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Wang contract details, arbitration cases

A couple notes...

* This is confirmed: Chien-Ming Wang's contract will pay him $2 million in 2010. He can earn up to $3 million in incentives. Also, he's already passed a physical -- yet another sign that this deal was days in the making.

* Relief pitcher Brian Bruney had his arbitration hearing today in St. Petersburg, where he asked for a $1.85 million salary for 2010. The Nats argued that Bruney should earn $1.5 million. The three-person panel is expected to hand out its decision on Wednesday. Bruney, acquired in an offseason trade from the Yankees, earned $1.25 million last season, when he went 5-0 with a 3.92 ERA in 44 appearances.

* Sean Burnett is the other Washington player with an unresolved arbitration case. He's scheduled to appear before a panel on Thursday.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 16, 2010; 5:53 PM ET
 
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Comments

BinM: "Post All-Star break rotation, 2010 = Marquis, Lannan, Stammen, Olsen/Detwiler, Wang. "

Here one assumes that both Olsen and Wang come back from their injuries ... kind of reminds one of Bowden giving Shawn chance after chance to prove he was past his injuries ...

Let's pull the guys out who cannot be relied upon and assume that with the Nats luck of late and the best they can hope for is additional setup men. Just where you seem to believe Chico fits.

2010 Rotation: Marquis, Lannan, Martin, Mock/Detwiler/Martis,
Thompson/Jaime/Balester ... maybe Chico as the most "recovered"? And perhaps Atilano.

Even Brian over at NFA lists Wang as a relief pitcher.

We should try to be honest ... in order to make an objective judgement as to whether the Lerner's are managing this franchise in the market that it is in as "small market".

The next wave of starting pitchers (2011) would probably bring in Strasburg, Holder, Karns, Meyers, and possibly Arneson.

At this point, looking at Dunn as a better replacement for Kearns from Cincinnati as well. They still should acquire a top-notch starting pitcher to complement Strasburg. Preferably a left-hander. In order to prove that the Lerners aren't running this franchise like Marge Schott's Reds.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Wang meet Mr. Zimmerman. Can you say "walk-off"?

Posted by: slewis1 | February 16, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Wang meet a team actually WORSE than those Orioles you've faced in years past? Can you say Natinals?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 16, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

I'm excited over the CMW signing. So much potential upside. He's the one recovery project I was hoping they would sign at the beginning of the off season.

I'm disappointed however that this organization that is heading to arbitration hearings with two of their most touted off season acquisitions over differences as small as 300K. You'd think that is a gap that could be bridged without hearings that tend to hurt feelings and egos with new players who are going to be counted on to make such a difference this season over last.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 16, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Or one of their biggest off season acquisitions and arguably one of last season's best out of the pen. Still... key players... relatively small $$$ differences. I obviously know nothing about the negotiations to this point but going to hearings is generally something most teams try their best to avoid. Not saying Rizzo and company haven't tried their best, just saying it's a discouraging sign that gaps of this size can't be overcome without a hearing.

Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 16, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

@peric: A number of points...
1) If you'll notice, I'm still 'hedging my bet' with either Olsen/(or) Detwiler, and I prefaced Wang's addition with a caveat as well.
2) Potato, Potatoe - You stick by Martin, I'll stick by Stammen; whatever.
3) Even when supposedly 'healthy', MChico had trouble getting through the 3rd rotation of the opposing lineup; That looks like a Long-Reliever to me.
4) Your "next wave" of starting pitchers has one right (Strasburg); He'll be with WSH by either Sept. 2010, or coming out of Viera in 2011. Meyers & Arnesen might be #5 candidates by mid-2011, but Holder & Karns are even further off in the distance, imo.

The money questions are for another argument, at another time.

Posted by: BinM | February 16, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

@Rickety: Rizzo (for this year, at least), took a "hard-line" stand regarding the Arb-hearing deadline; Once the hearing date was set, there was no further negotiation. Willingham worked his deal before the deadline, so we'll see how that plays out with Burnett & Bruney.

Posted by: BinM | February 16, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

RC: I too am disappointed over this type of haggling in this situation. But not surprised. They failed to sign their top draft pick the year before last over about $200 K, if memory serves. I guess you don't continually achieve one of the lowest MLB payrolls without nickel and diming people, even if it makes little sense in the long run.

