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The Stephen Strasburg Whirlwind

At 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, with the temperature at 92 degrees, Stephen Strasburg had his introductory "news conference," which was open to the public and included fireworks, a jersey presentation (an extra layer for him to wear!) and a VIP seating area where Ted Lerner sat with his wife. Strasburg, agent Scott Boras, new GM Mike Rizzo and team President Stan Kasten sat on a stage erected along the third base line. At one point, Rizzo said, "As we've said before, we don't expect Stephen to be the savior of this franchise."

Hmm.

Somehow, I don't remember a news conference featuring fireworks for Ross Detwiler.

Anyway, about an hour after the public presser ended, a smaller group of media members met more informally with Strasburg and Boras. A transcript follows.

A few comments first.

* Strasburg is well-trained to say the right things. He has been, shall we say, corporately "Borased." When he's asked about how he'll spent his money, for instance, he replies, "I haven't really thought about that. You know, I'm still just soaking it all in."

* Boras's answers might be a bit jumbled, but that's the way he really talks. "Comparability." "Risk characterization." "Commoditization." All vintage Boras.

Anyway...

[PRIVATE MEDIA SESSION]

[That's an oxymoron, by the way.]

Q: What has this day been like for you so far?

Oh, it's been pretty wild. Coming into that locker room, I've never seen anything like it. You get a chance to meet all the players you see on TV. It's a pretty tremendous feeling, and I'm really excited to get my career started and hopefully be playing up here with these guys sometime soon.

Q: How would you describe your personality?

I'm pretty laid-back. I consider myself to be a humble person. I try to manage the highs and the lows and not get too greedy out there, because I've learned in playing baseball that if you think you're the greatest, then it's gonna humble you real quick. I just try to go out there every day to improve something in my game that will help the team win.

Q: Anything important about the number 37?

I came in my freshman year and just, being a freshman, they gave me number 40. Then this catcher wanted number 40, and he was number 37, so I was like, all right, here ya go. So I got 37 from then on.

Q: Do you want to keep it?

I'm not a big superstitions guy. I pitched with number 29 in the Olympics, I wore number 37 at [San Diego] State. It doesn't really matter what jersey you wear as long as you go out there and do your thing.

Q: How much did Tony Gwynn help you the last few years?

He's just been a tremendous mentor as far as kind of preparing me for what's involved in the pro game. I guess I have to experience it first-hand, but it's extremely different from college baseball. You know, just the way his professional approach, going in day after day -- just the way he would coach our hitters and manage the game, it kind of just goes to show that you really have to step back and manage your highs and your lows and focus that you have an entire season. You can't really worry about the home run you just gave up or the loss you just had. You really have to focus on your next start or your next pitch.

Q: You described yourself as a structured person.

Absolutely. In high school I was a starter and then I went in my freshman year at State and was the closer after a few games. That was kind of where I learned to be ready on the fly, never knowing when I was gonna go in. But I kind of reinvented starting after that and I kind of realized there is a big routine you have to follow as far as conditioning, preparing for an outing. Make sure that your arm and your mental focus is 100 percent when the game starts.

Q: Is that your personality away from the baseball as well?

Oh, absolutely. I like to know what's going on with my life.

Q: You admitted when you got to SDSU that you needed to get in better shape. What did that teach you about yourself?

You know, it just goes to show that I was a lot tougher mentally than what I thought at the time. So, it just goes to show that if I want something really bad I just have to put my mind to it and work as hard as I can.

Q: You have been cognizant of trying to stay grounded. But how difficult is it when everything in your life seems to be working against that?

Well, I have always tried to be myself and I'm going to continue to do that. Just because a few dollar signs have been thrown in front of me doesn't mean I'm going to change who I am as a person. You know, that's something that my mom and dad raised me up on -- to always be true to yourself and to just be a good person.

Q: Did you think once you were drafted you would sign with this team?

You know what, when I got drafted number one overall I was just thinking, "Wow, so much happened in just a few years." I was just so thankful that day that they selected me. And then I put it in Scott Boras's hands to go out there and fight for me, and he did a great job for me, and at the same time I was extremely excited to play.

Q: At the time, what did you know about this franchise? And what have you learned since?

I never really followed any Major League Baseball as far as this year and the year before because obviously there was a lot of hype saying, like, "Who's gonna finish in last place and get the number one pick"? And that was something I had no control over and I didn't want to focus on at the time; still don't. But from what I've heard and can see here, there's a lot of history within this organization, maybe not current, but it definitely has the making of becoming a big-time organization in the major leagues that will win a lot of ballgames.

