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Nationals headed home

As they packed their bags and dressed in suits, the prevailing sentiment in the Nationals clubhouse was, "It's about time." They are ready to fly north to Washington and say goodbye to Florida. They finished out their Grapefruit League scheduled today with a 7-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox, dropping their final record to 10-19.

"I think we got, for the most part, we got what we wanted accomplished in spring training," Manager Jim Riggleman said. "I wish we had another few days, a few outings to look at [Mike] MacDougal. [Sean] Burnett has been throwing a little better lately. I wouldn't mind getting him a couple more outings before opening day. It's on us. We had plenty of time. A lot of guys didn't solidify jobs. But the bell's getting ready to ring. We've got to get going."

First, the Nationals will play the Red Sox again, tomorrow at Nationals Park. Craig Stammen vs. Tim Wakefield at 4:05 p.m.

By Adam Kilgore  |  April 2, 2010; 5:07 PM ET
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Next: Nationals spring awards and morning links


I doubt Riggleman's judgment if he actually wanted to see MacDougal pitch again. Rizzo's credibility already took a hit when he resigned the guy.


Posted by: kevincostello | April 2, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

In we rizzo we trust

also, Kilgore use spell check my man!

Posted by: Cartaldo | April 2, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

In we rizzo we trust

also, Kilgore use spell check my man!

Posted by: Cartaldo

And if Kilgore uses spell check, will you proofread your own posts?

Posted by: KilgoreQTrout | April 2, 2010 5:39 PM | Report abuse

I would bring Storen to DC in May might as well get him baptized Capps/McDougal ain't gonna cut it, stop bullsh_ _ting with either one of them(that's if we're serious about winning)Rizzo and Riggleman need to get it together this whole RF fiasco has me a little twisted why would you cut Dukes with no plan B in place and NO! Willie Harris and Willy Tavares are not viable replacements it just bothers me that two supposed baseball men (Rizzo&Riggleman) would let this happen and not have a clue about the situation.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 2, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not willing to throw the Lerners under the bus either just because they might not want to squander a couple of million extra bucks to field a marginally better team. Posted by: McKinley2 | April 2, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

What about spending for a better future--not just this year but for years to come? Sign your top draft picks. Cut out the below-slot signability picks in drafts. Dip into the international market, even if the better young players are costly. Trade for young players even if they make decent salary (the Nats under the Lerners have never traded for anyone making average MLB salary or higher). Sign some FAs if they are young and if they can be turned into prospects in a trade or draft picks if they finish up with the Nats and sign elsewhere.

You have to be just a little alarmed by the excessively small budgets in all phases of the Nats' operations. This goes way beyond just trying to be respectable this season. The Nats' frugality is damaging severely their future as well.

By this time, the Nats should be well on their way. As it stands now, we are still near the bottom. Looking down in their farm system, you see lots of holes that, looking back at past decisions to save money, could have been filled by now.

Posted by: EdDC | April 2, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse


Part of this is building trust and credibility on the part of the Lerners for Mike Rizzo's managing of their asset. Look how many people here complain constantly about the players they signed or didn't sign.

Then there was there experience with JIm Bowden and who knows what he told Ted and Mark Lerner? I suspect they will have to unlearn a lot to regain the ability to trust.

These are true locals who avoid the limelight. They probably find the whole Daniel Snyder wants to be an International celebrity abhorrent and bad for business. And in the end that is what they are all about ... the family business.

They probably are going to shackle Rizzo's budget until he can prove himself, in terms of credibility and performance. I am sure they look at teams like Tampa Bay, the Marlins, and even Rizzo's former employers the Diamond Backs. So, yes, they are "cheap " and going to continue to be frugal until Rizzo manages to change their mind ... initially on a case-by-case basis (Texiera, Chapman, and Dunn) and then with good results hopefully move to where they trust him with a 90 million dollar payroll. Not the highest for this market by any means but it should be enough to make them competitive.

In somma, it isn't just we rabid fans judging Mike Rizzo and Riggleman but the two most important fans: Ted and Mark Lerner.Their opinions will carry the most weight.

Posted by: periculum | April 2, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins have named right-hander Jon Rauch their closer.

Posted by: periculum | April 2, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Peric - Rauch? Are you kidding me....

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 2, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

That's what they decided. Its Nats alumni Jon Rauch.

Found this from one of Jayson Stark's insider articles:

"People always mention money," Jeter says. "We've been spending money for years. Lots of [teams] spend money and don't win. Money gives you the opportunity to win. But it doesn't mean you're going to win the World Series. You have to have that mindset in order to win."

Oh, money can buy you Cy Sabathia. We understand that. But you know what it can't buy? It can't buy you the flame that ripples through Derek Jeter's brain every night of every season. It can't buy you the look in Chase Utley's eye, every at-bat of every season. It can't buy you the voice in a manager's head that tells him when it's time to push That Button.

