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Reading Material (And A Video Of 502-Foot Homers)

Let's just start the morning with a hodgepodge of material. Cool?

* It's probably best to take life one phenom at a time, but hey, who ever said that following the Nationals was good for your health? Plus, by now, you probably already know Bryce Harper's name. Everybody in the Nats scouting department sure does. Said one Nats official who has scouted Harper: "Some guys hit their peak physically and don't get much better, but I don't think that'll be a problem for him." Then he smiled broadly.

Harper is only 16, and just completed his sophomore season of high school. But this weekend, he took a step that should make him eligible for the 2010 draft. And guess what team will have the No. 1 pick? It's premature to make many predictions about the Harper negotiations of 2010, in large part because Harper is a Boras guy. The success/failure of the Strasburg negotiations this summer will determine the relationship between club and agent once Round 2 comes around. But you can be certain that Boras will remind the club that position players, like Harper, have a more predictable to-the-big-leagues track record than pitchers. It's also worth noting that the Nats, after this season, have about $18 million of contracts coming off the books with Austin Kearns, Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young.

It's quite possible that, by the end of 2010, the Nats will have devoted an unprecedented percentage of their team budget to two No. 1 draft picks.

* If indeed the Nats have had any discussions about installing Bobby Valentine as the team's next manager, they have been strictly internal, as SI's Jon Heyman reports. Valentine, the popular manager of the Chiba Lotte Mariners in Japan, said by e-mail "I am not sure if my name has been mentioned there but I have not been contacted by anyone, except you, who is even remotely connected to the team."

* The Nats have signed pitcher Horatio Ramirez, who will report to Class AAA Syracuse. Best as I can tell, Ramirez doesn't have a YouTube video. But he does have a Baseball Reference page, which is still available for sponsorship.

By Chico Harlan  |  June 16, 2009; 8:38 AM ET
 
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Next: From Yankee Stadium

Comments

Not that the Nationals will or should let it affect the Strasburg negotiations, but how would the Nats caving in to a huge contract with Strasburg impact potential negotiations with Harper?

If they overpay Strasburg, Boras will clean them out for Harper.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 16, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I know he pitches, and he's a catcher. Does anyone know if he plays any other positions? Not that it should stop them from drafting him but the organization seems set with Flores at catcher longterm provided he can stay healthy. Also, I'd personally be leery of giving a huge longterm deal to someone playing the most grueling position and the one where his offensive stats are most likely to diminish at a faster rate than his baseball age or defensive skills.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 16, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Uh-oh. Did we just usher in the era of debating the merits of drafting Bryce Harper #1?

Posted by: paulkp | June 16, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This will be a huge story until next Draft day and probably larger than the Strasburg story given Bryce's age next Draft day of 17.

There is already a Nats site on Facebook for Bryce to be drafted #1:

www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=103371683800&ref=mf

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | June 16, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Chico writes: "It's also worth noting that the Nats, after this season, have about $18 million of contracts coming off the books with Austin Kearns, Nick Johnson and Dmitri Young."

Chico, do you know if the FO is ready to expand their budgets some, or will they try to break even, signing Strasburg for the value of their departed vets? If you did a breakout of MLB budgets, the Nats still have a long way to go to get to mid-pack.

Posted by: EdDC | June 16, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The Manny Acta Story: How Can We Miss Ya if You Won't Go Away.

(Repeat over and over Bryce Harper, Bryce Harper Bryce Harper....Feel better already......

Posted by: dovelevine | June 16, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Harper primarily catches. But he has played SS and fills in as a relief pitcher at times. Given his size, I'm not sure SS is in his future though it would be worth seeing if he could play there or perhaps in center field.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Chico, for your comment yesterday morning about this waiting on word of Acta's job being unpleasant. It is. There are plenty on here who don't care one iota how it affects him personally, but I second what a team employee was quoted as saying, that it's disrespectful to let him twist in the wind. Once again, this organization gets a black eye for how it conducts its business.

Posted by: samantha7 | June 16, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Just a couple of stray thoughts that popped into my head while reading this story and looking at the video:

1) How can Boras even "advise" this guy when he's a junior in high school? What's he advising him on? Girls? Somehow, that seems wrong, beyond unethical to me. It makes me wonder if Boras and other agents somehow feed some money to these kids with the understanding that it will come out of their contract when they sign.

2) Interesting that the guy running the HR derby predicted someone would hit a 500-foot homer. Given he was talking about HS kids, that leads me to believe the balls they used were juiced. Nobody's ever hit a 500-foot home in the big league HR derbies.

Yet another way to hype this kid's abilities, which don't need to be exaggerated.

