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Posted at 12:33 PM ET, 01/25/2011

A Nationals opening day roster guess

By Adam Kilgore

By now, Nationals players have begun preparing for spring training. Pitchers are starting to throw bullpen sessions on their own. A few hitters, including Ryan Zimmerman and Ian Desmond, have spent time with Rick Eckstein taking batting practice in Florida. In about two weeks, players will begin trickling into Viera, Fla.

The Nationals may not be done adding to their roster, and spring training will sort out questions and surely offer surprises. But with the start in sight, it seems like a good time to exercise some educated speculation and take a guess at what the Nationals' opening day roster will look like.

STARTERS (5)
The trade for Tom Gorzelanny seemed to establish the back end of the Nationals' rotation. Yunesky Maya, Ross Detwiler, Chien-Ming Wang and others will certainly receive starts during the season, the rotation for now is relatively easy to guess.

1. Livan Hernandez
2. Jordan Zimmermann
3. John Lannan
4. Jason Marquis
5. Tom Gorzelanny

BULLPEN (7)
The addition of Todd Coffey pretty much ensures the first six slots in the bullpen. The seventh spot is tricky. Collin Balester showed late last season he's deserving of a closer look in the bullpen when he allowed two earned runs in his last 16 1/3 innings, striking out 24 batters over that span.

Balester, though, could be squeezed out for a couple reasons. One, he's got an option left. Two, with their rotation lacking marquee names, it figures the Nationals, like last year, will need a lot of innings from their bullpen. There is no obvious candidate as a long reliever -- they could use Chad Gaudin in that role or give it to one of the pitchers competing for a starting role, like Luis Atilano, Craig Stammen or Maya.

For now, I'm going to bet the Nationals start the year with the Balester and, in the event that they need more innings from the bullpen, they'll use his option and switch to a reliever who is more stretched out.

1. Drew Storen
2. Sean Burnett
3. Tyler Clippard
4. Todd Coffey
5. Henry Rodriguez
6. Doug Slaten
7. Collin Balester

OUTFIELD (5)
Left field will be one of the more intriguing positions to watch this spring. Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel will all compete for time, with Ankiel and Bernadina perhaps giving Nyjer Morgan some competition in center. But, while, the Nationals gave us a surprise when they released Elijah Dukes last year, they at least appear settled in their outfield.

1. Jayson Werth
2. Nyjer Morgan
3. Roger Bernadina
4. Michael Morse
5. Rick Ankiel

INFIELD (6)
The Nationals are mostly set here, but they've got to figure out what to do with their final utility infield position. The obvious answer is Alberto Gonzalez, a stellar defender at three positions. Gonzalez, though, has shown signs he's not satisfied with a backup role, and the Nationals want bench player who accept their role. With Alex Cora signed to a minor league contract, the Nationals could look to trade Gonzalez.

1. Ryan Zimmerman
2. Ian Desmond
3. Danny Espinosa
4. Adam LaRoche
5. Jerry Hairston
6. Alex Cora

CATCHERS (2)
In spring training, Jesus Flores and Wilson Ramos will compete to catch alongside Ivan Rodriguez. By midseason, the Nationals could be best served to part ways with Rodriguez and let Ramos and Flores develop at the major league level. That would also allow Rodriguez to try to find a situation where he could receive enough playing time to pursue his goal of becoming the first catcher to record 3,000 hits.

1. Ivan Rodriguez
2. Wilson Ramos

By Adam Kilgore  | January 25, 2011; 12:33 PM ET
 
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Comments

I look at the roster as it is right now and I see nothing to indicate anything but another last place finish. Having said that, I believe that the club is finally moving in the right direction. However, barring flirtation with .500, I see a year of small crowds at Nat's Park as people decide to spend their discretionary income in other ways. But a last place finish with signs of true competitiveness will bode well for 2012 and 13. Looking forward to some entertaining rather than painful baseball in 2011!

Posted by: Natstoyou | January 25, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Other than 3rd Base, every Orioles player is better his Natinals counterpart. Shoot, 3rd Base could even be a toss up.

Natinals will be lucky to win 60 games this year.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 25, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@ Natstoyou--entirely agree.

Posted by: NatsFly | January 25, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Even with the Nats history with Rule-5 picks, I see you're predicting that both Rule-5 selections (Ramirez and Broderick) will either be returned to the teams they were drafted from, that Rizzo will make a deal to acquire them and that they'll be in the minors, or a combination of the two. Interesting.

Posted by: KenzAFan | January 25, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

I'll still be there, at least for a few games. One of the only sporting events I can still afford to attend. Used to be able to go to Caps games for $18, but now you can't even get out of the nosebleeds for $60+. It's ridiculous.

Posted by: futbolclif | January 25, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

There are some promising young players, but management is delusional if they think that this team is in "Phase 2", meaning playoff contention.

Posted by: Dellis2010 | January 25, 2011 1:10 PM | Report abuse

This line-up might surprise a lot of people. Looking at the infield, the only error prone hole appears to be at ss with Desmond, but he may come around now that LaRoche is on board.
As for the outfield, Werth is excellent in RF and has a cannon for an arm. The LF appears solid with the platoon of players, leaving CF - but either Morgan plays like 09 and not 10, otherwise I am all for bringing up Harper, Brown or both to grow at CF. With Harper getting the #7 after I-Rod is moved in July.
As for pitchers, lots of ifs, but if Wang and Marquis put up # of old and Zimmermann pitches like a #1 or #2 starter, not bad. Livo is a "?" Then there is Gorzy and Lannan, with run support, these two will put people out. One with Ks and the other with ground balls.
Bullpen is solid, probably better than last year. Just got to get them in no sooner than the 7th and hopefully 8th or 9th. Riggleman has got to lay off the hook this year and let the starters go.
Hey, Nats are already predicted ahead of Mets and Fish, so you never know.
It is already a better team than last year and there has to be a chip on some of these guys shoulders.
Go Nats!

