Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
On Twitter: AdamKilgoreWP and PostSports  |  Facebook  |  E-mail alerts: Sports and Redskins  |  RSS
Posted at 10:22 AM ET, 01/18/2011

Nationals avoid arbitration with Doug Slaten, Michael Morse

By Adam Kilgore

The Nationals avoided an arbitration hearing with left-handed reliever Doug Slaten by reaching an agreement on a one-year contract worth $695,000 plus incentives, according to a league source. Slaten will make a $5,000 bonus once he reaches 60 innings and an additional $12,500 if he reaches 70 innings.

Slaten, who will turn 31 in February, compiled a 3.10 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 19 walks in 40 2/3 innings last year, his first season with the Nationals. Having proven himself a reliable option out of the bullpen, Slaten will be counted on this season as a situational lefty for Manager Jim Riggleman, with the chance to earn a larger role.

UPDATE, 12:25: The Nationals have also agreed to on a one-year contract with outfielder/first baseman Michael Morse, thereby avoiding arbitration with him as well. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In a breakout season, Morse hit .289/.352/.519 with 15 home runs in 293 plate appearances last year. Morse will compete with Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel to start in left field, and he'll also provide a backup to first baseman Adam LaRoche.

UPDATE, 2:24: The Nationals finished deals with their arbitration-eligible players in an unconventional manner. Tom Gorzelanny, whom the Nationals agreed to acquire in a trade with the Cubs, technically remains a Cub because the deal has not been finalized. Gorzelanny, who made $800,000 last year, reached a one-year deal today -- with the Cubs. The contract will be good once Gorzelanny officially joins the Nationals.

It's a little confusing, but the bottom line is simple: Gorzelanny will be a National and he'll avoid arbitration. And, therefore, the Nationals will not have any arbitration hearings this season, a welcome development for them and the players.

Last year, the Nationals went to an arbitration hearing with relievers Sean Burnett and Brian Bruney, winning them both.

By Adam Kilgore  | January 18, 2011; 10:22 AM ET
 
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Nationals trade for Tom Gorzelanny
Next: Nationals set to add Todd Coffey

Comments

Nice! I'd love to see them avoid any hearings.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Morse....don't sign for less than 1.5 M
Your better than Ankiel..

Posted by: chiro1623 | January 18, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Do it Rizzo, to avoid with all would be great. Just such a bad process for the player, I still think Bruney never got it out of his head.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Morse.GO NOVA

Posted by: chiro1623 | January 18, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Bruney failed because he failed, not because he lost arbitration. That guy had a bad attitude even before arbitration. It's bad to be a sore loser when you're a pitcher who can't hit the broadside of a barn.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 18, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

mY point was if you have a bad attitude then you have to listen to your new club badmouthing you and downplaying yopur achievements it can't be good for the player. Is Morse mentally stronger? I don't know - Bruney seemed exceptionally weak - but I know nothing good comes out of it.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Bruney could have showed us all something, if he had accepted the Nats offer to go down to the minors, and get back on the right track. Regarding his talent, Rizzo dosen't miss there, so we know he had what it takes, what gets one p.o.'d is that who the heck did he think we was, obviously, his stuff was off on the major league level, and needed some tweaking! You guys are so right about his attitude! The guy could have been a big help last year. Marquis (sp), will be fine this year. Go Nats!

Posted by: patsgrill4U | January 18, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

From ESPN.com------ Interesting.

With the report from Bruce Levine that the Chicago Cubs have traded left-hander Tom Gorzelanny to the Washington Nationals in exchange for three (as of yet unnamed) prospects, the natural reaction would suggest that the Cubs are dealing from depth after the acquisition of Matt Garza.

However, it would be a mistake to overlook this trade from the Cubs perspective. While, at face value, Gorzelanny’s 2010 contributions were modest – 7-9, 4.09 ERA in 136 1/3 IP – he was actually quite an important cog for the team. Gorzelanny ranked fourth among starting pitchers on the team in Wins Above Replacement, just slightly behind nominal staff ace Carlos Zambrano.