Posted by: baltova1 | June 16, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I second samantha's thoughts, Chico.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I agree with samantha7. I recognize this is a business but show respect. Maybe in the case of Daniel Cabrera, if you feel like he willfully ignored advice and wouldn't change what he was doing, you can say what Rizzo did, that he was "tired of watching him" pitch the way he did.

But Manny is clearly trying and assumed a bad hand to begin with. Besides, if you want to hire quality people in the future, they will determine their decision by how you treat the people you have now. This is a "black eye for how it conducts its business."

Posted by: baltova1 | June 16, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Someday I'd love to know the identity of Rosenthal's original source. I know many folks here are not fans of the owners or the front office - professionally or personally - but I cannot imagine they would have wanted this whole story to leak out the way it did.

Even thinking with a cold heart, they certainly aren't going to goose attendance with a new manager - and definitely not with the RedSox coming to town.

Your mileage may vary but it makes no sense to me.

Posted by: diogenes_quixote | June 16, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Agree re. the conduct of business, baltova. Nothing seems to have changed from the way things played out with Frank. Perhaps they were showing us who they were then. That this was leaked at the same time that Willingham's loss occurred only underscores the apparent lack of class and decency in dealings with fellow human beings.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Chico, What's going on with Dimitri? He must still be in pretty bad shape for us not to consider bringing him up as a possible DH in these American League games. Willingham grieving, Kearns stinking, even a not 100% DYoung might not be bad to have around; we are paying him $5 mil after all.

Posted by: macman3 | June 16, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I third samantha7's thoughts, Chico.

Thanks for chiming in.


And thanks for the Harper video link.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 16, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

In case nobody read it last night, I recommend this website:

http://homer.geordiekeitt.com/

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

A lukewarm-hearted possibility: the Nationals wait to fire Acta until he is back home in DC, to avoid the indignity of having to pack up his hotel room and take a commercial flight to pick up his stuff in the District.

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"There are plenty on here who don't care one iota how it affects him personally, but I second what a team employee was quoted as saying, that it's disrespectful to let him twist in the wind. Once again, this organization gets a black eye for how it conducts its business."

Keep in mind who it is that's leaving Manny Acta twisting in the wind. It's not the organization, it's the press. They are the ones conducting the Manny Acta Death Watch. Chico Harlan, despite his pangs of conscience, is as guilty as any of them.

Unless you believe that the decision-makers within the Nats FO made the decision to fire Manny and deliberately leaked it to Rosenthal (which I seriously doubt) the reality of the situation is that either Rosenthal's source bamboozled him or some disgruntled or inept employee in the Nats FO leaked details of their internal discussions. Once this happened, you now have the press driving events rather than the Nats FO. What are they supposed to do, kowtow to the leak and fire Manny even if that was not their intent? Or fire him according to the schedule now being dictated by the press, even though that may not have been their intent either? Even if firing Manny is the right thing to do, and even if it is inevitable, where is the value in the press forcing the team into this action if they are not yet ready to do the things they need to do to improve the organization after Manny is fired? The press is supposed to report the news, even analyze the news. But in no way should the press be driving the news, and in no way should another organization be disparaged for not letting the press do what it shouldn't be doing in the first place.

Posted by: nunof1 | June 16, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

They won't fire him on the road. They saw what happened to the Mets last year with Willie Randolph. I'm still holding out hope that this extension means they let him play out the year. Unless they have a better candidate than Riggleman right now I still see no point in doing this mid-season. But I'm just echoing myself from yesterday so ignore me all you wish ;)

Posted by: RicketyCricket | June 16, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Two thoughts on Mr. Harper before the discussion takes off-

1. Has he passed an MLB equivalent drug test?

2. Can he hit a curveball?

Posted by: lowcountry | June 16, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Riggelman was the interim manager of the Mariners at the end of last year. He led Seattle to a sweep of Oakland the last weekend of the season. A sweep that allowed the Nationals to clinch the Strasburg pick.

If he ends up the choice as interim manager, would he pull a repeat performance in the Bryce Harper sweepstakes?

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Some excellent points, nunof.

Posted by: lowcountry | June 16, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

1. Has he passed an MLB equivalent drug test?

He's trying out for Team USA 18 & under so I'd imagine there will be some sort of test involved.

2. Can he hit a curveball?

He is seeking out tournaments and leagues where he is facing older/more experienced competition and using wood bats.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of Willie Randolph, what about adding his name to the list of potential replacements?

I'd just as soon the Nats take their time an make the right hire than dump Acta for the sake of dumping him. It isn't fair to Riggleman to be handed the keys if he's only a caretaker. And I really can't get excited about the prospect of him running the show for two or three years.

