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Posted at 5:28 PM ET, 01/10/2011

Mariners sign Adam Kennedy

By Adam Kilgore

Adam Kennedy, the Nationals' opening day second baseman in 2010, signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners, the Mariners announced. The Nationals cut ties with Kennedy early this offseason when, to no one's surprise, they declined to exercise a team option for this season. After struggling to find playing time, Kennedy hit .249 with a .327 on-base percentage and a .327 slugging percentage in 389 at-bats.

While the Nationals' have long ruled out Kennedy as a member of their 2011 roster, his signing with the Mariners brings to mind one of the Nationals' final needs for this offseason -- a veteran middle infielder to provide insurance behind Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, who still has his rookie status after playing second base last season as a September call-up.

With the current constitution of their roster, the Nationals need one more bench player. While they could opt for a right-handed outfield bat, their most likely addition will be a utility player or middle infielder to provide versatility. Alberto Gonzalez gives the Nationals a slick-fielding back-up for Espinosa and Desmond, but the Nationals may choose to add more depth for their infield given Espinosa's lack of experience. Willie Bloomquist, a free agent utility player who can play both infield and outfield, is a possible target for the Nationals.

By Adam Kilgore  | January 10, 2011; 5:28 PM ET
 
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Next: Mike Rizzo's roster overhaul

Comments

I'd like to see the club consider Scott Podsednik as a lead-off man back up plan, pinch runner/hitter kind of guy.

The guy gloves well enough to play CF in a pinch (though we already have a bunch of guys who can do that) or LF every day if need be, he runs well, gets on base. he bat in the 1 or 2 hole or any place after 6 pretty easily. And they have RH bats o-plenty on the club as it is.

Morse/Gonzalez can play 3B if Zim needs a rest and they can call up a replacement infielder, if for some reason there is an injury and Gonzalez plays full time in the middle infield.

They can find a glove man to hit 8th and play up the middle in a pinch, but they do not have a guy who can bat lead-off should Morgan either not get it together or pull a hammy or whatever. The Nats would not be likely to dig that guy up from the farm.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 10, 2011 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Thank God Kennedy is gone. What a waste of money and almost 400 AB's....plus he was an error machine at 2nd Base......He was the new Austin Kearns of 2010......good luck Adam but my money is on retirement after 2 months at AAA.

Posted by: JayBeee | January 10, 2011 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Agree with dfh21. They don't need another glove on the bench, they need a little pop for when they are behind and need runs. If someone gets hurt, call up an infielder.

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 10, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

If Kennedy has anything at all left, he's a decent signing for SEA; Good insurance policy in case Ackley struggles in the spring, or early on in the season.

dfh & Meridian: It might just be me, but I'd rather have another proven MI close at hand in case Espinosa struggles early.

AGonz has got the glove to fill in short-term, but he's a pop-gun hitter, at best. The guys currently in SYR (Antonelli, Bixler, Bynum, & McConnell) don't give me a high comfort-level as possible replacements for either Desmond or Espinosa.

Adding ScottyPos would be overkill, imo. The roster already holds 8 OF, with one position locked (Werth).

Posted by: BinM | January 10, 2011 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Or maybe they try to land Andruw Jones as a guy with RH pop who can play all over the OF as need be. Though the Yanks seem to be all over him in the rumor mill at least. He'd have some cache for the fan base to some extent I would think. I dunno.

Willie Bloomquist does not excite me. His versatility is really mostly as an OF (only 33 innings at 2B last year) at this point anyway, and his bat is not exactly thunderous. If Podsednik's on-base and speed abilities are not the way to go, fiar enough, but I'd rather they have a guy with RH HR power coming in to games or getting spot starts.

And dare I suggest Lastings Milledge on a minor league deal might not be a wildly bad idea? Still young, OPS over .700 pretty much a lock, can run pretty well . . . could do worse from a 4th OF.


Posted by: dfh21 | January 10, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

BinM: Here's what I would guess we're likey to have in terms of OF's:

Ankiel (lf/cf)
Bernadina (lf/cf/rf)
Morgan cf
Morse lf/rf/1b/3b/rh-ph
Stairs lh-ph -- lf/1b
Werth rf

Who else is making the club?

I think that Maxwell and Brown each have options left. I am not sure either is ready to play on the MLB club on Opening Day at this point. Harper is not going to be in DC until at the very earliest late June (if the Nats did not let Stras get Super 2 status they are likely not going to let Harper get it either).

I guess in any event that is a lot of OF's, so maybe a middle infielder might be the way to go. I have no clue. This is why Rizzo gets the big bucks. But I would like them to lean toward a guy with some power if they are not getting someone who can lead-off.

Morgan scares me as THE guy to lead-off. Someone to either step in or to push the guy to make the most of this opportunity might be a very valuable thing.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 10, 2011 7:38 PM | Report abuse

NO!!!!!!! are you joking? Lastings has no future in baseball.....we all called it back in 2008 with his crocked routes in CF and Morgan like baserunning. PIT cut him loose when he was making club Min......He is a clubhouse cancer and a head case.....HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK THAT?

