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Jason Marquis finds some satisfaction in his lost season

Morning brushback

Now that it is over, Jason Marquis can put an appropriate stamp on his first year with the Nationals. "It was," Marquis said, "a weird season." Before he signed with the Nationals, Marquis had never played on a team that missed the playoffs or spent time on the disabled list. He experienced both this year.

On the surface, it was a disappointing season. "Obviously," Marquis said, "this season didn't turn out the way I wanted personally and as a team." He arrived here as the pitcher chosen and signed to stabilize the Nationals rotation. Bone chips in his elbow interrupted those plans, leading first to some ghastly line scores and then surgery.

But, by the end, Marquis salvaged his year and offered hope the last year of his two-year contract will be better than the first. He went 2-4 with a 3.61 ERA in his last eight starts, and after coming back from surgery he went 2-6 with a 4.29. When healthy, he was basically the pitcher the Nationals thought they had signed.

"I judge it off all my starts I made after the surgery," Marquis said. "The numbers are what they are, but I was pitching hurt coming out of spring training. So I don't judge it off of how I was before the surgery. That's the first time I went through a situation like that. I had to battle back. Start by start, day by day, I started feeling more and more like myself. I worked hard to get better, and the work has paid off."

Last night, Marquis held a depleted Phillies lineup to one run in six innings. They constantly placed Marquis on the ropes, knocking seven hits against him. Marquis kept them at bay with seven strikeouts, an unusually high total for a starter who entered with 4.1 per nine innings. He gave the Nationals a chance to win, handing it over to the bullpen and, eventually, Adam Dunn.

With his season finished, Marquis will of course stay with the Nationals and then head home - something he isn't used to. Marquis will snap a unique: for the first 10 years of his career, he pitched for a playoff team. Now, he's an October spectator for the first time.

"It's not going to be fun," Marquis said. "I'll still watch the games, if I'm sitting on the couch and there's not much to do. I'll definitely enjoy hanging out with my family a little bit more than usual."

FROM THE POST

Adam Dunn hit a walk-off homer to give the Nationals a 2-1 win over the Phillies in what could have been one of his final home games with the Nats.

Boz raves about the Danny Espinosa-Ian Desmond tandem, but not before dropping the news that the Nats recently offered Dunn a three-year contract.

Stephen Strasburg is upbeat in his recovery so far, Dave Sheinin writes.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Tom Milone and Tyler Moore came to Nationals Park last night to receive their minor league pitcher and player of the year awards. I'll have a bit more later today on what they had to say about their seasons and the honor.

FROM AROUND THE WEB

Adam Dunn is a clubhouse favorite and a fan favorite, Mark Zuckerman says.

Ian Desmond is becoming a leader, Bill Ladson writes.

Brian McNally has the full transcript of Stephen Strasburg's chat with local media.

By Adam Kilgore  | September 29, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Morning brushback  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Is tomorrow goodbye for Adam Dunn?
Next: Today's lineup

Comments

Re Ian Desmond-I've always been a fan of his enthusiasm and potential. Of course, his errors have ignited a lot of negativity on this site. If he continued to get thirty errors year after year, then I would join the naysayers. But I don't think he will. To put this year into perspective, one might consider Ozzie Smith's 24 errors after three years playing in the major leagues, at age twenty-five. Or Yount's twenty-eight errors at the same age. Or Yount's forty-four errors at a younger age. The tunnel vision that some fans have about Desmond, I find discouraging. All these people focus on his errors, blithely ignoring his other contributions. By the way, after ten years in the major leagues, Ozzie Smith had twenty-two errors. Hey, Mark Belanger had twenty-four or so one year. Granted that's not thirty-three, but it's in the ballpark-no pun intended.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | September 29, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

jcampbell - agree with you about Desmond. It's so easy to pick on him, but ballplayers develop, he's young, incredibly athletic & has great instincts. Nothing is a given of course, but the chances of him being a very good MLB middle infielder and productive hitter are real solid.

Boswell wrote"...the Nats have finally offered Adam Dunn a three-year contract after it might be too late to get a deal done."

Well of course it's too late. This is classic Lerners. Positioning themselves to say they gave it a good effort.
Dunn will be offered arbitration, reject it (arbitration is a one year deal) and become a free agent. He'll field offers, from AL clubs that he knows will sooner or later DH him, and from NL clubs that may or may not trade him to an AL team within two years. And then he'll talk with the Nats, essentially allowing them the top his best offer.

Any other path at this point is foolish, and the Nats are not deserving of any other treatment.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 29, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse

@Sunderland, I agree with your description of the dynamic of the offer. Rizzo seems to use the hardball-with-good-players approach to get deals done, in contrast with Bowden's free-money-to-bad-players approach. It is bad for the nerves and erodes goodwill all around, in my opinion. But I'm not sure about the Nats "deserving" the treatment. Rizzo is the one driving down this road, eyes wide open.

