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Mike Rizzo prefers keeping Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham on the Nationals

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo wants to keep both Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham long term, but he also said he would explore all possibilities concerning his No. 4 and No. 5 hitters, Rizzo said after the Nationals 6-2 loss to the Giants today.

About Dunn, Rizzo said, "my preference is to extend him" and "it would take an extraordinary deal to trade him." About Willingham, whom the Nationals control for 2011, Rizzo said, "Josh is a part of the family and we want him around long term."

"Adam Dunn is a big part of this club," Rizzo said. "Anchors the middle part of this lineup. Anchors the clubhouse. It would take an extraordinary deal to trade him. But we keep our options open for anything that happens. That's my job, to impact the ball club positively. If that's by extending him, that's what we'll do. If there's something that has to be done for a trade, we'll have to explore those options also."

Dunn will be a free agent at season's end. Rizzo did not rule out the possibility of trading him and then attempting to sign him again, but said "that's a long way down the road," he said. For now, Rizzo would still prefer to sign Dunn, on the final year of a two-year, $20 million contract, to an extension before the end of the year. Dunn and the Nationals have had ongoing discussions regarding an extension.

"I'd prefer to extend him first," Rizzo said. "But like I said, we have to keep our options open to trade him if it impacts the club. Our third option is to keep him throughout the season and have him perform admirably, like he has the first half."

Willingham is playing on a one-year deal he and the Nationals reached this offseason to avoid arbitration. Willingham will be eligible for arbitration next season, too, his final year before free agency. Willingham remains open to staying in Washington for several years to come.

As of last Wednesday, the Nationals had not begun discussions with Willingham. "We haven't been approached by anybody," his agent, Matt Sosnick, said then.

"He wants to stay in Washington," Sosnick added. "There's no question. If he continues to play the exact same he has, he is really a premier player. If there was ever going to be a time where a deal could get done that was not solely based on a full season of his market value, it would get done during the year."

Willingham has been a breakout player in the National League. Entering today, he ranked eighth in the NL in OPS (.916) and third in on-base percentage (.411). He has evolved into an above-average defender. According to's UZR/150, an advanced metric used to measure runs prevented, Willingham has a 3.6 rating, third among qualifying left fielders in the NL.

The performance of the Nationals will not affect Rizzo one way or another, Rizzo said. Whether the Nationals slump or storm out of the gate in the second half, he will stick to the same parameters he currently has in place.

"We've got a plan in place, and we're always trying to implement it," Rizzo said. "We're always trying to get better. We're trying to hit the spots that we have to hit. That's our main goal, is to go into the second half and win as many ballgames and let the chips fall where they may."

Rizzo also added that Jason Marquis threw live batting practice today for the first time since underoing elbow surgery in mid-May. Marquis is rehabbing in Viera, Fla. at the team's extended spring training.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 11, 2010; 5:26 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn , Josh Willingham , trade deadline  | Tags: Adam Dunn, Josh Willingham  
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Next: Jim Riggleman one year in


More details? This is the same thing Rizzo has been saying for weeks -- where's the news in that?

Posted by: swanni | July 11, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I think Rizzo is trying to hype the auction.

The list of positions that need to be filled in order for the Nats to "get better" is a long one.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 11, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

This is a tough one for the Nats. They got their 40/100 guy at a real bargain at $20 over two years (even though that was the largest free agent signing ever under Lerner, and still is). In the off-season, they surely would have signed Dunn to an extension if Dunn would have signed for under-market-value. Then Dunn got off to a slow start in 2010, which meant the Nats felt they could actually get Dunn for below market value.

So now he hits, and the price goes up. This means they have to jack up their price to Dunn way above what they were willing to give Dunn in the off-season or in the early season. In fact, the Nats now have to jack up the p[rice well above what they knew they could get him for, just a few weeks and months ago.

What a predicament! If the Nats give Dunn his full market value now, that would essentially amount to assessing themselves a heavy penalty for waiting so long, while their slugger drove his price up and up and up.

Each week the price goes up and it becomes costlier for the Nats to cave. If they had just signed him earlier at Dunn's presumed market value, the Nats would by now see that they have a bargain. He is no longer a bargain, unfortunately, because of the new, steep price.

Rizzo says, "That's my job, to impact the ball club positively. If that's by extending him, that's what we'll do." To me that is lots of wiggle room, wondering "if" it is a positive impact to extend him. Of course, it is positive!

Posted by: EdDC | July 11, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

JohnRDC, I disagree I think the list for the Nats to get better is a farily simple one---- watch what we have age,prosper,grow and do exactly what I fully expect them to do with time. This is a young team with several core pieces in place and many are starting to grow as expected. This team is building the right way and should as Rizzo says continue on plan. Does that mean no trades of course not but they have numerous growing prospects in the minors and playing now, in due time the core we have will show all of the naysayers how it's done. I think it's exciting to watch a young team grow and get better, does this take time yes,does that mean their list of needs is long--I think not. We shall see, they have done mountians better than anyone expected and most of you thought they would be lucky to have 20 wins by now, I'm enjoying the ride and just like a kid on the travel to a vacation destination I just can't wait until we get there.

Posted by: mfowler1 | July 11, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

I have for years watched the Danny undervalue what he had on his own field (and instead chase the latest-hyped self centered super jock). He systematically destroyed any chance of having a TEAM in what has to be a team sport. I hope the Learners don't fail to value what they have in the 4 and 5 slots. I think we can confidently predict that they will not chase after super-jocks since that requires spending actual money. Snyder does that foolishly, and Uncle Teddy fails to do it foolishly. Woe is Washington!

Posted by: NatsFly | July 11, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

That should have been "Uncle Teddy foolishly fails to" spend money...

Posted by: NatsFly | July 11, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-been a minute.....did manage to go to the yard on my 2 off nights-those 2 scorchers.Both wins! So I was...well, as always...optimistic.And now? Almost embarrassed to say I stayed home to watch World Cup....of course, I did manage to flip channels often enough to see....well, no errors-so that's a "plus". But mainly-the same old same old. 6th year and counting. Meet the New Nats...or plan...or lack of anything sustained (other than the stuff we don't like)...Same as-need I finish?
Sigh......still love 'em. Still love the game. Still think we deserve better from the Slow Lerners. Beyond that, I won't criticize anyone else. I think we're hamstrung at the top. Don't wish for ANYONE'S "demise" but....since Mr Pohlad/Twins owner is now the son, it seems as if they are actually willing to capitalize/spend...(while they seemed to execute the "plan" quite well, also under Carl, may he rest in peace).
Yup-I leave it to all of you, my NJ friends, to analyze and debate the other shortcomings.... but for me-given the enormous opportunities squandered- this fish rots like all the rest. And I really wanna like the Slow Lerners, too..and believe they'll eventually "do right" by us.Thats all...and still, against all credibility

Posted by: zendo | July 11, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

It is doubtful that the Nats will trade Dunn. That would signal to their players and fans that they are giving up.

