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Comeback stories continue over the weekend

Morning roundup

As the Washington Nationals absorbed the sobering news rookie phenom pitcher Stephen Strasburg would be lost for approximately 12 to 18 months recovering from ligament replacement surgery, they at least closed this latest homestand with positive feelings after taking three of four from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Among the highlights of the series included the continued progress of starting pitcher John Lannan, Adam Dunn emerging from an 8-for-65 slump and Michael Morse making a case to get many more at-bats than his current pace. There also was the news that workhorse pitcher Livan Hernandez, the team's most durable starter, had his contract extended through 2011 one day after he won his ninth game of the season in his franchise record 94th start.

Lannan had his best outing of the season in yesterday's 4-2 victory, going 7 2/3 innings and scattering eight hits while walking none and striking out four. The left-hander also had a two-RBI double that gave the Nationals the lead for good and helped him improve to 4-1 this month.

Dunn continued to come out of prolonged rut that lasted 19 games. On Saturday, he had a homer, double and five RBI to propel Washington to a 14-5 win. His three-run blast in the fifth was his 32nd homer this season, and although he didn't show that type of power yesterday, he went 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs.

Morse had the first four-hit game of his career on Saturday and yesterday hit a two-run homer in the third off Adam Wainwright, a leading contender for the Cy Young award. Morse finished the series 8 for 12, including four RBI and four runs.

The series culminated in the Nationals announcing a new deal for Hernandez, who allowed five runs in 6 1/3 on Saturday yet still recorded the win. In an era when pitchers seem to be heading to the disabled list with more frequency than at any other time in baseball, Hernandez continues to press forward even at 35. He never has been on the DL, and he's on track to start at least 30 games for a 13th consecutive season.

FROM THE POST

The Nationals get an inspired effort from Lannan to take three of four against St. Louis.

FROM THE MINORS

Syracuse 3, Lehigh Valley 2: Matt Chico allowed two runs and five hits and two walks over six innings but got a no-decision.

Harrisburg 6, Trenton 5: Jesus Valez singled home the winning run in the 10th.

Frederick 7, Potomac 6: The Nationals went 3 for 11 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on base as they lost in the bottom of the ninth.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Lannan keeps it simple, writes Ben Goessling of MASN.com.

A deep start from Lannan sends Nationals to victory, writes MLB.com's Bill Ladsen.

By Gene Wang  |  August 30, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Adam Dunn , John Lannan , Livan Hernandez , Michael Morse  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Livan Hernandez gets contract extension
Next: Mark Prior says not to blame the Nationals for Stephen Strasburg's injury

Comments

"Among the highlights of the series included the continued progress of starting pitcher John Lannan...."

seriously, does anyone edit these posts?

Posted by: DCguy7 | August 30, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone have an update on Dibble? I read that he was going to sit out the upcoming roadtrip. Are we ready to stick a fork in him?

Posted by: twinbrook | August 30, 2010 7:43 AM | Report abuse

Good for Lannan good For Livo, we will need both of them next year. I guess next years rotation will be:

Lannan
Zimm
Maya
Marquis
Livo


Also, does anyone else feel with Morse power display lately that the cheap Learners might not show Dunn the Money?

Posted by: hansenjo | August 30, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

That looks about right for the rotation, with Detwiler, Olsen and Stammen possibly in the mix as well. Maya pitched pretty well for Syracuse on Friday. Hopefully he can join the Nationals soon.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | August 30, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

That looks about right for the rotation, with Detwiler, Olsen and Stammen possibly in the mix as well. Maya pitched pretty well for Syracuse on Friday. Hopefully he can join the Nationals soon.

Posted by: LandoverHillsBoysClub | August 30, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Maybe I missed this, but was there any report on Strasburg's appointment with Dr. Yocum, which I believe was supposed to occur Saturday? Did Yocum concur about the need for surgery?

Posted by: Section109 | August 30, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

They look DOA for three games against the hapless Cubs, I say enough is enough. The Cardinals arrive in town, good crowds for all 4 games and they take 3 of 4. So here is the rub...., this is what the LernerStank really want, a marginal major league team that keeps die-hards baseball/Nats fans like me shelling out 5-7K for season tickets year after year after year. Torn between "two lovers" feeling like a fool!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Look, Tippy, just because you're upset doesn't mean you have the right to subject the rest of us to lyrics from crappy 70's songs (that I CAN'T GET OUT OF MY HEAD NOW!!!).

