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Nationals like chances to land Wang

[UPDATE, 3:15 p.m.] - Just talked to an industry source with knowledge of Wang's situation, who said that, despite developments with the Dodgers, the righty's timetable for selecting a club remains unchanged. So, Wang will pick a team within the next 7-10 days. The Nats, the source said, "are way ahead of the pack," but another five or six clubs have expressed interest.

---

[UPDATE, 2:50 p.m.] - The latest update from SI.com's Jon Heyman, via twitter, indicates that the Dodgers have pulled out of the race for Wang. If indeed Los Angeles was the only other team in the running, then Washington's chances to sign the righty just went from likely to inevitable. But let's be careful: There could be other clubs yet that have interest.

---

The Washington Nationals don't yet have a deal finalized with free agent pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, but they do have the inside track.

Intriguing because he's a former 19-game-winner, risky because he's recovering from right shoulder surgery, Wang will likely select a new team within the next several days. One team source described Washington's chances as "promising" and indicated that the team seemed like the leading contenders.

Wang, who turns 30 in March, is currently rehabilitating from arthroscopic shoulder surgery that prematurely ended an abysmal 2009 season. But the Nationals have been among the teams to monitor his recent throwing sessions. Without any setbacks, Wang could be ready to take the mound -- presumably in a minor league rehab stint -- in May.

Hoping to deepen their starting rotation with another veteran, the Nationals have compiled a list of at least a half-dozen candidates, according to one front office source. Wang's potential upside is reflected by his best seasons, 2006 and 2007, when he won a combined 38 games for the New York Yankees. Prior to 2009, Wang had a career 3.79 ERA in 95 starts. He also had a .730 career winning percentage (54-20).

According to various reports, at least one other club -- the Dodgers, per SI.com's Jon Heyman -- is in serious running for Wang.

Last season with the Yankees, Wang earned $5 million, but he was non-tendered in mid-December. The right-hander's recent track record has been disrupted by injuries. In June 2008, he tore a tendon in his right foot and missed the reason of the season. In 2009, he had separate disabled list trips with hip abductor muscle weakness and then, finally, the shoulder injury.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 10, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
 
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Next: Wang's agent: 'We haven't finalized anything'

Comments

Be hard to complain about this signing if it happens

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 10, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I think you underestimate the NJ faithful.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 10, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't know. The euphoria of the off season took a blow once things got quiet and then we lost out on Hudson. Hope they can still make a move once spring training starts.

Posted by: tgerbracht | February 10, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Repost-
It sounds like the primary competition for C.M. Wang is the Dodgers; This is not good. Wang may feel that he owes something to Torre, and the Dodgers are committed to the Pacific Rim players, with a number of players from the region already on the roster.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 11:34 AM

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

First of all, I don't think the Post is married to a three-year rule for sports coverage. Barry moved on because the beat wore him down, and the move to the 'Skins beat is a promotion in every sense of the term.

Ditto with LaCanfora, who moved from the Caps beat to cover the 'Skins (again, a promotion). I'm sure Tarik has been covering the Caps beat for more than three years.

It sounds like Chico's move was initiated by Chico, not by the Post.

Zuckerman has already indicated he's not in the Post's plans. One may ask why a recently-unemployed man who has covered the Nationals for a major newspaper since the team's inception would not be in the Post's plans for this beat. After all, he's got the experience, he's made the connections, and he's willing to put up with all that comes with this grueling beat.

Everything certainly seems to add up from our perspective, right?

So look at it from the Post's perspective: he's too expensive.

It seems like they would rather pull in a reporter who has an aptitude to cover the team, but without the kind of experience (covering this kind of beat and/or writing for a major newspaper) that would lead to a high salary.

I could be wrong (I usually am). But the more I think about it, the more I feel like it's the only explanation.

-----

Why hasn't the Post hired Zuckerman? Who's going to be the new Nats beat writer? Why does the Post adhere to the 3-year rule when it comes to covering the major professional sports teams in DC? It makes no sense, because as soon as a beat writer establishes a relationship with the team and acquires the necessary institutional knowledge, the Post reassigns them to another sport/club. Terrible idea.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 10, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo may have to go 'over the top', and really wow Wang & his agent (Alan Nero, I believe) with a 2-year deal, to get this done.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Good points, BinM; OTOH, the Dodgers are not in a good position for a bidding war, with the ownership cutting costs, I hear.

Re: the Other Z-man (Zim 3?) -- does the Post apply the 3-year rule only to time with them, or overall?

**************
It sounds like the primary competition for C.M. Wang is the Dodgers; This is not good. Wang may feel that he owes something to Torre, and the Dodgers are committed to the Pacific Rim players, with a number of players from the region already on the roster.
Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 11:34 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 10, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Make that Z-3

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 10, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Given their situation perhaps he is worth the risk ... albeit they need a hard throwing left-hander to compliment Strasburg when he arrives. Have to wonder if that is someone who Rizzo will select in this year's upcoming draft as opposed to Harper.

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

"It sounds like the primary competition for C.M. Wang is the Dodgers; This is not good. Wang may feel that he owes something to Torre, and the Dodgers are committed to the Pacific Rim players, with a number of players from the region already on the roster."

OTOH, the Dodgers' finances are mired in the McCourt divorce. With their existing high financial commitments (e.g. Manny) it should not be hard for the Nationals to outbid them for Wang if it comes down to that. Torre may want Wang, and Wang may want to play for Torre, but Torre is not the one who writes the checks.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 10, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Aw hell. We'll be in it right up until the end.

Posted by: DesertNat | February 10, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Again, if all they have on the line is a few million dollars of somebody else's money, the risk is low. If he's healthy--180 innings healthy--he's worth more than he's asking, and if he's not healthy, he's not taking up a roster spot.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 10, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

InItTilTheEnd x WaPoSports = PardonTheInterruptus

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 10, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

John, you may be on to the crux of the bisquit there. In another time, the Post would have jumped on Zuckerman; As you said, he has all the tools (and clearly, the devotion) to continue as a baseball writer, and is knowledgeable with the Nationals organization. But given the current state of the dead-tree press, the Post may not be able to afford experienced writers.

It doesn't stop me from wishing that the Post could have two beat writers for the Nationals. If they split the road swings between the pair, with the "at home" writer scratching up minor-league player features, wouldn't we all be overjoyed here on planet NJ?

I do miss Tracee's contributions since she has been elevated to Columnist status; I'm hoping she jumps back in here after the Olympics are finished.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

So, the Post is cheap?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"So, the Post is cheap?"

Isn't everybody?

Posted by: MikeH0714 | February 10, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Would someone please put a nozzle on Mr Chico. How many of these blasted rumors are you gonna run? And then when it fails to materialize you can run your requisite:
"Nats were in it till the end" story for Wang.
Hey Chico how bout S T F U till its done. Then print it. Enought of this B S. Seriously.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

dove, what did he say that wasn't right? They are interested; nothing signed yet. That's just an update, which many here complain about not getting enough of.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 10, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

@Sec3(sofa): I'm not sure there is a "three-year rule" for any beat writer (see El Bashir w/Caps & Goff w/futbol, in particular) - There may be some linkage to their individual contract terms, but if a writer is covering something they clearly enjoy and exhibit knowledge in, why change?

Barry Svrulga (I think) enjoyed the beat, but was ultimately taken down by the travel, so he joined the herd covering the 'skins.

Jorge A's gift (being bi-lingual) was being wasted in BAL, so he moved to ESPN to cover baseball south of the border.

LaCanfora's 1st love was probably futbol, but he covered Hockey & then the 'skins quite well, imo. When the chance came, he moved to another media with the NFL Network; sobeit.

Harlan's a very good writer, he's just not a true sportswriter; I wish him well on the Pacific Rim desk, but the WaPo Sports desk needs to move on quickly in terms of baseball / Washington Nationals coverage for the 2010 season.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@dovelevine,

ESPN's Insider has been running this rumor. They are already touting a Nationals rotation that would include Wang, Strasburg, Olsen and Zimmermann. All except Strasburg are coming off of injuries with no guarantees as to their effectiveness. Strasburg is still an unknown quantity that should not be rushed up from the minors as ESPN strangely suggests? Meanwhile. there other prospects working their way through the minors who may pan out. Plus ... there are players yet to be drafted for that rotation. Both Holder and Karns have the potential to be JZimm type power pitchers. There is Thompson. And there is Strasburg and Storen.

For a team like the Nationals Wang seems to be worth taking a flier out on. The problem is the Dodgers compete for the playoffs almost every year. If they show an interest?

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"Would someone please put a nozzle on Mr Chico. How many of these blasted rumors are you gonna run? And then when it fails to materialize you can run your requisite:
"Nats were in it till the end" story for Wang.
Hey Chico how bout S T F U till its done. Then print it. Enought of this B S. Seriously.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse "
___________________________________________

This isn't a Chico Rumor. Its being reported by several outlets per MLBTR.

Posted by: JDB1 | February 10, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Not sure I like this. I'm looking at Braden Looper or even Pedro before I look at this guy.

