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Entering The Dog Days

A managerial firing is kind of like the trump card. It's the last thing you play -- pricey and powerful. When the Nats used the all-star break to fire Manny Acta, they did so as a last resort. Nothing else had worked through 87 miserable games, so they made the last move available.

And what happened? Um ... nothing. No response. No energy. Just more losses, the latest coming Sunday, 11-3 against the Cubs. (It should be noted that only twice this year did Acta's teams lose by eight runs or more. The Nats lost 11-1 against the O's on June 26 and 11-3 against the Red Sox on June 23.)

If anything, the first series post-Acta signaled -- emphatically -- that there is no turnaround coming. It's quite possible now that Washington will sustain this rate of losing for the duration of the season, and those across baseball are starting to take notice of the historical significance. Over the weekend I came across a little research from the Hardball Times Web site, examining the Nats' futility at the 90-game mark. Washington, as a city, hasn't seen a summer of such lousy baseball in exactly 100 years. Even those infamous first-in-war, first-in-peace, last-in-the-American-League teams were never this bad.

That said, the Nats will need to lose with stunning consistency -- almost impossible consistency -- to challenge the golden 120-loss mark. Right now, they're on pace for between 115 and 116 losses. And yeah, that sounds like a close striking distance, but it's not. Consider:

Right now, Washington has 26-65 (.286) record. Finishing with a 42-120 record would put them at a .259 winning percentage. If the Nats, starting today, lost ten games in a row -- falling to 26-75 -- only then would their winning percentage fall below .260.

The Nats have 71 games remaining. To hit 120 losses, they'd have to go 16-55 -- a .225 pace. So I tremble and ask: Can this year's team actually hit a lower level? That's what happened to the '62 Mets, who were 24-67 at the 91-game mark. What this team looks like after the trading deadline, and how it responds under Riggleman, will determine the course. Remember, the Nats' rookie pitchers might not last deep into September, so the rotation for the final weeks probably won't get much help from Jordan Zimmermann, Craig Stammen, etc.

This upcoming series against the Mets should be interesting. New York, as documented here and here, is in the midst of its own nightmarish season, with injuries to rival what Washington encountered in 2008. Still, the Mets have Livan Hernandez taking the mound Monday night. His numbers against the Nats this season? Two starts, 16 IP, 13 H, 1 ER, 0.56 ERA.

By Chico Harlan  |  July 20, 2009; 8:52 AM ET
 
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Next: Lineups and Personnel Dept. Matters

Comments

Yes but is Willies mother ok? Nothing else matters isn't that right?

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'm not worried about the Nats being as bad as the '62 Mets, I worry whether this uninspired, uninspiring morass will win more games be than two other teams that actually won FEWER than 40 games? The 1916 Philadelphia A's went 36-117 and the 1935 Boston Braves went 38-115.

Posted by: leetee1955 | July 20, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Waitaminute.

The No. 1 for next year is a catcher?
But, aren't we still counting on Flores? And, do we want a rookie catcher when we have all the baby pitchers who fall apart at the first error behind them.

Thought we were looking for a solid, vet catcher who could call good games and stabilize the pitching staff.

Is this an argument for trading draft picks in MLB--how are you peeps on that, pro or con?

Who is No. 2, and can we pick him? And, of course, sign him.

-----------------------------------------
Harper Scouting Report
Harper is a left-handed swinging, right-hand throwing catcher who has worked out at shortstop and third base and has been compared favorably to Alex Rodriguez and Justin Upton - both former No. 1 overall picks. Harper stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 205 pounds, has faster bat speed that Mark McGwire in his prime. He has well above-average arm strength behind the plate with pop times between 1.8 and 1.9 seconds. He possesses raw power with a knack for squaring up every pitch. Speed is his lone average tool. He also has a fastball that has been clocked at 96 mph.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Well, I've never heard a team complain they had too much talent in one positions. Too many Dunn/Willigham level talents maybe...

But Harper is still very young. The Nat's could change his position, trade him or Flores or (and lets not forget he's 17) he might not pan out. So you sign him, and go from there. Let's not forget that Harper still has 4 years before his 21st birthday. 21 is very very young for a catcher. And the Nationals could do a lot worse that 4 years of Flores. If Jesus does in fact work miracles then Harper is a big enough bat to be a corner outfielder/infielder. Either way, these are questions for a long way down the road.

I do have a lot of love for Jesus though.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

1a, yeah, I wasn't here last year as I was devoting my time and money to another lost cause (HRC). I was baseballing before that, when we were at RFK, but I didn't know about this list.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Here's one of many things I love about baseball. Yesterday was one of the most depressing days I've spent at the new stadium or at RFK. Blowout loss, no energy from the team or the fans.

Today? New day. New things to talk about, new series, new pitcher. Good times.

Posted by: Section220 | July 20, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@soundbloke. All good points. But Harper's agent ("advisor") is Boras, and so we would be out the big bucks again, and do you see the Lerners going for it twice.

Are you for "draft the best player no matter what position" or "draft with your team's needs in mind"? Not sayin' either is right/wrong, same in football.

Just thinking we should be looking for good-defending position players and maybe draft a catcher in another round.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Since Marero is taking over 1B, Espinoza at SS, Zimm at 3rd, Flores at C, Burgess and Morgan in the OF, and all of our future CY Young awarding winning starters, I guess we should only focus on drafting second basemen!

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Has anybody really seen these Lerners of which they speak.

Maybe they like winning baseball games are just myth.

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

@220, it was pretty bad yesterday. The flashing lights said "CLAP CLAP" and only a few Cubs fans did.

But I'll be getting my tickets for the Padres later in the week if good weather is predicted for Sat. and Sun.

I don't think the Lerners make a lot off me (cheap tickets, parking at RFK, and no beer). A lot better than being cooped up in a movie theater.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Most of us agree that the Nats have minor league talent. That's what the owners paid for and that is what the Nats have. So I am wondering: how do you think this team would do in the International League (AAA)?

Would the team blow the opposition away? Or would the AAA Nats have to fight some of the other AAA teams for the championship?

Posted by: EdDC | July 20, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

"Are you for "draft the best player no matter what position" or "draft with your team's needs in mind"? Not sayin' either is right/wrong, same in football."

Drafting for need over best available is a very bad idea in baseball. Especially at #1. You take the best player available with the #1 overall selection. Anything else is a mistake.

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Nat's Lady.

Yikes, that was the most wonderful "I like your argument but, allow me to blow it out of the water in the most depressing way possible". Great argument but it made me so sad that we are all thinking like this..

In answer to your question: Yes I can absolutely see the Lerners surrendering big bucks for Harper. They are business people. You can build a marketing ploy around Strasburg and Harper. To build a team you need a solid, deep deep draft which they won't finance but, to sell season tickets you can limit your spending to two guys.

Is it too ealy for a Gin-Cool-Aid cocktail. I think I need one.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

a fantasy baseball perspective from Rotoworld---

Washington - The Nationals evidently aren't one of those teams that pull together after seeing their manager fired. They opened the Jim Riggleman era by losing four straight at home to the Cubs. Of course, nothing was going to save this team. Things will likely only go further downhill with Scott Olsen back on the DL and Jordan Zimmermann moving closer to his innings limit for the season. … Whereas Manny Acta insisted on naming closers whether it made sense or not, Riggleman has gone to a closer-by-committee, even though Mike MacDougal has been just fine in the role. MacDougal is still the clear favorite for saves, but Joe Beimel may get the odd opportunity. It'd make more sense to pick him up if the Nats had a chance to win more than once or twice a week. … In his 2009 rotation debut, Garrett Mock looked exactly like the pitcher who had a 6.92 ERA out of the pen during April and May. He had been performing well in Triple-A, but he's not worth trying in NL-only leagues. … The Nats are again bypassing Collin Balester by choosing J.D. Martin to replace Olsen in the rotation. Martin lost his best fastball years ago and was hardly Felix Hernandez in the first place, so he's probably going to have a rough time.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

BTW did the Nats wear the RED W uniform all series so the Cubs could wear the logo Blue and would not look like the away team?

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Agreed Brian.

Let's say you are entering this season with a desperate need for a shortstop and a center fielder.

If we have three catchers of the caliber of Norris, Flores and Harper you could probably get that.

Talent begets talent. Ayala begets Hernandez.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@soundbloke, well your argument didn't work for Aaron Crowe (or Texeira, although I think that was never in the cards).

Why not try a marketing ploy around A WINNING TEAM?