Posted by: JayBeee | January 10, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Whats the hurry? Stand pat. Anything they do now isn't going to make a bit of difference on this seasons outcome. They are what they are. Spend the big bucks next off season when the pitching stands to be markedly improved as does the outlook for a big jump. 2010 will be thin, but a jump in 11 might put us all in heaven!

Posted by: cokedispatch | January 10, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

dfh: IIRC, JMax is out of options, injured (TJ surgery to non-throwing arm), and not likely to survive the off-season, imo. Brown might have an option or two left.

The way I currently see the OF 'depth chart' - Player(hitting)...

LF - Bernadina(LH); Morse(RH), Ankiel(LH), Morgan(LH), Brown(LH).
CF - Morgan(LH); Werth(RH), Bernadina(LH), Brown(LH), Maxwell(RH), Ankiel(LH).
RF - Werth(RH); Bernadina(LH), Morse(RH), Maxwell(RH), Brown(LH), Ankiel(LH).

I excluded Harper from this list (for now), given his lack of OF experience.

Going into Viera, I'm ok with a LF platoon of Bernadina/Morse, Morgan in CF, and Werth in RF, with Ankiel & either Bernadina or Morse on the bench. That better than what the Nationals started 2010 with (Taveras, Bernadina, Harris).

Brown should go to SYR for steady AB's, unless he lights it up in the spring - JMax may just need to move on.

Posted by: BinM | January 10, 2011 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Good grief. I'm Mr. Positive, but I'd go negative on Milledge real fast. Milledge cannot play the game. I'd rather bring back FLOP. And just to be clear I would HATE it if they brought back FLOP.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 10, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I wouldnt mind seeing David eckstein on this team, a Pudge like mentor for our young middle infielders would be just as valuable use for the last spot on the bench as matt stairs or wille bloomquist.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 10, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I wouldnt mind seeing David eckstein on this team, a Pudge like mentor for our young middle infielders would be just as valuable use for the last spot on the bench as matt stairs or wille bloomquist.

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 10, 2011 9:00 PM | Report abuse

What's the deal with Espinosa's hand surgery? I think I recall assurances that he'd be ready by spring, but also the suggestion of possible lingering effects (reduced power?). Anything worth considering when contemplating the need for middle infield backup?

Posted by: KenNat | January 10, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Put me down for one D. Eckstein. Great attitude, would be neat to have brothers in the dugout and I don't think he would be upset, this late in his career, about part time duty. Not sure Bloomquist can play the infield as well as Eckstein but he does have more flexibility. Of course the player with the greatest flexibility is Willie Harris and if he could prove that last year was an abberation I would go for him in a heart beat. Great attitude, hustles all the time and I never saw him pout during a very tough season. He can play left, right, 3rd, 2nd and probably even first. I mean we used Adam Kennedy there last year in the late innings. Oh, wait, we won't need to make that move this year.

Go Nats!

Posted by: sjm3091 | January 10, 2011 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I keep reading about dreams of David Eckstein. Now I'm pretty indifferent about him. He's fine as a back-up or stop-gap replacement, so long as he's not a regurgitation of Adam Kennedy circa 2010.

Anyway, I haven't seen anyone speculate that perhaps the brothers don't want to be on a team together. Personally, I'd be terrified if my job were to make my brother better at his profession. And I like my brother. Likewise, I doubt he'd like hearing my critics of his performances everyday. Is it possible that they lack the sort of relationship where this would be good for either/both of them and furthermore, that they realize it?

I'd think given his availability, that if he wanted to play for the Nats that the ink would be dry by now.

Posted by: cbm92 | January 10, 2011 10:45 PM | Report abuse

@KenNat...It's a Hamate. You get back fairly quickly, but it's close to a year 'til you're back to 100%. See Zimmerman, R.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | January 10, 2011 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Milledge in a Nats uniform again? No. In the name of humanity, no.


Posted by: SilverSpring8 | January 10, 2011 11:58 PM | Report abuse

I can only think that SilverSpring8 understated it a bit.

Posted by: nats24 | January 11, 2011 1:33 AM | Report abuse

Uh-oh, I can feel Poopy channeling me right now.........Go Orioles!

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 11, 2011 2:54 AM | Report abuse

Good job AK...now how bout some Nationals news

Posted by: pwilly | January 11, 2011 3:03 AM | Report abuse

Funny, I could have sworn I heard the name "Lastings Milledge." Must have been hearing things....

Seriously, I do kind of like the idea of Podsednik, but I suspect he'd going to hold out for a gig, even parttime, with a playoff type team.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 11, 2011 7:36 AM | Report abuse

The one problem with bringing in an established middle infielder is that Riggleman will feel obligated to giving him at bats, even if the Espinosa/Desmond combo is humming on all cylinders. Remember his remorse over not giving Kennedy enough at bats? A three headed ss/2nd base combo will not work, whereas Gonzalez seems able to comprehend his position as emergency relief rather well. Leave that position unfilled unless in spring training a season-long injury hampers Desmond or Espinosa.

Posted by: driley | January 11, 2011 8:45 AM | Report abuse

I wish Kennedy well.

cbm92, that's reportedly not an issue for the brothers:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2010/07/for_rick_and_david_eckstein_th.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 11, 2011 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Come on guys, maybe they should give Lastings another look.

