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Nationals will pursue former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb

By Adam Kilgore

The Nationals' stated, primary goal this offseason is to land a legitimate No. 1 starting pitcher to anchor their rotation. In their search for pitching help, they may also hone in on a low-risk, high-reward free agent who once fit that definition.

The Nationals will be one of several teams to pursue Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander and former Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb, according to someone close to the Nationals. Webb, 31, ranked third in the majors with a 3.13 ERA from 2006 through 2008, but he has not thrown a major league pitch since opening day 2009 because of right shoulder surgery.

Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo drafted Webb in 2000 while serving as Arizona's scouting director, and the two have remained friendly over the years. In part because of their past together and their relationship, the Nationals and Webb could be a natural fit.

There will be "a lot of interest in both sides," the source said. "The Nationals and Webb will definitely be in play, in conversation."

The Nationals will be able to begin negotiating with Webb on Sunday, when the five-day window for the Diamondbacks' exclusive negotiating rights runs out. On Thursday, Diamondbacks General Manager Kevin Towers released an unusual statement that seemed to suggest the Diamondbacks will likely not be re-signing Webb.

"Although we have not entirely closed the door on Brandon returning to the D-backs next season, I understand the process he and his agent are going through at this time as a free agent," Towers said in a team press release. "We wish him continued success as he goes through this process."

Webb carries obvious questions because of his health issues, and he has been trying to answer them. Webb has thrown in front of scouts multiple times, according to several reports, and in his most recent session his fastball reached four or five miles per hour below his typical velocity.

Webb could worth the risk. When healthy, Webb's devastating sinking fastball made him one of the most dominant starters in baseball. Webb threw at least 208 innings every year from 2004 to 2008, going 77-53 with a 3.30 ERA during that span. After winning the Cy Young in 2006, he finished second in 2007 and 2008.

On opening day 2009, Webb was shelled and had to be removed after four innings with shoulder inflammation. Webb has not thrown a pitch since, and he eventually required surgery.

Last year the Nationals gambled on a similar pitcher in Chien-Ming Wang, who ended up not throwing a pitch for them this season. Webb, though, appears to be much closer to full strength than Wang was at this point last year.

By Adam Kilgore  | November 5, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

S.O.S.

Posted by: tha_prophet | November 5, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

And another offseason of dumpster diving begins!

Posted by: comish4lif | November 5, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Cheaper than a healthy pitcher, but this is a good gamble for a small-town-budget team. I am for it. Hope it all works out.

Posted by: EdDC | November 5, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Webb and Wang! What could possibly go wrong next season?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | November 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"...a good gamble for a small-town-budget budget team".

But Washington is NOT a small town and the owners (and fans) need to think "much larger town" and build a team accordingly.

Posted by: CHAMP1464 | November 5, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Obviously, depending on the price, this would be an excellent move. I would hope and expect this to not be their only pitching move, based on the risk..What is the latest on Chien-Ming Wang? Any reports?

Posted by: Jurgensen9 | November 5, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

They could make good T-Shirt Tuesdays slogans

What's wrong with Wang.

Oh the Webbs we weave.

Posted by: CBinDC1 | November 5, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

This shouldn't be the only pitching move but a low base contract with performance incentives that would kick in if Webb is back to his old self would make a lot of sense.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 5, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Nothing ventured, nothing gained and little bit more reachable than Cliff Lee. Speaking of good ol' Wang, anyone know if he is still in play or is he a "nver will be?"

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 (for yet another season)

Posted by: adhardwick | November 5, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

"...a good gamble for a small-town-budget budget team".
But Washington is NOT a small town and the owners (and fans) need to think "much larger town" and build a team accordingly.
Posted by: CHAMP1464 | November 5, 2010 2:40 PM

Champ,

I didn't say that DC was a small town. What I did say was that the Nats are a small-town-budget team. in other words, the Nats have the budget of a small town. As a small budget team, they need to gamble like this, to get significant upside for small expenditure.

Our DC region is among the largest in all of MLB. We are #8 overall in regional size, and 5 through 8 are all about equal. That does not count the Baltimore region, which is listed separately in the linked table.

So we are up toward the top in regional size and affluence, while toward the bottom in payroll size. Many smaller regions have much larger payrolls than the Nats. The Nats' budget would grow by a huge amount if the Nats' budget were just average among MLB. But the Nats' regional size and affluence are way above average.

Still, if the owners act like we are small town, that's all that matters. Then we are small town, for all purposes. The owners have many enablers that let them get away with this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas

Posted by: EdDC | November 5, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I understand the negative dumpster-diving remarks.

There is no assurance that Chien-Ming Wang will return from his surgery, and there is no assurance that Brandon Webb would return either.

But there is a very good chance that one of them will. And considering the relatively inexpensive cost of the two players, it makes perfect sense to stockpile broken hurlers, understanding that many won't return but some will.

I think it's a great idea.

Posted by: rushfari | November 5, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Is Wang still under team control?

Posted by: SFcapsfan | November 5, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm OK with this if Webb isn't the Nats' first option for improving their pitching. If he is #2 or #3, OK. Everything won't be riding on someone who may or may not make it back. Our farm system better be good, because it looks like the Nats are counting on young talent they sign, develop, and control.

Posted by: fpcsteve | November 5, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Webb might be useful, might be great, might be worthless. The Nats need guys who are likely to ge very useful.

If Rizzo has it in his mind that Webb, as an accent to whatever other front end starting pitching that is actually expected to perfom well in 2011, is a good play, then great. If Rizzo is thinking maybe Webb can get healthy, maybe he'll hold up, maybe he can be an Ace again this year, maybe he's a good enough SP add to this club on his own -- then Rizzo is a crazy person.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 5, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals need SP's BADLY

If they stick with what they have, they will continue finishing in dead last....PERIOD

Getting Lee, Webb, and others would mean the Nats are serious about contending

Posted by: Bious | November 5, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Wang is still team controlled and arbitration eligible

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 5, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Dfh21,

Exactly....wonder is anyone is going to ask Rizzo what he is expecting from Webb....Kilgore are you busy?

Posted by: JayBeee | November 5, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Dfh21,

Exactly....wonder is anyone is going to ask Rizzo what he is expecting from Webb....Kilgore are you busy?

Posted by: JayBeee | November 5, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Webb will be this year's Wang. Pure and simple. The Nats need real arms. Real healthy arms. And please don't even bring up the L name because that has about as much chance of happening as me becoming president.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | November 5, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Wang all over again. nice, but yawn. seriously, someone wake me up when the Nats get serious about acquiring some talent that can play now.