Posted by: baltova1 | August 30, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Hahhahahaha! Yesterday it was "What a fool believes", if they beat the Fish two outta three it's gotta be "In it to Win it"!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 30, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"Torn between "two lovers" feeling like a fool!"

Dump 'em. I did - my life is way better as a result. :-)

As for Morse v. Dunn, that's SILLY. Oh dear that's silly. I love what Morse has shown. I'm eager for the thought of him playing. However, IF he keeps this up, he's 28 and is already at his peak. He could be the next Jayson Werth, but he could also be a flash in the pan. Truthfully, the same could be said for Bernadina. I know he's a special case because of injuries, but he's at his very peak and is a servicable regular. Same with Morse. Can you look 2 years out and say confidently that they'll be good out there? (See Soriano, Guillen, etc)

Now, if the choice is signing Carl Crawford and moving Morse to 1b (or Willingham to 1b) VS keeping Dunn and putting Morse in RF, maybe. That's defensive upgrades all around. But you still have platoon problems - how do we know Morse isn't just having a good month against righties? He's never hit them well in his career.

I still think the Nats would be stupid not to sign Dunn. I know that "contending in 2012 and beyond" is the priority, but "sucking bad in 2011" would really be unpleasant.

Posted by: Section406 | August 30, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

How our expectations have been lowered.

The conventional wisdom used to be that the Nats needed to field a contending team by 2009, when the flush of excitement from the new ballpark would have worn off.

Now we are saying "2012 and beyond."

It's like promises to balance the budget -- always just over the horizon. This is Washington, after all.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 30, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

How our expectations have been lowered.

The conventional wisdom used to be that the Nats needed to field a contending team by 2009, when the flush of excitement from the new ballpark would have worn off.

Now we are saying "2012 and beyond."

It's like promises to balance the budget -- always just over the horizon. This is Washington, after all.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 30, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Strasburg was flying out to the west coast on Saturday. It's doubtful he'd see the doctor until today at the earliest. This is not an emergency situation. Why would you expect a doctor to be working the weekend?

Posted by: FeelWood | August 30, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

this is what the LernerStank really want, a marginal major league team that keeps die-hards baseball/Nats fans like me shelling out 5-7K for season tickets year after year after year. Torn between "two lovers" feeling like a fool!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | August 30, 2010 9:37 AM

Yeah, pretty much. Have to say going to the ballpark this weekend was a very pleasant experience. Sure there were plenty of Cardinals fans (though they are great, polite and always more than welcome - as far as I'm concerned) but also a lot more fans actually rooting for the home team than I expected. Fun weekend of baseball.

Always worth repeating...

23rd in payroll
23rd in the MLB standings
22nd in attendance

The ticket buying public has been slightly ahead all season. Great news for the Lerners!

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

@sec406:
I see Morse as a complementary piece on the team - Can play the corners in the OF, and 1B when called on to do so, but he's yet another RH bat. Like you, i'm not yet convinced that he's an everyday player.

Dunn is the keystone for the Nationals offensively - A LH power-hitter who compliments the bats to either side of him in the lineup. Even as good as RZimm has become, I doubt his offensive numbers would be as good without Dunn; The same goes for Willingham as well.

Posted by: BinM | August 30, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@hansenjo, L.H.B.C.: To the list of possible starting pitchers, I would add Tom Milone and Matt Chico. We're now up to ten possible starters, including Zimmermann, Maya, Lannan, Marquis, Livo, Olsen, Stammen, and Detwiler. Yes, we're missing our ace, but the cupboard is not bare.

Posted by: bertbkatz | August 30, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Nice Nats article by David Aldridge today...

http://www.tbd.com/articles/2010/08/with-strasburg-out-nats-owe-fans-a-reload-for-2011-6245.html

Nice angle on Carpenter and quotes from Pujols on chatting to Strasburg. Then tells the Lerners to spend some d@mn money!

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

With Strasburg on the shelf for a minimum of a year and a 50-50 shot of a full recovery, plus the Learners being as cheap as they are; a few questions remain.

With the pitching staff in flux, why would a big time free agent want to sign here?

