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Off-Day Musings

To honor the holiday -- or, rather, to honor the one-game winning streak -- here's a batch of marginalia and musings. There's not much of a common theme here, but I suppose all commentary herein relates to "baseball activities," or in the case of Daniel Cabrera, "activities that don't resemble baseball whatsoever." Anyway, here goes.

* Cabrera pitched in relief on Sunday for the Diamondbacks, appearing in the majors for the first time since May 25 with Washington. The 6-foot-9 pitcher faced five batters. He allowed two hits, walked two, and hit one with a pitch. All five scored.

* I'm starting to appreciate J.D. Martin. Unlike a lot of the rooks we've seen this year, he's improving with big league exposure. Sunday's 6-2/3 IP, 2-ER outing was probably his best of the season, but over his last six starts (35-1/3 IP), he has a 3-2 record and a 3.06 ERA. More important: He doesn't walk hitters. When he makes mistakes -- home run balls, etc. -- they often come without runners on base. There are about five or six pitchers currently gunning for, say, two 2010 rotation spots (assuming the Nats sign a free agent and/or keep Livo), but Martin is starting to make a strong bid. He certainly appears more major-league ready than Collin Balester, Ross Detwiler or Shairon Martis.

* Since August 25, Elijah Dukes is 16-for-34 (.471) with 11 walks and a stunning .617 OBP.

* Since August 30, Cristian Guzman is 1-for-19 (.053). The good news is, he's also walked once.

* Lastings Milledge has played terrific baseball for the Pirates, particularly in the last month or so (he has 23 hits in his last 53 ABs), but let's not lament the trade just because No. 85 is on fire and Nyjer Morgan is injured. Perhaps this is one of those deals that benefits both teams, in the end. But certainly it benefitted the Nats. Simple as this, Washington needed -- absolutely needed -- a defensive centerfielder and leadoff man. They did not need a corner outfielder (e.g., Milledge). Even in spring training, those in the Nats front office were plotting potential trades, looking for the ideal solve-everything piece that Washington needed for its outfield. The FO identified Morgan.

* I wrote a short piece for today's paper on pitching injuries -- especially those that occur after said pitcher has fought through pain in an effort to stay on the mound. Two examples this year for the Nats: Jordan Zimmermann and Craig Stammen.

Sunday, interim manager Jim Riggleman was asked about Stammen's arthroscopic surgery (it was successful!) when he added, unprompted, that the rookie this season "exhibited a toughness that you like to see in pitchers. You know, the attitude -- if something's wrong here, I'm still going to pitch."

Hmm, I thought.

So I followed up with this question.

Q: I'd imagine there's a fine balance where maybe a team wants its pitchers to tough it out, maybe you want to know every ache and pain. As a manager, what would you tell a young pitcher about when to speak up about arm pain?

RIGGLEMAN: That's a tough question. It's very pertinent. What I have tried to tell guys, the earliest in your career that you can figure out the difference between pain and injury, the better off you're going to be. Normal soreness that you get from pitching, you've got to [determine], Is this just something that is normal from pitching? It's an exhausting thing to your body to throw a baseball that violently for six to nine innings. So when you recover from that through the week, you've got to know what that feels like. You've got to know your body. And when you get to a point where something is more than normal soreness, you've got to speak up. Because that might be the indication of something that could blow up on you.

---

I later asked GM Mike Rizzo a similar question.

Q: Where do you draw the line between speaking up and not?

Well I think the communication part is a vital part of it. Young pitcher or a veteran pitcher, trying to tough it out or not, we should be communicating. You know your body the best. We'll allow you to do what you think is best for your body -- up until a point where we have to take control of a situation. I think what young players have to decide between is what is uncomfortable and what is pain. That's the fine line. You have to confer with teammates and trainers and veteran pitchers to find out the difference between discomfort and pain, because other than the first day of spring training, there's going to be some kind of discomfort on your body as a pitcher just because it's such a taxing job. I think that's the biggest part of it, to kind of get over the fact that there's normal discomfort and there's abnormal discomfort, and you have to figure out which is which. But I've told pitchers: You have to confide in the training staff. They're here for your benefit. They have your best interests in mind, and they tell me stuff every day, and I have to decide what is best for the pitcher, the club and the organization.

Q: Do you think either Stammen or Zimmermann hurt themselves more by trying to fight through it?

I really don't know. I don't know when Zim's discomfort became a torn ligament, and in his case, he probably didn't know the difference between normal discomfort and abnormal discomfort. As far as performance with Zim, he threw 95 or 96 mph his last rehab outing in the minor leagues. So we don't know when it tore. Did it tear then? Did it tear after that? We don't know. So yeah, it's an education process... If they felt they had an injury and didn't speak up about it, that's certainly not the right thing to do. And we certainly don't tell them to do that. Our policy is, you have to be open and honest with the training staff and tell them how you feel.

By Chico Harlan  |  September 7, 2009; 8:39 AM ET
 
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Next: Zimmerman's Gold Glove Chances

Comments

Cabrera was quite the train wreck this year. It's amazing to think all the way back to March, when Bowden made the decision to let Tim Redding go and to take chances with Cabrera as his reclamation project.

It's hard to argue that they should have kept Redding. He has been pretty bad for the Mets this year. I am just glad he got his $2.25M contract. I can't imagine he has much of a future in MLB, but the $3+M from the last several years at least makes his fight through the minors worth it.

I am sure that pitch speed and a few cocky know-it-all GMs will keep Cabrera in the league. Someone will always think he knows better and can fix him. After all, if teams could bring back Armando Benitez year after year to throw away big games, certainly someone will give Daniel Cabrera more chances.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 7, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who thinks Nats fans don't have patience should observe that 22,000 people went out to cheer for a last-last place team that was sporting an 8 game losing streak while its base- and scene-stealing player was injured.

