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What to do with Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham? Something.

The biggest question facing the Nationals as they enter the second half of the season, 17 days until the non-waiver trade deadline, remains the same as it's been for some time: What should be done with Adam Dunn and Josh Willingham?

The answer in both cases, especially with Willingham, is that doing something - trading them or signing them to extensions - is better than doing nothing.

Start with Dunn. If the Nationals trade him, they will receive an "extraordinary" return, General Manager Mike Rizzo said.

If they sign him to an extension, they will retain one of the best, most consistent sluggers in baseball and keep their franchise position player happy. (It needs to be noted that the track record of players with Dunn's size and skill set is not good as they reach their mid-30s. Doesn't mean it will necessary apply to Dunn, but it's a warning.)

If the Nationals do nothing now, they still may be able to sign him, but they will have to compete with 29 other teams in free agency. And if they are unable to sign him, they will receive a compensatory draft pick at the end of the first round. That is a nice consolation, but it will not help the Nationals in 2011, and will not prevent their major league product from backsliding. At this point, that is an unequivocally necessary mission.

Now Willingham. If the Nationals sign Willingham now for, say, three years, they will have locked up a left fielder who, for this year and a good chunk of last year, has played at, or at least close to, an all-star level. If the Nationals contend in 2011, he'll help.

If the Nationals trade Willingham now, they will be doing so when his value is at its highest point. The team acquiring him would have rights for the rest of this season and 2011. If they get back equal value, the Nationals would receive a potential piece of their future, probably one who could help soon.

What's the benefit to the Nationals of not trading Willingham but not re-signing him? Well, the Nationals could answer lingering questions about Willingham's endurance. (Although last year, Willingham's downturn at season's end, it seems fair to ascertain, had more to do with his mind than his body. He lost his brother and his grandfather, and by year's end, "He was basically emotionally exhausted," a person close to him said.)

Aside from that, there seems to be little reason to stand pat. If the Nationals do nothing, they will have Willingham's rights for one season. They would have the option to sign him to an extension in the offseason, but by then, if the continues like he has in the first half - ranking third in the NL in on-base percentage and eight in OPS while playing above-average defense for the first time in his career - his market value will only rise, and maybe free agency becomes more and more enticing.

Say the Nationals don't sign Willingham, and they don't contend next year. They will face the same decision then as they do now, except as a rental player, Willingham would bring a middling batch of prospects. Signing Willingham does not preclude the Nationals from trading him in the future. If anything, unless his production plummets, it would only ADD to his value - he would be under a team's control for longer.

So, that's what I think. What about you? Feel free to leave your reasoning - and/or to pick apart what I wrote - in the comments section.

By Adam Kilgore  |  July 14, 2010; 1:14 PM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn , Josh Willingham  
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Comments

It seems like this is getting over-analyzed. (1) The Nats are not a team with a roster full of undeniable major league starters. (2) The Nats do not have heir apparents at either first or left and don't have bats to replace these two, either. (3) All things being equal (i.e., if the offer is respectful of their market value), both players want to be here. (4) Both players are reported to be completely positive additions, chemistry-wise and their teammates, Zimmerman included, want them to stay.

So let's just keep what we have and not trade one hole in the lineup for another or get into a position where we need to hire free agents to replace what we could have kept. These guys might not be Hall of Famers, but they're both darn good ballplayers who the overwhelming majority of teams would love to have at fair value. So pay them fair value (according to the market, Rizzo and Kasten -- not Ted Lerner, whose knowledge of such things seems a bit reality-challenged) and keep them.

Yes, both players will get older as time passes, but that's the case with most people.

Posted by: flotsam3 | July 14, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

It all comes down to things that we are not privy to at this point.
What can we really get in return for trading Dunn and Willingham? What would be so *extraordinary*?

That's what makes this debate so tiresome.
We just have to wait it out and see what Rizzo does.

There's no right answer.

For the record, I'd prefer they both get signed.
For the record, I think we'll lose Dunn to free agency and I think we will not extend Willingham prior to the start of 2011 Spring Training.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 14, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, both players will get older as time passes, but that's the case with most people."

My sentiments, exactly. I'm in that category myself.

My guess is that the outcome will turn on Papa Lerner's willingness to pay the going rate. Up to now, such willingness has not been apparent.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 14, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

"Start with Dunn. If the Nationals trade him, they will receive an "extraordinary" return, General Manager Mike Rizzo said."

Adam, that's kind of twisting Rizzo's words. You're making it sound like trading Dunn guarantees an extraordinary return. What Rizzo actually said was that it would -require- an extraordinary return for the Nats to turn loose Dunn. Not at all the same thing.

Posted by: joebleux | July 14, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

A number of us on this blog have been saying that both Dunn & Willingham are a part of the short-term 'core' of this team. Both players have shown to be steady bats in an otherwise anemic offense, and have worked diligently to improve their defense.

It's not like either of them are looking for 7-10 year deals - 3 to 4 would be enough time, imo. The unanswered part of this question is Does Rizzo see the fans' POV here, and will the Lerners spend the $$?

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Reality check Nats fans.

I was perusing BBA's top mid-prospect reports. No Nats listed. That's right no Nats listed. Without Storen and Strasburg, with Norris still rehabilitating from last year's injury. With rehabbing top pitchers everywhere ... NONE, nada, zilch?

Let's look at the BIG picture shall we?
Your ace, stopper and starting pitcher: Strasburg.
So far so good. No one better.
Your #2 guy: 35 (maybe really 45?) year old Livan Hernandez.
The real #2 (Jordan Zimmermann) is rehabbing from TJ.
Still unproven.
Many feel he is more a #3 than a #2 though?
Your #3 guy: The hard working, oft denigrated and besmirched ultra competitive TJ survivor JD Martin.
#3 should be 1st round pick Ross Detwiler.
still rehabbing from a hip injury still unproven.
Your #4 guy: Craig Stammen: bouncing between AAA and MAJ.
Unproven doesn't quite describe it. He may end up in the
bullpen along with Tyler Clippard.
Your #5 guy: this was supposed to be Livan Hernandez but now
it is either
Luis Atilano (another TJ survivor) unproven.
John Lannan (former #1 and probably soon-to-be TJ or
shoulder surgery survivor)
Scott Olsen (major shoulder surgery recovery)
Chien-Ming Wang (major shoulder surgery recover).

That is your 2010 Washington Nationals starting rotation.

Now, back to the prospects. Do you know that the TB Rays have at least 4 or 5 prospects in the top 20? The Rangers also still have plenty of great prospects. The CA Angels do as well. The Whitesox have zilch ... and the few they have they are unwilling to part with.

Let's move on to catcher: the amazing, the incredible HOF to be:
Ivan Rodriguez : 39 years old. And then Wil Nieves?
Now's the time to ask who? Wil Nieves.

Let's move to the infield. All Star runner up maybe top 5 player in the game third baseman Ryan Zimmerman. That's great so far.

Rookie, unproven shortstop Ian Desmond.

Two washed up veterans at second base in Kennedy and Guzman. Please defenders of Guzman the guy looks lost there? Rizzo knows this which is why he asked the white sox for Beckham who could also conceivably play shortstop. Alberto Gonzalez unproven. Then there is 2b wanna be Willie Harris. Who are we kidding here?

Your sluggers at first base you have choices of Dunn, Willingham, and Morse. All three have done well this year. Dunn and Willingham have played at an all star level (Willingham in left field). At the plate.

Fielding wise, Dunn is still unreliable at first base. Willingham might be better were he moved there. Former shortstop Morse would probably be the superior fielder in spite of BinM's scoffs. He did play second, third, short and outfield in AAA. He did play shortstop at the major league level. Neither Dunn nor Willingham have ever done that, nor would they ever attempt it.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Well, in reality, Rizzo is saying exactly that. If the Nats trade Dunn, they will only do so for an extraordinary return. Therefore, a trade of him (according to Rizzo's definition) will most certainly yield an extraordinary return.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | July 14, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Dunn a Type A free agent, so if he departs we'd get the new team's first round pick PLUS the sandwich pick? Two picks if Dunn leaves I thought...

Posted by: ckstevenson | July 14, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Now onto the outfield ...

Ah Josh Willingham the overachieving catcher from the Marlins organization. Hitting superior, fielding above average.

After that: great fielder in Morgan, Bernadian and Maxwell.
But Maxwell is now hitting .105. Bernadina and Morgan can't hit left-handed pitching. Morgan is only fair against right handed pitching ... Bernadina is far better ... still? Then there's right handed Mike Morse who actually hits right handed pitching far better than left handed pitching. But don't tell JIm Riggleman that he won't believe you. Its hard to say where Morse's fielding is in the outfield because he hasn't had enough reps. However, his arm is very strong.

Okay, so let's quickly summarize (I'll try):

The Nats still have a dearth of top prospects that are MLB ready.
(they appear to be getting better but many are TBD in low A
and below.)

They have no proven, reliable top of the rotation starters other than Stephen Strasburg. They really have nothing in AAA/AA that could remedy that? Even #3-#5 is questionable.

BUT they do have stockpiled a large contingent of relievers. Both left handed and right handed led by Drew Storen, Matt Capps and Tyler Clippard.