I was puzzled by the news of the 3-year deal, but your analysis seems correct, it's another application of the "shiny-objects" clause in the Lerner contracts protocol:

If it’s shiny and expensive, and our fans will eat it up,
Let’s make a phantom budget, bid, then come in runner-up.

Posted by: nationalsanthems | September 29, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

I suspect you are right on all points, Sunderland.

On the good side, Desi has a real shot to develop into a fine SS. Have watched with interest all year. While I have not done the statistical analysis (surely one of you stat wizards can supply that for us?) it seems to me his error rate is down in the last third of the season. 30+ errors will kill him in the long run, but for a rookie season (even with a minor league seasoned rookie) it does not spell doom at all. He and Espi form an intriguing duo, and may be a great one (but see below).

On the bad side, the Nats have completely blown it with Dunn. Completely. Even if they sign him ultimately, and I think those chances small, they have alienated their fan base and announced to pro players throughout the MLB (including their own clubhouse) that they are a third rate organization. It is hard to believe that good players would want to come here, and that the good ones already here will want to stay. As Boz put it: dopes.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 29, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The only reason at this point not to test free agency is the worry the Nats sign someone else and Dunn loses the spot; outside of that, no reason for Dunn not to go to FA and field offers.

As for Desi/Espi, I'm excited about the prospect of watching them become one of the best DP combos in the majors.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 29, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Re: the Nats' offer of a three-year deal to Dunn.

Does anybody still believe he won't get a four-year contract offer when he becomes a free agent? If he starts out the process with this offer in hand, other teams will have to top it and probably by offering more than just more money.

He's going to get a four-year deal.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 29, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

jcampbell:

Yount was never an elite fielder as a SS. His Golden Glove came in the year he won the MVP, and a lot of voters simply put his name in for both. He did not deserve the GG, and he only spent about half his career as a shortstop.

And 24 errors is not "in the ballpark" with 33. It's one hell of a lot more.

Desmond will never be better than "pretty good" as a SS, he simply cannot do what Danny Espinosa can do, i.e., make strong, accurate throws while twisting around in the direction opposite to the one your body is going in while you are off the ground. He and the team would be better off with him as a second baseman, or in the outfield. It's not as if the Nots aren't desperate for good players at the latter spot.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Unless you have nine GG players on the field who were all amazing brilliant in the rookie seasons, it just ain't a ballclub according the Fairfax6.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | September 29, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

NatsFly:
What Desmond seems to be learning is that he doesn't have to make a 'webgem' worthy play on every ball he gets to. Eating the occaisional ball will cut down his error rate, imo. Also, learning to play with Espinosa manning 2nd (who also has excellent range) leaves Desmond worrying less about the support on his glove side.

Posted by: BinM | September 29, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

I'm just wondering out loud and building on other recent posts... I wonder if the Nats' plan for 2011 hinges on a fixed budget that doesn't actually allow Rizzo to sign Dunn and get an OF and SP, too. At that rate, Dunn leaves, Morse (or Willingham?) moves to 1B, and the Nats go after the OF and SP they need. The gas feeding that engine is a fixed budget. Marrero in 2012 doesn't appear to be a long-term solution (questionable glove, modest power). Fill one hole or two but not all 3. Just wondering...

Posted by: fpcsteve | September 29, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I'm a big Desmond fan, and believe that the advanced metrics (for whatever they're worth) show his range as off the charts. And he's definitely cut down on the error rate in the latter part of the season -- namely by holding balls that have no chance instead of forcing throws that get away.

But all that said, and lost in Dunn's walk-off, is that we likely lose last night if Espinosa had not made that incredible twisting play in the 6th. Man on third, two outs, and he goes up the middle and then throws from mid-air while twisting back toward first. Just incredible. And if he doesn't make that perfect play, we're down 2-1. Or worse. And Dunn is facing Lidge in the 9th instead of Contreras...

Whatever comes of Desmond and Espinosa, they're a high energy, fun combo to watch.

Posted by: cdstej | September 29, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"Re: the Nats' offer of a three-year deal to Dunn.

Does anybody still believe he won't get a four-year contract offer when he becomes a free agent?"

Why should he get a four year deal? His numbers two years ago were (slightly) better, he was two years younger then, and he didn't get a four year deal. Two years ago, his only competition in the 1B/DH market was Teixeira, who was so far ahead of Dunn that it didn't even matter. Dunn could just as easily have had no competition in the 1B/DH market then, as some say is the case now, and he only rated a two year deal. The economy is no better now than it was two years ago. Dunn couldn't command a four year deal two years ago, and it's no sure assumption he can command one now. Indeed, given all the factors it would seem unlikely, would it not?

