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Pitching Coach St. Claire Fired

The Nationals today fired pitching coach Randy St. Claire, the longest-tenured member of their coaching staff, and have replaced him with Class AAA pitching coach Steve McCatty. St. Claire, in his seventh year with the organization, was responsible for the staff that currently has a 5.69 ERA, worst in baseball.

"That's life," St. Claire said. "I've been in this game for 31 years. I've been fired before. But it's a tough one... I would have liked to be around when the organization takes off."

St. Claire said he was informed on Monday night about the decision. Today, he headed to Nationals Park to clear out his belongings. St. Claire said he didn't receive an explanation for his firing, but added that he didn't need one.

"The pitching isn't performing up to where it needs to be to win, and I think a lot of factors go into it, but I guess I'm easier to replace than 12 guys," he said. "Easier to replace and cheaper to replace. But that's the game. When the team doesn't perform, they're bound to make changes."

I'll update this story once I get to the stadium today.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 2, 2009; 1:49 PM ET
 
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Comments

Almost there. Fire Manny!

Posted by: thisismydcsportsopinion | June 2, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

This is the shakeup we need before the draft. If this doesn't help, then it's time to let Acta go.

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | June 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

WRONG COACH.

Posted by: jonfhoffman | June 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Any other news we should alert harlen to?
Brother.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Sweep the house clean Nationals! Good luck Randy. If you cannot turn it around, I suggest the Phillies or Mets as your next home.

Posted by: thom202 | June 2, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

He had the worst job in the majors. Best of luck to him going forward.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The Croc is gettin closer to Captain Manny Hook. Tick Toc Tick Toc.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Again, it's Harlan.

Not Harlen.

Harlan.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Damnit. Sorry to the Saint go. Much like with Manny, it's really hard to evaluate how good is with the (lack of) talent he was given to work with. Four rookie starters; Ron Villone is your bullpen ace; the rest of the bullpen mostly composed of scrap heap pickups like Taverez, Wells, etc. -- gosh, hard to imagine how Randy didn't spin gold out that bunch.

Posted by: joebleux | June 2, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

OK, so, is Manny sitting in a chair outside of Rizzo's office?

Posted by: comish4lif | June 2, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This is a total cop out. Saint was not the problem. Manny is the real problem. This is just to satisfy us for a little longer. We have a young pitching staff and Saint did great work to get them performing at a major league level. The washed up bull pen sucked to begin with and nobody could get that bunch to perform. It is not his fault he traded away our entire bullpen in return for minor league talent. Fire Manny!!!

Posted by: Tom8 | June 2, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

BTW who fired him? If it's Rizzo and they're lettin him fire and hire peeps, shouldn't he be named GM? YOu dont usually let interim peeps hire and fire do ya? And if he isn't, well then that wouldn't make much sense. but then again none of this does so who knows.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

What do we know about McCatty?

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Garbage. Wonder when the Nats will make it official by putting out a press release. Tomorrow?

McCatty's been at the park for almost 90 minutes. Maybe the PR staff is out at lunch.

Posted by: pennquaker | June 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

If the entire staff can't throw Strike One, somebody's got to pay. At least McCatty has worked with most of these guys before.

For the record, I don't disagree, but I do hate to see it.

Posted by: sec307 | June 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully, Lenny Harris-esque stories don't start coming out about St. Clair. Although if they did, we could expect almost immediate improvement in the pitching...

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | June 2, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This better be the tip of the iceburg. Enough Titanic references for the day.

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Manny has to be next. Its not just pitching its defense. Its attitude. Is St. Claire responsible for attitude?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I have heard good things about McCatty and how he is perceived by the guys he has worked with in the minors.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 2, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

On August 10, 1980, McCatty pitched a 14 inning game against the Seattle Mariners, only to lose 2-1.

During the 1981 strike-shortened season, McCatty was third in the American League with a 2.32 ERA and was tied with three others with most wins with 14, including 4 shutouts, the last two of which were consecutive starts for McCatty. He finished second for the Cy Young Award, behind Rollie Fingers.

During in a 1982 exhibition game against the San Diego Padres, McCatty steps to the plate wielding a toy 15-inch bat but was refused by umpire Jim Quick to hit. McCatty was instructed by A's manager Bill Martin to use the toy bat as a protest, who was furious that the DH rule was not allowed in National League ballparks.

After retiring as a player in 1986, he remained in professional baseball working in radio & TV for the Oakland A's and with ESPN Major League Baseball. McCatty later moved on to coach several minor league baseball clubs, and was hired as pitching coach by the Detroit Tigers for the 2002 season. He subsequently coached for the Ottawa Lynx when it was the AAA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. He is currently in his fifth season coaching for the Washington Nationals organization, and is pitching coach for their AAA affiliate, the Syracuse Chiefs. During the offseason, Steve works with youngsters of all ages to teach pitching mechanics at Jason Thompson Baseball in Auburn Hills, MI.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Who is the new pitching coach for the Syracuse Chiefs?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else but me notice how whenever guys were called up from Syracuse they were good here for a little bit but after about a week they started to go downhill? Nobody?

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | June 2, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Balester, Clippard and Ledezma threw a shutout. Ledezma allowed 1 unearned run.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Any other news we should alert [Harlan] to"

dovey, Chico's handicapped somewhat in that he needs to actually find people and interview them (didya notice the quotes from St. Clair in his post?). That'd be called "reporting".

He can't just post "Randy fired. Fire Manny now!!!" like the other geniuses in here.

Man, this here information age sure has given some people a whopping sense of entitlement to instant gratification.