Q: Over the last two months, did you see things here that made you think, "Okay, this is a team I do want to be a part of"?

You know, I went into it, I was gonna be given an opportunity to play the game that I love and I just knew that if given the opportinty I was gonna do it. It doesn't really matter which team I go with. It will be just amazing to see you've played major league baseball, and to possibly be able to do this with the Washington Nationals was just a dream come true.

Q: Stephen, are you gonna have any time to yourself this weekend, and if so, anything in particular you want to do?

Ahh, you know, they have a pretty big itinerary for me, so I'm just kind of following them around. But I'm loving this. This stadium is amazing, absolutely amazing. The only other stadium I've been in is Petco (as far as being in locker rooms, etc.), but this is just incredible. Hopefully I'll be able to call this home sometime soon.

Q: College kid, making a lot of money. Anything now that you really want to buy or do?

I haven't really thought about that. You know, I'm still just soaking it all in. I want to go accomplish what I want to accomplish. As long as you take care of your money and don't blow it all you should be okay financially.

Q: Do you feel like all the attention you got junior year and the practice you got trying to still be a teammate among 25 other guys might help you now, where you're walking in as a rookie but still making more money than most of these guys?

I mean, yeah, in a way, but I kind of experienced that -- probably not to the magnitude that I'm going into -- but with the Olympic team, they were like, "Who's this college kid?" You know, all these guys are professionals. Some of them went in the first round. Some of them are salty minor league veterans. It was a great mix, and I learned a lot from it. Just goes to show that as long as you let your playing do the talking and just listen and don't try to step on anybody's feet you'll fit in just time.

Q: Scott, there have been obviously a ton of number one picks and a ton of people who've entered their careers with big contracts, but not many with this much scrutiny. What advice would you give a really high-profile client who's beginning his career?

BORAS: Well I think when you're talking about professional athletes it really, sometimes, these occurrences -- it's the same advice. The piece of paper, the contract, the checks, all those elements have really nothing to do with your teammates, your performance, your attitude. It's about the opportunity to perform. I think what got Stephen to this point -- the great thing about his negotiation, there was a great fluidness to it. Frankly, it was not a negotiation that was in any way, there was no acrimony. Rizz evaluated Stephen very much along the same lines I did. We realized he had extraordinary abilities physically, but we also realized he would have the ability -- both intellectually and in what his goals are as an athlete -- to handle what comes with what his talents bring. And that includes all the elements of association with contract.

Q: What do you think the biggest adjustment will be now, pitching-wise?

STRASBURG: I think the big thing that I'm gonna have to work on is just making sure that I'm ready physically to endure a 162-game season plus playoffs. You know, pitching every five days instead of once a week. That's gonna be the big thing that I'm gonna have to work on. You know, I'm gonna have to hit the gym really hard and get my arm used to pitching every five days. From there on, I just gotta go out there and do my thing and help my team win ballgames.

Q: Scott, how much did your relationship with Rizzo help in the process to sign Stephen?

BORAS: Well, we had a challenge before us because we had a similar evaluation on the baseball side but we had a new market to look at, because markets are often driven by two things. One is revenues and the other one is talent. And so in going through that process, it was one that really began for me with the Washington franchise -- I had an opportunity to meet with Ted and Mark frankly a great deal in the Teixeira negotiations. Of all the baseball teams I've deal with over the years, it is a family business. And that means good and sometimes bad. It means they're accountable, and they're people. I knew when Stephen's season was over and Ted and Mark got a chance to meet Stephen, they would understand a little bit more about this opportunity. Because there is a separation between elite players who are coming to a baseball team, whether it be through rarely the draft and often international markets and sometimes through free agency -- and the draft is normally associated with risk characterization.... It was a difficult process for all of us because the comparability was off the charts. And that part of it makes the negotiation, I think, more relative to a market side than an evaluation side. That was the most difficult part of it. Mike -- he communicated well. He's a good voice for his ownership. And also, having a history with Mike, he knows all the legal parameters we have to go through... so it resulted in, I think, a very fluid [negotiation].

Q: Stephen, I'm sure you've heard a lot of people mention the history of number one draft picks, especially pitchers. Do you think that all pertains to you, and what do you make of that history?

