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Wang's agent: 'We haven't finalized anything'

In the last two days, the critical mass of public information re: FA pitcher Chien-Ming Wang has done more to create confusion than understanding. Media reports move forwards, then backwards, refuting and counter-refuting.

To recap the last 36 hours:

Boston Globe journalist Peter Abraham, who was close with Wang when he covered the Yankees as a Journal News staffer, tweeted on Wednesday morning that Wang had agreed to an offer from the Nats. Then a half-dozen reports, including one here, suggested the report was premature, and that the Nats were frontrunners to land Wang but hadn't done so yet. Complicating matters was a late-Wednesday twitter report from Newsday's Ken Davidoff -- "Word in DC is that #Nats will guarantee Wang 2 million..." -- that somehow didn't specify whether this was a done-deal contract or an offer. At this point, there's just enough info floating through the blogosphere that anybody, self-selecting the content, can rightfully claim that 1.) Wang is already a Nat or 2.) Wang will wait 7-10 days to pick a team, or 3.) Wang will inevitably become a Nat, because no other club is willing to offer a contract.

In reporting this story, I've heard contradictory first-hand info. Some in Washington's front office even wonder if Wang is listening to contract offers from other clubs. But Wang's agent, Alan Nero, was willing to go on the record Thursday afternoon, emphasizing that the righty won't pick a team for another week or so.

"Once again, I don't know where everybody is getting info," he said, asked whether an informal or verbal agreement was in place with the Nats. "There is no [deal], and won't be for another week or so."

That answer seemed a bit open to interpretation, bringing the natural follow-up.

My question: Do you mean it's just a matter of days before a deal is announced? Or is Wang still taking offers from clubs other than Washington?

Here, Nero said unequivocally that Wang is still open to offers from any club in baseball.

"We haven't finalized anything with anybody," he said.

---

Meantime, some other links and notes ...

Danny Knobler, of CBSSports.com, is pumped to see the Nats this spring. And a few execs in the NL want to see the Nats top the Mets in the standings.

Stephen Strasburg tells Byron Kerr that his knee is 100-percent healthy.

Elijah Dukes re-upped his contract (a formality, because he's not yet arb-eligible, but worth noting for book-keeping purposes).

By Chico Harlan  |  February 11, 2010; 3:59 PM ET
 
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Next: Kennedy signing official

Comments

In other words: Any other team please call my agent I do not wish to pitch in 2010 for the Washington Nationals?

Repost:

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

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

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

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

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

Looks like Brian placed Karns in Potomac with Trevor Holder. There is some hope in those two ... still early though.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Repost (& addition)
@peric: Don't read too far forward, or too much into my "personal" observations - Marquis/Lannan/Stannan/Olsen/Martis as an initial top-5, with Martin/Detwiler/Wang/others as 'call-ups' COULD go to .500. If the team signs Wang, then a trade for a SP seems unlikely, imo.
Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 4:33 PM
&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&
Brian's got a good read on the MiLB situation - He's been at longer than I have, but I personally see Holder at HAG & Karns at GCL; Just a difference of opinion.

Posted by: BinM | February 11, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats are lucky enough to lang Wang, I hope they invite former Virginia Tech great Eugene Chung to the park for Wang Chung night.

Everybody have fun tonight....

Posted by: Drew8 | February 11, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Can we get Nats Insider added to the Natosphere references listed on the left-hand side of this page?

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 11, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg had knee surgery? Don't think that was the case.

Posted by: Sonny9 | February 11, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

If we did sign Wang, does that mean that the Nats would control him through 2011?He would have to go through arbitration after the 2010 season right?What happens to arbitration player who are non-tender?

Posted by: jacquesdoucet | February 11, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

That's not the same Wang from Caddyshack, is it?

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

"What happens to arbitration player who are non-tender? "

If another team signs them. then their arbitration situation picks up from where it was when they left their original team. This is why the Nats will still have control of Matt Capps (who was non-tendered by PIT) for 2011 even though right now he's only signed for 2010.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 11, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats are lucky enough to lang Wang, I hope they invite former Virginia Tech great Eugene Chung to the park for Wang Chung night.

