Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 12/28/2010

Yunesky Maya's promising winter in the Dominican

By Adam Kilgore

First impressions are always powerful and sometimes unfair. This is worth remembering in the case of Yunkesy Maya, the Cuban right-hander whose first foray into the major leagues resulted only in worry about what the Nationals were getting for their four-year, $6 million investment. He debuted Sept. 7 and made five starts, and the Nationals lost all of those games. He had a 5.88 ERA, 11 walks and 12 strikeouts. He relied on looping, cartoon curveballs and nibbled at the edges of the strike zone. The league hit .294 against him.

Maya's introduction left scant reason for optimism, but it's worth wondering now if he ever had a chance in 2010. His only game action before his major league debut in the previous year and a half had come in five minor league starts, only two of which came in a level above Class A. He was still adjusting to life in America and without his family; he kept two pictures of his wife and son in his locker. He spoke no English.

At the time, the prevailing wisdom was that the end of the 2010 season, for Maya, would best be used as a way to get experience at baseball's highest level and start his transition. Months removed from his first season, both Maya's camp and the Nationals camp believe Maya was thrust into a situation in which he had little to chance at success. Everything came at him too fast.

Maya's success this winter has reinforced the Nationals' that last season's struggles were not indicative of Maya's future performance. On Monday, he was named the Dominican Winter League pitcher of the year. In 41 innings in the Dominican, he had a 1.32 ERA with 42 strikeouts and nine walks.

The honor guarantees nothing in regard to Maya's 2011. The Dominican Winter League is one of the best winter leagues going, but most teams are comprised of a few major leaguers, a handful of aging or former big leaguers and mostly minor league players. Starlin Castro and Wily Mo Pena are both in the league.

But Maya's dominance this winter underscores the need to withhold judgment about Maya. He'll be one of the most compelling players to watch this spring. He spoke last year, through translators, about the difference in the strike zone during international play and in the majors. His stuff should be sharper with more regular competition, which he couldn't have because of the hurdles involved with his defection from Cuba.

Maybe Maya will remove himself from his initial difficulty in the majors, and maybe he won't. Maya has at least proved it's worth waiting to reach a final verdict.

One other note: Nationals outfielder Eury Perez, who .299 for Class A Potomac last season, was named the Dominican Winter League rookie of the year. He hit .345/.397/.398 (average/on-base/slugging) with 21 steals in 37 games. Perez, 20, is regarded as the Nationals' No. 8 overall prospect.

By Adam Kilgore  | December 28, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Brandon Webb comes off the market
Next: Top 10 Nationals stories of 2010

Comments

My question is whether the Nats have hired a full time staffer to act as his mentor/guide. They hired a full time security guard for Dukes so the act would not be unprecedented, albeit for totally different reasons.

Posted by: 3B11 | December 28, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Adam, was Maya throwing any harder in the Dominican than he did with the Nats? You mention how his stuff should be sharper; is there any indication that this is happening yet?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 28, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Adam, Just wanted to thank you for a great
year and all the great reports on the NATS.
I have tried to comment several times during this past year but the page has always been filled by comments from some bitter fans. I hope 2011 finds a nicer breed of fan who understands what baseball is all about and we get some nice discussions going.
Have a great new year and thanks for everything.
Bill Tait

Posted by: wtait1212 | December 28, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

>Adam, was Maya throwing any harder in the Dominican than he did with the Nats? You mention how his stuff should be sharper; is there any indication that this is happening yet?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking

If he doesn't get his fastball over 90, it'll be a tightrope act again. If he's 29 or 32 or 34, or whatever age they believe he is, he's not gonna gain any measurable velocity. Guy's probably thrown thousands of innings in Cuba. Pants pulled this one off without actually knowing what he was getting. They don't know ANYTHING about his background. A couple of tapes from the World Games. Waiting for the obligatory release from the marketing dept. touting the next foreign star. GO PANTS GO GO PANTS GO! Six and a half weeks to pitchers and catchers Pants!!!!

Posted by: Brue | December 28, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Of course he did Brue, at least wtait1212 has twenty minutes of good will to men.

Posted by: 3B11 | December 28, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

am I the only one that is completely bored of this "Pants" thing that Brue trots out each and every time? And I don't even know what the heck he's referencing here. All I know is that it's extremely boring and not funny. Oh well, to each his/her own ...

Posted by: erocks33 | December 28, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to add a thanks to Adam as well. I enjoyed all of the articles and insight. Would love to hear about your average day and what happens behind the scenes for reporters such as yourself.

Would it be possible to add an 'ignore' function to the board?

Posted by: derwink | December 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Uh Adam,

I think 19 year old Eury Perez can be seen in Potomac in 2011. But he spent 2010 in Hagerstown.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Brue's real name is Jim Bowden.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@Coverageislacking,

From 1 year ago:

"As mentioned in last week's Esquina, Cuban pitchers Deinys Suarez and Yuniesky Maya threw for several scouts in the Dominican Republic last week. Since then, more details have emerged about the workout."

"One scout said Maya, 28, threw in the 88-92 mph range, much like he did in the World Baseball Classic this year when he had a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings."

"In addition to the fastball and two-seamer, Maya threw a slider, curveball and changeup. Additionally, Maya occasionally throws a splitter."

