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Nats were 'in it to the end' with Chapman [Updated]

(Chico here.) Boz has already supplied the primary information re: the Nats' noteworthy pursuit of Aroldis Chapman, but having spoken this afternoon with GM Mike Rizzo, I thought I'd add some additional nuggets.

* As Rizzo understands it, the Nats and the Cincinnati Reds were the two finalists in the Chapman bidding war. Rizzo believes he was the first person, outside of Cincinnati's organization or Chapman's camp, to get word of the decision. Agent Randy Hendricks notified Rizzo of the news via e-mail.

* "We had the second-highest offer on the table," Rizzo said at one point during our conversation. He paused and added, "We thought it was first."

* According to Rizzo, the front office -- not the Lerners -- drew the line on how much Washington was willing to offer. "At a certain price point, the risk-reward wasn't worth it," Rizzo said. "We went up to a price point I was comfortable with, and at the end of the day we fell a bit short."

* If Chapman had signed with the Nats, he would have been given a chance to make the big league rotation out of spring training.

* At least five members of Washington's front office -- Jay Robertson (special assistant to the GM), Johnny DiPuglia (director of international scouting), Kasey McKeon (director of player procurement), Bill Singer (director of pro scouting) and Ron Schueler (special advisor to the GM) -- had scouted Chapman. Rizzo watched Chapman at the mid-December throwing session in Houston, and also spoke personally with him in a private workout in Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 23.

* Rizzo, on why pursuing Chapman made sense: "All the accolades and the velocities you've heard about are true... We see a huge upsided pitcher. There's some risk involved, of course, but this was a chance to get a front-of-the-rotation pitcher with an unlimited ceiling. And as you know, No. 1 starters are very difficult to find. Either you develop them ourselves or you pay dearly for them in free agency. The Lerners and Stan were very supportive of our front office staff. We did our due diligence, and the Lerners allowed us to make a very, very, very attractive offer to him."

---

Nationals were "right in it to the end" in the battle to sign 22-year-old Cuban pitching phenom Aroldis Chapman, offering more than $20-million, according to team President Stan Kasten. However, the southpaw signed with the Reds for $25-million for five years, with an option for a sixth season that could bring the contract to $30-million.

"We had a private workout with him. [General manager] Mike [Rizzo] liked him as much as any young lefthander he's ever seen," said Kasten.

However, when the total value of the last Nationals offer approached $25-million, almost $10-million more than the Nats paid to sign No. 1-overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, Washington had reached its limit.

"The romance of having Strasburg from the right side and Chapman from the left was very exciting. Our scouts were very high on him and ownership backed us," said one Nats source.

Added at 12:14 pm: As was the case in the hunt for Mark Teixeira last winter, the Nats ended up without their prize. However, the money that the Nats had been allocating for a possible blockbuster Chapman signing is, in theory, available for other off-season free agent signings or trades that might increase payroll.

"There's a limit to what you can spend for an [professionally] unproven pitcher," said Kasten. "But, as has been the case for quite a while now, whether it has been Teixeira -- or Adam Dunn, Jason Marquis, Pudge Rodriguez and Matt Capps, whom we did sign -- we are competitive [with anybody]."

By Thomas Boswell  |  January 11, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
 
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Next: Weighing the middle infield options

Comments

I think this might be one of those situations where this was a good deal not to get done. $30 million for an unknown cuban pitcher? I think we've seen enough of these foreign free agent signings not work out to reasonably think that the Reds over paid - by a lot.

Posted by: mastroj | January 11, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Nats paid Strasburg not only to have him, but to have the credibility of having signed him (not to mention avoiding the bad press of not having signed their first pick two years in a row). To me, the immediate impact does a little to offset the risk of offering so much money to a young pitcher.

From interviews with some of the new FAs, the signing did seem to restore some credibility to the team.

I'm not sure signing Chapman would've done the team image that much more good. At least not as much as they were going to have to pay. Being "it it to the end" is free, and may still send the appropriate message to the league and to the fans.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

@JohninMpls:

I think you are exactly right. That we were in it and showed were are willing to spend was more important than getting him. After signing Strasburg, Marquis, Capps and still in the hunt for maybe another pitcher and a 2B, the league has seen this a viable market. Nice stadium, we should win a bit more next year. Excited fan base (at least from what I have been hearing) and the redevelopment of Southeast (going slow but still going) should make this town very attractive next year or in a few years.

Posted by: jmurray019 | January 11, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Though I see the romance in having Strasburg and Chapman, the thought of having $40 million tied up in two pitchers who have never even pitched in the minor leagues is scary.

I'd rather spend $25 million on a young free agent pitcher or a stud coming out of Japan.

Posted by: rushfari | January 11, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

"I'd rather spend $25 million on a young free agent pitcher"

Who's a young free agent pitcher that's actually available? And which one would sign for that little? Look at Lackey's contract for the going rate for youngish, talented Free Agent pitching.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | January 11, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Youngish" ≠ "young". Lackey is only young when you compare him to someone like Jamie Moyer.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 11, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

That's the point. Young, talented pitchers don't pop up on the free agent market.

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | January 11, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree that we did well to have not signed him. Besides, how will it look if, come March, turns out the guy's 28 and not 22?

Posted by: Section406 | January 11, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

This is all still really good to me. I thought $30M was a bit much, but I also trusted that Rizzo wouldn't pay that unless he saw something special.

I'm encouraged that we really were in it to the end, and would have been excited had we won. But I'm also not THAT disappointed we didn't get him at that price. I also know Rizzo's not putting all his eggs in that basket and that he's still hard at work.

Great feeling, that.

Posted by: NatsNut | January 11, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Section406-

Oooh, now I completely WANT him to turn out to be 28.

I am impressed with their attempt, but they do have to follow it up with a signing or two. Although he is 38, and not 22, I figure Orlando Hudson (and the available pitchers) all will notice that the Nats were filling to throw $5M a year at an unknown. The Nats will have to spend to maintain the respect they are earning, but that's fine- they will need to spend anyway to build a better record, which also leads to that respect.

Ryan Church seems to be going to the Pirates. Are the Nats becoming for the Pirates what the Reds were for us under Jim Bowden?

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | January 11, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to note where both Saul Rivera and Austin Kearns ended up: Cleveland.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 11, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Face it, we lost. No shame in that. Rizzo would have been very happy to have taken the risk, and in Rizzo We Trust, therefore we lost on this one. Besides, the finances of it are not either / or: for all we know, Rizzo could have signed this guy up with $30m new dollars that had not been in the budget before. So "I'm glad we didn't get him" sounds like sour grapes to me.

Posted by: nationalsanthems | January 11, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how this bid does or doesn't affect our draft budget at #1 in June. Maybe if we signed Chapman we would pass on Harper, but now we'll take Harper? Just speculation. Or perhaps another starting pitcher is signed now with the money alotted to Chapman.

I'm glad we were trying and I'm ok that we lost - but to say I'm not disappointed would be a lie.

Posted by: sec307 | January 11, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Boz's update seems to undermind my argument, however.

Posted by: sec307 | January 11, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The Payroll is still tiny! They need another SP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cartaldo | January 11, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

So, how [disappointed] would Matt Capps be if Valverde's price (which is still coming down) got to the "too good to pass up" level, and they signed him, too?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

No question they need another starting pitcher. I would be shocked if they didn't get one by spring training, e.g., Doug Davis (younger than Livo, about a run a game better, good for around 200 innings probably, and should win about as often as not, here) or somebody like him. I don't think it matters what the payroll is, unless it keeps them from signing people, and that doesn't seem to be the case (anymore).

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I still have my serious doubts about the willingness of these owners to spend money...the best FA option out there is John Garland, so if they are willing to spend now then they would go get him.....but they arent, so he most likely will not be a Nat.

Posted by: Cartaldo | January 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, what Cartaldo said!

Any word on extending Dunn? He likes being here, we like having him here, the payroll is still tiny, when are we going to get that contract extended??

Posted by: NatsFly | January 11, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Almost 4 years of Lerner rule, and only one proven stud guy on the MLB roster under control beyond 2010. Iffy farm, lousy MLB club with a bargain basement payroll year after year, and I am supposed to take some kind of comfort in the fact that the Nats fell merely many Millions short of the winning offer to land the big Cuban lefty they loved?

Jocketty's quote was something to the effect that they had to do something bold once in a while. Nothing bold in Nats Town.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

A Doug Davies would be a cheap decent, al be it crapier, alternative to Garland...but again, I doubt if they are even willing to sign him....

Posted by: Cartaldo | January 11, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Hello!

This team needs another veteran pitcher behind Marquis. There are enough young arms in this system, however, there is little experience.

This team needs to find another outfielder to challenge Elijah Dukes, who has been very inconsistent in Washington and has been hurt as much as he has been healthy.

This team also needs to find a veteran infielder in case Guzman is shot at shortstop and doesn't transition well to second base.

And it has to be someone that can swing a bat in credible fashion.

This team has had enough of the bandaids like Anderson Hernandez and Alberto Gonzales.

We need a regular major leaguer here not one of the Yankees spare parts.

Posted by: leopard09 | January 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Even allowing, arguendo, that Garland would be the best fit here, and that he'd be *willing* to sign here--he's not signed yet, anywhere, and Rizzo, like most good GMs, doesn't do his negotiating online. They may or may not be in the process of getting him. We don't know. We can be sure other teams are trying to sign him, too.
It's not as if Garland is exactly a once-in-a-lifetime talent--somebody like Davis or Joel Piniero may be as good, on this staff.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing it'll be sometime between now and next year.
____________
Any word on extending Dunn? He likes being here, we like having him here, the payroll is still tiny, when are we going to get that contract extended??
Posted by: NatsFly | January 11, 2010 1:41 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21 -- I can't disagree, until they are competitive on the field; it doesn't matter if they spend $100MM on three guys and another $100MM on the rest, if they lose another 100 games.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Fan confidence in the FO's ability to do its job will track with W/L, and when there's lots of Ls, there will lots of theories about why.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad they were in it, I'm glad they knew when to fold. Cinncinatti will get well deserved kudos for their willingness to spend $25M on such an obvious talent just like the Red Sox got praise for spending $50M just to talk to Matsuzaka and the Mets got for signing Kaz Matsui. But the odds of Chapman turning into a #1 starter is no certain thing.

Boswell's information indicates that the Nats were willing to outspend almost everyone including the Red Sox.

I still look at the Nats roster and think they need a minimum of two position players not currently on the 40 man roster. Spend a little of that money elsewhere.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 11, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Dunn is still a left-handed hitter while Marrero bats from the right. Suspect they may trade Willingham with Marerro his eventual replacement? Be interesting to watch Harrisburg (depending) with Marerro, Espinosa, Stroren, and Strasburg soon to arrive. Sean Rooney?

Posted by: periculum | January 11, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

The payroll is way too tiny, as usual. I'm hoping and I have faith that Rizzo is working on this. They need at least 3 more solid ML FA's on the roster (starter, MI'er, and BP arm) I have faith he will get them.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 11, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

FYI to all; A new blog is up and running over on MASN, I think the author used to work for the WTIMES Sports Page. Go on over and say hi!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 11, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey I have all the confidence in Rizzo's skills just not in the Ownerships willingness to spend on a winner.

Posted by: Cartaldo | January 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

espn.com rumors section had this to say today on doug davis:

Veteran left-hander Doug Davis wants to pitch in Washington, but was told by the Nationals that their free agent dollars will be spent elsewhere.

Davis told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that he was informed by the Nats that the team will address other needs, such as finding a second baseman. The Nats were believed to be interested in Davis as the winter meetings, but the team addressed the need of a veteran starter by signing Jason Marquis instead.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Dont be surprised to see Jarrod Washburn sign a one year deal with the Nats. The only other real options would be Piniero or Garland for 2 years.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 11, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I just don't see how the Nats have the audacity to tell Doug Davis we already spent money on free agent pitching. Are you kidding? Doug Davis is exactly the kind of guy we need to get in here immediately, the fact that he's open to pitching here means we may not even have to overpay. After the way our SP performed last year... I find this to be a joke.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | January 11, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

and now for something completely different 9and overdue)
"
Breaking sports news 3:11 PM
McGwire admits to using steroids
Former St. Louis slugger Mark McGwire says he used steroids when he broke baseball's single-season home run record in 1998, the Associated Press is reporting."

www.boston.com

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 11, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I came here to post that too, JCA. Shocked, shocked!

