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Nats Sign Livo; Send Balester To Minors

Until Tuesday, the Washington Nationals relied on a rotation with too little experience and too few pitchers capable of going deep in ballgames. With one signing, the Nationals hoped to change that. The Nationals on Tuesday night signed 34-year-old Livan Hernandez, a durable right-hander who last Thursday was released by the New York Mets. Hernandez will join the team immediately and start Wednesday's game against the Chicago Cubs. To make room for Hernandez, the Nationals sent right-hander Collin Balester to Class AAA Syracuse.

Explaining the move, general manager Mike Rizzo said, "We looked at where we were at with our young starting pitching and we got to the facts that we're running out of innings with some of these young guys and I refuse to push them past their limits. And Livan was available. We discussed him with our player personnel people and he's a good guy in the clubhouse, he's got some friends here on the ballclub, and he's nothing else but a workhorse and a reliable arm to get us some innings and get us through the rest of the season."

Hernandez already has a history with the Nationals. Hernandez first pitched for the Expos in 2003, and came to Washington when the franchise relocated as its designated ace. With the Nationals in 2005, Hernandez went 15-10, threw 246-1/3 innings, and had a 3.98 ERA. On Aug. 7, 2006, he was traded to Arizona in exchange for minor league starters Garrett Mock and Matt Chico. Mock, who improved to 3-5 in Tuesday's 15-6 win, said after learning of the Hernandez signing, "It's going to be a pleasure for me to watch the guy, maybe pick his brain."

Washington has long targeted a veteran pitcher capable of mentoring its young staff. Hernandez, with a 154-147 record and a 4.43 career ERA, is eighth among active pitchers in innings pitched. Asked whether the team might want to have Hernandez back in 2010, Rizzo said, "Right now it's just going to be a showcase for him the rest of the season, and we'll see where it takes us from there."

Hernandez's signing prompted the Nationals to reshuffle their rotation. J.D. Martin will start Thursday, and John Lannan will open the weekend series in St. Louis on Friday.

* The Livan signing creates a headline on a night when the Nats offense created its own. The 15 runs Washington put up in Tuesday's thrashing of the Cubs was a season high. Josh Willingham (what slump?) belted two home runs, scored five times and collected six RBI. Elijah Dukes' fifth inning grand slam, the first of his career, really put this game to bed, giving the Nats a 9-1 lead.

* One good thing about the Livan acquisition: The Nats no longer have to face him. Livan has hardly been fantastic this year (7-8, 5.47 ERA), but he's dominated the Nats. In three starts, he's 3-0 with a 1.17 ERA (23 IP, 3 ER). But wait, you say. What does that say for his ability against every other team?

Well, I guess we'll find out.

Maybe he pitches really well against the Mets, too.

* Riggleman/Rizzo/et al keep talking about how much talent Balester has, but the guy has one chronic problem, and he won't be an effective major league pitcher until he solves it. He lets far too many pitches stay up in the zone, and gives up far too many homers. In seven starts this year (30-1/3 IP), Balester served up a whopping 10 of 'em.

So that ratio prompted a statspass.com querry.

Does any MLB pitcher this year with 25+ IP have a higher home-runs-allowed-per-9IP ratio?

Nope.

Balester's HR/9IP (2.97) is poorest. Only 15 pitchers have ratios higher than 2.00. One is Logan Kensing (2.03).

By Chico Harlan  |  August 25, 2009; 11:50 PM ET
 
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Next: Lerner Bunny Ears and Dibble on Riggleman

Comments

ah could this season get any better

Posted by: formerlylove1 | August 25, 2009 11:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm not thrilled about this move, but I think it will work out okay for us. At least we won't have to face him now, because he's shut us down pitching against us this season.

Posted by: BGinVA | August 26, 2009 12:02 AM | Report abuse

Ah this takes me back to 2005, couldn't be more pleased with this signing.

Posted by: amorris525 | August 26, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

CHEESEBURGER!!!!

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 26, 2009 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Robble robble robble

Posted by: RicketyCricket | August 26, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

i say livo pitches at least half of the remaining games

Posted by: formerlylove1 | August 26, 2009 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Chico -

Livan has more than "a history" with the Nationals. He pitched the first home game in Nationals history and took a shutout into the ninth inning.

