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Down to the Final Hours

I'm at Milwaukee's airport right now, bound for Pittsburgh, former professional home of Joe Beimel, Nyjer Morgan, Sean Burnett, Ron Villone, Kip Wells, Julian Tavarez -- well, I'm getting a little carried away. It's also the present home of Joel Hanrahan and Lastings Milledge. This being trade deadline day, Pittsburgh might also be the site where several current Nationals -- Nick Johnson? Joe Beimel? -- find out they're no longer Nationals. I'll be out of pocket for the next few hours here, just on account of TSA regulations, but here's the latest round-up of trade rumors:

* According to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi at Foxsports.com, the Marlins have made a serious bid for Johnson. The deal on the table would send Class AAA pitcher Ryan Tucker to the Nats; Washington would also have to pick up a portion of Johnson's remaining salary. Tucker, 22, is a 2005 first-round pick and began the year as the fifth-best Florida prospect, according to Baseball America.

* With the Cubs acquiring John Grabow from Pittsburgh, Joe Beimel is out of the trade mix there. He could draw some interest from the Tigers, though.

* Josh Willingham might still draw a little interest from the Giants, but from this report, it seems like San Francisco has given up on trying to pry the outfielder away.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 31, 2009; 7:41 AM ET
 
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Next: Contemplating a Johnson Trade

Comments

Do it Rizzo, you will not get a better offer. Please don't make the same mistakes as Bowden that's why you got the job.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Carrying forward:

I saw something on the MLB trade rumors site that specified two pitchers, and it also noted that negotiations were ongoing. Then again, it might have been Ken Rosenthal reporting. BTW, I also heard that he was going to be traded to ESPN for a manual typewriter and a dried up bottle of whiteout.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 31, 2009 8:05 AM

Rosenthal, that is.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 31, 2009 8:05 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 31, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Those upset with the idea of the trade for Tucker haven't read that his fastball is in the mid 90s, up to 97, and that he is not in the Florida rotation because of the strength of the big-league pitchers, not because he isn't well-regarded.

I love having Nick on the team, but don't forget the many months of frustration of his fluke injuries. Don't forget the mistake of keeping Dmitri Young and Ronnie Belliard when Bowden might have obtained at least minor leaguers who could be pretty close to the bigs by now.

Nick needs to go for as much as the Nats can get, because we probably get nothing in return if we don't (Nick's injuries last year may keep him from producing a compensation pick as a free agent.)

I think the likelihood of a trade or two is increased by Mike Rizzo's need to make a case for keeping his job. I can't imagine him failing to make a trade today.

Posted by: kevincostello | July 31, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

reposted

Ryan Tucker is the youngest pitcher on their AAA roster. Also ranked as their #5 prospect by BA.

2006 - #10 ranked for FLA
2007 - #8 ranked for FLA
2008 - #3 ranked for FLA
2009 - #5 ranked for FLA

He appears to have had some injury issues this year or something else leading to limited activity.

Posted by: sjt1455 | July 31, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

From what I understand, Tracy Ringolsby out in Colorado said the Rockies are trying to trade for NJ as a lefty bench player. They are also looking for a lefty reliever. So Rizzo has to decide which route to go for the best return.

I would expect him to be traded, but not till the very end.

Posted by: GoNatsTerps | July 31, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I understand the limited value of NJ, but why are we trading for a pitcher when we need infielders?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Because we also need pitchers, Nats_Lady. As good as Lannann, Stammenn, and Zimmermannn are looking, you can't count on any single one of them for sure. (Basically, the team still needs everything.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | July 31, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

(Basically, the team still needs everything.)
================================

Except a CF.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 8:51 AM | Report abuse

@Scooter: don't agree. I think we should let the "second tier" of the pitchers (Balestar, Detwiler, Mock, Martis) be given a chance to develop. Olsen is a bad loss, but how about promoting from within?

Last night showed me we HAVE to plug the hole at SS/2B/C. OK, we are waiting for Flores, we all get that, but Gonzales/Henandez are showing very little.

A closer would be nice, but I guess we are sticking with MacD for the duration.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady, good infielding prospects are worth more than Nick Johnson.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

would FLA throw in bonifacio?

Posted by: surly_w | July 31, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

@hleeo3: (sigh) you are probably right. And that is the real reason we'll take what we can get and fit it in wherever.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Yep :(
Hopefully, next year's GM focuses the first 3 rounds of next year's draft to infielding. We need it badddddd

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Nick for Tucker? Tucker is no doubt another "damaged goods" pitcher, just like Olson. We have enough minor league "pitching prospects". Nick is a big part of our paltry offense and he needs to be re-signed for two years, until Marrero is ready. Don't trade him.