Posted by: dorseylaw | January 25, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

72-90

Posted by: buster_c | January 25, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Based on AK's proposed roster, one could view this a couple of ways...1) The Nats much improved D will save many runs. LaRoche's stellar 1b play will make many more put outs from RZim & Desmond's errant throws. Livo has a repeat of last year, Marquis has a great start, Clip repeats the first half of last year and Storen is the killer closer. The outfield platoon brings back memories of our neighbor's Roenicke/Lowenstein monster from '79! Werth is amazing and Ankiel is a slugging super sub as is J.Hairston. Marrero comes up and is a mini monster, so we trade LaRoche for pitching. 2) Worst case
Livo/Marquis/JZim struggle early and the bullpen can't handle the load. Werth's mates don't protect him and he is ordinary at the bat. Irod starts slowly and Ramos/Flores can't handle the pitching side. Desmond/Espinosa don't hit very well. I think if we get off to a hot start, we could be a factor. If not, we just look for the next step of improvement, but we can't sacrifice any more prospects! Here's hoping for #1!

Posted by: JpJp | January 25, 2011 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The Nats have broken camp with eight in the pen at least twice, if I recall correctly. Of course, they've also broken camp with just four starters, so that may be a one-to-one correlation there.

Still, any chance they forgo the extra bench player and stock up on relievers?

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 25, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The pitching is shaky, but it’s a big improvement over the last few years, and could turn out to be the lone bright spot of 2011. The major hole I see is centerfield Morgan is Rizzo’s version of Dukes, all the talent in the world, but just doesn’t get it. Sizemore would be great; however, he is coming of micro-fracture surgery. I think Rizzo should call the Halos and ask about Hunter. This gives Perez a few more years to develop in the minors and gives us a gold glove CF and that elusive leadoff hitter we have been looking for. The price tag would be steep, but could be worth it.

Posted by: hansenjo | January 25, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

If all the "ifs" fall into place, the Nats could win 85 or more games.

If none of them do, they could win 65.

So figuring some of the "ifs" will play up to expectations, and others won't, I'll split the difference and predict they win 75 games, then expect them to blossom into a genuine contender in '12 with the arrival of Harper and the return of Strasburg.

Posted by: gilbertbp | January 25, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

77-85

Posted by: poncedeleroy | January 25, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

mmmmmmmmmmmmm Kool-Aid... Championship!

Posted by: Kavorka | January 25, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

What is this, Pessimism Central around here? It doesn't cost more to consider the bright side. Hey, it's January.

The Nats bullpen won 29 games last. The pen is at least as strong this year.

Of the projected starters, Livo won 10 games, Lannan 8, Marquis 2, Zimmermann 1, Maya 0. (Subtract Strasburg's 5 wins, but Gorzelanny won 7). Is it impossible to think the SPs overall can't do better in 2011, with a better defense behind them?

Remember, the Nats need only to improve by 12 wins to get to .500 in 2011. What if Maya lives up to his billing? What if Wang makes a come-back?

There's at least as much reason to be hopeful as there is to be depressed before they've thrown a single pitch. Sheesh.

Posted by: eyestreet | January 25, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

eyestreet - I agree with you. The Nats pythagorean was 71 (2 games higher than actual) so I believe they can win at least 5 more based on a better bench and better defense and a projected better offense.

Your points are good on the starters and the wins generated by the bullpen although too many wins went to Clippard's record by luck. The starters have to stay in games longer which should be a by-product of the improved defense.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | January 25, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the number of pitchers in the bullpen. Be honest, even most of our starters would be bullpen material on other teams. But we're at least 5-10 games better this coming year and that's

Posted by: AHappyWarrior | January 25, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I stick with my prediction of 79 wins until after ST, when I may or may not reconsider. One prediction is unalterable--NATS finish ahead of the O's.

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | January 25, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

73-89.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 25, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

There was no sarcasm in my post. It's that time of year, when every team is tied at 0-0. We're a championship contender just as much as anyone else.

I love drinking the Kool-Aid and getting hyped up for the season.

Posted by: Kavorka | January 25, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

... however delusional it may be.

Posted by: Kavorka | January 25, 2011 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't anyone here look at scouting reports? History? Not just
stats. Unfortunately Riggleman doesn't seem to either. Its why I wish they would replace the guy.

Its a 162 game season:

Starters:
1. Jordan Zimmermann.
2. Tom Gorzelanny.

Two power pitching starters with similar histories. Both suffered injuries. Gorzelanny in 2007 because Jim Tracy pushed him over 200 innings. He had never pitched that many before and wasn't really ready. He suffered a sore arm for an entire season during which he was sent to the bullpen and back to AAA. He then was traded where he a lot of time in the bullpen with spot starts. Then last year he replaced Zambrano in April and was posting all-star numbers when Zambrano came back and he was returned to the bullpen. However, as Rizzo stated, his velocity appears to have returned. His command has also improved but he shouldn't go 200 innings yet.

Jordan Zimmermann is coming back from Tommy Johns. This year he too will have his innings limited, both he and Gorzelanny probably won't go much beyond 140-150 if not even less.

That's the top of the rotation.

#3 Yuniesky Maya. He has 4-5 pitches with great command. He relies on the sinker and heat inside up to 94 to keep hitters honest. His strike out pitch is likely going to be Livo's famous "mickey mouse multi-speed curve". He too should not be permitted to pitch more than 1450-150 innings.

#4 Jason Marquis/John Lannan/Ross Detwiler. Lannan could get traded. Marquis has to show something or lose his job. Its likely Detwiler gets sent to AAA if he doesn't show something in ST. He's behind Maya given Maya's showing in winter ball. Lannan's a soft tosser who can pitch 200. But the Nats have Milone and Rosenbaum moving up rapidly. And Manny Acta probably really would like the idea of Lannan in his rotation. On second thought not sure Fausto Carmona would help all that much ... he looks like another Livo/Maya/Lannan.

#5 Livan Hernandez/Craig Stammen.
Its international rescue! Easily capable of 200 innings and taking on the innings eater role. Livo's problem is inconsistency as he gets older. Stammen had a pretty decent K/9 but still needs to work on control.

Chien-Ming Wang. No way this guy pitches 90. Best to start him out slow and in the bullpen. Not sure how Rizzo/Riggleman/McCatty foresee this. Expect they want to see what he has in ST before coming up with a plan.

