.

Posted by: CluelessNatsFan | March 2, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

"Can't figure out for one second why Loverro spends two seconds on that useless radio station."

He's either getting paid or they have a hell of a buffet.

From the station's viewpoint, it would probably cost them less if they're paying him.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 2, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Or wait according to NFA its a supplemental round pick instead. Damn I think I know something and then... I guess my moniker still works. How does that work then? Do we lose a pick or not?

Posted by: CluelessNatsFan | March 2, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

leetee-

I am content to have Stan in charge. I only wanted the Lerners to get the team in oder for Kasten to be involved. I have to admit that I have at times wished that the other main rival (forgive me- was it Zucker) got the team, because they may have been more aggressive.

However, I have a vague feeling in the back of my mind that the other ownership team might have been one that might have been more badly affected by the horrible downturn of the last year or so.

Positively Half St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 2, 2009 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Natscan:

I'll bite. I think it's really hard to answer your question though. So much is dependent on the development of about 5 or 6 key minor (soon to be major) leaguers. I'm still not sold on the position players in their system but am willing to give them one more year to see if they pan out. I think the first three months of stats on Marrero, et al will be crucial toward answering your question. Seeing if Dukes and Milledge can continue to progress will also be important. I'll put the target date for a 85-90 wins at 2011.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@JiM:
I'll abstain from bullpen speculations right now, but I will make this point - Wagner is a non-roster invitee; if he (or others) make the club, somebody has to pass through waivers.

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I was surprised how clueless most the guys on 980 were about the Nats roster, one of those jackasses said one strike against Bowden was "signing that shortstop who couldn't hit" then "oh yea Guzzzz"

I really hope he was kidding...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

In the old days I would've signed this "Fatty Debockle"

Don't forget to bockle up on your way home.

***********
As we've learned from watching the Redskin debockle the failure of the team is never owner related.
Posted by: pstotts15 | March 2, 2009 1:55 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1:
I think the WaPo may feel that there are some "conflict-of-interest" with their writers appearing with any regularity on SnyderTalk980. Mike Wise has done pieces in the past, but I can't recall hearing any other WaPo writer / columnist since Snyder bought the network. Apparently, the Times has no such issue, as Lovarro is a regular on the afternoon-drive show.

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Sigh. I do miss being able to create humorous signatures tailored to a specific post.

Speaking of clueless, on the MLB Network 30/30 show, John Hart mentioned the Milledge trade as an example of the Nats having traded away young prospects from the farm system. Say what now? OTOH, he did seem to have done his homework on the team to some extent.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

OK, if I've parsed this correctly, you're saying young people don't understand that it's alright to lie about your age.

But that just doesn't seem right.

I know what you mean, though--in the old days, we didn't have agents to lie about our ages--we had to do it ourselves.

*********************
It seems what has been lost on our newer generation of young people is it is alright to lie about anything as long as those lies are tied into a long list of co conspirators that are on the take. The string ends when someone snitched and rats out the rest when that person feels they did not get enough of their comeuppances.
Didn't Livian Hernandez lie about his age when he was a Florida Marlin when he came from Cuba?

I wonder how many other liars are in Major League Baseball layered behind their scouts, agents, and owners?

Posted by: Sideswiped | March 2, 2009 2:25 PM

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Satchel Paige said that.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Clueless, Dennys Reyes is indeed a Type B free agent, which meant the team that loses him (Twins, in this case) gets a "sandwich pick" between the first and second round. The signing team does not lose any picks.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

means.

present tense.

And if he had not been offered arbitration, they wouldn't get the sandwich. Not even the pickle.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

@estuartj:
The base team on "the Sports Reporters" (a misnomer, if ever there was one) is Andy Pollin & Steve Czaban. Pollin is an experienced radio voice, but his strengths are Football & Hoops. Czaban is "a radio personality" (think Colin Cowherd), who is a Redskin / pro-football-centric blowhard that gives short shrift to any other sport that isn't "worthy of his attention".

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Which one sounds like Tony K, but without the humor?

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Natscan, you're right, it was a stupid question. There's no way to know the answer. Odds against it happening here this year are long, but a lot of smart people would've laughed at the Rays' pennant chances, this time last year, or Colorado's, in July of 2007.
What if the Phillies get a case of Natsluck this year; the Marlins don't surprise anybody; the Braves remain "old and in the way" (thank you U. Utah Phillips!); and the Mets get a case of, well, being the Mets; while back in the District: the starting pitching is better than we think, NJ doesn't get hurt until at least late August, and the will-they-or-won't-they prospects do? Lotsa what-ifs, sure, but stuff happens every year.