Posted by: twinbrook | June 16, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

"That this was leaked at the same time that Willingham's loss occurred only underscores the apparent lack of class and decency in dealings with fellow human beings."

So, natsfan1a1, are you saying that you believe this was a deliberate decision by the organization to leak the story to Rosenthal? Why do you believe that? If they had made the decision to fire Manny according to the timetable he laid out, what were they gaining by deliberately leaking the information? You really think the Nats organization is out to thoroughly humiliate their manager in addition to merely firing him? Why would you think that?

Or is it perhaps much more likely that this was accidentally leaked, or deliberately leaked by an individual who is at odds with the organization or with Manny Acta? Or that it was all conjecture by Rosenthal's "major league source"?

Posted by: nunof1 | June 16, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Brian,

Seems to me Harper's got to be an SS to start if he's got the range to make it work. C is way too grueling, though a Mauer-with-more-power C is a fascinating thought.

As for his size, the SI article lists Harper at 6'3", 205 - that's big, but it's not big for an SS anymore. BBRef lists ARod at 6'3", 190, Hanley at 6'3" 195 and lists Justin Upton and Tulowitzki both at the exact same 6'3", 205.

I agree over his career he might fill out and need to find a corner, but in the meantime, to live up to the hype, I think he's got to play a premium defensive spot. Besides, I get woozy thinking about a Zimmerman-Harper left side of the infield.

And good point about Riggleman and the end-of-series sweep. Harper might be worth a 120-loss year.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 16, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

H295R - Agreed on his current size not being too big for SS. The only concern I have is that he's only 16 years old. While he very well may be fully grown, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could still grow over the next couple of years.

I agree that the team that selects Harper should strongly consider a move to a less physically taxing position on the field if at all possible.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

You're right, nunof. I don't know that it was leaked by the Nats. I should have used "if" rather than "that" in addition to having the "apparent" in there.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"Chico Harlan, despite his pangs of conscience, is as guilty as any of them."

That's just nunsense.

The team's beat writer can't ignore rampant reporting of that the manager's immient firing, and Chico certainly hasn't added any fuel to the fire with unnecessary speculation.

Posted by: joebleux | June 16, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"Thanks, Chico, for your comment yesterday morning about this waiting on word of Acta's job being unpleasant. It is. There are plenty on here who don't care one iota how it affects him personally, but I second what a team employee was quoted as saying, that it's disrespectful to let him twist in the wind. Once again, this organization gets a black eye for how it conducts its business."


oH boooo effin hoooooo. You know whats disrespectful? 16-46

Posted by: JDB1 | June 16, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about the balls, but Harper was definitely using a metal bat when he hit the 502 shot. But that said, the kid can rake. He's doing it against older competition too. If we have the #1 next year and he's available, we have to take him. I'm against keeping big bats at C (I think the O's should move Wieters to 1B) because it wears them down, but don't think he'd have a problem moving to 1B or a corner OF spot in the minors.

Although a Strasburg/Harper battery would be pretty cool.

Posted by: sec307 | June 16, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"I agree that the team that selects Harper should strongly consider a move to a less physically taxing position on the field if at all possible."

Uhm, first base anyone?

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

I think you have to expect him to out-grow a middle infield spot and treat him more as just a bat until he fills out.

Posted by: sec307 | June 16, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

In other news regarding a day where nothing happened (or did it?):

http://masnsports.com/2009/06/nats-agree-to-terms-with-16-dr.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Co-sign with nonof1.

It's almost like the Rosenthal "exclusive" has to become a media-driven self-fulfilling prophecy. If the Nats do let Manny go during this feeding frenzy, Rosenthal, Jon Heyman and others can feel justified. Ironically, 3:11 a.m. Wednesday marks the anniversary of the Mets' turfing of Willie Randolph who had to fly 3,000 miles to Anaheim to get it between the shoulder blades. Before then baseball writers and columnists for the three major NYC tabloids - Post, Daily News and Newsday - were the ones fomenting Randolph's dismissal through an almost hourly media-driven death watch similar to what;s going on here. If and when Manny is cut loose, the Mets most likely will find a job for him which will put Jerry Manuel on the clock as the next manager who has to live with daily speculation about his job.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 16, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

14 of the 16 signed are college players... interesting.

Posted by: sec307 | June 16, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Harper wants pinstripes. Read the SI article.

Posted by: 6thandD | June 16, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Points well taken, nunof and leetee. Re. Manuel, Rosenthal's already on him (and at about the same time he floated the Acta rumor), as I've pointed out in previous threads:

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9671984/Finger-pointing-may-hurt-Manuel-in-long-run

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

At 16, the kid has plenty of chance to demand a lot and then not sign.

