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Team President Stan Kasten Explains GM Search

Take it away, Stan.:

---

As I told you guys, I thought it was important when we made the change [in March] -- even though I had a lot of confidence in Mike, which has been rewarded and justified -- I thought it was a good opportunity for the franchise to do a thorough, diligent, comprehensive search to see who the best person we could find would be. It's been a great experience for me. It's been a great help to me. I set out to do a thorough, comprehensive search as, I said, but I had to keep it confidential to get the best advice and to have people talk to me as thoroughly as I needed them to. So that's why I kept it as quiet as I did. I think the people that I dealt with -- particularly the people whose names never came out; especially the final candidates whose names never came out -- were very appreciative for the way I did it. In fact one said to me last night -- and I did talk to a number of the final candidates last night -- and a couple in particular mentioned how good it was for their names to never leak out. And truthfully, we've seen names of guys who weren't really candidates, we've seen real candidates whose names never got out. You know, it's just the nature of the way it happens, and we all know media reports aren't always right; I think we know that. So I can't really talk about names and I never will.

But, I pretty quickly got together a list of, like, 75 names. There are probably 80 people in the whole sport, but I did get a pretty long list and pretty quickly I culled that down to 15 people. And I spent real quality time with each of them, most in person, some just on the phone. And I'd say after that I probably got down to a final grouping of six and spent a lot of time with those people. And again, from all of them I learned a lot. These are all really top people, and I would say of the 12 or 15 best people in my opinion, all of them are, have been or will be GMs. Certainly they're all qualified to be GMs. Approximately half of them will be successful, because that's all that ever are successful.

And it's just hard to know in interviews which ones will be successful; it's just hard. But they're all qualified to do it. Having gone through all that, we felt that with Mike here -- with what he did -- this was the best fit here. I think some other candidates might have been better fits in other circumstances, but for this situation here with everything that's been going on with relationships and et cetera, Mike was the best and in fact the perfect fit.

Timetable-wise, I thought, given with everything going on ... I thought I could get it all done including meetings with our owners by July 1. And that started to slip a little. When it slipped a little, we decided, 'You know what, let's just put the final thing off until the signing deadline.' That's why it took this long. It could have been done quicker, but we didn't need it done quicker because we were feeling really good about the things we had in place and the people we had in place.

Do we need more people in the front office? I feel that we do. We got shorthanded when this happened in March. I've been doing things I wouldn't necessarily be doing. Mike has been doing things he wouldn't necessarily be doing. We are going to correct that in the next few weeks and months and ramp back up in a way that we should. I will say, boy, the job sure has gotten done with Mike and his staff. I think we've had a very good season overcoming hurdles -- not record-wise; the record is what it is and is disappointing. But when you look at the steps that have been taken, the moves that have been made and the pieces that are starting to accumulate here, I feel great about not just [Thursday's] decision but about the long-term prospects for success, which by the way are not nearly as long term as others are observing.

Q: Did you ever considering something like co-GMs, anything unconventional like that?

Kasten: I wouldn't have ruled it out. I wouldn't have ruled it out. I guess I just never got to a place where I thought I needed to go that way. I will say, I spoke to unconventional candidates -- okay, I'll go that far. But as far as unconventional structures -- it never became a need.

Q: You felt like all along Rizzo had all the things you need in a GM?

Kasten: Well I'll say this: There's no one person who hits everything needed for the job all by himself. No one does that. Everyone needs lieutenants and advisers. Mike is no exception. Some other people with a different background would need different kinds of people than Mike might need around him. But Mike has worked really hard on some areas that he identified today. Mike has become much more adept Sabermetrically -- he even uses that word in our meetings -- than he would have thought a year ago. He identified that as something he'd like to step up in, and he happened to have on his staff a pretty good crop of people, a pretty good set of resources to help him with that. So he was quite diligent about becoming fluent in that part of the world. As you know, his background is eyeball scouting, which I continue to think is the single most important thing. But it's 60-40. It's not 90-10. The other Sabermetric part of the world is very, very important, increasingly. I don't think it's ever going to replace eyeball scouting. I think it will always be a mistake to scout by statistics. You will never be able to dispense with eyeball scouting. And I will tell you in fact behind the scenes, it was the eyeball scouting that led us to Nyjer Morgan. We did a fair amount of sabermetric analysis, but it was what the people on the ground were saying that made that so important for us.