Everybody have fun tonight....

Posted by: Drew8 | February 11, 2010 5:03 PM
_____________________________________

Stands. Applauds. Sits down again.

Nicely played

Posted by: TimDz | February 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Most recent post at MLB trade rumors:

"The Nationals have limited depth after John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Scott Olsen. Stephen Strasburg may be the most talented pitcher the Nats have, but he'll presumably have to prove it before they hand him a rotation spot. Washington is considering Wang and if that falls through, they figure to move on to others."

Guess they haven't heard that both Olsen (shoulder) and Strasburg (knee) are coming off of injuries. I think Stammen had some issues as well? Factor a newly signed Wang in?

It sure looks like Marquis, Lannan, and Martin at this point.

Posted by: periculum | February 11, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

I think the model he used with the Capitals is pretty much what we're doing with the Nats now.
_________

Well there's the problem. We're stocking up on Candadian and Russian hockey players.

Posted by: markfromark | February 11, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

This sure smells like the Nats are being used for leverage to me.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 11, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

SCNatsFan

Doesn't it though. Even so, it will be the front offices fault when he doesn't sign.

Posted by: soundbloke | February 11, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Cut Nero loose. Wang is a crap shoot at best.

Posted by: navboss | February 11, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Three things...

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

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

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

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

Posted by: comish4lif | February 11, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts while I was non-tendering my Wang. . . .

It was a slow news day.

I'm glad folks want us to not finish last.

An old joke: There were computers at the time of Creation. Eve had her Apple, and Adam had his Wang.

Posted by: paulkp | February 11, 2010 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Have I scooped Chico and everyone?

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/343392-washington-nationals-zeroing-in-on-chien-ming-wang

Posted by: paulkp | February 11, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, perhaps not a scoop:

"To be fair, this information was gleaned from a Chinese-language newspaper translated through Yahoo’s Babelfish translation service."

No comment necessary

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

Wang will sign because he is a used up pitcher who found a contract he can sign and a ballpark he can play in that will be filled with fans so desperate that a washout can still feel the love and hero worship if only for one more season. Besides, maybe he sees coaching prospects with the Nationals. Or a bullpen role. Wang is finished as a number 1 pitcher. At best he might be number 5.

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

No scoop. That story has been discredited. Wang's agent is apparently waiting for teams (other than the Nationals) to express interest ... o-dog all over again.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:02 AM | Report abuse

if they gave pulitzers for reposting the reporting of other people, chico would be the hands down fav

Posted by: formerlylove1 | February 12, 2010 2:11 AM | Report abuse

"In reporting this story, I've heard contradictory first-hand info."

I, for one, appreciate that even if the WaPo/NJ is late to a story, I can count on the info being researched and sourced. Chico picks up a tip (same ones we all here), talks to his team sources, league sources and others, and either it's substantiated or refuted. He packages it together and reports it. Like Brian has said on NFA--there are lots of blogs (good and bad) that relay, discuss and debate firsthand reporting, but very few who do it.

Should we push WaPo to fully staff the Nats Desk? Yes. Should we insist its staffed with a baseball veteran like Zuckerman? YES.

Should we get off Chico's back? Also yes. The guy's doing his job. Substantiation and source-checking takes longer than just reposting somebody else's stuff. And it's not his fault his replacement has not yet been hired. Can we PLEASE stop? Talk about baseball, or troll elsewhere.

Taking my own advice: If Dukes is hitting at a .275/20/80 pace by the AS break, is that enough to keep him as the regular RF? What's his threshold, other than "stepping up?"

Posted by: natinbeantown | February 12, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Your Wang issue is not the same as ODogs. Try not to go all "woe is me" everytime there is a delay in a contract signing. The delay might have to do with medical appointments, contract issues, etc....

It's like fishing. You throw a line in and you wait. You can wiggle the line, troll the boat, or recast every few minutes, but if the fish doesn't strike immediately it doesn't mean your bait sucks or that the fish is insincere.

