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Free agent targets, plaudits and poetry

Just a few odds and ends here. I had the chance to talk briefly with GM Mike Rizzo on Wednesday about the team's final acquisition targets for the offseason.

* Rizzo was coy about his scouts' impressions of Ben Sheets, the free agent who conducted a pitching session Tuesday. Sheets, recovering from elbow surgery that forced him to miss all of last season, threw about 50 pitches. More generally, Rizzo acknowledged that the Nats still want to sign a final arm for their rotation and are targeting a list of "four or five" potential players.

"I think we need another pitcher in our rotation," Rizzo said. "I'd certainly like to add one. I'd rather not start the season with three very, very young pitchers in the rotation. Two young pitchers is much more palatable, I think. But if the right pitcher comes around that fits what I'm trying to do, we'll certainly make a run at him."

* Speaking about the Nats' other higher-profile free agent target, second baseman Orlando Hudson, Rizzo said: "We like Hudson. We'd like to have him. I'm not sure if it's a fit... but we've got three or four infielders we're looking at."

* ranks the teams with the best offseasons. The Nats come in at No. 10.

*, counting down to the start of spring training with team-by-team previews, has this to say about the Nats. As a bonus, you get a haiku.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 20, 2010; 7:24 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Nats avoid arbitration with four players
Next: MASN broadcast schedule for 2010


Just heard Rizzo on MLB Network. He was clearly using all the code words that tell me they do not want to spend any more money. He is done except for the Mid March dumpster dives. He keep saying "it has to work for the Nationals" and "work withing our long range plan beyond 2010". It sucks to see it yet again. Nats are happy to take our money and put crap on the field. 72 Wins is all they are trying to do in 2010. Past history tells us they over estimate their talent so it will be more like 65 wins this year. They dropped the ball (pun intended) on defense yet again this off season

Posted by: JayBeee | January 20, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

OMG, and I thought they were just tea leaves.

Of course the code words I just read:

"I think we need another pitcher in our rotation," Rizzo said. "I'd certainly like to add one. I'd rather not start the season with three very, very young pitchers in the rotation ... We like Hudson. We'd like to have him. I'm not sure if it's a fit... but we've got three or four infielders we're looking at."

completely confused me as I thought they would be decoded roughly: "we still plan to sign more players."

Still I'm always ready to go negative so maybe we should all be despondent.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 20, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

He will sign more will just be Livo type pithcers and a Belliard type Middle Infielders....Nats Plan is focused on doing things on the Cheap and no way helping get us get to .500.

They could easily have signed several more FA and play .500.....all on one and two year contracts....except that would cost more than minor league deals and that is all he is going to do from here out.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo has done some really good and smart things this off season. So he deserves the benefit of the doubt regarding how he fills the remaining needs, rather than parsing of phrases to guess at his intent.

We will know soon enough whether things are really different this time around for the Nats.

Posted by: hapster | January 20, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

You naysayers are making this comment section REALLY tough to read these days. I generally like what you all have to say, but lately between you guys and this Yahoo reporter the Nats might as well not even play the games.

Posted by: dand187 | January 20, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Message for me from
Nationals ticket office
gets no response.

Posted by: tailwagger | January 20, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse


Message for me from
Nationals ticket office
remains unanswered.

Posted by: tailwagger | January 20, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nats built there bed now they must sleep in it.....OR they could burn it and sign Hudson and Garland and the Best RF bat they can find because Dukes has proven nothing but he can not say on the field for whatever reason.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 20, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse


Try this:

Message for me from
Nationals ticket office.
Take me off your list.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | January 20, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Still confident the Nats will sign Hudson or Kennedy at 2B and one more pitcher, but in the meantime...nice to know that the Mets money (excluding Jason Bay) is not enough to attract free agents...Joel Piniero, a Mets target, has signed with the Angels according to ESPN.

Message to the Mets
I do not want your money
Because you all stink

Posted by: jfromPG | January 20, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this will shed some light on the subject.

Tonight on Front Burner on MLB Channnel, John Haymen, Ken Rosenthal and Thom Verducci all agreed that O Dog will sign with the Nats and that the Nats will bring in another veteran arm. They also said that with SS and some of the other things that Rizzo has put in place makes this a team that is really moving in the right direction.