Posted by: joebleux | June 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

This is not good. I assume this means Manny is here for the rest of the year. If not then this team continues to do things backwards

Posted by: JDB1 | June 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

This is not good. I assume this means Manny is here for the rest of the year. If not then this team continues to do things backwards

Posted by: JDB1 | June 2, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

@tengoalyrunr30:

This could also be associated with the fact that other teams can collect more film and see them in action. In my opinion it's similar to why guys are often much better the first time through the lineup, before the hitters have time to make adjustments.

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | June 2, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

thanks periculum.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe the PR staff is out at lunch."

Nah. They're taking infield. Either that or mowing the grass out in short right field to prevent Anderson Hernandez's next error.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Sigh.

I love(d) the Saint.

I don't think they should fire Manny.

I hope this is the low point of the season.

Posted by: nattaboy | June 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

@nervousnatsfan

That's part of it as well, but then why aren't guys getting better? Good pitching coaches should at least be able to fix them beyond that and help pitchers find location, etc.

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | June 2, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"This better be the tip of the iceburg."

Imagine how many errors Anderson Hernandez would make if iceberg lettuce ever started growing in right field.

BTW, the Yankees completed an error free game in Cleveland last night despite a flock of birds (dozens of them) taking rest on the right field grass for a couple of innings. Imagine how many errors Manny could have blamed on that!

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

If Manny must stay, can we just fire the Lerners and Kasten?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

>> joebleaux: He can't just post "Randy fired. Fire Manny now!!!" like the other geniuses in here.

LOL. That's a good one. If Chico was tied into the right sources he could have simply posted, "Randy fired, more later", before half the metro area already knew.

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

wikipedia comes through again...

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"I hope this is the low point of the season."

Look at the June schedule.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 2, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Lay off davelevyne...

Posted by: fischy | June 2, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

OK let's all relax. We've got a great pitching matchup tonight with Hernandez going against Bedard. That should be excellent with the great ball we're playin now. And Adam Jones is really somethin special. Everyone enjoy.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Could this be the warning shot fired across Manny's bow? Management may be telling him "We've replaced he entire coaching staff from last year and now only you're left in our sights."

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 2, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Based on the numbers, McCatty seems to be doing a heckuva job. Plus, he's familiar with all these guys -- and what he did to get good results from them . Good move.

Posted by: fischy | June 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

They should have fired him along with everyone else at the end of last season.

Posted by: Juan-John | June 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

is "dovelevine" the latest nom de blog for that notorious troll O's exec?

Posted by: surly_w | June 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"That should be excellent with the great ball we're playin now."

Dovey,

What's this we crap?

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

This is astoundingly stupid.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

>>That should be excellent with the great ball we're playin now.

You see that 2-hit gem last night? A thang of beauty.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

periculum and nunof,

You guys are bringing up only little hand full of organizations that have done it with a small payroll, most didn't even win it. I have all the other years of big payroll teams that have won it on my side.

Wake up fella's, stop drinking the Kasten/Lerner cheap kool aid.

Steinbrenner kool aid is expensive and is carcinogenic. You need to stop drinking that stuff. It will kill you.

2000 is the last time the Yankees won a world series in spite of massive free agent signings.

They should win it every year given their payroll?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I think St. Claire is a warning shot across Manny Acta's bow. I don't think the Manny firing is coming today by any means, but...it feels to me that he has a limited amount of time to make some real progress. Which may spell doom for him since this month was going to stack up as a difficult one no matter what (I'm dreading our bullpen in Colorado and the launching pad that is the new Yankee Stadium).

I think you'd have to put the over/under on Manny's time before management pulls the plug as something like maybe 16 games? Personally, I'd bet the over - I have a feeling management is going to give him until the All Star break. But I could see them firing Manny next Monday if they were to be swept by SF and the Mets.

Posted by: banjax451 | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

>> leetee1955: Could this be the warning shot fired across Manny's bow? Management may be telling him "We've replaced he entire coaching staff from last year and now only you're left in our sights."

Warning shot? Would you fire a warning shot if you were stabbed in the heart 227 times in the past 2.5 seasons?

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Did anyone else but me notice how whenever guys were called up from Syracuse they were good here for a little bit but after about a week they started to go downhill? Nobody?"

Yeah, it's because hitters were adjusting to them since they had better video. It's one of the arguments for keeping young pitchers at AAA, so they have time to learn to adjust faster than the hitters are adjusting to them.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

leetee,

I agree. If things don't improve, the next move, is Manny goes.

Personally, I think he should be gone already but, unlike some on this blog, I'm no openly rooting against the guy. I hope he turns things around and we start to compete.

But, the deck (Lerner's/Kasten) are stacked against him.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Yes the June schedule is tough - except we do get to play the Os

But gosh darnit I'm putting my foot down.

You heard it here folks:

June 2nd. Official lowpoint of Washington Nationals Season, 2009.

copyright nattaboy

Posted by: nattaboy | June 2, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Can we get a Sheinen and Boz weigh in here? This is a guy that we've always heard has a golden reputation in baseball. What's the deal?

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Does Manny have pictures of someone with a 14-year old boy or something? What a joke.

Posted by: truke | June 2, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@Section506

Of course I don't think to think about that aspect. I guess I was just trying to blame St. Claire since he was on his way out. Now I feel like Manny Acta...

Posted by: tengoalyrunr30 | June 2, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

lessee...

this month the nats play the giants, the mets, the rays, the yankees, the jays, the sawx, the angelO's and the marlins. no gimmes on that schedule. they'll be lucky to be to 20 wins before independence day. manny gets axtaed on june 29 between the end of the angelO's series and the marlins series

Posted by: surly_w | June 2, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

How can people be satisfied that Manny is still at the helm? Things will not change with a pitching coach change. This team and its winning pct. reflects Manny. Nothing else needs to be said.