And while I am pleased that the offseason signings are improvements, I am disappointed that we still do not have a number 1 SP. Other improvements could have been more substantial, perhaps, if the ownership was willing to spend commensurate with this market. The team should be much more fun to watch though, so I am cautiously hopeful that I will enjoy this season more than the last 2.

Posted by: NatsFly | February 16, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Going all the way to arbitration hearings over a relatively small difference seems to be the trend in MLB these days. The Rays just took BJ Upton to a hearing over a difference of $300K. The Rays won.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 16, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Its hard to know about Stammen until spring starts. He had injury problems last year and pitched most of it in pain. Thus the emergence of other pitchers ... my take is you have to exclude him, like Olsen, Chico et al.

It is possible they will come out of camp and throw guys in the rotation who aren't really ready and have a disaster similar to last year on their hands. I am hopeful they will pick and choose in terms of effectiveness, consistency, and endurance/health.

I think its important to come out winning as they did at the very end of last year. They have to break that "cycle of losing". Its a long season but I think that a tone needs to be set ... hopefully with all the arms they now have they will be able to manage when pitchers go down this year ... unlike last year.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Plus,

Wasn't it Rizzo who said that 1-2 recovery "projects" were enough? He now has JZimm (the really important one), Olsen, Chico, Wang, Stammen, Mattheus ... any more?

As for Holder ... you watch that guy is an in your face type. He'll move through the system quickly ... Karns its true is inconsistent but if they straighten him out he could rapidly do the same. And these are POWER pitchers, not soft tossers, sinker ball specialists, and swurve guys.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

And finally,

They can't sit on their hands with Strasburg and his knee. They should be proactive about getting him into Gaithersburg to work on strengthening the muscles around it with Philbin and company. Now, please.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

And Poopy ... I like Natinals ... just the kind of "chip on your shoulder" this team and its fans need. I hope they wear "Natinals" jerseys when (and if) they get to the series.

Poopy aren't you sick of that stooopid Oriole bird? Bird is the word? The "Duke of Earl" as in Ori-earl? And that ridiculous song O-R-I-O-L-E-S ... something campy that seems like it came from the late sixties gay-blade Batman series.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Oooops almost forgot ... Rizzo is supposedly after yet another recovery project? (Small Market, Lerners are Cheap, the evidence seems to be stacking that way ...)

Benson, 35, is apparently 100% after battling arm injuries for the better part of the last three seasons. In 22.1 innings for the Rangers last season, he allowed 23 runs with more walks (12) than strikeouts (11). It was his first big league action since 2006. As long as they don't guarantee him a roster spot, there's nothing wrong with seeing what Benson has to offer in Spring Training.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Why would you describe guys like Zimmermann and Stammen as "recovery projects?" When you have a prized prospect like JZimm and he gets hurt, what are you supposed to do? Why would you criticize Rizzo for keeping him? Are we just supposed to release any injury-prone pitcher? Or not sign them? That would keep us from signing a whole hell of a lot of pitchers . Are you really unhappy that Rizzo has brought in Ryan Mattheus, too? Is he someone even worth mentioning?

Posted by: sweetw | February 16, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

@sweetw,

"Why would you criticize Rizzo for keeping him? "

Putting words in someone else's mouth can get you into trouble. Please show me WHERE I said any such thing.

Of course they should try to rehab him. But they shouldn't depend on him ... make it so that the team fails if he can't come all the way back?

Acquiring multiple pitchers who are "rehabbing" from the OUTSIDE in addition to those already on the staff seems more than a bit odd ... don't you think? Especially since there were more than a few healthy pitchers who could have been acquired instead. Yes, they would have cost more than their current teams paid. That's because this team lost over 100 games 2 years running. That is not to say the injured pitchers don't have value if they can rehab and comeback ... the operative word is still "IF". There is no guarantee and they are much higher risk ...

It makes a strong case for those that argue that the Lerner's are far too cheap to own a baseball team in DC.

Posted by: periculum | February 16, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Ok I've had enough. A lot of us have been making Wang jokes, but from here on out I'm holding mine. For now on, I'll refer to him as Chien-Ming or CMW so that I won't be tempted to whip out a joke.