Posted by: billm32 | February 10, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

This from mlbtr's Tim Dierkes: "The Mariners signed righty Jesus Colome to a minor league deal, according to a team press release. Colome, 32, posted a 7.59 ERA, 6.3 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9 in 21.3 innings for the Nationals and Brewers last year."

That's now FIVE former WSH/MTL pitchers signed by the Mariners this off-season. Did we miss something?

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow Dove.

Chico has to report the rumor of a possible Wang signing. The "we were in it till the end" crap is frustrating me as well but, I don't think it fair to tell Chico to "S T F U".

As for the possible signing of Wang, I think it is a good move by Rizzo. We need a guy with some upside who has been dominant in the past. They missed out on Sheets, hopefully, they can land Wang. Note to the Lerner's: whatever you think is a good offer add like 3 million to it. Just sayin'

Posted by: Section505203 | February 10, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

I like this if we end up with Wang, this is exactly what we need, a top of rotation guy. And of course its risky, if it wasn't he wouldn't be a free agent. But its worth the risk IMO.

And to the guy who told Chico he didn't want to see rumors printed here until done -- ever hear of the "Hot Stove League"? This is exactly the kind of thing that should be here daily, this is part of the fun of having a major league team in town and following them. The MLB Network has a nightly show based on these type of rumors. I'm glad Chico finally is following through on some of these rumors. I'm sick of getting my rumor 'news' from the warped perspective of Bill Ladson, who seems incapable of writing a column without peppering it with his own unwanted opinions on Dunn's defense, the Expos, and what Ronnie Belliard's former back up had for breakfast.

Posted by: raymitten | February 10, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

As for the possible signing of Wang, I think it is a good move by Rizzo. We need a guy with some upside who has been dominant in the past. They missed out on Sheets, hopefully, they can land Wang. Note to the Lerner's: whatever you think is a good offer add like 3 million to it. Just sayin'
Posted by: Section505203 | February 10, 2010 1:44 PM
------------------------
Yeah, that would qualify as "over the top", imo. Not that that's a bad thing...

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

From last post:

DUMP DEBBI TAYLOR AND SIGN ZUCKERMAN!

Posted by: curz | February 10, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

In fact, dovelevine, Chico was actually a bit late (by about an hour) reporting on the Wang rumor. Boston Globe, SI, and others had it out earlier.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | February 10, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you there, 505/203. Heck, half the time people are complaining because Chico is *not* posting the latest rumors.

---

Wow Dove.

Chico has to report the rumor of a possible Wang signing. The "we were in it till the end" crap is frustrating me as well but, I don't think it fair to tell Chico to "S T F U".

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

ESPN (Buster Olney) is saying that the other team is not the Dodgers. The Mets were floated, but have not yet made any offer.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=4902366

Posted by: faNATic | February 10, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of rumors, Zuckerman's NatsInsider blog now says that the Dodgers are out of the running. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

And I may owe faNATic a Coke.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

SI's Jon Heyman tweets that the Dodgers are out on C.M.Wang - I still think we're a week away from resolution on this one.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

periculum, like the Dodgers we are in the playoff hunt every year. We just exit the race alot earlier.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 10, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Heyman says LAD are out of the Wang sweepstakes. One of the comments on MLBTR links to a China Times article saying that the Nats signed him for $2M plus up to $5M in incentives, but I can't verify that since I can't read Chinese :)

Posted by: thepostischeap | February 10, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Wang's agent pushed LA for an answer today, but they were unwilling to make a substantive offer after watching him throw off flat ground this morning, according to Zuckerman.

This means 1) a deal could be reached soon, and 2) he's probably further away from being MLB-ready than I thought.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 10, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@thepostischeap: If true, that report would qualify as an "over the top" offer; Good for Rizzo! I don't care if he's not ML-ready until June, he would be a good catch for the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I like rumors as much as the next guy. What I'm tired of is that the rumors for the Nats usually never materialize. And hot on the heels of the Hudson and Chapman fiascos/disappointments, to have CHico print the exact same line coming out of the Nats that they "like their chances" is really gettin to be not only disengenuous but downright dishonest.
Again how many times are we gonna be Charlie Brown? Enough already until you prove otherwise.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Should it worry us if the Nationals are the only team who think Wang is worth an investment? Are they bottom feeding?

Posted by: twinbrook | February 10, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Nationals like chances to land Wang....

Sounds more like something you'd overhear at a bachelorette party...

Posted by: TimDz | February 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

A signing along the line of Wang / Smoltz / Pedro would be a stop-gap, keeping Strasburg from being rushed to the ML-level until September 2010, or even OD 2011; That's a good thing, imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Sounds like a question that Zuckerman and Harlan should look into? Maybe Brian has the answer?

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Wang's agent pushed LA for an answer today, but they were unwilling to make a substantive offer after watching him throw off flat ground this morning, according to Zuckerman.

This means 1) a deal could be reached soon, and 2) he's probably further away from being MLB-ready than I thought.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 10, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse"


The dodgers are operating at a snails pace because of the McCourt divorce situation. Wang is throwing 3 days a week

Posted by: JDB1 | February 10, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, Wang's Wikipedia entry describes him as a member of the Nationals. I'm pretty sure that's a safe source...

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm not the first to post it, but ... wait for it ... the Mariners ... have signed ... (wait for it) ... a relief pitcher ... who ... used to be ... a National ... (looking in to the plate) ... namely ... (throw the damn pitch) ... Jesus ... (hey didn't he have a soft tissue problem) ... Colome ...... OK next pitch.

Seriously I once went to the stand and got a beer between pitches. And if you know how slow the service is at times that was a remarkable accomplishment.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 10, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

" like rumors as much as the next guy. What I'm tired of is that the rumors for the Nats usually never materialize. And hot on the heels of the Hudson and Chapman fiascos/disappointments, to have CHico print the exact same line coming out of the Nats that they "like their chances" is really gettin to be not only disengenuous but downright dishonest.
Again how many times are we gonna be Charlie Brown? Enough already until you prove otherwise."
___________________________________________

Fiasco's? Getting out bid or having a player choose another team isn't a fiasco. It a part of the game

Posted by: JDB1 | February 10, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I like Dan Steinberg, and I like the DC Sports Bog.

Dan was good enough to respond to a question I posted on the Bog this morning regarding Zuckerman and how his Viera project relates to the Post's coverage.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/02/mark_brunell_and_chase_daniel.html

I know a lot of folks here don't like his tone when it comes to the Nats. Even so, you have to respect his willingness to engage in dialogues like this.

(I also think he's hilarious.)

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 10, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Ding! POTD.

(Also, do we seriously already have someone using the handle "thepostischeap?")

-----

FWIW, Wang's Wikipedia entry describes him as a member of the Nationals. I'm pretty sure that's a safe source...

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 10, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Just means he's not a risk the Dodgers are willing to make ... waiting until May or beyond. While the Nationals can and probably should take that kind of risk. Although at this point Mike, Olsen, JZimm, Chico, and now Wang coming off of injuries? Plus I think there was another guy the brought in last year who is recovering from TJ's? They had to shut down a lot of young pitchers last year due to arm problems ...

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm a little puzzled by the "hating the rumors" argument. Look at the Orlando Hudson case. Chico reported that the Nats were in the bidding for Hudson, but he was holding out for a better deal elsewhere. Harlan also reported that if they didn't sign Hudson, their second option would be Adam Kennedy.

So what happened? Hudson got a better deal with a better team and the Nats proceeded to sign Adam Kennedy. What part of that didn't materialize as first reported?

And you know, the Hot Stove League is all about rumors, most of which never come true. It's all part of baseball tradition.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

MLBtraderumors.com has the Dodgers out of the running and that Wang has ageed to sign with the Nats....

Posted by: bromisky | February 10, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

It might be the Mets in the running for Wang -- if Omaya lands him, then you know he'll be hurt in 2010.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 10, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

chico must be snowed in and bored and saw that jon heyman had the story first on SI.com.

Posted by: surly_w | February 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Bisquit, you owe me a beer...
---------------------
This from mlbtr's Tim Dierkes: "The Mariners signed righty Jesus Colome to a minor league deal, according to a team press release. Colome, 32, posted a 7.59 ERA, 6.3 K/9, and 2.5 BB/9 in 21.3 innings for the Nationals and Brewers last year."

That's now FIVE former WSH/MTL pitchers signed by the Mariners this off-season. Did we miss something?
Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 1:43 PM

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Love it dfh21. Is there a quicker way to the DL then siging with the Mets?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 10, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

MLBtraderumors.com has the Dodgers out of the running and that Wang has ageed to sign with the Nats....

Posted by: bromisky | February 10, 2010 2:55 PM

I think this means Wang updated his own Wikipedia entry...

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,
Sounds like a question that Zuckerman and Harlan should look into? Maybe Brian has the answer?
Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 2:33 PM
------------------------
Hunh? What was the initial question?

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Why the Mariners have this interest in ex-Nats pitchers ... and Beimel could be next?

Something of interest, excerpted from Matt Meyers on why the Pirates have the best Organizational strategy in baseball. Sound familiar.

By getting rid of players in the age 26-31 range and hoarding players in the 19-24 range, the Pirates are putting themselves in position to compete in 2013. And by showing a willingness to spend in the draft, the Pirates should be able to continue to bring up talent to support the likes of McCutchen and Alvarez. Pittsburgh fans are surely tired of waiting for a winner, but they've already waited 17 seasons for one. What's a couple more?