Posted by: BobLHead | January 11, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

McGwire's admission at this point is about a 1.5 on a 1-10 "shock value" rating (barely a ripple) at this point; As a comparison, Derek Jeter getting engaged rated a 4.5, at least.

LaRussa probably told him to open up & get right with the Lords of baseball before Spring Training.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

One more thought on Chapman - CIN just committed to $30M for a pitcher; They'll want him with the big club ASAP to justify their investment, but Dusty Baker is their Manager.

I have a feeling this will all end badly for Mr. Chapman; I hope he has a good investment advisor.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I just read the revamped and sexier version of the Boz post nd it gets me more angry than the original.

The Nats are actually feeling good for ALMOST (though not even close, actaully) landing some guy they see as a fantastic talent. Wow. That is pathetic.

Rizzo set some artifical mark for the level they'd pay, based on what exactly I wonder? What was the real risk in going another $3M, another $6M for this kid? What dictates were in play that kep them from reaching deeper?

The Reds, the in a worse market and carrying awful contracts Reds, have this kid -- that Rizzo and everyone in the much ballyhooed siny, new F.O. LOVED -- under control for 6 years and $30M?? (Money spread out over a decade to boot.) What amount was too high to get a kid with "unlimited ceiling"?

Rizzo says that "all the accolades are true"? (Other than those hurled all over Nats Town about Rizzo being some savior genius, that is.)

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Hadn't heard the McGwire "news" but it doesn't surprise me. Hadn't heard the Jeter news either, for that matter (not that I care either way).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I am not arguing that they should have signed Doug Davis. I don't care too much for old players. But what's the deal on "running out of money"? The Nats will still be near the bottom of MLB yet again in their payroll, since Nick Johnson, Dmitri and Kearns go off the books. The net additions don't add all that much for 2010. Why must the Nats be pretty far behind smaller cities like Cincy and KC in expenditures, when we have one of the largest and most affluent regions here in the US?

Many people think the Nats have turned the corner, but the facts do not demonstrate that, at least so far. If they had signed Crow (the 2008 first rounder who wanted $3.5 million), and added the $5 million a year for Chapman, the Nats would have some starters in the system to be excited about, to go with their solid #3 or #$ types of pitchers already in their system.

And even if they added another starter (beyond Marquis) for 2010, they would still have a very small payroll (maybe approaching Cincy's or KC's, but certainly not anywhere near the MLB average). If they did all that, they would still be frugal, but not ridiculously frugal.

Why do so many fans enable the Nats' excessive frugality? Even Tom Boswell is seeing a few beginnings of hopeful signs--but why the optimism?

Posted by: EdDC | January 11, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Great point. And very sad.

-----

One more thought on Chapman - CIN just committed to $30M for a pitcher; They'll want him with the big club ASAP to justify their investment, but Dusty Baker is their Manager.

I have a feeling this will all end badly for Mr. Chapman; I hope he has a good investment advisor.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 11, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

Nats are just pissed because they couldn't rent Chapman like they're doing with the rest of their acquisitions. 1 and 2 year deals are all you get! Remember that money they didn't spend after they 'lost out' lol on Texiera? That's the same money they won't spend after they lost out on Chapman. Anybody who believes these idiots are trying to win can have them.

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

>* According to Rizzo, the front office -- not the Lerners -- drew the line on how much Washington was willing to offer. "At a certain price point, the risk-reward wasn't worth it," Rizzo said. "We went up to a price point I was comfortable with, and at the end of the day we fell a bit short."

***hole

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Some individual guesswork / opinions here, based on what I've read on other sites...

If the Nationals are going to make a move at MI, it will be via a trade; The MI free-agent pool is drying rapidy, and the remaining candidates are either been there, done that (Belliard, FLop, Cabrera) or seem to have a mutual dis-interest (Hudson).

In the case of Doug Davis, I kind of believe that the team (Rizzo) was just being honest with him - You're not our first choice, and we're exploring possible options at MI first, then coming back to the pitching staff. If some commenters short-hand that to read 'Don't call us, we'll call you' then sobeit, but I think there is some mutual interest there.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

EdDc, I am right there with you. The Nats have been telling us since before the 2008 season that they were building, The Plan was in place, they were assembling talent, lots of it and long term, the Nats were going to go Atlanta-style -- no flash in the pan, no 1-hit wonder. Consistent winner baby! Just got wait it out a few years. However, few years later and we've not much to show for the grand old Plan. No long term expectations beyond "we're still working on it" and a whole lot of losing ugly. There has been little significant development on that whole perennial dominance front, much less any flashing in pans.

Meanwhile, several folks in here smile wide at the news of 38 year old catchers, innings eaters, reclamation projects and hopefuls. Rizzo throws some spackle on the most beat-up walls in MLB and people in here see him building a castle. Improvments? Sure -- but there's not a whole lot lower to go on a lot of fronts for the Nats, the recent moves have not been stunning or bold and the new players all have limited expectations for one reason or another.

Bottom line is that the Lerners are sitting on a pile of several years worth of my season ticket holder money while the Mets, Braves and Philles put even more distance between themselves and the Nats. Even the Marlins, the lowly Marlins, are better suited to compete.

Nats management patting themselves on the back for having the courage to reach to their self-imposed, yet far to low, price-point for a player of unlimited potential is sad, sad stuff.


Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

All of this about the Nats being unwilling to spend is untrue. Look at Kasten's comment, "We thought we had the highest bid." The Nats didn't figure Cincinnati was even in the game. They didn't know until they found out they got outbid. I don't think the Hendricks were going back to Rizzo to see if he wanted to sweeten his deal.

They took a risk that they were #1 bidders and got beat by a team that usually doesn't play in FA bidding. It's not like Texieria where the Yankees swooped in at the last minute. Walt Jockety is a smart guy and he played possum and read the market just a little better than Rizzo did.

The Nats lost Chapman because they misread the market, not because they were too cheap. Kudos to Rizzo for keeping the Nats plans out of the media until they're a done deal. He's good, real good. But Jockety's good, too and even GM's don't win every time.

I agree with the posters saying we need to increase payroll -- and I'd love to have seen a 2011 rotation of Strasburg, Zimmerman, Chapman, Detwiler, and Marquis, with Storen closing. But, we have everyone but Chapman -- and maybe the Nats will get a guy like that with the 1st or 31st pick in the draft this summer.

The team is finally acting like a functional franchise -- a big upgrade over the Bowden regime!

Posted by: sonshinefcc | January 11, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

>Great point. And very sad.

-----

One more thought on Chapman - CIN just committed to $30M for a pitcher; They'll want him with the big club ASAP to justify their investment, but Dusty Baker is their Manager.

I have a feeling this will all end badly for Mr. Chapman; I hope he has a good investment advisor.
Posted by: JohninMpls

They broke his delivery down on Hot Stove frame by frame, and he's got a nice, easy, natural motion, and he stays on top of the ball. When you have a delivery like that, you're much less susceptible to getting injured. He would have been given a few tweaks to his motion and been in the big leagues within a year. The Nats blew it. Bunch of scheisters.

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I am reminded of the nearly frozen bird that the woodsman stuck in a fresh pile of manure to revive. The bird began to sing, which caught the attention of a passing wolf, who slurped up the song bird. The morals of the story are that it's not always your enemies who get you in it. It's not always your friends who get you out of it. But when you're in it up to your neck, don't sing about it.

It seems to me, half blind that I am, that the Gnats are not so much in it up to the end (that would feel a whole lot better), than they're in it up to their necks...and singing about it.

Posted by: MartinZook | January 11, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: Not that I enjoy playing apologist for the Nationals, but we don't know what Rizzo's "price-point" was, do we? Maybe it was somewhere around $17-19M, maybe even as high as $22-25M; We'll never know.

What we do know is that he felt that CIN (and maybe another team as well), was willing to go beyond his "level of comfort" for this player; I'm o.k. with that, because I trust his player acumen to date, and I personally think that $30M for this kid is too high a price.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

>What we do know is that he felt that CIN (and maybe another team as well), was willing to go beyond his "level of comfort" for this player; I'm o.k. with that, because I trust his player acumen to date, and I personally think that $30M for this kid is too high a price.

Posted by: BinM

Nobody cares what the reasons are anymore. They can go to hell.

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Sonshsine -- good points all, but the Nats misread the market my 50%. Rizzo thinks he had the second best bid, who knows whether that is true, but we do know that the Reds went large. They saw an opportunity to grab an uber-talent and they put perspective around it -- $30M, paid out over 10 years, and for 6 years of control of a Randy Johnson type talent? No brainer. The Nats' threw out a number in the amount rumored to have been thrown out by several clubs over the last week and that fell well short of the mark.

Rizzo basically said he was afraid to get the kid at too high a number.

Bottom line is that if the kid turns out to be for real, this is a huge move by the Reds, and no one will fault Jocketty for this move if Chapman turns out to be a bust -- most of baseball believes the kid to be for real, the money is big, but not Sabathia, Lackey or Halladay big 9as if Cincy could have landed those guys to being with) and a struggling club has to take a chance to make a big leap. It seems that the Nats are not so good at taking chances.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: "...he's got a nice, easy, natural motion, and he stays on top of the ball..."
So did Wayne Simpson, Mark Fydrich, John Burkett, Shawn Estes, John Patterson, & any one of a multitude of other pitchers who were either over-used early, or asked to either "tweak" their motion / add another pitch to become 'Major-League' ready.

The baseline is that Chapman currently has two solid pitches - that pencils him as a reliever (for now). Would anyone spend $30M over six years on a completely untested relief pitcher? Not that I've seen so far...

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Not sure how you can make the contention that the Nats misread the market by 50% with a straight face, dfh21. That doesn't square with any numbers presented here or elsewhere.

Literal quotes:

"However, the southpaw signed with the Reds for $25-million for five years, with an option for a sixth season that could bring the contract to $30-million."

"However, when the total value of the last Nationals offer approached $25-million, almost $10-million more than the Nats paid to sign No. 1-overall draft pick Stephen Strasburg, Washington had reached its limit."

Draw me a 50% there, please. I recognize that you're pushing an agenda, but it's insulting to the intelligence of most posters when you misrepresent items of actual journalistic value found in this very blog.

Posted by: faNATic | January 11, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21: "Bottom line is that if the kid turns out to be for real, this is a huge move by the Reds, and no one will fault Jocketty for this move if Chapman turns out to be a bust -- most of baseball believes the kid to be for real..."
----------------
If your first assumption proves true, then yes, the Reds got a sweet deal. If your second assumption proves true, then Jocketty will be drawn & quartered by both the CIN press & fans, as this contract becomes a long-term burden in "dead" money for a mid-market franchise.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

>The baseline is that Chapman currently has two solid pitches - that pencils him as a reliever (for now). Would anyone spend $30M over six years on a completely untested relief pitcher? Not that I've seen so far...

Posted by: BinM

Teach him a god damned changeup. Teach him a couple of changeups. He's 21. Hot Stove said he was farther along than Randy friggin Johnson. You can make any excuse you want in order to rationalize it. You and the koolaids are utterly predictable. Just look at the attendance next year if you think people believe what you're selling.

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Nobody cares what the reasons are anymore. They can go to hell.
Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 7:36 PM
----------------------
If you don't care what the reasons are, then why post?

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: Randy Johnson signed at age 21, and finally "got it" in 1990 at the age of 26, 5 years (& 360+IP in MLB) after signing his first contract. So CIN can hope for Chapman to be ready in 3 years, since he's ahead of the Big Unit in terms of development? Looks like an accelerated learning curve & trouble ahead to me, but what do I know - I'm just another koolaid-drinking blogger.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

There are some Nats "fans" that post here that would be better served by becoming fans of the Sox or Yankees because they clearly do not understand that it takes time to change a losing culture and build a winning MLB team.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 11, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

HEY gANG....BEEN A WHILE...HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL...Oops....at work, hence the all-caps....haven't had time to read everyone but it seems there's a bit of "heat" being tossed!For what it's worth,,,,the news about Mac makes me almost cry...with joy...I mean, whatever the depth/fullness/sincerity of his appology...or the heiniousness of the act...I mean, the guy is CONFESSING to being a CHEAT because.....like us....he just LOVES this GAME...HE COULDN'T BEAR TO BE AWAY....man...I/We...love this game!!!!
So..while we're brushing one another back on occasion...remember,don't throw at the head!We ALL love this game,,,,and, dare I say it-the Nats!
Go Nats!!!!