This hasn't changed. Its likely what we saw in September was the result of a lot of rust plus adjustment to suddenly being thrown into major league ball. Perhaps he manages to shed this? I suspect his rush to the majors may have resulted from the combination of losing Stras and never getting Chien-Ming Wang. If Rizzo had to do it over again I bet he would hold him back until this spring

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

@ Brue

I am a little curious how you know the Nat's knew nothing about Maya. It seems unlikely to say the least but, maybe you have some inside knowledge if the organization I don't

Posted by: soundbloke | December 28, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Brue and Jim Bowden: toten hosen.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The only organizations Brue has inside knowledge of are Jim Beam and Boone's Farm.

Posted by: FeelWood | December 28, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Another thank you for Adam. I think you did a great job, and I enjoy you posts. Far better than what we get with the Skins and Wiz. Happy new year

Posted by: bogyfre | December 28, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't get the pants reference either, but it doesn't matter because I've learned to skip Brue's bile. All very predictable and worst of all, not even interesting.

Posted by: utec | December 28, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

>I am a little curious how you know the Nat's knew nothing about Maya. It seems unlikely to say the least but, maybe you have some inside knowledge if the organization I don't

Posted by: soundbloke

Pants said so himself. Something to the effect of 'we don't have many reports from Cuba, but we know he was the ace of the staff for a long time and we like what we saw in the World Baseball Classic'. That was the extent of the insight. Hence this was the first real knowledge of what 'The communist right-hander' actually had:

"As mentioned in last week's Esquina, Cuban pitchers Deinys Suarez and Yuniesky Maya threw for several scouts in the Dominican Republic last week. Since then, more details have emerged about the workout."

"One scout said Maya, 28, threw in the 88-92 mph range, much like he did in the World Baseball Classic this year when he had a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings."

"In addition to the fastball and two-seamer, Maya threw a slider, curveball and changeup. Additionally, Maya occasionally throws a splitter."

Posted by: Brue | December 28, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

>Would it be possible to add an 'ignore' function to the board?

Posted by: derwink

I wouldn't have very much to read if that was the case. Does anybody know if Maya is possibly a mole for Castro? He might be carrying a bomb in his pants. I know I've been accused of that from time to time.

Posted by: Brue | December 28, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

You don't need ignore--you need a moderated blog. Fortunately, there is a good one.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 28, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

If Maya can pitch, my bet is he'll be the #5 starter. Don't see the Nats getting any new starters unless they trade for Garza. My bet is Pavano goes back to Minny, where he is a good fit. Even if he doesn't, I don't see him matching last year's succcess.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | December 28, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"You don't need ignore--you need a moderated blog. Fortunately, there is a good one."

You mean Nats320?

Posted by: FeelWood | December 28, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Two, then.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 28, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"He might be carrying a bomb in his pants. I know I've been accused of that from time to time."

Actually, the real issue is that dud you're carrying around between your shoulders...

And yes to the ignore function, which I'm now going to deploy on my own...

Posted by: baltova1 | December 28, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

"Pants said so himself. Something to the effect of 'we don't have many reports from Cuba, but we know he was the ace of the staff for a long time and we like what we saw in the World Baseball Classic'. That was the extent of the insight. Hence this was the first real knowledge of what 'The communist right-hander' actually had"

So, I guess the same was true for El Duque Hernandez and his brother Livan before they came to American and entered the major leagues? Seemed like the risk was worth it both for the hated Yankees and the Marlins?

C'mon Brue in the case of Maya it was well worth taking the risk. As was Cincinnati's fireballer Chapman. The worst risk was taking a flier on Wang and his shoulder.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am the one guy amused by Brue's "Pants" rants. I enjoy it and I'd miss it. Honest.

Regarding "Pants", I posed this many weeks back to Brue and he indicated it was being used in the way Brits use "pants" as a term of disapproval.

From "World Wide Words":
Pants in British usage are not trousers, of course, but underpants, principally male. These intimate nether garments have long been a source of innocent merriment among pubescent youth, and this was just another example, in the tradition of the earlier exclamation knickers!, indicating contempt or exasperation.
It appears in phrases like “it’s a pile of pants!” and “it’s pants!” or “it’s absolute pants”, meaning that it’s a total load of rubbish. Later, we began to hear it from older people as in “My tomato crop was pants last year”. In phrases like “say pants to ...” it’s an injunction to wave goodbye to something considered outmoded, unwanted or unnecessary.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 28, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

>C'mon Brue in the case of Maya it was well worth taking the risk.

Posted by: periculum

Yeah, I just wonder how many miles he has on his arm, because it seemed like he was laboring quite a bit. Almost felt sorry for him. Makes you wonder why nobody else made a serious run at him. At least with Chapman, you can point to 100+ mph smoke, and it's easier to pinpoint his age because you can see his relative inexperience. All he needed was to improve his balance (basic mechanics) and stay on top of the ball, which is almost always inexperience. When you have a guy with 10 different pitches, that generally means they've been around for a really long time. I hope I'm wrong, but he looks like he pitches like an old mule. I mean, if the guy was Castro's ace - how many times has he been thrown into games on short rest, or as a relief pitcher after a start? These are all legit questions, imo.

Posted by: Brue | December 28, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

"I hope I'm wrong, but he looks like he pitches like an old mule. I mean, if the guy was Castro's ace - how many times has he been thrown into games on short rest, or as a relief pitcher after a start? These are all legit questions, imo."

