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Nyjer Morgan suspended eight games [UPDATED]

Nationals center fielder Nyjer Morgan will be suspended eight games and will begin serving his suspension Friday when the Nationals begin a three-game series at Philadelphia, according to two baseball sources. The league also fined Morgan $15,000, Morgan said in a phone conversation.

"I'm glad they were able to still hear my side," Morgan said. "The suspension, it's fair in my eyes. I thought the fine was little bit steep. From here, I just have to move on, keep it moving."

Morgan had been appealing two separate suspensions: one seven-game suspension for an incident in which he allegedly exchanged dialogue with a fan and threw a ball in the stands at Citizens Bank Park, and one eight-game suspension for three other separate incidents, including his role in a brawl with the Florida Marlins. The league did not reduce the eight-game suspension but completely threw out the seven-game suspension.

"Mainly, what I'm really happy about is that," Morgan said. "I'm a fan player. When anybody says something about the fans, I get a little disappointed on that one. I'm fans first. I'm just glad to get all this [stuff] over. Now I can focus on doing what I do."

With 16 games remaining in their schedule, Morgan will miss an even half. His replacement in center field will likely be a mix of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell. The Nationals could also move left fielder Roger Bernadina to center and use Harris and Maxwell in left.

Morgan played in all 12 Nationals games between the day he was suspended and today's official ruling. Morgan went 12 for 44 (.273) with two doubles, three walks and one hit by pitch. He attempted to steal two bases and was caught both times.

Morgan will continue to travel with the Nationals and participate in pregame drills, such as batting practice. He must watch games from somewhere other than the dugout or the clubhouse.

Last Friday, Morgan met with MLB officials, including disciplinarian Bob Watson, at Nationals Park for his appeal hearing. With the decision finally here, Morgan hopes to put the bizarre chain of events behind him.

"Well, now that it's all over with I can move forward," Morgan said. "Try to keep everything positive and just keep trying to play and show the winning attitude."

By Adam Kilgore  |  September 16, 2010; 12:57 PM ET
 
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Next: Adam Dunn, the importance of first base defense and the future

Comments

Not bad. Seems like they ditched the Philly incident. I guess Bob "cheesecake" Watson knows that fans can be racist. After all he played in Boston. Anyone can read into the fan's comments that hecklers were calling him a "jockey"

Nyjer has played very well over the past couple of weeks and hopefully will be back next year even though this is not his best year.

Posted by: golo1 | September 16, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

They should move Bernadina to CF and leave him there.

Posted by: hapster | September 16, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Bernadina turns out to be another natural left fielder. Maxwell is the right defensive guy to play center. Harris has been horrific in the outfield this year he should remain on the bench as usual. Riggleman will likely want another bench player but they don't have anyone currently on the 40-man from the SYR roster.

Posted by: periculum | September 16, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

They should move Bernadina to CF and leave him there.
Posted by: hapster
--------------------
Or just toss JMax out into CF for a week & leave Bernadina in LF. I think we all feel that Harris has nothing left to prove at this point.

Posted by: BinM | September 16, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Time to get it over with and move on, Nyjer needs to take his medicine,that being said i think 5 games would have been fair.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 16, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Time to get it over with and move on, Nyjer needs to take his medicine,that being said i think 5 games would have been fair.

Posted by: dargregmag | September 16, 2010 1:20 PM

------------------------------------------
It's not a question of whether Nyjer Morgan needs to take his medicine. it's a question of whether the medicine should be Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, or Cymbalta.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 16, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

For those who want to keep Bernadina in LF, where are you going to put Willingham when he comes back? I realize it won't be until next year, but the Nats have to plan ahead for next year.....which is all they're doing right now.

Posted by: mssnatchquatch | September 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Harris was a known entity BEFORE this season. Then he had a terrible year. He should sit. Bernie has shown enough to start next year in my book or at least be in a 3 man rotation in LF/CF w/ Morse and Morgan. Or maybe Morse/Maxwell.

Maxwell is who we need to see. He was excellent last year and horrible this year. He has 177 AAA games so he doesn't need any more time there. I think he should play every day the rest of the year personally.