Posted by: DCguy7 | November 5, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I don't view this as a positive development. It rarely works out when GMs go after usual suspects they know from their previous gigs. (See: Jim Bowden and various ex-Reds)

Posted by: mvm2 | November 5, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Wang all over again. nice, but yawn. seriously, someone wake me up when the Nats get serious about acquiring some talent that can play now.

Posted by: DCguy7 | November 5, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

JayBee,

With Rizzo's budget, he is not "expecting" anything. He is "hoping." Naturally, many us us would like the Nats over the years to acquire proven, healthy players in their prime that you could count on to produce a winning ballclub. But that requires a new budget philosophy. So far, there are no signs of dramatic shifts in this regard. Chances are, what we have been getting the last few seasons, we will have to live with again this season, budget-wise, with well below-average payrolls.

A question for you: for the smallish salary, would you prefer a respectable, predictable retread? Or the possibility of someone who could make a genuine contribution?

For example, Maya was a more affordable Chapman. Maya could have paid off as a starter. So far, it doesn't look like he will, but at least the Nats are starting to do a little something. At least they were willing to gamble just a little. I would prefer a Maya who didn't pan out, or a Ming who didn't pan out, to some more reliable old timer for the same money who is almost sure to give you the same ol' 4 runs in 5 innings that we have come to expect.

None of this is the same as a deep commitment to winning baseball, which is vastly preferable.

Posted by: EdDC | November 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

As a phillies fan, I know how difficult it is to be labeled a small market team when the city is large. The ownership refused to pay up for a long time. Around 2002 or so, they started to spend money, little by little. The wins started to increase little by little and the seats became full. The core group was brought up through the system and pieces were filled in as needed. The payroll increased in an effort to keep the winning team together. This might be the beginning of the same for the Nats. There are bright spots in the minors and good young talent in the majors already. You don't want to spend money on FA's and end up like the Mets.

Posted by: hambone528 | November 5, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Webb is fine, but Rizzo would be wise to put together a package for Greinke. He doesnt like the spotlight so Washington would be great for him. Also once Strasburg gets back, they would be one of the best 1-2 combos in the NL.

Posted by: KingJoffeJoffer | November 5, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

There is a long list of pitchers who have come back to All Star level after having elbow surgery.
Is there even a short list of pitchers who have had success after shoulder surgery?

Posted by: Sunderland | November 5, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Svrluga used to fawn over former Nats pitcher Shawn Hill, saying his sinker was just like Webb's. Well, we know where Hill is now -- in retirement. Might Webb follow him (after, of course, signing a deal with the Nats)?

Posted by: Juan-John1 | November 5, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have the budget, even if they kept it flat from 2010, given how much money is coming off the books this year - -to get Jorge De la Rosa - the best lefty SP not named Lee on the market -- for something like Ted Lilly money (3 years, $3O+M). And they have the chips to trade (Willingham, Norris and a pitching prospect maybe?) for Grienke, and that would still allow for them to have money left to ink a passable 1B (Berkman on a 1 year deal maybe?) and legit corner OF.

I am not saying they should do this or that, just that the club has real options and they can make this club much, much better on paper without joining the top 10 spenders in the game.

Webb is a nice idea, maybe, but they need to be bolder, make moves for guys who are likely to help in a big way, not guys who MIGHT be able to do so. 200 innings of Zack Grienke? That would make the Nats a much, much better club.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 5, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter had shoulder surgery - not sure if it was the same type of shoulder injury as Webb but Carpenter did miss his all of his first full season after signing with the Cardinals

Shawn Hill is not retired - he pitched for the Blue Jays in 2010

Ed...how do you reconcile the Rangers success this year with your spending theorems. TEX, afterall, is set in a larger market than DC and still had a lower payroll than the Nats. TEX spent money on potential retreads and provided AAAA players the opportunity to play every day.

How about SF's World Series roster, which consisted of basically the same salary as WAS?

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 5, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter had shoulder surgery - not sure if it was the same type of shoulder injury as Webb but Carpenter did miss his all of his first full season after signing with the Cardinals

Shawn Hill is not retired - he pitched for the Blue Jays in 2010

Ed...how do you reconcile the Rangers success this year with your spending theorems. TEX, afterall, is set in a larger market than DC and still had a lower payroll than the Nats. TEX spent money on potential retreads and provided AAAA players the opportunity to play every day.

How about SF's World Series roster, which consisted of basically the same salary as WAS?

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 5, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

The Giants payroll was something like $30M higher than the Nats. The likes of Zito and DeRosa not being on the WS roster does not mean the Giants did not have to pay them.

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2004/12/san-francisco-giants_30.html

Posted by: dfh21 | November 5, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

The Lerner front off suits ...have their LAST PLACE Free Agent machine revving in overdrive again......

Get out the welcome mat for :
-DREGS
-HAS BEENS
-DAMAGED GOODS

Posted by: GRIMReaper55 | November 5, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

Of course they did... Rowand too.

But the WS roster didnt include Zito or DeRosa or the 25+/- mil they earned this year. SF won riding the backs of home grown pitching and catching along with cheap pickups.

Posted by: LosDoceOcho | November 5, 2010 7:01 PM | Report abuse

There is a long list of pitchers who have come back to All Star level after having elbow surgery.
Is there even a short list of pitchers who have had success after shoulder surgery?

Posted by: Sunderland | November 5, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

So, the SF $90M+ payroll somehow gets dicounted because the guys who actually produced well for them came on the cheap? The Giants still spent big bucks to build that club. They won with the club they built, which club includes the money they spent on guys who did not contribute to the WS win.

And the Rangers started in the Nats territory payroll-wise (largely due to the bankruptcy proceedings surrounding the club), but they added Lee and Cantu for several Million. Even the Reds, the only other lower spending club in the playoffs, outspent the Nats by 15%.


Posted by: dfh21 | November 5, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, EdDC.....you are exactly correct.....more of the same again next year and every year after that until Ted L dies or the team is sold. At least one of those things will happen at some point.

Posted by: JayBeee | November 5, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Double posted, 2 hours and 8 minutes apart.

Regarding payroll, Texas and SF are in a position to field competitive teams without large payroll because they have years of drafting behind them. Not always smart drafting, some smart, some lucky. But for SF, it meant they could throw out a 4 man rotation for the series that was all home grown. IIRC, the '86 Red Sox were the last team to do so.

If the goal is to be in a position to win a title in 8 years, the Nats don't have to spend money now.

If the goal is to stop the eroding of the fan base and season ticket holder base, then some money needs to be spent now to make this team competitive.

And keep in mind that in July, Texas added $20M to its annual payroll with 3 mid season signings, Jorge CantĂș, Bengie Molina and Cliff Lee.

