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Morning Reading

Make sure to check out Boz's column today. Take note, in particular, of the list he compiled of starting left fielders across baseball. A good one-third of MLB clubs will open the year with starters who probably can't match the track records of somebody like Kearns/Willingham. Put salary aside -- that's far easier to do with Willingham, still under club control for three more years -- and you see why the Nats hold some very good cards in the trade market.

As far as the reading goes, my article for today's fishwrap discusses John Lannan, and that incomputable trait that baseball lifers always describe as "make-up." (Sample sentence: "He has plus make-up. His make-up is off the charts. We love his make-up.")

Just two brief DMTP items from this story, if I may:

* Pitching coach Randy St. Claire believes that Lannan can become one of the most accurate first-pitch strike-throwers in baseball this year. In 2007, Lannan threw exactly 50 percent of his first pitches for strikes. Last year, that number climbed to 57 percent. This year, St. Claire wants to see the number top 60. "He can eventually get up to 65 or 68 percent," St. Claire said, "which is right up there at the very top. His control is that good."

* When St. Claire was discussing (what else?) makeup, one of his answers actually revealed more about a Lannan teammate... or rather, an ex-teammate who will now be starting the year in Class AAA Syracuse:

"If you don't have confidence in your abilities," St. Claire said, "you try to do more than what you really can. He's a very confident kid. If you're confident, the fear isn't there -- 'I've got to make a better pitch here, or else I'm in trouble. I've got to go harder.' Very seldom do you see him overthrow the ball, where he tries to overthrow it and the ball gets up. Whereas, like, Collin Balester -- he needs to work on this part of the game. (Here, St. Claire points both index fingers to his head.) Because he has a personality where he wants to go harder. When he gets into a little bit of trouble, he goes harder and all of a sudden, here comes the ball -- up in the strike zone. So that's part of Collin's development that he needs to learn how to control. The stuff is there. He's got very good stuff. His command isn't bad, either, when he's under control. When he warms up in the bullpen, he usually throws really, really good bullpens. Because the hitters aren't there, so there is nothing to go harder about. Then the hitter steps in there, and he says, 'I'm going harder.' Because he doesn't trust his stuff. That's why Collin and John are at two different steps in their careers."

By Chico Harlan  |  April 2, 2009; 7:55 AM ET
 
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Next: Heading North, At Least for the Weekend

Comments

Those of you who still get the print edition may be scratching your head in puzzlement. Chico's Lannan story became a web-only story when the Cutler story broke, but no one told Chico. And yet we are in the communications business. Sigh.

Posted by: traceeh | April 2, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Terrible... here is one more print edition subscriber that is that much closer to canceling their subscription.

Posted by: rumbly45 | April 2, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

just sell the post to snyder already. what's the difference anymore?

Posted by: longterm | April 2, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

yea, Lannan needs to go easy on that eye-liner. it's off the charts.

Posted by: NatsNut | April 2, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

"Those of you who still get the print edition may be scratching your head in puzzlement. Chico's Lannan story became a web-only story when the Cutler story broke, but no one told Chico. And yet we are in the communications business. Sigh.

Posted by: traceeh | April 2, 2009 8:31 AM"

No, Tracee. You are in the Redskins business. Just admit it. Embrace it, even. Don't be embarrassed by it, like Chico who really wants to be a food critic. He's embarrased to have written the Lannan story, you're embarrassed to have not printed it. Shame piled upon shame. Never pretty.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Uh, who or what is Cutler?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The eyebrows are what really puts it over the top, NatsNut.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

If the Post sports section were printed on gold paper with burgundy ink, I think that would improve the clarity of the product.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | April 2, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Cutlery. It's a food term. If Chico wasn't always talking down to his readers he'd explain such things, for those of us who aren't food pros like he is.

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Give it a rest Nunof, Geez. The horse has been buried, no need to beat it anymore.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 2, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

... just a short comment from someone beyond the pale. There are some on this list - who knows how many - who don't know anything about the paper edition of the Post; have never held a copy in their hands and are unlikely ever to do so. Like you we are here because of the Nats, but we are not here because of the Post.

... surely this group of local baseball fans can discuss the newspaper on any number of other venues, where the make-up (to make my comments relevant this morning)of the group has such a concern, and limit these NJ discussions to baseball and the Washington Nationals.

... such as: my response to the Boz' comment this morning - "... eventually they look silly if they can't turn their excess into advantage." Yes Tom, that's true but it's equally appropriate to resist 'turning that excess' too quickly, simply to make a trade because you can.

Posted by: natscanreduxit | April 2, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

OMG...we're less than a week from opening day, the Skins don't open for 5 months, and they still run the Nats off the pages of Redskins Daily...what's next? Can we please get a football breather, it IS the off season.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

cokedispatch - You forget. The off-season is when the Skins are the undisputed champions. From February through July, they are the best NFL team in the world. It's that pesky regular season that always seems to get in their way of world domination.

Posted by: Brian_ | April 2, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Ramming the Cutler story into the print edition makes sense. It is a big story.

The bigger question is why did the Nats story go, when they're on the verge of starting the season?

I'm sure glad they didn't bump Michael Wilbon's timely column on LeBron James. Those quotes from Oscar Robertson couldn't have waited.

The Yanda piece on the Memphis recruits reconsidering their decisions really resonates with the DC fans.

Shipley's on the economy affecting player's salaries is pitch-perfect, too.

Really, they are all good pieces. But why weren't any of them subsumed by CUTLERMANIA!!! instead of the Lannan one?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | April 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

To be fair to the Post, the Cutler story is the equivalent of the Nats talking about trading Ryan Zimmerman for David Wright. It SHOULD be in the paper. But so should the Lannan story.