He was a model citizen in Pittsburgh, pretty much. His problems in DC attitude wise were more youthful self-centered idiocy than bad guy stuff. He's finally healthy. It is not his fault that Acta dubbed him an every day MLB CF, which he cleary is not, and leadoff man, which he also is not, when he had never really been successful in either role, much less both, in the bigs. And his big chance to actually be successful in those roles lasted all of like 25 AB's before Acta rolled him under the bus to Cuse in 09 before they traded him.

His D is nothing to get excited about but it is not plumb awful either (1 error last year). Amazingly, he is only 25 yrs old -- seems like he's been around forever. Not that I have any delusions that the guy is going to be some stud or anything, but he's better than a lot of 4th OF's in MLB right now, he comes on the cheap and his upside is higher than a lot of guys, certainly Maxwell's (Justin is 27 and like BinM points out above, coming off a big injury). He's going to be playing in some club's camp this spring, that is for sure.

So, why not a minor league deal for Lastings and a shot at redemption?

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 11, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

If we are going to sign a veteran infielder I say let's sign Hairston due to his versatility.

Posted by: markfd | January 11, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

dfh, you are a kind human being. Still don't want Milledge around.

Posted by: baltova1 | January 11, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

driley speaks the truth. If a veteran does come in, it needs to be clear to both the player and Riggleman that he's a backup and a pinch hitter, no more. I hve more faith that a player like Eckstein / Hariston could deal with this than that Riggleman could deal with this.

*******
A three headed ss/2nd base combo will not work, whereas Gonzalez seems able to comprehend his position as emergency relief rather well. Leave that position unfilled unless in spring training a season-long injury hampers Desmond or Espinosa.

Posted by: driley

Posted by: Sunderland | January 11, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Given his cost (low), I think Pittsburgh would have kept Milledge if he was truly a model citizen and/or capable of helping an NL team. Many seem to think of the Nationals as the poster child for cheap, bad, and futile teams, but I think it is pretty hard to claim that mantle from the Pirates. Here's a team that just signed a pitcher we through away. We already have a fast outfielder who can't steal bases at beter than 60% success rate, and we don't need one that can't hit .250. And do you really want your veteran leadership at AAA coming from Lastings Milledge? Who do you want your next rookie learning from?

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

Ok, so I am not really serious about them looking to Lastings Milledge, but I do think that he lands someplace and that he ends up playing in the bigs in 2011. The Bucs non-tendered him, because he was going to arb if they did not and they have a bunch of guys. Maybe they re-ink the guy, who knows. He was more productive than Ankiel last year at the plate as he was coming off injury and youth is something that cannot be overrated when it comes to baseball. He's playing winter ball, not sure how he's made out in the DR.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

threw/through away (yikes)

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 11, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I really expected this off season to be full of moves (bad or good) for our Nationals.

I am actually shocked how little the Nationals have done to revamp this team. Werth, cool. LaRoche, cool, I guess. Minor league signings (important).

Am I missing something?! There is such little news out there, that we are forced to read about former Nationals. I just don't get it.

Is phase II part of XXX eventual phases geared to bring this team into competing baseball?

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | January 11, 2011 12:31 PM | Report abuse

>>Adam Kennedy, the Nationals' opening day second baseman in 2010, signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners

Sounds about right. Our high character starters are some other scrubs minor leaguers. Sound familiar Austin Kearns?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 11, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

What?

The Natinals haven't moved out of DC yet? I would've figured with their amazingly low tv ratings that they would've moved to Montana by now.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 11, 2011 1:11 PM | Report abuse

NatsandSkins: This year has been huge compared to last off-season. Rizzo added so little to a 100 loss club that is almost amazing. At least this year they have 3 guys on the club who have knocked in 100 RBI, better catching and a healthy Marquis.

last year it was Pudge to be a back-up, Marquis on a 2 year deal was the major FA get (an innings eater was not going to make a whole heck of a lot of difference had the guy been healthy), Capps, who had been non-tendered, a still injured Wang, a shot in the dark Brian Bruney, and Kennedy. They shifted Guzman and Dunn to positions they had never played, they cut Dukes and threw a bunch of rookies and minor league guys out there and hoped for Strasburg to salvage them. Rizzo put a stinker on the field that was DOA on Opening Day. Is anyone surprised they finished last, again?

Nats management has been in no hurry to get good.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse


@dfh21,

"Nats management has been in no hurry to get good."

I respectfully demur. This offseason has, if anything, been one of humiliation. With the wealthiest owners in baseball putting every decision into the hands of tried and true baseball man Mike Rizzo who then went on a holy crusade to make the Nats respectable in 2011 ... even without Strasburg and with Harper still in the wings.

Players apparently have the same feeling about this franchise that you do. They refused to come even when offered obscene sums of money!? Even in the case where the Nats were willing to trade a good part of their 1-2 year future for one former CY Young pitcher. And he said no.

Only two said yes, Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche. One was paid an obscene amount of money as he would "define" what the Nats FO was looking for in players.

Nevertheless, Rizzo has managed to shore up one of baseball's worst defenses (again, the one consistent marker of the 90+ loss seasons). Remember, this was the team that featured Millege in center, Dukes and Austin Kearns not that long ago.
They haven't given up the Nats "vaunted offense" as many claim. (If it is so vaunted why is that no one wants to play for the Nats? Eh?) They have better speed on the base paths. They potentially have four 100 RBI men. But what they still really need is a 100 run guy at the top of the order.

