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Riggleman on Kennedy signing

I had the chance to speak briefly this morning with Manager Jim Riggleman re: all things Kennedy. Here's an excerpt of the conversation.

Q: First off, what are your general feelings about the Kennedy acquisition?

A: Well, I feel good about Adam Kennedy. I feel like another left-handed bat in the lineup will help, whether that would have been [Orlando] Hudson or Kennedy. Hudson was a switch-hitter, I know. But the thing about Adam Kennedy: He's a pro. He's not a spectacular player, but he doesn't have any weaknesses. He won't hit 30 homers, he won't steal 30 bases, but he's what I like. Good hands, good second baseman, a good hitter. He'll make all the right plays. And he's a nice addition to what we already have there, guys with experience who are just real pros.

Q: You overlapped briefly in St. Louis. How much experience did you have there with Adam?

A: Well I was a minor league field coordinator with the Cardinals and was just with the [big league] club for three weeks before the minor leaguers reported. So that was my experience with Adam. But it's more that I've seen him from the other dugout over the years.

Q: So how do you see the rest of the middle infield picture shaping up?

A: Well my guess is, we'll have to get a good read on [the health of Cristian] Guzman -- how his arm is feeling and all that. He anticipates his arm will be 100 percent when we're opening up camp. Physically, if he's able to move around and throw from shortstop, he'll be playing shortstop. Because second base is locked up with Kennedy.

Q: And what about Ian Desmond? Is it better to keep him on the 25-man roster as a back-up or keep in Class AAA where he can get regular at bats?

A: That's a decision we all make in spring training -- myself, Mike [Rizzo], Bob Boone, the major league staff. If Guzman is physically unable to play shortstop, we feel comfortable slotting Ian Desmond in there. But if we make a determination that Ian will be on the club with Guzman playing shortstop, we'd also want him to be able to run around in the outfield some too. That way we could get him on the field some, pinch-running for an outfielder, double-switches.

Q: Rizzo had mentioned all winter his desire to boost the team's fielding, in particular in the middle infield. Do you think the Kennedy signing addresses that?

A: Well it's always important with every club, but it becomes more important when you have pitchers who throw ground balls, and we kind of do. In particular Lannan and Marquis and Stammen. It becomes pretty vital to be able to cover some ground out there and make the plays when you've got guys who will be getting ground balls. We get the ultimate there with the coverage we get from Zimmerman, and we hope we can get more of the same from Kennedy.

By Chico Harlan  |  February 5, 2010; 12:48 PM ET
 
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Comments

"Well it's always important with every club, but it becomes more important when you have pitchers who throw ground balls, and we kind of do. In particular Lannan and Marquis and Stammen. It becomes pretty vital to be able to cover some ground out there and make the plays when you've got guys who will be getting ground balls."
____________________________________________________________

I don't want to hop on Riggs to much here, becasue the decision to go the cheap route was not his but, if it is so important, which it is, why wouldn't they pay the freight to bring in a Gold Glover to man the position?

It's just complete crap and I'm sick of the frugal ways of this ownership.

Kennedy is a nice gutsy player but, he's not nearly the defensive 2nd baseman that Hudson is.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 5, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Boycotting will not make a difference. It already happened as a lot of people left as STH. That's why StanK went on the Philly radio stations inviting other teams' fans down. And the Nationals still made a profit, especially thanks to revenue sharing/luxary tax, etc. (If I were the Yankees, I'd be STEAMED). Honestly, I am not all that surprised. The Nationals never promised a competitive team even when they could have. They promised improvement. And they didn't have the Farm system to do it (it's been enough years to evaluate them regardless of the state of the franchise in 2005 and the Lerner group has not done well in development of their players), so they had to use Free Agency. Well, Marquis and Pudge are improvements over Livo and Nieves. Kennedy, if he isn't too fragile, is too as he is at least a 0.7 WAR above Gonzalez (a 0.0 or even negative WAR player). Face facts, the Lerner's want to make a profit and ensure that the team doesn't STINK. They are risk averse. Thinking big and going for a competeitive season, when payroll is not entirely indicative of success, is not something they were willing to do. They're Billionaires; you don't become stinking rich by spending all your money. I think they accomplished both their unannounced goals for this year assuming the pitching (especially the BP) doesn't regress too much and the defense doesn't achive Acta levels. Just be prepared for a Pirates season, 68-94 or 71-91. Be mad at ownership if you don't like their 'less-than-mediocre strategy.' But don't get mad at Rizzo, he spent his capital in getting more scouts. Maybe in 5 years, we can be the Marlins, which wouldn't be so bad.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 5, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

And before I start hearing the “poor Lerner’s had a bereft Farm” crowd, here is a brief list of players taken after the Nats picked from 2006 on: Ian Kennedy, Kyle Drabeck, Daniel Bard, Matt LaPorta, Jason Heyward, Rick Porcello (Above Slot), Andrew Brackman, Justin Smoak, etc. Maybe others can add to this list to really make a point that the Nationals did not do a good job of evaluating best available talent regardless of asking prices.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 5, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...I was gonna repost my last bit, but you all have the bases covered.
It's just so disheartening.....Nats F/O-please: stop selling us a bunch of B.S. Just cause you're in Washington, you don't have to act like you're in congress. ARGGHH!! Charlie Brown, indeed!
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo2 | February 5, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

"Kennedy is a nice gutsy player but, he's not nearly the defensive 2nd baseman that Hudson is."

Hudson is not nearly the defensive second baseman that his inflated reputation is.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 5, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"ARGGHH!! Charlie Brown, indeed!"

And Uncle Teddy is playing the Lucy role by pulling the football away as us Fans are running up to kick it.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 5, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I think that if a pitcher throws a bunted ball to first base and Kennedy is covering, Kennedy will try to catch the ball. (ducks for cover...)

Posted by: poncedeleroy | February 5, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....what's up with Boz? After he stopped waffling and swooning, he was starting to hold the Lerners accountable-especially in his chats. And like it or not, he's about the only ammo we have in the media to communicate our disgruntledness.
And I always hated Charlie Brown!!!..and the farmers in "7 Samurai"....and of course the greedy, corrupt merchants in "Yojimbo".
Now I know why....
Grrrrrrr!!!!!
Go Nots

Posted by: zendo2 | February 5, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Hudson is not nearly the defensive second baseman that his inflated reputation is.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 5, 2010 1:15 PM
____________________________________________________________

ABM,

Are you serious with that comment? The guy is a 4 time Gold Glove winner. Does he have the range that he had 5 years ago? No. But he is still one of the best defensive 2nd basemen in the Major's.

And the Lerner's let him slip through their grasp for what amounts to 1-2 million.

It's amazing to me. You will slam every sports writer in this town but, God forbid you disagree with even one move that the Lerner's make or don't make.

What gives?

Posted by: Section505203 | February 5, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Dear Nats,
I know that upper deck seats behind home plate cost $30 a seat. But I would really like to pay you $60 a seat for them because as you know, I'm an idiot. I know you'll agree with me that I'm an idiot because you have been treating me like one for the past 3 years. So please accept my $60 for your $30 dollar seats. And thanks for the incredible signing of Mr Kennedy, who, I'm sure within a week you'll have me believeing is the 2nd coming of Chase Utley.
Oh and thanks for convincing Chico to convince me that Matt Capps, who I had never heard of before you signed him, is the next Mariano Rivera and for convincing Chico to convince me that at least 20 other teams probably wanted him so it was a really great signing.
I can't wait to see Mariano err Capps pitching and saving games in front of our new Hall of Fame 2nd baseman Utley err Kennedy.
And I'm enclosing my $60 for 1 $30 seat.
Thank you.
Sincerely,
Mr Idiot Nats Fan

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

to everyone who thinks overpaying everybody does no harm, look at the hapless football team with their culture of "i got mine". if you think 1-2 million does no harm to the Lerners, tell that to the better player who is making less.

Posted by: sjt1455 | February 5, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

"The guy is a 4 time Gold Glove winner. Does he have the range that he had 5 years ago? No. But he is still one of the best defensive 2nd basemen in the Major's."

Really? Here's what Sports Illustrated had to say about him in 2008 - and now he's had two more years to decline.

"Biggest Surprise: Highly regarded thirtysomethings Orlando Hudson and Brian Roberts were below average in the field in 2008. UZR has been unimpressed with Hudson's defense since he left Toronto after the 2005 season and rates him as just a tick above Castillo this season."

So big deal, the Nats lost out on the chance to overpay him and had to settle for Kennedy, who's just as good at the plate and not all that much worse in the field. Repeat: big effin' deal.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/cliff_corcoran/07/21/gold.glovers/index.html#ixzz0egn9q0oS

Posted by: nunof1 | February 5, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

>>Really? Here's what Sports Illustrated had to say about him in 2008 - and now he's had two more years to decline.

So Then the Nats are the dumb ones for targeting a below average talent. Is that what you're saying? If he's so bad, the Nats don't know what they are doing going after him right?
BTW, the Twins, one of the smartest teams around beg to differ.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hudson only played well for half the season last year. His defensive metrics are on the steep decline and I don't believe he's 5X better than Kennedy. Hudson would have been in the 2 hole (I see Kennedy hitting 8th) and now we'll have either Guz or Desmond hitting 2nd. But other than that, I think the defense out of Kennedy will be about the same and will be more consistant - and an upgrade from last year.

But they'd better spend that extra 4 mil they saved on starting pitching. I'd like Wang - he has the most potential long term value, plus it introducing the Nats to Asia. But if not him, why not Pedro? Former Expo, box office draw, and he pitched okay last year. He's only good for half a year, but half a year is all we need before Strasburg takes the torch. Smotz would be good too, but Pedro would be fun.

Posted by: sec307 | February 5, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

BTW whatever happened to the big idea of getting a new SS and moving Guzman to 2nd. Nats made a big deal outta that earlier and poof it all disappeared.
Just wondering.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

OPS for 2005-009 seasons:

Hudson: 727, 808, 827, 817, 774
Kennedy: 607, 501, 601, 647, 553

Not "just as good at the plate", ever. There's never been a year in which Kennedy was as productive a hitter as Hudson (Kennedy's best season was before Hudson was in the majors, highlighting the fact that he's almost two years older and thus more likely to have a decline in performance).
---
"So big deal, the Nats lost out on the chance to overpay him and had to settle for Kennedy, who's just as good at the plate and not all that much worse in the field. Repeat: big effin' deal.

***

Posted by: nunof1 | February 5, 2010 2:00 PM

Posted by: chiefwj | February 5, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

"Then the Nats are the dumb ones for targeting a below average talent. Is that what you're saying? If he's so bad, the Nats don't know what they are doing going after him right?"

You keep going on and on about the Nats "targeting Hudson" like as if it was Hudson or bust. They never targeted Hudson exclusively, and never said they were. They were targeting a major league second baseman. That's all they ever said. Hudson was first on their list, sure. But he was never the only one on it. And it did drag on for a while. But that was all because of Hudson. If he'd have turned down their offer sooner, they'd have moved on to the second name on their list (Kennedy) sooner. Or if someone else had grabbed Kennedy, then they might have needed to up their offer to Hudson so they wouldn't lose out on him too. But that didn't happen.

Rizzo's goal was to sign a major league second baseman. He signed one. End of story.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 5, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

"Kennedy is a nice gutsy player but, he's not nearly the defensive 2nd baseman that Hudson is."

Hudson is not nearly the defensive second baseman that his inflated reputation is.

===========================================

After looking at fielding stats on baseball refdesk, Hudson does have a better fielding pct than Kennedy, but Kennedy also played half the season at third base, and his better fielding numbers were at second...

Posted by: bromisky | February 5, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

"But if not him, why not Pedro? Former Expo, box office draw, and he pitched okay last year. He's only good for half a year, but half a year is all we need before Strasburg takes the torch. Smotz would be good too, but Pedro would be fun."

Both of those guys would be good for half a year, sure. But the problem is that the half they're good for is the second half. Word is that Smoltz wants to pull a Pedro this year and not play until mid-season. That doesn't do anything to bridge the gap until Strasburg is ready.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 5, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

The economics of the two sports are totally different. Baseball players know that if they stick around for three years, they get a big pay day and in three more years potentially get an even bigger one. So there's zero resentment by lower-paid players about their teammates who have put in their time and have cashed in. Do you think John Lannan cares that he's making a lot less than Scott Olsen, or Nyjer Morgan that he's getting paid one-tenth the salary of Josh Willingham? They know they'll get theirs. Football players don't have salary arbitration or meaningful free agency.

Since there's no salary cap, the Lerners saving money only helps us as fans if they take what they're not paying Hudson and spend it on another player, which doesn't appear likely now.
---
to everyone who thinks overpaying everybody does no harm, look at the hapless football team with their culture of "i got mine". if you think 1-2 million does no harm to the Lerners, tell that to the better player who is making less.

Posted by: sjt1455 | February 5, 2010 1:41 PM |

Posted by: chiefwj | February 5, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I'd blame the foul mood on the weather, but of course it's not particularly better in good weather. Anyway, here's an interesting comparison:
Player Hits 2b hr sb avg/obp/slg
Kennedy 153 29 11 20 .289/.348/.410
Hudson 156 35 9 8 .283/.357/.417

From an offensive productivity standpoint, they were pretty similar. Defensively, neither was exceptional last year. Kennedy played more 3B than 2B last year. Statistically Kennedy displayed poor range last year at 2B, but in 2008 when he played 2B full time he had the fifth highest range factor in the majors. (using Bill James data). Using the same metrics, Hudson is consistently mediocre.

