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Nats Release Hill, Sign Beimel To One-Year, $2 Million Deal

The Nationals today released starting pitcher Shawn Hill and signed free agent left-handed relief pitcher Joe Beimel to a one-year, $2.0 million deal. Both moves can be attributed to uncertainty. The Nationals gave up on Hill, despite his promise, no longer willing to brace for more injury problems. And the Nationals added Beimel, feeling the need to add a veteran to a bullpen that Manager Manny Acta has called the weakest part of the club.

Hill, 27, who pitched one scoreless inning in Monday's exhibition game, had been scheduled to start Friday.

This morning, he was summoned to Acta's office. Acta called their meeting "probably the toughest decision I've had to make since I've been here."

Beimel, 31, spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2008, he had a 2.02 ERA in 71 games. Acta said that Beimel will be the team's eighth-inning set-up man.

More details will be coming on both moves soon.

By Chico Harlan  |  March 18, 2009; 3:39 PM ET
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Next: Hill Released, Beimel Signed [Updated]


wow, I thought it might happen but I thought a few weeks from now.

Posted by: irishnat | March 18, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Hill just got Patterson'd, errr, Hill'd. Can't say it's a bad move, guess this clears the way for Znn, regardless of when that arbitration clock starts early...

Posted by: -CN- | March 18, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Love the Beimel signing, love it. Assuming not too much cash was thrown his way (perhaps he shares Tavarez' train of thought, we are J-Lo!). Proven lefty vet that has had some solid years that is still 31 and presumably has some years ahead of him...

Posted by: -CN- | March 18, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think this was the same as the Patterson move. John had lost 4-6 mph on his fastball and was getting pummeled in spring training.

Shawn has been very effective when able to pitch.

Patterson never came back, but I think that Shawn Hill can.

Posted by: rushfari | March 18, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Holy Crap! I thought they would go one more round of him trying to pitch through pain. But, I guess they have given it plenty of time aleady if you really think about it.

I really like the Beimel signing.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 18, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I think we just witnessed the Nats roll the dice.

I think this locks the rotation... I think the Nats trade an outfielder for a quality reliever (my guess is Milledge because you can get more for him, and you have a better defensive outfield with Dunn, Dukes and Kearns), and suddenly the Nats are a Major League team.

But what do I know.

Posted by: wigi | March 18, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I was just reading where Hill was going to pitch on Friday. Why give up on him now when it looked like his arm problems had dissipated some. Why not wait until the end of camp to decide. We know that this guy can pitch if healthy. This does not make sense.

Posted by: mjames0 | March 18, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh gawd. No. You guys are bunch of cold hearted bastiches. My heart is broken.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the plan is to sign him to a minor league deal? I don't know -- it does seem odd that they did this. Maybe the Beimel deal had a deadline to it.

Posted by: Section406 | March 18, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we're going to get Zimmermann and Martis to start the season. No complaints from me.

And I wouldn't be surprised if Strasburg is in that rotation as well by season's end.

Posted by: pondaz | March 18, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | March 18, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I am not sure I get it, but I don't mind it. All or nothing at all. Maybe they needed to open up a spot on the 40-man?

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | March 18, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with 406 that perhaps the intent is to re-sign him to a minor league deal. He is out of options, and if he couldn't break spring training heading north, he would have to be DFA'd (I will defer to the unofficial guru of all things transaction related--Brian from NFA). Why not do this now as they needed a spot on the 40 man for Beimel. Great signing by the way.

Whatever the case, I wish Hill the best. I'm to Rita's--the ice cream place, not a woman's house :)

Posted by: jfromPG | March 18, 2009 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I think it makes every bit of sense on the assumption there's something we don't know or something they haven't said yet. He's probably hurting again.

The team of fourth chances and eternal reclamations just cut Shawn Hill loose. What does that say?

Posted by: Zornado | March 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Patterson was obviously broken when he was released last year. Hill? Didn't seem like it from the reading. Makes much more sense for him to get another start. Can't understand why we suddenly gave up. Looking forward to what you dig up Chico.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | March 18, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

... for me, this is bittersweet news. I like Shawn Hill, and of all the Nats on the bubble, he's the one I've wanted to make it. Yes, it probably does have something to do with nationality; the whole WBC thing has fertilized that in me. But I still believe he's got a future somewhere. I understand the Nats couldn't wait any longer, but it still disappoints.