Rizzo does have a starting pitching rotation. An unproven rotation outside of Livan Hernandez. And I don't mean Lannan.

They are again relying on JZimmnn, Detwiler, and hopefully Marquis. They are hoping for that diamond in the rough from Maya, Mock, Barthmaier, Martis, Atilano, Tatusko, Martin, etc.
One, and hopefully more have to produce in order for them to achieve respectability.

The bullpen has also been improved and the competition should be fierce for spots. There are now 4 - 6 97-100mph fast balls resident. Its not going to be as much fun for the opposition if they manage to punch out the Nats starter.

Maybe its just time to sit back and let the drama unfold? I suspect that within a year or two Rizzo will get his way and will form the team he and his staff envision.

Posted by: periculum | January 11, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

>>Nats management has been in no hurry to get good. Posted by: dfh21

Nails.
Can someone tell me why the Lerners even bought this club. They had enough money. They didn't need a baseball team so they could get rich. They obviously weren't interested in spending money or fielding a winner. What was their plan or reasoning?
Anyone?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 11, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"Can someone tell me why the Lerners even bought this club. They had enough money. They didn't need a baseball team so they could get rich. They obviously weren't interested in spending money or fielding a winner. What was their plan or reasoning?"

You've given Snyder more than a decade skins_fan. Why not go pound your nail over there? Its a learning experience for sure. Running a baseball team isn't like building the Wheaton Plaza. I think they have found their man in MIke Rizzo and Kasten concurred. They went through Bowden-ball and his approach to winning on the cheap by dumpster diving.

Now they are letting real pro's do it. So, far all the pundits are pretty impressed with the improvements to the farm system. For the first time in a decade Potomac won't have 29 year old "ringers" on the roster. Most will be legitimate prospects that are under 22 years of age.

Again, this isn't Danny Snyder and Seven Flags dude?

Posted by: periculum | January 11, 2011 2:03 PM | Report abuse

>>(The Lerners) went through Bowden-ball and his approach to winning on the cheap by dumpster diving. Posted by: periculum

P, who was in charge, Bowden or the Lerners? Do you honestly think it was his approach or he was simply carrying out orders from above. Bowden would have loved to have been able to go after some big name FAs. That's his MO.
Dumpster diving? How bout Kennedy last year. That wasn't Bowden.
No thru all of the changes, one thing is constant, the Lerners. Bowden is gone, Kasten is gone......
Meet the new boss.
Same as the old boss.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 11, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

I agree with periculum at 1:57 and 2:03. The right people are in charge, and they're making progress. The younger players and prospects are especially important in doing the right thing the right way.

Posted by: fpcsteve27 | January 11, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

>>periculum 1:57

Sounds Biblical.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 11, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the notion that Bowden himslef was not cheap. I believe he had the job because he had a reputation as being "resourceful". He may have been too resourceful (cough Smiley kickback cough). But he was not cheap. Heck he handed out generous contracts to Johnson, Guzman (twice), D. Young, etc....

Bowden's failing was based in philosophy and execution. He prized high risk/reward draft strategies that delivered on the risk more often than the reward. And his penchant for offering redemption to flawed players led to acquisition of flawed players more often than it led to redemption.

He was either a crook himself (probably not) or more likely failed to provide appropriate oversight to ensure the team was not taken advantage of in the Dominican.

And there seemed to be a lot of people in baseball who believed he was ethically challenged for such things as the FLOP/Kearns deal or failing to keep his word.

Some of that criticism is likely unfair, but nevertheless Bowden is gone and Rizzo is running things quite a bit different.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 11, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

peric -- I am not a big fan of Mike Rizzo, not yet. I don't think him an idiot or anything, but I don't find him to be a savior either. He has not done near enough to make the MLB club legit and he's been the GM for 2 years.

His work in last year's off-season was simply lousy. Capps was a stud, Pudge was a replacement level C, and the other major moves tanked. This year, like I said above, I am glad to see more significant moves and improved health (btw, who are you thinking has a chance at 100 RBI on this club other than Zim, Werth and AL?), but it is not enough, not by a long shot. The Nats have not been serious about winning. Everyone, including Zack Grienke, knows this.

Maybe Rizzo has been truly hamstrung by ownership, I dunno. (The Lerners without doubt are, as skins_fan eludes, the worst owners in the bigs.)

But IF it is true that Rizzo now finally has free reign in the FO, then he has no excuse not to add a lot more to this club right now. Payroll is looking like it will come significantly under the 2010 level?? Mike has a lot of money to spend. He can take on a bad SP contract -- some guys have to go where they are traded -- and he can ink a back end reliever (I love those live arms they have too, but throwing strikes is a real problem for most of that group). He can use that payroll flexiility to make the club better and he needs to do that now. 200 innings of 4 ERA ball and a closer-capable arm make this club a sleeper to win 80 games IMHO.

Five years of the Lerners, going into the 3rd year in the new, publicly financed park in the big market, back to back to back last place finishes, been under .500 since 2005, year after year of bargain basement payrolls and fundamentally flawed rosters, etc. It is well passed time for them to put a club on the field that has a shot at winning at least as many as they lose.