What does all this mean? Well to me it means we should all be happy to have Kennedy on the team. In the past five years we've had Vidro, Spivey, Lopez, Belliard, and Hernandez. Kennedy is going to be an upgrade all around.


Posted by: natbiscuits | February 5, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

For those already in the house and trying to avoid watching Lifetime Movie Network with their beloved wife, Phil Wood is saying that MASN is airing "Wall to Wall Baseball" from 3 to 7 today; Riggleman will be on at 4. An added benefit: checking out Phil's cool haircut!

Posted by: jfromPG | February 5, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This sounds weird but if you think winning a gold glove means you're a great defender, then you don't know much about baseball. Hudson is one of the most overrated defenders in the game. But, he's an excellent offensive 2B and that's what we missed out on.

The Twins are a very smart club as someone pointed out. They are also in position to contend. We need a massive improvement to get to .500 and 3rd place. What we needed most was solid D at 2nd. Our lineup is actually pretty good. We didn't need to pay for a weak fielding 2B with a big bat. I'm personally happier with a light hitting, solid 2B. It's more than had before we signed him and I'm not convinced at all that Hudson was worth it. Let's ask Twins fans in Sept how they feel about Hudson.

Posted by: Avar | February 5, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Its obvious to me some of the posters will never be happy until we sign many overpriced, washed up FAs and gut what little there is in the minors just to put a team out there that has a high payroll; nevermind it might stink but then at least we know management is trying. So what it sets the franchise back to what it was three years ago, after all in MLB long term rebuilding after every team in MLB raids the franchise shouls take no more then three years at a maximum.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 5, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

And before I start hearing the “poor Lerner’s had a bereft Farm” crowd, here is a brief list of players taken after the Nats picked from 2006 on: Ian Kennedy, Kyle Drabeck, Daniel Bard, Matt LaPorta, Jason Heyward, Rick Porcello (Above Slot), Andrew Brackman, Justin Smoak, etc. Maybe others can add to this list to really make a point that the Nationals did not do a good job of evaluating best available talent regardless of asking prices.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 5, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

You are right--it is money as well as talent evaluation. The Nats signed Detwiler at slot. Porcello went to the Tigers later, but at well over cost. The Nats love to "beat the system" by signing a player more cheaply than people expect them to. The model for the draft is Storen, who signed for UNDER slot, with the pick the Nats got for not signing Crow at over slot. So the Nats got a guy who has a chance to be as good or better than Crow, at half the price. The Nats signed another guy besides Storen at under slot in the 2009 draft in the 3rd round, shocking the baseball world by taking Trevor Holder so high.

Of course, all of these dollar savings are small change to most clubs, but they mean everything to the Nats.

On trades, Nyger Morgan is the role model, where you can beat the system by signing a minimum wage guy and watch him produce. This way maybe you NEVER have to trade for a guy who makes MLB average salary or higher. The Nats have never done so under the Lerners.

In free agent signings, it would be hard to find more than 2 or 3 clubs who have spent so little since the Lerners came in. I'll bet no one can find more than a couple clubs, if that, who have spent as little as the Nats over that time. But the hope is that Kennedy (even though he is older and less of an impact player) can have just as good a year and save money.

The Nats have not signed an international guy for any significant money since Smiley Gonzalez, by the way. So not getting Chapman should not have been a surprise.

Livo, anyone?

Posted by: EdDC | February 5, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

This from Chico Harlan a week or so ago:

"If Hudson signs elsewhere, the team's Plan B options at 2B/SS are decidedly underwhelming."

Today from Mr. Chico:

"This signing makes sense," one team source said.

Good 1.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

My thoughts:

While I still like Hudson over Kennedy, I'm still deeply disturbed by the fact that Belly beat out Hudson. I DON'T think that the divorce was the only reason Hudson was let go. I think something is screwy there. On the other hand, Hudson has proven to be better year-over-year than Kennedy. I don't know. Either is better than the Guz at 2B/Desmond at SS combination.

I still like Wang, although I don't know he'll want to come here.

I'm not a Washburn fan.

Posted by: swang30 | February 5, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

by Nats standards, our lineup is pretty good - only a little below average (9th of 16 teams in runs in 09). Kinda weak that that's our strength. Just think, in a few years we can improve our pitching and defense to merely a little below average and achieve mediocrity. Onward to 70 wins!!

Posted by: utec | February 5, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Just for emphasis, I repeat:

Player Hits 2b hr sb avg/obp/slg
Kennedy 153 29 11 20 .289/.348/.410
Hudson 156 35 9 8 .283/.357/.417

not much difference...

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 5, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-not to put too fine a point on it...but the back and forth over the relative merits of Hudson vs. Kennedy is really besides the point.I believe what has us worked up, a la Dove(btw:sure it ain't Hawk?)and many others, myself included, is the sense that once again we've been sold a bill of goods..played.
A tale told by/to an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing...but a love of the Nats and a longing to seeem win.
Go Nats...

Posted by: zendo2 | February 5, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

>>You keep going on and on about the Nats "targeting Hudson" Posted by: nunof1

Was I the one who coined the term "targeting Hudson" and was I the one who was in fact the one targeting Hudson?

HMMM, From Mr Chico a few week's ago:

Free agent targets, plaudits and poetry

Just a few odds and ends here. I had the chance to talk briefly with GM Mike Rizzo on Wednesday about the team's final acquisition targets for the offseason.

* Speaking about the Nats' other higher-profile free agent target, second baseman Orlando Hudson, Rizzo said: "We like Hudson. We'd like to have him.

Uh yea.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Chiefwj: I have no idea where you got your numbers for Kennedy's OPS for the last few years, but they should be: .724, .718, .572 (only played in 80ish games), .692 and .758. Granted, Hudson's OPS has been higher on average, but it isn't as lopsided as that.

Also, I'm a bit confused about the "pair him with Morgan and..." crowd. Hudson is SLOW...he averages about 6 SBs a season, whereas Kennedy is around 17 (2007 and 08 seem to be outliers).

Again, I just don't see what the Nats are doing as a slap in the face of the fans. They are making solid baseball decisions, not just signing for the sake of signing guys. They've reorganized the front office, including their international departments, which I think will make a huge difference in time.

I'm pleased with the Kennedy signing and glad that they didn't overpay for Hudson.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 5, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Mr Chico also devoted a good amount of space to the "New and improved front office", to which I'd like to quote The Who on this Super Bowl Weekend:
"Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss."
As long as the Lerners and Kasten are at the top, nothing below will ever change. Cheap and Cheaper. And totally disengenuous.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Just for emphasis, I repeat:

Player Hits 2b hr sb avg/obp/slg
Kennedy 153 29 11 20 .289/.348/.410
Hudson 156 35 9 8 .283/.357/.417

not much difference...

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 5, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Those are good numbers you provided. Maybe the other clubs missed something by valuing Hudson over Kennedy? Maybe the Nats players were wrong to lobby for the O-dog? Maybe the couple years age difference matters--34 vs. 32? Maybe the pretty big edge in career OPS matters some? Maybe the career OBP edge matters some? Is it the defense? What?

If these two guys are pretty much the same player, what do you think accounts for the salary difference? Maybe the other clubs just misjudged the talent? It happens!

Posted by: EdDC | February 5, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I still like Wang, although I don't know he'll want to come here.
Posted by: swang30 | February 5, 2010 2:53 PM
____________________________________________

Don't ask. Don't tell.

Posted by: TimDz | February 5, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Hudson not signing here...
A post noted that it was all over 1.5 million or so (the apparent difference between what he was offered here and what he signed for in Minnesota).
Is it possible that Hudson was asking 8 million from the Nationals while asking less from other teams?
Going on the theory that the Nationals will have to over pay for a while.
If this was indeed the way it went down, then I would say good riddance O-Dog

Posted by: TimDz | February 5, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

LOL YEAH LETS BOYCOTT THE NATS BECAUSE WE DIDNT SIGN A WASHED UP 2ND BASEMAN!!! clowns.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | February 5, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

LOL YEAH LETS BOYCOTT THE NATS BECAUSE WE DIDNT SIGN A WASHED UP 2ND BASEMAN!!! clowns.Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq

Wow the Nats must have a great scouting dept if they are targeting all their energy on washed up players. It's worse than I thought. Geez.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

You got to keep in mind that the Nats are in all likelihood going to finish in last place again this year, tho I am praying that we pass the Mets. As natbicusits pointed out earlier, the better comparison than Hudson vs. Kennedy is, Kennedy vs. the sorry sacks of doo-doo that have been playing 2nd lately. Sorry, that was a very loose paraphrase job.

Posted by: FriendofalltheWorld | February 5, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

BTW the Nats should be boycotted for not signing any major free agents. Chapman? 2 bad. But we'll pat ourselveson the back casue we were in it till the end. The Nats are always in it till the end. Unfortunately they never cross the finish line. Give me one difference maker the Nats have signed besides Dunn in 4 years. Just 1.

BOYCOTT the LERNERS and KASTEN and THE NATS>

Posted by: dovelevine | February 5, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy is a good VALUE signing, if healthy. But he is not as good as Hudson. I got to say I love it when people throw around stats ans call them comparable! Fangraphs warns people of doing what is being done. Take Albert Pujols and Adam Kennedy.

Puljos 3B 1, SO 64, GDP 23, SB 16
Kennedy 3B 1, SO 86, GDP 8, SB 20

Hmm, pretty comparable.

But I am being unfair and not using "traditional" stats, let me pick a different guy, say Ryan Zimmerman.

Zimmerman .292 Avg, 1B 105, SO 119, GDP 22 SB 2
Kennedy .289 Avg, 1B 112, SO 86, GDP 8, SB 20

Wow, Kennedy looks like a better offensive guy here.

Now I doubt anyone on here thinks Kennedy is a better offensive force than Zimmerman. But there sure are a lot of people who think Kennedy, offensively, is just as good as Hudson. The reality is Kennedy is sometimes better and sometimes worse with the glove but consistently worse with the bat. Last year was an aberration on Kennedy's usual performance, in that his bat was ok. So, say the company line, praise the signing as a good VALUE signing for the quality Kennedy brings, but don't espouse inaccurate beliefs that Kennedy and Hudson are the same player.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 5, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Hudson not signing here...
A post noted that it was all over 1.5 million or so (the apparent difference between what he was offered here and what he signed for in Minnesota).
Is it possible that Hudson was asking 8 million from the Nationals while asking less from other teams?
Going on the theory that the Nationals will have to over pay for a while.
If this was indeed the way it went down, then I would say good riddance O-Dog

Posted by: TimDz | February 5, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Wow, the player needs almost $3 million more to play for the Nats over what he would need to play for the Twins? What does that tell you about our team?

The small market Nats have a long way to go before they can catch up to the big market teams, like the Twins.

Really, it doesn't matter that much, as long as the commitment to team building is there. That's the part I am worried about, not whether the Nats can afford Hudson.

Posted by: EdDC | February 5, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't have any problem with using the triple slash stats to compare players offensively, maybe include a measure of playing time as well.

Posted by: FriendofalltheWorld | February 5, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Nats were targeting Hudson at the price they thought he was worth. If another team wished to pay more than they believed he should be paid, then more power to them. I think it is simply a matter of perspective: Many seem to think that is a clear , while others believe it is a savvy business practice. I agree with the latter.

In regards to trades: I think that if Rizzo could make a trade for a marquee player who would help the team without getting rid of prospects who will help the team long term, he would do it. However, he's not going to give up Willingham for a song, nor would it have been prudent to ship Dunn before the deadline last year. With a year and a half left on what amounts to a bargain contract, you have to keep him. Maybe Dunn is moved at the deadline this year if he's on last year's pace and some AL team needs a big bat to solidify their playoff position.

The starting rotation is definitely an issue. However, let's remember that there were flashes from many guys last year. At some point, they have to get the young guys on the hill for an extended period to see if they are going to cut it. Bringing in marginal vets to act as placeholders isn't exactly the best for the growth of the team. Throw the young guys again this year and see who is going to stick.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | February 5, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Reports are that the Nats offered $4 mil plus incentives that would have increased to 5. Cleveland offered two years and ten mil but the deal was backloaded and tied to a third option year. O-Dog took the 1 year and $5 mil from Minnie instead.

I don't have a problem with the Nats determining that while Hudson was somewhat better than Kennedy, he wasn't 3.75 mil better. As long as they go spend that money on a starter.

Posted by: BobLHead | February 5, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Dunn seems to have adapted well after the huge insult of the Nats wanting Tex instead of him. I would think poor Kennedy could weather this storm and play as well as he can.

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

"And I always hated Charlie Brown!!!..and the farmers in "7 Samurai"....and of course the greedy, corrupt merchants in "Yojimbo"."
zendo2

Then perhaps you prefer Shintaro Katsu's "Hanzo the Razor" character to his "Zatoichi the Blind Swordsman" character.
One has obvious flaws and the other surely swings a big bat.