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

is Stan's email stan.kasten@nationals.com? tks!

Posted by: deposetejada | February 10, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Love it dfh21. Is there a quicker way to the DL then siging with the Mets?
Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 10, 2010 3:03 PM
----------------------
Unfortunately, yes, and it's apparently signing with the Nats. Even with the string of injuries that the Mets suffered in 2009, the Nationals have been stung more often over a three-year period. See Will Carroll's piece on Baseball Prospectus (www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=10029).

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Great job by the Nats, if he comes back healthy he can anchor this rotation and Marquis/Lannan is a perfect 2-3 punch. Love it, love it, love it.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | February 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

@periculum: The Pirates FO has a great eye for talent, but either can't (or won't) spend enough to keep them.

It's a sad state of affairs, because they have a truly Great ballpark, a solid history, yet they have become the equivalent of the KC Athletics in the 60's - a development bed for ML players that the rest of the teams feed off of.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

It looks to me as if Wang might be playing the same game as Orlando Hudson. He gets a good offer from the Nats but would rather play for a contender or a team that offers more money. Hudson held out and got that kind of deal from the Twins. Wang's now going to see what he gets offered in the next few days. The Nats may not lose him because of money but because they aren't winners.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Maybe the Nationals can have more sellouts at their new stadium this year.

Nah, that won't happen.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 10, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Also, I'm sure lots of Nats fans just absolutely love Wang. They'd do anything for Wang, even pay money to get Wang.

Nats fans are huge Wang lovers.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 10, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

>>It looks to me as if Wang might be playing the same game as Orlando Hudson. He gets a good offer from the Nats but would rather play for a contender or a team that offers more money

The Nats would have locked up Hudson, who is far superior to Kennedy, had they simply offered the same 5 mill deal the Twins eventually did-- earlier.
However the Nats are under the illusion that they are the Red Sox or the Yankees and that players are simply dying to play here for a perennial loser, so the Nats can simply lowball peeps and then sit around waiting for them to acscept.
Uh heres a newsflash, no one is gonna accept the Nats lowball approach except players that are equal to it--- meaning losers. Bruney, Pudge, Capps, Kennedy---Seriously??
This is the big offseason we've been waiting for? This is what is gonna turn this team around?
Good job FO. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine, I don't really have time to get dragged into this ongoing debate, but how can you possibly know that "The Nats would have locked up Hudson, who is far superior to Kennedy, had they simply offered the same 5 mill deal the Twins eventually did-- earlier?"

Unless you're involved in the negotiations, you can't know that. And I'm guessing you weren't.

Posted by: baltova1 | February 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for sharing the scoop, Poopy. :thumbs up: ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 10, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

dovelevine

Where are you getting the info that Hudson would have signed for us if we'd offered the same money as the Twins. A number of reports right after he signed indicated that he demanded a considerably higher salary from us than from others. You know, on account of us being terrible.

I'm no experts so I'. just going on what I read in the press. Do you have a different source?

Posted by: soundbloke | February 10, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

@dovelevine: Take your meds & step back for a minute or two. A large portion of the Nationals 40-man roster off-season pickups have post-season experience (Bruney-NYY, Rodriguez-FLA/DET/NYY, Marquis-StL/COL, Kennedy-LAA[WS-MVP]/StL, Walker-PHI), with some rings to boot; How & why are they losers in your mind?

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

>>dovelevine,how can you possibly know that "The Nats would have locked up Hudson, who is far superior to Kennedy, had they simply offered the same 5 mill deal the Twins eventually did-- earlier?"Posted by: baltova1

I may be dumb but I know one thing for sure, Hudson was never going to sign for 3 mill. Even the tin man and scarecrow knew that. Unfortunately the NOTS (their new name?) did not.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

@Poopy: Nice, but a bit sophmoric; Try to work your way up from the typical RI post here. But don't let me stop you; Feel free to c'mon back when you have something relevant & baseball related to post.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Dove: I have a feeling that if the Nats went and traded for Albert Pujols, you would complain.

All there are right now are rumors. The Nats clearly wanted Hudson, but not at $5 million. If they did want him at that amount, they would have offered it. You seem unwilling to come to terms with that. Their mancrush was clearly not as deep as yours apparently is.

And, believe it or not, the guys who do this for a living do, in fact, have more information than you do. So, you can say what you think might have happened had x, y, or z fallen into place, but I think it is a little sanctimonious to pretend that what you hoped would happen is the only way the Nats will turn it around.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wang? Wasn't he Al Czervik's buddy?

Posted by: shanks1 | February 10, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

@shanks1: "Whoa - Set my buddy Wang here up with the works". Yeah, but I don't think that Rizzo is Rodney Dangerfield in real life.

Posted by: BinM | February 10, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

You can tell things look bad in RI land when Poopy ends up here ... LOL, yep all the sacred cows will be trade or gone ... another really horrible year for the Redskins ... and to that anti-Nats Post guy from Buffalo ... aw dude no more faces of Zorn ... whatever shall you do?

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

>>And, believe it or not, the guys who do this for a living do, in fact, have more information than you do

Really? Would those guys who have all the information be, by any chance, the Lerners and Kasten, the same guys who have run this team for three plus years and run it into the ground making it the laughingstock of all sports.
Nice job with all that info.
Gimmie a freakin break. No one could do worse than these clowns.

The fact remains, when you stink, people are not lining up to come play for you. Therefor, as I've said a million times, you have got to pay a PREMIUM to start getting players. Yes you have to overpay at first, but then once you start building up a decent roster, peeps will then begin choosing your team.
Meanwhile the NOTS don't seem to understand that. They have to overpay at this point to land decent talent but they are so freakin proud, they refuse to do so. So we are left with a bunch of leftovers like usual.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

@dovelevine,

And if I am going to pay a huge premium it had better be for a younger than 30 player with a significant upside: in other words: Texiera, Zack Grienke, Cliff Lee, Tim Lincecum.

They did go after Texiera. They did land Dunn as a result.

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

BTW was Hudson worth what he was asking for from the Nats? Probably not. But was Kearns and LaDuca and Estrada and, well you get the picture. With all the money they waste on crummy talent, it's time they overpay for some decent talent.
Just sign some decent freakin players you buncha cheapskates.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

>>They did go after Texiera

PULEEZE. DONT GET ME STARTED. Do you really believe that. That was the biggest ruse of all.
THe Nats simply offered Texiera the going rate, like he would sign with us for that. Again they just don't get it. Chances are Tex was never coming here (and who cold blame him). But the Nats never blew anyone out of the water with an over the top offer for Tex. Only then did they have a shot.
No they offered the going rate and then made a big deal about how they were in the running blah blah blah.
Again, they offered just enough to get turned down.
They've really perfected that.
Nice goin NOTS!

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Different front office. The End.

No matter what they do, you won't be happy.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"I may be dumb..." Yes, you are.

Further, you start to overpay, and everyone will expect you to overpay (See the team that plays with the oblong ball). Overpaying now sets the team up for problems later on, and I'd rather they stick to their guns now.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo has been GM for less than a year and some of you are so jaded from the Bowden years you won't give him any credit for any moves he made.

I remember last year some were blasting his trade for Morgan and Burnett because we were giving up Lastings Milledge.

Bowden had so brainwashed people here they still looked at Milledge as a budding star when he was more a failed prospect.

Wang would be a good pickup for this team and a much better risk IMO than Scott Olsen who has had continuing shoulder problems for 2 years.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 10, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

I have a friend who is a baseball junkie and he isn’t too impressed with Chien Ming Wang. He referenced the Dodgers lack of interest as possibly being related to what the saw When he threw for their scouts.
The funniest part of my friends comment is his actual quote to me (and initially didn’t have any idea as to why was laughing so hard) was: “I have no idea why all these teams have a hardon for Wang.”

Posted by: TimDz | February 10, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo basically ***Stole*** the very best fielder in all of baseball based on the UZR and other stats. That would be Morgan. There is NO BETTER center fielder than Morgan fielding wise. And the guy hits and runs a lot better than many imagined.

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

MLB Network's Hot Stove show just did a lengthy segment on the two teams that have had the best offseason. One team from each league. The AL team, no surprise, is the Mariners. From the NL? Your Washington Nationals.

Guess the Lerners are Cheap crowd - as usual - is watching the wrong show.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 10, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

"Wang its a parking lot."

I don't expect to see him until June but that's alright if he comes back healthy. Worth a shot.

Posted by: Bazz | February 10, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

They did go after Texiera. They did land Dunn as a result.

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 5:52 PM
============

PULEEZE. DONT GET ME STARTED. Do you really believe that. That was the biggest ruse of all.
THe Nats simply offered Texiera the going rate, like he would sign with us for that. Again they just don't get it. Chances are Tex was never coming here (and who cold blame him). But the Nats never blew anyone out of the water with an over the top offer for Tex. Only then did they have a shot.
No they offered the going rate and then made a big deal about how they were in the running blah blah blah.
Again, they offered just enough to get turned down.
They've really perfected that.
Nice goin NOTS!

