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Zimmermann Will Miss 18 Months

The Nationals' most promising rookie pitcher, Jordan Zimmermann, will have ligament-replacement surgery on his right elbow and will be lost for approximately 18 months.

"It's not good news," interim general manager Mike Rizzo said. "We got a second opinion today from Dr. [James] Andrews which confirmed what our own doctor said: a tear in the ligament. We'll get a third opinion, probably tomorrow, which we expect will lead to Tommy John surgery. After we get the third opinion, the player, his agent, everybody involved will decide who does the surgery and when.

"The small bit of sunshine is that there is an 85 to 90 percent success rate with pitchers recovering to their pre-injury status after Tommy John surgery. It's a much higher success rate than shoulder [labrum] surgery," Rizzo added. "We've got a lot of depth in our young starting pitching, but Jordan was the prize pupil. We'll have him back -- full go -- for spring training '11, though he may pitch sometime in '10. But you'll see the real Zimmermann in '11."

Rizzo said he felt that the Nationals had used a "very conservative plan" with Zimmermann this season. He did not begin the season in the majors, made only two starts in April and was put on the disabled list in July after elbow discomfort showed up. However, he did try to return and made what appeared to be a successful rehab start at Potomac last week. When Zimmermann continued to feel pain in following days, the Nats shut him down, had more tests, then consulted Dr. Andrews.

The current Nats resurgence has come during Zimmermann's absence, but from a longer-term perspective, his loss until '11 and the chance of permanent damage to the best arm in the Washington system may have more important consequences. Zimmermann's injury may prove a double-edged issue for the Nats as they try to negotiate a contract with their top draft pick, No. 1-overall Steven Strasburg. If anything, the Nats now need Strasburg more than ever. On the other hand, Zimmermann's injury underlines the risks of paying an enormous bonus to any young pitcher.

This season Zimmermann had shown "three 'plus-plus' major league pitches," according to Rizzo, and had the kind of special statistical ratios as a rookie that often correlate to top pitchers -- 92 strikeouts and only 29 walks in 91 1/3 innings. On a team with the worst ERA in baseball, Zimmermann finished with a 3-5 record and a 4.63 ERA, the second-best mark among Nationals starters this season.

---

A few more tid-bits, from Chico...

Just landed and checked in in Atlanta. Big thanks to Boswell for posting the Zimm'n news while I was driving into the city. He covered the main talking points, but here are a few more details to add and/or clarify.

* Just to be clear, Zimmermann never traveled down to Birmingham, Ala., to meet with Andrews. The team just sent his MRI results, and Andrews reviewed them. Zimmermann was informed of the Tommy John news by Rizzo, who called the conversation "one of the toughest things I've had to do this year."

* Lewis Yocum, the Los-Angeles based doctor who performed Chad Cordero's labrum surgery last year, will analyze the MRI results on Tuesday -- a third opinion. But in no way is Washington anticipating, or looking for, a new conclusion. "We're not expecting anything different," Rizzo said. "We're just doing our due diligence." After Yocum checks things out, the Nats will determine the time-date-place of Zimmermann's surgery.

By Thomas Boswell  |  August 10, 2009; 6:58 PM ET
 
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Comments

Wow, truly bad news.
And unfortunately yet another reminder why it would be crazy to pay more than 15 or so million to Strasburg...

Posted by: amo36 | August 10, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Somehow, with all the good that has been going on in NatsTown recently, I expected this. But, on the bright side, if there is one: our record since July 18th is 13-9...

Posted by: NatMeg | August 10, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Worst case scenario for J Zimm. I was really looking forward to him putting it together and dominating next year...

Posted by: BobBarker | August 10, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Man, we are cursed. I trade this 8 game wins streak for an 8 game losing streak for a healthy Zimm.

Do you feel this strengthens or weakens their resolve on not overpaying for Strasburg?

Posted by: souldrummer | August 10, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I wish profanity would be allowed in this one thread. I would use so much.

Posted by: VelocityAtrocity | August 10, 2009 7:14 PM | Report abuse

I know injuries are inevitable and are part of the game, but, man. That hurts. Total punch in the gut.