We oldtimers, who've been around for five long years, will be very glad to welcome Livan back to the fold. He's a great interview (but I hear he cusses occasionally).

Posted by: Snopes1 | August 26, 2009 12:32 AM | Report abuse

It matters who the Gnats throw out there?

Who knew?

Posted by: MartinZook | August 26, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

livo dominates nats,then joins nats, tells nats hitters what they are doing wrong...

Posted by: formerlylove1 | August 26, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Another good move by Rizzo -- Livo should provide some stability in the rotation while teaching the youngsters a few tricks of the trade.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | August 26, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

but the real question is, what nickname will Tony Plush give him? Ropa Viejo?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 12:47 AM | Report abuse

It's good to see Livo back! His calm, confident demeanor on the mound will be appreciated by the young Nats' arms. And I just LUV his 64 mph fastball!

Posted by: blufre | August 26, 2009 12:48 AM | Report abuse

anyone who could be described as crafty is awesome...go get smoltz, wakefield and moyer and we got ourselves a rotation next year

Posted by: formerlylove1 | August 26, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

He will prove his critics wrong and not only perform well enough(aside from innings eater)but teach young pitchers "how" to pitch w/patience....Glad to know Rizzo knows what he's doing in acquiring Livo at least for the remaining season...nothing to lose but much more potential to GAIN/benefit from....to the young Pitchers who will be better next season. Go Nats!

Posted by: fbacolod29 | August 26, 2009 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Oh, oh man, this is great. I don't give a poo if iLivan! wins a single game, I'm just glad to have him back on the mound. One of my all-time favorite pitchers.

Posted by: beardo1 | August 26, 2009 1:35 AM | Report abuse

In other Ex-nats news. Ryan Langerhans gets a walk off homer for the Mariners. second time in 3 weeks that he's done it. 2 of his 3 homers for this season were walk offs.

Posted by: swang30 | August 26, 2009 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Remember that really good restaurant that you loved to go to when you first lived here? Well, the cook has changed, the good wait staff was all fired, and it's just not the same. I hope I eat my words, but we are not getting anywhere near the same pitcher that we had the first half of 2005. And he is a first half pitcher, like, this year.

I'd love him to toss T-shirts into the stands, though. That would be fun.

And a mentor? I don't see that, either.

The memories are great, though.

Posted by: paulkp | August 26, 2009 2:04 AM | Report abuse

The fact is that he can't be worse than what we've got now. The young guys have been up in the majors long enough now, its time to let the veteran eat some innings and if he gets shelled, so be it. Welcome back Livan.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | August 26, 2009 3:41 AM | Report abuse

With the offense the Nats can generate, he could pitch late into his games, saving the bull pen, and still be 4-3 or better for his seven games. For the remaining part of this season he is an asset.

Posted by: kgwcoach | August 26, 2009 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Should have picked up Livian instead of Cabrera. We'd probably have 6 more wins. Three less losses due to pitching and three less losses due to Hernandez.

Posted by: nattydread1 | August 26, 2009 5:06 AM | Report abuse

This is kinda weird. I never thought we'd see him in a Nats uniform again.

How much did we pay him?

Posted by: NatsNut | August 26, 2009 5:48 AM | Report abuse

Memories of April 14, 2005, the first real pitch at RFK in 34 years, come flooding back, moving one to sing:

"Oh, hello, Livo. Welcome back, Livo. It's so nice to have you back where you belong." (Apologies to Carol Channing.)

Posted by: JamesWebster | August 26, 2009 6:26 AM | Report abuse

I wrote on MLBTraderumors that I hoped we would sign him the second he was released. This is a great move, and one we can enjoy for the rest of this lost season, if not into next year. Heck, why not let Livan pitch in April as an excuse to keep Strasburg in the minors long enough to effect his long-term arbitration eligibility?

Honestly, though, I am not sure there were any pitchers in the minors we would have wanted to call up to spell the young guys tiring out, because they also (like Martis) are young guys who are tiring out. I defy any of you to claim honestly that Livo makes the current rotation any worse.

Finally, I don't see Livo as much of a mentor, either. However, he can be used by Steve McCatty as an on-site example to be followed. "Did you see what Livo did when he got to the third time through the order? Why don't you try that?"