BORAS: If I may interrupt. When a journalist talks about number one draft picks, you're including high school and college players. The repertoire for college players is extraordinarily high for success. For high school, it's not. So I think you have to differentiate... and also understand that in prior drafts, other than in this year and the last couple years, the number one draft pick was not necessarily the best player. Probably for a good 15-year period the best player in the draft was rarely the top pick because of signability. So when we talk about success ratios I think we have to factor that in.

Q: Okay, so directly, Stephen -- do you think there's anything standing in the way of you being really, really successful?

STRASBURG: I don't know. I can't predict the future. I just have to go out there and do my thing day to day and get better. You know, God has a special plan for you and if he wants me to be extremely successful in the big leagues than I am. If he has another plan for me, it will show itself in the long run.

By Chico Harlan  |  August 21, 2009; 6:02 PM ET
 
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Comments

Martin has a gf who is truly one hot babe ... but she's just a gf ... not the "wife" as in Jarrah == Farrah ...

He needs to do much better to keep his job, wondering where the motivation he had in SYR went?

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Q: What did you most learn from Scott Boras tutelage?

Oh, it's been memorable. The glossy brochures, "safe sex", the "dutch uncle" talks. You learn a lot about what could happen with examples like Elijah Dukes and what happened to him.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

@peri: Martin's performance levels spell out the difference between AAA & "the show". Glossy numbers for a pitcher in AAA take about a 30% hit when they take the final step.
The hitters in the majors are better overall; They know how to go to the opposite field, can read pitches better, etc. For the pitcher, it's all about adapting; Learning when (sometimes the hard way) a curve or other off-speed pitch is better than the fastball, or when to work up-or-down in the zone.

Posted by: BinM | August 21, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Oh S*&^T!

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Bleh, 2-0!! Martin sucks!!! Where's Strasburg??

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

braun's dribbler goes through JD's five-hole and then fielder gets hold of a martin meatball.

Posted by: surly_w | August 21, 2009 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting how in almost every game he starts he starts out high ... once he gets the pitches lower he does better ... but if he loses concentration his pitches come up. Part of that is the pressure, the level of hitters he is facing, the crowds, etc. It is about adapting as you say BinM, and I'm not sure he is doing it ... while Mock appears to maybe have finally gotten it.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Not a great start at the rechristened Strasburg on the Anacostia.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Coming into tonight John Dale Martin has averaged less than 5 IP per start, given up 5 HR's in 27.1 IP, as opposed to 9 K's. Batters have a .355 OBP, are slugging .527 (before Fielder's HR - making the total 6 HR's in 28.1 IP - and batters' OPS against him is .879. Below replacement level numbers all around.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

Well JD Martin obviously is not a part of the future, he's just here for now....

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

leetee: All too true on Martin's #'s. He might be a top-3 in SYR, but at best a MR in WSH going forward, imo.

Posted by: BinM | August 21, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"He might be a top-3 in SYR"

More like top-3 in all of AAA. Doesn't say much for IL hitters?

When he keeps the ball down he is effective. Mebbe he could learn the knuckle-ball? Having one of those guys can always be useful. Its pretty rare.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:35 PM | Report abuse

It may be too late this season, but McCatty should work with Martin in spring training on developing a four-seam, sinking fastball or a splitter. When you only average a strikeout for every three innings pitched, he's going to need a weapon to keep hitters from elevating the ball. His air-out to ground-out ratio is 0.68 which means that two of every three balls put in play for outs are fly balls. He needs to get that ratio to 1.00 or higher.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

"John Dale Martin has averaged less than 5 IP per start, given up 5 HR's in 27.1 IP, as opposed to 9 K's. Batters have a .355 OBP, are slugging .527 (before Fielder's HR - making the total 6 HR's in 28.1 IP - and batters' OPS against him is .879. Below replacement level numbers all around."

Comparing apples-to-apples: Balester, Martis, Detwiler, Mock, JZimm? No one is having a wonderful break out year, no one looks like the "future" at this point.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

We can always bring back Cabrera ...

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Crap Martin's BA just dropped to .273.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye martin

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Our pitchers seem to be giving up a fair number of "gopher balls" lately.

Posted by: bigmook | August 21, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

4th inning: 3 hits, 3 strike outs ZERO WALKS let's look at Balester's last outing by now? 2 home runs 4 hits, 5 walks? After 1.2 innings?

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Actually, periculum your analysis is fairly close to the truth in the "apples-to-apples" category at least for Balester, Detwiler, Martis and Mock.