Q: When you started this process with all these interviews, would you say Mike was the frontrunner?

Kasten: No, I didn't handicap it at all. I will say from the beginning Mike had a home-court advantage if you will because of the familiarity and being here and all that. And I've discussed this with Mike: If there was somebody head and shoulders better to come right in, that person would have gotten the job. I never felt that way. I felt Mike was the right guy to be here.

Q: Would any of the candidates you looked at be interested in being the assistant general manager?

Kasten: Any of the candidates -- no, I don't think they'd be interested. I don't think they'd be candidates. I think they were all higher-level, higher-profile people.

Q: You mentioned the 75 candidates, the 15. What was the timeline there in narrowing it down?

Kasten: I don't know. I think I was down to six or so by the first of June maybe. Mid-May, June 1. You know, we had other stuff going on -- as you recall. And it was, you know, wearing us out mentally. The first half of the season, just psychologically, it was hard. And to have to get out there and do the right thing here -- and in every case it was not just somebody selling me. I also had to lay out my vision. I had to be Stan in all these meetings. There were days where I didn't feel like being that guy. You know? So it took more time than it wish it had.

Q: How much with outside candidates, how much of a selling job?

Kasten: Oh no. I know where you're going. No, this was -- our candidates were the best and the brightest. The only people that were not interested in this were people who felt more secure where they were, or were current GMs or they looked like they were on that track. But there was no one who wasn't interested in this opportunity. [talks about virtues of DC, etc.]

Q: You guys had to make a managerial switch in the middle of this, obviously. How much did that set the timetable back or complicate things?

Kasten: No, it was just more stuff going on. Those things were unrelated.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 21, 2009; 8:38 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rizzo, Two Perspectives
Next: Quiz: Who Is Nyjer Morgan?

Comments

New posted...

quick off topic question: a frined of mine has tickets for tonight in section 110U. What does the U mean? He's in row LL if that matters.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

[talks about virtues of DC, etc.] = yada yada yada

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I swear I get new-posted more than the Nats get the raw end of a call! If there's a post that's up too long, just let me know, and i'll post -- sure to be a new one just before publishing!
--------

Re: Rizzo's long-term planning:

Quite simply, we have no idea yet! Sure he was auditioning for the GM job, so he had to concentrate on immediate results while still continuing to build blocks for the future. Now that he officially has the reins, we'll get a chance to see.

He moved Hernandez while he had some value (shocking really) and opening up room for the real evaluation that needs to happen (Gonzo, maybe Guz at 2nd in Sept).

I'm still concerned other GMs won't want to deal/trade with him until he starts to get a few bust deals under his belt. No one wants to get fleeced like the Bucs with Nyjer/Burnett!

Because his skillful talent evaluation is well known, his immediate impact might have to be on which Free Agents to pursue this off-season, and convincing them that NatsTown is the place to sign.

Give the guy a chance this off-season before you hang him on a cross. We have core pieces in place... extend Dunn's contract, draft/sign more hitters to fill out the minors, and package the young arms as necessary to fill out pieces on the 40 man for 2010-2011.


Posted by: mo_dc | August 21, 2009 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mo_dc | August 21, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Twinbrook, U just means the upper part of the section. L would be for the lower. I think rows A-Z are L, and AA-ZZ are U. (I don't think the rows go that high, and it may not be that exact, but that's the general idea.)

Posted by: Cosmo06 | August 21, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

@twinbrook

From last post, a fuller explanation. The 100s each have a "upper" (u) and "lower"(l) section. The lower section rows have single letters A-Z, while the upper beginn with double letters AA-etc. So your friend is in fairly high row of Section 110.

Posted by: adhardwick | August 21, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

@twinbrook

From last post, a fuller explanation. The 100s each have a "upper" (u) and "lower"(l) section. The lower section rows have single letters A-Z, while the upper beginn with double letters AA-etc. So your friend is in fairly high row of Section 110.