Posted by: Section220 | August 10, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

i'd say this should strengthen their resolve not to overpay SS considerably

Posted by: DCguy7 | August 10, 2009 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely stunning and saddening for the young man. My hope is that he digs deep these next two years and comes back to the majors in '11.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 10, 2009 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo drafted a lot of pitchers in this year's draft. Because most came out of college they are moving rapidly while most of Bowden's choices have remained stagnant or regressed.

Now, they really need to sign that guy Karns as well!

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

To all you who complained about Rizzo drafting pitchers and trading for pitching prospects rather than position players, now you see why. You can never have enough pitching.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 10, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Yeah it's a shame, but it's pretty typical after a pitcher gets to a certain number of innings in the pros - they get hurt, they get repaired, and they usually come back at least as well. He really didn't have that much experience as pitcher in general anyway. It put a lot of strain on his arm, which is too powerful for his elbow ligament. He needs to learn how to throw something different from full torque breaking balls when he comes back. Whenever that is.
hoo hoo 2011 that sucks

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Boz. Such a shame. I love the kid. Get well soon, Jordan. Prayers and thoughts are with you during every step of rehab. You are indomitable.

Posted by: flynnie2 | August 10, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

The price for Strasburg just went up.

Posted by: hotrod2 | August 10, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Does Tommy John get a royalty payment with each surgery?

Posted by: ramgut | August 10, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

And the price the Nats will pay just went down.

Posted by: mojo6 | August 10, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

This means he will be out until Feb., 2011.

What is new with Matt Chico who had the same surgery?

Posted by: jbartelloni | August 10, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

>And the price the Nats will pay just went down.

Posted by: mojo6

Yeah about the 5 million it would cost for a veteran starter next year.

Cheap bastids

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

That does hurt, as others have noted, though I had a feeling the news would not be good. Hope that Z'mann will fully recover with time. All the more reason to be conservative in use of our young pitchers in the future.

And here you go, Velocity: #$@%^!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 10, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

It certainly strengthens my resolve not to over pay for Strassburg, but then again, Strassburg will make more money the day he signs than I will make in a lifetime - and I'm not even poor.

Posted by: natbisquit | August 10, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I do think that he's got the temperament to come back from this.

As an organization we need to take a long look at how we handle young pitchers.

Patterson, Hill, Chico, and now J. Zimm. Perhaps our rush to promote is part of what stresses these guys to Tommy John. In other words, pitching at higher levels means the same number of pitches but maybe pitches with higher stress.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 10, 2009 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Burnett have TJ surgery at one point?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 10, 2009 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Postal intervention with souldrummer's comments. I was thinking that maybe Burnett could talk to Z'nn about his experiences with it.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 10, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Why did Chico post "The Guzman Question"? No one needed to read any further than these fine posts. The lack of gratitude for Guzman taking less than market is surprising, given the IQ of this blog, and, what's the word when such a rare gesture is utterly ignored? - base.

*******************************************
Others may have a difference recollection, but at the time I remember the market for SS's being fairly high and there not being much out there. As we didn't have anyone on the farm ready, and his new set of eyes were resulting in flashes of his old self, at the time I thought Guzzie was a cost-effective signing. I guess you could argue the $ figure now, but other than his OBP I'm not sure how you can complain with his offensive production. Has he lost some range? Of course, but tell me what the alternative would have been?

Methinks hindsight is not always 20-20, as some like to say...

Posted by: robertchapman1 | August 9, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse


That sounds about right as far as the market at the time, rc. Guze also settled for less than he might have, if I recall correctly, because of the years when he wasn't at his best.


Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 9, 2009 9:03 PM

Posted by: flynnie2 | August 10, 2009 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Well this certanily takes some of the air out of the good feeling I have been having about the Nats laterly. DANG!

Posted by: nicefellow31 | August 10, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

>It certainly strengthens my resolve not to over pay for Strassburg, but then again, Strassburg will make more money the day he signs than I will make in a lifetime - and I'm not even poor.

Posted by: natbisquit

Nike or Adidas has probably already taken care of that. Of course, if he does that, he can't go back to the NCAA.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Also, who is on Scooter watch today?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 10, 2009 7:40 PM | Report abuse

>Didn't Burnett have TJ surgery at one point?

Posted by: natsfan1a1

Yeah I think it took him two full years to get his bearings again.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@1a1

Yeah AJ Burnett did have Tommy John surgery...looks like he recovered just fine (see Wikipedia entry below). Somehow that doesn't really make me feel better. It should, but this is just really depressing news, both for Nats fans and for a young kid who has got to be really down right now. Keep that head up, though, Zinn! NatsTown is behind you and looks forward to seeing the real Zinn in 2011!