Balester .354 OBP/.825 OPS
Detwiler .379 OBP/.832 OPS
Martis .326 OBP/.828 OPS
Mock .395 OBP/.863 OPS
Stammen .316 OBP/.776 OPS
Zimmermann .332 OBP/.756 OPS

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

leetee

looks to me that balester, detwiler, martis and mock could have used more development time in SYR. it goes to show how the deposed GM had no foresight to protect these guys from coming up here prematurely and taking their learning lumps against big league hitters.

Posted by: surly_w | August 21, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

whatever happened to the WHIP? Even Rizzo was bandying that about the last couple of days ...
It pretty much takes all of that into account and considers the ultimate evil: walks.

Stammen 1.29
Lannan 1.36
Zimmerman 1.36
Martis 1.42
Martin 1.50
Balester 1.58
Olsen 1.72
Detwiler 1.75
Mock 1.83 (mostly from his early relief
efforts)

and for comparison:

Cabrera 2.08


Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

and IL hitters must be using wet, rolled-up copies of newspapers at the plate.

Posted by: surly_w | August 21, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Oh no ... the ball is coming up again ...

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

"and IL hitters must be using wet, rolled-up copies of newspapers at the plate.

Posted by: surly_w | August 21, 2009"

It does get pretty wet around the great lakes in places like Syracuse, Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, etc.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Both Belliard and Guzman aren't helping with these young pitchers ... you're not going to turn double plays very often with those two.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

5IP 5H 3ER 0W 3SO 2HR.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

This has actually been one of Martin's better starts this season.

Posted by: leetee1955 | August 21, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse

leetee, peri: From numbers directly at-hand (through 8/14 with WSH), here are the primary starters to-date...
Lannan: 6+IP/start, 1.68GO/FO, .270BAA, 1.41WHIP.
Balester: 6.0IP/start, 0.96GO/FO, .277BAA, 1.33WHIP.
Olsen (DL-15): 5.2IP/start, 0.87GO/FO, .317BAA, 1.75WHIP.
Martis: 5.2IP/start, 0.82GO/FO, .251BAA, 1.51WHIP.
Stammen: 5+IP/start, 1.44GO/FO, .277BAA, 1.33WHIP.
JZimm (DL-15): 5+IP/start, 1.27GO/FO, .265BAA, 1.40WHIP.
Detwiler: 5+IP/start, 0.95GO/FO, .314BAA, 1.81WHIP.
Cabrera (DFA): 4.2+IP/start, 1.27GO/FO, .289BAA, 1.75WHIP.
Mock (as SP): 4+IP/start, 1.07GO/FO, .341BAA, 1.98WHIP.
Martin: 4+IP/start, 0.8GO/FO, .311BAA, 1.64WHIP.

Posted by: BinM | August 21, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

JD can hit, and he can bunt. Better than AG apparently.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Both Martin and Mock appear to improve with every single start.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:21 PM | Report abuse

TOo bad we can't give any of our starters any run support.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

6IP 5H 3ER 0W 4SO 2HR ...

Well at least the bullpen is finally getting a rest.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

offense is sooooooo cold

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

JD got plenty of help in his last start ... 10 runs.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

LATELY we haven't.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

78 pitches.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

inning about to explode

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Another close scoring game ...

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Update from the park, the mayorga coffee folks selling coffee and cookies are wearing t shirts that say "Brew Crew"

that's just wrong this weekend!

Posted by: mo_dc | August 21, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

well our offense is almost non existent past the 7th inning. so game over.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

rachel: Nice positive vibe; NOT.

Posted by: BinM | August 21, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

Harris : .219. That's pretty bad for someone who has been getting starts quite a bit this year. Left handed or not.

Posted by: periculum | August 21, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

BinM- Come on, we haven't gotten anything going in the late innings lately.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

rain shortened loss

Posted by: rachel216 | August 21, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Sosa -- DFA;bring up some kid who cares

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | August 21, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Why I love Riggs: In his post-game presser, he says Nats fans have been great, supporting this teamn despite its record. "Makes you feel good about humanity."

Three best catches of 200(:
Strasburg, Rizzo and Riggs.

Posted by: jdschulz50 | August 21, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Peri,

I know JD is your boy and all but, he is a #5 at best.

You called for his promotion for a long time before he was actually promoted and that was a good call and he had some decent starts when the Nats needed an arm. However, I don't think he is part of the future. Just my opinion.

