Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS

Has Ian Desmond's surge made him a Rookie of the Year candidate?

During the all-star break, Ian Desmond went home to Sarasota, Fla., and used the three days off to "refresh myself," he said. While he relaxed, Desmond also had to stomach his first-half offensive performance. He hit .255 with a .297 on-base percentage and a .395 slugging percentage. For Desmond, it wasn't good enough.

"Sometimes you've got to go and just look yourself in the mirror and say, Hey, what are we going to do here?" Desmond said. "Is this going to be a .250 year, or are we going to put it in drive and try to make something happen?"

For almost two months, Desmond has made something happen. While hitting at the top of the lineup, Desmond has become one of the best offensive rookies in baseball since the all-star break. He has hit .337/.364/.467 - fourth, eighth and eight among a loaded National League rookie class - to raise his season totals to .286/.323/.423.

"I think this is what I've been waiting for all year, to really find my swing and be able to contribute to the offense the way I know I can," Desmond said. "It's just nice to be able to get four, five at-bats per game and be able to really help."

Desmond's ascension has come as he moved from most often hitting eighth to typically hitter second, in front of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn rather than the starting pitcher. Desmond's strength at the plate is his quick, powerful bat, not yet the patience required to fend off a steady diet of breaking balls in front of the pitcher.

Desmond, though, believes his surge has more to do with regular playing time and his improvement than a simple move in the batting order.

"That could be part of it," Desmond said. "At the same time, from the very beginning I said, 'I don't have my swing yet. This isn't the swing I know I can put out there every day.' I think it just happened to show up after the all-star break. I really don't know. I feel like if I was in the eight hole right now, I'd be having just as much success."

Still, Desmond acknowledged that he feels more a part of the game hitting second, like he's in the thick of things surrounded by Dunn and Zimmerman. Along with more regular playing time since the Nationals jettisoned Cristian Guzman to the Rangers in a trade, Desmond feels more involved and, therefore, more comfortable.

"I'm playing more my game right now," Desmond said. I'm working counts when I have to work counts. Hitting at the top of the lineup and hitting in the eight hole, those are two just totally different roles.

"It's all the situations in the game. If you're hitting at the bottom of the order, you're coming up in a lot different situations than you are at the top of the order. Some require more focus than others. Maybe I wasn't as focused down there. Maybe that's my own fault."

Whatever the reason, Desmond's late-season push has caused Manager Jim Riggleman, on multiple occasions, to stump for Desmond to receive consideration for National League Rookie of the Year. With a deep field of rookies -- the strongest third base coach Pat Listach, the 1992 winner, can remember -- Desmond probably stands little chance.

Desmond, unlike candidates like Giants catcher/first baseman Buster Posey, has been around all season. No one rookie has played more games than Desmond's 133. Is Desmond's year-long contribution more valuable than a stronger performance over a shorter period of time?

The best measure would be Wins Above Replacement, which is not a "rate" but a measure of total production regardless of games player. Using the WAR from FanGraphs, here's how an extensive list of candidates ranks:

Jason Heyward: 3.9
Buster Posey: 3.1
Jamie Garcia: 3.0
Ike Davis: 2.7
Stephen Strasburg: 2.6
Gaby Sanchez: 2.5
Starlin Castro: 2.3
Jose Tabata: 2.0
Ian Desmond: 1.8
Neil Walker: 1.8
Jonathon Niese: 1.8
Tyler Colvin: 1.7
Mike Stanton: 1.7
Chris Johnson: 1.7
Jon Jay: 1.4
Logan Morrison: 1.4
Mike Leake: 1.2
Pedro Alvarez: 0.8
Roger Bernadina: 0.7

So, yes, Desmond has been in the majors from opening day and contributed to the Nationals all year long, while Posey didn't get called to the Giants until June. But, according to this respected measure, Posey has packed more value into his major league time than Desmond provided into his full season. Heck, by this measure, Strasburg packed more value into 12 starts than Desmond did into 133 games.

