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Kennedy signing official

The Nationals' signing of free agent Adam Kennedy, delayed for a week because of a series of crippling snowstorms, finally became official on Friday. The second baseman had agreed in principle to a deal with Washington last week; only on Friday, though, was he able to take and pass a physical. Kennedy agreed to a one-year, $1.25 million contract, with a $2 million club option for 2011.

The Nats plan to make a corresponding roster move, clearing space for Kennedy on the 40-man roster, within the next day or two.

Kennedy, 34, will be Washington's likely starting second baseman. In 2009, with Oakland, he had one of his strongest seasons, hitting .289 with 11 home runs and 63 RBI.

Initially, according to Kennedy, the Nats planned for him to fly in for a Sunday physical. Weather ruined that. He hesitated to fly in Monday because he was planning to take his son to a Lakers' game. Tuesday and Wednesday, the mid-Atlantic region was blitzed by another storm.

So...

Kennedy landed in D.C. on Thursday.

"You don't get a lot of snow like this in California," Kennedy said.

In a brief telephone conversations Friday, Kennedy said he was attracted to the Nats primarily because they offered him a "chance to play, to play second base and compete for a job there in spring training. And also the coaching staff -- I know [Jim] Riggleman a bit and [Rick] Eckstein. Not a lot of people will pay attention to this final point, but the lineup, it's pretty impressive. It's definitely intriguing, and I think it should be a good fit."

By Chico Harlan  |  February 12, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
 
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Next: Washington Nationals sign Willy Taveras to minor league deal

Comments

If Guzman plays SS, does this mean the Nats will have the oldest middle IF combination in the NL? Exoerienxce is one thing, but....

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

apparently the new Nats Beat Writer for the Post is Adam Kilgore from the Boston Globe.

He was the Patriots beat writer at the Globe.

I'm disappointed that they didn't hire Zuckerman, since he's local and far more intimately knowledgeable about the Nats Beat, having done it for the past 5 years. But I'm willing to give Kilgore an unbiased benefit of the doubt.

http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com/2010/02/adam-kilgore-heading-down-to-d-c

Posted by: JMW4th | February 12, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

"If Guzman plays SS, does this mean the Nats will have the oldest middle IF combination in the NL? Exoerienxce is one thing, but. ..."

There is still Desmond, Espinosa, Lombardozzi, and Kobernus. They still need minor league seasoning but out the 4 perhaps you'll get your younger MI by 2011? I'd be more worried about the starting pitching.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@S2DU

"Finally, ask yourself this, if they offered Matt Cain on the open market, do you think they could do better than a 30+ year old RH LF with defensive problems and injury history and a (very quality) relief pitcher. I think you would be called Jim Bowden and laughed out of the room."

Maybe because Willingham continues to improve as opposed to other hitters like Damon who are in decline. Storen is a top 100 prospect. SF has two pitchers in Wheeler and Baumgardner. This would give them 3, and Storen could conceivably relieve or start. Plus they probably would have to give someone else up. That might have to be someone like Desmond who just misses the top 100.

The Giants get quality prospects and reduce their payroll to fit future bonuses that Lincecum will likely achieve ... and then there's 2011.

@BinM also mentioned the possibility of a trade with SF. Now that they have almost had to go to arbitration with Lincecum one can see that their payroll must be an issue. The guy is young and still one of the 2 best pitchers in baseball? Given that why would San Francisco balk at paying him ...

So, there is every possibility ... the Nats would offer much cheaper high quality talent in exchange for a starting ace. Will it happen in June or July? It could ... the draft might dictate some moves ... they have to do something to improve a bit quicker than they have.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

apparently the new Nats Beat Writer for the Post is Adam Kilgore from the Boston Globe.

#######################################################Kilgore is an ex0pat Postie who covered the AngelOs before going to Boston. It would have made too much sense to hire Zuckerman, who's covered the team since Day One.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Periculum-

We cannot trade Storen until June, thus your idea is a non-starter from there. And I hate to break it to you, but Desmond is not a top 100 prospect: this is a 24 year old who finally hit this season, granted his BABIP was off the charts, but he has little track record of success and his upside is that of a average big league starter.

And why does payroll become an issue with Lincecum signing today? Their payroll was $82 million in 2009 and Cain is signed to $4.25 million for this year and a club option for $6.25 million next year. Also they have approximately $30 million coming off the payroll in 2010. (Renteria, Uribe, Huff, and Affeldt) So Willingham will be more expensive this season, and likely, in 2011 again. So the payroll argument is a non-starter as well.

So it isn't MUCH cheaper, as you assume, and it would be a serious downgrade in talent.

Posted by: S2DU | February 12, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up, JMad. I'd also like to have seen Goessling or Zuckerman have a shot at it, but I'm cautiously optimistic that they are bringing in/back someone with beat experience, even if it was for that other team up north.