Welcome back, Livan.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | August 26, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Nats (Bowden?) messed up when they passed on Livo back in the spring (he even said he wanted to come). And now they rectify the mistake. I think this is a great move, both as a baseball matter as well as an entertainment matter. He's a big fan favorite and will draw fans to the park in the dog days of September.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 26, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

Another Rizzo move that makes sense on a couple of levels. Balestar proved over and over that he is not major league ready (except maybe in his own mind). I hate "innings eaters" at the beginning of the season, it's just a pseudonym for a crappy pitcher who is going to allow five runs a start, but at this point in the season it saves young arms. So what if Livan gets shelled now, it is not going to hurt really anything at all. And Livan is not the type of pitcher you want to have next season on the opening roster. A first tier veteran pitcher is really what this team needs to get in the offseason.

Posted by: driley | August 26, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Livo. At least he'll get down a squeeze bunt.

"...signed 34-year-old Livan Hernandez"

That is too funny.

Posted by: pwilly | August 26, 2009 7:16 AM | Report abuse

When they install Livan's statue in the CF plaza after the ceremony retiring his number, how many hats, gloves and jackets will it depict him throwing into the stands?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 26, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

Looks like our friend Collin Balester may not have what it takes to be a major league pitcher. Chico, is there any future in blogging as a profession?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 26, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Viva Livo!!! He should have been here all season. Livo is a guy that the youngsters on the staff can watch and see that when Livo's A game is not working he uses his other pitches and when that does not work he still has stuff in his bag of tricks to get people out and make it through tough innings...something our 2009 Nats staff has struggled mightily with.

Posted by: markfd | August 26, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

>I defy any of you to claim honestly that Livo makes the current rotation any worse.

However, he can be used by Steve McCatty as an on-site example to be followed. "Did you see what Livo did when he got to the third time through the order? Why don't you try that?"

Posted by: kevincostello

Yeah, McCatty can say, 'Hey why don't you develop a curveball that goes 75, 70, then 63 mph - just aim for the middle of the plate and you'll be alright'. 'Well then how about a 72 mph forkball?'. Comin right up, coach!

It's sentimental, if not delusional to fantasize about this guy. Throw out the starts against the Nats and he probably has a 6.50 ERA for the year. That's unadulterated BP.
There is one upside though.

Get in there Bryce Harper. Get in there.

Posted by: Brue | August 26, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Wonderful news!! I love watching Livo pitch. He works quickly and has no wasted motion. A great role model. I tell the kids I coach to watch him and his motion.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 26, 2009 7:52 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and on Langerhans-

He is hitting .221, with a .317 OBP. No big loss.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | August 26, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Nice!! Excited to see him pitch tonight!!

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

On another note, its extremely frustrating that with an offense like we have, we're still 45-81. But we're now 19-20 under Riggleman. Pretty respectable. And yes, I was so happy to see the Orioles lose in the 9th with 2 out. They have 51 wins.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 26, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Ribs in Seattle?

-----

In other Ex-nats news. Ryan Langerhans gets a walk off homer for the Mariners. second time in 3 weeks that he's done it. 2 of his 3 homers for this season were walk offs.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 26, 2009 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Saw this on mlbtr;

the Mets will acquire Triple A outfielder Chris Carter in the deal.

Isn't Carter the ARI 1B man that went to Boston in the Willy Mo Pena Trade?

Posted by: estuartj | August 26, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Not a bad move for the last 38 or so games. However I wouldn't want to see him hanging around as an anchor next year when you have so many good arms. But...., since JZ won't be back and the Free Agent market is very pitching thin, Livo might be the alternative.

On another note, noticed that Billy Wagner doesn't have the option year w/the Sox, hmmm, guys from VA., always wanted to play closer to home, anyone think the Nats might be interested? Storen might be better off in Syracuse in 2010 and Wagner could be that bridge.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 26, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Yes Yes YES!!!

Welcome back Livo!

Love this move on many levels as others have discussed.

Remember when he tossed his glove into the stands in disgust and a team official tried to get it back but the guy wanted 4 season tickets so Livo said "let him have it, I have other gloves" (actually what he said was much less gramatic).