Posted by: Sunderland | November 5, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Sutherland has it right. The Gnats are well advised to steer clear of pitchers coming off shoulder injuries.

Posted by: MartinZook | November 5, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

{Sigh} - If Rizzo wants to persue Webb, then look at him as a #4-5 starter in terms of guaranteed salary ($1-1.5M), with big incentives. He's just like Wang was for 2010, a high-risk signing, and we all saw how that worked out - $2M down a hole, with another $3.6M or so more possible for 2011, without a single pitch thrown in competition.

As long as nobody from the FO (or press, for that matter) tries to sell it as a "top-of-the-rotation" signing, bring him on.

Posted by: BinM | November 5, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Webb could have #1 quality stuff in 2011. Shoulder injuries are trickier than elbow, but pitchers do overcome them. My concern is not that he won't be good, but that he won't be good for 200+ innings. Pay for 120-150 innings in 2011 not 200+. Then go get another 200+ inning pitcher to serve as your #2. And trade away 2 of the #4/5 pitchers for a little offense/defense to clear room.

Posted by: natbiscuits | November 5, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

You and I both know this won't work out steer clear of Webb Rizzo damaged goods never ever work out example A: Chen Ming Wan didn't pitch an inning last season or did he? i know he didn't pitch in the majors, anyway, stay away.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 5, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The Nats never learn from their mistakes. This could be a repeat of the Wang fiasco. This team is a sucker for damaged goods.

Posted by: bupbups | November 5, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Guinea pigs for pitcher rehab? Lord knows they could use a few mulligans in order to get that right.

Posted by: Godfather_of_Goals | November 5, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

What Wang fiasco? There was a Wang gamble, but no fiasco. They did not go into the season expecting much from Wang. One could argue there was a Marquis fiasco, a Lannan disappointment, and a Strasburg heartbreak, but there was no Wang fiasco. Similarly, pursuit of Webb will be no fiasco if you don't stop trying to improve your team after acquiring him.

I still have hope they will retain Wang - he may just need more time. The fiasco would be to rely solely on such players but to gamble on them would just be a demonstration of willingness to spend. Isn't that one of the things most of you want?

Posted by: natbiscuits | November 5, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

@Juan-John1: Shawn Hill actually is not in retirement. He was a September call-up for Toronto. Pitched lousy, but he pitched. Your point is well taken. Svrluga fawned over Hill like he was the second coming of Bob Gibson. Last time I looked he was a seven-game winner in the majors. Not season, lifetime.

As for Webb, he's worth a shot. I'm tired of watching Craig Stammen.

As for Wang, fuggetaboutit. He's done, kaput, broken. And let's face it, there's nothing worse than a broken Wang.

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | November 5, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Webb might be attractive to some non-small budget teams. Evidently, Boston is one of the teams that is interested.

So, it's not dumpster diving when you are talking about a guy who has a Cy Young on his mantle.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | November 5, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a Dr. & don't play one on TV, but...All of the elbow surgeries that succeeded (90% + is the current rate) were, essentially the same. I'm not sure that is true about shoulder surgery, which may be a variety of different surgeries (Labrum, Rotator cuff, etc.). Also, Tommy John had his operation 40 years ago. Between then and now is a lot of time and a lot of scalpels. I'd love to see the recovery rate in '85 or '95.

As for F/A pitchers, other than Lee, there ain't too much out there worth upping the payroll for. There are some trade prospects, but giving up your everyday SS or 2B for the next decade for, say Greinke, doesn't seem to be a good deal to me.

PS, the Reds may have outspent the Nats by 15% (not that much in real dollars, but 15% sounds good), but much of that was on a rookie who looks like he may be a closer. Way too much.

BTW, my guess is that almost all of the feelers that the Nats got for Dunn at trade deadline were in the AL and were not high end, as he repeatedly said that he didn't want to go to the AL to DH, so would been a rent-a-player. Maybe we could have gotten Colby Rasmus from the Cards. Oh, wait...the Cardinals already have a first baseman.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | November 5, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Why? Enough of these crappy reclamation pitching projects!

Posted by: ImWithStupid | November 5, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Shawn Hill had remarkable talent.He just couldn't stay healthy.He had to come out of a game against the Marlins after five innings;he hadn't given up a hit,though.

Posted by: seanmg | November 6, 2010 1:18 AM | Report abuse

And Adam Dunn....

Posted by: TheOLeary | November 6, 2010 2:51 AM | Report abuse

The very first post sums it up best..another season of dumpster diving. We need to find a former starter coming back from knee surgery...we've cornered the market on bum arms.

Next on Rizzo's radar is Lee...not Cliff, Derek. The ghost of JimBo lives on.

Posted by: howjensen | November 6, 2010 7:15 AM | Report abuse

You can not make gold out of thin air, the alchemists have been trying for centuries to disprove that. When there is really only one coveted free agent pitcher available you have to be creative, and that is what Rizzo is doing. Praise him or damn him, he is trying to find another starter without robbing the Nats of their small stock of worthy prospects. If Webb heals and returns to form, it is the closest to creating gold that you may witness. All of you should know that no pitcher is a sure thing, even the youngest fireballers who seem the healthiest. The annals of spectacular bad trades and signings are filled with pitchers who signed for huge amounts only to have their following years wracked by injuries. Unlike others I am not for gambling the team's assets away on high priced pitching (money or players). If the Nats are so well stocked that they can afford to give up prospects for Greinike then so be it, but the echoes of the Bartolo Colon trade still ring throughout the Nats journals. Such trades make sense only when the team is trying to win the pennant that very year, it does not make sense in order to satisfy a fan base.

Posted by: driley | November 6, 2010 7:37 AM | Report abuse

But driley, there are also annals of spectacular good trades and signings.

The Nats have been so afraid to experience buyer's remourse that they won't buy much of anything. It is time for them to take some risk, be bold. IF they have what it takes to get Grienke, they should get him. Anyone but Stras and Harper from the farm can go. The guy is that good and he's inked for 2 years, it is not Sabathia money/commitment they'd be taking on. Grienke and De la Rosa at the top of the rotation -- that would be a huge step towards contention.

Posted by: dfh21 | November 6, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Nats fans would like a healthy Wang.

Posted by: shanks1 | November 6, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"Such trades make sense only when the team is trying to win the pennant that very year, it does not make sense in order to satisfy a fan base."

This makes sense. SP is very much in demand and difficult to obtain and the team should not mortgage its future on one guy. That said, I read with dismay this posting on Webb, like many other posters I am very tired of broken down retreads. When such moves are taken with the failure to re-sign Dunn and the notorious parsimonious ways of Uncle Teddy, the fan base is understandably restless.