That's one way to objectively weigh the problem of comparing rookies who have played for different lengths of time. It does seem odd to think Strasburg, who made all of 12 starts, has been worth more to his team than Sanchez, an everyday, middle-of-the-order first baseman with 17 home runs and an .810 OPS. That's one thing to like about the advanced stats. You can choose disagree with them, but they have a way of consistently opening your mind.

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 9, 2010; 5:46 PM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: More hard luck for Livan Hernandez
Next: Nationals awaiting word on Nyjer Morgan's suspension

Comments

My vote is for Posey over Hayward. Catcher is the toughest position to play. While Im not sure of Atlanta's record when Hayward was injured, Posey has definitely made the Giants a playoff contender. Garcia is a close 3rd. Desmond's errors likely puts him behind Sanchez, though I'd take Desmond over the others on the list.

Posted by: hersheyman | September 9, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Has Ian Desmond's surge made him a Rookie of the Year candidate?

Uh, no.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 9, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

I think he should be a candidate, certainly in the conversation. I am genuinely surprised at how well he's adjusted to the breaking stuff and still getting his hands around on the high and tight fastballs. The first half, he didn't know where the outside corner was, and although he isn't totally there yet, that might take years, he's got a much better sense of it. Quick hands, has a choked up approach, which in and of itself is refreshing for me. Just keeps his hands in and explodes at the last second. He also realized he didn't have to overswing to hit it hard. And he keeps BOTH HANDS ON THE BAT. That generates more power than you can imagine. Although, I don't care how much range he's got, he'd be playing 2B next year for me.

Posted by: Brue | September 9, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

His offensive surge hopefully predicts his career potential, and is fun to watch. But ROY, no, not even close in my opinion. WAR includes defense, and I know his range counterbalances his errors, but they sure don't help.

His year to me feels like flashes that show promise, not the cream of a good crop.

Posted by: utec | September 9, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

If Riggleman hadn't been such a stubborn mule, he would have put Desi in the second spot back in May -- and we might actually have a ROY candidate now.

Posted by: swanni | September 9, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

I think Riggleman is an extraordinarily decent fellow, but he's turned an average team into a bad one. He's gotta go.

Posted by: swanni | September 9, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

isn't this the guy who can be counted on to make a crucial error more often than a crucial base hit?
Despite the countless typos in this story, how about the failure to mention this critical point?

Posted by: scheermadness | September 9, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I like Desi and I think he should get some votes, but if you've watched the Giants play a few games you know it's Posey.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | September 9, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Not even close. The only places it has even been mentioned are here and on MASN by the Lerner/Kasten mouthpieces. There are at least 6 better choices, seven if you think Strasburg deserves consideration. I suspect it will go to Heyward although I personally like Posey. I believe the best rookie shortstop is Starlin Castro of the Cubs.

I wonder if, when the dust settles in the off-season, Espinosa will become the Nats' shortstop and they will try to move Desmond to another position.

Posted by: longhorn64 | September 9, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, ROY is crazy talk here. Fifth-place vote, maybe, if I'm in a homer mood.
Look at it this way: would you trade Desmond even up for Castro?
(Yes.)

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 9, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

I think Riggleman is an extraordinarily decent fellow, but he's turned an average team into a bad one. He's gotta go. Posted by: swanni | September 9, 2010 6:20 PM |

Who else would be willing to work for what the Nats pay him (600K)? He is as good a bargain basement manager as you can find.

Posted by: EdDC | September 9, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse


It really is a remarkable rookie class.

This list doesn't even include Buster Olney's pick, Jonny Venters. The Braves' fireballing lefty has a 1.77 ERA out of the pen.

Posted by: Drew8 | September 9, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Ok, first we had the bloggers looking for Zim to be in the MVP discussion, seriously; and on the same day AK is talking about a possible push for Desmond as ROY? Maybe Rigs should be manager of the year? Livo, but for a lot of quality starts that turned into losses after he was lifted, the Cy Young? Uhhmm, no. No on all of it. Has it really gotten this bad, that we have to pretend our players are better than they are?