So buckup boys and girls, even though I don't believe O Dog will be playing here and its going to be a dumpster diving Jerome Williams/Tim Redding type of vet arm and maybe a Kennedy type 2nd Basemen, if the pundits can see light at the end of the tunnel maybe we should too!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 20, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I saw that Hot Stove, and Rizzo really is pretty pathetic. Said nothing. Looking for the 'perfect fit'. Seems like if he sticks to his script, he doesn't stutter.

Posted by: Brue | January 20, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I refuse to be pessimistic. I just got back from a weekend in Vegas and put the cost of one beer at the Bullpen on the Nats to win the World Series. At 150-1, if they win my Nats Park beer is paid for all of the 2011 season.

Posted by: ramgut | January 20, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

There is only one
And it is not a Yahoo
Get off my blogs, punk!

Posted by: HaikuMan | January 20, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Latest NJ fad
Pessimistic and mad
Happy when sad

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 20, 2010 10:15 PM | Report abuse

I like what they have done so far this year so I won't slam them for what I thing they might or might not do.

We will know soon enough whether the page we seem to be turning leads to a new much better chapter.

I hope it does and see no reason, yet, to believe it won't.

Posted by: alm1000 | January 20, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Brue, JayBee negativity AND TippyCanoe OPTIMISM in in one thread!

Consider my tiny mind BLOWN.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 20, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

not smart enough to create a Haiku but what would NJ be without a negative post from JayBee or Brue. Must be a sad life when you always expect the worst. I like what we have done this off-season and am looking for a few more moves.

Posted by: sjm3091 | January 20, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, yeah. We can windge all we want--G-d knows I do--but Blogfather, if you're reading--I'm going to Panera's for breakfast tomorrow, and then *playing* doubleheaders Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and inshAllah a championship Sunday, in Florida. Viva Rizzo, Let's win 81. Life is good.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 20, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

Panera, baseball,
doubleheaders every day --
There is no next year.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 20, 2010 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Sorry guys. JayBee and Brue are accurate. The Nats do not have the pitching or defense to yet get to .500 ball. But, with a little (bad) luck from the NY Mess, they might finish ahead of Minaya's sorry team. I like Rizzo but let's be clear, any progress as far as I am concerned is dampened by their lack of spending on a one year deal for an arm, like Kevin Millwood; a perfect salary dump trade. Ownership is committed to spending less this year on a still sorry team. ROI on a team that is competitive (i.e. .500 ball) would fill the coffers of the Lerners. However, there is risk that they would continue their woebegone sorry loser ways. So, with that choice we all know what they will do. They will NOT be risk takers. Any additional spending this year which MIGHT yield them a better record adds an unacceptable amount of risk to their wealth. These are businessmen, make profit and don't take risks which might hamper your ability to do so.

Posted by: ABHFGTY | January 20, 2010 11:45 PM | Report abuse

pineiro signs w/angels.

so far, they have signed the number 4 pitcher from the rockies, an iffy 2nd tier closer from one of the worst teams, and a catcher with little left in the tank.

ok... this is not looking that great so far...

Posted by: MalcolmYoung | January 21, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

"Ownership is committed to spending less this year on a still sorry team."

If that statement bears out when we get to Spring Training, I'll be as angry as anyone. However, as the Randi Institute has yet to have anyone claim their $1 million for provable psychic powers, I'd suggest people hold off on the BOLD PRONOUNCEMENTS about what ownership is and is not willing to spend until then.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 21, 2010 2:07 AM | Report abuse

Nats played the first half of last year at a 45-50 win pace and the second half at a 65-70 win pace after making a good trade for Morgan and Burnett. I think the moves already made this offseason could add 10 more wins so I think a 75-80 win season is a reasonable expectation at this point. Need a couple more moves as discussed (2B and another SP) to have a realistic shot at a .500 season.

Posted by: slopitchtom | January 21, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

It's official, Paul LoDuca signs with Rockies. Amusing.... In other news Daniel Cabrera is with the White Sox and Austin Kearns with the Indians, but Gerneralisimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 21, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

... what with Heyman commenting by keeping silent, and Passan mistaking negativity for insight, I can only report:

pundits speak their mind
dictionaries need not worry
there's not much to say

... Go Nats!

