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Afternoon notes: Storen, top prospects, Hudson and Smoltz

Just a little carton of baseball McNuggets here.

* At 1:30 on -- now! -- Drew Storen is chatting live.

* As you've perhaps seen, ESPN (i.e., Keith Law) has its annual list ranking the top 100 prospects. The Nats have three prospects on the list, but more surprising, they don't have the No. 1 prospect. Indeed, Stephen Strasburg is No. 2, behind Atlanta's Jason Heyward. Derek Norris is No. 31; Storen is No. 92. Aaron Crow, incidentally, is No. 87.

* I'm not sure if the Nats have given free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson their take-it-or-leave-it offer, but it seems to me, in talking to a few guys in the front office, that the team is simply waiting on his decision. If Hudson signs elsewhere, the team's Plan B options at 2B/SS are decidedly underwhelming. The Nats want to go to Florida with more than Ian Desmond, Cristian Guzman, Alberto Gonzalez and Eric Bruntlett among their middle infielders, and they might explore a trade. The latest from Ken Rosenthal suggests that as many as six teams are vying for Hudson.

* There's still some advocacy from some in front office for the Nats to sign John Smoltz. I don't get the sense that talks between Washington and Smoltz have heated up yet, though. But in the last weeks of the offseason, as Washington looks to sign a final starter, Smoltz could be the frontrunner if he's interested.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 28, 2010; 1:49 PM ET
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Next: Walker signing official; Estrada DFA'd


I sure hope that when Kasten and Rizzo stated that they were "not done" after the signing of Capps, they were talking about guys like Walker, Duncan and James.

Posted by: jacquesdoucet | January 28, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

This list does not make me feel good. After last years draft we only have one player from all the other previous drafts on the list. Three players out of 100 is slightly below average. Yes , you can blame it on Bowden and scouts but it is just too deperessing to see any future with all the others in the system.

Posted by: aspenbubba | January 28, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

It would be great for our young pitchers to be mentored by Smoltz for a season but does the guy really have a whole season of starting left in him, does even have half of a season left?

2 or 3 million or more is a lot for a mentor but then again we did sign Pudge.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 28, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse


I agree. Smoltz is in the Pudge category for me. An imperfect short term solution that contributes to the long term plan, allowing me to feel good about it.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 28, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Newposted (and scooped by Chico):

Here is some (moderately) happy news:

Keith Law's top 100 prospect list is out, and it includes Strasburg at #2 (behind the Braves' Jason Heyward), Derek Norris at #31 (but with questions about his defense -- where have I heard that before?) and Storen at #92.

Other notables: Aroldis Chapman is at #16, and Aaron Crow is at #87. Which, to me, proves the point some of us have been making about the failure to really build the farm over the past few years by, you guessed it, spending money. If they had thrown a bit more change around we could have had Strasburg, Chapman and Crow in the rotation by the end of this year. Now that would have been something. And don't tell me that we couldn't have had Storen too -- he might well have been available in the second round.

(OK, well, I tried to be positive and failed. But it was a failure of execution and not of will. And the sun was in my eyes.)

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Hard not to be in favor of signing Smoltz in my view. I'd pay him $3 million just to sit on the bench and talk pitching with all of our young guns this season. At a minimum he can keep the seat warm for Strasburg.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse


You are right about Crow. But Chapman's contract is excessive. And we don't know what was going behind the scene. Which means so far Rizzo has a win (Strasburg), a no decision (Chapman) and an inherited loss (Crow).

You were positive enough.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 28, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I dont think Crow was a loss. You dont give a #8 pick top 5 money. They get the money thats appropriate for the spot they were taken in. If he was a top 5 pick then we should have given him top 5 money, he wasn't however.
You give this guy top 5 money like his agents wanted and we lose any upper hand in draft negotiation. We don't sign Stras the next year cause Boras sees us as even more of a chump org and asks for twice as much with no bargaining.

Posted by: Stu27 | January 28, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Storen would have been around in the 2nd round -- he was considered a mid-to-late 1st round pick.

Drew Storen wanted to play for the Nationals, signed within a couple of days and dominated from Hagerstown to the Arizona Fall League.

Aaron Crow didn't want to sign, demanded a rediculous amount of money before dropping his demand at literally the last moment. He didn't want to play here.

In his first real professional experience, Crow went 0-2, 5.87 in Arizona this fall, allowing a .288 batting average-against. Storen went 2-1, 1.95, allowing 5.1 hits and 1.9 walks per 9 innings while striking out 11.9.

I'd much rather have a great closer than another great starter. If the Nats had a "real" closer last year (they had 25 blown saves), they would have won 70-73 games.