BTW, the NationalsFanboyLooser blog has an item on the move as well, and has had independent confirmation. (See link to blog at left).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 12, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

If Kilgore is indeed the new Nationals beat writer, he has a couple of things going for him - 1)He's got a feel for the area, and 2)He's dealt with a truly passionate fanbase (3-yrs writing for the Globe). I hope he can swing back to baseball coverage without too many mis-steps.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

We have all been or become fans of Mark Z, but please don't turn on Kilgore before he arrives. C'mon now, we will all be interested in getting more acquainted with the man, and seeing how he handles the responsibility.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 12, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

The real question for this post is who does Rizzo DFA to clear the roster spot? I'd think it will be a pitcher, but which one - Atilano, Chico, English, Mattheus, Severino, or Slaten?

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

@SD2U

"We cannot trade Storen until June, thus your idea is a non-starter from there. And I hate to break it to you, but Desmond is not a top 100 prospect: this is a 24 year old who finally hit this season, granted his BABIP was off the charts, but he has little track record of success and his upside is that of a average big league starter."

No trade of this sort would occur until after June anyway. It would be the same as waiting for Wang, JZimm etc. ... except in this case you would be getting someone younger and conceivably a lot better. Both teams get to wait and see how these players perform. I am guessing both Storen and Desmond improve their value in that time. I believe the same will be true for Willingham.

While Cain will likely remain about the same. Which will likely mean the Nats get another player in the bargain.

So, I don't understand your argument? It or something like it is bound to happen ... this pitching staff just won't cut it, so avoiding the issue and the very real trade possibilities makes no sense at all?

Desmond is not a top 100 prospect ... but he just misses ...

And I think your figures exclude the fact that Cain is arbitration eligible in 2011. The Giants may not want to go there. While the Nats certain CAN afford to.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

If Guzman plays SS, does this mean the Nats will have the oldest middle IF combination in the NL?
Posted by: leetee1955 | February 12, 2010 6:24 PM
-----------------------
Not quite: The Dodgers (Carroll[36]/Belliard[35] & Furcal[32], and the Giants (Sanchez[32] & Renteria[34]) are older.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

@peric:
Unless Brian Sabean has a Monumental Lapse of Reason, Matt Cain is NOT going to be part of the Nationals roster in 2010, or 2011 for that matter. Quit smacking your head against the hard surface of reality; It will feel better.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

I was rooting for Zuckerman, but Kilgore's got the cred. Welcome back to the Post, Adam. One suggestion. Don't start off by saying this:

“I don’t like sports — I am embarrassed that I cover them. I can’t wait to stop. It is a means to an end and a paycheck.”

Posted by: Drew8 | February 12, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Ouch. That ought to hurt every time he reads it. Note to self, don't drink when being interviewed. Write the story, don't be the story.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 12, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Periculum-

My argument thus is two-fold: first I don't waste time thinking of deals to be done in June, or later, as too much can change in that time. Anything beyond, we can flip him at the deadling is a waste before pitchers and catchers report.

And two, I would continue to state that at $6.25 million in 2011, Matt Cain as a strong #2 SP on a 1st division club is more valuable than a solid starting LF (Willingham) on a 2nd division club, and adding prospects into it does little to change that.

Posted by: S2DU | February 12, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

i have to agree with the naysayers. cain is worth significantly more than willingham (who will very likely *not* continue to improve as he watches 30 in the rearview) and storen (who is an unproven reliever). and i'm not sure which top 100 prospect list has ian desmond on the cusp...

but come on, matt cain is a 25 yr old starting pitcher who pitched 200+ innings the last 3 years (and 190 the year before), with a 2.89 era and four complete games last year. trading for this guy will take premium chips, not volume of ok chips.

Posted by: sec231 | February 12, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Boston Globe to WaPo is sort of a lateral move. Maybe the NY Times folks said, "Do a couple of seasons down there, and we'll let you cover the Yankees.'' Just guessing.

Posted by: nats24 | February 13, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

And I have to imagine Kilgore won't need Chico for much more than formal introductions.

Posted by: nats24 | February 13, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

If Adam Kilgore played 2nd base and Adam Kennedy blogged, it wouldn't make a whit of difference to the Nats 2010 lineup.

Another WalMart Move by Thrifty Ownership. The over/under is still 90 losses.

Posted by: howjensen | February 13, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

howjensen:

It's a long, hard slog to the top, just ask Baltimorons.

By the way, I'd guess the chances of the Post's hiring anyone from the Washington Times are about as great as snow in Vancouver.

Posted by: JohnRDC | February 13, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse

PHS, the fact that some of us stated we had been rooting for Zuckerman doesn't necessarily mean that we are turning on Kilgore. (Speaking only for myself, as mine is the only mind into which I can see. ;-))

---

We have all been or become fans of Mark Z, but please don't turn on Kilgore before he arrives. C'mon now, we will all be interested in getting more acquainted with the man, and seeing how he handles the responsibility.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 12, 2010 8:09 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 13, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

I think that Kennedy is right, the lineup is pretty killer -- only Philly in the NL East looks better. IF ONLY the club would get something resembling an Ace, with a little luck (good relief pitching mostly) this club could be in the Wild Card hunt this year. But with Marquis or Lannan going in the 1 hole, there is no real chance of that happening.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 13, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

FLop, still looking for work, has fired Boras as his agent.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4910475

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 13, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

wouldn't surprise me if the avenging agent loses more clients in the future. boras seems to cater to those high-profile players he knows will bring his firm big paydays. and that tired boras "mystery team" strategy to drive up his clients' prices is becoming less effective. but then again, FLop's next team remains a mystery less than a week before pitchers and catchers report.