"In 2002, [A.J. Burnett] held an ERA of 3.30 and finished with a 12–9 record with and 203 strikeouts, career bests that he did not top until 2008. Burnett was limited to four starts in 2003 before missing the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery and thus did not play during the Marlins' World Series championship run. He returned in June 2004 and made 19 starts for the Marlins, going 7–6 with an ERA of 3.68. Even during 2004, his first season back from having the surgery, he was able to throw 102 mph."

Posted by: HenryStin | August 10, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't Burnett have TJ surgery at one point?
Posted by: natsfan1a1
Yeah I think it took him two full years to get his bearings again.
Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009"

As did JD Martin, also a former 1st round pick pitcher. As did Matt Chico.

So, they've lost 2-3 starting pitchers (if you include Chico) to injuries this year. Olsen, Zimmermann and Chico. That's quite a number.

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

Bad news :( I'm sending positive thoughts out for you, JZimm! Get better soon!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | August 10, 2009 7:53 PM | Report abuse

DAGGER

Posted by: df321 | August 10, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Someone asked about Matt Chico who is on the 40-man: From NFA:

Saturday, game one – Lost to Trenton 3-2 (box/gamer). Harrisburg made six errors and walked ten batters in the first game of the doubleheader. LHP Matt Chico was incredibly wild in his start, allowing just one run over 3 1/3IP but giving up three hits and walking seven. LHP Justin Jones took the loss, allowing two runs on four hits and three walks.

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I thought she was talking about Sean Burnett. He had TJ surgery too, right? Missed a couple of years.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

UGH. So depressing, I can't even read it. This ruins my day. This SUCKS.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 10, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

What a great kid. My heart goes out to him. He is the real deal. Hopefully Dr. Andrews can work his magic and get him ready for 2011 Spring Training.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | August 10, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Young pitchers will break your heart. We've got to look inward to see if it's anything that we're doing wrong. I think JZimm will be okay. It's the year of development (and team control) lost more than the stuff in his case.

I think Chico's said that his release point is still a mess post surgery.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 10, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Less than market value for Guzman. Look what Cabrera is making. His agent pulled a fast on on Bowden, and Bowden spouted that less than market value crap to Ladson and suddenly it's fact.

His salary is not low and a man with his injury record should never have been signed for two years.

Posted by: soundbloke | August 10, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The curse of les boulez

Posted by: HightaxesMOCO | August 10, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Very sorry to hear this. I'm not a Nats fan (go Cards!), but I saw him pitch and was very impressed, and thought he was a key piece to a future contending Nats team. Hopefully, like others, he'll be back and fulfill that role.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | August 10, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I too want to add how sad I am with this news. I liked J Zimmermann a lot and this is truly a shame. I don't see how this affects our dealings with Strasburg though. In my opinion, he's not worth a dollar less or more because of this injury. I've consistently said $15 million is the most I'd offer and I haven't changed my mind. Maybe San Diego will offer him more next year but I won't change my bottom line. In the meantime we've lost Olsen and now Zimmermann, so our pitching depth is much less than it was two months ago. That's a huge concern for me, 2010 was looking good right up until today.

Posted by: grforbes | August 10, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Gr, I think I'd give Strasberg up to 25mil, personally. Sadly, our organization doesn't have the credibility to pass on him with an offer of 15mil.

I do think that this increases our need for Strasberg. It's important to add a new solid young arm each year. This year it was Zimmermann and the crapshoot of the Syracuse guys. Beyond Zimmermann, all of the additions (Mock, Detweiler, Martis, Stammen, Martin, Balester) have showed major question marks.

They say that young pitching is the key for this franchise, but frankly we're in danger of not having much to add to the rotation but questions in 2010 at this point.

Yep, 2010 is certainly dicey at this point.

----------------
I too want to add how sad I am with this news. I liked J Zimmermann a lot and this is truly a shame. I don't see how this affects our dealings with Strasburg though. In my opinion, he's not worth a dollar less or more because of this injury. I've consistently said $15 million is the most I'd offer and I haven't changed my mind. Maybe San Diego will offer him more next year but I won't change my bottom line. In the meantime we've lost Olsen and now Zimmermann, so our pitching depth is much less than it was two months ago. That's a huge concern for me, 2010 was looking good right up until today.