One of my all time memories was in 06 when he struck out on a weak swing. He rolled his bat to a surprised fan behind the dug out on his way back to the bench - then hit a home run on his next at bat!

I love Livo and will be there when he pitches at home.

Go Nats! Beat the Cubbies.

Posted by: alm1000 | August 26, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

I agree with TC, bring Billy in next year so Storen doesn't have the pressure of closing when he comes to the bigs. Let him set-up sometime next year and get comfortable before he takes on the role in 2011.

Posted by: alm1000 | August 26, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

In 2005 the player parking lot looked like an exoctic car show with Livo's many rides and sweet Ferrari, Vidro's Aston Martin, and Loaiza's Ferrari and others. I actually felt bad for Zim when he arrived in his SUV.

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 26, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Yesterday, I kind of complained about how few runs the Nats score in late innings, so last night they scored 6 in the last three innings.

What should I complain about next?

Posted by: KenNat | August 26, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

So do you think that Balester will be right back after Sept 1? If so he would miss only one start. He was actually great on Monday until he got spooked by Braun's titantic HR.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 26, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

There's nothing to complain about here. Livan is signed to eat up 6/7 innings every 5 days and save Riggleman from having to trot out youngsters and burn out their arms. Go get Smoltz? He NEVER would have signed here because he wants a pennant race.

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | August 26, 2009 9:07 AM | Report abuse

tony armas, jr. and esteban loaiza are still available. let's party like it's 2005!

Posted by: surly_w | August 26, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Even the Mets don't want him... I think that would be a good sign we shouldn't get him. Apparently the ghost of Jim Bowden still haunts Nats park.

Posted by: futbolclif | August 26, 2009 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Great pickup! Welcome back, Livo!
It's a great way to cut the innings of our young starters. Is there anyone else out there on the scrap heap the Nats could sign as we limp towards the finish line?

Posted by: InTheCheapSeats | August 26, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

What should I complain about next?

Posted by: KenNat
------------------

Complain about Belliard still being on this team!!

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. I don't expect him to do anything, but count me as excited about Livo for nostalgia's sake!

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | August 26, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

The mets are in a position to audition minor league pitchers for the remainder of the season. We have been auditioning our minor leaguers for the past two seasons. Our young arms are done for the year. Levo makes some sense, but is in no way a long-term fix for the pitching issues this team has. Getting experienced pitching has to be the major emphasis in the off-season.

Posted by: Tom8 | August 26, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Guys career record is over .500 why not have him back, we needed one or two vet arms to help teach maybe he can be one.

No risk, moderate reward= late season win.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 26, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

We're glad to see the guy, because ... well, we just are. "Peace, and let them be, in their exaltation."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Really, this has nothing to do with pitching, or Livo. It's just the baseball gods testing my resolve, and not for the first time. I said it was a 3 game suspension, and I meant it.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

query. one R.
Just so NN doesn't think I'm not paying attention.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 26, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

As others have said, good move, he's just here to eat some meaningless innings at the end of a long season. And possibly to get some of us to actually use our season tickets in September in an attempt to re-live the glory days of early 2005.

On Ian Desmond, I admit that he has made more than his share of errors. However, everything I've read describes him as a plus-fielder. I don't think we're talking Jose Offerman here.

For example:

9. Ian Desmond | Stats | Depot Grade: B-
6-2 / 185 | Age - 23 | SS | B/T - R/R | Drafted - 2004 (R3) | Sarasota HS (FL)
Floor: Utility | Ceiling: Above-AVG SS | Projection: AVG SS

Notes: Desmond could have ranked lower on this list, but ultimately his glove and arm more than made-up for the questions surrounding his bat. He has plus-range to go along with a plus-arm and good hands. He's solid on the front- and back-end of the double play. Offensively, Desmond has made strides, improving his pitch-ID and strikezone command. There is potentially average-power in his quick bat, though he'll have to square-up a little more consistently for it to play. Even if the bat never fully develops, he could provide above-average value defensively.