Posted by: NatsFly | November 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

When you blow out an elbow, like Strasburg, Zimmermann, Tommy John, etc., they know how to fix it now.

When you blow out a shoulder, though, sometimes you come back as a marginal reliever (Rauch, for instance) but you never get that zing back into your fastball or the stamina to go eight every five days.

"Four or five miles per hour under his typical velocity" bodes ill, but it is typical of guys who blow up their shoulders. There aren't many pitchers who can lose that much velocity and still get guys out.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | November 6, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

>how do you reconcile the Rangers success this year with your spending theorems. TEX, afterall, is set in a larger market than DC and still had a lower payroll than the Nats. TEX spent money on potential retreads and provided AAAA players the opportunity to play every day.

How about SF's World Series roster, which consisted of basically the same salary as WAS?

Posted by: LosDoceOcho

The difference between the Rangers and Nats? Colby Lewis. The Nats had him last year before he went to Japan and released him. Now he's throwing 7-8-9 innings on a world series team. Same pitcher, different approach. The Rangers expect their pitchers to be able to throw 130 pitches, and it's paid off. The Nats don't. They look for 5-6 innings and pat them on the back, give them a lollipop, take the ball from them, and burn up their bullpen. The Rangers do more long tossing and running than the other teams do so their guys throw just as hard in the 8th inning as they do in the 1st.
The difference between SF and the Nats? Madison Baumgardner vs. Ross Detwiler. Baumgardner looks like a 30 year old weightlifter in his prime, even though he's younger than Ross, and Detwiler hasn't put on a pound of muscle in three years, and gets pulled groins, hamstrings and injured hips because of it. He still throws across his body, which flattens all his pitches out because he has a weak upper body. Same basic level of talent, two totally different results. Somebody posted a picture of Detwiler laying on a hospital exam table in his shorts, and his legs looked like toothpicks.
This thing about Webb - just look at the level of expectation - they'd be ecstatic if he went .500 and made 25 starts. He's not a number one or two, he's another four or five at best, and that's the best the Nats have for next year anyway. Assuming he can even throw. Last report had him throwing a fastball in the mid-eighties and he wasn't even throwing his breaking ball or sinker. Just like Wang. That's because the shoulders are screwed up. Sunderland's right - shoulder injuries kill careers.

Posted by: Brue | November 6, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Wow..... between Webb, Wang, Marquis, John Patterson, Shawn Hill, Olsen, and Strasburg we just might be able to fill out a hospital ward! Am I supposed to be excited about this? We're going to lose Dunn so there goes the home run thrill from the ballpark... who's going to protect Zimmerman in the lineup? Mike Morse? Help me out here! I'm quivering with excitement!!!

Posted by: egrib | November 6, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how big a risk it is to sign Webb. But here's the problem with the Nats taking the risk: they are only going to spend so much this off-season. Taking risks on long-shot comebacks uses money that could have gone to players who would definitely make the team better.

Of course Boston is interested. If they sign him and he flops, they just right-it-off and go out an sign someone else. If Webb flops for the Nats, it means that many more innings for Matt Chico.

It's great that the Nats are interested in spending to make the team better. Now it's time to start spending wisely. Just ask the Mets.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

Posted by: noslok | November 6, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Webb, Wang & WTF? Spend your money on the only legit top Free Agent you have a chance to get, a guy named Adam Dunn!

Posted by: PENSguy17 | November 6, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Non of this dumpster diving, signing the cheapest FA with injuries is going to change until Ted L dies.......sadly that is our only hope and I hate to wish for something like that........what a mess.

Posted by: JayBeee | November 6, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I should say,

Webb, Wang, WTF, & WHY WHY WHY!

Wizzo, I mean Rizzo, come on man. Don't sell me the same garbage we got from Bowden.

This team has 3 serious holes, a legit, and I repeat a legit #1 starter, a real CF leadoff, and a 1st baseman.

You can fix 1st base quickly with Adam Dunn then I think you find your CF. If this team is rolling in the right direction, you can do what the Rangers did and get your #1 as part of a July trade deadline pickup.

I wouldn't spend any money for a #1 pitcher that isn't a sure thing.

Posted by: PENSguy17 | November 6, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

oh and lets spend some money for a psychiatrist for JayBeee because that is a sick dude.

Posted by: PENSguy17 | November 6, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Just saw (via MLB.com transactions) that Scott Olson filed for Free Agency - If Rizzo can bring Webb aboard for Olsen's contract ($1M + bonuses for games started/innings pitched), go ahead and do it. The team will still need a passable #1-2SP for 2011; A rotation of Livo, JZimm, Lannan, Marquis & Maya/Detwiler/etc. is almost a lock for another 65-win season.

Posted by: BinM | November 6, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Brue,

Colby Lewis found his game in Japan, not in the Rangers farm system.

The difference between SF and the Nats is much more than Madison Bumgardner, add Lincecum and Cain and Sanchez and Zito to the list. Four starting pitchers and the fallback of Zito is the big difference. Their catcher is light years better than Pudge is now as well. Every SF player fields their position well, especially in the clutch games. We are not that close to SF at the present.

Posted by: driley | November 6, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Put me in the column that says leave no leaf unturned. Check under all rocks, you might find a gem. Should someone else get Webb & hit the jackpot with him, so many of us would be questioning "why didn't the Nats sign him." Rizzo can't win no matter what. So, I say, go ahead Mike, dive a little deeper, can't hurt.

Posted by: cokedispatch | November 6, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I hate to admit it, but I think JayBee is right. Sad but true.

Posted by: egoodman8 | November 6, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

@egoodman8: JayBeee is right about the Lerner group in that they are proven frugal, almost penny-pinching in their methods of running the franchise to date.

As real-estate development is their primary business, their first order has been to pay down debt (the stadium & franchise fees), much to the detriment of the on-field product. This has resulted in sinking box-office sales, but still rewards them with shared revenue from MLB, to the tune of an estimated $20-30M per year.

In 2009 & 2010, they seem to have set more money aside for the draft, to their credit. They need to begin re-investing at least part of that shared revenue at the Major League level, and substantially upgrade the on-field product at Nationals Park; Otherwise, they are slowly poisoning the remaining fan base, IMO.

Posted by: BinM | November 6, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Brandon Webb is toast. It is a waste of time and money to go after him.

Posted by: cbtole2 | November 6, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

A couple of trade thoughts...