Posted by: dfh21 | September 9, 2010 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Stonefingers Desmond isn't even the best rookie shortstop, see Castro of the Cubs, and baseball isn't football with a defensive and an offensive squad. Seems to me a Rookie of the Year should have to be able to field his position and Desmond clearly isn't doing a major league job there. This is all so much "homer" mush. I thought that if I didn't listen to Rob Carpenter I wouldn't be hearing this egregious nonsense. Of course if Carpenter, or anyone else in his position, were to say something negative about one of Rizzo's pets he'd lose his job, too.

Posted by: mrcart | September 9, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Zimmerman is currently leading the NL in WAR (6.7, ahead of Votto 6.5 and Pujols 5.9). Putting his name into the MVP discussion is totally legitimate.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 9, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

But, you know Ray, maybe that error was made largely because Ian is soooo athletic that he gets to that ball easily -- and then clanks it and/or throws it away -- and most SS's would not even get CLOSE to getting to that ball at all!

Ugghhh.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 9, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

nun, that's true, but realistically, if you're going to win MVP on a last-place team, you really do have to blow away the field, I think. If they were going to finish near .500, maybe.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 9, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's the damn shocker in this post: Listach won it in 1992. Jesus, I'm getting friggin' old.

Posted by: joemktg1 | September 9, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I had forgotten that! Laughing here, Joe, thanks.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 9, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

If Zim is in the discussion, then so is David Wright? His numbers are about the same over the board. Votto, Carlos Gonzalez and Pujols out-stat Zim in everything. Adrian Gonzalz is in the same neighborhood as Zim too, but his club is in first. Zim has had a nice season, but he's not MVP-worthy. You can use any pseudo-stat system you'd like, the Nats are a last palce club and Zim has not had a stand-out year in comparison to several guys out there in the NL this year (a few of which guys have had legit Triple Crown chances).

Posted by: dfh21 | September 9, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Just because a player doesn't have a realistic chance of winning an award because he plays on a bad team does not put him out of the discussion for that award. By your criteria Felix Hernandez is out of the discussion for the Cy Young award - which he may well win.

And those other guys may be having Triple Crown years at the plate, but when you factor in defense (as WAR does) Zimmerman is right up there with them. As Joey Eischen once said, you can suck on that and like it.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 9, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Desmond won't get much consideration for ROY in part because the Washington Post does not allow its writers to vote.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 9, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

"Desmond won't get much consideration for ROY in part because the Washington Post does not allow its writers to vote." If what I read here is typical that's a good thing!!

Posted by: mrcart | September 9, 2010 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Kinda presumed Desmond did not even belong in the discussion for ROY.

Took 13 of the best hitting rookies, ranked them by OPS. Desmond was 13th out of 13. Yep, doesn't belong, and what in the world was the point of this article?

Quick, who has a higher SLG, Heyward or Posey? (Posey)
Heyward has a high OBP, due to walks, and the two of them have the same OPS.
Heyward has played quit a bit more (444 AB v 327).
But with Posey owning the higher AVG and higher SLG, and Heyward striking out over 25% of his AB's (yes, 112 K's on 444 AB's), if deciding today, I'd vote Posey.

Poor pitchers, they rarely have a chance at this.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 9, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Mike Leake tumbled on the list. I would say Posey #1 given the rigors of catcher then Heyward then Stanton then Desmond from what I have seen. Ike Davis would be after Desmond given the difficulty of shortstop.

Posted by: dmacman88 | September 9, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm very glad we have posters here with some perspective. With one of the strongest classes in years, Desmond is a ROY candidate? Seriously? He's athletic and has a nice bat. He's got a bright future if, and only if, he can learn to field his position. We've started to see some glimpses of him playing smarter in the last few weeks, but you don't win ROY or get to the All-Star team with excuses designed to explain your shortcomings ("He tries to do too much," "Dunn isn't any good at 1B," "he's got such great range that some of his errors would otherwise be hits," "he was batting 8th for most of the season").