... but then there's this: this is why I don't like the kind of team-friendly media relationships that we call beat reporters. I'm not saying that Chico or anyone else for that matter would have or could have got this info any sooner. But from the admittedly good stories and posts we've received, one could easily draw the conclusion that St. Randy and Shawn were moving straight ahead; had set a date for this Friday with Randy offering more pitches, more innings and Shawn gratefully receiving the inherent confidence. As a fan, I want to know about these things and I don't want the team to ignore me by cultivating a friendship in which they can manipulate what I hear and read.

... is it possible to say now, that as they worked out a deal for Beimel, they knew all along that Shawn would be expendable? The team supporter part of me wants to say yes; the Shawn Hill supporter part of me wants to say no. All I know is that I feel a bit less of a fan now.

... that said however, I can still sign off with:

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | March 18, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I think I get it:

Hill is not going to stay healthy. Its a distraction. His salary is not guaranted if they cut him now. The money is freed up to pay for Beimel. Simple. Create budget, use it on need, lower risk.

Posted by: natbisquit | March 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I need to talk to someone. None of my co-workers understand my despair.

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Boone isn't the only guy getting his heart cut open.

Posted by: petey5 | March 18, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Hate to say it, but Hill was cut because this was the last day you could and only be obligated to pay him 1/6 of his salary. This was more related to him winning arbitration than to the signing of Beimel.

Mind you, I love the signing. Been banging on the drum for a LHP all offseason. But the message is, don't beat us in arbitration if you are borderline for the 25 man roster.

does anyone seriously think he was the least valuable guy on the 40 man when, if healthy, he was something of a shoe in for the rotation (and if not, there was the DL)?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 18, 2009 4:04 PM | Report abuse

got new-posted (twice):


Thanks for the stats, but let's take a closer look shall we?

By year, here are AK's RF ratings:

04 = +4
05 = +9
06 = +9
07 = +18
08 = +2

AK's high rating is based on his '07 year in RFK, where the field provided opportunities for plays to be made that most parks don't. He topped out at +9 in Cincy, which is what I think a healthy Kearns probably is. I see the '07 year as a product of the park.

I think his injury caused his drop in rating for last year (Dukes was +11 btw), but look at other RFK numbers such as Super-Nook's +22 in CF in '07 or Soriano's +15 in LF in '06. Sori doesn't show up in '07 or '08 which means he was lower than +8 in those years - meaning his value dropped by half once he left RFK - which would support my theory that RFK was the reason Kearns' numbers look so good.

If we give AK the benefit of the doubt for '08 and toss out '07, his +9 is not as good as Dukes' +11 from last year.

So I stand by my assertion that AK's D is overrated these days.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 3:57 PM

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Holy moly. I think we all wish Shawn the best. That sucks.

To everybody who keeps saying "good signing". I agree we needed bullpen help, but I've never heard of the guy. Who is he?

Posted by: nattaboy | March 18, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"Hate to say it, but Hill was cut because this was the last day you could and only be obligated to pay him 1/6 of his salary."

I think JCA may have stirred up a Lerner's are cheap discussion.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 18, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

This just in from NW.....a man wearing a Duke hat has climbed on top of a chair at Panera's and is threatening to jump....

for Godssake Barry, don't do it..think of the panini its too young to die

Posted by: jfromPG | March 18, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess he told them his forearm hurt last night. Why is anyone surprised. I love the Bemiel signing. Next move is to trade Milledge, put Dukes in CF and lets start winning now.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 18, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

I guess I was too excited to read the last part of the post, for at least some idea of who the newest nat is. Those numbers are good enough that it makes me think Joel only has the closer role as a tryout for now. Anybody know what kind of stuff Beimel throws?

This was not a cheap move but a hard, smart, realistic one.

Posted by: nattaboy | March 18, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

REALLY like the Beimel signing. Shawn Hill...he looks like he's going to become Ben Sheets: a constant tease because he is always hurt.

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | March 18, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Gotta think they know something we don't.

Posted by: nattydread1 | March 18, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Good point jca. Yeah, he signs for close what they offered in arb and he's still on the 40 man and they let him rehab in minors to see if he can come back.

LOVE the Beimers signing. He is instantly our best RP. That is great news.

Posted by: Avar | March 18, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Holy bleep. Didn't see this one coming.

Pattersoning Patterson turned out to be very smart.