Posted by: bupbups | July 31, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo needs to make the Johnson for Tucker deal. I read an article about Tucker on the Marlins website. He has upper 90's fastball, with electric movement. His problem has been that he doesn't really have a good secondary pitch. The Marlins say if he can develop his slider as an above average pitch than he becomes an effective starter. They said if not he has the make up of a dominant closer. IF you look at his stats, as a starter 8.04 ERA, in 2008 when he was in the majors as a reliever a 1.58 ERA.

BTW, I bet Nats wish they made the NJ for Declareman deal with the RedSox. Johnsons value has constantly fallen.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

I would be shocked, not disappointed, if the Nats do not may make a trade today. Just do not want a trade with the Reds. If it is the Reds, I will be disappointed.

Posted by: Batboy05 | July 31, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The Saux turned us down on the NJ/Delcarmen deal.

I agree that we should get what we can get for him. He is a free agent, so if we wanted him back for a year or so to bridge the gap to Marrero, that could be possible too.

Bonifacio has too many holes in his game. Let the Marlins deal with him.

Posted by: sec307 | July 31, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I agree about the Reds... getting Votto or Cueto or Bruce would be horrible.

Posted by: sec307 | July 31, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Isn't Bonifacio a 3rd baseman? So to start off he would have to switch positions. That would add another hole to his game, at least in the immediate situation, right?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Boni is really a 2B, but they have Uggla and no 3B so he's playing out of position for them. For what it's worth, he played CF in Arizona before coming to DC.

Posted by: sec307 | July 31, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

> He has upper 90's fastball, with electric movement. His problem has been that he doesn't really have a good secondary pitch

Sounds like MacDougal. How's that one workig out?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 31, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

BTW good old Levaile Speigner is pitching decent as a reliever for the Marlins. Not that I want him back though. Also, looking through the Marlins Farm system, that don't have a 2B or SS that is performing better than our Desmond, Hood, or Espinosa

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I hope you were joking about Bonifacio. Also, Tucker would be a 97-98 mph bullpen arm, where the Nationals need a lot of help.

Posted by: sect104 | July 31, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Also, baseballamerica projects Tucker as the Marlin's closer in 2012.
check out the Nationals page, just google "washington nationals 2009 baseball prospects"

it shows Mock as our projected closer in 2012

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

surly w was being sarcastic, Nats Lady. We've had enough of little Boni

Posted by: nats24 | July 31, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@nats24: well, I thought so, but was keeping an open mind. :)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Ryan Tucker? - we don't need no stinkin' AAA pitcher (of course, I will welcome him with open arms if the deal gets done).

C'mon Rizzo, work your magic.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 31, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I'm sure the Reds would trade Bruce for Willigham. That deal would sink any GM!

I was surprised they didn't go after Adrianez or Noonan from the Giants. Both great defensively and are more likely to contribute on offense that our 'defensive options' now.

Also Guzman still plays here. What's the deal the that?

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

No magic low country.

Only grim unrelenting reality.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

trade nick for 97mph bullpen help.

resign nick in offseason. a la orioles harold baines style.

Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

On a non-Bonifacio note, that Tigers article link looks fascinating. Their minor league strengths appear to complement our needs very precisely.

Two separate quotes:
"Others who might make sense for the Tigers are corner outfielders Cody Ross (Marlins) or Josh Willingham (Nationals) and relievers Matt Capps (Pirates) or Joe Beimel (Nationals), whom the team discussed as a free-agent possibility over the winter."

"However, the Tigers have several minor league prospects in two areas they could afford to trade. They have shortstops Brent Dlugach, Cale Iorg and Danny Worth. And they have relievers Cody Satterwhite, Scott Green, Robbie Weinhardt, Tyler Stohr and Brett Jacobson."

Does anybody know anything about these prospects? I'd send Beimel over for the most promising of these in a heartbeat. I'd send Willingham over for the top three of them in a heartbeat (Willingham's under control, so worth much more).

Posted by: faNATic | July 31, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Tigers w/ surplus at SS and relief??? A marriage made in heaven--if true.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 31, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

resign nick in offseason. a la orioles harold baines style.

Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse
-----------------------------

Or a la Orioles Mike Bordick style...they traded him to the Mets for Melvin Mora and some other stiffs and then resigned him in the following offseason.

That could totally work with NJ.

Posted by: combedge | July 31, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Alright, revision of the previous post. None of those Detroit guys will blow you away. The best relievers of those listed appear to be Robbie Weinhardt and Tyler Stohr. The only shortstop prospect really worth considering on that list would be Brent Dlugach. Aside from that, its a little bit talent-dry.

Posted by: faNATic | July 31, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

per baseball americal

3. Cale Iorg, ss Born: Sept. 6, 1985 • B-T: R-R • Ht: 6-2 • Wt: 190

Drafted: Alabama, 2007 (6th round). Signed by: David Chadd.