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 5:56 PM
============

Well the Natinals did go after Teixeira harder than Baltimore did, so I'll give the Nats that.

For whatever it's worth.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 10, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Wang was what JD Martin should try to be ... a hard 92 mph sinker ...

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

>>Different front office. The End.

Really?
Who is No. 1--Lerners--The Same.
Who is No. 2--Kasten--The Same.

Meet the new bosses. Same as the old bosses.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Take a whiff and you'll sniff ... it must be Poopy McPoop! LOL

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

I'll go plow out the schools myself if it means getting P. McPoop outta here. It may be a long several days...

Posted by: thepostischeap | February 10, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

From No. 3 down entirely different ... one of the more successful small market franchises is your Minnesota (nee' Washington Senators) Twins. There claim to fame thinking differently with many of the same people. Stability. Their director of scouting was there when they used to be the Washington Senators ...

Rizzo has hired an entire brand spanking new front office to work with him. Who cares who is in marketing (Kasten)? Albeit they could use an infusion of some young blood from the Redskins wildly successful moneymaking proposition. Do these guys even know how popular the curly-w ball caps are?

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

>>Rizzo basically ***Stole*** the very best fielder in all of baseball based on the UZR and other stats. That would be Morgan..Posted by: periculum

Totally agree. Listen anyone who has read me at all knows how much I dig Nyjer Morgan. Was, at times, the most exciting player on the team last year.

But is that what Rizzo is going to be forced to do? Steal cheap talent from even cheaper teams like the Bucs? If that's the plan, it's gonna be pretty tough sledding (sorry couldn't resist).

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

>>From No. 3 down entirely different

Especially No.s 5 and 6.
Good 1.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

BTW if Wang liked the offer, he wouldn't need 7-10 days to make a decision. This is the same ole same ole. Trust me we've seen this movie. You know how it's gonna end. The NOTS have lowballed Wang and he is waiting around for a better offer or an equal offer from a better team.

But don't despair. The NOTS will tell you bravely and proudly when the dust has cleared and Wang is off to another team, that Washington was in it till the end.
And then the rest of you can chirp how he wasn't worth it to begin with.
Yada Yada Yada. No I told you about the lobster bisque.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Washington signs Wang according to http://realgmbaseball.com/

Wang Chooses Washington
10th February, 2010 - 5:47 pm
Peter Abraham/Boston Globe - Chien-Ming Wang has decided to sign with the Nationals, according to a report from the Boston Globe.

A formal announcement is expected in a few days due to the weather problems in Washington.

Wang is expected to join the rotation in May.

Posted by: derwink | February 10, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Peter Abraham jumped the gun. So, dovelevine, how much to you pay a guy who the Dodgers decided not to take a risk on?

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if the Nats are planning on signing Wang, and then another starter who can actually begin the season on time. I'd still like to see how the young guys have come along in the off-season. Hopefully they can get some production from the homegrown guys.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Cavalier, I wouldn't think signing another guy would be in the plan, especially with what is out there. Give one of the young guys a couple of starts until Wang is ready - this is all assuming that he can be with the big club by June and Olsen's arm stays on.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 10, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

>>according to a report from the Boston Globe.

All I see is a tweet that says no deal is completed. Puleeze. Wake me when it's official.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

There's always the possibility of a trade involving a player like Willingham + to accomplish this.

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Dove: Pretend it is official...what is your reaction?

Periculum: I like trading Willingham right now, as his value is high. I wonder what they could get in return, though. A corner outfielder with average defense and plus offense isn't exactly a hot commodity. I don't know if putting any prospects in a deal is something the Nats can afford, either. What do you think Willingham would command in return?

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

I'll go plow out the schools myself if it means getting P. McPoop outta here. It may be a long several days...

Posted by: thepostischeap | February 10, 2010 7:28 PM
----------

Shovel all you like my friend, makes no difference to me. That's because where I'm at it's currently 58 degrees and we're supposed to have highs in the mid-70's this weekend.

Ahhhhhhhh.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 10, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

You have to assume that Rizzo isn't the type to sit on his hands and just let things be ... as we have seen he appears to be everywhere ... bidding on Chapman, Wang, etc. If he keeps pushing something has to give ...

Not sure what they could get for Willingham. He might have more value to an American League team? But they would have to throw in a prospect or two to make any kind of improvement to the team.

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Have we had any Asian players since Tomo Ohka and Sunny Kim?

Posted by: markfromark | February 10, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

I agree that they'll have to add prospects to Willingham, which is why I don't think they'll actually make a move with him. They're too thin prospect wise for such a move to make sense. I think we're most likely to see a move before the deadline to a contender from the AL for prospects...assuming that Willingham has similar numbers to last year.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

chinatimes.com is also reporting that Wang has agreed to a $2 million contract with up to $3 million in incentives. He has passed his physical.

Babelfish translated it for me so I can't guarantee this is 100% but ...

Posted by: rushfari | February 10, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweets that the Nationals will guarantee Wang $2MM, with a chance to more than double that through incentives.

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't the Post hired Zuckerman?

Because he's from the Moonie Paper. The Post very, very rarely hires from opposition papers. They barely took anybody when the old Star closed.

As for shifting beats every three years, that's part of Ben Bradlee's old "creative tension" theories at work. He wans to make everybody nervous. It's complete BS, of course. All it does is bring in newer (and cheaper) talent. Think of reporters as "inventory," and you've got the General Idea of Newspapers, Circa 2010. Run it cheap, maybe nobody will read us and notice.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | February 10, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

>>Dove: Pretend it is official...what is your reaction?

Positive from the perspective that they signed a player they went after and the more bodies the better.
Overall though, an injured player who may or may not be able to pitch before June...., not sure really if it means much.
Kinda reminds me of the Mariners Bedard signing. Don't know when either pitcher will be able to go, but both, when healthy can be a force.
So it can't hurt. And it shows you're out there
So I'm giving it a thumbs up if it's official.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

"The Post very, very rarely hires from opposition papers. They barely took anybody when the old Star closed."

Not true at all. The Post took the cream of the crop from the Star. Mary McGrory, Howard Kurtz, Fred Hiatt, Jonathan Yardley to name a few. The reason they haven't hired Zuckerman (and didn't hire Goessling for that matter) is not because they worked for the Times. It's because the Post at the moment is not in a position to hire anyone. Look for Chico Harlan's replacement to be an internal hire, or someone very very cheap like a new college grad or an intern. (Maybe even several of them splitting the job.) Zuckerman or Goessling were simply too expensive for the Post.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 10, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

And so, not for nothing, but remember that newspapers are bleeding cash right now. When the Star folded, the Post's circulation nearly doubled, so it was easy to pick the Star's talent. But now, I'm amazed they hired Rick Maese - a columnist of questionable talents - as a beat for the Skins.

So yeah, Chico's replacement is going to be young and cheap. Hope it's not another Steve Yanda.

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | February 10, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

BTW I haven't seen one website or network including the reporters own Globe site or this one for that matter actually take his words and make it official. Just sayin.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 10, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

According to a couple posters, there has been a Chinese site who has called it, as well.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 10, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

The Post also hired Nina Hyde and Ben Forgey from the Star.As for Chico's replacement,how about Dave Sheinin,who is a real baseball writer?Does anyone recall how Cal Ripken first told Sheinin,a Washington reporter,that he was retiring?Please just give us someone who knows the game.

Posted by: seanmg | February 11, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

Take a whiff and you'll sniff ... it must be Poopy McPoop! LOL

Posted by: periculum | February 10, 2010 7:25 PM
__________________________________________________________

Hey, Poopy-O's Exec has come over to the Nats blog. What, things are little slow since the Terps B-Ball game with UVA got cancelled? You can't trash your supposed alma mater over on Terps Insider when there is no game in the near future.

You suck.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 11, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I forgot why I rarely come to this blog. Y'all act like a bunch of children, and the most prolific posters are the ones who have the least real insight.

Wang is a great pick-up for this team. Unlike guys like Cabrera who never were any good, Wang knows how to pitch. If he can come back from his injury to anything like his former self, he may wind up being the team's top pitcher this year. Plus, he will benefit from switching leagues. A 3.95 ERA in the AL probably translates to a 3.35 in the NL, or better.

Posted by: fischy | February 11, 2010 1:20 AM | Report abuse

Done deal, supposedly...

http://baseball.realgm.com/src_wiretap_archives/18846/20100210/wang_chooses_washington/

http://www.realgm.com/boards/viewforum.php?f=124

Posted by: CJArlington | February 11, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

The lack of coverage that the Nats get from The Post is just another penalty we pay for having a lousy product, a lousy team on the field. Good teams generate interest (note how everyone knows about the Caps winning streak).
If the Nats were good, there would be a ton more interest in them, and it would make sense financially for The Post to invest more in quality baseball coverage.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 11, 2010 5:55 AM | Report abuse

Below, from Yahoo Sports at 5:41 AM.

Seems to me that waiting a week is simply trying to get a better offer.
Also, not too excited about the Dodgers watching him throw and then bowing out. They need starting pitching and they know it. Their starters were not good enough last year, and they lost Randy Wolf.

