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Nats sign Livo to minor league deal

Addressing their persistent need for starting rotation depth, the Washington Nationals on Wednesday renewed one of their most enduring relationships, signing right-handed pitcher Livan Hernandez to a minor league deal. Hernandez, who turned 35 last week, will be in camp Friday, and becomes the clearest candidate for a spot at the back end of the rotation.

Now entering their sixth season since relocation, the Nationals have seen Hernandez at almost every stage of his career -- first when he was an all-star caliber ace, later when he developed a reputation for ordinary numbers but extraordinary durability. Hernandez started the first regular season game in D.C., in 2005. He won 15 games that year. He has surpassed the 200-inning mark in nine seasons, and ranks sixth among active players in innings pitched.

And that track record differentiates Hernandez from other candidates -- J.D. Martin, Craig Stammen, and Garrett Mock, among others -- vying for the final spots in the rotation. Facing the recent injury to Ross Detwiler (hip) and lingering questions about the health of presumed No. 3 starter Scott Olsen (shoulder), Washington this week sought insurance. General manager Mike Rizzo explored several options, including free agent Braden Looper, but eventually settled on Hernandez, who has told the team he is ready to pitch immediately.

This will be Hernandez's third stint with the organization, and the history runs deep. Though he began his career with the Marlins and later the Giants, he joined the Expos in 2003, and arrived in Washington as the designated ace. In 2005, Hernandez threw 246-1/3 innings and had a 3.98 ERA. But on Aug. 7, 2006, the club traded him to Arizona in exchange for starters Mock and Matt Chico. Then, late last August, just days after his release by the New York Mets, the Nationals signed Hernandez and immediately inserted him into their rotation. In eight starts with Washington, Hernandez went 2-4 with a 5.36 ERA. But six of those eight games were quality starts.

All told, Hernandez had a 9-12 record and a 5.44 ERA in 2009. At the end of the season, he emphasized his appreciation for Washington, and his hope to remain with the team.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 24, 2010; 1:33 PM ET
 
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Next: An introduction to Adam Kilgore

Comments

Odalis Perez started the 1st game at Nats Park.

Livo started the 1st at RFK in '05.

Get it right.

Posted by: Redskins2Win | February 24, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@Chico Harlan:"Hernandez started the very first game at Nationals Park."

Yikes. Talk about a short memory. Um, no he didn't. Odalis Perez was the first starter at Nationals Park.

Livo actually was the first National to start a game at RFK Stadium.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | February 24, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Actually, reading it again, it looks like Chico did not recall when Nats Park opened. He seems to have the Livo chronolgy more or less right.

Hernandez was, of course, not a Nat when Nats Park opened.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | February 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

sorry, thanks for catching the error. meant to say he started the first game in DC, not the first game at nats park. yes, it was odalis. i wonder what he's doing now.

Posted by: Chico Harlan | February 24, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Q & A with new Nats beat reporter Adam Kilgore... sounds promising.

http://misterirrelevant.com/index.php/2010/02/24/ten-questions-with-new-washington-post-nationals-reporter-adam-kilgore/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ten-questions-with-new-washington-post-nationals-reporter-adam-kilgore

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | February 24, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

welcome back Livo!
But I may be the only person in NatsNation happy to see him back on the team. (assuming he will become the 5th starter).

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | February 24, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

There is no down side here so hope the folks freaking out on the last post will relax. There is no reason to believe that Rizzo will give Livo a roster spot if 5 other pitchers have shown they are pitching better than what we know Livo will do.

Also, I love stats, but his are tricky. His ERA gets high because of really bad games but he actually doesn't have that many. On a team hoping to win 75 games, a guy who is guaranteed to take the ball every 5th day and 3 times out of 5 keep you competitive into the 7th is highly valued.

If Olsen can't go on April 1 and there aren't three of the young guys getting it done, then Livo will be a great pick up.

Posted by: Avar | February 24, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@ 1stBaseCoach

No, you're not alone. I am happy he is back too!

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 24, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"yes, it was odalis. i wonder what he's doing now." Posted by: Chico Harlan
----------
Well, it ain't good:
http://tinyurl.com/ycrdpm9
******
Odalis Perez Golpea A Rafa Rosario Por Una Mujer
Posted on 27 December 2009.

Odalis Perez Golpea A Rafa Rosario Por Una Mujer

Segun los cirqueros el Pelotero Odalis Perez le dio tremenda trompa a el Merenguero Rafa Rosario en la Discoteca Copas, todo porque lo encontro con su amada Evelina Garcia quien tambien llevo sus golpes en plena discoteca.

A Odalis lo sacaron todos los seguridad del local y la podre Evelina se fue con su marido con un Ojo abollao, Rafa Rosario se quedo con la hermana de Evelina en la disco disfrutando hasta a las 5:00 am en la disco Copas donde luego que se fue evelina estos se comian a besos en la pista!!! Pero el Merenguero quiere acabar con las Hermanas."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 24, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Was at a game at the old dump when Livo was pitching. Late innings, we're behind, guys on base and Livo comes to the plate with 2 outs. I turned to my spouse and said "Livo could help himself with a home run here" and we both laughed. Second pitch, hard swing connects, line drive ball down inside of 3rd base line, keeps rising slowly and leaves the field! Livo won that one, thanks to that self help. Don't know how he will do this year, but I treasure that memory and wish him well.

Posted by: NatsFly | February 24, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

and with pictures
http://tinyurl.com/yf89kae

Short version: got in a fight in a disco with a musician over a woman.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 24, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Let's see how this goes. Livo eats innings but he hasn't broken 4.80 in ERA since 2005.

Posted by: jksesq1 | February 24, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the Q & A repost.


If Strasburg has a brilliant spring and tears up the minors in his first 8-10 starts, I don't think it would be a bad idea to have Livo keeping his rotation spot warm up here in the big leagues until Jesus is ready.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | February 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather have Livo on the mound then SS for the first half of the season. Let him, Batista and Estes battle it out in the competition of old guys looking to regain glory.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 24, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm guessing the plan is for Livo to start until Wang is healthy when if is pitching well they will keep him if he is throwing well but more than likely just release him.

Rizzo must not believe that the young guys are ready or that Olsen will be healthy anytime soon.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 24, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Hernandez is better than his numbers.

He throws junk and when he is effective he only gives up 1 or 2 runs.

Unfortunately, when he can't get his pitches over he gets shelled because he lacks velocity.

So, what you end up with is a guy that will win 4-5 games with 2-1 or 4-3 scores for you but will also lose a couple of games 9-2 or 8-3.

The bottom line is he will make more quality starts than poor ones and more often than not will keep the team in the game late.

With the Nationals offense being much better than in previous years in 2009 and expected to be the same or a bit better in 2010, Hernandez could see run support of 5-6 runs per game in his starts and that also will make him look better.

My problem with the Nats is not Hernandez, but rather the failure to land John Garland on a $5M deal for one year and the signing of Wang instead.