Posted by: Section505203 | August 21, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Re Strasburg introduction: This is the most stupid PR stunt ever produced by any team!!!!

Posted by: 8andeight | August 21, 2009 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Just when I thought Dunn was becoming a respectable fielder at first base I see two statue-like plays on grounders to his position. Of course both are ruled hits because he never came close to getting a glove on either. And that is enough to get Martin out of the game.

Posted by: driley | August 21, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Chico said Strasburg was added to the 40-man. Does anyone know who was dropped or were there on 39 players on the roster before today?

Posted by: grforbes | August 22, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Chico said Strasburg was added to the 40-man. Does anyone know who was dropped or were there on 39 players on the roster before today?

Posted by: grforbes | August 22, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Chico said Strasburg was added to the 40-man. Does anyone know who was dropped or were there on 39 players on the roster before today?

Posted by: grforbes | August 22, 2009 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Really pathetic performance this week against two teams with something to play for. Obviously, we've auditioned Martin (I admit to being among those advocating it), and it looks like he's not part of the answer. It's not clear yet if Mock should be a bullpen guy or starter, but he needs to show something more, and quickly. I hope a couple of double-A guys get a look in Sept.

100 losses seems inevitable now. New goal needs to be at least 60 wins.

Posted by: nats24 | August 22, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

Double A is where the action is in the minor leagues. Don't pay attention to Syracuse. At best it is finishing school or a holding pen for almost (but not quite major league players. Pay attention to Potomac and Harrisburg. When the players are getting good there we will almost be ready for prime time. JD Martin might be OK as a long relief but not as a starter. When teams have seem him for the third time through the lineup he is meat hanging on the hook.

Posted by: WashOut | August 22, 2009 2:06 AM | Report abuse

Everyone agrees Martin is not here for the long run, I don't think his stuff is good enough. I mean I like him just cuz I think he's really hot, but I don't even think he's a #5 starter. maybe we should call up Shairon Martis.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 22, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg won't be on the 40-man roster, they already said he was going to train in Viera, FL.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 22, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Is it me, or is it sad that only 26K were there last night when the tickets were $1 and it was fireworks night. I know it was hot and wet and August... but, still... A WINNING TEAM, guys (or the Red Sox in town).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 22, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

As my sixteen year old would say concerning this weeks play on the field fail,fail,fail!!!!.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 22, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

> Strasburg won't be on the 40-man roster, they already said he was going to train in Viera, FL.

He signed a major league contract. He has to go on the 40-man roster. That doesn't mean he will be called up in September, though.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 22, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

is it sad that only 26K were there last night when the tickets were $1
----
Were all tickets $1? What I heard suggested it was a limited number the day it was announced, and then an additional 1,000 at that price shortly before Friday's game. Maybe I misunderstood, but my thought at the time was that it would have a limited impact on Friday's attendance.

Posted by: KenNat | August 22, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"is it sad that only 26K were there last night when the tickets were $1
----
Were all tickets $1?"

No. They sold 6,000 tickets for $1 online, and then however many they sold at the box office yesterday before the press conference. (Probably not many, judging from the couple hundred that were at the press conference.) So take those 6,000 off last night's attendance and you get 20,000 - about what they have been drawing lately when it's not the Cubs, Mets, Phillies, Red Sox or some other team with their own following.

Posted by: nunof1 | August 22, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

rachel: Strasburg signed a major-league contract - he's on the 40-man roster, but he won't get called up when the rosters expand in September.

Posted by: BinM | August 22, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

oops, nunof beat me to that one.

Posted by: BinM | August 22, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

43-79. Get in there Bryce Harper. Get in there.

Posted by: Brue | August 22, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Rachel,

Look at the Nationals site he is already on the 40 man roster. I suspect some bodies will come off there in October. Dmitri Young and a few others.

Willie Harris is a great guy to come off the bench but as I said earlier he has come back to where his history said he should be. You need guys like this but he is not superman.

Posted by: WashOut | August 22, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Washout: DaMeat & Belliard are the remaining 2009-FA contracts. Kearns' option can be "bought out" for $1M.

Bard (C), Morse (UT), Padilla (RF), Martis (SP), Clippard, Rivera, Sosa, Bergmann, Burnett & Villone (all RP) could go FA in 2010. Flores & Nieves (C), Willingham & Dukes (OF), and Olsen (SP) are all Arbitration-elegible in 2010.

