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Acta News Coverage, The Rundown

On Feb. 15, 2007, it all started. Manny Acta spent his first day on a ballfield as manager of the Washington Nationals. Here, in glimpses, you see a bit of the charismatic side that Acta rarely showed on television -- either in front of the media or while sitting in the home dugout. Also, you see a snippet where he meets Joel Hanrahan for the first time. Ahh... all starting points are good.

And here's how it ended yesterday.

Boswell writes, "Acta's stoic act, which left him inanimate for entire games, turned patience into passivity and personal virtue into managerial vice. A style that can work with a .500 team or calm a jittery contender, proved abjectly inappropriate to a team that needed the spark of occasional anger and the spur of constant clubhouse accountability."

Tracce Hamilton writes, "The fact is, it's growing increasingly hard to believe in The Plan when the major characters keep changing."

Executives in Major League Baseball still believe Manny Acta will likely get another shot to manage. Sheinin contemplates what's next both for Acta and for the franchise he left behind.

One potential partner for Acta? The Mets, where he coached third base before getting hired in DC. Newsday's David Lennon explains the relationships that could lead Acta back to the Big Apple.

Steinberg calls D.C. "America's coaching graveyard."

Fox Sports's Ken Rosenthal has some suggestions for the Nats' franchise: "Kasten should be club president -- a real club president. Rizzo should be general manager -- the permanent general manager. Until either or both of those things happen, this team will remain an embarrassment."

SI.com's Ted Keith outlines Mike Rizzo's plan.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 14, 2009; 8:04 AM ET
 
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Next: Selig on Lerners: "They're on the Right Track"

Comments

Hey, I just realized: if the Nats had waited just one day, they could have held their presser on Bastille Day. hmmm...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Please, Chico. The Rosenthal article had nothing to do with the Nats. They're dysfunctional because they didn't react to his wrong reporting? They do a lot of things wrong but ignoring Rosenthal isn't one of them.
Geezer

Posted by: utec | July 14, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse

The bulk of Rosenthal's (rhymes with class) piece was devoted to defending his earlier rumor piece and patting himself on the back. The meat of the piece could have been summarized in a tweet. And you know how I feel about Twitter.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

The takeaway on the Rizzo piece: Someday -- maybe not this year, but someday -- the Nats will probably pull the trigger and deal the Z-Man to snag some top prospects. Interesting...

Posted by: fischy | July 14, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

I checked a few things in my Bill James Baseball ABstract last night and while I did not commit the exact numbers to memory, I came away with the following impressions of Riggleman's tendencies:

1) He uses pinch hitters a lot. Twice in his tenure witht he Cubs he led all managers with pinch hit insertions. He likes to hit and run a lot. He was about average on things like double switches and fielding replacements and his teams did not steal a lot. All those tendencies have a lot to do with the talent on the team.

Riggleman looked pretty mainstream in his handling of the bullpen. He did not have an unusual number of pitching changes, but again that proabbly has to do with talent level. Acta's numbers look very mainstream in 2007 but his numbers in 2008 were up and I'm sure the number of pitching changes for this year were tending up as well.

Acta had a very high number of defensive replacements the year that Dmitri started at 1B, but not so much in other years.

So what I think I learned by gazing at the statistics is that Riggelman is significantly more likely to employ hit and run tactics, slightly more likely to call for steals, has used pinch hitters alot in the past (did not check his old rosters), and in general is more likely to make in game moves of all kinds than Acta. All this is based on partial data however -- he probably had better talent on at least some of those teams.

On another note, I am rather pleased that Pat Corrales is the new bench coach. I have suspected for sometime that he would be - really since they kept him on as a special advisor. It seemed inevitable. I think he can help Bard and Nieves (and Flores if he makes it back this year).

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 14, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Had to work last evening so just getting around to reading the NJ comments. You all were having SO much fun.

Personally, I come down on the "I will miss Manny a lot" side. I barely know what Riggleman looks like, and I sure don't know after yesterday's presser. So, the Riggleman era starts tomorrow (Wed). What can we look forward to?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal is your typical Baltimore-on who hates everything DC simply because the District has surpassed Charm City in all things. Hell, DC's hoodlums on the HBO show "The Wire" featuring Baltimore were tougher and more thuggish. What is going to kill Rosenthal is that eventually, 3 to 5 years, the Nats will contend. And playing What If's....how about Bill Ripken as manager of the Nats? The guy is smart - very baseball savy. We all know he hates to lose and has fire in his belly.

Posted by: 6thandD | July 14, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal ryhmes with know-it-all, full-of-gaul, and neanderthal. I saw him on MLB a month ago acting all smug about his prediction like it was insightful, imminent, and well-informed. I just don't understand how he has been proven right - he missed by a month. Generally speaking, you only need redemption when you have been wrong about something.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 14, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

My rant on Rosenthal notwithstanding, he is right on both the Kasten and Rizzo roles. Both need more autonomy - Kasten should be unquestionably in charge and Rizzo should be permanent.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 14, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

In defense of the interen (sort of). In the day--won't say which day--I was pretty much of a looker. Went out with a pro basketball player from Phoenix one night. He shall remain nameless, mainly because I can't remember his name, or even how we connected. I wasn't into checking wedding rings in those days, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't wearing one--if that means anything. The "date" ended at my apartment door with a brief kiss, which was a trip because I am not even 5'4". Then we BOTH went on to our NEXT date of the night.

Don't EVEN think about it, guys. I'm now old, fat, and walk with a leg brace and a cane. Which brings me to another topic, namely how UNFRIENDLY Nats Stadium is for the disbables compared to RFK.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

fyi - It's pretty obvious Rosenthal dislikes the Nats.

MLB ran the nats to the ground for 3/4 years. That rarely gets mentioned.