(seriously that was my last one)

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 16, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I was really surprised to see that CMW was only listed as 6'3".

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 16, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, your comment(s) just had a general critical tone to them, but whatever. I only think your point is an odd one to be making, that's all. Of the pitchers you mentioned, only Wang and Mattheus were brought in (from the outside) by Rizzo. I don't think Rizzo's doing anything "odd." Wang has great upside and would be a huge steal if he realized that upside. I think the Nats can more than afford to take risks like that.

Posted by: sweetw | February 16, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

@Peric: For whatever it's worth...

>Stammen had the least-invasive procedure reported, with an elbow spur (& some chips) removed(9/09). The recovery period is normally 8-20 weeks.

>JZimm(8/09) & Mattheus(7/09) both had "Tommy John" surgery - So did JD Martin & Severino(2005), Burnett(2006), and Chico(2008); Recovery time is roughly 12 months.

>For the more invasive Rotator cuff / Labrum clean-ups, we have Olsen(7/09), Wang(8/09), James(2008), & Chico(2008); The reported success rate is currently 75-85%, and recovery times are between 9-18 months, depending on amount of damage found/repaired, from everything I've read.

Posted by: BinM | February 16, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Add Luis Atilano to the TJ roster. Not that he is a Nat but the Chief had labrum/rotator cuff surgery. I guess he falls in the 25%.

Posted by: Section314 | February 16, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Cordero is not done yet. He has a non-roster invite to the Mariners again this spring (along with Colome, Shell, and Speigner (wow!!! their bullpen must really suck)).

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 16, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

I hope the Chief makes it back. I'll always have fond memories of him in '05.

Posted by: nats24 | February 17, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

I would hope the players in question would have sense enough to keep it to themselves if their feelings are hurt over making "only" six- or seven-figure salaries.


*****************
I'm disappointed however that this organization that is heading to arbitration hearings with two of their most touted off season acquisitions over differences as small as 300K. You'd think that is a gap that could be bridged without hearings that tend to hurt feelings and egos with new players who are going to be counted on to make such a difference this season over last.
Posted by: RicketyCricket | February 16, 2010 6:51 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 17, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

As you have more and more players, the chance that all of them don't pan out becomes less and less. If it works, he'll have assembed an MLB quality staff without breaking the bank, which is no mean feat.

I know you don't care about other people's money, but someone apparently does.

Posted by: swang30 | February 17, 2010 2:10 AM | Report abuse

RicketyCricket - These "raise" discussions are similar to the ones that go on in corporate America every day except ballplayers come armed with Agents!

In corporate America, worker of 10 years goes to his boss on his anniversary date and is now being told, no raise for you given the economy "you are lucky to have a job".

In Bruney's case, last year was his 1st full Arb eligble year and the Yankees gave him $1.25 million. The Nats offered him $1.5 in arbitration which is a 20% increase!

Bruney decided to go ahead and fight for $1.85 million which is a 50% increase.

He is guaranteed at least the $1.5 million at this point. Maybe he gets the $1.85.

BJ Upton just lost his arb hearing in Tampa.

This is a process. Happens every year all over the MLB.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 17, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Like the Wang signing.

Now, if only Rizzo had the ability to talk the Lerners into finding their wallets and add some payroll in order to nab another SP via trade. Ahh, if only. 27th in payroll on average EVERY year. No reason to believe that is going to change. Sad stuff.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 17, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

ESPN is rolling a message that Wang was signed by the Nationals and HE WILL BE READY FOR THE START OF THE SEASON.

I am guessing by all other accounts that they are wong I mean wrong.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 17, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Second that. Go get 'em, Chief!

---

I hope the Chief makes it back. I'll always have fond memories of him in '05.

Posted by: nats24 | February 17, 2010 12:07 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 17, 2010 8:13 AM | Report abuse

GGG -http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4918836 " He is not expected to be able to pitch until sometime between April and June."


Posted by: dmacman88 | February 17, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"BTW, I was really surprised to see that CMW was only listed as 6'3".

Posted by: natbiscuits"

Only? If your speaking feet, that is a pretty big Wang.

Posted by: Cartaldo | February 17, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

http://natsinsider.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-nats-signed-wang.html#comments

Mark Zuckerman said... "Projected payroll currently stands around $65 million. Obviously, that number can change, and it only represents what the Nats would pay if the 25 guys (plus players on the DL) who open the season on the roster remain there all year with no changes and no incentives reached (which never happens)."

