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Reading Material

Some links from around the baseball-lovin' hemisphere...

The gamer: Bronson Arroyo tames the Nats, pitching a two-hit shutout.

Legendary Dayton Daily News ballwriter Hal McCoy -- this is his 37th (and final) season covering the Reds -- adds up the numbers for Jonny Gomes on his fantastic night: "Three homers, 1,234 feet, five RBIs, 1,080 feet of trotting around the bases, biggest smile this side of Miss America, only not phony."

The Nats are no longer the worst team in baseball, at least per SI, and this deserves an exclamation point.

I read this, half-expecting to see a mention of Austin Kearns.

Adam Dunn returns to Cinci.

Arroyo, on his supplement use: "We live in a world where people care about what Paris Hilton's having for lunch, versus how many guys are getting killed in Iraq, and that's the truth. Look at the Josh Hamilton stuff that came out; I mean, that's more important than how many home runs the guy's hit... Sad to say, that's the society we live in. Sometimes I speak my mind probably a little more than I should. Sometimes it blows up in my face, and that's the way it goes."

Drew Storen picks up another save in Class AA Harrisburg.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 14, 2009; 8:58 AM ET
 
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Next: Lerners, Kasten and Rizzo Meet With Strasburg

Comments

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/joe_posnanski/08/12/worst.contracts/1.html

Chico - I am surprised Kearns didn't make the list too, but the list seemed to look at guys making $10 mill a year and not a crumby $8 mill a year LOL

Seriously, Posnanski missed that one if he just did an analysis of cost per hit or cost per HR.

Kearns cost $2,666,667 per HR which is the highest in the Majors for a Non-Pitcher and a player with at least 150 at-bats.

Based on that, Kearns should have topped the list!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | August 14, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

Three burning questions:
1) Getting closer to young pitcher shutdown. What does the prospective rotation look like?

2) Riz had been pretty busy, but things have slowed down a bit. Focused on Strasburg, or no moves until a GM is announced?

3) Speaking of the #1 pick: just finished the Jason Stark post, and Boras is bad-mouthing the organization "behind the scenes." Same Boras who praised the professionalism of the Lerners during the Teixera signing? Just posturing, or is there more to it?

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&page=rumblings090813

Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 14, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we can believe anything until after the deadline passes, and then we may still not know, if he doesn't sign.

But with ZNN going down for all of next year, we need SS in the mix.

Get 'er done, Riz/Stan.

Posted by: sec307 | August 14, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

But with ZNN going down for all of next year, we need SS in the mix.

Get 'er done, Riz/Stan.

Posted by: sec307 | August 14, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Not to beat a dead horse, but I so feel the opposite. With Znn going down, don't risk more than $14 million on SS, who would also be just day-to-day soreness away from Dr. Yocum's blade. Really, just TOO fragile. I can't stand giving that much to rookies, even in the NFL when QB's get $30 million to JaMarcus Russell their way to ignominy. But to give it to a pitcher?! Crazy. I would give him his $14 mm cuz you have to - you drafted him afterall. But nothing more. Let's spend the other $10 mm fans here seem to be talking about on plugging some of the other holes. And if SS doesn't want to play for $14 m - still 33% more than ANYONE HAS EVER GOTTEN BEFORE - then how much does he really want to play this game anyway?

Posted by: cdstej | August 14, 2009 10:35 AM | Report abuse

If giving a pitcher a record contract is too much of a risk, then we should have drafted Ackley instead. We decided he was worth it back in June, now it's time to finish the deal.

I too agree that $15mil is too much for rookies, but it is what it is. I care much more about the players on the field than the numbers on the payroll. But to lose another first round pick for the second year running is not the way to rebuild a franchise. Strasburg's our guy and the FO had better get a deal done.

Posted by: sec307 | August 14, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The contracts list should give pause to those you think free agent signings are a cure-all. I think we should ignore all the stories (non-stories?) about the Strasburg situatio. I am looking to see if any of the other top picks will sign before noon Monday. I am completely surpised about A. Crows stance and believe that it lets the NATS off the hook a bit for last seanson's "failure" to sign him.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | August 14, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

At least the Times is still do reporting...

Source: Nats executives visited Strasburg last week
http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/chatter/2009/aug/14/source-nats-executives-visited-strasburg-last-week/

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 14, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Storen was a major disappointment yesterday. He walked another batter!

Posted by: Section314 | August 14, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Is it true Kearns was claimed on waivers and the Nats pulled him back?! WTF?!

2. With the clock ticking on the Washington Nationals' attempt to sign top pick Stephen Strasburg, the Nats appeared to have lost the chance to come up with another $3.4 million in savings they could have put toward signing him. According to a major league source, when the Nats put ineffective outfielder Austin Kearns through waivers, another club actually put in a claim for him. Kearns is due the remainder of his $8 million salary this year and a $1 million buyout of his $10 million option for 2010. Kearns is hitting .195 this year and .209 over the past two seasons.

