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The impact of trading Matt Capps

Morning roundup

With their dispiriting, 3-7 road trip to start the second half, the Nationals have drifted further into irrelevancy. Even significant a significant cosmetic accomplishment seems out of the question; they would have to finish 39-23 for a .500 record, 33-29 to win 75 games or 28-34 to win 70. Not even that last one seems like a given.

The question, what does General Manager Mike Rizzo want to accomplish the rest of this season? That'll be a vital question in terms of what he'll do at the trade deadline, especially when it comes to closer Matt Capps.

With Drew Storen in the mix, Capps would seem expendable in the future. Capps is making $3.5 million this season, and he will be due a big raise in arbitration after an all-star season. It would be logical to bail on Capps now, sell high and avoid paying him upwards of $7 million next year when Storen can close for a fraction of that.

It sounds easy. But if Rizzo believes the end of this season is important for the Nationals to establish some success and momentum for next year, then it's not so cut-and-dried. Few things can crush a team's spirit or sink it's won-loss record like an implosive bullpen. See last April as an example. Losing Capps would thin this year's bullpen considerably, even if Storen fills in capably right away, and potentially lead to an utterly depressing stretch of playing out the string.

The Nationals could decide Capps is valuable enough to the Nationals next season that the price tag is worth. They are guaranteed to have control of him, and they may not want to risk plugging a bullpen hole.

The haul Capps would bring could prove too tempting. The market for relievers is slim pickings this year, and Capps could help some contender. It would be the best move for the Nats' future. But their present would start to look even more bleak.

FROM THE POST

Oh, my, does Dave Sheinin bring the pain this morning. He details every facet of Stephen Strasburg's competitive nature, from dominating those who dare homer off him to wanting some of Mike Leake.

The game story from the Nats' 8-3 defeat in Milwaukee , with details on Ross Detwiler's debut, will not make you smile as much.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Durham 5, Syracuse 0: Erik Arnesen allowed three earned runs in six innings on seven hits and a walk. Peter Orr went 2 for 3 with a double.

Harrisburg 10, Portland 3: Tom Millone allowed no earned runs on five hits and a walk, striking out five. Marvin Lowrance went 3 for 5 with two home runs. Brad Coon went 2 for 3 with a double and two walks.

Potomac 13, Winston-Salem 3: The P-Nats scored 10 runs in the eighth. Wilberto Ortiz went 4 for 6 with a double. Derek Norris went 2 for 5 with a double and a walk. A.J. Morris allowed no runs on two hits and no walks in six innings, striking out five.

Hagerstown was postponed. Jordan Zimmermann will make a rehab start tonight for the Suns.

Tri-City 10, Vermont 8: David Freitas went 1 for 4 with a home run, extending his hitting streak to 21 games. Blake Kelso went 3 for 4 with a walk.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Mike Rizzo chatted with Bill Ladson.

The Nationals' loss crystallized their road problems, Ben Goessling writes.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 26, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
 | Tags: matt capps, nationals, nationals pitching, stephen strasburg  
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Next: Stephen Strasburg, the second time around

Comments

Lets get on with it shall we..., this team is going no where and if your tradable pieces can get you something in return then do it.

Matt Capps, Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham have no future here and lets be honest they will all be to expensive for Uncle Ted going forward.

In all honesty folks everyone needs to resign themselves that this is a Tampa Bay redux. Lots of 90+ losing season, lots of high draft choices, lots of veterans picked up off the garbage pile. All of this in hope that lightening will strike in 2012 or 13 and poof the Nats are competitive with a 50M payroll. Its right there in front of you, why can't we all say so!

Saddest part of all of this is the complete and utter contempt ownership has for the last of its fan base and the ultimate lack of scrutiny by the sports media in this town. Bad owners get by becuase no one calls them on the carpet, they get ignored, Kilgore says, "Nationals have drifted further into irrelevancy", thats exactly how the LernerStanK like it.

Posted by: TippyCanoe | July 26, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

This is going to be an interesting week.
We're obviously not going to be buyers, question is how much are we going to be sellers.

Rizzo drafting and signing Strasburg and drafting Harper were easy and simple tasks compared to the decisions he has to make this week.

This is where we find out a little more about Mike Rizzo the GM.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 26, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Tippy,

Maybe the Nats can do it on the cheap by making some salary dumps now and building for a bright future "some day." But don't forget that even frugal Tampa Bay has a 17 percent higher payroll than our Nats do.

I am OK with unloading Capps if you get get a top prospect or two, but not just to unload salary because he is due a hefty arbitration number. He is still a young guy. A quality organization may want to wrap him up long term. Storen closes, fine. What happens in the 7th and 8th? Maybe you won't even need Storen as closer?

When you acquire players, some of them will be keepers. They all cannot be dumped. Dunn will very likely be more productive over the next four years than will be a prospect in any given four year period. Dumping Dunn would send Zim and Josh into funks. Add the fan base too--most of us (those who remain as fans) will go into funks.

Look at the roster. The problem is not Dunn, as many posters make him out to be. The problem is that you have so many other weak hitters: Kennedy, Nyjer, Willie, Nieves, Bernadina, Ian, Gonzales (look at his OBP and SLG) and now ol' Pudge.

Now if you subtract Dunn and Josh, what's the point of even playing out the season? How do you get any but the most mercenary of players to want to be Nats in the off-season? How do you get runs for SS? How do you keep Zim's loyalty and leadership, and protect him in the batting order?

If Dunn is moved, it will all be rationalized. It may even have been planned all along. There's a reason his $20 million contract was broken up into $8 the 1st year and $12 the second. A salary dump saves more money that way.

The secret to success is not only to dump salary but to collect sufficient assets (quality players) so that some of them can be turned into wins and others can be turned into prospects as you go. Dunn and Josh are examples of that, but why are there so few of these kinds of examples? Those two guys, plus Capps, cost the Nats nothing in terms of their future prospects, and it is sad that more wasn't done to build the club.

Because of the Nats' excessive frugality, the Nats do not have enough tradable assets at this point without devastating the club further.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

How is getting rid of a 40 HR a year guy making the team better?

After watching two years of a bullpen implode nightly, we finally get a good closer - -how is trading him and going back to an inept bullpen making this team better?