Posted by: BinM | August 22, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record

No NCAA bid

No NIT bid

Maryland Football will finish with a 2-10 record.

Maryland's defensive line and linebacker corps are a joke --- no pass rush whatsoever and give up a ton of long yardage plays.

I have seen harder hitting teams in powder puff leagues.

The only hard hits the Terps make - are out of bound plays - which cost them an additional 15 yards - which are quite frequent.

California's running back - Best - will gain 296 yards in the opening game

I love it, when Maryland constantly gets embarrassed on national TV.

Prediction:

California -- 56
Maryland -- 10

It's hilarious to see Maryland win a game - and the very next week get clobbered by a Virginia Tech - Boston College.

It is great to see Maryland go down to a crushing defeat on the football recruiting front (the kids they have received commitments from - are a joke! - taking the bottom of the barrel)

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | August 22, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

BinM I think you are mistaken about Clippard, Bergmann, Morse, Martis and Burnett being able to go as FA in 2010. Clippard, Martis, Morse and Burnett haven't even reached arbitration yet. Bergmann is just getting to that point. Dukes is not at arbitration yet either. They have to have more service time to get to that point.

Posted by: peytondowdy | August 22, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

peyton: Nice catch. Right you are, although I think all of them are out of options & can become free agents if they are sent to the minors out of Spring Training in 2010.

Posted by: BinM | August 22, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

What does Maryland football have to do with this blog?

Posted by: WashOut | August 22, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What does Maryland football have to do with this blog?

Posted by: WashOut | August 22, 2009 3:38 PM
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Absolutely nothing - Just a "cut&paste" troll trying to get a rise out of UMD fans across multiple blogs.

Posted by: BinM | August 22, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

NO ONE CARES ABOUT MARYLAND FOOTBALL

Posted by: rachel216 | August 22, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@sec505203:

I don't think any of their pitchers have impressed me enough to even consider them a part of any future. Yet some of them must step up or the plan fails. Lannan is probably the closest. Olsen and Detwiler the other two lefties were complete failures. Martis is young enough (as is Detwiler) and so there is still time for them. But that is not true for most in AA/AAA among both starters and relievers!!! Except for Storen, Detwiler, Martis and slightly older Balester?

Its looking more and more like we have to pin our hopes on Strasburg, Holder, and Karns as starters. There is a reason Karns was signed for "over the slot" money. Then there's the wildcard: Mock. Mock looks like he could be a #1 if he can consistently pitch as he has the last 2 starts?

Maybe Meyers will be the one? Maybe Martis? JZimm until his injury definitely looked the part of a #1. Now he may end up as a #4, or #5?

I actually have more hope for the relief staff at this point. As the competition gets better so muct the starters?

In the end though, its all still up in the air until all of the pitchers in their "farm reserve" have been auditioned and conditioned for the pro's. That's when we will see.

For Martin, well 88 mph isn't a softballer. That's about as hard as Livan threw. And there are other successful pitchers as well ... I tend to agree with BinM, for the pro's I think Martin needs another pitch, like a screwball, wicked sinker, a spitter? But Martin isn't the only one. Martin does do one thing the others appear to have real problems with; (except for Mock recently, and Lannan), getting the ball over the plate and avoiding walks.


Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

I think that the time has come for Harris and Belliard to be subplanted.

They should be auditioning Morse who is 5 years or so younger for the part. They have been auditioning AG. Ian Desmond assuredly must be next. And lefty Kory Casto appears to be improving. The nice thing about Morse is that he is Willingham type player, a professional hitter.

I'm not sure Padilla fits ... and you never hear Rizzo or Riggleman mention him.

Syracuse and Harrisburg are now deeply stacked with pitching prospects that must be evaluated now ... but position players are lacking ... so one must assume that some will soon be used to acquire position player prospects from other teams. Thus the need to closely and thoroughly evaluate them.

Marerro is now in AA. Fortunately, he has 2-3 years before they have to decide what to do with him? Do you risk replacing a professional hitter like Dunn with Marerro? That's going to be a tough call.

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

"43-79. Get in there Bryce Harper. Get in there"

Again, a high school junior!!!! When he gets drafted? Do you think Marerro will be as good as Dunn? He got rave recognition when the Nats drafted him first out of high school?

That is an extremely high risk pick as opposed to all the college pitching Rizzo has been collecting. You have to believe more than a few of those guys will pan out in the long run.

