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Olsen, Capps, Kasten

Just a few miscellaneous items that I wanted to post here, as well as a reason to call in sick tomorrow, sink into your La-Z-Boy and turn on the radio.

But first: The Nats this afternoon made official the signing of lefty Scott Olsen to a one-year deal. It's a pretty shrewd move by GM Mike Rizzo, if you ask me. Basically, by non-tendering Olsen on Saturday and re-signing him Sunday, the Nats reduced his 2010 salary from $2.8 million (that's a rough estimate; it would have fallen somewhere between $2.24 and $3 million, probably) to $1 million. If Olsen turns out to be healthy -- and what a bonus that would be for Washington -- then his salary will swell to just shy of $4 million because of incentives. And even $4 million for a 25-year-old lefty who makes 30+ starts sounds reasonable. Bottom line: Either the Nats save $1.8 million, or they pay the fair going rate for a healthy pitcher. This is one of those rare cases where both parties should feel comfortable.

Speaking of spending money...

The Nats have serious interest in reliever Matt Capps, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates. And Capps has serious interest in the Nats. Capps, non-tendered over the weekend, has attracted interest from roughly a dozen teams, but his agent, Paul Kinzer, said that the Nats are in a group of six or seven finalists. Within a few days, Capps wants to further narrow his list, perhaps to three teams -- and the Nats are likely to be on that list, too, Kinzer said.

Capps wants another opportunity to close, and Washington might represent just the situation for him. During the last three years, the righty saved 66 games for the Pirates. Though he had a combined 2.58 ERA from 2007 to 2008, that number soared to 5.80 in 2009.

And lastly...

Nationals President Stan Kasten, whose love-hate relationship with the media is famously lopsided toward the latter, will for four hours submerse himself in the world he loves to criticize. If you ask me, this sounds like awesome radio. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Kasten will guest host the Mike Wise Show on 106.7 FM. Jim Riggleman and Adam Dunn are lined up as guests.

By Chico Harlan  |  December 14, 2009; 8:02 PM ET
 
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Next: Kasten on the radio

Comments

I feel so lame doing this, but I'm still at work so I deserve it -- FIRST!

Posted by: HenryStin | December 14, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

SECOND

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

THIRD

Posted by: mjwies11 | December 14, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Chico;

Thanks for the StanK radio info, now could you check around to see if this is the Nats attempt to make the move to a decent radio signal? I love WTOP and I think the guys at Bonneville have been straight up with the Nats for the past 5 years but broadcasting on WFED is a ratings killer and Charlie and Dave deserve better. Come on Stan break the Bonneville strangle-hold and give us a signel that can be heard beyond Springfield.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 14, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I got a fifth here.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

SIX PACK!!1!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Lucky seven!

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

you deserve to feel lame for still being at work? As cartman said to kyle, dude, don't be so hard on yourself.
***********
I feel so lame doing this, but I'm still at work so I deserve it -- FIRST!
Posted by: HenryStin | December 14, 2009 8:35 P

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 9:52 PM | Report abuse

nein! nein!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVktxm3p7gI

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 9:54 PM | Report abuse

A day or two ago, I actually had a thought Rizzo & Co. might be considering Capps. I think he would be a good acqusition, so thanks for the update, Chico.

Also, Tippy, I agree that WFED and the Nats are not good for each other. The team needs a good FM flagship station - maybe something is in the works with WJFK? I wish I could listen tomorrow, so perhaps someone who can listen would be nice enough to fill us in. What I'm hoping for is that Stan runs into Holden Kushner in the hallway after the show's over and punches him straight in his face.

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

You guys just waiting to be "first", or 2nd, and so on...Get a life!!

Posted by: scmonty1 | December 14, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Life begins at THIRTEEN!!!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

(Where ARE all these new people from? We must be getting popular again!)

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I never advocate violence, but if he accidentally dropped a banana peel on his way int the building ....