He is a really tough call for next year in terms of his role. No benefit to being in AAA or riding the bench but you can't justify starting him after his horrible year this year. Good luck on that one Rizzo.

Posted by: Avar | September 16, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

typo, rotation in RF/CF. Willingham is a fixture in LF for next year in my book.

Posted by: Avar | September 16, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Seems pretty clear to me that Watson delayed all of this to ensure Nyjer would not play in the Philly series - which seems fair to me. Reduce the total number of games but don't have him as a distraction/accelerant in a full CBP this weekend.

Posted by: Kev29 | September 16, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

The ruling on the fan incident has to be that it didn't happen, or at least it was not proven to have happened -- there could be no defense for a player intentionally throwing a ball at someone. First of all, it's horrible public relations. Second, it invites the fans to throw stuff back. Charging the mound, running over catchers, occurs in the context of the game but tangling with the fans cannot be permitted.

Posted by: markfromark | September 16, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Glad to hear that they threw out the Philadelphia affair. Did the Florida pitcher appeal his suspension and, if so, what was his total after all? Riggleman had it right. The Marlins don't tell us when we can and cannot run.

Posted by: poncedeleroy | September 16, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Glad they threw out the Philly thing.
I've been as critical of Nyjer's play as anyone, but it seems a near certainty that CF is his job to lose in 2011, so I hope he comes ready and we see the July 2009 Nyjer, he of a .360 OBP.

He's still a weak armed CF, but that's no where near the top of the list of things we need to address.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 16, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Will Nyjer ever hit the cut-off man?

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 16, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

"His replacement in center field will likely be a mix of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell. " Good lord, what a frightening concept :-)

Posted by: NatsFly | September 16, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Someone has GOT to run that thru one of those "what would the baby look like?" websites ...
*******************
"His replacement in center field will likely be a mix of Willie Harris and Justin Maxwell. " Good lord, what a frightening concept :-)
Posted by: NatsFly | September 16, 2010 1:43 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 16, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

What's funny is that none of these outfield "stars" the Natinals have would even come close to sniffing the starting line-up as an Orioles outfielder.

Natinals got a long way to go before they can even sniff .500.

Also, boy howdy bet you Natinal fans loved Boswell's column today about the The Fighting Showalters. Must've been a big c0ck-tease to read about how a real MLB manager does things.

Oh well, don't worry Natinal fans, you'll have a real MLB manager, some day....

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | September 16, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

An 8-game vacation from NutDog? I'll take it. Now if we can only get away from Double-Switch......

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 16, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I like Nyjer (love the energy, the speed, the raw ability to go get the ball in the OF, etc.) and I want the guy to be successful beyond the fact that his success would be good for the club, but my expectations of him getting his head and his game (which has some very serious holes) together at his advanced age (for a guy in his first full MLB season) are low. CF is essentially an open position on this club for 2011. A hole which Rizzo thought he had fixed last year. Nothing's easy in Nats Town.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 16, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

It's not a question of whether Nyjer Morgan needs to take his medicine. it's a question of whether the medicine should be Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, or Cymbalta.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 16, 2010 1:23 PM |

Now that is funny! True too!

Posted by: jwing14 | September 16, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

That's odd. Mike Wise says "9 games, on good authority." :-)

Posted by: info_stuporhighway | September 16, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Nyjer should give Ray Knight a break and sit in the booth with Bob Carpenter for a week.

Posted by: ramgut | September 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Will Nyjer ever hit the cut-off man?

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 16, 2010 1:43 PM

It's not possible! Unless the SS or 2B is a hundred feet tall.

Posted by: jwing14 | September 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty happy with the way this turned out. Nyjer deserved to have the book thrown at him for charging the mound and taunting the fans in Miami. But the ball throwing incident was an unfortunate accident. MLB got this one right.

Also glad to not have to talk about Nyjer for over a week. Thanks Bob Watson.

Finally, though it pains me to award it to even a fake Peter Angelos, this deserves comment of the day mention:

"It's not a question of whether Nyjer Morgan needs to take his medicine. it's a question of whether the medicine should be Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, or Cymbalta.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 16, 2010 1:23 PM"

Posted by: Section222 | September 16, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm fine with playing JMax to finish out the year, but not sure why anyone thinks the jury is still out on him. His annual end-of-year grandslam does not change the fact that he is not a major league hitter.