Nats fans have patience, but it's not endless patience. Hanrahan was given beaucoup chances to succeed here, and he didn't. Milledge, also, for different reasons, was not succeeding. At a certain point, you cut them loose. Fans, in the end, are paying their salaries. We have every right to make our--admittedly inexpert--voices heard.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bowden-bashing is fine, except that the tendency is to think that the problems are behind us, and the Nats have moved on to a better place now. I do like Rizzo and am glad he is GM, but we will never know what Bowden could have done with major league resources to work with.

You are supposed to get tools when you draft or trade, as many of the five tools as you can get. Potential is not the problem either. Dukes (who is hot now) cost the Nats Glenn Gibson, whose minor league ERA is over 7.00 since departing. You can get Gibson back for the price of a bus ticket. Milledge (who is hot now) cost a couple aging, marginal guys whose salaries were burdensome—no big loss. Kearns and Lopez are always cited as Bowden failures. But their productivity was very high at the time of the trade, and the Nats gave up nobody much for them. No one could have predicted the Kearns implosion or Lopez’s funk when trapped as a Nat. Wily Mo Pena came over from Boston along with cash and a “player to be named later” whom we have all forgotten about—no huge financial risk there. Jesus Flores was picked up for $50K in the rule 5 draft. Jose Guillen had a good year as a Nat, and was later signed by KC for an obscene amount, I think $36 million. Guillen was a decent short-term gamble for what the Nats paid him. Don’t forget the Bowden acquisition of Dunn. Soriano was a wonderful acquisition for a year, in a trade for nobody much. He cost the Nats $10 million in salary, but that was back in the days when the Nats were under control by MLB (the biggest salary the Nats have ever taken on in a trade under the Lerners was Willingham, also a Bowden trade, at $2.95 million—and the Nats gave up nothing for Josh).

The biggest problem is lack of resources with which to deal. With salary money, you can get “toolsy” guys who actually have tools. Do you honestly think the Lerners tried to force Bowden to take on salary, but Bowden stubbornly refused to listen? These Bowden acquisitions are not “underachieving” if you look at their salaries.

Some of those draft picks were horrible. Englund LACKED two tools (he couldn’t hit and could not hit with power, as Frank Robinson tried to tell Bowden). But don’t leave Zimmerman off the list of draftees. The book is still open on some of those other guys. I say all this not to defend Bowden, but to argue that no GM will truly succeed without financial support from the owner.

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

EdDC-

We certainly have to hold out hope that all our problem are over with the ascendancy of Rizzo to GM. There isn't that much else to hold onto.

As for financial support, I am not sure how many Texeira/Dunn/Strasburg/Bryce Harper offers/signings have to occur before we can be comfortable that the Lerners really mean to win. I know what the answer would have been like if they had failed to sign Strasburg.

I also know that the amateur hour which is the Aaron Crow saga is making the Nats look less culpable in failing to sign him last year. Pete's sake, the kid won't even be ready for the Arizona Fall League this year, and doesn't have to sign until the next draft. He seems unlikely to sign for as much as the Nats offered, to boot.

Anyway, that was a good start to a long off-season conversation, EdDC.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 7, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

* Since August 25, Elijah Dukes is 16-for-34 (.471) with 11 walks and a stunning .617 OBP.

Periculum - It was about 12 days ago you bashed the Sh*t out of Dukes and a brave soul or 2 called it a short-term slump and caught your wrath while pointing out a 10 day window doesn't project a whole season.

Now Dukes has an 8 game hitting streak and has raised his OBP since Aug 25th a big 38 points!

Batting average now .260 and taking walks.

All I can say is hope it continues and glad Rizzo didn't take your advice!

You seem to be a bright guy but sometimes you need to tone down your criticisms of the players.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

New posted (what a suprise!)
ugh. Check out page one of the sports section of the DTE (dead tree edition) of the WP. You wouldn't know that we even had a baseball team, let alone that they had a walk-off win thanks to the Z-man

BTW: I was watching it on TV. And noticed the way he just glared into the Washington dugout after tossing his helmet before trotting down to first. I wonder what the message/deal was there?

Posted by: twinbrook | September 7, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Half street,

I agree with a fair bit of what you say but, I would argue that taking Soriano/Kearns/Lopez et. al as marquee acquisitions is very kind to Bowden.

I don't know if Bowden is a good fit for some other team but he is a bad fit for us. If you wish to sign guys like Dunn or Soriano and not have them be a total waste of time, you surround them with guys who can defend, don't make mistakes and try hard. That is how poor teams over achieve. If you want a guy like Guzman, you put a hard working glove man at second, not Ronnie Belliard or Lopez. If you have Soriano or Dunn in your outfield you put Nyjer Morgan next to them. Once you have that base you can add a few flair pieces but you can't build without a base.

Posted by: soundbloke | September 7, 2009 11:18 AM | Report abuse

* Since August 30, Cristian Guzman is 1-for-19 (.053). The good news is, he's also walked once.

Yah, and the 1 hit yesterday was huge as he scored in the Zim walkoff.

Guzy will start to hit again as he has put some good swings on the balls and been unlucky as late.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

In a previous thread, 231 (I think) had commented about having been in search of MASN footage of him with his pup. Don't know whether they might also have been in attendance yesterday, but I noticed Miss Chatter has posted lots of puppy pix from yesterday's game on her site (see Just a Nats Fan link at left of screen).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

From Bill Ladson and comments on Orlando Hudson:

Do you see the Nationals trying to trade for Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla in the offseason? Washington has made many trades with Florida in the past, and it would be great if Uggla could be the Nationals' long-term solution at second base.
-- Patrick S., Fairfax, Va.