Urgency, Rizzo needs some old fashioned urgency.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

LOL, skins_fan_22. I hadn't thought of it that way. But maybe that's what you get when the Pastor posts. Pretty funny.

Posted by: fpcsteve27 | January 11, 2011 2:47 PM | Report abuse

>The right people are in charge, and they're making progress. The younger players and prospects are especially important in doing the right thing the right way.

Posted by: fpcsteve27

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me.

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2011 3:19 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, if you subscribe to the theory that the Lerners are cheap and that they haven't allocate the resourses needed to build a winner then how can you say Rizzo needs to understand the urgency. He doesn't have the chips in the minors to make trades and some FAs still don't want to come here; I believe he's doing a good job with the situation he was presented with. Sure, he can overpay and sign a Pavano (if he wants to even come here) but until we develop pitching all he is doing is signing band aids that hopefully get us to .500, and realistically he isn't going to be able to sign a SP at this point who is worth anything to anything other then a 1 year deal as the player hopes to recapture some of his past performance, a player who most fans will tire of rather quickly like we did of Marquis, albeit a hurt Marquis.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 11, 2011 3:29 PM | Report abuse

>>if you subscribe to the theory that the Lerners are cheap and that they haven't allocate the resourses needed to build a winner then how can you say Rizzo needs to understand the urgency

Sounds like a tiger chasing his tail. Or a Natinal chasing his o.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 11, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

skinsfan:

This is a great flippin' question:
"Can someone tell me why the Lerners even bought this club. They had enough money. They didn't need a baseball team so they could get rich. They obviously weren't interested in spending money or fielding a winner. What was their plan or reasoning?"

After observing for 5 years, I can only guess it's somehow good for their tax returns.

And when dfh21 says "Nats management has been in no hurry to get good" he's also 100% spot on.
But he doesn't get as much credit as skins_fan because this is obvious to even the most casual fan. The Nats have not ever been, and are not now, in a hurry to get good. They trust that building it their way is the right way, that it takes time, and that when it is complete (Phase XXIV I think), then the fans will be there.

Which means that Rizzo is not going to act with old fashioned urgency.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 11, 2011 4:32 PM | Report abuse

My nomination for infield back-up would be Orlando Cabrera. His numbers declined last year with the Reds but he's still got a good glove, great attitude and can be had for less than $2M. Looked at his current age comparison and he measures up with Tony Fernandez, Davey Concepcion and Royce Clayton. Not a terrible pedigree.

Posted by: KilgoreQTrout | January 11, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm with SCNatsFan. I don't think it solves any of the Nats
problems if they spend just to prove they are serious. See
Chicago Cubs. In point of fact the Cubs are looking to
unload players like zambrano? For what price? Is it worth
mortgaging a new future just to make 80 wins?

Posted by: periculum | January 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Keep in mind the Lerners were approved by the other 29 owners.

Imagine a poker game with 29 players getting to vote on who to let in. Who are they going to want--a WSOP champion, or some patsy from down at the shopping mall?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse

But don't underestimate "because they could." Even rich old billionaires get sentimental about the darndest things.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 4:43 PM | Report abuse

You would hope they didn't buy the club to make money, which from most of what I've read can be done by losing as easily as winning. Without a doubt unless they alocate the resources that are needed then they are hoping for a winner instead of building a winner. No doubt as fans its frustrating to all of us, except of course Orioles fans who are looking for things to mock to get away from their own misery.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 11, 2011 4:44 PM | Report abuse

peric, then why when someone says "they're not in a hurry" do you argue that?
Methinks you simply enjoy to demur.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 11, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't care if they want to make money. I just hope they realize they can do that while providing a quality product.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I abjure to demure; I prefer to detour.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

"Methinks you simply enjoy to demur."

Maybe he likes to hear himself type.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 11, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I know, I know: but I just had to bruit this about:

www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/jemima-lewis/8030890/Is-posing-in-your-undies-empowering-or-just-pants.html

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 5:16 PM | Report abuse

No one except Ted Lerner and maybe his wife knows why he bought the team, but I do believe they want to have a winning team and they are committed to this area. At the same time, I think they are by both experience and temperament unsuited to doing the things one must do in MLB in order to be successful on the field. Relying on their real-estate developer instincts led them down a very wrong path in terms of the on-field product and, equally important, marketing and customer relations.

They seem to have learned some important lessons, but there are consequences, and they include a lousy team and the continuing reluctance of free agents to come here, even for bucketfuls of cash.

Which brings me to my second point. I don't know whether Rizzo is a great GM or not, but I do think that criticisms of him for not getting more starting pitching ought to include a credible scenario for how he might have gone about it. If all the reasonable prospects turn him down even when he's offering premium pay, or prove recklessly expensive as trades, what, exactly, is he supposed to do?