Outside possibility but an intriguing one. The Nats have ONE power pitcher with good command of five pitches. Sounds like a starter to you? Sounds like a starter to me. He doesn't have the overpowering stuff that Stras, HRod, ERamrez, Balester have. But its still 93-94 on average. Who is this guy no one mentions? Why, first round pick Drew Storen.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

Outfield: The problem here again is that Double Switch Riggleman really likes two guys. One is Justin Maxwell and everyone knows about him. The other is Rick Ankiel likely why he was signed. Unfortunately, he could become Riggleman's next WillieHarris potentially dashing attempts at reaching .500. In other words double switch Morse out after 2 home runs for Ankiel in the fifth inning. Why might Ankiel be a problem?
From ESPN's list of players to avoid:

"3. Rick Ankiel: Ankiel can play center field and, of course, has a plus arm, but he's a zero at the plate -- he has raw power that doesn't play in games because he's a classic 4A hitter, beatable by even average major league off-speed stuff. Like Gomes, he has some value as a bench bat, but even that value is limited when you hit as little as he does. Now, if he could double as a left-handed reliever .."

Sound familiar?


Best outfield for the Nats:
1. Jayson Werth
2. Nyjer Morgan/Roger Bernadina (only 1 likely stays)
3. Michael Morse
4. Corey Brown (If Brown starts in AAA expect him to be up by May.)
5. Justin Maxwell

Good mix of left and right bats, youth and speed with guys who know how to go after the ball.

Ankiel probably should never have been signed. But, he is a Giggleman choice I wager.


Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Bullpen:

Rizzo isn't going to give back Elvin Ramirez. Albeit one wonders now about Hassan Pena and whether he could advance to AAA this year? Perhaps not.

Henry Rodriguez (CL)
Elvin Ramirez (setup)
Colin Balester (setup)
Sean Burnett (setup)
Doug Slaten/Todd Coffey (1 or the other).

and the surprise:

Drew Storen long relief/spot start

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

INFIELD.

Alex Cora to AAA he isn't going to make the team over Gonzo or anyone else.

Zimmerman
Espinosa
Desmond
Hairston
Michael Aubrey/Matt Stairs (need a big left-handed bat not a fly swatter like Cora).

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Very strong at catcher. Ramos/Pudge with Flores -> AAA to finish his rehab from injury.

Assuming "Double Switch" costs the Nats at least 7-8 games with his shenanigans.

I should think they could finish 80-82.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I wish they had added a real Closer. Drew Storen may not be ready for that role. My guess is that they may break camp with only 4 starters -- one guy may be nicked up after the Spring (or maybe they want to protect Zimermann early when it is cold) and you don't really need a 4th for about a month anyway. If that happens, I'll predict they go with Gaudin as the 8th RP. I also think Cora is out and Stairs breaks camp with the club (Morse can play some IF in a pinch, Hairston did not get $2M to play sparingly and a power hitting lefty PH is a nice thing to have).

Anyway, 79-83.

Pitching is better, D should be better, offense is more balanced, bench is deeper and I think that this club scores much more easily than last year's club (with some luck and good health, of course). Marlins will have trouble scoring, the Braves will pitch at least as well as the Fish and score better, but only a touch. The Mets will be a bloody mess and the Phils run away with the Division.

Phils
Braves
Nats
Marlins
Mets

Why not.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 25, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Meant to say you don;t need a FIFTH for about a month. D'oh!

Posted by: dfh21 | January 25, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Other than 3rd Base, every Orioles player is better his Natinals counterpart. Shoot, 3rd Base could even be a toss up."

Poopy been drinking that soon-to-move to Vegas Innuh Habah water?

"You're in for a big shock as we lay out FanGraphs' top four players in the major leagues last year in Wins Above Replacement:
Josh Hamilton (8.0), Joey otto (7.4), Pujols (7.3) and (drumroll, please) Zimmerman (7.2)."

"For me, he's the best third baseman in the league right now," one scout said. "He's so much better than David Wright at this stage; it isn't even all that close."

____________________________________________________________

Poopy we be talking Cal Jr territory dude. I rather doubt that Ryan's old UVA shortstop playing third in Baltimore could ever compete with that. You're living in Edgar Allen Poe's Never-never land.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I forgot to mention? I think Clippard and Lannan may be traded. Perhaps with another reliever or two. I am hoping for Tampa Bay as opposed to Cleveland.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 3:27 PM | Report abuse

How can you predict the Nats will win 80 games and still look at yourself in the mirror?

THEY LOWERED PAYROLL IN THE OFFSEASON!!!!!!!!

This team is garbage and 2011 will again be a long season.

If Riggelman sticks with Nyger Morgan at starting CF and leadoff, I will not attend one game this season.

Posted by: dominic10464 | January 25, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

"If Riggelman sticks with Ny[J]er Morgan at starting CF and leadoff, I will not attend one game this season."

Okay.

Posted by: Section220 | January 25, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Not sure how 2011 will go, but this is a pretty decent base for when Strasburg returns and Harper arrives (with the expectation of perhaps a few more logical moves before then, even if they are not headline-grabbing). Much better than the crazy fat woman living with 100 cats that was here when Zimm showed up.

Posted by: thelonghaul | January 25, 2011 4:12 PM | Report abuse

The Nationals record has been better than the O's 4 out of the past 6 years.

Posted by: -hypopig- | January 25, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

@dominic10464

"How can you predict the Nats will win 80 games and still look at yourself in the mirror?"

"THEY LOWERED PAYROLL IN THE OFFSEASON!!!!!!!!"

Because, in spite of Brue's assertions about "Mr. Pants", I don't believe Rizzo is done yet. Albeit he wants the reporters and mlbtraderumors to think he is. Because Rizzo isn't an incompetent "Joy Boy" bozo like Jim Bowden and his front office is head and tails about the competition.

And look at Tampa Bay's roster and payroll dude. Tell me they aren't going to compete this year?

Similar improvements have been made to the Nat's roster ... and Zimmerman is better than Longoria. The bullpen is way better than the Rays. What are the Nats lacking? IMHO one last starting pitcher similar to Zimmermann and Gorzelanny.

All you are looking at is the money. Not the entire picture. Do you think the Cubs will compete this year with their enormous payroll?

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Rizzo is waiting for Strasburg or Harper. Who knows when Harper will make it up to the bigs? 2012, 2013 even 2014 isn't out of the question or something to worry about. Then a year or two to get acclimated.

