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Nationals losing lots of Z's

The Rule 5 draft is now complete, with the Nationals selecting just one player in the major league phase -- outfielder Jamie Hoffman from the Los Angeles Dodgers. However, as we pointed out earlier, the Nationals immediately sent him to the New York Yankees as the player to be named later in the Brian Bruney trade.

Here's how that trade worked: The Yankees sent $50,000 to the Nationals, along with Bruney, to cover the cost of the draft pick. The Nationals didn't know whom they would be picking on the Yankees' behalf until just before they were to go to the podium to announce their pick. (Question: When we refer to Hoffman in the future, is it accurate to refer to him as a "former National"?)

The Nationals, meantime, suffered two losses as part of the Rule 5 draft -- a Zack and a Zech.

First, right-handed pitcher Zack Segovia was released to create the 40-man roster spot that was used to draft Hoffman. Then, they lost right-handed reliever Zech Zinicola, whom the Toronto Blue Jays selected with their first pick in the Rule 5 draft. Zinicola has always been a favorite of former Nationals scouting director Dana Brown, who recently jumped to the Blue Jays -- so the Nationals were hardly surprised by the pick.

"We knew the Blue Jays have a lot of information on our players," Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo said. "They know them well, and Zinicola is one we knew they always liked. I think [losing Zinicola] is a testament to where we've come in the organization. [We had] very tough decisions at the bottom of that 40-man roster because of the good inventory of prospects that we have."

The Nationals are currently at 39 players on their 40-man roster, but will be adding catcher Ivan Rodriguez on Friday.

The Nationals made three picks in the minor league phase of the draft, but one of them -- right-hander Arismendy Mota, whom they took from the Chicago White Sox, is expected to be traded to the Chicago Cubs.

The other two picks were lefty Michael Wlodarczyk from the Tampa Bay Rays and outfielder Nicholas Moresi from the Houston Astros. Here is director of minor league operations Mark Scialabba on those players:

*On Wlodarczyk: "He's a left-handed specialist. We think he's a guy who can get lefties out. [Director of pro scouting] Bill Singer recommended him. He adds to our inventory of left-handed relievers." [Note: assistant GM Bob Boone said he expects Wlodarczyk to begin next season in low Class A.]

*On Moresi: "He's a guy who adds to our depth of athletic center fielders who can run and play defense. That's something we always want to improve on -- the athleticism in our organization. So he can help us out in the minor leagues, probably in Single-A or Double-A."

Most members of the Nationals' front office have either left for the airport already, or will be doing so in a matter of hours. Here is Rizzo's take on the team's week in Indianapolis:

"We came here with a checklist of things to try to accomplish over the course of the off-season. We think we've made solid progress to acquire the things we need to be a better ballclub for next year. We're far from finished, but we think this was a good starting point and we feel good about it."

(On the pitching market): "We're engaged with a lot of agents on a lot of pitchers. We're trying to find the best fit for us, with the best pitchers at the ability level we're looking at. I think it's going to take a little bit of time. I don't think it's going to be a real fast-moving market. But as always happen, when pitchers start [signing], there usually is a domino effect."

By Dave Sheinin  |  December 10, 2009; 11:53 AM ET
 
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Next: Free agent signing set for Friday

Comments

"The Nationals made three picks in the minor league phase of the draft, but one of them -- right-hander Arismendy Mota, whom they took from the Chicago White Sox, is expected to be traded to the Chicago Cubs."

Who are the Nats getting in return?

Posted by: nervousnatsfan | December 10, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

" We're trying to find the best fit for us, with the best pitchers at the ability level we're looking at. I think it's going to take a little bit of time."

Translated. They are dumpster diving to see what they can come up with.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 10, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Yup...same old story when it comes to making the real tough decisions that have a big impact on the team. Starting Pitching is the issue and yet again the Nats gag and decided to take the left overs.......makes a good hash but a bad season...hello 100 losses meet Mr. Rizzo.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 10, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

JayBee standby for the Kool-Aiders!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 10, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

That's ridiculous. Pettite, Wolf and Penny signed during the meetings, and not too many others. Lackey will not in a million years come here, and all of the other free agent pitchers remain free agents. A lot of talk, but not a lot of action on the SP front at the meetings.