It's not a secret that Rizzo has tremendous respect for Uggla. Rizzo drafted Uggla when he was the D-backs' scouting director, in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft. So it would not surprise me if Rizzo tried to trade for the second sacker. The only drawback is Uggla is not great defensively. I don't think this team can afford another player who is a defensive liability. The Nats have too many of them as it is.

I think the Nationals' top choice would be to sign Orlando Hudson, if he becomes a free agent.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if it was mentioned already, but in the 6th inning yesterday Riggles decision to walk Hanley with no outs and have men on 1st and 2nd was huge as JD induced a nice double play grounder.

Some managers would have walked Hanley and others wouldn't have.

The 8 game losing streak was tough however I don't think you can point to too many managerial shortcomings.

The team needs another long winning streak and end this season on a high note!

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Signing Hudson would also help with our two-flap batting helmet count.

Interesting, dcmacman, as my seatmate and I were wondering (okay, second guessing) about the decision to pitch to him on Saturday night.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

* Since August 25, Elijah Dukes is 16-for-34 (.471) with 11 walks and a stunning .617 OBP.

I agree with dmacman88. When Dukes had a slump two weeks ago, a lot of fans relished giving him a verbal beating. Dukes has raised his BA average 24 points. His fielding has improved (yes, it still needs to improve, but he is making progress). Also, the young man is going to play winter ball in the Dominican. Not to get too zen here, but maybe Dukes is on the right path.

Posted by: mcdonougha | September 7, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

soundbloke says: "I don't know if Bowden is a good fit for some other team but he is a bad fit for us. If you wish to sign guys like Dunn or Soriano and not have them be a total waste of time, you surround them with guys who can defend, don't make mistakes and try hard."

I guess you mean more guys like Willie Harris, Pete Orr and Wil Nieves, given the Nats' salary restrictions (plus a better quality of pitchers who have been discarded by other teams). I join you in thinking Rizzo is a better fit than Bowden for the Nats. However, time will tell which of the two turns out to be the better bargain-hunter.

Don't you think Bowden would have surrounded his other acquisitions with players who could play well at the MLB level if he had been given the resources to do so? Do you think minimum MLB wage gets you all five tools plus a great attitude?

Where would the Yankees, Boston, Detroit, Angels, Dodgers, Phillies, and other winners be in the standings, with their astute GMs, if they had the bottom-of-MLB budgets that the Nats have given their GMs? This goes well beyond your assumed Bowden ignorance of what it takes to builds a winner.

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

that was me and thanks, natsfan1a1.

edindc, actually some of us do remember who the PTBNL was in the WMP deal. we traded to arizona to get chris carter to send to boston. the same chris carter who was part of the billy wagner deal between boston and the mets.

Posted by: sec231 | September 7, 2009 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I'm guilty with giving up on Dukes after Morgan went down. It's one of many reasons I am glad I am not the GM. My loss of faith was a combination of the severe frustration of the two seasons we have suffered, my impatience with all things traceable to Jim Bowden, even when it is unfair, and a fading of the euphoria from the Strasburg saga ending well.

I don't want the season to end, because the winter is long, cold and baseball-less, and features a lot of repetitive commentary on our parts. A lot of that commentary will reflect the frustration, so Mike Rizzo had best ignore us. Even still, we will be clamoring for action, from firings and hirings to trades and signings.

I don't know what Rizzo will do with Dukes, but the point made earlier that Dukes came cheap is a good one. A lot meatier conversations can be had over whether the Milledge trade was "worth it" over whether we will rue the loss of Glenn Gibson.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 7, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico or Tracee, Any chance that T. Plush can be in the clubhouse to spark this club a little more?

Posted by: CALSGR8 | September 7, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

J.D. Martin might be able to pitch at AAA, but he cannot pitch successfully in the majors. I know this to be true because I have seen it repeatedly asserted in this blog by bloggers who must really know what they are talking about when it comes to professional baseball. Everything we think we are witnessing is some kind of illusion. Just because he is getting people out consistently does not mean he can actually pitch at this level.

Seriously though -- and in contrast to Martins success -- while Dukes has an impressive record of making contact and getting on base now, he is mysteriously transformed into a punch-and-Judy hitter. If he is going to be a part of the Nats future, he needs to bring his old power back into play. If he can build on what he is doing now, and add-in his HR stroke, then he really has something.

Posted by: fischy | September 7, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

A few comments:

1. Dukes: He has just about 800 PAs. C/W is that it takes 1500 in the Majors to get to where you are going to be. It's still a learning curve. Unless he does something stupid, the end of next year is when the F/O should take a good hard look.

2. Milledge looked good, here, at the beginning. My guess is that he will bomb out next year, just as he did, here. Also, he seems to be a cancer in the clubhouse.

3. Milledge and Cabrera (why does Milledge come up on spell check and not Cabrera?) seem to be of the same cloth. They seem to be just one slight change away from greatness. About the fourth team will finally give up and, suddenly, no offers.

4. If EdDC would finally give up on blaming the Lerners, it would be good. He/she has yet to offer alternatives. F/As are usually not as good as advertised and the question is always of value. Who, exactly did the Nats pass up this year? Teixeira? Yeah, but the offer was substantial. With all due respect to Zimm, given the choice, this year, I'd rather play in the infield with ARod & Jeter. Now, in about three years, when they both retire or are seriously on the downhill slide, it may be different. Other than that, I didn't see a whole lot out there that was worth the bucks, especially if you aren't going to be in the mix the current year. You only use F/As to plug a single hole, short term. Other than that, it is bad strategy (barring something dumb or like F/As who are 27-28 and in a small market city, like Pittsburgh or K.C.)