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Harper wants green backs more. That's why he's dropping out of high school. The scouts say that the '10 draft is not that impressive but that '11 has more talent. So it's to BH's advantage to come out next year so that he is far and away the best talent. He has to know who's most likely gonna be drafting first, and it ain't gonna be the Yankees.

I took the 'playing in Yankee Stadium' as a metaphor to playing in the majors.

Posted by: sec307 | June 16, 2009 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Also, you will never read any public recanting from Rosenthal, Heyman, Olney and the rest of the media cabal if their self-fulfilling prophecy fails to materialize. It will be like the story never existed.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 16, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

wow! how great a future scenario would this be? ex-mets manager bobby valentine managing the nats and manny acta as skipper of the mets going head-to-head 18 times a year? bring it on!

Posted by: surly_w | June 16, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Re: Harper's defensive spot - I think he may out-grow an MI spot, but until he does, I think you want him there, because he can contribute with his glove as well.

Re: the "pinstripes" quote. Anybody who wouldn't draft him based on the quote of a 16-year-old kid is crazy. Cos 16-year-olds never change their mind about anything, right? As for his demands, this kid just completely re-wrote his life and is planning on skipping his senior year of HS in order to get drafted a year early - do you really think after doing that he's going to want to sit out a year and play indy league or community college a second year? He'll sign - it'll have to be an "out of the box" "precendent-setting" blah blah blah, but he'll sign and the team that picks him will have his rights for six years, even if he never changes his mind about his clothing choices.

And by the way, while waiting for Olsen to come back off the DL and for Willingham to attend to his family comes this from Rob Neyer over at ESPN: "It's probably been a few weeks since I've mentioned this, so here goes again: Bonifacio has been an absolute disaster. Among the 23 third basemen with enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title (so far), Bonifacio ranks 21st in on-base percentage, 23rd in slugging percentage, and 23rd in OPS. He does have 11 steals ... but he's been caught trying four times and his defensive stats are lousy. Bonifacio might not be the worst every-day player in the majors right now, but he's definitely in the conversation."

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 16, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

hehe, thanks for the Bonifacio item, 295.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

isn't all this bryce harper speculation a group exercise in overthink right now? let's get THIS YEAR'S no. 1 pick signed first and move on from there.

Posted by: surly_w | June 16, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"isn't all this bryce harper speculation a group exercise in overthink right now"

Actually, it's not. The scouts for all the MLB teams turn the page quickly. They are all out right now scouting for 2010 and beyond. From the College World Series to the summer leagues. Team USA and other tournaments. The legwork for who they are going to watch closely in 2010 is underway right now.

Kasten and Rizzo are going to focus on getting Strasburg signed. But most of the scouting personnel are right back on the road.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Man...

First of all. Whether or not Jesus Flores is the long term answer at catcher is up for debate. He needs to stay healthy for a full season and establish himself. Flores is NOT the reason to pass on Harper. Harper is 16, will be 17 when drafted and is looking at some time in the minors. If he turns out to be a catcher, we can worry about that then.

The Manny and Willie Randolph situations are different. Manny can get on a plane and be home in DC in an hour. Willie flew with the Mets to California, beat the Angels and was then fired after that game.

As for who is driving this story. Rosenthal put it out there, and everyone else picked it up. Right now, the Nats are driving the story. They should either fire Manny now because it is the right thing to do. Or publically support him now - for the same reason. And as far as I am concerned, if the Nats aren't firing Manny, they should exercide his 2010 option. Again, I would have fired him weeks ago. But if the FO is so high on him, extend him and end the story.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 16, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Bobby Valentine can't solve the Nationals' myriad of problems singlehandedly (no manager could); that will require a complete overhaul of the organization and roster. What he would do is become the face of this bumbling franchise as it retools -- a high-profile, energetic manager who can sort things out and provide some optimism. People are most familiar with his Mets' work, but this would be more comparable to what he did in Texas as the Rangers regrouped. As long as he doesn't wear out young pitchers' arms, he would be an ideal fit in D.C. Go for him.
___________________

Harpe. r wants pinstripes. Read the SI article.

Posted by: 6thandD | June 16, 2009 10:40 AM
___________________

Memo to Lerners and Kasten: Add pinstripes to uniforms.

Posted by: VPaterno | June 16, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Re Rosenthal, Just because he reported it doesn't mean a decision's been made. Manny's situation is being discussed within the organization, probably for some time. I'm sure there are two camps, pro-Manny and gone-Manny. The only thing that effected the timing of this "news" was some donkey leaking it when he did. Obviously someone who wants Manny gone.

Re: Harper, way too early to go "on the clock" with this kid. The best 15y/o doesn't translate to the best 18 or 20y/o in the country. I would be very leary drafting what amounts to a high school junior with the first pick in '10. By the way, that is a very long swing.