They need to make trades to get better in 2011 and beyond. Its either now when teams or desperate or in the offseason when they will tend to be more cautious ...

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Does signing either one or both deminish their trade value? I don't think so. If not, what is the arguement for not signing them. I'm mystified.
Sign them. Play them. At some time if you get a great offer you can always make the trade then.
What am I missing?

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 14, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

cav83: so, saying "I'd only sell my house for a million dollars" is the same as saying, "if I sell my house, I'll get a million dollars"?

Not to me. Your semantics may vary.

Posted by: joebleux | July 14, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

To me, the bottom line is this:

If I (or you, or Rizzo, or Stan, or whoever you're asking) think the team will be ready to be in the Wild Card discussion in September of 2011, the Division title discussion in Sep of 2012, and the World Series discussion in Sep 2013, the re-sign them both for extensions through, say, 2014 or so.

If the feeling is that the team won't be on that timeline, then that means that by the time they're in the World Series echelon of teams, Dunn and Willingham may be past their primes. Therefore, they should try to acquire players who will be in their primes in, say, 2014-2016.

I (perhaps foolishly) think they can be in the upper echelon of the NL by the 2012 or 2013 season, so I say extend them.

Caveat: this all assumes there are no extreme scenarios involved. If Rizzo gets offered something ridiculous for either of them, then make the deal. If Dunn insists on $20mil per year, trade him.

Posted by: fuglynats | July 14, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"Does signing either one or both deminish their trade value? I don't think so. If not, what is the arguement for not signing them. I'm mystified."

Yes, it does. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim may want Dunn to help get them over the hump and into the World Series for a fraction of $10 million.

They may not want to pay him $10-15 million for the next four, three, two, or even one years.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

peric, for the record I didn't scoff at Morse's fielding - I joked about him being a replacement for Dunn being as likely as the Easter Bunny being real.
-------------------
Morse might suprise all of us, and the Easter Bunny could be real, too. At least Morse has the size (6'5") to look like a 1B.

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Sign them both. Even if we can't contend by 20013, if Uncle Teddy wants me to keep spending my money to see this team (ST holder) then he needs to spend his money to put a respectable product on the field. Without Dunn and Willingham, this team poses no threat at the plate (they will just pitch around Zim, as they did before Dunn's arrival) and loses the little respect it has earned this year. In the field, Willingham has been quite good this year and Dunn has been decent at first. IMO, he has saved some throwing errors just by being such a nice, big, long-armed presence over there. He is no short stop, but then that isn't where he is playing, is it?

Sign them already!

Posted by: NatsFly | July 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Trade two of the three best hitters your team has.

Yup, makes sense to me.

Why isn't the talk about trading Harris, Gonzo, Guzman, Nieves, Kennedy, and all the AAAA pitchers?

Jeeze, in the real world (i.e., Yankee Stadium), the question isn't "What stars can we unload?" but, "What stars can we buy?"

But what do the Yankees know about winning?

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 14, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

No, I think the point is do you think the 2011 Nats would become competitive next year by acquiring say a Hellickson, an Arencibia, a Bourjous (instead of a Morgan), Wade Davis, Desmond Jennings?

The point is there could be a trade that could help the Nats be competitive in 2011 while they restock their farm system by trading one or both Dunn and Willingham.

I suspect Willingham would be the easiest to move. But if you package Dunn with Capps? And in a package that contained Hellickson would I throw in Zimmermann? Maybe yes.

Its not about whether to trade or not, its more about what you get in return if you do make the trade. Otherwise, the better trade may be to do nothing at all.

As far a resigning the two. Sure. But no no-trade clause for DH Dunn, and 2 years, 3 years max. Willingham is a different story an might be worth a 4 year with options.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

How about we save some time and throw FA Guzman into the mix now. The Learners will be happy to sign him if they can save $1. Bottom line, the Learners are cheap and I do not expect them to sign Dunn or Willingham. In fact, I expect this to be yet another off-season with little to no spending by the Nats.

Posted by: Batboy05 | July 14, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

What is the likelyhood that the Nats trade Dunn away and then resign him to a contract in the off-season. I believe the Orioles did that a few years back with Sindey Ponson? Albeit that didn't turn out that great.

Wouldn't that be the best of both worlds get some prospects while also locking the Big Donkey up for a couple more years.

While we are on the topic of "what ifs", what are the chances that Nats make a play at any of the upcoming free agents... i.e. werth, hart (I think he is a free agent), or crawford. I still think our best bet is a trade for David DeJesus seeing as he plays RF and is under contract thru 2011. He would be a good buffer until Bryce is reading. Speaking of which I haven't heard any word on his status... how are the contract talks progressing???

Posted by: efowl4 | July 14, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Why isn't the talk about trading Harris, Gonzo, Guzman, Nieves, Kennedy, and all the AAAA pitchers?"

No one wants them. You would be lucky to get a decent A level player if that. The guy most teams inquire about first? Dunn? Willingham? No, its Zimmermann. Go figure dude. Most of these teams have reasonably smart people running the show gilbertbp.

Oh, and you are right, the best 3,4.5 in baseball. And what is arguably the best starting pitcher seen in over 50 years? And what is their record now? And in your wildest fantasy do you think they will actually win more than 70 games? Huh?

Your 3, 4, 5 doesn't add up to winning games, getting to the wildcard, to a division championship, to anything really important now does it? And don't say they need more and better players dude. The Padre's have worst hitters ... only one really good one in their first baseman. And where are the Padres now? And how many all stars were from their squad?

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I think the one impact player the Nats should sign as an FA above and beyond anything else is Cliff Lee. With Lee as #1, Stras as #2, a healthy #3 Zimmermann? That would solve a huge problem right there. And you could still keep the 3,4.5 guys.

But would you still have a problem in the middle, starting from catcher to second, short and center field. And that is the heart of your defense. Trading Dunn/Capps in an attempt to fix that makes sense particularly when you could move Willingham to first base.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Nat fans need to think with their heads and not with their hearts...Both are at their peak value and the Nats are still in the basement. It's ALL about pitching and even with the very best case scenario (Wang, Zimmermann, etc.) the Nats lack a cadre of high end quality pitchers (starters, middle relief, set-up and closers)...I'd rather the Nats in a 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 game than to see a Tyler Clippard and his ilk blow a 2,3,4,5 run lead...

Posted by: aeschwartz | July 14, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

PS - For anyone thinking a 2011 compensation pick for Dunn will be worth it, go look up Josh Smoker's stats. He was our comp pick for Alfonso Soriano.

Posted by: Batboy05 | July 14, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention, peri, you still have a problem of not putting up runs. Ask Mr. Strasburg what he thinks of being the world's biggest phenom with zero run support. How's 3-2 with a sub 3 ERA feel, big guy?

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

What began as an optimistic foray into the 1st 1/3 of the season has become a nervous question about where this team is going. It looks like more of the same. Things are gonna get a lot worse before they get better. Hold on to your nats hats!

Posted by: richs91 | July 14, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Just one fan's humble opinion, but if the team is going to show some good faith toward those of us who have suffered through the back to back 100 loss seasons, extend both of these players before the trade deadline.

Dunn has acknowledged his desire to stay here (imagine that - a player who WANTS to be in DC!) and a 3-4 yr. deal at 13-15 mil. per season would be a good offer. He's only 31, and if, as his next contract is winding down, some AL team needs a DH (a la Thome, who still had decent production into his mid 30s) than so be it. But to dump him now would be a slap in the face to the fans.

As for Willingham, closer call - you don't *need* to extend him b/c he's under club control until 2011, but I would still try to do it. The team is not *that* far off, and part of the reason for this is the fact that we have a solid 3-4-5. Get two servicable front line starters and a little 2B and OF help and we can do some things in Nats Town ....

Step up Lerners!

Posted by: terrapin31590us | July 14, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

@peric: "And don't say they need more and better players dude. The Padre's have worst hitters ... only one really good one in their first baseman. And where are the Padres now? And how many all stars were from their squad?"

I see. The way to build a winner is to get rid of your good players instead of adding to them.

I think organizations like the Yankees and the Braves would disagree.

If guys like Harris and the AAAA pitchers have no value, so what? Get the good players you need on the FA market and release the bad ones or trade them for prospects. What business do we have cluttering up the lineup with castoffs, has-beens, never-weres, and never-will-bes? That describes about 1/3 of our 25-man roster; get rid of them, not the heart of the lineup.

Next you'll be musing about what we could get for Strasburg...

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 14, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I voted to sign them both. But, if someone wants to offer us an incredible deal including young talent, then you have to go for it. JW is peaking, AD is getting up in age, so now would be the time if any.

We could use a great prospect/promising young stars for second base, and center field.

But it would have to be a killer trade to give up either AD or JW. If someone is desparate, lets see how much they want to offer. I dont see it happening, and I'd be very happy to sign both of these quality players.

Posted by: Gibbs4Pres | July 14, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Ditto for both cases (and I suspect that most of us are unless we, say, have a portrait hidden in the attic somewhere or prefer drinking blood to other liquids). But I digress. Show them the money.

---


"Yes, both players will get older as time passes, but that's the case with most people."

My sentiments, exactly. I'm in that category myself.