Stras will need a year perhaps more to ramp back up. You can't expect (and SHOULDN'T WANT) him to even come close to 200 IP in 2012. Perhaps 100 is appropriate.

Rizzo can't wait on those guys and he isn't.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Michael Aubrey/Matt Stairs (need a big left-handed bat not a fly swatter like Cora).

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 2:43 PM
-----------------------

Michael Aubrey?!?!?!?!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHA.

If he's the "big bat" you want the Natinals to get, you must be content with the Natinals losing over 120 games.

Michael Aubrey, hahahahahahahahahaha. Thanks for the laugh pal.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 25, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Maybe they didn't increase payroll (although I wish they had and they apparently tried) but I think this is a much deeper roster, with more adequate pitchers and better defense. The offense will be average or slightly below average, the defense (surprisingly enough) will be average or above average, the bullpen will be above average and the starting pitching will be below average (but not terrible and a lot better than the last few years).

All in all, I see 75-77 wins and a fourth place finish.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 25, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

They should bring Harper up ASAP. Why not?

Posted by: jc1123 | January 25, 2011 4:39 PM | Report abuse

What do you guys think it would take for the nats to get Dice-K. Pudge, Lannan, and Clippard?

Posted by: hansenjo | January 25, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

What do you guys think it would take for the nats to get Dice-K. Pudge, Lannan, and Clippard?

Posted by: hansenjo | January 25, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

baltova1 you are on point. The lower payroll is irrelevant because the roster is actually deeper with the lower payroll and they are in position to add payroll in the coming years, and apparently willing. The starting pitching might be below average but the depth will also prevent a complete collapse for the rotation when the invetiable injuries occur (no need for starts from Martis or Atilano this year). I see .500.

Posted by: BigRick65 | January 25, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"They should bring Harper up ASAP. Why not?"

Because he is a baby player who needs to find out what it is like to play pro ball for a living for real. Tempting though it be, he needs to be in the minors at least most of this year. If he tears it up, great, move him right along. But it isn't as if he is THE missing piece that would bring us into contention. No, he is a newbee who needs some seasoning.

Posted by: NatsFly | January 25, 2011 5:04 PM | Report abuse

They should bring Harper up ASAP. Why not?

Posted by: jc1123 | January 25, 2011 4:39 PM
-----------

How about because it would unnecessarily start his service clock early.

But again, when was the last time the Natinals made a smart move? That's what I thought.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 25, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I hope Alberto isn't dumb enough to be demanding a trade. Where's he going to be a starter?

Posted by: QuakerWildcat | January 25, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't hang my hat on Pythagorean W-L for this team. They haven't been on the plus side of that number since moving into Nats Park.

2010: -3
2009: -5
2008: -3

Pythagorean W-L is looked at as a measurement of luck. Well, you make your own luck, and a bad team creates bad luck.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 25, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

INFIELD.

Zimmerman
Espinosa
Desmond
Hairston
Michael Aubrey/Matt Stairs (need a big left-handed bat not a fly swatter like Cora).

Posted by: periculum
===========================================
Peric, I was out of town for a week; did I miss a memo about LaRoche?

Posted by: gilbertbp | January 25, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

I haven't seen a move made by Rizzo that has made this club weaker. I tend to look at it this way; compared only to last year, + or - or nc (no change):

Outfield: ++
Infield: ++
Plate: nc
Bench: nc
Starters: ++
Pen: ++
Speed: ++
Defense: +++
Power: ++
Mgr: nc

Mostly pluses as I see it. = 85 curly ones

Posted by: TaylorWalsh | January 25, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

OK, my 2-cents worth on the possible OD roster...
CA = Pudge & either Ramos/Flores, with the alternate going to SYR for regular playing time.
INF = LaRoche(1B), Espinosa(2B), Desmond(SS), & RZim(3B); Hairston and AGonz on the bench. If Espinosa falters in Viera, he gets optioned & either of the bench players opens the season at 2B.
OF = Bernadina/Morse(LF platoon), Morgan(CF), Werth(RF); Ankiel & Stairs on the bench. Brown has a 'dark-horse' chance at making the club, if he has an outstanding spring, replacing Stairs.

Starters = Livo, Lannan, Marquis & JZimm are near-locks, with Gorzelanny, Maya, & Detwiler trying for a higher rung. With a thin schedule early in the season, either Gorzelanny or Marquis could start the season in the bullpen as a LR/Spot starter; Maya & Detwiler will probably begin the year in SYR, with both Wang & Strasburg on the DL.

Bullpen = If the team opens with five starters, They'll need a LR in the bullpen; That's either Stammen or Gaudin. If they come to DC with four and a 'bump-down' for the first month, Stammen catches an option to SYR.
In middle relief, Clippard, Slaten, & either Balester or Rodriguez would make a nice combo. Coffey (to me, at least) looks like this years' version of Bruney, and I don't have a lot of faith in his numbers; I hope the team doesn't just give him the spot.
For the SU/CL roles, it comes down to Balester/Rodriguez, Burnett, & Storen for me.

I know there are some hedged bets here, but we're still three weeks from catchers & pitchers, for crying out loud. This team isn't nearly good enough to have the 25-man roster 'locked-up' just yet.

Posted by: BinM | January 25, 2011 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Defense = good
Pitching = below average
Offense = atrocious

So, another uninteresting season with 90 + losses. Sack the manager and we start over again next year. The upcoming season is a waste of everyone's time.