Last years Opening Day payroll was just over $60 million so that is about a 10% increase in payroll from Opening Day last year to this year.

http://content.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/salaries/totalpayroll.aspx?year=2009

With incentive clauses met, the Nats will probably eclipse $70 million at the end of the season.

What surprised me on the list was the Texas Rangers at $ 68,178,798 and the Minnesota Twins at $ 65,299,266. Then the established team in Bal'more was only at $67,101,666.

This increase in payroll to over $65,000,000 will put them more in par with a playoff team like the Twins and above the Oakland A's and 5 to 6 other teams.

I guess it is called baby steps on spending the cash. One interesting quote Rizzo said in the off-season was spending money in relation to team revenue.

You would think with this roster and a decent record in Mid-April that attendence and gate revenues will increase and about the time that Strasburg debuts they will have some stellar crowds along with games that Wang pitches in.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 17, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo's "accumulation" strategy may have an up side. Towards the end of spring training, several of the 4-5 spot pitchers may look good enough to serve as trade bait.

My guess is that one or more of the long list of AAAA pitchers gets packaged into a deal some time during ST. Rizzo will be working the phones hard --- and is probably focused on a starter.

Posted by: nattydread1 | February 17, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how Chien-Ming Wang will feel about that big photograph on the back of the main scoreboard at Nationals Park.

----------------

Mr. Wang meet Mr. Zimmerman. Can you say "walk-off"?

Posted by: slewis1 | February 16, 2010 6:15 PM

Posted by: greggwiggins | February 17, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

That Wang loss on the Zim WalkOff would have given him a 20 win season in 2006. He was 2nd in Cy Young. What if?

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 17, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

dmacman88 - Twins payroll, $96MM plus.

The $65MM number was based on their roster as of the end of last season.

http://www.startribune.com/blogs/83638977.html

Posted by: Sunderland | February 17, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

You take a player to arbitration for $300K?

Geez, the Nats despite some loosening are still the cheapest team in DC by far.

If Lerner ever hopes to gain credibility in this town he is going to have to spend some real money as the Redskins and Capitals have been willing to do.

Even the woeful Wizards and Abe Pollin put a $79M team on the court this year to try and show a commitment to the fans, no matter how we may criticize the individual contracts.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 17, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

dfh21: "Now, if only Rizzo had the ability to talk the Lerners into finding their wallets and add some payroll in order to nab another SP via trade. Ahh, if only. 27th in payroll on average EVERY year. No reason to believe that is going to change. Sad stuff."

Exactly, this whole offseason (sans the front office buildup) seems an awful lot like a desperate team going to every fire sale!!! If Rizzo has to do what Bowden described in his latest attempt at Sports journalism every time he wants a player? A constant yes/no with ownership ...

I agree, they really need that Matt Cain like starting pitcher ... heck Baumgardner might be better as he is just graduated from being a prospect and he is left-handed.

Otherwise, it sure seems like the Lerners are cheap and in the end Mike Rizzo will become another Bowden.

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

dmac: What list are you making reference to?

Texas actually spent over $76M last year, Baltimore $77M and the Twins were just shy of $68M and the Nats total payout was under $62M. So, those clubs out-spent the Nats by 10% - 25% last year.

The Twins will be well over $90M in 2010, so the Nats are not looking to be on par with them by any stretch of the imagination. The Nats are treading water in terms of spending. They might leap frogg the no-revenue A's to end up 26th in payroll for 2010, but they will not be ahead of 6 clubs as far as I can tell.

Anyway, I would think that if they assembled a decent roster --- meaning if they paid to get better players -- attanedance would go through the roof. But ownership lacks the will to do that.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Thank you. That is what I am thinking when I see this ...

Noting that both Burnett and Martin (1st round draft picks!) are different pitchers post-TJ.

How likely is is that Chico and Severino will be "different" pitchers. Having weaknesses that would make them setup men?

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Is Luis Atilano the same pitcher post-TJ?

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

And its ironic that I am being criticized ...

I remember a whole heck of a lot of you reaming the heck out of me for rooting for Martin ... because he was AAAA, Tommy Johns?