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 16, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Tired of my rantings, how bout Boswell.
This from his talk today. Too bad he didn't put it in his article.

"I've never looked for managers with BAD records vs Pythag projections. But I worked it out for Riggleman. His record is worst on the bad side __minus 30 wins vs Pythag__ than any good manager (that I've discovered) has ever been positive.

"Riggleman has got the worst record of any manager in history who held a job for 10 years or more.

"He likes to keep too many players happy too much of the time for my taste. I like the old line about the key to being a good manager being: "Keeping the five players who hate you away from the five players who haven't made up their minds yet." There are only a couple of Nats who even dislike Riggleman."

Thank you.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 16, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

The way Nyjer has been playing this season, it felt like he had been suspended in April for the entire season. What do you think we could get in a trade for Nyger Morgan, Albert Haynsworth and Gilbert "the Big Zero" Arenas?

Posted by: garyolney | September 16, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Why platoon Maxwell and Harris in CF for the next eight games when you can give those at bats to a better hitter? Of course, I mean Livan...

Posted by: baltova1 | September 16, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Was convinced Bernadina was the way to go in LF until I realized Willingham will be back next year. Why isn't Bernadina moved to RF now so we can see if he can play there? I also agree that Maxwell needs to play out the season in CF, no Willie Harris. Let Maxwell prove once and for all that he cannot hit major league hitting (unless the bases are loaded). would not be upset with Willingham, Morgan and Bernadina next year but this is not an outfield that will take you to the playoffs. ( Hate to admit Poopy is right on anything)

Posted by: sjm3091 | September 16, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

"Morgan played in all 12 Nationals games between the day he was suspended and today's official ruling. Morgan went 12 for 44 (.273) with two doubles, three walks and one hit by pitch. He attempted to steal two bases and was caught both times."

So it hasn't affected his play at all. Impressive focus if nothing else.

Posted by: zimbar | September 16, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"Why isn't Bernadina moved to RF now so we can see if he can play there?"

Maybe because he's already played 68 games in RF this year? That should give a pretty good idea of what he can do there, wouldn't you think?

Posted by: FeelWood | September 16, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't want to pile on here, but I'm finding it hard to reconcile Nyjer's "I a fan player" comment with his actions in Florida after bowling over Hayes, where he cursed out a Marlins fan.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/09/nyjer_morgan_curses_out_a_marl.html

Posted by: JohninMpls | September 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Nyjer is more worried about fans in other cities than those in Natstown, where we have to watch him play game after game. That's not very fan-friendly at all.

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 16, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

In addition to the comments on Riggs, Boz also compared the 1B free agents in his chat today. Suffice it to say that as we bid Dunn farewell we are not getting an upgrade, because there isn't one out there. There are better defensive 1B out there, but the offensive loss will be a big one. But, hey, so long as you don't care if you lose more than you win, that's no problem!

Posted by: NatsFly | September 16, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Also from Boswell, here's Dunn's competition in the market this winter. It looks like Dunn should do fine against these old-timers. And for the Nats' fans who consider Dunn "in decline" please consider the ages of these other guys, and the money they are likely to get! Bowell below:

Since one of these five FA's will probably be the Nats 1st baseman for the next two years, I thought you folks might like to see their career production per 162 games and what they've done this year. FWIW, Derrek Lee, 35, has three gold gloves. Made $13.25M this year. Calos Pena, 32, has one gold glove, made $10.125M this year. Paul Konerko and Lance Berkman are both 34, neither is a good 1st baseman but both are better than Dunn. Berkman is good at scooping low throws, but "Fat Elvis" has no range. Konerko made $12M, same as Dunn this year, while Berkman, whose numbers have slid for two years, made $14.5M.

Career per 162 games played:

Dunn...40 HR...98 RBI...111 walks...Ops .904.

Lee...28...90...74....Ops .864

Pena...35...99...88...Ops .845

Konerko...32...101...64...Ops .853

Berkman...33...110...105...Ops .956 (great career).

This year, as of a few days ago when I worked this up.