As for your question, no, it's not too early. I'd join you except I have to go to work in a coupla hours.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

In baseball you always draft the best player available regardless of position, especially if you're talking about high school players. Because the draft is so hit-and-miss anyway, it's best to draft the most talented players and figure out where to put them later. The only other factor that should affect a drafting decision is signability (and one could make an argument that this shouldn't be a factor either).

Posted by: WMPete | July 20, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@soundbloke--not following your argument. We desperately need a CF? What happened to Nyjer and Willie? SS (and 2B) I agree. Have not been impressed so far with the "trials" there.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Crow was not the marquee talent that Harper or Strasburg are. Which is why they would never pay for him.

Personally I would invest as heavily in the draft as my billions would allow. But then I don't have any billions.

And the Lerners aren't interesting in a winning team, they are interested in a profitable team.

I was not taking a shot at you above. I was simply pointing out that your argument blew hole in mine you could drive Stephen Strasburg's wage demands through.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Drafting for need in baseball is a big no-no. The draft is such a crapshoot anyway, you have to take the best available players and go from there. From what I'm reading, Harper is far and away the best prospect in what is an otherwise down year for the draft. If he's as good a hitter as advertised, I'm move him from C anyway to prolong his career.

Posted by: sec307 | July 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@soundbloke--didn't think you were taking a shot at me, if you were, I completely missed it. Agree on high-school players, it's a crapshoot. So why spend the big bucks on Harper? Strasburg I can understand for several reasons:

1) He's older, and has played at the college level
2) Lerners will be tarred and feathered if they don't pay billions for him.
3) A pitching phenom is something people will come out to see, whereas, a catching phenom--??

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

My argument was simply that you stockpile the best people you can in a draft because then, if you are overloaded at any one position you have prospects to trade. If we had a single prospect spare at any position we would almost certainly have entered this season with Carlos Gonzalez as our center fielder.

The Lerners believed in Bowdens habit of stock-piling toolsey veterans. Which shows how much they know or care about baseball. because as the season starts trying to trade someone like Norris/Flores/Harper would get us someone talented in return. Where as trading Willigham would only beget more 'spare parts'. What I was saying is if you sign the most talented players at any given level of the draft the worst case scenario is that you end up with a lot of trade parts that people want to fill the holes in you roster. That's all.

I like Morgan but I don't think he is a long-term solution. Willie Harris isn't our long term anything.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

If the reports on Harper are true (or even half true), the team with the #1 pick has to take him. He is in the discussion with Ken Griffey Jr and Alex Rodriguez as arguably the best high schooler in the draft's history. This is not a case of a good HS player, he is a once in a decade-plus talent.

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

@307, OK, "uncle", no drafting for position.

Change Harper's position, but to what? Can't put him in the outfield unless Dunn or Willingham are goners (as at least one should be, W gets my vote, although Dunn's contract is only for 2 years, right?)

Can't put him at 3rd.

Wouldn't put him at 2nd or SS--we gotta have top notch defenders there, and a slow-moving catcher ain't my idea of a top infielder.

That leaves 1B...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

We are already ALL IN on Strasburg so complete the transaction what ever it takes the debate on value was over once you drafted him.

BUT I think we should take a long hard look at getting so convinced that Harper is deserving the same excitement.

He is to young and to pushed up in devolpement to trust he can do anything in the short to help this team. And we need good short lead help not long term high potential high risk projects.

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

@Brian, I thought Strasburg was the "once-in-a-decade" talent. I'm so confused here.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Fire manager. New manager mandates infield practice. Errors and losses continue.

Only hope? Talk about the 2010 draft.

Sigh, we have so little to grasp at.

Posted by: Section506 | July 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Nats Lady,

the sad franchise that resides a few miles north of DC has a decent Catcher prospect named Matt Weiters...when he was called up for his first major league game, over 40,000 Baltimorons found there way to Camden Yards. So yes, people do come see hyped prospects, regardless of the position.

Posted by: jfromPG | July 20, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I think if the reports are true, he plays where ever he would be best and whoever is there when he is ready for the big league gets the boot and gets traded for the next generation of prospects.

Oh, oh! I vote Willigham or Dunn.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

@Nats_Lady - Strasburg was the once in a decade pitching talent. Harper is the once in a decade hitting talent. If both were in the same draft, it would have been really close but I think Strasburg might have edged Harper out as the #1 overall.

Basically, Harper is to the 2010 draft as Strasburg was to the 2009 draft. Right now, each guy is the clear cut #1 and there is a huge gap to #2

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Mind you Harper is 4/5 years from ready. Planning your roster around him is a bit premature.

506,
Beats thinking about reality.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Harper has played SS in HS. I doubt he would be there as a pro but he could be put in CF, 3B, RF, LF or 1B (likely in that order after CA)

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@CBinDC, finally, someone in my corner. I absolutely feel that within the next year or two we HAVE to develop a winning team and attitude or we are sunk for the next 30, and our fan base will be wearing the traveling teams' logos.

Agreed, reading his history, Harper has been pushed since he was 9 years old like an ice-skater. And at what age do ice-skaters peak???? I'm just saying can we look at the rest of the field before we go on auto-pilot with our pick?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

"We are already ALL IN on Strasburg so complete the transaction what ever it takes the debate on value was over once you drafted him."

That is precisely what Boras is counting on people to say.

The debate on value is never over. Ty Cobb was a bigot that doesn't deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. There, see?

Posted by: Section506 | July 20, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The next group of best players (as of today) are likely all pitchers (mostly from college). And none really stand out from any of the others. The college position players offer nothing that really stands out ... probably slightly deeper than 2009's class but that is not saying much.

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

The second Crow didn't sign Boras had us by the short and curlies. He should send Crow a damn fruit basket.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"The Lerners believed in Bowdens habit of stock-piling toolsey veterans. Which shows how much they know or care about baseball. because as the season starts trying to trade someone like Norris/Flores/Harper would get us someone talented in return. Where as trading Willigham would only beget more 'spare parts'."
____________________________________________________________

Soundbloke,

I disagree here. IMO, Bowden had to stockpile these "toolsey" vets because the Lerner's cheap ways wouldn't allow him to sign legit FA's or make trades for higher priced talent.

Hey, don't get me wrong Bowden made some mistakes professionally and personally that didn't help his situation but, I think he did what he could working for cheap, micromanaging, owners.

If they don't give him the budget what can he do?

It goes back to EdDC's good question about how would Theo Epstein do in Boston with a bottom 3 payroll budget of about 60 million.

I think they would still be taking about the curse of the Bambino and longer for 1918 in Boston.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Here is MiLB.com's 1st take on the top of the 2010 draft class (http://tinyurl.com/npeyyp)

College SS Christian Colon is probably the second best bat in the draft, but not in the same class as Harper.

Of the college arms, College LHP Drew Pomeranz and college RHP Anthony Ranaudo are the best arms in the draft, but again not on the same level as Harper (nor are they in the same class as Strasburg)

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Harper, if drafted next year (2010), probably would not see the bigs before 2012 at the earliest. 2010 would be a negotiation season (Boras will probably want more money than he'll get for Strausburg), all of 2011 in the minors, possibly part or all of 2012 (mid-season / sept. call up.). That would mean he's in the bigs in 2013 as a best case scenario, barring injuries, etc. And he'd still only be 21.

And yeah, he's going to need some time in the minors, for no other reason to learn how to call a game and hit "grown up" pitching.

And for a bit of perspective, there 21 position players on the 40-man roster. I would be shocked if 6 of them are still on that same roster for the 2013 season. Where to play Harper or who to bump won't be an issue.

Posted by: kingrob76 | July 20, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Right but, you can buy cheap young or buy cheap old. Buy cheap Morgan or buy cheap Milledge. No matter the budget the team reflects the philosophy of the GM.

Point taken though. The Lerners have sawed the legs out from under everyone that works for them.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

So how is this Christian SS as a player, as our current Christian SS is nearing the end of his rope?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@kingrob76, true, even 3B will be available in 2014 as RZimm's contract is only through 2013. Isn't this fun?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Attended the game Friday night and except for the great weather, there was little to talk about. The Nats seemed lifeless against a pitcher was ripe to be knocked out in the early innnings. Our starter gave us 6 solid innings but we never seemed to have a chance to come back. It makes me think that losing has become such a part of the culture of the team, that no move including firing Acta will turn things around.