Posted by: Section222 | September 9, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

yeah that is true, major brands do give out free samples of their popular health products best place to check is http://bit.ly/9fz66r send it to your friends


Posted by: reginaldjo10 | September 10, 2010 4:15 AM | Report abuse

While I agree that Desi as ROY is just not going to happen this year, the WaPo is not the only place where I've heard his name in that context. Seth Everett and Eric Karabell on ESPN's Baseball Today podcast mentioned Ian as someone in the ROY discussion, just late last week.

Posted by: shepdave2003 | September 10, 2010 5:46 AM | Report abuse

Nunof1, you and Joey Eichen have one thing in common, class.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 10, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Desmond is the runaway winner.....for having BY FAR the most errors of any player in MLB. Get real!

Posted by: kaiserbl | September 10, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Desmond is simply not close to being the rookie of year. Moreover, in looking at the list of WAR for rookies, it strikes me as how unreliable (i.e. somewhat meaningless) a stat it is.

Posted by: mgilham | September 10, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Not sure why all the hate for Desmond; would you rather have Gonzales there every day? Or Guz?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 10, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

I don't pay much attention to such awards, and would be surprised if Desmond got ROY.

But thanks for the post, and occasion to reflect on Albie Pearson and Bob Allison -- who got the award while playing for pretty dreadful Washington teams.

Posted by: KenNat | September 10, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Mike Leake would be my vote

Posted by: hansenjo | September 10, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Not sure why all the hate for Desmond; would you rather have Gonzales there every day? Or Guz?
Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 10, 2010 8:36 AM

This is such a typical response to legitimate criticism, i.e., name calling instead of refuting argument. And Gonzales has hit a lot better since getting some ABs strung together, as has Adam Kennedy. There's no question that either would be a superior presence in the field to Ian Desmond. They'll never get the chance, though, because the Nats, like so many other baseball organizations, type cast their personnel in roles like starter and utility. Look how long Michael Morse had to outhit the rest of the team before he became a regular. I don't think Rizzo would permit one of his pets to be sat down to give another player a real shot even if Riggleman wanted to.

Posted by: mrcart | September 10, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

We had a legit ROY candidate in Zimm a few years ago, and yes, I think his chances were hurt by being on a losing team. Ian has had a very nice year, especially the second half. His errors have also declined recently, which really needed to happen. Not a ROY performance but definitely a keeper.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 10, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I like Buster Posey and Starlin Castro,Desmond's thirty plus errors take him out of the mix.I'm having to talk my co-workers off the ledge here in A-T-L as the Braves have fallen out of first place,i've had to remind them that they still have the wild card.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 10, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

mrcart I disagree; while Desmond may not be the long term answer at ss Gonzales certainly is not, and you won't find out about Desmond playing him once a week. If Gonzo had the skills to be an every day MLB player then he'd be playing; I think its a reach for you to think there is some vast conspiracy theory that is holding him down. True, Riggs stuck with vets for too long but I don't believe for a second he's riding the bench simply because at some point he was labelled a backup. He's there because not only is Desmond better right now but Desmond has a higher ceiling.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 10, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

>>Has Ian Desmond's surge made him a Rookie of the Year candidate?

No.

But I would nominate Jim Double Switch Riggleman for Manager of the Year. That guy is in a class by himself. No doubt about it. BTW I'm not sure he even realizes he is allowed to take a pitcher out of the game without also taking out a position player. Some1 should ask him about that. What a guy!

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 10, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I certainly thought Desmond had a shot at ROY when I saw him last September.

Posted by: jboogie1 | September 10, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, from Jayson Stark's column at ESPN.com:

While the Nationals rose up to defend Nyjer Morgan last week after that debacle in Florida, don't mistake those words as a vote of confidence in this guy's future. Two scouts whose coverage assignments include the Nationals say they've come away with the impression the team is determined to trade Morgan this winter after a series of aggravating decisions and actions, on-field and off, this season.