Posted by: natscanreduxit | January 21, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"Strasburg means everything to this team, inasmuch as one man – a rookie, no less – can constitute such excitement. His starts, whether in April or May or whenever he arrives, will sell out. His jerseys will litter the stands. He will make the Nationals relevant again.

"The Year of Strasburg can’t start soon enough."

What a load of irresponsible journalism, to put that kind of pressure on a 21-year-old kid, who hasn't proved anything measurable beyond his college days! I don't care how "mature" he is on the mound, Strasburg is not the Nats' saviour, and to designate him as such now is a blatant attempt to create a bona-fide basket case that the press will gleefully exploit (as if they aren't doing that already).

Mo Rivera is arguably the greatest closer of the game. But, as one person, he couldn't save games without run support, and offense means nothing without a solid defense to back it up. Levels of contribution may vary, but no one player can win it all for a ballclub.

Let's see what kind of a TEAM emerges in 2010-11 before we start coronating any of its members, shall we?


Posted by: MikeH0714 | January 21, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"The Nationals won’t win until they get good pitching, and John Lannan(notes) alone doesn’t qualify. Their minor league pitching landscape beyond Strasburg and Storen is barren, and the Nationals are unwilling to pursue the top-end free agents to fill that vacuum."

This quote from the Yahoo article is very telling, folks. The organization has very little in the minor's and yet they are unwilling to spend in the FA market until they can beef up the minor league system. However, it's tough to beef it up when you don't spend money on the best "talent" in the draft or internationally.

I'd be very happy about getting the O dog and another rotation arm like Garland or Sheets. But what does that say about where the bar is set? A 60-70 million dollar payroll and a few average FA moves gets people excited.

It's just not good enough.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 21, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Yeesh. I saw Rizzo on Hot Stove and the Front Burner segment and I remain optimistic. O Dog for $9 mil DOESN'T fit. It was Rizzo's nice way of saying that his price tag is too high -- evidentally everyone else thinks so too, because he's remained unsigned through two off seasons. Do you really think Orlando Hudson should be making more than Ryan Zimmerman or than Adam Dunn did last year?

Rizzo has stuck by his statements that he wants to sign two starting pitchers, a catcher, bullpen help and a middle infielder. He's done some of that and is promising to do more -- so why all the negativism? Do you really think Rizzo is dumb enough to tip his hand by naming names of potential free agent targets for all of baseball to see on the MLB Network?

Wait until the guy fails before crucifying him, he's been doing a good job, and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt until he proves otherwise.

Posted by: raymitten | January 21, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Oh no! The Nats signed Marquis! The Angels signed Piniero! No one has signed Garland! It is now the end of the world as we know it! Run for your lives!

Yeesh, lighten up, folks. The Nats signed one starter and may (or may not) sign another. Who will that be? I dunno. But I'm not going to get my panties all bunched up over moves they haven't made yet. I still think Rizzo is trying to trade for a SP (Harang or Arroyo keep popping to mind). Would I prefer that they sign Garland? Sure. But reports are that he would prefer to stay on the left coast. So if he does sign with a team out there, I'm not going to vilify Rizzo for not getting it done. Sometimes, a player only wants to play for one team or one geographic area. As for not getting in on the trade for Millwood. Meh. The O's can have him. Anyone else can have him. He's just an okay pitcher to me. Nothing to write home about.

In fact, in looking over some stats from the past three season, I dare say that Marquis' numbers are better (or close to) than Millwood's, Garland's or Piniero's. Her are the averages for each over the past 3 seasons:

Pitcher ..... W - L ... ERA .... IP .... WHIP ... ERA+
Marquis .... 13-10 ... 4.37 ... 192 .. 1.40 ... 105
Garland .... 12-11 ... 4.37 ... 203 .. 1.41 ... 104
Piniero ..... 10-8 .... 4.20 ... 153 .. 1.30 ... 101
Millwood ... 11-11 ... 4.58 ... 180 .. 1.51 ... 99

Marquis does have the lowest K:BB ratio of these four, but he does have a lower H/9 and keeps the ball in the park better than these guys.