Background: One of Detroit's above-slot signings in the 2007 draft, Iorg missed two college seasons while serving on a Mormon mission to Portugal. Iorg's tools and pedigree—his father Garth and uncle Dane played in the big leagues—made the Tigers comfortable signing him out of the sixth round for $1,497,500.

Strengths: Scouts like Iorg's physicality and explosiveness. His batting stance has been compared to that of a young Nomar Garciaparra, and he has the raw power to hit 15-20 homers annually. His range and arm strength are average or a tick above, and they play up because of his good instincts. His speed is solid-average.

Weaknesses: At times, the two-year layoff is evident in Iorg's play. Despite a relatively compact swing, Iorg had 111 strikeouts at high Class A Lakeland, a sign that his pitch recognition must improve. His intense makeup sometimes works against him. Iorg lost developmental time with a strained throwing shoulder in 2008 but made up at-bats in instructional league.

The Future: Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski already has predicted that Iorg will become an all-star, and he looks like the club's best homegrown infielder since Travis Fryman. Iorg will move up to Double-A and needs more minor league seasoning, though his raw ability could push him to Detroit by season's end.


Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Iorg's been struggling this year in AA, at least from looking at his statistics. If our scouts rate him that highly as well, then certainly go with what they see. The strikeouts certainly jumped out off the page at me.

Posted by: faNATic | July 31, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I'd be shccked if the Nats didn't make the Nick Johnson trade for Tucker of if he has the potential to be our closer down the road. It sounds like at a minimum he would be a good set up man for our bullpen in the short-term. NJ is a FA after this season and I'm not sure what compensation we would receive for him in draft picks considering his injury history.

I'm surprised there hasn't been more interest in Beimel considering the lefty Grabow of Pittsburgh who was traded yesterday. My gut tells me that Beimel will be traded by the 4 o'clock deadline today for a couple of mid-level prospects.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 31, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Bad news, according to the probable Ellias rankings posted on MLB Trade Rumors, Nicky J is no longer on course to be a type B.

They say Willingham is, but that doesn't make much sense, because if the Nats decline to offer him arbitration then there is no compensation.... right?

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

506, I shudder to think of a world in which we don't trade Willingham and then don't offer him arbitration either.

Posted by: faNATic | July 31, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

-506
If the Nats offer Willingham arbitration, they have to go through the hearings or the Nats would have to offer him a contract. It's a different kind of arbitration, I don't quite understand it. But if we offer Nick Johnson arbitration (assuming he becomes a Type B free agent again) he would either have to accept or reject. Accepting it would mean he would have to go through the same process as Willingham.
Willingham doesn't get that option. Thats the meaning behind 'team control'.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

but doesn't that make it easier to resign nick if he's not a type b? maybe we get less for him in a trade, but still...

willingham appears close to type A status and is under control. that bonaficio trade was a good one.

Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, it actually sucks that Willingham is under team control because if he does hit Type A status, I don't think he will stay that way when gets to hit free agency in a couple years.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Sure longterm, if you think it's wise to re-sign a veteran who has never completed a season in the majors. Health is the sixth tool.

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

nick is still the best free agent first baseman available this year. if he gets hurt someone else plays first.

Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Willingham cannot reach FA for like 2 years. If say Joe Beimel, which is type B, then we offer him arbitration, but he has the choice to accept the hearing or decline and elect FA. If he declines then we get draft pick comp. If he accepts than we get nothing and keep Beimel. Players usually decline when they know they can make more in FA, a la Alfonso Soriano. So you trade Beimel for a 2nd-3rd draft pick quality prospect.

Posted by: wrw0601 | July 31, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

>trade nick for 97mph bullpen help.

resign nick in offseason. a la orioles harold baines style.

Posted by: longterm

Yeah, although there's no guarantee that Nick would re-sign here anyway. We'd only be losing him for two months, and we're not in a pennant race anyway, so he's useless. He puts up some more slap-hitting stats (high OBP oh boy!) and leaves at the end of the season and we still don't have anything to show for it. 6 homers in 350 ABs is just flat-out weak, and he's taking up a power position. He just doesn't produce that many runs, imo. Move Dunn or Willingham to 1B, because there are twice as many corner outfielders to generally choose from (lf and rf) as there are first basemen.

Posted by: Brue | July 31, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

They say Willingham is, but that doesn't make much sense, because if the Nats decline to offer him arbitration then there is no compensation.... right?

Correct. Whether a free agent or a team controlled player, you have to offer arbitration to either receive compensation or retain your team controlled player.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | July 31, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Exactly wrw0601!