Wang even if medically cleared in June won't be at his best until August.

That means best case that the Nationals are paying him for perhaps 2 months of solid work.

I would rather have had Garland pitching 25-30 starts over 5 months.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 24, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

There is no down side here so hope the folks freaking out on the last post will relax. ...

Posted by: Avar | February 24, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

What's an example of someone freaking out? No one is freaking out. The signing of Livo was completely predictable. It feels warm and safe, like it was meant to happen.

Let's see. Marquis replaces the injured Zimm and could be even better than a healthy Zimm. Lannan should do as well as always, maybe better. Livo should be most of his old self, declining only slightly. Maybe Wang will get healthy and contribute. The relief pitching should be better, especially if Matt Capps is the 2007 Capps. Not a great improvement over a staff that was last in NL, but it should be good for a few more wins. Not freaking out and not excited either.

Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

He was released from Minnesota in 2008 and New York in 2009. I'm glad it's a minor leage deal.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 24, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I do appreciate a player that wants to be here, I think Livo is the first player ever for whom the Nats were his first choice.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 24, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Leopard

Garland did not want to come here. Period. The Nats offered more years and money yet he preferred life on the West Coast. Its nice to prefer someone else but only if its realistic. Garland signing with the Nats was not realistic.

Posted by: jfromPG | February 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Leopard, it is possible the Nats want Livo to hold over until Wang or SS arrives; if you have faith in Olsen and the rest of the staff then, realistically, signing Garland would be a waste of $. And we don't have Wang for 2 months even if he comes back in August, we have him for a year and two months. If he's healthy then he's the best pitcher of this FA year not named Lackey.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 24, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

For someone with only one choice, the first choice and the only choice are one and the same. Also known as the last resort.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 24, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The best thing about Livo is that he doesn't need to have his beer goggles on in order to hook up with the Nats. We're like his old high school girlfriend next door. He might leave for awhile, but when he comes home, we're still here waiting for him.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 24, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@NatsFly:

That is a nice memory that you have about Livan hitting a go-ahead home run at RFK with guys on base. Except for the fact that it's not true.

Livan hit 1 home run at RFK in his career as a Nat. It was on April 29, 2005, against the Mets, a two-out solo blast in the 5th with the Nats already up 2-1. Baseball Reference can be your friend. Here are Livo's game logs for:

2005: http://tiny.cc/cQnDu
2006: http://tiny.cc/J5woM

And the expanded box from the 2005 game: http://tiny.cc/0Qw5N

It seems to me like a lot of Nats fans have faulty memories when it comes to Livan. The guy is a punk. His attitude in 2005 down the stretch when the Nats were still in contention was awful and disruptive to the team. Remember his "I'm done pitching for the season" outburst and then his equipment-tossing incident three weeks later? He hardly showed leadership down the stretch; he instead contributed to the dissension that was tearing the team apart.

It's really too bad to see that the Nats are continuing the dumpster-diving by bringing Livo back again. Guess that plan to bring in 2 established starters didn't work out too well, for anyone who said that we should give Rizzo until Spring Training starts before we grade the team's additions.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Instead of yet another retread, what about spending more on one Jared Washburn or Noah Lowry(unsure if he's signed yet), than bringing in a bunch of maybes( Estes, Livo) ??

As excited as I am about what Rizzo has done this winter, the retread signings remind me too much of Bowden. I do appreciate Livo's wanting to be here, but pretty sure we can better now on the low price they were looking for.

Posted by: NatsFD11 | February 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It appears the dearth of quality starts by the almost ready prospects is at the heart of this signing. Miguel Batista is still there too.

I am still wondering what Riggleman/Rizzo are going to do about the dearth of left-handed starters? Thompson is the only truly healthy guy that fits that role?

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

As excited as I am about what Rizzo has done this winter, the retread signings remind me too much of Bowden.

Posted by: NatsFD11 | February 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

The retread signings do not necessarily fit a "style" of either Bowden or Rizzo. It's the budgets. If you have low budgets, this is what happens. This is not either one's "idea" of how to be GM.

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

Lets see 2010 projected rotation at best

Marquis
Lannan
Olsen
Wang
Livo
maybe Jesus apears

All the baby nats in AAA or traded

2011 projected rotation

Jesus
Zimm
Lannan
Wang
Holder

I wish we could "fast forward this year"

Posted by: hansenjo | February 24, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

"If he's healthy then he's the best pitcher of this FA year not named Lackey."

The operative word there is "if". John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Chad Cordero.

Is Chico able to pitch a quality start, he had problems with this before surgery? JZimm, Wang and Olsen: all recovering from serious injury and surgery? Is this team relying on
guys who are injured or on a guy who has never pitched a major
league game to round out the rotation? Even if Strasburg manages to pitch well in the majors this year his innings must be limited. Won't the same likely be for Wang, Olsen, and Chico as they continue recovery?

So, in the end don't you really only have Lannan, Marquis, Martin, Mock, Martis, Balester, and Thompson? Followed by Livan Hernandez, Miguel Batista as the veteran backups?

In June/July you may see Strasburg. Right now he seems to be the best bet on that score.

Fortunately, the bull pen should theoretically be stronger should the starters flounder? But, without quality starts aren't they right back where they were last year?

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

As excited as I am about what Rizzo has done this winter, the retread signings remind me too much of Bowden.

Posted by: NatsFD11 | February 24, 2010 3:03 PM

The retread signings do not necessarily fit a "style" of either Bowden or Rizzo. It's the budgets. If you have low budgets, this is what happens. This is not either one's "idea" of how to be GM.

Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 3:13 PM
____________________________________________________________

Exactly. Blame the Lerners for these low budget type signings not the GM's.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 24, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

2011 "pipe dream" Rotation:

1. Strasburg.
2. The guy they draft first in 2010. (promoted later in July.)
3. Lannan.
4. Holder.
5. Karns.
6. Thompson (if he pans out.)
7. Marquis/Martis/Martin/Meyers

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I do appreciate a player that wants to be here, I think Livo is the first player ever for whom the Nats were his first choice.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 24, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I suspect that Stammen will be unable to beat out Martin and Martis. Martis has too much potential and Martin is way more competitive.

He either becomes a reliever or is traded.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,

I'm curious what you see in Trevor Holder?

He went 2-3 in 6 starts at Potomac last year with a 9.26 ERA.

How can he be expected to be in the rotation in 2011?

Posted by: Section505203 | February 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

The best thing about Livo is that he doesn't need to have his beer goggles on in order to hook up with the Nats. We're like his old high school girlfriend next door. He might leave for awhile, but when he comes home, we're still here waiting for him.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 24, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Yes, and her name is Patsy.

Main Entry: pat·sy
Pronunciation: \ˈpat-sē\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural pat·sies
Etymology: perhaps from Italian pazzo fool
Date: 1903
: a person who is easily manipulated or victimized : pushover

Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"How can he be expected to be in the rotation in 2011?"

