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Posted at 12:10 AM ET, 12/ 3/2010

Nationals non-tender Joel Peralta, Chien-Ming Wang, Wil Nieves

By Adam Kilgore

At tonight's midnight deadline, the Nationals chose not to tender a contract to three of their 10 arbitration eligible players, making starter Chien-Ming Wang, catcher Wil Nieves and reliever Joel Peralta free agents. The Nationals also agreed to terms on one-year contracts with utility infielder Alberto Gonzalez and catcher Jesus Flores, thereby avoiding arbitration.

That left John Lannan, Josh Willingham, Sean Burnett, Michael Morse and Doug Slaten as players the Nationals could go to arbitration with. Barring a trade -- and Willingham has been drawing significant interest -- all five will be Nationals again in 2011.

The Nationals were expected to jettison Nieves, a reliable back-up who, with Jesus Flores, Wilson Ramos and Ivan Rodriguez in the fold, no longer has a place on the roster. Wang was also an expected non-tender, because the Nationals can likely negotiate a cheaper, more incentive-based contract than the $1.6 million minimum he would have been owed through arbitration.

The surprise was Peralta. He became a key late-innings reliever for the Nationals, posting a 2.02 ERA and a 0.796 WHIP in 49 innings this season following a promotion from Class AAA Syracuse. The Nationals could still sign Peralta as a free agent, but they'll compete with 29 other teams.

Both Gonzalez and Flores are represented by agent Scott Boras, whom the Nationals have worked with often, particularly with first overall draft choices Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper.

By Adam Kilgore  | December 3, 2010; 12:10 AM ET
 
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Next: The Joel Peralta non-tender explained

Comments

sounds like the Peralta release is in preparation for winter trades, possible this years' "Matt Capps" or a Rule 5 draft pick.

Posted by: wrw0601 | December 3, 2010 12:53 AM | Report abuse

Dropping Peralta was about one thing, money. Apparently, $800k is too much for the Lerners to pay for an effective reliever.

Posted by: comish4lif | December 3, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Peralta had a great year, a really great year. Hard to tell whether he's figured it all out at age 34 or whatever he is or whether 2010 is an outlier that is not likely to be repeated. My guess is he re-inks witht the Nats. We'll see.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 3, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I see the Peralta move as a vote of confidence for some of the other younger relief candidates including Balester, Kimball, and Carr. Peralta is older and not that expensive. But when you have 15+ qualified releif candidates and only 7 spots, you have to consider letting some go. Maybe they will sign him to a minor league contract again - he's been a bit of a journeyman and there are alot of similar arms on the free agent list already.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 3, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

When is it too early to start using "Rizzo" and "erratic" in the same sentence? I hope he's some kind of genius, because there seems to be no consistency to his player philosophy.

Posted by: Section506 | December 3, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

506: "there seems to be no consistency to his player philosophy."

It's simple: budget. All of the other moves, except for Nieves and including letting Dunn go, save the team money.

Now the question is, what do they do with those savings?

Posted by: baltova1 | December 3, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

BTW, the Pirates have now dumped both Hanrahan and Milledge (non-tendered). The Morgan/Burnett return continues to look like a pretty good deal. As does the Capps for Ramos deal, the Willingham for Bonifacio deal, the Clippard for Albadabadejo (sp), the Morse for Langerhans deal, and the Guzman for a bucket of balls deal. I really can't think of a bad truly bad trade since the first months of the Nationals existance - Guillen for Itzuris and Rivera - and even that was understandable in the context of the time. Some might argue FLOP Kearns for Bray, Harris, et al... but that was really not an unfair deal either. Am I forgetting one?

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 3, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"It's simple: budget. All of the other moves, except for Nieves and including letting Dunn go, save the team money."

Well if that's true that alone is concerning, because not all products are equal. If my team is a McD's Double Quarter Pounder With Cheese and a Ted's Bison COB there's no doubt that the dollar menu item is cheaper. But then I've got a line-up of dollar menu items instead of a delicious juicy patty that more than compensates for the terribleness of the owner of the establishment.

Posted by: Section506 | December 3, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Nope, you're right on trades. Rizzo trades have been good. He is proving his worth as a scout.

But free agent signings and contract negotiations? Jury is still way out.

Posted by: Section506 | December 3, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

506, to extend your McDonald's analogy a little further, just imagine buying Big Macs and selling them to the public at the same price as the guy next door offering steak?

Posted by: baltova1 | December 3, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

If Peralta was not tendered because of Financial reasons than the Lerner's are the worst owners in baseball.

In my humble opinion I think Rizzo is an awesome GM, who is just handcuffed to awful owners that limit is ability to make moves.

Posted by: Cartaldo | December 3, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@natsbisquit: You are exactly right about the trades and don't discount the two pitchers we got for Guzman as "a bucket of balls". Both contributed in their brief time in the minors with us, and have been mentioned a couple of times at the National Prospects site.

If Rizzo could now show some initiative on the Free Agent platform I think we will continue to get better. Some here will continually throw out the "cheap owners" line or other negatives about Rizzo, in various ways, but we have spent money on our drafts. I can only hope the silence by the front office means things are in the works.