Posted by: surly_w | February 13, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Boston Globe has taken down pix of Red Sox writers - including Kilgore - down from its web site. And he's not listed among the five (!) writers who regularly cover the team on the paper's Sawx home page. Guess the deal is done.

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 13, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Kilgore should do fine. Glad it is a guy with baseball experience from another market.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 13, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I just plain 'ole love baseball. Chico Harlan was a part of that picture. His style of writing was entertaining and informative to me. I am looking forward to reading Adam Kilgore's words of wisdom . Welcome, Adam!

Posted by: bsballu5 | February 13, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

I love the idea of someone who knows DC and worked sports in Boston coming back to cover the Nats. They're a baseball crazy town so he should be used to a pace and depth of coverage that we probably all want. Makes me feel like another piece of being in a real baseball town is in place.

Posted by: natslifer | February 13, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

nats.com reporting the team is interested in kris benson. kris benson? may be worthwhile if anna comes in the deal.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100213&content_id=8073030&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was&partnerId=rss_was

Posted by: surly_w | February 13, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse


Some folks here haven't been keeping up on their reading ...
Unfortunate but true.

Excerpted from:

Top 10 prospects who missed top 100
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Keith Law

Ian Desmond, SS, Washington: Lack of secondary skills at the plate kept him off the list, but I could see him becoming a fringe-average shortstop in the big leagues in the next year or two. There's always the risk of "next-best player in a bad system" syndrome here, though, as Desmond is No. 4 in a system of three.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Where do you see anything positive in KLaw's review of Desmond?

I sometimes wonder why he seems to spew so much venom toward the Nationals - They didn't fire him, Toronto did.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and for those of us who push the panic button every time Rizzo signs anoter 'warm body' to a MiLB contract, take a look at some of the bums the other 29 teams are bringing aboard. Most team sites on mlb.com have lists of NRI's in the "Rosters" area.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

so... you think someone with "a lack of secondary skills at the plate" who will be a "fringe-average shortstop" is the description of a quality prospect?

so i may be wrong that someone put him on the fringe of his top 100 list, but look at what he said about him while putting him there. there's not a single positive comment in that description (unless "fringe-average" is a positive).

Posted by: sec231 | February 13, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@sec231,

I think what Keith Law is saying is that Desmond is on the "fringe" or cusp of his top 100 for the NEXT YEAR OR TWO? I believe the fact he mentioned him (and not Espinosa for example) is because there is potential upside that may be developed.

But of course such nuances may be beyond some folks.

The Nats currently have 3 guys in the top 100. Strasburg is ranked #2. Aroldis Chapman (who Rizzo should have found a way to sign) is in the top 10. After that you find Derrick Norris in the middle with Storen toward the end in the nineties.

If there is a glaring non-starter, missed opportunity it has to be the left-handed Chapman. Noting here that he is a latino (Cuba) and the Nats seem to be befuddled when it comes to International prospects. They seem to drop the ball a whole heck of a lot. And that seems to be a glaring problem ... in spite of Rizzo's efforts to go there and 'clean things up'. No Pacific rim presence. Perhaps there is someone in Venezuela now?

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

And as BinM mentions ... KLaw does seem to have some bitter feelings toward the Nats ... even though he does seem to follow them rather closely. Perhaps he is as frustrated with their inability to get the job done as many here are?

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Ooops my bad ... Chapman is at 16. Its interesting to note that KLaw says Chapman will not make the top 10 if he ends up in relief.

___________________________________

Chapman's surprise decision to sign with Cincinnati gives the Reds an impressive stable of young arms who could form a contender's rotation by 2012 or 2013, with Chapman possibly at the head. He projects comfortably as an ace with a fastball that sits in the upper 90s and has legitimately hit 101 with good life, and he will flash a plus slider with good tilt. He has a changeup but seldom had to use it because he could get hitters out with velocity and fastball movement. He's also a good athlete whose velocity comes easily from a loose arm, and, with age and physical maturity, should be able to handle workloads of 180-200 innings. As well as Chapman projects in pro ball, that projection is based entirely on a small number of scouting looks that MLB evaluators have had, as he has pitched a handful of times in international competitions and threw once for scouts in Houston not long before signing with the Reds. It's not clear how much he'll be able to throw in 2010 or what kind of command he'll have when facing high-quality lineups in the United States. He's very likely to become a No. 1 starter, but there's enough risk here -- including the possibility he'll end up in relief -- to keep him out of the top 10.

_______________________________________________

He doesn't appear to have a lot of positives to say about Chapman either?