Posted by: pwilly | June 16, 2009 11:12 AM | Report abuse

$18M coming off the books? I have it at closer to $23M.

Kearns: $8M in 09, less $1M buyout [$7M]
Nick: $5.5M in 09 [$12.5M]
Dmitri: $5M in 09 [$17.5M]
Cabrera: $2.6M in 09 [$20.1M]
Wily Mo: $2M in 09 [$22.1M]
Ledezma: $750K in 09 [$22.85M]

If we count Beimel at $2M, we get to $24.8M.

Of course, some if this is offset by raises to Dunn and Zimmerman, and Olson, Willingham and Flores are arbitration eligible.

Posted by: comish4lif | June 16, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

I like my HarperHope (Hoprer? HarHope?) spiked with a little schadenfraude, 1a1.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | June 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Harper does want to play in pinstripes. If he does really well with the Nationals, after six seasons he can file for free agency....Or, he might change his mind to stay where he has became a local legend. Either way, that's a long way down the road...

Posted by: fischy | June 16, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

harper's swing looks like tiger woods. max effort totally in control.

he's got a rifle for an arm so first base should be out of the question.

i'd think he ends up in center or right field so he can concentrate on hitting. will be major league ready sooner if he isn't a catcher or shortstop.

Posted by: longterm | June 16, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

1. Has he passed an MLB equivalent drug test?

He's trying out for Team USA 18 & under so I'd imagine there will be some sort of test involved.

2. Can he hit a curveball?

He is seeking out tournaments and leagues where he is facing older/more experienced competition and using wood bats.

********************************

Great stuff and those need questions will need to be answered.

Any 16 year old with a father as controlling as his begs the question to your #1 question as to how far a parent would go to enhance your child's skill sets either naturally or through more unconventional methods or through illegal methods and of course none of us would ever think a parent would do ever do that.

Posted by: dmacman88 | June 16, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

i'm all for skepticism but i need some hope.

Posted by: longterm | June 16, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

All that is fine, but will Harper sign for under slot?

Posted by: EdDC | June 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

now that is funny!

Posted by: longterm | June 16, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

You know, it's a good thing he wants pinstripes. Because I want five years of major league at bats from the kid, and then to sack and pilledge the Yankees farm system when he starts asking for stupid money!

Me and Bryce! We think alike!

Posted by: soundbloke | June 16, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Harper primarily catches. But he has played SS and fills in as a relief pitcher at times. Given his size, I'm not sure SS is in his future though it would be worth seeing if he could play there or perhaps in center field.

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 9:23 AM
___________________________________

I would think corner outfield and maybe he will continue to grow taller and get to his older brother's size and be a 1st baseman.

I love the speculation on these "potentials" because it is taking my mind off of all this stuff that will make my head explode thinking of Manny Acta and having less than 30 wins at this point in the season.

Posted by: dmacman88 | June 16, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

For Harper, the Yankees will trade us Sabathia (after he is wore out) and pay the remainder of his atrocious contract.

Win-win!

Posted by: longterm | June 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I guess all the press-bashers here will love it when every newspaper folds, and the Internet will have nowhere to steal the news anymore. Blaming the bearer for the bad news (if you consider talk of Manny being let go "bad'' news) is an ancient and worthless practice. I'm sure baseball fans everywhere, other than here, are amazed that Acta still has a job, as they laugh at the Nats' futility.

Posted by: nats24 | June 16, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Anyone commenting has either been fired from a front office or can't get a job in a front office.

Posted by: longterm | June 16, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

nunof1 said: "The press is supposed to report the news, even analyze the news. But in no way should the press be driving the news, and in no way should another organization be disparaged for not letting the press do what it shouldn't be doing in the first place."

leetee1955 said: "It's almost like the Rosenthal "exclusive" has to become a media-driven self-fulfilling prophecy."

And Chico Harlan said: "I hope it never comes off that I’m somehow making bloodsport of Manny Acta’s job status, or relishing the spectacle."


And I say here's the "news" of all this: Rosenthal et al. eff'd up. Whether he's irresponsible or simply inept he reported on something that wasn't true. He obviously didn't verify his sources, he is way out of line. This will happen in this age of media when reporters try to be first before being right.

I don't blame Chico for putting it up here. Rosenthal certainly did spark a death watch among the folks in this forum (who had been on a death watch for weeks or months already, right dovelevine?). And to some extent the fact that some of the fans want some kind of action from the organization is news. Yesterday we thoroughly discussed the reasons why firing the manager is almost purely symbolic, and moreso in this case, but the fans' frustration is palpable.