He still managed to finish just under fireballer Chapman in strike outs in Cuba. Actually it was Chapman who was used the way you describe more so than Maya. Maya and Chapman never pitched in a league that has the marathon 162 game season and then playoffs as in the major leagues. They are like major league ready prospects just up from the minors from that perspective.

The winter leagues may be a good indicator that the real Maya, the guy considered the best pitcher in Cuba has returned. Cliff Lee has a similar arsenal of pitches along with the velocities and has pitched quite a few more innings than Yuneski Maya. Are you saying Lee is an old mule? Because they are similar pitchers.
Maya did in fact face top major league hitters in the World Baseball Classic. His pitches were measured as high as 93-94 mph there.

The inherent difference to watch is that Maya has learned and is working on getting better control of the multi-speed curve that both Livo and El Duque featured as one of their strike out pitches. Unlike those two he is young enough to still feature a plus ninety fast ball and splitter. Unlike most young prospect pitchers he understands that it isn't the velocity that gets hitters out. Thus the arsenal of pitches. Just like the younger versions of Livo and Orlando.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 4:10 PM | Report abuse

What is "Nats Insider"? ;-)

---

You don't need ignore--you need a moderated blog. Fortunately, there is a good one.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 28, 2010 2:37 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 28, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

"Pants in British usage are not trousers, of course, but underpants, principally male. These intimate nether garments have long been a source of innocent merriment among pubescent youth,"

Theorized to have been derived form the old German insult: toten hosen : empty pants ... ;) prolly not to be used in front of natsfan1a.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

>Posted by: periculum

The only thing you wrote that's even remotely close to the truth is that Maya had a lot of K's in Cuba. You just like to argue. Bizarre. Cliff Lee and Maya in the same sentence shows a distinct lack of aptitude on your part. Or that you're pants. The guy might be 28 (lol) but his arm is 40. Deception. Right. A lack of velocity and fear. The easter bunny said that Livan is 34 too. This signing is probably more on a par with the El Duque signing that Pants pulled off this year. Get it? Pants pulled off!!

Posted by: Brue | December 28, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Adam:
Is there anyway of having the posters name lead off his comment/rant so we could definitely skip certain negativity? Of course once I see the use of "pants" I do skip to the next post, but if I just see the name it would save me the time. Like others, its old and just seeing negative comments makes me wonder why in the world you continue? I am not really sure you like baseball, I think what you like is to complain. Thanks to others for actual baseball commentary and thoughts. I don't want to give the opinion I am against having the ability to complain, its just when that is all you get and its done in such an idiotic way it gets old quickly. Brue might respond with some witty nickname or comment but I really don't care. Just stop!!
Am I upset with Nyjer, double switches and the time it has taken to get us respectable? Sure, do I blame one person for all of this, hardly.

Go Nats!!

Posted by: sjm3091 | December 28, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"Cliff Lee and Maya in the same sentence shows a distinct lack of aptitude on your part."

Lower velocity for a top of the rotation starter. Deception. A paucity of walks compared to strikeouts. Throughout both Maya's and Lee's careers that has been their statistical hallmark. One other. Both win a lot of their games. That fact in itself is likely the clincher as to why your "Mr. Pants" was convinced to sign Maya to a contract.

If you look at Maya's top pitcher for 2011 stats in the Dominican Winter league they reflect all of the above.

Clearly your knowledge of pitching strategies is limited. Which makes you seem an awful lot like a petulant, resentful child named Jim Bowden.

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh no he di'nt.
Snap.
peric just invoked the name of Leather Pants?

Posted by: Sunderland | December 28, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't care how hard the guy throws. If he gets that curve over the plate, it's curtains for the typical NL fastball hitter.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 28, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Yada, yada, yada - The rants remain the same. The team needs better starting pitchers, the IF/OF looks 'weak', the bullpen has holes, the GM/ownership is clueless/'cheap', etc. The same generic crap that gets posted daily on about 75% of the blogs for every team across the internet.

We're not alone in this environment, folks; There are 29 other teams that are supposedly trying to improve themselves each year. Some do (MIL, CWS & PHI, at first glance), some others catch a break (OAK & SF, maybe), but most don't. It's the way things go in the 'hot-stove' portion of the year. The 2011 season still has to play out to see who's right, and who's wrong.

Posted by: BinM | December 28, 2010 9:25 PM | Report abuse

"I don't care how hard the guy throws. If he gets that curve over the plate, it's curtains for the typical NL fastball hitter."

Unfortunately, there is one other issue that hasn't plagued him in the latin leagues as yet.

He isn't the legendary Livo or El Duque. Or Cliff Lee for that matter. Umpires have to call those pitches strikes in order for Maya to be effective. Whether they will or won't still seems an open question?

Posted by: periculum | December 28, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

>Oh no he di'nt.
Snap.
peric just invoked the name of Leather Pants?

Posted by: Sunderland

Only thing he's missing is the Starbucks and the segueway. And the slutty old lady. Probably missing the old lady entirely. And a job.
Still waiting for my Xmas present from Marky Jr. The days are getting longer. Tick tock. Tick tock. Haven't heard much about wild man Garza lately. Wonder if Garza's gonna be on a pitch count like JZimm this year. I got 130 innings for his over/under. At least they'd get 200 out of Garza. Imagine that - a hard thrower on the Nats actually going 200. Ain't gonna happen. One nation under Pants. Indivisible. In last place.