Shoud the Nationals take a serious run at Greinke [KC], it might take 4-5 players/prospects to get it done. They're lacking in a lot of spots, so maybe an OF-P-three/four prospect offer could persuade Dayton Moore to make the deal.
How about Greinke & Ka'aihue from KC for Willingham, Martis, Marrero, Rosenbaum, Holder, & Souza from WSH.

Tampa Bay is trying to shed salary without holding a 'fire sale', so maybe target Garza for an offer of 3-4 'controlled' players in return; Garza from TB for Bernadina, Lannan, Mock & Carr from WSH.

Posted by: BinM | November 6, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Agree on both those trades.....doubt TB or KC would want those players.....KC needs talent and does not want salary of Willingham....TB is too smart to go for that group of Nat "talent".....and Lannan is going to start costing Arb money soon....nope FA is the only way to improve the team fast and that is just not going to happen.

Posted by: JayBeee | November 6, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

This place is like Pavlov's lab. "Nats thinking about being interested in going forward with considering an offer to [fill in the blank]."

"He's a nobody."

"He's all you can get with these owners."

"He could really be great."

"Love the owners."

"Hate the owners."

"Be ok if we don't have to give up much."

"Trade the entire roster and the farm system for him."

Stuck in the doldrums.

Posted by: markfromark | November 6, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone keeping the Big Board now that NFA has abandoned us to teach math to a bunch of snot nosed brats (bitter much)?

Posted by: natbiscuits | November 6, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Ding ding ding! We have a POD winner, folks. Or maybe the bell means it's dinner time?

---

Stuck in the doldrums.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | November 6, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that's a lot of Sturm und Drang for an unattributed quote from a single "source" not even WITH the Nationals. (What exactly does "close to" mean, here? SBF? I'm not criticizing, I'm just asking.) And even if you swallow that whole, it's still just "they're talking about negotiating with a guy who may well sign elsewhere" and is probably 50-50 at best to ever get an out in MLB again.

Oh, for updates, and there's always teh Google. This took longer to cut and paste than it took to find: www.mlbtraderumors.com/chienming_wang/

Chien-Ming Wang Rumors

Nationals Face Decision On Chien-Ming Wang
By Tim Dierkes [October 12, 2010 at 3:55pm CST]

Chien-Ming Wang pitched again in the instructional league today, and Bob Klapisch tweets word from a scout that he looked "filthy." Wang hit 89 mph and got four groundballs in 17 pitches, reports MASN's Ben Goessling.

If the Nationals want to retain Wang, they could simply tender him a contract for no less than $1.6MM, or work out a new agreement before the non-tender deadline. If the Nats non-tendered Wang and still wanted to bring him back, they'd have to either wait until May to sign him to a major league deal or sign him to a minor league contract and keep him in the minors until May 1st.

On October 6th, Goessling wrote that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo expects to work out a new deal with Wang before the December 2nd non-tender deadline; Wang's agent Alan Nero also told Goessling he expects to reach some kind of agreement with the team. The Nationals signed Wang in February to a $2MM deal with $3MM in performance bonuses, but his recovery from July '09 shoulder surgery became drawn out and prevented him from facing hitters until recently.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | November 6, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Is this a great country or what? Wang hasn't pitched a regular season inning for the Nat's and he still made over 2 million dollars!!! The Giant's and Rangers both benefitted from rolling the dice with ( Vlad Guerrero, Colby Lewis) and the Giants with( Cody Ross,Aubrey Huff) but even more than that both teams also had great coaching staff's and managers that is why i was in favor of Rizzo showing Riggleman the door after this past season and bringing in a manager and staff with a no nonsense approach from day one, i think that would go a long way in pointing this franchise in a right and winning direction.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 6, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

How bout pursuing a bonifide healthy pitcher who actually had a winning record this past season. Now that would be something.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | November 6, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Tracee says Adam is on vacation, which this seems like a good time for.

Posted by: markfromark | November 7, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

That sounds like Harpo Marx pursuing leggy blondes around the cruise ship ... don't remember him ever catching one.

Bona fide is Latin for "good faith".
*****************
How bout pursuing a bonifide healthy pitcher who actually had a winning record this past season. Now that would be something.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | November 6, 2010 9:43 PM

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | November 7, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

As real-estate development is their primary business, their first order has been to pay down debt (the stadium & franchise fees), much to the detriment of the on-field product. This has resulted in sinking box-office sales, but still rewards them with shared revenue from MLB, to the tune of an estimated $20-30M per year.

In 2009 & 2010, they seem to have set more money aside for the draft, to their credit. They need to begin re-investing at least part of that shared revenue at the Major League level, and substantially upgrade the on-field product at Nationals Park; Otherwise, they are slowly poisoning the remaining fan base, IMO.

Posted by: BinM | November 6, 2010 1:57 PM |

BinM,

The Nats finish every year in the top three teams in profit in all of MLB. You seem to be quite right that Lerner feels that he is forced to take those profits and plow them into reducing his debt and increasing his equity, perhaps because of real estate problems he may be having. I can't have much sympathy for Teddy in using the Nats as a cash cow. Instead of being obscenely rich, maybe he is only filthy rich in today's real estate market. However, other teams also must have their problems in the economic downturn as well, and they put more resources into their clubs than the Nats do. To me, the best way to protect and increase the value of the franchise is to put together an exciting, winning team over time that can draw 30,00+ a game--not simply paying down their debt. And think what that would do to their land holdings around the stadium!

If your house was run down and need of a new roof and other major repairs, would you (1) make the repairs to avoid further damage to the house--and thereby sustain and increase its value, or (2) build equity in the house by keeping repair expenses low and paying down the mortgage ahead of schedule?

I agree with you that it would be nice if the Nats were to "begin" re-investing in the ballclub! But let's not give too much credibility to what the Nats did with the draft last year. Their total above-slot payout couldn't have been much more than $3 million total--the price of a serviceable but not excellent reliever.

As for those trades, it would definitely be a great idea to land high quality pitchers in exchange for some of the Nats' AAAA players no one wants anymore.

Posted by: EdDC | November 7, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

For weeks I've been saying we'd target Webb. Let the praise of me begin.

All kidding aside, it makes sense. He's a Rizzo boy, can be signed to a risk/reward type contract Wang and Olsen had. Just makes too much sense not to happen.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | November 7, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@EdDC:

"As for those trades, it would definitely be a great idea to land high quality pitchers in exchange for some of the Nats' AAAA players no one wants anymore."

Are you being serious here, or is just another of your tongue-in-cheek "endorsements" of the Nats' apparent small-market approach to player acquisition and payroll? You can't trade AAAA players for high-quality pitchers.

Posted by: bertbkatz | November 7, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

>For weeks I've been saying we'd target Webb. Let the praise of me begin.