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I think they mention it just for fun? When I checked the other day they had Dunn and Z-man as type A and Flores, Johnson Lannan, Beimel, Willingham as type B. Flores didn't make any sense cause he is injured.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I keep having the thought that Nick will sign with the A's during the offseason. He's from Sacramento and he's a practically perfect Moneyball player.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

We have to pull the trigger on an NJ trade. I would be happy with this Tucker kid from FLA, and I don't know what Col. or Det. are offering for him, but we need to get something for him. He is not a Type A or B status FA, so we get nothing if we lose him at the end of the season.

I also cannot believe that he has the balls to ask for a raise when he sat out most of his previous contract with injuries. The Nats should not give him that kind of guaranteed money, and thus plan as if they cannot resign him (meaning get what you can for him now).

@Nats_Lady- The difference between Tucker and the pitchers in our system is that Tucker is a reliever, which we desperately need. Balestar, Detwiler, Mock and Martis are all currently starters fighting for spots in the rotation. Even if some of them convert to relievers, we have PLENTY of room in the pen for any and all effective relief pitchers. Besides, pitchers are valuable commodities, so if we have a surplus of decent-good pitchers, they will bring the most back on the trade market.

Also about Willingham- Since he has 2 more years before he his FA, I don't think it matters what his Type A/B statuse is right now. This year's stats do not matter for his Elias Ranking (the score that determines who is a type A or B free agent) since the rankings only take into account the most recent 2 seasons.

GET IT DONE RIZZO!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

NatsLady

just kidding.

Posted by: surly_w | July 31, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

If Iorg is anything like his dad and uncle, he would be a tough-as-nails guy you can rely on, but not a star. Dane was a utility guy, could play anywhere on the field, and Garth was primarily a 3B. Thing about the 2-year layoff can work either way -- perhaps he works back into the groove, or else he blew his chance.

I'm probably the only one on this board who paid any attention to the Iorgs (Dane was mostly with the Cardinals and Garth with the Blue Jays) as I grew up following Mormon athletes (Dale Murphy at the same time period).

Anyway, I'd be a fan for a Mike Bordick scenario if we can get something for NJ and then get him back for next year! Hopefully he can work on his power stroke in the offseason since he seems to have lost the power from his legs as the season has worn on.

Posted by: mo_dc | July 31, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

It could also be a Ray King scenario...

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Tucker apparently spent time on the DL this year with a knee injury and, judging from comments about him I've read on Marlins sites, he's had other injury problems. He's spent as much time as a starter in the minors as a reliever, but I would say the Nats would want him as a potential closer.

It's hard to believe they wouldn't be able to get the Marlins to add something to the deal, especially if the Nats are picking up part of Nick's remaining contract.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

How about Gaby Sanchez for Nick?

Posted by: lowcountry | July 31, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like MacDougal. How's that one workig out?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome

For a scrap-heap pickup....23IP, 3.09ERA, 6 Saves, 1 Blown Save. Not fantastic, but not bad either. I would hope for more from a player that we get for NJ, but MacDougal has been ok.

Posted by: ts35 | July 31, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The Nats absolutely have to make these deals. They're going NOWHERE for the next 2-3 years because of Bowden's ineptitude. If Rizzo starts right now, IF Strasburg is signed in the next two weeks, he might be able to fix this organization by 2012.

The Nats minor league system is regarded as one of the worst in baseball now because some draft picks didn't pan out. We all know what Bowden did to the major league roster.

Nats fans should look up 95 to Baltimore and Andy McPhail as the model for how the Nats should be run. McPhail has traded more than a few major leaguers who weren't going to be around when the O's got competitive, for minor leaguers and that's why the O's right now are miles ahead of the Nats as an organization. Bedard alone got Sherrill, Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. He just traded Sherrill for a 1B/3B prospect and a high ceiling A ball pitcher. You can never have too many pitchers in a minor league system because most won't work out.

Rizzo needs to clean house and trade Johnson, Beimel, Willingham, Guzman, Belliard, Dunn and Kearns and just start over. The Nats will lose 100+ games next year too. They might as well admit it now and stock the minor league system as much as possible.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | July 31, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Disagree on Dunn and Guzman, because their value hasn't peaked and won't (we hope) until next July.

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

"Rizzo needs to clean house and trade Johnson, Beimel, Willingham, Guzman, Belliard, Dunn and Kearns and just start over. The Nats will lose 100+ games next year too. They might as well admit it now and stock the minor league system as much as possible."

Johnson and Beimel I agree 100%. No one wants Guzman, Kearns, or Belliard. I think we can get more from Dunn and Willingham next season. No one wants to pay a full $12 million that is owed to Dunn next season. So he will be a hot candidate for the next year's deadline when his price tag is much lower.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

hlee03

I the you mean "Rizzo should have".