Posted by: greendayer | January 25, 2011 6:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping that Flores will come all the way back i'm pulling for him. The offense........... well we can always hope. The key for this team is starting pitching and defense i was really hoping that we would find a serious bat like Dunn's somehow i think as the season develops we may end up regretting not resigning Dunn.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 25, 2011 6:58 PM | Report abuse

@TaylorWash: An interesting way to look at things, and clearly you're a "glass half-full" kind of viewer; That's a good thing.
This would be my spin on the same view, and why...
Outfield: + (Bernadina/Morgan/Werth over Willingham/Morgan/Harris)
Infield: + (LaRoche/Espinosa/Desmond/RZim over Dunn/Guzman/Desmond/RZim)
Catcher: + (Pudge/Ramos/Flores over Pudge/Nieves/Maldonado)
Bench: ++ (AGonz/Hairston/Morse/Ankiel over Bernadina/Agonz/Kennedy/Taveras)
Starters: nc (Livo/Lannan/Marquis/JZimm/Gorzelanny vs. Livo/Lannan/Stammen/Atilano/Olsen)
Pen: nc (swapped Batista/Peralta for ???/Coffey)
Speed: + (faster at 2B & RF; slightly quicker at 1B & LF; Others unchanged)
Defense: ++ (Upgrades in RF, LF, 2B, & 1B)
Power: - (Surrendered both Willingham & Dunn, gained Werth & LaRoche; Added Espinosa)
Mgr: nc

Posted by: BinM | January 25, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

@dargramps: I think Dunn is in the right place (the AL). Kenny Williams has assembled a 'killer' lineup on the south side of Chicago, with a good starting staff as well - All they really lack is a proven closer.

I wish the Dunn-key all the best, and hope he gets a taste of post-season play this year.

Posted by: BinM | January 25, 2011 7:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm with eyestreet and goinggoinggone(likely lots of others but why keep reading all the darkness to get to the few),this every winter glass is 3/4 empty crap makes you wonder what in the world makes these folks call themselves fans. If all they want to do is criticize,get off the net and go back to Beck,hell somebody has to. I love how the Nats are building with the draft,growing a strong minor's system and being patient. There used to be a team in this area that did this long,long,ago. So far back most of you were barely alive in the 60'and 70's the cross-town Orioles had a minor league system second to none,then they forgot all about it and look where they have been since. But when they started it that system carried them quite well for 20-30 years,I'll stick with this way. The Orioles certainly had their growing pains but when Palmer,McNally,Cuellar,Robinsons x's 2,Powell,it goes on and on,were around it was a small market dynasty. I'll be just fine with that,except DC isn't a small market and once it has established itself that one or two guys needed a year to put you over the top break their necks to sign with you. Last year this time,to hear this site the Nat's wouldn't win 20 games,and we were 12 under 500,not earth shaking but pretty damn respectable to me,and what if Strasburg hadn't gotten hurt? So let the REAL FANS relish in the hope and promise of another year,a fresh start,new season,with young and fresh blood,we deserve it,we root for the team,we don't spend our evenings finding ways to see how clever we can be in our criticism,and soon---very soon I predict we will be paid back for our loyalty with a very strong contending team for years to come,so appreciate the learning curve,enjoy the growth,hell even laugh at the gaffs,but don't rain down on the parade every stinking chance you get,it's sad and pitiful. Here's to hope and optimism,the Nat's are back and will be fun and invigorating to follow,at least to me. See I waited that long period to have a home team here to root for,I went to games with my now deceased Father to watch Frank Howard & Eddie Brinkman et al,I even still have my free copy of Ted Williams' "My Turn at Bat" the team gave away at the gate those last few games,in fact mine came from the next to the last game,so go ahead and be a critic,I'll watch them grow and enjoy every minute of it,for I know what it's like when they are gone.Go Nat's Go and Grow.Good Luck some of us will be behind you.

Posted by: mfowler1 | January 25, 2011 9:42 PM | Report abuse

I hate to even say this because I admit that I didn't read the whole thread, but did someone actually say it was a toss up at third between ryan zimmerman and mark reynolds? And then laugh at someone other person's post?

This is the same mark reynolds who has lead the league in SO for 3 straight years, has never won a gold glove, never won a sliver slugger, who has a career OPS+ of 108 compared to Ryan Z's 121, and BA wasn't even above the mendoza line last year.

Surely I miss read that...

Posted by: SFcapsfan | January 25, 2011 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Nice thing about the lower payroll ... if they do manage to be competitive they have plenty of space to take on salary.

The problem still is that the farm system does not yet have enough depth to allow them to make trades with prospects during the season.

I note that Tampa has gone from 13 to 11 picks in the draft. Have to wonder if part of that is part of balancing things financially. The Nats would have no qualms about signing those 13 picks.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 9:57 PM | Report abuse

"Peric, I was out of town for a week; did I miss a memo about LaRoche?"

Yeah, my bad there. Left off Clippard as well.

Still see a deal[s] in the works out there ...

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 10:00 PM | Report abuse

"Power: - (Surrendered both Willingham & Dunn, gained Werth & LaRoche; Added Espinosa)"

If Morse gets more PA's and performs as projected? NC. However, you could nit-pick about diminished left-handed power. All there really would be would be LaRoche and Espinosa.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2011 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Why waste time and effort to guess at something that is still 2 months away. You can't know about injuries, rookie suprises, and doesn' help anybody but you.


Posted by: golfwise | January 25, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Prediction for 2011...(ok, I'll fudge a tad)77-79 wins/83-85 losses. Probably finish above Mets. If they squeeze another out, above Mets & Fish.

BTW, on the other side...Saux are stronger, Toronto is stronger, Bombers lost 1/2 step, TB(sorry, Rays) are stronger than some think. Which leaves Birds at another 100 loss season.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | January 25, 2011 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-wow....nice to hear so many kind shout-outs. Too many to mention individually, but I can't wait to be talking with you all "on the regular" again.
Haven't even read this latest batch...still early days, right? But I did get to thinking about how...well, spring trainings' approaching for The GANG as well as the Nats! Time to say hello, get reacquainted, sharpen our "skills"...and renew our camaraderie. A place for folks to "connect"....to argue and agree, commiserate and congratulate...you all know what I mean. No matter how heated, it's a place for us to share with each other. Even when upset...fundamentally a sorta "happy' place, People enjoying themselves and each other....
That said, never could figure out why some seem to take their enjoyment from consciously ruining the good times of everyone else. And when I say it's "sad" - I really don't mean it in a sarcastic or insulting way. I feel genuine sadness for folks who feel such misery that they seem to enjoy causing irritation, anger, etc. in others just trying to have some fun-and to share it with others. Who get pleasure from spoilin' the party
Then again, most picnics have ants, right?
SO...no matter how many irritants may come uninvited...and Lord knows we'll probably-nah, CERTAINLY! - have our own fights (too much beer and HOPEFULLY not too little winning!)...it's good to be alive and writing and sharing with ALL of you about..man, I still find it hard to believe at times! Washington's' OWN baseball club. Can't wait for the Show to start and to hear all of The Gangs' thoughts! Maybe THIS'll be the year when finally the team on the field'll bring more enjoyment than this blog and all who contribute!