Posted by: zendo2 | January 11, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

@Fanatic: Those are not literal quotes at all. The story reported Kasten saying that the Nats's offer was over $20M (later on the author -- not sure whether it was Boz or Chico, says it was higher, but no quote from anyone on a $25M Nats offer), and the over $30M Reds offer is what got the guy -- 50% of $20M is $10M -- they misread the market (as they admitted they thought they'd get him) by about $10M -- 50%. Even if $25M is the actual number they offered, then they missed the mark by 25%. No coin flip choice for the guy to make. Rizzo basically said that although the kid is a limitless ceiling player he was afraid to ink him for too much money.

@BinM: Even in Cincy $3OM over 10 years is not simply big money. If Chapman implodes, it is not much burden at all really. This is not like inking Carlos Sliva or Barry Zito, in no way can this move hamstring the Reds from doing anything they want going forward. This is a no-brainer move -- Rizzo pretty much said so in his "quotes" above. Rizzo and the Nats Baseball Jedi Council think the guy to be amazing, Rizzo likes him as much as any lefty he has ever seen!, yet you squawk about no THIRD devastating pitch in the arsenal -- no sour grapes there.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@SCNF: The "fans" you refer to are probably the closest to true "fanatics" here on the blog; They are by-and-large devoted, financially committed, and possibly most impatient on planet NJ for a winning team. Some have a 'win at any cost' view, while others take a 'my way, or the highway' tact. Even though they are argumentative, belligerent, or sometimes even abusive or vindictive, they're still fans of the Nationals; God Bless them for that.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

faNatic: "I recognize that you're pushing an agenda, but it's insulting to the intelligence of most posters when you misrepresent items of actual journalistic value found in this very blog."

WTF. I read your post again. Having an opinion and posting about it is pushing an agenda? Do you really speak for most posters as to what insults them? Did you actually quote some non-quotes as being quotes and misrepresent them as some kind of journalistic gold? Rich, very rich stuff.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21: No sour grapes here - I just didn't think the kid was worth what CIN ultimately spent for him - see below.

They'll try to drive up prices based on nothing but their own hype. Chapman will probably sign for $17-19M, and will take between 2 to 3 years to become ML-ready.
Posted by: BinM | January 9, 2010 4:08 PM

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Nobody cares what the reasons are anymore. They can go to hell.

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

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

Who pi$$ed in your beer tonight, Brue? Yeah, I'm disappointed that we didn't Chapman, but it's not the end of the world. The last time I checked, there are 29 other major league teams. Guess what? They all are after major league talent too. There are some people here that get their panties in a bunch every time the Nats fail to sign some big name. You can't win every time. Just because we want somebody does not mean no other team wants the same person and they're automatically going to sign to play here. The Nats obviously had a lot on the table in this case, but every source says that at least 15 teams were in on Chapman. The Reds obviously wanted him more than we did, to the point where they probably overpaid and are taking a huge risk on unproven talent. Life goes on. I'm sure Rizzo & Company have more up their sleeves for the weeks ahead. We've added a number of key pieces so far this winter - yeah, the changes haven't been huge, but I think it's enough to improve our record and we're already starting to gain respectability around the league. I don't think anyone can argue that the team is not moving in the right direction.

38 days and counting!

Posted by: thepostischeap | January 11, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

so, right now, our rotation is: Marquis, Lannan, and some pieces/parts.

last year we had lannan, zimmermann and pieces.

so...

davis/piniero/garland on most good teams would start to fill in from 3rd spot in the rotation and down. so, yes we need (at least) one of them, but thats just to recover from the complete abyss of the recent past.

I am still hopeful and like the few moves they've made, but none are really earth-shattering so far.

Posted by: MalcolmYoung | January 11, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

BinM

Don't bait him. You know how whiney Brue gets if anyone disagrees with him.

Posted by: soundbloke | January 11, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

when I saw the report on chapman's little showcase, where he wasn't pitching 100mph, really not above 95, I thought it was right to disbelieve the hype.

however, given he signed somewhere else, what was rizzo supposed to say, "we didn't think he was worth it" and if it later turns out the kid is a phenom, then that estimation looks like a huge blunder and that quote would get dug up every 5 minute. so, play him up, "we thought he did live up to the hype" etc. so, ok.

so let Cin sink the moola, they will screw it up is right. good fodder for their own disgruntled domestic constituency perhaps. dusty baker seems to make some of the quirkiest weirdest nonsequitor (left field metaphor here somehow inapt in context, haha) decisions as noted also.

Posted by: MalcolmYoung | January 11, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, it becomes an agenda when it is an incessant refrain regardless of the actual events transpiring. There are plenty of posters who don't agree with every move or think that we've gone far enough yet this offseason (myself included) without resorting to outright misrepresentation of the facts.

My response to your hyperbole simply included literal quotes from the blog post itself (and didn't pretend that they were anything otherwise), and assigned no undue weight to them. The major difference between your opinion and those in Boz's, and then Chico's posts is that their opinions are presumably informed ones, given that they post after a conversation with an actual member of the front office. Do tell your sources if you're on equal footing.

Finally, your conjecture that "almost $25 million" ends up being 50% less than the $25 million guaranteed to Chapman is laughable no matter how you cut it. Even if the number ends up being $30 million because Chapman pitches well and Cincinnati decides to hold onto him for a 6th year, there's still not a 25% difference, no matter how you slice it, the $5 million difference is still only a 20% increase over the nearly $25 million offer made by the Nationals. If nothing else, get a calculator. As a corollary, I also wasn't presuming to speak for any other poster on here (sure wouldn't want to speak for you), but noting that the given the general analyses done on here, most people can figure out when you're bending the numbers that blatantly to fit the point that you're making.

Posted by: faNATic | January 12, 2010 7:35 AM | Report abuse

faNATic: Be warned, this post is riddled with misrepresentation in order to usher my agenda of NJ DOMINATION!! Mwa ha ha (evil agendizing laugh)

The only actual event that transpired yesterday was Chapman going to the Reds for MANY Millions more than Rizzo offered. You can parse the math any way you want. (Though, I have no idea how the Reds signing the kid for more than 25% more than the Nats offered does not make sense -- I need to learn the new math, I guess.)

If telling it like it is -- Rizzo admitted to reaching a self-imposed offer limit (as he manages a club with a bargain basement payroll and a losing history to beat the band), declaring that the risk-reward was not there for him to land an Ace type, unlimited ceiling young lefty SP -- that by his own admission only come around once in a great while -- then I am guilty as charged. Captain Agenda, I do be.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

My problem with the Nats not getting Chapman is that the really exciting possibilities, they are in on, they don't get. (Texiera, Chapman)The thirty million price tag is five million a year, less than they paid for such excess baggage as Kearns or Young. Heck, they pay a subpar shortstop 8 million per.
Five or six million per would not have strappped them. Chapman may fail, but the upside would have been worth taking a chance.
I'm glad they signed the people they did this year but, in the long run, what does that do for them?

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 12, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

AGENDA PUSHING WARNING:

Rizzo though he'd win the bdding with his offer and he thinks he ended up second in the bidding, Buster Olney thinks it was Oakland.

http://twitter.com/Buster_ESPN/status/7613351749

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm still on board with "in Rizzo we trust" in scouting. If they didn't feel he was worth it, ok, neither did a bunch of other clubs.

But no more "we were in it until the end" messages. Get it done or don't get it done, but PR that trumpets "see, we're sort of competent" doesn't cut it anymore. Shut up and build the team. If Chapman's not the guy at that price, ok, but make the arguments on the merits.

Posted by: utec | January 12, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Wondering outloud if we had a fellow Cuban like Livan on the roster would that have been the additional lure to put us over the top on Chapman.

Posted by: markfd | January 12, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

utec: I agree completely. The Nats did not get the guy, ok fine. I am whining b/c I wish they had, but mostly b/c they are patting themselves on the back right now. The spin on this move from their perspective is "Nats management is right in there with the big boys" -- but in reality they did nothing meaningful. Looking to score points with the fan base for making offers to exciting players is a joke. My agneda pushing days on this post are over as I have belabored the crap outta this thing, as faNatic would likely agree. Good day all. Go Nats!!

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

So what exactly should Rizzo say when Boswell or Harlan ask them if they were in it? I'm not sure that the charge of "spin" are well founded. "No answer" responses would be frustrating for the fans and better crafter answers would be ... well isn't that the definition of "spin"? There's always something to criticize, but Rizzo's responses seemed particularly blunt and honest to me including the information that they did not know that they were not the highest. I evaluated those responses as refreshingly honest.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 12, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Boz, you put quotation marks around "right in it to the end." To whom can that quote be attributed? Was it Kasten or was it Rizzo?

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

What have the Reds done in the last 10 years that would make anyone assume they have correctly priced the guy?

Posted by: markfromark | January 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

You mean besides realizing that they were grossly overpaying for the services of one James Gordon Bowden IV, and cutting him loose like a smelly fart on an airplane?

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 12, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

>@Brue: Randy Johnson signed at age 21, and finally "got it" in 1990 at the age of 26, 5 years (& 360+IP in MLB) after signing his first contract. So CIN can hope for Chapman to be ready in 3 years, since he's ahead of the Big Unit in terms of development? Looks like an accelerated learning curve & trouble ahead to me, but what do I know - I'm just another koolaid-drinking blogger.

Posted by: BinM

That's just a bunch of incoherent excuse-making based on some fantasy that this guy is three years away from the majors. If you saw the Hot Stove show, they went through his motion frame by frame, and they said that while he still tends to rush his delivery a little, which is common for someone his age, it would take MINOR ADJUSTMENTS (Joe Magrane's words, not mine) to fix it. I don't know if anyone actually watches that show, but it's on every night, and it answers a lot of questions about who's out there to be signed. So don't take my word for it, just watch MLB Network. The Nats blew it, and ONLY because of money. They even admitted it - that's how much they take the fan base for granted. 'Oh, we arbitrarily decided not to add another year'. What, the guy 1s gonna be washed up at 27 and not 26? The reasons for not signing him are ludicrous.

Posted by: Brue | January 12, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Post of the Day?

-----

You mean besides realizing that they were grossly overpaying for the services of one James Gordon Bowden IV, and cutting him loose like a smelly fart on an airplane?

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 12, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Many people seem to think that "just missing" (by several million dollars) on Chapman is just about as good as getting him, since it demonstrates commitment and effort.

My DC lottery ticket was only a few numbers off from hitting the jackpot. So where do I go to cash it in? I'm rich!

And as far as not knowing what the winning bid would have been, that's understandable too. It would have taken an extra phone call to find out.

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

>If you don't care what the reasons are, then why post?

Posted by: BinM

So the team doesn't think they have carte blanche over a bunch of limp-wristed idiots. That, and maybe Boswell will continue to put his foot up the team's ass, even though he does the 'things are getting better' while saying, 'don't expect too much next year', which is just a way for him to keep his sources.

Posted by: Brue | January 12, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm totally with dfh and utec on this debate. If you think he's that good, then get him. If you fail, don't pretend there is something admirable in not getting him. Seems to me the upside more than justifies the cost (and besides, I know I'm a broken record on this, but it's the Lerners' money so why do we care so much?). So I'm sorry Rizzo wasn't successful. But "almost" only counts in horseshoes, archery and hand grenades.

I part company with dfh on the overall evaluation of the Rizzo era so far. I'm pleased with the moves this winter, and look forward to more before spring training. But the only props he deserves on this one, as far as I'm concerned, is for doing his work behind closed doors.

Posted by: Section222 | January 12, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

>You mean besides realizing that they were grossly overpaying for the services of one James Gordon Bowden IV, and cutting him loose like a smelly fart on an airplane?

Posted by: JennEric1

Walt Jocketty is there now. Got any idea who he is? One of the best and most experienced minds in the game.

Posted by: Brue | January 12, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Dang. I can't believe how close we were. I'm not talking about signing Chapman, I'm talking about enjoying an off-season without having to hear Brue's vulgar and uncivil comments to those that dare to form an opinion other than his/hers.

Brue, it's fine to feel that the Lerners/Kasten/Rizzo are cheap or just not that intelligent. All I ask is that you cease using terms that are borderline obscene and at the least extremely antagonistic. I'm all for your differning opinions, but to make them personal against fellow commenters is just down-right rude. A little civility goes a long way ...

Posted by: erocks33 | January 12, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Sec 222 says:

"I part company with dfh on the overall evaluation of the Rizzo era so far. I'm pleased with the moves this winter, and look forward to more before spring training. But the only props he deserves on this one, as far as I'm concerned, is for doing his work behind closed doors."