Asked what the chances were that the Nationals will keep Morgan, one scout summed it up in one word: "Nonexistent."

----------
I know some of you freaked out over my reference to Elijah Dukes and the kind things said about him until he was cut, but this is the typical Nats pattern: be nice and then let them go. Adam Dunn is basically getting the same treatment.

Which means Rizzo's comments are basically worthless. It'll come down to his actions.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 10, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Not sure why all the hate for Desmond; would you rather have Gonzales there every day? Or Guz?
Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 10, 2010 8:36 AM

This is such a typical response to legitimate criticism, i.e., name calling instead of refuting argument. And Gonzales has hit a lot better since getting some ABs strung together, as has Adam Kennedy. There's no question that either would be a superior presence in the field to Ian Desmond. They'll never get the chance, though, because the Nats, like so many other baseball organizations, type cast their personnel in roles like starter and utility. Look how long Michael Morse had to outhit the rest of the team before he became a regular. I don't think Rizzo would permit one of his pets to be sat down to give another player a real shot even if Riggleman wanted to.

Posted by: mrcart | September 10, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

WRONG- Sorry, I strongly disagree. Desmond superior range, let alone his bat and throwing arm, make him the better player. For every throwing error Desmond commits, he snags 3 hits that would otherwise be singles, sometimes RBI singles. Also, Desmond is the 2nd best hitter on the team- 2nd only to Zimmerman in BA.

I'm sorry, but there's no graceful way put this: The people who hate on Desmond just don't know enough baseball.

If they did, they'd know that his error total is comparable to many other great shortstops in their rookie years.

Posted by: jboogie1 | September 10, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

>>"Asked what the chances were that the Nationals will keep Morgan, one scout summed it up in one word: "Nonexistent."
Posted by: baltova1

From your lips to Gods ears.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 10, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Desmond had 6 years in the minors to learn how to field. Didn't happen, never will. ROY is absurd for a guy who should be a DH. His errors have lost at least 20 games this year. Alberto Gonzales would have made a huge difference in the record.

Posted by: lp_lodestar | September 10, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

lp, you really think we are an above .500 team playing Gonzo instead of Desmond? Really?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 10, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

@SCNatsFan - Please show us where there is "hate for Desmond" in the postings.

Pointing out that he has made 30 errors, and pointing out that he is no way a candidate for ROY ain't close to hatin'.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 10, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

All this year we've heard Desmond's dismal fielding attributed to his being a rookie. Since that won't wash next year,he will move to second base so all his errors can be rationalized away because, as Bob Carpenter will say, "playing second is a lot different than playing short. Ian can't be expected to play well in the field until he gets used to his new position, right, Ray?" Maye 2012 in left field, what?

Posted by: mrcart | September 10, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

sunderland, you are correct, hate isn't the right word; I guess I'm surprised how many "fans" of the Nats have given up on him already. No one can defend his errors, and until he gets older and corrects his mistakes it isn't a given that simply maturing will make him a better fielder. Still, he's the best option we have there (unless you want to give up on him, give the spot to Espinosa and once again have a wasteland for the future at either 2B or SS) and I disagree Gonzo would make anyone forget about Desmond. I'm excited about a combo of Desmond/Espinosa and I'm willing to put up with the growing pains it will take for them to become the players we all hope they will, if for no other reason then behind them is nothing.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 10, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Look at the list another - optimistic way. The Nats have THREE folks on it!! There's 19 players on the list - and 32 teams in the league. And more quality young players are coming. It's a fun time to be a Nats fan (and will of course be even more fun when .500 is in the rear view mirro)

Posted by: humbleandfree | September 10, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

>>It's a fun time to be a Nats fan. Posted by: humbleandfree

Have you checked the standings recently or even any time in the past 3 years? Wow. You and your kind are the reason the Lerners and Stanky can keep happily trudging along this same dire path while all the while smiling and happily pocketing the money you dish out for games.
Welcome to Pittsburgh Pirates South.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 10, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Why all the anger towards Desmond (particularly because of his errors)? It's a game. Does it matter that much to you whether the Nats win or lose? Desmond's kind of fun to watch--every ground ball an adventure. Isn't that enough?

