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A Roster Move, A Question

Let's start the afternoon with official word of the expected roster move: Today, the Nats reinstated Willie Harris from the disabled list and optioned Justin Maxwell to Class AAA Syracuse. Harris had missed the previous 12 games because of a left oblique strain.

Maxwell, who was with the Nats since April 19, went 3-for-8 with one double, one RBI and three stolen bases in six games. This won't be the last we see of him up here.

This afternoon ought to be interesting for different reasons, as we learn how the Nats plan to handle their closer situation. Thus, a little poll...

By Chico Harlan  |  April 28, 2009; 3:18 PM ET
 
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Comments

PHILADELPHIA -- On Tuesday, one day after watching the bullpen blow a four-run lead, the Nationals decided that right-hander Joel Hanrahan will no longer be their closer and that Garrett Mock is out as the eighth-inning setup man.

The team will go with a bullpen-by-committee, with right-handers Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells as the late-inning options. Once left-hander Joe Beimel is activated from the disabled list next week, he will most likely be the closer, with Tavarez and Wells becoming the setup men.

In the bottom of the eighth on Monday, the Nats had an 11-7 lead, but Mock and Hanrahan couldn't get the job done.

Posted by: trezmartin | April 28, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Ladson for Mlb.com says the Nats have taken Hanrahan out of the closer role and Mock out of the setup role. He says they will have Taveras and Wells handling closer duties for now, and Biemel will probably take over closing duties once he's healthy.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090428&content_id=4462840&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | April 28, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I said "other" for best match-up

Posted by: Section506 | April 28, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I voted "other" because they need someone else.

Posted by: fischy | April 28, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

506 - we are thinking the same. I checked "other," hoping for someone capable.

cheeseburger's report I think is the more realistic. Tavarez - almost like the band. If we can't have him, I don't nobody baby . . .

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

This team need a big night from Lannan to save this road trip from disaster. Hopefully we didn't use up all our offense last night.

Posted by: Tom8 | April 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If by other you mean someone not currently in the organization, I would choose that option and continue to hold out hope that last night will convince the front office that Pedro might work. Until then I guess we have to go with Wells. Yikes.

Posted by: jcj5y | April 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

It just goes to show you that you can't just call someone a closer and expect them to be serviceable.

Posted by: dclifer | April 28, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Chico - we need your help. Dibble reported during Friday night's game (and fielding debacle) that the Nats didn't take infield practice at CitiField. Do you know if they did or not?

Can you ask someone who would know?

Posted by: comish4lif | April 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Dang, I think I botched the Tavares reference. More than a Woman . . . Perhaps a reference to a 600 pounder.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 28, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Does no one have any faith in Bergmann? I am still a Bergmann fan, even after his 3 BB effort against the Mets.

Will he be the first choice as the long-reliever, since Hinckley, Mock, and Hanrahan have been struggling so much?

Posted by: usmc53 | April 28, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Dang, I think I botched the Tavares reference"

Heaven, must be missin' an angel (I believe that is the Tavares song you are looking for)!

Posted by: skippy1999 | April 28, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Bergmann has the same problem as Mock and Hanrahan: head.

Posted by: Section506 | April 28, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

New posted, but relevant to the current discussion -
---------------------

Given the current state of the bullpen, here's my 2-cents worth on what to do...

>Rivera - Either use in "blow-out" situations, or against 1-2 batters in low-pressure situations until he regains some sort of form.
>Wells, Bergmann - Perfectly suited for 1-2IP roles, particularly to start innings; MR slots.
>Tavarez - Can be used nearly anywhere (Long, Middle, Set-up), but must watch pitch counts (stay below 15/IP).
>Hinckley - Prone to BB, but effective LHS & occaisional RH.
>Hanrahan, Mock - Touted as possible closers, need to throw strikes consistently & earn position.
Of this group, only Wells, Tavarez & Hinckley have proven effective w/men on base, let alone w/RISP. Both Tavarez & Hinckley are currently being used by Manny as "stoppers".

Injured list -
>Chico - Former starter, may be effective as LR/MR if surgery recovery goes well.
>T.Young - RuleV pick; unproven in ML. Not part of current equation.
>Beimel - Solid LH set-up pitcher; throws strikes, probably a little too "cute" for closer role.

Minors - The equivalent of a Hollywood "cattle call" - Dozens to choose from, but no "leading-man" types.

For the current situation, Wells & Bergmann become the MR, 2IP guys; Rivera & Hinckley are the "spot-out" artists, with Tavarez, Hanrahan, Mock & Beimel (when back) in a SU-CL rotation. If Chico comes back this year, he becomes the LR (2-3IP) & bumps either Mock/Hanrahan/Hinckley on the roster.

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

I said other because Stammen wasn't listed as an option. Bring him up Stan.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 28, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

IMO, Wells in a set-up/closer role is wrong-headed; He's a career starter, and needs to throw 1-2 innings per game; much better suited for the LR/MR role, as long as he throws the innings called for.

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

As a point on this team re: closer - Hanrahan (former SP), Mock (former SP); both out. Now you're looking at (or thinking about) Wells (former SP), Beimel (former SP), Bergmann (former SP), or Pedro (former SP) as replacements?

Does anybody see a trend?

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Good analysis, BinM.

Any other thoughts about D-Cab in a closing role? he's crazy enough to be intimidating.

Posted by: Section506 | April 28, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I chose "Other" because Lannan will throw a complete game tonight. Nats will win 3-2.

Also, I will win tonight's Mega Millions lottery.