Posted by: FeelWood | September 29, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"When healthy, he was basically the pitcher the Nationals thought they had signed."

I guarantee you the Nats did not think they had signed a six innings at best starting pitcher. They thought they were signing a horse. I'm sure I could dig up some articles your buddy Chico wrote at the time, reflecting that fact. Seriously, Kilgore, put some thought into the stuff you write once in a while.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | September 29, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"Unless you have nine GG players on the field who were all amazing brilliant in the rookie seasons, it just ain't a ballclub according the Fairfax6."

This really is a remarkably stupid statement. You deserved a team as wretched as the Nots currently are and will doubtless continue to be.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Sign Adam Dunn.

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 29, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Sign Adam Dunn

Posted by: natbiscuits | September 29, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Just out of curiosity Fairfax6, do you consider yourself a Nationals fan?

CiL, I don't think Kilgore meant about the innings pitched, I think they mean about the movement on the fastball and breaking pitches; by all accounts he had lost movement on his pitches more then velocity. Who knows how long he could have gone last night; remember it's not like Riggs has a history of letting guys stretch themselves.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 29, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

"Just out of curiosity Fairfax6, do you consider yourself a Nationals fan?"

I'm a baseball fan, and I know a wretched franchise when I see one.

I would never root for a franchise as patentically inept as this one currently is. Show some signs of actually being able to field a bona fide major league ballclup and I'd consider it. Until then, this organization is a clown college, and is perpertrating a fraud on the public while receiving a not inconsiderable taxpayer funded subsidy. If you enjoy rooting for a team like that, have fun. There's going to be a heck of a lot more of the same and even worse coming in the next few years, you should be happy as a pig in its sty.


Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"...announced to pro players throughout the MLB (including their own clubhouse) that they are a third rate organization"

OMG, the sky is falling! The sky is falling!

It is fantastical how the signing of Adam Dunn is the pivot on which the whole universe hinges. Get a grip, people.

Posted by: driley | September 29, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

SC, I don't think either of us can know for sure what Kilgore meant. I guess that's the point, in a way: he should be doing the kind of analysis and thinking that you and I are doing, and writing accordingly. Instead of making blanket statements that don't say much and that don't stand up to scrutiny.

On whether Marquis can still pitch deep into games, I'm not certain; it seems to me that he is using up everything he's got just to go 6. But whether he still can do it or not, the bottom line is that he hasn't done it, yet. And the pitcher whom the Nats thought they were signing was a guy who would pitch deep into games routinely.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | September 29, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

fpcsteve:

While wondering aloud about Rizzo's budget, I'll offer that this is part of the reason why he'll have Riggleman return for next year.

If he's gonna replace Riggleman, he's gonna do it with someone good, and thus with someone expensive.

So we'll suffer through 2011 with Riggleman, because with or without him, we're not making the playoffs. And the budget will be spent on players, not on management.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 29, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Yes, the Nats have a "fixed budget." If as currently expected, they don't sign Dunn, then they get to try to sign some others who will be willing to play for the Nats, especially if those players' hoped-for better offers do not come in. So you get the leftovers. Regardless, be sure to acknowledge that the Nats' budget will be low, it will be fixed (that's what a budget is), and it is designed to produce another last place team.

Those of us arguing for more of a MLB approach to this franchise are not hanging out hats on re-signing Dunn. An MLB approach would of course have Dunn and Zim in the line-up-- but lots of other "fan favorites" built up over the years too. They are the un-named everyday guys and pitchers. They are unknown to us because the Nats passed on them. If the Nats had focused on youthful people in trades and free agency (domestic and international), you would have a young team comprised of your own farm system graduates plus your several additions. Fans do not see the benefit of the MLB approach because they do not know what they missed out on.

And as the Nats rookies come along to take the place of the still-young vets in the line-up, you trade the vets for more prospects. You spiral upwards rather than languish at the bottom. You build fan interest, and generate revenue to keep building. This approach favors baseball over short-term profits.

Posted by: EdDC | September 29, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Re Dunn and why two years ago he only commanded a 2-year deal from the Nats ... my theory is that most teams viewed him as a liability in the OF and that any plusses on the offensive side were due in part to the bandbox he played in in Cincinnati.

Now, for the past two seasons, he's put up similar numbers playing in a ballpark that's fair to both pitchers and hitters. Add to that his first full season playing a new position and I believe he has earned the right to a 4-year deal. Or at the very least, a 3 year deal with a club (or mutual) option for the fourth year.