To be fair to all of us, I admitted to myself after last week's chat with the Post editors on changes (including removing the *business section* on most days), that newspapers are dead. It's only a question of if the funeral is soon or they continue to emaciate themselves until we all say they've gone to a better place.

Will Post.com still be around then?

Posted by: Section506 | April 2, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"... surely this group of local baseball fans can discuss the newspaper on any number of other venues, where the make-up (to make my comments relevant this morning)of the group has such a concern, and limit these NJ discussions to baseball and the Washington Nationals."

Well, I suppose. But then again, this NJ, this website, indeed all of washingtonpost.com is paid for by the newspaper. If the newspaper did not exist to pump money into these web operations, these web operations would be right behind GM and Chrysler in the line looking for federal bailouts. The newspaper pays the bills to provide this venue, just as the Lerners pay the bills to provide the Nationals. So to proscribe any discussion of the newspaper in this venue would be as un-American as forbidding discussion of the Lerners inside Nationals Park. What are we here, communists?

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I have not read the Cutler story, nor will I. I am in football recess. GO NATS. And, I own a Redskins jersey I wear proudly.....in the FALL and WINTER only. I'm in Nats clothing now, thankyou.

Posted by: cokedispatch | April 2, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"The off-season is when the Skins are the undisputed champions. From February through July, they are the best NFL team in the world. It's that pesky regular season that always seems to get in their way of world domination."

I'm surprised Snyder hasn't invented the Off-Season Super Bowl trophy yet, and awarded it to himself each and every year. Why, he could even display them all in a row at the entrance to Six Flags!

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"communist?"

... not exactly; I'm a self-described socialist, but as a member of this particular forum, I'm a baseball/Nationals fan solely.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | April 2, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"What are we here, communists?"

No, I think we are now Socialists. Just Sayin'.

Posted by: Section505203 | April 2, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I'm a neo-functionalist.

Posted by: Section506 | April 2, 2009 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Last time I checked, socialists weren't the ones opposed to freedom of speech. That would be the commies (among others).

Posted by: nunof1 | April 2, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Nats Journal. Come for the Nationals chatter, stay for the Political Party classifying.

Is Manny really going to play Kearns over Dukes in RF? Boz's peice reeks of Kearns playing to pump up his trade value.

Consider me bummed. And a Nihilist.

Posted by: Section138 | April 2, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I think its safe to say DC will always be a football-first town. Just like the Wizards and Capitals, the Nats will have to be successful to gain notice of DC sports fans. When the Caps are good, there's not an empty seat in the house. Back in 2005, the Nats routinely drew 30k+ for random mid-week games b/c they were in first place and playing well.

We'll get there, hopefully. Just might take a while. But I don't think we'll ever be a baseball-first town like NY or Boston or Chicago.

Posted by: tboss | April 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

WE BELIEVE IN NOTH-ING!!!!

Posted by: Section506 | April 2, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Ok - at the risk of interrupting not one, but maybe two or three of the favorite NJ rants (1. why the Post stinks, 2. vague political attacks and 3. complaining about the posts of other commenters), I gotta say, I don't think I'm the biggest fan of the Boz's "Kendrick and Arredando" speculation. Kendrick looks more and more like a mirage - he was a minor-league monster, but seems to have left his power in the PCL - he's got a few years now of being sort of an "empty BA" kind of player. A career .760 OPS guy is ok, but nothing to really write home about. Compare his .330 +.430 OBP+SLG to Rickie Weeks' .350 + .405. Nice players, but not worth BOTH NJ and Willingham. Arredondo looked great in 50-ish innings last year, but his minor-league numbers are nothing exciting, either - in 300-ish IP in MiLB, he's a 4+ ERA - again, not bad, but nothing to get excited about. Giving up NJ and Willingham for two "meh" kinds of guys isn't necessarily the way to get better, only to get younger.

Make it Ervin Santana or Jered Weaver and then I think you're talking - the Angels have some intriguing young guys, but their young MLB guys (like Weaver, Aybar, Wood and Kendrick) would fit right in with Flores, Milledge, Dukes and Zimmerman as guys who have shown some potential but haven't really developed fully yet.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | April 2, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

hey, if Buffett is hanging on to his stake in the Post, there is hope. Sorry Chico's story got bumped. I plan on subscribing to the Fishwrap for about 6 months, starting around 4/13 when I get back from Eastover (Easter and Passover with the extended family) and the big holiday, my AL rotisserie auction.

I like the drop down selections under the sports tab on the banner on WaPo.com I go straight to the MLB /Nats section without wasting time on the other area teams. I read the Snydermen about as often as I read coverage of the Colts. I'm the exception, and you no doubt read the general market right.

Somebody mentioned Wilbon. Stopped reading him a couple of years ago when he said people should try to vilate the rules and injure a HOF quarterback. he got publicity out of it, so that's good, but I don't read his trash now. Beyond Wilbon and Boz, who are the regular columnists now?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | April 2, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Highway: While Kendrick hasn't been as dominate in the majors as the minors from everything I hear he is still as highly thought of. Maybe he will never take it to that elite level but he's worth the shot. I honestly don't think the Nats would be able to acquire him in a trade. Also while the Angels might like NJ they aren't going want Willingham....look how many outfielders they have, maybe even more than the Nats do.

Posted by: Steveo11 | April 2, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I'm more of an existentialist myself. Well, not really, but I do like this site:

http://despair.com/viewall.html

Does that count?

Seeing as how a Post editor spoke to newspaper coverage (or lack thereof) in the preceding post, it is not surprising that there might be follow-up comments on that front.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Crud, it was in this post. But there is a new post. I'm so confused...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and I also believe in the church of baseball. Go Nats!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm a Nationalsist.

Posted by: Avar | April 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Very good, Avar.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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