And Scarlett Joahnsson will marry me (don't tell my wife).

Posted by: erocks33 | April 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Check out Cabrera's stats based on innings and appearances:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?n1=cabreda01&year=2009&t=p#innng

Posted by: Section506 | April 28, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I voted "other" because the selection isn't currently on the active roster - Beimel.

Posted by: leetee1955 | April 28, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

i said other because lannan after 150 pitches is better than any of those guys.

Posted by: longterm | April 28, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Too bad the draft can't be done sooner. How about Strasburg as a closer/reliever for the rest of the season (given that in college he's pitched once ever seven days rather than once every five like the pros), and then ease him into a starting role next year?

Posted by: Juan-John | April 28, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Someone please teach Justin Maxwell how to play second base.

Posted by: 6thandD | April 28, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

from the previous post. Neither Manny nor St. Claire is calling the pitches. That's crazy. It's all in the battery.

When Flores was shadowing Schneider you would see him look in the dugout for every call, and it looked like either Randy or Manny was giving the signs. But that's because he was learning. Now you never see him looking in the dugout for the call.

I'm sure they come up with a plan with St. Claire and/or Manny and/or the team, or whatever. But each pitch is between the pitcher and the catcher.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 28, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Re: my last post -
For those of you about to make the Eckersley / Smoltz arguments - just stop.

Eckersley had a good fastball, a middling curve & a devistating slider as a SP, IIRC. When he switched to closer, he went pure fastball, with the slider as an "out" pitch; he rarely threw the curve.

Smoltz has a good fastball, a good curve, and a decent slider as a SP; As a closer, he relied on the fastball/curve combination heavily.

The problem with the Nationals relievers is that they still think like SP's - They want to throw three (or more) pitches for strikes. WRONG-HEADED!

Hanrahan has a 93+mph fastball & a decent change; Bergmann has a 93+mph fastball & a good curve from the same motion; Mock has a 92+mph fastball & a slider.
You're bullpen pitchers, for crying out loud; Use your best two pitches exclusively - tease with the third pitch once an inning if you feel the need to, but stay with your strength.

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The best answer to your question is Mike Hinkley. Until Beimel is off the DL.

Posted by: raymitten | April 28, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John: Aren't we putting the cart before the peverbial horse with Strasburg we need to sign him and then he need's some seasoning in the minors before we throw him in the fire. Another slugfest tonite 8-6 Nats as we hold on, just barely.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 28, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

>I'm sure they come up with a plan with St. Claire and/or Manny and/or the team, or whatever. But each pitch is between the pitcher and the catcher.

You keep trying to extricate Manny.

It ain't gonna work. That's why they invented the scoreboard - in case there was any confusion about what's going on.

Posted by: Brue | April 28, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Brue, I'm not trying to extricate Manny, and I don't *keep* trying either. I'm correcting a fact.

And you're talking out of your, um, ear. The scoreboard does not tell us that Manny is calling the pitches either.

Read my lips. Manny does not call the pitches.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 28, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

@506:

D-Cab as a reliever would be "throw youself on the blade" suicide; He rarely has easy 1st innings. Randy just needs to call him aside & say "I know you're trying to cut down on your walks,and we appreciate that; but what the Team really needs you to just CUT THE CRAP & THROW THE D@^N BALL! Drive with your legs, don't steer with your hips. We need you back up above 93mph with your fastball, not at 88."

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Carrying forward (and "other," for the record):

nunof, if I recall correctly, Dibble said at the start of the next broadcast that players had checked out the outfield before the game, but had not specifically taken infield practice before the game. Perhaps Chico can clarify, as you request.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 28, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 28, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Now. How in the heck was Manny supposed to know that Hanrahan would melt down? He did fine his last time up.

(now THAT'S me extricating Manny)

Posted by: NatsNut | April 28, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Manny is calling the pitches i think the Saint(remember that theme song; quick who played the leading role?)has a ton of input as far as what is called very few catchers and pitchers collaborate its almost always called from the dugout just like college and pro football QB's very rarely call their own plays unless they audible.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 28, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:

It's a circular argument, from your (and many others) point of view - Manny (as the Manager) is held responsible for the team on the field. The team on the field (and how they play) is responsible for the final score. Therefore, Manny (as the one, opposing the many), is ultimately responsible for the team's on-field performance.

Bottom-line is yes, Manny Acta is ultimately responsible for this teams' performance.
Bullpens have been the death of many a Manager in MLB; this will likely not be the last in the string, but I'd like to see it played out to the end of the 2009 season before making the decision.

Posted by: BinM | April 28, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"nunof, if I recall correctly, Dibble said at the start of the next broadcast that players had checked out the outfield before the game, but had not specifically taken infield practice before the game. Perhaps Chico can clarify, as you request."

I was out of town Saturday and Sunday and didn't see the broadcasts. I'm just going by what Dibble said on Friday night. The problems on Friday IIRC were in the outfield, so if they did check out the OF on Friday that should have been enough.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 28, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I voted for other because I thought Teddy Roosevelt might do a better job.

Posted by: BBO1 | April 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

okay. i'm going to the game Thursday and will count exactly how many times Flores looks into the dugout for a signal. I invite you to do the same. It will be very, very low if it happens at all.

If I'm wrong I will say so. (but I'm not).

Posted by: NatsNut | April 28, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

CALLING TOM BOSWELL

A little bit of "who calls the pitch" blog posting sounds right up your alley.

Posted by: Section506 | April 28, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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