Posted by: Nats1924 | July 14, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I'd love the Post to put up the video of Manny's return to the Dominican after signing with the Nats as the only Dominican Manager in MLB. It would be a nice gesture of thanks to a man who showed us all how to take adversity with grace and dignity. And it might give the haters pause to see just how far he's come in life - to see his Mom's house and the neighborhood where he grew up. He will manage another team to the Series, and we who think this move classless will have the last laugh.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 14, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Man talk about your self serving, arrogant,how dare you not do what i predicted pieces Rosenthal needs to chill,he reminds me of the old Stevie Wonder tune he's mr.know it all.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 14, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting story with Corralles coming back. He has always been a well-respected baseball man who is also known for being outspoken. I thought he was a good addition when they brought him in last year and was surprised to see him go. I wondered if he had problems with Bowden or Acta. Now that he is back on the bench, I am wondering again, Chico, Tracee, any smoke out there?

On another note, instead of inaugurating the "Riggleman era" tomorrow how about we start the official "Rizzo era?" I liked what we have seen from him to date and I'm not sure what more the Lerners need to see to assess his ability to do the job. Might we possibly do better? Sure. But I'm inclined to paraphrase General Patton and suggested the a good plan today is better than a perfect plan next February. Besides, I see no reason to think we are going to find someone better (that ever-elusive proposition).

Posted by: lowcountry | July 14, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Actless Acta didn't even show up to the press conference... What a stand up guy, he sends a statement. He always seperated himself from the team.

Like he was saying, "I'm a winner and this team is a bunch of losers".......

Posted by: punchdaclock | July 14, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal is a self-important D*****bag. If you are a reporter, then report on things; but if you want to dictate how the owners run a MLB team then pony up the $800M (or whatever) to buy a team and have at it. Otherwise, just report.

Besides, you'd think he was talking about some earth-shattering scoop. I mean "the manager of the worst team in baseball is about to get fired" is not exactly a career-maker.

Posted by: CoachD1 | July 14, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

punchdaclock: Huh??? You don't go to your ex's next wedding. No. You don't. If anything, you send a polite "Best wishes" card.

Manny did everything with the greatest of class. Even in the middle of the night, when you KNOW he had to be hurting and angry, he still said nothing negative about the Nats ownership/management. Just said he was grateful for the chance to be a major league manager.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

As much as I think Rosen Rosen is a nerd and is saying "I told you so", he has one point correct. The Nats are a mess.

Folks sometimes the truth hurts like a punch in the chops. The Nats are not a mess but a disaster, a rudderless ship going in circles.

If the Lerners want to hide under their desks or in the shadows, I say fine. But, they need to put quality people in place to Captain the ship, give them the budget deserving of the top 10 market team that they are and step back.

Stop micro-managing the bottom line of Fed Ex charges and coffee filters.

They are killing baseball in this town before the roots can take hold.

We can blame Manny and Kearns and StanK all we want but, it's the Lerners who have the key to the store.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Periculum - in the sad and sorry state of humanity showed by yesterday's bile-soaked postings - Brue and JFelt, you are both in my prayers - 506 and 1a, I will be forever grateful for you - you said words to the effect that the Nats should develop more players from their farm system like Chad Cordero. Chief was a closer for the mighty Cal State Fullerton Titans, whom he took to the College World Series. The story of his signing with the Expos is heart-warming. All I remember is that he was offered a substantial sum, but instead of negoitiating, he looked at his dad and said, "That's more money than we'd ever thought we'd see in out life." He took it, and the franchise kept their end of the bargain, giving him the fast track to the the major leagues—he made his debut for the Montreal Expos after just 26 professional innings in the minors.
When he won his arbitration getting 4.17 million in 2007, Brian Schneinder said he was the same Chief, not speaking unless spoken to, laughing easily, eating two hot dogs a day, and living in the off season in a house near Cal-State Fullerton with his old teammates, with a nightly ritual of roasting marshmellows over an outside fire pit. That must have stopped when he got married. He and Livo were the team's representatives to the 2005 All-Star game.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 14, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 14, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

One note on Corrales, he was still with the team as a special consultant and (I believe) did continue to work with Flores in that role.

NatsLady, right on re. the presser (and Acta's class). If anything, the incoming manager should have been there, not the outgoing one.

sec505203, I agree re. the FO/ownership. I'm unimpressed with their ongoing personnel purges, which have not made any difference to date. Who will be the next to be sacrificed to the screaming mob? I'm still pondering how I'll word my reply to their letter to the fans (not that they'll read it anyway).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

If you respected him, you wouldn't take a shot at his age. Again, five games under .500 a year with the least talented team in MLB before crowds numbered in the dozens -- when they weren't playing "home" games in PR. No pennants with that crew is no disgrace. (I suppose those power-packed teams at CLE and SFO in the 70s and 80s is another story -- oh wait, he was Mgr. of the Year with CLE.) Plus, there was another old guy named Mauch who was considered by most a pretty fair manager.

He wasn't John McGraw, or even Connie Mack (ANOTHER old guy who I guess you'd say couldn't manage, and he lost his share of games towards the end) -- but FEW would say he failed to get the most out his team. Acta certainly wasn't an improvement.

Posted by: gbooksdc

-------

I was going to let this drop because I really am not interested in criticizing F. Robby (hint: HE'S NOT GOING TO MANAGE AGAIN) but I have no choice after this...

First: I'm not taking a shot at his age, I'm pointing it out. There aren't any 74-year old managers out there. The guys you pointed out before (Cox and Piniella) were 8-10 years younger than that and had a track record of winning pennants.

Second: It's already been pointed out that the Expos were not the least talented team, just the least-owned one.

Third: Frank was Manager of the Year with the Orioles, not the Indians (according to Baseball Reference). That was in 1989. As in 20 years ago. How is that relevant? Do you know who was the National League Manager of the Year that year? Don Zimmer. Maybe we should hire him.

Fourth: Gene Mauch was 61 when his managing career ended, not old. The last time I checked, 61 was 13 years less than 74. And I won't get into the fact that a lot of people (including Boswell) thought Mauch was overrated as a manager.

Fifth: Connie Mack did indeed "manage" until he was 87. There's a reason for that: he owned the team. From 1934 to 1950, he had three winning seasons as a manager. Bill James described Mack by then as "old and out of touch with the game, so his career ends with eighteen years of miserable baseball." Do you really want to use him as a comparison?