I'm expecting the Nats to trade Johnson, Guzman, and Beimel by the trade deadline for more prospects, but it's time to also release some of the deadwood taking up roster spots like Kearns and Belliard. Both look done at this point, have no trade value, and aren't like to play much the rest of the season. I'd like to see some of our AAA/AA

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 20, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Christian Colon is not long for SS. 2B is likely his home in the pros. No way I'd ever take him over Harper

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Someone asked how the Nats would do agains minor league teams. Well, I gather they are going to play tonight against just 1/2 of a team (Mets - injured Mets). Lessee how we do.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Well, at least the Nats can finish at the top of the heap in something -Worst team ever. It's within striking distance - go for it !

Posted by: SavedByZero | July 20, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

NatsLady, excuse my ignorance but "HRC"?

506, yeah, I was looking at the MLB "important dates" calendar the other day. Roster expansion September 1. Woo hoo - hold me back!!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 20, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Sure then can hit 120. Throw in a couple injuries, trades, demotions, and we'll hit the target with no problem. The combination of bad fielding, relief pitching, and situational hitting will also be a great help.

Posted by: futbolclif | July 20, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

1a, (shh, I know, no politics here. Hillary Rodham Clinton).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I thought Strasburg was the "once-in-a-decade" talent. I'm so confused here.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 10:46 AM

Nats_Lady, Scott Boras has his own calendar. Apparently, decades can change every year if necessary, as long as Jon Heyman, Tom Verducci, Peter Gammons, Ken Rosenthal and the other leading sports journalists of our time take clear, precise dictation and pass it on to us as learned wisdom...

As for "not needing another catcher," this team is in no position to turn away talent of any kind, no matter where they play. Draft them, sign them, let 'em develop and the figure it out.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 20, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I tot I saw a sacfly, I tot I saw a sacfly, I know I saw a sacfly.

Really, there was one over the weekend, it wasn't a puddycat.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

soundbloke says: "Crow was not the marquee talent that Harper or Strasburg are. Which is why they would never pay for him."

Crow is not Walter Johnson. However, look at the scouting report on him (scroll down), calling him the best RHP and maybe even the best pitcher (RH or LH) in the 2008 draft.

Some Nats fans boast of the Nats surplus of young pitchers, and offer Detwiler, Stammen, Balester, etc., to go with Lannan and Zimmermann. However, the Nats are not loaded. Crow definitely would have helped to shape a better future, along with Strasburg. And at $4 million, Crow was much cheaper than Wieters was at $6 million or Strasburg will be.

When you are a lousy team, you need to go for the best you can throughout the draft--not just a couple headliners and then just draft and sign the under-slot guys.

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/events/draft/y2008/reports.jsp?content=crow

Posted by: EdDC | July 20, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Remember last year when the Nats traded for Bonifacio,Anderson Hernandez, and brought in Alberto Gonzalez and the Nats looked great with the new attitude and a renewed spirit brought on through their energy? This year's team is just beaten down. No one really shows assuredness or confidence in their abilities because it seems like everyone is waiting for the next fiasco to happen that will cost them the game. The relievers all come in and have been beaten down so much all year that there is no killer instinct - every pitch is tentative. It's tough to watch, not from a "they suck" perspective but more from a "these guys can do the job if they would just believe in themselves." Go out there, get mad, and throw the ball through the catcher and umpire. Get it out of your system.

Posted by: AsstGM | July 20, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I beg to differ with the idea of releasing Kearns and Belliard before the season is over. If you do, then you bring up ... who? Dukes, or Maxwell, or Patterson to replace Kearns? They're better off playing every day in Triple-A than getting an occasional start and a few pinch-hitting appearances in the bigs. Casto, or Orr, or Morse to replace Belliard? Are they really an improvement?

Don't get me wrong: I'll personally drive Kearns and Belliard to the airport when the season is over. But the outfield is set for now, and unless we trade Dunn at the deadline, it doesn't make sense to have prospects riding the bench.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | July 20, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Chico sez: The Nats will need to lose with stunning consistency -- almost impossible consistency -- to challenge the golden 120-loss mark.

That's why Austin Kearns and JD Martin are here. I hope all you Martin-lovers out there are ready for his 87 mph gas and so-so breaking ball. In other words, Matt Chico redux.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 20, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Jesus wept!

I did not say I would not have signed Crow. I did not say that the Lerners should not have signed Crow. I pointed out why I believe that they didn't bankroll his signing.

Hell Rizzo himself when asked whether it should have happened said something to the effect "Oh God, yeah!".

There are many slights I can take. Not reading my post, calling me an idiot, pointing out the numerous inconsistencies in my arguments. But please, please don't assume I agree with or apologize for the Lerners of Bowden. There are some insults too great, even for anonymous posting on the internet! ;)

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Syd Thrift famously said Orioles' money was like Confederate money. Well, the Lerners are like bargain shoppers with Confederate money. The next time they overspend for a player will be the first time. Only hope I have for Strasburg is that Boras owes them one after they helped bid up the Teixeira deal. Other than that, it looks like they're greasionhg the PR skids for not signing him, either. They'll make a "big" offer (i.e., not quite market) for him right before the deadline, he'll balk, time will run out, and the Lerners will have their plausible deniability/greedy player alibi.

Here's my sincere advice: hire players who can catch and throw. Worry about guys who can hit later. Anyone's got a shot when you're down by one. Down by eight, even the 27 Yanks are going to lose more than they win. Also, draft SPs, SSs and CFs. Get a surplus at those positions and you can trade for needs at other positions. That's not me, that's Branch Rickey (of whom, supposedly, Kasten is a student -- yeah, right, just like _HE_ build all those Braves' division winners).

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 20, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

@Nats_Lady I got your back. I want to point out again that still Aaron Crow has not signed now over year and counting. Our mistake with Crow was to take him in the first place.
We had plenty of pitching just Bowden had this scam to stock up on pitchers to trade for position while dumpter diving in the trash of MLB to cover up his mistakes.
BUT everybody in baseball hated his guts so who wanted to trade with us. Of course if they felt that they could take advantage then they dealt.
Making up ones mind on the wisdom of the sports reporting world is like deciding on medical issues using Dr. Phil. If it works out it is only because of luck.
So I think we were backed into Strasburg by that sports wisdom but if we bite again it should be on our own process of thought and not that of Mike and Mike in the morning.

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Harper won't be up anytime soon. He's essentially graduating early, getting his GED, so what will he be, 17 years old? He will need seasoning. Prospects switch positions all the time. And many are switched from catcher, particularly if they are perceived to be beast hitters, to remove the wear and tear of the job. But asserting that we shouldn't draft him, b/c we have Norris is crazy talk. You know, there is a possibility that Norris will never pan out, or that Harper will become the best hitter ever!

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I'd sooner spend the Lerners' money than yours, but Gameday Audio is a good deal. It's a one-time fee, and it's less than the cost of a ticket to the game.

It's a necessity with me, but I think it's worthwhile even if you can get Charlie and Dave for free. In addition to having better audio for Nats games, Gameday lets you listen to any team's feed for any game.

Which, just to throw it out there, means you can listen to Vin Scully on Nats off days. Or, if you can get away with it, you can listen to a day game while you're at work.

-----

Thanks for the tip, NatsLady. My cell does not have Internet access but that's good to know. I do know about gameday audio but I'm resistant to the idea of paying $15 for what I was able to hear at no cost before they dropped the FM station. I may try the AM radio route next time I'm at the park, though.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

One way to get clear about draft picks and the MLB is look at baseball reference's list of drafts that will tell you if a player has even made it to the majors.

BTW we have limited success on number ONES in DC .......does the name Kwame Brown mean anything

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game on Sunday and it sure looked to me like we need to get Belliard out ASAP. Balls went by him and he just stood there. Not sure the Gonzalez did any better. Just read at the Washington Times that Tavarez is gone.

I will say the Cubs fans were pretty gracious in not pummeling us with derision. Kudos to them... much better than Phillie's fans. Also amazed at how many Nats fans stayed to the bitter end.

Posted by: lostein | July 20, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

For the rest of us who don't do fantasy, I think that quote undersells the quality of Mock's effort yesterday. Happy trails, Julian...

In any case, the evidence seems to say the team has responded negatively to Manny's firing. (With the notable exception of Nyjer Morgan who's playing like his hair's on fire -- if he had any, that is -- but he's too recent an addition to have developed much attachment to Manny or caught the malaise surrounding the team.) But to be fair to Riggleman, it's not like he's in a position to represent much of a change.

Zim has his view on this topic which he has made known, but to me an added problem for the rest of the year is going to be the presumed lame-duck status of the coaching staff. I don't really see how things can begin to get better before making a fresh start next season.

But we could take a step, if Rizzo is ever going to have his interim tag taken off, by removing it now -- before the trading deadline and crunch time for the Strasburg signing arrive.