Posted by: zendo | January 25, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-and as is befitting of pre-spring training...in trying to review my last bit I posted it instead!
And now...for the Big Finish....
GO GANG!
GO NATS!!!

Posted by: zendo | January 25, 2011 10:50 PM | Report abuse

On Vernon Wells and why we should all be glad the Nats didn't go for him. Another silly move by a less than competent FO. They have Mike Trout the #1-#2 prospect in baseball to put in their outfield? Torii Hunter? What the bejeebers are they thinking?

Keith Law:

"The problem is that Wells is now well below-average in center and probably should be in a corner outfield position, where his bat is less valuable, and where he may not profile offensively by the time he's a free agent after 2014. His power spike in 2010 coincided with a sudden shift in the Rogers Centre's park factor and a teamwide rise in home runs. He's a good fastball hitter who's not very disciplined and tries to pull the ball on the outer half, resulting in a lot of frustrating rollovers to the shortstop."

Posted by: periculum | January 26, 2011 12:47 AM | Report abuse

If we had kept Dunn & Willingham and had Greinke agreed to come, then maybe we could talk about not being a laughing stock. Unfortunately, neither happened. So, where are we?

Starting pitching: Every single one of our starters has massive questions marks around them. The best guy we've got is Lannan and he is coming off of his worst year as a pro. Each and every year we keep being fed a batch of lies about our slew of depth when it comes to pitching. Problem is, none of them are legit hurlers. The Phillies have a stable of clydesdales and they absolutely chuckle at our barnyard of has-beens and never-weres.

We have massive questions marks in LF, CF, 1B, 2B, SS, and C. Ryan Zimmerman is a top 5 player in the game, Jayson Werth is above average in right, and our bullpen was solid last year. That's it. That's what we've got. Period. Maybe IF Harper pans out and IF Strasburg returns to his pre-injury form and IF Zim re-signs we can talk about making a wild card run and then maybe contending for a pennant, but those are three massive IFs that even if they come to fruition don't guarantee anything.

Every year I come up with ludicrous theories on how we can approach .500 and predict an 80-85 win season. But for once, I've seen the light. Some of you people need to wake up and realize that the Nats are going nowhere fast. Let's face it, a last place team donked off 2 of their best 3 weapons... at least they didn't raise prices like the pathetic O's did, though.

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | January 26, 2011 3:34 AM | Report abuse

FWIW, MLB.com has an article on the top 50 prospects in the game. The Nats have one guy on the list, you know who, ranked at #3 behind Mike Trout of the Angels and Jeremy Hellickson of the Rays. By way of comparison, the Braves have three guys on the list: Freddie Freeman, Mike Minor, and Julio Teheran. The Phillies have two: Jonathan Singleton and Domonic Brown. The Mets and Marlins don't have any.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 26, 2011 7:18 AM | Report abuse

Positives for 2011: 1) Zim, the best third baseman in the NL and equaled only by Longoria in the Majors, 2) An athletic and potentially dynamic middle infield combination, 3) a legitimate all-star level player in RF, 4) a solid veteran first baseman who will help the team's infield defense, 5) depth at catcher and in the bullpen 6) a deeper and potentialy more productive group of bench players. Negatives 1) Starting pitching issues, which will lead to the bullpen being overworked yet again, 2) a bunch of 4th or 5th outfield types manning two of the three spots in the outfield, 3) Having to deal with the pitching depth of the Phils, Braves and Marlins.

Posted by: VaNat | January 26, 2011 7:20 AM | Report abuse

Holding Rizzo accountable......

At last years season ticket holders lunch and fan fest (which they are ducking by the way) I twice heard Rizzo say he made the decision himself without lack of resources to pass on A. Chapman...that is not increasing the bid...He said he did not believe the player was worth the money and that he had better places to spend the money.....Really Mike?.....looking back now we see Chapman in the top 10 or MLB prospects and Rizzo's better move?.......Maya and Martin?????what happened to Martin...he was a "great find" who was ready to pitch and contrite at the MLB leve NOW.....

While I like Rizzo's direction I do no like being lied to and I do not like bad moves that hurt he team....Not getting Chapman at this time last year and then selling a bill of goods that he was happier and the team was better off with the saved money and Martin and Maya.....Not true.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 26, 2011 7:23 AM | Report abuse

>>1. Livan Hernandez
2. Jordan Zimmermann
3. John Lannan
4. Jason Marquis
5. Tom Gorzelanny

100 losses. It'll be worse than last year because the Phils and Braves are better, and the Marlins are better than the Nats, especially in the pitching area. That's almost 60 games against teams that will probably beat your brains out. Then you have two series against the Cardinals(6)Giants(6), Padres(6), then the White Sox (3), Angels (3). The Orioles are gonna beat the hell out of them (6). O's have clearly superior pitching and they went out and filled their offensive holes. They might even pick up Vlad Guerrero, who had 29 homers and 115 RBIs LAST YEAR. That's another thing - if Pants was only going to sign Derek Lee for one year, or LaRoche for two, why not get Vlad and stick him at 1B for a year? Oh yeah - wouldn't be politically correct. Wouldn't make Pants look smart because he wouldn't be able to take credit for Guerrero's power.
That's 90 basically games against teams that are essentially in a different class than the Nats. Then you have to hope the Cubs and Dodgers don't wake up (100). People talking about 75-80 wins - just go down the schedule and try to find them, they're not there. I've got even money that the starting rotation doesn't look anything like what's at the top of this post by the end of the year because none of those guys can go 200 with getting tattooed or hurt. So they'll be a mess by August, but it won't matter by then. They're just flat-out bad - Zimm and Werth will get pitched around, LaRoche will end up chasing pitches with his long swing because he'll get frustrated. If you have guys that are interchangeable in a lineup, then you don't have a clear-cut cleanup hitter.
It is what it is. You watch - Morse will be even LESS productive this year because the jarhead manager will find a way to put speedy guys in there instead, so he'll get LESS AB's. 100 losses. Just go down the schedule, it's all right there.