Let's face it, the Lackeys and Sabathia's of the world won't sign here until the Nats stop the 100-losses each year. And to do that, they need to get whatever FA's they can that will come here. A guy like Marquis is the first step. He's not an ace, but compared to who else is/was out there, he's just as good. Which is exactly what the Nats need right now. Baby steps, everyone. Baby steps.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 21, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Sign two free agents
Improve pitching and defense
Silence the critics

Posted by: BobLHead | January 21, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

The Nats have done more this off season than all the other off seasons combined. While these moves won't vault them to the top of the standings, they will show marked improvement. Like erocks33 said, baby steps. It will happen....eventually. GO NATS....see you in Viera, where life is even better.

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 21, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I haven't posted in quite a while and I have to say I'm surprised at the level of negativity (I'm not sure since blogs always seem to bring out the negative stuff but anyway...).

Let's keep it simple. Last year in April, May and June, the Nats stunk. Stunk.

Then they get Morgan and Burnett, and MacDougal gives them competent closing and they don't stink as much. Now they add some solid, proven major league players, and they'll probably add a couple more before the season starts. Which means they won't stink anymore. They won't be winners but a 75-win season looks likely.

The last time I checked, losing 87 games is better than losing 100 games.

Throw in some really good prospects who will probably start playing in the bigs later this year AND another overall #1 pick and I boldly predict they're very unlikely to stink this year or next as they did the last two years.

I think that's probably a good thing.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 21, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Baby Steps? No way.....If they shoot for 75 wins, they always under achieve, because they over estimate the limited talent they have. They lost the chance to build with Baby Steps when they put 3 straight season of embarrassing baseball on the field. Not just bad baseball but Progressively worse baseball each year. Nope....sorry this is not 2006 or 2007. It is the 4th full year of a plan and the 3rd full year in a new park funded by the city while the fans are paying down the debt of Billionaires who are clearing top profits per Forbes estimates. Nope...75 wins was what they needed in it is time to pay for mistakes they made. They need to spend enough on one and two year FA contracts to put a .500 team on the field. You can win and build the farm in this FA just have to spend some money.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 21, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

JayBeee, fair point, but I think that's exactly what they are trying to do, finally. The Lerners are/were excessively prudent, shall we say, and Bowden coddled them (to keep his job) and insisted he could mine the dumpster and put a competitive team on the field without spending top dollar, or anywhere close to it. After all, that's what Jimbo had to do in Cincinnati, and he was absolutely convinced he could muddle through most years and get lucky once in awhile with an occasional pennant. Rizzo flipped the switch right away once he got the job -- as you recall he immediately called an emergency meeting and got permission to revamp the bullpen. Of course, there wasn't much available by that time, but he still sounded the alarm and acted accordingly. Then he dealt your favorite underachieving lout Milledge for our new favorite CF. And all offseason he's said he wanted to fortify the pen, get two starters and improve the middle infield defense. Well, he's already signed Bruney and Capps (and Guardado, for that matter) for the bullpen, and added Marquis to the rotation. And he says he wants to add another arm, and that he's still working on Hudson, among others. More help is on the way (and if it's not, I'll get my pitchfork and torch out of storage and join your brigade).

Posted by: BobLHead | January 21, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

I always have to smile about these posts; no matter what happens this year, anything has to be better than last Spring, that had to be the bottom. A full year of even second-half 2000 Nats would be so much better than that stuff.

As ends of games near
Nats fear less in 2010
No more Gascanrahan.

Posted by: jonb5 | January 21, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

That was 2010 pronounced "twenty-ten" for meter.

Posted by: jonb5 | January 21, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

If Nats signs a top defender for MI AND two more Vet 200 inning pitchers (not named Livo or Perez) AND another Bull Pen vet (Not unreliable as Capps, washed up like EddieG or wild like Bruney) then I will believe things have changed for the better.

Until then this roster is just as flawed as last years and headed for a 90-100 lose year yet again. Jason M is not better than Jordan Z_NN and what makes you think the new Bull pen guys are better than Saul and Shell going into 2009? They all are the same level of randomness....sometimes good often crap. They needed to sign Gonzalez and Wagner types. Solid and projectable.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

That's interesting stuff, erocks.