In the end, Frank was a solid manager who would fall into the middle of the pack when evaluating managers. He did a good job of maintaining professionalism with the Expos/Nats when they were baseball orphans. But that's it. He wouldn't have gotten more out of this team than Acta did. And he's not the answer for the future, which is where we should be focused, and where I'm shifting my focus now.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

flynnie2, nice one. Thanks for the memory.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

The OP also has lots of Acta coverage today. Just saying...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Couple thoughts on the Posts' columns, since Rosenthal being a petty child is well covered in the comments.

Did anybody else have an issue with Boswell coming down so hard on Acta? He was one of Acta's most ardent supporters in the local media. I can think of 2 pieces he wrote in the last month dedicated to apologizing for Acta and saying we should keep the man. Now, before Acta even has time to pick up the phone and look for a new job, Boz is trashing his performance? I'm sorry, but that sort of extreme flip of opinion reaks of flakiness to me.

Also, I have to disagree with Tracee's piece. I think the moves we've made changing key players are necessary to put any plan into place. It's clear to me that ownership/management hindered its ability to build for the future by not putting their own guys in place during their first offseason. This led to a lack of communication and no vision in building the club. The moves that have taken place this spring and summer are finally putting this franchise in a position to have a cohesive team in the front office with a unified vision and an executable plan. Hopefully in 2010 they can put a MLB-quality team on the field, sign top draft picks and actually start to build something instead of throwing spare parts on a pile and calling it a building. Rather than tearing the plan apart by changing the key players, I believe we are finally putting a real plan in place by inserting long-term solutions who will work together with the management of this franchise.

Or maybe I just tell myself these things so I have a reason to keep caring about this franchise.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 14, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal's article a month ago wasn't exactly a shock....it was rumored on talk radio since late-April that Acta was on the hot seat if the Nats didn't start to play better and win games. I seriously doubt that Rosenthal's article had any impact on the timing of the firing. The Nats front office of Kasten and Rizzo had likely decided to give Manny until the All-Star break to turn things around and had started to move out some of the mistakes left from the Bowden years (Milledge, Hanrahan, Dukes).

As for the Nats long-term future, I agree that Kasten needs to function as true team president and make Rizzo the permanent GM. Until those roles are clarified, there will be no long-term stablility and everyone knows that the Lerner's will not be accountable for anything. As for the manager, I think it would be smart to see how Riggleman does the rest of the season before deciding on bring in a big name like Bobby Valentine or Willie Randolph.

Trading some of the vets like Johnson and Belliard would be a good idea. Kearns at this point should be released to open up a roster spot for a player at AAA. His contract extension was a big mistake and he shouldn't be kept around because. The same goes for Dmitri Young who will never be back with the major league club because of his health issues and age.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 14, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I suppose he'd say that it's an opinion writer's prerogative to change his mind, but I had similar thoughts about the Boz column, cheeseburger.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I just don't know how much our players enjoy one another or feel like a team. Whenever the TV pans to the dugout, you see the white players hanging together and the Hispanics hanging together, you hardly see a mix. Does this go back to having had years of Felipe Alou at the helm in Montreal?

Zim's comments notwithstanding, I can hardly believe that players at that level need to see a manager argue with an umpire in order to understand how supportive Manny was. If that is true, what a bunch of ingrates.

Posted by: P522 | July 14, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...well, an eventful day, huh? Ya know, I love the Post, I love the writers,...most of all the writers on this site! Bile or not, at least we have some passion here. But as for "naming names", the writers actually in print are just now starting to edge around to a few meek asides.(You hear me, Boz?)Once again, I call the Loyal Gangs' attention to the "other" Thom over at the "other" paper.A nice piece this a.m. calling out ....3 guesses....the LERNERS! Slow Lerners at best, utterly uncaring...well, I don't want to think about that possibility. Anyhow, having sated (mostly, I hope) my sense of righteous indignation, what about this team? What are we gonna do about our middle infield? Not much in the minors. Or who's (gonna be) on first? And what about Zimm? Reading about F. Robbies' take on him...well, maybe he's learning that one of the hardest things to do is to call out-even-jettison-people he likes or is close to or admires,if they're not on the same "page". It's a tough lesson that we ALL have to learn and in many ways I sure still fall short in that area.Loyalty to your friends is something we love to extol, isn't it? Makes you a stand-up guy...but it can get in the way of other, "higher" values...even loyalty-in this case to the game. I dunno....more semi-coherence from me as I wake up and digest the events. As always, thanks to EVERYONE on this site. Keep up the great commentary...still the only part of the Nats' game that is play-off caliber....Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | July 14, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Will someone please explain to me what Acta did, anything he did, that showed he will be a good manager? Seriously I don't get it.
He completely misread his team and put Lastings Milledge as leadoff hitter even though all through spring training he showed he wasn't ready. And then exactly one week later into the season, yanked him and sent him down to the minors. After an entire lost year and a lost spring training, Acta continued to start Austin Kearns in right field. And then yanked him a week later.
His use of the pitching staff was questionable at best.
His in-game managing left much to be desired. He never stuck up for his players during a game or ever questioned an umpire.
What did he do that was so great?
Anyone?

Posted by: dovelevine | July 14, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"in the sad and sorry state of humanity showed by yesterday's bile-soaked postings - Brue and JFelt, you are both in my prayers - 506 and 1a, I will be forever grateful for you"

You will be "forever grateful" for a couple people who agree with you on some blog? Give me a break. Get off the ledge drama queen and get me out of your prayers. Some of us don't like Acta and aren't as easily won over by his soft spoken nature. Your high horse approach appears to be noble but it's actually just as gutless as the manager we just sent packing.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 14, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

We DON'T want Bobby Valentine. Let's put that one to rest, right now. With Bobby Valentine you get a personality - a JimBo in the dug-out. Let's get a manager, not a media magnet. And let's not forget that there was a reason why he had to go to Japan to get another managerial job.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 14, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

More reading from Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune:

ST. LOUIS -- Manny Acta, the highly respected manager just kicked to the curb by the Nationals, won't be without work for long. He was a longtime manager in Houston's minor-league system and could be joining the Astros' coaching staff as a bench coach. This would be a sensitive move as Cecil Cooper is not as secure as Houston's 44-44 record would suggest. ...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

link for above:

http://tinyurl.com/nue9ef

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"We DON'T want Bobby Valentine. Let's put that one to rest, right now. With Bobby Valentine you get a personality - a JimBo in the dug-out."