If they do not want to pay Dunn, a good strategy will be to keep him on the team all season, and be just barely outbid by some team in the off-season offering foolish money--money that is needed to build the Nats for the future. Then with the Dunn and Guz money that is freed-up, sign Willinham to an extension and add some others. This will seem rational to the Nats' faithful, although the players will not be fooled.

Naturally I hope they keep Dunn, who is a genuine top slugger, one of the best in the game.

Posted by: EdDC | July 11, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

He wants to keep them but will probably ditch them if they want anything even slightly high in salary

We need drastic help in SP yet still have not gotten a single SP to help us

Why? Money....we don't want to spend

Posted by: Bious | July 11, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"The performance of the Nationals will not affect Rizzo one way or another, Rizzo said."

An unwillingness to adapt to adversity is one of the main reasons that Rizzo is failing miserably at his first GM gig.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | July 11, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham are the most over rated 3-4-5 hitters in baseball. They hit like Ty Cobb with the bases empty, and can't buy a hit with men on base. Zimmerman and Dunn have left 540 men on base with either strikeouts or other unproductive at-bats. They couldn't advance a runner if their balls were in a vice. Dump all three.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | July 11, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Trade Dunn for Tyler Flowers or Dan Hudson and sign Adrian Gonzalez in the off season.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | July 11, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Get 'er Dunn!

Adam Dunn's slugging percentage looks solid to me. He's consistently hit around 40 homers per year over his career. He is as calm as Yoda in the clubhouse. His fielding is improving. In the few games I've attended, when the crowd noise has achieved an appropriate noise level, Adam Dunn has performed in the clutch. Why would a young team like the Nats even consider getting rid of their clubhouse leader?

Trading Dunn for prospects would be a huge mistake IMO. Despite obvious imperfections, Dunn is the perfect fit for a team on the cusp of learning how to become a champion. If we pay Adam Dunn what he's worth today, we won't have to overpay tomorrow. The Nats have shown a consistent inability to generate consistent offense this year, but Adam Dunn has been one of few offensive bright spots. If attendance numbers are trending downward, despite the Strasburg effect, what would happen to those numbers if Dunn were traded for prospects? I think trading Dunn would be a total disaster.

Letting Soriano leave via free agency was the exactly the right decision. Dunn, on the other hand, should be reasonably priced, and we won't need to overpay him unless we wait too long. Get 'er Dunn!

Posted by: dannykurland1 | July 11, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

1) I'm going to take a wild leap here and assume that common sense will prevail and Dunn and Willingham will stay and get new contracts. Three simple questions decide this for me: will the Nats be better now and in the near future if they trade Dunn? Without knowing what they'd get, you can't answer for certain, but it's hard to see how they'd plug the hole in the middle of the lineup AND get help elsewhere by trading him. Will they be better off signing him and letting him go and settling for draft picks? Again, there's no replacement in sight (Marrero is very iffy right for any time before 2012 and he ain't batting cleanup) and the draft picks are iffy. The third question: if you were willing to spend all that money on Mark Teixeira, why not spend a little less and get a guy's who a little less talented? (but not much)

2) I know it's fun to keep laying on the hate for the Lerners, Kasten, Rizzo and Riggleman, but let's face a few facts. This team is 13 games better than last year. The Padres, the surprise team of the season, are 15 games better than last year.

This team has the best young pitcher in baseball. It's got the best third baseman. It's got the best 3-4-5 hitting combo in the game. It's got a solid bullpen with three key pitchers 26 and under. Two good pitching prospects are about to join the rotation. That terrible "hole" in RF has been filled by two guys who've combined for 9 homers and 33 RBI's.

I know it's more fun to grouse about bad they are, but the Nats are getting better. And that's going to continue in the second half of the year.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 11, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

batlova1: NO! We don't have the best third baseman that would be one David Wright of the Metropolitans who lead's the NL in rbi's Zim is too streaky and as another poster pointed out Zimm,Dunn,and JWill all leave too many men on(RISP), case in point bases loaded(again!) JWill at bat and Romo(SF)k's him on three straight pitch's makes him look like a high schooler i was hoping that Riggleman would have sent Bernadina up there, yeah i know that wasn't going to happen but i was just reflecting on how Bernadina crushed a KRod pitch with a homer earlier this season to beat the Mets for a win, just sayin.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 11, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

While I don't think we have the best 3-4-5 in baseball, I think they are good enough to be on a championship team. Our weakness is in the lead off position and being able to generate offense from the bottom half of the lineup. I don't see how they can trade Dunn to plug those gaps, and they'd certainly create a new one at clean up. At the moment, he's worth way more to them on the team than off. I think the issue is the length of the contract. My guess is they'd pay him whatever he wanted to a 2-3 year deal but he wants a 5-6 year deal.

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 11, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman's better than Wright.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 11, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

I love Dunn, but I can't stand when people compare him to Texiera. Texiera is a MUCH MUCH better player. There's no comparison. First of all, Tex is a gold glove caliber first baseman. Plus he has been a much better run producer in his career. I think they should try hard to re-sign Dunn, but he's no Texiera so please stop making that comparison.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 11, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Teixeira: Career OPS: .914
Dunn: Career OPS: .907

Teixeira: Career HR percentage: 5.2%
Dunn: Career HR percentage: 5.9%

Teixeira: Career AB/RBI: 5.1%
Dunn: Career AB/RBI: 5.7%

MUCH MUCH better? Fielding, yes. Hitting, no.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 11, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Career Hr percentage? Who cares? You can cherrypick obscure stats, or you can look at traditional stats. Career #s per 162 games

Dunn: 2B-30, HR-40, RBI-98
Tex: 2B-40, HR-37, RBI-121

The RBI numbers are the most telling. He has proven to be a better run producer throughout his career. I really like Dunn, but he's not on the same level as Tex.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 12, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Hello John, Are you looking for gov auction cars & trucks? check out some cars as cheap as $500!