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

The agent is *always* going to say "X-many teams are really interested in him"--no one wants to admit they aren't getting any calls on Friday night. Being a Finalist in the Matt Capp Sweepstakes is sort of mixed, maybe, but hey, last year we were the beer goggles finalist.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

That's not violence, biscuit, that's slapstick. High art. Whole different thing. Perfectly legal.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

So if Capps is a closer, does that mean we're still going for a hot starter?

Posted by: NatsNut | December 14, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

And Charlie and Dave deserve 50,000 watts of clear channel amplitude modulation.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Four hours of StanK on the radio? I don't think the StanKspeak-to-English dictionary has that long a battery. StanK, here are a few softballs for openers:

1. Are you ashamed at running a franchise that is the laughing stock of baseball?
2. Do you, in fact, shill for the worst owners in baseball?
3. Whatever happened to your fallback job as president of the Toronto Blue Jays?
4. Do you feel charging big-market ticket prices for watching such a small-market payroll can be justified in any way?
5. What did you ever see in Manny Acta?
6. What is Bob Carpenter's main contribution to humanity?
7. Do I really need the clearcoat with that new Malibu?
8. Does John Schuerholtz ever call you out for hogging all his glory in Atlanta?
9. Do you want to finally put out a real figure for season ticket sales decline since you've been here?
10. What is your job description anyway?

That should get you to the first commercial break. We'll be right back after these messages. Now, back to StanSpeak...

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | December 14, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Natsnut, if they can build the bullpen up to where it was a few years ago, then signing a starter should be that much easier. This is all laying the foundation. You live in the house, but you pour the cement first.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Capps would be another nice addition to the bullpen. A back-end that has Capps, Bruney, Clippard, and Burnett might not have a clear closer, but it would be probably survive the 7th and 8th more often than not. It seems to me that the Nats lost more games in the 7th and 8th than they did in the 9th last year. I suppose the Nats might be thinking Capps and MacDougal. They'd probably be pretty fair competition for each other...

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me started on that baseball sell-out AKA Holden Kushner. The guy is about as phoney as a Three Dollar "Diamond Jim Bowden" bill. It would be ironic if the Nats did move to the former WJFK, it actually would kick Kushner off the air for 6 months. Oh such evil thoughts!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 14, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Sunshine, I have to say I don't agree with a single thing your list implies. I have criticisms for some of the decisions made and not made, but its an entirely different list.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

BTW, looks to me like Chico had this story first.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 14, 2009 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me started on that baseball sell-out AKA Holden Kushner. The guy is about as phoney as a Three Dollar "Diamond Jim Bowden" bill. It would be ironic if the Nats did move to the former WJFK, it actually would kick Kushner off the air for 6 months. Oh such evil thoughts!

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

Maybe Holden will get by a snowplow so we won't have to wait that long. Wish me luck though, because I've never driven a snowplow before.

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

hmmm...I left an important word out in my post:

Maybe Holden will get *hit* by a snowplow so we won't have to wait that long. Wish me luck though, because I've never driven a snowplow before.

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 11:01 PM | Report abuse

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me, you know they do take phone calls on that show. Call up and ask Stan those questions yourself. I dare you. We all know you don't have the guts to do it. And don't give us any lame excuses like you couldn't get past the phone screener. Lie to the phone screener if you have to. Tell them you want to discuss Lannan and Maxwell's recent charitable activities or some such, they'll put you on, and then you should at least be able to get one or two of your questions asked.

Go ahead, do it. Don't be all talk and no action. You do have the b*lls, don't you? No? That's what I thought.

Posted by: nunof1 | December 14, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

And, just so you all know, I'm not serious. I dislike Holden Kushner greatly but I do not own a snowplow nor do I do wish Mr. Kushner any physical harm, beyond a severe case of hemmroids. The banana peel thing might be kind of funny though...

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

30th!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow. from one obnoxious hater to an obnoxious-hater-hater. Get a load of us.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Now, back to you regularly scheduled baseball discussion, already in progress...


happened to Capps last year? From the numbers, it looks like he lost control and starting hitting a lot of bats, but was there an injury issue? I assume they'll have Weimi Douoguih give him a good look before they talk about numbers.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll take your word that you spelled the team physician's name correctly, Sofa.