Konerko: 33-98-.317-.975 ops

Dunn: 35-93-.266-915.

Pena: 27-80-.201-.750

Lee: 16-65-.251-.744 (Looked awful vs. Nats)

Berkman: 13-53-.148-.793 (only 355 abs)

It's Dunn's younger age, consistency, no injuries and "discovery" of a position (kinda) that makes some think he'll get 3 or 4 years.

Konerko's big year for a contender probably gets him 3 yrs. Lee (age) and Pena (.203) probably settle for 2 yrs/$20M. Or less? Berkman? Showing age, back-to-back off years, no defense.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

If Dunn has to leave in order to get his desired four year deal, that doesn't necessarily mean that one of those FA first basemen Boswell listed needs to be signed to replace him. Next year's first baseman could already be part of the team (e.g. Morse, Willingham, or even Jesus Flores) and a big bat could be signed or traded for at another position. The net result could very well be an upgrade at both first base defense as well as at the plate.

Also note in Boswell's chat today where he mentions the virtues of platooning. The loss of one player (Dunn) does not necessarily need to be offset by the addition of just one other player. There are many ways to build a good team.

Meanwhile, for all those people who say they will never buy another ticket to a Nats game if Dunn is not re-signed, there is good news. Plenty of good seats will be available to watch your hero Dunn in Baltimore - where despite their recent winning ways the Orioles were unable to draw even 10,000 people on a beautiful evening last night. That's 38,000 great seats for you to choose from!

Posted by: FeelWood | September 16, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Of course, this now makes Morgan available to play nose tackle for the Redskins this weekend.

And with just one Haynesworth-sized game check from Dan Snyder and company, Morgan will be able to cover his league fine, plus the annual salaries of the platoon of players that will handle the centerfield and leadoff hitter responsibilities while he is away.

And then with the spare change, he can build an orphanage for some needy kids in Honduras

All in all, it could be a win, win, win situation for all concerned -- especially for the Redskins, who finally get a player in this key position who brings guts, grit, speed, savy and determination every time he steps up to play.

Posted by: Vic1 | September 16, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"Will Nyjer ever hit the cut-off man?"

--------------

Hit the catcher? Check. Hit the pitcher? Check. Hit the cutoff man? Doubtful.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | September 16, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

If we don't get better table-setters in the leadoff spots, there's really no point in keeping Dunn. We don't need a guy who hits 40 solo home runs a year. I'm hopeful that Desmond and Bernadina can become those table-setters, but I don't think that was established this year.

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 16, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

A couple notes concerning the Os, it's not just that they are winning, they are playing inspired ball against the best teams in baseball. They are pitching great. They are playing great defense. When they give up the lead, they don't put their tales between their legs and fold. They battle back. They look like they expect to win instead of waiting to lose. It's really amazing and a pleasure to watch.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 16, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@FeelWood: Can't recall seeing anybody saying they'd never buy another Nats ticket if Dunn isn't re-signed. I have said I'm done with being a ST holder unless the owners demonstrate a willingness to invest in the team (e.g. re-sign Dunn), but have also said I'll buy an occasional ticket. Love the team, but not the owners' excessive parsimony. And the reason there are so many available seats at Camden Yards is that the team is a perennial looser. Same thing is starting to happen at Nats Park as the ST base declines every year along with general attendance.

Posted by: NatsFly | September 16, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

and a big bat could be signed or traded for at another position. The net result could very well be an upgrade at both first base defense as well as at the plate.

Posted by: FeelWood
___________________________________________

Yep, those 40 HR guys who would play in DC are a dime a dozen. Can I have have some of what FeelWood is smoking?

Posted by: grclarkdc1 | September 16, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Hit the catcher? Check. Hit the pitcher? Check. Hit the cutoff man? Doubtful.

Posted by: SilverSpring8 | September 16, 2010 3:54 PM

-------------------------------------------
Word.

Posted by: angelos_peter | September 16, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Concerning attendance at Camden Yards, we all were beaten down cumulatively from all the losing years and this year was just the capper. By the time Buck came along it was late in the season. School is on now and unless you are in a pennant race, crowds will dip anyway in late September.