I think we have enough info on Rizzo to say that he is a better small-market, low-budget GM than JimBo was.

Of course, we have a large and affluent market in DC, and it is really hard to understand all the excessive frugality. But that's apart from the Rizzo evaluation.

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I agree with erocks33 regarding the consistent tone of vulgarity of Brue. I don't know whether he is the same person as BrueTwo on the BallParkGuys forum, but BrueTwo has ruined that site because of the vulgarity. It is a shame, since Brue seems to make good points in his comments. His points are undercut by his compulsion toward vulgarity.

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

MLBTR saying Pineiro is likely to get nearly the same deal as Marquis with NYM (2Y, $15m). So does planet NJ feel Rizzo is:
(a) waiting for the first of the crop of back end starters (Pineiro, Garland, Davis) to sign and weaken the market for the leftovers?
(b) really focused on an MI trade and not actively seeking a SP signing?
(c) waiting to see who (and how many) of the kiddie corps (Martis, Mock, Martin, Stammen) get moved in a trade for a 2nd baseman before filling the hole with an FA?

Posted by: natinbeantown | January 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

1 team signed the guy; does that make the other 31 losers?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 12, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Hideki Irabu.

Posted by: JEp1 | January 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

I feel that we already did our part in the multi-million dollar contract to an "unlimited ceiling" pitcher that has never actually pitched in MLB. Chapman would have been an exciting pick up no doubt but we already have a lot of talent we are attempting to develop(not that they are on Chapmans level) but why not continue to see where their progression takes us. I dont mind us missing out on this one. It would be great to have the future phenom RP and LPs in the league. But it seems far more 'nats like' that they would simultaneously bust leaving us with a massive void.

Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for sounding so negative at the end there. Go Nats!!!

Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@kecoh

I agree with you about the BallparkGuys site, it has gone over the edge. Granted, I'm sure BrueTwo and friends could care less, but I no longer visit what used to be a decent place to talk Nats. There really is no need to be so vulgar. To paraphrase Sam Wyche, we live in DC, we don't live in Baltimore!

Posted by: jfromPG | January 12, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Actually, that BrueTwo guy on BPG does live in Baltimore, according to his rants there.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 12, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I lied - said I was not going to post again o nthis, but cannot resist.

Stu27: the Nats are lacking in the talent to develop department and even if they were not, like Rizoo said, Ace types are very hard to find or mine. Think about it, the Nats could have potentially had BOTH of the most exciting young SP's in baseball -- THAT would have the season ticket holders smiling, that would have lead a reasonable fan to think that 2010 will be a showcase year for these phenoms and that in 2011 the team can really compete -- all for small Dollars on a relative basis. AND then maybe the Nats say, damn the topedos and ink Brandon Webb to have a killer rotation for years to come, etc. So this one "getting away" hurts a bunch.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Criminy. Not exactly Math Day in here today, is it?

*********
1 team signed the guy; does that make the other 31 losers?
Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 12, 2010 11:55 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 12, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

32? Wait, does this mean that the Nats are the third worst team in MLB now? Rizzo is already showing results!

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

>I agree with erocks33 regarding the consistent tone of vulgarity of Brue. I don't know whether he is the same person as BrueTwo on the BallParkGuys forum, but BrueTwo has ruined that site because of the vulgarity. It is a shame, since Brue seems to make good points in his comments. His points are undercut by his compulsion toward vulgarity.

Posted by: kecoh

Look, we used to talk a lot of baseball over there, unfortunately most of the people over there have no compulsion to over-analyze a wretched team that's probably going to lose 90 this year. I know a ton of baseball, certainly too much to sit back and listen to someone like Stan Kasten, who's never played a lick in his life - some lawyer that fell over backward into the sports world tell me that signing players for one or two years is gonna have a substantial effect on the team's fortunes. He named a handful of guys that were 'long-term solutions' and NONE OF THEM WAS SIGNED PAST 2011, half of them for only this year! Dunn's (whom he named as a long term solution) gonna be a FA - and if they don't win this year, and the rest of the league finds out he's a good 1st baseman, then he's probably gone. If they think they have some guys worthy in the minors, then they can bring them up after the 1-2 year signees leave. But they don't have any talent coming up. Not with position players. Desmond's a question mark, and if they start pounding his weaknesses, it could get ugly this year. And we all know what that group of young arms looks like - bullpen fodder at best. So now what do you have when the FAs leave because you're losing 90 and crying poor, and the prospects don't step up? You got a real mess. It doesn't help that Lerner's got more money than Steinbrenner and John Henry. It makes me sick. I waited 33 years, and it's turned out to be a pile of ****. I'm not gonna let them off the hook. No way in hell.

Posted by: Brue | January 12, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

and wth, for the record: I didn't think he's worth $20MM--I still don't--but that's not the point--it begs the question, even.

There is no objective standard. One, it's a marketplace--he's worth whatever 2 people are willing to pay him; that's the system. As Bill Veeck pointed out long ago, he's worth different amounts to different teams. Any of the 30 MLB teams could use a good pitcher, but a bunch (a third? half?) couldn't afford to pay him, regardless of how good he gets. Some of the remainder might have decided he didn't look as good as all that, really.
But Rizzo says they thought the kid was good, and will be worth having, maybe this year, maybe next, but worth serious money. "There is no 'try'."

The other problem is, *because* high-upside pitchers tend to blow their arms out or otherwise come a-cropper, you HAVE TO overspend, and on more than one, to raise the odds of any of them coming through. This is not a basket you want to putting many eggs in.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Get me rewrite! Hey, clean that one up for me before you post it, K? thxbai.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 12, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I don't think anyone is asking you to let the Lerners off the hook, Brue. Just maybe you could do with a little less vulgarity. And your personal attacks on us fellow commenters here in NJ that dare to disagree with you are getting to be too much to handle. I enjoy reading the back-and-forth of opinions that go on in this blog and long for stimulating discussions. I just don't think calling people names and being crass and vulgar is the way to do it. Keep holding the owners to their word. Keep calling them out. Just keep it clean. Thank you.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 12, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

dfh21,
I just feel like having so much money, at that point 40-45 mil wrapped up in 2 guys that have thrown 0 pitches in the majors is a bit extreme. We got a lot of excitement out of J Zimm last year and he came out of relative obscurity. You hope lightning strikes twice again with another prospect and then sign B Webb.
Having both of them would be exciting and sell some more tickets but Ryan Howard and H Ramirez could care less how highly touted these guys are.Keep in mind for the second year in a row we got the #1 pick so were not going to be hurting on prospects(just that, guys with not one iota of MLB experience).


Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Enough of this "in it till the end" patting themselves on the back. Maybe the guy was worth it, maybe he wasn't. But if you thought he was, then either sign him or
s t f u. You signed Strasberg. Great. It's one signing. The others are all mediocre--nothing special. If you want someone, pull the freakin trigger and get it done. Because the Nats stink, they aint gettin anyone on the cheap. They are going to have to pay a premium. Thats facts. So stop all this self congratulatory BS over having not signed someone. It's ridiculous.

Posted by: dovelevine | January 12, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

BTW Nats, if you're goiing to have to lose a little money over the next few years by overpaying some good players, so be it. Just do it. YOu'll make your bread back once you start winning. Lord knows you make enough while the team stunk. So start paying up and stop freakin celebrating when you don't sign someone.

Posted by: dovelevine | January 12, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"I just feel like having so much money, at that point 40-45 mil wrapped up in 2 guys that have thrown 0 pitches in the majors is a bit extreme."

"Keep in mind for the second year in a row we got the #1 pick so were not going to be hurting on prospects(just that, guys with not one iota of MLB experience)."
___________________________________________________________

Stu27,

40-45 Million ISN'T alot to have wrapped in 2 guys with endless talent that need some seasoning. Starters that throw in the high 90's don't grow on trees. I agree with Dovelevine, "stop all this self congratulatory BS over having not signed someone." The Lerner's and the FO need to Get it done or shut up about it.

And even with the #1 pick this year this frachise IS hurting on prospects. Outside of Strasburg and Storen, they have very little on the farm that can come up and help this year or next.

Once again, I have faith in Rizzo to turn it around but, he has his work cut out for him with the Lerners and StanK holding the checkbook.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 12, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Lastly, Texiera was never coming here. However this kid didn't care where he signed-- obviously--- by his going to another lousy team--the Reds. So the fact that the Nats wanted him (or so they say), and could have had him but didn't sign him on principal over a few million dollars prorated over a few years is pretty JV.

Posted by: dovelevine | January 12, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Stu27says:

"We got a lot of excitement out of J Zimm last year and he came out of relative obscurity."

Actually, JZimm was a top draft pick (one of two high picks) received by the Nats in compensation when Soriano signed with the Cubs.

This demonstrates a gaping hole in the Nats' strategy for building their team. Soriano was a $10 million a year guy, traded to the Nats before the Lerners got the team. Since the Lerners became owners, the Nats have not traded for any players who make average MLB salary or greater. That's zero--none.

By trading for below-average salary guys only, the Nats do not acquire enough talented players who could be traded for prospects or who would yield top draft picks when they sign elsewhere when their contracts expire.

There is only one benefit that I can think of to the Nats' approach, and that is to save money. The downside is a minor league organization that is rated toward the bottom every year.

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Some seasoning, please stop acting like this guy is sure thing. Thats why im not mad at this. We set a limit as to haw much we were going to pay for something unproven, they stuck by their figures and assessment< thas not back patting that is explaing their side of the situation.
Just a questions at what point do you stop paying for his potential(clearly hypothetical cause we didnt get him) but in the future how much do you pay for the next Champman, how much is to much? 40 Mil? 80 Mil? At what point do you say thats too much to pay for someone that no one knows about. We already made one record contract this year out of this situation.

Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Stu27,

I'm confused why you care about how much they pay him. It's not your money.

"The Plan" was supposed to be about stocking the minor league system with young talent.

Let's see, bottom five in payroll every year and not ponying up for young talent. Where the heck is the money going then?

I guess expanding the Red Porch, putting in Teddy's BBQ, and hiring someone to wake Uncle Teddy up from his afternoon nap costs more than we fans will ever know.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 12, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

It's bottom three in payroll, not bottom five. The Nats sign under-slot guys in drafts. One year the Nats "couldn't afford" their top pick. The Nats only trade for low-budget guys. They have signed TWO free agents of rather high salary in the years under the Lerners, but not any really big money guys. They could have had Dunn for four years. The Nats have not signed any big money international guys since Smiley.

Sec505203, the best I can figure is that this site is for true fans. Most people don't care about the Nats, as they know the ownership is not trying that hard to build a winner. They no longer read this site. So the ones who are left are true-blue types who are on board with trying to build a respectable club on the cheap. But it is still a big mystery to me too why the fans support the low-budget mania. It is also curious as to why they are in total denial that the club is so excessively frugal. I really don't understand either.

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

505203, I'm not Stu27, but I agree with him on some points, so I'll take a stab.

Me, I don't care whether the team wastes money. But they do, so they'll always make decisions this way. I don't like it, but neither do I dislike it. It'd be like hating Wednesday. You know?

I'd rather have the kid than not, and I don't really care what they offered or didn't, but I can accept missing out without ascribing nefarious motives.

And dovelevine et al., the team didn't refuse to sign this kid "on principle," they evaluated the risk (value if he reaches certain levels and their estimation of his odds of reaching those levels). The first would indeed be silly. The latter is business.

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 12, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused by the whole Chapman thing. My reading comprehension is pretty poor (just look at what I got on my SAT's way back when), but in any of the articles written was it ever explicity mentioned that after the Nats put in their offer, and then Chapman got the Reds' offer, that Chapman's agents then went back to the Nats and asked if they could match the Reds' offer?

Because I don't read into it that way. The Nats offered what they thought was an appropriate amount for Chapman. They obviously were wrong since the Reds ended up signing him, but is it possible that the Nats' weren't given the chance to match the Reds' offer? If so, then why would any of you be mad that the Nats failed? It seems that they made a valid offer, one that is reported to be higher than most, if not all, of the other teams except the Reds. How is that failing??

I also don't think the Nats are going around patting themselves on the back because they were this close to signing Chapman. I think they were asked a question by the media and they responded. Personally, I like that any and all negotiations bewteen the Nats and all the FA's (and Chapman) have up to now NOT been handled via the press. The only things I've read so far have been that the Nats are interested in this person and that person. No dollar figures or years have been thrown out there to the media.