Posted by: evanescent_panoply | July 20, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the info, JiM. Given that I am the boss of me, I can get away with listening to a game in my home office on occasion. ;-)

---

I'd sooner spend the Lerners' money than yours, but Gameday Audio is a good deal. It's a one-time fee, and it's less than the cost of a ticket to the game.

It's a necessity with me, but I think it's worthwhile even if you can get Charlie and Dave for free. In addition to having better audio for Nats games, Gameday lets you listen to any team's feed for any game.

Which, just to throw it out there, means you can listen to Vin Scully on Nats off days. Or, if you can get away with it, you can listen to a day game while you're at work.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 11:57 AM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 20, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

That Ovechkin pick might turn out okay, though.

-----

BTW we have limited success on number ONES in DC .......does the name Kwame Brown mean anything

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Chris Marrero was named the Carolina League hitter of the week for 7/13-19. Hit 0.500 & slugged 0.750

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, where do I send my resume?

-----

Thanks for the info, JiM. Given that I am the boss of me, I can get away with listening to a game in my home office on occasion. ;-)

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

Thanks, CBinDC. My point is, some people talk like there are no choices involved.
How do we get off this train?

Ya gotta draft the headliner No. 1 no matter what you need.

==> ya gotta draft Harper
==> ya gotta sign Harper (since you drafted him)

However, our boy Harper won't be ready for the majors until 2013 since he is

a) 16
b) a catcher
c) if not a catcher you have to retrain him.

I believe in the future, but I am truly missing something here.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

CBinDC, I am going to do that very analysis on draft picks when I get a break.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Okay, so, was this four-game sweep the Cubs or was it us?

If it was us, now that Fire Acta!! and Fire Jim Bowden!!! Have succeeded (as well as the little known or regarded and yet successful Fire Randy!) who is "accountable" this time?

Posted by: Section506 | July 20, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

506,

The Lerner's and StanK are accountable, and in my opinion, always have been.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

1a, I think gameday audio is worth it.

I go to sleep listening to the Mariners (my brother's team), who, may I say it, were within 1 game of us last year, and are playing .533 ball this year and they GOT RID OF RIGGLEMAN.

Maybe we should be looking at Seattle they drafted...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that should have been

Maybe we should be looking at who Seattle drafted, and traded for, etc. I think all of us here would "settle" for .533 ball next year.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | July 20, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are again bypassing Collin Balester by choosing J.D. Martin to replace Olsen in the rotation. Martin lost his best fastball years ago and was hardly Felix Hernandez in the first place, so he's probably going to have a rough time.

The Mets come in on a skid, they will leave right back in the race. Thanks Uncle Ted and StanK.

Hey Ryan, you upset about all the losing, nah, as soon as I walk out of this place it doesn't bother me!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 20, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Just a naive question: what's "entering the dog" days? Is that like screwing the pooch? Cuz they've been doing that for a few years now.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 20, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"Here's my sincere advice: hire players who can catch and throw. Worry about guys who can hit later. Anyone's got a shot when you're down by one. Down by eight, even the 27 Yanks are going to lose more than they win. Also, draft SPs, SSs and CFs. Get a surplus at those positions and you can trade for needs at other positions. That's not me, that's Branch Rickey (of whom, supposedly, Kasten is a student -- yeah, right, just like _HE_ build all those Braves' division winners)."

Posted by: gbooksdc


Absolutely flat out agree. Nothing but nothing kills pitching like players who should never be in the lineup except as a designated hitter. Unfortunately, we have about 4 of then in the lineup (including Bard with a bad groin).

Next, get one excellent defensive catcher on the team. We desperately need a veteran who will call pitches that are not to the hitter's strength, who will not let pitches go "through the wickets". This catcher also has to have a decent chance of throwing out base stealers. I admire Bard's guts and his improved hitting, and I admire Nieves' attitude but I think that neither of them call a consistently smart game or have anywhere close to the arm necessary to get runners out. The level of difference between a catcher like Molina and our two is so vast. I believe that a superior defensive catcher will decrease the ERA of this staff by a run per game. (No, I don't have the analysis to back this up, but how many times have you seen the catchers call for change ups to the eighth place hitters or fastballs inside to pull hitters?)

The prototype of a player that I want to see on the Nationals is Nyger Morgan. He is great on defense and creates his own offense on the basepaths. He breathes whatever life there is into this lineup of players who get lost in their own statistical dead zone.

Posted by: driley | July 20, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

506 - No disrespect to the Cubs, but I think it was us. We should have won at least one, and possibly two, of those games.

As far as accountability, I think we're going to learn a lot about ownership over the next 6-8 months. Between the Strasburg negotiations, the trading deadline (and our willingness to eat salary) and the offseason, I think the time period from now until Sprint Training is going to give us very good information about where the buck stops and who shoulders the blame. Just my two cents.

Posted by: Section220 | July 20, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Poor Kearns is so fouled up that it's embarrassing! He needs to go somewhere else and try to get a fresh start. Belliard just needs to go. You are improved (it's all relative) just by releasing the deadwood. also was at the Friday game. It was like when Red Sox nation came - if you didn't see a play - you weren't sure why the crowd was roaring (although we could guess!). Otherwise, it's (National Park) become boring and lifeless. You wait for bad things to happen.

Posted by: 1of9000 | July 20, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

JiM, I suspect that the commute would be a bit much for you. ;-)

Don't worry, 506, a designated scapegoat will appear with time. I do agree with 505203 and others that the focus could be higher up in the organizational food chain at this point.

Ah, that would be it, NatsLady. I was trying to think of a sports team with those initials. (Mum's the word.) Thanks for the input re. the broadcasts.

sec3, my guess (assuming that you're not being disingenuous - oh no, I didn't!) would be dog days of summer with, perhaps, a nod to dogs/dogging it on the field.

And I think it was us, too, 220. Good point about the potential lessons of the coming months (but I think you may have meant to type "spring" training?).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 20, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If the Nationals are #1 again in the 2010 draft, there are choices in next year's draft. But as of today, Bryce Harper is the overwhelming favorite across the board in much the same way that Strasburg was last year at this time.

He could get injured which might change the decision.

He could not get his GED and play at the JuCo meaning he would not be available for drafting in 2010.

But right now, if Harper is in the draft in 2010, it is him and then everyone else.

People can throw out names like Matt Bush, Delmon Young, Brien Taylor or Shawn Abner. But Harper is a much better prospect today than any of those guys were at the same stage.

The HS bats drafted #1 overall recently have been Tim Beckham (2008), Justin Upton (2005), Bush (2004), Young (2003), Joe Mauer (2001), Adrian Gonzalez (2000), Josh Hamilton (1999), Alex Rodriguez (1993), Briwn Taylor (1991), Chipper Jones (1990), and Ken Griffey Jr (1987). The reports on Harper today are akin to those of Griffey & A-Rod (at the same point in time) and better than those of the rest of them.

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

hmm, interesting note from Wikipedia (I know, but it's better than Twitter.)

"Dog Days can also define a time period or event that is very hot or stagnant, or marked by dull lack of progress."

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

one correction, Brien Taylor was drafted as a pitcher

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

220

I think we are going to have a lot confirmed. I don't think we will learn much new. They are cheap, and they are running a business to run down debts in other parts of their empire. The fact that that business is a ball club is largely irrelevant.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1 - Heh. Yep. "Spring." Typing too fast, that g got skipped and became a t. Or, maybe I'm wishing we could sprint forward to next season already.

Posted by: Section220 | July 20, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Harper is like Mauer with Pauer. Have to take him. The question is who do we take with 1a next year?

Posted by: RickFelt | July 20, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I'll ask again. Will someone please tell me who it is the "cheap Lerners" legitimately could have signed that would have made a significant difference to the fortunes of the franchise thus far. Now this prattling on about a high school player we haven't even drafted yet. This is a franchise that was left bereft of talent with no farm system to speak of by the time they sold to the Lerners. They didn't even do them the courtesy of resigning any of the players who made the first year worth watching. There wasn't jack left. I've been one of the Nat's biggest critics but you've got to get real here people. We've actually got a decent young rotation full of kids acquired since the Lerners took over. Once they get some experience and a few others make it up then it will be time to sign real free agents and time to judge the Lerner’s willingness to spend and win. Until then, what exactly is that are you looking for?

Posted by: truke | July 20, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

That's good, 220! We need a season fast forward function.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 20, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yep Storen's on his way. Villone and Beimel hopefully on their way out. They should have been traded/DFA'ed by now ... but they are waiting on the guys down on the farms I guess.