Posted by: Tom8 | June 2, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Ladies, as much as Manny should go and hopefully eventually will go, that still doesn't put an end to what's really the main problem with this organization--MANAGEMENT.

You've still got Stan Kasten doing god knows what? A GM or interim GM or who knows what. And then of course the Lerners, who would rather fight the District over a few pennies then worry about the team they actually are supposed to be running. (Instead of running it into the ground.)

So while we may get a few cheery respites, ultimately unfortunately, nothing is really gonna change. Until something changes at the top.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

maybe rizzo didn't like the saint's aura.

Posted by: surly_w | June 2, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I for one want to see Manny stay and right this ship. This team just needs a few wins to get steamrolling in the positive direction. Of course no easy task with the SF Giants and then the Mets.

I felt the same way with the Wizards when Eddie Jordan was fired as they only got worse after he was gone.

Zim said it right on Sunday regarding his post-game interview about Manny.

Posted by: dmacman88 | June 2, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

firing the pitching coach is an old yankees dodge perfected during the reign(s) of billy martin. whenever king george III was unhappy with martin or just wanted to push his buttons, he would fire the pitching coach. in this case it's like calling the fire department after your house has burned to the ground. BTW - manny, in the words of a once prominent local sports talk radio host..."you're next!"

Posted by: surly_w | June 2, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, this may fix only part of the problem. The lackadaisical, shoddy, uninspired, and just plain unprofessional performances by the rest still lies at the feet of the manaqer.

Posted by: jjburns1 | June 2, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"This team just needs a few wins to get steamrolling in the positive direction. Of course no easy task with the SF Giants and then the Mets."

Look at the schedule. For the next three weeks, the Giants are the easiest team we'll face.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | June 2, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Sad news, but probably inevitable. But here's a telling point that goes back to how poorly this team was assembled.

It would make sense to promote the AAA pitching coach when you're using so many young pitchers (that's how Leo Mazzone got his job with Atlanta). But our guys have moved so quickly through the organization McCatty has barely seen them pitch. Here's how many starts these guys have had in AAA the last two years:

Martis: 7
Stammen: 17 (including one in 2007 and I'm not sure McCatty was the pitching coach then)
J. Zimm: 1
Detwiler: 0
Lannan: 0

I'm sure he's seen them pitch in spring training, but how often and how deeply has he worked with these guys? How much better does he know them than St. Claire?


Posted by: baltova1 | June 2, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Has the ballboy been axed yet?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"Yeah, it's because hitters were adjusting to them since they had better video. It's one of the arguments for keeping young pitchers at AAA, so they have time to learn to adjust faster than the hitters are adjusting to them."

Yeah, it's because they don't have video in AAA so the AAA batters never have a chance to figure out the pitchers there. That's why they succeed there. They can only pitch in a video-free environment. If even a Betamax makes it into one of those AAA towns, entire pitching staffs are through.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I have less against Acta than others do. He's less of a problem. The biggest problem isn't even a team employee anymore - he resigned/was fired in spring training. JimBo "built" this team. He should have been fired after last year's debacle and once he was allowed to put together this year's team, we were doomed.

That said...

At some point, you probably have to fire Manny. You can't fire JimBo again. You can only fire so many of the players.

Posted by: banjax451 | June 2, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

hey rizzo, if you want to roll the dice with another angelOs reject, the brewers released jorge julio today.

Posted by: surly_w | June 2, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

"maybe rizzo didn't like the saint's aura."

Nah, it was that bad chunk of deer jerky St. Claire served him in Viera.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

St. Claire is not the problem.

Manny is not the problem.

The problem is the team.

There are far too many Double A players on the team.

That is the problem.

Casey Stengel himself could not win with this team.

He won with the Yankees.

He lost with the Mets (to whom the Nationals have been compared).

To borrow from the Old Perfesser: Can't anyone play this game?

Posted by: jbartelloni | June 2, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The Giants and Mets do not scare me whatsoever.

Posted by: nattaboy | June 2, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

TICK TOC TICK TOC.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Let's not forget that Eddie Jordan had actual accomplishments on his resume.

Poor analogy.

Posted by: sec307 | June 2, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

>> jbartelloni: There are far too many Double A players on the team.

How many and which ones?

Posted by: NavinJohnson | June 2, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I was sad that the Wizards gave up on EJordan so quickly into the season, and in the end it sure didn't help anything. I am happy for him getting another shot.

Manny, on the other hand, really does need to follow RStC out the door.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 2, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly like the Redskins hiring their coordinators before they hired a head coach. It's completely backasswards. If they are gonna hire a new manager eventually he has to be able to bring in his own coaches. So this probably means that no new manager is in the offing for a long time. bfd like it matters anyway.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

St. Clair's is one of those firings where he will end up in a far better situation. He did a great job with some very average material over the years.

Jim Bowden left a team that can hit but cannot pitch or catch a fly ball.

Posted by: hz9604 | June 2, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If they are gonna hire a new manager eventually he has to be able to bring in his own coaches. So this probably means that no new manager is in the offing for a long time. bfd like it matters anyway.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 2:53 PM

Everyone is going to be gone in October. There will be a new manager, new coaches and maybe a new, actual GM. Perhaps even a new president? Who knows

I think the only person from owner down I would keep right now is Marquis Grissom.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

tengoalyrunr30, don't feel bad, my red-headed Cubs-fan fiancee had to remind me in the midst of a fine tapestry of obscenity I wove during one game.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

By the way, here's the number of games pitched for each of our starting pitchers in AA and AAA before moving into the rotation this year:

Lannan: 13
Martis: 21
J. Zimm: 21
Stammen: 23
Detwiler: 6 (all at AA)

Now to be fair, some great pitchers have zipped through the minors quickly (Lincecum: five starts in AAA, Sabathia 17 in AA, none in AAA, Santana 11 in AAA).