Compare:

10. Danny Espinosa | Stats | Depot Grade: B-
6-0 / 190 | Age - 21 | SS | B/T - B/R | Drafted - 2008 (R3) | Long Beach St. University
Floor: AAAA | Ceiling: Above-AVG SS | Projection: AVG 2B

Notes: Espinosa is a switch hitter who brings more power from the right side but squares-up more consistently from the left. He has shown the ability to spray the ball to all fields, and improved his strikezone command this past season. Defensively, he's fringy at shortstop, due to an unclean arm action and sometimes questionable hands. His reads, routes, arm strength and accuracy have made-up the difference, but he's likely a better fit at second base. If Espinosa can refine his defense, arm action and footwork, he could remain a solid option for Washington at the six-spot, providing decent offensive production in addition to average defense.

Posted by: BobLHead | August 26, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

DEEEEEEPIN' DOTS!!!

I will love watching Livo through his slop up there to the tune of a 6.50 ERA for the rest of the season. He's a perfect late-season acquisition - good nostalgia for the hardcore fans, rubber arm to help keep the younger guys IP counts down, may actually show the younger guys how to throw junk and survive, not really good enough to actually damage draft position for next year.

If he's here in April, it's a tragedy. At this point, as much as I have nostalgia for him, Livo is what he is - a no-stuff vet who gives you below-average, above-replacement-level innings that don't have to be eaten by younger and better pitchers. He's perfect for the '09 Nats. This does not excuse Riz from needing to go out and get a more serviceable vet starter in the offseason.

That said, welcome back Livo - the concessionaires better double their orders.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | August 26, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

More good press on Desmond:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/242432-dont-look-now-but-here-comes-ian-desmond/page/2

Posted by: BobLHead | August 26, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Goodness gracious. That's "throw his slop" not "through his slop."

Long week already.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | August 26, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

I stole this from 320's blogger day post. It's a Q&A with Mark Scialabba, Assistant Director--Player Development for the Nats.

Question: I have read a little bit about Ian Desmond’s defensive skills. Can you talk about his bat and do you see him fitting into The Nationals plan in the coming month?

Mark: “Ian is a very exciting player. You look at him and you think—Big Leaguer. He is very exciting. He has plus range both ways. He has an outstanding arm and amongst all the managers throughout the leagues and Baseball America--they have rated his arm tops during the past few years--Carolina League, Eastern League. He’s a guy whose bat has taken some time to develop. He’s hit some rough patches. Earlier in his career, we promoted him too quickly and he struggled. For a young kid that was in Big League Camp and people are throwing out names like Derek Jeter—you get a lot of pressure put on you. And you have heard this before, but he has very good bat speed. He utilizes his lower half extremely well. His swing is in sequence—which is what we teach and praise our guys to do. Ralph Dickinson, our Hitting Coordinator, works our hitters to make sure they swing the proper way. The way to be successful up here in The Major Leagues. And Ian has done a phenomenal job this year. I think he is hitting .440. He is really hitting the ball real well right now. Two more hits last night. He is exciting, a lot of potential. As far as coming up here (to D.C.), I don’t think it would be fair to him to give you guys an idea before he knows. So, I am not going to get into that, but I think he has a lot of potential and we are really excited about the future with Ian Desmond.”

Posted by: BobLHead | August 26, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Livo's a great addition to eat some innings. He'll probably rack up a 5+ ERA if not a 6+, but on this team that makes him an average starter. It'll be interesting to see if Riggo allows him to get rocked or if he burns up the bullpen.

Posted by: utec | August 26, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Still talking to myself about the SS position, more from Mike Rizzo (again via 320):

Question: Mike, you’ve talked about the importance of defense up the middle. Obviously, in centerfield, you have improved that tremendously. I am interested in hearing you talk about upgrading second base and shortstop. And related, is Cristian Guzman the second baseman of the future?

Mike: “We haven’t approached Cristian with any of that. Or, have we made a decision on that. Cristian, offensively, is one of the better middle infielders in the game. Defensively, pretty sure handed shortstop, although his range is not quite where you want it to be. I haven’t approached him about moving to second base. It is a possibility, but the probability is to get one of those two positions in a different way—be it free agency, trade or that type of thing. But we are very cognoscente (sic) of speed and defense up the middle. It is vital to a pitching oriented ball club which I think we are going to be, not only this year and next year—but all the way through the future.”