Will the Learners show Dunn the money, in turn showing they are willing to keep and take care of their own?

With Morgan acting like a three year old, who plays right field since Bernie is the likely candidate for CF?

The Nats have a track record for shopping at the Goodwill of free agents, will this trend keep going or will they start shopping at the mall?

A $3.00 Goodwill suit might get you a job, and might even last a few months, however; at some point you will need to start shopping at Brooks Brothers.

Posted by: hansenjo | August 30, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

It didn't get much publicity in the WaPo by ESPN was all over Morgan's cheapshot on the St. Louis catcher on Saturday night. The word was that Morgan was upset about being dropped to 8th in the order and let his emotions get the best of him. ESPN reported that Riggleman told Morgan to stay home on Sunday as to not rile up the Cardinals even more. I suspect the Cards would have drilled him if he played yesterday.

I'm in the camp that Morgan is more of a headache than he is worth. If it's not getting picked off base, it's misjudging a flyball and then not picking it up because he thought it was a HR (i.e. O's-Nats game earlier this year.) The move in the St. Louis game not only cost the Nats a run but it was a low class play. I would hope that Rizzo or Riggleman would have suspended Morgan but didn't hear anything from them about it beyond his emotions getting the best of him after the game.

Posted by: wizfan89 | August 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

wizfan89, if what you say is true then I think they should just cut their losses and get rid of him. Yes he has made an positive impact in some aspects of the game, but his bone-headed plays have cost the team much more....especially this last display. I'm sooo over Nyjer. Bernadina deserves a shot to be the everyday starter in CF next year.

Posted by: FloresFan | August 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Bert, the cupboard has never been bare. It has always been filled with broken dishes. I do agree that they have more options now.

Lannan (is a lock, Rizzo has shown extreme loyalty towards him)

Zimm (is a lock, because he has to fill SS shoes)

Marquis (with his contract at a bargain value, they will showcase him as mid-season trade bait, thats if he can stay healthy)

Maya (is the wild card and this could be the open spot)

Livo (with his resume the fifth spot is his until he want to retire)

I could see them putting Stammen in the pen. Olsen I think is a free agent. Detwiler, Malone et al will be the emergency AAA call-ups.

Posted by: hansenjo | August 30, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

hansenjo, I think to say Strasburg is 50/50 for a full recovery is low; most estomates place it between 85 and 90 percent. We'll miss him next year no doubt, but odds are he'll be throwing for us - and throwing well - in 2012.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 30, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Bernadina deserves a shot to be the everyday starter in CF next year.

Posted by: FloresFan | August 30, 2010 11:23 AM

I think he'll get it - though I suppose that depends on what will happen at RF and 1B in the off-season. Nyjer has been a pain in the butt at times, but I think he would be an OK platoon/bench player for us next season. Good for creating havoc on the base paths in late innings (yeah, that can work both ways). Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

SC, I don't dispute your percentages, however; you are not taking one thing into consideration.

THE DC SPORTS CURSE.

Posted by: hansenjo | August 30, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I think Ross Detwiler can make a small case.


******

Good for Lannan good For Livo, we will need both of them next year. I guess next years rotation will be:

Lannan
Zimm
Maya
Marquis
Livo

Posted by: DCfan8397 | August 30, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-I've been pretty quiet. Another lost season....Just a quick note on the "Nyjer" thing. I'm a fan of his, Desi too. And my pre-Nats team was the Cards, so I still follow 'em. On THEIR message boards...amazing how their complaints are similar to ours-the posters took MUCH more umbrage at Ians' slide into 2nd to end the 7th (when he was picked off). Threw a cheap shot elbow at the finish on the Cards' s.s. Looked at the replays, and I gotta say, it appears they have a point.
So THAT was the reason-they felt-that Matt got upset with Storen. And they felt that the Cards were being "wussies"...that we were the more aggressive side. Always instructive to read other teams' boards....we ALL seem to share the same complaints! Baseball! Grrrrr....Just wanted to throw that out there.
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | August 30, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm thinking Nyjer and Dibble are sitting in the same penalty box. Any sane manager - and that includes Riggleman - would have called Nyjer into his office after yesterday's game and told him, "Look, I had to sit you down for your own protection today. When I have to do something like that, you're hurting the team, because we're starting out one player short. You need to knock off the antics and start getting your head in the game, because if you're not going to help us win, I'll have to find someone who will. Capisce?"