5. Boz' piece on the Os was interesting, but somewhat rose colored. Let's remember that Mussina didn't decamp for NY, He was chased there. The parallel to '76 just isn't valid. Neither the Yanks nor Saux were the powerhouses that they are now and it was 30+ years ago. The Os are no longer the only team in the fourth largest market in the country. They are now a small/mid market team and are beginning to show signs of desperation, as fans get more and more used to the Nats as hometown team. More and more DC area fans are now not even seeing the Os on their radar. If you were at recent games, you really have begun to hear the "O" say can you see during the National Anthem virtually disappear. OPCY is not the crown jewel that it once was. It's now 15 years old.

Posted by: Catcher50 | September 7, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I was one of those yesterday saying that the Milledge/Morgan trade was win-win and some disagreed.

But it's clear that Pittsburgh got some value out of the deal as the two are performing well. I still think Washington did much better than Pittsburgh and that has a lot to do with the CF defense, leading off, and the positive clubhouse attitude that Morgan brings.

In the NBA, Kevin Pritchard of Portland absolutely fleeced some teams on some trades and now some GMs apparently are reluctant to trade with him for fear of looking bad.

Rizzo did give up some value and it's good that they are performing well because it makes him look like someone who will make fair trades.

I'd much rather have Morgan/Burnett. As a coach for 20 years now, I've personally benched guys (basketball) like Milledge for their attitude and for putting themselves above the team. I like what Morgan brings, but I still think it's a win-win trade. The Nats just get the bigger WIN!

Posted by: derwink | September 7, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

BTW, just as an aside, has anyone yet asked/explained why there is no game here, today?

It's a holiday. This should be a no-brainer. Is it possible that someone in the MLB scheduling office thought that Monday, August 24th was labor day? Maybe they looked at the school calendar for the DCPS and said Oh, school starts that week, must be Labor day.

Posted by: Catcher50 | September 7, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Re pitchers' injuries: I seem to remember Boz writing a column (back when he did so) maybe 30 years ago comparing Palmer and Flanagan, how one (Flannie) pitched in pain, helped his team more in the short term and earned more respect of his teammates, but helped his career in the long term less. My memory of this is definitely suspect, though.

I am also less productive than I used to be. . . .

Posted by: paulkp | September 7, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

RE: Dukes --
It's just a couple weeks, and the truth is that the stats just won't tell you that much for a sample size that small.
However, the word on Dukes as of a few weeks ago was "can't hit the outside curveball -- tries to pull everything." Well, now he's hitting the ball a lot, and fischy is saying he's not hitting with any power. I'm not lamenting the criticism, but that would be consistent with Dukes being thrown a lot of outside curveballs and hitting them the other way for singles. If he's learned that, he'll start to see other pitches, some of which he'll pull. If he *hasn't* learned that, and he's just having a few lucky weeks, his little streak will end and we'll know more about his ability.

This is why they have scouts -- I'm sure a real scout could look at his at-bats from a month ago and those from this last week and tell you what's going on. I don't have any idea.

Posted by: Section406 | September 7, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Pirates are playing the Cubbies on MLB TV, so we can see if Thrilledge's fielding has improved...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Asked, but NOT answered.

===========================================
BTW, just as an aside, has anyone yet asked/explained why there is no game here, today?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"BTW, just as an aside, has anyone yet asked/explained why there is no game here, today?"

The Orioles aren't playing today either. Weird.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 7, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Raining in Pittsburgh, though, probably not a fair evaluation even if they do keep playing.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, the main man of Syracuse, its ace continues to improve in the Bigs now pitching better than anyone else on the staff. JD Martin continues in his effort to prove he belongs. He isn't relaxing because the end of the season looks bleak. He can't stop, give up as the other starters appear to have, because if he does he is DFA'ed the next day.

If this is about the Nats not giving up it starts with JD Martin.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chico or Tracee, Any chance that T. Plush can be in the clubhouse to spark this club a little more?

Posted by: CALSGR8 | September 7, 2009 12:18 PM |
++++++++++++++++++++

Agreed. His appearance on the bench would be nice and who knows, maybe give us a pinch running appearance with a feet first slide!

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

4. If EdDC would finally give up on blaming the Lerners, it would be good. He/she has yet to offer alternatives. F/As are usually not as good as advertised and the question is always of value. Who, exactly did the Nats pass up this year? Teixeira? Yeah, but the offer was substantial. With all due respect to Zimm, given the choice, this year, I'd rather play in the infield with ARod & Jeter. Now, in about three years, when they both retire or are seriously on the downhill slide, it may be different. Other than that, I didn't see a whole lot out there that was worth the bucks, especially if you aren't going to be in the mix the current year. You only use F/As to plug a single hole, short term. Other than that, it is bad strategy (barring something dumb or like F/As who are 27-28 and in a small market city, like Pittsburgh or K.C.)


Posted by: Catcher50 | September 7, 2009 12:33 PM

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

Ed is a same old tune and clearly harbors issues with the Lerners beyond this. Did you have a problem at one of their malls or is it some other problem?

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I'll admit I'm probably seeing something where there's nothing, but....what was that all about when Zimm glared into his own dugout for the longest time after the walk-off HR, and the 'clumsy' team greeting that followed at home plate?

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | September 7, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Well, we know he watches on TV :). I'm writing him a card... will mention how much we miss him.

===========================================
Hey Chico or Tracee, Any chance that T. Plush can be in the clubhouse to spark this club a little more?

Posted by: CALSGR8 | September 7, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, I missed that at the game (too busy screaming my throat out). Does it show up on the archives on MLB?

===============================================
....what was that all about when Zimm glared into his own dugout for the longest time

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

"Periculum - It was about 12 days ago you bashed the Sh*t out of Dukes and a brave soul or 2 called it a short-term slump and caught your wrath while pointing out a 10 day window doesn't project a whole season."