Stop blogging, anyway. Go take a walk. Baseball's a summer game--for losing teams, anyway. And fall is in the air.

Posted by: BPupp | September 10, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, humbleandfree, what's the matter with you? Don't you know anything? Everybody knows if the Lerners had just spent more money, we'd have Mark Teixeria, Aroldis Chapman, Orlando Hudson, Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay and Babe Ruth on this team and Bobby Valentine would be managing it, we'd have pitching, hitting and third base coaches who never make mistakes and this team would be 130-0 by now...

Posted by: baltova1 | September 10, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

From CBSsports.com: "What can you say about Nyjer Morgan, other than that he's not very good at baseball? Amazingly, some have interpreted his elbow-throwing, catcher-flattening, mound-charging, crowd-inciting act of the last two weeks as reflective of his "passion for the game," when it's just as easily characterized as sad macho bluster or the first bloom of a budding hothead."

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 10, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"Also, Desmond is the 2nd best hitter on the team- 2nd only to Zimmerman in BA."

Are you seriously suggesting he's a better hitter than Adam Dunn?

If he had Dunn numbers at SS, he'd be MVP easily. But let's be real -- he's far below Dunn's walk rate, and nowhere near his power numbers. Morse is also a better hitter, although he hasn't played all year, and Willingham is better (even after his prolonged slump) although he's out of commission. So I can see ignoring those two. But you can't say he hits better than Dunn.

Posted by: 202character | September 10, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Are you insane for asking this question? Preposterous!

Posted by: richs91 | September 10, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Why all the anger towards Desmond (particularly because of his errors)? It's a game. Does it matter that much to you whether the Nats win or lose? Desmond's kind of fun to watch--every ground ball an adventure. Isn't that enough?

Stop blogging, anyway. Go take a walk. Baseball's a summer game--for losing teams, anyway. And fall is in the air.

Posted by: BPupp | September 10, 2010 11:56 AM |

I'm not sure what your point is. Isn't it natural for fans to want to see their team play better, to improve with time? No one is saying that baseball is the most important factor in our lives. Context is everything. Within the context of the diversion that Natdom is, fans have opinions based on the team's play. If a medium like this column is not appropriate for a discussion of the fans' differing views it has no reason to exist.

Posted by: mrcart | September 10, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Humble-and-free - and Espinosa, if he keeps it up, just might crack the list this season. It's not impossible.

Posted by: 202character | September 10, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Why are so many fans so negative?

True, it's been a long five years but in that time, the team has gotten much better.

Brian Schneider became Wilson Ramos & Pudge

Nick Johnson became Adam Dunn

Jose Vidro became Danny Espinosa

Cristian Guzman became Ian Desmond

Vinny Castilla became Ryan Zimmerman

Terrmel Sledge became Josh Willingham

Brad Wilkerson became Nyer Morgan & Roger Bernadina

Jose Guillen became Michael Morse

John Patterson became Stephen Strasburg

Estoban Loiaza became Jordan Zimmermann

Livan is still Livan

Tony Armas Jr. became John Lannan

Ryan Drese became Jason Marquis

Chad Cordero became Drew Storen

You might not like the wins and losses, but the team is far more talented than previous teams.

Even without Strasburg next season, this could be an 85-88 win team in 2011.

So, yeah, I'm like some of the other poster's here -- I'm excited about the future.

Posted by: rushfari | September 10, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Humble-and-free - and Espinosa, if he keeps it up, just might crack the list this season. It's not impossible.

Posted by: 202character | September 10, 2010 12:17 PM

Let's just wait and see how Espinosa adjusts now that opposition pitchers are getting him out on curve balls. He was obviously successful with the steady diet of fastball he saw in the first couple of games - not so much so when he began to see the curve balls. I think he'll do fine but, objectively, it's still an open question.