My guess is that the outcome will turn on Papa Lerner's willingness to pay the going rate. Up to now, such willingness has not been apparent.

Posted by: JohnRDC | July 14, 2010 1:39 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Isn't Dunn a Type A free agent, so if he departs we'd get the new team's first round pick PLUS the sandwich pick? Two picks if Dunn leaves I thought...

Posted by: ckstevenson | July 14, 2010 2:07 PM

ck - No one, at this point, is a Type A free agent.
When the free agent period begins, players are rated wihtin their class. Dunn, as a 1B, would be rated among all 1B's and OF's (that just how it works). If he is determined to be in the top 20% of that group, then he would be rated as a Type A.

And yes, we'd get 2 draft choices.

So, I think it's fair to assume that it is likely Dunn would be a Type A.

If we extend him an offer and he signs elsewhere, then we get:
A draft pick from the team that signs him. This is either a first round pick (if it is pick 16 - 30) or a second round pick (if the 1st round pick is a top 15 pick).
A draft pick between rounds one and two, a sandwhich pick.

One thing this means is that the only way Rizzo trades Dunn is if he gets better value than these two draft choices.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 14, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Peric:
While I agree that signing Cliff Lee would be a real nice move, I can't see Lee deciding to come here.
He's a premier free agent who will want to be in a more exciting baseball town with better odds of making the playoffs.
We'd have to seriously overpay to get him, and that's not going to happen.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 14, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Well we have Strasburg AND Capps. Congrats to The Closer fopr (1) striking out big Poppi and (2) winning the game!!

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | July 14, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"I suspect Willingham would be the easiest to move. But if you package Dunn with Capps? And in a package that contained Hellickson would I throw in Zimmermann? Maybe yes."

Oh, what the hell. Let's trade R Zim and SS too, so that there will be NOTHING to cheer for!

Posted by: NatsFly | July 14, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Considering one of the biggest long-term holes is at catcher, any chance they'd keep Bryce Harper at that position? I know they talked about converting him to outfield, but does that make sense? Would he add more value behind the plate?

Posted by: DavidandDonald1 | July 14, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Why doesn't the post just put up a poll on each player?

Posted by: alex35332 | July 14, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

terrapin31590us, you mention a 3 - 4 year deal at 13 - 15 mil per season.
I'm very confident saying that if Dunn would accept that, Lerner, Kasten and Rizzo would ink him tomorrow.

Here's the problem.
Ryan Howard is getting 25 mil per season
Mark Teixeria is getting 22.5 mil per season

Every day that passes by, Dunn get closer to being a free agent and having everyone be able to bid on him. Why would he sign now?

I think 5 years @ 18 million would be considered by Dunn and camp. I think short of that Dunn would rather go through the free agent process.

Posted by: Sunderland | July 14, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I have never understood being a fan and assuming your team is stupid until proven otherwise.

I have to assume that the team is smart until proven otherwise.

Right now, only third base (Zimmerman) is set heading into 2011.

Chris Marrero is doing well at Double-A Harrisburg (.292/.343./.446) 12 HR 50 RBI. He is 2 years away so If they sign Dunn he can be traded. If they don't sign him, they'll need to use a placeholder (Mike Morse?) until then. Carlos Pena (TB)is the only free agent this fall who might make sense if he can be signed to a two-year deal.

The Nationals need a second baseman and no one on the major league roster will return in 2011. There are no long-term answers in the up-coming free agent market and any minor league help is currently at Low-A ball. Danny Espinosa (Harrisburg, .245-10-32)could move to second is needed.

I think that once he calms down and learns his trade, Ian Desmond could become a .280-15-70 hitter with an above-average glove. Espinosa could be the answer here if Desmond falters.

Third base is fine.

The Nationals have a few outfield prospects, but they are all playing no higher than Low-A Hagerstown. The team will be best served with Willingham in left, Roger Bernadina in center and someone not-in-the-organization in right, and free agent market is loaded with quality outfielders.

If Jesus Flores never returns--a real possibility--the Nationals have no one close to being ready. Derek Norris continues to impress but is two or three years away. There are no catchers of consequence testing free agent markets this fall. The team will have to make a trade to get some short-term help here.

The pitching staff is fine. Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann will make a heckuva 1-2 combination next year. Add to them some combination of Jason Marquis, John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang, Scott Olsen, Ross Detwiler et.al. and the pitching will be fine. Just fine.

Rather than trade Josh and Adam, if the team re-signs them, trades for one more position player, signs one significant free agent hitter, the team can be on the perpiphery of Wild Card contention in 2011.

The team is to close to respectability, and close enough to being good enough to contend, to do any dismantling.

A good Nationals team, like objects your mirror, is closer than it appears.

Posted by: rushfari | July 14, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have essentially 4 quality position players (one is 39) and a rookie SS who may become one. Creating two more holes by trading one of the top sluggers in the game and a power hitting LF will leave a gaping hole in both the batting order and clubhouse. It also remains to be seen how much it will impact the production of Zimmerman. If Dunn can be signed for a 3-4 year deal at market value, then make the move now and not wait until he can be overpaid by either N.Y. or Boston to be a DH. Willingham should be resigned after Dunn but needs to be taken care of shortly after the season.

Bigger picture is what type of message trading Dunn or Willingham sends to other FA's and players about coming to D.C. It says that Nats ownership won't pay to keep their best players and is still rebuilding. Hopefully, Rizzo is currently on the phone with Dunn's agent talking about an extension instead of a trade.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 14, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland, you raised the key point in all of this. It's impossible for us to determine what's the best thing to do without knowing what they'd get for Dunn and/or Willingham in a trade.

Periculum, you can't cite a player like Cliff Lee as someone the Nats "should" sign. It's not like buying groceries, you can say they "should show interest" in him, but that's as far as you can go.

Your exhaustive review of the major and high level minor league talent is important. Beyond the recuperating starting pitchers, there's not a lot of talent on the immediate horizon. But that doesn't mean you need to make trades.

The best option, to me, is to re-sign Dunn and Willingham and then focus on "smart" free agent signings in the winter. They don't necessarily need any of the front line guys; they'd have the 3-4-5 hitters and two top starters (Strasburg and, with some optimism, J. Zimm). Focus on picking up a starter for the middle of the rotation, and an OF. Brandon Webb may be available, and even though he's coming off an injury, he's tempting. Ted Lilly, Jake Westbrook or even (gasp) Kevin Millwood might not be bad.
Shoot for Werth or more likely David DeJesus (maybe even Austin Kearns, hah!). Second base options look slim so pull a trade there.

If they're going to blow their money, go after Carl Crawford. He's the one guy I'd break the bank for. He'd be a huge boost to this team, but they'll never get him.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I think Jordan Zimmerman has a lot of potential, but he's far from being a major impact player right away. He has a 4.63 ERA before the surgery, and only one win after his first two starts. He did pitch well in some no-decisions, but he did get shelled a few times as well. He's not too efficient, so don't expect him to eat innings, especially coming back from surgery.

Now, I like JZimm, I think he'll be a good player in the league if he's healthy, but let's not get ahead of ourselves with expectations of what he can do. Preferably, for someone like him, you want 3-4 guys ahead of him in the rotation, and then hopefully he reaches his potential and steps up as a starter. Contending teams wouldn't be happy relying on him as #2 or #3 guy.

Posted by: 202character | July 14, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The Nats do not have many stars and the idea that they would let any of their few big-time players go is head-scratching

Dunn is worth a big-time extension and if let go, the Nats lose a HUGE, HUGE piece of their offense

Considering the SP is a joke (outside of Straus)....why make the O worse?

Posted by: Bious | July 14, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"For anyone thinking a 2011 compensation pick for Dunn will be worth it, go look up Josh Smoker's stats. He was our comp pick for Alfonso Soriano."

Preaching to the choir! I hate hate hate hate MLB Rule 36a that specifies all compensation picks must be Josh Smoker. If only they would let you pick someone else, then you might have another chance to draft top talent immediately after the first round and could end up with someone quite good.

Posted by: Section506 | July 14, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Dunn: I don't know. He has missed some plays at 1st base just because he is right-handed and not left-handed. Then you add that he is not a naturally gifted fielder and you have 2 defensive strikes against him.

Dunn (supposedly) wants more than a two-year extension. Does he want a raise above the $10 million he gets now?

While I like his offense, I trust Rizzo to handle the Dunn situation the best way for the Nationals, and that may mean trading him (even though his highest value is with an American League team that will DH him, just what Dunn doesn't want). So I think the Nationals have some leverage here.

(Dunn could play left field in Fenway Park. Everything there gets eaten by the green moster. Maybe Boston will offer us a great deal for Dunn.)

As far as Willingham, they should sign him to an extension as long as it is reasonable. They can still trade him, keep him, whatever they need to do. In the meantime they get an average fielder who provides some real punch to their line-up.

Question Rizzo needs to ask:

Would you want to see either of these guys playing for an NL East team against us?

Answer: No. Get something done.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | July 14, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

The compensation for Soriano was Josh Smoker and Jordan Zimmermann.