Posted by: grforbes | August 10, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse
---------------------------------

Posted by: souldrummer | August 10, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

There is always this possibility:

Johnson (11-2) allowed one run and four hits, striking out six. The All-Star right-hander is 18-3 since having Tommy John surgery in August 2007.

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

They really started the season with only 2 pitchers with few if any question marks: John Lannan and Jordan Zimmermann. Every other starter was pretty much a "crap-shoot" / unknown.

That said, there appear to be more young arms on the way and the jury is still out on Martis and Detwiler, and perhaps Estrada. Arneson, Atilano, Meyers, Mandel and Chico in AAA, perhaps Thompson will show something? There are even more in Advanced A including Storen and Holder.

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Not really in a mood to analyze what all this means. Just bummed to see it happen to a guy who was easily the most electric prospect the Nats have produced so far on the mound. Loved watching him pitch and imagining what was to come. Now I'll just hope to see it again in '11. Hang in there, J. Zimm, we'll pulling for you.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Some of you old school dudes on this blog help me out how come none of this happened back in the day, pitchers pitched,you hardly ever heard of anyone having TJ surgery maybe except for Tommy John, i mean kids that came to spring training threw and then threw some more, i thought JZimm was a year away from being a star pitcher in this league man i hate this damn,damn, DAMN!!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 10, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

First of all, my thoughts go out to Cheese. Here's to a full recovery.

But really, this just further complicates the 2010 rotation. You figure Lannan is a lock, but there are question marks for the next four spots.

Olsen? Think he'll be healthy and up to snuff? Will the Nats even retain him?

Stammen? Are his recent struggles more indicative of what we'll see from him for a full season in the bigs?

Balester? No one wants the guy to success more than I do, but it still doesn't look like he's ready.

Martis?
Martin?
Mock?

Chico?

Not looking good.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 10, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Some of you old school dudes on this blog help me out how come none of this happened back in the day, pitchers pitched,you hardly ever heard of anyone having TJ surgery maybe except for Tommy John

Posted by: dargregmag

Three things were common before doctors woke up and took tendons off a guy's thigh that he didn't need and put them into the elbow - 1) Guys would end up with wrecked rotator cuffs and there was nothing they could do for them, if rest healed it, then they came back, but they didn't know how to fix them. 2) Nerve damage - dead arm from throwing too many consecutive innings, or too often. 3) The elbow. When they used to say 'he blew out his arm' they meant 'he blew out his elbow and there's nothing we can do about it'. And they were generally finished.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely terrible, I am upset at this news. This is no good for Natstown. He was awesome to watch, I hope he will return good as new in 2011! No matter how careful you are with pitchers, they will break. Another reason why Strasburg should not be signed for more than 15 million. God speed Zimmermann, we will miss you!

Posted by: hleeo3 | August 10, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

"Some of you old school dudes on this blog help me out how come none of this happened back in the day, pitchers pitched,you hardly ever heard of anyone having TJ surgery maybe except for Tommy John

Posted by: dargregmag"

Knuckleball, screwball, spitball ... you learn those pitches and sometimes you last longer ... like Moyer who was always a control off-speed pitch pitcher. Hard throwers that lasted a very rare. Randy Johnson, Walter Johnson, Rocket Clemson ... very, very rare.

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

wow, that didn't take long did it?

i'm very sorry to hear it.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 10, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

>Not looking good.

Posted by: JohninMpls

You had 7 question marks in your post, and you didn't even include Zimmerman. They're all up in the air. Even Lannan. When you don't throw hard, it's always sort of a mental thing, to put the ball where you want it.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

so many good hitters now, smaller strike zone, lighter bats, hard sliders, etc. every pitch is high stress. every relief pitch is max effort.

this is terrible. dunn and willingham could be in the AL before zimmermann gets back. ugh.

also, why post the results before final opinion is known?

Posted by: longterm | August 10, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

What a shame, now go out and sign Strasburg and then trade him to Toronto for Roy Halladay...

Posted by: bromisky | August 10, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

dargregmag: Brue got it right. If you blew out your elbow, you were probably done.