----------------------------------------------
Just the thought of it sent an icy shiver down my spine.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 14, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

hey Gang...one more thing. I know FJB reads this site..so hey, FJB-I'm looking forward to your analysis of the Lerners. Seems a worthy subject for your keen observations. And are we really #27 in payroll? In this market? What do you all think would be a reasonable number for us? 80 mil? 95?
Go Nats.........

Posted by: zendo | July 14, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Re: Boswell changing his mind. Not so sure I agree with you guys on this. The Bos was quite clear for many columns that if the team had fallen this far by the AS break, Manny had to be a goner. No matter what you thought of him or his future as a manager, Bos has consistently said that nobody, and I mean NOBODY, could survive 30+ games under .500 at the break. This is a sport where history means something, and even bad teams don't often fall this far off the pace. This is not football, where the worst often flirt with 1 or 2 or 3 out wins of 16. Here, a .400 winning % is awful, and we aren't even at .300. Whether primarily or only partially his fault, they simply couldn't stick with Manny any longer. That has been Bos' point all along.

Posted by: cdstej | July 14, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I believe that there are links to FJB's, as well as Hendo's, Wigi's, and many other blogs on the left-hand side of this page, zendo. Also, in addition to to the Loverro piece that zendo pointed out, the Daly piece comparing performance of managers of expansion teams was interesting (yes, I realize that the Nats were not an expansion team, but they might as well have been given the state of their farm system coming into DC).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Some thoughts here about Manny's record compared to the managers of other "expansion" teams.

http://tinyurl.com/mmxzbw

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 14, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....thanks, natsfan1a1-I got Fjb on my tool bar! I'm just talking about a "future" piece that I'm hoping gets written. Another spot I tout is MurrayChass.com,,,or something close to that/ The ex-Boz of the NYTimes who is a bit more, er, shall we say, "acerbic". Hope he's got something to say as well.
Go Nats....

Posted by: zendo | July 14, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

First of all, kudos to the WaPo for putting 4 stories in the dead tree edition on this topic. Proves that they can muster troops and cover baseball when the level of news warrants the coverage.

Dovelevine, I'm with you - I don't know what people saw in Manny. All defenses come in 2 flavors: (1) he had bad players, and (2) he's a really nice guy. So, OK, I can agree with both sentiments. But that team played lackluster, un-fundamental baseball. And I couldn't tolerate that Manny didn't look like he cared, and it really bugged me when he made excuses for the mental mistakes and lack of focus.

As for the articles, a few weeks ago Bos was chastising the questioners in his chat that dared to call for Manny's firing. Now Bos is piling on. This is his worst flip-flop yet.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 14, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

"

"We DON'T want Bobby Valentine. Let's put that one to rest, right now. With Bobby Valentine you get a personality - a JimBo in the dug-out.

----------------------------------------------
"Just the thought of it sent an icy shiver down my spine."


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

"...and here comes the manager with the hook, riding his trademark curly-W segway..."

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"I got Fjb on my tool bar!"

Yikes. TMI, and you probably want to consult a doctor about that...

Posted by: joebleux | July 14, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

in leather pants and "Groucho Marx" disguise!
____________________________
"...and here comes the manager with the hook, riding his trademark curly-W segway..."

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 11:05 AM

Posted by: lowcountry | July 14, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Terry Pendleton or Kirk Gibson would be my choice

Posted by: JDB1 | July 14, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Taking a step back for a second:
The team is horrible and the record is worse. Any manager in this position in any sport gets canned. Plain and simple. And you know what, it's really not the end of the world. Clint Hurdle was fired earlier this year and he essentially galvanized Denver 2 years ago. In this era, you have to say goodbye. Goodbye to players, goodbye to managers.

Another shot at the fairy tale ended yesterday. I think we all wanted the team to be competitive by now and Manny to be successful. We all want Zimmerman to be that first modern-era HOF Nat, to be a Cal Ripken of sorts. And it would have been a good story if Manny was successful and had a long tenure. But it almost never works like that.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"And are we really #27 in payroll? In this market?"
_____________________________________________________________

Yes Zendo, we are, and have been bottom five every year since the Lerner's took over.

-Ted Lerner is one of the top 100 richest people in America worth I belive about 4 billion dollars.

-He has a brand spanking new stadium he didn't have to pay a dime for.

-DC is a top 8 market with a fan base that is dying for a winner.

Ridiculous and cheap, doesn't even begin to describe bottom 5 payrolls every year, basically no international signings and failing to sign your 1st round pick last year because of a difference of about 500k.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Peeps, again I ask, really interested in knowing from you who like Acta, what makes you think he'll be a good manager? Not interested in hearing about what he didn'thave in DC, interested in what he did that makes you think he's a good manager. Could someone please explain.
thx.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 14, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"WE" sent packing?? WE?? Well, at least nobody's going to accuse you of attempting to take the high road.

**************
Your high horse approach appears to be noble but it's actually just as gutless as the manager we just sent packing.
Posted by: RickFelt | July 14, 2009 10:17 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Look, you'll get no argument from me on the Lerners and their lack of payroll. Ted is a very rich man and should absolutely be putting more money into the players on the field.

But he didn't get the "a brand spanking new stadium he didn't have to pay a dime for" - it's not his stadium. The Nats pay millions in rent and have a 30 year lease. And, the ownership group (Lerners et al) paid $450 million. That's quite a few dimes.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 14, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Listen, I'm hardly interested in defending the Lerners, who do appear to be too frugal so far. But you can't with a straight face say "bottom 5 payroll every year" when in fact they have only set the payroll for 3 years. It's just too small a sample size. If they sign SS, and invest this winter, what will the payroll be then? Though we're at $59mm, that Angelos operation is at $67mm and signing SS alone probably vaults us closer to middle of the pack, which at least would b respectable. No matter what, no owner was coming here to spend like the Yankees or Mets.