Posted by: SCNatsFan

You should stop predicting. You're getting too good. It's like when I predicted that Harper would shut everyone up about how he wasn't ready for anything except the starting right fielder job at Nats Park opening day 2011. I predict he will get invited to the big league camp, will continue to hit, and will wait on the marketing dept. to give the thumbs up whether to keep him on the roster since they can't sell anything else. So what if he hits .240 for the first couple of months. Willie Harris hit .185. Bernadina went 5 for 60. Nyjer had 23 rbi. Harper has almost as many rbi as Gonzalez had all last year.

Posted by: Brue | November 7, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

bert,

BinM says: Shoud the Nationals take a serious run at Greinke [KC], it might take 4-5 players/prospects to get it done. They're lacking in a lot of spots, so maybe an OF-P-three/four prospect offer could persuade Dayton Moore to make the deal.
How about Greinke & Ka'aihue from KC for Willingham, Martis, Marrero, Rosenbaum, Holder, & Souza from WSH.

I was being serious in supporting BinM. Greinke is 26 and has two years left. A former top pick, he had a great year in 2009, but dropped off a bit in 2010. Normally, you can't trade AAAA-level quantity for MLB quality, but BinM may be onto something here, as he often is. Greinke makes $13.5 both years coming up. Maybe KC would unload him, just to dump payroll. An aggressive club that is building and doesn't mind adding payroll could take a shot. This is exactly the kind of deal the Nats should do but have stayed away from, because of their tiny little budgets.

You can add quality without subtracting much, if you take on salary. The Nats did get Soriano awhile back in a trade. However, that was pre-Lerner. When Soriano moved on, he netted Jordan Zimmermann plus a first-rounder who hasn't panned out. So this Greinke idea is what the Nats should do, if they were not cheap.

The Nats never get extra top round picks, like they should if they were serious about building. You turn guys of value whom you trade for, plus free agents, into top picks. Or you can just keep 'em and win games with 'em. Doing nothing gets you no options. This only works when you add guys with value, and you have to pay for those.

Posted by: EdDC | November 7, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@EdDC: I never meant to say that the Lerners were forced to pour their earnings into ifrastructure; It's just their nature, given the business they come from. The on-field product has been a secondary concern to them, IMO.

They've clearly 'upped' the budget for both scouting & draft picks over the last two years, signing more than half the teams total picks from each year (61 of 101 in 2009-2010, with at least six over slot).

All I'm looking for is an additional increase in the front-end (40-man) roster budget, much like StanK called for in his parting shots. Maybe a jump to $75-80M in 2010 - re-sign some Arb-eligibles, sign some FA's, and go after a trade or two that might take on salary.

Posted by: BinM | November 7, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

EdDC has been correctly advocating for this type of move for several years.....Capps was a start.....Lerner owernship has taken on Willingham and Dunn to add salary and likely get draft picks when they walk so I do see them improving some here.....but Greinke is not going to come cheap.....BinM proposed AAAA guys are not going to do it.....They will need to trade real value and they just don't have any of that to spare......Ian D or Danny E are they only ones who would work and I say no to that deal. They are going to have to Spend on the FA side to get a #1 because they have drafted poorly and are paying the price right with very little to offer.

Posted by: JayBeee | November 7, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

If you take a guy like Greinke, who had an off-year and makes a ton of money for a small-market team, you can maybe get him for less than Ian or Danny. Of course, we in DC value those two guys probably more than other teams do, so you may be right--the Nats may have to come up with something along the lines you have suggested. I guess it depends how much KC wants to unload Greinke's big bucks? This is the kind of steal you can possibly get if you add payroll.

Posted by: EdDC | November 7, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

If we could "steal" him for something less than Ian or Danny then do it! I would guess that Red Sox, Yanks, Phil, WSox, Angles, Reds, MBrew, STL all have better young talent to offer and are more than willing to spend 13 Mil for two years of Greinke......let us hope he slips to us.....

Posted by: JayBeee | November 7, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

To get Greinke and still keep Desmond and Espinosa, a deal would have to begin with Norris. Add Marrero, Burgess, and a good pitching prospect such as Peacock or Deitweiler. Then and only a big maybe would KC listen to a deal. But should the Nats do this deal for a pitcher they would have for only two years? I wouldn't do it u less they could sign Greinke to a longer contract.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | November 7, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Greinke is probably the best pitcher on the trade market, but for the price you would have to pay, I'd rather have one of the Tampa Bay pitchers or perhaps Wandy Rodriguez of the Astros.

Posted by: natbiscuits | November 7, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

In regards to trading for a player, catcher is the only position where we have legitimate talent that someone else may want. So you have to answer the question "What would a Norris or Ramos buy?" The response would be most likely a good relief pitcher, not a very good starting pitcher. Burgess or Marrero will add little to the deal. The history of trading very good pitchers has shown that the value demanded is far more than the Nats can offer at this point.

Posted by: driley | November 8, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Brandon Webb will be 32 years old in May. One of the main problems with this team is that it's already got too many regulars over the age of 30, and if they add him, and as is likely Carlos Pena to replace Adam Dunn, they will actually have managed to get older at 2 key positions (starting pitcher and 1B).

The dumpster diving accusation is not inappropriate. For all intents and purposes, Webb has not pitched since 2008, and Pena is coming off two consecutive seasons in which his batting average has plummeted far below his career mark (which was quite low to begin with, significantly lower than Dunn's in fact). He can still hit home runs, but that's about all he can hit. The severed downward trend in his production can be seen over the course of two full years. It isn't likely to be reversed, and simply staying the same isn't going to do the Nots any good.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 8, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

To date I haven't been an enthusiastic Morse fan. But if I had a choice between C. Pena and Morse at 1B, I would join the Morse Fan Club in a heartbeat. I don't see what signing Pena gets us. Older. Less offense. He will make losing Dunn look like a disaster as opposed to a challenge to be overcome. As regards FA pitchers, what about De la Rosa with the Rox? Is he another player who isn't likely to come here?

Posted by: fpcsteve | November 8, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

fpcsteve:

I'm no Morse fan either, and obviously don't think much of the idea of signing Pena. But just handing Morse the position is probably even a worse idea. He has practically no experience at the position. He has a total of 144 innings playing at first base, which works out to a little over 15 full games. For all the years he's played in the minors, he has very little experience at first there either.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 8, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Isn't there a rule that when the replies hit 100, a new post is required?

Adam...Wake up!