Posted by: natbiscuits | February 12, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

@comish4lif re: "But I would have been spending more in 2007 and 2008. And not wasting money on garbage like Cabrera or the open tryouts that we had in Spring '07.
if it was my team, I'd spend league average payroll to move from 103 losses down to 95 losses."

I blame a lot of this on Bowden. I have to believe he told them he could salvage guys from the scrap heap and make trades (Bonifacio for Olsen and Willgham was one-sided in our facvor, even with Olsen hurt)and save money until prospects matured.
Rizzo seems to more active and realistic about what to do and the owners obviously are willing to spend. They had to figure things out for a few seasons. I opened a business and the first 2 years was so-so, but after that we kicked butt and got our feet under us. Same thing I see here.

Posted by: jmurray019 | February 12, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Well said, beantown. I also appreciate the substantiation and source-checking at journalistic sites.

And biscuits, the secret is: every time you put your line in the water, you say a Hail Mary, and every time you say a Hail Mary, you catch a fish. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 12, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Totally agree with easing up on Chico.

As for Elijah Dukes, I want to see him hit curveballs, and I want to see him have good at bats in late inning situations.

Even if he's on a .275 / 20 / 80 pace, if he's regularly a simple out for a good reliever, that's not good.
He's good at laying off a lot of the of speed stuff, but he still seems unable to handle a good curve in or around the zone.

I do hope his outfield defense is improved as well. I'm really rooting for him. I'd love to see him really succeed.

Posted by: Sunderland | February 12, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Two things - I'm not giving the Lerners any slack for the 1st two years and learning on the job. They had a veteran baseball man in Stan Kasten. It seems that they didn't listen to him much. And with a bottom 5 payroll again for 2010, I see little evidence of the Nats being any more willing to spend money then they have in the past.

And Dukes doesn't need to learn how to hit the curve, he needs to learn to lay off the curve, look for fastballs in fastball counts and make sure that he hits the pitch that he is looking for - as opposed to swinging at anything. And mostly missing...

Posted by: comish4lif | February 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

And if anyone should be "replaced" by Zuckerman, it should be Ladson IMHO.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Good stuff Chico.

If some other club swoops in and grabs Wang -- an arb eligible guy for 2011 -- with an extra $1M in guaranteed money, I am going to lose it. It is well passed time for the Nats to be agressive and get the guy they are chasing. My fingers are crossed that they can pull it off.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 12, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

When he declines the Nationals offer, this will be the headline:

"Nero twiddles while Wang spurns."

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 12, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I heard a guy say the same thing on the bus today while on the phone with some clinic.

And can we refrain from such phrases as "grabs Wang," even for a day? My immaturity is getting the best of me.

-----

Your Wang issue is not the same as ODogs.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

dfh21, if someone comes in and grabs Wang it won't be the Nats fault nor do I believe it will be about money. If he's just using us to pump up an offer from another team then I hope Rizzo would be smart enough to cut his losses and not offer more just so Wang can get more from someone else. Maybe someday players will stop using the Nats as a doormat but it doesn't appear today will be that day.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | February 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm starting to hope they don't sign him. I mean, I'm as immature as the next guy, but geez. As Groucho used to say, "I love my cigar, but I take it out once in a while."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

ScNats: If the Nats want Wang and some other club inks him for above what they offer, it is no one's fault but the Nats'. They certainly have the money to go get the guy, if they want him. Billy Beane told the world on MLB Network the other day that his club over-spent to an extent on Sheets because they had to in order to be sure to land him. The Nats may be in a similar situation, who knows. But if they get beat on straight money to land an under control front end rotation guy and the money he actually gets is not earth-shattering, why should it not be their fault for getting beat?

I am concerned that if Wang can be had by some club for $2.5-$3M, instead of the $2M reportedly on the table from the Nats, that he may take the bigger deal from what is likely a better club. The Nats seemingly threw extra money at Pudge, a much less valuable guy than Wang, where is that mentality now?