Posted by: williamjones12 | July 12, 2010 5:15 AM | Report abuse

baltova1 has provocatively stated--and IMO overstated--the case for why the Nats are gretting better and will continue to get better the rest of the year. But I prefer to look at the statistical improvement differently, in the way that Sunderland first broadly described a few posts ago. The huge improvement in the club began immediately just about a year ago, when the club, which had been woefully underperforming under Acta, began playing up to its potential under Riggleman. Ever since, the Nats have been playing at a .430-.440 clip. I believe they will continue playing at this pace the rest of the year, and wind up with about 70 wins--a total that they should have approached last year. The brief period in August that Stras and JZimm will share in the rotation will be an improvement, but this slight improvement will be counteracted by the steady slow deterioration in performance of the other rotation members, including Livo. And who is the other good pitching prospect baltova1 speaks of? Detwiler? A wild card indeed. I hope he reurns to the majors and pitches well and avoids a recurrence of the hip injury, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 12, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse

egoodman, RBI's are NOT the most telling stat. Last year, Teixeira drove in 122 runs while Dunn drove in 105. Teixeira's much better, right?

Except the Yankees scored 915 runs last year and the Nats scored 710.

That's why people started coming up with the "obscure" stats I cited. You have to correct somehow for the team's influence on your individual stats.

I agree that Teixeira is a better overall player. But he's just not that much better a hitter than Dunn. And Dunn is worth signing, for the money that it would likely take.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 12, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Cap, you've raised some fair points. I just think throwing Strasburg out there every fifth game between now and early September will make a difference of probably 3-4 wins. I think having Olsen, Marquis, J. Zimm, Lannan, Detwiler and maybe Wang as options instead of Martin, Atilano and Stammen will mean a few more wins as well. And the long-term picture is still positive.

As for Detwiler, he's better than a "wild card." He was rushed to the big leagues last year, went back down and resurfaced in September. Yes, it was September and it was only five games, but his ERA then was 1.90. I think he's a solid pitching prospect and represents an improvement.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 12, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

I do not understand teams that, because they are out of the race, trade their best
players. Often, the trades involve players who have not proven themselves, or are draft picks. Two out of ten..may actually make it to the a regular day to day guy, or as a pitcher. How do you build a team when you trade proven players..for those that
possibly may be good..down the road?

The Nats have enough hitting to win...pitching (apart from Strasburg) is the problem.

Posted by: blazerguy234 | July 12, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse


You notice that I don't take issue with your long-term assessment. I'm just a bit dubious about the scheduled return dates of the pitchers you mention, and I'm further assuming that, for those who are back with the club in Aug.-Sep, there will be a few rocky starts as they regain their form. My concern about Detwiler--and I hope it's unfounded--stems from the talk about his unorthodox across-the-body delivery and its supposed effects. I agree that he looked great last September and hope he can return to and maintain that form.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 12, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

With Teixeria at $22.5M per season and Ryan Howard at $25M per season, and with Dunn only 3 months away from becoming a free agent available to every team, we're in a bad situation.

Every day that passes it becomes more foolish for Dunn to sign with us now and give up actually becoming a free agent.
Every day that passes Dunn becomes more expensive.
Every day that passes Dunn gains more leverage in negotiations.

The amount of money and length of contract that Dunn can command is significant (I had wrote before 5 years, $100 million might do it. I'll retract that, I doubt it would be accepted by Dunn's camp. 6 / $120 is my current speculation).

I know Rizzo would like to keep Dunn. I just don't know if he can get ownership to make the required financial commitment.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 12, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

A poster above says that Tex is way better a hitter than Dunn and points to RBI as proof.

Let's look at the three Yankees hitting ahead of Tex. Gardner has a .396 OBP. Jeter has a .340 OBP and Swisher is .377.

With the Nats, Morgan doesn't get on base much these days. Guz is doing better this year in drawing walks but historically is low in OBP, and Zim is fine. The pitcher is around .100. The Yankees always have guys on base to drive home. Dunn in his career at Cincy and Washington doesn't always have that luxury.

Sure I'll take Tex over Dunn. Who wouldn't? But for a team always looking for bargains, the Nats have a 1B who is close to Tex and Ryan Howard as they can get for the money they are willing to spend, if they are even willing to spend that.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

If the team has decided it wants to keep Dunn then it needs to try and get him signed before end of the season.

Don't give other teams a chance to sign him.

If Dunn decides to test the market, at least try and get him to give Nats a chance to better the offer.

This team isn't great offensively and without Dunn there is a big gap to fill.

Posted by: Pensfans | July 12, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I mean, what is the charge against Dunn anyway, that he chokes when he sees men on base? Is that it? While Tex just digs deep within himself an becomes a much better hitter with the pressure on? Does that make sense?

Both guys are professional hitters.

And by the way, you can come up with a RISP batting number for part of one season, but I have not seen an analysis over a whole career. If you think Dunn is trash to be disposed of, you may get your wish. I think Dunn is a great reason to come to the ballpark.

You should just look at Dunn's productivity over many seasons now. It looks like a HOF trajectory at the moment. Age 30 is generally considered the halfway mark. Dunn has 338 HRs as of right now, with a .383 OBP.

Maybe you would prefer to see Michael Morse at 1B, who is 28 with 10 career HRs?

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Re-sign Dunn & Willingham. We need to put Bernadina in center field now and find a good leadoff man. Morgan is not the long term answer.

Posted by: shanks1 | July 12, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Cap, good points, especially the return date ETAs.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 12, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

blazerguy: I do not understand teams that, because they are out of the race, trade their best
Yes, it's curious, and I don't recall the trade deadline being so hyped in the old days. By current logic, the Senators should have traded Frank Howard. and if there had been free agency, maybe they would have.

There is a history of tail end clubs functioning almost as farm teams for front runners. For a while, how many Yankess were former KC A's? And the Griffith Nats used to trade good players for cash-- and a few scrubs. And we think the Lerners are cheap.

ESPN seems especially revved about the trade deadline, but I figure that's because they like the idea of the best players going to the few teams they consider worthy of attention.

If it were up to ESPN, the team with the BEST record would pick first in the draft.

Posted by: KenNat | July 12, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse


Adam Dunn, career:

Batting Avg: .252
Bases Empty: .256
Runners On: .246
RISP: .232
RISP 2 Out: .211

Mark Tiexeria, career:

Batting Avg: .287
Bases Empty: .282
Runners On: .293
RISP: .311
RISP 2 Out: .303

So, over their careers, Dunn gets less productive with runners on and Teixeria gets more productive with runners on.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 12, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I love Dunn, but trading him could fix our outfield. Morse could play first till the seasons end.

Dunn, Morgan, Capps and whoever else to the Yanks for Granderson and Jobba (both are not finding a fit with the yanks)would be the move I would like. The Yanks get the DH they need plus a set-up man, we get outfield help and a number three starter.