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | November 8, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

The only way Pena makes sense to me is if he comes wicked cheap and the club actually spends the savings on front end SP's -- we need two of them -- not named Webb. (Not to say an add of Webb is a bad thing, but that kind of maybe we get lucky signing cannot be the cornerstone of the off-season work.)

Posted by: dfh21 | November 8, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

dfh21:

"The only way Pena makes sense to me is if he comes wicked cheap and the club actually spends the savings on front end SP's -- we need two of them -- not named Webb. (Not to say an add of Webb is a bad thing, but that kind of maybe we get lucky signing cannot be the cornerstone of the off-season work.)"

Pena hit .196 this past season. He will come very, very cheap. In fact, I doubt anyone other than the Nots has any interest in him. And you're right about the "maybe we get lucky" aspect of a possible Webb signing. They got awfully lucky with Livan this year, they're really pushing it if they sign Webb.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 8, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So, I was checking out MLB Trade Rumors, and they listed the spots where they think the top 50 free agents will land. They have Pena, Javier Vazquez and Webb coming to the Nats. From what I see, most everyone on here would be unhappy if this is correct. They do bring up a good point about Pena getting the chance to face NL pitching more regularly, which could help some offensive resurgance. Vazquez has pitched well everywhere but New York. Webb to me seems like a gamble, but maybe one that could pay off--no sure thing, by any stretch, though.

They are also mentioned in the blurbs about Lee and De La Rosa.

Posted by: Cavalier83 | November 8, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I saw Rizzo at the Wizards game on Saturday night. I went up and challenged him on the potential Brandon Webb signing. He defended Webb saying he has won a Cy Young, I shot back and told him that I've read that he has lost his velocity and this seems like more "dumpster diving". I told him to go after De La Rosa. He told me he did like De La Rosa. Of the 1 minute I talked to him, he seemed like a real nice guy and I wished him luck on the season.

But please, don't sign Webb and then try to sell him to us as our #1 pitcher. That is insulting. If you want to sign him fine, but we still need an additional legit top of the rotation pitcher, outside of Webb.

Posted by: dominic10464 | November 8, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

For you guys who worried or concerned about wang check out the news. Taiwanese pitcher Chien-Ming Wang of the Washington Nationals threw one scoreless inning with two strikeouts in his first instructional league game on Oct. 8. Four days later he threw two shutout innings in his second consecutive scoreless outing after missing the entire 2010 season.

Wang needed only 17 pitches to retire all six batters he faced, four on ground outs and two on fly balls. His velocity hit 89 miles per hour (143 kilometers per hour) , his best since taking to the mound in a game situation during his rehab stint. What's wrong with Wang? Nothing! Just sign the Ws! With Wang and Webb Washington will Win in 2011.

Posted by: kenguo33 | November 8, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

To get Greinke and still keep Desmond and Espinosa, a deal would have to begin with Norris. Add Marrero, Burgess, and a good pitching prospect such as Peacock or Deitweiler. Then and only a big maybe would KC listen to a deal. But should the Nats do this deal for a pitcher they would have for only two years? I wouldn't do it u less they could sign Greinke to a longer contract.Posted by: jcampbell1 | November 7, 2010 8:38 PM |

Right, you and the Nats would not do it. However, consider that you get more than Grienke for two years. When he leaves to sign elsewhere after his two years are up, you get high draft picks--as a Type A, you can get a first rounder and a comp pick between the first and second rounds when he goes. The "Build From Within" (BFW) fans almost never consider this. By not trading for guys with value, and by signing so few free agents of value, the Nats lose out on getting extra draft picks, thereby severely hurting their BFW strategy!

Even if you can't sign Greinke long term right now to a long-term deal, you could always sign him later, once he gets used to the club, players and learns that the organization is committed to winning. That last part needs a nice boost in philosophy and action. Anyway, it is within MLB rules for the Nats to sign quality players to relatively long-term contracts.

Posted by: EdDC | November 8, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

"Right, you and the Nats would not do it. However, consider that you get more than Grienke for two years. When he leaves to sign elsewhere after his two years are up, you get high draft picks--as a Type A, you can get a first rounder and a comp pick between the first and second rounds when he goes."

Why is this a good thing if they do it with Grienke but a bad thing when they do it with Dunn?

Posted by: FeelWood | November 8, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The point of my comment, FW, was that it is a good thing to sign quality free agents, especially youngish ones, and trade for quality players, especially youngish ones, because it helps you build from within (BFW) by netting top draft picks when they sign elsewhere after their contracts are complete.

If you like your new players and can work out contract extensions, that is also an option. It's all good! The only "bad" is that you have to add to your payroll when you do these things.

I would sign Dunn long-term for the kind of money Boswell is talking about. Others are more excited by 1B who can't hit .200 anymore. Whatever. But even if you don't sign Dunn, he still nets high draft picks.

There is no logical inconsistency.

There is very little justification for the Nats to sign only one $20 million FA over they years and trade for no player who makes even average MLB salary. That hurts your BFW goals.

Posted by: EdDC | November 8, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

"There is no logical inconsistency."

Then why have we been forced to put up with all of your not-so-subtle digs at the Nats for nor re-signing Dunn for the past several months?

Posted by: FeelWood | November 8, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Again, Dunn should be signed!

At 1B the Nats will end up with someone cheaper, older, and a lot less productive. It's not like the Nats have such a huge record of success that they don't need to retain the few good players they have, assuming Dunn's price is in the ballpark of Boswell's reported numbers. But maybe it is too late for all that anyway.

Posted by: EdDC | November 8, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

"Again, Dunn should be signed!"

Yes, he certainly should be. But Nots fans had better get used to the idea of Pena being signed to take over at first. Management has apparently decided they want an infield full of Gold Glovers, and an inability to hit .200 is apparently no big thing in their mind. Not to mention that Pena can be had for relative peanuts at this point.

That still leaves the question of whether Desmond can ever cut down on the errors, and Espinosa can hit ML pitching. Based on last year's performance, the right side of the 2011 Nots infield might be hard pressed to keep their combined BA above the Mendoza Line.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 8, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I don't think that Pena is going to be signed for peanuts. The guy is repped by Boras, he's a power hitting lefty who has knocked in 100 several times and he'll likely take a one year deal in hopes of playing well for bigger money in 2012 (a la Beltre). Maybe $8-9M plus incentives gets him, but it could go higher (O's, Mariners, Cubs, Atlanta, maybe even Boston, will kick the tires on the guy.)

Posted by: dfh21 | November 8, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

DFH,

With any luck, maybe Pena is going to be priced outside of the Nats' comfort zone.

Posted by: EdDC | November 8, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"I don't think that Pena is going to be signed for peanuts."