But also consider that a guy like Matt Cain had 41 starts in AA and AAA, Roy Halladay spent parts of four seasons at the AAA level, Dan Haren 37 games, Brandon Webb 30.

Doesn't it look like the Nats are rushing their most valuable assets, these starting pitchers, to be the big leagues too quickly? Especially without either veteran starters to cushion their introduction to the big leagues or a decent bullpen to come to their rescue? Does that make sense?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 2, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

eckstein has to be safe.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

The most galling thing about the traveshamockery of this season is that the team is built on spit, bubble gum and paper clips and there was no built in redundancy for such a collapse. It was either roll seven with unproven pitching, uncertain prospects, unhelpful veterans and unsteady defense or totally crap out. This was another Jim Bowden patch job and now there is nowhere to turn in the system for help. Ladson wrote that the Nats are going to draft two pitchers in the first round of the draft, but that still leaves a paucity of position players. Zuckerman wrote about how the Nats should stop resorting to bargain basement shopping to prop up the major league roster and the system. But where are the in-house solutions for what currently ails this team? This team ia going to have to crater, if it already hasn't, before slowly climbing from the abyss. The fist move is to hire a permanent GM and give that person the borad authority needed to start effecting change. Cast off the deadwood and go with the kids, either from the system or acquired through trades. who will probably give more honest efforts than the uninspired veterans who have been beaten down by failure. This team doesn't need to be remade, it needs to rise from the ashes.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 2, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Nationals today recalled from rehab and reinstated outfielder Elijah Dukes from the 15-Day Disabled List and placed right-handed pitcher Kip Wells on the 15-Day DL, retroactive to May 31, with a right adductor strain.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 2, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Manny is not going anywhere soon. He is a good young manager, cheap and well respected in baseball as an up and comer. Who else are you going to get middle of the season who meets those criteria...after the season is a different story but get used to him for the year

Posted by: JLR75 | June 2, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

...er...."broad authority" nothing to do with boras.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 2, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

the reason manny may not be going, going, gone soon is that the lerners can't be happy with the prospect of paying BOTH a former GM and a former manager not to work for them. a new GM will be brought in and manny's 2010 option won't be picked up at the end of the season.

Posted by: surly_w | June 2, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"nunof,

Those teams I listed are routinely in the top 10-12 in payroll each year."

Give me the year in which each of those teams vaulted from being a low-payroll team to being a high-payroll team and showed up in the playoffs straightaway. Can you even do that? I think not. As I've said all along, mere spending of money doesn't buy you anything except the offseason championship. You have to spend your money on the right players. And there is absolutely no way you can buy a whole team full of ideal players in just a year or two no matter how much money you spend.

That's it from me on this subject. I'm sick of trying to pound sense into your thick head.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"I think the only person from owner down I would keep right now is Marquis Grissom."

I think only Lenny Harris would be stupid enough to even suggest that they fire Rick Eckstein.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who said this was a warning shot. Remember, the entire staff with the exception of Manny and RStC was dismissed in the offseason. There's only one shoe left to drop. I can't imagine Manny surviving Monday's day off should the current losing streak hit 12 games. If the team is truly in support of Acta as their manager they've gotta come up with a couple of Ws against some quality pitching real quickly.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 2, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

??

Posted by: damonross | June 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the snark from the Manny Fan Club has really been ramped up a couple of notches today.

nervous, fellas?

that said, it really doesn't matter if Manny is fired now or not. firing St. Claire is too little, too late, and it isn't going to solve anything. If they really wanted to make a statement, they would have fired Manny a month ago. But they didn't, they just want to make the fans shut up so they threw us St. Claire as a sacrificial lamb. a totally pointless firing.

This season is practically lost now anyway, we should consider it a "development" season. Throw the kids in there, see who steps up and start looking towards next season. Rather than looking at wins and losses, look at individual performances for the rest of the season, and search for hints of progress there.

after the season is over, clean house of everyone from the "acting GM" on down. all the assistants, all the coaches. get rid of them all.

Hire a permanent, REAL General Manager.

Let that General Manager select his own assistants, his own Scouting Directors, and his own Manager.

Let that Manager select his own coaches.

enough with this stupid mish-mash of holdovers from the Bowden regime and new placeholders. scrap everyone and start from the beginning.

Until that happens, this team will never move forward.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 2, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I think only Lenny Harris would be stupid enough to even suggest that they fire Rick Eckstein.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:07 PM

I was being facetious - but changes are a comin in the offseason. Eckstein certainly will not be fired, but might leave town if there is a new regime in place.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 2, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"the reason manny may not be going, going, gone soon is that the lerners can't be happy with the prospect of paying BOTH a former GM and a former manager not to work for them."

They're not paying Bowden any more. He resigned. When you quit a job before your contract is up, you don't get paid any more. If you're fired, you do. So I guess the Lerners didn't fire Bowden because they're cheap.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

The sham continues, the guy that needs to get the axe will remain "chewing is Booza wad" and continue to stink up the joint.

Welcome to bizzaro world Mr. McCatty.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | June 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

So, how are those P-Nats doing?

Posted by: thisismydcsportsopinion | June 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I think Eckstein should be brought back.

but only if he is the specific selection of the new Manager. He should not be forced upon the new Manager.

same with McCatty, if he shows he can do the job at the MLB level.

Posted by: MrMadison | June 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hmmmm. Its possible that McCatty has had more experience with this staff than St. Claire has. And while I am appreciative of the results that St. Claire was able to get out of veterans, perhaps the Nationals feel that McCatty is better able to mentor the young rotation. It will be interesting to see if there is a change in pitching staff, pitch selection, or results in the coming weeks and months.