Posted by: Brue | December 29, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Hey brue,

Give Maya some credit he pitched well and beat out pitchers like Fausto Carmona, and Ervin Santana for the top honors in the DL. Both of those pitchers Rizzo and quite a few fans would give their right nut to have play on this team.

Posted by: hansenjo | December 29, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Pants, pants, pants, pants, pants!!!!! I love it.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | December 29, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Brue "pants" so much because he's out of breath. Better hit that treadmill, Brue-ski.

Posted by: bertbkatz | December 29, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

I tend to defend anyone's right to free speech no matter how idiotic and repetitive they might be, but proper ignoring involves actual ignoring instead of rising to the bait.

Plus, I rather strongly approve of Rizzo and what he is trying to do. So, there's that. I rather admire him for cashing in some chips with the Lerners to advocate Werth as someone worth overpaying for. His reasoning was sound. I admire his emphasis on defense and skill positions up the middle. I applaud his throwing down the gauntlet and stating starting pitching is a priority even though he has been unable to convert said pitcher by sign or trade. I appreciate the way he handled the Dunn situation, never saying a bad thing about him while quietly pursuing a better defensive solution. (Aside: Both Zimmerman and Desmond led the league in throwing errors at their respective positions - that was not all Dunn's fault, but he was a contributor) I also admire Rizzo's focus on the farm system and his quick action (upon rising to GM) to re-work the front office and scouting infrastructure. I think his approach to signing Strasburg and Harper were clearly superior to Bowden's approach to Crow.

I guess my point is - I am not just blindly supporting the man - I have reasoned observations for how I feel. Agree or disagree, but I'll stick with reason over trying to work the crowd up into a blind chant.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 29, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Very well said, natbiscuits--as usual.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | December 29, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

biscuit, well played

Posted by: Sunderland | December 29, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

That's how I see it natsbiscuit.

I like the competition for first base in Syracuse!? Syracuse!! Never happened before either in Columbus or Syracuse. Bowden went dumpster diving and got lucky with da meat hook.

I believe Rizzo when he says he's all about competition for positions. I think he may end up lucky he was blocked from pulling the trigger on the Grienke trade. They still need 2 or 3 more reasonably successful drafts where he signs most of the top end of it to contracts ... and then such trades won't create huge holes.

Posted by: periculum | December 29, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

natbiscuits is our guiding light trough Brue's murky thoughts.

Hey AK any updates on Chico?

Posted by: hansenjo | December 29, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Dang. What part of "but proper ignoring involves actual ignoring instead of rising to the bait" are you not getting?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

I still think Rizzo is waiting with LaRoche and Pavano, letting those guys realize they can't hold a gun to his head like Werth did. They aren't worth overpaying boatloads for... we just have to overpay for them. My guess is they are tring to find where that lins in the sand is, and with both of them they then decide if it is worth the extra $ to come here.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 29, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Rizzo made LaRoche an offer he thinks is solid, and that was when he pulled the trigger on the Willingham deal (why I link the two I'm not sure, but it makes more sense to trade the Hammer when you know 1B is secure).

LaRoche has been sitting on the offer, trying to make the Orioles top it, so he can go back to Rizzo and try and extract the third guaranteed year from Rizzo. And Rizzo just sits and waits.

If the O's do top our offer, I think Rizzo will certainly consider going beyond that. The third year for LaRoche isn't necessarily a deal breaker, it's just not necessary at this point.

Anyway, that's what my crystal ball's been telling me. It's also saying we ain't gonna pay what it takes to get Pavano.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 29, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

"Anyway, that's what my crystal ball's been telling me. It's also saying we ain't gonna pay what it takes to get Pavano."

Its not the money (as we have seen with Rizzo as opposed to circus maximus Bowden) its the time. He doesn't see Pavano as a part of the future. No 3 year deal.

We have seen him go the Grienke route. He is likely in on Garza and Shields. Interesting that Peralta is now Tampa Bay's projected closer? The Rays could get up to 11 picks in the first 2 rounds of the 2011 draft. They are sitting pretty with a strong farm with prospects like Hellickson and Wade Davis. Niemann isn't bad.

They may feel comfortable shedding payroll with Garza and Shields while opening up slots for promising prospects.

There are other possible trade avenues Rizzo would likely explore before signing Pavano. They may even be better off getting Brad Penny who can still put decent heat on the ball.

Posted by: periculum | December 29, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

@periculum:
What do we know about Brad Penny's shoulder strain? He was shut down by the Cards after 55.2 innings this past year on account of it.

Posted by: bertbkatz | December 29, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

"It's not the money (as we have seen with Rizzo as opposed to circus maximus Bowden) its the time. He doesn't see Pavano as a part of the future. No 3 year deal."

I would argue in this case time and money are the same thing. Committing to a third year is committing to possibly throwing away money on a pitcher who will be in his late 30's by then, who may have given you two acceptable years and may then falter in the third year and "not be worth it." But if everything goes according to plan, Strasburg and J. Zimm are set in the rotation by then, somebody else (Lannan?) is filling the fourth role and, most importantly, some of the good young arms in the farm system are ready for the rotation. Also, if attendance picks up because the team is competitive, are you really wasting money on Pavano? It's not like they wouldn't still have money to spend.