Young is only good if they have the right character, the right attitude. And this team needs the "spit in your eye, never say die" types to percolate up. I think we are beginning to see that. GOOD! I am encouraged.

They really just need a couple of propitious trades and it looks like things will turn around.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

You mean no one heard my section up in 308?! Amazing. We were so loud, I thought everyone would hear me!

Terrible absolutely terrible and depressing. Mock in trouble, I groaned when I say Tavarez coming in. Why not put Villone out before Tavarez could ruin everything! Bergmann would even have been an improvement.

Positives? Nice double play in the 1st. Also, Ryan Z made several good plays.

Keepers: Ryan Z, Flores, Harris, Morgan, Burnett, Stammen, J. Zim and Dunn. Everyone else? Depends on the deal. I like the 2 Joshes too.

Think if we threw enough money at Halladay, he'd come here?

Posted by: CALSGR8 | July 20, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

"In baseball you always draft the best player available regardless of position, especially if you're talking about high school players. Because the draft is so hit-and-miss anyway, it's best to draft the most talented players and figure out where to put them later."

Perhaps in the first round, in some cases in the first three, but after that I think this team is learned you have to look for strength of character as much as "tools". The ability to overcome adversity and push your way through the minors to get to the top and then to continue. And since every position is probably relatively equal after a certain point, you can draft based on need. A high school player is probably easily converted to another position. A college player less so.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Re the "Dog Days": as a matter of baseball lore and tradition, August has long been referred to as "the dog days." The season has been going on for a while, it's really hot, the players are dragging a bit, etc.

So dog days applies across the board, not just to teams that are bad. As in, for example, "can the Red Sox hang on to their lead as they get into the dog days?"

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 20, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

"hire players who can catch and throw. Worry about guys who can hit later."

So, play Austin Kearns instead of Adam Dunn?

Posted by: Section506 | July 20, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke - Perhaps it's the optimist in me, but I'm willing to at least consider the possibility that ownership has simply had a steep learning curve. By which I mean, they got into the business, and they didn't know how much they didn't know. They overvalued their assets and didn't rigorously assess their position. It happens.

NOW, however, I think ownership is basically out of "hey, we're new at this," excuses. If they didn't know what they didn't know before, they surely must know it now. (Trying to decide if that sentence makes any sense...)

At any rate, I take your point, I'm just not coming to any conclusions yet.

Posted by: Section220 | July 20, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"I beg to differ with the idea of releasing Kearns and Belliard before the season is over. If you do, then you bring up ... who? Dukes, or Maxwell, or Patterson to replace Kearns?"

Maxwell, and perhaps Dukes need to stay down in Syracuse (more for getting his act together).

Time to keep the rest of your end of things Rizzo: bring up Padilla and your draft pick Bynum.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

-"Will someone please tell me who it is the "cheap Lerners" legitimately could have signed that would have made a significant difference..."
____________________________________________________________

Sorry truke, but I think this question/statement needs to put out there with other classic ones. Like....


-You can't trade draft picks.

-The Rule 5 draft is in December.


Sec 3,

I think you were keeping a running list, I know I have missed some, please feel free to enlighten us as to the rest.


truke,

I think your missing the point here. They are cheap and they have now had 3 years of payrolls in the bottom 5 of the league. they are drafting under slot signable players and not signing 1st rounders. And they are basically irrelevant in the competition for international signings.

They are running this team on the cheap when comes to obtaining players. Period.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse


JohninMpls -That Ovechkin pick might turn out okay, though.

OHH has it ever!!! I did say limited success.

But as far as number ones in all the leagues they are not guarantees of short or long term impact and there have been so many busts, yes I could list them but I think you know the ones. Remember the Caps took their number ONE in 1978 and trade him in 1982 a move that saved the Capitals for all time.

BTW the 1973- 74 Capitals were even worse then the current Nats the next year they had the #1 they took Greg Joly.......heard of him anybody??

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners have made almost no money available for International free agents. Emphasized sign-ability in the recent draft and have never made a trade that included them eating salary.

Lo Duca, Lopez, Guillen, Kearns, Belliard, Estrada, Willigham, Johnson and a hundred other guys not from these last two season. Maybe they couldn't all have been moved if you eat their salaries but surely some of them.

We all like that we got Zimmermann for Soriano but, it was an enormous long-shot. The effort to sign him or move him and his salary for youngsters was what?

They don't pay their rent, have a terrible relationship with their vendors. They even monitor the damn FedEx output.

That is cheap.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@Sec3:

The dog days of summer refer to a 5-week period in the summer -- from early July til mid August -- when, in ancient times, the dog star Sirius rose with the sun. The ancients associated the unyielding heat with Sirius' rising alongside the sun and referred to those weeks as "canicualres dies", or dog days.

As associated with baseball, the dog days referred not just to the unbearable heat in which the players played (before night games) but also the fact that owners sought to make up early season rainouts via doubleheaders starting in July/August as teams began making their last swings through opposing towns. Nothing like 6 hours of baseball in 100 degree heat!

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Sec 220.

You are a better man than I.

Which is admittedly a very low bar.

Frankly I hope they have a plague culture for breakfast and wash it down with a e-bola shake!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

-"Will someone please tell me who it is the "cheap Lerners" legitimately could have signed that would have made a significant difference..."
____________________________________________________________

Texiera. Purportedly making him the highest offer of all teams including the Yankees.

So, we have to give them their due. They do appear to understand "value" when they see it. They can answer your arguments by pointing you to Dunn, a young very talented player with a significant downside: he can't field. Actually making him more of a detriment than a positive.

At this point, given what I have seen, I think the best approach is to let Rizzo show "value" and success from ***his moves*** to ownership/management. Let him do his best to "manage up" the best way possible ... that will take time. Give him 2-3 years. That's my take.

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

"Think if we threw enough money at Halladay, he'd come here?"

We don't sign FA pitchers, remember?

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

Wikipedia says that Greg Joly now works in upstate New York. (maybe some ex-nats or soon-to-be ex-nats will be there as well!)

Posted by: 1of9000 | July 20, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Think if we threw enough money at Halladay, he'd come here?"

"We don't sign FA pitchers, remember?"

We don't have to. They are very likely coming to the Nationals. They would gladly take a young Mock to develop over a Halladay. The Nats are sitting on a gold mine.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

And their right not to. Could you imagine if we'd signed Lowe instead of Cabrera. The horror!

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

"(With the notable exception of Nyjer Morgan who's playing like his hair's on fire -- if he had any, that is -- but he's too recent an addition to have developed much attachment to Manny or caught the malaise surrounding the team.) But to be fair to Riggleman, it's not like he's in a position to represent much of a change."

Bring up guys like Padilla and Bynum. I am sure they would play like their "hair is on fire". Bring up Ian Desmond for a look see. Trade Guzman for a prospect or two.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

@Periculum:

DFA Beimel? I can see DFA'ing Villone at this point... but why Beimel? Seems he has trade value.

Also, Dunn's a negative? I completely agree that he's a defensive liability but I don't think that negates his worth to this team. As I recall, you passionately defended the impressiveness of this offense, Dunn in particular, as recently as May...

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

We don't have to. They are very likely coming to the Nationals. They would gladly take a young Mock to develop over a Halladay. The Nats are sitting on a gold mine.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:16 PM
___________________________________________________________

Huh?

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Current losing streak is 10 out of last 12...a .170 clip....trends out to 59 more losses over next 71 games and a 38-124 finish for the record books.

Sobering thought: If the Mets/Mess sweeps this week, Nats will be just 6 games over .286 season-to-date pace for the futility record. And we all know this team is capable of losing that ground in less than a week!

Posted by: JCinDC | July 20, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

They could also bring up Morse (.417 another good Rizzo acquisition) to replace Belliard.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke says:

"I did not say I would not have signed Crow. I did not say that the Lerners should not have signed Crow. I pointed out why I believe that they didn't bankroll his signing.

Hell Rizzo himself when asked whether it should have happened said something to the effect "Oh God, yeah!".

There are many slights I can take. Not reading my post, calling me an idiot, pointing out the numerous inconsistencies in my arguments. But please, please don't assume I agree with or apologize for the Lerners of Bowden. "

My post in response to yours, and please re-read it, was to agree with you and add to it. I did not imply that you agree with the Lerners' cheapness. I was encouraging a rational response to team-building, not disagreeing with you.

The $4 million on Crow would have been well-spent (compared to $ spent on LoDuca, Dmitri, etc.). The draft is the absolute worst place to save money.