But seriously, prior to this year, how many young quality starters did St. Claire have to work with? Patterson, Hill, and Lannan might make up the entire list and Patterson and Hill were walking injurries. Not exactly Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz there.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 2, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"Give me the year in which each of those teams vaulted from being a low-payroll team to being a high-payroll team and showed up in the playoffs straightaway."
_______________________________________________________________

When was that ever part of the original discussion? The Lerner's didn't need to just spend 100 million right off the bat. They are in year 3 of their ownership and the payroll has not risen. It couldn't have risen each year as they added some solid FA's?

As baltova and leetee mention above, we are rushing these guys up from the minors before they're ready and we are using crap as filler on the ML roster.

How in the hell is that beneficial to this Plan you love so much?

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

What are these guys taking firing lessons from Cheney? They fired the wrong guy.

Posted by: MartinZook | June 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Section505203's head is so thick he doesn't even realize I'm not having this discussion with him any more.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I believe that management should have fired "The Plan" already as it has worked out so marvelously.

Posted by: thisismydcsportsopinion | June 2, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Randy was screwed over by incompetant management & owners.

Posted by: Mathguy1 | June 2, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

IMHO, this was not a warning shot. This was a first shot. It might buy Manny some more time, but once the team settles on a replacement, the next shot will be fired.

If I'm not mistaken, McCatty would have either pitched to Dave Duncan or been coached by him during their careers? I wonder if he considers himself a protege?

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 2, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

nunof,

I understand, when you know your wrong, you name call and say "I'm not talking about it anymore"

Classic 9 year old thinking.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

A regular at BallParkGuys said he saw Manny leaving with bags packed this morning, and saw Tim Foli in the park as well.

Not saying. Just sayin' .....

Posted by: rushfari | June 2, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

>enough with this stupid mish-mash of holdovers from the Bowden regime and new placeholders. scrap everyone and start from the beginning.

Until that happens, this team will never move forward.


That all makes sense, JMad. Only problem is you have the same idiots who hired Bowden - hiring the new GM. That's the real problem. Don't ask me what the answer is because I don't know, unless they hire a consultant, you know, someone like Pat Gillick to go and pick somebody. Or maybe they could show up at the sabermetric conference and pick someone who looks like Theo Epstein. Couldn't be any worse than this damn old boys network they've been operating with.

As far as this season, who knows - but there's no way you can really evaluate what you have unless Acta is canned. They might end up getting rid of someone, or trading for a need that doesn't exist if they keep Acta around.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@baltova1:

Cain and Halladay were drafted out of HS, so they weren't going to be in the Majors that quick out of the draft. But, they still made their debuts at ages 20 and 21, respectively.
Web was a late bloomer, didn't debut till 24, but Haren was in the bigs at 22.

By those ages, none of our guys are being rushed, especially since they all played College ball besides Martis. We've got one 22 year old, two 23 year olds, and a 24 and 25 year old starter. Young, but no where near too young.


Posted by: Section138 | June 2, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

>>Manny is a good young manager, an up and comer.

Please explain. Whats one thing he's done that's good. What is positive about young? Give me an old Leyland anyday. And Up and comer? He's been a failure for 3 years. Wheres he up and coming from. What does this even mean?

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

>Randy was screwed over by incompetant management & owners.

Nobody on that staff throws enough strikes. That starts with the coach. There was no urgency in the way they pitched.

Posted by: Brue | June 2, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

As far as the Lerners and Kastens, man its just a big social club. They get along and like each other. So the team be damned. It's beyond absurd.
Go Os.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 2, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

nunof1, I hate to drag out the discussion when you say you're leaving, but isn't there a middle ground that the Nats should occupy and don't? No, you usually can't buy a pennant (although I'd argue the Marlins did one year, and the Yankees and Red Sox combine a lot of spending with their farm systems to win). But when your team has glaring holes, why not spend some money to improve it?

Yes, Dunn and Beimel were good moves, but why not sign Orlando Hudson (who signed for one year at $3.4 million) when he was sitting there all winter? Why not sign a Randy Wolf (3-1, 2.84) or Livan (4-1, 4.33)? Wolf signed for one year for about $5-8 million with incentives, Livan signed a minor league deal, for Pete's sake. I mentioned Jim Edmonds yesterday, who's still out there; you could probably get him for $4-5 million.

Maybe these guys would have turned down the Nats if they came calling (maybe they did). But if you sign them and another reliever and spend, say, another $18 million in the process, you'd have a competent, competitive ballclub that might cause people to show up and watch. If the moves bring in 500,000, they probably pay for themselves. You're also not stuck with long-term contracts (cough-Dmitri Young-cough-Austin Kearns) that tie your hands.

Doesn't this kind of spending make sense?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

You have got to be kidding me. There is abolutely no way that Canning St. Claire will fix the problems with this team.

They better be calling in the people they want to fire in reverse alphabetical order.

1. St. Claire
2. Acta

Posted by: vo_37 | June 2, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Baltova, as far as I know Bert Blyleven never really pitched in the minors. Assume Strasberg is equivalent. Hopefully, they will draft another pitcher at 10 who needs very little seasoning.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Who is Manny going to hang out with now in the dugout as he perches lifelessly on the steps? Anyone ever see him even talking to Riggleman?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | June 2, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Steve McCatty (The Cat) was the closer for the Vancouver Canadians (PCL - AAA) when I worked for that team in 1978. He was lights out for most of the year with a sub 2.00 ERA. A couple of nasty games inflated his ERA but he was an excellent reliever for Jim Marshall's C's that year. The A's called up that year and in '79 when they made him into a starter. Really nice guy too. Was a student of the game back then. We had Ricky Henderson and Dwayne Murphy on that team as well! Those were the days. Good luck with then Nats, Cat.