Love Shawn, but I think in retrospect this will seem like an equally good move. Nothing we've seen lately makes it seem likely that he'll ever pitch anything close to a full season.

And it's just good business practice that you don't pay $775k for an eight of a pitcher (or whatever you think the odds are that Shawn stays healthy).

Posted by: joebleux | March 18, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I think the move is good. It shows that Nats are willing to do what it takes to win games. They are going to take the best 25 men north, not hold on to players hoping that they recover from injury.

Now Hill can latch onto another team since there is time left in Srping Training. I wish him luck, but doubt we will see much from him this year at least.

Posted by: abryant15 | March 18, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Man, just got back from a meeting to see this news. Wow, they actually JPAT'd Hill.

I guess the Nats are serious about building a winner and have just run out of patience running out the same sick, lame and lazy.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | March 18, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

This was a move I called for weeks ago regarding Hill. The writing was clearly on the wall. Hill was simply not someone we could trust to go out there and get performance out of. He should be thankful the Nats gave him as much time as they did. I wish Shawn all the best, but I can't ever see him amounting to anything. Good job Mike Rizzo and staff! This would not have been a move Bowden would have favored.

Posted by: Keenan1 | March 18, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Once again the ineptitude of the Nationals organization shows its face. Where is the concern about how many pitchers on their watch have career-threatening arm injuries? And ways to stop this from happening?

This could be seen from miles away after they released Patterson last year. Hill will show up somewhere else, but his career is basically over.

Posted by: bubbad | March 18, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow - I'm stunned; Absolutely did not see this coming this quickly.

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked, but also sort of expected this. I hope that Shawn gets healthy and can someday be an effective pitcher again. I also hope that maybe the Nats can sign him to a minor-league deal and see if he can recover down in the minors.

Love, love, love the Beimel signing. We now have two tested veterans (JB and Tavares) along with Saul "Rubberarm" Rivera in the bullpen. Within one week, the bullpen has improved ten-fold.

Next, I say DFA WMP and sign Pedro. Let ZNN start the season in Syracuse, and start the season with Lannan, Olsen, Pedro, Cabrera and Martis as the starting 5.

Posted by: erocks33 | March 18, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Cost savings on cutting Hill - 5/6 of $775K, or ~$646K. right into Beimel's pocket. LAC.

On the guess the roster thread, I agree for now with the position players. I'm not sold on how the last two rotation slots work out, especially after today. I think Tavarez or Bergmann may end up in the mix in place of a young'en.

As for the bullpen, T Young makes it as #7. Assume your back 4 for now are Rivera, Beimel, Tavarez, and Hanrahan. That's 5. Since Pena is a goner, there is a slot on the 40 man for Colome, and he makes the 25 man either as the 5th reliever or in the back 4 in place of Tavarez in the rotation. That leaves one slot for Bergmann, if 2 young'ens are in the rotation.

If either JT or JB are in the rotation, that opens slots for Hinckley, Shell, and Mock. I/M/O, Mock is a full-time, high-leverage reliever or closer in Syracuse because we want him to get more important work than the others. If both Tavarez and Bergamnn are in the rotation, there is room for two of the latter 3.

Finally, if one of the rookies is in the rotation, then he'll start for 2 weeks in the minors and the nats will carry a 14th position player or a 13th pitcher.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 18, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I gotta think Hill is having pain, but maybe not. Either way, I can't blame the FO for moving on. Good luck Shawny.

Love the Beimel signing! Our LOOGYs really were loogys. I wonder what else Rizzo has up his sleeve.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how much of this came from Acta and how much from above. Why have a plan to rush Hill's return if they're not sure he can useful?

There's also a big difference between Hill vs. Patterson. Patterson had big time velocity problems. There haven't been those concerns about Hill yet (mostly b/c Hill hasn't pitched I guess). With Patterson, the feeling was that his recovery wasn't enough. I guess the feeling on Hill is that he'll never recover.

I wish the Nats could have kept him b/c the upside is well worth the downside. He's pretty cheap for a potential MLB SP and it's not like this club is busting the payroll bank this year.

Posted by: hoo93 | March 18, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

WTF??? Is this an early April Fool's joke? There's more to this than meets the eye.

I just posted a comment last night about how I thought Hill was the Nats' best starter, if healthy. So, to say I'm surprised by this is an understatement.

Unless they know something about his arm troubles that isn't public knowledge, the Nats should consider offering him a minor league deal. He's still got one of the 2 or 3 best curveballs around.