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

For whatever reason, the Nationals missed out on Hudson; I'm dissapointed by that, but at least there was a competent alternative in Kennedy. He's certainly not what we all hoped for, but is a step up from the players the team has been using at 2B over the last 2 years (Belliard, Bonifacio, AGonz, Harris, A.Hernandez, FLop, Orr, etc).

Overall, not a huge step forward, but an improvement over last year.

Posted by: BinM | February 5, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy is better than AGonz and Anderson Hernandez were last season. He wont win us any games but probably wont lose us any either which is what our young pitchers need.

Kennedy is a better baserunner too which is more valuable in the NL.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 5, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

This from the NY Post on Slow Dog:

Orlando Hudson signed with the Twins and, thus, for a second straight offseason the Mets tried to trade Luis Castillo as a way to clear a path to Hudson, who according to friends wants to play in New York.

No doubt Hudson is a better player than Castillo and, thus, would have helped the Mets more. But Dodgers officials were actually disappointed in Hudson’s overall game and, remember, Joe Torre benched Hudson in favor of Ronnie Belliard late in the year. They were quickly surprised that Hudson was not faster with a few inside the organization derisively turning his nickname from O-Dog to Slow-Dog. They also came to believe that his defensive reputation was overinflated; that he was fantastic on pop-ups, but very ordinary on grounders.

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

Given Lincecum's salary forcast over the next three years, I'd think the Giants would be looking for some salary relief. Might there be a trade opportunity for either Cain or Zito in there somewhere?

Posted by: BinM | February 5, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...Hawk, I wish I could (boycott the Nats) but it won't happen...not after being without a team (or a truly local one) for way too long. But I understand....And again, I reiterate: It's not the relative merits of Hudson or just missing on Chapman or not gettin' the 2nd MLB starter or claiming "we aren't done" after our initial offseason moves.It's ALL of it-and then some.
And it's that gnawing in the gut that we all feel that "Hey-this could really be something SPECIAL here-burgeoning international interest, particularly in Latin countries, for baseball, in an international city with a large Latin population. A well heeled and educated population just CRYING for a franchise that does this right, ready to fall in love with the team. Add to that the perception that in Rizzo we finally have GROWNUPS running the show-folks COMMITTED to doing it right.
And then?
Another plan. Earnest assurances that THIS time we're not selling you water by the river.
And Yep-I bought it! Still do, really....I realize Rome wasn't built in a day.Still think Riz IS-or could be, given the right support-capable of being "The Riz".And with all the f/o upgrades it IS way to early to label it same old, same old.
BUT....given their history, and given all the stuff we were told this fall.....well, it's hard not to get upset and maybe make a mountain out of a molehill.
I'll still love 'em..people still go see K.C. and Pittsburgh, etc etc etc.
I'm overjoyed to have a team.
But the possibilities are just SO dang GRAND....
and once more it looks like we're gonna be left standing at the altar....jilted again by a bunch that can't see how much we want to embace them totally...
Go Nats....

Posted by: zendo | February 5, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

The hyperbole from all corners is killing me. All the left at the altar talk is a joke, right? It's a baseball team that appears to have made a series of roster decisions based on internal valuations to which none of us are privy. We can all disagree here and there about the scale of what has been done, but it is hard for me to perceive signing Adam Kennedy, missing on Chapman, or not having the roster entirely set by February 5 as some kind of attack by the team against its own fans. Movement was promised, some movement has undeniably been made, and time remains. We can't land 100% of the players we want, regardless of whether they are available through free agency or by trade.

As an aside, BinM, that's exactly the kind of thing that I'd be targeting if I was Rizzo (your proposed Lincecum trade). If there's any thought in the front office that SF is wavering in their commitment to him due to the rising price tag, then I'd be in there making it very difficult for them to keep him. That being said, who knows for certain if there is any such discomfort among the Giants front office. I'd hold onto him if I could, that's for sure.

Posted by: faNATic | February 5, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...Fanatic, i thought that's part of what my point was....sorry if my saccharine lyrics put you off the track. But also being a fanNATIC-is to exactly take molehills and make em mountains...or deep pits of despair. And if you've been watching the modus operandi of this franchise over their DC years....well, I think that's why so many of the rest of us "faNATics" who follow the teams' every spit sunflower seed and look for clues-well, that's why we're aggravated. And I like what BinM said, too......
Go Nats!

Posted by: zendo | February 5, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to relax and not get too worked up about not signing Hudason. The facts are that the Nats were a 50 win team the first half of last season, a 70 win team the second half of the season after Riggs took over and the Morgan/Burnett trade. The moves they have made this offseason, plus factoring in the experience some of their rookie starters got last year has to be worth at least between 5 and 10 wins. They should win 75 and with just a little bit of luck a .500 season is attainable even without any more additions. Adding another decent SP would make .500 very realistic.

Posted by: slopitchtom1 | February 5, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

God, I so hope we can by some miracle move Guzman for anything significant. I don't want to see Desmond as a reserve or languish in AAA.

I guess we could deal Harris now and use Desmond in his utility role I suppose....

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

Posted by: CJArlington | February 5, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

But if we make a determination that Ian will be on the club with Guzman playing shortstop, we'd also want him to be able to run around in the outfield some too.

THIS IS WHY I DON'T LIKE RIGGLEWORM. Take a talented ss and make him and Outfielder. Riggles will be gone by June.

Posted by: billm32 | February 5, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

But if we make a determination that Ian will be on the club with Guzman playing shortstop, we'd also want him to be able to run around in the outfield some too.

THIS IS WHY I DON'T LIKE RIGGLEWORM. Take a talented ss and make him and Outfielder. Riggles will be gone by June.

Posted by: billm32 | February 5, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

But if we make a determination that Ian will be on the club with Guzman playing shortstop, we'd also want him to be able to run around in the outfield some too.

THIS IS WHY I DON'T LIKE RIGGLEWORM. Take a talented ss and make him and Outfielder. Riggles will be gone by June.

Posted by: billm32 | February 5, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

But if we make a determination that Ian will be on the club with Guzman playing shortstop, we'd also want him to be able to run around in the outfield some too.

THIS IS WHY I DON'T LIKE RIGGLEWORM. Take a talented ss and make him and Outfielder. Riggles will be gone by June.

Posted by: billm32 | February 5, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

But if we make a determination that Ian will be on the club with Guzman playing shortstop, we'd also want him to be able to run around in the outfield some too.

THIS IS WHY I DON'T LIKE RIGGLEWORM. Take a talented ss and make him and Outfielder. Riggles will be gone by June.

Posted by: billm32 | February 5, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Joel Sherman's article was pretty interesting - the Dodgers secretly called Orlando "Slow Dog", believed he was weak fielding ground balls, and grew frustrated with him for fraternizing with the opposition before games.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 5, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Guzman will be gone next year (or earlier) and Kennedy will be gone by 2011 (or the nats utility man). Desmond will be a middle infielder.

I'm okay with him filling the utility role and occassionally (we'll have likely Maxwell off the bench too) IF Harris is traded.

But I want to see the guy and I want to see him very soon, if not now. Kennedy's an average to solid player who tries hard, but I'd rather see the far more inconsistent but far more exciting Desmond...

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

Posted by: CJArlington | February 5, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

occasionally playing OF I should say...it won't be all that often with Maxwell (or Bernadina) also on the team as a fourth OF.

Posted by: CJArlington | February 5, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

so guzman still bats second i'd guess. ugh. tthe one thing i really liked about o-dog was the obp.

Posted by: longterm | February 5, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Agreed longterm. I guess Kennedy seventh and Guzman second.

Ugh.

Although it will be nice having a lefty bat in between Dukes and Pudge.

Posted by: CJArlington | February 5, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

NEWS FLASH; MLB NEWS

The Washington Nationals continue thier annual dumpster dive run to spring training by signing Shawn Estes to a minor league contract with an invite to ST. Estes has not picthed in the majors since 2007 after have TJ surgery. If Estes makes the 40 man roster the Nats will pay him 800K

In other news, it's pathetic that Phil Woods is relegated to doing baseball radio talk on a Baltimore sports station, simulcasted on MASN. Whats the deal with TEM and the former WJFK?

According to DCRTV WTOP is testing the sports talk format world by hiring John Riggens to do an afternoon drive time sports talk show on thier 103.5 HD station. Great just what the DC metro needs, another 3 hours of Redskins radio 24X7X365.

The LernerStanks are tone deaf, they have no solidly placed themselves along side DC United and the WNBA Mystics as DC's most irrelevent teams!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | February 5, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

'Pears good both short-term and long-term, allows them more time to determine if Desmond is ready ... while they await Espinosa. Possible Espinosa at short, Desmond at 2nd base in Syracuse? Perhaps starting Harrisburg?

The problem is they still need to win enough games, field enough pitching to seem like a contender ... in order to attract the FA's in the coming years.

Still looks to me like losing Aroldis Chapman really put a crimp in Rizzo's long-term blue-print. Will the coming draft provide alternatives?

Posted by: periculum | February 5, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Yep, the Nationals just blew a chance to be a first division club with Hudson and now will be a last place team with Kennedy at second base..............

Orlando Hudson is so good he was replaced in the Dodgers lineup in crunch time last year and wasn't resigned by LA for 2010.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 5, 2010 8:34 PM | Report abuse

Its a good signing ... and Desmond's fielding at shortstop is anything but stellar. Which is why many tout Espinosa as the shortstop of future. Desmond might be Seattle's Mike Morse. Now
a utility bat with the Nats.

I'm not sure why everyone is worried about this? Its the pitching that is still lacking ... the team really depends on this.

Posted by: periculum | February 5, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

OK so now its time for conjecture about who gets dropped from the roster. My nominees are Atliano and Mattheus.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 5, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

AP reporting the Nats have also signed long-ago-given-up-for-dead lefthander Shawn Estes to a minor league deal, Estes hasn't done squat since pirching for the Giants before the turn of the century. I know Estes is "inventory," but this is a Bowden bargain Basement move. If the Nats really wanted a lefthander who seemed to disappear from the face of the earth, how about taking a flier on Mark Mulder instead?

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/nationals/2010-02-05-kennedy-estes-deals_N.htm

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 5, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

...er, pitching for the Giants, that is....

Posted by: leetee1955 | February 5, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy's signing really unsettles the Guzman-Desmond debate. It's clear Riggleman wants to play Desmond in the bigs somewhere, anywhere, and would love to get rid of Guzman. Guzman will be perfectly healthy in March, but he needs an excuse to not play him.

But he also doesn't want/can't bench Guz, cause he'll sulk and drain energy from everyone. I can't see these three guys sharing two positions, unless Kennedy plays, say, 1/4 of the time. But that apparently isn't going to happen.

I agree it would be a terrible idea to play Desmond at more than one position, particularly the outfield.

Why is this important to Nats' fans? Because, as Chico pointed out this week, there are going to be a LOT of ground balls this summer. We don't want to live through a sixth summer in a row of below average middle infield defense.

Posted by: paulkp | February 5, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...a plug for FJB; his new "Natmosphere" broadcast is up....all the topics covered (my Satellite is down).
Seems like a good time to remind my self that I got the Nats winning 87 games(up from my earlier 85 and Heck!if we had signed Hudson I might have gone over 90!Haha)
Must be going snow blind...but that's what pre-spring is for, right? Blind optimism or insanity.
And for all my whinging, like I've said, I really do think the Riz is the real deal. Maybe they've seen serious improvements from some of our youngsters and really feel like they're gonna open some eyes....while negating the need to go out on any limbs on the f/a market.Still..isn't there some 20 y.o Japanese pitching phenom the Sox were interested in?
And Oh, Please, fellow NJ'ers-be safe in this storm.I work in public safety(MPD dispatch-evens out the karma of also being the part owner of a bar!). I'd hate for any of you to miss the start of spring training...
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | February 5, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Interviewed on MASN today, Riggleman said again that if he needed a third starter today it would be Garrett Mock. He sited Mock's performance last fall and the fact that he was able to go 112-120 pitches by the end of the year.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 5, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

I was just reminded of a reason to be happy with this offseason thanks to ESPN Classic airing the Nats-Giants Bonds 756 game.....

On the bases for the Nats in the 8th....Nook Logan, Tony Batista, Austin Kearns and Brian Schneider.

Things are better in 2010. Go Nats.

Posted by: jfromPG | February 5, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Bottom Line: Rizzo likes switch hitters: Guzman. Keep an eye on switch hitting catcher Sean Jones.

Posted by: periculum | February 5, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Ooooops my mistake.

Meant to say Sean Rooney. Too many things going on here ...

Posted by: periculum | February 5, 2010 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Kennedy will be a nice player for the Nats but he is 34 years old and has limited upside, as everyone would likely agree.

Rizzo is not on board with The Plan it seems. He keeps adding old guys.

Kennedy was out of baseball and pretty much played 3B last year. Another reclamation project -- add him to the stack of Capps, Pudge, Eddie G, Batista, Speier, Mench, Duncan, etc. Rizzo is simply not adding anything of real value for the long term. And they do not have the guys on the farm to fill the voids down the road.

And how they can be even remotley confident in Marquis as an Ace and Mock as a 3 simply blows my mind. They are going to have to score 6 per night to win games. The lineup will score as Morgam, Guz, Zim/Dunn, Willingham, Dukes, Pudge, Kennedy is very solid, but how in Hell are they going to stop the rest of the NL East??