KLaw on Storen placed at #92:

Storen was a draft-eligible sophomore in 2009 because he was already 21, and the Nationals popped him with the 10th overall pick, signed him immediately, and had him in Double-A by the end of the summer, putting him on track to debut in the big leagues in 2010. He's a three-pitch reliever marked by good command and outstanding control. Storen's two-seam fastball will sit 90-94 mph and occasionally touch a little higher, and it has hard tailing life down and in to right-handers. He varies his breaking ball but most are 82-86 with solid tilt, although he can drop the velocity slightly and get a little more curve-like action on it. He walked just eight men all spring at Stanford, three in one forgettable outing, then walked eight more in 37 innings in the minors, most of which came in AA in August. (Odd fact about Storen's walks in pro ball: Only one of the eight came with a man on base.) On stuff and control, he could make the Nationals' club this spring and be one of their better relievers, but a half-season to rip through Double-A and Triple-A wouldn't hurt his development, especially since the Nationals are still in building mode.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Love the Matt Cain trade fantasy. Maybe if we toss in Espinosa and Marrero we can get them to throw in Lincecum as well.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

KLaw on Derrick Norris :@31 surprisingly way ahead of Storen?

Norris is an offensive catcher whose defense is the subject of major debate among pro scouts. He does have arm strength, but his receiving and footwork are considered shaky; he's a good height (6-0) and hasn't outgrown the position yet, but he's thickly built. Adding much more weight could cost him his ability to stay behind the plate. If he does remain a catcher, he has superstar potential and could end up in the top 15-20 prospects next fall because he has an advanced approach at the plate (finishing 15th in walks in the minors last year) and already hits for power -- his 2009 was more impressive than it seems at first glance: He wore down in his first full pro season and hit just .174/.405/.233 after July. Norris missed the Arizona Fall League after breaking his hamate bone, an injury that lacks long-term consequences but usually saps a hitter's power for up to a year after the surgery, so it's not a crisis if his power dips in 2010.

Lots of negatives here too ... especially the injury and the potential power loss. (Nick Johnson)

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Yeah but those teams didn't lose 100. Twice.

>Oh, and for those of us who push the panic button every time Rizzo signs anoter 'warm body' to a MiLB contract, take a look at some of the bums the other 29 teams are bringing aboard. Most team sites on mlb.com have lists of NRI's in the "Rosters" area.

Posted by: BinM

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Another "fringe" player that KLaw projects to possibly make his top 100 in 2011. Note that he is one of the Nats Latino prospects. Note also that lack of negatives. Does KLaw think there is bias?

Eury Perez is a plus-plus runner who can already play a solid center field and led the Gulf Coast League in batting average at age 19, but has yet to show power or the ability to convert his speed into successful base stealing.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Love the Matt Cain trade fantasy. Maybe if we toss in Espinosa and Marrero we can get them to throw in Lincecum as well."

Throwing in Marrero and Espinosa? I think Rizzo would pull the trigger on that? Don't you?

SFG will want pitching. Thus Storen ... the Nats appear to desperately need a reasonably young power pitching ace they can count of for 200 innings while they develop more pitching through the draft and (hopefully) international prospects.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Dude. Matt Cain?!?! No. Try maybe Jonathan Sanchez - that's something where we might potentially be able to package a trade. But Matt Cain merits much more than you're thinking. 2.89 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP? You're not in the same neighborhood.

Posted by: Section220 | February 13, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

>KLaw on Derrick Norris :@31 surprisingly way ahead of Storen?

Storen's a fully-cooked prospect, he's as good as he's going to get, and he hasn't faced major leaguers yet. Norris has more talent and ability - he's PROJECTING his rating - that's what scouts do. They do the hard work, trying to see where a player is going to be in two, three, four years. Anybody can say Storen will make it to the bigs soon and be at least an average reliever.

People don't understand just how impoverished this organization is when it comes to position players. That's why this may sound like an insult. He's trying to tell you something.

>There's always the risk of "next-best player in a bad system" syndrome here, though, as Desmond is No. 4 in a system of three.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Dude. Matt Cain?!?! No. Try maybe Jonathan Sanchez - that's something where we might potentially be able to package a trade."

Which again is why Mark Lerner should have told Rizzo to do whatever it took to take that risk and sign Chapman.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Periculum-

Desmond will never see a top 100 prospect list... he is 24 and will be 25 in September. Look over the past 10 years and tell me how many prospects you find on these lists that are 25 with a career expectation of a fringe-average player. The number is less than 3. Desmond will be lucky to carve out a career similar to Juan Uribe.

He gets attention because of our pathetic farm system. So once again, do you think Cain will be available in trade for a 2nd division regular LF and a 24 year old SS with the upside of Uribe?

Posted by: S2DU | February 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"may be worthwhile if anna comes in the deal."

They can have sex in some Senator's hidden alcove in the capital to round out their fantasies. Maybe she'd even do it in the rotunda but I doubt that security would permit it ... to many female security types on board ... ~smiles~

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"He gets attention because of our pathetic farm system. So once again, do you think Cain will be available in trade for a 2nd division regular LF and a 24 year old SS with the upside of Uribe?"