The outfield could look like this Granderson in center Bernie in right the Hammer in Left.

A Rotation next year of SS, J Zimm, Joba, Detwiller, and the old man Livo. would be solid barring injuries.

Posted by: hansenjo | July 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Thank you Sunderland. And to baltova1, Tex has only played a season and a half on the Yanks. He has been a consistently better run producer on every team he has been on.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 12, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Sorry baltova1, I meant to address my last comment to edDC.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 12, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

Star players succeed 3 out of every 10 times they go to bat (or, if you will, they fail an amazing 7 of every 10 times they go to the plate). Ordinary players (.250) succeed 2.5 times out of every 10 times they go to bat. The difference between ordinary and ordinary is razor thin. MLB batters are facing the best pitchers in the world, bar none. Baseball is, in part, such a great game because it is such a gracious game. You fail 7 out of every 10 times, and you're a star. Most of us work at jobs where that level of failure would never be tolerated. Maybe that is one reason we love the game--the mixture of failure and success. I would come back to the good point EdDC makes: the Yankees put runners on in front of their statitically more successful run producers; we don't. If we aren't competing for a playoff spot this year, find out who can man those first two spots in the lineup and be productive. I doubt that we would lose much auditioning Bernadina in CF and in one of those spots in the batting order. I also like baltova 1's point: we're improving and have some of the parts necessary to make a good team. Let's keep at it and avoid impulsive changes. The Redskins are our fair warning about the dangers of courting instant success.

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 12, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

the difference between oridnary and extraordinary is razor thin - sorry for the typo

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 12, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse


Those are good stats, thanks! You make an excellent case.

I wonder if you have to look at who has been hitting behind both Tex and Dunn? Willingham is hitting very well behind Dunn this year, and Dunn's numbers have gone up over previous years. You can't pitch around him as easily as in the past.

I did some random checks of box scores of Dunn while he was a Red and got Javier Valentin and Rich Aurilia as hitting behind Dunn in two different years. I'm sure with some searching, you can find fearsome guys on the Nats and Reds who hit behind Dunn, although they do not come readily to mind.

Anyway, Tex is indeed the better player. Doesn't mean you dump Dunn. If the Nats cannot afford Dunn, what does that say to you about their commitment to winning? The Nats' lineup without Dunn would be far less than ordinary.

That's the big trouble with signing good free agents. Sometimes they make a case to keep them, and that can cost you in the wallet. Fortunately, the Nats have only signed two (fairly) big money guys under Lerner, so this making-the-case business doesn't happen much.

BTW, I have stopped saying "the Lerners." It is Ted Lerner who is the problem. Mark is learning from Ted Leonsis, and Mark could rescue this franchise someday.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Preach it, KenNat. That is all... :-)


ESPN seems especially revved about the trade deadline, but I figure that's because they like the idea of the best players going to the few teams they consider worthy of attention.

If it were up to ESPN, the team with the BEST record would pick first in the draft.

Posted by: KenNat | July 12, 2010 8:46 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I haven't seen a comment about another glaring fault with the current Nats, and that is defense. The route to winning is defense, then pitching, then hitting.

When I see Nyjer misplaying another ball off the center field wall for the umpteenth time, I recall Rizzo's immortal words spoken last year to Stan Kasten, "I;m going to get the best center fielder in baseball."

Rizzo IMHO has been going about it ***backwards, with the emphasis on hitting (actually, the more I think about it, it's hard to find any emphasis in his overall management "plan." His moves are all over the place.)

What is predicatble is that the Nats are in for a long, slow slog with Rizzo and Riggleman in charge. Likeable they may be, but IMHO they are not winners.

It's interesting. I see Kasten pretty much staying out of the way as the Nats "progress."

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 12, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Just got my latest email ticket reminder from the Nats, featuring the July 31 Nyjer Morgan Bobblehead Night game; wonder if they start the bobblehead in CF if we'd notice any difference?

Posted by: NATurallyYours | July 12, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

What is predicatble is that the Nats are in for a long, slow slog with Rizzo and Riggleman in charge. Likeable they may be, but IMHO they are not winners. Posted by: JohnRDC | July 12, 2010 10:32 AM

Yes, that's what Nats' fans used to say about Bowden and Manny.

Bowden was criticized for getting "toolsy" players--young guys with upside who may have flopped once or twice before being acquired. Rizzo prefers solid vets, many of whom are on the downside of their careers. Both GMs had one thing in common: low budgets. The guys they signed had low market value. Why criticize the GM for signing low-budget guys? Is that their idea or someone else's?

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Dunn is the next test for the Lerners - If they pony up the say $15-$18M/yr it would take to keep Dunn, then this team has a chance. If they won't pay a sure thing (like Dunn), what makes any of us think they'd sign Adrian G. or Fielder, who will likely command over $20M/yr in a open market?

Posted by: BinM | July 12, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

I would wonder if a deal with Dunn for another 2-3 years wouldn't be more realistic for the Nats rather than something in the 5 year range.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Well EdDC, not wishing to be argumentative, I would simply say that if I had a job where my hands were tied to the extent that the restraints imposed by top management impacted on my ability to deliver a quality product, and hence impacted on my reputation as a MLB general manager, then I would move on. No sense having your reputation sullied unnecessarily when you have no control over the outcome.

My sense is that Rizzo has attained a position he has sought all his life, and is not about to endanger it in any way by being independent. The unfortunate aspect of all this is that we will never know whether, under different circumstances, Rizzo could deliver the goods.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I think Nyjer has regressed since Marquis was let go(i'll never understand that move)Grissom consistently worked with Nyjer on his hitting and fielding, if you remember Nyjer played LF for the Pirates and all of you who want to jettison Nyjer who takes his place? as far as Dunn is concerned i'm still of the opinion if we could get Adrian Gonzalez next year i'm in, no disrespect to AD but Gonzalez will hit 35-40 HR and drive in 115-125 rbi's with the nat's and play a better first base.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 12, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

If the Nats won't pay for Dunn (with his limitations), why will they pay for A. Gonzalez who will cost even more (assuming he is the better player)? I sure hope the Nats aren't banking on Marrero, planning to trade Dunn and making do with Morse in the meantime. Dunn is proven; Morse isn't.

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 12, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Well EdDC, not wishing to be argumentative, I would simply say that if I had a job where my hands were tied to the extent that the restraints imposed by top management impacted on my ability to deliver a quality product, and hence impacted on my reputation as a MLB general manager, then I would move on.

JohnR, there are only so many GM jobs around. How can you give up one if you've waited this long to get it? You try your best in the situation you're in.