Posted by: MMilzman | June 2, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to see St. Claire go, and I hope that he lands on his feet somewhere else.

Re. the comments of "thisismydc," don't know that the Plan needs to be fired, but I do wonder whether execution (or lack thereof) of same could be an issue.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Execution by the organization at large, I should specify.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Now Manny is untouchable for at least another month. Effing great. Nothing up and coming about Manny other than it is nearly impossible to sink lower. Having a guy take the fall like that when it should be the top guy, makes me resent Acta. I never had any ill will for the guy until now. Now he seems like a p*ssy to me. I guess St. Claire was never Manny's guy so maybe I am being too harsh.

Anyway, it's not St. Claire's fault that Belliard can't cover the right bag, or that Nieves calls for junk every pitch or that Milledge could not play CF or that the club boots every double play ball it sees, etc. Maybe Randy needed to go, ok fine, but Acta should have been cut loose too.

No explanation on the axe falling to a 6 year member of the coaching staff? Bush league.

Posted by: dfh21 | June 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Why must the discussion always return to pseudo-psychology? Lighting fires and sending messages and setting tones. Baseball is the most carefully studied sport in the entire world, why must we fall back on clumsy jargon of former athletes passed off as "expert advice" on a 24-hour network that fills time with really large men who pull trucks?

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Manny probably sticks until after the draft - the whole illusion of stability thing...

Posted by: goexpos2 | June 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"nunof1, I hate to drag out the discussion when you say you're leaving, but isn't there a middle ground that the Nats should occupy and don't?"

I'm not leaving this discussion. I already left, about an hour ago. You guys chat among yourselves all you want.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

baltova,

This has been my point. They are not spending on anything. Not the ML roster, or the minor leagues.

Hudson, Lowe, Wolf, Livan, hell even KRod, signed for cheap compared to years past.

The Lerner's missed a golden chance while the FA market was down because, of the economy, to spend some money and get a lot of players in here to help for the next 2 years while the minor league system improved.

Of course they are not spending enough on that either but, whatever.

Posted by: Section505203 | June 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Periculum, Blyleven had 21 starts in the minors, according to Wikipedia. I'd expect Strasburg to spend a little time in the minors, probably a few starts at least. But the scary thought is: what if the negotations drag out until the August 15 deadline? Then if he signs, he hasn't pitched for two months. How much time do you give him to get ready to pitch? You'll only have two weeks of minor league season left. He'd either have to come right up to the big leagues or wait until next year to pitch.

I think you make a really good point. The Nats need to focus on guys, pitchers and position players, who "need very little seasoning." In case nobody has noticed, they need help now.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

the young guys pitch to contact.

but it seems the vets were afraid to. maybe because the defense is horrendous. either way. they've all had plenty of starts to adjust and whether it was a "could not" or "would not" it was unacceptable.

the king is dead, long live the king. or saint. or pitching coach. whoever you are, please breathe some life into this bloody corpse.

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Comatose In ACTA......escapes the firing squad........to manage another PREDICTABLE game reading from his tired and loser SCRIPT.........onward to 121 losses and Baseball immortality.

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | June 2, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

From the Washington Times:

St. Claire said he was working out with Craig Stammen, today's starter, at the ballpark yesterday, and was headed home when he got a call telling him to come back to the ballpark. Acting general manager Mike Rizzo was the only one in the meeting to let St. Claire know he'd been let go; manager Manny Acta talked to him by phone later.

Posted by: FloresFan | June 2, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"Execution by the organization at large, I should specify."

Good thing you said that. I thought you meant execution OF the organization at large, like by firing squad or lethal injection.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Manny has absolutely nothing to do with the draft. I don't think that will impact his job security one way or the other.

Losing the next 3, 6 or 9 might.

Posted by: sec307 | June 2, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Section138, fair points. Each guy is different. But it feels like a rush job to me, and to not have even one experienced starter in there to help out is crazy.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 2, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

"No explanation on the axe falling to a 6 year member of the coaching staff? Bush league."

Rizzo has grown tired of making these kinds of comments.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 2, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Obviously the last step before firing Manny. How many losses will it take on this nine-game homestand for Manny to be fired? Swept by the Giants? One win through Sunday? Three and six would be considered progress?

So bad, so fast.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | June 2, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Whose decision was it to mess with Detwiler's motion?

Posted by: brothbart | June 2, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey JLR75, what are you smoking?

Posted by: ygbrown2001 | June 2, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

>>McCatty later moved on to coach several minor league baseball clubs, and was hired as pitching coach by the Detroit Tigers for the 2002 season.<<

And the Tigers went 55-106 that year.

Posted by: Section138 | June 2, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Great post re. this here information age, joebleux.

Interesting theory re. dovelevine, surly.

Good one re. the firing squad, nunof.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 2, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well,someone had to be the fall guy for Manny's ineptitude and so it goes, it will be very interesting to hear what McCatty has to say about some of the pitcher's currently on the staff now.

Posted by: dargregmag | June 2, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"you got to take 'em one day at a time"

Posted by: longterm | June 2, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Obtuse Pitching Coach Metaphor:

You don't necessarily want the same mechanic working on your Ferrari that works on your 1986 Toyota van.

St. Claire was pretty good with Toyota vans.

Posted by: wigi | June 2, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Re. making the fans shut up as a goal, does anyone seriously believe that prolonged message board/blog b*itching and moaning is the basis for FO decision making?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 2, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

@ 506 - because you win with attitude! You win with nine guys playing like one! You win with heart, grit, hustle, and intangibles! Light some fires! Send some messages! Set some tones! Change some attitudes! Don't give me your fancy numbers, give me a team full of David Ecksteins!

Love,
Ken Tremendous

Posted by: Section220 | June 2, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

You sure its not Harley Quinn the Joker's hot little side-kick?