I agree he should have done that but, it's a little late to see that happen at this point. Missed opportunity.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Rosenthal also said that the Nats want Aaron Thompson, not Ryan Tucker. Aaron Thompson is in AA and has always been ranked lower by Baseball America than Tucker. Thompson also has some injury questions (shouldter tendonitis, bicep inflamation, and another stint on the DL I could not finde details about), but it looks like he has a very good changeup and better control than Tucker. I wonder if the Nats want Thompson without paying any of Nick's salary, since Thompson is viewed (by BA) as a lesser prospect than Tucker?

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Guzman may not have peaked in terms of value but, he is such a massive detriment to this organization that trading him for the equivalent of Ryan Langerhans would be a huge plus.

Or alternatively a cheeseburger.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

In the minors, right-hander Ryan Tucker, who underwent left knee surgery in April, is back on the mound. He began his rehab with the Gulf Coast League Marlins.

His health problem was his knee...don't know what that really might mean for his future but it explains his absence earlier this year.

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | July 31, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

no...no...no...don't trade within the division...Nick will come back and beat us as if we don't have enough issues with the Marlins....if the pitcher was that good, he would be in the Marlin's rotation.

we got to get the catching position and 2nd base position strengthened...catching is almost as bad as Dunn in left field...and we are getting nothing out of second base..

Posted by: outrbnksm | July 31, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

We have mid level starting pitcher prospects! Why aren't we looking at infielders?

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Soundbloke- Depends on where we get the cheeseburger. I doubt we could get more than a McDonalds burger for Guzman. No way anybody gives us a 5 guys or in-and-out burger. If we got a Wendy's burger, I'd be thrilled!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Trade Nick for Tucker and see what you can get for Beimel. Keep Willingham and Dunn.

Posted by: jeremybozz | July 31, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

hleeo3 is right, Guzman, Kearns, and Belliard are the very definition of untrade-able (if that was a real word). I would expect those last two names to be released very shortly like Bowden did with LoDuca and Lopez at this time last year when they couldn't be moved by the deadline. That will be about the only time I want to see Rizzo operate like Bowden.

Going way back up the thread: How old is that projection of Mock being the Nats closer in 2012? Before this year's draft maybe? Drew Storen is on track to be the closer much, much sooner than that.

Posted by: dabagley | July 31, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Go Nats!

Posted by: chillsonic | July 31, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

hleeo3, Dunn signed a 2 year deal worth $20m, everything I heard said it was at $10m per year, where did you get that $12m figure for next year?

Posted by: dabagley | July 31, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

dabagley- That projection of Mock as the closer in 2012 is most likely from Baseball America's most recent organizational rankings, released in January (for the '09 team- that was 6 months before we drafted Storen). You can check it out here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-top-10-prospects/2009/267400.html

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

A triple-A relief-pitching prospect, "fifth-best prospect" in the Marlins organization, is not a fair offer for .300-hitting, gold-glove fielding Nick Johnson. We have starting pitching in the pipeline that should be adequate for years to come -- this time next year we will probably be trading pitchers away.

Dunn on first base is a horror show. Chris Marrero is still on the A-ball P-Nats and is probably not even CLOSE to being ready for the show. If somebody had a good CATCHER to offer for Nick who we might move right into the starting spot, well, maybe that'd be worth it. But a minor league reliever? Puh-leez.

But we do need a catcher. Last night showed us once again that we don't have a catcher who can field his position (not even Flores, whose bigger problem is handling pitchers). I think we might want to think about bringing Luke Montz back up after Nieves' ridiculous blunder last night.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | July 31, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Nah, the Dunn deal ;) was $8 million this year, $12 million next.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ferguson

You mean "not a fair trade on a two month rental of..."

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse

A pitching prospect IS all you can get for two months of NJ. That's the problem with cleaning house - you can't get equal value back. Johnson has no power, declining defense, and of course major health issues.

Starters can always move to the bullpen and none of our young starters, other than Lannan, have proven they can be work horses. They've proven that they MAY be, but that's a different story.

Why do so many harp on bring in a C? We have Flores, Montz and Norris. All we need is a reasonable back up for next year, which Bard can be. And the team's ERA was the lowest w/ Flores behind the dish - his handling of pitchers is fine and getting better.

As for Dunn's salary, yes $20 mil for two years, but he gets $8mil this year and $12mil next year. Usually the contract pays differently than it averages out - but the average is used for shorthand.

Posted by: sec307 | July 31, 2009 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"Trade Nick for Tucker and see what you can get for Beimel. Keep Willingham and Dunn."