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Shoot, I'm rolling today. Sorry for more, but I have to yell, "Please, Theo, steal Hill, especially if you are thinking of trading a system guy for Salty."

As for Beimel, the big red flag is his exceptionally low home run rate on his fly balls, which is suspected to be a product of Chavez Ravine, as well as Petco and AT&T in his division. Yes, Coors and the BoB are there too. This why I preferred Reyes, who signed for $3m over two years.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | March 18, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

I applaud the Beimel signing, but I don't see how it's connected to Hill. As I wrote yesterday(?), I thought the Nats needed to put Hill on the DL, to give him a chance to work in the minor leagues. We don't need Hill in the bullpen, but his upside makes him worth a little more patience to see if he can fit in the rotation.

Beimel is a great pick-up for the 'pen. I'd still like to see the Nats give Hill a chance to make the rotation, even if it takes a month or two.

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Great, tremendous, stupendous, terrific, outstanding, five stars. Outstanding move. What, exactly, do you Hill-lovers really see is this dead-armed pitcher? I agree he seems like a nice guy. He's also a seven-game winner. Lifetime. Judging from his spring training stats, he would have made as many trips to Dr. Andrews as starts. As for Beimel, a professional pitcher, maybe slightly more than a LOOGY, plus he might be able to teach the kids a trick or two. Besides Hill getting Pattersoned sends a message to all the other aging, oft-hurt vets (are you listening, WiMP and DaMeat?). That message is: Don't let the door hit you.
Tremendous move; Hill just breaks your heart too often, never would have been able to convert to the bullpen. Nats are pretty good at detecting dead wood. Exactly how many major league starts did Patterson have after he became a verb here?
Long live, Mike Russo. There's a new sheriff in town.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | March 18, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Who's Mike Russo?

Posted by: NatsNut | March 18, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Sorry that Hill is not going to be able to cut it -- the kid tried like Hell. Hopefully, he gets thru this arm problems stuff and links on someplace.

Beimel is a great inking. Fills the most obviuos need for the club. Looking more J-Lo-ish than they did yesterday.

Posted by: dfh123 | March 18, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

It is nice to finally have a real GM running things!

Good Luck to Shawn Hill. Wish him the best. Don't think we will miss the career 7-game winner, though. I also hope that no more ink will be spilled about him after another 24 hours.

Posted by: Section314 | March 18, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

If this had been a baseball decision reached at the end of Spring Training then I would be 100 percent behind it. I would have felt badly for Shawn Hill but I would have agreed that it was time to move on. But since it is, at least in part, a financial decision (saving money on Hill just in time to spend it on Beimel), it's hard not to have mixed feelings about it. I would like to believe that the medical staff and the talent evaluators determined that it was likely that Hill was not going to fill a rotation spot for this team in 2009 and that Zimmermann was ready to take his spot. But I can't be sure that the move wasn't motivated principally by money, and that bothers me. On the other hand, if this is a precursor to dealing an OF for a starter, then I'll accept that and move on.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the Beimel move improves our bullpen, which has been a concern.

I was also surprised (and saddened) by the Hill move. It sounded like his health situation might have been improving. Also, he was one of the last Expos, I believe. Wonder whether he might get a minor league contract, as some have posited.

Good luck to you, Shawn, and thanks for the memories.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Russo, Rizzo. Tomatoes, tomahtoes.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

So, over on, in the Headlines section, right under "Nationals to Release righty Hill"....Bill Ladson's little piece "Forearm problems behind Nats' Hill", where Bill opines "the latest assignment proves that Hill no longer has problems with his right forearm".

So evidently Shawn's arm isn't the problem. Maybe he picked some athlete's foot from Guz...

Posted by: joebleux | March 18, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Also, 307, I responded to you in the earlier thread, but here it is again:

Touche, 307! Nice theory, and it might hold some water. With that said, however, Kearns was still rated 4th in all of baseball before he got to RFK in 2007. So while the cavernous OF might have helped, it didn't invent the idea that he was a good defensive OF.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 4:37 PM

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

So that makes Nick Johnson the Last of the Mohicans (Expos)?

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Good luck to SH. Just a shame as he's really got above average stuff - just couldn't show it to us enough.

This might have been mentioned: If Tav's in the pen, then they're gonna HAVE to play a JLo song when he's on his way in. I think its required.