I am no more happy with 16 wins than Brue, but I am even less happy with the way the Nationals organization is presenting itself to the public, staff (as far as I know), and fans.

As an aside: if they came out in strong support of Manny how would that look? I mean, the team he captains is, after all, so far in last place they can't even be seen in the rear-view mirror of the 29th best team in baseball.

But all of this gets back FIRST to ROSENTHAL, who should be publicly reprimanded for starting this ... and then to the Nationals organization for not being able to squelch this in a dignified way.

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 16, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Just a quick observation -- Rosenthal and Heyman said that Manny was going to be fired soon -- MAYBE AS SOON AS Monday, but maybe not until the start of the Toronto series. Ladson claimed in his post on the official website that the story wasn't true because Manny wasn't fired ON MONDAY. Ladson is wrong because he didn't read the complete story. Manny could be fired anytime this week and the story would be accurate.

And another observation -- any rumor about a manager getting fired with a record that equals the '62 Mets should have come as a surprise to NO ONE within or without the organization. The team's performance is unacceptable to all -- except a few people here, evidentially, who echo Manny's 'losing is ok' mantra.

Posted by: raymitten | June 16, 2009 12:00 PM | Report abuse

ihw's

You are right about the media going a little crazy but, ultimately responsibility ends with the front office. If they are keeping him, why no unconditional statement of support? It's totally disrespectful, and reinforces the image of us as a clueless and farcical organization.

Posted by: soundbloke | June 16, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

As does announcing to the press that you will fire your manager 'as early as Monday, or sometime next week'. It makes firing you manager look like something they do when they get round to it, like cleaning the gutter or putting together and IKEA bookshelf!

Posted by: soundbloke | June 16, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see some of you all agreeing with me about Rosenthal. Now I think he and FoxSpouts should forward an apology to Manny Acta and the Washington Nationals for lying, and identify the source who lied to him/them. Then his editor should come forward and apologize for allowing this cheap shot to be aired at all. Fair and Balanced indeed. How about some accountability now?

Look, I like wins too. But Manny was not brought here to get the team to the playoffs. He's in the first 1/3 of his 3rd year - and just like the team - building from scratch. 'The Plan' has yielded 4 rookie pitchers in the starting rotation. The ace is a 2 year guy. 3 years ago there was an open tryout for who would take the ball every day. You folks get sick of me saying it, but Loria and MLB did this team no favors. JimB was a convenience choice at GM because he was keeping the chair warm. Manny was chosen to develop along with the team, but his coaching staff has been turned over twice under him, and the GM (or someone) is calling shots on the field. Too many fingers in the pie.

While I don't agree with everything Manny does, letting him go while the team is reeling from Willingham's loss is not the thing to do. THAT would be classless. IMHO.

Posted by: dand187 | June 16, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

>>letting him go while the team is reeling from Willingham's loss

Hmmmm. That's a new one. The team's woes are now because of Willingham. Good 1.

Only reasonable explanation left, is that the team will wait to make a move till after the current Yankees fiasco is over so the new skipper won't start out by having his face punched in.
However that is reasonable thinking. And the Nats are not anything BUT reasonable. They are dysfunctional. So that's probably not it.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 16, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

You know it's one thing for the players to stink. That's eventually fixable.
But whataya do when the front office stinks. Then your team is never fixable.
THE NATIONALS FRONT OFFICE AND OWNERSHIP STINKS!!!!!!
THEY ARE THE WORST!!!

STAN KASTEN PLEASE RESIGN.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 16, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Dollars to donuts the source of Rosenthal's Fox Sports report was StanK. Everybody else is a placeholder. It comes from StanK.

Hey, Chico, how about some digging on the most unreported aspect of this stinky FO. When does StanK's minority ownership stake become vested? Is that the only reason he's staying? What's the timeframe? How much are the options worth? Ask him or the Lerners directly, please.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | June 16, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

10 to 1 the Nats draft and fail to sign either Strasburg or Harper.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 16, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine - I did not say in any way the "team's woes" were because of Willingham's loss. Your comment lends me to believe you have never, ever been part of a real team, in any fashion. But I'm making an assumption. Now you want Kasten out. Then it will be the Lerners should sell and leave town. Then the Nationals should move to Vegas.

What is with you people? Go to the games. Support the team. If you don't, eventually we will LOSE them. Is that what you all want?

Posted by: dand187 | June 16, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

"What is with you people? Go to the games. Support the team. If you don't, eventually we will LOSE them. Is that what you all want"


This is the biggest bs. The team gets the support it deserves end of story. As did the Senators. Put a product on the field worth supporting and plenty of people will go. I guess the fact that this town has had 2 winning seasons since 1945 is the fans fault right. In the end the fans get blamed because of crap teams. Thats bs

Posted by: JDB1 | June 16, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I go to games, because I like baseball.

