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Kasten's Remarks from the Presser

Hey, folks. For those of you who couldn't see the news conference live on MASN, here are Stan Kasten's remarks (because Chico would want us to share):

Q. Can you talk about the decision to release a letter to the fans?
A. We did think about it long and hard and thought it expressed the sentiments that fans might have been wondering about. Our season this year has been a great disappointment to us even though those of us on the inside remain very very optimistic about our ultimate future with all the pieces that are falling into place starting with the rotation. We want the fans to know how much we value them, how much we take seriously our putting the best product out there. We thought to speak directly to them would be the best way to communicate that.


Q. You now have an interim GM and an interim manager. From a stability standpoint that doesn't speak too highly of the franchise. Would you address that?
A. I'm very uncomfortable with that. That's a good observation. I've strived my whole career [for] value, stability and consistency and I want to get to that here. We're not there yet. I think we're working toward that. Sometimes we encounter these unfortunate, unforeseen bumps in the road. But you're right, we need to bring stability here and I can assure you I'm doing all I can to get us there.

Q. Did you have to get special dispensation from the commissioner to make a major announcement during the all-star break?
A. I know I didn't get one. I didn't seek one. I didn't ask for one.

Q. It's been almost three years since you and the Lerner family took over operations . With an interim general manager and now an interim manager, are you starting over again?
A. I really don't think that. I do think we're very close to realizing the fruits of three hard years of effort. When I see people write about our team recently, it's 'well yeah, they've now amassed a core of young future starters, but then they have all these other problems.' Whoa whoa whoa, let's slow down, let's not gloss over it. It's HARD to amass a core of young future starters. That took us time. I've always believed that that was the most important thing, that was Job One. Once we have a consistent rotation, everything else gets easier. Once you have pitchers giving you about seven innings every night, even the bullpen looks better. And so the last three years haven't been a waste because it took us that time to assemble the pieces that are now I think starting to materialize as big parts of our future. For me the highlights of our first half of the season haven't been any particular wins or home runs, it's been the maturation of a young starting rotation in addition to the realization there are more on the way not yet here in Washington.

Q. Is this a sign that losing will not be tolerated at this level?
A. Well, it should be obvious that that's the case but in case it isn't we want to put our beliefs in wrting so that everyone knows that no matter how bad our staunchest fan feels we feel much worse about this. This isn't at all acceptable to us. We are going to keep trying to make moves both in the front office and on the field to get it right. Having said that, I meant as serious as I possibly could what I said a moment ago: The pieces are coming together. And that's why I'm so disappointed to have to be here today because we kept thinking it was about to turn with the young pitching starting to come and it really has been great watching, particulary the last month we thought we should start winning more. So it's a very sad day for me personally.

If I could just go on and talk about a question earlier about Manny. People didn't see those times behind closed doors where he was a very different guy one and one or with the team privately out of the sight of the media when he could be very forceful and direct. I valued Manny's essential qualities of being, as a veteran player said to me, 'the same guy every day. you always know where Manny is. He's the same guy every day.' That is an important quality. I value that. I think that is a characteristic of managers who are successful on the long term. It hasn't been working for him yet and I'm very disappointed in that because I do think history is replete with guys who didn't have success with his first manager job and went on to have great managing careers. I believe Manny is going to be another one of those kinds of manager.

Q. How much of a leash will whoever is here after a year to turn this thing around?
A. We been criticized because these reports came out months ago you know, you should have made a change. The reason it took so long was that we didn't want to do this, we thought it was going to turn. We felt that way every week since April, I guess. I still believe it now. I don't know about leash or length of time. I do think we want to see, as Mike has described, a better brand of play and the pieces that everyone, any media report I see, has said 'gee, the talent should have produced a better record than 26-61.' I think everyone, I think all of you, believe that. I don't know how to exactly answer the question you're asking with numbers but I do think it should start producing wins very, very soon especially now that we seem to be getting consistent starting pitching, which as I've said many times is where everything begins.

Q. Why isn't Jim Riggleman here today?
A. We wanted today to be about the change, and talk about Manny, and talk about the team in the first half. Mike and the team had meetings this afternoon and we're going to start the Riggleman era on Wednesday and we'll provide him to all of you then. That's why. We have a lot of mechanics, a lot of things to accomplish overnight, since midnight last night when we had our meeting with Manny. We've been working on that this morning and we'll continue to work on that otday and tomorro wand he'll be here Wednesday.

Q. Why aren't any of the Lerner family members here?
A. Because I'm the team president and this is my responsibility and I'm ultimately responsible for everything that goes on here and I accept all the blame.

(Final statement, not in response to a question)
We did ask Manny if he wanted to be here today or have his own press conference. He said he really did not want to do that. He wrote that statement and of course we're happy to distribute it to all of you.

By Tracee Hamilton  |  July 13, 2009; 2:45 PM ET
 
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Next: Acta News Coverage, The Rundown

Comments

Thanks for the transcripts Tracee and Mark. I watched it on MLB but couldn't make out the questions. Now I know.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 13, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Q. Can you talk about the decision to release a letter to the fans?
A. We did think about it long and hard and thought it expressed the sentiments that fans might have been wondering about.
----------------------------------------

How long do you think it took them to craft such a beautiful letter? One month?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 13, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"When I see people write about our team recently, it's 'well yeah, they've now amassed a core of young future starters, but then they have all these other problems.' Whoa whoa whoa, let's slow down, let's not gloss over it. It's HARD to amass a core of young future starters. That took us time."
---------------------------

Unrestricted kool-aid drinking.

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 13, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Great coverage today, everyone. Chico, Tracee, Dave, Boz, Mark, Jon, Alexa. Really a team effort. Thanks.

The last statement really stings.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"All Zimm has done is let the next manager know that he is not all that loyal and doesn't take the responsibility that the a real club house leader needs to."

That's not entirely true. He has let the ownership know he is loyal and backs them up. From his perspective, that is a good thing.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Fair point. His is the 'Face of Franchise" nit, "Face of the Clubhouse".

I still think it stinks though.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

If Zimmerman had reservations about the way Manny Managed, he was right not to talk about them in the press while Manny was his manager.

To talk about them now is not to denigrate Manny as much as it is to acknowledge the problems that exist.

Both seem to be important actions from one of the people who would be long-standing in the clubhouse and organization.

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 13, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ken Rosenthal seems to think that as long as they have an "interim" manager along with an interim GM, and a "puppet" as a President who are unable to manage up to the ownership level, that this team will continue to be a unmitigated chaotic mess with no one in charge, no one accountable.

How can you make the players "accountable" when from ownership on down, no one really is? Is it more about CYA, hiding the hard truth from fans, that the ownership refuses to risk any additional investment beyond what they currently take in at the gate in creating a successful franchise? If that's true, then how can you ask players to risk injury, and consequently their ability to make a living in the sport, by playing hard, aggressive. In other words playing to win. And if they do will it only be to "audition" for some other team that could be a potential trading partner or a potential fee agent offseason landing place?

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

"Rizzo says he's pursuing a "cautiously aggressive" course in the contract negotiations with Strasburg and his advisor, Scott Boras, but said that aside from an initial conversation around the time of the June 9 draft, "Honestly, we haven't really talked since then." (From SI.com)

Really? You're kidding right??!!
Wow. That's not good. A whole freakin month and not one word. nice negotiations.
So long Strasburg.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 13, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

I thought the letter was worthless with the same stuff in it they've been saying since the Lerners took over. It's nice that Kasten focused on the corps of young starters that are so HARD to develop, but he ignored the fact they haven't developed any good young relievers (who may be more important than starters in modern baseball) and no everyday players except for Zimm. With nobody ready at the AA or AAA level, that "be patient" message is getting old. They now have to make some trades that bring in young players to fill the gap until whatever prospects they have at A level can get here.