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Hahaha, thanks for the love, Ken Tremendous. I think you also win a lot with a lackadaisical left fielder known for talking on his cell phone between innings, who hits 40 homers consistently and bats in a strong lineup.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"Hudson, Lowe, Wolf, Livan, hell even KRod, signed for cheap compared to years past."
Section 506

I think you miss the point. Like Dan Snyder this year they decided to stay young. They did go after Texeira ... young. Dunn is young. Pitching, young. And they did finally resign Zimmerman.

The guys you list really aren't.


Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

@ 506 - David Ecksteins, Darin Erstads, and Juan Pierres! That's what we need!

Seriously, though, I respect your continuing to be a rational voice in the wilderness.

Posted by: Section220 | June 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

> give me a team full of David Ecksteins!

Who?

Rick Eckstein?

Posted by: mvm2 | June 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Bill Ladson has a Saint piece up at nationals.com

Posted by: nattaboy | June 2, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

So with Dukes back and Lincecum pitching, wouldn't this be a good day to give Willingham a day off. Dunn, Dukes, Kearns in the outfield with Johnson at first? I'm under the impression that the Giants might be intersted in Johnson so I would thiknk playing him would be appropriate. I think I've seen enough of Dunn in RF to make me more comfortable with Kearns in the lineup.

Posted by: natbiscuits | June 2, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"Hudson, Lowe, Wolf, Livan, hell even KRod, signed for cheap compared to years past."

That was 505, not me, but it's a pretty good point. I find the young talent a lot more fun to watch lose, though. Waste my time with something interesting, I'm a little tired of the stale fare we've had for so long.

This last losing streak has been a lot better to watch, since the starting rotation was all under 25.

Posted by: Section506 | June 2, 2009 4:25 PM | Report abuse

For those interested ... "Nationals pitching coordinator Spin Williams will join the Chiefs until a permanent replacement is named."

Posted by: Brian_ | June 2, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Based on the numbers, McCatty seems to be doing a heckuva job. Plus, he's familiar with all these guys -- and what he did to get good results from them. Good move.

Posted by: fischy | June 2, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you there, 506. Watching the kiddies lose is a lot easier than some alternatives. (Just me talkin' ... obviously.)

On the other hand, Livan! is the only guy I would strike from 505's list. Maybe Rodriguez, but that one's close. I would have been okay with watching any -- possibly all -- of those guys on an otherwise-young team.

Posted by: Scooter_ | June 2, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

"2000 is the last time the Yankees won a world series in spite of massive free agent signings.

They should win it every year given their payroll?"

I'm Ron Burgundy?

Posted by: mrsaun | June 2, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Moves needed to be made but St. Claire has done more with little talent than just about any other pitching coach in baseball.

Posted by: wdsager | June 2, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Fired the wrong guy. Our pitchers have to throw an inordinate number of pitches to get through an inning due to constant fielding and mind-numbing mistakes (errors, failure to cover a base, failure to hit a cut-off man, failure to hustle, failure to take a correct angle to catch a ball and just plain lack of effort). When you need to make six outs an inning at least once a game, your pitchers will fail every time. Fire Acta and things will get better more quickly. Next time we see St. Claire he'll be guiding some team to the playoffs.

Posted by: rocthedog | June 2, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I think you miss the point. Like Dan Snyder this year they decided to stay young. They did go after Texeira ... young. Dunn is young. Pitching, young. And they did finally resign Zimmerman.

The guys you list really aren't.

Posted by: periculum | June 2, 2009 4:16 PM

-------

No, I get the point, but why "go young" and stink? This was a rare year where decent vets were willing to sign short-term contracts at reduced rates. Why not also add some vets (who wouldn't have held anybody back) and have a better roster?

Posted by: baltova1 | June 2, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks and best of luck, Randy, but you might have misspoken. The Nationals weren't going to fire 12 guys. They sure weren't firing Lannan, Martis, and Jordan Zimmerman, and maybe not even Stammen.

Posted by: P522 | June 2, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's official... I'm done with the Nationals.

Firing Randy St. Claire -- one of the top-5 pitching coaches in all of baseball -- because this staff of 4 rookies and one 2nd year player, plus a bullpen with only one legitimate major leaguer (Biemel) didn't perform well, is like firing the bartender of the Titanic because the drinks all tasted like salt water.

I've heard of passing the buck. But what the Nationals management has done today has to be an all-time record for it.

I guarantee you that St. Claire won't be out of work long enough to have his cleaning sent out. He is going to be snapped-up by some team. And that team's pitching staff is going to improve immediately and drastically.

Hey Lerner, you want to improve the team? Fire yourself!

Posted by: noslok | June 2, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

after the season is over, clean house of everyone from the "acting GM" on down. all the assistants, all the coaches. get rid of them all.

Hire a permanent, REAL General Manager.

Let that General Manager select his own assistants, his own Scouting Directors, and his own Manager.

Let that Manager select his own coaches.

enough with this stupid mish-mash of holdovers from the Bowden regime and new placeholders. scrap everyone and start from the beginning.
_______________________________

Agreed. Clear house at season's end and start from scratch. Assuming you sign Strasburg, you have a good bargaining chip to lure a capable GM. And considering this market hasn't had a legit contender since 1945 and only one winning season since 1952 (the '69 Senators), the new GM can make himself perceived as a miracle worker just by giving Washington baseball some competence.

Or it is us? Is there something about D.C.'s culture that makes winning baseball impossible?

Posted by: VPaterno | June 2, 2009 5:12 PM | Report abuse

If you can sell players for cash, and trade them for bats, can you trade a coach for a player?

I say, see what you can get from the Mets before firing Manny.