But perhaps the more pressing issue is whether the recently acquired Garza is even an upgrade on Gorzelanny. That question might seem ridiculous at first glance – the Cubs gave up a rich package of prospects to acquire Garza while trading Gorzelanny for a much lesser return – but the numbers seem to suggest otherwise.

Tom Gorzelanny vs Matt Garza, 2010 Season
Gorzelanny Garza
ERA 4.09 3.91
FIP 3.92 4.42
K per 9 IP 7.9 6.6
WAR 2.3 1.8
2011 Age 28 27
>>Source: Fangraphs.com

As the chart shows, despite throwing roughly 70 fewer innings, Gorzelanny was actually more valuable in 2010 than Garza. Gorzelanny recorded a higher strikeout rate, had stronger peripheral numbers overall and, when looking at Fielding Independent Pitching, actually pitched better in the areas that were under his control.

The argument that Garza is young and will be under team control for several seasons beyond 2011 is also muted when one considers that Garza is less than a year and a half younger than Gorzelanny. In fact, Garza is nominally younger but also set for a much larger payday in 2011 and beyond – Garza made $3.35M in 2010 while Gorzelanny made just $800K. Both those numbers will go up in 2011, but obviously Garza’s will increase much more substantially.

The set of deals becomes more puzzling when a look at the Cubs rotation reveals it now consists of five right-handed starters: Zambrano, Garza, Randy Wells, Ryan Dempster and Carlos Silva. Gorzelanny might have been a back-end member of the rotation, but he provided some semblance of balance. That, along with the affordability of his contract, is gone.

All in all, Garza is likely a preferable option to Gorzelanny – he has a much stronger track record, has proven to be more durable and will have the benefit of pitching in the National League in 2011 rather than the American League East – but the public perception of the difference of the two pitchers is not reflected in what happened on the field in 2010. 2011 is no guarantee, either.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 18, 2011 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Liking the Morse signing too. Good job Rizzo.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Am liking this trend toward signing one's players rather than dragging them to arb. Sounds more like the operation of a major league baseball team and less like negotiating for every last dime on a shopping mall lease. Good job!

Posted by: NatsFly | January 18, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The Nats now have 20% of the Pirates 2008 roster.

LaRoche, Burnett, Morgan, Gorzelanny. Nothing says loven' like Pittsburgh on the diamond!

Posted by: TippyCanoe | January 18, 2011 11:19 AM
------------

Hahahahaha, guess the Natinals don't get that you're supposed to emulate successful baseball teams. Oh well, no one accused the Natinals of being smart.

And, watch out NL East, the Natinals got Slaten and Morse to lead them to last place in the entire NL.

Orioles will make the Natinals look like a 10-11 Babe Ruth league team in 2011.

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | January 18, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Since you know my mantra has always been PITCING PITCHING PITCHING, let me say, I like the trade for Gorz.

While it doesn't drastically change the equation for this season, adding a young solid back of the rotation pitcher for down the road, while really giving up very little, is a positive transaction.

Although it obviously won't happen this season, the Nats next year really need to go out and pick up a veteran pitcher with a winning pedigree, a winning record and sub 3.8 era to really get serious.

But as Nats trades go, looking toward the future, this should certainly turn out to be considered productive. And that's sayin a lot.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 18, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

As far as Morse goes, even though they let Werth steal his #, and even though DoubleSwitch obviously hates him, I hope they either start him in left or trade him for some value to someone who will actually play him. Don't see it happening here under this regime.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 18, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

skinsfan22, until they decide the ability to have Morgan (or Brown) play CF every day then Morse isn't going anywhere, although I agree he hasn't got nearly the chance he should here. I still believe by then end of the year our OF is Morse/Bernadina/Werth with Ankiel as the 4th and Morgan having tantrums somewhere else.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Wow that's strange with the Cubs signing Gorzlenanny; hope they didn't sign him for 5M!