Posted by: dfh21 | February 12, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

It sure would be nice if the Lerners are Cheap crowd would wait until after proposed deals either do or don't go down before they start launching their endless repetitive rants about how cheap the Lerners are for not doing a deal that hasn't even been done or undone yet. Just sayin'.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 12, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I would rather see the Nats sign Jarrod Washburn instead of Wang. Washburn went 9-9 with a 3.78 era in the AL and he is healthy and can begin the season as member of the rotation instead of waiting until may or june for Wang.

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

Washurn (36?) is not a next year player though, and Wang is.

Nunof1: Not sure I ranted about the Lerners being cheap, though it is a fact. I commented above that the club likely over-paid for Pudge, so no cheapness hints to that part at least.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 12, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

I think Pudge provides name recognition for marketing and sales, a veteran play caller, a mentor and coach for the young catchers; Flores, Nieves, Solano, Rooney and of course Norris.

Wang makes for great jokes ... but doesn't have the star power that IRod brings for the marketeers ... as well as the rep as a player.

It seems certain they told IRod that his primary role was to mentor and help the young pitchers and his successor catchers succeed ...

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Of course there's the old David Seville song ...~smiles~

Ooooooh eeeeee Oooooo ahahahah wing Wang wolla wolla bing bang say wolla wolla big Wang wah --The Witch Doctor.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Last year, I was part of an Ebay auction for an old American history text from the turn of the 20th Century.

I am a history teacher and I enjoy collecting history memorabilia from the past.

It started at $50 and I kept raising my offer as the price broke $200. I went as high as $250 before I dropped out.

The high bid was $325.

I wanted it very much and could have afforded to pay ten times that final bid.

But it wasn't worth that much to me. At $250, it had value but it didn't at $260. That's where I drew the line.

I ended up buying another history book with a 1855 copyright for $230 and I'm happy as can be.

The Lerner family have the money to pay Wang ten times what he may ultimately get from another team, but he won't have value at that higher price to the team.

Orlando Hudson didn't have value at $5 million (but they could have afforded him) and instead the Nationals signed Adam Kennedy and (hopefully) Chien-Ming Wang for that same price.

Would you rather have Wang and Kennedy or just Hudson?

It's easy to say "they can afford it," but if they start adding a bunch of over-priced contracts to the payroll, the team will one day be unable to make any big moves because of all the contracts that they can afford individually but can't unload.

I'm comfortable with the team's personnel and payroll judgement.

Remember, the contracts of Austin Kearns, Dmitri Young and Cristian Guzman totalled $21 million last year. Individually, the team could carry one of them and not effect other moves. But $21 million in players who arn't providing much can keep the team from bringing in better players who can make a difference.

I see all sides here, but the last thing we need are owners willing to spring for contracts that are too expensive.

Too many bad things can happen.

Posted by: rushfari | February 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm still surprised by how badly everyone on these boards wants Wang and thinks he will go back to being a 19 game winner again. Wang has been horrible the last two seasons and there is no guarantee that he is healthy or will stay healthy, he could just be a more expensive John Patterson/Shawn Hill/Scott Olsen. As for Wang being in our rotation after next season, in 2011 we are already looking at an anticipated rotation of Strasburg, Lannan, Marquis, and JZimm. I would like to see the Nats fill that open slot with a top 2 or 3 pitcher, basically someone much better than Wang.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | February 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

the Nats are a funny organization.

they will overpay for catchers (Rodriguez, LoDuca), outfielders (Kearns), second basemen (Lopez) and shortstops (Guzman), but they will NOT budge on paying starting pitchers.

given the central importance of your starting rotation and closer, one would think an organization would do things the other way around, and chintze on the second baseman and outfielder and be 'all in' for a legitimate starting pitcher.

I still can't believe the Nats let John Garland go for a one year $5M deal.

The team paid more than that to watch Dmitri Young sit on the bench the last year and half.

And the length of the deal protected the club from any lingering injury concerns.

Opportunity missed.

Posted by: leopard09 | February 12, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Before Washburn you might as well go out and bring back Kip Wells ... LOL

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"we are already looking at an anticipated rotation of Strasburg, Lannan, Marquis, and JZimm."