And to those who point out that Crow is still unsigned, let me just say he would have been signed last summer if the Nats had signed him!

Posted by: EdDC | July 20, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

@505:

Lannan, ZNN, Detwiler, Stammen, Martin, Martis, Mock, Clippard, Ballester.... with Storen and Strasburg yet to come. Periculum believes that our stable of young pitching will soon lead to trades that yield the likes of Halladay for us.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

"As I recall, you passionately defended the impressiveness of this offense, Dunn in particular, as recently as May..."

I did its true. But I have to admit that watching him ... he's like a duck out of water ... he needs to be in the American League and is best suited to that league. I don't think he is a bad player ... just not a good match for the National League.

So, I was wrong. Forcing Morgan to play 3 outfield positions (when Dunn and Willingham are at his sides) brings his play down I suspect. This team is built around pitching ... pitching needs defense. Dunn just doesn't seem to fit.

They would have been a lot better if Texiera had signed on ... at this point I think it best to trust Rizzo. He appears to have proven that he can manage to find talent that can help even in this adverse situation.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

At least the Skins open up training camp in a couple of weeks...

Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 20, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

"Periculum believes that our stable of young pitching will soon lead to trades that yield the likes of Halladay for us."

I believe the Nats already have one or two potential Halladays. I also believe that most every team in the league is talking to Rizzo about them ... FIRST as payment for "helping him get rid of guys" like Guzman, Johnson, et al. I have seen enough to believe that is certainly true ... for the starting pitching.

Relief pitching is an entirely different story. They are still very, very weak both on the farms and in the majors when it comes to relievers.

I don't think Kensing is a solution. He did perform that well in Syracuse.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Correction: Kensing did not perform all that well in Syracuse.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

My bad EdDC. Although I did put a little ';)' at the end of my post. I figured you weren't having a go at me.

I think that Rizzo understands better than anyone that the young pitchers we have may, between all of them, make up the 3-4-5 punch in a line-up. Only Zimmermann really looks like a possible no. 2. Detweiler might come through.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 20, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

@505:

Lannan, ZNN, Detwiler, Stammen, Martin, Martis, Mock, Clippard, Ballester.... with Storen and Strasburg yet to come. Periculum believes that our stable of young pitching will soon lead to trades that yield the likes of Halladay for us.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 1:29 PM
____________________________________________________________

Oh, OK. I think he has overvalued what is in the pipeline, just a tad bit.

Odds are that only about 2 of those guys will be servicable major leaguers.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

"Bring up guys like Padilla and Bynum. I am sure they would play like their "hair is on fire". Bring up Ian Desmond for a look see. Trade Guzman for a prospect or two."

Or do what other MLB teams do, and only bring up players when they are ready to play major league baseball.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"At least the Skins open up training camp in a couple of weeks...

Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 20, 2009"

With no offensive line. Kind of like having a "hit-less offense".

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"I believe the Nats already have one or two potential Halladays."

Did you seriously just write that?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Padilla and Bynum were both IL all-stars. Bynum was the starting 2nd baseman. Padilla is hitting .364 in Syracuse. He looks to be ready. Bynum hit 13 home runs and has been consistent.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"Did you seriously just write that?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009"

Look at Halladay's stats when he was in the minors when you get a chance.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Did you seriously just write that?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009"

Here, try this. Chico can you ask Rizzo what the first thing other teams inquire about when they call to "feel him out" about potential trade scenarios?

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

-Periculum
Guzman is on the trading block and the Nationals are asking for young starting pitching for him. The problem is that teams are being stingy with their prospects this year.

Meaning trading anyone of the Nationals vets for prospects is wishful thinking. Teams have been asking the Nats FO to throw in young pitchers into any trade the Nats have inquired into.

When the Nats asked for Morgan the Pirates wanted Milledge and Stammen. But that would have been terrible trade so the Nats threw in Hanrahan and asked for Burnett. Making it a sweet deal for both sides (or just the Nats). I don't see any deals coming around in the near future. The Nats are asking for too much (as they should).

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 20, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

@505:

You think only TWO of those guys will be "serviceable"? I think you and Periculum are at opposite extremes. Rival scouts have ZNN as, at worst, a #2 starter and likely a #1. Lannan's similarly regarded. Strasburg, of course, is unproven but holy cow the guy looks tough. If those three open 2010 as the front end of our rotation, that's pretty sweet. And Detwiler's ahead of schedule now that St. Claire is gone... That leaves a pretty solid group competing for #5. I don't know if there's a Halladay in there, but there's certianly more than 2 serviceable major leaguers.

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Morse: .417 (over .312 in the PCL) (.331)
11 HRs. (0 errors), 18 2B, 28 BBs 56 SOs,
60 RBI, plays most infield plus
outfield.

Padilla: .364 (entire season in AAA), (6 errors)

Bynum: .262 13 HRs 49RBI 37 runs from 2B AA
(but 15 errors!)

Kory Casto: 10 errors! .257.
Dukes is hitting .324, w / 2 HRs.
Eldred: .279 average, 14 homers, 23 2B, 46RBI
Maxwell, Patterson strike out alot.
Maxwell does walk a lot.

Ian Desmond is just starting out in AAA Syracuse.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

"Rival scouts have ZNN as, at worst, a #2 starter and likely a #1. Lannan's similarly regarded. Strasburg, of course, is unproven but holy cow the guy looks tough. If those three open 2010 as the front end of our rotation,"

Mock is still a potential, he is highly regarded by Rizzo. Stammen? Balester is still very young like Detwiler. Sharon Martis is also still very young. And then there's Estrada? Olsen who is also still young.

Looks better than sweet to me.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Chico and Arneson down in AAA?

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Making it a sweet deal for both sides (or just the Nats). I don't see any deals coming around in the near future."

You appear to be correct.

In the offseason I suspect they will make deals to shore up long, middle plus closer) relief. I suspect they will attempt to resign Nick Johnson. But will likely be unsuccessful. He will try to go to NY and the Yankees/Mets.

They will trade Guzman and Willingham along with select pitching for relief help.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Perriculum - O-line or not, won't it be nice to hear about something other than the Nats and their worst record ever threats?

Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 20, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"Periculum - O-line or not, won't it be nice to hear about something other than the Nats and their worst record ever threats?

Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 20, 2009"

The Redskins could suffer the a similar ignominious fate. Given the character issues, age, and the huge holes in their roster.

There is actually more hope in what the Nats are attempting if that is any consolation?

Right now the Caps look to have the most promise.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Outsider,

To claify, I didn't include Strasburg in my prediction because, he is not signed yet, and quite frankly, I'm not holding my breath when it comes to him getting signed at all.

With him included, I think they have an ace in Strasburg. A #2 or very solid #3 in ZNN and a #3 or solid #4 in Lannan. I think Martis and Detwiler are barely #5 types that may go back in forth to AAA for a few years until they get traded, hurt, or cut.

The rest are cannon fodder.

Oh, and Storen may end up being a servicable reliver but, excuse if don't get all hot and bothered because he was great at low A Hagerstown.


I would love for Brian to weigh in on this for his thoughts.


Brian,

I respect your opinion here. Please, What say you?

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I think we're getting a little off course with the "he has value/he doesn't" talk here. So two things I would recommend remembering:

1) The standings only matter on two days, the final day of the season and July 31.

Teams that are within four or five games of their divisions on the latter day are going to be willing to overvalue talent in order to make sure they're at the top on the former. Someone like Nick Johnson or Josh Willingham gets a huge price boost because they both allow a GM to make that somewhat lopsided deal without being stuck with the long-term consequences, while reaping the reward of making it to the playoffs this year.

2) Players value is determined by how much they help you win. The number one High-A prospect in all of baseball is useless to a team for the duration of this season. The discerning GM asks himself (why no women GMs?) whether that prospect is so essential to the future that he can't be flipped for more wins and a playoff appearance now. Some GMs (see point 1) will decide he's not, and choose to flip him.

Posted by: Section506 | July 20, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

We've debated this one before... I still don't see a market for a lazy, poor-fielding SS even if he does hit .300. I think we're stuck with Guzman unless we package him with a young pitcher. Guzman's a throw-in.

As for Johnson, I'm not sure they'll try to re-sign him. I'm torn about him. Love his game even though he's off defensively this season. And then there's the lengthy injury history. I think we've gotten all we can from Nick. And the Yankees have osme guy named Texiera. Don't think Nick will wind up there. Maybe the Mets though. Delgado walks after this year.