@section 505023,

Do you honestly see anyone else? I am going by the guy's pedigree, where he was drafted, the fact that he is a power pitcher that is rough around the edges. You have to assume they dropped him in Potomac that rapidly (over all the other SP's they drafted) for a reason. He supposedly has that potential? I believe he pitched over 240 innings in college and in 2 college world series as the ace of the staff.

Do I actually believe that will happen? I am suddenly accused of being negative ... so again I will just say that is why I used the adjective "pipe dream". Kind of like thinking this is the Livan of 2005.

I think they need Matt Cain. Better yet, Cliff Lee. Now, there's a pipe dream.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I keep seeing Trevor Holder's name pop up as candidate for the 2011 rotation (in reader's comments). Is there really any buzz to make that a remotely possible scenario? Didn't he have a fairly rough go of it at Hi A ball last year, and I don't remember his numbers at Georgia being that impressive either. Not bashing the kid, just wondering if management has those kinds of expectations for him.

Posted by: sollazo | February 24, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Livo is not a punk. His comments were not disruptive - unexpected - but not disruptive. He was a warrior that year, pitching hurt. he was upset with being taken out of a game by Frank and those comments didn't hurt the team.

I welcome him back. I was at that game where he hit the HR. My memory - no boxscores consulted, is that he had struck out the at bat before - and tossed his bat to a surprised fan sitting right behind the dougout. We won the game and it is one of my favorite memories from 05.

Hope he pitches well and makes it as the #5. Start the kids in the minors w less pressure.

Posted by: alm1000 | February 24, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Well, Livo's back, so I guess I can drop by again, too, eh?

Remember when Frank used to use him as a pinch hitter, sometimes when there were still position players on the bench? Oh man, crazy.

Posted by: Section506 | February 24, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"Etymology: perhaps from Italian pazzo fool"

Interesting ... pazzo actually means "crazy" or "crazed" ...

Now, "fool" would be: stupido, buffone, fare il buffone, fare il sciocco, idiota, imbecile, etc.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Feel free to post at other times too, 506. Now where did I put that fatted calf ... ?

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 24, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I don't care, I still like him. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey, it's 506! Good to "see" you!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

506!!!!!

Hope married life is treating you well.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 24, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

CIL--I'll easily grant you that my memory is less than perfect, nor do I spend my time with box scores. You may be right that we were not ahead. Not the way I remember it, but it was a long time ago in a place far far away.

The fond memory still stands whether the score was 1-2 or 2-1; he hit a nice HR and we won the game and it was a good moment which was, after all, the salient point. As I said, I wish him well.

Posted by: NatsFly | February 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Which is slower?

Livo's big curve, or his stroll across the field after a ground out?

GO NATS!

Posted by: alm1000 | February 24, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Willie Harris can get from second base to home in time to catch Livo's curveball.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 24, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Also, welcome back 506!

Posted by: BobLHead | February 24, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

NatsFly, don't worry about it. I don't spend my time with box scores either, but I have been blessed with a good memory and your recollection just sounded wrong to me, so I followed up on it.

In any case, as I wrote previously, your comment is really just an example of what I see as a really strange phenomenon when it comes to Livan. Nats fans seem to have this distorted view of Livan as some kind of overweight lovable goofball making the best of diminishing physical abilities, a team guy, a good example. I don't buy it. He's bad news, he has been throughout his stays in DC.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 24, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Happy to have him - Go Nats! Love it when he's at the plate too!

Posted by: PattyinSJ | February 24, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Also, 506, nice to "see" you as well.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 24, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Nice throwback post, BobL. :thumbs up:

---

Willie Harris can get from second base to home in time to catch Livo's curveball.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 24, 2010 4:13 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Periculum, I'm curious what you see in Trevor Holder? He went 2-3 in 6 starts at Potomac last year with a 9.26 ERA. How can he be expected to be in the rotation in 2011?

Posted by: Section505203 | February 24, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Holder is one of the under-slot signings in last June's draft. I think he went in the third round, although he was projected to go several rounds lower, shocking the baseball world. He didn't do much in college ball either, as I recall.

Because of Holder's cooperation with the Nats' budgetary needs, he could get a starting slot just out of gratitude-- regardless of performance. I'm with periculum on this one. I can see him in the rotation!

Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

For sake of clarity - Starting Pitchers in Viera; From the 40-man roster...
Right-handers: Atilano, Balester, Jaime, Marquis, Martin, Martis, Stammen, Strasburg (8); Left-handers: Lannan, Olsen, Thompson (3).
(Spot Starters / Long Relievers) = 3
RH: Mock; LH: Chico, English.
(Injured) = 3
RH: Wang, JZimmermann; LH: Detwiler.

From the Non-Roster Invitees...
(Starters) = 2
RH: L.Hernandez; LH: Estes.
(Spot Starters / Long Relievers) = 1
RH: Batista.

From Minor-League Camp...
(Starters) = 1
LH: James.

By my count, that's eight southpaws in camp, even before the other MiLB players report. The LHSP's are there, healthy or not, and there is no rule that a team needs two or three LHSP in the rotation to be competitive. Atlanta (& maybe 1-2 others) might even start the year with a 5-man RH rotation.
The point is, a team wants their best five available starters beginning the season with the big club; Whether they are left or right-handed is secondary.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC, 505203: FWIW, Trevor Holder pitched in 11 games as a pro in 2009, with appearances in Vermont, Hagerstown, and Potomac; He wasn't very good in any of those stops, ending with a 6.97ERA & 1.79WHIP for the season; Nathan Karns had no pro appearances in 2009.
Just an early guess, but I think Holder will start the year in HAG, while Karns will begin his pro career with the GCL Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

In no partiular order
- Yeah Livo.
- Good Work Rizzo.
- No this does not mean the Lerners are cheap. If they were cheap Balester would be starting.
- No Holder has done nothing to indicate quick call up.
- Let stop the Jesus thing before it gets going. Cute comment by Morgan and quoted by Boz, but that might be a bit much pressure.


Posted by: natbiscuits | February 24, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"2011 projected rotation

Jesus
Zimm
Lannan
Wang
Holder"

Marquis will still be here and in the rotation in 2011.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 24, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Great news! Welcome Back Livo!!

Posted by: twinbrook | February 24, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Here is what Andy Seiler's MLB Draft Blog had to say about the Holder pick:

3. Trevor Holder, RHP, Georgia, #81 overall: This was a shocking pick. Holder was a senior starter for the Bulldogs, but was hit hard despite some solid stuff. Most predicted him to go in the 7th-10th round range, so this was surprising. He signed for under slot, though, so I give them props for that. However, this was altogether puzzling, as Holder seems to have middle reliever written all over him. He signed on June 15 and threw 3 shutout innings in his only start for Vermont. DOB: 1/8/87. Signing bonus: $200,000.