Zimm did point out Manny's biggest problem: that lack of visible fire. I don't think it has to go to the tear-up-the bases level, but I sure would have done some yelling when the umps made those bogus instant replay calls against the Mets. And I actually liked Zimmn's calling out the need to "get a few people out of here" and you hardly need to be a mind reader to figure out who he's talking about.

In the end, hopefully Manny's firing won't be the most important move the Nats make this move. It really will come down to whatever trades they make in the next couple of weeks. If we're going to see progress in the second half of the season, that will likely spark it.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

That letter was another load of BS. I was looking for an apology. Instead it was just more recycled garbage from two years ago with a couple of proper names Mad Libbed in there. Even the time frame didnt change. They still have a "way to go". Expect nothing signinficant Nats fans. The Plan is still in full effect, but has been spinning its wheels for two or three years. But we have brisket, right?!

I just wish Stan and the Lerners would go away. The Lerners know they are a failure, that is why we never see or hear from them. They are afraid to answer any questions because they have no answers and they know their actions as owners have been inexcusable

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 13, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo: 34 days to sign Strasberg.
2 weeks to the trading deadline.

35 days til' the end of your pro-tem
tenure perhaps?

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Great coverage today, everyone. Chico, Tracee, Dave, Boz, Mark, Jon, Alexa. Really a team effort. Thanks.

The last statement really stings.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 3:00 PM
---------------

Seriously? That is their job. Really what have they done besides transcribe press conferences and copy-paste letters and emails?

Posted by: makplan20002 | July 13, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

506 and soundbloke are reading different Zim comments than I am. I thought his quotes were evaluative and fair.

I could see reading his comments differently in a different context--say a week ago, before the ax fell on Manny. Then there'd be room to question his loyalty to Manny--but now Manny's gone and Zim's still saying he "was a great person and great manager...." Zim discussing, after the fact, some of the ways things weren't perfect is not disloyalty.

Posted by: seamhed | July 13, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

periculum, good point on the dual "acting" bosses. Hard to see how you can put the hammer down on underperforming players or create an atmosphere of intensity if the players aren't convinced either of their bosses is going to be there in the future.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"I thought his quotes were evaluative and fair."

That's cool, seamhed, the main point I was making is that you're supposed to think that. Zimmerman is their last credible voice, so they employed him.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

baltova,

Or in fact that they themselves will be around in the future. Of our position players really only one figures to be part of the great 2012 maybe-we'll-be-competitive-by-then team.

The second Bowden left most of these guys knew they were on borrowed time playing for a trade, contract or release.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

i ripped on kasten's comments earlier, but reading the transcript now I think the answers were not quite as smarmy or canned as I originally thought. I mean, the answers are pretty much what you'd expect, but there is still a little honesty in there.

dovelevine, you are getting way, way too worked up today about the strasburg negotiations. even the stadium ushers know that nothing's going down with Boras before august 17.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

>>dovelevine, you are getting way, way too worked up today about the strasburg negotiations. even the stadium ushers know that nothing's going down with Boras before august 17.Posted by: NatsNut |

Hate to tell ya nothins goin down on the 17th if they haven't started talkin before the 16th.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe I'm doing this, but I sort of agree with dovelevine. I didn't expect Strasburg to sign before Aug. 17, but I did think they might actually talk to Boras a little bit. I'd be curious if the Nats have a realistic idea of what Boras really wants. Hard to know if they haven't talked to him.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't think he has the right to claim Manny should be ranting and raving at the ump. It is not the players place to instruct managers about the style they should adopt. It is the players job to work with the manager.

But sure I over reacted with the fire and brimstone.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

"We don't want to be a one-time winner, we want to be a consistent winner. There's no short cut to building a front line organization and front line franchise," he says of his plan. "We're in the mix of working all those scenarios. We have a long way to go, and I know our record this season is not very good."
________________________________________________________________

Nice "plan" in theory there Mike Rizzo. But, the one thing you have to have for this "plan" to acutally work is owners who are willing to pony up the money for players (draft picks and vets on the roster).

The Lerner's aren't those type of owners, and unless they pry open the checkbook and become those type of owners your "plan" is doomed to failure.

Money talks and Teddy's BBQ and promo gimmicks walk.

As Cuba Gooding would say:

"Show me the Money!!!!!!!"

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

He really thinks this is going to turn around? Is he legally insane?

Posted by: Tom8 | July 13, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"It is not the players place to instruct managers about the style they should adopt."

++++++++++++

Zim's not instructing anyone, and Manny's no longer his manager. He's commenting on a possible weakness. And he's a player, which is probably the most credible source you can get on why the team might not be performing like it should. And do you really think Zim is wrong? Because look where it got both the team and Acta.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"With nobody ready at the AA or AAA level, that "be patient" message is getting old. They now have to make some trades that bring in young players to fill the gap until whatever prospects they have at A level can get here."

Okay that's not entirely true though: Ready to almost ready:

JD Martin and Garret Mock appear ready
now.
J Zim and Stammen ready sooner than
expected.
Lannan and Olsen young and ready.
Detwiler, Balester, and Martis are
close.

Shortstop: Espinosa and Ian Desnond, Gonzalez, Hernandez
Catchers: Flores, Norris, Rooney
1B: Marrero, Eldred
2B: Gonzalez, Hernandez, Castro
OF: Lowrance, Davis, Daniel,
Dukes, Maxwell, Padilla.

Relievers: Severino, Storen, Clippard, Bergmann, Sosa, Zinicola, Williams.

Clearly the problem isn't in the minors where guys like Chad Cordero and others were produced. Its on the major league club.

The minor league clubs and talent have been managed reasonably well. And improvement continues, albeit mostly with starting pitching ... but these can be converted to middle relief if not short.

The parent, major league club is a jig saw puzzle created by a guy who liked to take big risks on players who did not fit ... but were guys he knew from his days in Cincinnati. He ended up building a pretty decent American League club that can hold its own against those clubs. It is not a National League club. There is too little emphasis on fielding/defense and relief pitching ... more critical because you often must pinch hit a pitcher to take advantage of men on base.

After that GM resigned things became progressively more chaotic, with an FO filled by "interim" people undergoing a trial by fire. Now on the field management is in the same situation.

There is NO PLAN STAN.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who takes literally the "haven't really talked" since then quote is crazy. Either Rizzo is flat out lying - they may well have talked plenty. Or he's parsing -- they've communicated in myriad other ways and/or have talked "some." Either way, his answer is evasive precisely b/c he doesn't want to negotiate through the press. Come on, do you really believe that they're just sitting around waiting 'till August 16? No way. IF they don't sign him, then go crazy. But let's stop the ready, fire aim criticism that seems to be taking over this board; it's no better than the ad hoc, haphazard approach to team building everyone has been so critical of.

Posted by: cdstej | July 13, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Gotta love the Carni Barker. Just read the email letter and then the transcript from the presser.

For what its worth, StanK is full of S*it. What starting rotation is he talking about. Beside JL and to some extent JZ what other pieces can he possibly be refering to? Detwiler, Martis, Balester, Mock, are all in desperate need of at least another year in AAA. Stammen and Olsen are probably servicable but lets be honest Stank, Olsen is one good drunk away from imploding and you probably have seen the best of Stammen this past Saturday.

The rest of the plan is DOA!

The truth hurts and I gotta go with Ken Rosenthal on this one. StanK is probabaly hanging around until he is vested, Rizzo will probably get the job but at a considerable discount and of course Riggleman will get interim tag lifted if for only sentimental reasons.