Posted by: jctichen | June 2, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

let's see, no power from the catcher, no defense from second base, average defense at short, slow in the outfield, getting nothing out of center, poor defensively in right, bullpen has nobody going, starting pitching is young and vulnerable to mistakes from poor defense...is it any wonder this team is where it is?

Posted by: outrbnksm | June 2, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

You could resurrect Casey Stengel from the dead and he wouldn't do any better than Manny Acta.

Manny isn't the problem, never has been. Its not a question of motivation and knowledge its about having pitching talent.

Our current pitching staff is awful. Starters might get better with experience, but the bullpen has let us down in almost every instance.

Blame the owners, blame Jim Bowden, but don't blame Manny.

Posted by: muddapucker | June 2, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

he may not be a bad coach but they had to make a change

Posted by: stephenwilson2003@yahoo.com | June 2, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

H A L L E L U J A H !!!

Finally.

Manny is now on notice. He's next.

Posted by: AWWNats | June 2, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

...considering this market hasn't had a legit contender since 1945 and only one winning season since 1952 (the '69 Senators), the new GM can make himself perceived as a miracle worker just by giving Washington baseball some competence.

Or it is us? Is there something about D.C.'s culture that makes winning baseball impossible?

Posted by: VPaterno | June 2, 2009 5:12 PM ____________________________

Now that you mention it -- our owners have _always_ been cheap. The Griffiths were cheap. The original expansion Nats ownership group had ten owners, none of them particularly loaded. (From SI 4-8-63: "Quesada, ... spent his time ... issuing terse, militarylike directives (like)... the one issued to scouts stating that no player would be signed for more than $2,000 without President Quesada's personal approval." OK, $2,000 went farther back in '63, but still...) They were bought out by a couple of local stockbrokers; James Johnson was willing to spend, but when he died after three years, the team was sold to Bob Short, and we know how THAT turned out. And we all know about Thrifty Ownership.

You don't have to go out and spend a ton. but you do have to spend SOME money. And it's not like their cash is tied up in the ballpark.

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 2, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

I thought Randy was a pretty good pitching coach. I bet he gets another major league job in the next couple years. And I don't get the rationale of bringing in a pitiching coach who does not have a track record of success with these same pitchers in the minors (notwithstanding what some people have claimed).

Now the next foolish step the Nats will take is to get rid of Nick and the handful of vets that provide some reason to go out to the ballpark. Without them, there is NO reason to go out to the ballpark. Dumping vets for prospects often makes sense. But if they dump the few worth watching, there's no point in going to the ballpark.

The Lerners are billionaires, aren't they? There's no shortage of money. Owning a baseball team is a public trust and spending on that team is a community investment.

A one-time big bonus for the #1 draft pick and no spending across the board is nothing but a p.r. move.

We need a plan to win NOW....AND to build for the future.

Until we do, I suggest that those of us who do go to the ballpark STOP buying any concessions at all or paying for parking on team lots. Every time you walk by a concession stand, detour briefly to hand one of the employees at each stand a xeroxed statement that you'll resume buying when we have a winning month. Let's see if a boycott does any good.

If it doesn't, escalate the boycott to ticket purchases.

Sad.

Solutions are doable.

Kasten's hands must be tied by the cheapskate owners.

Posted by: PostToastie | June 2, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

This is a good move. St. Claire ruined so many extremely promising young pitchers over the past couple of years that it was really tragic. Just to name a few: Chico, Schroder, Balester, Colome, Rivera, Shell, Hinckley... The list goes on and on. We HAD to get him out of there before he similarly destroys Zimmermann, Stammen, Mock, Hanrahan, Martis and Detwiler.

Now, someone needs to explain to me why we have such outlandish patience with Manny Acta, who has presided over nothing but last-place teams that have gotten worse and worse each succeeding year under his guidance. He doesn't run practices where we practice reps on the skills we need to improve. He rests guys who don't seem tired. He positions fielders, particularly outfielders, inexplicably poorly leaving inviting gaps that opposing fielders are happy to oblige. He pulls pitchers -- both starters and relievers, when they are going lights-out and showing no signs of tiring, and brings in relievers with the game on the line who have shown that they don't have their stuff during their warm-ups in the pen. And he pinch-hits more weirdly than anyone I have ever seen in my life -- He actually brought Bard into hit for Flores once with men on 2nd and 3rd. What was THAT about?

This isn't hindsight. Sometimes I sit there and yell at my TV (hoping he will somehow hear) "NOOOOOOOOO!!!" when I think he's about to do something nonsensical.

No, we need to get Acta out of there. Sometimes I think he's still on the Mets' payroll. A new pitching coach is a start. A new manager will be better.

And a new third base coach couldn't hurt. I mean, I NEVER thought I'd miss Tim Tolman but Pat Listache's ridiculous arch-conservatism is just intolerable. At least Tolman would take a chance sometimes (unfortunately usually at the WRONG times, but...)

Posted by: FergusonFoont | June 2, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

I follow the Nationals from afar as a non-fan. You folks need a dose of reality.

The Nationals' roster is A JOKE. What do you expect when the back of your bullpen features league-wide castoffs like Julian Tavarez and Kip Wells? What do you expect when your "ace" is John Lannan and he's supposed to match up with the likes of Johan Santana and Cole Hammels? What do you expect when you went into the season with Daniel Cabrera as your #3 starter when no one else in the league would give him a contract?

This team and its cheapskate owners constitute Major League Baseball's greatest disgrace. Blame the coaching? Have fun with that. You sound like Kip Wells' agent.

I'm sorry, Nats fans. Your team is a joke. It's the worst in baseball-- worse than Pittsburgh, worse than Baltimore, worse than Oakland. The absolute worst. Coaching changes aren't gonna solve anything.

Posted by: drischord | June 3, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

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