So, the Nats will be dumpster diving with the 28 other teams who didn't sign a starting pitcher.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | December 10, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me, Harden as well.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | December 10, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

How can anyone accuse the Nats of taking pitching leftovers when (a) there have barely been any pitchers signed as of yet, meaning there aren't any leftovers to take, and (b) they haven't taken anybody yet? Look at what happened with catchers. Brian Schneider signed with the Phillies, and immediately people were saying "the Nats should have signed him, but now they'll just be taking leftovers." Next thing you know, Pudge is signed, a much better choice than Schneider. The same thing will happen with pitchers, once one or two of them sign to set the market. Then the Nats will be all in on someone. Just you watch.

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Get out your crying towels now. We're doomed, doomed I tell you.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 10, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

And the Millwood trade.

I guess "ability level we are lookign at" is GM speak? Are the nats really looking for guys of ability other than really good ability? Price tag is the key, I guess.

Odd that they wanted to jump in early on the market for Pudge but are looking to wait it out on SP (and everything else for that matter).

The Nats are going to wait until everyone of substance is off the board and the strays are scrambling for deals, hoping to catch a break with one or two of those guys. So cross your fingers folks! That is not the assertive strategy this club needs to get guys we want/need and to get the fan base motivated to come back.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

From Boswell's column tomorrow:

"We could 'be smart.' Or we could get the player we wanted by giving him an extra year," Kasten said. "Our baseball people -- Bob Boone and Kasey McKeon -- wanted Rodriguez. They didn't want 'a catcher.' They wanted Pudge.

"We got the player."

Pay no attention to anything Rizzo might say in answer to a reporter's question about which pitchers they're after. His baseball people have already told him which one(s) they want, and just as they did with Pudge, they'll get the guy(s) his baseball people want. No matter the cost.

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Jaybee - Chill out with some ice cold Kool-Aid.

I will start to panic at Jan 15th if the Nats haven't added veteran pitching then yes, the season will only be marginally better than last year. 90+ losses!

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | December 10, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The club publicy claiming an innings eater and a back-up MI are their targets leads me to think that those basbeall people seem to want very little given the club's no price too high stance. So, do the Nats' baseball people, no matter the cost, not want Matt Holliday? If they did Stan would go gt the guy, right? Yeah, right. If the Nats have targets that they want no matter the cost, then they should just go get the guys.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm not really sure why everyone is up in arms about the starting pitching. Pettite was never going to sign anywhere but New York. The Nats are better off without Penny or Millwood. Let someone else deal with them.

Granted, Wolf or Harden would have been nice, but Garland, Marquis, Sheets, Correia and plenty of other similar quality pitchers are still out there.

Sure, there's always the chance that they just sit back and wait until Livo is the only remaining option, but we ain't there yet.

Posted by: js_edit | December 10, 2009 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Matt Holliday is an outfielder. Outfielders are not on their shopping list right now. Pay attention.

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I think that js is right, we'll see what happens.

But I am concerned based upon the team's history and Rizzo's low expectations that the Nats will not be shooting for a particualr guy because he's the sleeper or because he is the best fit for us, but will, yet again, grab this year's Tim Redding, Odalis Perez or Danny Cabrera when the club is about as desperate as a team can be for reliable quality starting pitching.

As players move off the board the odds that the Nats end up relatively empty-handed go up. After back to back terrible seasons and the recent addition of a fresh brain trust, the club cannot be HOPING to get what they want/need, especially when they have payroll flexibility that few clubs have -- there can be no more excuses.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that we still have Josh Willkie. There was some concern expressed that we would lose him in the Rule 5.

With JB the glass is always 3 quarters empty.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | December 10, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

309 -- Matt Holliday is the best player available, who cares what is on their shopping list. My point was that if, as you intimated, price is not an issue -- which I think is BS -- then they'd be in on the big names. The baseball people would be saying get the best players. Get Lackey, get Holliday or Bay and then trade Willingham for something else we need, etc.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Boswell has been drinking the kool-aid again, his new column is LOL hilarious:

"What gives a pitcher a sense of security? Why, the catcher in front of him and the bullpen behind him. So, Rodriguez and Bruney came first."