The Nats can say all they want about wanting to upgrade their defense at first, but why would you sacrifice not only the offense coming from first if you replace Dunn with Pena or D.Lee or LaRoche (not to mention the protection he provides for Zimmerman and/or Desmond batting ahead of him), but most of the other FA options are OLDER than Dunn, which typically assures they would become more of a liability with their defense as their bodies get even older (and everyone knows that if you sign as a FA with the Nats, or are expected to have a big impact the next season, then you will most definitely be going on the DL for a significant amount of time!).

Finally, if the Nats decide to let Dunn walk, take the draft picks (and if a team in the bottom 15 nabs him, no 1st round pick for the Nats!), then decide to fill the spot internally with either Willingham or Morse, how exactly is this upgrading the defense at first? Willingham has played 4 innings at 1B his enitre career (plus he isn't exactly Jack-be-nimble out there) and Morse has only started a total of 12 games at 1B in his career. Once again, how is that going to help improve the defense at 1B?

Sign Dunn Now!

Posted by: erocks33 | September 29, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

A better topic for a blog entry like this would be why a team would actually want Jason Marquis to pitch more innings than he has this season. Not to mention why anyone would want to sign him to a free agent contract worth $15 million over 2 years.

It might have occurred to somebody in charge that a guy who was, at best, a mediocre pitcher for some good to excellent ballclubs wasn't a good fit for a team that was probably going to finish at least 20 games under .500, injuries or no.

And next year's money is guaranteed, which means they're going to put him in the starting rotation unless his right arm falls off.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

fairfax - if you're not a Nats fan then why are you on a Nats board? Just curious. I'm not a fan of the O's so why would I lurk on their board, or any other team's board. As for one of us being happy, it seems like you're the one happy right now as you like to focus on all the negative parts of the team, although surely those parts are more numerous and easier to see.

I'm sure when this team starts winning - and it will - the tune will change to how hard or more expensive tickets are. Some just like to complain, although it is their God given right to do so.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 29, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

The focus is on Dunn because he is the only $20 million free agent the Nats have signed under Lerner. It is not like there have been a half-dozen and you have to figure out whom to keep and whom to let go. So the "only one" is being discarded. That makes the Dunn decision stand out in fans' minds. Plus the fact he is one of the best sluggers in the game.

As to the point that if you let Dunn go, then you can go out and get Carl Crawford:

1. Why on earth would Carl Crawford want to come here? If the Nats had been building all along, then yes, he would want to come. But not now to this sorry, supposedly impoverished franchise. TB easily outspends the Nats.

2. A good club would try to add Crawford to Dunn, Zim, Desi and all the others. It is not "add one to replace one." That's bush.

Posted by: EdDC | September 29, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Just to offer some perspective, fairfax6 is also firm in his belief that the Nats bullpen has been horrible all season long.

Take that into consideration as you ponder his other remarks.

And take note of his (paraphrasing) *I'll not be a fan of this team as long as they suck* attitude. But when a bandwagon comes along......

Posted by: Sunderland | September 29, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

"And as the Nats rookies come along to take the place of the still-young vets in the line-up, you trade the vets for more prospects."

What "still-young" vets do the Nots currently have playing as regulars?

Exactly one, Ryan Zimmerman. Everyone else is either not a vet, like Desmond, or too old by baseball standards to be considered young like Morgan, Morse, Gonzalez, Maxwell, or Bernadina.

Those last named players have little or no trade value. Bernadina might draw some interest as a fourth or fifth outfielder, Gonzalez might be attractive to a club that badly needs a utility man. That's not going to bring you much in the way of major-league ready talent, or young prospects.


Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I notice that neither Sunderland nor SCNatsFan care to take issue with any of the points I'm making in this comment threat, just throwing out silly remarks meant to be insults. I'll ignore their latest two very lame attempts at sarcastic wit by pointing out that years of posting on threads such as this, and also ones devoted to politics, have made me aware that a lot of people on them have a profesional interest in the discussion, and that these comment threads probably have a lot of posters who actually work for the Nots. So consider that when reading some people's Pollyannish attempts to make this franchise seem better than it actually is, and drive off anyone who tries to interject a bit of reality into the discussion.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

fairfax6, I took issue with your rant that said the buupen was, in your words, horrid. You found no one to agree with you and never wavered despite the arguments and stats that showed otherwise. Why other to argue with someone who has their mind made up? In your mind this team is going nowhere; that's your right to have that opinion but you don't have to shout it in every thread about every player, anyone who has posted here knows your opinion and no one questions your right to have it.