Holder actually signed for quite a bit less than the Nats' fourth round pick. Here are Andy's full comments on the Nats' draft:

http://mlbbonusbaby.com/2009/07/07/draft-review-washington-nationals/

Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Holder did nothing to indicate being worthy of being a 3rd round draft pick either. So why not pencil him in to the 2011 rotation? Sounds reasonable to me when it's the Nats we're talking about.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 24, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

"Nats fans seem to have this distorted view of Livan as some kind of overweight lovable goofball making the best of diminishing physical abilities, a team guy, a good example."

Those are his good qualities. His bad quality is that even when he gives you a quality start, that still translates to a 4.50 ERA. (Was it Sutton or Dibble that kept pointing that out to Carpenter?) That means you need 5 runs to win a game he starts, or a perfect night from the pen. Or maybe both. And when he doesn't give you a quality start, you need 10 runs to win.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 24, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Easy, folks: Livo's in camp, but he's not on the roster yet. Let's take a look at things in Mid-March, after the first couple of cut-downs before jumping to any rash conclusions.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

2009 (Senior):
*Went 7-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts as the team’s No. 1 pitcher
*Drafted in the third round with the 81st overall pick by the Washington Nationals
*Finished career with 22 career wins, tied for fourth all-time at Georgia with Cris Carpenter
*Named to SEC All-Defensive Team
*Made first career plate appearance vs. #2 LSU in SEC Tournament on May 23
*No decision in Georgia’s 2-1 win over #20 Arkansas on May 21 in SEC Tournament, allowing just one run on five hits in eight innings, taking a shutout into the ninth
*Picked up seventh win and 22nd of career at #11 Ole Miss on April 24, holding the Rebels to two runs on three hits in 6.0 innings
*Recorded sixth win at Kentucky on April 12, going 5.1 innings and allowing four runs
*Won for the fifth time this season and the 20th time in his career at Tennessee on March 27, going 7.0 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits; he retired 15 of the first 16 batters
*Picked up fourth win of the season vs. #25 Mississippi State on March 20, going 6.0 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits while striking out six
*Held Quinnipiac hitless in 7.0 innings and struck out seven batters on March 6
*Earned the win at Arizona on Feb. 27, going 5.0 innings and allowing two earned runs on six hits while striking out five with just one walk
*Picked up first win in 2009 in season opener, allowing two earned runs on four hits in 5.1 IP against Youngstown State on Feb. 20
*Preseason honors included Baseball America All-SEC; Rivals.com All-SEC.
*One of 30 NCAA baseball players to be named a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Candidate

2008 (Junior):
*A 10th Round Draft pick of the Florida Marlins
*Made 17 starts as the ace for the SEC Champions that advanced to the College World Series Finals and posted a number two final national ranking
*A 2nd Team All-SEC pick and member of SEC Academic Honor Roll
*Posted an 8-4 mark, 4.41 ERA in 98.0 innings pitched with 68 Ks and 31 BB
*Went 5-3, 4.99 ERA in SEC action
*Opening Day starter and beat #1 Arizona 9-7 (5 IP, 5R, 4K)
*Carried a no-hitter for 6.1 IP in 7 IP in 8-1 win over Memphis on March 7
*Tied career-high with 7 scoreless IP in no decision versus #9 USC on April 5
*Notched road wins over LSU (6.1 IP, 2 ER) and Florida (7 IP, 4 ER)
*No action in SEC Tournament due to shoulder stiffness
*No decision in NCAA Athens Regional start vs. Louisville (4 IP, 8H, 4R)
*Career-high 8.2 IP in winning Super Regional game one start vs. N.C. State
*Made two starts at the CWS and went 0-0, 4.91 ERA in 11 IP with 7 BB and 9 K

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Trevor Holder

2007 (Sophomore):
*Went 2-3, 4.50 ERA in 20 appearances, 10 starts
*Registered 64 IP with 26 BB and team-high 60 K
*Posted a 1-2 mark and 4.95 ERA in SEC action (11 appearances, 5 starts)
*Went 2-1, 4.54 ERA in 43.2 IP as a starter and 0-2, 4.43 ERA in 20.1 IP as a reliever
*Wins over Wofford and #13 Miss. State, losses to #15 Oregon State, Tennessee and Kentucky
*Started and part of combined 2-0 shutout of Purdue on Feb. 24 but got no decision (5 IP, 1H, 0BB, 5K)
*Career-long 6 IP in starts versus #20 Auburn on March 17 and at #7 South Carolina on May 19, no decision in both
*Part of combined 7-0 shutout of top-ranked Vanderbilt on May 5 (2 IP, 2K)
*Career-high 7K in start at #7 South Carolina on May 19 and left with 13-2 lead (6 IP, 7H, 4R, 2BB, 7K) but Gamecocks rallied for 14-13 win

2006 (Freshman):
*Posted a 5-3 mark, 4.70 ERA in 21 appearances including eight starts in helping Georgia to the College World Series
*Tremendous NCAA post-season going 2-0, 0.87 ERA in three appearances, one start for a total of 10.1 IP, 7H, 1R, 0BB, 4K
*In debut as a starter went 6.0 innings not allowing a run on three hits while striking out three in Georgia’s 11-0 win over Louisville on March 12
*Tossed 5.1 innings giving up one run on five hits to earn a 6-4 win over Alabama on March 19 in his SEC debut as Bulldogs avoided a sweep
*Went 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA in SEC action, tied a career-high with 6.0 IP in loss @ #18 Vanderbilt on April 16
*Picked up the win on May 26 vs. #12 South Carolina at the SEC Tournament by throwing 4.0 innings in relief
*Started an won NCAA Athens Regional Championship game over Florida State 3-2 on June 5 (career-high 6 IP, 4H, 1ER, 0BB, 2K).
*Appeared from the bullpen in game three of the NCAA Athens Super Regional vs. South Carolina tossing 2.0 scoreless innings to earn the win
*Tossed 2.1 scoreless innings versus #4 Oregon State at the College World Series

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

SCOUTING REPORT (3/1): Holder had a solid regular season for Yarmouth-Dennis of the Cape Cod League in the summer of 2007, going 4-1, 0.89 with eight walks and 28 strikeouts in 30 innings while used as both a starter and in relief. He saved his best for last, though, pitching the first eight innings of a 2-0 win over Falmouth in the deciding game of the Cape League’s championship series. He allowed one hit, walked two and struck out 10. With a number of scouts watching his every step, he thoroughly dominated the Commodores with a fastball that had tailing action and slight sink and got increasingly stronger as the game moved along and peaked at 93 mph. He also worked in an 80-84 mph slider that he learned during the summer and a filthy changeup—his best pitch. He showed excellent command of all his pitches, along with an aggressive, attacking style and an ability to mix all his pitches—and did so with little effort. He can throw strikes consistently to both sides of the plate with Greg Maddux-like precision, and works at a fast tempo. He returned to Georgia, intent on hanging on to a starting job in 2008 after going 2-3, 4.50 in 20 appearances (10 starts) for the Bulldogs as a sophomore. He projects as a back-end of the rotation starter.—ALLAN SIMPSON