Posted by: cdstej | July 14, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Actless Acta didn't even show up to the press conference... What a stand up guy, he sends a statement. He always seperated himself from the team.

Like he was saying, "I'm a winner and this team is a bunch of losers".......

Posted by: punchdaclock | July 14, 2009 9:31 AM |

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

What an incredibly stupid, boorish, juvenile and classless thing to say. And you can't spell, either.

He was just fired, moron. I'm sure you've been fired a few times. Did your boss ask you to come to the "welcome Aboard" party for your replacement?

Posted by: fischy | July 14, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

My suggestion for the next Nats Manager, Larry Bowa. He knows the NL East, is fiery and has been working alongside Joe Torre for the pat 4+ years.

Posted by: andyhershey | July 14, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

it's funny that it isnt just rosenthal who reported it last month, but gammons, heyman...everyone. It is obvious they were going to fire him, but kasten spited the reporters because he is the ULTIMATE I TOLD YOU SO...like yesterday when he said almost crying "look at what we have done in three years (wahhhhhhhhh)

http://www.comcastsportsnet.tv/pages/inner_player?vidID=vidcast_10791&feedID=257&startclip=1

Posted by: nattylite88 | July 14, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"And, the ownership group (Lerners et al) paid $450 million. That's quite a few dimes."

No, they didn't. They used debt to finance a significant portion of the purchase price. And they are using the profits generated by the team to pay off those loans (profits which, some would say, should be going towards the team rather than enriching its ownership). So especially given that their capital investment was less than the (MLB-dictated and non-market) purchase price of $450 million, they are guaranteed to realize a huge profit when and if they ever decide to sell the team.

Sounds like a no-risk financial proposition to me. But you know what they say: to the rich go the spoils (or is it, you've got to have money to make money?). Anyway...let's not give Uncle Ted too much credit for his investment of "quite a few dimes."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 14, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm not sure what the results of this change will bring, but I think that JR possesses pretty much an Acta type personality. That isn't to say his decisions will be Acta consistent, just that his demeanor won't be all that different. Perhaps his vision of how Manny ran the show will lend him a little different view of how things ought to be run from here on out. I hope he can challenge them to focus consistently and not just go through the motions. Perhaps if they had a player(s) in the clubhouse that got in the face of someone not giving it there all much of what has happened might have been avoided. GO NATS

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 14, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

From Sheinin's chat yesterday:

Rockville, Md.: Dave: if you were to assess blame for the woes of the Nationals on a proportionate basis, what percentage of blame would you allocate to Manny Acta and what percentage would go to ownership/management?

Dave Sheinin: Hi everyone. This was designed to be a combo chat on the "Set For Life" project and the All-Star Game, but in light of the news out of Nationals Park, we're going to make it a three-way deal. I'll try to get to as many questions, on all three topics, as I can. Here we go...

Good question, Rockville. Off the top of my head, I'd put 15 percent of it on Manny's head, the rest on ownership, the previous front-office regime and players underperforming.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

The Mets will never hire Manny Acta to manage the team. They dumped Willie Randolph because he was too laid back and passive. Acta has the same problem, only worse.

Posted by: bupbups | July 14, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"And, the ownership group (Lerners et al) paid $450 million. That's quite a few dimes."

No, they didn't. They used debt to finance a significant portion of the purchase price. And they are using the profits generated by the team to pay off those loans (profits which, some would say, should be going towards the team rather than enriching its ownership). So especially given that their capital investment was less than the (MLB-dictated and non-market) purchase price of $450 million, they are guaranteed to realize a huge profit when and if they ever decide to sell the team.

Sounds like a no-risk financial proposition to me. But you know what they say: to the rich go the spoils (or is it, you've got to have money to make money?). Anyway...let's not give Uncle Ted too much credit for his investment of "quite a few dimes."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 14, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Hang on a sec - this just isn't right. You can't say they made X in profits without accounting for the debt payments. The "profits" aren't paying off the loans, the revenue is. And they have to service the debt, else they default! This is like saying that you don't have to account for your mortgage when you plan to spend on your next vacation. Whatever your income, your ability to spend comes AFTER you pay your mortgage, not BEFORE. So in taking on that debt, they are responsible for $450mm in dimes. And you're crazy if you say that's risk free. You think it's all an uphill climb for sports team values? Didn't a few (million) people crazily think the same thing about houses a few years ago. It may be a good investment, and they may (probably will) make quite a profit over time. But it's hardly risk free.

Posted by: cdstej | July 14, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

cdstej,

Cheap is cheap. 3 years is 3 years. They are not spending enough money anywhere. They are not putting their money where their mouth is.

This "plan" was supposed to be about signing draft picks and being heavy in the international market and they have failed to do either.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

The search for the future choice in terms of a manager for this franchise should start and end with Tim Foli. He should have been given the reigns after Acta was fired but i can live with Riggleman for the remainder of this season. Tim Foli is experienced and knows the game and he has this teams triple A club fighting for a pennant, if this franchise has got a plan then let Foli execute that plan by naming him the manager after this season is done.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 14, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Yesterday, Peter Gammons called the team "ill-conceived," which goes to show that if anyone isn't getting a job after all of this, it's Jimbo.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

In other news, after a prolonged search, I found my blue curly W hat yesterday. It was wedged in a previously-unsearched crevice.

For a moment, part of me felt like Acta wouldn't have been fired if I hadn't lost the hat in the first place (or if I had found it sooner).

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 14, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

At least part of the blame for the international ineptitude is on Bowden and his Frowny Alvarez debacle.

Bowden left, but no one told him to pack his bags, you know?

-----

This "plan" was supposed to be about signing draft picks and being heavy in the international market and they have failed to do either.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 14, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I hate to be the one playing the role of Lerner apologist - I agree that they haven't spent enough. My only point is that we're all trying to "evaluate" a moving target based on a still photo. 3 years is not enough time to fully judge (though I understand that it goes against the very fiber of the Internet and blogs to suggest anything other than instant judgment). They failed to sign ONE draft pick - that's not the same as failing to sign draft picks like it's an epidemic problem. For the one Crowe, they've creatively signed several others who were NOT expected to sign. McGeary comes to mind (he was supposed to go to college and they made a creative offer to get him to play and go to Standford). Again, don't get me wrong, their stingy approach this year is biting them in the a$$ - but past is not necessarily prologue.