No probably not. However, they had the chance to get someone who could be better ... Chapman.

Yep, their farm system is pretty pathetic perhaps that's what makes rooting for the players so entertaining ...

Nevertheless they still seem to really desperately need someone like Matt Cain.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

With IRod, Kennedy and Guzman plus the incredible Tony Plush the middle of the defense is completely shored up ... for now.

All that is left seems to be that one power pitcher (Who doesn't need to spend at least a year in the minors first as a prospect!) to get them to the point where they could conceivably break .500 this year and perhaps next?

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@Sec220: Please don't try Sanchez - I think he had shoulder surgery during the off-season, and may be out for 2010. Just another reason why SF will hang onto Cain.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,

Youve misread Law's evaluation of Desmond. Law says he could see Desmond "becoming a fringe-average SS in the next year or 2" which means that Desmond will develop into a fringe-average SS within the next 2 years with fringe-average meaning barely average.

For Law to have said what you believed he said it would have to been worded "I see Desmond on the fringe of becoming an average SS for the next year or 2."

It is simple grammar.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 13, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Adjust your meds & take a time-out. You're arguments are turning into baby seals, and that's not a pleasant visage.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Periculum-

"Nevertheless they still seem to really desperately need someone like Matt Cain."

Well sure they do, and I need my wife to look like Hilary Rhoda and I desperately need to have $25 million in the bank: doesn't mean it is going to happen. You have yet to look at these deals from the SFGiants perspective, and thus, sound like a typical Yankee fan.

Have you ever seen Chapman pitch? If so, you would think, as I do, that giving him $30 million is a poor investment. He lacks development with his breaking pitches and has shown little of a change up. Not to mention the track record of success for Cuban pitchers is not stellar. You want to pay Chapman 2-3 times more than Strasburg, when Strasburg is clearly a better and more polished product? Let me pose the question a different way: does it make you stop and pause that the Yankees and BoSox did not make more of an effort to sign this guy, considering their economic superiority to their peers?

I give Cincinnati credit as a mid market payroll team for spending such money to add an elite prospect, but I would be surprised if there is more than a 25% chance he is ever worth that contract. The Nationals would be better off signing 30 JP Ramirez types ($1 million overslot prospect from 2008 draft) in the Rule 5 draft than spending $30 million on one great prospect.

Posted by: S2DU | February 13, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

@peric: The real negative on Norris is that he hasn't proven that he can field the position! He's a very good hitter & can hopefully become adequate behind the plate. Maybe with the 12-month loss of power due to the hamate surgery, he'll concentrate on his work behind the plate in HAG or POT.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

>Have you ever seen Chapman pitch?

Yes.

>If so, you would think, as I do, that giving him $30 million is a poor investment.

He's only getting paid the major league average salary over ten years.

>He lacks development with his breaking pitches and has shown little of a change up.

He can throw his breaking pitches for strikes on both sides of the plate. He's 21, they'll shorten his stride and teach him a changeup in no time. What you can't teach is a mid-to-high 90's fastball. They went over his motion in detail on Hot Stove. Got a nice smooth delivery and stays on top of the ball, which will limit his injury possibilities.

>Not to mention the track record of success for Cuban pitchers is not stellar.

Livan and Orlando Hernandez, Luis Tiant, Camilo Pascual, Danys Baez, Jose Contreras, Mike Cuellar, Tony Fossas, etc.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@Brue: Claiming that Storen is "fully-cooked" is a little over the top, imo. He was 21 when he signed, moved through three levels in the minors (+ the AFL) without stumbling in 2009. Granted, NCAA relievers seem to burn out quickly (Chad Cordero, anybody), but the kid certainly shouldn't cap out in 2-A or 3-A. I hope I'm wrong, but he'll probably burn bright and fast, making 'the show' this year & be done in four or five years.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

>The real negative on Norris is that he hasn't proven that he can field the position! He's a very good hitter & can hopefully become adequate behind the plate.

The organization needs hitters, genius. It doesn't matter what position he plays, especially if they can put Bryce Harper behind the plate instead. If you can hit, they'll find a position for you.

Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Signing Kennedy is a good move for this team.

He is probably going to be steady both in the field and at the plate. He is not an all-star but should be at least an average performer which is a big upgrade over last year at second. Still Kennedy and Guzman both need to be dealt if an opportunity arises this season. Both are on downhill slide. I really liked the idea of getting a good field shortstop and moving Guzman to second. Since that didn't happen the team needs to make a deal. This should be Dukes last season to show that he can hit too. Hopefully Dunn signs an extension before end of spring training.

Posted by: Pensfans | February 13, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Brue-

True he is only getting the MLB average salary for 10 years, but he is getting it over 6 years. Not seeing your point there- does that mean you think it is a good investment?

Glad to see you watch Hot Stove also, I like to watch these guys myself and form my own opinion, to each his own. When I watched him before I never saw him throw a change, and rarely saw him command his breaking pitches. Absolutely he can improve and the velocity is incredible, but he is far from a finished product was my point. Not nearly so as Strasburg, who is only a bit older.