But make no mistake, peeps are watching. And there will be great renewed interest in the Os next season. I'll be there opening game against the Tigers as well as many more games (we only went to 1 Os game this season). And we expect that Baltimore will be extremely competitive next season and a playoff contender in 2 years. I'll also be at Nats park for their opener against the Braves but that will probably be our only Nats game next year as we forsee another 90+ loss season under Double-Switch and Rizzo and Stanley.
Wish it were different.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 16, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

skins, you won't be missed.

Posted by: thelonghaul | September 16, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

If he so much as looks wrong at another player or fan then get rid of him.

Posted by: bobbo2 | September 16, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

>>skins, you won't be missed. Posted by: thelonghaul

Considering the attendance hit the Nats are about to take opening up next season with the same squad as this year minus Dunn and Strasburg, I'd say every fan that bolts will be missed. And should be.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | September 16, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet those are right who say that the Nats won't sign Dunn but will invest the money saved on Dunn (and on Capps, Nyjer, Guz, Harris and others) on other players. With this approach, the Nats could get some excitement going in the off-season with a fresh lineup. Pudge and Kennedy could be traded to add to the available pile of funds Rizzo could work with. You can see maybe $30 million made available to Mike--not bad at all!

Of course it could all balance out with a different-looking status quo. My guess is that the Nats will end up with the same low payroll, in the mid-sixty-million somewhere, after all the player adjustments. That's been the pattern anyway (not to say it couldn't change).

Naturally, I would prefer the approach of retaining the players who perform and adding to them, not just replacing them. For example, the Nats could keep Dunn and add quality players like Crawford and a quality pitcher, and still not have even an MLB-average budget. Such an approach would excite the fan base not only as spring training approaches, but during the season as well, as the games would become more meaningful.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

EdDc, I appreciate that reprint of Bos's take on the 1B free agent market.

I am gonna guess that the Nats will try to take Berkman on a 1 year deal. He might (or Derek Lee might) do that to show that he can still play while keeping the flexibility to get a gig someplace else for better dough and better chances to win in 2012 (maybe even get traded to w contender at the break should the Nats somehow not be in the mix).

Should the Nats be thinking that they can get a 1B with thump for cheap in comparison to Dunn and then use a bunch of money to buy other talent (like a stud RF, Werth maybe, or a front end SP), then I am Ok with it. But if they don't one way or another add some big pieces of significance to make the big league club solidly better after letting Dunn walk, we should all head down to Half Street and burn the park to the ground using our season tickets as kindling.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 16, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

40 HR bats are quite overrated. It's entirely possible that none of this year's eight playoff teams will have a 40 HR bat in their lineup.

But EdDC could be right that more people will come out to watch players collect large paychecks than will come out to watch them win. Witness Baltimore's sagging attendance despite having the best record in the AL East since Showalter was hired. Perhaps they should have foregone hiring Showalter entirely and given every one of their players a massive raise instead. Then the fans would be beating down the gates at Camden Yards to watch payday.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Willingham, Bernadina and Morse as outfielders...seems to be a no brainer to me..lots of power at the plate hopefully and Morse should develop into a decent right fielder if he works hard between now and spring training...Zim at third and signing Dunn for 2 or no more than 3 years means we have 5 guys who can hit homers unless Bernadina or Morse disappoint...

Bernadina seems a sure bet to succeed and Morse is knocking on the door...keep Nyjer for defensive purposes...and pinch running...his bat won't be missed...

Posted by: pentagon40 | September 16, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

I seriously doubt that dfh21 is even a season ticket holder. Nats320 told me the other day that he has never even once seen dfh21 sporting Nats gear.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

dfh21: They won't actually significantly increase the payroll and sign any top tier FAs, but they will be in the bidding right up to the end!

Posted by: NatsFly | September 16, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Doubt my STH status will ye? Psshhaww. Since day 1 folks. And Nats320 should know it is like me being Irish, I don't have to go all wearing kelly green from head to toe on St. Patrick's Day, its in my freaking veins.