Posted by: cdstej | July 14, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I found my blue curly W hat yesterday. It was wedged in a previously-unsearched crevice.
_____________________________________________________________

That sounds like it has the potential to be painful.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

"You can't say they made X in profits without accounting for the debt payments. The "profits" aren't paying off the loans, the revenue is. And they have to service the debt, else they default!"

This is not correct. They can finance their purchase however they want so long as it's permitted by MLB rules, but that was their choice. The debt is not the team's debt, it is the owners' debt that they incurred to purchase the team. So they are using team profits to pay off their loans. And if there is a risk of default, they can always sell the team to an ownership group that is ready to make a real capital commitment, and recognize the healthy profit that any sale of the team would be sure to generate.

Also, the Nats would have sold for way more than $450 million had MLB not capped the sale price. To suggest that they would now sell for less than that on the open market--even with the Lerners having driven the franchise into the ground they way that they have--is ridiculous.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 14, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"Peeps, again I ask, really interested in knowing from you who like Acta, what makes you think he'll be a good manager? Not interested in hearing about what he didn'thave in DC, interested in what he did that makes you think he's a good manager. Could someone please explain."

For one, look at how veteran players so frequently overperform for him. We'd have to actually do some big digging I can't do right now, but I would wager that a significant portion of veterans perform at or better than their career averages for him.

Rookies, on the other hand, seem to do the opposite.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

"They failed to sign ONE draft pick - that's not the same as failing to sign draft picks like it's an epidemic problem."

The Nats had the highest unsigned draft pick in 2006, after the Lerners had taken over, as well as in 2008.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 14, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"Rookies, on the other hand, seem to do the opposite."

Which is funny, b/c Manny was supposed to be a good teacher.

D. Young overperformed, but who else are you talking about?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

>>For one, look at how veteran players so frequently overperform for him. We'd have to actually do some big digging I can't do right now, but I would wager that a significant portion of veterans perform at

Would that include Flop?

Posted by: dovelevine | July 14, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Belliard and Guzman come to mind as other overperformers. Perez and Redding. All those random starters from 2006. Dunn and Willingham. Beimel and Villone are both still better than their career numbers, even with horrid July.

That's off the top of my head, what else can you all think of?

Also, I don't know that anyone other than Manny himself ever said he was a good teacher.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

"Would that include Flop?"

Anecdotes make great stories and bad trends.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Glad that the hat turned up, JiM (and good one, 505). I missed that particular series as I was out of town.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

JiM--can you help us find my husband's blue Curly-W cap? It's been missing for a while (possibly since the 2008 season) and I am convinced that its absence has been jinxing the Nats. He wore blue when they are on the road and red when they are at home. It seemed to work well in the other seasons. (Yes, yes, I know, why not just buy a new one?)

Posted by: LurkerNowPoster | July 14, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Those are some weak examples. I'll give you Guzman and Perez, but Belly? Incidentally, how much did Perez want to play for us? (not all Manny's fault, but still)

Dunn and Willingham are at their career averages.

Manny was touted as the youthful manager, the one who would relate to the younger players and help them develop.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

More reading from one of the OPs:

http://tinyurl.com/m7wq3f

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Here is the deal on the stadium:

"Public financing: The city may sell up to $610.8 million in bonds to finance the stadium. Revenue to pay the debt on those bonds would come from these sources:

$11 million to $14 million per year from in-stadium taxes on tickets, concessions and merchandise.
$21 million to $24 million per year from a new tax on DC businesses with gross receipts of $3 million or more.
$5.5 million per year in rent payments from the baseball team's owner."

Let's take some zeros out, to bring it into regular folks' understanding. I have a new house that cost me $610,800 to build. Spacious, quality construction, nice yard, near the Capitol. Tell you what. I'll rent it to you for $5,500 a year, or $458 a month. No rent increases for 30 years and no property taxes. Are you interested or too big a risk?

As to financing the cost to buy the team, that's up to the Lerners. They can write a check for the whole thing, or finance part of it for tax and cash flow purposes. This is the same case for any team, newly purchased or not.

Posted by: EdDC | July 14, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

We thought we were getting Tyson's Corner. What we got was Landover Mall.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 14, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

EdDC, I'll give you the $458/mo, but first you have to fix the leaky faucets, squeaky door, the crack in the basement window, and ... well, I'll send you the punchlist. And you won't get a nickel until it's done.

Meanwhile, I'll rent the place back out for parties with live entertainment, and use the proceeds to pay both my rent to you, and the money I borrowed for my security deposit.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Acta has a goodbye post up over on the MASN site.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

make that, "the money I borrowed for my special events production business."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

We thought we were getting Tyson's Corner. What we got was Landover Mall.

Posted by: flynnie2 | July 14, 2009 12:59 PM


Definitely the post of the day!

Posted by: FloresFan | July 14, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I second that FloresFan

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

You know, if it had been almost any other poster, I would have speculated on how a hat could get lost up a painful unsearched crevice.

We pray for JiM's hat and his family.
**********************
I found my blue curly W hat yesterday. It was wedged in a previously-unsearched crevice.
_________________
That sounds like it has the potential to be painful.
Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 12:20 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Same here, sec3, but I didn't want to go there. Present company excepted, of course. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats had the highest unsigned draft pick in 2006, after the Lerners had taken over, as well as in 2008"

Wrong, Baseball did that draft. Further please go look how that player has fared. You may be disappointed.

Posted by: JDB1 | July 14, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"We thought we were getting Tyson's Corner. What we got was Landover Mall."

How many people would go to Tysons II if it was filled with a bunch of Dollar Stores?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

What I want in a field manager:

- Focus on the fundamentals (this focus does not change when players get promted to the majors)

- Accountability (players not putting out best effort don't play)

- Personnel Planning (matchups, roles)

- Strategy (aggressive baserunning, hit and run, bunting, taking pitches, throwing strikes)

- Passion (enthusiasm)

- Player Communications

- Media Communications

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 14, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Sec3mysofa,

OK, you strike a hard bargain. I'll take your deal, but I have to warn you that if we go forward, you will have to live with a no-strings-attached deal. Sorry.