Posted by: Section314 | July 14, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-interesting takes all....though my head's closer to Peri, my heart sez keep 'em all-we ain't far! But again-all this is really besides the point-in my mind-until we have evidence that the Slow Lerners are, at best, only slow. And are willing to pony up/be bold and truly build both a consistent winning franchise AND a fan base! Love him or not, could you imagine the Boss approaching team building this way?If you all recall, last year I suggested that the Nats and 4Skins change owners-NFL has (had?) a salary FLOOR as WELL as cap-allowing for astute and penurious owners to compete long term(Lerner as Rooneys) while the Boss's son from another mum (Dan Snyder) could at least spend the Nats into mediocrity AND prominence.
That's still my big worry about this team. Yet to see any proof that they operate in the modern age of sports ownership in a large market-where spending doesn't necessarily cost you more but MAKES you more. It ain't the '60's and Bryce is no Bench.(and again, if you missed it-Joe Posnanski had a terrific piece on his blog on Stras where he 1st talks about Johnny Bench -who was INSANELY good-at 20. I always despised him and the Reds-a bunch of my teammates at I.U. in '75-77 were from the Cincy area and loved 'em like their moms! My east coast reaction was...well, negative.)
So....while all of this is fun...it's like debating which car is faster, or what engine is best suited-when there is no guarantee that you'll have the needed high test gas for ANY machine you choose.
Oh, wait! Hydrogen fusion is just around the corner and OUR plan is to have a team ready...sometime in the future...which will make the most efficient use of this new source of power.....
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 14, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Sign them both. This team is getting close and really IMHO just has to land some power pitchers. If you add Zimmermann next year - then I say go after Cliff Lee in the offseason and you have three excellent starting pitchers. that's where the focus should be - adding a couple power pitchers. Getting rid of Dunn and/or Willingham breaks up the very core of this team - and it's a productive core. Leave it alone, sign them both - unless you have a talk with Dunn and tell him you'll trade him for some good prospects and then re-sign him in October after you collect a few prospects while renting Dunn out for August through October.

Posted by: AsstGM | July 14, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, 506.

Let's play two!

Posted by: SlowPitch63 | July 14, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I think that this is a very interesting dilemma that the Nats face, for precisely the reasons that are being bandied about here in these comments. On the one hand, led by Peric, I describe as the 'sabremetric' view of 'these guys won't still be good when the Nats should expect to be ready to compete in 3 years so trade them now for prospects who will mature around the same time as other key members' (implicit in this thinking, I think, is the belief that even if Desmond, Bernadina, JZimm and, god willing, Harper continue to develop towards above average players, it will take a few years for them to develop that consistently into performance v. potential). On the other hand is, what the heck are we going to watch for the next 3 years? Especially after the last few? Don't the Nats need to develop a fanbase that will increase revenue, allowing them to put more $$ into the organization? I can't handle any more Lo Ducas, Nook Logans and Estradas, and I don't think that I am alone. So maybe extend these guys, since they clearly are quality players right now, sign a pitcher and get lucky and make it into the wildcard discussion next year or the year after. Not likely, but not totally nuts to consider, either. But that team is then going to fall off pretty hard by 2014, I think.

So where I come out is this - if you could get one of those Tampa guys that Peric mentioned in a package for one of them, do it (Wade Davis I think would be the most likely, although some hope to pry Garza away in a salary move?). Ditto for a guy like Howie Kendrick plus some prospects. Otherwise keep them and see if you could lock them up through their age 34 years or so. And either way, in the offseason, my dream is for them to sign CarL Crawford and Javy Vasquez (Lee is clearly superior, but I think that he is going to get something like 5 yr/$110m, and I don't think that contract will end well so I would pass; Javy should be more like 3/36)

And if you could trade our ASG winner for someone like Yonder Alonso, .... but now I am just getting silly.

Posted by: Willy2 | July 14, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I voted without hesitation to sign them both. However, if either or both is traded, we better get spectacularly, exceptionally good players in return.

Posted by: JamesWebster | July 14, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@506,

"Not to mention, peri, you still have a problem of not putting up runs. Ask Mr. Strasburg what he thinks of being the world's biggest phenom with zero run support. How's 3-2 with a sub 3 ERA feel, big guy?"

Maybe you should ask local boy Matt Latos? He has some sub mendoza types in his lineup. And THEY DO NOT SCORE more runs than the Nats. Yet they are in first place? 'Splain please Lucy?

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-c'mon...elephant in the clubhouse! Peri,dove,506,1a1,sunder,Cap,Baltova,binM,JoeB,Fly,rush,gilbert,rDC,dargreg,JayB,raymits,sec3,commish,sunshineBobby,postischeap...and apologies to all the rest of you regulars who I've come to rely on...what are your considered takes on the Slow Lerners? How is that impacting ANYTHING we dream of?
Say...didn't I see Mark Lerner shagging flies in the A.S. pre-game warm-ups?(With a mea culpa to Thom Loverro who made the remark 1st on the radio).
Am I needlessly worried....or are we all just tilting at windmills? Y'know...Hungary in '56? Tienanmen square?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 14, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

While it seems clear that signing both Dunn and Willingham makes sense the present fact is that both are significant assets whose market value will be established by July trade offers. As a hard nosed businessman I'm sure Uncle Ted want see those offers before he moves forward, warm fuzzy fan feelings toward popular players notwithstanding. Barring some extraordinary offer I think they both get resigned because they have significant value to the team as core players.

Posted by: Natmeister | July 14, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

"Next you'll be musing about what we could get for Strasburg..."

No, you seem to miss the point in your argument gilbertbp.

YOU DON'T NEED DUNN's and WILLINGHAM's as much as you NEED STRASBURG's.

Okay, ask anyone here. Straight up would you deal Dunn for Helickson? Go ahead dude, ask, because Helickson is likely a better prospect than Jordan Zimmerman.

Would Rizzo do that deal? Hell yes.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-one more question. Thinking of going downt to see JZimm in Woodbridge. I live on Capital Hill. Gametime 7pm. Am I insane-traffic wise- or do I have a shot of at least keeping in motion for most of the trip...
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | July 14, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"Straight up would you deal Dunn for Helickson?"

Are we going to start making up imaginary, "could Batman beat Spider Man?" type questions? I guess so, since we don't have a game until Friday.

Do we even know if Helickson is on the trading block? The rumor mill seems divided on that.

If he is on the block, why would you ever trade a proven full-time player for an unproven but promising pitcher, straight up? Especially if you don't have a definite replacement for the full-time player?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

I don't read the comments here enough to know each of your philosophies, but periculum states the case I would make quite well.

It seems to me that a few of you are being intentionally dense on the matter with weak arguments like "who would we watch then" and "fine, let's just trade away everyone". If you step back for a few seconds, I think you would agree that those really aren't legitimate ways of thinking in building a baseball team.

gilbertbp said: "I see. The way to build a winner is to get rid of your good players instead of adding to them. I think organizations like the Yankees and the Braves would disagree."

Okay, then. Let's look at what the brilliant Atlanta Braves did at the deadline just 3 years ago. They coveted the Texas Ranger's best player (Mark Teixeira) so they went and offered a package of five prospects for him and a middle reliever (Ron Mahay).

Now the names Neftali Feliz and Elvis Andrus should stand out to you, as you may have seen them in last night's All Star Game. They're also two of the brightest young stars in the game, helping their team into first place right now. From the same trade, the Rangers also received a major league lefty starter (Matt Harrison), a guy some believe can be their catcher of the future (Jarrod Saltalamacchia), and a young lefty power arm who's struck out almost 10 batters per 9 IP over his minor league career so far (Beau Jones).

So which side of that deal would you rather have been on? I think the Rangers did just fine for themselves.


wizfan89 said: "The Nats have essentially 4 quality position players (one is 39) and a rookie SS who may become one. Creating two more holes by trading one of the top sluggers in the game and a power hitting LF will leave a gaping hole in both the batting order and clubhouse."

Once again, I believe the real argument is being ignored here. I'd actually argue that your point shows the Nats SHOULD make a trade to fill more than just those two positions with the talent they could get back.

The point is that teams are built over many years. To ask that management keep one or two star players just to keep the product "watchable" ignores the fact that this team can't win anything the way it's currently constructed. We need young, controllable talent, and the quickest way to get those guys is by trading our biggest chips. Talent that pushes us from 59 wins to 69 (or whatever we end up with) is not worth saving if it can be swapped for a package that makes us an 85 win team in 3-4 years. And yes, I've had season tickets since the team moved to town, so please don't preach to me about how the product's not worth paying for in the interim. Anyone who witnessed this team throughout June can see that it doesn't even qualify as a 'good' ballclub with those guys on it and the rest of the roster and farm system barren.