How is getting rid of Willingham making this team better?

They don't charge Kansas City or Pittsburgh prices. It costs as much as $40 a night to watch this team -- its real money they have taken from season ticket holders. No one seems to acknowledge that ripping the best players off the team is going to make the team unwatchable again. All this 'future prospect' stuff gets old when the prospects rarely work out.

Make the team better. Keep the players that are good players -- Dunn, Capps, Willingham -- and add to them. If not now, then in the offseason. The team needs to think of its paying customers.

Posted by: raymitten | July 26, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Apart from Lerner and money considerations, how much difference might Capps make the rest of the year? Try this thinking on for size.

If the team plays as well in the final 63 games as in the first 99 (and that might be a stretch), we might expect Capps to get another 18 save opportunities. At his current success rate (almost 86 percent), let's figure he gets 15 to 16 saves in those 18 opportunities. Now imagine a really bad replacement, who gets a save in only 60 percent of opportunities. That would be 11 saves out of 18 opportunities vs. maybe 15 to 16 with Capps.

So we might be looking at a difference of 4 to 5 games the rest of the way -- and that's assuming Capps stays effective, his replacement is ineffective, and the Nats continue to provide save opportunities.

Posted by: KenNat | July 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: raymitten | July 26, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

It's the typical Washington fans. We're too impatient to build a winner. Consider this, how about we keep all of our good players and wait 2 years. What holes would we have in 2 years if we kept everyone we have now?

1b Adam Dunn
2b roster hole
ss Ian Desmond
3b Ryan Zimmerman
lf Josh Willingham
cf Roger Bernadina
rf Bryce Harper
c Flores/Norris

Why couldn't we just pick up a 2nd basemen in the offseason? Our rotation and bullpen should be pretty decent too. If it's not then we could add another pitcher by the trade deadline. You have to make a run sometime. We should shoot to try to make a run in 2 years. If we fall short then o well. We can rebuild and try it again.

Posted by: PAskinsfan17 | July 26, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

This is an in-between team. It's not Tampa (sorry Tippy) or Pittsburgh or Kansas City, they've got more money to spend than those teams. They're not the Yankees, Mets or Phillies, either (at least not yet).

On the field right now, they're in between, too. They've got the core of a good team (Strasburg, J. Zimm, Detwiler, Maya, Storen, Clippard, Capps, Burnett, R. Zimm, Dunn, Willingham, maybe Desmond, Bernadina, and Morse) but some of these guys aren't ready yet, some others are coming off injuries, and some of these guys are limited and may be asked to do more than they can.

The same goes for the vets that are currently filling out the roster (Morgan, Guzman, Kennedy, I. Rod, W. Harris, Olsen, Nieves), they can't fill the roles they're given here. Think about I. Rod batting sixth or Guzman batting fifth every once in a while.

The Nats will probably win 10-15 games more than last year, which is good. But how do they get really better? They can keep the team together and hope with more experience, they'll improve. Unlikely, because they're counting on some older guys who are on the way down and it's not sure all of the young guys will get significantly better.

They can look for more help inside the organization, but it's not really there, not at the "near major league" level. Marrero and Espinosa will likely get a look along with a couple of pitchers, but they don't appear to be major league ready. Two years down the road, maybe.

So the only logical way to improve next year and in 2012 is to add talent from elsewhere. That's why I think Maya was such a good sign. He should be ready for a spot in the rotation next year. Perfect.

Now what? I wouldn't trade Dunn, because I can't see a way to replace him while improving elsewhere at the same time. Maybe Willingham, but if you're not willing to play Morse very much now, are they going to be willing to play him a lot in LF in the future? (I'd play him more but they're not doing it so you have to believe they think he's a limited player)

Maybe Capps, if you can get something useful for him AND if you think Clippard, Storen and/or somebody else can handle that job.

The most likely outcome will be they'll basically keep this team together through the end of the year, hope they get a good luck at the returning pitchers, give players like Morgan a final audition, give guys like Bernadina, Desmond and Morse a continued audition, and see what you've got at the end of the year.

If you really think Morgan is your leadoff man, you keep him and figure out how to play Bernadina and Morse (or trade one). Then you look for a 2B who has some pop (hopefully can field, too) and bat second or sixth. If you give up on Morgan, you can look for a 2B who can bat leadoff and add another outfielder with some pop to bat sixth. Maybe go for a starter if you think you need one.

But I think this will be a waiting game. We'll see.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 26, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

It is really really easy. Do the Nationals have a glut of good relief pitchers? The answer is, not really. We have 3. Capps, Storen, Clipp. And none of them are HOF types, they are just good enough to get it done. We probably need 2 more good guys in the pen. So why not keep Capps, have him as Closer A and Storen as Closer B.

Posted by: alex35332 | July 26, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I am betting that the only guy to be moved wil be Capps. It is a no-brainer to unload that guy -- even Rizzo has to feel comfortable doing a move with Capps (Rizzo does not make calls looking for deals for his players, he only takes those calls -- afraid the other club might actually accept an offer Mike?). He's pitching as well as he ever has, next year he'll be pricey on a relative basis for this club, the market for late inning guys is reportedly white hot and they have Storen, Clippard and Peralta (with Walker coming back) to finish games for this lost season anyway.

Willingham is a vluable guy to have this off season coming into his last arbitration season, so no rush to move him unless they are overwhelmed with an offer.

On Dunn, I'd love for them to keep the guy. But it is up to them. They need to decide whether they have the intestinal fortitude to give big Adam Dunn something well north of $70M (Howard's contract is $125M, so Adam is going to get something closer to $100M than $50M from someone), if they are not going to do that, then they have to trade him now. I think tey should step up and grab the slugger they need to compete. But, the Lerners are not exactly risk takers, so my guess is that they'll do as they did with Soriano and not move him and not sign him and play up how valuable the draft pick compensation is to a club building it the right way and not taking short cuts or cutting corners in order to become an every year contender right about the time that my grandkids will be teleporting to games from our summer house on Mars.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

What are Dunn's demands for an extension? That may be the wild card in this last week. Suppose Dunn's agent is demanding a 4 or 5 year contract? Suppose Howard's contract is influencing the demands. Is Dunn worth 15 million per year? 20 million? is he worth more than Zimmerman? Suppose the value of Dunn can not be reconciled by his agent and Rizzo? Would that make the Lerners cheap?