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 8:16 AM | Report abuse

We have a much better defense, which equates to improved pitching and overall a young hungry ball club trying to earn their free agent value

82-80 / 3rd NL East

Posted by: Nats1924 | January 26, 2011 8:23 AM | Report abuse

JayBee -- I share your frustrations with the club as it has lied to the fans, made excuses and spun its failures to an alomst sickening level for years now. I am glad to see the club at least assembling a roster that passes the laugh test, but there is no reason that it took this long to get only this far, there is no reason for the low spending, there is no excuse for the bad management, bad promotion, bad organization.

I believe in redemption and I want these guys to succeed, for my own sake as a fan if for no other reason. It is time for them to simply get it done.

I want to see sustained and substantial progress from Nats management every day. They owe that to us.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 26, 2011 8:53 AM | Report abuse

What's the average age of this roster? 75?

Posted by: RiverOtis | January 26, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Adam,

I agree with you on most of your roster slots with the exception of two: I would put Stammen in the pen over Balester and gonzalez over Cora.

Posted by: markfd | January 26, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

@Brue:

Vladimir Guerrero at 1st base?

Really?

I think you suggest him just to make the loss of Dunn look bad. (Which it was, considering his power.)

Vladimir Guerrero has never played 1st base in his major league career. He was a human pylon in RF during the World Series.

Last year, Adam LaRoche had 25 HR and 100 RBI. He is five years younger than Guerrero and a reliable 1st baseman.

I'm willing to forego 4 HR and 15 RBI (the difference between LaRoche and Guerrero last year) for a younger, better fielder. By the way, Arizona (with LaRoche) was but one point higher than the Nats in team BA (although they had more homers and RBI). So the environment in the Nats' line-up will not be significantly different than it was for LaRoche last year in Arizona.

If you wanted your prediction of the Nats' performance in 2011 to remain credible, suggesting Guerrero as a solution wasn't the way to do it.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 26, 2011 8:59 AM | Report abuse

On Arizona and the Nats' batting stats last year: team BA was within a point (both were .250) but the D-backs had a higher OBP. (.325 to .318) The replacement of Dunn and Willingham by Werth and LaRoche should improve the Nats' team BA a bit, but lower the team OBP a bit, too.

I still think Vladimir Guerrero should stay in the AL, where he belongs as a DH.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 26, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

>>if you wanted your prediction of the Nats' performance in 2011 to remain credible, suggesting Guerrero as a solution wasn't the way to do it.

Posted by: bertbkatz

I did that just to see which crybaby would jump on it. Like shooting fish in a barrel. They still keep score in these games, right? By June you'll be moaning like the rest of them because you were hoping for competence. 100 losses. You'll notice how Kilgore didn't put Wang in the rotation either. Another brilliant move by Pants to bring him in. Again. It'll be fun, you can listen to Jerry Hairston piss and moan about his playing time, while Ankiel gets pulled from the lineup because he can't lefties AT ALL, for -- Bernadina! Who can't really hit anybody. Then Morgan will go 14-for-90 by June while Harper's got 10 homers by then in Pulaski or wherever there gonna send him. Espinosa will have another 5-for-60 skein (like last year!) and then Hairston will get his wish and lift the lineup with his .244 average - and that was with regular at-bats last year! I'll dedicate the season to you, Bert, and all your lightweight fantasies.

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"I did that just to see which crybaby would jump on it."

yeah, sure. after a while it's just noise

Posted by: 3B11 | January 26, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

>>"I did that just to see which crybaby would jump on it."

yeah, sure. after a while it's just noise

Posted by: 3B11

*weeping uncontrollably* I'll add another loss just for you. 101. No complete games this year either.

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Brue, reading your comments remind me of the old TV commercial trick for selling soup: you put a bunch of marbles in the bottom of the bowl so all of the vegetables sit on top and make the soup look better.

That's what you do here: your stuff sinks to the bottom and everything else looks a little better because of it.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 26, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

>That's what you do here: your stuff sinks to the bottom and everything else looks a little better because of it.

Posted by: baltova1

*weeping uncontrollably* Just for that, I will make you watch a catcher all year who can't hit his weight yet his jarhead manager won't take him out of the lineup because he's a veteran! How dare they put 3,000 hits in front of winning!!! THE HORROR 102 losses and a spell put on you!!!!!

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 10:30 AM | Report abuse

BTW, I looked it up. The Nats won 40 percent of their games last year against the teams Brue cited (BTW, the Nats won the season series against Atlanta). For his prediction to come true, the Nats would have to do worse against these teams and just as bad against the other teams, the ones he thinks aren't as good, to lose 100.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 26, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

You may not like what Brue has to say or the way he says it. However, he does seem to have some legit knowledge of the game, unlike some statheads on here who probably have never swung a bat before.

In this case though, I think Brue is wrong. This team is not going to challenge for a playoff spot, that is a ridiculously glass is completely full opinion. I also don't think this is a 100 loss team either. That would be the glass is completely empty opinion. I think 70-75 wins is a reasonable prediction and a small step in the right direction.

I can see a plan in what Rizzo is doing, it is a little hazy at times but, I can make it out. The Jimbo/StanK plan, not so much. Just pitch black darkness.

Go Nats!

Posted by: Section505203 | January 26, 2011 10:34 AM | Report abuse

>>BTW, I looked it up. The Nats won 40 percent of their games last year against the teams Brue cited (BTW, the Nats won the season series against Atlanta). For his prediction to come true, the Nats would have to do worse against these teams and just as bad against the other teams, the ones he thinks aren't as good, to lose 100.

Posted by: baltova1

Gotcha thinkin, huh? Yes, I think they will be WORSE this year. I hereby give you a win back for civility - leaving you at 101 losses and no idea how they got there. I mean, how are they gonna score if their leadoff man can't get on, their number two man Desmond is still green and they get the middle of their lineup pitched around?

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Rumors-- Nats trading for Indians Carmona and Sizemore?? Any1 got anything on this?
Thoughts?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 26, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

>>You may not like what Brue has to say or the way he says it. However, he does seem to have some legit knowledge of the game, unlike some statheads on here who probably have never swung a bat before.