Brian Bruney with his career 6.2 BB/9 (5.3 last season) is a guy who Boswell thinks gives starters a feeling of "security?" Good grief.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 10, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

"309 -- Matt Holliday is the best player available, who cares what is on their shopping list. My point was that if, as you intimated, price is not an issue -- which I think is BS -- then they'd be in on the big names. The baseball people would be saying get the best players. Get Lackey, get Holliday or Bay and then trade Willingham for something else we need, etc."

"Best player available" is a draft strategy, dfh21. Not an approach toward free agent signing or trading. There you are trying to fill your needs. And in case you've forgotten, JimBo's version of best player available is what led to going into 2009 with five outfielders, none of whom could play center, and no MI depth. Be thankful that this is no longer the mantra around here.

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

So the Yanks going after and getting the 2 best pitchers and the best hitter available last year was akin to draft strategy?

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The Yankees perceive their needs much differently than most other teams do. You do realize that, don't you? Sometimes it works for them, but other times it doesn't. (See for example the years 2002-2008.)

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

CIL

As a coach for thirty years this is the first time I felt Boz's column was 100% right and took the words the words right out of my mouth.

JB went after what he thought was the best 'talent', and the little things that give teams success were ignored.

Rizzo is putting the small things in place that allow the big things to happen. He is building a team and is worried about putting things in place so that all 24 players on the roster can succeed.

Posted by: kgwcoach | December 10, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Justin Maxwell - unlike CoverageIsLacking, an actual bona fide major leaguer who presumably would know how other bona fide major leaguers are likely to think - would appear to agree with Boswell. Per Byron Kerr over on the MASN site:

I checked in with Nats outfielder Justin Maxwell as he gets ready for 2010...
On the team acquiring 14-time All-Star Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, Justin had some very kind words about the future Hall of Famer.

Justin played alongside Pudge in winter ball in Puerto Rico last season and said Ivan was a great influence on him and the team.

"Pudge did not need to play winter ball but there he was. He was an outstanding example for us and worked really hard," Maxwell said.

Justin went on to say Pudge was in great shape and that he takes care of himself.

"Having him on the team really pumped up the guys and we made it all the way to the playoffs. His experience and knowledge was phenomenal and really helped us. He is a great addition to the Nats."

I asked Justin what this would mean to free agent pitchers who might consider the Nats: "Oh, this is a big-time get. Pitchers will jump on board for the chance to work with Pudge. Guys like throwing to him because they know there will be a certain comfort level working with a veteran versus a younger catcher."

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"Justin Maxwell - unlike CoverageIsLacking, an actual bona fide major leaguer who presumably would know how other bona fide major leaguers are likely to think."

Dude, just say what you have to say and stop worrying about other posters personally. It is a silly distraction. Especially when you keep changing screennames yourself.

Also, by your analysis, since presumably none of us who post here are major leaguers, I suppose that none of us should offer opinions on anything, huh? That would make for an awesome discussion.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 10, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

CoverageIsLacking, I'm not saying anything about you other than that I put a lot more stock into a ballplayer's opinion than I do into yours. Sorry you're too much of a dim bulb with a burr up his rear end to figure that out.

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm just not sure why you are apparently so obsessed with me that you keep bringing my name up in your posts, even when you're addressing old topics that lots of people, and not just me, commented on. It's a bit sad, John.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 10, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

CoverageIsLacking, I don't believe I've ever brought your name up except when I was addressing one of your previous comments. Sorry if you don't like it that people do disagree with your view from time to time. Maybe you should open your mind a bit. We might occasionally be right!

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Once more, with feeling, a long-distance dedication to CIL.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrllCZw8jiM

Posted by: Drew8 | December 10, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

After back to back 100 loss seasons, the sounds of Rizzo's tinkering with back-up catchers, questionable bull pen arms, middle infield depth and HOPES of landing an innings eater SP pitcher just fall very flat to my ears.

They need to put a viable club on the field for 2010. They have a lineup to score enough runs to win more games than they lose, but they do not have the arms. They need to get the arms. It is that simple.