Finally, of all the names you listed of Cuban pitchers, only Livan Hernandez, and maybe Contreras, Baez and Fossas could be considered a big league success. Not quite the guarantee for success as drafting a Manning to play QB for your team.

Posted by: S2DU | February 13, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

@Peric
****SFG will want pitching. Thus Storen ... the Nats appear to desperately need a reasonably young power pitching ace they can count of for 200 innings****

And when no other teams place value on a reasonably young power pitching ace, then we'll have San Francisco right where we want them. They'll HAVE to trade Cain to us!

Posted by: Sunderland | February 13, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

"And when no other teams place value on a reasonably young power pitching ace, then we'll have San Francisco right where we want them. They'll HAVE to trade Cain to us!"

He's not the ace, Lincecum is. So what happens next year when he wants to get paid (as he should) close to Lincecum? Do they trade him before that happens? Unfortunately, probably not to the Nats. Looks like the Rangers or Boston if anywhere ...

Rangers are looking for right-handed bat?

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

The organization needs hitters, genius. It doesn't matter what position he plays, especially if they can put Bryce Harper behind the plate instead. If you can hit, they'll find a position for you.
Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2010 2:59 PM
--------------------
That philosophy is fine for two, or sometimes even three positions when the rest of the team can actually play both sides of the game (offense & defense). The Nationals aren't there yet, so they need to pay attention to the skill-sets of the players who are coming up through the minors.

Not everybody is going to be a Gold-Glove, but if a player hits, but can't field any position reasonably well, he's a DH, and he's in the wrong league if he's with the Nationals orginization.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Rangers are looking for right-handed bat?
Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 3:20 PM
-------------------------
Dude, not even close - The Rangers have 10 RH bats, including Vlad, M.Young, & Kinsler; They need a LH hitter, if anything.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"The organization needs hitters, genius. It doesn't matter what position he plays, especially if they can put Bryce Harper behind the plate instead. If you can hit, they'll find a position for you.
Posted by: Brue | February 13, 2010."

Doesn't the organization have enough hitters ... at least at the MLB level to compete? With guys like Morse on the bench + Desmond maturing perhaps that will be enough .. along with Dukes progressing and Morgan of course.

The still need starting pitching first and foremost, don't they?

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Repost
@peric: Adjust your meds & take a time-out. You're arguments are turning into baby seals, and that's not a pleasant visage.
Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 2:28 PM

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse


@BinM,

Dude again ... a failure to read ... reading IS fundamental is it not?
Babyseals can read and you can't?

From a chat with Rangers GM *** Jon Daniels***

What do you need to address before you head off to Spring Training? What do you think you need to fill in at this point?

__________________________________________

Jon Daniels (12:06 PM)

We like our club as is and are ok going to spring training as is. That said, we're still looking at a few possibilities - catching options, RH bat possibilities, maybe the right pitcher too. But if we don't find the right fit, we expect the group we have to get it done.

_____________________________________________

Note that he mentions RH Bat possibilities????

Join a bookclub you may need some remedial reading help.

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Think, read, learn, think again, talk, write - That's the process most of us developed & use. But if the TEX GM says he needs another RH bat in an interview, with a field roster that holds 10RH/4LH/2SH, then far be it from me to doubt that he's wrong; I just think he's nuts.

Posted by: BinM | February 13, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Shoulda signed Orlando Hudson...

Posted by: tony325 | February 13, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Clearing space on the 40 man roster?? Hmmm??? Guzman!!! You all have to be kidding, Goneman's not going to be playing SS it'll be Desmond!!! The kid's an athlete and that's his position. Man that's why it's a mistake to have kept Riggleman. It's Zim, Des. Kennedy and the big man Dunn. That's what you want. Forget Goneman. I'll be rooting for my number 1 Phightins' only if I see Goneman playing short and Desmond on the bench. C/mom Nats, make the right move!!!

Posted by: billm32 | February 13, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Gonerman?

I think Guzman is going to have a big year. He'll hit and his glove will be decent. Contract year, Morgan will get on and he'll end up on 2B a lot, so I think that Guz's put the ball in play style will be useful stuff. Barring injury, he's going to play SS every day as he is untradable (10/5 guy), makes $8M and Desmond is not ready by anyone in the organization's measure anyway. So, we might as well start thinking gushingly hopeful thoughts about the guy (as I have already begun doing, as shown by this post), b/c he's our SS.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 13, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

You totally missed the point, dfh. It's Goneman -- no R. That's what all the Phillies phans who love the Nats are calling him this year.

Add an unwarranted R, and you make the whole delicately balanced house of logic crash down around your very ears. Please, try to keep up.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 13, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Looking at the depth chart, factoring in age ... looking at their prospects ... Texas sure looks stronger from the left side batting wise. So, I'm not sure what you are looking at unless you suddenly expect prospects to leap into the majors?

Posted by: periculum | February 13, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Ladson is up with a post saying Rizzo is diving into the dumpster to take a look at Kris "Wife is a 10" Benson.