Couple of examples (from Orioles' history, sorry, it's just what I know):

--Jerry Walker: broke into the bigs at 18(!) in 1957, pitched a 10-inning complete game against the Senators that year, won 11 games at the age of 20 in 1959...and was through at the age of 25.

--Wally Bunker: won 19 games in 1964 at the age of 19, won a World Series game in 1966 at the age of 21. Admitted later his arm was already hurting him when he won the Series game. He was done at the age of 26.

Then there's Sandy Koufax. He had serious arthritis (although I've also read that Tommy John surgery would have fixed his arm) and retired at the age of 30. His last two years?

--1965: 335 innings, 26 wins, 283 strikeouts.
--1966: 323 winnings, 27 wins, 1.73 ERA.

Jesus, his arm must have hurt. A lot.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, there was a typo in my Koufax stats.

In 1985, he didn't have 283 strikeouts. He had 382. 382.

Sandy Koufax was really good.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The problem is too much work with weights. You can build up muscles, but not ligaments and then the mismatch snaps something. The old timers never got hurt cause they didn't lift. I'll bet Jamie Moyer has never touched a weight. He's 46. Neither did Cal Ripken.

Posted by: larrypalma | August 10, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Question: If this is so serious - losing 18 months, why not take the time to travel down to Dr. Andrews to let him see himself? Is it just so obvious that he doesn't need to see Jordan? Just a question.

The news is sad, and yes, I hope it does mean we get some strong arms in to help wait for Jordan and to keep this thing building.

Posted by: agupta1 | August 10, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

>Then there's Sandy Koufax. He had serious arthritis (although I've also read that Tommy John surgery would have fixed his arm) and retired at the age of 30. His last two years?

--1965: 335 innings, 26 wins, 283 strikeouts.
--1966: 323 winnings, 27 wins, 1.73 ERA.

Jesus, his arm must have hurt. A lot.

Posted by: baltova1

The penultimate example. And who had the baddest curveball of all time. And the hardest.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Even without Strasburg they have added young pitching depth this year. (I am actually hoping they sign Nathan Karns.)

They've added Drew Storen, AJ Morris, Trevor Holder, Chad Jenkins, Dean Weaver and then some ...

And they have Meyers, Mandel, Arneson in addition to Martis, Detwiler and Estrada.

Then there's Mock, Martin, Stammen, and Balester.

Strasburg brings the potential ace, the stopper, combined with Storen the closer you have a great 1-2 punch. I think Karns may have that potential as well. Guess that's why he is holding out ... he probably knows it.

The rest were ranked as 2-5 starters. Innings eaters. Holder will probably make a good #2, #3, as will Martis. Balester as well. Its the solid #1 and #2 ... that was Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, and John Lannan.

Its really not that bad, its really bad losing a prized prospect like Zimmerman. He and Lannan were that 1-2 punch even without Strasburg.

But its not like there won't be pitching ... its just going to take a while to get reliable, consistent pitching from their prospects I guess?

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 9:55 PM | Report abuse

This is sad news, and I wish all the best to JZ over the next 18+ months. I look forward to seeing him in 2011.

I heard today that one of the Snyder-men passed gas at training camp, so I'm sure that will be all over the front page of the Sports section tomorrow and that the Nats' bad news will be buried somewhere in the middle pages of the section. Prove me wrong, Post...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 10, 2009 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton ... how did they do it? Not to mention "Rocket" and Randy Johnson?

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Yes, that's who I meant.

---

I thought she was talking about Sean Burnett. He had TJ surgery too, right? Missed a couple of years.

Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 7:57 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 10, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Sandy Koufax, Lefty Grove ... imagine having those two left handers in your arsenal.

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

well "rocket" used steroids.

the others you mentioned are outliers. exceptions, not the rule.

Posted by: sec231 | August 10, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

I guess one giant question mark would've been sufficient, eh? But Zimmerman is a period, at least for 2010.

And sure, Lannan could end up sputtering (or getting injured), but unlike the others, he hasn't really given us many reasons to question his being a 2010 contributor.

And four rotation spots up for grabs is enough for me.

-----

You had 7 question marks in your post, and you didn't even include Zimmerman.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 10, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

"But its not like there won't be pitching ... its just going to take a while to get reliable, consistent pitching from their prospects I guess?"

periculum, you're right. They're starting to build up enough pitching depth that they should eventually produce a capable rotation. Eventually. In the meantime, it would have been smart to have signed at least one decent veteran this year and it would be just as smart to do it before next season. Not to mention a couple of decent veteran relievers. They need the insurance.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

"And four rotation spots up for grabs is enough for me."