2010 just like the previous 5. In Dodger town it was always "wait till next year", in Nats Town its "wait till we get that rotation put together"! StanK we are still waiting

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 13, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

It appears that no one has ever thanked you for doing your job. I find that sad.

I couldn't watch the presser. I didn't get the email. I came here for coverage, and they provided me access to that which I could not obtain myself.

Two columns, an interview with Zimm at ASG, live Tweeting of the presser (followed by transcripts), a live Q&A, polls, a summary of related coverage, and a forwarded email from the former manager. What else would you have them do?

-----

Seriously? That is their job. Really what have they done besides transcribe press conferences and copy-paste letters and emails?

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

"For what its worth, StanK is full of S*it."

Love it Tippy. That made me LOL.

To the point and very true.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

What Zim said was just the plain truth. Those of us who have endured the last few years already sort of noticed it, and Zim was quiet until Manny was gone, so I have no problem with any of what he said. Can his own level of play improve? Indeed it can and should and hopefully the errors and double plays will both be reduced. But having watched him lay out for any number of uncatchable line drives (which were then caught) I am confident that he doesn't mail it in.

Baseball is a game of new start opportunities and I wish Manny well somewhere else. But if your team is doing this badly, you are and should be gone.

The owners are pathetic and if they ever stop treating this team like a property out of which they intend to wring every dime, things might actually improve.

Posted by: NatsFly | July 13, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

And to answer my own question, here's what I would like to see.

Back in 2003, the Capitals fired head coach Bruce Cassidy. In the ensuing coverage, Post beat reporter Jason LaCanfora divulged some information he did not feel it was appropriate to reveal while Cassidy was still coaching.

One particular example detailed Cassidy in his first exchange with the players as head coach - he had plays written on cocktail napkins. Needless to say, there was a credibility issue from day one.

Does Chico have any other such stories regarding Manny that he could not discuss while Acta was still the manager?

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Listen More importantly Tony Romo just broke up with Jessica Simpson the day before her birthday. Now that's cold.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 13, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Wait, Jessica Simpson is available...
Woah. I've gotta get home and change...

Posted by: ihatewalks | July 13, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Listen More importantly Tony Romo just broke up with Jessica Simpson the day before her birthday. Now that's cold.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 13, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

----------------------------------------------
Hey, sometimes you just need to make a change in order to jump start you season. I feel sorry because Jessica is a good person but, the Cowboys needed to make a change to make something happen.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

JiM,

I will give an example that everyone saw. The 3 game series at citifield, May 25-27. IMO that was the beginning of the end. The HR replay calls the BS balk call on Colome. And Manny did nothing, absolutely nothing.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I have to nominate soundbloke for post of the day

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

FYI, the Washington Times has a full transcription of Zimmerman's remarks to the press today about Acta's termination.

Posted by: Natsgal | July 13, 2009 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, it's a pretty good interview. Zimm is class, and I'm something that rhymes with class.

It's been and angry day.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, cdstej!!!

Of course they communicate! He just has nothing to say about it. I asked Stan about that once while he was in my section, he was pretty curt with me. I know they are working to sign Strasburg, and the tension is showing - it's not an easy thing. Kasten has been in more of these types of negotiations than anyone else in baseball. If I had my choice I would want Kasten on my side of the table, then pretty much anyone else.

Posted by: anyone1 | July 13, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

So you take your Zim and of course he's the puppet of the franchise you people are complete idiots and deserve everything that's coming your way

Posted by: kjmoon | July 13, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

periculum, I specifically said AA and AAA talent. You've got a lot of guys on your list who aren't that far along. It's ridiculous to do a lot of planning for those guys for the next 2-3 years. As for the other guys, why in the world would you say Mock "appears ready now?" Because he had a great couple of weeks in AAA? He had a good year in AAA last year and his major league ERA is almost five. Enough about J.D. Martin, already. And a lot of those other guys are not exactly prospects (Eldred, Davis, Daniel, etc.). The minor leagues IS a problem, one of many in this organization. I think they do have a plan, it's just not working very well. Either they learn how to make this plan work (draft effectively, SIGN the draft picks, bring in players who form a decent team) or they come up with a different plan.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

The Lerners are absolute failures as owners and its pathetic that not one member of the family would be present at the press conference to discuss Acta's firing or the state of the franchise. Kasten is in charge of all of the team's baseball decisions, but they are dictated by the Lerner's willingness or unwillingness to properly invest in the franchise. To date, one major FA signing and not being able to sign your No. 1 draft pick when you're desperate for talent.

What will be the excuse with Strasburg signs to play in Japan or not at all? I'm sure that Boras doesn't want him in D.C. under any circumstances considering it's such a terrible franchise. Rizzo as acting GM will take the fall next if Strasburg goes unsigned, not Kasten who is the Lerner's mouthpiece.

I'm done spending good money to benefit an invisible and unaccountable group of owners. Even Angelos in his own meddling ways has been accountable in Baltimore when big decisions were made. He finally is letting a professional baseball man in Andy McPhail rebuild the team. The Lerner's should take note before they alienate the rest of their fan base.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 13, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Natsgal for the heads up on the transcript.

And you do *not* rhyme with class, soundbloke. It's been a day of upheaval, and I had a similar reaction to yours on seeing the interview excerpts that were posted earlier. Just goes to show you that context is everything. Having the Zimmerman quotes pulled out as they were in the post here gives a different impression than reading them in full context on the other site. Why, it's almost enough to make me get up on my Twitter-as-journalistic-source high horse again - 140 characters my class - but I'll save that for another time.

(and my thanks to natsbiscuit and sec3 from an earlier post)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

"What will be the excuse with Strasburg signs to play in Japan or not at all?"

Just between you and me and millions of anonymous people, this might not be a bad thing at all. I have real bad feelings on Strasburg.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Zimmerman: "As bad it sounds... maybe something like this happening will wake some people up and get them to realize, 'Hey, this isn't just about me. It's about everyone.'"

This hits the nail on the head. Maybe the heart of this is that this team had players who did not listen to Manny. How many at bats have we all witnessed where the player goes up swinging for home runs when all that is needed is a 300 foot flyball? How many times have we seen a relief pitcher go to the mound and has already have lost the battle in his own head before throwing the first pitch? How many times have we watched fielders give less than 100% on balls hit to them?

Zimmerman appears to be crying out for a manager that will hold players accountable and not come preloaded with excuses for them such as 'well, they are still young',
'we did not get him for his defense', or my favorite--'it's a position that he is not familiar with'. This team needs someone who remembers what it is like to be a winner and to PUSH this down the players' throats every day because the culture of losing has wrapped its cloak around them. Stoicism and complacency are just the opposite of what this team really needed. IMO Manny failed to raise the players' own expectations of themselves, much like a jockey who never ran his racehorse hard enough to win a race.

Posted by: driley | July 13, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

We're stuck with the loser Lerners. But Stan Kasten must go.
Send Stank back to Peach Street!!

STANK MUST GO
STANK MUST GO
STANK MUST GO
STANK MUST GO

Posted by: dovelevine | July 13, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

>I have real bad feelings on Strasburg.

Posted by: Section506

A new low for the peanut gallery.

Posted by: Brue | July 13, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Potomac is reporting that Lastings Milledge will be rehabbing with Lynchburg tonight in Woodbridge.

Posted by: Wookiee | July 13, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Sure, but that's easy. We all saw that, and we've since discussed it too many times to count. And as much as I appreciated Manny's dedication to stoicism, it drove me crazy that night. I was so mad, I did something with my blue curly W hat. Seriously, I haven't found it since. That's how mad I was.

But that's not what I'm looking for. This is the time when reporters can say things that they had to hold back before.