Where are you now? Look at the list BinM compiled above? Do you really think this staff has a major league ready starting rotation going into the spring? Martin is just one tough guy ... if you throw in Wang, Chico and JZimm? Atilano is on the cusp of the majors as well.

Trying to be objective one must end up agreeing, after many huge sighs, with the Lerner's are cheap crowd.

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Luis Atilano also a former 1st round pick.

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

DFH21 - I put the link from USA Today in there which was the approved Opening Day roster salaries for 2009.

I don't know where your facts and figures are from.

Personally, I don't care what Lerner spends if they can put a good product on the field. I am a STH with a lot of my hard earned money out there. The Twins and A's and Rangers last year all put good teams out there and spent in the mid $60 mill range. That is my point.

I wasn't going to use the Tampa Bay Rays or the Marlins that spent less than the Nats as examples as they aren't perrenial winners although both are now respectable franchies.

If money wins you championships, then the Yankees and Redskins should win every year.

The Rays and Marlins have shown that it isn't neccesarily how much you spend, it is how you spend it.

I just laugh about all the people that watch the games from home and get themselves worked up in a lather over team payrolls when they won't crack open their own wallets to go to games. Obviously, I don't know your situation DFH21 so hope you aren't talking from the cheap seats!

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 17, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Global warming is less of a sure thing than Lerner cheapness.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 17, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Periculum,

I'm noticing a change in your posts of late. You seem to be reluctantly agreeing with the "Lerner's are cheap" folks. If so, Welcome Aboard. I don't think it's a "group" any of us want to be in but, facts are facts.

And dfh21, thanks for running the numbers on the payroll. I was to lazy to do it. I knew Dmac's numbers were not accurate.
The Nats are once again heading for a bottom 5 payroll. But hey, it's worked so well the last 3 years, why change it up, right?


Posted by: Section505203 | February 17, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

@dmacman88,

You may be comparing apples and oranges. The model Texas uses is probably a medium to large market. They used a small market approach in building what is now unequivocally the most loaded farm system in baseball. They have a plethora of top 100 prospects under their control. Thus the lower payroll and better record.

The Nats DEFINITELY DO NOT have one of the better farm systems prospect-wise, the #1 prospect (Strasburg) notwithstanding. He is not enough to tilt that cart.

In the NL East, the Nats division, the Phillies (is Philadelphia bigger than Washington?) go the other way with their $113,000,000+ payroll. The Mets even higher with an almost $150,000,000 payroll. Yet they lose as you mentioned but still managed to do better than the Nats. Their problem appears to be hanging on and depending on expensive veterans too long.

Here one could make the argument that bringing in fire sale recovering pitching would be analogous to hanging on to 35+ year old pitchers too long ... in point of fact, Kent Benson, former Met IS 35 and recovering from surgeries and a 3 year hiatus. And the Nats are interested?

The Marlins are like the the Rangers except they don't have as many really talented prospects at this point. Yet they too manage, with the lower payroll, to handily beat the Nats. They still have a better farm system with more prospects than the Nats. They probably have a better International presence as well.

But let's look at Boston who manages their team like a "small market" franchise hoarding prospects, yet have ownership willing and able to put the big-bucks out for free agents. They have the very best farm system in baseball. They compete every year with the bloated payroll Yankees. Their payroll is $121,000,000. Are you going to tell me that Boston is a better and bigger market than Washington?

Maybe I am wrong but the numbers do not appear to add up right for the Nats?

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

"reaming the heck out of me for rooting for Martin"

rooting for him is fine, it's the obvious man-crush that makes me squirm

Posted by: sjt1455 | February 17, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Question: Why are so many peeps happy with Rizzo"s off-season moves? Seriously I really don't get it. What were they?

We need starting pitching bad. We don't even have our rotation filled out yet. And yet Rizzo did was get 1--- that's ONE--middle of the road veteran pitcher. So now that's all we've got. We've got 1 veteran pitcher when in fact we need 3.

And he also added an old 2nd baseman and an even older on his last legs catcher. The big closer? Well he had a horrible season last year so who knows.

So what is all the clapping about?