UPDATE (5/15): Holder was the Bulldogs’ Friday starter all spring and while he didn’t quite repeat his Cape Cod League championship game performance, he solidified his draft status as a third- to fifth-rounder. He added and subtracted to a fastball between 86 and 92 mph, with sneaky-quick velocity at the higher level. He also showed a big-league slider and changeup at times this spring. Holder’s record was 7-4, 4.48 with 54 strikeouts in 74 innings as No. 1-seeded Georgia entered the SEC tournament.—DR

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Mike Rizzo view Holder different than does Andy Seller. So are you going to trust Rizzo a professional Scout all his life or Andy Seller. For Holder to be placed very **early** in Potomac would seem to indicate that he has an MLB pitching repertoire, command and the velocity required. As indicated by his lengthy pedigree. In some respects, perhaps, a better pedigree than even Strasburg has!

Whether that translates to a major league pitcher like Matt Cain or Greg Maddux is yet to be determined. It may not happen.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Please make it stop. Nobody thinks that Holder has a better pedigree than Strasburg. Nobody.

Strasburg was dominating Olympic competition and setting strikeout and no-hit records while Holder was giving up 4 runs a game in the SEC.

Posted by: faNATic | February 24, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I see periculum has rediscovered CTRL-X and CTRL-V. But does he really think anybody is reading all that stuff? Just scroll on down, baybee. It'll all go away.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 24, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

periculum,

Those are impressive stats! Thanks for supplying them.

The Nats drafted the college pitcher of the year in 2008 with a 13-0 record and a 2.25 ERA, and a 96 mph fastball (topping at 98). However, that guy wanted over-slot money.

Holder, with an ERA that is only double that of the other guy's, was willing to sign for under-slot. That probably makes him a better dollar-for-dollar prospect and an all-around better guy, definitely a better fit for the Nats. We need guys willing to break the salary structure of MLB, and Holder can continue to do that for the Nats.

Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

@peric: We get your proclivity the 'next new, shiny thing', but Holder's NCAA resume was less than sterling, imo. Namely...
2006 (Freshman):
Posted a 5-3 mark, 4.70 ERA in 21 appearances including eight starts in helping Georgia to the College World Series. This may have been his 'high-water mark', as Georgia won the CWS in 2006.
2007 (Sophomore):
Went 2-3, 4.50 ERA in 20 appearances, 10 starts.
Went 2-1, 4.54 ERA in 43.2 IP as a starter and 0-2, 4.43 ERA in 20.1 IP as a reliever (in SEC play).
2008 (Junior):
A 10th Round Draft pick of the Florida Marlins.
Posted an 8-4 mark, 4.41 ERA in 98.0 innings pitched with 68 Ks and 31 BB.
Went 5-3, 4.99 ERA in SEC action.
2009 (Senior):
Went 7-5 with a 4.48 ERA in 15 starts as the team’s No. 1 pitcher.
Drafted in the third round with the 81st overall pick by the Washington Nationals.

So in summary, he was 22-15 in NCAA competition, never posted an ERA below 4.40, and wasn't a full-time starter until his senior year at UGA. He also jumped from a 10th-round pick to a 3rd-round pick, with a worse record in his final year at UGA.
This kid was either 1) a 'signability' pick, 2) a massive screwup by Rizzo, or 3) the Nationals SEC scout(s) were getting kickbacks for talking him up pre-draft. I just can't see him as much more than a middle reliever in WSH, should he get that far.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone know if Dukes and/or Willingham reported today?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 24, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Holder, with an ERA that is only double that of the other guy's, was willing to sign for under-slot. That probably makes him a better dollar-for-dollar prospect and an all-around better guy, definitely a better fit for the Nats. We need guys willing to break the salary structure of MLB, and Holder can continue to do that for the Nats.
Posted by: EdDC | February 24, 2010 5:56 PM
----------------------
Ed: Has your tongue poked all the way through your cheek yet, or is it still just creating a large bulge?

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

"This kid was either 1) a 'signability' pick, 2) a massive screwup by Rizzo, or 3) the Nationals SEC scout(s) were getting kickbacks for talking him up pre-draft. I just can't see him as much more than a middle reliever in WSH, should he get that far. "

UGA was also ranked #1 and in the top 10 pretty during the entire time he was there, BinM. Can San Diego State claim they faced the same competition during the same period? Holder was facing the best of the best in college and found a way to prevail even in college world series games. You look at ERA I look at innings pitched, quality starts and pure competitive guts. He's an aggressive guy. Perhaps too aggressive, and cocky. Perhaps he just needs some smoothing of the edges.

Show me another pitcher in the Nats minor league system that has faced that sort of competition, the highest college has to offer, and has a similar record as a work horse and the ace of his staff?

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

"So are you going to trust Rizzo a professional Scout all his life or Andy Seller. For Holder to be placed very **early** in Potomac would seem to indicate that he has an MLB pitching repertoire, command and the velocity required."
******
The problem with that is, we wouldn't be trusting Rizzo, we'd be trusting your interpretation of where Rizzo, among others, chose to put this particular piece of inventory. Not quite the same thing. Not saying Holder sucks, just pointing out that Rizzo didn't say otherwise.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 24, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

EdDC, you must be on the Lerners' budget!!!!!!

AS LONG AS THE GNATS CONTINUE TO BE CHEAP (not frugal) TH!S FRANCH!SE WILL SUFFER...AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, the fans will suffer.

...Only if Marc Cuban were our owner.

Posted by: Lipty | February 24, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey, it's good to be back. Married life is great, as evidenced by my complete lack of trolling around here! Also, an unexpected slip of the SHIFT+1 right there. Bleh, bangers.

"Those are his good qualities. His bad quality is that even when he gives you a quality start, that still translates to a 4.50 ERA. (Was it Sutton or Dibble that kept pointing that out to Carpenter?) That means you need 5 runs to win a game he starts, or a perfect night from the pen. Or maybe both. And when he doesn't give you a quality start, you need 10 runs to win."

Not quite, nunof, though your general sentiment is correct on Livo. When Hernandez has a quality start you only need 4 runs (or less) to win a game with a perfect pen, since by definition he has given up no more than 3 runs, no matter how many innings he pitches.

Over a nine inning start, though, we would expect a pitcher with ERA 4.50 to make us scratch out 5 runs for a win, and since it's nine and there's no way to notch half a run, there's no pen involved.

Mostly Livo is an ass, but a tenacious one. When you live in a gritty city like DC, someone who never quits despite pissing off nearly everyone is a natural fan favorite.