Well, he certainly should be. And Boston's already had him (briefly) in 2006 and let him walk. Hard to believe they'll want him after the horrible season he's had which they got to see up close and personal, playing in the same division.

This is a shorter version of a comment that apparently ended up getting lost in the ether. If the other one does ever appear, sorry for the duplication of thoughts.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 8, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I would not be buying Carlos Pena if I were making that call, but I do think that he'll get those kind of coins ($8M 1 yr). He's been an All Star, he has a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. He's a charcter guy. Boras will make money out of that stuff.

I think that he's not the right call for the Nats -- skills have been trending south both with the bat and glove, he's something of a reclamation, he's not young and he's not going to energize the fans. I thought management was critical of Dunn's swing and miss issues, Pena is somehow an improvement on that front? I mena how many balls in the dirt is he going to dig out to justify hitting .215?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 8, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Here's what Bill Ladson just said about Dunn: "I take a lot of hits for mentioning Dunn's strikeouts and below-average defense. To make me stop talking about them, all Dunn has to do is starting winning World Series titles. Do you hear anybody talk about Reggie Jackson's strikeouts or his below-average defense with the Yankees? The answer is no. The man was a born winner. Winning cures a lot of negative things about a player."

So let's add to Dunn's flaws the fact that he did not win a World Series for the Nats. I wonder--should he have won the WS in 2009 or 2010? Or maybe both years.

Posted by: EdDC | November 8, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Is Ladson saying if only Dunn were lucky enough to be on a better club we'd never even notice his bad glove and K's (a la Ryan Howard?), or is he saying it is Dunn's fault they are not winning Championships? I dunno.

Anyway, Ladson essentially works for the club so I take everything that guy says with a grain of salt. The idea that Ladson dropped "according to a source" the Nats made a 3 year offer to Dunn 3 months ago comes over to me as suspicious. How can he print that without giving us more information -- deal terms in terms of Dollars? any no-trade protection? Confirmation from anyone? It makes it seem like ownership has been reasonable and has made a decent if not unspectacular offer to keep Dunn when we simply have no idea at all whether that is the case.

And I simply have to question the motives of a writer who classifies Willie Harris as "a valuable player coming off the bench" for having driven in 32 runs is 2010 and being able to play every postion but for P and C (Harris hit .183 last year, his defense was suspect and he did not play SS or 2B at all -- he's a bad 4th OF on a team full of 4th OF's). Is Bill telling us how it is, or is he campaigning for Harris to return?

Posted by: dfh21 | November 8, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind the Lerners being cheap, but stupid I do mind. Sure, sign all the pitchers they can to bring to spring training. I just hope they don't trade away their young players for some lousy trade in the vain hopes of doing something good. This team is only a power hitting outfielder or two and a few starting pitchers away from being a good team. Put Mike Morse at first base for g's sake!

Posted by: shred11 | November 8, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

dfh21:

"I would not be buying Carlos Pena if I were making that call . . . I think that he's not the right call for the Nats -- skills have been trending south both with the bat and glove, he's something of a reclamation, he's not young and he's not going to energize the fans. I thought management was critical of Dunn's swing and miss issues, Pena is somehow an improvement on that front? I mena how many balls in the dirt is he going to dig out to justify hitting .215?"

Great comment. I'd only add that Pena may no longer be capable of hitting .215, which makes bringing him in an even worse decision.

"This team is only a power hitting outfielder or two and a few starting pitchers away from being a good team. Put Mike Morse at first base for g's sake!"

Uhh, being a couple of power hitting outfielders and "a few" (presumably more than two) starting pitchers away from being a good team is a very long, long way indeed. As to the Lerner's being stupid, handing 1B to a career minor leaguer with very little experience playing the position (i.e., Mike Morse) would be a very stupid decision.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 9, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

"This team is only a power hitting outfielder or two and a few starting pitchers away from being a good team."

Right now, the Nats have an excellent 3B, an infield which is learning (Nats fans assume the middle infield will be fixtures for the next dozen years, but it is not so clear to the pro scouts, I'll bet--Ian and Danny are "B" prospects who could make it), an unknown commodity at 1B (likely a leftover), an OF that may not have any starter in it on most MLB teams, catchers who could make it in Ramos and Flores (but, again, may not be fixtures for years to come in the minds of pro scouts--these guys have to prove themselves and the Twins are good judges of talent), absolutely lousy starting pitchers--among the worst in baseball (Livan is the Ace?), mediocre relief pitchers or maybe slightly better than mediocre (thanks to a good, low-budget cobble job by Rizzo), no closer (Storen, a below-slot draftee, was a 3.80 ERA guy in college--is his upside in MLB much better than that?), a mid-level or worse farm system that has been built so far on the cheap (2010 was the first good investment in the farm), and low-budget (cheap) ownership who are not committed to winning. Seems last place again to me, for 2011 and beyond, unless team-building philosophy changes.

Posted by: EdDC | November 9, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

By the way, if you subtract "a few starting pitchers" from the SF Giants, would they be any good?

Posted by: EdDC | November 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, if you subtract 'a few starting pitchers' from the SF Giants, would they be any good?"

Exactly. What really gets me is that you'll see people saying that all summer long, "we're only a handful of All-Star caliber players from being a good ballclub!" As if there are significant numbers of such players to be had off the waiver wire.

The next time you read a comment like that, imagine (if you can) what the 1962 Yankees would have been like minus outfielders Roger Maris and Tom Tresh, and pitchers Ralph Terry and Bill Stafford (please note that I still let them keep AL MVP Mickey Mantle and 17 game winner Whitey Ford). They'd have been lucky to win 82 games and finish 5th. Being "only" four or five good players short is the difference between good to great teams and really bad ones.

Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 9, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, if you subtract "a few starting pitchers" from the SF Giants, would they be any good?

Posted by: EdDC | November 9, 2010 9:39 AM"

If you took away two of the trio of Lincecum, Cain and Bumgarner, no they wouldn't be any good.

Posted by: FeelWood | November 9, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Exactly. What really gets me is that you'll see people saying that all summer long, "we're only a handful of All-Star caliber players from being a good ballclub!" As if there are significant numbers of such players to be had off the waiver wire. Posted by: Fairfax6 | November 9, 2010 9:58 AM

Agree. Actually the Nats' approach is not so much to claim players off the waiver wire, but to wait until they clear waivers. That way you get them for the pro-rated MLB minimum. The quality of players who clear is less than those who don't clear, but it's the very cheapest way to fill uniforms.

Posted by: EdDC | November 9, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Let's see ... Wang, Webb, Marquis, how many injured sinkerball pitchers can we accumulate?

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | November 10, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

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