Posted by: dfh21 | February 5, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Well, Nats management didn't listen to me and sign Orlando Hudson, but went with Adam Kennedy. Kennedy is good, but probably came cheaper than Orlando would have. And OH is a much better defensive infielder, a solid hitter, an outgoing friendly guy, and just a good goy to have in the clubhouse. He came though Hagerstown in the late 90's (I can't remember the year), and we had the joy of watching him for an entire year and getting to know him. Our loss is Minnesota's gain. He'll be their best 2nd basemaan since Chuck Knobloch and will also be a doubles machine. I believe , too, that Hudson would be one of the pieces in the puzzle that would help the Nats escape 5th place, if not this year, then in the future. But that will not happen now.

Posted by: sfr123 | February 6, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

Right,...and go support the Anti-Christ in the Queen City of the Patapsco River Basin? May your stay at the I-95 truck stop be a long one, you poor, poor disappointed witlle boycotting "fan".

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

They have to have some decent players down in Syracuse. A lot of those "reclamation" projects are about keeping their promises to SYR management and fielding a competitive team. As you noted, dfh21, there is a huge void in the farm system. Most of your younger players are in AA or below. Of course last year it was a lot worst ... very few above the GCL level. That appears to be changing. It looks like they will field a younger/better team in Harrisburg at least ... and almost certainly in Potomac and Hagerstown.

Yet, there is still a void, still particularly acute at pitcher and catcher (the important areas). Hopefully another draft or two will change this perspective.

Meanwhile, the major league club looks like it is directly affected by the dearth of players in the farms. And the Lerners probably are too cheap to sign quality free agents like the Mets and Yankees.

Posted by: periculum | February 6, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

So who is the Twins' backup second baseman. I mean, the man to whom Hudson will lose his job this season?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | February 6, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

There are several posters who complain that the Nats have not signed big name free agents. Dunn and none.

Most big name free agents under-perform their contracts. That's just how it is, and the Lerners know that more than they know anything else about baseball. And this is true not just in baseball but also in football (think Redskins and Deion Sanders).

Kevin Brown, Dodgers, 7 and $105M
Carl Pavano, Yankees, 4 and $40M
Chan Ho Park, Rangers, 5 and $65M
Mike Hampton, Rockies, 8 and $121M
Mo Vaughn, Angels, 6 and $60M
Albert Belle, Orioles, 5 and $55M

Obviously there are a ton more disastrous free agent signings (Denny Neagle anyone?).

You can not BUILD a team around free agents without spending $200M a year in salaries. And then your not guaranteed anything.

There are a few free agents successes. But for every free agent that has over-performed a contract, you can find 5 - 10 that have under-performed.

The Nat's front office was lost pre-Rizzo. Rizzo seems to have convinced Kasten and Lerner to do this the right way, and the right way takes some time. They wasted three years, for sure. It's hard to believe that as much as MLB raped the Expos before sending them south, that the team that first played at RFK was better than any team we've had since. The Lerners and Kasten and Bowden regressed this team year over year in every way.

I'm fine with the Nats signing Adam Kennedy rather than pay 4X for Orlando Hudson. What good would one year of Orlando Hudson do at $5M? Sign him long term??? $18M or more for 3 years? Foolish.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 6, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"Interviewed on MASN today, Riggleman said again that if he needed a third starter today it would be Garrett Mock. He sited Mock's performance last fall and the fact that he was able to go 112-120 pitches by the end of the year."

Reminds me of Acta's decisions with Hernandez and Kearns last offseason. I hope not--I would trot Olsen, Detwiller, and Martin out there before Mock right now...

"If the Nats really wanted a lefthander who seemed to disappear from the face of the earth, how about taking a flier on Mark Mulder instead?"

Amen.

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

Posted by: CJArlington | February 6, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....well, my DirecTV is still out.....maybe Chico can put up a piece so's we can have more spirited discussions. Or maybe one of you knows Mark Zuckerman-could you get him to post us a nice piece here!
And oh....mid 60's and sunny in Viera right now.
Be still my heart......
Go Nats

Posted by: zendo | February 6, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Don't understand the hot blood over not signing Hudson to a one year deal. It's not like he's the missing link for a near contender. The Dodgers were clearly not impressed so there seems to be something questionable there. This was not a must have player like Dunn. I thhnk Rizzo knew what he was willing to pay for Hudson and had no compelling reason to go over that. The speed in signing Kennedy shows they had a backup plan in place. What's interesting is the message Rigglemnan is sending to Guzman -- play healthy at SS or sit down. This is consistent with the theme from last year -- produce or begone. AFter all, this will be his last season here so why let him flop around on his sore bunions for another year. Besides, they need to find out where, or if, to play Desmond and where Espinosa fits in. If Guzman is healthy and Dukes doesn't show improvement I look for Desmond in right pretty quickly.

Posted by: Natmeister | February 6, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

From reading a lot of these posts, you would think it was Jim Bowden's idea to focus on bargain basement reclamation moves. These guys get budgets to work with.

Posted by: EdDC | February 6, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The rants by "the usual suspects" are a pain in the tuchus, since they do a disservice to those of us who would rather actually talk about baseball. To wit:

1. The Hudson/Kennedy flap. Puleeze! There were four F/A 2Bs available this year. They could all fit under a blanket labeled mediocre. Kennedy is neither better nor worse than any of them. I know the nonsense that we "had" to move Guzman to 2B and sign a SS was rampant, but guess what...Derek Jeter was not available.

2. Not signing Arnoldis Chapman "proves" that the Nats are cheap and not in it for real. If he was that much of a lock, you can bet your bippy that the Saux or Bombers would have gone after him. Both have aging middle of the rotation starters that will need to be replaced after '10 or '11.

3. As far as some of the signings of folks like Mench, Estes, etc., Peri has it on the money. The Nats made a commitment to Syr and part of the organization build is to make sure that your minor league teams are competitive. Let's not forget that you need to surround your up and coming players with some old pros, who can teach them the ropes (wait, is Bull Durham on TV today?). Also, if you are going to have a decent season (for the Nats, I would put it at 75 wins this year), when someone goes down for a few weeks, with an injury, it is better to have an old pro to bring up, than a rookie. Let's remind ourselves that Vinnie Castillo won last night's game against Venezuela with an extra inning shot against the LF wall. Age and treachery usually outdoes youth and talent.

4. There is a reason that there are 50 rounds in the ML draft, not 7 or 2. A team needs to stock its minor league system. Sometimes everyone overlooks the late bloomer. Also, a team does need some cannon fodder, so that the stars of the future will have someone to play agianst.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 6, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

mikecatcher50:

Yes, you are much wiser than the rest of us, but we get a voice too. Even though it is a stupid one.

The problem with the Nats is not with any of the individual moves, any one of which can easily be rationalized. It is the pattern of trades (for low-budget players only), not any one trade. It is the pattern of drafts (too many under-slot and slot picks), not any one pick. It is the pattern of international signings--not missing out on Chapman but failing to invest in any even moderately expensive international talent for years. It is the pattern of free agent signings (no really big ones, and only two modest signings over the Lerner years), not whether the Nats should pick O-Dog over Kennedy.

We have a large and wealthy market here, but teams like Cincy, the Twins and KC routinely out spend the Nats in all of the above areas. OIf course if Rizzo is really, really good, he can shape a respectable team on rock-bottom budgets. We are all hoping for that, as Nats' fans. In fact, I believe the Nats will surpass the Pirates THIS season. I do see progress.

Posted by: EdDC | February 6, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Re. the CWS game, I went to bed before it ended, but atta boy, Vinny! On a related note, at least the DR team finally lost one so that they're aren't completely running away with the series. It's more interesting when it's competitive, IMO.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 6, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

mikecatcher50, thank you for a voice of reason. Bowden, who was billed as a saviour, did a horrible job. Maybe the Lerner's should have been paying more attention when the ship got off course and acted quicker to correct it but I have faith Rizzo is the kind of guy who can do it. When the players are there that are worth the money I believe the team will spend the money, but I believe wasting money to just do it is a horrible plan. Maybe that makes me a fool but I'd rather be an optimistic fool then a pessemistic fool.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 6, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I agree with you about Chapman (@Mikecatcher50). I think he really wanted the guy. Is he really any more of a risk than Strasburg? Look at how everyone poo-poohed the drafting of Drew Storen. Yet, right now, in less than a year he almost looks like a potential lock for the major league roster on the cusp of stardom. So, I believe Rizzo when he says he looked as good as you could want.

As for the Yankees, Mets, etc. They prefer to go with proven commodities, free agent stars who want to play with pinstripes. Like Nick Johnson ... LOL The Nats may just get to the spot where everyone will want to play for them ...

They still need to build some history ... some legendary games, seasons ... in other words a competitive identity ... not the one where they will always be also-rans and losers. When will that happen? Who knows?

Posted by: periculum | February 6, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

O-dog is no longer a "doubles" machine. That is why Belliard stole his job. Kennedy is just as good, just older.

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

I think natbiscuits raised this question earlier - Who gets DFA'd when the Kennedy signing is official? It almost has to be a pitcher (25 on roster) - I'm guessing one of either Atilano, Mattheus, Chico, or English.

On Riggleman's comment about Mock being his #3 "right now", I think that's based more on his proven health than overall skill - Olsen & Stammen are both coming off surgery, but are probably both better pitchers than Mock as starters.

Posted by: BinM | February 6, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I think EdDC makes a very legitimate point (that JayBee also made) when talking about the Nationals. And it is not screeching by any stretch of the imagination. When we look at their body of work (and you cannot just excuse the Bowden years) there are systemic issues that makes a rational person question the reasoning or spin the front office gives. Let’s look at scouting. Nats320 had two great articles in 2007 and 2009 where he interviewed Dana Brown and Stan Kasten/Mike Rizzo respectively. When Dana Brown talked about how much better the scouting department was he said, “During this off season, we prepared for a lot. The main thing was obviously adding to our Scouting Staff…not only in numbers, but in quality. We now have a veteran scouting department--veteran scouts.” Right, we heard this story again in 2010. Two times with the same story in a three year period are data points that show a pattern. Make your own conclusions but it shows a pattern. Now when Mr. Brown talked about the international market, Mr. Brown said, "Well, yeah, we are going to become players on the international scene. I think we are putting our stuff together. We've signed some Latin players. We are going to begin to expand. And, make no mistake about it; we are going to be aggressive in finding the best talent that can make an impact at the Major League Level." Rizzo also talked about how they were doing in the Dominican Market after he got the GM job saying, “We do a really good job in The Dominican Republic. We do have to expand ourselves into Venezuela, specifically, and the other Latin American Countries. We’ve signed 11 solid guys out of The Dominican Republic this season, this year alone.” Of course the Nationals didn't sign any international player for a six-figure bonus in 2008. Does that make them any less solid? Who knows, but certainly the talent they signed was not universally accepted as ‘the best.’

Posted by: lpatashn | February 6, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Anyway, excusing the Nationals for the Bowden disaster, lets look at an area of the world that shouldn’t have been tainted; the Pacific Rim. Mr. Brown said, "Well, we do have The Pacific Rim. We now have the resources to go out and pursue those players. In a matter of time, as an organization, we are just going to be aggressive at just adding talent into the system, where ever we may find it.” And in 2009 Rizzo said, “Definitely, the Pacific Rim will be a place of focus for us. The Pacific Rim is strictly to supplement your Major League Club.” So, when is the time that the Nationals will add to the MLB roster via getting players from the Pacific Rim? Make your own conclusions on that question too. And finally, let’s look at the Draft. Well, in 2009, they spent the money on SS, and on some other pieces. In 2008, they spent $3M less than in 2007 (and that WAS their budget, don’t re-invent history and say it was due to not signing Crow). And in 2007, they picked up Detweiler, when they could have gotten Porcello. (But to be fair, Detweiler was considered the most polished college pitcher in the Draft, although in all honesty, Detweiler is more of a Rizzo type signing than a Bowden ‘high ceiling’ type signing. And Bowden’s history showed that he didn’t like to hold off on signing high risk players, so make your own conclusions on that one too.) All of this history is fine, businesses have budgets. But let’s examine what the Nationals said about the Draft. Dana Brown was asked, “You have those resources to find them, develop them and bring them to The Major Leagues?” And he responded with, "Correct. Not only myself, but also the guys we've had around for a while. Now with our excellent scouting/player development department, we've added the depth to solidify. It’s like the icing on the cake. We can now make GOOD QUALITY DECISIONS FOR THE ORGANIZATION." We all know what Stan Kasten and Rizzo say.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 6, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

And another thing, I hate to break this to everyone, but the reality is that payroll does not entirely dictate wins and losses (there are great papers out there to prove this point). If you spend enough on payroll, sure, you can win more but it is not a guarantee; i.e. look at the NY Mess for what happens when you spend money unwisely. What dictates wins is the amount of quality cheap players that are very productive in addition to the payroll size; i.e. the PLAN. Right now, you can only get good contracts through international signings and the Draft. And the Nationals have not been shown to be very good in either of those areas. Hence, the Nationals are bad at executing the PLAN to the degree that they said they would (yes naysayers, I am recognizing the existence of talent but I am also recognizing that the talent is not to the same quantity that the fan base was led to believe it would be in 2010). Draw your own conclusions as to why. I think there are three possible answers. Either the Lerner’s have: (a.) not invested enough in the base of their product or (b.) hired some really lousy people to oversee a very important area for success or (c.) both of the above. Regardless, everyone needs to stop the craziness over not signing Hudson is the end of the world or the sunny-side Nationals are a great ball club and Hudson always sucked, because all of that malarkey is just not true. And it misses the point. The Nationals are not a good organization yet and their promises of being competitive in 2010 are not being met. The question we should all be asking is ‘Why?’ And as fans I think that is a legitimate question to ask and wish one of the WaPo writers (Chico? Bos? Bueller?) should FREAKING ASK! (And which I think JayBee actively irritated Phil Wood into sprinkling a little bit of insight into.) Whew! Now its time for a snow ball fight!