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 2:30 PM | Report abuse

>>I still believe by then end of the year our OF is Morse/Bernadina/Werth with Ankiel as the 4th and Morgan having tantrums somewhere else.Posted by: SCNatsFan

Goofball's tombstone should read:
NEVER FORGET: TURNED A ROUTINE FLYBALL OUT INTO AN INSIDE THE PARK HOME RUN AND THEN THREW HIS MITT AND A TANTRUM.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 18, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm, these negotiations seem to be going a lot smoother this winter. Maybe a different strategy on arb eligible negotiations with Kasten gone?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 18, 2011 2:59 PM | Report abuse

MA 91:11
1102 ,81 yraunaJ ! eonaCyppiT :yb detsoP

!dnomaid eht no hgrubsttiP ekil 'nevol syas gnihtoN .ynnalezroG ,nagroM ,ttenruB ,ehcoRaL

.retsor 8002 setariP eht fo %02 evah won staN ehT

------------

.1102 ni maet eugael htuR ebaB 11-01 a ekil kool slanitaN eht ekam lliw seloirO

.LN eritne eht ni ecalp tsal ot meht dael ot esroM dna netalS tog slanitaN eht ,tsaE LN tuo hctaw ,dnA

.trams gnieb fo slanitaN eht desucca eno on ,llew hO .smaet llabesab lufsseccus etalume ot desoppus er'uoy taht teg t'nod slanitaN eht sseug ,ahahahahaH


GEE POOP - THAT'S SOME BACKWARD THINKING ON YOUR PART

Posted by: KilgoreQTrout | January 18, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

This just in, Armando Galarraga has been DFA'd by the Detroit Tigers.

Posted by: ImWithStupid | January 18, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, that Galarraga situation is odd. Maybe the player agreed to take the minor league assignment already? Maybe the Tigers felt dealing him with a certain salary would be easier? Who knows.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 18, 2011 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Any word on La Roche's slot on the 40-man?

Posted by: periculum | January 18, 2011 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Livo, Lannan, Zimmermann, Gorzelanny, Marquis. R-L-R-L-R. Not scary by any stretch, but solid. As others have said, better than holding tryouts for 35 has-beens and never-will-bees.

Posted by: BobLHead | January 18, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

There is no 10-11 Babe Ruth baseball. It's called Cal Ripken at that age.

Posted by: nats24 | January 18, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

According to Heyman, Nats closing in on Brewers reliever Todd Coffey


http://twitter.com/SI_JonHeyman/status/27489729528205312

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The amazing part is, BobL, that bunch of '07 cast-offs actually won 73 games. Still, I prefer the present situation, too.

Posted by: nats24 | January 18, 2011 5:32 PM | Report abuse

It all good to have everyone signed without arbitration. Arbitration is ugly.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | January 18, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Wonder whether the Tigers may be looking to trade Galarraga?

Interesting rumor re. Coffey. If he did become a Nat, and given his trademark sprint to the mound, perhaps he could also do the occasional spot start as a racing president.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 18, 2011 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Saw it again today: Morse allegedly has trouble hitting teams' best pitchers.

Could someone please show me some statistics that support that claim?

And don't MOST hitters have trouble hitting the other teams' best pitchers? Or did CC Sabathia, Tim Linthecum, Roy Halliday, Cliff Lee, etc. etc. etc., all become BP pitchers while I wasn't looking?

And seriously, does anyone think Nyjer Morgan is the answer to Morse's alleged trouble hitting other teams' best pitchers?

Posted by: gilbertbp | January 18, 2011 6:27 PM | Report abuse

>>Liking the Morse signing too. Good job Rizzo.

Posted by: SCNatsFan

It wasn't enough. This whole team's salary structure is impoverished. If the average player makes over 3 million, and they do, then Morse should make at least that much. They have guys that they pay, and then they have everybody else. Morse is everybody else. Even though he had 19 homers. And he's still got no position!! That's why I don't get what Pants is doing - he's a huge upgrade in power over Ankiel, Bernadina and Morgan. What else do you need to know? Put him in the lineup until they figure him out. Then you'll know. They're gonna come in last anyway. It just depends on how embarrassing the defeats are.