All that said, I think $2MM plus incentives makes sense for us. Hope Wang think so too.
*********************

Thu Feb 11, 2010 5:41 am EST
Nationals lead Wang bidding

By Mark J. Miller

The Washington Nationals have apparently given free-agent hurler Chien-Ming Wang(notes) a guaranteed contract offer of $2 million with more than that in incentives, according to New York Newsday.

Meanwhile, it appears to Sports Illustrated that the Los Angeles Dodgers have decided to get out of any Wang bidding, which is too bad for the guy since he supposedly wanted to hook up with his old manager, Joe Torre, there. Dodgers higher-ups, including GM Ned Colletti, supposedly watched Wang throw yesterday.

The 29-year-old supposedly has another offer on the table as well. Other teams that had expressed interest in the guy who is still recovering from shoulder surgery include the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and St. Louis Cardinals.

Wang is expected to make his decision in the next week.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 11, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

A note to all the oh-so-intelligent chronic complainers on this board:
Let us know when a professional baseball club offers you a contract to work in the front office. But until then, please spare us insights into proper management.

Posted by: shanks1 | February 11, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Cant complain about this signing for our club, particularly if those figures are close, not a lot of previous 19 game winners signing for this low a price. But dont fall in love with Wang to quick youll end up in a sticky situation. He hasnt even begun to pitch off mound yet, this guy wont be in till June. Im sure the deal is incentive laden but this guy will not be available to help at the begining of the year.

Posted by: christopherstewart27 | February 11, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Why oh why are the Nats trying to sign another sinkerball specialist when the their infield defence remains so shaky, apart from Zimmerman? Many of the groundballs he coaxes may not be caught, or bobbled. Not only that, Wang is coming off a serious shoulder injury and may be damaged goods. Power, strikeout pitchers are what the Nats need desperately as long as their defence is so substandard, so why not start by reeling in John Smoltz, who probably has a lot left in the tank, based on an admittedly short-period sample at St Louis last year.

Posted by: mx_heinrich | February 11, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Smoltz, he who was 3-8 with an ERA of 6.35 last year, WHIP 1.45? He is our saviour? Wang, if recovered, is a much better option, although your notion of infield defense is noted. I'd rather have Wang (that's the only time I'll ever say that!).

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 11, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

A note to all the oh-so-intelligent chronic complainers on this board:
Let us know when a professional baseball club offers you a contract to work in the front office. But until then, please spare us insights into proper management.

Posted by: shanks1 | February 11, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

There is a narrative that the mini-Lerners follow:

"We are optimistic, and you get more results that way than moaning all the time and driving away Nats' fans, thereby creating more problems. Jim Bowden, and MLB before him, destroyed the Nats. We are now rebuilding, and quick fixes of expensive free agents is a sucker game for losers. Of course you can just waste money, but that will make you feel better only in the short run. Let's trust Rizzo and see where we go. We will be fine, with a little support and trust from us all."

This is fine, as far as it goes. But it does not address the abysmally low payrolls, rock-bottom in all of MLB. Why do the Nats have such low budgets for the MLB draft, going after slot and under-slot players, passing up chances to get better players if they are over-slot and have the potential to demand more money? Why have the Nats signed no international players at all for any remotely serious contract money (after Smiley)? Why have the Nats acquired only low-budget players in trades? We get Nyjer--great--but not Bay, his teammate. Surely, you must have realized that in all the Lerner years, the team has never traded for anyone making average salary or higher. Isn't that odd? (Soriano was pre-Lerners, when MLB was more generous.) As far as free agents go, we all applaud the signings of Dunn and Marquis, although $35 million (for the only two relatively expensive guys) is not much since 2006, by MLB standards. Free agents and guys making salary that you get in trades can be turned into prospects through later trades or compensatory draft picks when they sign their next contract. Why do the Nats get no compensatory picks between the first and second rounds? It is because the Nats do not collect players that other teams covet. Such coveted players are too expensive.

All of the above is a horrible level of commitment. It does, however, interfere with the narrative of the mini-Lerners. And please don't gloat about Ryan Zim and SS. Every club in MLB if given the chance to make the same moves would have jumped on those two opportunities, maybe even the Pirates. I would like to se the Nats do something they are not expected to do.

Posted by: EdDC | February 11, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

MLB Network's Hot Stove show just did a lengthy segment on the two teams that have had the best offseason. One team from each league. The AL team, no surprise, is the Mariners. From the NL? Your Washington Nationals.

Meanwhile the Lerners are Cheap crowd continues to make up its own narratives. Talk about fantasy baseball...

Posted by: nunof1 | February 11, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

***MLB Network's Hot Stove show just did a lengthy segment on the two teams that have had the best offseason. One team from each league. The AL team, no surprise, is the Mariners. From the NL? Your Washington Nationals.***

What the Nats have done this offseason is OK. There's no one particularly exciting. I can't see any chance of dramatic improvement. The bullpen is better, upgraded from worst to below average. The rotation may be a bit improved, upgraded from worst to below average. Did they do better than any other NL team? Perhaps. Have they had a great offseason? No way.

**Meanwhile the Lerners are Cheap crowd continues to make up its own narratives. Talk about fantasy baseball...**

I'm no apologist for EdDC, we have areas where we disagree. But the Nats have had the worst record in MLB for the past two years, and reportedly have been the most profitable team in MLB over those last two years.
Perhaps not singing Orlando Hudson for $5MM was the right baseball decision. Perhaps not. But the fact remains that they spend, shall we say, frugally. And when they charge MLB prices to attend games, MLB prices to park your car, MLB prices to buy a beer and a brat, it's fair to expect MLB product. The beer's fine, the brat's OK, the parking is parking, but the product on the field has been seriously lacking.

Hard to believe that the best Nationals team we've had is the one we inherited from the Expos while at the same time believing our owners are committed to winning. Hard to believe we've gone downhill from 2005 and also believe our owners are not excessively frugal.

And yet.....Go Nats


Posted by: Sunderland | February 11, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how anyone can look at back-to-back 100 loss seasons with back-to-back Bottom 5 payrolls and come to any conclusion other than the Lerners are either cheap, clueless, or don't give a crap about anything other than bottom line.

Rack me. Out.

Posted by: comish4lif | February 11, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

nunoff1,

I do appreciate that you love the Nats. I do too, believe it or not. I know I have a funny way of showing it.

I went to a Cubs' game at Wrigley, sold out of course, last summer. At first I couldn't figure out what all the commotion was about. Was there a fight in the stands? Nothing had happened in the game yet. Of course, stupid me, the fans were just getting excited about balls and strikes! That made me jealous.

The Lerners have a business model that works for them: low budgets, modest revenues from the 20,000 faithful, and wa-la--profits among baseball's best. However, they are letting down the District, which gave them the stadium and depended upon a higher revenue level, and the fans of the region.

I love to go to a baseball game on a warm summer evening too, visiting with good friends and enjoying a beer. A couple of the games we went to last season were even close contests and a lot of fun. But with even an MLB-average level of financial commitment, it can be an even better experience. What's wrong with trying for average? The Nats have a very long way to go to get to average.

Posted by: EdDC | February 11, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Better off with Vera.

Sign Pedro. He's still got it. His arm was sore in the WS and he was sick with the flu but the guy was amazing in the NL playoffs. He's still got it.

BTW Thank God the Zuckerman guy talk has cease - don't know or care about the dude.

Posted by: billm32 | February 11, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I think without a pennant race Pedro would stink. He needs the spotlight.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 11, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Two questions:

1. Why were those so many happy, smiling people at Natsfest.
2. What is it like having ownership approving every penny spent on one side and fans with nooses ready for a lynching on the other?

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

For all the people that complain the Lerners have not spent enough, if you owned this team what players would you have spent money on that the Lerners did not?

Remember that many free agents wouldn't sign with the Nats unless they were really drunk and we were the last girl in the bar.

This season the back end of our rotation will again be made up of players that are probably not ready to pitch in the majors, but in 2011 we are looking at rotation of:
Strausburg, Lannan, JZimm, Marquis, and finally a high priced free agent to put at the top with Strausburg. If you only have one hole in your rotation it makes sense to spend on a free agent to fill out the rotation.

When you start spending money for spending moneys sake you turn in to the Mets, is that what you, for the Nats to become the Mets? I would much rather be the Braves or Cardinals which seems more like the path we are headed down.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

They need to do better internationally and in the draft to improve. That seems clear. The lack of Pacific Rim makes one wonder if they are too expensive? More so than the Dominicans?

It does appear that Rizzo absolutely must do a far better job of managing up.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

"The lack of Pacific Rim makes one wonder if they are too expensive? More so than the Dominicans?"

People who complain about the lack of Pacific Rim signings by the Nats need to get real. Look around MLB. How many Pacific Rim players or prospects are there league-wide? Not many, especially in comparison with the Latin American presence. There are many valid reasons why that market is relatively untapped by MLB - the whole posting fee arrangement being one - but Lerner cheapness or incompetence is definitely not one of them.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 11, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I can't wait for all of this angst to thaw when exposed to the warm optimism of Spring Training.