Posted by: fushezzi | August 14, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

> Is it true Kearns was claimed on waivers and the Nats pulled him back?! WTF?!

That supposedly happened last year. I doubt it would happen this year. More likely Kearns was waived this year and no one claimed him. Why would they? He's still due around $4M, and has nothing to offer in return.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 14, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Save the money on SS, should it surpass 15m. Perhaps there is another Storen waiting in the wings next year. SS alone is not the answer to the promised land. Although, he would be a nice piece to the puzzle.

Posted by: cokedispatch | August 14, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

What's the point of high draft picks if we don't sign them? We wasted a year of development with the Crow debachle and we can't afford to do it again.

I have faith something will be worked out and for less than what we think. Either way, I'm glad this ordeal is almost over.

Posted by: sec307 | August 14, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Even if we'd drafted Ackley, we'd still be in the same (Boras) boat, instead shelling out $9-10M at the deadline for a bonus.

I like the way Boz phrased it yesterday, since too often GMs, scouts, journalists, agents, etc throw out $20-50M figures.

$13-14M would represent a 30% increase over the previous record contract. In those terms, that seems fair. $20M would be a 100% increase.

Posted by: dclifer97 | August 14, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

I still believe that, when all is said and done, SS signs for between 18-24 million. I would also have no problem with the team passing on him if the demands get silly (I set the over/under on silly demands at 25 million). I would not blame the Lerner's if this was the case, but only if they would invest that money in signing one, preferrably two, veteran pitchers (it doesn't have to be a Cliff Lee or Halladay type, but a pitcher who can be effective on the mound and with the younger pitchers.
My concern is that the FO, will potentially do NEITHER of these...

Posted by: TimDz | August 14, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

By all accounts, Storen is flying thru the system. So hard to say we "wasted a year" of development on that pick. And yes, you draft players to sign them. But what good does it do us to let this rookie and his evil agent redo the entire baseball economic landscape? Just takes $ away from other spots. I still say give him a record breaking offer. But don't go crazy.

We gripe that the Lerners' payroll is only $67mm. But if it was $100 mm, would we be happy? What if of that 100, SS was getting 25% of it? We'd be back to a middle of the pack payroll with respect to the ENTIRE rest of the roster. That's untenable (see Blue Jays, Toronto). And what happens when our home grown stars become arb. eligible? Do we just walk away from Lannan, Flores, Morgan, etc...?

If they give SS more than $15, it's ludicrous. AND if he won't play the game for that much GUARANTEED, he's no one to build around anyway.

Posted by: cdstej | August 14, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

fushezzi

If SI.com is correct and the Nats lost the chance to dump Kearns' salary for the rest of the season (plus option) then Rizzo shouldn't get the GM job. I'm sorry, but I'm tired of hearing about how Kearns is such a "great teammate' and is "good in the locker room." As Bill James wrote about 25 years ago, you can't win back games in the locker room that you lose on the field. First Guzman and now Kearns. Good grief!

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 14, 2009 12:20 PM | Report abuse

> First Guzman and now Kearns. Good grief!

The supposed waiver claim of Guzman by the Red Sox turned out to not be true. Likely that will also be the case with the supposed claim of Kearns, which has even less heft behind it than the Guzman-Red Sox rumor did.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 14, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that Crow STILL hasn't signed and is demanding more than that KC is offering (I believe this to be about 3 Million).
I am of the mindset that Crow and his doofus advisors are more at fault for last year's debacle than are the Lerners.
I'd be interested in others thoughts.

Posted by: TimDz | August 14, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

concur, THe Hendicks Brothers and Crow caused the impasse and they have not signed yet because they still hope to save face. Idiots.

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 14, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

On this morning's ESPN Sports Center, they did the "NOT Top Ten" of video low-lights.
# 3 was Nick Johnson flubbing a pop-up, and #1 was A. Hernandez making a crucial DP throw to 1st with no one within a mile covering the bag. Two ex-Nats still getting national notice for defensive errors. (the uniforms change, but the play stays the same). There is a Nats curse.

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | August 14, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm inclined to think along similar lines re. Crow, TimDZ and natbiscuits.

That's funny about the ex-Nats. I was clicking around a bit during the Nats game last night and noticed that a Marlins-Astros game was on (I think it was MLB Network). I clicked away again and didn't remember until much later that Nick is with them now. When I turned back, it was the bottom of the 9th so I missed seeing him play.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 14, 2009 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and also, I just remembered sec3's inquiry in an earlier thread re. TP's nickname for Dibble.