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Maybe a double header tomorrow. Can't see how they play tonight. It's gonna be pouring.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 22, 2009 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Given the thumb and its history ... I think you have to have Kearns carefully examined medically by the best sports medicine guys. And if the thumb can heal, and can be protected without affecting his hitting .... then you resign the guy if you can. I'm not that impressed with Dukes's play. Perhaps a trade is in the offing? Dukes would be better trade bait than Kearns. And Kearns can be a good backup because of his strong fielding skills.

They do need to take another look at Kory Casto because of his left-handed bat, and Morse but he is a right hander. Orr I think will not be back ... all that is there is Marco Ypez ...

Something to keep in mind with Harper and Marerro. They are right handed and Dunn is a left-handed hitter.

Now, down in Harrisburg things become a lot more interesting. The entire outfield bats left-handed. And some of those guys look to be almost ready.

Daneil, Davis, Lowrance, Nanita, and Plasencia all bat left. And then there is Bernadina.

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't leave the house yet! Looking at the radar future map, it looks like they won't take the tarp off until at least 9 or 9:30.

Posted by: paulkp | August 22, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hurricane season is upon us.

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

>That is an extremely high risk pick as opposed to all the college pitching Rizzo has been collecting. You have to believe more than a few of those guys will pan out in the long run.

Posted by: periculum

There's no downside. Only thing Harper requires is a little patience. And probably not as much as you might think. Because when you got it, you got it. Oh Bryce you bad boy. Get in there.

Posted by: Brue | August 22, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

"There's no downside. Only thing Harper requires is a little patience. And probably not as much as you might think. Because when you got it, you got it. Oh Bryce you bad boy. Get in there."

I'd rather take the risk with pitching and sign guys like Dunn or Texiera. At this point you may see Marerro asked to learn to play the outfield.

He isn't Roy Hobbs. Not even close ...

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"There's no downside. Only thing Harper requires is a little patience. And probably not as much as you might think. Because when you got it, you got it. Oh Bryce you bad boy. Get in there."

I'd rather take the risk with pitching and sign guys like Dunn or Texiera. At this point you may see Marerro asked to learn to play the outfield.

He isn't Roy Hobbs. Not even close ...

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

peri: Calm down; In terms of starting pitchers, Lannan (LH-24y.o.) is a bona-fide #2-4, Olsen (LH-25y.o.) should be a #3-5 coming forward, JZimm (RH-23y.o.) is a #2-4 from 2011 forward, Mock (RH-26y.o.) can become a #3-5, and Stammen (RH-25y.o.) can become a #4-5. Strasburg (RH-21y.o.) projects to the #1-2 slot in 2011.

If the Nationals can sign a .500+ W/L, inning-eating starter in the off-season on a two-year deal, the team can be competitive in 2010 (IMO) with a rotation of Lannan, ???, Mock, Olsen, & Stammen to open the season.

Regarding the 2B situation - Harris is under contract for 2010; Belliard is a FA at the end of the season. Unless something happens in the off-season, I'm with Boswell (& some others) on taking a look at Guzman @ 2B in spring training; AGonz will likely become the MI sub. Morse is a corner IF & OF player, regardless of what the SYR roster says.

Posted by: BinM | August 22, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Am at RFK. Looked at radar on my phone. Big patch of rain, then clear. Any word on status of game?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 22, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady: "Am at RFK. Looked at radar on my phone. Big patch of rain, then clear. Any word on status of game?"

I am not at the game, but have also just looked at radar. It does look good. But is anybody from the Washington Post going to post any new information on this blog?!? What's going on out there at Nats Park?

Posted by: shepdave2003 | August 22, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Guess pre-game will be on the radio in a few minutes. Will hang here with the rest of the nats rats in the parking lot.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | August 22, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Where are the real reporters on what is happening now? Rain delay or canx? Must all be resting after the Rizzo and Strasburg stories.

Can't wait for "no sleep" Tarik to get back to Capitals Insider. Rest of the Post should follow his lead.

On the othr hand, this may be another WP cost containment policy...x hours a week no matter how many stories.

Posted by: navboss | August 22, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

"If the Nationals can sign a .500+ W/L, inning-eating starter in the off-season on a two-year deal, the team can be competitive in 2010 (IMO) with a rotation of Lannan, ???, Mock, Olsen, & Stammen to open the season."