I think they'll hold on to Willingham. With Dunn likely at first and Kearns gone he'll have right all ot himself. Since Morgan's really a LF, maybe we'll find a true CF and slide Morgan to his natural spot...

Outside of young pitching, there's not much of trade value to other teams. Johnson and Beimel. That's it. Maybe MacDougal?

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Jorge Padilla currently leads the IL in hitting followed by "prospects" such as Jordan Brown, Andy Mart, Austin Jackson ... Marte, like Eldred, has 14 HRs but only 18 walks. Lots of strike outs. Shelley Duncan would be a nice pick up and replacement for Dunn, he has 23 homers in AAA IL. He plays right field.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"Outside of young pitching, there's not much of trade value to other teams. Johnson and Beimel. That's it. Maybe MacDougal?"

And if we're Rizzo, would we want to trade the young pitching? Unless you got a closer on par in value with a Halladay, or a great fielding power/average hitting outfield replacement for Dunn?

There appears to be some trade value for Beimel?


Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Brian (Outsider),

Even if they sign Strasberg ... after seeing the amount of grit and effort they've received from "under the slot" Storen. They will expect the same from Strasberg, *** perhaps more *** given what his agent is demanding. He will have to start down in A Hagerstown and work his way up ... just like Storen and the rest.

So, I wouldn't include him in the list for next year.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

soundbloke:

Agreed, if the Nats get a #3, a #4, and a #5 out of all their starting pitcher prospects, that would be great. And Zimmermann could be a #2 rather than a #3. Lannan could be a #2 or #3 too. But still, regardless of what number you put on the guys, I would be happy to have three of the five slots filled by the guys in the system now.

Essentially, you and I seem to agree that Lannan and Zimmermann are keepers, and that Detwiler, Stammen, Balester OR Martis could be the 5th starter, and hold that slot for years. That's my belief, anyway, that one of those guys will come through.

That still leaves two spots. If you add Crow and Strasburg to that mix, I can see the Nats having a chance to get 5 future starters. But I don't assume that the Nats have a surplus of starters or assume that the Nats did not need to sign their #1 pick of 2008.

Posted by: EdDC | July 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

"Look at Halladay's stats when he was in the minors when you get a chance."

So essentially you are saying that we could have a Halladay in the minors, b/c anyone could have a Halladay in the minors just waiting to bust out. Why stop at Halladay then? We could potentially have a Ryan Howard in the minors too.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 20, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Agreed on the Caps!

Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 20, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"Rival scouts have ZNN as, at worst, a #2 starter and likely a #1. Lannan's similarly regarded. "

Both wrong. Znn is regarded as AT BEST a #2 and Lannan as a solid 4. There are no potential #1s in the organization and there still won't be after Strasburg tells us to get bent. He's the only one we have access to with the potential to be anywhere close to a Halladay.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 20, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Of those names listed (Lannan, Zimmermann, Detwiler, Stammen, Martin, Martis, Mock, Clippard, Balester, Storen and Strasburg) and assuming they sign Strasburg, I'd conservatively say they have a potential #1 (Strasburg), solid #2 (Zimmermann), and above average #4 (Lannan ... I am still on the fence about him long term, to be completely honest).

Storen looks like a reliever to me (though I could be wrong)

Balester is an interesting one, I think he's a #3/4 guy as a ceiling

Stammen is what we are seeing, I don't expect much to change there. Call him a #5-type

Martis is still young enough but I'm not sure he'll be higher than a #5

Martin, Mock & Clippard are spot starters/relievers moving forward

Your miles may vary

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

So using the movies as a guide would you say that the Lerners are like;

A) The Judge from The Natural

B) Charlie Comisky in Eight Men Oot

C) Rachel Phelps from Major League

D) The unnamed unseen owner of the Major League club affiliate from Bull Durham

Posted by: CBinDC | July 20, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@RickFelt:

Guess we're reading different analysis on these guys. I've not seen ither ZNN or Lannan rated as low as you have stated. Not saying its not true.. I just haven't seen it.

@Periculum:

I'd think an effective LH reliever would have value to a contender at the deadline. And I don't see Strasburg spending much time in the minors. I think -- assuming he doesn't, as RF suggests, tell us to get bent -- he'll be up here before this season ends and will be expected to start in the top 3 next year.

@Sounbloke, Ed,

If Strasburg, ZNN, and Lannan work out as planned we won't worry much about Stammen, Martis, Martin, Detwiler, or Balester. The four and five spots will only be held for a few years at a time, a la the 90s Braves. Besides Avery, who else who followed Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine was memorable? Ok, Avery wasn't all the memorable either...

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Brian, for the input.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

-Periculum
The offseason will be interesting because the free agency talent is slim pickings. I agree they will primarily go after relief pitching. The Nats will offer arbitration to Nick Johnson. If he doesn't take it then the Nats get some picks. But I can't imagine the deal being longer then 1 year and I feel Nick Johnson wants to win so he will be gone.

If Guzman is to be traded the Nats will have to eat some salary. Willingham's value is good but only as a hitter. Dukes' value would be like a Milledge trade with slightly more return. Beimel would be traded if teams get desperate for relief pitching. Harris has good value because he is probably one of the best utility guys in the majors. I think the Nats really want to keep Dunn and Willingham but if they are offered two 4-5 star prospects then you almost can't say no.

I agree with 506, any trade that happens will happen at the deadline because the Nats don't have to make trades. They are already the worst team in baseball. So all they can do is make good long term trades.

Posted by: hleeo3 | July 20, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I noticed I forgot Detwiler ... ideally he could be their #3 starter but I'll be more conservative and say #4

Posted by: Brian_ | July 20, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Where are we taking her? And why do we need anyone else?

-----

The question is who do we take with 1a next year?

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I wish this club could/would sign some top tier free agents this off season. I fear now that even if the money offered is top shelf, it still won't be eneough to lure any. It seems the reputation formed over the last 3 years has marked us as "undesirables". Ownership really has its work cut out to change this perception. Shortcuts won't get it done, it will be a painful and slow process.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 20, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

That was the year they all signed their names to a trash can and paraded around the locker room like it was the Stanley Cup.

-----

BTW the 1973- 74 Capitals were even worse then the current Nats the next year they had the #1 they took Greg Joly.......heard of him anybody??

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Brian,

My take (going forward) is that it doesn't look all that bad (starting pitching wise mostly)?

Starters:

Strasberg (if he signs) RHP
Lannan LHP
Balester RHP
Detwiler LHP
Mock/Martis/Martin RHP (5/6)
Chico? LHP

Relievers: (long)
Martis RHP
Bergmann RHP
Martin RHP
Burnett LHP
Chico? LHP

Relievers: (short)
Burnett LHP
Bergman RHP
Clippard RHP
Storen [CLOSER] RHP

[Zinicola, Wilkie, etc. in AA?)

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I never read more of a pessimistic blog entry in my life. Where's the faith?

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 20, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Woah ... whoa. I'm totally getting 'o8-ja-vu from this comment. Makes me dizzy. Woah.

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

I wish this club could/would sign some top tier free agents this off season. I fear now that even if the money offered is top shelf, it still won't be eneough to lure any. It seems the reputation formed over the last 3 years has marked us as "undesirables". Ownership really has its work cut out to change this perception. Shortcuts won't get it done, it will be a painful and slow process.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 20, 2009 2:40 PM

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 20, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I guess we're all spinnin these days with what is going on, I'm with ya IHW.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 20, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

I never read more of a pessimistic blog entry in my life. Where's the faith?

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 20, 2009 2:43 PM
___________________________________________________________

What did you expect from fans of a team that is currently 26-65 after a stellar 59-102 campaign in '08?

They future's so bright you gotta wear shades.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I never read more of a pessimistic blog entry in my life. Where's the faith?

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 20, 2009 2:43 PM
___________________________________________________________

What did you expect from fans of a team that is currently 26-65 after a stellar 59-102 campaign in '08?

They future's so bright you gotta wear shades.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 2:50 PM

___________________________________________________________

What else, I expected all fans to write blank checks to Ted Lerner in order to improve the team instead of running it into the ground :-P

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@Stupid: I have two season tickets... I already WROTE my blank check! :)

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

@outsider6: I'm sorry for your loss, though hope they are great seats.

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 20, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

See: Stanton, Mike.

Of course, I mean the LH pitching version, not the OF in the Marlins system. The Nats traded him in '05 to Boston for Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta.

They didn't end up doing anything. The last year I can find on Peralta is 2007 in Hagerstown (4-1, 3.19 ERA), and all I see on Taylor is his 2006 season in GCL rookie ball (1.42 ERA in three games).