Posted by: adhardwick | August 21, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Just got this from the team (links not included here but check the team site for more info):

Nationals Insiders are invited to chat with Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, TODAY at 11:30 a.m. ET.

The chatroom will open at 10 a.m. ET for you to pre-submit your questions for the newest member of the Nationals, so log in early! If you're not a Nationals Insider yet, register now for your free account and join us for an exciting day in NatsTown!

Log in to the chatroom at 10 a.m.

Not a Nationals Insider yet? Join now! It's free, and you'll be able to take part in the chat! Become a Nationals Insider

Visit nationals.com for more information

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the multiple post.Don't know what happened!

Section 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | August 21, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Link for the chat:

http://mlb.mlb.com/fan_forum/chat.jsp

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

thanks adharwick and Cosmo06!

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Chico, we are all pleased about the freshness of Rizzo and taking new paths, but please, please, please NEVER use "ambition" as a verb again...ugh.

Posted by: Traveler8 | August 21, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we see progress until we start beating the good teams i.e. Rockies,Phils,Giants,Cubs and so on, while this just completed series was very competitive "moral" victories won't put fannies in the seats, we need to kick some azz,and can we please get some enthusiasm out of the home crowd i cheer louder here in the A-T-L then they do at Nats Park.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 21, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I'd add to dargregmag's point that the schedule looks pretty tough from here on in, seeing as how many of the team that they'll be facing are in the running for a postseason berth.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

uh, "teams"

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Chico,

It's SABRmetrics, not sabermetrics.

Signed,
Proud member of SABR, since the early '90s.

Posted by: Catcher50 | August 21, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Nats' Strasburg chat postponed
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the chat with the Nats' the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Stephen Strasburg, has been postponed. Please check back for the new date and time.

Posted by: sec231 | August 21, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Re: Nats schedule,
Kinda ironic that the games vs the sorry Mets in September could very well determine whether the Nats hit 100 losses, or even the worst record (and first place in the Bryce Harper derby). Personally, I don't think the Nats will be there, but with a makeshift rotation, shutting down the juniors (remember Martis pitched in WBC so his innings are up too), and a formidable schedule of teams playing for playoff spots, it could be tough...

Posted by: mo_dc | August 21, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"Nats' Strasburg chat postponed
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the chat with the Nats' the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Stephen Strasburg, has been postponed. Please check back for the new date and time."

They didn't say he's day to day, did they?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

"I'd add to dargregmag's point that the schedule looks pretty tough from here on in, seeing as how many of the team that they'll be facing are in the running for a postseason berth."

Two years ago Manny Acta took his team into a similarly dire situation and emerged by both avoiding 90 losses and spoiling the Mets' drive to the playoffs. Riggleman's better than Acta, right? So we should expect nothing less out of him now. Will he deliver?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Once again, Martis did NOT pitch in the WBC this time around. He did last time, but not this season. In fact, he showed up early to spring training for THIS team in order to get some work in and to try and earn a spot for the rotation. That may also lead towards some innings limit, but he did NOT pitch in the WBC this spring. I'm sure that the Netherlands team wishes that he had.

Posted by: faNATic | August 21, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

National League Managers vote Ryan Zimmerman best 3b defensively, Pedro Feliz and David Wright follow, per Baseball America.

Also, Nyjer gets a lot of love. Best Baserunner, 3rd fastest, and 3rd best outfielder. National League Managers...WOW!

Posted by: longterm | August 21, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

mo: Actually, Martis skipped the WBC this year, to have a better chance at making the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | August 21, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"I also had to lay out my vision. I had to be Stan in all these meetings. There were days where I didn't feel like being that guy. You know?"

***************

I loved this statement. For just a second he wasn't being used-car-salesman Stan, he was being a human, losing-wears-me-down-too Stan. Thank you.

Posted by: NatsNut | August 21, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

So anyone with a ticket to tonight's game can see the press conference? Or is it just people who purchased the $1 ticket????

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Here's a link to an NJ post where Chico confirms that Martis did NOT go to the WBC. Just like trading draft picks, it seems that this comes up incessantly.