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

GALARRAGA!!!!! Pull the trigger. He aint gonna cost much. Would be a good fit.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 18, 2011 6:39 PM | Report abuse

Brue, the salary issue is league wide.
The mean average salary is $3M, but more than half the guys do not make that.
Most guys with under 5 years of service make under $3M a year. Most guys with under 3 years of service make under $700,000. It's goofy, but it's the way it is, and it's not unfair to Morse.

If it was unfair to Morse, he could have chose arbitration. But he apparently decided the offer from the Nats was good enough.

Votto made $525,000 last year.
Morse will make double that this year.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 18, 2011 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I am not hoping for Armando Galarraga; the guy is just not that good.

Morse got the deal he agreed to take -- he shook hands with them on a number. So, he's got to be pretty happy about the result or he would hhave slugged it out with them in the hearing. No?

Posted by: dfh21 | January 18, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

"And seriously, does anyone think Nyjer Morgan is the answer to Morse's alleged trouble hitting other teams' best pitchers?"
Posted by: gilbertbp

Well, Nyjer is a more balanced player than Morse in that he has trouble hitting the not-so-best pitchers also. :)

Posted by: NatsFly | January 18, 2011 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Didn't we trade Galaraga to texas as part of the Soriano trade?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | January 18, 2011 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Brue, I want to get this straight - you are criticizing Rizzo because he signed Morse for below market value? You think he should just be giving players what they want becaue Uncle Ted has gobs of money?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 18, 2011 8:03 PM | Report abuse

>>If it was unfair to Morse, he could have chose arbitration. But he apparently decided the offer from the Nats was good enough.

Votto made $525,000 last year.
Morse will make double that this year.
Posted by: Sunderland

Yeah he didnt wanna rock the boat. Didn't want Riggleman to start pondering sitting him down. He knows who he's dealing with. They could buy a couple of arbitration years in exchange for the expectation of power. Feed his power impulse.

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2011 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Yeah he didnt wanna rock the boat. Didn't want Riggleman to start pondering sitting him down. He knows who he's dealing with. They could buy a couple of arbitration years in exchange for the expectation of power. Feed his power impulse.

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2011 8:30 PM |
=============================================
I love it when guys psychoanalyze people they've never even met...

Posted by: gilbertbp | January 18, 2011 8:38 PM | Report abuse

What is the best kept secret in baseball?

The identity of the player(s) designated for assignment when Adam Laroche was signed 12 days ago.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 18, 2011 9:01 PM | Report abuse

>>Brue, I want to get this straight - you are criticizing Rizzo because he signed Morse for below market value? You think he should just be giving players what they want becaue Uncle Ted has gobs of money?

Posted by: SCNatsFan

No.

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2011 9:33 PM | Report abuse

Wrapping up the week that was:

First, no lingering Arbitration cases = a good thing. Morse is a 'well below-market' signing if he produces at his 2010 level, and the Slaten contract is a bargain as well, imo.

The Gorzelanny trade = A fair trade overall, on the face of it. Obtaining a tested LH-SP/LR under club control for three younger, but unproven players (Burgess, Morris, Hicks). Time will tell regarding the +/- on this one.

The Cora signing = meh. I just hope he doesn't turn into the 2011 version of Tavarez, who played great in Viera, then 'crapped out' after making the roster in 2010.

The Lannan deal = A good signing, imo. He gets rewarded for pitching above his 'projected ability' for the last three years; I hope he keeps it up as long as he's in a Nationals uniform.

Posted by: BinM | January 18, 2011 9:37 PM | Report abuse

I saw someone post it before and no body paid much attention, but I was wondering the same thing... Acquired Gorzellany, now move Lannan to the Yankees for Joba?

Posted by: NatsFD11 | January 18, 2011 9:46 PM | Report abuse

=============================================
I love it when guys psychoanalyze people they've never even met...