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009"

I don't know why you would single me out. There are others that have been worst on him. And you know what you just never know maybe he read some of this and took it to heart?

For starters, you know what I probably am the one of the very first to notice the change and cheer. The other night someone actually complained when he walked instead of going for the hit with men on base!!! Because they knew who followed him.

Not I. When has long at bats that lead to walks I cheer that is all I have been looking for. And guess what that is the difference! The pitchers now know he won't go for the crap they have been throwing him. He will walk unless they throw him something he can hit. He has become as discriminating as Dunn.

You clearly haven't been reading because the other night in a losing cause (not 12 days ago) I noted that his average had jumped because of it. Yes, that's right me.

Besides DUDE you and a whole bunch of other folks need to start eating (including Chico) several different kinds of crow over JD Martin. You can start eating it that crow before you single me out for Dukes bashing as there have been others here who are far worst.

In other words just shut it you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Nice sliding basket catch by Milledge, can't argue with that one.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

In Milledge's case perhaps he needed to play left field instead of center field for starters.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

The F/A's look way too old for the 3-4 year contracts they are going ask for. Don't blame the Lerners for not doing that. HIndsight being what it is it does look like a 4 year contract with Dunn would have made sense.

Marerro looks to take 2 years to adjust to AA and then AAA. At this point it seems as if he needs to find a new position as Norris and Espinosa appear to be catching up. We'll have to see what happens in the AFL. Unlike the other two Espinosa is a great fielder.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Why is the MLB schedule so light on Labor Day as it was on Memorial Day?

Well here is the explanation, as told by Ed Randel in XM175 MLB Homeplate this AM.

Prior to the 2006 season ESPN had exclusive rights (per negotiations with MLB) to broadcast three games on each national holiday, 1PM 4PM and a night game. The only problem was because ESPN had the exclusive rights they also had a blackout rule. So in other words if the Nats didn't play a game broacasted as one of the ESPN games you didn't get to see it locally. Well the owners finally told BUDCO lets stop this (primary screamer was YES Network). So when the MLB contract was renewed with ESPN the holiday exclusive games were dropped and in fact ESPN was not allowed to do any holiday games. Now since that time the urgency to schedule games on holidays has not been a priority. Kinda strange how this all shakes out, first the owners complain that they lose TV revenue on holidays because of the blackouts and then then MLB just schedules less and less games. Sometimes the suits on Park Ave, just don't seem to get it.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | September 7, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

It's not on TV revenue they are losing on holidays, but attendance. I don't get it, because after Labor Day they will be competing with football.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

not only

And don't they profit more from attendance? After all, if they make any money at all from concessions they sure aren't getting a piece of my refrigerator.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Plus they are competing with cool/cold weather and all the activities that start up after Labor Day.

As an aside, I heard that the new stadium in Minnesota won't have a roof. That'll be fun in April and October.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

catcher says: "4. If EdDC would finally give up on blaming the Lerners, it would be good. He/she has yet to offer alternatives. F/As are usually not as good as advertised and the question is always of value. ...You only use F/As to plug a single hole, short term. Other than that, it is bad strategy (barring something dumb or like F/As who are 27-28 and in a small market city, like Pittsburgh or K.C.)"

First, I have absolutely nothing against the Lerners except the bottom-of-MLB budgets. Here's my plan, which I've said so often people tell me to shut up.

1. The Nats could do better than sign just one significant free Agent, Dunn, in the three years under the Lerners. Every year Sports Illustrated gives their list of 20 good FA signings and 20 busts. It is a risk, but still possible to do well. The Nats' one FA worked out fine.

2. Trade some of your FA signings for prospects to speed up your farm system. The Nats could not do that with their one FA signing (Dunn) because they needed him too much. But what if they had several? Prospects! Not dumb.

3. Even if you don't trade a FA, he gets you high draft picks when he signs elsewhere. AZ got #17 and a #33 overall picks when Orlando Hudson went to the Dodgers, both higher than the second round pick you give up when you sign someone like Hudson. The Nats' top-of-the second round pick this year was #50 overall. Hudson could have yielded prospects too. Not dumb.

4. When you trade, consider guys making decent salaries as well as low-budget guys. The highest salary the Nats have ever taken on in a trade under the Lerners was Willingham ($2.95 MM), and he worked out fine. This strategy broadens the field of talent you can trade for. Not dumb.

5. Dip into the international market more for kids and veterans.

6. Expand the payroll some. If they would just get to the median of the bottom half of MLB payrolls, it would be a nice 18 percent improvement in payroll (and on-field performance). That's not asking too much, to catch up to Cincy! If the Nats would be willing to eventually get to the median payroll level for all of MLB, that's a 33 percent improvement that would catch the Nats up to Toronto and Cleveland.

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It is true that Stan Kasten's contention that we don't care what the team spends looks sillier and sillier all the time, given that what they have spent has led to 2 worst-of-league records.

The money coming off the payroll is significant, even considering raises for existing players. If that money is added to the additional cash needed to match Toronto or Cleveland, it gives the team plenty of flexibility. As many of you said, there have to be players worth signing, but you could also affect trades with teams looking to make salary dumps.

BTW- Milledge just flew out to end the game. Pittsburgh now has their 17th losing season in a row.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 7, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

peri: You've championed a number of minor-leagers for promotion this season, JD Martin among them; good for you. I've admitedly been one of the nay-sayers regarding whether or not they are Major-League level players.
The fact is, the jury is still out on these players - there is still a little less than a month left to play in the season. Here's a rough breakdown to date...
>JD Martin (SP)- 10GP, 3-4W-L, 16.9P/IP, 1:1K-W ratio, 1.51WHIP, .288BAA, 4.85ERA. Worthy of a #5SP-slot, on average.

Padilla & Morse have had limited exposure with the Nationals to date; Lat's take a closer look at them at the end of the season.