You get to do anything you want with the team. You don't have to invest much in it to attract fans, so there won't be much related tax revenue in it for me. In return, I'll give you police presence, clear the traffic, and try my best to make you feel at home. Am I being too tough a landlord?

Oh, and if you are not 100 percent happy, just withhold rent, OK?

By the way, if you want to destroy the left field vista with the ugliest parking structure you can design, that's fine with me! Mi casa es su casa.

Posted by: EdDC | July 14, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

"Wrong, Baseball did that draft. Further please go look how that player has fared. You may be disappointed."

I think the point was, the Lerners failed to sign the pick even though MLB drafted him. (I'm not even sure this was true)

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Sparky Anderson fits that description but, I don't think he's available.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 14, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

"We thought we were getting Tyson's Corner. What we got was Landover Mall."

How many people would go to Tysons II if it was filled with a bunch of Dollar Stores?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 1:16 PM |
-------------------------------------------------

I think that was the essence of the original, brilliant joke.

Posted by: fischy | July 14, 2009 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Not trying to compete...

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 14, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Those are some weak examples. I'll give you Guzman and Perez, but Belly? "

Well, if they were Carlos Pena then Manny would still be managing and we wouldn't be having this conversation. But it was asked why a defender thought he might be a good manager one day and my answer is that I expect it is more than a coincidence that all those useless veterans performed mediocre.

For Belliard, refer to when he played regularly, not when he was moved to the bench.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

"Wrong, Baseball did that draft. Further please go look how that player has fared. You may be disappointed."

"I think the point was, the Lerners failed to sign the pick even though MLB drafted him. (I'm not even sure this was true)"

Exactly, my point was that the Lerners failed to sign the pick--which is entirely true, as the Lerners were in full control of the team by the start of the Fall '06 school year at Seton Hall (which was the signing deadline back then).

Also, the point is simply that he was a 2nd round draft pick that the Lerners didn't sign. And while one can say that "MLB drafted him," the guy who drafted him was Jim Bowden--who the Lerners fully backed and retained. The fact that Black didn't do that well at Seton Hall and was drafted in a lower round by the Yankees this year is beside the point--it was still a completely wasted 2nd-round pick. Also, Black was in fact on some Top-100 draftee lists this year. And who knows, maybe if he had been in the Nats' vaunted minor league system for the past 3 years, he would have developed more quickly?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

But ... if they performed, then they *aren't* useless. You can't compare them to how you think they would have performed under other circumstances.

****************
I expect it is more than a coincidence that all those useless veterans performed mediocre.
Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 1:28 PM |

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

OK, EdDC, it's a deal. My first party is going to feature Pauly Shore.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

In response to 6thandD... the DC thugs WERE NOT more thuggish than the Baltimore corner boys. Marlo would have crushed them all. And they only appeared for like one show, and they had the bunk dope... so I'm not sure what your basing that off of.

However, in real life, Baltimore sucks! Having the best thugs and drugs isn't something to brag about.

I like the move getting rid of Manny, it had to be done. 25-61 is unacceptable, 90 games under .500 in his tenure. Now ride out the second half, trade away as many vets as possible for prospects, and build for the future!

There's got to be takers for Guzman (replace with Gonzo), Johnson (replace with a prospect WE ACQUIRE), Dunn (acquire 1B, replace with Harris), Willingham (replace with Dukes). With those 4 guys we should be able to get some decent prospects, and a top prospect for Dunn. Get rid of Kearns, he's a waste of a roster spot. Eat the money, he's a bum.

2011 Line-up
C - Jesus Flores
1B - Chris Marrero
2B - Ian Desmond
SS - Danny Espinosa
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
LF - Michael Burgess
CF - Roger Bernadina
RF - Elijah Dukes
SP - Stephen Strasburg
SP - Jordan Zimmerman
SP - John Lannan
SP - Scott Olsen
SP - Ross Detwiler
SU - Zech Zinicola
CL - Drew Storens

This is with players in our organization right now. Not including prospects or free agents we may acquire. Considering age and development, along with the potential for big free agent signings and return from this year's trades... we could be in contention in a year or 2! Go Nats!

Posted by: STisMyMainMan | July 14, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Paulie Walnuts could assist in, uh, "negotiations."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Daggone post intervention syndrome.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

hmm, that might not be the best phraseology from an initialism standpoint. Never mind.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

STiMMM, I'd like to see someone come out of our farmsystem (post-Expos) who can hit in the majors. Until then, the idea of fielding a lineup consisting of anything close to (Marrero, Desmond, Espinosa, Burgess, Bernadina)....just kind of makes me sick to my stomach. Maybe one of those guys makes it, but we're going to have to find players elsewhere to be competitive as soon as 2011.

Posted by: joebleux | July 14, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"But ... if they performed, then they *aren't* useless. You can't compare them to how you think they would have performed under other circumstances."

I need to write longer posts to address all possible concerns. "Useless" was an editorial word geared for the intended audience, those who wonder how anyone can suggest Acta might be a good manager with a different team. My comparison was to their career stats, I'm assuming you missed that post where I said that.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

A better criticism, Sec3, would be the idea of expected stats for rookies. How much of rookies underperforming their expectations was due to Acta and how much to overvaluation of talent? And we can't even look at Zimm, since his hamate surgery messes up our data.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Whatever, Bile soaked postings and very cute women fans ...

Given the situation, I think I agree with this statement by Rizzo as interpreted or interpolated by Ted Keith ...

________________________________________________

The one player who would draw the most interest from clubs would be third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, the former college star at the University of Virginia who to this point has been viewed as the face of the franchise. Zimmerman signed a five-year, $45 million contract extension in April that would keep him in D.C. through 2013, and his 30-game hitting streak at the start of the year brought some much needed goodwill toward the club still searching for a bankable star. If the Nationals were presumed to have one untouchable player, it would be Zimmerman, but Rizzo disagrees.