Posted by: Bazz | March 18, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Thanks BobL, for the repost (as well as the dap). Actual news broke out during our discussion.

Posted by: sec307 | March 18, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

On a more positive note, most of us thought the bullpen was the biggest concern going into the season, and we just added two veteran relievers, one from the left and one from the right, to shore it up. That's a job well done.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree these types of moves need to be made and we have a few more to go.....WMP should be cut now. Casto might have some value to matter how little it is, get it now. D Young....just cut him...please....he is not a good role model for anyone.

Sure these were our guys back when we sucked but the only way to get better is to make it clear.....this is s business and the best players are going to be keep on the 40 man roster....non of these guys should be there.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 18, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Have we all forgotten when the nats were seemingly a AAA team in the wrong league and couldn't win a game if their lives depended on it? Shawn was the only guy who could go out there against a much more talented team and show some toughness and put it in a good 7 innings. Yes, hes only won 7 games in the majors, but who else do we have thats done much better than that?

Also, what makes us think that we're all of a sudden a good team and can't save a spot for a guy with some upside who's relatively cheap for a major league starter and showed some real heart for us the past couple of years?

Come on nats, lets not get greedy here, because last I checked, we lost 100 last year.

Posted by: cookiemaster90 | March 18, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The timing on this was clearly dictated by the Beimel signing. He signed a major league contract, so he has to go on the 40-man roster. Someone had to go to make room. (Remember, Tavares so far is only on a minor league deal, so he didn't have to go on the 40-man.) Hill, having stretched himself to one inning as of now, was clearly not going to be in the rotation any time soon. He was basically a project taking up space on the 40-man. Rather than release someone else with more upside, they chose to release Hill.

Now, it's certainly possible that some other team would sign Hill now, but I'd say the chances are slim. And if they did, it would be to a minor league deal at best. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him sign a minor league contract with the Nationals, so he can go to Syracuse or Harrisburg and do his best to work his way back to the majors.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I believe that Nick is the last, 307.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

I need some chocolate.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised too, but I didn't know about the salary guarantee date. This isn't LAC, it's LA smart. Tough but smart. Why pay if he's not going to win games? They pay a net of what, 1.85 mil more, for a dependable arm. And it frees a slot on the 40 man for Beimel.

That's my head. My heart is hurting though. I want the guy to make it. Someone will sign him to a non-guaranteed deal, I hope it's us but he probably wants to move on.

Posted by: utec | March 18, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

"D Young....just cut him...please....he is not a good role model for anyone."

They already cut him, back last fall when they optioned him to Syracuse. Clearly no other teams wanted him then, or they could have claimed him. He's a non-roster invitee to ST this year. He hasn't played at all yet, and looks unlikely to any time soon. He's as good as gone. No one is looking at him as role model now. Shift your blame and your hate to someone else.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@nunoff -- I hope you're right about Hill signing a minor league deal with the Nats, but I wonder if the Nats are now prohibited from signing him until May? Or would that only apply to a major league deal? It seems to me that Nats could have put him on the 60-day DL, which would have made more sense. There's likely to be some opening on the 40-man soon enough (WMP or Chico -- I don't see how Chico merits a spot on the 40 right now, but Hill doesn't). I've got my fingers crossed, but I think this may be goodbye for the Nats and Hill.

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately,there is no resaon to think Hill can stay healthy. It's time to move on. It just is. I like the moves.

Posted by: ridgely1 | March 18, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry to see Hill go, and I hope he catches on someplace. More importantly, I hope he gets his arm problems worked out regardless of when and where he pitches again. That said, from a business standpoint this is all upside and no downside. Hill's arm may never be "right," and Zimmermann has shown potential this spring. Beimel is a low-risk signing. Good moves.

I agree with the previous poster(s) who said Kearns' best defensive years may be behind him. AK is a nice guy, and I wish him well, but I hope Rizzo can deal him for some more bullpen help. I'm not sure AK's trade value is high enough, so does that mean we move Milledge instead?

Is it Opening Day yet?

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | March 18, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

The rule about not re-signing a non-tendered player until May was eliminated in the latest MLB CBA.

It would not have held in this situation anyways since this is a straight release of a player.

(Hill had used up his options for the questioner earlier on)

Posted by: Brian_ | March 18, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Matt Chico is still under team control salary-wise and he is a lead pipe lock to be placed on the 60-day in the next couple of weeks. No reason to dump him now.