I would rather the Lerners spend the money on signing their top draft picks, all of which could be had for perhaps the extra year that Dunn may be demanding. Payroll must be considered not only for this year but for the next 3 years as well when discussing the fate of this team. What would it cost to keep Dunn, Willingham and Capps on the team for two more years? Sometimes we are forced to do things that run counter to our emotions.

An agent's demands can push Dunn into the category of trade material despite all of the assurances that Dunn himself wished to remain here.

Posted by: driley | July 26, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Dunn's demands are likely that he get a market contract, which is what he deserves. He is always healthy, he always produces, he is no drama off the field, good in the club house and he's a true slugger in a game that has fewer and fewer of those guys by the year. Defensive liabilities he carries are real, but they are no worse really than Howard's or Fielder's. He owes DC no "home town" discount and this is likely to be his last big pay day in the game.

Some club is going to pay him a LOT of money, it should be DC, but who knows where he ends up.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 26, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Worrying about the effect to the Nationals of trading Matt Capps is like worrying about what brand of Champagne to buy for their championship celebration.

Neither is going to matter any time soon.

As it is, Matt Capps gets into about 1 in 5 games. Even then, a third of those appearances are in a tie game -- or just as a chance to get him some work.

The time for worrying about how such a move would be taken by the players or the fans has long since past. Nobody inside or out of the organization is thinking this season is going to be anything other than yet another death-march to October. And nothing Mike Rizzo does between now and August 1st is going to change that.

The only consideration Rizzo should have is what can he do to ensure this does not happen again next season. If he thinks Matt Capps is their best option as the closer, and that he is worth $7 million dollars to fill that role, than keep him. If he thinks that $7 million can be put to better use -- like getting a right fielder -- then trade Capps now and get what you can.

Just stop trying to think of ways to put lipstick on this pig of a season. No one's going to buy it.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

Posted by: noslok | July 26, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

What are Dunn's demands for an extension? That may be the wild card in this last week. Suppose Dunn's agent is demanding a 4 or 5 year contract? Suppose Howard's contract is influencing the demands. Is Dunn worth 15 million per year? 20 million? is he worth more than Zimmerman? Suppose the value of Dunn can not be reconciled by his agent and Rizzo? Would that make the Lerners cheap? I would rather the Lerners spend the money on signing their top draft picks, all of which could be had for perhaps the extra year that Dunn may be demanding. Payroll must be considered not only for this year but for the next 3 years as well when discussing the fate of this team. What would it cost to keep Dunn, Willingham and Capps on the team for two more years? Sometimes we are forced to do things that run counter to our emotions. An agent's demands can push Dunn into the category of trade material despite all of the assurances that Dunn himself wished to remain here. Posted by: driley | July 26, 2010 10:08 AM |

OK, you are a good Ted Lerner supporter, but consider:

Dunn may well get 4 or 5 years, because that is his market value.

Dunn may well get more than Zim, since some of Zim's contract covered his below-market-value early years, when he would have been under team control anyway.

What's wrong with signing your top picks and signing Dunn? How did the Nats ever convince you that it is either-or? Teams (outside of DC) are supposed to sign their top picks. That is mandatory, whether you keep your top slugger or not. Draft picks are the biggest bargain in baseball.

Of course signing Dunn will add payroll. Golly! However, the Nats' payroll is near the bottom in all of MLB, while DC region is the 8th largest in MLB. They can add payroll. The Nats lose Guz next year, so that helps.

No one is saying "sign Dunn above his market value." The big question is: will the Nats sign Dunn at his market value?

The Nats are not nearly as impoverished as you think. They lead (or are 2nd or 3rd) in profits every year, according to Forbes.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Well Friends as you know I've been on the sidelines Boycotting this team. But recent events forced me back.

To any and all who love the Nats, the recent news that GM Mike Rizzo is extending manager Jim DoubleSwitch Riggleman as manager for another season is a kick in the gut to all Nats fans and reason to now fly the Nats flag at Half Mast. This is a death knell.

And for anyone who wonders what Rizzo will do at the trade deadline, what does it matter now that we know the guys instincts can't be trusted at all.

Has Rizzo even been watching any of the same games as the rest of us? How can he endorse DoubleSwitch Riggleman. The only thing more absurd than Riggleman's decision making, is his explanation of his absurd decsion making.

That Rizzo would endorse this ineptitude should show everyone that Mike Rizzo is completely clueless as well.

The Nats are on pace to be as bad as last season. They are closing in on Kansas City and Cleveland. How ridiculous is that? Yet you want the same skipper back?

DoubleSwitch Riggleman has done the impossible and made Manny Acta look good. What has this guy done to deserve a promotion?

Posted by: dovelevine | July 26, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Tampa Bay is not a good example. They brought in all new management a few years ago and have been competitive since shortly thereafter. In other words, it was not lightening striking, it was a successful reorganization.

Posted by: markfromark | July 26, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

If he thinks Matt Capps is their best option as the closer, and that he is worth $7 million dollars to fill that role, than keep him. If he thinks that $7 million can be put to better use -- like getting a right fielder -- then trade Capps now and get what you can.Kevin OlsonPosted by: noslok | July 26, 2010 10:59 AM |

I really do need to give up. You mini-Lerners drive me crazy.

You are worried about $7 million, like it is a lot of money in MLB? It's not a RF or Capps. This team can afford both, and some other pieces too.

Sure, trade Capps if you get a truly big-time prospect, but not to save money for this cheap franchise. Closers are not that easy to find (remember the Chief?). And even if you find one, you need set-up guys too. Look at all the capital the O's wasted searching for relief pitchers.

Capps is still young, so he fits long term on a team that supposedly is building. I would rather see a long-term contract for him, unless you get a genuine top-tier prospect, like a #2 starter.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Riggleman's decisons defy logic.The only thing more absurd than his pulling of Michael Morse the other night was his explanation afterward. His decisions make no sense. His explanations make even less.

I'm not even sure DoubleSwitch is aware that he is allowed to remove a pitcher from a game without removing a roster player. Every time he comes to the mound, every player must quiver, wondering if he is done for the day.