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 11, 2011 5:53 PM | Report abuse

>>Is-posing-in-your-undies-empowering-or-just-pants.html
Posted by: Sec3mysofa

Speaking of which, StunK is on the panel for Hot Stove on MLB Network right now! Just like last night. Showing the whole country how to spin. Can you imagine losing out to Pants? Or that those two should have to compete? Good god. Bunch of lowlife calls to just drive Kasten out the door because all he ever told them was it's time to spend. And they say it's time to go. Ted is almost like - 'If I spend, it'll be because I want to'. Big baby. Steps out - signs your boy, and then waits for some more advice. Except he never got any. He's probably to the point where he thinks he could be a decent GM himself. Like Steinbrenner. He sought to control things by buying them. Let's hope Ted lives long enough to realize the dream. But it's gonna have to come from him, the Werth deal had his fingerprints all over it. GO TED GO GO TED GO TED IS 'THE BOSS'

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Guys, they bought the team to make gobs and gobs of money. They are running the club in the black every year and it is worth more than they paid for it right now. They are taking out profit and building equity. They would make much mroe money had they spent more money earlier (a relevant club -- like in 2005 -- will play to packed houses and merchandising and TV would explode in this big, rich market), but they are wicked risk adverse to the point of cutting of their noses to spite their faces.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo set starting pitching as a priority for this off season. While it wasn't his fault that the players he went after (DeLa Rosa, Greinke, Garza), treated his offer like it was Confederate money, he has to live with that outcome.

If he still wants to improve the starting pitching for 2011, he's now limited in his options - Either trade for a bloated contract (Lowe, Kazmir, Zito, etc), buy a bottom-of-the-rotation inning eater (Bush, D.Davis, Millwood), or gamble on another 'red-flag' injury recovery (Bonderman, Francis, F.Garcia, Maine, Young, et al).

I'd prefer option A, if given the choice (it's not my money, after all). That may require more patience though, since most teams will now likely wait until part-way through Spring Training to see if they have viable replacements for those arms.

Until then, we fans keep reading the tea leaves (and other sources), looking for a hint of movement one way or the other.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2011 6:22 PM | Report abuse

>I don't care if they want to make money. I just hope they realize they can do that while providing a quality product.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa

He needs to discover the joy of spending. I hear that's an addiction too. It's not too late to develop an addiction Ted!!!

THE BOSS

Posted by: Brue | January 11, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@dfh: In hindsight, the 2005 team was probably the worst thing that could have happened to this franchise. They played great baseball for the first half of the season, but as injuries (and age) started to take their toll, the record did a 180, and exposed the real weakness of the franchise - a complete lack of depth across the boards in the minors.

Had that team compiled, say a 72-90 record, fan expectations would have been tempered, and possibly much more in-line with what the actual product was capable of over the next 3-5 years (see 2006-2010 W-L records).

Just an opinion.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2011 6:42 PM | Report abuse

@sec3(sofa):
"Son, don't ever play with matches"; "Son, don't kick open that ant-hill"; "Son, don't poke the bear with that stick".

Ya just had to go & wake him up, didn't 'cha?

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2011 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Lots of voices of reason ...and deadskins fans. With the football
mentality and approach to baseball which is quite different!

@binm, is right about 2005. That was as much about FRobby.

Bottom line: do the curmudgeons want the team to do what
they want to make them feel good about buying a damned ticket!
Or do you want them to build a perennial winner the right way?

Rizzo AND guys like Roy Clark know how this is done. Curmudgeons
deadskins fans Do not!
fans DO NOT.

Posted by: periculum | January 11, 2011 6:59 PM | Report abuse

BinM -- 2005 was not the problem. The problem with this club is not the unrealistic expectations that were set by that club winning 81 games. The problem is that ownership/management has not had the will or the skill to build the club. They have been awful.

The 2005 club contended for a while (into September) because they had 3 SP's that threw 200 innings (Patterson was at 198 or something) of under 4 ERA ball. And the bull pen was pretty sick -- ahh, Joey Eischen and the Cheif! They took advantage of that gigantic park. The offense was terrible yet they had a chance night in and night out.

Attendance in that dump at RFK with that less than star-filled roster was 2.7 million in 2005. Last year the Nats drew 1.8 million, even with the Phils fans packing the house here and there and a bunch of Stras induced sell outs they are shy almost a million fans. That is pretty sad stuff. Build the club into something relevant and we will come, Teddy. It is that simple.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 7:01 PM | Report abuse

@sec3(sofa):
"Son, don't ever play with matches"; "Son, don't kick open that ant-hill"; "Son, don't poke the bear with that stick".
Ya just had to go & wake him up, didn't 'cha?
Posted by: BinM
***********************

*Sigh.* I abjure the post, too late.
But ... but ... he used to be an articulate, reasonable, insightful poster...
It's like ... it's like signing a guy who won the Cy Young award several years ago, but has since blown out his shoulder, in prison. You just can't help thinking he might make it back.

Damn, Brue, you could have thrown me a bone there, and made some socially redeeming point in the post.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 7:39 PM | Report abuse

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooo

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 7:40 PM | Report abuse

I remember when we traded for Lastings, i was fairly excited but his work ethic or lack of it and his attitude turned me off bringing him back is a form of regressing as far as this franchise is concerned. I'm also opposed to David Eckstein, don't get me wrong he's a "gamer"
but why not bring in a coach who can counsel the outfielders defensively and address our base running and base stealing skills.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 11, 2011 7:43 PM | Report abuse

@binM....now I have seen it all....all the excuses under the sun....NOW it is 2005 .500 records fault that this team is so far behind in it's development....that it is known as LoserTown not Natstown...that Ted Lerner ignored Stan K and Trusted his sons baseball knowledge and Keep Jimbo because he and his leather Pants were super cool to Mark the Nerd.....BinM you are better than that....that is just plan stupid!