Posted by: Section506 | February 24, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

And I too am unjustifiably glad, UH-gain, to see a nice warm Livo in camp. Got my 61 jersey all ready.

and 506, we missed ya. don't be such a stranger.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 24, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Short version: got in a fight in a disco with a musician over a woman.

In Spanish is funnier :)

Posted by: cordobes17 | February 24, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"I see periculum has rediscovered CTRL-X and CTRL-V. But does he really think anybody is reading all that stuff? Just scroll on down, baybee. It'll all go away."

So, Mr. An Broscia Mor (nunof1) who posts as such over on Nats Insider do you still think they will never trade Lastings Milllege? I wonder why the left him off the 40-man roster this spring? Did he turn up missing?

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"we'd be trusting your interpretation of where Rizzo, among others, chose to put this particular piece of inventory. Not quite the same thing. Not saying Holder sucks, just pointing out that Rizzo didn't say otherwise."

They put him in Potomac ... along with Storen and soon, Mr. Strasburg. Is that open to interpretation? Brian seems to feel that Mr. Karns will end up there as well, although as an RP?

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

SCNF, for what it's worth, an anonymous comment on TMZ blog (the Mark Zuckerman - I'm hoping that this acronym might have legs ;-)) said that Willingham's wife had delivered their child and that he is to report to camp either Friday or Saturday. Don't know re. Dukes.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

@SCNatsFan: No word yet from the "boots in the field" (Harlan, Goeseling, Ladson, Zuckerman) that I've seen; Tomorrow's reports from at least one that bunch should pinpoint the missing persons, if there are any.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Uh, "Willingham" is to report to camp.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"Please make it stop. Nobody thinks that Holder has a better pedigree than Strasburg. Nobody."

"Strasburg was dominating Olympic competition and setting strikeout and no-hit records while Holder was giving up 4 runs a game in the SEC."

Holder was in two college world series as a starter. Count 'em TWO. First as freshman then as a junior. How many did Strasburg pitch in? Is Olympic competition better than the top college teams? In some cases perhaps but for the most part probably not.

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

If you looked at the comments on Nats Insider an anonymous poster stated that Willingham had been given to Friday to report because of the birth of his daughter. Don't know if an anonymous post can be trusted.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

By the way many of you tried to present the same arguments about Martin ... and where did Martin end up?

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Yo guys. Just catching up on reader comments w/r/t playersreporting. Yeah, Dukes is already in Viera and accounted for. Willingham -- seems his wife just delivered a baby (or is hours away from it... not sure), but either way, there are some pressing fatherly issues that might keep him away for another day or two. i'll have more info tomorrow. either way, this isn't some sort of holdout.

Posted by: chicoharlan | February 24, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

@chicoharlan: Thanks for sticking your nose in & giving us the update - Greatly appreciated!

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Chico for the update

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 24, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for checking in Chico and allaying some of the premature fears about Dukes from yesterday. Best of luck to Willingham and his wife for a safe and healthy delivery for the baby and mom.

peric, with respect to the "same arguments" are you now saying that JD Martin also faced the best competition in college? Because that's clearly false - he was drafted out of high school.

What many others seem to agree on is that Holder has a long way to go before even becoming J.D. Martin. J.D. Martin had a 4.44 in 15 games for the Nats last year, eight years after he was drafted in 2001. Turning to Holder, he only achieved that level once (a whopping 4.41) against college hitters.

Additionally, let's recap that performance in the College World Series again for Holder. This is the CWS where he made more than a token appearance in one game:

Junior year: Made two starts at the CWS and went 0-0, 4.91 ERA in 11 IP with 7 BB and 9 K.

I mean, that's just killer stuff. Look, just because someone is on a CWS team doesn't mean that they carried their team there or did well against the competition once they arrived. Plenty of guys fail to get drafted off CWS teams, and apparently, some are overdrafted off of CWS teams.

Only one college guy went to the Olympics last time around. We've got him now, and the comparison of his "pedigree" to Holder's is to put Holder in a situation where he doesn't stand a chance. Give him a chance to become whatever he becomes in the minors, but don't trump him up to be more than he is.

Posted by: faNATic | February 24, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

"I mean, that's just killer stuff. Look, just because someone is on a CWS team doesn't mean that they carried their team there or did well against the competition once they arrived. Plenty of guys fail to get drafted off CWS teams, and apparently, some are overdrafted off of CWS teams."

Again you look at stats and blogs. This guy was their ACE, what part of ACE don't you understand? Perhaps you should look it up. He was, much like another draftee Kobernus, ostensibly the captain of his Bulldog teams. And that is a very popular school when it comes to sports. Of course he was important to their team. He also pitched way more innings in college than Strasburg as a result. And in the summers away from school.

Stop looking at blogs and come to real games dude!!!

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

"Give him a chance to become whatever he becomes in the minors, but don't trump him up to be more than he is."

He is exactly what he is ... a hard-nosed, aggressive, hard throwing pitcher who goes after hitters. He doesn't like to lose. He is not a "soft-tosser" as many here refer to Martin because his arm hasn't be surgically altered.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Be honest - you never watched a game with Holder live before he was drafted by the Washington Nationals because no one on this board had any idea that we were drafting him until his name was called. This "important to the school" and "doesn't like to lose" (every player still in the game at this point likes to win) stuff is ex post facto bunk to justify an unjustifiable assertion. How about this for an assessment from people that actually watch the games: senior year, Holder was on virtually every All-SEC team. Not a single post-season honor listed. Sounds like the people that watch weren't impressed, if not disappointed.

In any event, thank you for the ever-cogent responses, peric. Tragically, I looked on all the blogs and stats that I could find, and there was nothing that could accurately describe the inanity of a protracted Holder-Strasburg head-to-head "pedigree" comparison. I had to witness it for myself.

Posted by: faNATic | February 24, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I wish to disassociate most of my comments from anyone overly argumentative or negative, but ... I do think that when you read the body of evidence about Holder two things become apparent. 1) He was likely drafted earlier than he had to be, and 2) the oft repeated characterization that he would have lasted to round 9-10 was patently absurd. There is little doubt that the Nats were being pragmatic with their 1b, 2, and 3 picks but they can be excused for ensuring that they could sign the majority of their picks.

As for Holder's near term future, it is unrealistic to think he will be ready in 2011. If he finishes 2010 in AA it will be a huge success. But even then he will be behind too many pitchers to expect he can break into the majors for the Nats before 2012/13. Excepting Strassburg its time to stop thinking about rushing pitchers through the system.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 24, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The hope is the scouting team saw something in Holder that makes them think he can be productive on the big club at some point and it wasn't just a case of being cheap,

As for Storen, I think you can debate if the Nats were being cheap or drafted who they felt was the best at a position that the team had nothing in the pipeline for. I truly believe when all is said and done that Storen will be every bit as important to the Nats as Crow will be to the Royals but I guess we'll just have to wait and see how that pans out.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 24, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Livo's changeup cracks me up. I swear I saw 61 mph once!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 24, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

"Excepting Strassburg its time to stop thinking about rushing pitchers through the system."