Posted by: AlexL925 | July 14, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

periculum,

You have me thinking maybe we should try Morse at 2nd? What if he turns in to Uggla?

here is your free agent class of 2011

* - player whose current contract includes 2011 option

Player Club
First Basemen
Adam Dunn WAS
Lance Berkman HOU *
Wes Helms FLA
Jason Giambi COL
Paul Konerko CWS
Derrek Lee CHC
David Ortiz BOS *
Lyle Overbay TOR
Carlos Pena TB
Albert Pujols STL *

Second Basemen
Willie Bloomquist KC
Mark Ellis OAK *
Akinori Iwamura PIT
Jose Lopez SEA *
Kaz Matsui COL
Aaron Miles STL

Shortstops
Alex Gonzalez TOR
Christian Guzman WAS
J.J. Hardy MIN
Omar Infante ATL *
Cesar Izturis BAL
Derek Jeter NYY
Julio Lugo STL
Jhonny Peralta CLE *
Edgar Renteria SF *
Jose Reyes NYM *
Jimmy Rollins PHI *
Ramon Vazquez PIT

Third Basemen
Garrett Atkins BAL *
Jorge Cantu FLA
Eric Chavez OAK *
Pedro Feliz HOU
Bill Hall BOS *
Brandon Inge DET
Maicer Izturis LAA
Mike Lowell BOS
Melvin Mora COL
Nick Punto MIN *
Ty Wigginton BAL

Catchers
Josh Bard SEA
John Buck TOR
Ramon Hernandez CIN *
Gerald Laird DET
Victor Martinez BOS
Joe Mauer MIN
Miguel Olivo COL *
A.J. Pierzynski CWS
David Ross ATL
Yorvit Torrealba SD *
Jason Varitek BOS
Gregg Zaun MIL *

Outfielders
Alfredo Amezaga LAD
Frank Catalanotto NYM
Carl Crawford TB
Coco Crisp OAK *
Michael Cuddyer MIN *
David DeJesus KC *
Jody Gerut MIL
Jose Guillen KC
Willie Harris WAS
Brad Hawpe COL *
Austin Kearns CLE
Jason Kubel MIN *
Magglio Ordonez DET *
Marcus Thames NYY
Jayson Werth PHI

Starting Pitchers
Bronson Arroyo CIN *
Josh Beckett BOS
Jeremy Bonderman DET
David Bush MIL
Daniel Cabrera CWS
Matt Cain SF *
Jorge De La Rosa COL
Jeff Francis COL *
Jon Garland SD *
Aaron Harang CIN *
Tim Hudson ATL
Cliff Lee SEA
Ted Lilly CHC
Braden Looper MIL
Noah Lowry SF
Kevin Millwood BAL
Jamie Moyer PHI
Vicente Padilla LAD
Nate Robertson FLA
Ian Snell SEA *
Jeff Suppan STL
Javier Vazquez NYY
Brandon Webb ARI
Jake Westbrook CLE
Dontrelle Willis ARZ
Chris Young SD *

Relief Pitchers
Jeremy Affeldt SF
Grant Balfour TB
Jesse Crain MIN
Scott Downs TOR
Chad Durbin PHI
Kyle Farnsworth KC *
Pedro Feliciano NYM
Jason Frasor TOR
Brian Fuentes LAA *
Chad Gaudin NYY
Matt Guerrier MIN
Aaron Heilman ARZ
Mike Lincoln CIN
Brian Moehler HOU
J.J. Putz CWS
Chad Qualls ARZ
Jon Rauch MIN
Arthur Rhodes CIN
David Riske MIL *
Mariano Rivera NYY
J.C. Romero PHI *
Bobby Seay DET
Scott Shields LAA
Brian Shouse BOS
Matt Thornton CWS *
Kerry Wood CLE *

Posted by: hansenjo | July 14, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

zendo, not overly optimistic on the trip to Woodbridge but why not go for it?

You raise the real question, how committed are the Lerners? Signing Strasburg? Great sign. Beefing up the front office staff with more quality pros? Really good sign. Bidding for Teixeira? Good sign. Not locking down Dunn before the year started? Very questionable. (FWIW, Buster Onley is now dropping hints that Dunn's getting ticked at the delays in the negotiatios). Waiting to sign Willingham to a new deal? Questionable. Limiting your reach when it comes to signing free agents and seeming to avoid the big money guys (especially when you've got the money)? Questionable.

Then, what about the stuff that's hard to evaluate. Does Rizzo limit his reach when it comes to trades or free agents because he would go over budget? When it comes to draft day, do the Nats base their picks on signability, not talent? Some people who actively follow the draft think this is true but there are cases where the Nats have taken guys who weren't expected to sign and then signed them (Destin Hood is one).

The answer is, I don't think we know what level of commitment the Lerners have with this franchise. I'll give them a tip: signing a guy like Dunn would convince a lot of us that you're deeply committed (psst: if you want, you can always trade him later). More importantly, talking to the public via the media every once in a while about your plans wouldn't hurt.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"If he is on the block, why would you ever trade a proven full-time player for an unproven but promising pitcher, straight up? Especially if you don't have a definite replacement for the full-time player?"

@Baltova,

For starters Dunn is a free agent, but then so is Adrian Gonzalez. My understanding is that he could field the position pretty well? I think he made the all star squad?

Both Willingham and Morse could play first base. Would you lose some offense this year? Yes, but even with it are you going to even going to be able to stay 10 games BELOW .500 and NOT drop to 20 or eve 30 BELOW? I rather doubt it don't you?

So, could these guys "replace" Dunn? No, but if in return they get some defense or pitching that improve that aspect of the game perhaps the record would improve.

Sheesh its not rocket science. The lack of pitching and defense cannot be masked with a huge power offense. But good pitching and defense can win in this game and win big.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

@hansenjo,

Maybe you could play second base? They could certainly use a good one ... thus the Beckham for Dunn rumor. Most everyone thinks that would be a good deal for the Nats? Most here did at least as I understood it? And right now he is struggling at the plate.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

peri, we're not exactly masking a lack of pitching and defense with a "huge power offense." The Nats are 9th in runs and in homers in the league. Taking Dunn away and, in essence, replacing him with Morse weakens the lineup (and also makes it weighted down with righthanders in the middle) and almost definitely the team unless you make other moves.

And in all sincerity, thinking that the Nats have a shot at Adrian Gonzalez is highly debatable. But all of this is, since nobody's letting us sit in on the trade talks.

BTW, good pitching and defense can win in this game, but it doesn't often win big without hitting. And a team that's 9th in scoring can't afford to give up very much offense to get better in the field.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Straight up would you deal Dunn for Helickson? Go ahead dude, ask, because Helickson is likely a better prospect than Jordan Zimmerman.
Would Rizzo do that deal? Hell yes.
Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 5:16 PM
-----------------
But would Tampa do that deal? Hell, NO! Surrender a top-20 prospect for a 3-month rental that doesn't particularly suit their needs? Friedman wouldn't pull the trigger on that one, imo. The core concept of a trade is when two (or sometimes more) teams see an opportunity to improve themselves.

But that's exactly why Rizzo is asking for "high-end" players (Beckham / Guillen from CWS) in exchange for Dunn - IMO, he doesn't want to trade him, but would only if he felt the team recieved equivalent current value in exchange.

Re-sign Dunn now; Extend Willingham in the off-season.

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

@Baltova,

"The best option, to me, is to re-sign Dunn and Willingham and then focus on "smart" free agent signings in the winter."

The best option starts with trading NOW, when your best players value is highest and teams are desperate to get that edge in the playoff hunt. And you trade for top prospects NOT proven MLB retreads unless said retread is Cliff Lee, or a Dan Haren then maybe.

Why prospects? Stats have shown that you generally get better defense as the offense develops from top prospects. Which is why the Nats are being so patient with Desmond. The top prospects can also be pitchers but generally getting the right top pitching can have the kind of impact that can turn a team's fortune's completely around.

So, you go for pitching ... prospects and proven veterans. Then you ensure that any additional free agents you sign can field their positions. Kennedy has been pretty miserable but that was why he was signed. Guzman is worst but he was already here. Morgan was supposed to proved stability to the outfield but he has struggled trying to go beyond his own limits and there is a synergy between his frustration on the field, at bat, and on the base paths that have crippled his performance this year.

So, you again, work on shoring up the middle. At catcher Pudge Rodriguez still starts ... but he IS 39 years old? You need a top catching prospect to transition into the starters role because Jesus Flores looks about done.

This is why Rizzo asked for Beckham when the Chisox inquired. Its why he inquired about BJ Upton. The Rays have Desmond Jennings ready to ascend. And why he was interested in Dan Haren.

If you are going to make an FA splash it better be for a guy like Cliff Lee not Mark Texiera, and not Adam Dunn.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to be a broken record (though I wouldn't be the first on here), but those of you who are talking about competing 4-5 years down the road with the prospects that Dunn and Willingham might bring need to remember that Zim's contract year is 2013. That's Year 3 from now. So unless you think we can also pick up a third base prospect, you might want to reassess your calendar here. There is no way that Zim re-signs if we are still hoping to compete "next year" in 2013. He'll be watching us on TV from New York or Boston while he counts his money.

Posted by: Section222 | July 14, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

baltova1, you said: "Limiting your reach when it comes to signing free agents and seeming to avoid the big money guys (especially when you've got the money)? Questionable."

You bring up an interesting point but I think a lot of people forget that big money guys aren't always the best options. Remember how everyone around here was demanding that the Nats re-sign Alfonso Soriano? My any measure, the Cubs ended up giving the guy one of the ten worst contracts in all of baseball. I know it's easy for all of us without 9 zeros in our bank accounts to simply say "of course they should spend the money", but that's ignoring the fact that these are still investments.