And 40 HR bats being overrated? Uhhhm, no. All of the likely 8 playoff teams have at least one guy who has hit 40 bombs. Clubs cannot win in today's game without the power threat, it is that simple.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 16, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Doubt my STH status will ye? Psshhaww. Since day 1 folks. And Nats320 should know it is like me being Irish, I don't have to go all wearing kelly green from head to toe on St. Patrick's Day, its in my freaking veins.

And 40 HR bats being overrated? Uhhhm, no. ALL of the likely 8 playoff teams have at least one guy who has hit 40 bombs. Clubs cannot win in today's game without the power threat, it is that simple.

Posted by: dfh21 | September 16, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

40 HR bats are quite overrated. It's entirely possible that none of this year's eight playoff teams will have a 40 HR bat in their lineup...Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 5:13 PM

That put a pin in my balloon. Until just now, I thought Aaron, Mays, Ruth, Gehrig, Griffey, Ted Williams, Frank Robbie, Mickey Mantle and a few other big boppers were all good players who helped their teams win. Now I find it's just a big delusion. I'm a bit crushed right now.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, ESPN's Chicago site is reporting the Cubs are likely to make Dunn one of their top offseason targets. Given their past record, that probably boosts his chances of either getting a four-year deal or at least a bigger contract than the Nats will offer.

He's one step closer to the exit...

Posted by: baltova1 | September 16, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Not so fast, baltova. We are learning that HR hitters are overrated. Shouldn't the Nats be focusing on sacrifice bunters? It's a lost art in many ways. Sure you give up an out (and you only get 27 a game), but a clean bunt laid down perfectly can light a fire under a team faster than some stupid blast into the upper deck.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

You're right, EdDC. I mean, look at Babe Ruth. What did he ever win?

And look again at the replay of that homer in Atlanta. The ball almost hit a guy and a kid in the concourse who never thought a ball could get near them. Somebody could have died!

That never happens when you bunt.

Posted by: baltova1 | September 16, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

The Nats tried a Hail Mary pass by signing Strasburg and bringing him in to pitch in the summer of 2010. That was all they had to offer for next year, given Dunn's leaving, and Nyjer's return as "the best center fielder in all of baseball," according to Rizzo. But it probably would have been enough to bring out crowds every fifth day.

The long-term outlook for this team—2012 and beyond—is bleak, because by the time Strasburg returns it will probably be worse than it is today, given the options that are being tossed around. Berkman?

Posted by: JohnRDC | September 16, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

At age 30, Dunn has 350 HR. Even if HRs were important (and of course they are not, but just supposin'), Dunn may not catch Aaron or Bonds in his career. Sure Dunn can get to 600 or more, and pass Frank Robbie, Mays, Mantle and Williams. But we do have to acknowledge that Dunn may not reach the top. Let him disappoint some other fan base when he does fall short.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm not one of the "sign Dunn or I'll nix my seas. tix" ... I AM one of the "don't sign Dunn and there's no way I'll cross over and BUY season tix..." with Strasburg's arrival (even post injury), signing Dunn would probably nudge me to a partial season ticket plan...

If they let Dunn go, all bets are off for me and I won't touch even a partial plan til '12 or later ... will get the onesies & twosies 'til then, which is NOT what the Nats want or, more importantly, need...

Not signing Dunn = HUGE mistake IMO.

Posted by: fendertweed | September 16, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Just watch Dunn be the guy who breaks the Curse of the Cubbies. Wouldn't that just bite?

It really does seem poor strategy to have not traded him if they didn't want to keep him. Getting a couple of middling draft picks when he leaves through free agency simply cannot be as good as getting known prospects. Just makes no sense to me now any more than it did when the Nats did it with Soriano. Do other clubs handle impending free agency this way, or is it just us?

Posted by: NatsFly | September 16, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

I think FeelWood's on the right track. Start with the first key premise: Nyjer is Rizzo's guy, and Nyj is going to play CF and bat leadoff next year, regardless of who's managing. Bernie is being groomed to be in LF next year, because Willingham (maybe spelled by Morse) will be moved to 1B. Rizzo will attempt to get a free agent bat to play RF. Oh, and, of course, Dunn is gone. This is Rizzo's team, and if we don't like these moves, in the immortal words of Marion Barry, "deal with it."