Finally, maybe it's just me but I absolutely LOVE the fact that Chapman signed with the Reds. Mainly because in all of the "reporting" by these so called "journalists" (Heyman, Rosenthal, Olney, Gammons, etc), not one of them ever mentioned that the Reds were in the running. It was always the Red Sox or the Angels or the Blue Jays. For me it just shows how little these yahoos know about what's going on behind closed doors. And I, for one, appreciate that Rizzo hasn't opened that door to let any of them in on his negotiations.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 12, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

I don't get it either, EdDC. They just don't spend the money. It's very frustrating.

I have not re-newed my 5 year running, 20 game plan yet because, I'm waiting to see what they do. Marquis and Capps were a nice start but, we need 3-4 more signings/trades for solid talent.

If the Lerner's won't spend, why the heck should I spend my hard earned dollars?

Posted by: Section505203 | January 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Now that, 505203, is a sentiment I can totally get behind. If you have disdain for what the team is doing, there's no logic in paying for the privilege of watching it.

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 12, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Its not that i dont care how much they spend, I do. I as a fan understand that this team isn't going to spend top dollars all across the board like other organizations.
If you cannot come to an understanding that this is their approach then you should root for a new team. Off the top of my head judging from your thoughts you would do best with one of the two teams in LA or one of the two teams in the upper NW corrider, not the mets they already have enough questionable fans. Geaux Gnats!!!

Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"If you cannot come to an understanding that this is their approach then you should root for a new team. Off the top of my head judging from your thoughts you would do best with one of the two teams in LA or one of the two teams in the upper NW corrider, not the mets they already have enough questionable fans."

Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 4:43 PM
____________________________________________________________

Just a ridiculous statement. So, by your logic because, I want my hometown team (in a top 8 market) to climb out of the bottom 5 in payroll they're in every year, I should be a turn coat and go hop on the bandwagon and root for a team in the top 5 in payroll.

That would make me like every other Yankee or Red Sox fan. Thanks, but no thanks.

I will continue, like many others on this blog, to bang the drum for the Lerner's and StanK to spend money like they should. I'm not asking them to spend like the Yankees or heck even the Red Sox or Mets. I just want them to get in the top half, at least.

They need to stop with the BS and spend on players, period.


Posted by: Section505203 | January 12, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Well you dont have to jump ship. Just start asking for more sensible ways to spend a ton of money. Instead of never thrown a pitch Champman, get mad at them for not trading for Halladay or another great pitcher. The FA market was weak this year that dosent mean you should go around picking up every unproven commodity that is looking to defect this year.

Posted by: Stu27 | January 12, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

"Just a ridiculous statement. So, by your logic because, I want my hometown team (in a top 8 market) to climb out of the bottom 5 in payroll they're in every year, I should be a turn coat and go hop on the bandwagon and root for a team in the top 5 in payroll."

Why not? You've said here previously that you are a NoVA native and also a lifetime Steelers fan. If you can be a frontrunner in football, why so high and mighty when your hometown baseball team fails to live up to your unrealistic expectations? Go be a Red Sox or Yankees fan, why don't you.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 12, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Stu27,

Let Rizzo answer your question:

Rizzo, on why pursuing Chapman made sense: "All the accolades and the velocities you've heard about are true... We see a huge upsided pitcher. There's some risk involved, of course, but this was a chance to get a front-of-the-rotation pitcher with an unlimited ceiling. And as you know, No. 1 starters are very difficult to find. Either you develop them ourselves or you pay dearly for them in free agency.

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have a business model that works for them. They get 23,000 or so fans who love baseball (or beer) on a summer evening. With the Nats' low budgets in all phases of their operations, that model gives them about the best net profit in baseball. I can give you a site for that:

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/33/baseball-values-09_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.html

That does not mean that fans have to cheer for the anti-fan business model. Owning a team is a civic responsibility. DC did not build the Nats a stadium based on small attendance. No, DC was expecting excitement enough to build up that area of DC. Restaurants and bars want numbers of fans too. Sure, it's a recession, but people still go out and spend. And a boring franchise will draw fewer fans than will an exciting one, no matter where we are in the business cycle over time.

And to say love 'em or leave 'em is a chant that is used to support all sorts of nefarious schemes.

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

I love 'em, but I am also leaving 'em. No renewal of the Nats tix this year, barring something bold from the Nats.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Why not? You've said here previously that you are a NoVA native and also a lifetime Steelers fan. If you can be a frontrunner in football, why so high and mighty when your hometown baseball team fails to live up to your unrealistic expectations? Go be a Red Sox or Yankees fan, why don't you.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 12, 2010 5:08 PM
______________________________________________________________

ABM,

Being that I have been a fan of the Steelers since I was 6 and still remain a fan to this day at age 42, does not make me a frontrunner fan. The fact that you use 50 monikers on one site does make you a fool though.

"why so high and mighty when your hometown baseball team fails to live up to your unrealistic expectations?"

What unrealistic expectations?

Asking them to spend enough to be in the top half of MLB like a large market team should, is unrealistic?

Asking them to draft for talent not signability and sign that talent every year is unrealistic?

Man, there are some low expectation havin' people on this blog.


Posted by: Section505203 | January 12, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Per the various tweets and twitters summarized at MLBTR the Nats are willing to offer two years to Hudson. MLBTR editorializes that Hudson is an average 2B at best, but I would add that if you are a below average defensive team as the Nationals have been in recent years, you can still improve your defense with an average defensive player. What you cannot do is improve your defense without making a change or improve your defense with players that are not available. I'd rather have an average Hudson than a slightly above average FLOP.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 12, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm sitting in my season ticket seats right now. Y aqui mi quedo. J'sui, j'reste. And not just because they *can't* throw me out of my own place.

I like baseball, but if I were to pick a team to follow as a consumer, and shop like I would for, say, a motorcycle (a much better ROI, IMO), I wouldn't give this team a second look. But that's not how it works. I can't go to just any other MLB team's home games. Season tickets in St. Louis would do me no good. So I'm kinda stuck. And we *did* give them a ballpark, so I ought to get something out of it.
Let's face it, WE ARE Julian Tavarez.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 12, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

@natbiscuits,

You forgot to mention that the Nats actually used to ***HAVE** Hudson's replacement. Ronnie Belliard. Seems like Hudson is not a good fit. I would rather see Guzman, Espinosa, and Desmond duke it out for those two positions.

Sounds too much like that fool Ladson ...

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Why do I still feel like catcher is still a problem? Even with IRod?

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Why do I still feel like catcher is still a problem? Even with IRod?

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Speak for yourself, sec3. Some of us might rather be J-Lo. To dream, the impossible dream... :-)

---

Let's face it, WE ARE Julian Tavarez.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 12, 2010 6:40 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 12, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Chapman? What about that lefty Thompson?

Mebbe they would be better off picking up an additional left-handed vet. Still, they are going to have 2 coming off-of-injuries lefties in camp. Matt Chico and Scott Olsen in addition to Thompson? And there is Detwiler?

Seems like the left side SP **could be** covered?

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

On the Nats "possibilities". Keep in mind that the "young" prospects that started and relieved last year have 1 really hard year of ML experience under their belts ... hard to say what they may have in them this year ...

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Does the Rizzo quote, copied below, seem to fit for Chapman or do Chico, Olsen and Thompson fit the description just as well? I guess the idea is just to run any lefthander out there, whoever costs the minimum. Then you have that slot covered. Oh well, maybe Chico will develop a 100 mph fastball during spring training.

Rizzo, on why pursuing Chapman made sense: "All the accolades and the velocities you've heard about are true... We see a huge upsided pitcher. There's some risk involved, of course, but this was a chance to get a front-of-the-rotation pitcher with an unlimited ceiling. And as you know, No. 1 starters are very difficult to find. Either you develop them ourselves or you pay dearly for them in free agency."

Posted by: EdDC | January 12, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Garland, Pineiro, or Washburn WILL be pitching in DC next season.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 12, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Ugh - We need a new topic, 'cause this one has been clubbed into submission, imo. But here's one last shot across the bow, so to speak...

Rizzo put up an offer that he thought was 'fair market' for Chapman - He got beat by one or more teams for Chapman's services. Do we (as fans) know how the bidding was handled by the Hendricks Bros? No, we don't. Does it matter how much was offered, when it wasn't the winning bid? No, it really doesn't; The bottom line is that the team missed out on a prospect. It's a shame, but at some point you just let it go & move on.

Posted by: BinM | January 12, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I hope that the Nats go with Sheets or Bedard, and maybe even take a flyer on Mulder on a minor league deal. I want upside.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21: Mulder is a 'dead man walking'; He hasn't thrown significant innings since 2005. Of the other nine pitchers 'associated' with the Nationals at some point in the off-season, here are some numbers & thumbnail notes (in alphabetical order)...

Bedard, Eric - 30YO, LHP: 15GS, 83.0IP, 5-3W-L, 2.37:1K-W, 1.19WHIP, .217BAA, 2.82ERA. Thumbnail = Very fragile; Rumoured to be not the greatest teammate.
Davis, Doug - 35, LHP: 34GS, 203.3IP, 9-14W-L, 1.35:1K-W, 1.50WHIP, .261BAA, 4.12ERA. Thumbnail = Durable, a steady #4 or #5SP.
Garland, Jon - 30, RHP: 33GS, 204.0IP, 11-13W-L, 1.47:1K-W, 1.40WHIP, .281BAA, 4.01ERA. Thumbnail = A fair #2-3SP overall, prefers West Coast team.
Hernandez, Livan - 35, RHP: 31GS, 183.7IP, 9-12W-L, 1.40:1K-W, 1.56WHIP, .298BAA, 5.44ERA. Thumbnail = Inning-eating, bottom of rotation pitcher.
Padilla, Vincente - 32, RHP: 26GP, 147.3IP, 12-6W-L, 1.52:1K-W, 1.43WHIP, .273BAA, 4.46ERA. Thumbnail = Good W-L, not much else to recommend.
Pineiro, Joel - 31, RHP: 32GS, 214.0IP, 15-12W-L, 2.92:1K-W, 1.14WHIP, .265BAA, 3.49ERA. Thumbnail = Solid year under Duncan in StL; Is he a late-bloomer?
*Sheets, Ben - 31, RHP: 31GS, 198.3IP, 13-9W-L, 3.16:1K-W, 1.15WHIP, .244BAA, 3.09ERA. Thumbnail = Looking for #1-2SP $$$, even after year off.
Smoltz, John - 42, RHP: 15GS, 78.0IP, 3-8W-L, 3.17:1K-W, 1.45WHIP, .302BAA, 6.35ERA. Thumbnail = World of knowledge as both SP & CL, but 'toast' as a ML pitcher.
Washburn, Jarrod - 36, LHP: 28GS, 176.0IP, 8-8W-L, 1.82:1K-W, 1.19WHIP, .244BAA, 3.78ERA. Thumbnail = Near-career numbers across the board going into FA; Possible red-flag.

To paraphrase the Templar Knight from Indiana Jones 2: "Choose Wisely".

Posted by: BinM | January 12, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I guess we have to go to MLB TRADE RUMORS for Nats info, that isn't reactive. Ridiculous.

Posted by: JDB1 | January 12, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

MLB Buzz-Nats Could Make Move for Prized 2B

Nationals looking at Hudson? -- 11:52 a.m.

In looking for another middle infielder, the Nationals are prioritizing defense. That’s why they remain interested in second baseman Orlando Hudson, two major-league sources said Tuesday.

One person with knowledge of Hudson’s market believes Washington would be willing to make him a two-year offer at the right price.

If they stick with current personnel, the Nationals could move Cristian Guzman to second base and play young Ian Desmond at shortstop.

Hudson made the National League All-Star team last year but lost his starting job to Ronnie Belliard late in the season. Yet, he still won his fourth Gold Glove.

Hudson has a history of injuries to his left wrist, which could make the physical examination a crucial step in an agreement with any club. -- Jon Paul Morosi Fox Sports

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 12, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope nobody arguing for signing Chapman really wants to harp on the failure to sign Aaron Crow. In retrospect, the Nats did everybody a favor on that one.

And doesn't anybody remember watching Chapman in the WBC? He wasn't exactly lights out and his control needs serious work. I'm old enough to remember Steve Dalkowski and to know how important control is for a pitcher to be successful beyond Class A.