Posted by: Section505203

The internet is the revenge of the geeks. All the guys that got cut from the teams think that this is their chance to shout people down by resembling a herd. Just for that, I will force them to watch a pitching staff that's going to be BABIED and pitch-counted. No expectations - what the hell - so what if they're afraid to throw strikes and end up leaving with the sacks juiced in the fifth inning after 100 pitches and nothing accomplished. Just like Trembley did with the O's - 90 pitches and he's scratching himself and twitching, 100 pitches and he can't wait to take the ball from the starter. He gets canned, then Showalter says, 'I'll decide when you're done, not the pitch count' and lo and behold, their staff starts dominating and going deep into the game, WITHOUT throwing very many more pitches. Why? Because instead of the pitcher looking at how many pitches he's thrown, he's looking at how many outs he's gotten instead. Real simple change in mentality that ain't gonna happen with these lightweights in charge of the Nats.

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-Well, at the risk of sounding like a baseball idjit (or just a fool!) I really think we ARE gonna compete...and flirt with relevance. And while I'm semi familiar with the New Stats....I have "laced 'em up" (albeit a LOOOONG time ago). But having done that, I also think that the conglomeration we call a team is still overlooked as a WHOLE. As in it's not just the sum of it's parts. I just got a feeling that this team is ready to win. Throw in the karma factor that we're overdue for some over-performance (remember the Royals a few years back with Pena at the helm? Or the '89 O's?) and....I dunno. It's not even ST! Plenty of time to be insanely bitter when/if the team does it's usual implosion. And while I think Brue's got plenty of baseball acumen...we disagree on Rizzo. I think the guy is hard nosed about not accepting losing (different then merely wanting to win-we assume ALL players/humans? want to win.....but being....comfortable? with losing-I think that's a big reason why Dunn and Willingham are gone.)Hence a Jason Werth who yells at hometown fans for interfering with him catching a foul ball.
Yea-the odds are better that we'll be crummy than they are that we're good. And if we play with dismal ineptness, I'll be one of the FIRST(as brue noted) to be whining, calling for Armageddon!
But right now.....18 days! Plenty of time to keep dreaming!Why be happy/optimistic?
Well...why NOT?
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo | January 26, 2011 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Preach it, Zendo!!!

And yes, sometimes, "The internet is the revenge of the geeks."

It's also the home of a lot of people with an excessive case of self-importance, isn't it?

Takes all kinds...

Posted by: baltova1 | January 26, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

skins_fan: Heve seen that floated on a few sites, but don't see the logic of it from Cleveland's side. Carmona is under a team-friendly contract for another three years, so the asking price would be very high, imo. Sizemore has two years left on his deal, and after being injured in 2009 & 2010 (microfracture surgery on a knee in 2010), has little current value.

Two players who meet a couple of the Nationals' needs on paper; One with high costs (in prospects), the other with high risks (in health). Don't know how wise the trade would be for the Nationals.

Posted by: BinM | January 26, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't get runnning down and rooting against your own team. Go Nats!

Posted by: fpcsteve27 | January 26, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

>>It's also the home of a lot of people with an excessive case of self-importance, isn't it?

Posted by: baltova1

*weeping uncontrollably into his lunch* I hereby remand you to a season (or more) of 'maturing' as Harper hits 50 homers in the bushes and nobody on the Nats hits more than 20. He needs to find out what it's like to play every day like he has for the last 5 years (averaged around 160 games per including traveling teams). You will discover that my comments are nothing compared to the angst you will feel when the Nats best player is stuck in the bushes while they embarass themselves at the big league level because Pants wants to look smart by bringing him up slowly. Whatever that means. Maybe you can tell me, oh geeky one of wonderment.

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 12:37 PM | Report abuse

And while I think Brue's got plenty of baseball acumen...we disagree on Rizzo. I think the guy is hard nosed about not accepting losing (different then merely wanting to win-we assume ALL players/humans?

Posted by: zendo

Dude, anybody that stands there and says that starting pitching is his highest in the offseason and then gets none is, well, a liar. I don't make the rules, I just hold up the mirror so they can take a look at their last-place selves. Lower payroll than last year too? Didn't want to sign Aroldis Chapman even though Ted gave him the money? See, that's the big lie - Lerner wants to spend his money, he just doesn't know on what. That's what Pants is there for. If he did something that made sense, I'd be all over it but I can't find anything. More athletic and more defense. Right. Anything else, Pants??

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I still don't get why Nyjer is the clear cut favorite in CF after his lack of performance last year. He wasn't even a starter in Pittsburgh. Bernadina deserves the first shot at CF. He's got speed on the bases and doesn't get picked off every other time he's on base.

Posted by: Kolchak | January 26, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Everyone, please don't feed the trolls. There is literally no way to win an argument with a troll. Trolls: (1) are never wrong; and (2) if they are wrong, see rule (1). It's the internet version of monkeys throwing stuff at the walls and screaming.

Posted by: JCCfromDC | January 26, 2011 3:11 PM | Report abuse

>>Trolls: (1) are never wrong; and (2) if they are wrong, see rule (1). It's the internet version of monkeys throwing stuff at the walls and screaming.

Posted by: JCCfromDC

*pedantic, post-adolescent confusion with rage complex at the larger world, seeks order but can only accomplish it through groupthink*

Posted by: Brue | January 26, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Other than 3rd Base, every Orioles player is better his Natinals counterpart. Shoot, 3rd Base could even be a toss up.
Natinals will be lucky to win 60 games this year.
Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 25, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Hey Poopy,

I know we shouldn't recognize this jack___
but just wanted to ask him if he knew why Nats outdrew the Os by over 95,000 last year. Is it because you put such a lousy product on the field or because the whole city hates the owner? Such a wonderful organization. You should be proud (if you had a brain). It must be frustrating following a team with such a proud past and now so very far into the toilet.But then you would have have to have an IQ over 40 to understand any of this.

Posted by: bosco3 | January 27, 2011 1:24 AM | Report abuse

So what's the big scandal here with Rizzo? Apparently he wears pants?

Posted by: 202character | January 27, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey Poopy,

I know we shouldn't recognize this jack___
but just wanted to ask him if he knew why Nats outdrew the Os by over 95,000 last year.

The largest part of that 95,000 were probably visiting team fans in DC to see their teams beat the crap out of the Nats.

Posted by: mrcart | January 28, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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