This ^

Johnson has slowed down alot and I don't think he will be a Type B unless he gets hot in the last month.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

May be old news, but this from SI.com:

The Marlins are focusing on Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson now, as they've deemed the price too high on the Padres star closer Heath Bell. The Marlins have not been ready to give up either Andrew Miller or Sean West for Bell.

It's interesting that the Marlins, winners of seven of nine, are seriously considering a rental player. Johnson's contract expires at year's end.

Posted by: twinbrook | July 31, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"It's interesting that the Marlins, winners of seven of nine, are seriously considering a rental player. Johnson's contract expires at year's end."

Check out the NL East records this year.

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Ordinarily I would agree with the idea of not trading within your division, but the Nats are so bad they're years away from contention. We're just looking for respectability and if a trade within the division helps that, I'd do it.

As far as getting Tucker for Nick, it all depends on whether the Nats think he can be a closer and soon. He's at the right spot in his career (in AAA, minimal big league experience, ready for a trial in the Show with the Nats), it's just a question of his abilities. A closer is basically the equivalent of a full time player and God knows we found out this year how important it is to have a good one, so I'd be at least open to the idea of the trade.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe people don't think Guzman hasn't peaked in value. I think his peak was at the beginning of the season. He's still hitting okay, but his lack of walks hurts his effectiveness and his fielding just isn't good enough at SS anymore.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2009 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Those interested in contract details for any MLB team/player can check here:

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com

FergusonFoont- 1) Nick Johnson has never won a gold glove. This year, he has been a below average fielder (he has allowed 6.4 more runs defensively than an average 1B).
2) He is hitting for average, but not for power. His slugging percentage is .402 when the league average is .416. 1B is a position that usually needs more power than that.
3) We have a good chance of losing NJ in this offseason anyway. He's asking for a raise in guaranteed money (over the $5.5 mill he's making this year) even though he was hurt for the majority of his current contract. I don't think we should resign him for that price- if we resign him is should be incentive based contract.

We need to get something for Johnson before we lose him for nothing at all. If we want to resign him as a free agent, we can still try to do so even if we trade him now. There is no point is trying to keep his production (which isn't anything special with the glove or the bat) for this season when this team is going nowhere. If we have to spend $6 mill/year (if not more) to resign Johnson even if we keep him, why not see if we can't find a better player to fill the gap till our prospects are ready or an equal player for less money in the offseason?

Also, regarding the catcher position, Bard and Nieves are just filling in for Jesus Flores, who should be back next year. We do not need a catcher once we have Flores back. Even if Flores continues to get hurt frequently, Derek Norris is hitting the cover off the ball in the minors, and we can live with Flores until Norris is ready. Catcher should not be a concern for the Nats right now.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I think I got carried away with my negatives in that last post. I obviously think Guzman HAS peaked in value.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 31, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo, pull the trigger! Take this kid as there is not likely any better offer out there. It is likely Tucker or nada. The Nats are not going to offer Johnson arbitration anyway at season's end. This deal, barring some other potential deal out there being considered, is a no-brainer.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 31, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I know the catching has been a hole on the major league level but we have Flores who is the catcher of the future but has been hurt and he is still real young and Derek Norris who could be our top prospect by the end of the year depending on if we sign Strasburg or not.

Johnson has to be dealt along with Beimel for the best offer we can get if it is a AAA pitcher with some injury issues but decent up side on then pull the trigger. We can always just resign Johnson after the season. We don't need him for any push to the playoffs and that is his value to other teams.

I agree we do need all the help we can get up the middle. But at least it looks like we have a center fielder and we have some young talent at catcher. I think we really do need a legit middle infield prospect. If we cant get that add all the pitching they can find because you know as good as some of the young guys have pitched this year that some will just as quickly get hurt or implode (See Matt Chico).

Posted by: Flatneae | July 31, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9875596/MLB-trade-deadline-buzz:-Friday's-edition

Marlins up their offer for Johnson — Updated 12:02 p.m.

The Marlins have improved their offer for Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, offering another minor leaguer in addition to Class AAA right-hander Ryan Tucker, according to a major-league source.

If the deal is completed, the Nationals would pay part of the approximately $1.8 million remaining on Johnson's contract, another source said.

Posted by: curz | July 31, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

[What cheeseburger53 said.]

Posted by: Section220 | July 31, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

The Marlins just added another minor leaguer for Johnson according to foxsports.com. Please pull the trigger...

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing that Rizzo was waiting for the Marlins to blink and, it looks like they may have. Johnson will most likely be gone before 3 PM.
I really wish that the team would just remove the interim tag from Rizzo. I like what he has done since taking over.

Posted by: TimDz | July 31, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

For Gods sake trade him!!!

And also Willgham for a decent SS prospect.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I am curious why doesn't Ladson or Chico have any updates on this? Are the Nats FO trying to keep everything quiet or what?