DoubleSwitch hardly ever puts the best Nine on the field. And when he bumps into it by mistake, he blows it up by the 4th inning with--wait for it-- a DoubleSwitch.

DoubleSwitch has probably been the cause, by himself of close to 14 losses this season. What in the world has Rizzo been watching? He's at most of the games. Everyone else sees it. Is Rizzo blind?
Rizzo with this move has shown himself to be completely lost. And that is terrible for the Nats. This team is now leaderless and rudderless.

Stephen Strasburg should run, not walk, to the nearest exit out of town when his time is through. And Bryce Harper should stay as far away from this debacle as possible.
The Nats are now on a downward death spiral led by Gm Mike Rizzo and DoubleSwitch Riggleman.

What a sad day in NatsTown!!!!

Boycott the Nats and end this blog.

Posted by: dovelevine | July 26, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Dove,

Riggs was willing to manage for $600,000. End of story.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I don't get you guys. Everybody thinks the Nats stink, which they do. Also, everybody thinks the Nats should keep the same guys together. That doesn't make sense.

To paraphrase Yogi, it takes good players to make a good team. We're going to lose right around 200 games over two years with Dunn. Maybe it's time to try to get someone better. By the time this team gets good, Dunn and Willingham will both be way past their prime. Better get fresh talent that gels together.

That is how the Rays did it, not by getting different management. The Rays got better players, most all of which were young guys drafted or traded for.

Posted by: Section314 | July 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Goodbye, dove, we'll miss you...

Posted by: baltova1 | July 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

doveline, "just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in", eh?

It's certainly your decision as to whether or not to boycott the team, but it's also a personal decision for the rest of us. I'm not sure why either the Journal readers or its publishers would want to take their marching orders from you, or why you'd care whether they did. Wait. Are you really Peter Angelos? ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

The Devil Rays/Rays are a perfect example of what is going on here in Natstown. They were a bad team that kept trading away talent for prospects. They had the high profit thanks to the luxury tax and low payroll. It was not until they had new ownership that they kept their procpects and played for the now. The new ownership signed young talent (i.e. Langoria) to a long term contract early. That is a small market team just 3 games behind the yankees.
We are going to have to wait until after the 2015 All-Star game when the Learners sell the team and new ownership does something with this market.
PS - The Rays also offer FREE parking for games.

Posted by: Batboy05 | July 26, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I notice Jordan Zimmermann will be pitching for Hagerstown tonight. What's the deal with Jordan Zimmermann dropping down from Advance A (Potomac) to A (Hagerstown) is it something to help Hagerstown attendance or Potomac's pitching staff is crowded ?

Posted by: 4U2Know | July 26, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Section314, who said they should keep the same guys together? I'm saying improve by addition, probably through free agency or smart trades. The farm system doesn't seem to offer much help next year, beyond what's already here.

As for getting somebody better than Dunn, he's 4th in OPS in the NL. Only Joey Votto, Albert Pujols and Aubrey Huff are better. Ryan Howard, Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder are just behind them, but either they're not available or even more expensive. How do you get better at 1B and cleanup by trading Dunn?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 26, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Man, I'm so jaded at this point, I don't even feel like I'm invested enough to worry about whom they will trade and whom they will retain. It all just seems to lead to failure anyway.

This is what it feels like to be a Nats fan in late July or August, I guess. Caring about a lousy team really takes a lot out of a guy.

Posted by: JohninMpls | July 26, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Dunn isn't going anywhere. Capps, maybe, if the offer of prospects is outstanding.

Posted by: shanks1 | July 26, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"How do you get better at 1B and cleanup by trading Dunn?"

By trading Dunn for some pieces -- a MLB ready SP would be nice -- and by paying even bigger bucks for Adrian Gonzalez in Free Agency. Not saying that is going to happen or anything.

My guess is that they do not trade Dunn and that they do not sign him either. I am thinking the Cubs grab him, maybe Atlanta.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 26, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

>This is where we find out a little more about Mike Rizzo the GM.

Posted by: Sunderland

Not convinced he's a quivering, stuttering, gutless wimp yet? Any moves he makes to unload people will surely push this franchise down even further. Even if he grabs a prospect or two, they're still in the gutter for the next couple of years.

Posted by: Brue | July 26, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Lot of Nats' fans say go after Adrian Gonzalez instead of Dunn. This assumes Lerner will outbid everyone for Gonzalez, and it assumes Gonzalez wants to be on the Nats instead of a quality team. From a PR standpoint, this is good strategy. You do not have to sign Dunn because you are focusing on Gonzalez. And you can arrange it so that you get close to signing Gonzalez, just missing on him. You give a sincere effort, ostensibly.

Many Nats' fans also think the idea is to keep the bad players (because no one wants them) but dump the few good ones. Somehow, this "reverse weeding" process leads to a better future. You keep the weeds but throw out the crops.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats trade Dunn, there is zero chance they end up with Adrian Gonzalez for next year. AG, regarldess of how much the Nats offer him, is either going to stay in San Diego (they've put together a nice little club there) or go to Boston or Atlanta, where he would have a much better chance of winning right away.

And there is no chance the Nats would be able to get Prince Fielder, either. The Nats have nothing to offer the Brewers in order to pry him away from them.

So, the only options the Nats would have in the offseason would be to either sign a FA 1B or fill from within. We all know they have no one right now on the roster to fill in at first and/or be the cleanup hitter. So that pretty much leaves trying to sign another FA 1B. And from what I can tell, there are only 3 that might fill the void:

Paul Konerko (35) - Bats: Right
2010: .298/.377/.548 ... 21 HR/67 RBI ($12M)

Derrek Lee (35) - Bats: Right
2010: .251/.338/.391 ... 11 HR/44 RBI ($13M)

Carlos Pena (33) - Bats: Left
2010: .207/.328/.431 ... 21 HR/61 RBI ($10M)

Or, they could hope that Big Papi could play 1B every day ...

Either way, I just don't see the upside in getting rid of Dunn, unless one of the players they get in return is a stud 1B

Posted by: erocks33 | July 26, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

>>The Nats are now on a downward death spiral led by Gm Mike Rizzo and DoubleSwitch Riggleman. What a sad day in NatsTown!!!! Posted by: dovelevine

Well as Smokey would say, I second that emotion. Riggleman has not even been average or a wash, he's been a negative. And what has Rizzo done? And to endorse
Riggleman who is on his way to helping destroy this team and season is pretty mindboggling.