Posted by: BinM | September 7, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Milledge went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts. Maybe the rain cooled him off.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I switched to the Phi-Astros game a while back so I can see what we will be contending with in our next series. :)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Catcher50, yes, as my husband would say, the holiday off day has been cussed and discussed here.

Nats_Lady, yes, that was a nice catch by Milledge. Did you notice him fire his bat and then helmet after striking out later? He was not a happy camper at that point.

I was watching and rooting for the Pirates. I felt bad for their fans: being overrun with Cubs fans, not knowing their own players without a scorecard due to roster turnover, and on the brink of clinching their 17th straight losing season (which they did). Did you hear the Cubs broadcaster commenting on the number of Cubs fans? This was in the top of the 3rd. He went on to opine that as a group they sport more team logo tattoos than any other fan base (at which point I turned to my husband and said, "And this is a good thing?"). But he wasn't done yet. He went on to posit that you wouldn't find many Nats fans with team logo tattoos (again, "So, this is a bad thing, right?"). grrr...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I went on looking for earrings (which I found) and an umbrella (which I didn't). On the way I saw "temporary" body art with the Nats logo...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"It is true that Stan Kasten's contention that we don't care what the team spends looks sillier and sillier all the time[?]
Posted by: kevincostello | September 7, 2009 2:57 PM"
++++++++++++++
Not to me, +1/2. I agreed wholeheartedly with his statement when he made it, and I agree with it now. I don't give a tin whistle in a high wind how much money the team spends; I care how many games they win.

(Yes, one is an input to the other. But there are other inputs that I personally find much more entertaining to consider.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 7, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

And based on the cheers, there seem to be a number of Phillies fans at the Astros game. It was nice on Sunday, not many foreign fans, not even O's...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see the helmut slam, but I'm not surprised. Astros announcer is complaining about the "choreographed" celebrations--but I think we were entitled, yesterday.

Went back and looked at the Zim homer, didn't see anything amiss, though he did glance at the dugout (in self-defense? --they CAN pile on).

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

With regard to Dukes, I calculate his slugging average over the last twelve games as .736. While this is partially a result of a high batting average, he *has* had 6 extra-base hits, which crudely projects (one game of the stretch was a single-at-bat pinch-hitting appearance) to a highly-acceptable 80 XBH in a 162-game season...

Posted by: bokutristresse | September 7, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC, +1/2St.: If the Nationals pick up short-term salary (& talent) for 2010, either by FA or trade, it's good.

There is D.Young, Kearns, NJohnson, Belliard, and others are assumed to come off the books from 2009, but Strasburg is coming on, and Flores, Nieves, Dukes, Willingham, Olsen, Rivera & Bergmann are all probably eligible for Arbitration. Figure that $15-20M is available for FA/trade acquisitions.

That being what it is, given this years' FA list to-date, I'd rather have Rizzo looking for trades rather than FA signings for 2010.

Posted by: BinM | September 7, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Astros promotions:
Drumsticks for $1.00
Kids free for the rest of the season (anyone for playing hooky?)
Barbecue aprons

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Okay, Nats_Lady, you try it first and report back. :-)

---

On the way I saw "temporary" body art with the Nats logo...

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:15 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady, the Cubs announcers were referencing a Giants game where there was a controversial home run celebration. I missed the details. Something about being X games under .500, acting like they were on Dancing with the Stars, and shedding clothing on the field. Perhaps it had to do with a Fielder celebration after a dinger? After checking the box scores, it looks like he hit one yesterday. Not sure that I want to investigate that one further...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Scooter says: "I don't give a tin whistle in a high wind how much money the team spends; I care how many games they win."

Please answer the question: Where would the Yankees, Boston, Detroit, Angels, Dodgers, Phillies, and other winners be in the standings, with their astute GMs, if they had the bottom-of-MLB budgets that the Nats have given their GMs? The Nats do not even always fully invest in the draft!

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady, the Cubs announcers were referencing a Giants game where there was a controversial home run celebration. I missed the details. Something about being X games under .500, acting like they were on Dancing with the Stars, and shedding clothing on the field. Perhaps it had to do with a Fielder celebration after a dinger? After checking the box scores, it looks like he hit one yesterday. Not sure that I want to investigate that one further...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

The Marlins are confounding. They never seem to spend much, are forever having fire sales, and yet they always seem to be in it late in the season. AFLAC?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I DO NOT want to see Prince Fielder without his clothes...

They had a dog parade and costume constest with THEIR dogs in Houston.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Here 'tis:

http://ballhype.com/video/prince-fielder-game-winning-hr-9-6-09/

Was that a Three Stooges homage or a home run celebration?

False alarm on the clothing front. Fielder just pulls out his jersey as he's done in the past.

That is funny about the dog parade. WGN (where I was watching the Pirates game) had a funny DQ commercial about a dog who wanted dipping sauce with his chicken wing.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

1a: yeah, they definitely planned that in advance. Thanks for letting me know he kept his shirt on... Guess they didn't have any dogs because I definitely heard fireworks... Haven't seen that commercial, I suppose it will make its way here.

On the free agent issue--smarts definitely trumps money, but best to have both. I would like to see what Rizzo can do with a good budget.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

natsfan1a1

On the Marlins, it seems like they draft well and are willing to invest in the draft. They bring their guys up and when they become stars, trade them for a slew of prospects before they hit free agency. Please correct me if that's not a correct summary.

The Nats can adopt this strategy and maybe do well, if you want the Nats to take a low-budget approach. It will take time for prospects to develop (Ryan Zimmerman is already there). The Nats cannot afford to take a draft or two off, if this is going to be their route to success. Tampa Bay has a similar approach, although their payroll is a few million higher than the Nats' payroll.