Posted by: Section506 | June 16, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Harper wants pinstripes. Read the SI article.

Posted by: 6thandD | June 16, 2009 10:40 AM
__________________________________________

The earlier he signs and gets to MLB, the earlier he can become a FA. This kid could be a FA by the time he's 25 (earlier if he gets an ARod deal that guarantees no minor league time). By the way, who's ARod's agent again?

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I thought you went to score chicks.

Posted by: Scooter_ | June 16, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

506

Oh, which stadium do you go to?

Posted by: soundbloke | June 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm not being a press-basher. All I ask is for a standard of professionalization. I think theat Chico has conformed to that - when the Rosenthal story broke he went to Kasten and asked. And since then he has not "reported" anything more (although I do have an issue with yesterday's blog). But last night, on ESPN, Peter Pascualie (sp?) indicted the Nats for letting "Acta hang in the wind." Where is the basis for the report? Because Rosenthal reported that he was going to be fired on MOnday (wrong) from an "unnamed" source we are all just suppose to believe that Acta's firing was imminent. I'm sory, I want some evidence that it was a matter of days. When they fired St. Clair two weeks ago, everyone was willing to infer that Manny had until the All-Star break to save his job. What has changed in the last five days other than an erroneous speculation?

_____________________________
guess all the press-bashers here will love it when every newspaper folds, and the Internet will have nowhere to steal the news anymore. Blaming the bearer for the bad news (if you consider talk of Manny being let go "bad'' news) is an ancient and worthless practice. I'm sure baseball fans everywhere, other than here, are amazed that Acta still has a job, as they laugh at the Nats' futility

Posted by: lowcountry | June 16, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Chico, I meant to second my appreciation of your coverage of such an unsavory story as the ongoing public humiliation of a nice person. (Insert Leo Durocher quote here.)

Where is the Seinfeld relationship-ending procedure when we need it? Like a band-aid. Rip it, right off!

Posted by: paulkp | June 16, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

From my perspective, whether or not the person in question is deemed to be "nice" has nothing to do with it. It's about treating people with respect. On a related note, I found the venom spewed about Jim Bowden up to and after his departure to be more indicative of the character of the haters than the "hatee."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 16, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

How does Scott Boras GET these players?? When was the last time a No. 1 pick WASN'T represented by Boras?

Posted by: Juan-John | June 16, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Harper is graduating early as a junior. Although he will be around 17-18 years old by the time the draft rolls around. Dedicating a large percentage of the roster payroll to 2 unknowns makes no sense give the current dire predicament.

Either the budget grows to accommodate additional free agents plus or the Nats continue to lose for 4-5 years waiting for all of Natsguy's propects to blossom. Many may also end up as flops.

Delbert Unser learned to hit in his brief sojourn with the Senators and Ted Williams. His batting average was in the .200 range. He was a left hander. After Williams (and he never went back to his old ways as did some of the others) he hit .270 to just under .300 consistently. Eventually helping the Phillies to win their 1st championship.

I don't think you are going to see this happen in today's game. One advantage to having Frank Robinson as your manager is he definitely knows what it takes to hit major league pitching. If he has apt students who are willing to listen.

The same will be true for this kid Bryce Harper. He has already been told that he is something special. A "Roy Hobbs", except "Roy" could pitch. He has an agent who will guide his career and make sure he has millions in the bank before he even steps foot on a major league diamond.

Where's the motivation?

I suspect that our "prospect fodder" outfielder Jorge Padilla, and our "prospect fodder" pitcher JD Martin would have much greater motivation even for a losing franchise like the Nats.

Posted by: periculum | June 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"How does Scott Boras GET these players?? When was the last time a No. 1 pick WASN'T represented by Boras?"

Boras gets these types of players because he's good at this job of maximizing their returns.

The 2007 #1 overall, David Price, was not represented by Bo McKinnis.

The 2008 #1 overall, Tim Beckham, was represented by Greg Genske

Posted by: Brian_ | June 16, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"Hitting is fifty percent above the shoulders."

"Hitting is the most important part of the game. It is where the big money is, where much of the status is, and the fan interest."

"If I was being paid thirty-thousand dollars a year, the very least I could do was hit .400."

"There has always been a saying in baseball that you can't make a hitter, but I think you can improve a hitter. More than you can improve a fielder. More mistakes are made hitting than in any other part of the game."

Posted by: periculum | June 16, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

>>I thought you went to score chicks.Posted by: Scooter

Good 1.