(snark on)We need some real investigative journalism here, Chico. Quit slacking and find out that nickname pronto!(snark off)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 14, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

My cut-off for ludicrousness comes in at the 15-20M level. 50-100% above the previous high is a bit much. Above that, I don't see why they even bother to talk.

Posted by: swang30 | August 14, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I hope I'm not well behind the curve bringing up Jayson Stark's piece, but I thought his point about the pressure on Strasburg was well taken. If he turns down the Nats at $20M, what exactly will he do to make himself worth $30M to the Padres (or whatever team finishes with the worst record besides the Nats) by next year? Pitching for Yokohama or St. Paul or for SDSU (mowing down Air Farce again) proves he's worth $30M or more? The pressure cuts both ways.

Posted by: ArlingtonNatsFan | August 14, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Since we're on the subject--
Boras' stated intention is to blow up the draft, ultimately--everybody not under contract should be a free agent, he argues.

I'm thinking it doesn't matter to him how much they pay Strasburg--upping the $$ still keeps the system intact. It makes the system more profitable for the player and his agent, but doesn't challenge the system, really--just the opposite, in fact. If that's true, then he needs a client who doesn't sign, so he can challenge the draft in court. Thus $50MM.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 14, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

But he had a client who didn't sign last year, in fact, as reported here, he's had several... So why would he wait for SS to go to court?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 14, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"We've still got one or two starters doen at Syracuse that have not got their shot yet this year.

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 14, 2009"

At this point I would say there really are only Arneson and Estrada, I don't think Kown and Ramirez are considered "prospects"?

Other than Storen who continues to overwhelm and dominate batters at every level ... there is the "new bullpen" in Syracuse that started out the year in high A and AA.

We'll have to wait and see what happens after the 17th.

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Payroll: I forget what game I was watching at the time, but the analyst (I think it was Hershheiser) made the point that big-budget teams can get stars others can't, maybe, but that's not always going to do it (many examples). What they can afford is a good bullpen, to go with the good starters everybody tries to get. Since almost nobody goes much past 7 innings, if that, nowadays, teams need four or five good arms out there, whereas, in the past, they could get by with maybe two.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 14, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe he didn't have the player on board with it, maybe he was waiting for the right candidate, or right jurisdiction, or has some sense of timing being right.

*********
But he had a client who didn't sign last year, in fact, as reported here, he's had several... So why would he wait for SS to go to court?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 14, 2009 1:27 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 14, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

or maybe suing isn't what he has in mind.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 14, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

From NFA:

"Syracuse RHP Marco Estrada settled down after a rough first couple of innings and he an three relievers no-hit Toled o over the final six innings of a 4-3 win (box/gamer). Estrada finished his six-inning outing allowing three runs on five hits while strking out four. RHP Josh Wilkie struck out four and walked one over 1 2/3IP; LHP Yunior Novoa retired the one batter he faced; and RHP Zack Segovia pitched a perfect ninth to earn his fourth save of the season. The win moved the Chiefs to 61-55, 4.5 games out of first place (3.5G out of the wild card). RF Kory Casto was 1/4 with a double & run scored; 1B Mike Morse was 1/3 with a double & RBI; DH Daryle Ward was 1/3 with a solo homer; 2B Seth Bynum was 2/4 with a solo homer; CF Justin Maxwell was 1/3 with a double, stolen base & run scored; and SS Ian Desmond was 1/1 with a double."

They may be down to Estrada, Arenson, and Atilano? Because they have to make decisions about those guys relative to the rest? Two are on the 40-man already.

Maxwell, who is on the 40-man, has show some recent marked improvment: (August 7 notes:)

"To the max: Syracuse center fielder Justin Maxwell went 1-for-3 yesterday with a run and an RBI, extending his hit string to seven games, tied for his longest of the season. Over the span, Maxwell is 12-for-26 (.461) with four multi-hit games including a three-hit effort Tuesday in Norfolk. Over the most recent six
games of the streak, Maxwell has struck out just two times. Maxwell has twice gone back-to-back games without fanning, the first time he’s had consecutive games without a strikeout since May 13 and 14."

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

What kind of person would SS have to be to TURN DOWN $15 million to serve as the poster child for breaking up the draft? He personally risks getting nothing for the years of time, energy, decrease in his skills, etc... that litigation would take. And all just so FUTURE stars could make more? Who would do that? At least Curt Flood, in taking up his fight 30+ years ago, did so b/c no one was making ANY real money (at least relative to today's salaries) and so his "sacrifice" was marginal by comparison to what you're suggesting SS might be willing to do here.

I just don't see it humanly possible for a man to turn down tens of millions of dollars "for the good of prospects everywhere." That would take a special mix of incredibly hubris and an incongruous act of selflessness.

Posted by: cdstej | August 14, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

WE COULD HAVE DUMPED KEARNS?!!