As far as Marquis, if you look at his numbers post surgery I think you'd find his numbers acceptable to most major league teams; sorry, most would find them acceptable, and there is no reason to think with an offseason to regain form he can't pitch with an ERA somewhere around 4, which I think most expected when he signed here. But true, he won't win the Cy Young so he's useless to the team and has no trade value.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | September 29, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I still wish Rizzo had traded Dunn for Dan Hudson, and then maybe signed Dunn as a free agent. Hudson was an excellent minor leaguer and is proving to be a solid major league starter, likely better than anyone in the Nat's system this side of Strasburg and Zimmermann. (not including this years draft.) I sometimes wonder about the organization's ability to spot talent. Rizzo, in my opinion, has not made any good moves except the Ramos trade. I see almost no true prospects in the minors. Heck, the Nats were shut out of the top twenty in both short season leagues.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | September 29, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Fairfax, never been a pollyanna. Never positioned the Nats as a strong organization or a good baseball team.
Certainly never worked for the Nats.

The Nats overpaid for Marquis, for sure, but that's the position they've put themselves in. To get decent FA pitching, they needed then (and still need now) to overpay.

If Marquis does what he could do (200+ innings with a 4.50 ERA), he'd help our sorry rotation for sure. At $7.5M guaranteed, that's a lousy return. But it's where we're at.

The "still young vets" discussion is moot. EdDC mentioned that as part of what the Nats should have been doing beginning 5 years ago. His point is that we don't really have much in terms of 'still young vets".

There's response to the points you've made.
Marquis is not much for a front line starter and we don't really have much in terms of young vets. This is not news.

Respectfully (seriously), I gotta run and will be off this till tomorrow.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 29, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

My comment: "And as the Nats rookies come along to take the place of the still-young vets in the line-up, you trade the vets for more prospects."

Fairfax's reply: What "still-young" vets do the Nots currently have playing as regulars? Exactly one, Ryan Zimmerman. Everyone else is either not a vet, like Desmond, or too old by baseball standards to be considered young like Morgan, Morse, Gonzalez, Maxwell, or Bernadina. Those last named players have little or no trade value. Bernadina might draw some interest as a fourth or fifth outfielder, Gonzalez might be attractive to a club that badly needs a utility man. That's not going to bring you much in the way of major-league ready talent, or young prospects. Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 11:26 AM

Fairfax,

I was referring to players the Nats should have been adding all along via trades, free agency, international signings, whatever. I'm not referring to what the Nats have now. The Nats don't have those players now, because they did not sign them over the years. They are the Nats' unknown stars, because they never were signed. I love the idea of building through the draft, but a comprehensive approach can build on that.

The Nats have gotten off to a late start, but it is never too late.

Posted by: EdDC | September 29, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

SCNatsFan:

My, my, getting a little obsessive there, aren't we? Not to mention borderline incoherent.

Take a deep breath, and find something else to do with your time aside from following this Superfund site of a ballclub. Life is beautiful, you should get one. :-)


Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

EdDC:

Sorry, thought you were talking about current players. My mistake.

Actually an interesting point now that I understand you. The Nots did have a bona fide ML team at first, albeit only an average one, and with a horribly neglected farm system. I suppose it was inevitable that there would be a rough patch as players moved on or got too old, but had management decided to open up the vault for some good veteran players, the team could be significantly better than it is now. Quite honestly, I think there is an understanding in place that ownership would refrain from doing this in order to placate Peter Angelos. ML Baseball never wanted to put a franchise in here, and decided that when they finally were forced to that it would threaten the O's hold on the market as little as possible.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax6 telling someone to get a life could be the greatest irony of the day.

I am a Nats fan and think this team is horribly run but that Rizzo has taken a few steps in the right direction. What I find amusing is someone who devotes all their time to a team he obviously hates with great intensity yet tells someone else to get a life.

Anyone who spends that much energy on something they hate has issues. Normal folks don't bother with something they dislike. They state their opinion and move on. Sad.

Posted by: JDR1970 | September 29, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hope you don't mind me jumping into this little squabble. Fairfax6, you have no way of knowing that Desmond "will never be better than "pretty good" as a SS." He already has two of the traits needed to be an excellent shortstop: range and a strong throwing arm.

I'm not sure being able to "make strong, accurate throws while twisting around in the direction opposite to the one your body is going in while you are off the ground" is the ultimate test of a shortstop. It's range, hands and throwing accuracy. Throw in solid decision making (probably Desmond's biggest area of improvement during the season) and he has many of the skills. Not all, but many. He has a chance.

Second, Marquis gave the Nats exactly what they paid for after coming back from surgery: competent major league starting pitching. No he's not great, but he's a clear upgrade on Stammen, Martin, Mock and some of the other guys we've seen go out there. His numbers over the past few years show that. There will be starting pitchers on the playoff teams who aren't better than him.