You yourself mention ESPN's Buster Olney, so I think it's worth noting something that he pointed out to Erik Kuselias on today's Mike and Mike in the Morning. Of the top 9 (I'm pretty sure this was the number, but you could check) largest free agent signings from the past winter, only one made last night's All Star team (Matt Holliday).

I just hate the idea of having a bad contract hanging around the team's neck in 3-4 years, right as they're ready to contend. Unless you're the Yankees or Sox, those are really hard to overcome.

Posted by: AlexL925 | July 14, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse


Seems to me the Nats really need to fortify second base, centerfield and the starting rotation.

Imagine if we could deal for guys like Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee.

I know. Go toward the light. We now return you to your previously scheduled rants...

Posted by: Drew8 | July 14, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Well, if we are, then I would opine that Wonder Woman and Batgirl could kick both of their butts in a cage match. :-)

zendo, not sure whether you've already left, but if not good luck with the trip to Woodbridge, as 95 can be a bear.

---

Are we going to start making up imaginary, "could Batman beat Spider Man?" type questions? I guess so, since we don't have a game until Friday.

Do we even know if Helickson is on the trading block? The rumor mill seems divided on that.

If he is on the block, why would you ever trade a proven full-time player for an unproven but promising pitcher, straight up? Especially if you don't have a definite replacement for the full-time player?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 5:24 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 14, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

AlexL925....couldn't have said it better - exactly spot on!

Posted by: bendersx6 | July 14, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

AlexL925, you make a great point, which is why I said the Lerners' stance is questionable, when it comes to free agents. I do think it's a little different if you don't pay guys on your own team if they've performed. There's been no indication that Dunn is asking for the moon.

And I think Section222 is right. When do you stop pushing The Plan down the road? When do you start building with what you have?

Finally, peri, what does this mean? "Stats have shown that you generally get better defense as the offense develops from top prospects." Wouldn't that require that the prospects be good defenders? So, what do we do with Chris Marrero, if he ever makes it?

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Slightly off-topic, but the AS break is as good a time as any to run down the 'prospect list' in the minors. From the top down, here's one man's opinion...

Syracuse(AAA) Offense- Mostly injury 'insurance policies', with a lot of 29-32yo+ players having prior MLB service time. The only players of even mild interest might be 1)Chase Lambin, a 31yo switch-hitting 2B-3B signed from the NPL; The sole representative from SYR in the IL All-Star squad has a .288/.350.477 slash line, or 2) Jason Botts, a 30yo LF-RF with a .330/.407/.567 slash over only 31GP. Both players are currently non-rostered, and would need to be added to the 40-man roster to be promoted.
In terms of rostered arms currently in SYR: 1) Luis Atilano (RHSP), we already know about; 2) Matt Chico (LHSP)- 12GP, 64.0IP, 3.94ERA, 1.42WHIP, 1.65:1K/W ratio; 3) Shiron Martis (RHSP)- 17GP, 96.0IP, 3.75ERA, 1.40WHIP, 1.69:1K/W ratio; 4) Collin Balester (RHRP)- 22GP, 46.3IP, 7.58ERA, 1.73WHIP, 1.26:1 K/W ratio; 5) Atahualpa Severino (LHRP)- 35GP, 43.7IP, 2.89ERA, 1.26WHIP, 1.63:1K/W ratio; 6) Jesse English (LHRP)- 13GP, 16.3IP, 5.51ERA, 1.41WHIP, 1.38:1K/W ratio. All replacement value (or lower), imo.
Of the non-rostered pitchers in SYR, there are the the following: 1) Josh Wilkie (RHRP)- 26yo, 32GP, 42.7IP, 1.69ERA, 1.13WHIP, 2.19:1K/W ratio; 2) Jason Bergmann (RHRP)- 29yo, been there, done that; 3) Victor Garate (LHRP)- 25yo, 19GP, 19.7IP, 4.58ERA, 1.22WHIP, 2.78:1K/W ratio.

I'll give these to you to chew on now, and toss up the Harrisburg/Potomac/Hagerstown numbers in a few minutes.

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

@Baltova,

So, what do we do with Chris Marrero, if he ever makes it?

AL DH. Its why he hasn't made it. At least not yet. But he is only 22 and Dunn is now over 30. Which might be the easiest to train to field the position which is first base?

However, I'd rather think about Justin Bloxom who is a switch hitter, seems like he can hit just as well if not better than Marerro and has some speed and agility. Have to see how he does next year in Potomac.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

AlexL925, I missed that earlier post where you pushed for trading the vets to get prospects. You said, "Talent that pushes us from 59 wins to 69 (or whatever we end up with) is not worth saving if it can be swapped for a package that makes us an 85 win team in 3-4 years."

The Nats are on course now to win 71 games, a 12-game improvement over last year. With Strasburg in the rotation for the next two months and other quality pitching options coming along, they should at least maintain that pace or pick it up a little.

They will likely enter next year with three well-regarded 20-somethings in the rotation (Strasburg, J. Zimm, Detwiler) and others in the bullpen (Storen, Clippard, Capps if they keep him). Yes, the pickings in AA are slim but that core, along with R. Zim, Dunn, Willingham, Desmond, Bernadina and I-Rod, give you a team that has the chance to win 80-85 years NEXT YEAR, not in 3-4 years. I'm not sure trading Dunn and/or Willingham will give them a team that can make that claim.

And trading one veteran for a bunch of players sounds great, when it works. The Astros traded Glenn Davis to the Orioles in the 90's for Steve Finley, Pete Harnisch and Curt Schilling. Of course, the O's got Schilling when they traded Mike Boddicker to the Red Sox for Schilling and Brady Anderson. And the Astros actually gave up on Schilling and sent him to the Phillies, where he finally became a good pitcher.

The Reds traded a veteran outfielder years ago because the timing looked right and they were getting a solid starting pitcher, an outfield prospect and a veteran reliever. Of course, that means they traded Frank Robinson.

How about this one? Fred McGriff to the Braves for three prospects, OF Melvin Nieves (Wil's brother) and pitchers Donnie Elliott and Vince Moore. McGriff made three All-Star teams with the Braves and helped them win the World Series.

Bottom line? Trading a vet for multiple prospects isn't a sure thing formula for success. Nor is keeping all of your guys and hoping they get better. Or signing big money free agents.

There is no sure thing formula. But Dunn has been a remarkably consistent hitter and he's 30. That means he'll probably keep doing what he's doing for a few more years. If you think you can make things better by getting rid of that kind of guy, go for it. I'm not sure you can.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

I'm turning into the president of the Adam Dunn Fan Club here, which is weird. I mean, I'm not putting him in Cooperstown but he's proven to be one of the most consistent power hitters in baseball and is becoming an exceedingly mediocre fielder.

Chris Marrero has proven he can have a pretty good half year in AA, but it's not clear if he's still the prospect he once was. Bloxom has proven he can hit in the Sally League and in two years, we might very well be saying "it's not clear if he's still the prospect he once was" about him.

Not clear why I should think either one will replace a guy who hits 40 homers and drives in 100 every year.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Minor League rundown (continued).
Harrisburg(AA) offense: Again, no rostered players, so we look for 'prospects'.
Johnathan Solano (CA)- 24yo, 62GP, .266/.318/.367 slash line, 3E; Chris Marrero (1B)- 22yo, 91GP, .292/.343/.446 slash, 11E; Daniel Espinosa (SS)- 23yo, .245/.323/.413 slash, 12E. Opinion: All three could make the WSH 40-man roster by 2012, but not much before.
Rostered pitching: 1)John Lannan (LHSP)- 26yo, 4GP, 26.0IP, 4.50ERA, 1.27WHIP, 2.67:1K/W ratio; 2)Ross Detwiler (LHSP)- 24yo, 5GP, 20.7IP, 3.48ERA, 1.69WHIP, 2.43:1K/W ratio; 3)Aaron Thompson (LHSP)- 23yo, 17GP, 90.3IP, 5.68ERA, 1.58WHIP, 1.46:1K/W ratio.
Non-rostered pitching: 1)Rafael Martin (RHRP)- 26yo, 33GP, 50.0IP, 2.52ERA, 1.10WHIP, 2.37:1K/W ratio; 2)Adam Carr (RHRP)- 26yo, 32GP, 45.3IP, 3.38ERA, 1.13WHIP, 3.23:1K/W ratio; 3)Cole Kimball (RHRP)- 24yo, 16GP, 27.3IP, 1.32ERA, 0.99WHIP, 2.07:1K/W ratio; 4) Chuck James (LHRP)- 28yo, 9GP, 22.0IP, 1.23ERA, 0.73WHIP, 6.0:1K/W ratio.
Opinion: Both Lannan & James need to be in SYR after the AS break, to be 'challenged' by better hitters.