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/tom_verducci/08/14/three.strikes/index.html?eref=writers

"With the clock ticking on the Washington Nationals' attempt to sign top pick Stephen Strasburg, the Nats appeared to have lost the chance to come up with another $3.4 million in savings they could have put toward signing him. According to a major league source, when the Nats put ineffective outfielder Austin Kearns through waivers, another club actually put in a claim for him. Kearns is due the remainder of his $8 million salary this year and a $1 million buyout of his $10 million option for 2010. Kearns is hitting .195 this year and .209 over the past two seasons.

The Nationals could simply have "awarded" Kearns to the claiming team to get out from under the contract, Alex Rios style. But just as Kearns was getting claimed, the Nationals placed him on the disabled list on Aug. 5, retroactive to Aug. 4, with a thumb injury. Once on the DL, Kearns could not be claimed, the source said. "I don't think it's the difference between signing Strasburg or not," the source said of the $3.4 million, "but it couldn't have hurt."

AAAAAAAAAAAH! There goes a patch of hair. If we turn down a waiver claim on Belliard, I might run through the nearest window...

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | August 14, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

That is quite simply the strangest thing I have ever heard. Who in their right mind would claim Kearns?

Posted by: soundbloke | August 14, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

It's turns out Cheeseburger that the Lerners aren't cheap. Just really really really stupid!

Posted by: soundbloke | August 14, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Adding to the reading material:

Jayson Stark's take:

Situation causing some concern

"Logically, we know how this ought to turn out. Our Rumblings pollsters surveyed 18 baseball men from across the sport -- a group that included agents, scouting directors, GMs and other baseball executives. All but two of them predicted Strasburg will sign with the Nationals, probably about 14 seconds before the deadline, and for far less than the absurd $50-million figure Boras has been floating for months. But most of those we surveyed admitted they're just guessing. And what we found was this: The closer these folks have followed these negotiations, the more dubious they are that this is going to have a happy ending."

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Please - there is no way the Kearns story is true.

From the also take with a grain of salt dept.:

"• Some around the Nationals believe acting GM Mike Rizzo might get the fulltime job. The other candidates are highly regarded club executives Jed Hoyer of Boston and Jerry DiPoto of Arizona. An announcement may come soon."

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/jon_heyman/08/14/strasburg.nationals/1.html#ixzz0OBJe7dYc

Posted by: cdstej | August 14, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

And from the Willie Harris dept.:

Beltre sidelined with testicle injury

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/08/13/mariner.beltre.ap/index.html

Posted by: cdstej | August 14, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I don't think teams can pick up players that are on the DL. Explaining why we couldn't dump Kearns.

Posted by: hleeo3 | August 14, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

"That is quite simply the strangest thing I have ever heard. Who in their right mind would claim Kearns?

Posted by: soundbloke | August 14, 2009"

The guy, Kearns, is a former 1st round pick. Compare that to say Dunn that was a 2nd rounder with the same team?

The thumb injury may debilitating enough to explain why he had such a terrible year. MLB players are loathe to complain about injuries or use them as excuses for obvious reasons ... as seen from Chico's little Burnett expose.

He has or had (depending on your perspective) the potential to be a Zimmerman in the outfield. He still has some upside, and he really can field.

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think teams can pick up players that are on the DL. Explaining why we couldn't dump Kearns.

Posted by: hleeo3 | August 14, 2009"

He was placed on the DL after he was claimed. Blocking the claim.

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

He has or had (depending on your perspective) the potential to be a Zimmerman in the outfield. He still has some upside, and he really can field.

Posted by: periculum | August 14, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Even if all true -- and that's a bit generous given the 2 straight years of futility -- why would anyone pick up his salary? He'll be a free agent soon enough. No contender would need to pay $2.5 million for the rest of this year (plus his buyout) for a 45 day rental on a defensive RF specialist.

Posted by: cdstej | August 14, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"He was placed on the DL after he was claimed. Blocking the claim."

True, but I guess that bears the next question. Would this mystery team still pick up Kearns knowing he had a thumb injury. Even if the Nats didn't put him on the DL.

Posted by: hleeo3 | August 14, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I take anything from Jon Heyman at SI (he wrote the article about Strasburg that included exactly NOTHING new) as an advertisement for either the Yankees or Scott Boras, but Tom Verducci (also at SI)is usually pretty solid, except he's prone to hyperbole (he wrote the SI cover story about Bryce harper about a month ago). But I respect him as a reporter for things like "a certain god awful player with an even worse contract" would have been claimed on waivers if "a certain team that is god awful" hadn't put him on the DL.

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | August 14, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

cdstej: Guessing that Willie is wearing a cup now. That whole scene, from initial contact to collapsing on the ground, symbolized this nuttiness of this season (pun intended). The post-contact Willie Harris pose should be on the front cover of Media Guide.

Posted by: joemktg1 | August 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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