Just curious: are you in favor of the Nats following the Marlins' business plan?

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Ah, NOW I know what happened. They consulted the almanac and knew it was going to rain on Sept. 7 in Washington, DC and that's why they didn't schedult a game.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

You're welcome on the heads up, Nats_Lady.

EdDC, I don't tend to get into the armchair GM or owner stuff, but I do find it interesting that teams with low payroll contend at times, while high payroll teams don't always. I don't know that any one approach guarantees success, but I'm not a GM, nor have I played one on tv. In life and business generally, I tend to be more of a moderate, so I would not be inclined to embrace either a bare bones or a go for broke approach. From purely a fan standpoint, I don't think that I'd enjoy the fire sale aspect of teams like the Marlins or the Pirates (as indicated by my earlier expression of empathy for Pirates fans).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Nats_Lady, yes, that must be it. But the P-Nats didn't get the memo...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this is my real feeling on salary- I want the team to spend what it thinks is necessary to win. However, I don't want it to be clear that top players are totally off-limits because of salary. At that point, your team is not truly competing.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | September 7, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"Padilla & Morse have had limited exposure with the Nationals to date; Lat's take a closer look at them at the end of the season.
Posted by: BinM | September 7, 2009"

From my perspective Martin was the big one. The guy who had the most potential to help the club out right away ... and to some extent he has i think. Not as much as **I** had hoped, but then my expectations were too high.

I'm not sure why they mention Uggla coming here when they already have Morse who looks to be just as good a hitter. Like Uggla ... its the fielding. And its true the Nats to already have too many who aren't all that good at fielding their respective positions.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"Please answer the question: Where would the [...] be in the standings, with their astute GMs, if they had the bottom-of-MLB budgets that the Nats have given their GMs?"
Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 3:31 PM
+++++++++++++++
I don't know.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 7, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Was just listening to the P-Nats feed and they came back to win their final game 9-4, winning the series and eliminating the Kinston Indians from contention.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Looking at Mike Morse's history of positions played, he has played all IF positions except 2B. I wonder why?

http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/M/Mike-Morse.shtml

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Could a higher up player have been blocking him?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Went back and looked at the Zim homer, didn't see anything amiss, though he did glance at the dugout (in self-defense? --they CAN pile on).
==================
I wasn't sure if it was a "see, that's how its done" look or a "finally, the streak is over" look, or if it was directed an any one player in particular. I just thought his body language was interesting. I wish someone would ask him about it. You could tell he knew it was gone as soon as it left the bat.

Posted by: twinbrook | September 7, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Here, this will keep you going in the winter.

http://www.sportsfanfare.com/jt-845639078866.html

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Have to say, I'm rooting for the Astros

a) they have Bourne, who always makes me miss Nyjer because of the steals
b) Any team that beats the Phils is OK by me.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Ooh, nice, Nats_Lady. Thanks.

Seeing the merchandise on the site reminds me of something I saw in the team store the other day (aside from the O's baseball cards, that is. grrr...). There was an AL Senators team logo ball (straight-edged W, team logo, Senators lettering). I didn't live here or follow them back in the day but I said to myself, "Self - I must have that." (I think it was the Mississippi Mud that put it over the top.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I agree re. the 'Stros, Nats_Lady. I must confess that I was rooting for them in 2005. (In my defense: the killer bees. Dude.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Morse has always had bad range and a lot of errors. Thats why he has never been considered starter material in the infield. He doesn't have the speed or power to be considered for full time in the outfield. When he started at SS for Seattle in 2005 Jamie Moyer wouldn't pitch when Morse was in the lineup because he depended on ground balls being fielded. He was known as "clank" by the Seattle announcers.

Morse is a decent hitter and can do a fair job as a utility player.

Posted by: WashOut | September 7, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Phils just walked in the go-ahead run. Maybe they will be totally demoralized when they get here.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oooh, I love when that happens (to the opposing team).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

How many "utility" players do we need?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

According to the paper, looks like Lannan will draw Pedro for the first game.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

According to my son the Fielder HR celebration was from a movie - Any Given Sunday, the 2001 version. My son played HS football at the time, and they did it during practice so the refs in training could call an unsportsmanlike penalty.

Zim did stand at the plate ever so briefly and look in the dugout prior to his trot. I took it as celebration, nothing more, although of course I know nothing about the clubhouse or dugout stuff.

Posted by: utec | September 7, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

@Nats_Lady,

Thats the $64 question or is that $64K question. He fills a need for September I guess.

Padilla deserves a look in September since it really doesn't matter. I think he might be a little long in the tooth at 30. He has never had the power that is desired for a corner OF position. The Phils had him forever and never promoted him. He was also never taken Rule 5 which might say something.

Posted by: WashOut | September 7, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Periculum - You haven't found me bashing JD Martin or any other player. Not sure which straw you are grasping for.

I only bash windbags like ED who whines all the time about the same thing that the Lerners suck and they don't spend enough money. It really is a broken record. He does it on other Blogs too.

I believe this team is one top of the line starter, a legit set-up man, and Hanley Ramirez from a real run at the playoffs.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, WashOut,

It looks like you answered periculum's question about why even think about Dan Uggla when you already have Mike Morse. From your description, Morse doesn't even qualify as the RP in calculating Dan Uggla's VORP.

Posted by: EdDC | September 7, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The team needs 3 utility guys that can come off of the bench and fill in and pinch hit. Morse can play 1st, OF, and they worked him at 2nd Base in the Minors. While shortstop wasn't a great experiment in Seattle, the man can hit.

His career batting average is one hit away from being .300+. Now he has to compete with Orr and Padilla for fill-in.

I think Morse was a good pickup and could have a future in DC.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Oh my, Phillies were just swept in Houston!!!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

So they were. (Smirk)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

OK, next game. Looks like our Ronnie has a couple hits out there in Arizona.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Rox game is exciting also. Decisions, decisions.