The only way this makes sense is if she doubles as the left field ball girl.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100213&content_id=8073030&vkey=news_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | February 13, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Scooter: Why do Phillies phans call Guzman anything other than "that guy who plays SS for the Nats, what's his name?" As if he is even on the radar. R's or not -- he's the guy, he aint getting DFA'd or sent to the bench without a seious shot to find All Sta fom.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 13, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

We can sign a dozen Estes, Batista and Bensons as long as their roster spots aren't guaranteed and Rizzo looks for a pitcher who isn't living in the dumpster

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 13, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

OK, you know your career is not in good shape when the only reason people remember you is one semistupid thing your wife said ten years ago.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 14, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Here's my first sighting of a "best shape of his life" type comment. In the St. Louis story on the Cardinals not being intersted in Chien-Ming Wang (yes!), there was also this tidbit:

"Pitching coach Dave Duncan reports that son Chris is participating in an early hitters’ camp with Washington Nationals coach Rick Eckstein in suburban Orlando. The younger Duncan, whom the Cardinals traded to the Boston Red Sox last year for infielder Julio Lugo, is apparently over the lingering effects of 2008 surgery that replaced a cervical disc with a prosthetic. Duncan signed a minor-league contract with the retooled Nationals and will attend major-league camp as a non-roster invitee."

I hope he can back to his previous production- it would be a really good pickup.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | February 14, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

kevin,

Thanks for the info. Always encouraging to hear that our "inventory" is working to improve in the offseason.

I wonder who else is attending Eckstein's camp? Might be a story there for a Washington baseball reporter...

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | February 14, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

@Peri...When quoting Jon Daniels, please remember that he is a GM.

General Manager (baseball)-Job Description:

1. Lie to the media
2. Negotiate contracts
3. Lie to fans
4. Provide best possible set of players for manager, both near and longterm
5. Lie to arbitrators (i.e. I don't care if the kid just won two straight Cy Youngs, he still isn't very good)
6. Be comfortable blaming and firing the manager
7. Lie to owners

Do you see a pattern here?

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 14, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Charming story about Josh Wilkie and his new bride in the Style section today - even seems that Jose Guillen of a people is the hero of Wilkie's baseball career. Nice to see the Nats getting attention, particularly with the local connection (GWU).

Posted by: Traveler8 | February 14, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

dfh21,

There you go again. Next year is Guzman's contract year not this year.

I'm not being petty or obnoxious, I'm just asking you to be accurate when you make a statement. You lose respect otherwise. You as an amateur shouldn't criticize professionals like Mr. Rizzo when you can't even get major details about players right.

I don't agree with Periculum or Jaybee often but I at least read their comments with a modicum of respect.

Do some research before you write.

Go NATS!!!!

Posted by: natsguy | February 14, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

natsguy, guzman's contract expires at the end of this season. that makes this his contract year.

"Signed 2-year, $16,000,000 contract with the Washington Nationals on Jul 22,2008"

That means the contract covered 2009 and 2010, meaning he'll be a FA after this season.

Posted by: sec231 | February 14, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

sec231, you beat me to the punch. Hey natsguy, here's some advice: practice what you preach!!

DO SOME RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE!!!!!

Posted by: OldSkoolDiehard | February 14, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Hang on, Traveler, did you say *Josh* Wilkie? I know he used to be a Nats farmhand, but I could swear I remember him being left off the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft, and -- as I understand the explanation I was given -- that meant he'd be the Opening Day starter for some other team. So I guess the Post is writing about someone else's pitcher. Weird.

Or ... is this a case where doing some of that "research" would help me out? :-)

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 14, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Scooter, 'scuse me if my snarkdar is malfunctioning (if so, it's probably the 2 plus feet of snow piled up on it), but I believe that Wilkie is on the Syracuse roster, although not the Nats 40 man one. If memory serves, the article did indicate his farmhand status. It was a nice piece, Traveler. Thanks for the heads up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 14, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Scooter, he was left unprotected but no one drafted him.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=wilkie001jos

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 14, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Hey, where the H*|| is Kilgore?? That slacker! We need a new post!

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 14, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Left unprotected ... but *no one* drafted him?

I didn't know you could do that.

I must go and ponder this development.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 14, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, Sec3, you *could* just do your famous soft-shoe for us.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 14, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

(Cues music.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6f6ewUdHcQ

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 14, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Ninety-first!

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 14, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Ninety-second! (Hooks arm and goes into home run trot.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 14, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/93_%28Thelema%29

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 14, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

http://theyardyack.blogspot.com/

i like what the nats are doing, but here is a preview of the orioles in case anyone is interested...

Posted by: nattylite88 | February 14, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

The St. Louis Post Dispatch is declaring the Cardinals have ended their pursuit of Wang. (I didn't even know they were in). If the Cardinals were the mystery team, then perhaps Wang will stick with Jennifer Lopez (er, the Nats).

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 14, 2010 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Only 3 days to Catchers & Pitchers, and 7 to full-squad. I wonder when Kilgore comes aboard for the Post?