Posted by: JayBeee | January 11, 2011 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@dfh: Just noting that in 2005, the team was still owned & operated by Selig & MLB. IIRC, the sale to the Lerner group was completed & approved during the 2006 season.

Granted, the Lerner's took "the path of least resistance" (i.e. go cheap) with Bowden & StanK at the helm for 2006-2009 on the MLB product, and great shame goes to them for that. But the minor-league feeders (draft picks + trades) are finally back to mid-levels overall after 'bottoming out' in 2004-2006, and are delivering talent to the MLB team.

I'll probably come off as a 'Lerner apologist' with this post, but that's just the way I've seen it to date.

Posted by: BinM | January 11, 2011 7:57 PM | Report abuse

peric -- Roy Clark is not gonna save us. Hell, Buck Owens can't even save this hapless club.

Anyway, curmudgeons? Come on. Listen, I know I trend negative when it comes to the Nats, but why would I not do so given the history? Have some realistic expectations of the fans. I mean, building it the right way, building that perennial winner started when? When Kasten started saying that work was getting done in earnest years ago, imploring that we be patient, or when Stan walked out the door this fall and cleared the way for Rizzo to start doing the work? They keep moving the goal line. I am not OK with that.

The Nats have gotten many Thousands of my Dollars. They have promised me over and over for years that they were building it the right way all along as they cashed my checks - they lied. The club has not been building, they have largely been hording money and bungling. They have been awful in alsmot every aspect.

This is what we've gotten. Losing to beat the band since day 1 of Lerner rule, best finish in club history in DC is 4th, last place, last place, last place in our rear view mirror and looking at last place in 2011 -- maybe 4th, my fingers are crossed that the Mets can out suck us. Bottom level payrolls, high level ticket prices in the park DC built for them. Failure to hire a full front office until late 2009. No activity internationally until Maya in 2010. Drafting for signability right up until Stras. A middle of the pack farm (at best) years after making the farm priority number 1 and going forward without the front office hires or adding the international kids, etc. Dragnets for pitching reclamations cast in the shallow end of the baseball pond every year. Basic inability to make every day baseball decisions.

The club has not lived up to its obligations to put a quality product on the field, they have barely tried, and they have not been good with respect to the off-field stuff either. Bad promotion, bad radio signal, bad TV coverage, bad customer service, bad PR with the fight with the city over the rent.

And now we are expceted to yet again look beyond the season at hand to the never arriving but always planned on being sunnier next year? Before ptichers and catchers report we're trying to be excited about what the club might look like in 2012. Come on.

The club has failed and it is not doing enough to succeed. I have every right to be a curmudgeon.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 11, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

ON the one hand ...
The Nationals have NOT gotten thousands of my dollars. It might even be a slight stretch to say they've gotten hundreds. But I've been a baseball fan, and a NL fan, all my life (well, not pre-natally, but within a few years of it). Up until a few years ago, I would have said there was absolutely no place on earth I'd rather be than a MLB park, watching a game. I'm a homer--I've lived in DC longer, now, than I've ever lived anywhere else. I have tried for six years to develop an attachment to this team. But when you keep looking back at your Used-To-Be (doesn't help that in my case it's the Giants), at some point, you just have to admit that you're in the Friend Zone, and there is no long-term potential to the relationship. That's where I seem to be with this team.

On The Other Hand -- There's what, twenty of us who still post here? There is no point beating a dead, dead, dead horse every [AB] day, with the same [AB] stick. At least get a new stick. Geez.

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | January 11, 2011 8:16 PM | Report abuse

No use crying over spilled milk dfh21. For the sake of the major league product and quality depth, I want the nats to get orlando cabrera and send espinosa to AAA. he can develop in the minors just as well as the major and maybe better. Espinosa could very easliy hit .180 out of the gate and be sent down with a loss in confidence. Cabrea is winner everywhere hes been, has a better bat than espinosa and maybe desmond, and could probably hit leadoff. He also is a guy who could show desmond the ropes. spend on a one year deal and if espinosa hits .350 in aaa or aa, which he wont, trade cabrera at the deadline, somebody will want him.

nattydread2/ aka GitterDunn

Posted by: NattyDread2 | January 11, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Many just like to look at the major league product. The one they trot out onto the field in the form of the 25 active. And with doubleswitch Giggleman you never really know what you'll get. That's why its smart to be careful about the seasoned veterans you bring in as "back up" help. We see that Cristian Guzman has yet to find a team and almost certainly he will not start.

I often wonder how much better last year's team might have been with someone different at the helm?

However, in the context of building a winner? It is now night-and-day. Let's just take a quick peek at the depth in right field behind Werth which could push him to center? Corey Brown, Roger Bernadina, Bryce Harper and finally Michael Burgess. Wasn't it just the past two years that they couldn't find a right fielder? The best they could do was Dukes? Until Burgess and his monster home runs showed up? He might not ever seen the Nats active roster! Just behind him there are others!