If Rizzo does not get two front end starters, the club is yet again DOA on April 1st.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

John, I warmly welcome people disagreeing with my views. What I don't like, and what I don't think is productive for this blog, is when people bait or make personal attacks towards other posters. You do it frequently, under all of your screennames. Address the substance of the comment, not the commenter.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 10, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Who's John?

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, there's a lot of time between now and April 1. Remember, Adam Dunn was not signed last year unti February. And the guy who signed him was incompetent. They'll have good pitchers in place by April 1. Even Boswell is beginning to believe that.

Apologies for actually using your name while I addressed your comment. Hope you weren't too offended. People seem kinda touchy around here, don't they?

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

My concern is that the Nats needed more than Dunn going into last year and they knew it, and the only reason they went for Dunn was because a discount was seemingly in play. The bargain hunting as the guiding principal to player procurement needs to end. Maybe the IRod, spend a little more to get what you want, is a good sign. I hope so.

There is no margin for error for this club, they HAVE to get the arms. Anything less than adding TWO front level healthy guys leaves the fans with reasonable hopes of finishing 4th. After all of the losing and the bad management that is not good enough.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

John is the jerk who these days posts under the screennames section309, FromTheEclipse, and nunof1. In the past, he has also used other screennames that include the pretentious An Briosca Mor. He is fond of insulting other posters. Generally speaking, he appears not to have too much of a life outside of posting about the Nats.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 10, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

With JB the glass is always 3 quarters empty.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7


Posted by: adhardwick | December 10, 2009 1:39 PM
________________________________________________________

Back to back 100+ loss seasons will do that to some people. I know it has for me.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 10, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

dfh21 (or maybe I should call you John?), as I mentioned earlier there was an idiot in charge this time last year. Yet even he managed to get Dunn. This year, the new guy in charge has surrounded himself with smart baseball people, and it appears he is listening to them and the owners are buying what they're selling. I say rest easy.

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The Yankees perceive their needs much differently than most other teams do. You do realize that, don't you? Sometimes it works for them, but other times it doesn't. (See for example the years 2002-2008.)

Posted by: section309 | December 10, 2009 2:17 PM
_________________________________________________________

Uh, they may not have won it but, 2002-2007 they made the playoffs and lost a WS, and after a 1 year absence from the postseason they won the WS in 2009. Just in case you forgot, because it appears from your statement that you may have.

As a fan, I would take making it 7 out of 8 years to the postseason with one WS victory.

I have a huge problem with them just dismissing going after Lackey. Why? They have tons of payroll space, why not put a big offer on the table for him like they did with Tex last year. Odds are very much against him coming here but, why the hell not try.

Same with Holiday. They could trade an OF they don't need if they sign him for another position of need.

They have been and are still so opposed to FA, that the only conclusion is Uncle Teddy is chea...no I won't say it, it's just to easy.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 10, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

John is the jerk who these days posts under the screennames section309, FromTheEclipse, and nunof1. In the past, he has also used other screennames that include the pretentious An Briosca Mor. He is fond of insulting other posters. Generally speaking, he appears not to have too much of a life outside of posting about the Nats.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 10, 2009 3:33 PM
________________________________________________________

CiL,

You forgot DCCapsFan and SpamCastin.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 10, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Mets have signed Clint Everts to a minor league deal. Shame because I was really hoping that he'd make it up as a reliever.

Posted by: erocks33 | December 10, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, one guy is responsible for all that negativity? I really did not know that.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 10, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I have to confess though I used to think Coverage is Lacking and the Learners are Cheap was the same guy. Is there any truth to that?

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 10, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

And are Jay Bee and Brue the same guy too?

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 10, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I saw on MLB Trade Rumors that the Blue Jays were after Stammen but it was reported that he was not available. I have to assume he is available for the right price and the Blue Jays just were not willing to pay it. I like Stammen, but even Albert Pujols is available for the right price.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 10, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Didn't you know? We're on the internet, so we are all dogs...

Woof.

(I'm sure that I am not who I am [and I HAD always wanted those big forearms, oh well] but some alternate version of someone else - which would explain why I feel confused sometimes)

Posted by: OldDude | December 10, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

505203, I could not agree moe. The club has money and if they were willing to spend $180M+ on Tex last year, why they would not be willing to spend about half that much on Holliday, I have no idea. If they can't sell the future of the club as being bright to an All Star caliber FA, why should the fans buy in?