Potomac(A+) offense: Again, no 'rostered' hitters, so (through 06/20/10)...
1)Derek Norris (CA)- 21yo, 49GP, .257/.418/.385 slash, 5E; 2)Steve Lombardozzi (2B)- 85GP, .294/.389/.404 slash, 5E; 3)Michael Burgess (OF)- 82GP, .261/.348/.414 slash, 1E.
Opinion: Everybody moves to AA Harrisburg to start 2011.
Rostered pitching: 1)Jordan Zimmermann(RHSP)- 24yo, 3rd rehab start tonight.
Non-rostered pitchers (through 6/20/10): 1)Brad Peacock (RHSP)- 22yo, 74.0IP, 4.74ERA, 1.35WHIP, 4.23K/W ratio; 2)Evan Bronson (LHSP)- 23yo, 64.7IP, 4.04ERA, 1.31WHIP, 3.0:1K/W ratio; 3) Adrian Alaniz (RHSP)- 26yo, 47.7IP, 3.40ERA, 1.15WHIP, 3.83:1K/W ratio; 4)Dan Leatherman (RHRP)- 25yo, 34.0IP, 2.38ERA, 1.06WHIP, 3.23:1K/W ratio.
Opinion: Peacock & Bronson still show promise, but not much else here.

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

It all hinges on what you can get for Dunn. Chances are they finish last again with him. Teams that have the best staying power move their players while they still have value to other teams. He is apparently a good team and club house guy but you have to put the emotions aside and not let that cloud your decisions.

Posted by: pstotts15 | July 14, 2010 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Trade them or extend them, I think either plan could yield a successful team if followed up with other moves. What will not work is the status quo, which is to keep both players for a few more years and expect the current group on the farm to provide the missing pieces to a successful team. If you keep/extend them, then they need to trade for Uggla, sign Crawford and Vasquez (although I am ok with Lee too!).

Posted by: Willy2 | July 14, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

@baltova1: There is no president of the Adam Dunn fan club in Washington - we're all communists, in a way.
Dunn is becoming an adequate 1B, after years as a lame LF, both here and in other co-operatives; This is a positive, as he has conformed to the good of the current co-operative, while still retaining his positives aspects (power hitting). Willingham has done much the same, while also improving on his defense in LF. Both should be rewarded with extra shares in the future, again for the greater good of the co-operative.

Posted by: BinM | July 14, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

"It all hinges on what you can get for Dunn. Chances are they finish last again with him."

You mean the Nats finish last again even if they keep him? I don't think so. Houston, Pittsburgh, and Arizona are all worse in the NL. We're tied with the Cubs, too. Baltimore's gawdawful if you're talking the whole MLB. A lot of our key players are second half guys and we get some pitchers coming back, some more 2nd half starts from Strasburg.

Bad? Yes. Last? Doubt it. It could happen, but it's far from probable.

Posted by: 202character | July 14, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Any word on how JZimm did tonight?

Posted by: DavidandDonald | July 14, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

"Bad? Yes. Last? Doubt it. It could happen, but it's far from probable."

Not dead last dude. Last in the NL East which is almost as bad.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for your support, Comrade BinM...

BTW, as for last place, the Nats are only 3 1/2 games behind a Marlins team that will likely conduct a fire sale in the next couple of weeks. All is not lost, Comrades!

J. Zimm. 4 innings, 6 hits, 0 runs, 0 walks, 4 strikeouts.

Posted by: baltova1 | July 14, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

"Bad? Yes. Last? Doubt it. It could happen, but it's far from probable."

Not dead last dude. Last in the NL East which is almost as bad.

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@baltova,

You're absolutely right about all that. Trades are certainly anything but sure things. But when it comes to blue-chip prospects, I'm the type who usually says "go for it". I just really dislike the way people (not you, but some) dismiss the idea of prospects and expect every team to buy their players. Now if we were instead offered something like 2 low-level prospects for Dunn, I probably wouldn't be so keen to pull the trigger. Which brings me to the following.

You said earlier in regards to Hellickson: "If he is on the block, why would you ever trade a proven full-time player for an unproven but promising pitcher, straight up? Especially if you don't have a definite replacement for the full-time player?"

The answer in my opinion is that a pitcher who is the #20 prospect in all of baseball would contribute more to our team right now, and in the near future, than Dunn could. Is he available in that kind of deal? Probably not. But I'd make it if we could. Most importantly, he has 6 years of team control remaining versus just 3 months of Dunn.

It goes back to that second post I made on here. Allocation of resources is the most crucial thing in any business and to just about every sports team, except perhaps the Yankees. The way most teams (including the Nats) have to win is by finding the best group of controllable talent. Could Dunn's bat be fully replaced at first? No, not right away, and maybe never totally (although, like others, I expect them to take a run at Gonzo in 2011). But I think it's misguided to look at needing to immediately fill that one position with the same production. The idea behind such a trade would be to get enough pieces to fill in across the field to produce a NET gain in production. And of course, it's never difficult to move someone like a Willingham or Morse up the defensive spectrum, even if it's just a one-year move.

By the way, while I'm on the subject, I'd just like to comment on something. When I do take the time to read comments on this blog, there are invariably some posts stating that the Lerners are "cheap" owners. Now I'm not ready to defend or attack them on the matter, but people need to be a bit more reasonable in the way they analyze those things. The Yankees became the Yankees not just because of the enormous New York market, but because Steinbrenner was far ahead of his time in creating his own cable network in YES. He was able to monetize it to the point where he could completely fund payroll while still taking a profit. To that end, I think it's worth remembering the screwjob that Angelos and Selig pulled on the Nats when they came to town. As those awful radio ads would say, not a sermon, just a thought.

But back to your post, if I strongly believed we could win 80+ next year with this squad and reach the playoffs, I'd say sign him up. I'm just not sure we're quite there yet. Still, I won't be upset if they sign him for 3 (at most 4) years. I just prefer the idea of a big trade haul.

Posted by: AlexL925 | July 14, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

@Baltova,

"Not clear why I should think either one will replace a guy who hits 40 homers and drives in 100 every year."

They may not. Of course, Dunn in turn, could become another Soriano stinking the place up with the Cubs as he progresses past 30. How much longer do you want to bet on him hitting close to 40 and driving in 100 RBI? The prospects seem a safer bet with that possibility. Particularly if there are big $$$ and a no-trade involved.

But if they hit well enough and are great fielders then you celebrate ... as long as you get the top of the rotation starter[s] Mike Rizzo covets because then you will be seeing some playoff action.

Courtesy of Bill Ladson:

General manager Mike Rizzo said the team's biggest need is starting pitching. The Nationals have their ace in Strasburg, who has been dominating since he made his Major League debut on June 8. But Rizzo would like to add another dominant pitcher to the staff. The team is hoping that Jordan Zimmermann, who is ahead of scheduled after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year, can make his comeback before the season is over. The Nationals look at Strasburg and Zimmermann as a 1-2 combination in the rotation by next year.

"Our biggest need now and at the Trade Deadline is starting pitching," Rizzo said. "That's everyone's biggest need and we are included in that. We need more starting pitching. Premier, front-line starting pitching is what everybody needs to get to the next level of championship-caliber clubs. We are no different."

Posted by: periculum | July 14, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Depending on what they get I would say trade them both. I would trade Dunn with the understanding that we would resign him after the year is over. If he really wants to be here long term than he should understand he being rented for a few months is about the betterment of the team. If you have to sign Dunn than you sign him but I would gamble depending on what comes back. If the White Sox offer a Quentin or Beckham and a promising arm you have to take that deal.

I think Willingham should be traded regardless. He is 31 years old which is by no means old by baseball standards but what is the probability that he replicates this season? Id rather move him for a quality arm or young bat. Whatever they do they need to make sure they develop or find a leadoff hitter and some more bullpen guys. Clippard has been great but they are working him. We all love the seasons Dunn and Willingham are having but great production doesnt always translate to wins. If Rizzo plays this right the Nats could end up with a Edwin Jackson, Delmon Young, or better players. I like those guys but do the Nats and the cheap Lerners want to put up 70-80 million or more to keep those guys why we are in the basement of the east. I like to think Rizzo will make the right decision. Then again he did sign Marquis who is stealing money this year.

Posted by: KingJoffeJoffer | July 14, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

@KingJoffeJoffer

You and quite a few others have mentioned the idea of trading Dunn with the hopes of re-signing him in the offseason. Just remember that if they do that, there's a good chance the team controlling him will offer arbitration to recoup draft picks. In that case, we might have to relinquish our first round pick in an EXTREMELY deep 2011 draft to sign him (if he remained a Type A FA).

Look here for the newest rankings: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/elias-rankings/

As you can see, he's very likely to remain a Type A if he stays in the NL. However, it could possibly work out if he's traded to an AL team since his score puts him .88 behind J.D. Drew for the last Type A spot. Still, there's no way of knowing how it would play out.

Posted by: AlexL925 | July 14, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I'd say the chances that Willingham is this good, more or less, for several more years is pretty good, assuming average luck. He'd become a competent left fielder, and a near-all-star bat. No good team doesn't have guys like that. Keep him unless you get a really can't-pass-that-up offer.
I can't imagine them re-signing Dunn if they trade him this year. As has been pointed out, as a free agent, he's probably going to get offers around $100MM+/5 years, which means that's probably what his agent is asking for now (I would), which is probably why he isn't signed already. I believe him when he says he'd like to stay, but he knows it's a business decision as much as a baseball decision, and so does Rizzo. He may be sympathetic to the "betterment of the team," but if he's *not on the team* that ceases to be his problem.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2010 10:31 PM | Report abuse

*chances ... ARE*
*He's* become ...