Sorry, didn't bother to Tin Yurl it:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2009/02/rivera_orr_to_participate_in_w.html

Posted by: faNATic | August 21, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

NY Times reports that Livan has been released by the Mets.

http://tinyurl.com/nb8dn5

Posted by: TomServo | August 21, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

> So anyone with a ticket to tonight's game can see the press conference? Or is it just people who purchased the $1 ticket????

Anyone.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

> NY Times reports that Livan has been released by the Mets.

The box score of last night's Mets game shows that Brian Schneider is batting .182. Wasn't there some bozo here a while back who was saying the Nats would be better off if he was still here?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"So how's the Bryce Harper race going" you ask? Frankly, I think he stands a better chance of landing up 95 and wearing orange and black than being a Nat.

Washington --43 78 .355
Kansas City --47 73 .392 4.5 games back
Baltimore --49 72 .405 6 games back
San Diego --51 72 .415 7 games back
Pittsburgh --49 70 .412 7 games back

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

this from the NYT story about LH... "Sheffield had asked for a contract extension with the team, but that the Mets declined his request. As a result, Sheffield took himself out of the lineup and briefly threatened to leave the team. In the end, he was in the dugout during the game and even pinch-hit and struck out in the eighth inning, but he did not stay after the game to speak to reporters."

Man, good thing we've got Rizzo now and not JimBo. Shef is just the type of guy JimBo loved to sign.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I believe that rookie manager Acta's 2007 Nats went 10-7 after the All-Star Break (14-12 for the month of July), 12-17 in August, and 15-13 in September. That works out to .500 ball after the All-Star Break (37-37). Go get 'em, guys!

---

Two years ago Manny Acta took his team into a similarly dire situation and emerged by both avoiding 90 losses and spoiling the Mets' drive to the playoffs. Riggleman's better than Acta, right? So we should expect nothing less out of him now. Will he deliver?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I loved the Rizzo quote from Boz's collum about someone sent to AAA: "I can lose without jerks." Who do you think he was talking about?

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

>Riggleman's better than Acta, right? So we should expect nothing less out of him now. Will he deliver?

This team needs Bryce Harper more than anything. They're mathematically eliminated, so the record means nothing. They basically know what Riggleman offers, regardless of how well they do the rest of the year. He's been in the bigs as a manager for 10 years. This is just pre-spring training so they can evaluate the players they have. Just because they charge money for the games doesn't mean that they mean anything outside of development for next year. That's why the crowds are still so small. 'Look honey - we're only 33 under .500!'

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I absolutely disagree with posters like Brue who wish to start "Wait[ing] 'til next year" after July 4. It is still major league baseball and one plays to win in major league baseball. Harper Smarper! The kid is 16 years old. A second or third or even fourth round pick will do us fine. I hope for 63 wins but I think my earlier prediction (made during the dark days) of 55 wins is safe.

Posted by: adhardwick | August 21, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

"This team needs Bryce Harper more than anything"? Really? You think that a kid who should be in high school can be the savior? Would he really be ready for the bigs in 2011?

No, I think that the Nats are a lot closer to respectable than that. Let's talk middle infield. Let's talk a veteran starting pitcher.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I absolutely disagree with posters like Brue who wish to start "Wait[ing] 'til next year" after July 4. It is still major league baseball and one plays to win in major league baseball. Harper Smarper! The kid is 16 years old. A second or third or even fourth round pick will do us fine. I hope for 63 wins but I think my earlier prediction (made during the dark days) of 55 wins is safe.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | August 21, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

You can't lay down to try to get the 1st pick. Let the chips fall where they may and go out and win as many as you can!

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 21, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

> They basically know what Riggleman offers, regardless of how well they do the rest of the year.

So then they should either sign Riggleman up longterm now, or can him like they did Acta and sign the real manager of the future. Which should it be?

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 11:17 AM | Report abuse

> You can't lay down to try to get the 1st pick.

Yes you can. That's exactly what the Nats did last year.

Posted by: FromTheEclipseThePlaceThatBobCarpenterCallsHome | August 21, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

so following the coronation, does natstown officially become strasburg?

Posted by: surly_w | August 21, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Yes, and Half Street becomes Half Strasse.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 21, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I loved the Rizzo quote from Boz's collum about someone sent to AAA: "I can lose without jerks." Who do you think he was talking about?