I'd like to buy an "O," Pat...

Posted by: thepostischeap | December 14, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

that's mighty kind of you, tpic. Especially considering I spelled "your" wrong.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

and he installed my more-strawberry-blonde-than-red-headed-Cubs-fan-wife's knee, so I have leg up. so to speak.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Apparently the A'los are cutting ties with Vlad. Not that I think the Nats could use him now, but I remember seeing him and McGwire at RFK for an exhibition series in (2002??), with maybe 20,000 fans on the best day, and thinking, "Man, this town will NEVER support a team if this is the best they can do for McGuire and Guerrero."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 14, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Chico, are the Nats one of the teams who will be at Aroldis Chapman's workout in Houston on Tuesday? Are they interested in him? If not, why not?

http://sports.espn.go.com/boston/mlb/news/story?id=4741805

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 15, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

To Sec3:

I was at one of those exhibition games too. Kent Bottenfield started for the Cards I remember. It was a beautiful day and it made me so happy to be able to watch a game at home in DC. That's why I'm so happy to have the Nats. As bad as they have been, I'm always (and will always be)there.

Posted by: big_game_lannan | December 15, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

39th

Posted by: joemktg1 | December 15, 2009 6:43 AM | Report abuse

The 40 man roster is now full.

Posted by: Intrudr | December 15, 2009 7:54 AM | Report abuse

So are the Nats REALLY one of three or four finalists for Capps' services or are he and his agent just using the Nats to drive up the price because they know we will overpay, a la team Boras/Teixeira last season?

Posted by: SpashCity | December 15, 2009 8:06 AM | Report abuse

I would not ask Stan how are things on the farm, or what about that cool new DR facility, or what do you know about this or that kid in A ball with the live arm -- eff that stuff -- deck chairs on the Titanic.

It might go something like this: Stan, we are three years into the Lerner ownership with a gazillion losses, with a hope for mediocrity payroll (above average ticket prices, yet below average payroll) and no pitching to speak of. When will you, Rizzo and the Lerners deliver a relavent MLB club to this town?

Posted by: dfh21 | December 15, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Oh, cuarenta y tres.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 15, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Sellouts would have been nice, but I thought attendance was respectable for exhibition games featuring someone else's teams on the eve of seasons from which we were excluded.

-----
"Man, this town will NEVER support a team if this is the best they can do for McGuire and Guerrero."

Posted by: KenNat | December 15, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I'd take Capps over MacDougal despite their respective 2009 seasons. Hope it works out.

Posted by: tgerbracht | December 15, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Sec3, the question about Capps was the one I had. I only glanced at his stuff from last year, but there's nothing in there that seems too very alarming - it looks like he sort of lost the strike zone a little (BB/9 went up from 0.8 to 2.8), which probably forced him to throw juicier pitches, and led to a real jump in BAbip. He also had a relatively unlucky BAbip last year (.364) after having a relatively lucky BAbip the two years prior (.263 and .268). So, I agree, definitely have Dr. MoreVowelsThan BalkanVillages look him over closely, but I don't see anything that seems to say that he can't be effective. And he's going to be 26 aka "Two Years Younger than Hanrahan." He'd fit in nicely with Bruney, Clippard and Burnett. By the way, as I was skimming through stats - keep in mind, there's basically no way Clippard can maintain his level from last year - he had a .201 BAbip and a .349 SLG against him - he's gonig to be less lucky than that this year. However, here's the good news - he's upped his K/9 above his AAA numbers since becoming a reliever in MLB. That bodes well for his development. And he's 25 this year.

Posted by: Highway295Revisited | December 15, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Saw this little nugget in Heyman's article this morning on SI.com:

• The Yankees see Bobby Abreu's $19-million, two-year deal with the Angels as a benchmark for Johnny Damon, their own free agent corner outfielder, while Damon's asking price is thought to be three or four years for $13 million a year. It's too early in that game to think much about him leaving (it makes sense for both sides to figure something out as that's a marriage that's worked wonderfully), but some other teams that may have interest in Damon could include the Mariners, Braves, Giants and Nationals.