Posted by: skins_fan_22 | July 26, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

erocks,

Good data! But the Nats have demonstrated a willingness to go into a season without covering all their positions. Look at RF.

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

@PAskinsfan17,

Bryce Harper has yet to sign. He will have lost an entire summer, a year of baseball in the minors. He will be a least 2 years away ...
You can't pencil him in right field ... that's just ridiculous he is only 17!!!? And Bernadina can't hit lefties and it appears Michael Morse outhits the heck out of him and Maxwell against righties? That isn't good.

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Mike Rizzo will not trade Capps. Unless they offer him the moon. Bet on it. He knows the cupboard is bare and there is little to replace guys like left-handed power hitter Dunn (although his fielding really needs dramatic improvement between now and next year he still looks terrible!!) and even Matt Capps. The sky is not falling Chicken Little. MIke Rizzo is still "Quark the Ferengi" GM who wants top dollar performance and then some from every trade and every free agent signing.

Rizzo seems enamored with Josh Willingham but they do seem to have the perfect plug-in replacement for him in the person of Michael Morse.

But we all know that Riggleman would start Willie Harris and his sub-Mendoza would start in left field should they trade Willingham, and not Morse. My God the Brewer's announcers were having a field day with this ... its gone way beyond the ridiculous Riggleman!

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-heading off to work. Glad to see you back, Hawk(always thought that more suitable than dove!) if only briefly. Hope you don't stick with your boycott, but I understand. I mentioned a week or so back that I/We could probably reprint our exact posts from the last few years-certainly the Slow Lerner era-and, except for the names and specifics-the overarching themes would be the same.
Still.....they might be pitiful, but they're ours! So I'll keep verbally moping here and hope the rest of the Gang keeps at it, too.For the umpteenth time:These blogs and you posters are the ONLY consistently excellent thing about this team.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 26, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

erocks just laid out why it is going to take a lot on Benjamins to ink Dunn. Gonzalez is going to either stay on the west coast or take Boston's huge, huge money to be their answer to New York's Tex, essentially. So that leaves Dunn as the big masher out there for clubs to go after. There are very few true power players out there at any position next year that have Dunn's relative youth.

He will not come cheap.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 26, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

@PAskinsfan17

If that line-up was supposed to be encouraging, it's not. You list a hole at a single position (2B), but really, there's only one position where there's not a hole--Zimm at 3B.

You assume:

1. re-signing Dunn and Willingham--I'd love to see this happen but fear it won't (certainly not as to both);
2. that a) the Nats will sign Harper and b) he'll pan out in RF--at least the probabilities here are pretty good;
3. that a) the Nats will shift Bernadina to CF and b) he'll pan out there--signs are encouraging but far from certain;
3. that Desmond will pan out at SS, which is less than 50-50 right now;
4. that Flores will ever return to anything like his past form (tho at least there you give yourself an out by citing Norris too).

Posted by: HHover | July 26, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

How do the Nats get better? I see that question a lot this morning. I think Mike Rizzo has addressed that on more than one occasion. Through top of the rotation starting pitching. Then you just need real infielders who can field behind them along with a decent CF and a good defensive catcher.

What has he done? He drafted Zimmermann and Strasburg. Zimmermann is about to reappear after TJ surgery. He went out and somehow signed Yunieski Maya. He didn't have the prospects to get Haren but he is still apparently after Edwin Jackson. Then there's Detwiler who may be good enough to be a #3/#4? After that it doesn't matter as much.

Is it a gamble? Sure. I think every team except perhaps the very prospect rich like the Rays and Rangers have the same gamble annually. They attempt to address it through free agency. The Brewer's signed Randy Wolf, with a 5+ ERA he hasn't helped much. Mike Rizzo appears to like his starters to be a lot younger (with the notable exception of Livan "Satchel Paige" Herandez).

if things work out and you have a rotation of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Maya, Detwiler, Hernandez things may turn out to be a lot better next year than many probably expect at this point. But, yeah, a lot just "depends". Olsen could get healthy and factor in there as a backup. Jason Marquis lost his job to Livan. can he get it back? I don't think so. And Wang, I suspect, will end up as a reliever at this stage of his career after his long drawn out injuries and surgery. The rest become veteran backup in Syracuse.

I am tremendously frustrated with Riggleman's managing. He has turned what could be a close to .500 team into one that is likely to be 20-30 under. And IMHO, you can see the effect that has had in the defiance/frustration Dunn showed in leaving the dugout to go visit Bob Uecker. The game just didn't matter, Riggleman would find a way to blow it.

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Finally, one can hope against hope that Mike Rizzo somehow manages to sign and convince Cliff Lee to come here.

Now, you've almost got a lock for a playoff appearance with just some minor tweaking and replacement of one brain-dead manager.

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Bowden draft Zimmermann?

Edwin Jackson might be nice -- he's a MLB starter with real upside and he's young.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 26, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

It a no brainer to trade Capps for a top prospect. If you can get a top guy do it. Dunn needs to stay, he make Willimgham and Zimmerman better by being there. Also unload Guzzman and Livo for anything you can get.

Defense should be the offseason major target.

Posted by: tcostant | July 26, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

"Didn't Bowden draft Zimmermann?"

Rizzo actually made it happen. He made a concerted effort to push him close to the top of their leader board. He wanted him very, very badly. Remember, he was assistant GM from 2006 on. He did have an appreciable affect on the drafts as that was his specialty at the time. But he did get overruled by Toolsy high school Bowden.

"Edwin Jackson might be nice -- he's a MLB starter with real upside and he's young."

Exactly Rizzo's thoughts.

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"4. that Flores will ever return to anything like his past form (tho at least there you give yourself an out by citing Norris too)."

Left-handed hitting David Freitas from the University of Hawaii appears to be demolishing the league in short-season Vermont ... his next stop appears to be Hagerstown ... just like Norris ...