Posted by: CEvansJr | March 2, 2009 6:38 PM | Report abuse

@1a1:
John Hart - He had a good run as GM of the Indians, but "crapped out" with the Rangers. Is there something in the air in Texas that restricts bloodflow to the brain, or is that too political for this forum?

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

db423,

2009 - 2011. My but that's an awfully short time frame, in my estimation.

... depending on the quality of the next GM - how savvy he is at trading over-hyped prospects for gems still hiding in the bushes; on the scouting crew - how much intangible insights they carry with them to all those college and high school diamonds; on the ownership - how well they can keep their heads and wallets above water during a depres... oops, I mean recession; and on the health of a stable roster and stability of a healthy one, I'd be tempted to stake my own claim on a playoff appearance no sooner that 2014.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 2, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Not to defend "Smiley" because wrong is wrong but if I remember correctly, some players have lied about steroids lately. Just saying.

All the lies tarnish the game.

Posted by: derwink | March 2, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk who Obama had nominated to be US trade rep is in trouble for (drum roll please) not paying taxes.

Maybe it is the Texas air, it doesn't seem to matter which side of the political aisle you are on...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

and yes BinM, both are comments are way too political for this blog.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

OUR comments, maybe I shouldn't be bad mouthing Texas, the Virginia air seems to be no better...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

I listen to 980 driving home. I find Czaban fairly entertaining. He's really good on golf which is my second favorite sport. He's next best with football. Pollin is good on Redskins stuff and that's about it.

What is clear is that both are absolutely horrendous on baseball. It's really painful and embarrassing any time they have to talk about it. The fact that these two guys hold important drive time positions in a major sports talk radio market and cannot carry a 10 minute segment on baseball without help from Laverro (when he's there) is awful. They don't even seem to prepare.

I never will forget when Washington was awarded the team and Pollin asked on the air in a whiny voice, "Does this mean that we are going to have to talk about middle relievers now?" - this in the midst of mostly city-wide euphoria over the end of the 33 year drought. To his credit, Czaban at least called him out on it by replying, "No, we now GET to talk talk about middle relievers." It hasn't gotten much better since.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Which one sounds like Tony K, but without the humor?

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 6:33 PM
-------------------------
Hmmm - Pollin's more an Alto in tone & tries to be a "straight-up" reporter, Czaban's a Baritone in tenor and has the "cut off your comment so I can talk about me" attitude. So, in sound quality, Pollin; in demeanor, Czaban.

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't know Natscan. Baseball is a little too volatile it seems to me. If they have to wait until 2014, that means that many of their moves (trades, FAs, drafts) up to this point have not been any good. You could be right though if my sense of their position player drafts in '06, '07, and '08 is accurate. I guess I was just trying to be as optimistic as possible.


#4

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

How come nobody thinks StanK won't name himself GM? His "I'm in charge" manifesto is a sign of addictive behavior.

In any event, this time it will be a Mini StanK, one who owes his job to a gasbag. And as JimBo found out, that kind of loyalty is a one way ticket to nowhere.

Posted by: howjensen | March 2, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Stan the Man is getting around today: he's scheduled to join the MLB Tonight crew on MLB Network momentarily...

Posted by: BGinVA | March 2, 2009 7:09 PM | Report abuse

With Stan stepping in as Interim-GM he should have some serious pull to get things back on track. To that end, if Stan was taking your emails (or reading this post) what are the 3 things you want him to do in the next 7-10 days or so, and please be VERY specific. My list;

1. Get Zim to sign an extension, even if it means matching the Markakis deal - say 5 year extension (to his 1 yr deal) for $55 mil.

2. Sign Denny Reyes to a 1-2 year deal, expect to have to pay $7-8 mil a year.

3. Explore a trade for Miguel Montero from ARI, I can't even guess what this would take, but it should certainly be a lot less than what they were asking from Boston (Bowden I believe), but it would still have to be a top 10 prospect (not formerly known as Smiley), so maybe Norris or Nieto?

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

It hasn't gotten much better since.
-------------------
@#4:
Exactly - Neither one of them gives a crap about pro sports in the DC area outside the Redskins, as expected. [Who holds their contracts]?
The local sports radio environment probably isn't going to get any better, as advertising revenue continues to fall, but it would be nice if the other franchise owners (Polin, Leonsis, McFarlane/Chang & the Lerners) could come up with a joint plan to get their product on-the-air over a solid network of stations locally. Just a pipe-dream, but wouldn't it be nice?