I think what the Werth signing means is, if you want a guy, you don't hesitate to spend the money. In this case, the hesitation might not be money, it might be Pavano's desire to stay with the Twins, or it could be the Nats' desire to get somebody else (Garza?) in a trade.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 29, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

bert, apparently it was his back *near* his shoulder, at least according to Yoder.
http://tinyurl.com/27tzwrs

And apparently Jon Heyman of SI thinks "getting engaged to a professional dancer is said to have done wonders for his conditioning."
http://tinyurl.com/252exvp

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

So if they pay him $30MM for 2 years, and he goes, say, 12-12 both years, did they waste money? Livan, theoretically, could do that, and he's a lot cheaper. There's bound to be guys who will have a comeback year. Is Wang going to? Penny? Do you sign a [boat]load of maybes, hoping one of them comes through? Signing one or two isn't such good odds, but what if you could get five or six? You'd have to guarantee the money knowing most of it is going down a rathole, and if you're unlucky, all of it, but could you get five such guys for about $3MM each? Would that be worth it?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"Him" in that first sentence is Pavano, of course.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Agree Baltova, that time and money are the same thing. But I think it has more to do with Pavano than with money.

Pavano's 2010 was very good.
His 2009 was poor, his 2008 was poor plus very short due to injury, his 2007 was almost non-existant due to injury, his 2006 was non-existant due to injury, his 2005 sucked.

If you sign this guy to a 3 year deal, you are asking to get hosed.

Would Rizzo take a chance on this guy for a one year deal? Probably.
A multi-year deal. Nah. At least I hope not.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 29, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

That's the thing about "having to over-pay." If you HAVE to, is it overpaying, or is it the market price, in your case?

Pavano probably isn't worth 3 years at $15MM each (or whatever he's asking) on the open market--clearly, since he isn't getting it, but that's why they call it OVER-paying. You can't get him unless you do pay more than he's worth.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

hmmm, don't think I'll touch that one even with a ten-foot pole (dancer). :-)

---

And apparently Jon Heyman of SI thinks "getting engaged to a professional dancer is said to have done wonders for his conditioning."
http://tinyurl.com/252exvp

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 6:09 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 29, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Given the body of work (Pavano's, not Karina Smirnoff's), I don't want him. I'd rather roll with what we have (eyes wide open), than guarantee a spot for Pavano.

Because it's a professional sports axiom. You spend big dough on somebody, he gets a starting spot. That's why Marquis kept getting starts last year when if any of our AAAA boys had pitched like that they'd get a bus ticket to Syracuse.

How cool would it be to marry a Smirnoff?
I'd take her last name in a Moscow minute.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 29, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I didn't realize Smirnoff was the dancer in question. I'm familiar with her work as a recovering Dancing With the Stars viewer.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 29, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

I was trying to take the high road on the Heyman quote (no small task for me).

And I've heard you were familiar with Smirnoff, but I guess I totally misunderstood at the time.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Wait, she worked as a recovering DWTS viewer? Does that pay well?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Livo led the team with 33 starts last year. Quick name 2nd, 3rd, and 4th without looking.

(I think there's room for Pavano)

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 29, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Hints:

None of them made $7.5M.
All of them spent time in the minors and/or DL.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 29, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I knew somebody would clean that one up for me. :-)

===

Wait, she worked as a recovering DWTS viewer? Does that pay well?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 29, 2010 8:08 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | December 29, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I want no part of an old softballer in Pavano.

Mike promised us an Ace; Pavano is not an Ace. Next.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 29, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

I want no part of an old softballer in Pavano.

Mike promised us an Ace; Pavano is not an Ace. Next.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 29, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

biscuit, look beyond Pavano's 2010.
Only 2 seasons out of the last 7 has Pavano pitched in a way that would be useful to the 2011 Nats. And both of those were contract years where he hit free agency.

He's been in the bigs for 13 seasons.
Only 4 seasons out of 13 has he exceeded 140 Inning Pitched.
If we'd say 180 IP at 4.00 ERA or less is a solid season, he done that twice out of 13 seasons.

I would trust the guy on a Webb / Wang type incentive deal, but obviously he ain't going for that.

Posted by: Sunderland | December 30, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I think sec3 summarized the situation well: "That's the thing about "having to over-pay." If you HAVE to, is it overpaying, or is it the market price, in your case?"

I think the market price for the Nats is higher. They proved they would try to pay it for guys like Teixeira and they did pay it for Werth. If they want Pavano (or even LaRoche or Lee) they probably will have to do it again.

Is Pavano worth it? Iffy. Sunderland said he's had two seasons out of seven that would be useful to the Nats. I would argue it's four out of eight (in those four, he averaged 15 wins and a 4.00 ERA). If you knew he would do that again for the next two years, he'd be worth a three-year deal, in my book, with the understanding you might be wasting some money at the end of the contract. If the Nats are serious about adding a top-end starter, there aren't a whole lot of other options.

And BTW, I've done my share of dancing with Smirnoff and I don't remember it ending well...