You might as well throw Chico in as he is further along in his recover than JZimm. Strasburg has yet to pitch post knee surgery.
He will probably need that full year in the minors as a result. And should not be rushed.

So, you have Lannan, Marquis, and the same guys you had at the end of last year: Martin, Mock, Martis, Detwiler, Balester ... maybe Thompson ...

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunatly Kip Wells has already signed with the Reds ;)

Posted by: jacquesdoucet | February 12, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I'm still on the Nats are cheap bandwagon because - even if they spend 2-3-4 Million on Wang, they'll still be in the bottom 5 in payroll.

The Nats should have been more willing to spend money in 2008 and 2009 so, that the team would have been better in those seasons. Now, the Nats payroll need about a $20M boost to get to the league midpoint as far as payroll. So, they were cheap then and they are cheap now - regardless of whether they get Wang signed.

Posted by: comish4lif | February 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"I'm still on the Nats are cheap bandwagon because - even if they spend 2-3-4 Million on Wang, they'll still be in the bottom 5 in payroll."

REPOST (from recent chat with Mark Lerner)

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

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

Maybe its time to kick Boz (not Chico) in the side to post another article taking the Lerners to task for not keeping their word?

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"I still can't believe the Nats let John Garland go for a one year $5M deal."

They didn't. They offered him a two year deal worth over twice that and he turned it down to sign for 1 yr/$5M with San Diego.

You have to wonder why the Lerners are Cheap crowd can't even fathom the simple truth that you can't throw money at players if they refuse to take it from you.

Posted by: nunof1 | February 12, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The current strategy looks to be:

Marquis, Lannan plus two of Martin, Mock, Balester, Martis, Detwiler, Thompson, Atilano, Stammen, Jaime, Chico (recovered?), Olsen (recovered?) depending on who pitches best, and who can be sent down and recalled without using up their options.

Later in May, June (hopefully) : Wang (recovered?)
Later in August : Strasburg, (recovered, seasoned?) JZimm (recovered?)

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

How about Willingham, Storen, + for Matt Cain?
Seems like he might be better than Wang?

______________________________________________________________

From ESPN Insider:

If the San Francisco Giants are paying two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum $23 million through 2011, will that have an impact on whether the club can keep right-hander Matt Cain around beyond his 2011 option year? Or might GM Brian Sabean ultimately shop him for more help on the offensive side?

Cain will make just $10.5 million over the next two years, but with the two-year pact for Lincecum, the club may need to re-assess the situation with both hurlers as the '11 season nears.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I wanted it very much and could have afforded to pay ten times that final bid.

But it wasn't worth that much to me. At $250, it had value but it didn't at $260. That's where I drew the line.

I ended up buying another history book with a 1855 copyright for $230 and I'm happy as can be.
____________
But what if you weren't spending your own money? What if you'd collected the money from a bunch of people on the implicit understanding that you'd spend that money to put together a representative book collection, and then decided, year after year, that prices were too high, so you'd just keep that money rather than waste it? Not saying that's what's happening, saying the money at issue is not mall money, it's baseball money.

Posted by: markfromark | February 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Can we please stop the trading Storen theory: earliest he can be dealt is in June, as he hasn't had a signed professional contract for a year until then. And Josh Willingham has little trade value currently when you can get a better player (Johnny Damon) for the same money without giving up prospects.

Why would the Giants deal a solid #2 pitcher under contract for Willingham when they can sign Damon? Answer, they wouldn't. Thus we need to accept that Willingham will be in LF on opening day.

Posted by: S2DU | February 12, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

MLBTR says Bartolo Colon is available. Hey, we can get him, and we don't even have to trade away anyone!

Bud Selig is a Bastard

Posted by: swang30 | February 12, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I keep seeing people penciling in J Zimm and Stras penciled in for the full-time rotation next year. What we're forgetting is innings counts; those two will throw 300 innings combined max next year. The Nats need another #2 or #3 type arm to throw 200 innings in 2011 if they want to be competitive or these two will be serious injury risks in September (or October???).