Which is the one bummer cropping up during this hot streak. Still no sign of a real rotation. By next spring, maybe some combination of Stammen, Martis, Detwiler, Mock, Martin, Balester, and Strasburg will be ready to join Lannan. That's a lot of maybe right now, though.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

"smart to have signed at least one decent veteran this year and it would be just as smart to do it before next season."

Had to be Bowden? I think its one of the first things Rizzo said he wanted to do for next year. To provide some stability and mentoring for the young prospects in the rotation and bullpen. It did seem like the missing ingredient while watching previously highly touted prospects self-destruct?

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

One last note on Koufax. Jim Bouton, in the great "Ball Four," pointed out how worthless a lot of scouting reports were. He said before the 1964 World Series, the scouts told him that Koufax got out Tim McCarver with letter-high fastballs. Which was a great tip, except that Koufax got EVERYBODY out with that pitch. And Bouton didn't have Koufax's fastball. Who did?

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

periculum, that's the unanswered question: did Bowden decided not to sign any veteran starters, or was that the decision of ownership? Did Bowden or the owners decide that the young bullpen guys could do the job without veteran backup? Did Acta decide to keep playing Kearns or was he "encouraged"? Did he stick with Hanrahan as the closer or...you get the picture. Rizzo seems to have had the ability to make moves, so maybe those other decisions fall back on Bowden and Acta. By next spring training, we should know.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Four 'Tommy Johns' on the 40-man:

Matt Chico
JD Martin
Sean Burnett
Jordan Zimmermann

I know there are posters here who must be extremely unhappy about that ... :)

Still looking at the Marlin's ace Johnson who had Tommy Johns? Again:

"Johnson (11-2) allowed one run and four hits, striking out six. The All-Star right-hander is 18-3 since having Tommy John surgery in August 2007."

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

"It certainly strengthens my resolve not to over pay for Strasburg, but then again, Strassburg will make more money the day he signs than I will make in a lifetime - and I'm not even poor."

Let's not get too carried away here. OUR "resolve" is about as relevant as ... as a simile you can't think of.

And look on the bright side: there's a reason it's called Tommy John surgery, and not, say, Bob Uecker surgery.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 10:43 PM | Report abuse

To further comment. I'm sad about JZimm, but not surprised.

A number of posters have indicated that pitcher x or Y lasted with no surgery. Take a look at them all. Heat! They all lived and died by the fast ball. The only real outlier is Koufax. TJ surgery would not have helped. His problem was (is, actually) osteoarthritis. Johnson (W not R) had a very odd delivery that probably put much less strain on his arm than a conventional delivery.

Brue is absolutely right. A few years in the minors, a couple in the majors, and blow your arm out. Buh bye!

Boz is correct. The injury to J. Zimm works both for and against Strasburg negotiations. Probably has no effect. He wouldn't really be ready for the majors 'til 2011 (at least) anyway.

OTOH the end of '11 and further on could be very interesting. Strasburg, J.Zimm, Lannan, and any two others. Maybe an actual shutdown closer.

Next problem is middle infield. Do you want your hitter at 2nd or short? Don't answer too quickly as the odds are that you won't get both.

Posted by: Catcher50 | August 10, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

"periculum, that's the unanswered question: did Bowden decided not to sign any veteran starters, or was that the decision of ownership?"

Wasn't Bowden the one who decided to sign veteran Daniel Cabrera, formerly of the Orioles? Another retread to resurrect for Bowden ... that is his MO. And the guy was paid a significant sum. Kearns was also a Bowden idea ... someone chosen in the 1st round in Cincinnati.

It sure seems like the "smoking gun" is more in Bowden's hand than in ownership's? Particularly given the marked difference in the roster and the recent turn-around?

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk
****************
The penultimate example.[Koufax]
Posted by: Brue | August 10, 2009 9:55 PM |


Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 10:50 PM | Report abuse

No Os hate intended, but the Nats are now closer to first place than the Orioles.

Posted by: Jackmathias | August 10, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

"a bummer crop." I like it.