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 10:51 AM |


Its gotta be Thrilledge. I can't think of anyone else beside Dukes.

Posted by: FloresFan | August 21, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

"Nats' Strasburg chat postponed
Due to unforeseen circumstances, the chat with the Nats' the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Stephen Strasburg, has been postponed. Please check back for the new date and time."

He has to find a bank that can cash that big bonus check. Skank of America had "insufficient funds."

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | August 21, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

With the Morgan-Millege trade getting a lot of ink today, I thought I'd see how that's working out for Pittsburgh. The view from there is much the same as here:

http://tinyurl.com/n9rq3r

("Bench coach/outfield instructor Gary Varsho . . . is working hours each day with Lastings Milledge, essentially being taught 'almost from scratch,' as [manager John] Russell put it, how to play the outfield.")

and a more detailed piece:

http://tinyurl.com/o5uje7

("In his relatively brief time in Pittsburgh, Milledge has translated into a no-tool guy.")

Posted by: ThatsRich | August 21, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

so following the coronation, does natstown officially become strasburg?

Posted by: surly_w

************

Nope. It becomes Strikesburg.

=)

Posted by: NatsNut | August 21, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

For some baseball fans, it seems one of their constitutional rights to offer opinions on individual players: i.e., trade 'em or get them. Rizzo's been in baseball 27 years, and yet I know we'll be seeing a lot of second-guessing. Already are.

Would you let one of these constitutional rights opinionators do an appendectomy on your kid? Why not? They know as much about pediatric surgery as they do about evaluating baseball talent.

Some modesty is called for. Maybe after three years or so it may be possible to start second-guessing. But not now.

Posted by: JohnRDC | August 21, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

1a, I loved the Half Strass! I think of it as the main drag of Natsburg.

Posted by: Traveler8 | August 21, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

>"This team needs Bryce Harper more than anything"? Really? You think that a kid who should be in high school can be the savior? Would he really be ready for the bigs in 2011?

No, I think that the Nats are a lot closer to respectable than that. Let's talk middle infield. Let's talk a veteran starting pitcher.

Posted by: twinbrook |

Do you want respectable, or do you want to win it all? You get the best players you can, and if you don't have to bid with the Yankees for Harper, consider it a steal. Same as for Strasburg. The Nats wouldn't have come across a pitcher like that in a million years. Robin Yount played when he was 18. Harper will be 17 on Oct. 1. He can probably play middle infield too.

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

>I hope for 63 wins but I think my earlier prediction (made during the dark days) of 55 wins is safe.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick

And you'll be there with your pom poms. I get it. So what.

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

>So then they should either sign Riggleman up longterm now, or can him like they did Acta and sign the real manager of the future. Which should it be?

Posted by: fsalkflkdsj

These games don't matter, except to figure out the young starting pitching. That's it. Riggleman isn't going to offer anything different six months from now than he is today. If they signed him to a long term deal today, they'd just be going for the flavor of the month the way they did with Acta. Look at the bright side - at least Acta's not involved, so whomever it is, it's bound to be better.

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

I posted yesterday about Harper(Josh Hamilton waiting to happen) too much too soon, what? The kid will be a target if he is rushed up to the bigs you don't think most pitchers are going to try extra hard to "K" him every time he steps to the plate, let Rizzo see who's available and go from there.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 21, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Ah yes, Rock'n Robin, one of my all time favorite players, did debut at 18. But that was in '74. the Brewers didn't become one of the elite teams until at least six years later, and didn't hit the post season until 1981.

My point is that the Nats are closer than that to being a contender. It doesn't take all that much to compete for the wild card. Look at Colorado this year or a couple of years ago. Play solid D and get some decent starting pitching -- which I think the Nats will have one way or another next couple of years -- and have your bats hot at the right time, and you have a legitimate shot at winning it all.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

>My point is that the Nats are closer than that to being a contender. It doesn't take all that much to compete for the wild card. Look at Colorado this year or a couple of years ago. Play solid D and get some decent starting pitching -- which I think the Nats will have one way or another next couple of years -- and have your bats hot at the right time, and you have a legitimate shot at winning it all.