Posted by: baltova1 | December 30, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse


Harmon Killebrew announces he has cancer
By Ben Goessling, December 30, 2010 10:14 AM

http://tinyurl.com/22lmycj

"I was recently diagnosed with esophageal cancer. With my wife, Nita, by my side, I have begun preparing for what is perhaps the most difficult battle of my life. I am being treated by a team of medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic. While my condition is very serious, I have confidence in my doctors and the medical staff and I anticipate a full recovery.

The Mayo Clinic is one of the largest and most experienced medical centers treating esophageal cancer in the world. In the past decade, they have made tremendous advances in the treatment of this disease. Nita and I feel blessed to have access to the best doctors and medical care.
I thank everyone for their outpouring of prayers, compassion and concern. Nita and I ask for privacy during this difficult journey."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 30, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

It's not that I'm the biggest Pavano fan ever, I just look at the rotation and see only one pitcher who started 30 or more times last year. Marquis and Lannan have that ability and we all hope that Zimmermann, Wang, and/or Maya can do that this year. But Lannan made 25 starts last year. Stammen was third highest with 19. Atliano 16, Olsen, 15, Marquis 13, JZimm 7, Maya 5, Detwiler 5.

Pavano is probably not worth 3 years guaranteed, but 2 years would OK. Put him in the lead spot with Zimmermann between him and Livo to protect the bullpen and the team would be better. There are other free agent options as well, but it would seem increasingly less likely that a fair trade offer will be agreed upon this year. Not Rizzo's fault if the other team and/or players don't want to do the deal.

Posted by: natbiscuits | December 30, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Harmon Killebrew: from all accounts, perhaps the nicest human being ever to play in the bigs. Thoughts and prayers to him.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 30, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I'd still rather see Rizzo go after a trade for a younger pitcher (Garza, Shields), or eat part of a bad contract (Zito, Lowe, Kazmir) than offer a 3-year deal to a 35yo Pavano.

Posted by: BinM | December 30, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Pants couldn't pull the trigger. Even Boswell said he had enough money to get Chapman. Way to go Pants, show that restraint while you're in last place!!

>>Record: Aroldis Chapman 105 mph

Tom Boswell: Right!

Another near Nat. Rizzo mentioned to me recently that he'd been authorized to go higher than the Nats final $25M bid to Chapman, even to a bit about $30M (which the Reds gave him), but that he hadn't seen Chapman enough with his own eyes to make that big a committment.

Posted by: Brue | December 30, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

BinM,

I was thinking the same thing with Kasmir, he is 26 and before two years ago he had a sub 4 ERA all the while pitching in the AL. A move to the NL could be good for him. His contract would be easier to swallow. He is owed $12 million in 2011 and either a $13.5 million club option for 2012 or a $2.5 million buyout. I bet if the Nats say they are willing to take on his full contract we would not have to give up anyone of great value.

Posted by: hansenjo | December 30, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Brue - when will you stop complaining about Chapman? We, like every other team, didn't get him. Is that so difficult to understand?

As for Kasmir, if I'm remembering right he got moved because of issues off the field and other players; he isn't the kind of guy you want in the clubhouse. Pretty sure it was him the article was on after the Rays moved him, he had the talent but they didn't want him around the young core.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 30, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Brue - when will you stop complaining about Chapman? We, like every other team, didn't get him. Is that so difficult to understand?"

SC, here's the thing: as many Lerner apologists are all too ready to point out, the Nats are *not like* every other team. We've heard the litany for years now: they had a farm system that was stripped bare by MLB, they aren't ready to compete, big-name free agents don't want to play here yet, blah blah blah. Then we hear from the team itself about "The Plan" and now, preposterously, "Phase One."

The bottom line is you can't have it both ways. Because the reality is, as you point out, that every other team is trying to get good young players also, and every other team is going to try to build its farm system through the draft also. So if the Nats were going to talk about a Plan and developing the Farm, and if they were going to neglect their big-league team in the process with bottom-of-the-barrel payrolls, the reality is that they needed to do that better than everyone else, and to be willing to spend more than everyone else.

Chapman is one of many examples where the Nats failed to do what they needed to do, if they were really serious about succeeding with their "Plan." So, now they are where they are--with a middling (at best) farm system after several Lerner-controlled drafts, no serious international talent in the pipeline, a big league team that still sucks, and a bizarre proclomation that they are ready for "Phase Two." And, as you recognize, every team is still trying to do what the Lerners claim to be doing. Others just seem to be much better at it than they are.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 30, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

But, again, do you spend 30M on Chapman or spend lesser amounts drafting someone like Cole and signing him? Can't that 30M be used more productively? Sure, if Chapman turn out to be Nolan Ryan we, like all the teams that lost, look stupid; if he turn out to be Todd Van Poppel then we were all right.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 30, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

>>And, as you recognize, every team is still trying to do what the Lerners claim to be doing. Others just seem to be much better at it than they are.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking

The evidence is overwhelming. I could tell Pants was behind the lack of signings, this is merely proof of it. The Lerners chose the wrong guy to hitch their star to. I don't think that StunK quit because of the Lerners, he quit because of Pants. The Lerners were told not to pursue Dunn or Chapman. By Pants. And if anybody thinks that Chapman is some kind of risk - just ask Walt Jocketty why he signed him for a mere $3 million/year. Jocketty's in first place and Pants is in last. This is one of the reasons.