Hope those responses are specific enough to meet your criteria.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 29, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

When you're a fan of a losing franchise everything is magnified starters,bullpen,position players manager,etc. I like Desmond i like his arm and range and i think he'll get better in a hurry, at the plate and in the field. Jason Marquis was on my get his azz outa town list but he has really tried his last few starts and he has pitched well in a few of them, they really don't have a choice but to keep him and hope for the best.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 29, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey look!

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/26/sports/20090926-score-graphic.html

Posted by: Kev29 | September 29, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

baltova1:

Actually, the most important trait for a SS is the ability to make strong accurate throws while contorting one's body to compensate for being hopelessly off balance. This Desmond does not possess, and it will keep him from being anywhere near the fielder that Espinosa is already.

As to your remarks about Marquis, you obviously have no clue as to what his career has been like. Had he played on teams of lower caliber than he has, his career record would be well under .500. He was so awful in 2006, the Cards didn't let him anywhere near the mound during the postseason.

Still, I'm very happy to hear he's found some satisfaction in this season, no doubt mostly from that $7.5 million he's received.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax,

I buy what you say. The Lerners got the franchise by promising, explicitly or implicitly, not to compete too hard financially against the other teams and drive up the market. This must have been a worry to the other owners, in view of our large, affluent market here in this region.

It does seem like there could be a middle approach between "opening up the vaults," as you put it, and refraining to the severe extent that the Nats currently do--modestly but not excessively frugal. Obviously many of us think the Nats could be MLB-average in their budgets, but "modestly frugal" would be a nice improvement over the current sorry state. The games are lost in the off-season.

Posted by: EdDC | September 29, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/09/26/sports/20090926-score-graphic.html


Posted by: Kev29 | September 29, 2010 12:46 PM
==========================================
You know what I particularly like about that graphic?

It demostrates quite clearly that even though they spend more than the Nationals, the Angel-Os win less.

Wonder if our favorite troll has any comment.

I have one:

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 29, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Kev,

A great chart you cited. We should all celebrate that we are not the Pirates or Royals! What a couple of failures.

Posted by: EdDC | September 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I agree with baltova1 regarding Marquis. He is recovering from surgery and giving the Nats the kind of production they wanted/expected before his injury. Riding a guy who was injured and underwent surgery doesn't strike me as fair. His salary? He got what he could. Who wouldn't? I also agree with dargregmag. Marquis is giving it his best. He helps us get to 2012 when SS is back, Z-mnn is completely recovered, and some of the young arms (Solis, et. al.) are in DC. What are the alternatives going forward? Let Marquis do what they signed him for now that he is healthy.

Posted by: fpcsteve | September 29, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

FYI Dan-Jazeera spent all of 90 seconds today talking about the Nationals .....wow your all sports station really do cover the DC sports

Posted by: CBinDC1 | September 29, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Sign Adam Dunn!

Posted by: dontknowdiddley | September 29, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Sign Frank Howard!

Posted by: dontknowdiddley | September 29, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"demonstrates"

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 29, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Of course, some of those years do reflect the Expos' relative success, compared to the Nats' poorer performances. If you only mapped the Nats since Lerner came in, they would join the Pirates and KC at the very bottom. Still, taking the full 10-year perspective, the Nats can look down and see the Pirates and Royals as weaker franchises. That is some comfort, right?

Posted by: EdDC | September 29, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the most important trait for a SS is the ability to make strong accurate throws while contorting one's body to compensate for being hopelessly off balance.

-----

Are you sure you're not talking about auditions for Cirque de Soleil?

Posted by: baltova1 | September 29, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"Are you sure you're not talking about auditions for Cirque de Soleil?"

Don't watch much baseball, do you? Can't hold it against you, I guess, with only the Nots and the equally pathetic O's to watch it's not available to you. Not the major league variety anyway.

I guess from your Not Too Bad attempt at being witty you think that quality is not important in a first rate shortstop. Think about this: a shortstop can compensate for limited range by paying close attention to hitters' tendencies (e.g., Cal Ripken, of whom you may have heard). You can't compensate for the lack of athletic skill that, for example, Espinosa demonstrated on that remarkable play he pulled off last night. That a team with a guy who can do that would put him at second while someone who will never be able to field as well as he already can is put at SS . . . well, this franchise has already shown its ineptitude at maximizing what few assets it has, why should it be any different w/r/t this?

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm a baseball fan, and I know a wretched franchise when I see one.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 10:42 AM
-------------

Notice how this poster is talking about the NATINALS. Everyone, except for the 14 remaining kool-aid-drinking Natinal fans that are on here, can see the Natinals are circling the drain just like some of my #2's after I flush the potty.