Question: You mention Cristian Guzman’s range, is that a function of the problem with his feet (bunions)? Is it a problem with his conditioning? Is it a problem with his age? Can you pinpoint why he is losing his range?

Mike: “I think as the aging process goes on you lose a step. But he has made great strides this year in positioning himself better. He is getting to balls in the second half of the season that he wasn’t getting to in the first half. And that is a by-product of knowing the league better, watching film more often and having a better preparation approach to the game during the second half of the year than the first half.”

Posted by: BobLHead | August 26, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

In 2005 the player parking lot looked like an exoctic car show with Livo's many rides and sweet Ferrari, Vidro's Aston Martin, and Loaiza's Ferrari and others. I actually felt bad for Zim when he arrived in his SUV.

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 26, 2009 8:54 AM

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

Not to mention Chad Cordero with his Honda Civic.

Posted by: greggwiggins | August 26, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Not to mention some knocks. Welcome back, Livo!

(And nice throwback ribs post, JiM.)

---

Welcome back Livo. At least he'll get down a squeeze bunt.

"...signed 34-year-old Livan Hernandez"

That is too funny.

Posted by: pwilly | August 26, 2009 7:16 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 26, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Re Ian Desmond:

He has a bad back that acts up. He plays poorly in the cold, but did great for the Waikiki Beach Boys of the Hawaii Winter Baseball League.

December 2005: ‘As far as my goals, I just want to cut down on errors to around 15 or 20. Defense is my main concern.”

"I have a strong arm but have had some problems in the past getting my feet in line to use the arm.”

“Desmond occasionally tries to force plays in the field, resulting in 39 errors in 2005.” “Despite the early hype about Ian Desmond’s defense, it’s been atrocious by some measures.”

“I know fielding % and errors aren’t great measures, but when you see him right around .950 in fielding % at high A, AA, and AAA, you begin to wonder. … do you know of anyone still thinking he’s good defensively?”

“He still needs to focus more on defense and cut down the careless errors, such as kicking a ball 30 feet into foul territory. He made two careless errors last night.”

BoBL, this happens quite a lot: “Ian Desmond made two errors and had two hits.” Worse: August 4, 2009 E: Desmond 3 (11, fielding, fielding, fielding).

So what happened?

He was overdrafted about five rounds. He was compared to Derek Jeter (Bowden). Try Ian Utility instead. He makes spectacular plays, having bought into his own hype out of Sarasota High, but he doesn’t make the ones that are expected from an MLB SS. He is NOT the answer for us.
Zim is not the answer either, of course, but here is an analysis from four years ago: An early report on Ryan Zimmerman's first week at shortstop: "The word is that he looks just as comfortable at short as he did at third," Wogan said. "We know his hands and his arm are very, very good from what we saw at third base. It's just a matter of how he reacts and how he turns the double play. So far, he's been solid."
AG at SS in 2010.

Posted by: nova_g_man | August 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

...and some new posts up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 26, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Livan is NOT the answer to the Nats pitching woes.. Gotta remember that the Mets released him last week for sustained poor performance -- including a stretch where he gave up 18 runs in his last three starts. His so called fast ball tops out in the mid 80s, while his curve and slider generally register in the mid-70s. He might have been able to get away with some of it in the old and cavernous RFK stadium -- but not here in the new ball park -- or now much later in his career. I see only sadness ahead for him and the team.

Posted by: Vic1 | August 26, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"Livan is NOT the answer to the Nats pitching woes.. Gotta remember that the Mets released him last week for sustained poor performance ..."

No Livan is not the answer to the Nats pitching woes. Developing the plethora of young pitching they currently have ***IS***. Looking at Syracuse's roster and comparing it to what it was at the beginning of the season ... its now chock full of "prospects"/Nats draft picks who now seem finally ready to taste Major League hitting. And that is especially true of the bullpen!

Patience is the order of the day. Rizzo is still doing all the right things. The more young pitchers he acquires, the better their chances of fielding an all-star rotation. Statistically, they will hopefully do better than 1 out of 20-25. They really just need 3 starters and 2-3 relievers. They already have **TWO-THREE*** bonafide closers for next year. Things really are better than they seem.

Posted by: periculum | August 26, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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