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

@JohninMpls: Only 7 days to Catchers / Pitchers, 11 to full-squad.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Pitchers and catchers may report in only 7 days, but will they have anything to pitch and catch with when they do?

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/2010-02-10-spring-training-snow_N.htm

Posted by: nunof1 | February 11, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

A note to all the oh-so-intelligent chronic complainers on this board:
Let us know when a professional baseball club offers you a contract to work in the front office. But until then, please spare us insights into proper management.
___________

That's just silly. Of course we don't know what we're talking about, but we enjoy expressing our ill-informed opinions. People who actually have jobs in baseball don't have to take to ranting on blogs. So what would be in this space if ignoramuses like myself did not speak out?

Posted by: markfromark | February 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

One of my usual rants against the negativity hucksters...

1. While I agree that the WaPo is not currently covering the Nats the way it should, let's remember that they are overspending on Skiing and Skating in the great Pacific Northwest. Of course they are covering the Caps more than the Nats, it's mid-season for hockey and Bounceball (gee, I notice that they are trying to ignore the Wiz, as much as possible, and wouldn't you), while Ps&Cs don't even report for a week. Meanwhile, they are trying to figure out a new model to make the WaPo profitable. Look to pay for content in the near future. BTW, Zuckerman may find that he has a very valid model. On the other hand the WaPo is paying Beyer (although admittedly the world's expert) to comment on a sport that absolutely nobody cares about except for two days a year (well, three if you have any interest in the Belmont and a horse has actually won the first two legs.)

2. When you evaluate signings, it is necessary to take everything in context. For instance, whatever the Dodgers do or don't do this (and maybe next) year is influenced by the divorce. Meanwhile, some teams, like the Twinkies have a M.O. that is tried and true for their particular situation. They are, basically mediocre except for a couple of years a decade, when there is a confluence of positive timing. How many ballplayers have they lost, over the years, because of money (what do you think will happen if they expect the "hometown discount" for Joe Mauer to be 25%)? Same thing happened in Montreal.

3. The Lerners are not cheap. Their history is that they spend time studying, put their little toes into the water, re-evaluate, and then go in the way it should be done.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 11, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I like to think they have their own internal message boards where they argue and complain, using handles like "leatherpants4u" and "rizzotherat" (Muppets reference).

-----

That's just silly. Of course we don't know what we're talking about, but we enjoy expressing our ill-informed opinions. People who actually have jobs in baseball don't have to take to ranting on blogs. So what would be in this space if ignoramuses like myself did not speak out?

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 11, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

For all the people that complain the Lerners have not spent enough, if you owned this team what players would you have spent money on that the Lerners did not?
Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Chapman, Crow (I know you think Storen is better for half the price, and you may be right--but I would have signed my #1 pick for the extra $500,000 that the Nats could not afford), Rick Porcello rather than Detwiler (even though Porcello cost a lot more than Detwiler, all the scouting reports at the time said he had more tools), a slot guy or above-slot guy in the third round of the 2009 draft rather than Trevor Holder, Jason Bay a couple years ago (whom the Sox stole from the Pirates), and lots of others.

What, "lots of others"? I can't name them? They must not be out there.

Look, the Nats have never traded for anyone who has made an average MLB salary or higher. Never, under the Lerners. I don't know what teams were trying to unload contracts! I have my own job. I do know that Soriano was loads of fun for a year and yielded two top pitching prospects (a #1 pick and a comp pick between the first and second rounds who turned out to be Jordan Zimmermann) when he signed elsewhere. But that was pre-Lerners, when MLB allowed players making some salary to be acquired by the Nats.

Every year, Sports Illustrated puts out a list of 10 or 20 top free agency signings from the previous year. They also have 10 or 20 busts in their annual lists. If the Nats played in the signing game, some of the guys would help and others would be busts. Of course if you don't play, you don't get taken. Please don't ask me to pick who will work out in the future--what do I know? (Nothing is your answer.) But I trust Rizzo and his team to know. I would favor the younger players. Dunn and Marquis are fine, but the Nats can do better than this small dip into the market over the last few years.

On the international front, in addition to Chapman, there are guys I can't name who make the annual lists of 100K and above guys who are signed. The Nats don't sign those guys--not because the kids don't regard the organization highly, but because the Nats are too frugal.

Remember when you were a kid and played ball? The good ones stood out as youngsters and stayed way ahead of all the others as they matured. Get those! The idea of paying less and hoping for development probably doesn't work very well.

I would build mostly through drafts, some international signings like Chapman and the 100K+ kids, and trades for younger guys with upside (even if they had a "too-high" salary). And sure, a quality free agent or two per season would help too. Don't forget, the good ones yield top picks when they sign elsewhere. Sorry if that is too vague or stupid for you.

Posted by: EdDC | February 11, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell the group what data there is out there about how profitable the Nats have been the last five years? On one hand, I've always wanted someone in the press to ask the Lerners something like "so you said you were going to plow all profits back into the team - well, how much did you make and what did you do with it?". On the other hand, I can be a fairly cynical guy and even I don't think the Lerners would make that pledge and just lie about it and put the money in their pockets - there's way too much PR risk in people finding out about it. Given that, they sure don't seem that profitable. I'm thrilled about the front office change but all those guys work relatively cheap. Can't tell anything else major that the club has to put a significant amount of capital into except for salaries which it does look like it's going to be about the same as last year.

Posted by: natslifer | February 11, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

natslifer,

Check this site for the business side. You can search for other years on the site.

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

Also for payrolls, check this site. You may have to Google for other years. For example, the Nats were spending more on payroll before the Lerners gained control, than they do now.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p4ew-fwu2XT3cpPRtt9qIGw

Posted by: EdDC | February 11, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Snow Recovery Day Checklist:
1) Complain about team being Cheap
2) Complain about the coverage
3) Complain about other posters
4) Complain about the weather (but honestly no one ever does anything about it)
5) Complain about past
6) Complain about the future
7) Complain about complaining

Check, Check, Check, Check, Check, Check, and Check. Lucky Seven. Now what?

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 11, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

With only a week left before the opening of spring camps (and alot of time on my hands due to the snow), I've been looking at the bullpen possibles for the Nationals. Here are my initial thoughts...

I'm guessing that Riggleman will go with a seven-man 'pen, with maybe three left-handers; Breaking it down by 'role', let's say one Long Reliever/Spot Starter (LR/SpS), two or three Middle Relievers (MR), one Lefty Specialist (LS), one or two Setup men (SU), and a Closer (CL). Here's my candidate list [NRI:Non-roster invitee] -

LR/SpS (1 of 6): Matt Chico[L], Jesse English[L], Collin Balester[R], Garrett Mock[R]; Chuck James[L,NRI], Miguel Batista[R,NRI]. I think this one comes down to either Chico or Batista.

MR (2-3 of 7): Tyler Clippard[R], Jason Bergmann[R], Ryan Matteus[R], Sean Burnett[L]; Joel Peralta[R,NRI], Ryan Speier[R,NRI], Logan Kensing[R,NRI]. Based off last year, Clippard, Bergmann & Burnett are the favorites here, with Peralta as a dark horse.

LS (1 of 4): Doug Slaten, Atahualpa Severino; Eddie Guardado[NRI], Victor Garate[AAA]. I like Guardado here, unless Burnett gets bumped by another arm at MR.

SU/CL (2-3 of 4): Tyler Walker[R], Brian Bruney[R], Matt Capps[R]; Drew Storen[R,NRI]. Going with 'chalk' (Walker/Bruney/Capps) here; Storen will start the year in SYR.

There looks to be more proven talent here than in years past; Let's hope it plays out.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

>>A note to all the oh-so-intelligent chronic complainers on this board:
Let us know when a professional baseball club offers you a contract to work in the front office. But until then, please spare us insights into proper management

Why you don't think we could do better than a 107 loss season? Certainly couldn't do any worse.
Maybe the peeps in charge don't know what they're doing? Hmmm.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

And now for something completely different:

I heard Lannan spent the early part of the off-season working out with Zimmerman and Stammen at a local gym. I'm a little concerned that his new strength is going to make him throw too hard. :)

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 11, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, whatever happened to Bud Selig's task force that was supposed to examine every possible way they could improve the game?

One of the suggestions was to enforce a two-hitter minimum for pitchers. Another was to re-examine the DH.

Obviously, if something significant were changed, teams would have to be notified, preferably before they sign a LOOGY or a DH.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 11, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Nice list, natbiscuits. hmmm...let's see...what else can we do? hmmm...I do still have that big stack of baseball preview magazines to read. Maybe I'll do that...oh, and have some hot chocolate. Pitchers and catchers (and spring) can't come soon enough for me. (Daggone that Punky-tawny Phoolie. grrr...)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

@JohninMpls: I think that any of the recommendations that the Task Force made would be up for negotiation under the next CBA; The current one expires at the end of the 2011 season. It would be Bud's lasting legacy (or stench, depending on your POV).

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

EdDC,

The only things I agree with you on are they should have signed Crow for the extra $500k and that your answer was too vague. To make an argument that "I do not really know what I would have done but I know it would have been better" is not an argument it is BS.

They do need to step up their efforts to sign Latin American players but Jimbo and Jose Rijo really sold the Lerners a bunch of BS on what they were doing down there so now we basically need to start from scratch again.