Of course the bitterness in Natinal fans will only increase tenfold next year when they have to watch the O's be a much better franchise than the Natinals.

At some point next year we'll see stories (whether it be on here or on The Bog or from Boswell) about how more people in the DC-Metro area watch the O's over the Natinals. We'll see more stories about Phillies fans turning Natinal Park into Citizens Bank Park South. We'll see more stories about how the Natinals field a AAAA-team.

Ah, good times.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 29, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Fairfax,
What's with the constant attitude and wise-assery?

It really doesn't bring much to the discussion. Just sayin'.

Posted by: Section505203 | September 29, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

PMP:

Please note my prior comment, in which the O's are given the only assessment it is possible to make of them.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Saw this in Steinberg's chat:

Phanatics: The Philthy Phaithful were awful quiet last night after romping through Nats park on Monday. For all their bluster, they pipe down pretty quickly when things don't go their way.

Dan Steinberg writes: Of course, their team started seven ballboys last night.


Hahahahahahahahahahaha. Natinals could barely beat a team that was starting mostly scrubs. Talk about sad.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 29, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

"Fairfax,
What's with the constant attitude and wise-assery?

It really doesn't bring much to the discussion. Just sayin'."

This would is better directed at the people who chose to get that way with me. If you don't like the conversation, try contributing something of substance, which your comment certainly doesn't do.

Of course I have noticed that people who uses tag lines such as "just sayin'" never actually have anything to say.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

It's okay fairfax6, no need to feel intimidated by these Natinal fans. It's okay to admit the Fighting Showalter's have more upside than the Natinals.

The Natinal bullies on the blog won't bother you for saying it.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 29, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Why thank you, PMP, I'll just say that you and Ferguson Foot are among my favorite posters in these threads, for all the wrong reasons, of course.

But then I've always had a soft spot for those who contribute Little League analysis of ML baseball.

That's why I read the Post! :-)

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Two Weeks Ago: "Look at the Fighting Showalters! They're poised to overtake the pathetic Natinals! What a great team!"

Yesterday: "Big deal - the Orioles'* JV team loses to a playoff team."

(I guess someone in the the Fighting Showalters' organization told the team it was time to stop fighting.)

Now: "So the pathetic Natinals have a better record than the Orioles*; don't they have anything better to brag about? NEXT year we'll be better than you."

(*Note that "Fighting Showalters" has almost disappeared from the lexicon.)

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 29, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

This would is better directed at the people who chose to get that way with me. If you don't like the conversation, try contributing something of substance, which your comment certainly doesn't do.

Of course I have noticed that people who uses tag lines such as "just sayin'" never actually have anything to say.


Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 1:37 PM
___________________________________________________________

The nobody likes me everybody hates me defense, followed by more attitude. That's about what I figured.

Posted by: Section505203 | September 29, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Sunderland:

"The Nats overpaid for Marquis, for sure, but that's the position they've put themselves in. To get decent FA pitching, they needed then (and still need now) to overpay.

"If Marquis does what he could do (200+ innings with a 4.50 ERA), he'd help our sorry rotation for sure. At $7.5M guaranteed, that's a lousy return. But it's where we're at.

"The 'still young vets' discussion is moot. EdDC mentioned that as part of what the Nats should have been doing beginning 5 years ago. His point is that we don't really have much in terms of 'still young vets".

"There's response to the points you've made. Marquis is not much for a front line starter and we don't really have much in terms of young vets. This is not news."

OK, those are all fair points. Thank you for taking the time to make them.

As it happens, I realized I'd misunderstood the point EdDC was trying to make and said so. Also that I by and large agree with him.

As to Marquis, I'll just say again that a sensible baseball executive should have realized that a pitcher like Marquis, who couldn't rise above mediocre with good to excellent teams was probably a bad fit with a lousy team. Marquis health problems probably saved him from a nightmarish season. We'll see how he does next year (my guess is very poorly). Obviously, the Nots didn't have much in the way of options, they were and remain desperate for starting pitching.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

"The nobody likes me everybody hates me defense, followed by more attitude. That's about what I figured."

Really, do you have anything to contribute to this discussion? Anything at all to say about anything?

Evidently not.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this offseason the Natinals will sign Crawford, Lee, trade for A-Gon and Greinke.

Hahahahahahahahhahahaha.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 29, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Poopy is getting drowned out over at RI so now he's here. Maybe if open the diaper genie to let his brains out he will go away.

Posted by: periculum | September 29, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

The 'still young vets' discussion is moot. EdDC mentioned that as part of what the Nats should have been doing beginning 5 years ago. His point is that we don't really have much in terms of 'still young vets".