Why else would Buck Showalter think about becoming manager of the Orioles?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Well EdDC, not wishing to be argumentative, I would simply say that if I had a job where my hands were tied to the extent that the restraints imposed by top management impacted on my ability to deliver a quality product, and hence impacted on my reputation as a MLB general manager, then I would move on. Posted by: JohnRDC | July 12, 2010 11:17 AM

What if you wanted to be a GM your whole life, and the Nats gave you your big chance? What if they paid you a million dollars a year or more? What if you could hire, travel, talk with the manager and players, and do all the things execs get to do, and sit right behind home plate at home and on the road? What if you were getting to know the top brass of all the other clubs--that could come in handy, couldn't it? What if you saw that the Nats' president was a smart guy and what if the principal-owner-in-waiting showed great promise? Would you walk? I'm asking you, John R--would you move on?

Not to be argumentative or anything.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I prefer to be optimistic and I recognize the team has greatly improved over last year. Yet this bad stretch since the good start keeps going on -- the pitchers can't seem to lay down a bunt, there's bad base running almost every game, way too many errors and lousy starting pitching that forces the 'pen into the game in the 5th or 6th inning too often.

I would dread having to watch a second half without Dunn in the lineup. If he is traded, you know it would be for prospects unlikely to help this season.. Sure, he may not be Tex, but not many first baseman have been. Nobody can say, however, that Dunn is inconsistent year-to-year. And what a bargain Hammer has been!

We keep hearing about JZimm, Wang and Olsen, Marquis coming back. I can't wait. I want at least to think the Nats have a reasonable chance of winning on days other than when Stras is out there. I don't right now.

It would be just about unbearable if the Nats start getting solid efforts from the starters, but don't score enough. So, please, Rizzo, keep him.

Posted by: nats24 | July 12, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow, lot of folks say sign Adrian Gonzalez instead of Dunn. Like no one else wants AG, who would just pick up the phone and reach agreement with our exciting Nats and thereby achieve his lifelong dream? This has been mentioned by quite a few, but it is a real longshot compared to signing Dunn, who for a long time has said he wants to play here.

A bird in the hand...

Seems like Dunn would have signed for four years initially, if the rumors from Tom Boswell's columns are true.

And as to the wisdom of it making more sense to sign Dunn for just two or three years--of course that is better than a longer term deal that takes the player out beyond his prime. However, what if the player has bargaining leverage to get himself locked up for four or five years? That's the reality, in all likelihood.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Not meant to impugn anyone's use of stats here, but the other day my hubby referenced a quote that I found entertaining in re. baseball and stats generally:

"An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than for illumination."

(seems to be attributed to Andrew Lang more often than not)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Nats need to be realistic and realize Dunn is as good a slugger as they'll have in their lineup for the next 3-5 years. Adrian Gonzalez is a much better and younger all around player who will end up on a big money team like Boston or L.A. He won't be coming here for the same reason that Mark Texeira didn't. IF the Lerners haven't learned by now about how to spend their money to maintain a solid foundation, I don't know if they ever will.

Dunn is not going to be replaced by anyone in the organization anytime soon and it will have a negative effect on Zimmerman and Willingham. The Nats will have to pay more in season to extend him, but they have themselvest to blame with Dunn was very reception to signing an extension in spring training.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 12, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

It's pitching dummies.
Pitching wins titles. Not long ball hitting first basemen. When are the Nats going to invest in Major League pitching at the beginning of the season rather than hoping a bunch of injured 2nd tier pitchers actually show up in August when you're already 15 games out.
Atilano, Stammen, Martin and Hernandez??!!! Are you kidding me? This other stuff is all secondary nonsense until Rizzo/Lerners invest in a real pitching staff. A Major League pitching staff. Is that too much to ask for--Major League pitchers on a Major League team??!!

The biggest joke continues as Riggleman actually said: "We're going for it so Stras will start first after the all star game."
That's how delusional these guys are. Wow that makes a big difference. Put Stammen 5th instead of first. Now we're cooking. Last I looked you still got the same rotation, (does order really matter) that got us to this point. Riggleman, Rizzo, Lerners are the worst!

Posted by: dovelevine | July 12, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it is pitching! And sometimes pitchers want hitters to get them some wins. Hitters attract pitchers.

Go tell the MLB teams with legit budgets that you can't have both pitchers and hitters on your team.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey, dove, you made it through an entire rant without mentioning Willie Harris!!! Good job!

Posted by: baltova1 | July 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The Nats are exciting enough for the 15,000 to 20,000 faithful who show up for non-SS games. Many of those are Red Porchers who only occasionally look up (when they hear the crack of the bat) from their beers and drinking companions. Regardless, these folks will still show up, Dunn or no Dunn. And the sad fact is that the Nats will be among the MLB leaders in annual profits anyway with their great business formula of low budgets and modest revenues. It is hard to argue with the business side of baseball, where the Nats are highly successful.

Anyway, can you imagine how woefully unexciting the Nats would be without Dunn? Not to the faithful, who will still show up. But to the tens of thousands of turned off fans who potentially would enjoy a real MLB team here. You can promise the Nats' faithful Harper by 2013, and that is plenty. But if you could talk to those who would otherwise fill the empty seats, what can you promise them? Those are the people the Nats need to appeal to.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I know it's the Internet and a baseball blog and all, but (a) I don't think that the Red Porch seats 10-12 thousand people, (b) I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess that not all SS fans are Red Porchers and/or beer drinkers, and (c) attending ballgames to see the entire team rather than one player alone does not make one less of a fan, imho.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Make that 15-20 thousand people, but the same principle applies (i.e., generalize much?). ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Of course only a relatively few Nats' fans are Red Porchers!

The Nats fans are composed of people who love baseball and are glad to see these great players for the Nats and the other teams. The Nats' fans are also those who want a great way to spend a summer evening with a beer and hot dog in a nice ballpark! My stupid shortcut for that was Red Porchers. Golly, no more metaphors from me. I have learned my lesson and will only speak literally.

The basic question is: how do you try to reach beyond this core group of Nats' fans and bring a real MLB experience here, where the games actually count?

To clarify, all games count in the standings. I realize that. I mean count in terms of challenging for the league lead.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Not arguing, just saying... Who wants to go back to no baseball in DC and driving to Baltimore to watch the O's? Who wants to watch the Nats and root for them in spite of their shortcomings? The glass isn't half full; it's way more than that. Go Nats!