Signing either Werth or Crawford and moving Morse or Willingham to first would make us stronger. Doing nothing will make us worse and the bottom-line is we desparatly need starting pitching (which I can't see us improving at this time).
Early to predict but Marquis will win 11 games, Lannan will improve, hopefully Hernandez has one more good year, Maya adjusts to America and the majors, and Zimm solidifies his stature as our top pitcher as we move toward 81 wins.

go Nats

Posted by: sjm3091 | December 3, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Natsbis. Hanrahan got a contract from the Pirates, I am pretty sure, and he has an electric arm (100 K's in less than 70 innings); Rizzo at best got a push out of that deal. Burnett is nice but not a very useful guy on a club that has much bigger needs than a lefty specialist and Morgan is an enigma. I have hope that he can get it together and be very valuable, but he's not predictable at all.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 3, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

What pitchers were the White Sox offering us for Dunn?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

What pitchers were the White Sox offering us for Dunn?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 3, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Like most of the posters from the last 3 threads, I am very disappointed (but not surprised) at the failure to sign Dunn. The ownership of this team is just awful, and my ST renewal package just went into the trash, where it belongs. I will go to a few games next year, and will buy the tickets from other fans, not the owners of this pathetic team. I love the team cause they are mine, but they are just not a serious MLB team and I will give as little money as possible to the owners who are abusing them and their fan base.

Congrats, Uncle Teddy, you have driven this die hard fan away from the ranks of STH. Brilliant marketing strategy!

Posted by: NatsFly | December 3, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

And remember whoever it was, it just wasn't good enough for Rizzo and Lerner. Wouldn't even 1 pitcher now be worth it rather than nothing?? And I bet it was more than that.
Nothing for Soriano, Nothing for Dunn.
Hello 100 losses again.
Bank it.
Is this any way to run a team?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 3, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

We gave the Nats a chance and it's just gotten worse year after year.
Enough is enough.
Instead of DC, for the first time in 5 years, we'll be back at Camden Yards for opening day.
It's back to Baltimore for us.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | December 3, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

The Lerners just crpd on my heart!

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | December 3, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

"Burnett is nice but not a very useful guy on a club that has much bigger needs than a lefty specialist"

Burnett showed last year in a very definitive fashion that he is much more than just a lefty specialist. Recall the outcry last year when the Nats took him to arbitration and won? "OMG! They have disrespected a valuable asset! He will be so pissed off that he will end up sucking!" Well, guess what? He did the opposite. He showed them. Put up a great year. This year if they don't come to terms with him and end up going to arbitration, no way Burnett loses. That's the kind of player you want on your team.

Posted by: FeelWood | December 3, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

peralta was money last year - about as effective as you could ever hope a 34 year old unheralded reliever could be. when clipp and burnett were overused, he picked up the slack in a big way. this looks like a pretty bad baseball decision to me, given the amounts discussed.

Posted by: DCguy7 | December 3, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm really disappointed about losing Adam Dunn. I won't give up my season tickets (yet) because I waited a quarter-century for MLB to come after I moved to this area. But in another year or so, if the present trend with this ownership continues, I may have to reconsider. I'm starting to feel like a sucker. Even a Yankee Stadium STH laughed at me recently when I told him I was paying $35 a game for parking.

Posted by: fluffy4 | December 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

natbiscuits,
I just verified with my brother in Pittsburgh that only Milledge was non-tendered. The Pirates have either offered arbitration or signed Hanrahan to a contract.
For all his baggage Milledge was a model citizen during his time in Pittsburgh. They're very high on Bowker and/or Garrett Jones moving to RF from 1B.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | December 3, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Peralta is a pretty old guy but he was effective and one of last year's most pleasant surprises. I mean, think back to 2009's relief staff and... (it's too painful even now).

I don't know about Rizzo's plans. $800K seems pretty cheap to me. But I agree with the other non-tender decisions; we have no use for Nieves any more -- if we need somebody else I'd call up Maldonado anyhow -- and boy, didn't that Wang guy come through for us last year?

I'm ready to give Rizzo the benefit of just about every doubt. That Morgan trade was such a total ripoff of the Pirates that it may be the best Washington trade since we sent Claude Osteen to the Dodgers for Frank Howard.

Posted by: FergusonFoont | December 3, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

>Natsbis. Hanrahan got a contract from the Pirates, I am pretty sure, and he has an electric arm (100 K's in less than 70 innings); Rizzo at best got a push out of that deal. Burnett is nice but not a very useful guy on a club that has much bigger needs than a lefty specialist and Morgan is an enigma. I have hope that he can get it together and be very valuable, but he's not predictable at all.
Posted by: dfh21

Also, Pants didn't trade for Willingham and Olsen. Bowden did that. He also didn't do that trade for Kearns and FLop.

Posted by: Brue | December 3, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

>If Peralta was not tendered because of Financial reasons than the Lerner's are the worst owners in baseball.

In my humble opinion I think Rizzo is an awesome GM, who is just handcuffed to awful owners that limit is ability to make moves.

Posted by: Cartaldo

Nah, the moral of this story is that for all the bloviating about how they had a good bullpen last year, it's essentially useless when you can't score, and don't have starting pitching. The club knows you can pick your relievers off the scrap heap because those guys move around all the time. They get used up and dumped. Happens over and over. You rarely know from year to year if a bullpen guy is going to be effective. Clippard might be toast in a year or two if he keeps getting 70 appearances. It happens overnight.

Posted by: Brue | December 3, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

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