Posted by: BinM | February 15, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping somebody at the sportsdesk tosses us a new bone when the team announces who got sent down (40-man roster currently at 41). Chico, DeNunzio, Sheinen, somebody?

Posted by: BinM | February 15, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Will Anna sleep with the entire Nats 25-man or the 40-man?

Posted by: periculum | February 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Nats still appear to desperately need a 200 innings + power pitcher to be the ace of the staff. Kris Benson?

I doubt that Kilgore posting on this blog will be a high priority ... more than likely getting his feet wet quickly and getting ready for Viera will have to come first. The blog is likely low down on the sport department's priority list.

Posted by: periculum | February 15, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Hmm...Ladson reports that the Nats have signed Willy Taveras to a minor league deal.

Posted by: thepostischeap | February 15, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Dang...I missed a golden opportunity with my last post.

#101!

Posted by: thepostischeap | February 15, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I like the Taveras signing in the event that Maxwell and Bernadina don't play well. The A's will pay the bulk of his salary and he's a strong defensive player, a la late inning defensive replacement for Josh or Dukes. He also adds some insurance for Nyjer.

Nice pick up RZO

Posted by: sec307 | February 15, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if RZO is stockpiling OF's because Willingham is about to be moved... just sayin'.

Posted by: sec307 | February 15, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

#CII!

Taveras would be an interesting player if he could get his stroke back. He hit .293 during his first 3 seasons, but only .246 the last two. He can fly (68 and 7 on the basepaths in 2008).
But he's likely more for Syracuse, for Nyjer insurance, and maybe, if he hits, for trade bait.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 15, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Right you are 307 - Another nice insurance policy to stash in SYR.

Posted by: BinM | February 15, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

For Tavares to be a useful player - with his speed - he needs to learn how to take pitches and get some walks. That .275 OBP and only 18 walks in more than 450 plate appearances is dreadful for a guy that fast.

Maybe the Nats ought to get him on the Lou Brown/Wille Mays Hayes hitting program. "With your speed, you should be hitting the ball on the ground and be legging them out. Everytime I see you hit one in the air, you owe me 20 push-ups."

Posted by: comish4lif | February 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

It's been a long time between posts. Wanted to let S2DU know that Camilo Pascual might have been the best of the Cuban pitchers. He was one of my favorite Senators. Played in the 50s and into the 60s with Minnesota. Came back to the Senators in the late 60s . He was an All-Star from 59 to 64 and led the AL in complete games with 18 in both 62 & 63. Ended up with 174 wins and a 3.63 era pitching with some horrible teams in Washington and some pretty good ones when they moved.
On current news it would be great if Duncan is 100% and would be a steal. Still waiting for that starting pitcher.

Posted by: sjm3091 | February 15, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Eeeeck, ex-Red, ex-Red, sky falling, ... oh wait Bowden is gone. Tavares has such a bad in-base percentage, I just can't imagine he would actually make the team. I would guess he will stay in Syracuse unless Morgan gets hurt - even then Bernadina or Maxwell would probably be stronger calls.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 15, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any idea what Taveras is like in the field? You just sort of assume a guy that weighs about a buck sixty and can't hit a ball more than 300 feet throws a lot like Johnny Damon.

Damn we're starved for baseball news, huh?

Posted by: Sunderland | February 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina, JMAX, Taveras, et al, are insurance, not starters.

I think Rizzo dangled Willingham for pitching because within a year he's going to have two bright, shiny corner outfield options: Bryce Harper and Chris Marrero.

Posted by: Drew8 | February 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

And my favorite Cuban pitcher, Mike Cuellar. Cy Young in '69, led AL in wins in '70, 4 time all star. Went 67 - 28 with Balto 1969 - 1971. Finished 185 - 130 with ERA of 3.15. 12 postseason starts, 4 - 4 with a 2.85 ERA.
Plus, hit a grand slam in the 1970 ALCS.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 15, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

New post. Just when it was getting interesting with the Roman numerals, too. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Anyone have any idea what Taveras is like in the field?
Posted by: Sunderland | February 15, 2010 2:31 PM
----------------
He looks to be decent at tracking balls (career .985F%, 2.68RF/9), but might have a decent arm (39 asst. in 5 years). Compare to Morgan (.988F%, 2.84RF/9, 15 Asst in 3 years).

Posted by: BinM | February 15, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Just to finish on Willy's glove, I recall him doing well in a tough Houston center field, and UZR pegs him as firmly above average in center for his career. Arm, I dunno.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 15, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I seem to recall him doing well in Colorado as well, in the postseason games that I caught on the telly.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 15, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@sjm3091 -- I'm with you. Camilo Pascual was one of my favorites, too. He had that killer over-the-top curveball that was pretty close to Blyleven status! Here's a fun factoid about Pascual. He was the Senators' opening day starter in 1969 at RFK in Ted Williams' first game as Nats' manager.

Posted by: OldSkoolDiehard | February 15, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Last!

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 15, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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