Posted by: gilbertbp | August 30, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

gil, I suspect, given what he said to the press about it, that Riggleman's office speech to Morgan was worded a great deal more strongly than that. Maybe not Rogers Hornsby-strong, but decidedly unsympathetic.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | August 30, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Dibble, on his radio show this morning, he talked about "settling in again in LA" with his wife, making it sound as if he's left his residence in DC. Now that may just be because the season's about to end and he stopped renting whatever place he was living in here, but it also sorta sounded like "I ain't coming back." Who knows? I'm just surprised either side hasn't come out with a definitive statement about his return or departure. It's not that big a deal not to say something.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 30, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

sec3, I was at the game, so I didn't see the postgame presser. What did Riggleman say?

Posted by: gilbertbp | August 30, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Dibble, on his radio show this morning, he talked about "settling in again in LA" with his wife, making it sound as if he's left his residence in DC.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 30, 2010 1:11 PM

Thanks for passing that on, balt. If Dibble hasn't joined up with the team in Miami today - I think he's done. We'll find out in a few hours...

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

This weekend's "comeback" stories helped ease some of the pain of the Strasburg injury and make it clear, as Zuckerman points out at NatsInsider, that the Nats could still have a decent rotation next year:

IF J. Zimm is truly healthy and develops as expected
IF Lannan continues his turnaround
IF Marquis continues his turnaround
IF Livan's season wasn't a fluke
IF Maya is close to being as good as advertised
IF Detwiler is healthy and develops as expected

As any good Nats fan knows by now, all of the teams' IF's don't work out, so more help will be needed. Do they go back to the AAAA guys (Stammen, Martin, Martis, Atilano)? Do they hope a prospect like Milone develops quickly? Or do they go outside the organization and, if so, for what? A short-term rental of a #2 type starter? Or just another Livan-type journeyman?

Given their history, it's hard to believe they'll spend any real money on a starter, so let's hope Rizzo can make a smart pickup.

Posted by: baltova1 | August 30, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for passing that on, balt. If Dibble hasn't joined up with the team in Miami today - I think he's done. We'll find out in a few hours...

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 1:48 PM

___________________________

I was at the game yesterday and talked to Johnny Holliday and he intimated:

1) Ray was going south for the Florida trip.

2) Without saying as much, it seemed that Dibble is not likely coming back.

He was a bit vague on the second point, but I believe that Dibble is history in DC.

Posted by: TimDz | August 30, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

The thing that would gripe me if they don't sign Dunn is that they don't put that money in a lock box to be used in future years to sign that final piece free agent. They put it in their pockets. I guess there's hope, and I'm hoping, but I don't feel good about it. Where are they ranked in profitability?

Posted by: markfromark | August 30, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

They put it in their pockets. I guess there's hope, and I'm hoping, but I don't feel good about it. Where are they ranked in profitability?

Posted by: markfromark | August 30, 2010 2:20 PM

The Lerners have been putting potential free agent money in their pockets (sorry, "offsetting their debt") since they bought the team.

According to Forbes, the Nats are ranked third in operating income ("earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization")

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/33/baseball-valuations-10_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.html

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Wizfan89: Good Lord!!! I've never seen so much over the top krap about a so called cheap shot in my life did it cost us the game? HELL TO THE NO!!!! did he hurt Molina? NO! was he wrong Yes! should he have been sat down Yes(and he was)Please get over yourself, i'm sure Riggs got him straight, we got bigger fish to fry(like the Marlins) who have beat our brains in since this franchise moved back to DC let's focus on more important thing's like winning as many games as we can so we can avoid another 100 loss season.

Posted by: dargregmag | August 30, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

mark,

Forbes has the Nats #2 in profitability. Low payrolls, a free new stadium, a region that is large and affluent--and hungry for baseball--all translate into healthy profits. You do not need great attendance, if you keep expenses low.

If the Nats do not resign Dunn, maybe they will go with another reclamation project at 1B? You know, someone who had his last good year maybe in 2007 or 2008 and may be getting a little old and who hasn't played much lately but who can be rediscovered and become newly productive? Who knows, maybe Dmitri can get in shape?