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 12, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Fair enough, EdDC. I would agree that the Nats fan base is diverse.

fpcsteve, I didn't ever root for the O's, but I would definitely not want to go back to the no DC baseball days. Yuck.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

At the risk of stirring a pot that had stopped simmering...

VORP, Through July 11 2010
1. Cabrera 47.4
2. Morneau 46.1
3. Pujols 40.6
4. Votto 39.1
5. Gonzalez 33.2
6. Youkilis 31.7
7. Dunn 31.2
16. Teixeira 14.6

Posted by: TomServo | July 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I think Rizzo and the Lerners have been pretty clear that they are following a long-term plan. I think their eyes are on how to field the best team in 2012 or 2013. In that regard, IMHO, they are doing okay. We might have a great starting rotation and some solid hitting, including Bryce Harper. I think there are still some holes to plug and if they think they can use Dunn or Willingham as trade bait to do that, they will. Willingham is probably the more expendable of the two, but also the less valuable.
That being said, I hope they keep both.

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | July 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse


Is it important to have among MLB's lowest payrolls in order to build for the future? Is that an essential ingredient to building?

We have not had many big-money guys here. Two sort-of-top-money guys that we have had are Soriano (pre-Lerner) and Dunn. Soriano fetched two top prospects (Jordan Zimmermann and a first rounder who has not panned out). Dunn can bring prospects if desired, either now in a trade or when he signs elsewhere as a free agent. I would rather keep him, but the point is that when you sign a guy like Dunn, you get a guy who can bring top prospects.

Is it undesirable to bring guys like that on board? Also, do you know that the Nats under Lerner have never traded for any player who makes MLB-average-salary or higher? They can bring prospects too down the road!

A point some of us have been trying to make is that you can collect prospects and have a decent payroll at the same time (collecting assets who can be turned into prospects). Those two actions are not incompatible. In fact, collecting assets helps you build, by having those prospect-magnets on your team. It just costs money, that's all. If you have a lot of those assets, then it doesn't hurt to lose one of the few you do have.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Well, some lively (dis)cussing here while we eagerly await AK's next post.. I can pretty much agree with all points above-even some that seemingly contradict!.Once more....ya know, what is sad is that, even WITH our modest improvement-I could probably pull up last years' posts ...and the year prior......and we'd be saying the same thing. We are -at worst-a Top Ten market.We rank 23th out of 30 teams in payroll-with only a few mill separating us from 21st or 25th. $$61.4 million. Additionally, our owners are the RICHEST in all of baseball, and until the Russian guy bought the Nets, they were #1 overall. Even allowing for increased salaries as the pieces of the so-called plan mature and command more money, the Slow Lerners-whether out of cheapness, an unwillingness to view baseball ownership as a different kind of "business" (like him or not, see Steinbrenner, George...or Henry, John) or tone-deafness to both opportunities wasted and fans alienated/discouraged....
I think Rizzo COULD be great-may still be-but who knows how much he's hamstrung? I think Riggs COULD prove to be more than adequate-but expecting career years EVERY year is not the way to provide your manager the flexibility he seems to favor. The pitching is STILL a joke.Jason Marquis? Really? We're "developing" minor league talent? Really? Zimm was a no brainer-likewise Stras (and I felt that way about Storen, too) but Ian and Roger PREDATE Bowden. Who, exactly, have we produced-or are close to producing?In the off season-in addition to the pitching-our shoddy defense was priority. Need that for those sinker/groundball pitchers (that The Rizz is supposed to like) to be effective. Another job well Dunn! And HE'S been a relatively pleasant (at least relatively pain free) surprise.And Oh, Yea! Trade him and the Hammer. Nyjer(0), Guz(1),Pudge(1)-heck Ian, Rog and Michael(what, 15 or so combined?)will pick up the HR slack.Sigh....
And yet...I'm still in Nyjer and Ians' corner.Intrigued by Roger.Believe Willie would be fine with enough p.t.-maybe Kennedy, too....and who knows? Maybe Martians will discover baseball and return Wang (or Lannan or Smoker or McGreary or Marquis or.. ) to greatness.......please, Lord-even a #THREE'd be nice.
SO..what I guess I'm getting at in this ramble is much as I WANT to believe in the "onward and upward" arc...and believe that Ted will, Scrooge-like, wake up and see what we see(don't wanna have to wait for his son, as I mentioned in my earlier bit-no safe bet considering his fondness for Bowden)....See, I think the Slows really do want to "do right"...but it's a hope that seems more like a wistful dream than a realistic expectation.Still-God Bless the Nats, one and ALL! I think that's what Tiny Tim said-but then, we knew he was going to get rid of the crutches, didn't we?
Thanks to all of you, gang!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 12, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and in my windy wander above-exactly, EdDC-as lots of us have noted BUILDING(the plan) and WINNING(the money-usually returned gratefully by us) are NOT mutually exclusive. I'm not talking profligate, and I'm not trying to spend Teds' moola. Just asking to feel better about giving him MORE of MINE!PLEASE???
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 12, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-while I'm rolling, ya know?...Hire Griss back!And while I appreciate the fact that this team is unsatisfied by their play("We shoulda done better" from Hammer, etc.)and Zimms' desire to keep 'em together (I concur) there is a big difference between knowing and doing. WE need someone who is not just willing to acknowledge the sub-par play but who has the ability to get them to "just DO it". Now, Zimm is showing signs (remember how one of MY b.ball Gods-F.Robbie-loved him?...thought he had all the intangibles as well?). In a job I once had ...I was pretty much #1 at my position in our office. Then, I got a new boss-who expected/demanded more-who had actually at one point in his career been "me". Not by being an ass...or nasty...or demeaning or threatening(actually quietly and firmly)....Yet by not allowing me to cut corners, and just be "better" than my coworkers - by holding me accountable to MY capabilities... getting me to BUY IN (really, in my own abilities)in a way I had not previously...well, I made #1 in the company...doing stuff I more or less thought unnecessary or downright counterproductive. I've always been pretty "alpha"-but MAN!!-Obi was a LEADER! Actually, I became one-but only thanks to him. So be it bench player or coach, screamer or quite man....even a bumblebee like the one that enraged Ferdinand the Bull(old kids' story...Adam Dunn, please read!)I'm not asking for someone to be something they're not, either.
Whew...I'm starting to confuse even myself!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 12, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure there are a number of playoff contenders who would give up 2 or 3 decent prospects for Dunn, but what is the point of trading a relatively young, foundation player when you have no one in the farm system ready to step into his shoes. Do people forget how few runs the Nats scored from 2005-2008 before Dunn and Willingham? Is it a coincidence that Zimmerman's stats have been much better the last two years?