_______________________________________________________________

But EdDC is right and that is the crux of it. To be an "efficient" team like the Rangers and the Padres ... you need the brains to develop and manage the assets that make up the payroll properly. Forbes articles on this are enlightening.

Its really only this year that the Nats picked up a real brain trust post-Bowden. Toronto has already hired one of those guys away. That in of itself says that the Nats are hiring the right people for the FO.


The problem simply stated by EdDC is that it should have happened five years ago. Why didn't it? Because Mark Lerner developed a relationship with Jim Bowden.

Posted by: periculum | September 29, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

someone sure has a diaper fetish. That's kinda odd.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 29, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

As for the Marquis discussion fairfax6 and Sunderland. That was well before Livo decided to immerse himself in Ponce de Leon saunas in Florida. No one (not even the FO) expected Livo to pitch the way he has ... not even close. Without Livo there really isn't an innings eater in the rotation. Lannan had fewer quality starts than Livo in an off year 2009 for Livo? Who else did they have who could be relied on?

Livo took up Marquis' mantle for 2010.

Posted by: periculum | September 29, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

"someone sure has a diaper fetish. That's kinda odd."

Someone with their kids' toilet humor handle calling that odd? Now that's your typical bureaucrat wonk if I ever saw one.

Posted by: periculum | September 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting observation. I have no experience with political or other blogs, but I have been reading and commenting on this one since it began, and I've been following the team since it came to town.

It would not surprise me if there were some commenters who have but do not disclose official connections to the team, whether players and/or their relatives or agents, staffers, scouts, or what have you, at the minor or major league level. One might posit that some of those folks might be inclined to make positive comments about the team, while others might be inclined to make negative comments, depending on their personal experiences with the team or the outcome they might be wishing to influence.

It would also not surprise me if there were some commenters who had but do not disclose connections to groups who wished to own the team but who did not achieve that goal, commenters who at one point were with the team but who no longer are, or even commenters who were associated with other MLB teams (whether rivals or not). One might posit that, if they were not presently on good terms with the team, such folks might be inclined to make negative comments (and the reverse if their experience was positive).

I would also posit that there are some commenters whose business or avocation is connected to the team more indirectly (journalists, bloggers, and such), who likewise do not disclose that.

Perhaps I'm naive, but I'm inclined to believe that many commenters here have no connection to the team other than as fans (moi, for example), rather than lots of commenters having undisclosed connections. As fans, our posts might be negative or positive depending on current W/L record, personality type, phases of the moon, and so forth. Just my two cents' worth.

---

I notice that neither Sunderland nor SCNatsFan care to take issue with any of the points I'm making in this comment threat, just throwing out silly remarks meant to be insults. I'll ignore their latest two very lame attempts at sarcastic wit by pointing out that years of posting on threads such as this, and also ones devoted to politics, have made me aware that a lot of people on them have a profesional interest in the discussion, and that these comment threads probably have a lot of posters who actually work for the Nots. So consider that when reading some people's Pollyannish attempts to make this franchise seem better than it actually is, and drive off anyone who tries to interject a bit of reality into the discussion.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | September 29, 2010 11:33 AM |

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 29, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Someone publishing a book on this blog posting?

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 29, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add "sense of perspective" because, when you get down to it, it's just baseball. Losses by "my" team are upsetting in the moment, but there are worse experiences in life (whether it be loss of a job, serious illness, loss of a loved one, catastrophic events, or what have you).

---

As fans, our posts might be negative or positive depending on current W/L record, personality type, phases of the moon, and so forth.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 29, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Here you go, natsfan1a1:

I do not have any official connection to the team, whether players and/or their relatives or agents, staffers, scouts, or what have you, at the minor or major league level.

I do not have connections to groups who wished to own the team but who did not achieve that goal, I am not a commenter who at one point was with the team but no longer is, or a commenter associated with other MLB teams (whether rivals or not).

Neither my business nor my avocation is connected to the team more indirectly (journalists, bloggers, and such).

I have a very slight connection to the team other than as a fan; my nephew is a good friend of someone who works for the team as a public figure. He gets the occasional freebie ticket and is able to bring me along as a guest.

Apart from that, my sole connection with the Nationals is as a charter member of the "Take Money Out Of My Wallet And Put It In The Lerners' Because They Need It More Than I Do" club.

Finally, let me state categorically that if nominated, I will not run, if elected, I will not serve, unless the money is really good.

Posted by: gilbertbp | September 29, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

"but there are worse experiences in life (whether it be loss of a job, serious illness, loss of a loved one, catastrophic events, or what have you)."
Amen to that! That is the real world. Baseball is just a game. We can watch or quit watching anytime we want.

Posted by: fpcsteve | September 29, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

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