It would be great if one of the Nats-oriented blogs could try to identify possible bargain signings at all the positions, so we can dream about the 2011 season. The site could explore and discuss not just old guys who are slightly over the hill but young guys too, who may have been disappointing as draft picks but who deserve another shot with a bottom-payroll team. Such a site would give us some hope in the off-season in what is called our hot stove league.

Here is the Forbes site. It is the latest I have. The Nats have been at or near the top every year in profitability.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2009/33/baseball-values-09_The-Business-Of-Baseball_Income.html

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Kev29,

Thanks for the 2010 Forbes site. Yep, there are our Nats, last in the division but right there towards the very top in all of baseball in profitability--as usual!

It is interesting to see the Red Sox in the 2010 list as #2. The Red sox offer another model. Spend the money, build the club, produce winners, get the fans excited, sell out your games, grow revenues, get new players, etc. It is more of a longer term strategy than the short-sighted frugal approach of the Nats, but naturally, as a baseball fan, I have to favor trying for wins and a promising future over the bargain basement approach.

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

If the Nats do not resign Dunn, maybe they will go with another reclamation project at 1B? You know, someone who had his last good year maybe in 2007 or 2008 and may be getting a little old and who hasn't played much lately but who can be rediscovered and become newly productive? Who knows, maybe Dmitri can get in shape?

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 2:49 PM

(Nats PA dude voice) "Now batting, the first baseman, Jasooooooooon GIAMBIIIIIII!!!"

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

See Dibble related notes here:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/445307-dibble-still-in-the-penalty-box

and here:

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20100829&content_id=14063466¬ebook_id=14064924&vkey=notebook_mlb&fext=.jsp&c_id=mlb

Bottom line, it looks like Rob violated trust, or contract, or both when he lit into Strasburg. And it was not the first time he ran his mouth without thinking. Women fans, on air player criticisms, etc... I like a "truth teller" as much as the next guy, but you have to actually think before you open your mouth and besides, this was not truth it was ignorance (on both topics - women and Strasburg)....

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 30, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Fools Gold again in NOTStown......they beat probably the most dysfunctional team in baseball right now....a Roadkill team only Riggleman can know how it feels.....The natives in St L want heads to roll....They get real lucky and miss both Nolasco and Johnson in So Fla......but the Fish still OWN THEM.......

Posted by: FletcherChristian1 | August 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Oh and for those that missed it, that bit about how he was just kidding (about women as fans) and that it did not represent his actual views ... I believe him that he was joking, but he's a professional, on the clock, on the air. He put himself in that situation. The Strasburg comments were premeditated. He thought about what he was going to say then said it without getting a medical report. What if Strasburg had gone out and toughed it out due to criticism like that, or Zimmermann, or Harper, or others. A bad injury becomes worse and an investment goes sour.

I'll miss Dibble if he gets replaced. But someone else will come along and provide good color too. I'm ready for a hitter this time, maybe a catcher...

Posted by: natbiscuits | August 30, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Bending over the fans is what makes the Nats #2

Exhibit A:

The Brewers Birthday package:

Birthdays at Miller Park We encourage guests to celebrate their birthday at Miller Park. The Brewers offer a birthday package that features a special gift bag filled with souvenirs, including a Bernie Brewer bobble head and a name mention on the scoreboard birthday list. The package costs $35. Guests may also celebrate birthdays by having their name included on the scoreboard birthday list for $20. Both the birthday package and the birthday list options can be ordered by calling the Brewers Ticket Office at (414) 902-4000. Either option must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance and does not include a game ticket.

Nats Package

Option A: (Held in Family Plaza for two hours)$60.00 per person, minimum of 25 people, which includes the following:

Your choice of hot dog, pizza, or sandwich menu with all accompaniments and (2) non-alcoholic beverages per person
Birthday cake or cupcakes decorated with Nationals logo, birthday child's name and complete with candles
One (1) hour visit from the Nationals Mascot, based on availability (your choice of Screech or Rushmore racing president)
Open access to the virtual hitting/pitching area, and the jungle gym (standard rules apply)
Nats hat for every child in attendance
All staffing and incidental fees
Free parking in a designated Park-adjacent garage
Option B: (Three hour party)$110.00 per person, minimum of 25 people, which includes the following:

Your choice of hot dog, pizza, or sandwich menu with all accompaniments and (2) non-alcoholic beverages per person
Birthday cake decorated with Nationals logo, birthday child's name and complete with candles
Access to the Lexus Presidents Club for the party
Batting practice for all guests in the Nationals batting cages
Tours of Nationals Park for all guests
Nats hat for all children in attendance
All staffing and BP equipment fees
Free parking in Parking Lot A
Additional Enhancements:Add a Build a Bear animal (bear, dog or Screech mascot) dressed in a Nationals Jersey as a take-home item for your guests at $28.00 each
Mascot visit (cost TBD based on mascot chosen, availability)
Upgraded buffet menu (cost TBD based on menu chosen)
Open bar for adults (based on consumption, available in the Presidents Club only)
Video Board Happy Birthday message (available for Option B only, and can be relayed to Presidents Club TVs) $500.00


Posted by: hansenjo | August 30, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Should Dunn leave I think Pena might be the direction they head; he's had an off year so he can be had on the 'cheap' and I've read at least one report that management likes the guy; plus it can't hurt to bring in someone from a franchise that turned it around.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | August 30, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Pena is two years older than Dunn and is batting .213--fifty points lower than Dunn. I thought Nats' fans were wary of Dunn because he is getting old at 30 and not hitting for a great average (.263)? Yes, Pena is cheaper, but that cannot be the top priority of fans. For a frugal management, yes, but not fans.

Tampa Bay has a 17 percent higher payroll than our lowly Nats in 2010. Maybe Tampa Bay could sign Dunn, while the Nats could settle for Pena and save money? It could be a trade, kind of?

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if Pena will be available for *Lerner cheap*. He's making 10 million this season - and though his average stinks - he still has 25 HR and 73 RBI. He's also a bit better with the glove than Dunn. Adam will make a lot more than him this Winter, but Pena won't be making less than $3 million (Lerner comfort zone).

Posted by: Kev29 | August 30, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Kev29,

There's still time for an injury or something to drop Pena's value. I wouldn't give up hope.

I do agree with you that Giambi, at 40 next year, will have a lower pricetag than Pena, and may therefore be a better candidate than Pena to replace Dunn. Giambi has no power anymore, but don't forget that they said Pudge was through. Pudge is having a fine season, without much power either. Giambi might be worth a try.

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

How much you want to bet they move Morse to 1st and try to pick up a free agent outfielder? They'll try to save face at half the price in RF. Everybody's beaten the 1B possibilities to death, unless they can trade for somebody. Except they've got very little they're willing to part with. This is the best alternative to save money.

Posted by: Brue | August 30, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

$500 for getting the birthday boy/girl's name on the scoreboard?

Wow.

Way to build a fan base with the kids.

Posted by: Meridian1 | August 30, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

What kind of half-price RF could make up for the loss of a 40/100 guy with a .900 OPS? You would need to come kinda close to that level of performance to save face, wouldn't you?

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we want players that the teams that have turned it around are willing to let go. We want the players that the teams that have turned it around would like to have. You just can't build a successful team with mostly low-priced, injured, over-the-hill cast-offs. Bill Veeck ran the White Sox like this during his second term there, but he was utterly broke and unprepared for the free agent regime. These people do not have that excuse. For gosh sakes, go sign a roster of competitive ballplayers. On the other hand, Dunn, Espinosa, Desmond, Zimmerman seems to have potential. Where'd I put down that glass of Kool Aid.

Posted by: markfromark | August 30, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

mark,

Well said. You are right that the Nats are building a core of good players. The big question is will the Nats complement this core with competitive players, or simply go the bargain route every year? Dunn's re-signing will help answer that question.

It's fun to find hidden gems, and that pleasure will not be taken away. Even if the Nats do decide to add quality players, the Nats will still have a need to find hidden gems, like Mike Morse, Nyjer (or at least the Nyjer the Nats thought they were getting), Sean Burnett, Tyler Clippard, Joel Peralta, and even an old-timer or two like Livan and Pudge. At this stage, the Nats need both--quality additions plus hidden gems to go with their growing core of young players. If the Nats continue to only rely on hidden gems, that will get the Nats nowhere (that is, where they are now). A more comprehensive strategy is needed.

Posted by: EdDC | August 30, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

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