How does a potential switch to the NL factor into this. Consider Garland, whose AL ERA is 4.47. That ERA fell to 4.01 last year, when he played in the NL (ARI and LAD). Sure, not enough of a sample size to suggest causation, but worth thinking about.

Millwood's AL ERA is 4.22. In the NL, his ERA was 3.89. Granted, he was younger when he was in the NL, but again, it's worth considering.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 21, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: dovelevine | January 21, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

I read Rizzo's looking for a pitcher "that fits what I am trying to do" as a guy who comes at the right price.

My guess is that in Rizzo's perfect world, he inks Hudson (2 yrs maybe $10-12M) and trades Willingham and an also ran minor leaguer for a decent SP arm with upside and who is under team control for a few years. That would leave Hudson/I-Rod batting someplace in the lineup higher than 8th and alllow the Nats to platoon LF and bolster the OF D and Rizzo could say tht he's added something of value for beyond 2010.

We'll see what happens.

The 10th best off season for the worst club in the bigs is not so impressive.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 21, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree with dhf, may have to trade to get another viable SP, who is left on the market, certainly no 200 IP pitcher that JayBee wants. Garland doesn't want to be here and he really is the last average pitcher left after Davis and Piniero signed.

I'd be content with Hudson and would really be happy if they took a chance on Sheets. Strasburg will be up by June and I'm thinking the Nats look at him as their top of the rotation addition.

For those who talk about year 3 or 4 of the plan, please keep in mind that Jim Bowden was in charge, hence the underdevelopment. I understand the frustration, but Rizzo has already shown that he can improve the team.

Posted by: jfromPG | January 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse


Please keep in mind that while Jimbo is gone the Lerner's and StanK are still here.

It's easy to pile the blame on Jimbo and granted some of it belongs on him but, the Lerner's and StanK's cheap ways are/were a huge problem.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 21, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Okay, you *know* that's going to bring me out of work mode. My haiku review:

Nationals were worst.
How'd you like my (lame) haiku?
Written by Jeff "Who"?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 21, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Like Groundhog day here, and I don't mean to suggest that I could ever get tired of long, long, long, virtually word for word repeititons of the irresistible idea that the Lerners are cheap, but I've always thought this was a fair way to decide on the size of the payroll:

The formula of projected revenues minus projected expenses equaling player payroll is apparently working well for the White Sox this offseason.

Posted by: markfromark | January 21, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

the point on pineiro signing is that their options are dwindling.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | January 21, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo in the last 6 months has improved:
CF - Morgan > anybody we had
LF - Willingham > Milledge
1B - Dunn > Nick (injured most of the time)
MI - Desmond > Belliard (I understand not same position)
SP - Marquis > Cabrera
RP - Capps > Hanrahan
RP - Bruney > Shell
RP - Burnett > Rivera or whatever
C - I-Rod > Nieves
He's hesitant to pay O Dog $9 million, but may still get him for cheaper. None of the other SP seemed to want to come here. He made a strong bid for Chapman. He's got the savings from Meat, Belli, Kearns, etc. He's not locked into ANY bad contracts. Not sure how much more he could have done....and he's not done. Rome was not built in a day...