Posted by: lpatashn | February 6, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Those are great comments, Ipatashn. I totally agree with your draft and international comments. The Nats do need to take it to a much higher level. But please also consider the value of wisely spent money in trades and on free agency.

If you are willing to take on some payroll, you can get players who can be traded for prospects. And even if you keep them for the duration of their contracts, they can yield high draft picks when they sign elsewhere.

I've never been big on signing old vets. But if you are willing to take in some contract money when you trade for a youngish player (and the Nats have NEVER traded for a player who makes average MLB salary or higher under the Lerners) you can build your club. And you build not just faster (a lesser goal) but so much better. Same for free agency. This is different than wasting money, which most Nats fans are deeply concerned about. The goal is to get a deep supply of young talent, which increases your odds of getting some good starters.

Of course, it is a financial risk to do so. But many clubs are happy to unload heavy contracts of young and talented players to clubs willing to take a risk.

Posted by: EdDC | February 6, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

@Ipatashn: Thanks for working that 3-parter out in wordpad before posting. EdDC & JayBeee have both brought up fair & valid points in the past, and will continue to do so, I'm sure.
What the blogosphere needs to keep in mind is that good orginizations are built from the bottom up, not from the top down. I'd hope that the majority of Rizzo's MiLB signings in 2010 stay in SYR/HAR this year, keeping those franchises competitive. If they do, then the Nationals have a stable top-25; If a half-dozen (or more) make the opening-day roster, then it's JimBow revisited, and all the rants against the FO are justified.

Posted by: BinM | February 6, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

When you're tops in losses, near the bottom in payroll, and near the top in profits, overpaying for talent does not seem to be the number one problem.

Someday I'd like to see a manager say about a new signing "I really hate the guy. I'm thinking about quitting so I don't have to look at him for a whole season." Just for a change.

Posted by: markfromark | February 6, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang....speaking of snowball fights, I wanna float an idea:A group get together at some DC watering hole. I know I'm an irregular contributor, but always a faithful reader.And there are lots of you whom I look forward to reading-even if we disagree.For all our differences, we love the Nats...wanna see 'em win....
So, might be fun to put faces to tags....but no fighting!
Maybe a Red Loft rendezvous when the season gets going.The Nats marketing folks might even be interested in that....get Zuckerman to come speak and we'll buy his beer (don't know how good his severance was from the Times!)
Go Nats!

Posted by: zendo | February 6, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Most of you fans make me sick....did I actually read "boycott" on here? I love the Nats, and I am not even from this area....Washingtonians don't deserve baseball; no wonder you have lost baseball TWICE! Keep it up, and there will be a THIRD franchise loss in your future.

Posted by: sullyzz | February 6, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Most of you fans make me sick....did I actually read "boycott" on here? I love the Nats, and I am not even from this area....Washingtonians don't deserve baseball; no wonder you have lost baseball TWICE! Keep it up, and there will be a THIRD franchise loss in your future.

Posted by: sullyzz | February 6, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Hey, please don't get sick! There has already BEEN a boycott, judging by the empty seats when the Nats play.

And sure, some day we can lose the team--maybe not for awhile, with the long lease on the stadium. But the previous two franchises were lost because of poor ownership and their lack of commitment to building winers.

I love baseball too, and will not boycott. I would go to more games than I do if I saw a better commitment to building a winner. If I saw that the Nats were on the right path, I would not care about winning now. I would love the idea that we will get somewhere some day, just by continually building on past progress.

Posted by: EdDC | February 6, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

Guess we know now what the Lerners are Cheap crowd does when they get snowed in. They write their PhD dissertations. Ah, but you know what they say. BS, More of the Same, Piled Higher and Deeper.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 6, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

So is this what we're looking at?

1 - Nyjer Morgan CF
2 - Cristian Guzmán, SS
3 - Ryan Zimmerman, 3B
4 - Adam Dunn, 2B
5 - Josh Willingham, LF
6 - Elijah Dukes, RF
7 - Jesús Flores / Iván Rodríguez, C
8 - Adam Kennedy, 2B

Would be interesting to maybe bat the pitcher 8 and let Kennedy hit closer to the big boys.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 6, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

When I saw that the A's had designated Dana Eveland for assignment, I had wondered if the Nats might claim him, but they apparently passed. The Blue Jays claimed him. I wonder if they will toss back Zincola to make room for Eveland.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 6, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm afraid that like-it-or-not you are going to have to give Mike Rizzo time to deal with the politics of his ownership situation. I believe him capable of handling this to the satisfaction of all disgruntled posters ... remember this is his first full year holding all the reins ... after a GM that had convinced management that they could win on "the cheap" like the Marlins and Devil Rays ... except his "cheap" was "Cincinnati Reds" cheap ... a team that hardly ever gets anywhere (although they do have Chapman now ... ). LIke any other ownership Rizzo must learn to manage up. He now has lots of help, he chose, from guys who are very good at what they do and work for him.

So, changes could initially occur a bit too slow for many fans ... Once Rizzo proves that he can win with the choices he makes ... more leeway with the teams funds will likely be given to Mike Rizzo. Especially when the seats begin to fill up. And game ofthe week broadcasts occur regularly.

He has been doing a pretty good job where Syracuse is concerned. I think he can do the same at the big league level ... unfortunately, the SYR roster can be put together cheaply ... MLB rosters do require a significant outlay to be successful.

They ARE almost DM Snyder successes with the ball caps. Lots of LA gangstuh style types appear to prefer the curly W? Who knew? That has to mean an increase in revenue for the team?

Posted by: periculum | February 6, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I was disappointed at losing OH, but a day later I have gotten over it. Listening to Phil Wood on MASN helped alot.

I like Kennedy as much as O-dog - or "slow-dog" as some in the dodgers organization called him.

I have lived here since 76 and love the Nats. I was a life-long Mets fan but when MLB annaounced they were giving DC the Nats I became a Nats fan. In 2005 and 2006 I had season tickets. My son and I went to 65-70 game each of those seasons. We went to every game in the 10 game win streak. I want that feeling back. Now I go to about 10 a year. I watch every game, pre-game when the won the night before and post game when they win. I get many calls fron the Nats sales people to re-up. I won't until I see that they are doing right by the fans. I don't think the Lerners are yet but I hope that will change. Things are better this year - way better - than last year. I hope the Lerners come around and invest in the franchise so we don't continue to be a joke to everyone in DC (beside the fanatics on this and other Nats blog sites), and the rest of the country.

Go Nats!

Posted by: alm1000 | February 6, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

natbiscuits, if i understand the waiver rules correctly, a player waived by an AL team must pass by all AL teams before an NL team gets an opportunity to make a claim. So if eveland was claimed by the bluejays, then the nats never got the chance to claim him.

Posted by: sec231 | February 6, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, I did not realize the claim process was league specific.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 6, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Guess we know now what the Lerners are Cheap crowd does when they get snowed in. They write their PhD dissertations. Ah, but you know what they say. BS, More of the Same, Piled Higher and Deeper.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 6, 2010 4:29 PM
____________________________________________________________

Ah yes, the ABM arrogance, ya gotta hate it.

While you're snowed in, I'm sure you're working on yet another clever monikers to go along the 50 other you have.

Go ahead dazzle us. It won't take long for us to figure it out. All your monikers have the some pompous writing style.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 6, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Good organizations are not built from the bottom up. They are built from the top down. Tampa only FINALLY broke through when management/ownership took winning form. Clubs with good owners and good GM's can make radical improvement and can maintain elite status once they get there.

I hope Rizzo turns out to be the right guy, but at this point there's not much to show that he is any good at this job. Career scout gets a shot at the GM chair - nice story, but so far there is no happy ending. The Lerners may have wanted to go with a proven guy after the way it went giving Acta his first shot as a big league Manager. Anyway, what evidence is there that this guy is any better than Bowden?

Posted by: dfh21 | February 6, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I hope Rizzo turns out to be the right guy, but at this point there's not much to show that he is any good at this job. ...Anyway, what evidence is there that this guy is any better than Bowden?

Posted by: dfh21 | February 6, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

There is a post up there that Bowden is the one who talked the Lerners into thinking the team could win on the cheap, and that Rizzo needs time to convince the owners that they may have to be competitive financially--and that will take some time. So that completes the list--Bowden is blamed for everything now.

Both Bowden and Rizzo have operated on exceptionally low budgets. Given a little more flexibility for drafts, international signings, taking on salaries in trades and free agency, Rizzo should do fine. I'm talking about an average MLB financial commitment, which is a looooong way up from where we have been. But how can we know how he will do until that happens?

If you take the starting pitchers, and rank each one of the 5 as to where they are among the 30 teams, what do you see? In other words, among #1 pitchers, how does Lannan rank? Same for #2, #3, #4 and #5. The results will amaze even those who are predicting 75 wins.

All of the remedies take money. The Nats have passed up promising starters in the draft because they wanted above slot money (and even drafted one of them and failed to signed). They didn't sign international phenoms. Haven't taken on pitchers having high salaries in trades. And signed one starter as a FA. Rizzo probably can find a way out of this mess given resources. It is not popular to say, but Bowden probably could have as well.

Posted by: EdDC | February 7, 2010 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo can get the job done -- if the Lerners let him.

Meanwhile, he needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat before the season starts, or I should say, a pitcher out of his hat. The current rotation could spell disaster despite all the other moves.

Posted by: swanni | February 7, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I think key to out pitching is Olsen; if he can put up reasonable numbers then I think we'll be OK. Someone from Bautista/James/Estes/Mock should be able to make a half season of starts until SS gets here. I'd love - love - to have another reliable starter here and hopefully Rizz is working on that; after all, I think he's a little better at understanding the roster then people on this message board and sees what the roster looks like.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 7, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

people, wake up and smell the mayorga. the nats are going to have pay a premium to lure players like hudson who have other bonafide suitors. is it worth paying the slow-dawg more money than the twins offered when minnesota is a perennial contender in the AL central while the nats have been tailenders the last two years? the "free" in free-agent means the player and his representatives have the right to choose where the player goes. hudson is on the downside of his career defensively and was benched down the stretch and in the playoffs for ronnie freaking belliard.

Posted by: surly_w | February 7, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Hey , I agree with sunderland's lineup. Maybe put Kennedy between Dunn and Willingham...

Posted by: bsballu5 | February 7, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

If Olsen can turn the clock back to 2006 and regain his fastball, SC, then I would totally agree. More so for his value in flipping for prospects and in giving some of the younger pitchers time to season in the minors. In 2006, Olsen had a strong ground-ball tendency and his xFIP was a 4.00. (xFIP is experimental but think of it as expected ERA.) He also was more of a fastball hurler with a change sprinkled in. The past few years he's turned into a Fly-ball pitcher with xFIP's at 4.95. And he doesn't throw his fastball nearly as much (from ~68% to ~58% while also relying more on his slider). I really hope Olsen turns it around because if he does I think he'd make a nice 4 or 5 on a pretty decent team. For 2010 Olsen is useful because JZimm and SS are not in the rotation but I think Detweiler (better numbers across the board) is already a better pitcher, and we should only have one Olsen or Marquis or Bautista on the staff for 2011.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

lpatashn, I think Marquis and Olsen both might make the staff while Batista (and Estes) are shots in the dark. Between Detweiler, Stammen, Martin and Martis you have to hope one or two of those guys starts to separate himself from the pack and be a reliable 4-5 starter.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 7, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely. My money is on Detweiler and Stammen, but I wouldn't be surprised if Martin made it. I kind of think Mock (whose potential GB rate is what Rizzo really likes), Balester, and Martis have uphill climbs but you never know. The Nationals have a lot of 4/5 types in their system. One of them will eventually pan out. I kind of wish they had more 1/2/3 types in there too (although I think Detweiler might one day become a solid 3 like Lannan).

Posted by: lpatashn | February 7, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

We're all in agreement that barring a trade, the Nationals top-two SP's will be Marquis & Lannan. As to the rest, I could see Stammen or Mock at #3, Olsen or Detwiler at #4, and Martin or Martis at #5. For the possibles, WHIP might be a key indicator; If they can keep that number around 1.5 or lower, they are pitching effectively. Also, Martis is out of options, which could weigh on the final decision.
If Batista shows anything in Viera, he could stick as a long reliever/spot starter; Same for Estes, but with longer odds. The rest of the bullpen is a separate issue, for another time.

Posted by: BinM | February 7, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Overpaying for a second baseman is idiotic unless he's Ryne Sandberg or something. Kennedy is fine. The issue, folks, is the starting pitching. That's what is most likely to flush this season down the toilet by Memorial Day. That is what we should burn the Lerner's for being cheap on, not Hudson.