I'm not even sure rushing HIM is a good idea? It does seem prudent to give him the entire year to work on mechanics fundamentals and working up to 200 innings a year. He's all they got. And they ain't going anywhere next year.

And Mr. Fanatic, gee I was born in Syracuse in the village of Solvay. One of my sisters lives in zip 30307. Take that as a clue dude.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

@Natbiscuits, I hope that Holder will end up surprising many people ... in a good way; unlike well, say, 1st rounder Colin Willem. Now, what kind of competition did he face ... and when he faced the real deal what happened? He is still young, maybe he has tools ... but tools are not enough.

I may not know as much about baseball as defined in the Baseball Prospectus as many here do but I do know when I see a good athlete in action who won't quit. That would be JD Martin, and I am hopeful that the same applies to Holder. Perhaps Karns as well but he is more enigmatic where this is concerned.

I am of the opinion, given the way ownership wants to run things, that they absolutely have to draft another pitcher in 2010 instead of Bryce Harper. It seems like that (the draft) is the only way they will ever be able to build a really competitive pitching rotation. Unfortunate, but true.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Me, too, NatsNut.

---

Livo's changeup cracks me up. I swear I saw 61 mph once!

Posted by: NatsNut | February 24, 2010 7:36 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Noting that the Nats paid Karns over-slot money. I don't think they are as "cheap" when it comes to the draft. Ownership has been told that this is where you save all the big bucks ... with a farm system full of strong prospects that are under team control for an extended period of time at better than reasonable prices.

I see Rizzo going for intangibles, not just radar gun speeds, and stats. That's where Kobernus came from. He appears to be picking strong leaders as opposed to technicians ... like a Joel Hanarahan. I don't know where that will lead ... but it is interesting ... at least to me.

Posted by: periculum | February 24, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

59 mph on the big curve.

LIVO LIVO

Go Nats!

Posted by: alm1000 | February 24, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

I saw 53 on the gun at RFK.

In fact I once saw Frank Robby walk to the mound between release and catch ...

I heard Mark Reynolds swung three times on one pitch - struck out.

Jose Reyes once stole three bases on one pitch (But Matt LeCroy was catching)

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 24, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

@Biscuits: Well stated with your 7:23 post, although I see no good reason to rush even Strasburg through the minors. I'd rather see him go 'Lights Out' in the minors until mid-season, then get the call-up to 'the Show' for a limited role in 2010.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

@SCNatsFan: NCAA-level relievers (like Storen) seem to have a short shelf-life in the Majors, particularly with this franchise (see Chad Cordero); Small sample size, I know, but something to keep in mind. I'd love to see Storen succeed & have a long career, And I have no regrets (as a fan) over how the 2008/2009 picks worked out, but odds are that Crow has a longer career.

Posted by: BinM | February 24, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Remember his "I'm done pitching for the season" outburst and then his equipment-tossing incident three weeks later?
___

My recollection is the first was because his knee was giving him great pain, which he tried to pitch through, and the second was because he didn't want to be taken out of a game. If you had 25 guys with his attitude it would be one hard-fighting team.

Posted by: markfromark | February 24, 2010 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"If you had 25 guys with his attitude it would be one hard-fighting team."

Really? You want 25 guys each of whom pouts and tosses stuff in the stands and busts up water coolers when he plays like crap? Yeah, that would be awesome. I do have to say, though, it would make watching another 100-loss season a lot more entertaining.

Anyway, here's what Livo's manager--a guy who truly knows a bit about being an intense, hard-fighting competitor--had to say about Livo's attitude and meltdown:

"These are tough times," Robinson said, "and this is when you want and expect your veteran players and your leaders . . . to take charge and not let other things, outside things, affect the way you react or feel, or let it affect your performance."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | February 24, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@BinM: I understand and agree with what you are saying but IMHO there are many first round picks as pitchers who never make much of an impact, even ones drafted early. Look at Clint Everts who we drafted, I think, #4 overall. I'd bet on the gamble of a guy making it here quick, making a significant impact for a couple of years over the promise of (maybe) getting a significant frontline starter. Of course if Crow performs like the Royals hope he does then he has the larger upside and the longer career.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 24, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

My only worry is Livo's weight. I seem to recall him coming back heavier the second year in DC and that being a factor in his not doing as well.

Posted by: Juan-John1 | February 24, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

On behalf of all the all-night taco joints in Md-Va-D.C., I say: "WELCOME BACK, LIVO!!"

The all-you-can-eat buffet is free for every strikeout or home run.

He's savvy, knowledgeable, wants to be here, eats innings (eats anything, really) and can hit. If nothing else, we can DH him in AL parks.

What, he's going to take innings away from Garrett Mock?

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | February 24, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the laughs, natbiscuits!

---

I saw 53 on the gun at RFK.

In fact I once saw Frank Robby walk to the mound between release and catch ...

I heard Mark Reynolds swung three times on one pitch - struck out.

Jose Reyes once stole three bases on one pitch (But Matt LeCroy was catching)

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 24, 2010 8:51 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 24, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Ok, six of the starting eight over thirty years old, three of whom are defensive liabilities. Desmond maybe in the outfield,and no other propects on the horizon to get excited about (other than Strasberg, of course)Retreads, like before, seem to be the order of the day. Wow, I'm thrilled!

Posted by: jcampbell1 | February 24, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Any1 who sez the Lerners aren't cheap please explain to me how a Washington DC team could be ranked 25th of 30 teams in payroll? Man that's just sickening!!!!

LERNERS ARE CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP!!!!

Posted by: dovelevine | February 24, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Nats Opening Day Bullpen 2009:
Mike Hinckley
Steven Shell
Wil Ledezma
Julian Tavarez
Saul Rivera
Joel Beimel
Joel Hanrahan

When I looked this up I was shocked by just how abhorrent it was, I gagged reading it.

I can't believe Jimbo thought we could win with this bullpen, and if I remember it was Rizzo who signed Beimel, the only decent pitcher on the list.

We may not be champions but at least we are respectable now.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 24, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Im guessing a big reason the Nats signed Livo instead of Washburn is because Washburn's agent is Scott Boras and I'm guessing they did not want to over pay for a back of the rotation innings eater. Im guessing its also the reason Washburn is still a free agent.

Did you know Miguel Batista made $9.5mil last season?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 24, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

The trouble with posting now (when I get home from work) is the amount of ground that's been covered -- woooow. Look, I'm no great fan of Livo, but come on, CiL, calling him a "punk'' is a pretty cheap shot. He was hurt (knee injury) back in '05 when he made the comments CiL seea as disruptive, but honestly, look back at how Jimbo left a team that had a reasonable playoff shot with just three starters for the last month-and-half. It was an absolute joke.