In the case of Cassidy, LaCanfora was able to give us a snapshot that supported the claim that he was unprepared for a head coaching job in the NHL. We didn't realize until that story came out that he didn't actually lose the team - he never had it in the first place. He was coaching a team that had broken the bank for Jagr and Lang, and he was drawing out plays on cocktail napkins in his first team practice.

I don't know what the Manny equivalent would be. But it would make sense that some reporter out there is privy to some story that he or she could not have reported prior to Acta's dismissal. I'd like to hear it.

That's coverage.

-----

I will give an example that everyone saw. The 3 game series at citifield, May 25-27. IMO that was the beginning of the end. The HR replay calls the BS balk call on Colome. And Manny did nothing, absolutely nothing.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

@ 506 - just out of curiousity, what are your bad feelings? General unease over a young flamethrower? Or is there something in particular that has you worried?

Maybe they should have traded the pick. [Ducking].

Posted by: Section220 | July 13, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

The only prospects I have any expectations for are Marrero, Norris, and Storen (and of course Strasburg when/if he signs). Desmond, McGeary, Smoker, Detwiler have high ceilings, but who knows. After that, Hood, Norris, Lombardozi, Ramirez, Moore, etc.

Bottom line, in the next year, Detwiler, Storen, and Desmond are the only ones that have a shot at getting time with the big club. We will still need 3 more good RP and one more good SP. We also need another run producer.

Posted by: goexpos2 | July 13, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

My bad feeling is the enormous statistical improbability of his one-of-a-kind college career becoming a one-of-a-kind major league career. With most picks, this isn't so big of a concern, but with the Strasburg performance (in a weak division, let's not forget), that is likely to cost a great deal of money.

So, his college numbers don't transfer super to the majors and history has shown very few of these once-in-a-generation college stars (any?) turn into once-in-a-generation professional stars, and our ownership does not have a history of monetary investment in the team.

My bad feeling is that they will sink a lot of money into what turns into a mediocre major-league talent and go cheap on all the other talent, yielding a future with one mediocre talent and whatever random chance sees fit to give us.

You have to take Strasburg, because that's your best odds for yielding the best talent. Draft the best, sign the best, hope for the best.

But if he wanted to be such a royal pain that we couldn't sign him, I might consider it dodging a bullet.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"that is likely to cost a great deal of money"

Not my money, oh wait...where has my money been going the past two years?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 13, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Alot of these so called prospects will never reach their potential. All franchises over value their prospects but, the Nats are the kings of it. It makes sense that they would over value them much like a used car salesman does a '76 Vega, since we have StanK running the car lot.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"I think they do have a plan, it's just not working very well. Either they learn how to make this plan work (draft effectively, SIGN the draft picks, bring in players who form a decent team) or they come up with a different plan."

Baltova,

The ages of most of the players appears to indicate that they can still be considered prospects. Mock's performance at the AAA level this time around is markedly different from what was seen previously. He and JD Martin are performing at about the same level in terms of ERA, WHIP, walks, etc. They are significantly above Martis, Estrada, Balester, etc.

But I agree with you, especially about the draft picks. But there is A DIFFERENCE this year. And it is a marked difference. Unlike past years where we mostly saw high school types like Colin Willems drafted ... this year Rizzo has drafted mostly players at the college level. Many appear to be very hungry indeed! They wanted to start now, they want to get going. I believe they will show up sooner rather than later. With the exception of Strasberg, many have already started and are progressing. Time will tell.

They do still need some propitious trades. They do need to sign Strasberg now that they made the decision to draft him.

I wouldn't necessarily discard guys like Dukes and Maxwell. I think Ian Desmond is ready for a look see. Alberto Gonzalez looks good with the bat just needs to better in the fielding department. Danny Espinosa was invited to the Futures game. Norris hit 21 homers. Marrero could again make the top 50 prospects.

You have plenty of young prospect starting pitching both in the majors and minors. They aren't complete flops by a long shot. As most have observed, the relief staff is the problem. Given time Clippard, Bergmann should help. The real problem looks to be the cast off veterans they picked up when the young prospects proved not to be up to major league relief appearances. Part of that really should be blamed on the poor fielding ... its the major league worst!!!!

I imagine that Hinckley and perhaps Hanrahan might have performed better, even stuck if they had better fielding ....

So, I am now convinced they should dispense with the stupidity and trade Dunn + Willingham to American League teams who can use them as DH's. They should trade poor fielding Guzman to the AL as well. There I think his hitting will weigh out better than his poor fielding.

They need to keep Johnson and Zimmerman at the corners ... Johnson because all they have is Marerro on the way. They could use a slugging good fielding CF or LF to replace Dunn. They need a reliable closer. The outfield would be better served with Dukes, Maxwell, and Beradina to go with Morgan.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Fair points, 506, I think we're on the same page about SS and the risks. It's definitely a high-risk, high-reward pick. You pays your money and you takes your chances, but there is some point at which the risk/reward calculus is not worth the money Boras/SS may want.

Posted by: Section220 | July 13, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I sure hope tomorrow's story in the Post sheds light as to the legitimate reasons this manager was dismissed. You just don't dismiss the manager because the record is bad and a new voice needs to be heard. Was he a poor game manager? Poor relationship with front office? Was the clubhouse a shambles? Who were the clubhouse cancers? Was the manager too lax with the players (I read a report earlier this year that said his spring training regimen was unsatisfactory; Chico never did respond to my e-mail asking about that report). Did players not like him? Did he have no control over the team (were players staying out until all hours of the night? Passing gas in team meetings?, Talking behind his back?, what?)? Zimmerman talked in vague terms about some of Acta's ways not working? How about some examples? The bottom line here is the team is horrendous at fielding (who is the infield and outfield coach; that person (s) should be terminated as well) and the pitching is all over the board (one coach already fired).How much money is Acta going to get for being fired now? What kind of money will Riggleman be making as interim manager? I'm sure these questions will go unanswered and we'll get some cryptic story tomorrow with politically correct quotes and commentary (A new voice needed to be heard. That's BS. This guy was fired for a reason. Let's hear the real story here). Hopefully I'm wrong. Hopefully the inside story can be told to the Nationals faithful as to the real reason this individual was released. And how many more wins will switching to J. Riggleman equal? Not too many is my guess. Go Nats!

Posted by: benbohn | July 13, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

I also frankly resent the idea that the investment in Strasburg is 'instead' of investment elsewhere.

If Strasburg is a 'once in a generation talent' like A-Rod or Bryce Harper then you invest in him on top of your usual investment in the draft and international free agents. The Lerners have more than enough money to make this happen but didn't. Instead the got Stan to parrot the same tired nonsense about the importance or securing Strasburg. As if none of us are clever enough to see that this college picture is only a fraction of the investment needed to rebuild the franchise.

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"that is likely to cost a great deal of money"

Not my money, oh wait...where has my money been going the past two years?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 13, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

---------------------------------------------
Here dclifer97, here:

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c215/storau-james/dyfed/blaencaron/419.jpg

Posted by: soundbloke | July 13, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

"Just between you and me and millions of anonymous people, this might not be a bad thing at all."

Yeah, it really would be. Every season ticket holder I know has categorically stated that they will drop them if Strasburg is not signed. If the diehards who have kept their tickets through the garbage to date give up on supporting the franchise, what else is there? Nobody in the farm system at this point will generate significant buzz. We would be looking at midweek 4 figure attendance for 2010 and beyond barring completely implausible (given their history and the franchise's joke perception) free agent spending.

Posted by: RickFelt | July 13, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

benbohn,

You're making this way to complicated.

It's simple, really...59-102 and 26-61. He had enough time to show what he could do and he failed, miserably. Was it all his fault? Certainly not. But, that is life in professional sports, the coach take the fall. Period.

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Did Dave Shenin call Jesus Flores a cornerstone player?