Posted by: mw09 | February 7, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

>>Orlando Hudson is so good he was replaced in the Dodgers lineup in crunch time last year and wasn't resigned by LA for 2010.Posted by: leopard09

There's been a lot of sentiment such as this. To which I ask, then what is wrong with the Nats scouting dept and are they so inept that they have nothing better to do than waste their time going after bad talent?

Also what about Adam Dunn, Zimm, Morgan etc? Do they not know anything about baseball talent because they were pretty stoked about Hudson playing here.

All I''m saying is you can't have it both ways. Either Hudson stinks and the Nats scouting dept doesn't know what it's doing or Hudson was worth it and the Nats once again were too cheap to finish.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 7, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

there's an in-between view, too, dovelevine.

imo, hudson would be an upgrade over what we have (and had), but not enough of an upgrade to break the bank for. and not enough of an upgrade over kennedy to pay significantly more for him. and it looks like that's exactly how the nats' front office viewed him.

he's not "bad talent," just not as good of a talent as some people make him out to be. he's a worthwhile guy to have on your team, but not the kind of improvement player that you should overpay to get.

at least that's how i view him.

Posted by: sec231 | February 7, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

sec231

How reasonable and thoughtful of you. Now go sit in the corner until you are ready to making self righteous broad sweeping statements and don't do it again.

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

I think sec231 has it. And that is exactly how Keith Law sees things. Hudson is a player with eroding skills much like Guzman. His have eroded far more rapidly at the plate than Guz's perhaps.In essence Hudson could have been another Cristian Guzman. But Guzman **IS** a switch hitter who still can hit for average.

In the end Rizzo is all about pitching ... that is what he is hanging his reputation and shingle on. I guess that's how everyone should judge him in the end ... but not with snap judgments. The process takes time given new ownership, their idiosyncrasies ... etc.

Posted by: periculum | February 7, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Some people should not drink and blog at the same time....

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 7, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Friends don't let friends blog drunk. :-)

Off topic, but my sincere congratulations to the city of New Orleans and to Saints fans everywhere. I was rooting for you to go all the way, and you did. Well done!

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 8, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

Remember Charley Finley's orange baseballs? This would be a good day for orange baseballs....

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 8, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Here's my disagreement with the "don't break the bank" theory and the "salary structure" theory -- their payroll is inexcusably too low. If they were bumping up against some reasonable budgetary limits or were concerned that they were going to have to pay people now in the organization substantially more in coming years, that would be one thing, but they should be spending an additional 20 million dollars per year or more given league averages and market size. So spending "too much" for one or two year contracts doesn't hurt anyone,including the Lerners, who, as we recall, are plowing all the profits back into the team anyway. But it might make the team less of a disgrace and convince doubting fans that the owners are holding up their end of the bargain.

Posted by: markfromark | February 8, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

>>there's an in-between view, too, dovelevine. imo, hudson would be an upgrade over what we have (and had), but not enough of an upgrade to break the bank for. Posted by: sec231

Personally don't agree because our bank is so full and basically untouched but I hear what you're saying.

>>In the end Rizzo is all about pitching ... that is what he is hanging his reputation and shingle on.Posted by: periculum

I would love that if that is true. But where's the evidence? Hope you're not pointing to simply Mr Marquis and Capps!!

Posted by: dovelevine | February 8, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't have a problem with signing Kennedy rather than Hudson. The Lerners are making money with the Nats, but there's nothing irrational about weighing whether a guy with pretty similar offensive stats to another is worth several million bucks more for a year.

Realistically, unless one or two of the Nats' young pitchers have breakout years, the team isn't likely to finish much above .500.

Honestly, after the last two seasons, .500 would be sweet.

Posted by: nats24 | February 8, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Do you want Zuck at spring training? Then go to http://natsinsider.blogspot.com/2010/02/send-mark-to-spring-training_07.html#comments

Posted by: kgwcoach | February 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Realistically, unless one or two of the Nats' young pitchers have breakout years, the team isn't likely to finish much above .500.

Honestly, after the last two seasons, .500 would be sweet.

Posted by: nats24 | February 8, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

If you have time, please choose five starting pitchers from the Nats' roster and then guess at their won-and-loss records for 2010. Do you get to .500?

Posted by: EdDC | February 8, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up on the ST donations, coach.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 8, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC
Remember the Nats won 73 in '07 and didn't have a starter who won more than 7, so the won-loss record of the starters isn't always the main factor in the team's overall record. And the 'pen is definitely stronger going into this season.

I expect decent years out of Lannan. Marquis and Olsen. We've seen Stamman and Martis pitch very well at times; even Detwiller and Mock. Matt Chico could be recovered from his arm trouble. It would be hope-against-hope for everything to fall into place, but there's always a chance a couple of these guys will get it together consistently.

Posted by: nats24 | February 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I should also have mentioned Ballester, and I should learn how to spell Stammen.

Posted by: nats24 | February 8, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

OK, thanks. The 73-89 season in 2007 is "close enough to .500 for Nats' work." If the Nats did the same for 2010, I'll consider that a .500 year.

In 2007, Zim Dmitri, Guz, Kearns and Church all had pretty good years. But only one of them, Zim, hit over 20 HRs. And no one knocked in 100. So, yes, it can be done, especially if Capps regains his old form.

I can't believe people are talking about Mock as a #3 pitcher, and not many people would consider Matt Chico for their starting rotation. But if Olsen gets healthy and regains his pre-Nats velocity, maybe the Nats could get a season that passes for .500, if we fudge the numbers some (like in 2007).

Posted by: EdDC | February 8, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Couple of things:

@EdDC...Both W/L & ERA have become totally irrelevant stats for SPs, so that your question is a non-sequiter.

@PDL...I think that the Twins are hoping that Alex Casilla will be good to go, after some more minor league seasoning and that O-Dawg is simply stop gap (notice no club option for 2011).

@231...You had to open your mouth. I'm sure that Bud the Dumb will now find out and will then erase, yet one more, difference between the two leagues.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 8, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Do you think the Nats would sign Joe Beimel to another one year deal? I dont have a lot of faith that Everyday Eddie will be that reliable. I guess Matt Chico could end up in the bullpen.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 8, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC...Both W/L & ERA have become totally irrelevant stats for SPs, so that your question is a non-sequiter.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 8, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mike, I didn't know that. This makes me realize how stupid the Tigers were for giving Verlander (19-9, 3.45 ERA) such a large contract, and the Yanks were stupid for the Sabathia (19-8, 3.37) contract. Fortunately, the Nats will never fall for doing anything remotely close to those moves. I now realize that starting pitchers should not be expected to win games or allow few runs. Maybe the Nats are on the right track after all, by having such a high ERA among their SPs and so few wins.

Posted by: EdDC | February 8, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

@petey: Don't know if Beimel would consider coming back, and don't think that the team is looking for another BP arm at this point. They've got Chico, English, Burnett, Slaten & Severino as LHRP's on the roster, and have Guardado, Garate, James & Estes on MiLB contracts already; That's 9 pitchers competing for a maximum of three spots on the 25-man.

Posted by: BinM | February 8, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

2005 Washington Nationals were 81-81 (.500). Here are the records of the five starting pitchers with the most starts that year: Livan Hernandez 15-10, Esteban Loaiza 12-10, John Patterson 9-7, Tony Armas Jr 7-7, Ryan Drese 3-6.

It would not take a breakout year for Jason Marquis to finish 15-10 or John Lannan to finish 12-10 in 2010. Nor would it take breakout years for the rest of the 2010 staff to cobble together enough 7-7, 3-6, 9-7, etc records to finish .500. Given enough run support and adequate defense, it's not a huge stretch to see this staff going .500. Not saying it will happen, but it could.

Your point, EdDC?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 8, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

nats24, if just one of the lower tier guys you mention just matures to be a solid 4 starter then I think we'll be OK. The hope is one of those guys steps up and separates himself from the pack, that way just signing one guy - or the arrival of SS and the hopeful return of Zimm - could make a pretty good young rotation which could carry the team a long way. Maybe I'm just drining the kool aid but I like the direction of the team.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 8, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

That would be Casilla. Maybe Punto, depending on how 3B shakes out.

-----

So who is the Twins' backup second baseman. I mean, the man to whom Hudson will lose his job this season?

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 8, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

2005 Washington Nationals were 81-81 (.500). Here are the records of the five starting pitchers with the most starts that year: Livan Hernandez 15-10, Esteban Loaiza 12-10, John Patterson 9-7, Tony Armas Jr 7-7, Ryan Drese 3-6.

It would not take a breakout year for Jason Marquis to finish 15-10 or John Lannan to finish 12-10 in 2010. Nor would it take breakout years for the rest of the 2010 staff to cobble together enough 7-7, 3-6, 9-7, etc records to finish .500. Given enough run support and adequate defense, it's not a huge stretch to see this staff going .500. Not saying it will happen, but it could.

Your point, EdDC?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 8, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

It was a question: "If you have time, please choose five starting pitchers from the Nats' roster and then guess at their won-and-loss records for 2010. Do you get to .500?"

Your answer is yes, you think the Nats "could" get to .500.

I didn't provide a point there, but if I were to give you one, it is this: the Nats are very low on quality starting pitchers, preventing much of a chance at .500, in my judgment. I hope I'm wrong!

There is some hope in the pipeline, but not enough. I would feel better if the Nats had added a starting pitcher at the top of the 2008 draft (Crow) and then beat Cincy by signing Chapman. Then i would feel the future is much brighter when you consider SS. So you would have three good possibilities, added to the current crop of other starting prospects.

I realize most people favor Storen over Crow, and that's a reasonable stance. Looks like the Nats may have found a quality reliever and they saved close to $2 million at the same time.

Posted by: EdDC | February 8, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@nunof1: I think EdDC's point was that he didn't feel that the #1-5 pitchers currently on roster could muster a .500 record, without another proven SP.

Marquis is good for between 12-16 wins annually (14-12?); Lannan is consistent (11-10?), but could be ready for a breakout year. The #3-5 would need to stay within a -3 to "break even" (.500). A combination of any of the remaining SP's could go anywhere from +6 to -11 (or worse), based on history.

Posted by: BinM | February 8, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang.... BOY this post has been up a while! But since we're talking records, lemme remind you all- once again on this thread -I got em at 87 wins!!!! And no, I'm not high-just insanely optimistic....actually, I really do think we have a 50/50 chance of hitting .500 or better....
Cripes-we DESERVE it, right? (Although you could argue that the baseball Gods already smiled on us in '05-and we squandered that gift).
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | February 8, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

ABM - "Given enough run support and adequate defense, it's not a huge stretch to see this staff going .500." Hahaha. Ok, Livo's xFIP was 4.50, Patterson's was 3.93, Loaiza's was 3.68, Armas was 5.49, Carasco was 4.15, and Drese was 4.90. So which one of your magic pitchers are going to have career years? Lannan? He barely crack 4.70. Marquis? He's never cracked 3.99. So how are these pitchers going to do it? And what are you basing your ridiculous assertion from? Rabbits out of hats? Crossing your fingers? Hope? LOL!

Posted by: lpatashn | February 8, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

If Section505203 whines on a blog, and no one is there to read it, does have any merit?

Nah - not when it's the same old, same old.

Posted by: dand187 | February 8, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Bryce Harper watch:
From the CSN website.
8 games
31 AB, 10 hits, 6 Runs ,9 RBI, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR 4 walks
2 stolen bases in 3 attempts
avg .323
Slg .677
OBP .452

Not bad for a 17 year old.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | February 8, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

lpatashn, since you were just looking, and I'm lazy, did you notice whether Lannan consistently beats his xFIP (or his FIP, for that matter)? I'm not intimately familiar with xFIP, but I believe most xStats have a point where you throw up your hands and say, "Okay, so it doesn't really capture this guy." I've been starting to wonder whether Lannan one of those guys.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 8, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm confused - If sec505203 is the only blogger to associate nunof1 with ABM, then is Ipatashn now exposed as sec505203?

Do us all a favour & drop the old grudges, please? Give credit where credit is due, but try to stop living in the (possibly mistaken) past.

As a courtesy, if you pick up a new 'handle', just tag the message with your old one until we pick up on it, or announce the change i.e. +1/2st, natbisquit, Catcher50, etc.

Posted by: BinM | February 8, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@Scooter: You're such a slug. FWIW, most of the SABR-centric sites that I've seen can't figure out Lannan either. His projections (and 'stuff') all rate lower than what he ends up with almost every year. Maybe there's something to the 'unmeasurables' that the eyes-on scouts pick up on every so often.

Posted by: BinM | February 8, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Lannan's xFIP, 2007: 5.96, 2008: 4.28, 2009: 4.69. Lannan is what he is. An ok #3, a good #4, but he's no ace. And xFIP is used to try to capture a pitcher's ability. Rotographs has a good article on it for fantasy baseball purposes. http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/2009-era-xfip-splits/

Posted by: lpatashn | February 8, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

I'm not the only one that has made the ABM/Nunof1/JennEric1/etc. association. It's no secret really, I have seen several people on the NJ call him out over the last few years. JayB, CiL, NutsNut, 1a, etc.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 8, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

If Section505203 whines on a blog, and no one is there to read it, does have any merit?