Posted by: Brue | December 30, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

But, again, do you spend 30M on Chapman or spend lesser amounts drafting someone like Cole and signing him? Can't that 30M be used more productively? Sure, if Chapman turn out to be Nolan Ryan we, like all the teams that lost, look stupid; if he turn out to be Todd Van Poppel then we were all right.

I think offering Chapman 25M was fair, maybe you disagree; your right to do that. I'm surprised that I'm still not reading more about Tex not signing here.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 30, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

>>But, again, do you spend 30M on Chapman or spend lesser amounts drafting someone like Cole and signing him? Can't that 30M be used more productively?

Posted by: SCNatsFan

$3 million a year won't even get you a half-assed reliever, let alone someone who throws 100 mph and a devastating breaking ball.

Posted by: Brue | December 30, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

6 years/ 30 million is 5 million a year, not 3 million.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 30, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"The bottom line is you can't have it both ways. The reality is they needed to do better than everyone else, and be willing to spend more than everyone else."

Which, again, boils down to "having to 'over-pay'" to get anyone good, if indeed that is what they are trying to do.

But the business side and the baseball side (which includes the fans) have irreducibly different values. They can make money with a bad team, but they can't win consistently without serious financial risk.

But no, they are *not* like any other MLB team, and the Lerners knew that when they spent half a billion dollars on it.

They don't have any history here, really. The old Senators might have, but honestly, compared to the Cubs or Dodgers or Red Sox, there's no big pool of brand loyalty to tap. So they have only two things left to build with: time, and money. But they didn't really have time, either, given the circumstances, and they knew that, too--or should have. The Blogfather wrote about it early on--2009 would be the make-or-break year for them to have built a fan base. And that didn't happen, because they pooched it.

So now all they have left is to buy their way out of ignominy, and it is still not clear they are willing to do that.

Which is why my seat is still where it is.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 30, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Brue: FWIW, StanK is still listed as a minority owner in WSH; Rizzo was his pick for GM in 2009, after 6 months of looking him over as an interim GM. Sure, Rizzo got 'topped' by CIN for Chapman - so did the other 4-5 teams who were in the chase. StanK wanted the team to re-sign Dunn, but Rizzo felt the team could do better, and the Lerners' agreed. It may be unrelated, but StanK stepped down-and-out as Team President at the end of 2010.

Since then, the ownership backed Rizzo when he felt it was worth over-spending to land Werth. They also went along with his gamble to surrender young talent in an attempt to land Greinke, only to have Greinke invoke his "no-trade" clause. What else would you have him do?

Hindsight is always better than 20-20, and makes for easy targets; Try looking forward on your own, and make a predictive call or two for a change, rather than just barking about how the GM/Owners have no common sense.

Posted by: BinM | December 30, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"Hindsight is always better than 20-20, and makes for easy targets."

BinM, the things is, many people were--and have been--"barking" for several years. No hingsight involved. To which the retort is usally something like: "it's still early" or "give them time" or "MLB gutted the franchise what do you expect" or "wait to see what the team is like come Spring Training" or "how can you claim to know more than the 'experts' [like StanK, Bowden and Rizzo] do about how to build a team?" So again, let's stop trying to have it both ways now, shall we?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 30, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

This is an all-time classic from brue:

"The evidence is overwhelming. I could tell Pants was behind the lack of signings, this is merely proof of it. The Lerners chose the wrong guy to hitch their star to. I don't think that StunK quit because of the Lerners, he quit because of Pants. The Lerners were told not to pursue Dunn or Chapman. By Pants. And if anybody thinks that Chapman is some kind of risk - just ask Walt Jocketty why he signed him for a mere $3 million/year. Jocketty's in first place and Pants is in last. This is one of the reasons."

Brue, you, of course, don't know any of those things. You're just blowing smoke.

And while we're on the subject of Chapman and how the Nats blew it on a sure thing, let's remember he pitched in 17 games and threw 15 innings. Four years ago, another phenom came along, pitched 21 games and threw 27 innings, and was just as impressive as Chapman. But now, Joba Chamberlain isn't quite the phenom he used to be and it's not clear he's going to be the star pitcher that everyone once thought.

Maybe we should wait a little bit before passing judgment on Chapman, and Rizzo.

Posted by: baltova1 | December 30, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, baltova1, for demonstrating my point.

So how many last-place, sub-.500 finishes do we need to wait for?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 30, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

The point may be, CiL, you're not paying attention. There's a difference between complaining about last place finishes and complaining about not signing a particular player. If you can guarantee that signing Chapman would turn the Nats into a winner, I'd join you in criticizing them for not signing him. But if you can guarantee that signing Chapman would turn them into winners, the Nats would have done it! There is no guarantee. That's why it's dumb to point to one move and say, "See, they're clueless." Or cheap, or whatever. You have to look at the overall pattern.

They blew it big time from 2005-2008, when they didn't capitalize on the honeymoon period and didn't beef up the farm system and didn't flesh out the big league roster with decent talent, while they waited for the farm system. We fans have been paying that price ever since.

But drafting and signing Strasburg and Harper (among other players in the farm system) are signs of a different outlook, as does signing Werth and trying to sign Teixeira and de la Rosa and Chapman. But here's a news flash: teams don't always sign every free agent they want, even the Yankees. Get real.