Chapman was too expensive and Crow was too demanding.

And don't forget; we have the top pick again this year.

Posted by: rushfari | January 28, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to pick up on that argument in the earlier post about the Lerners and whether we can confirm that they're cheap.

I'm kind of in the middle on this one. They're not cheap (the Pirates owners? Cheap). The Lerners are frugal with their money. The Pirates wouldn't have signed Adam Dunn and they wouldn't have drafted Strasburg. The Lerners did that.

But on the other hand, the Lerners have been slow to shell out more money for things like competent pitching, much less top notch pitching. If this team had a mediocre pitching staff the last two years, they probably would have been more like a 75-game winning team instead of the 100-game losers they were.

Maybe they bought into Bowden's argument that he could patch up a staff with the guys he was bringing in. Don't know. I'm also not a believer that you can buy your way to a good team. There's usually a reason the other teams are willing to let guys go and it isn't always just money. The best bet is to develop your team from within.

But I definitely would have been more aggressive with the checkbook than were the Lerners and not just to win games. When this franchise arrived, there was a lot of buzz and the market was wide open. The Skins stunk, people really were starting to hate the, and the Caps and Wizards were irrelevant. The door was open for the Nats to make a big move in the market and to me, it would have been worth shelling out money to keep the team at .500.

Now, the Nats are an afterthought, the Skins are going to get yet another chance to turn things around under Shanahan and the Caps have made the big move to become a top player in the market. I don't think the Lerners can literally afford to save a few million bucks now without hurting the team's long-term prospects in the market place.

Bottom line? I'd spend a few million to get another starting pitcher, Orlando Hudson and maybe even another outfielder who can provide some pop and play regularly, if not everyday. If not, they better hope Rizzo's done enough to change the outlook of this team.

Otherwise, the Lerners' real reputation won't be that they're cheap, but that they're satisfied to be mediocre. That might be worse.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 28, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

"You dont give a #8 pick top 5 money."

Except that guys fall in the draft every year due to signability issues and then get paid over slot when they do get drafted. It's a flawed system, but it is what it is, and the front office has to make it work for the team. I don't think the argument should be over what happened in the last 15 minutes of the Crow negotiations. My argument is that the Nationals, in particular, absolutely had to manage their drafts properly if The Plan was going to succeed. If that meant passing on Crow and drafting some other comparable player they knew they could sign, fine. But failing to sign their first round pick was a significant failure.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

They signed two the next year. Best starting pitcher and reliever in the draft both 1st rounders.

Posted by: Stu27 | January 28, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. Who doesn't want John Lannan sitting next to John Smoltz dissecting pitchers in between starts?

In other news, there's a shocking! allegation regarding the Nationals over at the Bog.


Hard not to be in favor of signing Smoltz in my view. I'd pay him $3 million just to sit on the bench and talk pitching with all of our young guns this season. At a minimum he can keep the seat warm for Strasburg.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 28, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

New post.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 28, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Come on--shocking?? Who here now or who posted at the time did not think Bascik (sp?) groved it. Also, big deal. Barry gets his tainted record and Mike B. gets his 15 minutes.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | January 28, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

dunno if it has been mentioned here, but the list of the top 50 prospects had Stras #2 and Storen about #40, with an author's note that Norris was #60, just off the list. Crow? One place lower than Storen.

Law would never rate a reliever high.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 28, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

if we add smoltz to our growing list of older mentoring types, then all we need are more than 3 prospects in the top 100, and a new plan can take shape.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | January 28, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

More Nats Prospects...

Nationals prospect Edgardo Baez smacked a three-run homer for the Caguas Criollos. Mayaguez is about to SWEEP the Puerto Rican Winter League Finales tonight...

Vamos Indios!!!

If you don't know, u better ask somebody

Posted by: boricuabopper | January 28, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Please no John Smoltz.I don't think he has enough to offer them.By the way,he was once traded for a player who had earlier been traded for Frank Robinson(Doyle Alexander).

Posted by: seanmg | January 28, 2010 11:13 PM | Report abuse

The exclamation point was inserted to signify sarcasm.


Come on--shocking?? Who here now or who posted at the time did not think Bascik (sp?) groved it. Also, big deal. Barry gets his tainted record and Mike B. gets his 15 minutes.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 29, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

The Nationals should have forgotten about Hudson and his $9M demands and signed Garland for the 1 year, $5.3M deal he got from San Diego.

A veteran pitcher for the #2 spot in the rotation is far more important to Washington than adding a second baseman in free agency.

You can trade for a second baseman who has a good glove.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

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