Nah - not when it's the same old, same old.

Posted by: dand187 | February 8, 2010 5:33 PM
___________________________________________________________

Whatever. Kiss my butt, fool.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 8, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Hey WaPo - we need another posting! I feel like a member of the Donner party here....

Posted by: dand187 | February 8, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Lannan is tough. Although his wins are consistent with his xFIP (I know no one cares about wins), when I watch him pitch I just feel like he is a tough competitor. Like he has heart, and maybe for him, absence of proof is not proof of absence and thus stats just can't figure him out. But regardless, he is no ace, and the belief that he will have a full run below his FIP, along with everyone else just so the Nationals can be 81-81, is just not credible.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 8, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article on the Twins' payroll. The article credits the new stadium as the key reason why they are able to support close to a $100 million payroll.

http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/8590096/19928879/3

Note: the Twins' region is pretty large at 3.2 million people. The Nats are perceived to be small market, but our regional population is actually 5.4 million, about 68 percent larger than the Twins' metropolitan area population.

Posted by: EdDC | February 8, 2010 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Second that. In the meantime, NJ faithful, don't eat the yellow snow...or your young...

---

Hey WaPo - we need another posting! I feel like a member of the Donner party here....

Posted by: dand187 | February 8, 2010 6:35 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 8, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

"BinM,

I'm not the only one that has made the ABM/Nunof1/JennEric1/etc. association. It's no secret really, I have seen several people on the NJ call him out over the last few years. JayB, CiL, NutsNut, 1a, etc.

Posted by: Section505203 "

I've always assumed that BinM, JayB, CiL, NatsNut, 1a, etc were all the same poster. Just never felt the need to make a big deal about it. I mean, who cares really? Didn't the Bard (not Josh) say that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet?

Posted by: nunof1 | February 8, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Let's face facts. Washington is a hockey town, always has been, always will be. The Nats are going to be behind that no matter what.

Posted by: markfromark | February 8, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, I'll re-admit it. I used to be simply catcher50. In one of their "adjustments" the WaPo made the change.

I think that I announced it when it first happened. Maybe I'll just make myself a note to re-post every first of the month.

BTW, can we please begin spring training? This is getting ridiculous, unpleasant, and it's darn cold.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | February 8, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

So, no one felt the need to defend Rizzo? Not that any one is reading my rants, but I asked the question: why should we think Rizzo is any good at this job?

He has zero experience as a GM and he came from within this putrid organization -- JimBo's right hand man. He has not done much to advance The Plan -- old guys showing up everywhere you look, and though Bruney and Capps may turn out to be diamonds in the rough, they are not yet gems. Duncan is this year's Wily Mo. Marquis as an Ace is a laugher. The Pudge signing seems to be more about getting the name on the uniform than the caliber of the current player who'll wear it. Sure, getting Stras inked was big, but that was not exactly a tough GM move when you really tihnk about it.

Anyway, what's he done to gain the confidence of so many NJ posters? I hope the guy is as successful as Hell, but he has not really shown us much yet -- has he?

Posted by: dfh21 | February 8, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

mainly, it's because he is not, in fact, from "within this organization." he made his name in Arizona, and is, by all accounts, highly regarded in the industry. That, and he's Not Bowden.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 8, 2010 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Do we have to list *all* our old handles, or just the famous ones?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 8, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

The-e-ere is a Post
in Gilead
To make wounded whole ...

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 8, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo has seen what eventually happened to Cerrato. This is not Cincinnati or Arizona for that matter. He has to know that ... and if he doesn't he has his Nats-fan-the-younger to remind him.

Patience there is ... but only so much Mike. But I do like the way he handled Syracuse and the players there.

Posted by: periculum | February 8, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

dfh21,

In response to your rant, I think you have a point in wondering why Rizzo is inspiring so much faith and confidence in many of the NJ posters, given his limited track record as GM. Psychologically, at least part of it would seem to be a clutching at straws: a desperate need to believe in someone or something following the disastrous reign of JimBow. And because for most of us, the track record of Kasten and the Lerners is shall we say a bit problematic, Nats Nation turns its lonely eyes to...Mike Rizzo.

But, to pick one example, your comparison of Duncan to WMP is unfair. No one to my knowledge is seriously touting Duncan as a slugging starting OF in the NL. Most see him as inventory for Syracuse or at best a potential platoon in LF if Willingham is traded.

Interestingly, according to an article in BA, Rizzo's emphasis on scouting is also being followed in Toronto, where new GM Alex Anthopoulos (a young guy--not a scouting lifer like Rizzo) is beefing up a scouting department that had been downsized under the regime of J.P. Ricciardi. Says BA, "more than anything else, Anthopoulos wants the Blue Jays to be a place where scouting is king." One difference between Toronto and Washington, however, is that Toronto seems to have a specific plan for dividing up an increased number of area scouts into smaller scouting regions and for increasing their number of regional and national crosscheckers. Maybe Brian of Nationals Farm Authority knows otherwise, but I haven't seen such specifics from Rizzo yet. And, as we know, talk from Bowden and Kasten in the past was cheap about the Nationals' great scouting team and their intentions to be an "international presence" but the results were lacking.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | February 9, 2010 2:59 AM | Report abuse

More to dfh21's point about why many have faith in Rizzo.

Rizzo can not be considered to be from within the organization, one of Jim Bowden's boys. There's no way Bowden wanted him here. He was a threat to Bowden from the day he was hired by Kasten (Kasten knew from day 1 that Bowden was not a long termer).

After playing a few years in the minors, Rizzo scouted for a few years for the Red Sox and White Sox, then joined the expansion Diamondbacks as a scout. He eventually became Director of Scouting for the D'backs. And the D'backs have produced a lot of home grown talent, have regularly been a pretty competitive team, in a mid-sized market.

There's no reason to NOT have faith in him. He's a baseball pro, he played an integral role in building a really good organization in Arizona, he seems to have handled the Lerners and Boras quite well, and he's not Jim Bowden. All good.

The Pudge signing, imho, is more about giving experience and confidence to a young group of starting pitchers. It's about being a leader and developing those young arms well. His stats at the end of the year might not warrant the $2M (or whatever he got). But it could turn out to be a really good move. With Pudge at the Marlins, their young arms pitched great, and pitched in late October. He moved to Detroit, their young arms pitched great, and pitched in late October.

Not saying we'll have any October baseball around here anytime soon, just saying Pudge could help in a lot of ways.


Posted by: Sunderland | February 9, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, Zuckerman is more than halfway there over at the NatsInsider blog:

http://natsinsider.blogspot.com/2010/02/send-mark-to-spring-training_07.html#comments

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 7:18 AM | Report abuse

I wish I could feel better about Rizzo, but so far I see a guy who looks overmatched. And part of me thinks he got the job in part because Stan and the Lerners think that they can control the guy.

He got crushed on the Chapman thing -- they really, really wanted that kid and Mike thought he had the best offer only to end up at best third and his number being $5M light. They wanted Ankiel but could not land him. They wanted Hudson badly and he wanted them (at least reportedly) and again fell short. Etc. And it is 30-somethings all over the place.

And as much as a Pudge signing MIGHT have great results, it is just as likely to be lack luster. Marquis is far and away the best player they have added and he would have been fine had they added someone to take the ball the day before him, but they have not yet done so. Rizzo has done little to fix the most glaring problem on the club -- no Ace. He's sat back as several clubs (none with as large of a need) have added by one means or another 1 and 2 starters. And proof that Rizzo has the Lerners under control is pretty thin as the club is looking to end up yet again in the bottom 5 payrolls and remains in the bottom third of minor league talent (even after adding Stras and Storen).

I am not feeling good about Nats management. I simply cannot trust Stan, the Lerners think the product on the field is secondary to the Red Porch experience and Rizzo seems to me to be either hamstrung by Stan and Ted, in over his head, or maybe both.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 9, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

@dfh21,

I read your comments about Mr. Rizzo and your doubts about his ability with some amusement. Considering you thought that Gil Meche was a "lefty" and a good clubhouse presence, I don't think your lack of respect for his judgement gets much play here. He is a good judge of talent, let him work.

Go Nats!!!

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

Okay, here's something for you. I don't really follow pageants, so I hadn't realized that the new Miss America is a Nat Packer. She says that tossing all those t-shirts helped prepare her for the physical fitness aspect of the competition. That's some nice spin there. Sign her up. ;-)

http://natstown.mlblogs.com/

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

natsguy -- again with the gil Meche? Really? Petty and ridiculous.

Rizzo's judgment of talent may be sterling, but his ability to land that talent seems less shiny, no?

Posted by: dfh21 | February 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Inspired, by the snark about handles above, I am self identifying my own multiple personalities:, my handles have been pretty consistant.

svrlugaville
natbiscuit
natbisquit
natbiscuits

I have also espoused a consistant philosophy:

-Pro Plan
-Pro Management
-Pro Coverage (through the Svrluga years)
-Less Pro Coverage (post Svrluga years)
-Anti-Negativity
-Lerner Apologist
-Kool-Aid Drinker
-Anti personal attacks
-Pro Frank
-Pro Riggleman

I was slow to get on the anti-Acta and anti-Bowden bandwagons, but I was driving wagon by then end on both.

I would be interested in other people's self assessments. Not sure that will catch on, but whatever....

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 9, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

In the continuing spirit of full disclosure, I have been:

John in Mpls
John (not) in Mpls
johninmpls

I'll go ask my other personalities if they've used other handles.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 9, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Only one handle.

Not sure I have direction enough to carry any particular philosophy, but on the points raised by natsbis:

-Pro Plan -- though I think that implemation has been very slow and generally poor
-Anti Management -- Riggs is good. Rizzo has not shown me much yet, though I remain open minded. Kasten is a snake and the Lerners, dare I use the words, are beyond doubt cheap skates.
-Pro Coverage (through the Svrluga years)
-Less Pro Coverage (post Svrluga years)
-Anti-Negativity, though I go there on occasion
-Nothing close to being a Lerner Apologist
-Not a Kool aid Drinker, but an optimist
-Anti personal attacks
-Pro Frank, hated the way that Nats management treated the guy at the end
-Pro Riggleman

Since the first week of 2009, it was obvious to me that Acta was not the right guy for the job. Would not stand up for his players, rolled guys under the bus to Cuse and misused the talent day after day. Bowden gave me less irritation than the average fan; I saw the guy as always searching for upside talent and with no budget that's not a bad strategy. JimBo, for all his foibles, never traded away anyone who turned out great and he added many of the pieces the club is leaning on today (Lannan, Zim, Mock, Chico, Willingham, Dunn, Zimmermann, Dukes, Detwiler, Olsen, Flores). He deserved to go, but I do not think that he was as bad as people in NJ tend to post.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 9, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

natsfan1a
natsfan1a1 (thanks for that one, WaPo ;-))

Oh, and back in the "good old" days I sometimes posted as Emily Litella or any given player (sample comment: "What am I, chopped liver?") for comic effect. Yeah, I know. Humor is in the eye of the beholder.

I'm not big on pigeon-holing, but I can pretty much co-sign on the natbiscuit platform (except that I didn't get on the anti-bandwagons).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about raising the kerfluffle on sign-in handles; I guess a combination of the sniping & cabin fever got to me.

Posted by: BinM | February 9, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I know the feeling, BinM. With more of the white stuff on the way, I fear it's not gonna get better anytime soon.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't mean to be a troll, but since Chico Harlan won't be at Spring Training, and it doesn't sound like WaPo will send Shenin or Boswell, there's going to be zero independent, informed reporting from Nats ST. Zero. Whoever the Post sends (if anybody) will not be up-to-date on the team to cover it adequately. Odds are that they won't even have sports writing experience. Your options will be Ladson (employed by MLB and the Nats) and MASN (also owned partially by the Nats and other MLB owners). Send Mark Zuckerman. He's a proven good reporter who has covered the team as long as they have been in DC. Now he's totally independent. He still has the press credentials and same access as any beat reporter. He just needs a little more to meet his budget and give the kind of coverage Nats fans truly deserve.

http://natsinsider.blogspot.com/2010/02/send-mark-to-spring-training_07.html

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | February 9, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

dfh21, I read your comment about being open minded about Rizzo and I think you should review your own posts. I understand your frustration with the team; all of us who want to win are frustrated, but to say Rizzo hasn't done anything means you are looking for the worst in this team. Rizzo has addressed a primary weakness in this franchise by retooling the front office and scouting departments, and although those aren't 'sexy' moves if you are going to say your plan is to grow thru the draft then this is the first area to be improved. Sure he didn't make a big splash this offseason but he did address concerns; got a starter, a backup catcher, a closer and a second baseman. Unless we take the Snyder/Minaya approach of fixing this team by just throwing money at the problem and hoping it solves the problems then this will take time and alot of it. You want the blockbuster trade with a stud starter coming here, but you can't finally start to see growth in your farm system then gut it to get a guy who won't make us any better then .500. You want to yap about what a mess Bowden made or how cheap the Lerner's are then go ahead, but like McGuire said I'm not talking about the past, I'm looking to the future.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

You're not a troll at all, cheeseburger, IMO.

I'm with you re. Zuckerman and have made my contribution. Looks like he's almost there.