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

This is a GOOD negotiation going on with the Fish. Both sides leaking just right.

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Ladson and Chico have a different journalistic standard. Fox, et al., have this info because agents and GMs call them and tell them things for the purpose of leveraging negotiations and the "journalists" there have no problem printing absolutely everything as fact because it gets them eyeballs. They know they're being used as much as we know they're being used, but they make a ton off it.

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

attaboy Rizzo!
____________________
The Marlins have improved their offer for Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson, offering another minor leaguer in addition to Class AAA right-hander Ryan Tucker, according to a major-league source.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 31, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

starting to feel like draft day in here!

Posted by: longterm | July 31, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Chico, at least, is flying to Pittsburgh. We'll here from him once he gets to the ballpark.
____________________________
I am curious why doesn't Ladson or Chico have any updates on this

Posted by: lowcountry | July 31, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

506

How dare you imply poor fact checking at FOX??? Blasphemer!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 31, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, I was just thinking that they would have some knowledge cause I remember Chico being the first to break the Dunn signing.

I got a bad feeling tho, that Rizzo won't pull the trigger....

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 31, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

that would be "hear" from him (of course!)

Spelling, syntax, and grammar go out the window as the deadline nears!

Posted by: lowcountry | July 31, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

> Ladson and Chico have a different journalistic standard.

Right. Chico Harlan would never publish unfounded trade rumors, without at least doing a cursory smell test first.

Oh wait, he just did that yesterday in re Willingham. Never mind.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 31, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

NJ- Thanks for all your work with this organization. The last link to Montreal is now gone!

Posted by: Tom8 | July 31, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

really wish that the team would just remove the interim tag from Rizzo. I like what he has done since taking over.

Posted by: TimDz
___________________

I tend to agree with this, TimDz, except I want to see how the Strasburg negotiations go. I think that should be the "final exam" for Rizzo's GM measurement. Even if we don't sign Strasburg, I am interested to see how Rizzo approaches the negotiations, where he draws the line, if he is able to convice ownership to allow a few more dollars than originally anticipated and how professionally the whole situation is handled regardless of the outcome. The Crow negotiations appeared very unprofessional (to me), so I want to see improvement before I throw my full support behind Rizzo.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

On a related topic, a post on Sheinin's chat yesterday has me wondering, so I thought I might take an informal poll.
What's the maximum amount that the Lerners should agree to pay Strasburg? Put another way, is there an amount that Strasburg and Boras could demand that would cause you to NOT blame the Lerners for refusing to pay it? And what is that amount?

Posted by: TomServo | July 31, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Baltova1,

The Nats already have a closer, Drew Storen. He looks like the real deal. I don't think they could do much better.

But they do need holders and middle relief since Hanrahan, Clippard, McDougal, Beimel, and Villone haven't exactly been all that great.

I suspect that if he doesn't start JD Martin could end up as one of those middle relief types.

Mock and Estrada might perhaps end up as trade bait at this point. Moving Arneson and Strasburg (if signed) into the picture. I wonder if they will try to move Olsen before having to decide whether to release him?

Some of the "lineups" we've seen recently probably have been experiments to see what the middle of the order would be like with Zim, Willingham and Johnson. Dunn appeared to be a big difference maker so moving either he or Willingham to first may have become a big priority?

Posted by: periculum | July 31, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I would say the maximum the Lerners should pay Strasburg is $25 million. I believe they should tell no one this is their maximum number. Their first offer should be something around $15 million.

Posted by: Section506 | July 31, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

ESPN update ditty:

11:29am: Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports say the Marlins increased their offer for Johnson by adding another minor leaguer along with Tucker.

Posted by: periculum | July 31, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Put another way, is there an amount that Strasburg and Boras could demand that would cause you to NOT blame the Lerners for refusing to pay it? And what is that amount?

Posted by: TomServo
________________________________

For me the number is $25 mill. The Nats had to know what they were getting into when the drafted Strasburg, so they had to expect to pay a ridiculous price. However, there is still a lot of risk when dealing with unproven pitchers. If the Lerner's cap $ at 25 mill, I will not be upset with thme. If they don't break $20 mill and lose Strasburg, I might walk away from this team. Ok, I probably wouldn't, but I might cry.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | July 31, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

> The Nats already have a closer, Drew Storen. He looks like the real deal. I don't think they could do much better.

How many major league saves does Storen have to go along with his 0.00 ERA?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | July 31, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

ESPN's Peter Gammons reports that the Marlins appear to be moving closer to a deal for Nationals first baseman Nick Johnson. Washington hasn't made a trade since its June 30 trade for Nyjer Morgan and has told teams it's content to take draft picks for its impending free agents.