Posted by: natsfanintexas | February 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@periculum -- Stasburg DID NOT have surgery on his knee. He had a very minor procedure done about 3 months ago and he has personally declared himself 100% for ST. Rizzo has said that there's a possibility he could make the club with a dominating performance in ST. Even if that doesn't happen, there is NO WAY that he stays in the minors all season!

Re: JZimmermann, Lannan has supposedly tweeted that he is playing golf already. So I would assume (knowing how dangerous that can be) that JZimm is making great strides in his recovery from TJ. Hopefully, he can throw a few innings by Sept. to set himself up for a productive full season in 2011 (fingers crossed REAL TIGHT!!)

Posted by: OldSkoolDiehard | February 12, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I keep seeing people penciling in J Zimm and Stras penciled in for the full-time rotation next year. What we're forgetting is innings counts ...
Posted by: natsfanintexas | February 12, 2010 2:57 PM
+++++++++++++++
You're right; we have been glossing over that. Thanks.

I'd say the other thing we're forgetting is that both these guys might stink on ice. They're young enough that we really don't know them.

And Zimmermann was, in fact, hurt. Hurt where he *throws* -- not the best thing for a pitcher. His injury isn't a death sentence anymore, but neither is it just a mani-pedi.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 12, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and leopard09, I think that "not budg[ing] on paying starting pitchers" is in line with the team president's stated belief: that pitchers are too unpredictable to focus on as free agents. i.e., a position player, while he may be expensive (you may "overpay"), carries less risk of a total loss.

Feel free to disagree with the man, of course. I'm not saying he's right. I'm just saying he's flat-out told us he uses the Meineke approach: "I'm not gonna pay a lot for this pitcher!"

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 12, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

After having a baseball discussion with a Cubs fan (who made a point to literally applaud Rizzo's acquisition of T. Plush), I have decided that I still want John Smoltz.

I am aware of how delusional this sounds.

Posted by: JohninMpls | February 12, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I want no part of Jonh Smoltz. I am sure he has some value left, but at his advanced age, DC is not the lcub for him and he is not the guy for DC.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Strasburg's Knee problems (I guess he rehabbed and didn't scope ... yet ... the operative word is yet ... ) notwithstanding. They can't afford to rush this guy to the majors. He probably needs a full year in the minors ... just like Holder (who pitched more major college innings) et al.

I expect to see him in August for the late in the season call-ups. Rizzo is no fool.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

It makes no sense to rush JZimm either. He may lose velocity and/or control. He will need time in the minors to get things back on track.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Why would the Giants deal a solid #2 pitcher under contract for Willingham when they can sign Damon? Answer, they wouldn't. Thus we need to accept that Willingham will be in LF on opening day."

Damon is 36, Willingham is decidedly a lot cheaper and younger. Cain may cost too much given the contract demands of Lincecum, the Giants have Baumgardner coming up and he is left handed. Storen is decidedly cheaper and younger than Cain.

Damon is headed for Detroit.

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

When did Zimm have the surgery? Isn't it like 18 months of recovery time? I am not sure that he's really a viable guy at all until 2011.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 12, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

From the Nats (and Cain's) point of view:

Cain immediately becomes the ace of the Nats staff. He is a power pitcher and does 200+ innings a year.

Cain, Marquis, Lannan, [future] Strasburg ... good enough to at least knock off the Mets?

Posted by: periculum | February 12, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

As to the Willingham versus Damon notes above. Not sure who is a better or worse player, but the age difference is very significant (and old guys are not getting the benefit of the doubt to repeat in their late 30's as they did even a couple of years ago), and Willingham is under control in 2011 -- which is pretty big.

Also, I think that Willingham is perceived to have "real power" -- I think that a lot of folks see Damon's 2009 power spike (career high HR's per AB, hit 17 at home 7 on the road) as a product of the little park they built in the Bronx last year. And the Hammer is right handed, so a little bit of an apple to Damon's orange.

Anyway, not sure if the Nats can get what they need in return for Josh, but he has trade value, no doubt.