Posted by: dclifer97 | July 13, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Agreed, Periculum.

Likewise, 506. My fear with the Lerners and Boras is that the Lerners have a not to exceed budget (didn't we see it in 2008?). When Crow was not signed they were then free to sign two over slot late round picks that would have otherwise been left unsigned. Slotting the ten to 20 million at the top means that we had to overdraft the rest of the picks, hurting our entire system. If we get the top pick next year the same scenario looms again--slot millions for a Boras pick and overdraft the whole rest of the draft board. The troubling part is that they use the Strassburg to excuse themselves out of the world free agent market.

Posted by: driley | July 13, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Section505203
Acta was given penurious, ramshackle rosters each year, including 2009. If he wasn't the problem, he would have been retained. There are obvious underlying facts that likely won't be reported on. If he wasn't the problem, people like Kearns and various bullpen members would be fired. Instead, because they make a lot of money, they get trotted out there and blow it. President gives him a vote of confidence and then weeks later he is released. Something's going on here and my bet is nobody will come out and say here is why he is no good for our club.

Posted by: benbohn | July 13, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

periculum, I think we've found common ground. I agree that their recent focus on drafting college talent has been smart. I think a lot (but not all) of the guys you mentioned will be major leaguers one day but I worry most of them will be margainal players. The top level talent isn't there, IMO, and I hope they can get some in the upcoming trades. I think I'd keep Dunn instead of Johnson (and pray you can successfully hide him in either LF or 1B) but they really need to push through a real housecleaning.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Benbohn - Manny was fired because he is shouldering the blame for the team being 25-61. And for playing fundamentally poor baseball for the last 1.5 seasons.

As for Strasburg, the Nats have submitted and filed a formal offer to Strasburg. They have to - any player not presented with an official offer within 10 days of the draft immediately becomes a free agent. I don't think it has to be a legit offer, just a formal offer. The Nats offer could have been for a $1K bonus to satisfy the MLB requirements.

As for me, SS and the Nats, if they don't sign him, I'm 99% certain that they won't get my $10K next year. The Nats cannot say that they are acquiring the best talent possible when they made at least 2 signability picks this year. And of course, they didn't sign Crow.

If SS was going to be so difficult negotiations-wise, then the Nats shouldn't have drafted him. Same with Crow - due diligence is required when making these commitments. You get 1 top pick per year. It's bad to screw up it. Unforgivable to do it twice.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 13, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Benbohn,

According to Acta in ST this was his most talented team and it resulted in his worst record. They compeletly overhauled their bullpen, sent Milledge to the minors then off to the 'Burgh and put Dukes in the minors, just to name only a few.

Moves a plenty were made and it resulted in the same poopy results.

You have a point with Kearns. But, I think the reason for that is cheapness. The tightwad owners don't want to pick up an 8 million salary for a guy that won't be on the roster anymore. Why the heck else would the keep a dude hitting .190 something on the roster for this long?

Posted by: Section505203 | July 13, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh man, RickFelt, you just left this one hanging there...

"Every season ticket holder I know has categorically stated that they will drop them if Strasburg is not signed... "

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

To go the opposite way, they still haven't spent the money they were willing to pay Teixeira, right?

Non-investment in one player did not lead to an investment elsewhere.

-----

I also frankly resent the idea that the investment in Strasburg is 'instead' of investment elsewhere.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

comish4lif. The fundamentally poor part I agree with, but why aren't the infield and outfield coaches being fired as well? Who is in charge of the fielding? Would be nice for the Post to report who these people are and interview them as to why the team is atrocious in the field. Let's get some answers.

I also agree with your point on SS. If he isn't signed, that shows the fanbase that ownership is certainly not committed to putting a winning product on the field. He must be signed, even if it means a preposterous contract. You cannot blow it 2 years in a row.

Posted by: benbohn | July 13, 2009 5:45 PM | Report abuse

"The coward does it with a kiss, the brave man with a sword."
--Oscar Wilde, on the duplicity of man.

If the shoe fits, StanK, if the shoe fits.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 13, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I'd also like to know if Riggleman was forced on Acta by Kasten/Bowden or did he choose him as bench coach himself?

Too bad Frank wasn't the manager of this team. He wouldn't have tolerated this kind of fundamentally bankrupt play.

Posted by: benbohn | July 13, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The only thing signing SS for a preposterous contract shows is you are as foolish with your money as you are with your personnel.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Can we please drop the F. Robby worship when it comes to his managing skills? He did a solid job with modestly talented teams that were in limbo for many years. But he totally ignored stats, including indvidiual matchups, when managing (at his own admission), had little to no patience for pitchers and made some of the most bizarre moves I've ever seen (remember changing pitchers with two strikes on the batter?). He's also almost 74 years old, for God's sake. I grew up as an O's fan and I love the guy, but he just wasn't all that great as a manager. Give it up.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Given Flores injury he probably will be pushed by Derrick Norris (21 homers to date) once he hits AAA. I wouldn't call him a cornerstone player at this point.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Section506 who do you suggest we sign? More Ron Villone's, Julian Tavarez's, Austin Kearns, Jesus Colome-types? What would you do differently with this roster?

Posted by: benbohn | July 13, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

The "Riggleman era"??? It will be only slightly longer than John Paul I's papacy.

Posted by: paulkp | July 13, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Signing SS sends a message ... that they are serious about fielding a contender in the near term. Not signing him, after the debacle of Crow last year would infer a lack of integrity on the part of the front office. They did not have to draft Strasberg, but they did. I'm sure if baseball where like football they would have traded that pick ... but they are stuck with it.

Rizzo has to sign Strasberg. The fate of the franchise depends on it. If he can't, IMHO he ought to immediately resign.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

benbohn, that is a very fair question. In my previous comments, you will see I said:

"My bad feeling is that they will sink a lot of money into what turns into a mediocre major-league talent and go cheap on all the other talent, yielding a future with one mediocre talent and whatever random chance sees fit to give us."

This is all in the context of the draft, remember, so the relief pitchers you cited are moot here. I would say, don't spend huge amounts of money on what is likely to be a mediocre major-league talent and then spend very little on signing other talents.

All evidence from the past points to both Strasburg not turning into a SuperDuperStar and the Lerners confusing spending wisely with spending little. Neither may end up being true, but we only have what we have to go on right now.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 6:05 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, periculum, this is surely hyperbole:

"Rizzo has to sign Strasberg. The fate of the franchise depends on it."

You bring up football in your post. How about the old football wisdom that if the fate of the game depends on one on-side kick, you've already lost it?

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

baltova,

What Frank said about "individual matchups" is that they are mostly meaningless, due to insufficient data. If you have gone 3 for 17 (.176) against a pitcher, does that mean you can't hit the pitcher, or haven't hit him yet? What if 2 of the outs were sharp liners? What if the pitcher is less effective this season, losing 5 mph off his fastball?

Frank drove me crazy with all his bunts and steals that didn't work out. Manny didn't volunteer outs nearly as often as Frank did.

Posted by: EdDC | July 13, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

"What Frank said about 'individual matchups' is that they are mostly meaningless, due to insufficient data."

Frank was right there, but what drove me crazy was that he also seemed to ignore season match-ups, for example a righty's average against a LHP. When you start getting hundreds of them and there is an otherwise unexplainable difference in averages between that and the same righty's average against RHP, you can bet on that.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Pearlman reporting on off-the-field shenanigans by a Nats player:
http://jeffpearlman.com/?p=2443

http://deadspin.com/5313791/report-unnamed-amorous-ballplayer-plays-for-team-that-appropriately-doesnt-know-how-to-score

Key sentence: "Furthermore, because of the incident, the Nationals are now considering a permanent, all-encompassing ban of interns from the team's clubhouse."