Posted by: twinbrook

I agree with this too. And this is the very reason they need Harper, because they're going to be respectable starting next year, and in future years, and a player like that will never come around again, unless you want to pay 150 million for him. That's why we need to get him now before we get good, so we can get great.

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

And my point is that getting Harper is not the most imortant thing that the Nats must do, hence my respectful disagreement with your statement "This team needs Bryce Harper more than anything". (Ain't it great to have the NJ to distract you on a slow day at work?)

I would argue that while it would be nice to get a talent like Harper, if (and it is a big IF) he lives up to his hype, it is unlikely he will transform the franchise overnight. Look at Yount, HOFer. He didn't have over 100 RBIs for seven years.

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Its kind of early to start looking at this, but which free agents would you like to see the Nats target this off-season?

A veteran SP would be the first priority IMO, and also a MI would be nice. If the Angels can't re-sign Chone Figgins and John Lackey, one of those guys would be great (Vlad is also a FA, so I'm not sure they can sign them all). Or if you can't get Figgins to play 2B I'd like to see them sign a + defender at SS, someone like Khalil Greene and then move Guz to 2B.

Other names I like for SP (If available): Andy Pettitte (Don't think he'd come though), Brad Penny, Randy Wolf, Jason Jennings

Posted by: natsfanintexas | August 21, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

and look at all of the other "next best things" that weren't all that "best" after all. this isn't basketball and he isn't lebron james. even the absolute top of the line hype guys in baseball are a crap shoot.

and you'll note that the hype machine has taken a bit of a hit on harper recently.

you play the game to win, you should always play your best and try to win. if they end up with that pick and take harper, great. if they don't, they'll take someone else and hopefully that guy will pan out even better than harper.

Posted by: sec231 | August 21, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg on the Anacostia. Kinda has a nice ring to it. Anyway, this week in Sports Illustrated 380 MLB players were asked "Which player gets the east out of the most talent?" Notice anything about four of the top five selectees?

Wasteland of Minimal Production...13 percent
Daniel Cabrera...eight percent
Elijah Dukes...six percent
JD Drew...six percent
Mike MacDougal...four percent.

For the first three, we can only give our undying gratitude to J. Gordon (Tools) Bowden the Third.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Shoulda been the least, not the east.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"Robin Yount played when he was 18."

and how many World Series rings does he have in his 20-year career? I love guys like Robin Yount, but he wasn't the savior for the Brewers (they made the playoffs twice in his career) much like one shouldn't pine for Harper to be the savior of the Nationals.

Posted by: erocks33 | August 21, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

changing topics ... our good friend Felipe Lopez returns tonight. Oh, how I miss that guy. Imagine how bad this team would be if he were still moping in the clubhouse?

And just for fun, I thought how he's affected the two teams he's played for this year (DBacks and Brewers). He started the season with AZ, then was traded to MIL on 7/20.

ARIZONA:
W-L with Felipe: 39-53 .424
W-L after Felipe: 15-14 .517

MILWAUKEE:
W-L before Felipe: 47-45 .511
W-L with Felipe: 11-17 .393

See any trends?

Posted by: erocks33 | August 21, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

How appropriate we're talking Yount when the Brew Crew is in town. Ah, the good old days of Harvey's Wallbangers. I'll never forget the game Yount almost single handedly beat the O's to win the American League East in '82 on the last day of the season in Baltimore. Or his diving catch in center field at Memorial Stadium to perserve Juan Neives' no hitter five years later. (just in case there are any O's fans lurking)

Posted by: twinbrook | August 21, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Hello??
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMk5sMHj58I
**********
You can't lay down to try to get the 1st pick. Let the chips fall where they may and go out and win as many as you can!

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 21, 2009 11:13 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 21, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

>I love guys like Robin Yount, but he wasn't the savior for the Brewers (they made the playoffs twice in his career) much like one shouldn't pine for Harper to be the savior of the Nationals.

Posted by: erocks33

Harper's more like Chipper Jones than Yount, this kid's more developed physically than Yount was even in his late twenties. No comparison.
Oh you better believe I'll pine for him. You can take that to the bank. The same way I pined for Strasburg.

Posted by: Brue | August 21, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

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