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

You are all apparently forgetting that they have no bench to speak of, after Morse, which is why he's sitting on it. It would float away otherwise--he's the only weight holding it down.
They are not 2 or 3 players away--they are 5 or 6 away, minimum. And that's a lot in MLB terms.
They need a power bat in right. They need a second baseman, preferably one who can play short if needed. They need a catcher, and it won't be Flores.
They need at least two infielders off the bench who aren't on the team now. They need at least one, probably two, starting pitchers, and except for Zimmerman, the chances of anybody now hurt and on the DL providing two more good seasons are not good.
They probably need a LOOGY, but they might yet come up with one in-house. Or not--I don't see any young Ray Kings in that bunch.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

*Zimmermann*

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

*Zimmermann*

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

"Because of the Nats' excessive frugality, the Nats do not have enough tradable assets at this point without devastating the club further."

EdDC: That's exactly the point. Adam Kilgore seems to have picked up some vibes from the top that Papa Lerner is not willing to pay what Capps will deserve next season, and I'll bet the same vibe covers Dunn and Willingham.

It would not surprise me at all if the Nats were to lose all three. Devastating it will be. Color me surprised if I'm wrong. And the replacements? Fuhgettaboutit.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 26, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Peric, regarding Detwiler, did you see him actually pitch yesterday? Last season? He's meat. A flat, 90 mph "fastball" that just sits there, and a "curve" that no one is afraid of. He looks like a scared deer on the mound. He hasn't looked like a big league pitcher, much less a #3 or 4 starter on a good team.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 26, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

JohnRDC, do we have to color you differently for each of Dunn, Willingham and Capps? I was thinking Burnt Umber for Dunn, Cadet Blue for Willingham, and Periwinkle for Capps.

Prepare to pigmented, 'cuz the Nats are keeping all three.

Posted by: joebleux | July 26, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Say Adam, could you by chance ask Riggleman and Morgan what steps Nyger might take to improve his base running against the Braves this week. As you may recall, Nyger's worst baserunning of the year was at its peak when they played the Braves in May/June. They seem to have his number pretty good.

Specificaly, I'm thinking a few of the steps he might want to take to improve would be back toward first base.

Posted by: natbiscuits | July 26, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Gee I love reading you "expert" G'Nats fans take on building a baseball team. Kilgore is showing promise here as a baseball guy for the Wa Post which sorely needs one. (Who the heck is Tracee Hamilton anyway???) You've got a young stud in Storen - who's ready - to replace Capps. Contending teams - "the Nats are not one of them fans' - are looking for closers. What you want is a second baseman (like a Jason Donald-type) and a catching prospect. Make the deal. Get rid of Guzman while you're at it. Keep Dunn and Willingham. They're not old and they's got pop in there bats - Dunn's an absolute threat!!! BTW I haven't heard a peep about Harper - any progress??

Posted by: Dog-1 | July 26, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm comming late to this conversation but i'm not sure anyone in the front office(scouts) posses the ability to recognize talent just look at the farm system other than SS and JZim who do we have? yeah their's probably a diamond in the rough out there but he's more than likely 2-3 yrs away, let's face it we're in trouble,I like most of you have lost faith in Riggleman this team has regressed in every facet of the game and this falls at the feet of Rizzo and StanK(i can't stand him)they for all intent and purpose are the archithect's of this mess,i'll tell you what some of you who post here, Bin M,Zendo,Sunderland,Nat's Lady,natsbicuit,Sec3,Peri,Brue,and rest of you are some of the best baseball fan's i've conversed with in a long time, here's my hope, that this franchise get's sold to some real baseball people so that the real fan's who post on this blog get to enjoy the game and a winning franchise in the nation's capital.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 26, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

If Norris bat is ready like some people in the organization seems to think. Then why doesn't he learn the defensive part of his game from Pudge?

Posted by: hansenjo | July 26, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I want the prospects learning the game in the minors. It is bad enough to have Desmond learning the SS position at the MLB level, I don't want to add Norris to the mix learning to be a catcher in DC too.

No wonder why the club is losing games night after night, the rookie SS Desmond has made more errors than entire infields from other clubs, Guz has never played 2B at any level until this season and Morgan is playing something like his 150th game in CF at any level (guy has never played a full season in the bigs at any postion, much less CF). Pudge still has chops but the age is a real factor. Did they really expect us to be strong up the middle with that crew? Add in to that Dunn still learning to play 1B and not having a legit RF in camp and you're looking at a pretty scary club Rizzo built for us this year. Yikes!

Posted by: dfh21 | July 26, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

dfh,

It's not Rizzo; it's the small budgets. When are the fans going to stop blaming the GMs? Do you think the GMs want to save money and field weak teams of marginal major leaguers?

Same for Riggs and Acta. Sure they were low-budget choices and there were much better managers out there for higher salaries. Still, it helps to have players.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I notice Jordan Zimmermann will be pitching for Hagerstown tonight. What's the deal with Jordan Zimmermann dropping down from Advance A (Potomac) to A (Hagerstown) is it something to help Hagerstown attendance or Potomac's pitching staff is crowded ?

Posted by: 4U2Know
******************
I'm sure they want to keep him local. Potomac is on a road trip to North Carolina, long bus rides.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 26, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Brue wrote, concerning Mike Rizzo:
"Not convinced he's a quivering, stuttering, gutless wimp yet?"

I'm not, yet, but I am leaving open that possibility.

Wwe just don't know what goes on behind closed doors between Rizzo, Stan and Lerner. I've got faith in Rizzo that he's making good decisions given the parameters of his authority and resources available to him.

Example - Drafting Drew Storen with the 10th pick. Clearly a signability pick. Annoying. Not Rizzo's doing, but budget restriction from the Lerners.
But given that's what Rizzo had to work with, I like what he did.

So no, I'm not ready to give up on Rizzo.

I'm also not in any way convinced Riggleman is coming back. He might, he might not, but Rizzo's comments a couple days ago don't mean anything.

Emotionally, I'm closer to Zendo that doveline. Too depressed about this team to muster the emotion to really be pissed off.

BTW, the more I troll other teams' blogs, the more I like what we have here in NJ-land. Thanks to all you regulars and long timers.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 26, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

The present no longer matters. If you can't win it this year, do what you can to up your chances next year. If it means trading marquee players on this team to better the team for next season, so be it. No hard feelings, its just business.