But Johnson probably wouldn't qualify for free-agent compensation because he has missed so much time with injuries. So the Nats appear more motivated to trade Johnson than some of their other available players this week.

Posted by: periculum | July 31, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Baltova1: "I think his (Guzman's) peak was at the beginning of the season."

I would go back further and say his value peaked right around the time of his All-Star Game appearance and BEFORE Bowden paid him twice what anyone else would have. That dramatically reduced his trade value.

Posted by: dabagley | July 31, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I just don't like the feel of the NJ trade. It seems like some of the Marlins prospects have some baggage and why should the Nats have to pay the rest of NJ's contract. The Marlins are the ones desperate for NJ's bat. Nats should take their chances unless Marlins offer much better. It's not like the Nats are going to win the pennant next year because of this deal. Focus on Steven Strasburg negotiations instead.

Posted by: WashOut | July 31, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

How many major league saves does Storen have to go along with his 0.00 ERA?

The EXACT NUMBER AS THE OFT INJURED GUY THEY ARE TRADING FOR: TUCKER ::: ZERO.

I suspect Rizzo would choose Storen over Tucker as well.

Posted by: periculum | July 31, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

That additional player needs to be a position player, like a middle infielder. All this pitching is getting redundant without a lineup to support it. That old bromide of stockpiling (overrating) your pitching to get bats seems like it was over a couple of years ago when teams started hanging on to their best prospects.

Posted by: Brue | July 31, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the Lerner's do not go higher than $15M for Strasburg. The most ever given to a #1 overall was Prior with a little over $10M. Increasing this amount to $15M is more than enough, especially considering that the contract will be a MLB contract. And don't forget the implications to caving and paying $25M this year for a pitcher...that will end up being $30M+ next year for an every day player.

I was looking at Baseball America's Top 10 Prospect list for each organization the other day and noticed that they have a list of the top bonuses each club has paid out to draft picks. Take a look through those names and numbers if you want to see just how little correlation there is between spending a lot on a draft pick and getting an all-star major leaguer.

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | July 31, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Look at it this way: would you rather have Tucker AND Nick Johnson, or just Nick Johnson?

Trade him or not, they still have to sign him against competition over the winter if he is to stay a National, and that's going to cost about the same whether he spends a few months in Florida, or not. Unless he gets hurt.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 31, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

New Post

Posted by: HALjr | July 31, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

You can't have too many 'closers'. The Reds had three - one of which was our own Rob Dibble - when they won the World Series. You need outs in the 7th and 8th innings to even make the closer relevant.

There has to be another bidder on NJ - Rockies? - in order for the Fish to up their offer. Go get 'em Rizzo!

Beimel will at least get us a draft pick, but we'll lose NJ for nothing. Whatever part of his salary FL picks up will be more than whatever two minor leaguers make, so the team saves money regardless.

And I say $17 mil on Strasburg. The problem is that without a signing, we may never really know what the offers were. But don't get me wrong - the Nationals MUST sign Strasburg.

Posted by: sec307 | July 31, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If FLA is dangling a power arm reliever (Tucker) & a 2nd player for NJohnson, I think Rizzo should take it; particularly if the 2nd player is a MI. Tucker could become a set-up man in the current bullpen.

Posted by: BinM | July 31, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

To continue whacking at Air Lift (full brother of Assault)--the Strasburg thing isn't just about the money. The money is important, but Boras has a long-term agenda, too--he wants to blow up the draft, and this is a skirmish to that end. He'll get the best deal he can for his client, I don't doubt, but he will reject an otherwise fair offer if he thinks he can do more long-term damage. My own guess is that he picked the wrong guy to do this with, but he is way better at this than most everybody, so ... we'll see.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 31, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Nick for a AAA pitcher is not a good deal. Nick is a nucleas guy and a character guy. We have about six or seven starters developing in AAA now. I know you can't have too many pitchers but if you trade Nick for just one player that guy should help the team now and for the next several years. If they throw in Hanley Ramirez, then OK, you can make that deal.

Posted by: AsstGM | July 31, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Please explain to me why you think Strasburg is worth $25 million. This week we've heard a lot about Roy Halliday and Cliff Lee, both former Cy Young winners. They don't make $25 million COMBINED this year. Yet somehow people on this board think a college pitcher deserves this amount. The highest price for a 1st round pick, in history, is $10.5 million. Every indication is that the Nats are willing to offer $15 (again 50% better than the previous record). But posters here think the team should pay more than 2X, the highest ever bonus. Again, please tell me why you feel this is a fair amount and how you come up with this number.

Posted by: grforbes | July 31, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

You got to make the deal. I like Nike, but he won't be a type A free agent next year because it is based on 2 years average and he was hurt last.

You need to get what you can.

Just do it.

Posted by: tcostant | July 31, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

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