Posted by: CapPeterson1 | September 16, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

With most teams, it doesn't come down to this. You sign Dunn and move onto the rest of your strategy for team-building--the important stuff. Dunn should have been signed long ago, instead of all the agonizing over the expenditure of what is really just Dunn's market value at the time. Nobody should even be talking or thinking about Dunn at this point, since he obviously earned the right to remain on the team. Last off-season was the best time to ink him, but Dunn allowed the talks to continue to no benefit to anyone.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Dunn should be considered up there with the all-time greats. As a Nats' reject, how could he be? Nonetheless, he was definitely worth the reported cost to keep him. Now, into free agency, his cost rises far beyond what the Nats had the opportunity to pay.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Anyone can read into the fan's comments that hecklers were calling him a "jockey" "

And so this piece of idiocy known as Nyjer Morgan throws the ball at a *random* fan and hit him.

Morgan is lucky this fan had a sense of humor, otherwise, he would be sending next year's paycheck to the guy, or calling into his parole officer every day.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | September 16, 2010 8:31 PM | Report abuse

(Sigh) - This is what happens when we have more than 36 hours without either a game or Kilgore's staccato pre-game posts; We all start 'navel-gazing', and the tone alternates between snark & defeatist, with the occasional troll to stoke the misery factor. I am no better than that either.

I agree with baltova that Dunn is another step closer to gone, but also agree with EdDC & others that letting him walk will be an incredibly foolish move by the Lerners. That steady LH threat in the middle of the lineup can't be replaced from the current system, or easily/cheaply from the outside, even with a FA class full of 1B.

The thought that any 'top-line' SP can be purchased via FA should be cast aside as well - The lineup (without Dunn) will lose about 100-120 runs produced offensively. What pitcher in his right mind would sign here, backed by a bottom-third offense & defense, unless a stupid amount of $$$ is thrown at his feet?

In terms of 'trade fodder', should something (or someone) become available, the team still has minimal 'proven' assets to work with - Willingham, RZim, Livo, with maybe Lannan, Clippard, & Burnett as well.
The bulk are still either unproven (Strasburg, Maya, JZimm, Detwiler, Storen, Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos), marginal (Stammen, JD Martin, Chico, Martis, Bernadina, Morgan, Morse, AGonz), or 'Prospects', (all outside the 40-man roster).

I wish Rizzo the best of luck in the off-season, but don't see a contender in the immediate future.

Posted by: BinM | September 16, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

"Last off-season was the best time to ink him, but Dunn allowed the talks to continue to no benefit to anyone."

Indeed. Dunn's demand for a four year contract extension when he still had a year to go on his current contract was of no benefit to anyone, especially him. He'd have been much better off if he'd just gone in like Livo did and offered to sign again for basically the same deal he was already on. Two more years at his current $12M salary? The Nats would have been all over that, and he'd be sitting fat and happy and under contract right now. Instead, he'll hold out for a four year deal that he may or may not get - and if he does get it, it will be to play somewhere else when he's said many times he really doesn't want to do that.

Yes, if Dunn leaves it will be absolutely, totally, 100% his own fault.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Justin Maxwell and Willie Harris platooning in center field!?! Say it isn't so! They may be good locker room guys, but where's the offense (notwithstanding Maxwell's grand slam Wednesday)?

Well, let's hope the Nats kick some Phillies butt this weekend -- racist, hick town. It would be sweet to see Philly lose the division to the Braves. And then, if only there was another team to knock Philly out as the wild card.

Posted by: HonestBroker1 | September 16, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Yes, if Dunn leaves it will be absolutely, totally, 100% his own fault. Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 8:45 PM |

Right, his fault for not taking two years when he could get 3 or 4 in the off-season. His fault for preferring a winning team in a quality franchise, rather than the Nats. His fault for not taking $24 million when he will get more than double that for sure in the weeks ahead. Dunn may be doomed to success after ten years of losing with the Reds and Nats. What an idiot Dunn must be to pass up two more years with the Nats.

Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

BinM - Good post.
As you allude, the fact the Dunn is a left handed hitter is of real significance and replacing him with an equal right handed bat still weakens our ability to score runs.