Posted by: cokedispatch | July 26, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Fact is, Capps stats are not that great. He has gotten quite lucky and it shows in how inconsistent he has been recently

Posted by: Bious | July 26, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

If Capps can bring a couple to top flight prospects, then the Nats should do it. We have our closer of the future in Storen on the roster. He can learn this year under fire as well as he'll have to next year. We need an everyday CF and 2nd baseman for next year. If we can get a couple of top prospects that could make it to the big league at those positions, then we should make the trade.

Trading Dunn and/or Willingham makes no sense. There is a lack of quality hitting throughout the lineup and without either of those guys, the Nats are that much weaker. The starting pitching is a wild card. No one envisioned having Stammen, Martin, and Atilano (now Detwiler) as three fifths of the rotation. I'm more interested in seeing what we can do with J. Zimmermann, a healthy Marquis, and Maya in the rotation.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 26, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

I don't remember a game where Capps did not put the outcome in jeapordy by just stepping on the pitching mound. He was very fortunate in April and May and just fair after that.

Posted by: MKadyman | July 26, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I see some people are making the claim that the goal of trades should be to make the team better next year. The reality is, if you trade established veterans for prospects, even prospects who are either close to the bigs or already there, you're not likely to help the team next year. Those kind of guys need a year or two (or three) to reach the level of an established veteran. Take a guy like Viciedo of the White Sox, whose name has been mentioned in a trade for Dunn. Excellent prospect, 21 years old, has some pop in his bat and can play 1B. But is he ready to bat in the middle of the order, much less clean up? When will he be ready for that?

To me, that's the real question for the Nats' owners and front office people: when do we focus on the next year and not 2-3 years down the road? To me, that's now; they have enough talent to form the basis of a .500 team (or better) next year, so they should add talent, not trade vets for prospects. I guess we'll find out what they think this week.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 26, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

"I don't remember a game where Capps did not put the outcome in jeapordy by just stepping on the pitching mound."

The same could have been said in 2005-2007 about Cardiac Chad the Chief Cordero. Yet people seemed to like him. Why is that? The flat cap? Capps can surely find an iron somewhere. Would that make you love him like you did the Chief?

Posted by: nunof1 | July 26, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

The present no longer matters. If you can't win it this year, do what you can to up your chances next year. If it means trading marquee players on this team to better the team for next season, so be it. No hard feelings, its just business. Posted by: cokedispatch | July 26, 2010 5:09 PM |

Another vote for throwing out the crops and keeping the weeds. What is the best prospect the Nats have ever got in a trade, either during the season or after, since they arrived in 2005?

Sure if you can get a Hanley Ramirez, then OK, great, do it. But clubs are hanging onto their top prospects these days, and not willing to give them up for a couple months' rental.

The Nats spent a rather small amount of money to get Dunn, Josh and Capps, and gave up none of their future to acquire those players. What if the Nats had been busy all five years, and picked up 12 or 15 guys like that through other teams' salary dumps? Then you would have players to spare to turn them into prospects. As it stands now, Dunn, Josh and Capps are the only hope current Nats have to remain enthusiastically with the Nats. And if you let them go, how can you hope to attract new guys to the team?

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Well said, EdDC.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 26, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Having laid silent after being gobsmacked by Balester's promotion, I'll weigh on the possibility of trading Capps.
It comes down to percentages, in my mind - If the team feels they can 1)get through 2010 with some combination of Storen/Peralta/Clippard saving roughly 75-85% of their opportunities, and 2) trading Capps could yield either a ML-ready MI, CA, or RF w/options left, make the deal happen. If all the offers contain 2nd there is no need to bite on the offer.

Rizzo is correct in trying to get "Value for Value, or even Value plus", in any trade. It's not like the Nationals are holding a 'fire sale' over the next six days.

Posted by: BinM | July 26, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

hmmm - My post dropped a line... Try this insert at the end of the 1st paragraph.

'If all the offers (for Capps) contain 2nd-tier prospects and/or washed-out 4-A players, there is no need to bite on the offer'.

Posted by: BinM | July 26, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Now, regarging Dunn & Willingham. I'll go with 'the Hammer' 1st, because he's the easiest, imo.
Looking forward, Josh is currently under Arbitration control for another year, and is having a career year to date. Offer him Arbitration, but do not extend him, as he turns 32 in February. He might cost $8-10M for 2011, but could be 'moved' next year as well.
Dunn becomes a free-agent at the end of this season, and seems to be looking for a 4-yr deal, possibly in excess of $60M total, that would also secure his "no-trade' rights under the current CBA agreement as a 10-5 veteran. Fine, sign him to a 4-yr contract, at somewhere around $60-65M total, but 'front-load' the deal so his final year is around $12-14M. As other core salaries are escalating, Dunn's would be declining, making him attractive should he still have some power left, and the Nationals were non-contenders in 2014.

Posted by: BinM | July 26, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

"Rizzo is correct in trying to get "Value for Value, or even Value plus", in any trade. It's not like the Nationals are holding a 'fire sale' over the next six days."

Absolutely, positively agree with BinM here. This club has been ravaged enough by big market teams in Chicago, LA and NY. Its time for payback ... and Rizzo does not seem "gutless" as Brue seems to think. On the contrary it seems he feels this way very strongly. I say good ...

Besides, the positional crew he is assembling in Hagerstown begins to look more than interesting ... much more than interesting ... add a dash of Frietas at catcher and a Bryce in right field and you might actually have something in 2012 or 2013.

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

If you trade Willingham who may be more attractive because he is comparatively easier to maintain under club control ... you have a plug-in replacement in Michael Morse who is 2-3 years younger and actually better ... if given a chance ... but Riggleman would of course throw Willie Harris out there ... any chance to play the guy ...

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Mike Rizzo seems fairly methodical about everything he does ... including trades. I can't see him making a trade just to get splashy headlines on mlbtraderumors. That's Joy's beau JimBo. Looking for splashy publicity and Vegas like notoriety. Rizzo seems to be completely the opposite.

I will never get that image of him, watching the pitcher intently, from behind home plate during a deluge, out of mind. No, he isn't going to make a trade unless it absolutely makes sense. That, I believe, you can take to the bank.

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Buster Olney says the Nats are making progress acquiring Edwin Jackson...

http://forums.realgm.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=124&t=1037651

Posted by: CJArlington | July 26, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

OK, so Mike Morse is better than Willingham?