Yet another indicator of the continued craziness of this season.

Banned interns: that's just great.

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 13, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Section 506
Catching looks to be above average-promising
Infield Johnson is too much of an injury-risk and could be traded. Belliard isn't the answer. Gonzalez and Hernandez I think are question marks still. Guzman hits singles and never walks, but does have a good average. His contract was undeserving. Zimmerman is real good.
Outfield. Dunn isn't a long-term answer (Modern day Rob Deer). Kearns is a check-stealer. I like the Morgan trade. Willie Harris is on the downside of his career, but is still a valuable team guy.
Starting pitching is real promising. I'm quite confident when Lannan goes out there now.
Relief pitching you are probably right. These journeymen are going to find their way on your team. Burnett was once a promising guy on the Pirates. Maybe he can be that here. McDougal flamed out with two teams, but seems to be doing OK for us.
Maybe this team isn't as far off as everyone thinks. A couple of bats/good fielders, more starting pitching development and maybe sign quality back-end rotation guys for experience and maybe you are on the right track in the next few years.
SS, while perhaps a poor signing longterm (there was some stat I saw where no No. 1 picks since the 60s or something are in the Hall of Fame or maybe it goes back further than that), would be a good show of faith to the fanbase. Sort of sounds like a lose-lose scenario (blow that kind of cash and then strap the budget for the present, don't sign him and then get laughed at by ticked off Nats fans and people around the country).

Posted by: benbohn | July 13, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh, man. I don't think I've agreed with 506 more (re: strasburg).

I'm a season ticket holder and I'm not going anywhere if they don't sign SS. If they don't sign him I know it won't be for a lack of effort, lack of professionalism, or even lack of a record-setting offer. It will be because they didn't cave to blow-hard Boras, and they called his Japanese bluff.

And speaking of which, I really don't think we're as hamstrung with this deal as Boras (or the media) would have us believe. There is NO WAY Boras is going to let him play for the Japanese. Strasburg would be miserable if that happened. And Sheinin already pointed out that the Japanese aren't taking too kindly to being pawns in his stupid chess game either.

I'm pretty sure this deal is going to happen, and at a reasonable price (<20M), but I will TOTALLY understand if they don't sign him. We'd get it back next year with the top 2 picks overall.

And while we're name calling today, i think the people who are talking about freaking out and quitting altogether if they don't sign SS are just drama queens. (so there) It will all work out people.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Harrah's Tahoe just posted the over/under on consecutive posts on this blog without egregious spelling or grammatical errors at 3.
Just thought you'd want to know.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a STH, so I'm kind of at a loss for what to do if they don't sign Strasburg. Move to France?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

benbohn: Usually I'm the most optimistic person around, I love your enthusiasm. I will not gripe one iota if you are right.

NatsNut: The Japan argument rests on Strasburg being able to make more on the open market than in the draft. How much does he (and Boras) really believe that?

joemktg: Let's keep perspective: half our team is probably younger than the intern being hit on.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

And I've been trying to look up how to say "$15 million, take it or leave it" in Japanese...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

>Frank was right there, but what drove me crazy was that he also seemed to ignore season match-ups, for example a righty's average against a LHP.

I remember Frank saying that a hitter had to have around 50 ABs against a particular pitcher and vice versa in order to get a definitive label on it. 50 is a long time. But he didn't have many good matchups anyway, but he was always in there trying to play his hand.

Posted by: Brue | July 13, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I think benbohn is a tad on the "glass-3/4 full" side, but I love the Rob Deer comparison.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

re Interns

Skip: Don't take this the wrong way Millie, but if I catch you in here again I'll ban you from the ballpark.
Millie: You can't ban me from the ballpark because my daddy donated the scoreboard.
Skip: What do we need a scoreboard for? We haven't scored any runs all season.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

joemktg: Let's keep perspective: half our team is probably younger than the intern being hit on.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 6:25 PM

+1

Posted by: joemktg1 | July 13, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Hyperbole 506?

"Drama queens" Natsguy? Aren't you the same guy who probably dislikes Morgan and Burnett because they don't fit your definition of a "prospect". Bah, Natsguy you are the ultimate in "Drama Queens" and black kettle's should not call pot's black.

Yes the fate of the franchise 506. The Nats WOULD BE THE ONLY MLB Team (and in a top 5 market) that was unable to sign their 1st round pick 2 years in a row. Immediately putting well behind small market, "frugal" franchises like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cincinnati. Well behind. The will immediately become objects of derision and disrespect in both leagues. Do you think MLB free agents would consider coming to such a team? Its why Texiera didn't come ...

And its a signal of something else ... I still remember the deal that sent Coleman, Rodriguez, and Brinkman to Detroit for house painter, ex-con Denny McClain. It was a sign.

This too would be a sign.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Sleep on the floor? Reupholster? Convert to a loveseat? Just a little brainstorming. ;-)

---

I'm not a STH, so I'm kind of at a loss for what to do if they don't sign Strasburg. Move to France?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:25 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

periculum, that would be NatsNut. And I'm a girl. And i LOVE Morgan.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

"periculum, that would be NatsNut. And I'm a girl. And i LOVE Morgan.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009"

And a very, very cute one at that ... my apologies I stand corrected.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Not exactly a news flash there are horndogs in the ballplayer community.

Who the heck is Jeff Pearlman, anyway?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Also, sec3 is en fuego (and not in a Univ. of Maryland celebration-type way).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Ditto, 1a1. I think someone needs to send Jeff Pearlman, whoever he is, a copy of Ball Four. It only came out 38 years ago.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

They get scorn, periculum, because they lose, not because they don't sign their draft picks.

You might say not signing draft picks causes them to lose and it would be a cogent argument.

You cannot say that not signing one draft pick, one year will cause them to forever lose.

Also, I wouldn't worry about the opinion of other teams. Scorn doesn't seem to bother the Sox or the Yankees at all. Let's worry more about building a winner and less about what other people think.

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

benbohn,

If Strasberg is as good as he seems to think he is then their starting pitching could be set for the next 5+ years. That may include middle relief. I'm not ready to give up on Clippard and Bergmann.

As Frank Robinson stated that is a very good core to start with.

I like the second baseman they drafted in the 3rd round. They look set at shortstop, catcher with Norris moving right along. So, let's assume the middle infield is going to be fine.

Zimmerman at one corner. Nick at the other. Dunn? Dunn is a horrendous fielder. He needs to be a DH. Best they can do is come up with a package for the right contender or contenders that would bring in prospects who can field and have the potential to hit for power at 1st and any outfield position or a bonafide prospect that could be their closer.

I wouldn't at all mind if they packaged up Dunn, Guzman, Willingham and Johnson to get 1 premium outfield prospect in the top 50 prospects and a closer. If necessary throw in a starting pitching prospect. If they sign Strasberg, given the other pitchers from the draft already in the fold they would still be in good shape.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm a proud alum of U of M

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

"Not exactly a news flash there are horndogs in the ballplayer community."

If by that you mean me ... I may be mistaken but I believe she runs one of the Nats blog and has her photo posted. She is quite attractive ... just an observation not a pickup line.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Some of the commenters have focused on Stan Kasten's honesty. Or lack of same. That's not the question. The real question is whether Kasten is any good. The evidence suggests he's not.

Does anyone in New England care that Bill Belichek is unreliable and veers from the truth in his public statements? No. But Belichek is a proven winner who takes no prisoners.

Kasten has to go, but not because he veers from the truth or gives us Stanspeak ("the future looks good," etc.). We could live with that if he knew how to win. He doesn't have a clue.