Why not try to land Holliday or Bay, and then trade Willingham for Derek Lowe/Gil Meche and sign Piniero. Big wish list there, of course, but with so few teams really looking to add payroll, they have more of a chance now than they ever have had to get high end guys.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 10, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Pudge better than Brian Schneider---that is pure baloney. Pudge was washed up three years ago. He can't even throw to second base anymore. And, I'll bet Schneider didn't come anywhere near $6 million over two years.

Posted by: bupbups | December 10, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Harden is apparently going to Texas. The list of not-quite-aces is just getting shorter and shorter.

I need to get hold of this list of multiple name posters.

Posted by: soundbloke | December 10, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

There are 4 pitchers among Keith Law's top ten free agents : Lackey, Pineiro, Chapman, Arguelles.

2 ex-Nats are in his top ten: Felip Lopez at 2B (no 7) and Nick Johnson at 1B (no 10). So, if we pick up 2 of the top ten FA's, we could be back to Nats infield 2007.

Is Keith Law an idiot --- or is this just a poor FA class?

Posted by: nattydread1 | December 10, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"Pudge better than Brian Schneider---that is pure baloney. Pudge was washed up three years ago. He can't even throw to second base anymore. And, I'll bet Schneider didn't come anywhere near $6 million over two years."

Look at their comparative numbers over the last five years. And then remind yourself that Schneider is five years younger than Pudge yet still couldn't match his numbers.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/schnebr01.shtml
http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/r/rodriiv01.shtml

Posted by: nunof1 | December 10, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Is Keith Law an idiot --- or is this just a poor FA class?"

Yes and yes.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 10, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

That's a tough one, but if I can only have one, I'll take "Keith Law is an Idiot".

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 10, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Is Keith Law an idiot --- or is this just a poor FA class?"

Yes and yes.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 10, 2009 5:05 PM
---------------------------------------------

Wow, and all along I thought Keith Law was posting here as nunof1.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 10, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget RayKingsGutFeeling was ABM as well....and no I am Just JayB and JayBeee been that from day one like or hate it.

Posted by: JayBeee | December 10, 2009 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Gawd, what a snarly bunch today - 309 & CIL in particular needed 'time-outs', IMO. On to other business / observations.
----------------
Looks like the Nationals got through the Rule-V a little nicked up (lost four pitchers + Segovia from the 40-man), but weren't crippled. Next, we see who gets tendered / non-tendered from the Arbitration list and hopefully get after the trades / FA possibles & get something positive done before the New Year.

Posted by: BinM | December 10, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

I miss Poopy McPoop.

Posted by: nattydread1 | December 10, 2009 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I miss Poopy McPoop.
Posted by: nattydread1 | December 10, 2009 6:45 PM
----------------------
natty - I think he's still over on RI - He doesn't talk baseball when the Deadskins are in season.

BTW, new post.

Posted by: BinM | December 10, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

JayBee standby for the Kool-Aiders!
___

Here's what I don't understand -- why spend time every day ripping the management of the team? Why not go root for somebody else? What pleasure is there in this constant, I mean several times a day, posting of the same thing over and over?

Posted by: markfromark | December 11, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

>..I think [losing Zinicola] is a testament to where we've come in the organization. [We had] very tough decisions at the bottom of that 40-man roster because of the good inventory of prospects that we have."

Pure comedy. He had a 7.53 ERA at Syracuse last year, and a 7.56 ERA at AAA Columbus in '08.

>Somebody was asking 'which pitchers had been signed so far'

Milwaukee snaps up Wolf, Millwood goes to Baltimore, Harden to Texas, Penny gets a 1-yr. deal.

Any ONE of those four would have been an upgrade. I would have been all over Rich Harden like a rash. Talk about an innings-eater. And MacPhail got Millwood for friggin Chris Ray!!!!!

Posted by: Brue | December 11, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Question: When we refer to Hoffman in the future, is it accurate to refer to him as a "former National"?

People call Johan Santana a former Marlin despite a similar Rule-V trade

Posted by: cprferry | December 13, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

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