Posted by: mrcart | September 10, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

>>Even without Strasburg next season, this could be an 85-88 win team in 2011

Pray tell dear delusional one, what starting pitchers on the Nats can account for 85 wins? Just wondering.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 10, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

On Dunn, we had a good discussion about how we have to trust Mike Rizzo. He is building a team based on defense, and sometimes fans do not understand that you have to sacrifice hitting to get to the level of defense you need.

I wonder whether it is much simpler than that. The Nats' budgets under Lerner have been amazingly consistent over the years, near the bottom of MLB and in the low-to-mid sixty million range, without much variation at all. The Nats' budgets are significantly smaller than the budgets of clubs in much smaller towns. That's just the way it is.

The Nats do indeed trust Rizzo. He can do just about anything he wants within his budget. But he has to live within his budget. Dunn just might not be affordable, given the budget.

With some clubs, the GM goes to the team president and owner and makes his case why the budget needs to be extended so a certain player can be signed. Sometimes the owner will say yes, and sometimes no. In the Nats' case, the budget is the budget, and that's it. The answer is no.

It would be nice to se a little change to that philosophy. It could happen!

Posted by: EdDC | September 10, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

"It would be nice to se a little change to that philosophy. It could happen!"

In the unlikely event that they sign Dunn, that would indicate a change in their cheap ways. I don't expect it, but I certainly would welcome it and would then be happy to renew my ST package. Let it be so.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 10, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

NatsFly,

We were part of three season ticket packages at one time. The ballpark was a second home. Now we still go to the games once in awhile, a few times a year, but that's it. I want to see the Nats make a commitment to the fan base before I up my commitment.

Signing Dunn keeps the Nats even in 2011 relative to 2010. Continued improvement by the current rookies can get the Nats above even with their record in 2010, although the Nats will still be likable losers in my judgment. I would like to see some further improvement beyond that; for example, by adding a Carl Crawford to go with Dunn, Zim, the Hammer for another year, Des, Espinosa and the others. What a lineup that would be.

It doesn't have to be Crawford, of course. Here's a list:

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2001/05/potential-free-agents-for-2011.html

Posted by: EdDC | September 10, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Why all the anger towards Desmond (particularly because of his errors)?... Go take a walk.... Fall is in the air.

Posted by: BPupp|

I'm not sure what your point is. . . . Context is everything. Within the context of the diversion that Natdom is, fans have opinions based on the team's play. If a medium like this column is not appropriate for a discussion of the fans' differing views it has no reason to exist.

Posted by: mrcart | September 10, 2010 12:16 PM

Good question--and well put. I'm just asking a question: why there's so much anger around here? So many people seem to read this column and get angry--at each other, at the players, and at team management and owners. Maybe it would better--for them--if the column didn't exist, or if they could stop reading and writing and do something more constructive.

Because of all the negativism--and the cooler weather--I'm giving it up until next spring myself. See ya!

Posted by: BPupp | September 10, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

>I'm sorry, but there's no graceful way put this: The people who hate on Desmond just don't know enough baseball.

If they did, they'd know that his error total is comparable to many other great shortstops in their rookie years.

Posted by: jboogie1

Yeah, it's just the convenient and lazy way to look at him. He's definitely been whacking the hell out of the ball the last couple of months, and that's much more valuable than anything he does in the field. Like good ol Joe Garagiola used to say on the game of the week, 'gloves fall out of trees, but bats are hard to find, and when you get one, you better hold onto it.' They'll just put him at second next year, and the all the whining about his fielding % at SS will be a distant memory. He'll have much more time to gather himself and throw at 2B, and his range will still be a factor, especially to his left in helping out the 1B. He's big, so he won't have any trouble with the pivot at second base. This team needs hitting badly, the defense will improve when the pitching does. The defense always looks bad when the pitchers miss their spots and they're out of position as a result.

Posted by: Brue | September 10, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company