Posted by: dfh21 | February 12, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

more from MLBTR
Nationals Have Interest In Kris Benson
By Mike Axisa [February 12 at 3:18pm CST]

The Nationals have some interest in free agent righty Kris Benson, tweets MLB.com's Bill Ladson. GM Mike Rizzo and Benson's agent Gregg Clifton are hoping to meet early next week after a snow storm got in the way this week (link goes to Twitter).

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

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I guess this would be insurance, just in case Scott Olsen actually is healed, for the Patterson slot.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 12, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

As long as they don't guarantee him a roster spot, there's nothing wrong with seeing what Benson has to offer in Spring Training.
Posted by: Sec3mysofa | February 12, 2010 4:49 PM
------------------
You mean, besides his wife (Anna)?

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

@dfh21: JZimm had the TJ procedure in mid-August, 2009. That's usually a 12-15 month recovery period, with about a 85-90% success rate. I don't think the team is counting on him until 2011.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

@peric: I floated the idea of a possible trade with SF in here a few days back, with either Cain or Zito as targets for DC. The general vibe was that 1)Cain is under contract until 2011, so is still a 'controlled cost' for SF, and 2)they would love to shed Zito's salary ($18M+/yr through 2013), but who would be crazy enough to take even half of it?

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I don't think he usually *offers* the missus.

On the "see what he's got" tip, though, weren't we just hearing it was a problem that the team invited too many players/pitchers to spring trainings past? I wonder where we are (BinM, I know you know) and how it compares.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 12, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"Why would the Giants deal a solid #2 pitcher under contract for Willingham when they can sign Damon? Answer, they wouldn't. Thus we need to accept that Willingham will be in LF on opening day."

"Damon is 36, Willingham is decidedly a lot cheaper and younger. Cain may cost too much given the contract demands of Lincecum, the Giants have Baumgardner coming up and he is left handed. Storen is decidedly cheaper and younger than Cain.

Damon is headed for Detroit."

Damon is going to get around $6 million per year, Willingham made $3.95 million in his first year of arb, so he should see a decent jump, so cost is fairly equal. Yes Willingham is younger but has career injury problems while Damon has played 140+ games for many consecutive years. True, Bumgarner is coming up and is a lefty, but teams do like to stockpile young pitching nowadays, perhaps you hadn't heard the message (not to mention he is 20 years old and lost 3+ mph on his FB in the second half). With the Giants attempting to contend in the pathetic NL West this year, there is that small problem of making up for trading Matt Freakin' Cain as well.

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

Posted by: S2DU | February 12, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

@Scooter_: Oh, c'mon - She's a 'bag full of crazy' that would have Steinbog sitting in the wive's section all season long, just hoping for quotes.

On to your real question - It certainly doesn't look like Viera 2010 will be a 'cattle call' like it was in 2007, but the Nationals might still have around 55-60 players in ML camp to start Spring Training.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

>>Kris Benson

Enough with these bottom of the barrel Oriole castoffs or coming off injury leftovers. How bout signing some real good real healthy real baseball players? Now that would be fresh.

Posted by: dovelevine | February 12, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

An open question to the group - Were the MLB offices shut down due to the storms? There have been no updates on the 'Transactions' page since 02/09/10.

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Adam Kennedy apparently passed his physical, so he'll officially be a National sometime over the long weekend. The question is, who does Rizzo DFA to make space for him on the 40-man?

Posted by: BinM | February 12, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that he has to. If memory serves, she said that she'd *offer* herself to the entire NY Mets team, including the ballboys, back in the day. (But only if her husband had been unfaithful first. You know, an eye for an eye, or something like that.) Meowww... ;-)

In other news, there's a new post (and check out the comments for some Postie news as well).

---

Oh, I don't think he usually *offers* the missus.

On the "see what he's got" tip, though, weren't we just hearing it was a problem that the team invited too many players/pitchers to spring trainings past? I wonder where we are (BinM, I know you know) and how it compares.

Posted by: Scooter_ | February 12, 2010 5:55 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | February 12, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

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