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

People....does anyone here really think this team has any intention of doing what it takes to put a .500 team on the field in 2010. Lerner and Stan put picked Rizzo and Rigglemen because they these two had no other job prospects and would toe the company line. Rizzo could do so much more if he was given even a just an $80 Million budget but Rizzo knows all he really needs to do to keep the job is produce a 75 win team with a bottom third payroll and he has done what ownership wants. That is where the Bar is set by ownership and that is the problem.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It’s nice to say things and use stats when you don’t know what they mean. The stats above, when comparing all the pitchers together are not adjusted to leagues, parks, etc. Regardless, who cares? Instead, I think we should focus on value. WAR, Wins above Replacement, is a valuable tool because it measures how many wins more or less the player will add to the club above a similar replacement level player. Replacement is defined very specifically as the talent level for which you would pay the minimum salary on the open market, or for which you can obtain at minimal cost in a trade. So what level of performance does a replacement team represent? Well, using the 1998 season MLB statistics to date, an all-replacement-level team would hit about .235/.300/.356 and have a RA of 5.85. The Pythagorean projection over 162 games would be 44-118, for a .271 winning percentage. This is comparable to the performance of the worst teams in history (e.g. '62 Mess who went 40-120 for a .250 Win%). So, what do these statistics have to do with the Nationals? Well, if we compare some of those pitchers above we would see that the “great” signing of Jason Marquis is not so great, as he averages a 0.8 WAR since 2002 (with 2009 being an exception at 3.8 WAR). Garland averages at a 2.7 WAR and Millwood a 3.7 WAR. Those are really good players (for reference CC Sabathia, a legitimate Ace, is a 5.5 WAR guy). However, to be fair, Garland and Millwood in the past two seasons averaged 2.1 and 2.8 WAR respectively. We can also do analysis on the relievers and I-Rod, but I am pretty certain they will lead to the same conclusion. That is all the Nationals did was pick up some ok players so they won’t STINK this year. Therefore, I am unclear why this board thinks that their moves are cause for major celebration; especially when a person factors in the prices for attending a Nationals game (13th-15th most expensive) and the talent level on the team.

Posted by: lpatashn | January 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

JayBee is 1,000% correct. The bar is not set all that high. The offseason moves prove that theory. Now, would it be great to see everyone improve upon their average WAR values and get us a .500 win ballclub? Sure! It would also be great to win the lottery. If they were serious about winning now, they would have improved their club far more than they did.

Posted by: lpatashn | January 21, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

goexpos2 - I'm glad we upgraded... but simply getting players better than the guys who helped compile the worst record in baseball isn't THAT great.

I'm still not sure why we haven't signed Doug Davis yet for the #4/5 spot. He wants to play here. He wants us to offer him a deal. And, he aint half bad. WHAT ARE WE DOING!!


Not the best, but not the worst.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | January 21, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Saying they should spend the money does not equate to talented FA accepting said money. Would Bay, Holliday, Sabathia, etc come here no matter the money? Tex didn't and we had the highest bid as reported by some. But some Nats fans take that information and say it was the club either lying or offering when they knew the player wouldn't take it.

Let's just see what they do by ST....

Posted by: goexpos2 | January 21, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I just don't see how any team can go from 100+ losees two years in a row to a .500 team the next year. It's virtually impossible. Just because the Nats have money and there are FA's available doesn't mean that all of them would be willing to come here. Some prefer to stay in the comfort of their own backyard. Some want to go to a winning team. Some want to sign for 5+ years, not 1 or 2 years. It takes a little time to make up 20-25 games in one offseason.

Yes, this should have been done sooner, but I honestly believe that Bowden had Mark Lerner wrapped around his little finger and vice-versa, and that these two buffoons were the ones running this sinking ship. Now that Rizzo is in charge, I feel that he and Stan have Uncle Teddy's ear and are now beginning to right this ship.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 21, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the reason the Nats have not yet signed Doug Davis has something to do with his recent signing with the Brewers.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

boswell: Now that lefty Doug Davis has signed with the Brewers, that leaves Jon Garland, Jarrod Washburn, Vincente Padilla and "others" in the pitching pool.

Padilla and Washburn both do nothing for me.

options: garland. sheets. trade.

Posted by: malcolmyoung1 | January 21, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

doesn't matter if padilla does something for you or not, he resigned with the dodgers... :P

as i've said many times, i'll reserve my complaints for the roster for opening day once i know what it actually is.

the same people complaining now have always complained, regardless of the signing. with the possible exception of zimmerman's extension and strasburg's signing. not sure any *realistic* signing would make them happy.

Posted by: sec231 | January 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

erocks33 - please see the Seattle Mariners. 2008 61-101. 2009 85-77. True, they have a legitimate Ace. But they also have really good defense now, which is how they did it. And even if Bos says they got lucky based on Pythagorian theorems, they are still a .500 type ball club. It's all about expected wins. How many wins can they expect by scoring runs, how many can they get by preventing runs. The Nationals have a mediocre offense, bad defense and bad to mediocre pitching. Hence, the numbers don't add up to a .500 winning ballclub.

Posted by: lpatashn | January 21, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

>what would NJ be without a negative post from JayBee or Brue. Must be a sad life when you always expect the worst. I like what we have done this off-season and am looking for a few more moves.