*****************
Which is the one bummer cropping up during this hot streak. Still no sign of a real rotation.
Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 10:35 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh really? We hadn't noticed.
*****************
No [BL0Ws] hate intended, but the Nats are now closer to first place than the Orioles.
Posted by: Jackmathias

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

I wish Boswell would talk to Dr. Mike Marshall, who pitched 208 innings as a reliever in 1974 and won the NL Cy Young Award.

How many pitchers in the Nationals care will blow out their arms before the Lerners do something about it? Let's see: Patterson, Zach Day, Shawn Hill, Matt Chico and now Zimmermann. And yet they always claim they were being "conservative" with these pitchers. How is that working out for them?

That's another reason Strasburg may be reluctant to sign with the team.

Sure the so-called "success rate" is high, whatever that means. But Zimmermann will just come back with the same pitching motion and destroy his arm again, a la Shawn Hill.

Posted by: bubbad | August 10, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Bummer crop? I guess I wouldn't say that ...

Improvement is there ... even with his recent outing Balester's WHIP is basically the same as Lannan's, Stammen, Bergmann, and Zimmermann are pretty close behind. Ahead of these are Sosa, Burnett and Clippard.

Let's give the young prospects a chance ... its not like they have Cabrera's track record?

Posted by: periculum | August 10, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, forgot about the aforementioned Cordero also in the list of Nats pitchers who have ruined there arms in just 5 years here.

Posted by: bubbad | August 10, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Man, what a kick in the ding ding. Here's to hoping for a full and speedy recovery JZ.

This should have no effect whatsoever on the Strasburg signing. Signing players (draft, international or FA) is a risk and the Lerners need to get used to it. Strasburg is a legit talent that they need to add into the system. Period.

Get it done, Uncle Teddy.

Posted by: Section505203 | August 10, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Look on the bright side II: watching the Mariners beating (for now) the White Sox--Seattle is 58-53 starting today, after very nearly having the "Will they sign Strasburg?" discussion there instead of here.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

single data points aren't worth much. how many pitchers for other organizations have blown out arms?

And you forget Majewski, Bray, and Ayala.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

and Brian Lawrence, who blew his arm out on the first day here.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

"Do you want your hitter at 2nd or short?"

does it really matter which? ;)

Posted by: sec231 | August 10, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

http://www.betinf.com/mlb_injured.htm

Pitchers are fragile. The Nats are doing better than average right now. (Purging the bull pen may have skewed the sample.)

Posted by: Jackmathias | August 10, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of overworked pitchers, I don't recall seeing the Wookie at all during this last series. He's pitching regularly. I just don't recall reading any mentions of him.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Jackmathias, although in fairness, the purge had less to do with injuries than just sucktastinationalizing.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 10, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

The Nats may (may?) do a lot of things wrong, but blowing out pitchers' arms isn't one of them. It's a universal truth of the game: pitching is very damaging to the human arm.

Catcher 50, did you ever see film of Walter Johnson pitching? Ken Burns had some in his documentary series. He threw sidearm, which had to have helped. But he really planted that front foot and almost recoiled when he landed. It looked a little weird but he somehow managed to last 21 years. And 5,914 innings!

Posted by: baltova1 | August 10, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

OMG thank u all, for all hte nice cards, and notes u sent to JORDAN and I!!!! it means so much, so many nice things u said and, some of that note paper is grate, lol sec3 i had on idea u r a Hello Kitty fan zOMG i loveeeeeeeee Helo Kitty!!!!! so much !!@!

Anyways we are here and JORDAN is reasting, of course hes' bummed about braking his arm :-( but at lesat well get to spend some time, together! right?!!! So, thankx and huggs to all, your the best!!! ttys

Posted by: Scooter_ | August 11, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

_________________
The reversal is almost unprecedented: The Nationals, who go for their ninth straight win Tuesday night in Atlanta, were 40 games under .500 when the streak began. Only one team in history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, ran off a winning streak longer than eight after hitting the 40-games-under mark. That was the 1890 Cleveland Spiders.
_________________________________

Damn Chico, I hope he didn't jinx it!? We all knew this was unprecedented!

Quick someone come up with a good stab at Belliard!

Posted by: periculum | August 11, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I'm sad about the Zimm news, too, but the bright side is pretty obvious, starting with Tommy John himself (who, with 280+ wins and the famous surgery, ala Tinker and Evers, should be in the HOF, but that's another story).