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

db423,

... and you could be right by default. I am an old guy, steeped in the ways of the game before Bill James, huge salaries, college phenoms, etc. My gut reaction is that it will take a while. But I can understand the way you and CEvansJr are thinking. The imponderables are simply too unpredictable, and the reality, which I seem to forget all too often, is that management can do just that - manage in a more productive way these days, building a contender in a much shorter time than I'm expecting.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 2, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

OK scratch #3, I think I've developed a Bowden-esque man-crush on Montero.

Gotta be more circumspect...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

@estuartj:
1) Sign RZimm - agreed. A 5-yr extension for $53-$58M additional sounds about right.
2) Reyes @$7-8M; I dunno. That's feels like a lot for a 7th or 8th-inning pitcher.
3) A trade for Montero? A catcher for a catching prospect? What am I failing to see (probably a lot, but I have to ask).

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

BinM:

I understand and agree with your sentiment. The only thing to point out though is that Polin's and Czaban's presence in drive-time far pre-dates Snyder's acquisition of the station. Radio people are convinced that ONLY the Redskins sell. They are motivated by listener ratings and advertising revenue.

Of course 980 has horrible ratings so you think they'd try to change things up a bit. Ironically of those that have regular shows, the best baseball voice on there is former Redskin Doc Walker. He grew up playing baeball and is a huge Dodger fan. I've heard him a few times, and he has a feel for the sport. Still it would be nice for them to get a former baseball player with a brain on the afternoon show who could have meaningful dialogue about the Nats.

#4

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Good to see you back, Half Street. Your 7 o'clock musings were always great to read.

On the same note...it's fantastic to see Barry back. Not sure if the WP swiped your blog password or not, but I sure hope you'll have the opportunity to add your opinions every now and then. By the way, any Panera's in the Dominican?

On a baseball note, how about Reyes, Biemel or Ohman to supplement Hinckley? Sure, you'll have to drop a guy from the 40 man but would that be a better, barely more expensive option that running Mock or Bergmann out there? A major league deal at the veteran minimum could get the job done with any of the three.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | March 2, 2009 7:45 PM | Report abuse

Dennys Reyes would be a perfect fit. He pitched for the Reds under Bowden.

Seriously though, $7-8 million? He's never earned more than $1 million in any season. Last year his stats weren't markedly better than his other seasons. He also turns 32 this April and has lots of mileage on him.

Posted by: db423 | March 2, 2009 7:48 PM | Report abuse

There is a lot of good baseball minds on here so maybe I am in Right Field on this.

Zim for $10 to $11 mill a year when the only player in that range is Markakis.

Tulowitzki, Ryan Braun, and Pedroia have signed deals at $8 mill and lower and has been brought up on other sites Pedroia and Braun were both ROY's and All Stars.

I don't think you can throw out dollar figures that don't make sense any more.

My guess is $6 to $8 million with some $10 million options would get him. Next year Adam Dunn goes to $12 million so you will be spending 30% of your budget on 2 players not to mention the signing bonus they will be paying Stephen Strasburg!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 2, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

I think I saw some bogus contract info on Reyes, sorry for the crap suggestion, ok scrap 2 and 3, I'll just give up now...

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

I see two factors in the Zimmerman extension. First, Ryan Howard signing an extension with PHI is a positive sign, as Close/Van Wagenen generally recommend a wait to free agency approach to long term deals.

But, the cost of a Zimmerman extension will really be contingent on how many years of free agency are bought. Balance the free agency years with the still continually increasing arbitration numbers and the overall deal for an extension will be comparable to the Markakis/Pedroia deals.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | March 2, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

@#4:
It's a circular argument - the radio people are convinced that only the Redskins sell, because they've only tried to sell the Redskins for the past 30 years!
There are certainly people out there who would also fit "niche" markets for the other teams, should they broaden their horizons a little. I, for one, am passionate about baseball, but love 'real' football, and hockey as well. It just seems that the current market is so heavily slanted toward the Redskins.

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Ahhh, found my mistake, rumor has it Reyes turned down a 3 yr $7mil deal last year. I'll bet he wish he could get that deal now!

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Los Doce Ocho-

Thanks. I have no idea why WaPo.com took away my user name, but no amount of trying can get it back.

I am excited about this season, just like I was excited about the start of fishing season as a kid, although I rarely caught anything worth keeping.

Positively Half St (+1/2St)

Posted by: kevincostello | March 2, 2009 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I was always told that was why it was called "fishing" as opposed to "catching," PHS.