>>Your comment lends me to believe you have never, ever been part of a real team,

Not only have I played but I've coached. However not sure what that has to do with anything. Simply calling a spade a spade.
What, when they sign a numbskull loser like Daniel Cabrera, who everyone and their brother knows stinks to high heaven, we should all just be silent just so we don't "lose the team to Las Vegas"? What's that all about?
This team is dysfunctional and should be called out on it. And the sooner the better. Otherwise after awhile you won't care if they move to Las Vegas.

Posted by: dovelevine | June 16, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I continue to scratch my head at the teflon covering Manny Acta. He's won 16 games IN THE MIDDLE OF JUNE and half of the fan base here is criticizing the media for reporting he may be fired SOME TIME THIS WEEK. How many years do we give this guy Acta supporters? Ten? Twenty? OK, Manny is a nice guy, I think so too, but really, he signed up for what he's gotten lately when he agreed to manage a major league team and has 'led' it to historically bad numbers. PLEASE SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY HE IS EXEMPT FROM RESPONSIBLITY!!! Its very frustrating, the team is never going to be better if people accept what is going on here, whether its Manny Acta, Frank Robinson, or anyone else performing at this horrendous level.

Posted by: raymitten | June 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"PLEASE SOMEONE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY HE IS EXEMPT FROM RESPONSIBLITY!!!"

Because maybe that responsibility starts at the top and works its way down. It was MLB baseball's idea to put a team in DC. Just as they did with the franchise Bob Short found a way to move to Texas. At least Calvin Griffin spent a good number of years in DC before taking off for Minneapolis.

It may be the Lerner's idea to move the team to Vegas, script direct from the movie "Major Leagues".

Posted by: periculum | June 16, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

WHAT DOES IT TAKE RIZZO? MANNY?

You have the worst team in the majors by over NINE GAMES! You have a guy in AAA who has walked 6 guys and struck out 45. He has a 2.43 ERA and a 7-2 record.

if you are all about performance, production as Ozzie Guillen so aptly said recently ... WTF?

Posted by: periculum | June 16, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"If the Nationals are moved out of the city during the term of the lease, the city has the right to seek damages, including the cost of stadium construction."

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | June 16, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

This team's not going anywhere kids... let's stay focused here! The only issues today, at least until tonight's game, are Manny, Strasburg, and some 16 year old phenom everyone's treed up about!

Posted by: outsider6 | June 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

From B15-1028_Ballpark_Finance_Act_final.pdf:

"d) The Sports and Entertainment Commission shall lease the ballpark, on behalf of the District, to the MLB Team pursuant to a lease agreement that has an initial term of at least 30 consecutive years, plus 5 2-year renewal options, and that is otherwise in accordance with the terms of the Baseball Stadium Agreement."

"(b) The ballpark lease agreement and the license agreement for interim use of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium shall each include provisions requiring Baseball Expos, L.P., or its assigns or successors, to maintain its Major League Baseball franchise in the District for the term of the agreement, and shall each include such other provisions and remedies as shall be necessary to ensure enforcement of this obligation, including all remedies available under District law and provisions requiring Baseball Expos, L.P., or its assigns or successors, if the team relocates from the District prior to the expiration of the term of the agreement, to directly pay, or to finance the reimbursement of the District or any other party, for any and all outstanding costs to
be borne by the District or any other party related to the ballpark as set forth in section 102(c), and for any lost revenue that the District or any other party would have received if the team had completed its term."

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | June 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I love how the hysteria in here, absent of any external news to drive it, is apparently completely self-propelling.

It seems like there ought to be a way to harness that as a renewable energy source, somehow. Along the lines of burning cow patties...

Posted by: joebleux | June 16, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Harper wants pinstripes. Read the SI article.

Posted by: 6thandD | June 16, 2009 10:40 AM

-- -- -- -- - - - - -- -- --


Remember the interview last week with Storen who said he wanted to be like Chad Cordero since he had the chance to meet him?

Perhaps you noticed in the video that he was working out at the NYY training facility. When I was 16 I was into whatever the coolest thing I had experienced. It is entirely possible that the kid will care more about wearing a world series ring than wearing pinstripes by the time (and if) he gets the chance to play in MLB.

And still, who cares if he wants to be a yank? Couldn't that just mean that he's in touch with the game's history?


Is there a new post up yet?

Posted by: ihatewalks | June 16, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

People, people, people, let's not lose focus here. The real story here is the revelation that Nook Logan took steroids. Doesn't that nullify a large chunk of the Mannyger's wins? Doesn't this make him something like 2-500?

Posted by: rucks35 | June 16, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

If games where Nook started were to be discounted from Manny's record, I would assume his winning percentage would go up.

Posted by: JohninMpls | June 16, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

New post up.

Posted by: leetee1955 | June 16, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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