"I don't think there ever is an untouchable player," he says. "Now there are certainly players on our club that would be very, very painful to trade but you have to have an open mind because if you can improve your ball club by getting several very good players you have to listen to any and all deals. There are certain players you'd be very reluctant to move. Can't say in all my years in baseball there's ever been one player that was completely untouchable to trade."

Trading Zimmerman may be painful, but if it happens, it will be just another move in what has already been a painful process for Rizzo and for Nationals fans. But the man has a vision, and he can still see it, no matter how difficult that might be these days even for him.

________________________________________________

We can find another 3rd baseman. But Mike Rizzo there are just about 33 days to sign Steven Strasberg. I'm not saying he is the panacea or the ulitmate cure ... what I do think is that you have painted yourself in a corner. Its do or die ... you have to sign this guy and next year's first rounder as well.

This franchise has failed to sign 2 1st rounders in the last 20 or so years. This would make three. More than likely it would be four after next year's draft. I am very sorry Mike but this is something YOU have to convince ownership to take a risk on ... it has to be YOU.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

When I see Paulie Walnuts invoked, I must post . . .

STisMyMainMan - I don't think there'd be any problem finding takers for Willingham. He's a career .852 OPS hitter and is adequate in both left and right. Worst case, a DH. 2 more years of team control before he is eligible for free agency. 30, so he should give you offense at least up until you have to pay him free market price. He is better than a stretch drive trade guy typically put on the market because of his contract status.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | July 14, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

There is absolutely zero chance the Nats trade Zim. That would be an abject confession of defeat and essentially admitting that the Nats are back to 2005 as far as position players go.

Rizzo was saying exactly what every GM would say if he's asked whether there are untouchables on the roster. Don't read too much into it.

Posted by: joebleux | July 14, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

periculum, we cannot find another 3B that can field like Zim. Sure, his throwing is erratic now, but sooner or later (hopefully sooner) he'll fix it and start rattling off gold glove awards.

However, over-hyped pitchers that can't possibly live up to their reputation are a dime a dozen. This one just throws 100mph.

That said, we should have them both. If we fail to sign our top pick for the second year in a row then we'll have no leverage to negociate with Harper so we'll probably not even draft him. We have to sign Strasburg for crediblities sake. If we shell it out for SS, it sends a message to potential free agents that things are chaning. If we don't it sends the opposite message and we'll spend the next offseason reliving versions of the Tex Chase.

Posted by: sec307 | July 14, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

This one typically only throws about 96mph and he seemed to hover closer to 93-94mph against UVa.
__________________________
However, over-hyped pitchers that can't possibly live up to their reputation are a dime a dozen. This one just throws 100mph

Posted by: lowcountry | July 14, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Zim got ripped by the Washington Times beat writer for his comments on the Acta firing. The guy said Zim was hypocritical because Acta asked him to be more of a leader. If true, I have lost a lot of respect for Manny. Asking Zim to police this dysfunctional roster is like asking the first mate of the Titanic to go below and start bailing. Neither Zim or any other player can fix the problems. Let the guy do what he does best - play hard every day. If anything, he is being dragged down by his non-supporting cast. Quiet Cal Ripken was the FOF for the Orioles for years and was never considered a team leader. In fact when the streak became a big deal he started staying in a separate hotel. Remember his missed flight? This team has no cohesiveness or identity because of the revolving doors in the outfield, bullpen, front office, etc. It's up to ownership to get the right management personnel for running a major league club, not a seat of the pants sideshow of misfits. Rizzo seems to have the right stuff but the Lerners need to wake up fast and get some more baseball savy people. Starting with the Strasberg negotiations the next 3-4 months will be critical for their future as owners.

Posted by: SackMan | July 14, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I dont care who the next manager is because it wont matter if there isnt an all-star closer in the bullpen. the team's nose dive started when chad cordero went down. the team needs to go out and get one or two major league closers and have the retreads as back up and set up duty

Posted by: jpt1002 | July 14, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals have many, many, many problems.

Ryan Zimmerman is one of the few answers. And he's younger than Justin Maxwell for some perspective. I think his comments about Acta show respect to his former manager without sugar-coating some of the problems the team has inside the clubhouse.

I think Acta is right when he says getting tossed for no reason does no good, but I strongly disagree with him when it comes to fighting his players battles with the umps. Dunn can't get throw out for called third strikes, but the manager can. There have been many times this season, some that ended games, where suspect strike three calls against Dunn have cost the team. On none of those occasions did Acta do anything. Even Eckstein (sp?) yelled out once. Players have to feel like their manager has their back to help lower their own frustration. They are ones between the lines, not the manager, so the manager has to take it upon himself to do the things they can't do - and chew out an ump every once and awhile. Cox and Torre are often mentioned as similar laid-back style managers, but Cox has kicked his share of dirt and Torre has gone bill to bill with umps when it matters. Acta didn't get this and it's reflected in Zim's quotes (as well as on this board for months).

Because Acta ignored the managerial intangibles, he's out of work.

Posted by: sec307 | July 14, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

What is this ridiculous idea that there are people that 'untradable'. Sure I don't want to see the back of Zimm but, it's a trade. Everyones knows you get stuff back in a trade right? So if the Red Sox, for instance, were stupid and we could trade Zimm for Pedroia then of course you take that.

If Zimmerman is our most valuable player, then the logic flows that you can get more for him. Like any other player, if you can get a more talented player, who is younger, you pull the trigger.

In my opinion. Which is rambling at best.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 14, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

New post. Selig sez the Lerners are on the right track. Hoo boy...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Quiet Cal Ripken was the FOF for the Orioles for years and was never considered a team leader. In fact when the streak became a big deal he started staying in a separate hotel. Remember his missed flight?"

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And people criticize the great Ted Williams because DiMaggio claimed he was more interested in personal stats than in winning ... sheesh ... DiMaggio was a vindictive type that's for sure.

Look at how many pennants Ripken led that team to with his "record". Now, let's look at the other ex-Oriole people like to rip: Frank Robinson. Look at his teams and the leadership he provided for guys like Blair, Buford, etc. Did Robinson win? YES damn him ... he did. Did milkytoast Ripken win? NO.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

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