Posted by: FloresFan | December 15, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

^^^^Could this mean that we're trying to move Willingham for some pitching and bring in Damon to play LF?

Posted by: FloresFan | December 15, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Please no Damon. He cannot field and his power is all about the new Yankee Stadium cheap home run.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 15, 2009 10:58 AM | Report abuse

yeah, i have no desire to see a swap of damon for willingham (as far as our roster goes). no need to make the roster older for no appreciable gain.

on a different note, saw this on neyer's blog. nice to see a nat make a list like this...

===

In fairness, I do believe the Cardinals know that Holliday isn't as good as Pujols. But if these figures being bandied about are correct, it seems they think Holliday is nearly as good as Pujols.

He's not. There's a top tier of superstars, a tier that includes Pujols and Joe Mauer and Chase Utley and Hanley Ramirez.

There's a second tier that includes Evan Longoria and Ryan Zimmerman and Chone Figgins.

And then comes Holliday and Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford.

===

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I agree dfh. I'd rather have Willingham playing LF. Watching Damon throw is so painful.

Posted by: FloresFan | December 15, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Huh - Bruney,Clippard, Burnett, Capps, MacDougal - that's five pretty good pieces.

Personally, I'd be happy to see any of these guys in LF next year - Willingham, Holliday, Bernadina, Maxwell - and actually leaning toward rotating Bernadina, Maxwell, and Dukes on the corners just for the sake of having maybe the fastest and best defensive OF in baseball. The Nats have some pieces to play with.

Posted by: AsstGM | December 15, 2009 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree on Damon. Just say no.

He makes no sense for this team. We need a stud closer, two solid starters and a 2nd baseman/SS that is with good with the glove.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 15, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

i don't think this team needs a "stud" closer until it's ready to compete in the playoffs. a quality closer is what we need. a stud would be overpaid for this team (unless it's a young guy developed from within). you don't buy a stud closer for big bucks until you're contending.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Stan said on the radio that there are 20 legit #1 starters in the league, here's who I count (I have 24):
Halladay, Felix H., John Lester, AJ Burnett, J. Beckett, J. Lackey, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, Josh Johnson, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy?, Justin Verlander, Z Greike, J Shields, C Billingsley?, C Kershaw, A Wainwright, C Carpenter, T Lincecum, M Cain?

Who else belongs on this list and who doesn't?

Posted by: natsfanintexas | December 15, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

No way James Shields is one of the 20 best starters in MLB. Put Yovani Gallardo or Javier Vasquez ahead of Shields.

Posted by: SpashCity | December 15, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Listening to Stan right now on the radio makes me want to puke. We're new to the market. Building a winner takes years, but how about those sight lines! Takes time. The ushers are the friendliest in the game. We are working on it. We are working on it. It takes time. Oh, and did I mention that it takes time?

Three years in, losses to beat the band, no ptiching, high ticket prices . . . No more excuses.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 15, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Who is the guy sitting in studio w/StanK. I mean the guy is a dummy, everyother word out of his mouth is NFL and Redskins. If I was StanK I'd take off the cans and walk out of the studio! None of these guys get it, expand the horizen beyond the B&G. I tuned in only to hear StanKSpeak and we get the usual oh thanks for being here Stan we don't really care about YOUR Sport (how many times did that guy say that), like baseball is Skateboarding. Uggggh, don;t know if its StankSpeak that gets me ticked or the incompetent media dogs that permeate the airwaves.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | December 15, 2009 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Stan is now going the Cerrato route by hosting a radio show?

I'm assuming the Bog will be all over this.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 15, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

i don't think this team needs a "stud" closer until it's ready to compete in the playoffs. a quality closer is what we need. a stud would be overpaid for this team (unless it's a young guy developed from within). you don't buy a stud closer for big bucks until you're contending.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse


I agree, this is a good list of relievers Bruney,Clippard, Burnett, Capps, MacDougal. Keep in mind how young these guys are they could potentially become closers. Were also still grooming Storen who we drafted for a reason. More pressing needs at this time, obv SP. Worry about the final puzzle pieces once the picture is more clear.