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse


Excellent, Smithers...

---

Oh my, Phillies were just swept in Houston!!!!!

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 5:23 PM

So they were. (Smirk)

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 5:26 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

MLB Network has Tampa Bay at NYY later. (Go Rays!)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Ronnie Belliard was a triple away from the cycle today!

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Game isn't over yet. Has he ever had a triple?

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Well, now it is unless Arizona gets 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th. Go D-backs!

Posted by: Nats_Lady | September 7, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Belli's had some over the years (more so when he was a pup). He had one with the Nats in 07. I don't remember the circumstances offhand. There was one triple-facilitating corner at RFK, methinks.

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=belliro01

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 7, 2009 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Brian Oliver over at Nats Farm has the scoop on Callups: Desmond, Segovia, Estrada, Detwiler, and Kensing.

Posted by: nomad2 | September 7, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Belliard has hit 23 triples in his career. He hit one earlier this year at Nats Park. I remember it because he slid head first into third, jumped up and clapped his hands. He's done well for the Dodgers which is not unusual for a newly traded player. I'm thrilled for him.

Sure is a dismal group of Call-ups.

Posted by: longhorn64 | September 7, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Kensing for another trip to DC???? What about Shairon Martis?

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 7, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

>Good fielding becomes great only when the highlights repeat -- when they repeat so often, no matter the situation or the stadium, that they no longer become highlights.

By now, the full cache of Zimmerman highlights shows everything, again and again:

Nice job Cheeks>

Posted by: Brue | September 7, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

Caught part of the Syracuse Chiefs' doubleheader Sunday. Having been eliminated, they were flat -- losing 12-5 and 10-2 to Pawtucket. Blew through the bullpen in game 1, so in game 2, Kory Casto pitched 2.2 innings, and Brad Eldred one third.

But they finished the season with a nice come from behind 5-3 win today. Highlight was a 2-out bases loaded double by Gustavo Molina in the 8th.

Some favorable remarks about the affiliation with the Nats in the post game radio show. AT 8 games over .500 (I wonder what that feels like), it's the best the Chiefs have done in years.

Posted by: KenNat | September 7, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

with kensing's apparent return to NatsTown, it was probably prudent for the team not to shoot off fireworks this weekend. they could just save the money and let the fans watch the bottle rockets the artist formerly known as the arsonist-in-residence launch from the mound.

Posted by: surly_w | September 7, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I wonder what WashOut will say if Morse were to suddenly get a tryout at second base. I suspect he could do as well there as "klank" Uggla. After all like Morse Uggla was a shortstop that was and still is a terrible fielder ... but a good hitter.

The Nats problem is that they really need a good fielder at shortstop. Unless they can pry Hanley Ramirez away from the FLA Marlins, their best bet for a young UNDER 32 shortstop that really can field looks to be Danny Espinosa. The problem is the team would have his fielding but would have to wait a couple of years for him to adjust to major league hitting ala Zimmerman.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

Estrada and Detwiler aren't dismal. They have done a great job in Syracuse. Both have been improving on a fairly consistent basis. One or both could end up in the starting rotation next year. The only guy missing is Atilano because he is playing for/representing Puerto Rico.

Desmond can't field. He is likely going to be worst than WashOut's description of Morse. Already 17 errors just with Syracuse, after spending quite a bit of time in AA in Harrisburg? He's not an infielder either.

Both Kensing and Segovia worked as closers this year. Neither should be tasked with that job ... I imagine they have been brought up as trade bait. They need lefties not more righties.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 11:11 PM | Report abuse

Both Martis and Balester have not as well as might be expected ... Both (not just Balester) may be injured? Martis has not been doing well with Syracuse. Detwiler and Estrada have.

Posted by: periculum | September 7, 2009 11:13 PM | Report abuse

"The problem is the team would have his fielding but would have to wait a couple of years for him to adjust to major league hitting ala Zimmerman."

Zimmerman didn't need a couple of years to adjust to major league hitting. He hit .287 with 20 HR and 110 RBI in his first full season, 2006. The year after he was drafted, actually. No adjustment necessary.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 7, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, +1/2: in scrolling through, I just noticed that I misread your "It is" earlier as "Is it." The tone of my response looks a bit off, as I thought I was answering an open question, rather than disagreeing with an affirmative statement. Oops.

Posted by: Scooter_ | September 7, 2009 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@Periculum,

Actually since the games really don't matter anymore I would give Morse a tryout at 2B to see how he does. I feel the same way about Padilla and Desmond. Desmond has a reputation of having great range but difficulty making the routine play. Morse never has had very good range. Morse at 6'5" is a little bit tall to be playing 2B.
But what the heck play him and see how he does.

Posted by: WashOut | September 8, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Thanks to Chico for making the best case for a gold glove for Zim. Hope this gets attention around the league. Zim clearly deserves it.

Posted by: nats24 | September 8, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

A 6'5" second baseman?I remember seeing a guy like that with Toronto.His name was Danny Ainge.Also,Desmond had a reputation as a very good fielder a few years ago.He was at Spring Training and Frank Robinson said he could field in the majors at that time.He was about 19 then,so it was his hitting that was a concern.

Posted by: seanmg | September 8, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

I am just glad he got his $2.25M contract. I can't imagine he has much of a future in MLB, but the $3+M from the last several years at least makes his fight through the minors worth it.

Posted by: kiransmstoalert | September 8, 2009 3:26 AM | Report abuse

My concern about the Nationals is that despite the occasional upbeat news, this is the direction that they are ultimately going towards:
"Pirates set mark with 17th straight losing season"
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/08/AR2009090800505.html

I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: jeff-in-dc | September 8, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

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