Posted by: dovelevine | February 17, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

To the Lerners are cheap faction, nothing we did this offseason will change your mind; in fact, short of signing Tex last year and Lackey this year in your collective minds this team is cheap. Perhaps you'd like to be like the Mets, spending willy nilly and putting a terrible product on the field but at theast their fans can say "we stink but thankfully management lost alot of money to make us feel better". I'm not in that crowd; spending on free agents is not the way to build a better franchise, and until proper time is given to replenish the minors that were ravaged by every team in MLB that trading what little talent we have in the minors for established players is a step backwards. Just because your team has a gorrible record doesn't mean you throw all fiscal responsibility out of the window to increase from 65 wins to 75; the goal is to put together a championship level team and Orlando Hudson and players liek him get us no closer to that goal. Wasting money just to do it makes no sense, no matter how much money you have. Let the process play itself out, let the team grow.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 17, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Man crush? Dude I covet his girlfriend ... now she is one hot babe ... ;) He's got it all seemingly ... against some strong odds ...

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

dovelevine, readjust your math. We did sign three pitchers - Wang, Olsen and Marquis. You can argue that 2 of them are hurt and don't count but Rizzo feels otherwise and I hope you don't mind if I take his word over yours.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 17, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

"dmacman88 - Twins payroll, $96MM plus.

The $65MM number was based on their roster as of the end of last season."

Wait. They won first, and THEN they raised payroll? How is such a thing even possible?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 17, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

" I'm not in that crowd; spending on free agents is not the way to build a better franchise, and until proper time is given to replenish the minors that were ravaged by every team in MLB that trading what little talent we have in the minors for established players is a step backwards. "

Ownership decided not to sign Aaron Crow. Ownership likely decided that Aroldis Chapman was too expensive. Those are TWO pitchers that would give the Nats a future rotation that could get deep into the playoffs. They would not have the Nats one prospect.

Other than Strasburg and perhaps Storen ... and maybe Norris what prospect do they have that would work as trade bait for someone like a Baumgardner?

I guess I don't see it. If they were attempting to build a top farm system like the Rangers and BoSox have then they would have taken the risk, a flier if you will, on Chapman and not on guys recovering from some pretty serious surgeries.

Posted by: periculum | February 17, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

dmac: Here is the source: Cot's, which might be the source of all things baseball salary: http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p4ew-fwu2XT3cpPRtt9qIGw The Nats ranked 27 in payroll, as they have averaged 27th since the Lernes took over.

Since 2005, I have spent over $100K on Nats seasons tickets and parking alone -- it gets to be really big money when you add the beer. So, I think you'll agree that I can say whatever I please.

The Twins, A's and Rangers have done what it takes to assemble young talent, the Nats have not -- wanna know why? Because they are both cheap and not smart. Very shy to sign FA's (other than aging has-beens, non-tendered hopefuls and bargain basement deal guys), pretty much will not draft players who demand above slot, will not even spend on the front office staff. The Lerners set out several years ago to build an elite frnachise but forgot to staff the place first.

Those same Twins you referenced as an example are opening a new park in the middle of the biggest economic crisis of a couple of generations and in a small market, while they are pushing payroll well into the top 10 -- a couple of years back, the Nats in a much better situation pushed their payroll to 27th -- 27 must be Ted's lucky number (lucky for him as he's making money on the club, not so lucky for us).

Back to back 100 loss seasons, no Ace, lousy farm, the off-season impact addition is an innings eater -- I do not care how much they pay the guys either, I just want them to get guys who can play. Ownership has not done it.

We get few proven winners or legit potential studs who can be expected to contribute and a bunch of scratch ticket players, yet again.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 17, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

SCNats,

OK. I will for discussions sake remove the payroll issue off the table for a moment.

What moves other than signing Strasburg, which, quite frankly, was a no brainer that had to be done, have the Nats made that makes you feel so positive about the future?

I'm not trying to be a wiseguy here, I really want to know.

Because, I don't see a farm system that is improving over the last 3 years. For example, I look at the Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, Marlins, etc. and I see very deep farm systems that improved greatly over the last 3 years.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 17, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

BTW Here's a radical idea, instead of getting some over the hill broken down catcher to mentor a bunch of baby throwers who are going to get their heads bashed in, how bout goin out and gettin a real catcher who can also hit to simply catch a bunch of veteran pitchers?

Posted by: dovelevine | February 17, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Peri - I just laugh how it is never good enough for some of the commentors here. When does the b-tching and moaning end?