One other point: Stan Kasten did play some ball back in Jersey. In any case, knocking him or any exec who didn't play professionally is foolish. Tell it to Theo Epstein or Brian Cashman.

Posted by: nats24 | January 12, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Hudson ain't great. But if we sign him, does it make us worse? No. Our payroll is so low that signing him shouldn't (note that I say shouldn't, doesn't necessarily infer fact) stop us from signing anyone else. So why not offer him two years...

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | January 12, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone really want Guzman as our SS next season?

He has to be either at second or on the bench, we have to give our young pitchers a chance.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 12, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Cashman played some baseball right here in DC at CUA, at least. Go Fightin' Cardinals!

I want Guzman as the SS. Of course, I say that becasue at this point it is pretty much a lock to happen anyway. So, might as well be supportive.

Desmond is raw as can be, Guzman may be worse at 2B than he is at SS, and $8M guys do not ride the pines, not ones who hit like Cristian does -- he is gonna be the guy.

Guzman's glove has been pretty terrible, but the guy's in a walk year and he's under some pressure to come into camp lighter and leaner, so maybe he picks it up some. Let's hope! The guy can hit .300 from both sides -- and he crushes lefties. Given the coins he makes and that he has literally never played 2B at any level, he's not likely to start this year unless something odd happens roster wise.

I am thinking that the O-dog is coming to DC to play 2B. We'll see.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 7:06 AM | Report abuse

I too am thinking Guzman will end up back at short. Not one report about anyone but Hudson and I do think the walk year makes a difference (another reason I am not sure about Washburn).
No doubt Guzman can hit.
Hard to believe someone would not renew tickets just because they are unhappy with moves made or not made. I have had my plan since the Nats got here because my mom & I went to see the Senators in Griffith Stadium and I have loved baseball ever since. It would be fantastic to have a winning team but its not the end all or be all for me. Just going to the park, and watching them do amazing things is fine. Do you all realize how hard it is to hit a baseball?? I do wish they had more day games and I wish they ended the season earlier and I wish a bunch of other stuff but its not going to stop me from loving baseball and I live here so go NATS!
Just talked to my agent and they probably won't release this but they already have more season tickets sold than last year which to me is a good sign.

Posted by: sjm3091 | January 13, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

sjm: If people do not come, they'll have to build it. Maybe without my $20K, and that of many folks like me, they'll start to get the message that they need to actually deliver a competitive club to make money.

I am walking away from my 4 full season tickets which I have had from day 1. The club just has not lived up to its end of the bargain; they have not delivered on much of what they promised. The Plan is a sham. Almost 4 years of Lerner stewardship and the MLB club is lousy, the farm is not very good either, management is timid, the payroll is peanuts and the peanuts are $7.00. I've had enough. I'll watch from home and hit the occasional game.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

guzman is not a very good hitter any more. he hits an empty 300 (when he does, 284 last season).

so he hit 284 last season, but with a 304 OBP (just 16 BBs) and a 396 SLG. so not much on base percentage, not much power. exactly what is he bringing offensively that's so desirable? 4 SBs in 9 attempts?

i don't hate the guy or anything, but he's a borderline starting MI at this point in his career at best.

Posted by: sec231 | January 13, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@dfh21 -- you wrote, "they have not delivered on much of what they promised". I beg to disagree. I believe the Lerners stated that they would basically blow up the entire system and try to build from the ground up. That by doing this, they realized that the MLB-product would suffer, but that in the long run this process would create a longer shelf life of success for this franchise.

Sure, the last two seasons have been horrific, but these 9 months of the Rizzo regime has brought respectability back to the nation's capital, something that has not been seen for a long time.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 13, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Amen to erocks' call for civility. I was 9 years old when the Senators left and I spent 33 years waiting in the wilderness. I enjoy the witty repartee on this blog -- the good-natured back and forth from kindred spirits who want the Nats to improve. But if this site descends into the mean-spirited, anonymous bile that passes for discourse on so much of the Web, I'm done.

Posted by: Drew8 | January 13, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

erocks33: The Lerners have made bad management decisions, bungled (Crow), pinched pennies (approving invoices for office supplies and the like), been short-sgihted and timid. At the 27th payroll last year the spending is well below the means (brand new, free park, big market and following a 100 loss season mind you), the roster has holes all over it, the farm is NOT stocked with great talent well more than 3 years after they took over. Only Ryan Zimmerman, who was here when they got here and who would have been here whether or not they inked him to the long term contract, is a proven player under control beyond 2010. Other than the gift wrapped No 1 pick Strasburg, who may be years away from being something special, the Nats have not added any piece that is highly coveted by other clubs as a long term piece of a winning puzzle. The rest of the division is actually widening the gap. As to Rizzo, he's by and large added stopgap players, 38 yr old catcher (LoDuca's role?), innings eater (Livan's role?), couple of talented yet tormented relievers (pretty much every reliever the Nats have had role?). Improvement is there -- how could it not be?-- but not vast improvement and he's not exactly chock full of creativity thus far. Sure, they stocked the F.O. with impressive resume guys, but none of those guys field or hit much and it is not like the F.O. below the Bowden level was a bunch of idiots before, including Rizzo, Boone and half the current Toronto execs. I can go on here but it is depressing.

Bottom line for me at least, and this is all about me -- my money to spend/not spend on season tickets -- they have not earned my financial support.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"I believe the Lerners stated that they would basically blow up the entire system and try to build from the ground up. That by doing this, they realized that the MLB-product would suffer, but that in the long run this process would create a longer shelf life of success for this franchise."

And what have they done to deliver on this promise? Overdrafted guys like Trevor Holder? The minor league system is far from respectable, and it has not been appreciably upgraded since the Lerners acquired the team. Strasburg is all that they have to point to, and he is a guy who fell in their lap and who they needed to sign in order to maintain any semblance of credibility whatsoever.

I'm willing to ignore the MLB product on the field for purposes of this discussion and simply focus on the point that you raise--"building from the ground up." What facts can you point to that shows they are doing that successfully?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

We lost Crow, we gained Storen and maybe the credibility with agents that when we say we are at our limits with an offer then we are at our limits.

To say the farm system is no better then when the team arrived in DC is an absurd statement but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 13, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I see, dfh21 and CIL. Anything the Lerners have done right was either handed to them for free or fell in their lap, while everything they have tried that didn't work out is due entirely to their gross incompetence or cheapness. Agenda, anyone?

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 13, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

LOL at JennEric1's comment. My "agenda" is that I would like the Nats to become a good team, and, hopefully soon, a team that contend for a championship. (A shocking concept, I know.) Rather than cast aspersions, someone just tell me some facts that they believe demonstrate that the Lerners are succeeding in their proclaimed effort to build from within a championship team. Every team has young guys that they can call "prospects." But what do the Nats have that shows they are on their way to becoming an elite team?

Since the Lerners bought the team, we heard all about how they intended to have an "international presence" as a key component of "The Plan." So, where is it? Remember Bowden's quote about how the "W stands for world" and how Kasten said he was going to "work the embassies"? Does getting burned on one signing let them off the hook forever on the international front? The Nats still don't have a single top international prospect in their system. What about Asia? That was professed to be a key component in their international efforts.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

The following excerpt from a blog entry Joe Posnanski wrote about the Royals this past Fall is worth reading in light of some of the discussion in this post:

"Bill James said something a while ago that I thought was about as good a thought about bad baseball teams as anything I’ve heard. He said, “The future is not a plan.” And I think that’s exactly right. Every baseball team has a future. Every one. Every team has “prospects” — Baseball America next year will list off 30 for each team. Every team is loaded down with players in Class A who, if things go well, can emerge as the next great superstar. Every team has pitchers who could, and hitters who might, and catchers who should, and base runners who conceivably can. Every team in baseball.

"And because every team has a future, it’s easy to fool yourself. It’s easy to talk about how things will get better. This is not always a bad thing. This is what gives fans hope every spring training. This is what keeps players inspired. This is what keeps baseball people going forward. And sometimes, rarely, a team even might fool itself into believing that it is better than the apparent talent and play at that higher level, at least for a while.

"But … more often than not, fooling yourself isn’t much of a plan for survival. And thus, The Hochevar Principle: The future comes to all teams. Some teams wait for it. Those teams finish in last place a lot."


Here's the link to the entire Posnanski blog post: http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/10/05/the-hochevar-principle/

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Now CIL, you can't bring logic and facts to a conversation that is occuring over a nice cold glass of Kool Aid.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 13, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

But CiL what would you have them do? Do you really think it is so easy to take a franchise all of MLB stripped of assets and build a contender overnight when every other team in baseball is trying for those same players? The plan is NOT to be like the Mets who throw absurd dollars trying to make up for the incompetence of their scouting and management personnel. Build from within is the only reasonable option, and by bolstering the front office changes will be seen, albeit they won't be seen at the MLB level soon.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 13, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"And because every team has a future, it’s easy to fool yourself. It’s easy to talk about how things will get better."
_____________________________________________________________

There is a lot of that going in the Nats organization and on this blog.

As I've said before, the majority of these prospects people bring up, will not pan out. Then what?

They have to invest heavily in the ML roster and the minor leagues. It's a never ending process. You have to keep the talent coming. Period.

Uncle Teddy is treating this like one of buildings. He invests a little to get it built and then once a tenat is in the building, you can relax.

You can't do that with a sports team.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 13, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

really, dfh, you're going to bring this up:

"pinched pennies (approving invoices for office supplies and the like)"

this was "reported" soon after the Lerners took control and was "quoted" by a "disgruntled ex-employee." Even if it's true, what's the problem with this? Have you ever taken control of a company that was woefully mismanaged for a long period of time? Ever look over how the previous "owners" didn't care how the business office handled such mundane items as invoices, payments, shipping, etc, then try to right the ship by making sure that the company you just took over wasn't paying twice what they should only have to pay once for? Streamlining systems like this is perfectly normal for new owners to do once they step in. But by all means, let's re-hash something that happened 4 or 5 years ago that has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the product on the field.

You'd be surprised to know that I, too, am livid that the Nats have nothing going on in the world market. I, too, am disappointed that the player pipeline from the minors to Nats Park is not as fluid as I had hoped. But I believe that the majority of the problems were with Bowden and his relationship with Mark Lerner. Bowden had him tied around his little finger. And now that Bowden's gone, Rizzo and Stan are calling the shots and I see true progress. Should it have taken this long? Heck no! The Lerners should be vilified for keeping Bowden once they took control. He should have been kicked to the curb instantly. But maybe it's just my ridiculous way of trying to see good in most things that has me believing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel (as opposed to a few in here that see that same light but believe it's just a train getting ready to run over us).

Posted by: erocks33 | January 13, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Of course we all have on our agenda that we want the Nats to succeed. Where we differ is in how we attribute their lack of success so far. The agenda posters would say that the Lerners have done everything wrong and/or nothing right. And of course that can't be the case.

And of course we all know that the future is not a plan. But neither are all plans successful - and you don't know whether they are or not until the future arrives. But the agenda posters are quick to say that the Lerners' plan has already failed, even though the future has not yet arrived. There's no truth at all to that.

And hey, we get that some of you feel ripped off because you sunk money into season tickets and the team sucked. And we get that you're not going to renew and make the same mistake again. Good for you, you told us. Telling us once is fine, but if you keep repeating it that's nothing but an agenda. And agendas get old real fast.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 13, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

"Build from within is the only reasonable option, and by bolstering the front office changes will be seen, albeit they won't be seen at the MLB level soon."

SC, as I stated in my first comment here, I'm willing to focus for now on the building from within issue. The Lerners/Kasten have been in control for 3.5 years now. Building from within has been the professed plan from day 1 of their ownership. So what have they done to achieve it so far? What tangible evidence is there to point to? "Bolstering the front office" more than 3 years into their tenure?

To answer your question as to what I would have had them do, I would have had them be very aggressive in signing young talent from day 1. Given the amount of money they were saving with their paltry MLB payroll and the fact that the organization was gutted as you recognize, they should have been the most aggressive team out there in signing guys who fell in the draft due to bonus demands, for one. And I wouldn't overdraft a guy like Trevor Holder to save money.

Just as an example, they could have Rick Porcello in their starting rotation right now, as opposed to hoping that Detwiler, who was a "safer" pick (and who not coincidentally signed right away), might be able to turn things around and become a better pitcher than he ever has been. How would you feel about a foundation of Porcello/Strasburg for years to come? And add Chapman on top of that? If the Nats were going to build from within, I would have had them be aggressive in doing it, and separate themselves from the rest of MLB in their "build from within" aspirations. They haven't been, and they still aren't.