Pena seems a likely candidate for DFA, but the difference is that Pena's full $2M is guaranteed regardless of the date of release while as mentioned above Hill's arbitration award had a 5/6 cost savings if done today.

Posted by: Brian_ | March 18, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Just when we having the discussion about what "Pattersoned" means. I really think that this applies. I am sorry it happened, but I expected this to be the likely final result. This is the perfect example of someone being "Pattersoned". His health just couldn't be reliable, and the team thinks his career is over. It seems that, in a way, one could say Dmitri was Pattersoned, too. Perhaps we can get Hill again to our minor leagues for one more chance.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 18, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse


Matt Chico's coming off surgery - he'll most likely catch the 60DL, technically clearing another roster spot when camp breaks.

I think the writing may be on the wall for WMP, though. In football, they ask for your playbook - in baseball, it's the red-card or "Son, the Manager would like to speak to you in his office".

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

D Young is still taking up 3 seats on the bus and in the dug out. Again another example of disfunctional Jimbo days spending $10 Million over two years for nothing....nobody would have signed him for $2 Million and we pay $10......Cut him not from the 40 man....just cut him a check and end it.

Posted by: JayBeee | March 18, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I've googled Mike Russo -- he's pretty impressive. A former WWII fighter pilot, pizza parlor owner, VP for Wells Fargo, Minnesota Star-Trib sportwriter, TV and movie stuntman, a Div. III soccer Coach of the Year, a Hoboken, NJ Councilman, and, most recently, a candidate for the New York Senate. Dude gets around....

Posted by: fischy | March 18, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, somebody on this board (I have forgotten who, I apologize) pointed out the irony of Hill saying that his arm "felt normal." I'm not discounting the assertion that the timing of the move had to do with his salary considerations, but I'm curious as to whether or not he felt like he could pitch tomorrow as scheduled. If his forearm is hurting this is undoubtedly the best move.

I'm disappointed it didn't work out. Hill had some wicked stuff. I hope that he makes it back (just in the AL).

And his story (as with Patterson's) points to the potential dilemma face in signing Strasburg at the cost he might command. Pitchers are simply more prone to injury than other players (I'm sure the BobL will provide some hard numbers for us). There is a real possibility that Strasburg will sign for an unprecendented salary and never see the major leagues - or follow the Mark Prior trajectory. But how do you justify not signing the best player in the draft? I guess this is where prayer comes into play.

Best of luck, Shawn Hill - wherever fate leads you.

Posted by: lowcountry | March 18, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"It seems to me that Nats could have put him on the 60-day DL"

If they put him on the 60-day DL, I don't think he'd be allowed to pitch in the minors to rehab, at least not for the first 60 days anyway. He's not 60-day DL injured anyway. I don't think "soreness" counts for that.

Posted by: nunof1 | March 18, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and the Beimel signing is great. We hoped for them to do this, and remember that some were saying that we wouldn't sign Duaner Sanchez because of budget reasons. Well, Sanchez would have cost only the major league minumum, because he had been released. Since the team spent $2M on Beimel ($1.4M if you consider teh Hill savings), I guess that wasn't the point. They just didn't want Sanchez.

Rizzo may not be done, all. Hold on tight- the team may yet improve again before the season starts.


Posted by: kevincostello | March 18, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I think that Rizzo et. al. believe that the team is closer to winning that any of us had thought.

They have improved the one glaring deficiency on the team, the bullpen with the signings of Wells, Taverez & Beimel.

I think Shawn's departure indicates that a trade is in the offing - perhaps surplus outfielders + a pitching prospect for a Scott Olsen-esque starter, young but with a proven track record.

Hmmm. John Lannan, Scott Olsen, Daniel Cabrera, Jordan Zimmermann and that soon-to-be-traded-for starter is a great rotation for now. Then, we draft Steven Strasburg and trade Cabrera to a contender in July, getting a prospect or two.

in 2010, Shairon Martis and Colin Balestar will be ready too. Did you ever think they'd be a time when the Nationals pitching would be so good that top-notch prospects would have a problem cracking our rotation?

The Nats could win 80-85 games AND get the #1 draft pick in June.

That doesn't happen often.

Posted by: rushfari | March 18, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats could win 80-85 games AND get the #1 draft pick in June. That doesn't happen often."