Don't you people have editors?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | July 14, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

In my mind you only keep Dunn and JWill if you are commited to the free agent market next year and i mean in a big way,i don't see Cliff Lee in a Nats uni if this current coaching staff remains,like i said in the blog on Riggs future he doesn't get the best out of this team and i think Eckstein,McCatty, and Radison need to go. I was little surprised to hear ESPN Buster Olney say that Dunn was getting a little ticked off about his negotiations or lack thereof yeah AD same way we felt about your slow azz production for most of the first half and would you Guz haters give it a rest he has played very well at his new position for the most part. I'm hoping we see a better brand of baseball this second half and please more intensity no more of this we'll get em tommorow bull sh#t.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 14, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

Bottom 15 clubs--i.e. first 15 picks--lose a second-round pick for signing a Type A free agent, not a first-round pick. So the Nats in all likelihood would lose their second-round pick were they to trade Dunn and then re-sign him. Which would still be very significant. And were they to sign *another* Type A in addition to Dunn, they would lose their third-round pick too.

On another front, I feel compelled to comment that The Post's coverage of the All-Star game was horrible and almost non-existent. Sheinin was sent out to Anaheim; he made zero posts to the largely-ignored Baseball Insider blog, and he had zero Nats-related ASG posts here. All he did was write a (largely unreadable) gamer. For comparison's sake, check out the NY Times Bats blog and their print edition content. Even while also covering Steinbrenner, The Times had tons of good, original content regarding the All-Star game. For a paper dealing with budgetary constraints, The Post sure does seem to waste a lot of money; sending Sheinin to Anaheim was a complete waste.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | July 14, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Good call, CoverageisLacking. Obviously you're right on that. My mistake.

As you note though, that's still a high price to pay in this particular draft year.

Posted by: AlexL925 | July 14, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

AlexL925 is preaching the truth! Our farm system is in shambles and we aren't realistically close to contending. We need to stockpile young talent by trading valuable vets. Anybody who thinks free agents like Cliff Lee are coming here anytime soon is crazy. We need to acquire young talent and look to compete in 2013, not this or next year. It's sad but true.

Posted by: egoodman8 | July 15, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

Another correction to my previous note from this link: http://twitter.com/mlbtrnationals/status/18550359002

"Adam Dunn would still be a Type A (82.0) in the American League, Eddie Bajek tells me."

So we'd definitely lose a draft pick in that unlikely scenario of a trade and re-sign sequence.

Posted by: AlexL925 | July 15, 2010 3:15 AM | Report abuse

Article focuses mainly on business. That's the problem. Failing to find another Strasburg, how do you fill the empty seats? With brand loyalty. Dunn and Willingham go right to the top, joining R. Zimmerman and I. Rodriguez. The Nats (Lerners) need to nurture their younger audience, too, the pre-teen and teen kids who bring their parents (and their parents' money). You start unloading the performers and you end up with a 21st century version of "Wait 'till Next Year." If you want attendance to get above 14 - 15k people per non-Strasburg game, sign Dunn and the Hammer.

Posted by: bobfromalexandria | July 15, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

Excellent discussion of this issue--I've learned a lot just getting up to speed here.

One question, on the advisability of taking either Quentin or Beckham in a deal for Dunn (or Willingham?). How can we be sure what we're getting in Beckham? "Polished" 2B on arrival in majors, strong rookie season, and big downturn in soph year. Is his slump injury related? If yes, that may not necessarily be a good thing, as the physical demands of playing 2B shorten careers at that position (see Bill James Historical Abstract for examples). If there are strong arguments for buying stock in Beckham I'd like to hear them. (I'm not even bringing up any reminiscences of trading for Felipe Lopez--apples and oranges, I presume).

As for Quentin, he's 3 years younger than either Willingham or Dunn, which presumably explains his attractiveness. Good power hitter, if inconsistent. Is holding down RF now, not left, which is good, but at 6'2", 235 lbs. you wonder how many years until he moves to 1B. (Maybe just about the time Harper makes it to the majors.) Anything else we should know about him?

Off topic, Nyjer is on track for plus 500 ABs, 0 HRs, and plus 100 Ks. A very exclusive club.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 15, 2010 6:40 AM | Report abuse

bobfromalexandria,

On marketing and brand loyalty, it's interesting that prominently displayed at the team store behind home plate are Wang and Maxwell jerseys, alongside ones for RZimm and Stras. Meanwhile, at the store on N Street, you have to look long and hard for Pudge, Willingham, and Dunn jerseys.

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | July 15, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Peric, you keep bringing up the Padres as an example of why you can win without good hitting.

Do you think the Padres success might have something to do with the fact that they have the NL's lowest ERA, give up the fewest runs per game, have the lowest WHIP? They give up about one full run per game less than the league average. Their Pythagorean W-L is just about exactly where their actual W-L is, so it's no dark mystery why they're winning. The Nats, OTOH, give up about 0.25 more runs per game than the league average, about 1.25 more than the Padres do. Over a full season, that's about 200 runs more than the Padres give up.

Yeah, if you have outstanding pitching, you can win with weak hitting. Get back to me when the Nats have outstanding pitching.

Posted by: gilbertbp | July 15, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

How about this: let's trade off Morgan, Kennedy, and Harris for 1 good 2nd baseman. Put Bernadina in center, Morse in right.

And what's with Maxwell. I keep wanting him to do something right, but he consistently buries himself (except for that walk-off grand slam to end last year's homestand). Am I missing something that the scouts and coaches are seeing, or are they blind. It's time to cut bait with him. Clearly DC is not the place for him. Add him to the mix above and get another outfielder.

Posted by: luv2bikva | July 15, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

Having grown up in New York and learning to despise "the Boss" during the 1970s and 80s, I never thought I'd say this, but I'd feel a lot better if we had a little more George Steinbrenner now instead of Ted "Count the Paperclips" Lerner.

I am not on the "Lerners are Cheap" bandwagon but, on the other hand, I do not believe they have the same passion and determination to win, or the vision to build the value of the enterprise by investing for the long term. The Strasburg deal is an element in their favor, but in some ways it was forced upon them. The decisions about Dunn and Willingham, I think, will be more telling.

Posted by: Meridian1 | July 15, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I still can't get over this wanting to trade Morgan, i'll tell you what's going to happen we'll trade him and he goes elsewhere and becomes the player he was in 09 after we obtained him from the Buc's.I would find Marquis Grissom and sign as a outfield coach(yeah i know that won't happen)or better yet as the first base coach i know some of you think i'm crazy but i swear this is the reason behind Morgan's problem's.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 15, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

I still can't get over this wanting to trade Morgan, i'll tell you what's going to happen we'll trade him and he goes elsewhere and becomes the player he was in 09 after we obtained him from the Buc's.I would find Marquis Grissom and sign as a outfield coach(yeah i know that won't happen)or better yet as the first base coach i know some of you think i'm crazy but i swear this is the reason behind Morgan's problem's.

Posted by: dargregmag | July 15, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Hope I'm totally wrong, but in my nightmares management decides they don't need Dunn because they have Morse. Please, no.

By the way, imo Adam Kilgore is doing a great job with this space.

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

Cap, on the bright side, the team store at the CF Plaza entrance has a goodly supply of Mets, Yankees, and Phillies jerseys. What the ???

(sec3: Sorry, we were on coffee break. Signed, the proofreaders.)

---

On marketing and brand loyalty, it's interesting that prominently displayed at the team store behind home plate are Wang and Maxwell jerseys, alongside ones for RZimm and Stras. Meanwhile, at the store on N Street, you have to look long and hard for Pudge, Willingham, and Dunn jerseys.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | July 15, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Pitchers: Livo and Capps should be sent packing to contenders.

Dunn: Dunn will not be re-signed so he should also be gone. Now that he has proven that he is less of a mess at 1B than he is in OF (to a tolerable Fielder, Howard clankster level), his always produce and never get injured big bat is going to cost money. The Lerners are not good at spending mmoney. (I do not agree with AK's statement about the track records of players of Dunn's size and skill set not being good as they reach their mid-thirties. ALL players get risker as they reach their mid-thirties, there are not a lot of 6'6" every year 40 HR guys out there with no injury issues to compare Dunn to in the post-steroid era. So, to me Dunn is about as safe a bet as any other slugger.)

OF: Willingham, no need to sign what has been a frail guy until recently to a multi-year deal when arb is out there for next year. And without a contract beyond 2011 his value as a potential trade chip stays high in the off season. If someone wants Morgan, send him off too. The trade that sent Hanrahan and Milledge to the 'Burgh is at best push and Morgan is 30 already and he very well may have peaked. Harris, DFA. (Bernadina in CF and Morse in RF need the AB's and Willy is not helping.) He may be able to catch on someplace else and contribute, but it will not happen here.

Posted by: dfh21 | July 15, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Some of us see the constant turnover keeps providing less talent. Nats need more talent not less. Leave them alone and comfortable in Washington as Nationals. Dump them and we will be a worse team next year than this year. We probably will be worse anyway, there is not much quality MLB field players on this team or organization wide.

Posted by: CTaylor42 | July 16, 2010 3:11 AM | Report abuse

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