Posted by: Stu27 | December 15, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

don't think this team needs a "stud" closer until it's ready to compete in the playoffs. a quality closer is what we need. a stud would be overpaid for this team (unless it's a young guy developed from within). you don't buy a stud closer for big bucks until you're contending.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 12:06 PM
___________________________________________________________

sec231,

I disagree, for a few reasons. Look at how many games this team blew last year because our BP and closer were doo doo brown. That weighs a team down after a while. Not saying we could have been a playoff team but 90 losses is a lot better than 103.

So we spend some money on a closer, I will take Uncle Teddy spending some money in some way, any way. It's not like the 27th ranked payroll in MLB is huge. He's worth 4 billion.

I'm tired of the "we're getting there, it takes time to build a winner", crappolla. It does, if you don't spend some money on the ML roster. Spend money on some actual legit ML'ers and let's find out.

Uncle Teddy and StanK, it's time, you're losing your fan base and you're becoming a national punchline.

No more BS, open the checkbook.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 15, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Dave Shenin has a piece up on Baseball Insider about the Roy Halladay deal and how it fits into the Phillies' team building strategy. And the natsbaseball blog has an excellent piece about how the deal is very bad news for Nats fans. Worth a look.

http://natsbaseball.blogspot.com/2009/12/why-halladay-trade-should-worry-nats.html

Posted by: Section222 | December 15, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

it's a waste, though. look, having mariano rivera on this team would have won a few more games. but spending $15m on rivera wins less games than spending $15m on lackey. or $15m on holliday. or $8m on hudson and $7m on bedard. or any number of combos like that.

top closers are a luxury on a losing team.

i think you mistake me saying "don't spend big money on a closer" for "don't spend big money." i'd just prefer whatever money might be spent on a stud closer be spent somewhere else. list all of the big contracts given to closers in the past 3-4 years (not named rivera) and tell me what proportion weren't regretted as bad contracts w/in two years? it's a bad risk.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

The Yankees are out acquiring Granderson and the Red Sox Lackey, while the Phils are adding Halladay.

Meanwhile, the Nationals are 'straining their resources' to see if they can bring in a closer from Pittsburgh with a 5.29 ERA in 2009 and return Scott Olsen, a career .500 pitcher with a 4.25 ERA.

Yep, these moves are set to bring us a championship boys.

Maybe not today, but maybe tomorrow.

What a joke.

Lerner is pulling with the baseball operation what Abe Pollin did with the Bullets/Wizards in the late 1980's.

He allowed the Bullets to be a consistently mediocre 39-43 type team that never made any bold moves to acquire blue chip talent that would impact the organization.

Posted by: leopard09 | December 15, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

oh, and i don't think even mo rivera would've gotten us from 103 losses to 90. maybe 95 or 97.

remember, you have to get it to the 9th to have him make the difference. our relievers blew a lot of those leads in the 7th/8th.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

All the blown games didnt come in the 9th though, thats all that your getting with your STUD closer, Macdougals saves converted pretty good if I remember, it was mainly earlier on in the season when they were on a pace to set the blown saves record.
Hving the 7 and 8th innings in good hands would be a great start over the past couple years.

Posted by: Stu27 | December 15, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Wise doesn't know jack about baseball, which may be why he's been so freaking mean about the Nationals for so long. Surprised Kasten appeared on that radio show.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | December 15, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Radio interview with Tim Kurkjian (sp?) was interesting. After Stan K basically said we're just a few pieces away from the World Series but we need young pitching, Mike Wise asked Tim K what he thinks the Nationals need. His response:

1. Complete new middle infield because the defense was atrocious.

2. A new bullpen, because the Nats' bullpen performance last year was atrocious.

3. About four new starting pitchers, because the Nats' starting pitchers last year were atrocious.

Um, OK. We'll sign Pudge then.