If Washingtonians support the team more than they have in the past, there will be an increase in revenues where Rizzo has already said that will further enhance payroll dollars for the future.

That should be their marketing message.

I give the Lerners credit for buying this crappy franchise for over $450 million with no farm system and JimBo as the GM.

My new book is JimBo and the Bimbo and the fleecing of a town. MLB owners laughed all the way to the bank when Lerner spent that money.

The franchise value according to Forbes has dropped to $410 million for the value of the franchise.

So, there you have it.

BUY TICKETS THEN AT LEAST YOU ARE A STAKEHOLDER THAT HAS A RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.

Posted by: dmacman88 | February 17, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

dmac is right. It is the fans' fault!

Uhhmm, no.

And the Lerners have turned big profits that last 2 years in their publicy financed park, despite the terrible clubs they assembled. This is no community philantropic effort on their part. Come on.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 17, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine, We did sign three pitchers - Wang, Olsen and Marquis. You can argue that 2 of them are hurt and don't count but Rizzo feels otherwise and I hope you don't mind if I take his word over yours.Posted by: SCNatsFan


Uh yea 2 of em didn't finish the year off and one won't be ready to pitch till June if at all. SO waht exactly are you buying?

Posted by: dovelevine | February 17, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

dmac,

5 year running 20 gamer here. I have yet to renew though for this season. Growing tired of the same old, same old. Looking at a 5 gamer so, I can still see baseball, support the team but, at least I won't put as much money in Uncle Teddy's pocket.

And I wouldn't cry a river for Uncle Teddy for paying 450 million for a "crappy franchise." After all, he got a FREE 600 million dollar stadium out of it and the "
"old guy" is worth 4 BILLION DOLLARS!

And the franchise going down in value by 40 million is his own fault. He went cheap and put back to back 100 loss teams on the field, what would you expect.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 17, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I like Rizzo (yet I'm not sure why) and I certainly appreciate the notion of not building a team through free agency. I do not want to spend for spending's sake, I do not want the Mets.

But we have been at or near the bottom in performance, payroll and prospects, all the while being at or near the top in profits.

We went into this offseason knowing we needed to bolster our bullpen.
We signed a closer, Matt Capps.
Not the best available closer. Or the 2nd best available closer. Or the 3rd best available closer. We signed Matt Capps, and the reason he signed with us is that the other teams looking at him were not going to use him as a closer!
We got what was something like the 5th best available closer.

We needed starting pitching. We signed Jason Marquis, a good pitcher, career ERA near 4.50, I truly wish him well.
But Lackey, Harden, Chapman, Wolf?
We got what was something like the 5th best available starting pitcher.

We needed a middle infielder. Shortstop or 2B, one of the two. We signed Adam Kennedy, a good, capable, professional baseball player. Glad to have him, wish him well. But was he among the 5 best available middle infielders? Hardly.

So if some people come to the conclusion that the Lerners are cheap, it's not like they're completely out of touch with reality.

But since I gave up my season tickets after year 2, dmacman88 is justified in just ignoring my comments.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 17, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21 - great point you made here.

The Twins saw a window of opportunity to build and strengthen their fan base, and they're totally going for it.
And the Nat's chose not to.

***Those same Twins you referenced as an example are opening a new park in the middle of the biggest economic crisis of a couple of generations and in a small market, while they are pushing payroll well into the top 10 -- a couple of years back, the Nats in a much better situation pushed their payroll to 27th -- 27 must be Ted's lucky number***

Posted by: Sunderland | February 17, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

To be fair, a lot of peoples' assets lost value last year. They'll get it back when they sell, eventually.

Obviously I'm not in the expensive seats myself (unless you count the mortgage), but I don't accept the whole "support the team" meme, anyway. They are a business. I'm a customer.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 17, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

A Five Guys? At the Avenue? In Viera? Oh for the love of an asiago melt.

Posted by: BarrySvrluga | February 17, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The $600 million stadium is owned by the District of Columbia. The Nationals pay DC rent (at least now paid on time).

So what point are you making.

The Orioles rent their stadium too. Most teams rent their stadiums. What's the point?

All the Lerner bashing is just ridiculous. Grow up and buy your own team.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | February 17, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

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