Posted by: Sunderland | September 16, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

What an idiot Dunn must be to pass up two more years with the Nats. Posted by: EdDC | September 16, 2010 9:03 PM |

Yeah, he sure will look like one when his gamble to get all those things you seem to think are certainties but which may be far from that doesn't pay off for him. After all, he could have had all those things two years ago, and settled for less, right? Such an idiot.

Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 9:22 PM | Report abuse

nunof1, no offense, man, but what are you smoking?

Dunn should have settled for the same two-year deal he signed to begin with, when nobody was offering him more than that, now that he's almost definitely going to get more? Do you really think he's not going to get at least a three-year deal, probably from a team that's far better than the Nats or, like the Cubs, a team that will spend a lot of money and make big moves to quickly get better?

Posted by: baltova1 | September 16, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

"Do you really think he's not going to get at least a three-year deal, probably from a team that's far better than the Nats or, like the Cubs, a team that will spend a lot of money and make big moves to quickly get better?"

Why is it such a certainty that Dunn will get a better deal now than he got two years ago, when he was two years younger and had better numbers than he does now? Were other teams not as desperate then?

Most players who are on the verge of free agency and looking for a big contract - say, like Soriano in 2006 - put up a career year in order to state their case. Did Dunn do that? No, far from it. His performance declined for the second straight year. The Cubs, who you mentioned, already got burned offering a massive deal to Soriano after his career year, only to see him become an albatross around their necks. This is supposed to make them want to throw a long term contract at someone who didn't even bother to put up a career year? Are they the idiots of which you idiots speak?

Posted by: nunof1 | September 16, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Gee; I'm not going to get into it with some of you about Nyjer,like i said with fans like some of you well let's just say Nyjer's better off without your support. Adam Dunn was horrible this year with RISP and to me that is the true measure of a clutch hitter, true he protects the likes of JWill and RyanZ in the lineup but those 150 plus k's came at crucial junctures of games. It seems pretty obvious that Riggs will be back unless this team loses every one of their final games and that probably means so will the coach's and you know how i feel about some of them, somehow i don't see much changing in 2011 except when we kick the cowboy krap out the O's!!!! GO NATS!!!!

Posted by: dargregmag | September 16, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

what about the umpires that let that game get out of hand? where is the suspension news for that?

Posted by: eyekey416 | September 16, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

My understanding is that Mr. StanK testified that Moonball was recruiting Philly fans to visit Nationals Park on behalf of Nats ownership.

Once that info came to light, Watson had no choice but to drop the suspension. Nice work, Moonie.

Posted by: howjensen | September 17, 2010 5:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad that they threw out the Philly suspension, and good point from Kev re. timing of the final decision and the road series. I'd still like to know on what basis the original suspension was made (Internet chatter, report from the fan in question, reports from eyewitnesses). Particularly given that it was alleged to have occurred between innings and thus no film footage was available.

Seems to me that some were quick to condemn him despite incomplete information, but I guess that's the Internet age. On the medication front, I don't know what, if any, Morgan might take, but it's not a laughing matter when a person needs them, imho.

(And BinM, I would opine that the tone here and elsewhere has tended to decline with losing trends generally, though team off days can also be a factor. Throw in your standard Internet communication challenges, add a dash of incivility, and commenter hijinks and psychodrama ensue. Enjoy! I do find that self-imposed blog breaks can work wonders, fwiw. :-))

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | September 17, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"[Philly] - racist, hick town"

What an insightful comment. Are you representative of Nationals fans? It's uncommon for one of the oldest, largest, and wealthiest cities in the United States to be called a "hick" town; in fact it seems wildly inappropriate.

Posted by: unstablefan | September 17, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to be a downer on this, but what I would really be interested in the next 8 games, are we better off without Nyjer?

Frankly if Nyjer is a model citzen as he's been and if he could only play smart baseball and not be ego driven, I think he could be a tremendous asset for the club.

I can only hope that Nyjer can come off his high almighty horse and think hard about the good things that he has done this year and the bad things including poor basebrunning decisions, getting bad too easy and letting that get the better of him like the missed catch that turned into a inside the park homerun and come back in a week or so with a better attitude.

If that is the case he will be great for this team for years to come

Posted by: Golfersal | September 17, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

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