At this point, looking at the stats, and given that Olsen is due for arbitration ... hey isn't he "a veteran"? I'd go with Detwiler instead? I foresee Stammen in competition with Estrada, Atilano, Thompon and Meyers. Thompson is a lefty 1st rounder. Hard not to give him every chance to make good. Finally, I think the pitcher they sign in the offseason had better be a damned good one ... no more "retreads". Preferably a lefty ... :) Just make sure he is good, really damned good.

Posted by: periculum | August 22, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Per Boswell: The reason high draft pick pitchers are such a frightening commodity to those who sign them is that many hurt their arms very early in their careers, often in the minors (especially if they sign directly out of high school).

--Which is all the more reason to take a hitter.

He isn't Roy Hobbs. Not even close ...
Posted by: periculum

How do you know? Just because you don't have any vision doesn't make it true. Just because you can't imagine a 16 yr old starring in the bigs doesn't mean it won't happen. And it doesn't even take that much projecting. I can help you through it.

Posted by: Brue | August 22, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm. Me thinks the Strasberg foaming at the mouth optimism has translated into weather optimism. The weather map shows yellow for another hour, then green till about 9 pm or 9:30. Ie heavy rain, then light rain.

Posted by: paulkp | August 22, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...all the Posties must have lost their keys to NJ. Or maybe - this is just a wild guess - they're putting all their resources on the football team's MEANINGLESS preseason game. Not that any media outlet in this town would do that...

F Lopez 2B
M Cameron CF
R Braun LF
P Fielder 1B
C McGehee 3B
J Bourgeois RF
J Kendall C
A Escobar SS
M Burns P

N Morgan CF
A Gonzalez SS
A Dunn 1B
R Zimmerman 3B
R Belliard 2B
E Dukes RF
J Padilla LF
W Nieves C
J Lannan P

Posted by: BGinVA | August 22, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm...all the Posties must have lost their keys to NJ. Or maybe - this is just a wild guess - they're putting all their resources on the football team's MEANINGLESS preseason game. Not that any media outlet in this town would do that...

F Lopez 2B
M Cameron CF
R Braun LF
P Fielder 1B
C McGehee 3B
J Bourgeois RF
J Kendall C
A Escobar SS
M Burns P

N Morgan CF
A Gonzalez SS
A Dunn 1B
R Zimmerman 3B
R Belliard 2B
E Dukes RF
J Padilla LF
W Nieves C
J Lannan P

Posted by: BGinVA | August 22, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

and, now that I look at the lineup, it's an intersesting one. Gonzo 2nd? Belliard 5th? Zimm and Dunn flipping spots? Padilla with the start? Riggs is mixing it up a little bit...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 22, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

read the latest Elias rankings via mlbtraderumors, turns out nick Johnson and Joe Biemel have obtained Type B status. I sure hope what we got in return is worth a 3rd round draft pick. Also, Nyjer Morgan is now Type B and Guzman is still type B. its interesting to look at considering that if we sign a FA SP(Lackey, Penny, or Garland) or 2B(Sanchez, Hudson, or Iwamura) in the offseason we may be giving up a draft pick compensation for a short term rental.

I would prefer a trade at 2B, wait for Espinosa, or sign a FA right before Spring training like Dunn.

With the SP, we should see if a veteran gets dumped at the end because of their high salary. Or stick with the young rotation and build a legimate bullpen like we had in 05-07.

Posted by: wrw0601 | August 22, 2009 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, watchin' Skins game tonight. I'll be following MLB's gameday pitch by pitch. Gotta watch the Skins!! GO Skins and Nats!

Posted by: rachel216 | August 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Just flipped to Nats Extra, and I noticed that they haven't even turned the lights on at the stadium. Maybe they are not too hopeful about this game getting started, or perhaps there are some power problems at the park (which might explain the lack of pre-game posts on here). Not looking good either way...

Posted by: BGinVA | August 22, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Sitting here at the game, still raining (barely), and the grounds crew is standing on the field awaiting word to pull the tarp.

I'm guessing we get a first pitch about 8:30 PM.

Go Nats . . .

Posted by: oneleggedNatsFan | August 22, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I second the gimpy fan. The heavy rain appears to be over, according to the latest radar.

Posted by: paulkp | August 22, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

there is FINALLY a new post up

Posted by: BGinVA | August 22, 2009 7:23 PM | Report abuse

New post by people whose names you do not normally see here.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | August 22, 2009 7:29 PM | Report abuse

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