20 something teams passed on Porcello/Boras and to trade for Jason Bay would have taken prospects that we simply did not have at that time. Furthermore why would a last place team trade for players with above average contracts when the rest of our team was glorified minor leaguers, it would have been a waste of money.

I would rather lose 100+ games and end up with Strasburg and Harper than lose 90+ games spend $20 million more per year and end up with prospects that are not Strasburg and Harper.

2010 is the first season the Nats are competing like a real franchise because it took a few seasons just to get us to this point.

If the Lerners still do not spend money from the beginning of this season on then you can argue they are not doing enough to win, but before this any high priced free agents or trades would have just been a waste of money and prospects.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I guess I just thought that we'd hear about them first, even if it's just a few hints.

-----

@JohninMpls: I think that any of the recommendations that the Task Force made would be up for negotiation under the next CBA; The current one expires at the end of the 2011 season. It would be Bud's lasting legacy (or stench, depending on your POV).

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 11, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

petey,

Hey, if you are agreeable to saying the Nats need to spend competitively starting this spring, that's a big improvement. Not BS at all (like you say my comments are).

On Porcello a lot of clubs passed cuz of his contract demand.

On Bay, you would have to research what the Red Sox gave up in prospects, how Bay helped while he was on the team, and what comp picks he yields in the next draft. Neither of us is willing to do the research.

Do you think signing Chapman would have been poor judgment?

So, you buy into the idea of only taking in small contracts in trades, so you can lose and get Harper? I hope the Nats do not disappoint you in the 2010 draft.

Posted by: EdDC | February 11, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I wish people would stop banging on about Chapman. Are we so shortsighted that we are going to throw our toys out of the pram every time we lose a fight for a free agent?

One team got to win and therefore ten could not. Sometimes you are the winner, sometimes you are one of the ten. It happens. The baseball world revolves around the Nationals for a very small number of people, for everyone else (including Chapman) we are just another team.

Get the hell over it!

Posted by: soundbloke | February 11, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

I do think signing Chapman for that much would have been a mistake and would have pissed off Strasburg which I do not think is a good idea.

As for trading for Bay, we did not have any prospects until the emergence of JZimm last season that any team would have given up an above average major leaguer for, and we still do not have many.

And I do believe in saving money when you go into the season with no chance of making the playoffs. Why trade for a big money pitcher when he has no fielding behind him or any kind of line-up supporting him. Or why trade for a big time bat when our pitchers are giving up 5+ runs almost every game.

I guess you believe that losing 96 games instead of 106 games is worth the money and prospects, I just cannot understand your logic.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

A note to all the oh-so-intelligent chronic complainers on this board:
Let us know when a professional baseball club offers you a contract to work in the front office. But until then, please spare us insights into proper management.
___________

That's just silly. Of course we don't know what we're talking about, but we enjoy expressing our ill-informed opinions. People who actually have jobs in baseball don't have to take to ranting on blogs. So what would be in this space if ignoramuses like myself did not speak out?

Posted by: markfromark | February 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse
-----------------
Now that you put it that way ....

Posted by: shanks1 | February 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

...crickets...

This space for rent.

(That should about cover it. :-))

---

So what would be in this space if ignoramuses like myself did not speak out?

Posted by: markfromark | February 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 11, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to the contract does anyone think the Nats will jerk Wang around?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 11, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, so you can't put something in elbow brackets, eh?

That should have read:

...crickets...

(tumbling tumbleweeds)

This space for rent.

(That should about cover it.)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 11, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Sniff sniff...

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 11, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Harper may not be available until 2011. That draft is projected to be L-O-A-D-E-D. He will have competition. He may get a lower bonus and be a lower pick and risk college?

BUT, If he actually DOES graduate from HS early he knows there is a good chance he would get drafted by the Nationals ... ~smiles~

Stop with the Bryce Harper, like O-dog he ain't comin' to DC.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

"When it comes to the contract does anyone think the Nats will jerk Wang around?"

Rizzo has already been talking up making the remaining free agents "come to him" meaning accept his salary offers. Yeah.

Everyone is still hoping for a trade but what do they have other than Willingham? Albeit the Tigers might be a good trading partner in this regard.

On the Jason Bay front, originally drafted by Expos/Nats. He was already "stolen" away from this franchise.


Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Folks: There's no doubt that the Lerner group has missed out on some sterling opportunities for better players (Teixiera, Crow, Chapman, Hudson & others), while making questionable investments in the likes of Kearns, PLoD, DaMeat, D.Cabrera, et al.
Let's be honest, they've 'crapped the bed' in terms of fan goodwill & faith in a lot of ways over the last three years, but it hasn't been all bad - guys like Dunn, RZim, Lannan, TPlush, Strasburg, Storen, & more do offer some hope for a better tomorrow.
Would I personally like them to spend more on the front-line product (the roster) - Absoulutely, as long as it shows improvement, either player to player, or year-to-year. Spending just to drive up the total salary is just money wasted.

I'm personally hoping that the team has 'bottomed-out' in terms of W-L record, and that the Lerner Group has learned their lessons about what the differences are between commercial real estate & MLB.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

In other words ... as many have observed ... with the middle of the defense pretty much among the MLB's best. They just need 1 more reliable starting pitcher who will provide those missing quality starts. This might be enough to sneak above the .500 mark and scare some folks in the NL East.

Maybe it lies with the young arms they've acquired? With Detwiler, Mock, Martin, Martis, Thompson?

@BinM, KLaw pretty much thinks it will be hard for them not to leave camp without Storen on the 25. I hate to broach this to everyone (I am one who would be disappointed), but Storen + Willingham + 1 other might make some interesting trade bait to get that SP that everyone thinks is missing.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

Nice breakdown of the possibilities for the BP.

I agree with your thoughts with the exception of LR/SpS. I don't think Matt Chico will win a spot on this team. Don't get me wrong, I like the kid and think he has worked his tail off to get back from his injury but, I just don't see it. I hope he proves me wrong.

EdDC, your fighting the battle alone today, I'm just not in the mood. But just so I won't lose my "Lerner's are cheap" union card....

"the Lerner's are cheap"

Posted by: Section505203 | February 11, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

BTW what happened to all the "Wang's a done deal" malarkey?
Just wonderin.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 11, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

We were never getting Tex...he used us to push up his price for the Yanks. Crow over-valued himself, Hudson got paid too much. He's getting on in years anyway. I think we were right not to give him too much.

Posted by: Naugatuck-Nats | February 11, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

As far as Daniel Cabrera goes, anyone, and I mean anyone, who watched any of the Orioles games for the past 3 years knew without a doubt that not only was Cabrera a major stiff, but he was also without a doubt absofreakinlutely horrible. That the Nats signed him, showed how clueeless they are and that they let him pitch the most important game of the season, the opening game at home was completely inexcusable.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 11, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Wang is off pondering his options over the next week or so. In other words, the Nationals? After the Yankees? Kind of like the Nick Johnson syndrome. He finally made it back ... as a backup bench warmer, sometime DH to his almost-replacment on the Nats, Texiera.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

@peric: The Tigers as a trading partner for Willingham, really; For who? Their front-line players are so brutally overpaid that it's bordering on tragic, and they certainly don't need another RH-hitter.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

The Nats may or may not draft Harper with the number one pick he already received his GED and is playing for the College of Southern Neveda, here is an interview with his college coach on his performance thus far:

http://masnsports.com/2010/02/bryce-harper-update-from-colle.html

Now whether or not the Nats draft him is a different story.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

I guess you believe that losing 96 games instead of 106 games is worth the money and prospects, I just cannot understand your logic.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's a deal for you. If you read this one last post, I'll just shut up a go away for a long time.

No, I never have wanted to sign some fat, old free agents and lose 96 times. My plan has always been the same as Kasten's Plan: namely,

1.You draft the best players available. The draft is the very worst place to save money.

2. You get comp picks. You do that by acquiring players of value through trades and free agency. When they sign elsewhere you get comp picks.

3. When making trades, do not dismiss so much talent just because they make good money. You can get young guys who will help you for many years, if you are willing to help small market teams out when they need to unload contracts.

4. Trade your guys you acquire via trades and free agency for prospects, who will help you for years. The Nats do not have enough talent to give up in such deals. Why? Because they don't take contracts in via trades and free agency, so they have no one to move.

5. Sign some international guys even if they require more than $100K to sign. And by all means, don't use the Smiley story as an excuse for inaction for years on end. Move on from your mistakes.

6. Once in a while, a real phenom comes along. The Nats can afford a guy like Chapman. Who the heck is Cincy? We can beat them! I would like to have both Crow and Chapman to go with SS. Maybe the Nats will get the next phenom!

7. The Nats have done well in free agency. However, there can't be many teams who have signed so few free agents: just two of consequence for $35 million since the Lerners came in. The Nats can do more than that, believe it or not.

8. Move your payroll over time to MLB average or higher (DC is among the largest and wealthiest regions in all of baseball, so that's not stupid). No that doesn't mean waste money. There is a middle ground between Dan Snyder (who spends like a drunken sailor) and the Lerners (who don't spend). Think Ted Leonsis of the Caps.