Well, Morse at age 28 has a .271 average over 10 minor league seasons. He is no hot-shot kid. I know he embodies hope, as Mike Daniels did, or Justin Maxwell did more recently. Morse has never had a minor league season as good as Josh's 2010 major league season. But Nat fans can take a studied look at Morse and project Morse to be better than Josh. Good--do the salary dump on Josh, and while you are at it, raise the peanut prices. Ten dollars for peanuts is not too much when we are taken (out to the ballgame).

If you like Morse then keep him and Willingham. Morse is your only bat off the bench who can hit. The rest are outs waiting to happen. If you start Mike, then at least you have Nyjer off the bench, who can hit a little, sometimes. But if you dump Josh, then what? Who comes off the bench to do anything? If you dump Josh, at least you still have 2/3 of your middle lineup power, so maybe i should not complain. Maybe Morse can take care of a little of that loss, at a much cheaper price.

When a guy has a OBP over .400 with power, the first thought in this town is to dump him.

Posted by: EdDC | July 26, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

In other news, that was one heck of a game at Tampa tonight. I started watching on ESPN around the 3rd and got sucked in. Was glad to see Garza hold on and get the no-no. Was fun to hear Aaron F. Boone doing commentary as well.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 26, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm with you on keeping the Hammer, EdDC.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 26, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

"When a guy has a OBP over .400 with power, the first thought in this town is to dump him."

I missed the operative word "might" be better than Willingham when describing Morse. Morse is 28 but Willingham is 31. He is an ex-catcher playing left-field. Morse should have more speed and range. He likely also has the stronger throwing arm.

Morse has suffered a number of injuries early on which apparently were the major contributing factors to a performance that is not as good as it might have been. He sat out the entire 2008 season after a shoulder injury incurred from running into a wall in the outfield for the Mariners. Willingham has been relatively injury free ... except for the back spasms etc. which is likely why he is no longer catching.

What I am saying is that if you are going to trade one of Capps, Willingham or Dunn, because Morse has that bat and the potential to be a better than average left fielder ... The 31 year old Willingham might be the best option, and the easiest to move because of his salary and team control over more than 1 year.

I'm just saying ...

Posted by: periculum | July 26, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Morse might be as good as Willingham, someday, or he might not (I make it less than even money). Willingham *is now* as good as Willingham, and has at least as good a chance of getting better still, as Morse has of catching up to him. No knock on Morse there--I think there's a chance he could be a regular starter somewhere, and I'd like to see it play out.
Taking one or two steps back to take two or three steps in some random direction doesn't sound attractive.
Signing Livo helped this club get better now. Signing Pudge helped them get better now, recent slump notwithstanding. Signing Adam Kennedy ... well, nobody's perfect. That was bad luck. Signing Dunn helped. Trading for Willingham helped. Trading for Morgan and Burnett didn't hurt, and maybe helped a little. But aside from Strasburg and Zimmerman, they don't have much to show for a lot of high draft picks besides a lot of quiet phones in the season ticket sales offices.
Put a product on the field, this year--it's the only year you're selling tickets to see.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, I should have included Storen as a good get from the draft, and maybe J. Zimmermann will pan out. Point is, maybe this "build thru the draft" thing is going to take longer than they've got.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2010 11:01 PM | Report abuse

"OK, I should have included Storen as a good get from the draft, and maybe J. Zimmermann will pan out. Point is, maybe this "build thru the draft" thing is going to take longer than they've got."

I don't know. I'm liking Hagerstown an awful lot ... and they've added Rick Hague at shortstop now. If they could replace Nieto with Frietas and perhaps if Bryce Harper ... with Bloxom, Perez, Hood, Ramirez, and Kobernus? Looks like some very good drafting from where I'm sitting ...

I believe they wouldn't miss a step with Morse if Willingham were traded. Now, if Riggleman had the intelligence to look at him he might see a guy who could bat second, get on base, with some decent pop in front of Dunn batting third ... that's where he would really shine I believe. But with fixed, rigid, will never change yet loves to double-switch his grandmother and Harris for Morse and the pitcher Riggleman? I doubt that Willingham's real talent will blossom as you suggest ...

Posted by: periculum | July 27, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

Point is, maybe this "build thru the draft" thing is going to take longer than they've got. Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 26, 2010 11:01 PM

I agree with you. You can boost the process by collecting assets through the draft and trades, if you are willing to open the payroll and take on other teams' salary dumps. If you do, then the future becomes much brighter much faster. You get draft picks when the guys sign elsewhere after their time in DC is done. You get prospects by trading them to contenders. And the ones you decide to keep get you wins, which build up the fan base, thereby increasing revenue. Wins also help attract free agents. This is a can't miss strategy towards becoming a perennial contender, and all it takes is a financial commitment. The strategy is based on youth, and is future-oriented, while still allowing near-term success on the field.

The Nats' approach is too myopic, focusing only on short-term profit. What's the big thrill in that? I hope everyone realizes that under Ted Lerner, the Nats have never traded for any player who makes average-MLB-salary or higher. Not one guy.

Speaking of free agents, what pitcher will want to come here if you dump your all-star closer and two-thirds of your middle line-up power?

Posted by: EdDC | July 27, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Be happy to get whatever you can for Capps.

Be inclined to keep Dunn but be willing to listen and pull the trigger for a truly spectacular offer. If you move Dunn, even if it proves in the long run to be the right move, be prepared for major fan unhappiness in the short term as he's one of the few players other than SS that fans actually pay to watch.

Be annoyed that Rizzo has given Riggleman an unearned vote of confidence.

Be more annoyed that the Lerners appear to continue to be running this franchise for short-term cash flow rather than for long-term value.

Be mystified as to why the Lerners appear completely unconcerned about their public profile, and seem to have learned nothing from the example set by Ted Leonsis.

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 27, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I for one is sorry to see Capps go. Sort of says they are writing off the season it seems. I don't see Storen being the closer immediately. What is the Dunn story. The guy sealed the game today. The guy is capable of hitting 30 a year easy and they don't have ANY other players who can hit homers like him. If they dump Dunn, the Nats are making themselves irrelevant for the remainder of the season.

Posted by: jimgoldstein8486 | July 29, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

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