The odds are very good that Zimm will be back and still be really succesful. Did anybody expect the Nats to win next year, anyway?

Posted by: nats24 | August 11, 2009 12:42 AM | Report abuse

Re:Walter Johnson
I once read a top ten "to do" list for young pitchers, written by Walter toward the end of his career. Number one, I think, went something like this:
"Only throw hard enough to win."
Your job is to complete the game at least one run better than the opponent. And then come back in a few days and do it all over again. Its a long season. Save your arm. Your goal is to win games. Not strike out every one you face. The best fastball is not necessarily the fastest the hitter's ever seen. It just has to be a wee bit faster than he expects!

Posted by: Dougie3 | August 11, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Can't we add Ryan Wagner to that list? He comes here after the Reds tried to tweak his delivery. St. Claire had him go back to his old motion.

He tore his labrum a handful of games into the 2007 season and ended up retiring this year.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 11, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

------------------------------------------
"OMG thank u all, for all hte nice cards, and notes u sent to JORDAN and I!!!! it means so much, so many nice things u said and, some of that note paper is grate, lol sec3 i had on idea u r a Hello Kitty fan zOMG i loveeeeeeeee Helo Kitty!!!!! so much !!@! Anyways we are here and JORDAN is reasting, of course hes' bummed about braking his arm :-( but at lesat well get to spend some time, together! right?!!! So, thankx and huggs to all, your the best!!! ttys"
-------------------------------------------

Are you on crack?

Posted by: jedd_narsavage | August 11, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It's a running joke, jedd.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 11, 2009 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Look on the bright side. Sure, the Z'nn news is sad indeed, but half of today's WaPo sports page is given to Tracee and Chico to chronicle the hottest team in baseball and only about an eighth to the Deadskins. It may even postpone for a couple more months my determination to cancel the dead tree subscription -- a choice that had been accelerated just yesterday by more Hiatt op-ed drivel.

Posted by: JamesWebster | August 11, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Breaking news: the Nats made the front page of the main section today. (It wasn't in this paper, but what the hey.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 11, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different ... In just under three weeks when the major league rosters expand the Nationals can bring up a few players for rewards and tryouts. Wanting to get an early jump on the competition I've already created my list: Maxwell, Morse, Desmond, Orr, Estrada, Martis, Zincola, and Detwiler.

I wanted to bring up Marerro and Norris, but decided not to rush my top two position prospects and keep them off the 40 man roster for a few more months.

Of course, I'm just an interim GM (for now).

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 11, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Went to bed after my post last night about JZimm, thanks Brue and others for all of your informed info on the medical side of the stress that these pitchers put on their arms, kind of puts a damper on tonites contest although my co-workers here in Atl. are telling me "the streak stops here" "Yeah Whatever"

Posted by: dargregmag | August 11, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Well at least we will have the Zim epaer back for 2011, hopefully he wil be part of a great staff by then. This is a very tricky time for the Nats having to deal with this, Olsen and dealing with Boras. I still believe we need to sign Strasburg and if we do not sign our top pick two years in a row, something is amiss at the top of this organization.

Posted by: markfd | August 11, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

@Scooter, I luv uuuu!

Posted by: Traveler8 | August 11, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Step right up and get your new post.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 11, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

It is too bad about Zimmermann, he is a really good guy.

I don't think this changes the Strasburg negotiations one bit. Scott Boras will think it does but it doesn't. Strasburg was the clear number one pick before Z's injury and he's still the clear top pick. The Nationals need to sign the top pick just as they did before the injury. Strasburg was probably coming up in June or July of next year, regardless of the injury. He will still come up then. Nothing has changed.

Strasburg wants a lot of money. The Nationals will offer a lot of money. If Strasburg doesn't like the offer, its his loss. Strasburg risks the future value of $20M and injury by not signing (thus the $20M itself). By not signing this year, he loses a lot of leverage in next year's draft (he won't want to lose two years of development or bonus money). He has a lot more to lose than the Nationals.

The Nationals get a compensatory pick next season. While that pick won't be Strasburg, it will be the second pick of the draft and unlikely a pretty good prospect.

Zimmermann's injury changes nothing as it relates to Strasburg. The Nationals will offer somewhere between $20M-$25M. If he doesn't want that, let him walk.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 11, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

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