By the way, how many games has Papa Lerner attended? He seems to be the epitome of an absentee owner. Bethesda is too far to make the trek, I guess.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 13, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

By now the Lerners should realize they let the wrong man go in 2006 -- Bowden was the weakest link, not Robinson. Letting someone of the stature of Frank Robinson twist in the wind until he forced the issue should have been a clue to Bowden's character. Not to mention his rogue's gallery of boderline (or across the line) renegades. Firing Manny's coaches last year had the same chickens--t stench. I also hope the full story of the Milledge debacle comes out, really would like to know who was behind annointing him leadoff.
I believe that fiasco started the failure loop. Well, I hope Riggels and Rizzo can turn things around.

Posted by: SackMan | July 13, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Dear God, you made many, many poor ballclubs. I realize, of course, it's no shame to be poor, but it's not great honor, either. So would it have been so terrible if we had a small ring?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Do we actually have any evidence on Lerners attendance? I mean, other than the fact that he's not dead from the conniption watching his "investment" would induce?

Posted by: Section506 | July 13, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

preiculum says: "The Nats WOULD BE THE ONLY MLB Team (and in a top 5 market) that was unable to sign their 1st round pick 2 years in a row. Immediately putting well behind small market, "frugal" franchises like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Cincinnati. "

Did you know the Nats are already a whopping 31 percent behind Milwaukee in payroll, and 17 percent behind Cincy? The Nats are already much more frugal than franchises in those small regions.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p4ew-fwu2XT3cpPRtt9qIGw

Posted by: EdDC | July 13, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

If I were a G-M,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd shop these uselss bums.
If I were a gen'ral man(-a-ger).
I wouldn't make out lineups.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy Gen-ral-
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I'd build a big triple-A team with pitchers by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the state.
A fine new park with a real batting cage below.
There would be one foul pole, just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Lord who made the Yankees and the Cubs,
You decreed we should be stocked with scrubs.
Would it spoil some vast revenge on Bud,
If I were the Nats' G-Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Man, nobody clears a room like Sec3

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

EdDC stated:

"Did you know the Nats are already a whopping 31 percent behind Milwaukee in payroll, and 17 percent behind Cincy? The Nats are already much more frugal than franchises in those small regions."

Now add, "The Nats are also the only team in major league history that was unable to sign a 1st round draft pick in consecutive years."

So, how this impact or "threaten" your franchise?

Aren't YOU REALLY NOW STUCK hiring off-the-wall nutcase mavericks like Jim Bowden to be your GM who signs free agents looking for a second chance after a jail-term, a messy divorce, serious injury, etc.

For all you Frank Robby "take him off the pedestal, he wasn't that great" types ... imagine, if you will, what that team would have been like were it not for the presence of Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. With Bowden in charge.

Yeah they should have a day to honor him.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Sec3mysofa,

I think I chased NatsNut away when I told her she was cute ... :)

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 8:12 PM | Report abuse

And by the way, I think I saw Testudo in flight ... he was headed for Lee Ho Fooks, gonna get a dish of beef chow mein.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

actually, I hit "send" and left for the grocery store. =)

and thanks for the compliment, peric., but I think you might have mistaken me for someone else. I don't currently do any other blogs.

Posted by: NatsNut | July 13, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to leave you alone, sofa. I had a sudden hankering to watch Fiddler on the Roof after supper!

Posted by: lowcountry | July 13, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Which part of F. RObby's 2005 season did you like best?

The 50-31 start?
Or, the 31-50 collapse?

Someone should honor him, try Balto or Cincy, where he enjoyed his HOF career.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 13, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

ESPN and Berman have pretty much ignored the entire Mark McGuire era from their broadcast. He is now a dirty word...can't say i disagree. but let's not just say, "move along people, there's nothing to see here"...

btw-puljos is a great talker. and a pretty good hitter at that.

Go Natz! Que paso Manny?!?

Posted by: boricuabopper | July 13, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Hi all I wanted to throw my opinion in all day but other more pressing issues delay that activity. Since much has been said already I am not sure I can add much more to the Manny is gone discussion.
But I did want to give what I thought about today's letter and press conference .
The lack of the Lerners names on today's letter to the fans and absence from the press conference says the Lerners are not cheap they are just COWARDS.

Thank you very much

Posted by: CBinDC | July 13, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

No, I meant the Jeff Pearlman item about a ballplayer hitting on an intern. Didn't know that you played baseball. ;-)

---

If by that you mean me ... I may be mistaken but I believe she runs one of the Nats blog and has her photo posted. She is quite attractive ... just an observation not a pickup line.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 6:58 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Manny was so bad that yeah, we would love to have F.Robby back crazy in game moves and all because we knew one thing that you had better not be giving a half azz effort,not on his watch or you would hear about it. Hey i'm watching the mlb network, 71 all star game with so many HOF'S that you can't keep up with em i watched F.Robby drill a Doc Ellis pitch into the lower deck at Tiger stadium with a man on you have Clemente replacing Aaron in RF Willie Davis(LA Dodgers) going in for Willie Mays!!! Jim Palmer,"Sudden" Sam McDowell, Juan Marichal oh man, you can say all you want about this steroid bunch of fakers of today but they can't hold a candle to the players of yesteryear. Frank Howard facing Marichal nuff said. Reggie Jackson hitting the light tower!! on the roof no less. Check it out folks ch.213 dir.tv.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 13, 2009 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang, I missed sec3's dinner theater performance, too. Nice work! (No offense re. U of Maryland, either. I was just fiddlin' around.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

"Which part of F. RObby's 2005 season did you like best?

The 50-31 start?
Or, the 31-50 collapse?

Someone should honor him, try Balto or Cincy, where he enjoyed his HOF career.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 13, 2009"

How about a team with no owner and a milky-toast manager: 26-62 out the gate with more talent than Frank had.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Manny was so bad that yeah, we would love to have F.Robby back crazy in game moves and all because we knew one thing that you had better not be giving a half azz effort,not on his watch or you would hear about it. Hey i'm watching the mlb network, 71 all star game with so many HOF'S that you can't keep up with em i watched F.Robby drill a Doc Ellis pitch into the lower deck at Tiger stadium with a man on you have Clemente replacing Aaron in RF Willie Davis(LA Dodgers) going in for Willie Mays!!! Jim Palmer,"Sudden" Sam McDowell, Juan Marichal oh man, you can say all you want about this steroid bunch of fakers of today but they can't hold a candle to the players of yesteryear. Frank Howard facing Marichal nuff said. Reggie Jackson hitting the light tower!! on the roof no less. Check it out folks ch.213 dir.tv.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 13, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post folks.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 13, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Sec.3 gets my vote for multiple posts of the day, but honorable mention has to go to:

Sec3 is en fuego (and not in a Univ. of Maryland celebration-type way).

Posted by: natsfan1a1

Ah, the smell of burning mattresses over Route 1 after another big win over Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | July 13, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

That's okay, dargregmag. I think the interface has been a little glitchy lately and it seems to do that sometimes.

Glad you liked it, jd. :-) And I'll second the vote for sec3.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Well, so much for back-to-back Twins champions.

I guess Mauer will have to settle for his two lousy batting titles.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

If they don't sign Strasberg maybe Obama will have the US gov't buy 50% of the Nats and provide a nice stimulus package.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I came across an online community for individual seeking interracial love. It is --Mixedmingle dot com--- All singles there are seeking interracial relationships and sports friends. Interracial is not a problem here, but a great merit to cherish!

Posted by: sallyworking2006 | July 13, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Okey-dokey, then. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

That was for "Sally," btw.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

And at 9:58 pm that day, Nationals Journal hit rock bottom.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't know, JiM the day started with most of us being told to f*** off. Somehow, cyber spam at 9.58pm just doesn't seem quite as troublesome after all that.