I would have kept Dunn and I don't agree with letting him go. But if they get LaRoche or Lee, they'll be okay offensively and be greatly improved defensively; I would argue the Nats would actually field one of the better defensive lineups in the league next year, with Bernadina, Morgan/Ankiel, Werth, R. Zimm, Desmond, Espinosa, Lee/LaRoche and the catcher. That alone will make a big difference.

If they get a good starting pitcher and/or get improvement out of some combination of J. Zimm/Lannan/Marquis/Maya/Detwiler, their starting rotation will be adequate or better. Big deal, you say? The Nats have never had a starting rotation that's adequate or better, not even in '05, when they had Livan, Patterson and Loiaza (the other two spots were black holes all year).

In other words, this franchise is becoming a competent organization. It shouldn't have taken this long and it's their own fault that it has, but that doesn't change the fact that there is improvement. They still have a lot of work to do, but can we at least be realistic when we look at this team?

Posted by: baltova1 | December 30, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

The thing is, that's why they play the games. It doesn't matter whether I think they're cheap, or incompetent, or getting better. That's all speculation, i.e., not reality. They'll be getting better when they start beating somebody.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 30, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

baltova, I agree with much of what you are saying about how they messed up in the past. But the thing about Chapman is that they wanted him. They were just haggling about price. And the difference between $25M and $30M over the course of Chapman's deal is negligible--viz. dollars wasted on LoDuca, Dmitri, Olsen, etc. Of course I can't guarantee anything about Chapman; neither can Rizzo. The fact though is that he wanted him. And you can always talk about one guy in isolation and say that that one guy won't make a difference. Rizzo's job is to stockpile those individual instances so that, at the end of the day, he comes up ahead in the aggregate. He's not doing it.

So, I agree with you that you have to look at the overall pattern. But again, patterns are made by aggregating individual instances. And it's just that the overall pattern that I see still stinks. Perhaps because I realize how ridiculous the paragraph I'm quoting below is. IF IF IF IF IF IF wishes were horses.......

"If they get a good starting pitcher and/or get improvement out of some combination of J. Zimm/Lannan/Marquis/Maya/Detwiler, their starting rotation will be adequate or better. Big deal, you say? The Nats have never had a starting rotation that's adequate or better, not even in '05, when they had Livan, Patterson and Loiaza (the other two spots were black holes all year)."

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | December 30, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

>>"Hindsight is always better than 20-20, and makes for easy targets."

BinM, the things is, many people were--and have been--"barking" for several years. No hingsight involved. To which the retort is usally something like: "it's still early" or "give them time" or "MLB gutted the franchise what do you expect" or "wait to see what the team is like come Spring Training" or "how can you claim to know more than the 'experts' [like StanK, Bowden and Rizzo] do about how to build a team?" So again, let's stop trying to have it both ways now, shall we?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking

In addition to that, I was saying that Pants is the problem, not the Lerners - and Boswell's statement that I referenced now varifies that. So, here's merely backing up the fact that Pants doesn't have the balls to pull the trigger. Boz threw him a carrot after that, but it's only because he wants more info. from him. I don't have to throw him a carrot. Binm's line is always 'let's give him more time'. I don't need to - I've seen enough, and so far, CIL and myself are right on the money. We don't make the rules, these guys are driving this franchise further into the ground every day they wait to sign new players or make decent trades. You can tell Rizzo doesn't know what he's doing because he traded two different categories - Willingham (25 homer guy) for a reliever (dime a dozen). The A's throw in an outfielder that's got almost no chance of ever succeeding at the big league level, so Rizzo can point to it and say 'we got some offense back'. But they didn't, because the guy doesn't have a clue at the plate. So, the trade is 'corner power' for a 'reliever'. He blew it. That's bad baseball sense.

Posted by: Brue | December 30, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe we should wait a little bit before passing judgment on Chapman, and Rizzo.
Posted by: baltova"

Of course we should, but that's not the nature of blogs. We're like the surgeon in the old joke -- our instinct is first to remove the organ, then ship it to the pathologist to make sure it was the right one.

Same problem with politics in the era of constant polling. It's easy to lose track of reality in the preoccupation with constant tracking of how people feel about it.

Here's my notion: if reality involves waiting patiently for something to develop, we're agin' it.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 31, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"n addition to that, I was saying that Pants is the problem, not the Lerners - and Boswell's statement that I referenced now varifies that. So, here's merely backing up the fact that Pants doesn't have the balls to pull the trigger. Boz threw him a carrot after that, but it's only because he wants more info. from him. I don't have to throw him a carrot. Binm's line is always 'let's give him more time'. I don't need to - I've seen enough, and so far, CIL and myself are right on the money. We don't make the rules, these guys are driving this franchise further into the ground every day they wait to sign new players or make decent trades.posted by Brue"

See, the above is what I'm talking about -- urgency driven by emotion (mostly frustration). Where there are holes in the argument, they get filled in with supposition ("Boswell threw him a carrot, but it's only because he wants more info.") The repeated use of diminutives like 'Pants' turns the subject into a cartoon figure of fun.

As the ventilation of strong feeling, it's legit. But as a reason for making important sports decision, it ain't.

Posted by: Samson151 | December 31, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with a passionate intensity."

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | December 31, 2010 6:47 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

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

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




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company