So what did Stan have to say on MLB Tonight if anybody watched it? I tuned in too late for the segment.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

No wait, that was for getting skunked rather than not having any "keepers." Never mind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 2, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@Going... & LDO:
IMO, RZimmerman is worth a $10M AAV to the team, just for face value. He's lost out on one Gold Glove, and maybe the ROY to Wright from NY-press / TV-exposure alone.
-------------
@+1/2 St / kevinc:
Your problem probably has something to do with unique logins; not to worry, you're still Positively 1/2 Street in most of our books.

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

@1a1:
"Give someone a fish, you feed them for a day; Teach someone to fish, you feed them for a lifetime".
It's so zen-like & metaphorical, you know? ;)

Posted by: BinM | March 2, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

I only just now saw goingoinggone's recap of the radio show.

Isn't it kind of a big deal that Smiley's staying on board? I'm surprised that hasn't been discussed at length.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 2, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately there isn't much to discuss regarding Frowny. I'm surprised they have invited him to play at all, and I'm going to be more surprised if ICE will even let him in the country. I guess anything is possible though.

If he does play, he's such a non-entity as a prospect because of his age. The bloom had already come off the rose for him, most expect him to have to come off shortstop and his bat lacks the pop you'd want at 2nd.

The really sad thing is that if he had given his real age we probably would have signed him and pushed him much harder up the ladder, he should be finishing AA now at his age so he's wasted 2 years in development playing with competition much below his age bracket.

Posted by: estuartj | March 2, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Kasten has definitely thrown dirt on Bowden's grave but with some style - his remark that Ol' Segway drivin', DUIin', Leatherpants resigned wiht "characteristic poise and maturity" was pretty rich.

His comments on XM today were very gracious, in his usual pablum non-speak way. What's he supposed to say? - "Yeah, I wanted Jim gone for years but couldn't get it done until now because I didn't have enough pull?"

Kasten will definitely be able to put together a real professional organization now, and I appreciate his lawyerly ways, but he's still playing office politics for keeps.

Brennaman was just plain mean today. His eviscerating of Bowden was really as nasty as you'll hear on the air (from a public figure, not one of us wingnut callers/posters). I've listened to some Reds games on XM, and it's not the first time he's been ugly. He was probably accurate actually, but it made him out to be somebody you'd want to watch your back around.

Geezer

Posted by: utec | March 2, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what it means that Kasten says both that he is in charge, and that he will have something for us at the end of the week. A week isn't enough time to interview a set of people for the job, and it would take 10 seconds or so to declare Mike Rizzo the Interim GM. Perhaps they are negotiating a contract with Rizzo that would make him more than just the interim GM.

In the meantime, I would get a kick out of Kasten actually making a trade during his brief time slumming as GM, provided it is nothing too big. Say, trading WMP for a minor leaguer. Alternatively, he could sign one of the few free-agent relievers with their noses up against the window, looking in.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | March 3, 2009 5:01 AM | Report abuse

Hey Stan -- Man-ny is still available! Pick him up and then package some of the dead weight in the outfield for a trade!

Posted by: Brue | March 3, 2009 7:24 AM | Report abuse

no thank you. this is a young team that needs no "quitters" at $20m+ per season in the clubhouse.

Posted by: sec231 | March 3, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

There's a new arrival in the post department.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 3, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse


The majority of the baseball talking heads, from MLB Network, XM-175 MLB Homeplate, ESPN, FOX Sports, CNNSI all seem to be saying the same thing about Bowdens exit and Kastens new found roll.

"Its not a streach to say that industry was not fond of Bowden". Well the jury is probably still out regarding how much damage that did to the Nationals especially in 07 and 08.

"The Nationals as an organization has been rather dysfunctional and are not taken seriously by others within the industry". If your looking for a point man on that one you could possibly point the finger at the entire cast on the statement.

"Stan Kasten has been relegated to a carny-act over the past three years".
Good-bad-or indifferent that's basically what he was doing. Shilling everything about the operation(new stadium, transportation/parking issues, game-day experience, food vendors etc.) except the product on the field.

"With Bowden gone, Kasten will fix this mess up in short-order". He is the brains behind a good organization and if he picks Rizzo to be the GM while he takes on a more active role in Baseball ops, then the Lerners and the fans will be that much better off. Its a shame it didn't happen two years ago!
organization is supposed to be.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 3, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

For Screech. I don't know, maybe if I saw him live. They should have made him able to close his beak. With those eyes, it makes him look crazed or something.

As for GM. Maybe tempt Gillick out of retirement. There was a discussion out on another blog of "what ifs" involving Gillick at the time the NATS came here.

Posted by: CALSGR8 | March 3, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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