Except for Tampa Bay last year

Posted by: Brian_ | March 18, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I think rushfari just threw a jinx on the Nats with the 80-85 wins and the #1 pick talk.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 18, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

This saddens me. I liked Hill, and I have been hopeful all Spring.

This is officially the point when we lose that pure, Boswellian sense of the hope of Spring training and start thinking transactionally.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 18, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Then who is responsible for the 2005-2008 jinx?


I think rushfari just threw a jinx on the Nats with the 80-85 wins and the #1 pick talk.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 18, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

"Then who is responsible for the 2005-2008 jinx?"

Rhymes with Flim Nowden

Posted by: Brian_ | March 18, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse


Didn't you get the memo? DaMeat isn't on the 40-man roster; the team outrighted him to SYR in October. Wheter he's in SYR, in extended ST, or on an injured-list somewhere, the Nationals' still owe him for the contract through the end of the 2009 season.

Sometimes, you just have to let things go & move on, man. Jump on WMP's case, if you need to bash a Nationals' player.

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

>This saddens me. I liked Hill, and I have been hopeful all Spring.

I'm pretty sad too. The guy has some cajones. Real ones. Maybe they're saving him from ending up like Johnny Unitas, who couldn't even hold a cup of coffee or sign an autograph later in life. To me, it all came down to his arm slot and his delivery, because when he was most effective, he was coming 7/8 or 3/4 arm with a side-to-side torsion on his release. I mean, he was turning the ball over and busting bats at 94 mph. Just too good to be true. Nobody's arm could take that. And only a guy who's built like a football player could do that much damage to himself.

Personally, I hope someone picks him up. If he gets a medical clearance, then he still deserves a shot. This deadline does seem arbitrary. It's not like he was on the shelf, right?

Posted by: Brue | March 18, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

I'm coming around on this a little bit. It's not like we tossed Hill on the trash heap at the first sign of injury. We carried him all last year, hoping he could get healthy. Then he somehow won his arb case despite not pitching and possibly being hurt. Then he showed up in ST hurt and unable to pitch again. So the smart money says it was time to Patterson him, and we did it in time to save some probably undeserved arb dollars that we used to sign a needed lefty reliever. I still wish Hill had been healthy and hope things turn out well for him, but I'm OK with these moves.

Posted by: BobLHead | March 18, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Then who is responsible for the 2005-2008 jinx?


I think rushfari just threw a jinx on the Nats with the 80-85 wins and the #1 pick talk.

Posted by: JohninMpls | March 18, 2009 5:36 PM

George W. Bush. At least that's what the Democrats are saying.

Seriously, I would say Bud Selig/Omar "Scumbag" Minaya/Jimbo/just bad luck.

Posted by: Section505203 | March 18, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

By signing Beimel, I think most of the STI's in the bullpen (Glover, Ledezma, & Wagner) just got booted to the curb. Colome still has three weeks to re-make the team, and Taverez isn't exactly a "lock" either, but might make it as a LR.

Otherwise, the team could go north with six one-inning guys (Beimel, Bergmann, Hinckley or Mock, Rivera, Shell, T.Young) & a closer (Hanrahan).

Posted by: BinM | March 18, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Kearns may be a good defensive outfielder but he is a CORNER outfielder, which means he needs to HIT too! And from what I saw of him last year, he is clueless at the plate.

Milledge is a keeper.

Posted by: khrabb | March 18, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse


Another Patterson "Damaged Goods".....

Good Riddins.....and letz ALL move on.....

Posted by: unc1dmo | March 18, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | March 18, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Pure baseball move, good to see they're starting to act like a professional baseball club and not a MASH unit. Sorry to see Hill go, but he's had every chance and they needed Beimel in the bullpen...I'd say we're looking at a 80-85 win season now...

Posted by: bromisky | March 18, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Sorry---BUT I think Rizzo was REALLY NOT being HONEST with this reporter!!!! WHAT WOULD WAITING FOR fRIDAY to see if Hill was pain free AT LAST before cutting him????? They have improved the BP BUT PERHAPS they are rolling the dice in case Hill goes to another team and is found to be healthy. If so--the team has on less experience starting pitcher and NOT MUCH ELSE if the rookie--ZIMM flunks and Ballester ALSO flunks--BYE BYE season. This for not waiting 3 days--NOT VERY SMART.

Posted by: vergens2 | March 18, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Thank you fischy.... lol!

Posted by: 1of9000 | March 18, 2009 10:38 PM | Report abuse

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