Posted by: sjm3091

I post on here once in a blue moon, you lightweight. Here's a riddle for you - why would the Nats be interested in Mike Jacobs? A: Because they're not gonna re-sign Dunn, and possibly trade him in July. You know, the 'look smart' thing by grabbing a draft pick since everyone got drunk off of the J. Zimmerman pick thru Soriano deal. If they simply wanted a backup for Dunn, who rarely sits, then they'd get a player who can play first base, BUT ANOTHER POSITION TOO. You know, like Mike Morse, for instance. If they're gonna unload Dunn, then they get someone who's STRICTLY a first baseman in Jacobs (who is atrocious in the outfield). Who, btw, wants 'enough at-bats' to reach his full numbers. Go figure! The first thing out of Rizzo's mouth when they trade Dunn will be, get this - 'that's why we picked up a 29 year old who's had 30 homers and 90 rbi in the past'. Which says nothing about the fact that the guy can only hit inside fastballs, that's why he hit .228 in the AL because it's a slider league. We hardly knew ye, Dunn>

Posted by: Brue | January 22, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

> He's not locked into ANY bad contracts.

Posted by: goexpos2

Ah, here's the red herring - they insist on signing people for only a year or two at most, so, what they're saying is that the people they're signing are not worth keeping around. Ok, so, normally you would do this if you're waiting on prospects to mature. Problem is, they ran every pitching prospect to the majors last year, and virtually all of them failed. Worst ERA in the league. It's not a problem of them not being ready, they're just not that good. None of them, outside of Detwiler, even throws that hard. Position players in the organization have even LESS hope, outside of say Norris and Espinosa. Marrero's a DH - trade bait. So, you sign these vets for a year, and you have nobody coming up from the minors, think about how bad it's gonna get next year and the year after if they don't acquire some real talent for the long term?
They have to start over every year, and they're already at the bottom.

Posted by: Brue | January 22, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Lerners monitor this space. They won't be able to deny the brilliance and will be forced hire Brue & Jaybee as roster consultants.

Posted by: shanks1 | January 22, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: dovelevine
I'll bet car salesmen love to see you drive into their lot.

Posted by: shanks1 | January 22, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

>Perhaps the Lerners monitor this space. They won't be able to deny the brilliance and will be forced hire Brue & Jaybee as roster consultants.

Posted by: shanks1

I'd never work for those bastards. They're lowlifes. They get revenue sharing and they're a top 10 market. That's the exact same thing as getting a gov't check when you don't need it, or qualify for it.
So, now it's down to Garland, Rizzo says we need another starter, and 30 teams still need pitching. They're looking at an inferior replacement for Dunn, and we've only got a few weeks left before pitchers and catchers. I mean, what am I missing here? Boswell doesn't think that Olsen will get back to form anytime next season either. You know it's gonna take time to come back from a labrum. All I can say is they need to get Strasburg up there pretty quickly, or they're gonna be out of it by Memorial day. imo

Posted by: Brue | January 22, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

A second baseman is not worth $9M to the Nationals.

A real plan would be to acquire a SHORTSTOP to improve the infield defense and move Guzman to second base.

This team was bankrupted by 4 years of incompetent management by Jim Bowden.

He's the reason the club was depending upon Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, Felipe Lopez and Elijah Dukes to improve.

And let's not forget there were still fans here last summer that criticized Rizzo to the rafters for trading the wunderkind Milledge to the Pirates for Morgan and Burnett when the deal came down.

How about now?

Still think that Milledge is the cornerstone of a successful major league team?

Still think he is a franchise player?

Why not admit the truth?

The Nationals are starting over again, or rather they STARTED to start over during last season when Milledge was traded and the team was able to say goodbye to the contracts of Dmitri Young and Austin Kearns.

Say what you will about Rizzo.

The one thing he has not done is sign a guy to a long-term contract who still has question marks.

He has kept the veteran deals to 2 years and given the team some cover in case these players don't perform.

When Bowden was here there was NO accountability in re performance. Dukes and Milledge and Lopez as well were allowed to continue to play even though their attitudes and performance were erratic at best.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

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