It's hard to say whether the Nats would have been .500 with all of their projected starters healthy (Marquis, Olsen) healthy and effective (Lannan), but it's impossible to evaluate a team until all of the parts are together. The Nats core needs to be kept together for another year or two to make that determination.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 12, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse


I think Nyjer has regressed since Marquis was let go(i'll never understand that move)Grissom consistently worked with Nyjer on his hitting and fielding, if you remember Nyjer played LF for the Pirates and all of you who want to jettison Nyjer who takes his place?

And who replaced Grissom -- Radison, longtime buddy of Riggs. The most memorable play for Radsion was the night of April 23 when he sent Harris to the dugout on a grounder to 1B where the 1B threw home without tagging the bag. My seats are at 3B but I saw that there was no out signal and was screaming for him to stay at first, but Radison blew the play and Willie was tagged out coming back out from the dugout (yes he was safe and in the dugout). Where was Radison, whose only job on the field is to protect that runner? We gave up Grissom and his effect on Nyjer for that? And who knows, but I suspect his coaching has something to do with all the pickoffs this season.

And Listach holding Dunn yesterday -- I was watching Willingham and couldn't figure out why he was returning to 2B, and then OMG Dunn is standing at 3B. And Nyjer almost being hit in the head by Posey's ball? And Riggs called this a clean game? Not from my $60 seats.

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | July 12, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

When Mark Teixeira was traded from the Rangers to the Braves, the Rangers got back Salty off the Braves roster plus Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, and Matt Harrison. Two of those guys are on the AL All star team, the other two have been on and off the major league roster. Jake PEavy was traded for Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda and two other prospects.

Not every trade of a star for prospects works, but when you hit one, it can make a team. That's why teams do it.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | July 12, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Not every trade of a star for prospects works, but when you hit one, it can make a team. That's why teams do it.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | July 12, 2010 5:03 PM

Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee and Grady Sizemore for Bartolo Colon. :-(

Posted by: Kev29 | July 12, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

If you are in the business as an MLB team of collecting assets (valuable players), it does not hurt to trade one or two of them for prospects, especially when your season is not going well. But with the Nats' low payroll, the Nats have few assets to turn into prospects without driving fans nuts and disillusioning players who remain.

In other words, Dunn is the only $20 million or higher free agent the Nats have ever had under Lerner. Even many small market teams spring for higher wage people than that. But Dunn is the only one on the Nats. And the Nats have never accepted anyone in a trade who makes MLB-average salary or higher. The Nats do not sign big money international guys either, whether they are vets or kids.

This makes it harder to let Dunn go, if you are one of his teammates or if you are a Nats' fan. He is a unique commodity on the Nats, as the only $20 million or higher free agent ever under Lerner. If there were a lot of assets collected over time, sure let's turn some of them into prospects and build the ballclub for the future. That would be a no-brainer.

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Not meant to impugn anyone's use of stats here, but the other day my hubby referenced a quote that I found entertaining in re. baseball and stats generally:

"An unsophisticated forecaster uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts - for support rather than for illumination."

(seems to be attributed to Andrew Lang more often than not)

Posted by: natsfan1a1

There are also times I've used a lampost as a dancing partner, but Mr. Lang was apparently not there to observe it.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 12, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

EdDC, In re a much earlier post: I'd move on. But that's just my personality, I guess.

Boy, you can tell from the chatter on this thread this is an off day. I wonder what Wednesday and Thursday will bring? If this thread is an indicator of the literacy level of Nats' fans, then I'd say we chatter at quite a high level, myself included :-)

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 12, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

lol, Sunderland (although I'm guessing that you weren't referencing the "art" of pole dancing in particular). ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Which was not meant as an editorial comment, but more as a whimsical digression (coming as it does from Ms. Digressions R Us).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Not proper pole dancing, a very astute assumption 1a. However, irrespective of Mr. Lang's generalism, I believe it is fair to say that it was quite sophisticated. Indeed.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 12, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps this is more your style. Yeah, it must be an off day. ;-)

In other news, almost time for the Home Run Derby (can't believe I'm watching that but, hey, it's baseball, kinda).

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 12, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

In the alternative, there's

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 12, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

Here's a bit of gristle to chew on while waiting for Kilgore's next missive - Who are the starting pitchers for the 2nd 'half'?
IP/G = Innings Pitched per game
P/IP = Pitches per Inning
BAA = Batting Average Against
WHIP = Walks+Hits/Innings Pitched

1- Strasburg: 6.10IP/G, 15.28P/IP, .203BAA, 1.01WHIP.
2- Hernandez: 6.54IP/G, 15.26P/IP, .252BAA, 1.30WHIP.
3- Martin: 5.76IP/G, 16.69P/IP, .278BAA, 1.31WHIP.
3a- J.Zimmermann(DL): 5.71IP/G, 17.23P/IP, .271BAA, 1.36WHIP (2009).
4- Stammen: 5.49IP/G, 15.51P/IP, .298BAA, 1.53WHIP.
5- Atilano: 5.44IP/G, 17.11P/IP, .277BAA, 1.56WHIP.
5a- Olsen(DL): 5.38IP/G, 15.79P/IP, .263BAA, 1.37WHIP.
5b- Lannan: 5.36IP/G, 17.15P/IP, .324BAA, 1.92WHIP.
5c- Detwiler(DL): 5.26IP/G, 16.61P/IP, .293BAA, 1.75WHIP (2009).
5d- Chico: 5.00IP/G, 15.80P/IP, .286BAA, 1.40WHIP.
Other- Marquis, Mock, Wang - May be available later.

Posted by: BinM | July 12, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse


I'll go with SS and 4 days of rain. Hey, with climate change, it could happen!

Posted by: EdDC | July 12, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Could some1 please explain to me the criteria for selecting the home run hitting participants for the home run contest and why Adam Dunn, the NL home run leader, wasn't chosen. Thanks.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 12, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Second half pitching barring a trade with AZ?

1. July -> end of August : Strasburg
1a. end of August -> October : Zimmermann.
2. mid July -> October : Detwiler.
3. mid July -> October : Hernandez.
4. mid July -> October : Martin.
5. mid July -> end of August
Atilano and/or Stammen.
end of August -> October : Olsen (possibly).