JennEric1,in response to your comment that the "future" has not yet "arrived"--this is getting a bit metaphysical, but exactly when does the future "arrive" in your view? Because in 2007 we heard a lot from the Kook-Aid drinkers around here about 2010. Does the "future" ever "arrive"? Or is it an excuse that lets ownership off the hook indefinitely?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The future arrives when it arrives. It always does. But you can't take credit for future success or cast blame for future failure now. You have to wait until the future arrives. Yet all you agenda posters ever do is say that failure yesterday translates to failure today and failure tomorrow, no matter what is done. That can't be true. Your hindsight is always 20/20, but that doesn't mean your foresight is. Yet you all never stop proclaiming it, because that's your agenda.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 13, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

For what little it's worth, I think that "Kool-Aid drinker" (and snide variations on it) and "agenda pusher" (and snide variations on it) have both become epithets that do little to advance the discussion.

Just a random thought of a Wednesday afternoon.

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 13, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

My use of the word "snide" -- twice! -- also does little to advance the conversation. Sorry. (I prefer to edit, but clicked submit too soon.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I think if you want to lambaste the Lerners for not jettisoning the a@@hat on the Segway early enough, THAT is a fair thing.

But I also think that it is a mistake to underestimate just HOW poisonous to the building process Bowden was. He made stupid, senseless decisions that in NO WAY constituted putting together a coherent strategy for building a contending team in the future. The team's cupboard was bare when they got here, after MLB's ridiculous "stweardship" of the franchise, and Jimbo's bamboozling of Mark Lerner into validating his every whim was laughable at best, corrosive at worst.

I view the Rizzo-era as almost a start from zero-point. If we're still looking this disjointed and shabby in, say 3 years, THEN I will be livid. No excuses. But for now, I'm willing to let Rizzo do what Rizzo is doing, and trust that if he starts getting push-back from higher up about what it takes to make this team start contending, he's not going to roll over.

Building a team takes time in the best of circumstances. Jim Bowden's tenure with the Washington Nationals, on the heels of the frnchise being stripped bare before the move, was not the best of circumstances.

Spring training is coming soon, right? Let's get anther pitcher and a middle infielder and play some ball. Go Nats!

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 13, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

"The future arrives when it arrives. It always does. But you can't take credit for future success or cast blame for future failure now. You have to wait until the future arrives."

So the "future" arrives at some point in the "future." But, where the Lerners' plan is concerned, the "future" has "not yet arrived" because...you say so. Right. Just as I thought.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

They did not need to blow up the major league team to hire more scouts and FO talent. They did not need to blow up the team to stock the farm system, although losing Soriano did net 2 maybes. They did need to spend money like sober, focused admirals outfitting a carrier group, and they probably needed to find somewhere else to dump Bowden much, much sooner. But that would be a different Plan than they chose.
Maybe Stan was never going to convince them to spend right out of the gate, without getting embarrassed first, and maybe he knew that and went the he went because of it, but the Plan is his, not the Lerners. He's the baseball guy, not them.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree (again, FWIW). In particular, as someone who was living in the SFO Bay Area at the time of the Jonestown events, the former team always causes me to wince a bit (even if I could be said to fall into that fan category myself).

I'd also submit that generalizations (which use of such terms demonstrates, IMO) don't tend to advance the discussion either. Of course, I stopped reading said discussion some time ago. So what do I know? ;-) Is there a new post yet?

---

For what little it's worth, I think that "Kool-Aid drinker" (and snide variations on it) and "agenda pusher" (and snide variations on it) have both become epithets that do little to advance the discussion.

Just a random thought of a Wednesday afternoon.

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 13, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

My use of the word "snide" -- twice! -- also does little to advance the conversation. Sorry. (I prefer to edit, but clicked submit too soon.)

Posted by: Scooter_ | January 13, 2010 2:00 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 13, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, living in today's complex world of the Future *is* a little bit like having bees live in your head. But ... there they are!"

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

So, the future never comes...but the past is the past. Rizzo has been in control less than a year, and this is his first off-season with the reins. His starting point? A 100-loss team with a weak middle infield, way to many outfielders, crappy starting pitching, and a a bullpen I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Except maybe the Yankees.

I'm willing to see what he can do. If that makes me a Kool-Aid drinker, then I would like mine grape-flavored please.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Me, too (I lived at 14th and Market then). But things pass into the language all apart from that. Agenda Pushing, OTOH, doesn't bother me much. Go figure.
--------
"as someone who was living in the SFO Bay Area at the time of the Jonestown events, the former team always causes me to wince a bit."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Love how you can say that they haven't built up their farm system in 3.5 freakin years. Last time i checked this was not a ton of time to build a whole farm system out of absolutely nothing.
To me they got Stras which was the biggest thing toward building our future, other then that we havent had a lot of oportunites to build up anything great.
Bowden and crew totally messed up our Dominican project, this was where wew had put most of our eggs into our international basket, that failed and set us back majorly.
I like the stance they took with Crow, showing the agents that we cant be taken advantage of just cause were down and we . We stuck with our guns and ended up with the best amateur reliever in the draft. We have the number one draft pick next year with an opportunity to pick up yet another once in a generation type talent.
Saying that this team hasnt done anything in 3.5 years is really pushing the time frame, it takes much longer and is a continual process. I would love to see some of these posters on like a Royals or Pirates blog.
Only one team got Porcello a lot of other teams wish they had that one to do again.

Posted by: Stu27 | January 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

But that's just the point. Everybody miscalculates now and then (Seattle would sure like another shot at Lincecum). If you're generally good otherwise, you can green-paper over a certain amount of that. But when your team qualifies for Extreme Makeover--Baseball Edition, you have to go at it agressively, or else you will piss off, and piss away, an entire generation of fans, and they're really hard to get back.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

And they don't have to go for a ring to do that--winning almost as many games as they lose would have done the trick. Mediocrity is expensive, as Bill Veeck lamented, but this was a unique (as in one-of-a-kind) situation, with a window of opportunity that is now probably closed.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Jonestown members actually drank Flavor Aid, not Kool-Aid.

-----

In particular, as someone who was living in the SFO Bay Area at the time of the Jonestown events, the former term always causes me to wince a bit (even if I could be said to fall into that fan category myself).

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 13, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I got my hands on a top secret document that lays out the details of the formula the Lerners use to set their payroll. For Rizzo, it is Holy Writ, and he keeps a spreadsheet open on his laptop at all times keeping up to date with the current number.

The Lerner Payroll Formula:

Take the total debt load and divide by gross attendance
Then subtract front office payroll, stamps and paperclip expenses.
Then multiply the difference by Pythagorean wins
(As of May 24th before the bullpen tailspins)
And convert this to yuan at today's prevailing rate
Then compare to Kansas City's budget - doesn't ours look great?

The Shiny Object Clause:

If it's shiny and expensive, and our fans will eat it up,
Let's make a phantom budget, bid, then come in runner-up.

Posted by: nationalsanthems | January 13, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

"If it's shiny and expensive,
and our fans will eat it up,
Let's make a phantom budget, bid,
then come in runner-up."

Somehow, "Myanmar-Shave" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Love the way harsh critics have an AGENDA but apologists somehow do not.

Listen, I do not think the Lerners to be evil. I don't blame them in hindsight for this or that decision not working out, but I think that it is hard to argue, taking in the results on and off the field, the condition of the farm, the skimpy payrolls, etc., that they have not performed well in building and maintaining an organization.

They promised us they'd build something specail and asked that we bear with them -- but they've given little indication that they have the will or skill to deliver. Is anyone else insulted that they are yet again asking us to push back expectations of any kind of decent club until we can get hydrogen fuel cell hovercraft parking on Half Street?

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I've heard that, JiM. Either way, the term originated from that event. Hence, my wincing.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 13, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Love the way harsh critics have an AGENDA but apologists somehow do not."

You know that old joke about how there are three kinds of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't? Well, there are three kinds of posters here. Agenda posters, realists, and apologists. (Although to tell the truth, I've seen little evidence of true apologists hereabouts, so perhaps their existence is a myth. Or maybe they're just shy.) But the agenda posters only see two kinds of posters, themselves and apologists (who they derisively call kool-aid drinkers.)

And how do you spot an agenda poster, you ask? It's easy, as I said above. Anyone who claims that whatever the Lerners have done right was either handed to them for free or fell in their lap, while everything they have tried that didn't work out is due entirely to their gross incompetence or cheapness (or variations on that theme) is an agenda poster, plain and simple. The rest of us (the vast majority of us) are realists. We know that Rome was not built in a day, so it makes no sense to do nothing but complain all day about how we couldn't move in yesterday.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 13, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Well, I have not called anyone any names and I am as realistic as can be. Payroll is at $47M right now, $14M less than last year's 27th ranking Nats payroll. I hope Rizzo has something big up his sleeve, but as a realist, knowing the Lerner spending history, I am not overly confident.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

"The rest of us (the vast majority of us) are realists. We know that Rome was not built in a day, so it makes no sense to do nothing but complain all day about how we couldn't move in yesterday."

It's rather odd for a new poster to be commenting on "us" or "the majority of us." And if you are talking about the broader fanbase rather than commenters here, then I think the proof that you're wrong is in the attendance and season ticket numbers.

As for your inapt analogy, at some point the Romans started building the foundation of their city, right? I mean, since it was not built in a day, that means they started building and people could see the progress before the city was finished, correct? So where is the Nats' foundation that they've been working on? I don't see people frustrated by the Chapman non-signing bemoaning the fact that Rome isn't finished. What I see them frustrated about is that the Lerners really haven't started laying the foundation. You can't just say "Rome wasn't built in a day" or "the future isn't here yet" forever. At some point, you need to see some tangible progress. So, as a professed realist, what progress do you see?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

The Hendricks Brothers represented Chapman. And we didn't end up with Chapman.. Hendricks... where do I know that name from... oh yeah, they're the Reps for Crow. How'd that work out for Crow?

Posted by: comish4lif | January 13, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I did not factor in Wiillingham and Bruney being arb eligible, take about $8M off the vig from last year so that means Rizzo has something like $5M to work with, if we presume that the budget is static.

There should so be at least an aqueduct up and running by this point.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

"I like the stance they took with Crow, showing the agents that we cant be taken advantage of just cause were down and we . We stuck with our guns and ended up with the best amateur reliever in the draft."

Stu, forget about Crow. But answer this for me: why was signing JP Ramirez contingent on not signing Crow? Bowden explained clearly that this was the case. It's one thing to refuse to sign a draft pick because you don't think he's worth the money he's demanding. But it's quite another not to sign someone who you want to sign, at a price that you think is fair, because you don't have the money in your budget to sign him. Especially when the amount of money at issue is minimal compared to the amount of money the Nats have been saving on MLB payroll. That kind of approach is not reflective of an aggressive, build-from-within strategy.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

CiL, whatever signs of progress I might name, you will immediately counter with an accusation of "that's not really progress" or "that just fell into their lap" or "they had no choice but to do that" or something like that. Don't deny it, that's exactly what you'd do. Example one: Strasburg. There are many more, but why waste the time digging them up if all you're going to do is scoff? For the fact is that even every sign of progress is not going to work out in the long run. That's the nature of baseball. The large majority of highly-rated prospects never pan out - no matter what team owns them. But you know that old saying "success breeds success"? Guess what, it's true. So on teams that are already successful, the long term failure of most prospects is not all that critical. On a team that's struggling to gain a foothold at success like the Nats are, it makes a much bigger difference. There are wise choices and there are lucky choices, and they come in roughly equal measure, I'd say. The lack of success on the playing field yesterday or even today does not indicate that no effort and no progress is being made toward a better tomorrow.

Posted by: JennEric1 | January 13, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, wincing is valid. The brand of flavoring does not impact the gruesome events. It's just a point of trivia.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 13, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Which is to say the knowledge of the brand of flavoring is trivial, not that the event has been relegated to worthlessness.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 13, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Is the wincing valid? I thought the koolaid drinkers were hanging with Ken Keesey in the late 60's, tuning in, turning on and dropping out and all of that.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

In other news, I found this Nationals community newsletter interesting. Perhaps some other NJ readers will as well.

http://tinyurl.com/yzefg9d

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 13, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

What we do know is that he felt that CIN (and maybe another team as well), was willing to go beyond his "level of comfort" for this player; I'm o.k. with that, because I trust his player acumen to date, and I personally think that $30M for this kid is too high a price.