By the way, as I recall, the Red sox just gave up mid-level prospects for Bay, but they took on a contract the Pirates needed help with. You would have to compare what they gave up against what they will get for their comp picks in the June draft. Here's the trade (see below link). The Nats could have given mid-level guys too for Bay. But that's a minor issue. Bay is but an example of what you can do if you are willing to take in a contract.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_580470.html

Bye y'all.

Posted by: EdDC | February 11, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

@BinM, yeah they are looking for left handed bats ... but also a DH who can play the field, a position, when needed.

Still with Storen and Willingham bundled? Its a scary thought but that would be for Rizzo to make hay fast.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

So other than trade for Bay and sign Crow and Chapman you have not actually said what you would have done other than just some rules to live by. I have no problem with you complaining just when you start believing that you could have done a better job than the people in charge(and yes a monkey probably would have been better than JimBo but thats besides the point).

I think this team has a chance to go .500 this season and compete for the playoffs in 2011, they may not be fast enough for you but that is why patience is a virtue.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 11, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@505203: Thanks - I did list 10 possibles for the seven probable bullpen spots, but I think that the Chico/Batista battle is a 50/50 fight; I gave the edge to Chico based on his left-handedness. However, with the Nationals having a light early-season schedule, they may both go to SYR or HAR to start the year & give someone like Peralta, Slaten or Speier an opportunity instead.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

How many colleges does Harper go to anyway?

College of Southern Nevada catcher Bryce Harper received his GED results in the mail yesterday and "passed with flying colors," according to CSN baseball coach and athletic director Tim Chambers. Passing the GED was required for Harper to play with the Coyotes this spring.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I still don't understand why a few of the posters keep beating the Chapman thing to death. IMO, the Nats set a price that they thought he would be worth. Cincy was willing to go beyond that. At this point, it's still an open question as to whether Chapman was worth what the Reds paid. If you refer to some of the columns that Boz wrote about Strasburg and how much a first round pitcher is worth, the same thing applies to Chapman, except that he is much more of an unknown. Also, and I'll repeat here, both the Yanks and Sox, with a need for a young lefty SP in '11 and/or '12 didn't even get into the auction. I'll buy into their opinion.

By the way, is there some sort of rule that after 200 (250?) posts, the WaPo is required to post something, anything.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 11, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

The point he (EdDC) is making that with Crow, Strasburg, and Chapman, plus Lannan, perhaps a JZimm, Holder, Karns you now have the makings of a deep into the playoffs pitching staff. And for few dollars comparatively speaking ... leveraging your poor finishes to the max. This seems like something Rizzo would do ... and not even think twice about it.

However, if you have owners who machinate and whine about every penny?

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

HBT ms/nbc:

Wang and the Nats have a deal

Thu Feb 11,2010 10:28 AM ET By Craig Calcaterra
There was a lot of back and forth yesterday about whether the Nats and Chien-Ming Wang had a deal or not. Pete Abraham said they did first, only to have some others say, no, no deal is in place. I had called these later reports "debunkings" but in hindsight that was a really poor choice of words, because it automatically assumed that the latest reports were right, and there was no reason to assume that. Why? For one thing Abraham, I later learned, is really tight with Wang's camp and is trusted by people who know things to know what's going on with him.

For another thing, it appears as though Abe was right. Last night the China Times reported that, yes, there is a $2 million deal with the chance of it getting to $3 million if certain incentives are met. Later Ken Davidoff of Newsday tweeted the same thing, and no one has since said anything to the contrary.

So apologies to Mr. Abraham and congratulations to Mr. Wang and the Nats, who I think will make a nice pairing.

Posted by: TimDz | February 11, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

bflojack: Season ticket holder here. Just wanted to say thanks for staying the course for this team. As we've seen with the Caps, a long-term strategy bears much better fruit for the sustainability of the franchise.

Lerner:: Ted Leonsis is a dear friend and mentor and is an innovative, effective owner. I have said many times that Ted has been a great influence on me ever since we first met. He laid out a plan for building a winner and it is paying off. I think the model he used with the Capitals is pretty much what we're doing with the Nats now. He also advised me that patience would be required for a long-term plan, but that the wait is worth it.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

natsfantx: Long term, do you see the Nationals having a top 10 payroll in MLB?

Lerner:: As we said from the start, building this franchise from the ground up is not a one year or even a three year process. We knew we couldn't have success until we first built up our scouting and player development systems. We think we are now quite far down that road and are able to take the next step by both adding players from the outside and by increasing Major League payroll.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@peric: OK, So you're proposing Willingham+Storen+PTBNL to the Tigers for which SP - Robertson, Willis, or maybe Bonderman? And exactly how much salary does each team eat?

Sorry, but that's a non-starter, imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey JiM, out of curiosity, do you have some reason to believe that the task force has already finished tasking the tasks with which it was tasked? i.e., do you think there's anything for us to hear about yet? I had assumed, perhaps foolishly, that rethinking the entire sport might take some time. :-)

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 11, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....noting all with interest. Just wanted to point out to Petey that I got us 87 wins....now, that's mostly on a "Gut" feeling. But I do feel that .500 or better is not a stretch. Having said that, and having noted my "Gut" good vibes about The Rizz and the positive direction we seem headded in....still, an AWFUL lot of decent cheap players...NOT wearing the Curly W.STILL waiting for the slow Lerners to prove to me that patience is a virtue...The frustration comes from loving this team and not having a choice in that decision!I'm a 50+ y.o. native! Still gotta pinch myself...I mean, I got a HOME TEAM to root for...in my "favorite" sport!
Just hope this isnt another plan to make more money by selling us hope....
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo2 | February 11, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

@TimDZ: The former "shysterball" author is good & has sources, but I'll believe it when it's posted to mlb.com/tranactions.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"@peric: OK, So you're proposing Willingham+Storen+PTBNL to the Tigers"

@BinM, not exactly. I guess I'm thinking ahead without elaborating. Suppose someone like Lincecum (hypothetical of course) gets really pissed at his current team. Suppose, by some miracle, that pitcher might actually consider the "hopefully up-and-coming" Nationals ... for a price ... a hefty one but worth it. This could happen during the 1st half of the season ... I guess its a reach.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm ignorant .. but I am still wondering where Nate Karns went on all the roster listings? Never see his name?

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

BTW, I posted a synopsized 2 line question to KLaw on whether the Nats have had a good offseason or Lerners are cheap. He didn't bite.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@zendo: A fair bit to be positive about to-date (Marquis/Pudge/Kennedy as FA's, the b'pen touchups, some NRI depth signings). Still a bit to go to gain true 'contender' status though, imo. I'd hope for between 73-77 wins from the current 40+group, but with another tweak or two [i.e. Wang], a .500 or better finish could be possible.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Nathan Karns did not appear in any way, shape, or form for the Nationals in 2009 after signing; He was invited to the Florida Instructional League to finish the '09 season, and could begin his pro career with the GCL Nationals in 2010.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Last I checked Wang wasn't healthy. What makes the optimists believe a.) he will sign here (no other big name wants to) and b.) actually be able to pitch? Geeze, call it for what it is - he's a dumpster risk. A Bedard signing but nicer in the clubhouse. If healthy, its a good reward, if not, it's DCab. Either way a good signing that the Nationals will not make because I doubt he wants to pitch here.

Posted by: Nataholic | February 11, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"but with another tweak or two [i.e. Wang], a .500 or better finish could be possible."

@BinM, so basically what you are saying is that Rizzo is relying on one or more of: the return of Wang (possibly jZimm toward the end of 2010 season?) Chico making it back, Martin, Martis, Mock, Thompson, Detwiler, taking that next giant step foward.

Trading seems more likely to succeed at this point? My take is that Martin will step forward on sheer guts ... hopefully learning a thing or pitch or two from Marquis and perhaps Wang? But as you and many point out he is not a power pitcher ... something they sorely lack?

And Strasburg is coming off of knee surgery so may be like a Kobernus ... both considered key components without having yet played a game? Seems awfully scary ...


Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

@beep beep, new post by Chico.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@peric: Don't read too far forward, or too much into my "personal" observations - Marquis/Lannan/Stannan/Olsen/Martis as an initial top-5, with Martin/Detwiler/Wang/others as 'call-ups' COULD go to .500. If the team signs Wang, then a trade for a SP seems unlikely, imo.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Three things...

1. Nats cannot trade Storen until 1 year after he was drafted.

2. Selig's panel of "experts" had a 3+ hour conference call earlier this week.

3. I cannot say what I would do if I was Nats GM - as far as spending Lerner's money. But I would have been spending more in 2007 and 2008. And not wasting money on garbage like Cabrera or the open tryouts that we had in Spring '07. As owner, I would have been embarassed.

And yes, if it was my team, I'd spend league average payroll to move from 103 losses down to 95 losses.

Posted by: comish4lif | February 11, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Give me your tired, your one-armed,
Your unproven rookies yearning for stardom,
The wretched flotsam of your bullpen discards.
Send these, the spring training invites, pitchers with double-digit ERAs to the Gnats,
I lift my leg before the first pitch is thrown!

Posted by: MartinZook | February 13, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

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