Posted by: lowcountry | July 13, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

It just seems like a very fitting end to the day.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 13, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Amen. But as we are known for saying around these parts . . . tomorrow is another day.

Adieu

Posted by: lowcountry | July 13, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm the Natsfan I was thinking of has the "Just a Nats Fan" blog. She is a SysAdmin for WaPo. Does stuff with bog boy Dan, probably knows the ins and outs of NI as well. She claims to have developed an interest in Sports Photography because of the Nats.

like my sister she is interested in Historic Preservation. My sister got her Master's in that from Georgia State. Preserves buildings and such in and around Atlanta.

She seemed to like Joel Hanrahan among other members or ex-members of the team.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

"It's HARD to amass a core of young future starters."

Do not take this statement at face value. Suppose you had, two years ago, a staff of Zach Duke, Jonathan Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Scott Olson. Then you added David Price. Heck of a young staff, huh? Way better than the Nats, in terms of pedigree and upside.

Duke struggled for two years until this season. Nolasco was a stud last year, was hurt this season and got shelled, went down to AAA, came back and pitched better, except for his last out. David Price has been up and down. Sanchez had a losing record and was relegated to the bullpen. Olson reportedly lost MPH off his fastball, the rest you know.

My point: pitchers can be up and down. Glavine, Smoltz, Avery and Maddux were freakish in their skill AND their consistency. And Maddux was a FA signing off the Cubs. If you think the Nats are CLOSE to solving their SP issues, you're simply wrong. Zimmermann can be good some day, Lannan is progressing. Olson looks back-of-the-rotation -- good one day, mediocre to awful the next. That's it.

My concern is that StanK has deluded himself into thinking he's got the second coming of the Braves starters, and he doesn't, not by a mile.

My suggestion would be to bring in Buck Showalter and give him control. Let him hire the manager. Make Rizzo his assistant and let him learn. Current management has provenm their lack of ability, but the ownership isn't going to change, so bring in managerment who _knows what they're doing_. And fund them.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 13, 2009 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Can we please drop the F. Robby worship when it comes to his managing skills? He did a solid job with modestly talented teams that were in limbo for many years. But he totally ignored stats, including indvidiual matchups, when managing (at his own admission), had little to no patience for pitchers and made some of the most bizarre moves I've ever seen (remember changing pitchers with two strikes on the batter?). He's also almost 74 years old, for God's sake. I grew up as an O's fan and I love the guy, but he just wasn't all that great as a manager. Give it up.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 5:57 PM
_____________________________________

Bobby Cox is 68 and Lou Pinella will turn 66 in a month. I guess they aren't that great either.

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 13, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

"Which part of F. RObby's 2005 season did you like best?

The 50-31 start?
Or, the 31-50 collapse?

Someone should honor him, try Balto or Cincy, where he enjoyed his HOF career.

Posted by: comish4lif | July 13, 2009"
___________________________________________

Well, the man DID win 83 games in 2002 AND 2003 with this franchise. Look, in five years, he was 40 games under .500 with the least talented team in baseball. That's 8 games a year, 77-85 average. That's competitive, and a sight better than we've seen since his departure (Acta's best year was 73-89).

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 13, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey how many Georgia folks are on this site? i know of flynnie2 and myself but who else is here? just so you know native washingtonian, grew up in NE DC went to (holy name,mackin hs, howard)then we moved here three years ago.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 13, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

That post at 9:58 wasn't in connection to the intern story, was it???

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Cox is 68 and Lou Pinella will turn 66 in a month. I guess they aren't that great either.

----

Um, yeah. Good point. Bobby Cox has won 55 percent of his games, 15 pennants, 5 NL pennants and a World Series. Piniella 52 percent winning percentage, 6 pennants, one NL title and one World Series. That's why they're still managing at their age.

F. Robby 48 percent winning percentage, no pennants.

Thanks for making me badmouth a guy I respect greatly.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

TracyHamandEggs. That you, Ms. TH?

Posted by: nova_g_man | July 13, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

And Casey Stengal went from managing the world champions to managing the world chumps: the Mets.

Maybe Robinson wasn't the best manager in the world, but he was good for the city ... even if did play for that hated team up north. His real problem is that he is an arrogant cuss ... Lord knows when it comes to baseball he has every right to be. Its hard to be a player for someone like Frank Robinson who is used to a certain level of effort, excellence and that deep down burning need to win that Zim described. And he did it all without any steroids.

That is Frank Robinson. And it probably rubs people like Stan Marionette the wrong way.

Acta, Rizzo, true organization men, corporate. Robinson, Bowden were going to be Mavericks. Worked when the team had no owner, no city, no certain future.

Robinson is baseball at its best. The pinnacle. Acta, Rizzo, are baseball's blue collar working class ... they are its heart because they do what they do is because they truly love it ... enough to put up with some serious sh?t.

Strange to have Ted Williams and Frank Robinson as back-to-back managers of DC's professional baseball franchise. Towering hall-of-famers, managing in a city that had so very, very few.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Seems like a million posts today. It's hard to read them all.

This is what I have experienced: After losing two DC teams and disgustedly abandoning being a fan, I moved to the NYC area, and every game was on TV (pre-cable). I hated the Yanks (how could I not?), so it meant being a Mets fan, and of course, the Mets became terrible for seven long seasons. After '83, the Mets hired Davey Johnson, who had been their AAA manager, and the rest is history.

I would advocate the Nats going the same route -- finding an eager AAA or even AA manger looking to advance, and give it a try. A retread is not the way to go.

Posted by: nats24 | July 14, 2009 2:29 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for making me badmouth a guy I respect greatly.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 13, 2009 11:48 PM
_________________________________________

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

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

Posted by: gbooksdc | July 14, 2009 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Day 2:

Can there really be a fresh start for this team in mid-season? Will one change mean that a ship can instantly change its course?
When will standards of accountability be set up for everyone in the organization?

Will anyone make the trades with us that we so desperately need? This is the real change that is needed on the club. It really is all in Rizzo's hands now. This team needs to be deconstructed (really, isn't that a much nicer term than blown apart?) and rebuilt into a National league team. You know, the kind of team where those applying for a DH position are told to look elsewhere.

Posted by: driley | July 14, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

"Look, in five years, he was 40 games under .500 with the least talented team in baseball."

Sorry, man, this statement is simply untrue. Perhaps "most overrated talent by a GM" or "most fallen from the peak of their talent", but there were some formerly very talented players on those teams.

I'll give just one example: Vladamir Guerrero

Here's all of the 2002 roster and you can easily flip through the others as well. You will see, it is not the most talented team in baseball, but neither is it the least.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/MON/2002.shtml

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I believe that you're referring to Miss Chatter.

---

Hmmm the Natsfan I was thinking of has the "Just a Nats Fan" blog. She is a SysAdmin for WaPo. Does stuff with bog boy Dan, probably knows the ins and outs of NI as well. She claims to have developed an interest in Sports Photography because of the Nats.

like my sister she is interested in Historic Preservation. My sister got her Master's in that from Georgia State. Preserves buildings and such in and around Atlanta.

She seemed to like Joel Hanrahan among other members or ex-members of the team.

Posted by: periculum | July 13, 2009 10:42 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

How chilling is it to think what would happen if Stan Kasten were to leave this organization? Who would be left to hire the a) president, b) general manager c) manager?

The Lerners may be staring into the abyss if that scenario happens. How many threads is Stan hanging by? How tempting is it to take any other offer?

If that does happen then the Lerners may have to seriously take the step up that they have refused to do ever since they became owners. It's one thing to be on hand when you announce Zimmerman's contract signing but they have largely stayed well into the shadows on all other matters of this desperate franchise.

Posted by: driley | July 14, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

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

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

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