Anyway, Livo can field his position well, he can hit and occasionaly pitch. If he ends up as the fifth starter, it's not a great sign, but clearly, as many posters have pointed out, he'll be holding a spot for Wang or Strasburg, and he's a bit of insurance (that I hope the Nats don't need) if Olsen isn't ready

Posted by: nats24 | February 25, 2010 12:19 AM | Report abuse

@nats24. The answer to your dilemma of posting late is simple: Quit your day job.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | February 25, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Here's what I think:

* The meme about Garland@5mil should die a messy death. We offered 15mil/2 yrs and he didn't bite...
* My pessimistic 2011 rotation:
Lannan
Livo
Stammen
Martin
Balester
* I hope SS =/= KW
* Welcome back 506!

Posted by: swang30 | February 25, 2010 2:13 AM | Report abuse

Draft day 2009 - One more shining example that the Lerners, there's no other way to say it, are cheap.

If they don't go after expensive free agents, that's fine.

But to purposefully avoid drafting the best available players, because you do not want to pay them what they are worth, this is an insult to every Nats fan.

Regarding Holder, it's just a simple fact that he was taken early in order to get him to sign under slot. He was drafted in the 10th round the prior year and had an unexceptional senior season.

Trevor Holder himself was "shocked" that he was drafted on the first day of the draft. He wasn't even watching the draft live on mlbtv because he KNEW there's no way he was getting drafted on day 1 (111 picks, three full rounds plus 2 supplemental rounds).

He was hanging with some friends watching an NBA game on TV when he got drafted. He signed for way under slot.

It very obvious that Rizzo knew he was going to burn a lot of money signing Strasburg and he agreed to pick players under slot over the next few rounds to keep the cash outlay where the Lerners wanted it.

Storen (#10), Kobernus (#50), Holder (#81) were all under slot guys to make up for the cash to be spent on Strasburg.


Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 6:21 AM | Report abuse

By the way, I just assumed that when periculum put quotation marks around the words pipe dream, that you all understood it was a crack pipe.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Storen (#10), Kobernus (#50), Holder (#81) were all under slot guys to make up for the cash to be spent on Strasburg.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 6:21 AM

***************
Um, you do know Storen is burning through the minors, right?

Posted by: NatsNut | February 25, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Storen (#10), Kobernus (#50), Holder (#81) were all under slot guys to make up for the cash to be spent on Strasburg.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 6:21 AM

***************
Um, you do know Storen is burning through the minors, right?

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

Yes. Kudo's to Rizzo for doing what seems to be a very good job on very tight purse strings.

But that does not change anything.
They were not trying to build the best club they could. They were not trying to draft the best players they could. They were working within a tight budget.

If they really liked Holder, waiting until the 6th round would not have been a risk.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

Holder will be in AAA by Aug, and poss a Sept call up. Marquis will be traded by July. That is if Jesus is here and Wang and Olsen are healthy.

Posted by: hansenjo | February 25, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Um, you do know that the Nats spent more on the draft class of 2010 thatn any other team and that they have routinely been in the upper echelon of draft class budgets since the 2007. Saying they could have done more is subjective, relative, and overly judgemental. We can all ask ourselves why we are not more successful, more generous, and more effective. We all want to win on the field sooner rather than later, but this concept that being somewhat planful and frugal with their money is somehow an indictment of character or commitment is nonsense.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 25, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

If Holder has earned his way into Syracuse and pitches well there, that's awesome. To me, it would be a surprise, but Rizzo has proven over many years to be an excellent judge of talent.

Marquis traded? You're suggesting that the Nat's are going to have an over-abundance of effective major league starting pitching?

You been hitting off periculum's pipe????

Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

natbiscuit, of course it's subjective and of course it's relative.
Overly judgemental....we'll agree to disagree.

No one could look at the 2009 draft and suggest anything other than the Nat's were working within a budget.

Storen, picked well earlier than expected, could turn out to be a gem, a great choice, filled a need, signed under slot, you can't ask for more from Rizzo.

But their draft choices were strongly influenced by budget.

And with a very low payroll and no desire to build through free agency, it's disappointing to see the Nat's being frugal at draft time as well.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 25, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Natsbis: I am not sure I can disagree with that nicely worded post, but in terms of indictments as to the character and commitment, they can certainly be made clear.

They lied to us in 2007 when they said that they had then hired a crack, top notch staff of scouts in order to build the foundation of young talent that was needed to get this club to an elite level. The Lerners said that they'd dump the team revenues right back into the club for a decade, did not happen -- Lerners are making money in Nats Park and have yet to outspend the MLB payroll of 2006 at RFK. But for the once in a generation Stras, they have not been aggressive in the draft, and they have not inked any serious international talent either. They said that they would do those things, years ago.

It is not overly judgmental to say they could have done more, when in fact they could have just done what they said they were gooing to do.

And when a club in a new, publicy financed park, in this wealthy media market stays in the bottom 4 or 5 in payroll every year, it is not so subjective to say that they could have done more when literally every club but for a handful of economic dogs have done so. Adn when every single club in the game has outperformed them for years.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 25, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

There is also the possibility that the Nats sign another starting pitcher next off season.

If the Nats are so short-handed that they are counting on Holder or Karns for 2011, why wouldn't they just sign another free agent?

From MLBTradeRumors:

Arroyo, Beckett, Bonderman, De La Rosa, Francis, Garland, Gaudin, Harden, Harang, Lee, Padilla, Sheets, Vasquez, Webb, Young, and several others are all free agents after 2010.

Beckett and Lee are clearly at the top of this class and unlikely to sign with the Nats regardless of how much money is offered. But, if the Nats can get up to about 75 wins and respectability with signs of improvement, I think any one of these other pitchers could sign in DC.

Posted by: SpashCity | February 25, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Splash: The Nats could add one of those guys right now and think about getting to 80+ wins in 2010, which is Wild Card contention territory, if they'd take on some salary.

Do you think that the Reds want to pay the full boat for Harang or Arroyo this year? Or Detoit for Bonderman and Robertson? Meche in KC? Westbrook in Cleveland? Rizzo could give away very little talent, and get something resembling a 15+ game winning SP, if only the Nats were willing to pay enough cash to vault themselves into maybe the 22nd lowest payroll. But they aint.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 25, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of signings, there's a new post, from the new beat writer.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 25, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Indeed. It was suggested when they crazy-outbid everybody for Chapman (and who expected the Reds to do that?) that they'd need to dump the reportedly-unhappy Harang's salary, and that he might well be available "below-market" in trade value to to team willing to take his salary, hint-hint.
******
Do you think that the Reds want to pay the full boat for Harang or Arroyo this year? Or Detoit for Bonderman and Robertson? Meche in KC? Westbrook in Cleveland? Rizzo could give away very little talent, and get something resembling a 15+ game winning SP, if only the Nats were willing to pay enough cash to vault themselves into maybe the 22nd lowest payroll. But they aint.
Posted by: dfh21 | February 25, 2010 9:28 AM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 25, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

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