For the record re. the Post, I don't know about a beat writer (...crickets...), but I believe Boz mentioned in a chat a few weeks ago that he planned to be at ST the week of February 21.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

My handles are usually predicated on Bugmenot. I'm pretty big into privacy. But, as Wapo has restricted them recently this handle is my personal one. As for the past I've been:

you-don't (know me)
ABXD341AX (or something like that)

...and some others that I can't remember. I never wanted to be a personality that was known, I just wanted to talk intelligent baseball. I typically use saber-metrics, but I am not arrogant enough to believe they are the end-all be-all. But they are useful in that they try to leave subjectivity out of the assessment of the players. I really appreciate reading a lot of the opinions. And I honestly don't think it matters what the handle is for the day, although it's a little sad if you log on with a different handle to agree with yourself.

Not a big fan of personal spats.

I'm a skeptic because of the lousy results and state of the farm. But I am a fan. I mostly want to see direction and results. Logic too. I don't like misrepresentations of the truth. I don't believe Nats fans are stupid and when management says things that aren't true, I feel like they are calling us stupid. Additionally, I think if the beat writers won't call them out then we should.

As for the FO, I didn't like Acta because he didn't hold his team accountable or stick up for them with winnable games on the line. I loved FRobby (even though he could ruin pitchers), was upset they fired him. I'm non committal on Riggleman. He's kind of like milquetoast to me, but if they win with him, I'll be fine with him. Was never a big fan of Bowden, but he was hamstrung by ownership). I really like Rizzo, feel like he has a vision he wants to follow. But I am not so sure ownership will provide the necessary resources to follow all of it. I do not think the 'Lerner's are Cheap,' but I do think they are profit conscious, above all else. I think they have a profit expectation in their minds, and will not budge from the size of their yearly investment unless they believe they can meet that amount. And I think that mentality is hurting their product (baseball team not finances) for the foreseeable future, although certainly Rizzo can overcome it.

Posted by: lpatashn | February 9, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

dfh21,

I have faith in Rizzo. I don't think he is the Messiah like some in here seem to think but, I think he is a solid all-around baseball lifer.

The problem is not Rizzo. He's doing what he can on a shoe-string budget, just like Jimbo did. He's making all the moves that he can to improve this team that are able to fit into the tight budget constraints of the Lerner's.

I don't blame him for not getting Chapman. I think he maxed out the bid on what the Lerner's told him he could spend which, not shockingly was not nearly enough.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 9, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

NatsFan1a1- That's nice if Boz will be there for a week. But Spring Training is much longer than a week. Most of the important decisions will be made later in March. It's just not enough IMO. I've sent in some money too. I hope the rest comes through this week so we can have some real coverage into March!

http://natsinsider.blogspot.com/2010/02/send-mark-to-spring-training_07.html

Posted by: cheeseburger53 | February 9, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I do realize all that, cheeseburger, and I agree with you. However, you stated that it didn't look like the Post would be sending Sheinin or Boswell, which is why I mentioned the Boz chat comments.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

section505203, what makes you think the offer to Chapman was't not 'nearly enough'? If we outbid all teams except one - which is certainly within the ream of possibility - is that 'not nearly enough', or is it more likely that the Nats, along with every other teams in MLB, just didn't think he was worth it? Again, just like with Crow, the idea of spending money just because you can isn't a sound plan - you decide what someone is worth and you make your play. It's easy to say we blew this one without seeing how Chapman progresses but to use this is an example of this franchise being cheap, IMHO, is ridiculous.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Only one handle.

-Pro Plan – but its been slow to develop
-Anti StanK – Hate the Braves and every time I see or hear him that’s what I think – I hate the Braves.
-Anti Lerners – when they stop treating the blue collar employees like indentured servants I will reconsider
-Anti-Negativity – except see above
-Pro RFK – I miss my tickets behind home plate and the way RFK rocked
-Optimist, big-time
-Anti personal attacks
-Pro Frank – remember that HR that he got called a foul and the “fight’ with Scioscia. He’s been mistreated by the Nats
Pro-Mani the person BUT anti-Mani the do-nothing manager
-Pro Riggleman – ya know…
-Pro-Natsfanatic site - I miss you guys

Posted by: alm1000 | February 9, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

If one can believe what Chico Harlan wrote when he announced his upcoming defection from the Nats beat, the Post will be sending both him and his designated successor to spring training so that he can break in the new guy/gal. Which actually is a better situation than when Harlan replaced Svrluga, because Harlan didn't jump on board until after the season had already started.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 9, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang...Well said, Ipat....and a few others, too -CaPete and Sunder....hey, I can't even Remember HOW TO SPELL ALL THE NAMES, MUCH LESS FIGURE OUT IF SOMEONE IS USING MULTIPLE HANDLES....FOR THE RECORD, i'M zENDO OR zENDO2...Ooops-caps lock.
It's the snow
Great book on an illeggal substance called "Snow Blind'...back in the early '80's I think.
Worst thing (well one of) about this snow is worrying if someone has taken my parking spot when I get home. I'm an "essential" employee-gotta go to work. Yesterday someone was in the TWO spots I had dug out-and with Va. plates!(I'm in DC). Cursed and dug out a 3rd, only to have Fernando from the liquor store across the street come out and tell me it was HIS car and he parked in both spots to make sure that one was saved for me!Now I got 3 spots-one of which I hope is free
Sorry for the lack of baseball....are we sure Boz is still with WaPo? Haven't heard from him in a while
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo2 | February 9, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

SCNAts. Maybe I should re-read my posts, but they don't make sense the second time iether and my typing is terrible (sorry).

Rizzo's retooling of the FO is nice, but it was not the big problem of the franchise. (Not to mention the same guy told us that work had been done in 2007, but I will not go there.) The problem with the club is a weak roster (starting pitching in particular) and an iffy farm. I have no expectations that Rizzo, or anyone else in his shoes, can be some miracle worker, but I don't see Mike furthering the Plan much at all and I don't see him adding top level talent either. It looks like he's building a club to win 70-75 games.

Maybe Rizzo is hamstrung in a big way by the budget, but to date adding an innings eater, a catcher, a solid yet unspectacular 2B who is one year removed from being out of the game and some bull pen hopefuls is not moving the needle as much as a back to back 100 loss club requires. I do believe he knows baseball talent, but I question whether he has the negotiation skills to land the guys he wants.

Maybe Duncan, Capps and Bruney will be huge players, I sure hope so, that would make me think the guy has real chops. But this offseason there has been nothing bold form a club that seems to be aching for bold moves.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 9, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

SCNatsfan,

It was reported that the Nats were 5 million below the Reds offer. 5 Million!? We may also have not finished 2nd in the bidding, we may have been lower.

If I'm reading the pattern of your posts correctly, it seems, that you're a "plan" guy that likes what the Lerner's and Kasten are doing, which is fine.

I don't happen to agree. You want them to "decide what someone is worth and you make your play" and you are getting what you want because with the limited spending they do on players at all levels, that is exactly what your getting.

In my opinion, 205 losses over the last 2 years shows that limited spending on players, ain't working.

Posted by: Section505203 | February 9, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

SlowPitch63
I meant to change it to SlowPitch64 last year but forgot.
If I wait until May I might change to SlowPitch65...I'll let you know.

More a lurker than a poster because I frequently arrive too late to the discussion to contribute much.

-Pro Plan
-Pro Management
-Pro Coverage (through the Svrluga years)
-Less Pro Coverage (post Svrluga years)but still very grateful.
-Anti-Negativity. Negativity and personal attacks on others have driven me away for weeks at a time. I tune in for enjoyment with no agenda.
-Lerner sceptic
-Kool-Aid avoider
-Anti personal attacks, strongly so.
-Pro Frank
-Pro Riggleman
-Pro almost all the regular contributors here.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | February 9, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

SlowPitch63
I meant to change it to SlowPitch64 last year but forgot.
If I wait until May I might change to SlowPitch65...I'll let you know.

More a lurker than a poster because I frequently arrive too late to the discussion to contribute much.

-Pro Plan
-Pro Management
-Pro Coverage (through the Svrluga years)
-Less Pro Coverage (post Svrluga years)but still very grateful.
-Anti-Negativity. Negativity and personal attacks on others have driven me away for weeks at a time. I tune in for enjoyment with no agenda.
-Lerner sceptic
-Kool-Aid avoider
-Anti personal attacks, strongly so.
-Pro Frank
-Pro Riggleman
-Pro almost all the regular contributors here.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | February 9, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

For all those carping about Rizzo, I would offer that there are three ways to make your big league roster better.

1. Make a trade for a major league ready player.
2. Sign a FA.
3. Bring people up from the minors.

#1 and #3 require having talent in your organization to begin with. The Nats have very little in their system that people would want and/or that they can afford to part with. Those of you calling for a trade to bring a front line pitcher: who exactly would you part with to do that? The Nats have maybe two pieces that would garner a #1 or #2 starter - Zimmerman and Dunn. After that? And please don't tell me they could "package" Willingham and two minor leaguers. Ask yourself how you would feel if the Nats got Willingham and two unproven marginal prospects for even say Lannan. Pitching is valuable folks. Rizzo has very little to work with. Yeah the Phillies got Halladay, but they had Cliff Lee to give up.

As for the FA signings, I'm not in favor of them chancing a big contract which would hang around their necks like an albatross.

I wish it were different but it's not. We need to be patient friends. They need to add through the draft - maybe some international signings, but even those are risky - and slowly build. At least with Rizzo, they appear to have an adult in charge. I for one will evaluate Rizzo when I see how his draft picks do this year and next.

#4 (old handle)

Posted by: db423 | February 9, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

I am a believer in the plan just because I believe that is the only way to build a long term successful franchise. Should this team spend more money? Absolutely, but invest it in scouting both in and out of the US; you do not build long term success by just buying FAs. It sucks to watch this team not compete year and year out - and I'm an Expos fans since I went to school there in the early 80s - so I want to win, but I want to see management and the front office stable and improved which I believe will lead us to being a franchise that can compete every year. You simply cannot undo the damage that MLB did to this franchise in a short period of time, escpecially when you bring in Bowden to compound the misery.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

New to posting, but been a regular reader and a Nat's fan from day 1.
Single handle.

Plan - I'm pro-plan, I'm just not sure about this plan or the execution of this plan.
Riggleman - I think he's a good manager for this team as it stands now. This could change as the team makeup changes and as expectations change.
Manny - I'll admit that I loved Manny. But he was very much not the right guy for a young developing team. He's a great guy, but not adaptable, with one management style, and he needs a veteran team, with strong internal leadership.
Stan - A snake. He's only a genius because he was blessed with Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz.
Frank - An icon, and a good manager. Somehow, his departure could have been handled much better.
Rizzo - I have real good vibes about Rizzo. dfh21 does not know why. I get this.
Lerners - I really dislike the Nat's business dealings with ticket holders and fans. Premium game charges, poor concession management. I really dislike this, and I put this all on the Lerners. Also, it disgusts me that the Nats are among the most profitable teams in MLB. They've not yet earned the right to be profitable (imho).
RFK - Loved it. Felt like home. Loved tailgating.
NatsTown - It's growing on me.
Kool-Aid - No thanks
Negativity - Oh yeah, when I think it's warranted.
Personal Attacks - Nope
Coverage - Svrluga was good. Post-Barry, it's OK. Hard to complain when I ain't payin' a dime. Boz goes both ways for me. Sometimes he infuriates me. I'm in the minority in that I like Dibble.
Sabermetrics - Not so much.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 9, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Supplement

Pro-Rizzo - Love the guy and what he has done so far. do I wish he had done more - definately but I really like what he has done.
Pro-Dibble - loved him from day 1. Makes watching fun.

Posted by: alm1000 | February 9, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I've also been on the Dibble bandwagon from the start. :-)

BTW, there's a "new" post up.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 9, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

section505203, what makes you think the offer to Chapman was't not 'nearly enough'? If we outbid all teams except one - which is certainly within the ream of possibility - is that 'not nearly enough', or is it more likely that the Nats, along with every other teams in MLB, just didn't think he was worth it? Again, just like with Crow, the idea of spending money just because you can isn't a sound plan - you decide what someone is worth and you make your play. It's easy to say we blew this one without seeing how Chapman progresses but to use this is an example of this franchise being cheap, IMHO, is ridiculous.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 9, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have among the lowest payrolls in all of baseball. Why shouldn't they be able to outbid Cincy for Chapman? Cincy's payroll is significantly higher than the Nats' payroll, and our region is significantly bigger than Cincy's. What's ridiculous about it? Being second in the bidding means you spent no money at all--just like if you were 10th in the bidding.

And if they had said to Chapman or his agent, "We would like to have you as a Nat, so if the market takes you higher than our $25 million-five year offer, just let us know," then the Nats would have got another phone call and a chance to go higher and get the player. But I'll bet instead they said, "$25 mil over five is our best and final offer. Bye."

And not signing your top round draft because of a $500,000 difference is just not major league in any way.

I will never understand why DC baseball fans favor saving money over adding young, quality players that build the Nats' future, unless you are a Nats' employee or something? The Nats have so many tens of millions of annual expenditures to go just to get up to MLB average in financial commitment. Why not push for being average, at least?

Posted by: EdDC | February 9, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

did Riggleman give away which young arm is favored to make the 5 man rotation? (cough cough Stammen)

Posted by: destewar | February 9, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

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