Wasn't it just last year that Pudge Rodriguez was forced into the starting role because of the continuing unavailability of Jesus Flores? And Norris was far from ready. Now they have Wilson Ramos, Norris is much closer and Flores has returned. Plus Rizzo and staff drafted even more catching talent in last year's draft to add to guys previously drafted but not progressing like Nieto.

Wasn't it just last year that everyone wondered about Capps because of the horrendous year he had with the Pirates? Yet thought that Marquis would be top notch after helping get the Rockies to the playoffs. Funny how things change dfh21. Instead of Marquis used to traded for great prospects it was Matty Capps?

I see a rising depth chart that extends into the minors and it looks pretty good. Not as good as the Tampa Bay Rays will likely sport in a year or two. But far, far, far better than any they had under Leather Pants Bowden. And that is where you start.

As far as the humiliation, the fact that Rizzo was unable at least at this point to get the starting pitcher he envisioned. I strongly suspect there is someone who is a whole heck of a lot angrier about the situation than dfh21. And that is MIke Rizzo. As an ItaloAmerican it must have felt like a personal affront to see his franchise rejected the way it was. JimBo would just sit idle and look at his fiance/wife's photo in his leather pants. Try to find a bone to throw to fans like you to appease you for another year.

I suspect Rizzo is seething inside. This is someone who says he likes to find something to beat someone at every day.

I am going to sit back to watch the drama unfold. Not for phase II but for Episode II: Rizzo strikes back!

Posted by: periculum | January 11, 2011 10:22 PM | Report abuse

dfh21, well said.

The Lerners cheap ways have F'd this thing so bad their first 5 years that it has killed the fan base. They have thousands of my dollars as well, that is now probably in Teddy's bank account earning interest, instead of being put into the ML roster and that chaps my ass.

I do see some light at the end of the tunnel with Rizzo's moves so far this offseason, (LaRouche and Werth) and his drafts the last 2 years. I just hope that light is not an oncoming train.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 11, 2011 10:29 PM | Report abuse

Stan "snake oil salesman" Kasten is on MLB Network Hot Stove as a commentator saying the whole NL East could turn upside down in 2012 with the Nat, Mets, and Marlins reloading while the Phillies and Braves get older... I really do think he is dillusional! Please give me an old Halladay, Lee, Ryan Howard, and J Roll. Hell just give me 2 quality starting pitchers.

Posted by: PNatsFan | January 11, 2011 10:39 PM | Report abuse

>>Stan "snake oil salesman" Kasten is on MLB Network Hot Stove as a commentator saying the whole NL East could turn upside down in 2012 with the Nat, Mets, and Marlins reloading while the Phillies and Braves get older... I really do think he is dillusional! Please give me an old Halladay, Lee, Ryan Howard, and J Roll. Hell just give me 2 quality starting pitchers.

Posted by: PNatsFan

StunK never fails to impress. You can see he's lobbying for the commish post - says about instant replay in the playoffs this year 'the commish office is very caushiousth about not doing it thith year'. He's a pissah alright. Lisping his way to the top. StunK for commish! You think Budco is bad? 20 years of canned bs on the way.


Posted by: Brue | January 12, 2011 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Rizzo and the Nats would be wise to take some pointers from the Godfather, get a little creative and start making some offers that peeps can't refuse.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 12, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a trade for Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs might eat some of his salary and they'd not need to be bowled over in the trade either. Z's under contract through 2012 with an option year, I think. He's not perfect by a long shot, but he's a horse, he's young enough, he's healthy and he's something that at least quacks like an Ace.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 12, 2011 11:37 AM | Report abuse

While I'd be up for a Zambrano trade too, I'd prefer that we take on the whole salary, and then theoretically need to give the Cubs less, in terms of players / prospects in return.

We should spend what we have in abundance.
Payroll flexibility.

What I don't know, and don't feel like researching now, is which of these guys have the ability, either via contract or via 5/10 rules, to nix a trade.
Lowe
Kazmir
Zito
Zambrano
etc

Posted by: Sunderland | January 12, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

So, the Natinals haven't moved to Vegas yet?

Shocking?!?!?!?!?!

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 12, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

It ain't hard to see that the Phillies are getting old. It's also naive to think that they'll sit still and just let it happen. Their farm system is more than respectable, they've got cash and Amaro is no shortsighted dope (Ryan Howard's contract notwithstanding).

Posted by: Sunderland | January 12, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

"It ain't hard to see that the Phillies are getting old. It's also naive to think that they'll sit still and just let it happen. Their farm system is more than respectable, they've got cash and Amaro is no shortsighted dope (Ryan Howard's contract notwithstanding)."

Both the Marlins and Braves farm systems look better. Still wish the Nats had the TB Rays farm system AND those 6-11 picks in the upper rounds this coming June. That's radical and instant organizational makeover.

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2011 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"So, the Natinals haven't moved to Vegas yet?
Shocking?!?!?!?!?!

Posted by: DixonTheDog"

Probably because there is no one in Vegas who is even half as affluent as the Lerners. In other words no one there could ever hope to buy them out.

The DC area is generally that affluent. Therefore, Mr. Troll, it behooves major league baseball to keep this franchise right where it is.

Posted by: periculum | January 12, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

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