Posted by: trezmartin | December 15, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

You did notice I said the "BP and closer were doo doo brown."

A stud closer is a luxary for bad team, point taken.

I think Rizzo is doing a nice job bringing in some help for the roster. But really, until Uncle Teddy opens the checkbook and brings the payroll into the top 10-15 like it should be, these moves by Rizzo are just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 15, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

as far as aces go, i'll pare down your list a little...

Halladay, Felix H., John Lester, J. Beckett, J. Lackey, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt, Josh Johnson, Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, Jake Peavy?, Justin Verlander, Z Greike, A Wainwright, C Carpenter, T Lincecum, M Cain?

guys from your list i wouldn't call aces:
AJ Burnett (inconsistent, and a 4+ ERA the last two doesn't qualify)
Cole Hamels (needs to repeat 07 at least once, 4+ ERA doesn't qualify)
J Shields (4+ ERA last year, doesn't qualify, not really dominant)
C Billingsley (another 4 ERA for last year, but could have the stuff)
C Kershaw (on the verge, but one season isn't enough)

oswalt is teetering on the brink of falling off the list, imo, but still gets some benefit of the doubt for recent past.

others on the borderline of sneaking in.
jair jurjens
javier vasquez (last year was pretty dominant, but he's been inconsistent over time)
gallardo (if he stays healthy).

i think you need to have a sub-4 ERA, be consistent, and capable of being dominant with some regularity, to be called an ace. it's a label too easily given to guys with potential.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I just love how people on this board think that Lerner and Rizzo should turn this team around in a couple years after MLB gutted the franchise and the farm system; the solution, I guess, is to spend and hope like the Mets do. I guess we'd be happier finishing in 4th place with double or triple the payroll, justifying that we are at least spending absurd dollars and losing. Maybe some people should ask for a dose a patience ander their Xmas tree instead of Lackey and Holliday; clearly no top of the line FA is coming here until this team shows signs of turning it around and that won't happen until this system produces players that can significantly contribute on a major league level. I trust current management has us on that track.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 15, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Not sure this is what people are saying but I don't think Capps qualifies as a stud reliever. Capps is a closer candidate. However, even if you do think Capps is a stud reliever, I think having a good closer is enormously important. The game has changed. 6-7 innings from a starter, then 2-3 relievers to finish the game. If the last guy is a lock then the whole bullpen management thing gets a lot easier. A good closer may only get credit for saving 30-40 games, but his presence has value beyond those specific games.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 15, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

i won't disagree with you there, 505/203. over the next 2-3 seasons the nats need to make several impact signings, along with good drafting and paying above slot and some solid international work, to get the talent level to top 10. and realistically, that means top 10-15 payroll as well.

i only took issue with the closer because that's the last piece to buy, not one of the first.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

we're not far apart either, natbiscuits.

i think they need a *reliable* closer. it's good for the mental side of the team not to worry that a lead will be blown in the late innings. but it doesn't have to be a top 10 guy. it just shouldn't be a low-level retread or "hope he doesn't blow it" guy like it's been since chief got hurt.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

btw, new post.

Posted by: sec231 | December 15, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

to be fair, MacDougal isn't my first choice either, but he did only blow one save out of a couple dozen chances, IIRC. Wasn't always pretty, but they don't subtract points for ugly.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 15, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

For those who didn't listen to StanK on 106.7, he cohosted with a guy named Bill Rohland, not Mike Wise; Stan was subbing for Wise. However Wise did call in at the end of the show to thank Stan & graciously allowed as he might repay the favor by actually attending a game this year. I thought Rohland was fairly knowledgable on baseball (certainly better than Wise & most of the other "sports experts" on local stations).

On TimK interview, TimK said Nats needed to upgrade defensively at 2B and strengthen bullpen and starting pitching; don't recall him specifying number of SPs needed. Did not use the word "atrocious" during the interview. FWIW, TimK volunteered that he considered the Nats' ballpark his "home ballpark" and enjoyed going there.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | December 15, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I would guess that StanK completely tuned out what Tim K. had to say.

Posted by: Section505203 | December 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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