Posted by: periculum | July 12, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

I am very dissapointed in this coaching staff and in Mike Rizzo for some of his off season moves(Marquis&Wang) but the move that has got me wondering WTF is hiring of Dan Radison(1st is a disaster, from getting people routinely picked off to not paying attention this guy makes me wonder what Rizzo was thinking when they hired him, did they not realize the impact that Grissom had on Nyjer? I had a conversation with Phil Wood on Nat's talk live a little over a week ago about Steve McCatty and when i criticized McCatty he told me that SS was following McCatty around like a little puppy dog,i'll just say this Strasburg would do well to stay away form McCatty judging from his last three start's,the Giant's were sitting on his fastball("dead red") and Torres hit a home run to lead off that game last friday, finally they adjusted but i'm sure it was Pudge who observed what was going on from the dugout and went to Riggleman and Nieves.The 05 Nat's under F.Robby and his staff won 81 games and didn't have half the talent these current Nat's have but that bunch played hard and had very little margin for error(no deep pocket ownership and no new stadium) this team imho seems to be comforable with losing, someone need's to rock the boat and rattle their collective cage's or we'll be looking at another triple digit losing season and more excuse's.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 12, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-In the absence of anything new ANYWHERE!-yes, I'm sure that more than a few of you fellow addicts have been scouring the web (as I have) for any new tidbits-well, I'm hoping AK or Ben or Mark and all the rest of the folks who comprise the sole meaningful purpose of Al Gores' invention-covering baseball generally and the Nats specifically....I'm hoping they have LOTS up their memory sticks....
coming soon. GAWD-how'd I survive the off season!? As painful as we've played of late...THIS is infinitely worse! And I can't watch the H.R. contest. I mean, I have it ON.....but I can't watch it...I mean, not REALLY, OK? Now-chanted to that Fox Sports bit: "We Are-Nats Fans!" YEA!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 12, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

BinM, nice topic, thanks.

JD Martin has really done well this year. In 5 of his 7 starts, he's given up 2 or fewer earned runs. I'm hopeful he pitches well enough to solidify his spot and be in the 2011 rotation from day 1.

I'm not counting on Detwiler for anything this year except a September callup and a spot start or two. He's had 5 AA starts, and they're hitting .353 against him. His WHIP is about 1.70. Best we can hope for in 2010 is that he pitches himself into shape and shows some flashes of September 2009.

Was very interesting that Olsen's agent announced that Scott would be ready by mid / late July. Sheinin seems to think he's a long way off.
I'm ready to put Olsen, Marquis and Wang into the same group as Detwiler, September for a start or two is the most we can hope for.

If I (and many others) didn't have such a soft sport for John Lannan, I'd dismiss any notion of him in the bigs this year. I guess his next couple outings will tell.

Chico I've kinda given up on. He seems to me the proto-typical AAAA pitcher. I can't seem him as an MLB every 5th day guy, and he seems to not have the stuff to make or help the bullpen either.

JZimm - Can't wait. Glad the Nat's are making him go slow. He should be in the rotation for perhaps 6 weeks, maybe 8 starts, perhaps roughly taking Strasburg's rotation spot for the rest of this year.

So, unfortunately, I don't see "the cavalry" coming to help.

1 - Strasburg
1a - J Zimmermann
2 - Livo
3 - JD Martin
4 - Stammen
5 - Atilano

September tryouts:
Detwiler, Marquis, Lannan, Severino

Posted by: Sunderland | July 12, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-brother dargreg-I swear -I THOUGHT to myself while listening to that "I wonder if that's....".Wow! And my next thought was that Phil sidestepped your question-he never DID answer you!Personally, while Steve may be a fine pitching coach-if Stras loves him, well just think how he'd feel about the LAST guy!(Sorry Gang-I'm in the tank for Randy, too!)Ah well, so many missteps in so little time.....just can't shake that feeling that this team is -in spite of all the imposed and accidental hardships-capable of playing consistently good ball. Look at the Chisox -20 wins in their last 25. We CAN do it!!!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 12, 2010 10:26 PM | Report abuse

skins_fan_22, I believe that in the past Dunn has stated the opinion that only those who are selected as All-Stars in a given year should participate in the derby, and that he would participate only if he had been selected for the All-Star team.

Zendo, MLB Network is my salvation in the off-season, and this week they are featuring All-Star batting practice, wherein various network commentators interview and interact with various All-Stars during their workouts/bp. Have to admit that I did watch some of the derby as well. My fave part is seeing the players' kids on the field, as well as the kids who are shagging balls. (Hey, you out there. Glove to the ground!)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

On a related note, I've heard it said that the production of some derby participants tails off for the remainder of the year. I don't know whether there is much/any supporting evidence for that but, if it's true, (a) I'm glad none of our guys is taking part, and (b) I was watching Hanley Ramirez last night and hoping it was... :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

Soooo, I was watching the video at sec3's link and waiting for the prop to come into play. Finished watching and was somewhat befuddled. Went down to have breakfast and some coffee and it hit me. Ohhhh, it was a *mazurka.* Well played, Mauer. :-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-what...nothin' new? Agreed, 1a1 (MLB.Channel as lifesaver)-and, of course, you and the rest of the Gang, too. Now-what's this I'm hearing about Dunn?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 13, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

After reading periculum, sunderland, and BinM, let me pose this question as a pure, speculative, off-day activity. Let's say Strasburg and Zimmermann are the only "real-deal" MLB pitchers on the Nats' staff. 5 pitchers are essential for the season. Discounting guys who may or may not make it back (Marquis, Olsen, Wang), what does the Nats' staff look like 1-5 in April 2011? Who are the real keepers they currently have? Who might come here as a FA? Some of you are way better with stats than I am. I like hearing you think out loud. It's interesting, because as you suggest, the cavalry may not be as close as we thought. Nothing from Detwiler would end up being a disappointing and negative development. What does the future look like? Do some "out-loud" thinking for the rest of us.

Posted by: fpcsteve | July 13, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

In re. my comments on Dunn and the derby, I can't find the quote now, but I think it was something to the effect that if he wasn't starting in the All-Star game, he would not take part in the derby.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 13, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

(bowing ostentatiously) Dziekuje, 1a.

After the break, we get what we get, unless they trade someone, in which case we won't even get that.
Strasburg, Livan, Martin, and Stammen and Atilano if they last that long. Marquis and Wang--maybe 2011, or not. Detwiler--meh. Olsen--I'm so very sorry, but I hope you saved some money. Znn, as noted, basically takes Strasburg's place.
Next year, the irrational part of me still hopes for free agents with winning records, but I dunno.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 13, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham are the most over rated 3-4-5 hitters in baseball. They hit like Ty Cobb with the bases empty, and can't buy a hit with men on base.

Zimm hits 45 points higher with runners on based, 35 points higher w/RISP, and 70 points higher w/RISP and 2 outs.

Posted by: markfromark | July 13, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Brue | July 13, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

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