My question: IS Riggleman that kind of manager? Or is he a folksy old boys network kind if manager? This spring I often paused to wonder.

Posted by: periculum | April 2, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

I think you know the answer to that.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | April 2, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The Wookie's the Twinkies' new closer? Wow.

Is the BoSox game tomorrow officially a sellout?

Posted by: Juan-John | April 2, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Nick Johnson fouls ball off of knee.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 2, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

NATS 2010:

90+ losses...HERE WE COME!

But I'm still happily drinking the Kool-Aid.
Either 1 loss or 163 losses.....I'M STILL/ALWAYS IN!!!

Play Ball!!!

Posted by: 1stBaseCoach | April 2, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

any news on the Nats discussing Corey Hart from the brewers. There was a blip about it on MLBTR a few days ago. He seems to have some pop (12-25 homers) hits for average (.275) drives in a few runs (70-90). Seems to be a below average fielder. The kicker could be his 4 mil price tag, but I wonder if they would eat some of that salary in return for Mock or Martis. Or we eat the salary and gain a few prospects. Seems to be the only actively tradable RF out there.

Posted by: wrw0601 | April 2, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Corey Hart is a below average fielder: Josh Willingham. Already have one of those in the outfield. That's one reason why the Brewer's are trying to unload him, that and the poor spring which carries over from last year. Elijah Dukes?

Just found this dated today:
RHP Rafael Martin assigned to Washington Nationals.

Does this mean Martin has been assigned to the 40-man or
to the 25-man?

Posted by: periculum | April 2, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

I think Raf Martin is headed to the 40 man and a trip to Harrisburg

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 2, 2010 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Have to wonder if they aren't going to arrange things so that Drew Storen is also on the 40-man roster and ready for call up?

Posted by: lerici | April 2, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse



Posted by: Cartaldo | April 3, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the updates today, AK. Safe travels to DC.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | April 3, 2010 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Olsen as the no. 5 seems obvious now. He's improving each time out, unlike Mock, his velocity is up, and he's got an MLB track record, unlike Mock.

At worst, the Nats ought to be able to use him as trade bait now or in the near future. At best, he becomes a mainstay in the rotation and somebody else gets traded. Nothing wrong with having too many good arms.

Posted by: nats24 | April 3, 2010 12:28 AM | Report abuse

No reason to pick the #5 starter probably until May anyway? Old fa*t Riggleman picked another old fa*t in Miguel Batista for that purpose. He wants these ancient rubber armed wonders ... well if they are going to take up a valuable spot on the 25-man/40-man then use them ... spot start Batista until May.

Meanwhile Olsen can continue to pitch and improve in extended spring training awaiting warmer weather in May. No use risking his now rehabbed shoulder and arm to the cold weather. No reason to use Mock, just send him to Syracuse. And when all is said and done he did a lot worst than JD Martin and even Atilano. Unless of course he is the topic of trade conversations ...

Posted by: periculum | April 3, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Ha, you may as well consider Batista as the 6th SP, he probably will be pitching more innings then some of the starters, like when Olsen, Stanmen and Livan have their inevitable stinkers getting bombed out by the middle of the 3rd inning, and Batista has to come in and mop up... that's why they keep a guy like Batista... they don't care what happens to his arm, they can just throw him out there in blow out games and just have him throw pitch after pitch...

On the other hand, I was pretty impressed that Olsen pitched as well as he has the last two times out, I thought he was done... maybe he still is, but he definitely should get the nod as the # 5 over Mock at this point... at least to start...

Opening Day is almost here! And there is still the June callups to look forward to...


Posted by: Ghost7 | April 3, 2010 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Austin Kearns for GM!!!

Posted by: chillsonic | April 3, 2010 3:08 AM | Report abuse

I tried being an optimist for this team for too long. But now, to completely just punt away the season and start the year without a right fielder, it's gone too far. Something has to be done. You cannot tell me that Elijah Dukes is THAT bad that you'd rather have a platoon of Harris/Taveras/Guzman/Morse. That is absolutely pathetic.

Might I remind you that in 2008 Dukes posted a line of .264/.386/.478 w/ a 127 OPS+ and now you want to bail on him because he had a tough year? Even so, his 93 OPS+ isn't nearly as dreadful as Taveras was. Dukes has shown flashes of great potential and for a team that is punting away its season, to just bail on a guy in a throw away year is a complete joke.

I give up.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | April 3, 2010 4:49 AM | Report abuse

There was obviously something that didn't come out in the media about the reasons for Dukes' dismissal. If it was purely a baseball skills decision, he would probably still be here. There had to have been more going on behind the scenes than we know.

I am also a bit tired of hearing talk come out of the both sides of people's mouths. Having a light fielder in right was unacceptable last year (Dunn), but let's bring in Dye or trade for Hart who are both minus fielders with a little pop, rather than deal with light hitters who will save games with their defense in right.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | April 3, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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