Posted by: BinM

At this point, paying an unknown Cuban $5 MM a year doesn't seem like a risk at all when you wasted $4 MM a year on Kearns the past couple of years. Any production for that type of money is better than what Kearns gave them.

Posted by: rnkorby | January 13, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Ill be honest I had to google JP Ramirez... If we liked him, set a price on him and that price was agreed upon by him then yes of course we should have taken him, it was a failure on their part to not make that deal if that is what happened. This is not what I have been arguing about concerning Crow or Chapman in fact its the opposite. Wait Bowden made this move, correct?

Posted by: Stu27 | January 13, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

"CiL, whatever signs of progress I might name, you will immediately counter with an accusation of "that's not really progress" or "that just fell into their lap" or "they had no choice but to do that" or something like that. Don't deny it, that's exactly what you'd do. Example one: Strasburg. There are many more, but why waste the time digging them up if all you're going to do is scoff?"

You're wrong that I would reflexively disagree with you in furtherance of some sort of "agenda." And even if I did disagree with you based on my own views, why does that bother you? If you have a view about things--which you've already taken the time to post about here--why not back it up with some support and explain to "us" what informs your view?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

"Wait Bowden made this move, correct?"

Stu, Bowden wanted to--and ultimately did--sign the guy. But Bowden did not set the draft budget. The issue is that the budget would have gotten in the way of the Nats signing the guy--a guy who they wanted--at a price they believed was fair, had they signed Crow. To me, that kind of thing is not indicative of an organization trying aggressively to "build a whole farm system out of absolutely nothing." Nor is overdrafting a guy like Holder.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Well, I have not called anyone any names and I am as realistic as can be. Payroll is at $47M right now, $14M less than last year's 27th ranking Nats payroll. I hope Rizzo has something big up his sleeve, but as a realist, knowing the Lerner spending history, I am not overly confident.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 3:23 PM
____________________________________________________________

Those numbers make me sick. And the fact that they are non-players in the International market and make signability picks on draft day is a flat out disgrace.

They knew they had to draft and sign Strasburg or face a huge backlash and they almost screwed that up. He signed with like 30 seconds to spare.

People, see the forest for the trees. The Lerner's are far more interested in making a buck then fielding a competitive team.

They don't spend aggressively on players at any level.

I feel for Rizzo, I think he would make a solid GM for a owner that didn't put such ridiculous constraints on the budget. Tough first job as a GM. Good Luck Riz you're going to need it.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 13, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Not sure where I fit on the fandom spectrum ("Meta-pragmatic Fanta-drinker"?), but I'll chime in.

CiL: While I share most of your frustrations about the last 5 years (lousy Major League payroll, lousy international presence, etc.), I'm also willing to entertain the idea that the Lerners are able and willing to 'learn on the job,' and that they are doing things better/differently today than they were 2 or three years ago. (This is where you retort with 'but Kasten was supposed to be the expert,' to which I have no suitable response except to say that he may have been hamstrung by said learning Lerners).

The optimism that some of us feel stems from the improvements we've seen in the last 8 months:

Rizzo v. Bowden
Morgan v. Milledge
Strasburg v. Crow
Riggleman v. Acta
Zimmerman signed long-term
Dunn signed; Johnson let go

And so on. These improvements don't erase the awfulness of the last several seasons, but I'm sure as heck more hopeful than I was last May.

Posted by: Bethesdangit | January 13, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

CoverageIsLacking, I believe this poster has explained what informs his/her/their view. Pretty well, actually, IMHO. But as usual, you're just not listening.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 13, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

still a bit confused with this JP sitch???

Do you feel that the FO have had a silmiar approach under Bowdens tenure as they have with Rizzos tenure so far, particulary concerning how many acquisitions and how much we pay for them, especially non-proven talent. Do you see any changes good or bad or do you perceive their actions as being same for both GM's?

Posted by: Stu27 | January 13, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

looks like Bethesda laid it out pretty well. Geough Gnats!!

Posted by: Stu27 | January 13, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Well said, Bethesda.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 13, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Kasten was supposed to be the "expert". But he never was, and never claimed to be, the BASEBALL expert. He was the expert in running an organization. The assumption was that he would hire the right guys, in particular on the baseball side of the organization. In Atlanta, the baseball guys he hired (or lucked into, if you want to believe his critics) were named Schuerholz and Cox. Those guys knew baseball. In contrast, the guy he hired (or was forced to hire, if you believe the conspiracy theorists) in DC was named Bowden. Not quite the same, baseball guy-wise. So while the plan (or Plan) has always clearly been Kasten's, he really had little to do with how it was implemented. For choosing players, scouting, drafting, etc, he relied on his baseball guys. They came up short, so now new baseball guys have been hired. So sure, the plan itself has not yet born fruit, but it's not the plan that's at fault. It's the implementation thereof.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 13, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

ABM, which poster? Bethesdangit? I didn't think it was incumbent on me to respond to every post, much less respond within 3 minutes. But since I think you asked, I do think that it was a well-reasoned post with a defensible explanation. I actually happen to agree with a lot of it, though I don't think the things that bethesdangit points to are very indicative of "The Plan" of building from within and a commitment by ownership. If you're referring to JennEric, I haven't seen anything other than "it's not the future yet," "Rome wasn't built in a day," and "Strasburg." None of which I consider to be much of an explanation.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"If you're referring to JennEric, I haven't seen anything other than "it's not the future yet," "Rome wasn't built in a day," and "Strasburg." None of which I consider to be much of an explanation."

So let me get this straight. If a poster gives reasoning that YOU don't understand or that YOU don't find satisfactory, then that poster's comments are invalid or inadequate on their face? And yet somehow you're the one poster here who's most likely to complain because "you're attacking the poster personally and not addressing the topic"? Oh-kay. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: nunof1 | January 13, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Not to advance any agenda or anything here, but:

Rizzo v. Bowden -- jury is still out. Bowden for all the bashing he rightfully gets landed Zimmerman, Willingham, Dukes, Flores, Lannan, Zimmermann, etc., and he never unloaded a guy who turned out to be better than expected, which is pretty impressive The busts were there in a big, ugly way too for JimBo, of course, but Rizzo is too short in the job to judge him better/worse at this point.

Morgan v. Milledge -- jury still out also. Lastings is 5 years younger and arguably has more upside. Morgan has never played a full season in MLB, so while he has looked great, he's no proven commodity either.

Strasburg v. Crow -- Uhhmm, should have been BOTH.

Riggleman v. Acta -- Big improvement, but changing managers (and to the then existing bench coach) on a 100 loss club is not so sexy.

Zimmerman signed long-term -- Nice, good stuff, but they could have elected to go year to year with him. If Ryan blows up with some big injury, they may have wished they went Ryan Howard with the kid.

Dunn signed; Johnson let go -- Another upgrade and I love Dunn, but he's going to walk unless they wow him with some big money love and that is not something the Lerners have really been comfortable doing, so, we'll see how management handles him.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"still a bit confused with this JP sitch???"

Stu, here's the story in a nutshell. Coming out of high school, Ramirez fell to the 15th round in the 2008 draft. The Nats picked him in round 15. According to Bowden, the Nats considered him to be a "first-round talent." The Nats signed him at just before midnight, once they determined that they were not going to be able to sign Crow, which freed up the money in their draft budget to sign JP. According to Bowden, they would not have had the money in the draft budget to sign JP had they signed Crow. Here's what Bowden had to say about the signing at the time:

"He was done at one minute 'til midnight at the end. Here was a guy that, we were holding on to that because we didn't know if we had enough money in our budget to get Ramirez. We had enough money to get Ramirez because we didn't sign Crow. So that was done right there at the end. Because, OK, the money is sitting there and he's a first-round talent...He wanted $1.6 million and we negotiated all summer with him, but at the end of the day, we didn't think there were enough dollars. We wanted to save our money in case we could save Crow. That was what we were trying to do. Our scouting budget that we had to sign players - we were saving it for Crow. When he fell apart, we picked up the deal and closed it at the last minute."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Good Lord all mighty, I wish there were some news about the Nats, or at least a new blog post.

This sniping back and forth is becoming very soul-wearying.

I have booked my Spring Training trip and availed myself of my free-to-season-ticket-holders ST tickets today. If I am not mistaken, the 2010 payroll has not yet been finally established.

I would like some baseball talk pretty soon, please.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | January 13, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

"The rest of us (the vast majority of us) are realists. " - posted by JennEric1

Perhaps the moniker "JennEric" refers to the type of fan she considers herself to represent?

Posted by: nationalsanthems | January 13, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"So let me get this straight. If a poster gives reasoning that YOU don't understand or that YOU don't find satisfactory, then that poster's comments are invalid or inadequate on their face? And yet somehow you're the one poster here who's most likely to complain because "you're attacking the poster personally and not addressing the topic"? Oh-kay. Why am I not surprised?"

Uh...no, sorry ABM. I didn't say anything about "invalid or inadequate on their face." To the extent JennEric's reasoning is as I summarized it, I simply don't find it very convincing as signs of progress. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion about others' comments--I haven't attacked anyone personally.

Also, why are you jumping to conclusions and worried about this when JennEric is not? He/she suggested in a post that there were other signs of progress that she/he had in mind but that weren't worth raising with me, saying: "There are many more, but why waste the time digging them up if all you're going to do is scoff?" So I'm hardly making this up or not paying attention.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 13, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21 -- please don't take this the wrong way (and sorry if it seems like I'm picking on you today, I swear I'm not) ... but it is getting harder and harder to read your posts.

First, you write"

"... Only Ryan Zimmerman, who was here when they got here and who would have been here whether or not they inked him to the long term contract, is a proven player under control beyond 2010"

Then you write,

"Zimmerman signed long-term -- Nice, good stuff, but they could have elected to go year to year with him"

Well, which do you want? To sign players like Zim to long-term contracts (as you state in the first quote) or to go year to year in case he gets injured (as stated in quote number two)?

Posted by: erocks33 | January 13, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

and since it doesn't look like we'll be getting any new posts from the WaPo today (or tomorrow), a couple of former Nats got signed to minor-league deals by other teams:

Zack Segovia to the Yankees
Jorge Padilla to the Blue Jays

That is all.

Posted by: erocks33 | January 13, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Stop the madness. Please.

Goesling has a new post pointing out the potential impact of the Marlins being forced to spend more money. Ladson wrote last night that the Nats backup plan to signing Hudson is Adam Kennedy.

I started looking at my library of baseball resources and noted that while many believe Hudson's range is decreasing, he still received top ten votes from all the Fielding Bible voters for 2009 except one (Neyer). Bill James had him at 9th. Most had him somewhere in the top 7. So while it is trendy to point out his range is diminished, some smart baseball analysts still have him rated in the top third of all starting second basemen.

Meanwhile Kennedy had a good offensive year in Oakland last year. I would be pleased with either player. Desmond is going to get his chance, but there is no harm in signing a real second baseman. Let Desmond force his way into the lineup. (You know like rookies on good teams have to do).

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 13, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

What does it say about the Plan, progress or me that I had already forgotten that either one of those guys ever even belonged to the Nats?

Posted by: nunof1 | January 13, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

erocks -- Deep breath. The quotes are not contradictory in the least. Zim is the only guy the Nats have under control beyond 2010 that is a proven stud. True. And it is a good thing in my mind that they inked him for the contract (bought some FA time down the road), but they could have just kept renewing him annually for some time in order to avoid risk that he gets hurt. Comprende?

Posted by: dfh21 | January 13, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Meanwhile Kennedy had a good offensive year in Oakland last year. I would be pleased with either player. Desmond is going to get his chance, but there is no harm in signing a real second baseman. Let Desmond force his way into the lineup. (You know like rookies on good teams have to do).

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 13, 2010 5:24 PM

Agreed!

In Rizzo we trust

Posted by: Kev29 | January 13, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Jonestown was actually the diversion from this conversation?

Man, we need a new post.
Bad.

And we haven't even gone Godwin yet.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

How about this for a diversion?

http://bases.nbcsports.com/2010/01/and-now-for-something-completely-awesome-rare-deadball-era-footage.html.php

Film from the dead ball era as an alternative to the dead horse era on NJ. (No offense meant, I'm in on this thread too.)

Posted by: utec | January 13, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Film from the dead ball era as an alternative to the dead horse era on NJ.


I think we have a new POTD

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 13, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

I think we have a new P, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 14, 2010 7:07 AM | Report abuse

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