However, Stanton re-signed with the Nats in December 2005, and was traded in 2006 for Shairon Martis.

Sure, it's a crapshoot. But Beimel could bring something in.

-----

I'd think an effective LH reliever would have value to a contender at the deadline.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

At least the Skins open up training camp in a couple of weeks...

Posted by: authorofpoetry | July 20, 2009 1:32 PM

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

Why is that a positive, a-o-p? There are those of us who don't pay any attention to such minor sports.

Posted by: greggwiggins | July 20, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"It seems the reputation formed over the last 3 years has marked us as "undesirables". Ownership really has its work cut out to change this perception."

When Johnson goes ... plus Texiera ... that perception will only be exacerbated. I fear that the only way they will have be able to obtain quality players is through trades and the draft. Once things turn around then FA's may have a different attitude.

Its not just Mark Lerner. He appears to be EXTREMELY poor (okay, not to Dan Snyder's level) at public relations and image. His decision making appears to be abrasive at time, but extremely difficult far too often. He doesn't know baseball (except as a fan). He knows very little, he needs to be educated and managed and not by "Carny Barker" Kasten.

That, again, is Rizzo's job. Managing up through education, and showing solid, tangible results. He appears to be capable of this. Let him do his job.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I curious to know who are the top-tier free agents that the Nats should break the bank to sign this off-season. I'm only putting one limitation on my request, no starting pitchers (since the FO has already made it clear they will not sign top FA SP).

Jason Bay appears to be hands-down the best FA available. Looking over the rest of the list...Matt Holiday? Chone Figgins? Aubrey Huff? Jose Valverde? Are those the types of players that the Nats can lock into long-term contracts at inflated prices and expect to win?

Posted by: NeedANatsFix | July 20, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

>Remember, the Nats' rookie pitchers might not last deep into September, so the rotation for the final weeks probably won't get much help from Jordan Zimmermann, Craig Stammen, etc.

This thing is so anal. And counterproductive. Let them throw until their arms fall off. They'll show you when they're tired. If you have to shut some of them down before the end of the season, so be it. But there's no need to shut them down early. They have the whole offseason to recouperate. It just doesn't seem like a guy of Stammen's build would need to be coddled. If Zimmerman would just learn to take something off his pitches and spot them better, he'd last a lot more innings with less effort. It's obvious that he hasn't thrown a lot of innings, he still throws almost like he's still in high school sometimes. They need to work on his changeup more often - and just go fastball/changeup, and use his breaking pitches for outs. Lot less wear and tear.
Everybody in this organization is always so scared to push anything. Maybe because they don't know what they're doing, necessarily.

Posted by: Brue | July 20, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

ImWithStupid,

I wrote my check as well, for my 4 seat 20 gamer. The money is gone like a fart in the wind.

I'm such a sucker, the Lerner's and StanK saw me coming from a mile away.

It said "Drives like new!" on the windshield and it had a brand new paint job. It drove great for a '76 Vega on the way home But, after I got it there, the transmission dropped into the driveway and it was leaking oil and smoking.

I called to complain and StanK informed me over the phone that "all sales are final, sorry. How about I throw in a Phillie Fanatic air freshner!"

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I hope Rizzo is allowed to do his job with no strings attached. I'm confident he has the baseball management skills to get it done if they give him the tool$ to do it.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 20, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:

If we were in a pennant race I'd agree with you. But with nothing to gain and everything to lose, why let 5 guys who've never thrown anywhere near 200 innings go that deep? These guys are 23/24 years old. Plenty of time to push them...

Posted by: outsider6 | July 20, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"The future's so bright you gotta wear shades.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009"

Actually, the future's so bright (SP wise) they don't want to make TRADES! (or at least those suggested by potential trading partners).

Its bright when it comes to starting pitching and
perhaps relief but after that ... there is some potential and more than a few reasonably bright spots ... but not a great deal of "depth".

2012 line up?

SS Ian Desmond/A. Gonzalez/Danny Espinosa
CF Morgan/Daniel/Bernadina.
RF Dukes/Burgess/Maxwell.
1B Marrero/Dunn/Morse.
LF Lowrance/Davis/Bynum/Morse.
3B Zimmerman/Morse/Bynum.
2B Kobernus/Bynum/Morse/A. Gonzalez
C Flores/Norris/Rooney.

Bynum is probably "trade bait" at the minor league level ... in the end have to wait to see what the 40 man roster looks like after the offseason.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I must admit that I have yet to go to any games this year, though will be going to my first game on Sunday, I've been following them on the idiot box. I enjoy the commentary, especially with the straight edge analysis from Dibble. The best part is that once the game is over, I can turn off the abomination I just witnessed and go to bed. Easily forgetting and dreaming about a better future.

Posted by: ImWithStupid | July 20, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"If we were in a pennant race I'd agree with you. But with nothing to gain and everything to lose, why let 5 guys who've never thrown anywhere near 200 innings go that deep? These guys are 23/24 years old. Plenty of time to push them..."

And they need to develop long / middle relief as it is. Best to shutdown the "arms of the future". Take a look at who can manage to the middle innings etc.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"hope Rizzo is allowed to do his job with no strings attached. I'm confident he has the baseball management skills to get it done if they give him the tool$ to do it."

There are always "strings attached". Do you think it was fun working with Steinbrenner after he initially purchased the Yankees?

Rizzo knows this. Riggleman knows this. They are baseball men, they know.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"Jason Bay appears to be hands-down the best FA available."

They actually DRAFTED Jason Bay in the middle rounds. Be ironic to see them pay to get him back.

Posted by: periculum | July 20, 2009 3:26 PM | Report abuse

2012 line up?

SS Ian Desmond/A. Gonzalez/Danny Espinosa
CF Morgan/Daniel/Bernadina.
RF Dukes/Burgess/Maxwell.
1B Marrero/Dunn/Morse.
LF Lowrance/Davis/Bynum/Morse.
3B Zimmerman/Morse/Bynum.
2B Kobernus/Bynum/Morse/A. Gonzalez
C Flores/Norris/Rooney.
___________________________________________________________

That is 3 years from now. Half of these dudes probably won't even be with the organization anymore.

Seriously, I get the optimistic view but, it doesn't work that way in baseball with players. It's a crapshoot and most guys DON'T pan out.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, hope springs eternal, I hope the strings attached are short ones. Even Steinbrenner seemed to adapt the "just win baby" theme at some point. Of course, the Nats don't have the $$$ stream the Spankees possess, but still. Smaller market teams can win if things are done properly (Marlins/Twins/Rays). Rizzo and Riggleman know this also.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 20, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Who says there's no more poetry on NJ?

-----

The money is gone like a fart in the wind.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 20, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

JiM,

I can't take credit. I got the "gone like a fart in the wind" line from the warden in "The Shawshank Redemption"

Posted by: Section505203 | July 20, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

who cares if the 'skins start soon. They are run by buffoons as well. As long as Danny-boy and Vinny, they are destined to suck the life out you and run down a once-proud franchise. I am so done with them.

Posted by: 1of9000 | July 20, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I said this yesterday if Rizzo is bent on trading Guzman then you don't ask you demand that teams top double A prospect especially if the team is in the thick of a division race, Christian Guzman is a rarity a switch hitting .300 batter and trust me watch his defense get better once he's away from this train wreck of a ball club. I am not going to say it yet but I told you so about Riggleman he is a retread, that being said they should be all over the hapless Mets who left here(A-T-L) with their tail between their legs.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 20, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Lannan, ZNN, Detwiler, Stammen, Martin, Martis, Mock, Clippard, Ballester.... with Storen and Strasburg yet to come. Periculum believes that our stable of young pitching will soon lead to trades that yield the likes of Halladay for us.

Posted by: outsider6

OK, let's take a break from the action to the land of reality, one pitcher at a time:
Lannan--No. 2 starter at best, probably just a 4 or 5 on a good team.
ZNN--All potential so far. But his fastball was only 91-92 yesterday and his confidence is rapidly going south too.
Det--Nothing so far would indicate MLB ability right now.
Stammen--I like him as a hitter better than a pitcher.
Martin--Past arm woes, soft-tosser, classic AAA hurler who won't fool anyone in the bigs.
Martis--Should be a major league hurler. Only Rizzo-Acta/Riggleman apparently don't think so.
Mock-Clippard-Bally Star--If there's a No. 4 or 5 starter in there, I'll be shocked.
Storen and Strasburg--All the potential in the world, but who really knows?

And our young pitchers are the best part of this organization. 26-and-65, and you can suck on it.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 20, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

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