Posted by: gilbertbp

If I was Morse, I'd watch everything I did in front of Riggleman. Whatever he's shown them - personality or work ethic-wise, hasn't been good enough. They probably think Morse is flaky, which he probably is, at least from the outside. He's laid back. It causes them to not trust him with 500 ABs for some reason. 'He's too flaky - he's not a clumsy fielder and he has a good arm', I don't know what his problem is, except the fact that his manager is confined in his thinking. All this pedestrian bs about integrating the team on the field. Getting everyone involved as though they are equals on some level.

If Espinosa goes 8 for 68 like at the end of last year, can't find his left-hand stroke, and he gets put on the bench, or to Syracuse, then CORA is the starting 2nd baseman! Guzman and Kennedy would be welcome upgrades as opposed to Cora. Way to go Pants. You lose age at a rapid pace (also losing salary).

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2011 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Cora would have to beat out Espinoza AND Gonzales to start at 2nd base.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 18, 2011 10:09 PM | Report abuse

...

I really don't even know how to respond to some posts on here.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 18, 2011 10:10 PM | Report abuse

>>Cora would have to beat out Espinoza AND Gonzales to start at 2nd base.

Posted by: bertbkatz

Has Gonzales been signed?

Posted by: Brue | January 18, 2011 10:18 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:
Good question. What is his contract status? Given his performance last year, I'd rather have Alberto Gonzales than Joey Cora as a utility infielder.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 18, 2011 11:22 PM | Report abuse

@Brue:
Good question. What is his contract status? Given his performance last year, I'd rather have Alberto Gonzales than Joey Cora as a utility infielder.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 18, 2011 11:23 PM | Report abuse

The real question is: What is the Nats backup plan for 2B if Espinoza doesn't cut it?

Posted by: nats24 | January 18, 2011 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Gonzalez is signed. $600K. Boras client.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 19, 2011 4:18 AM | Report abuse

I can't see the Yankees even considering trading Chamberlain for Lannan. Joba still has a big upside.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 19, 2011 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Pretty sure trade rumors reported tht the Yankees would consider trading Joba for someone who could step right into their rotation. Yanks have Soriano as a set up man and Rivera closing. A set up, set up guy for a starter, it's a possibility. And Joba's only upside is a fresh start somewhere else. The Yankees won't consider him for their rotation, who else can afford to give him that chance? Just a thought. I can't imagine Rizzo is happy entering the season with this rotation. I'm sure he is looking for any and every possibility.

Posted by: NatsFD11 | January 19, 2011 7:46 AM | Report abuse

MLBTR is reporting just now that Coffey is indeed going to sign with the Nats. Not the sexiest bull pen signing, but likely not a bad one either. The guy has very good stuff and can go out there darn near every day. Nice add.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 19, 2011 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure Rizzo is kicking the tires on every possible pitcher out there. I don't imagine he's satisfied with the starters he has.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 19, 2011 10:12 AM | Report abuse

We should have gotten Gallaraga instead of Gorzellany. Gallaraga had better numbers in the AL last year (ERA 4.49, WHIP 1.34 for AG versus ERA 4.09, WHIP 1.50 for TG), all in starts. Gallaraga would be cheaper, now that he is dfa'd. His career WHIP is a respectable 1.36 while Grozelanny is career 1.49, again all in the NL. I understand we a lefty starter is good in the NL East but Gorzellanny career splits are basically even lefty versus righty.

Posted by: GiterDunn | January 19, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Gallaraga also srikes out hitters at about half the rate of Gorzelanny.
Gallaraga - 74 in 144 innings
Garelanny - 119 in 136 innings

Posted by: Sunderland | January 19, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

K's per 9 over the past 3 years:
Galarraga 6.37 -> 5.98 -> 4.63
Gorzelanny 5.74 -> 9.00 ->7.88

Galarraga, declining
Gorzelanny, improving (rate of 9.0 was for under 50 innings)

Posted by: Sunderland | January 19, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"Given his performance last year, I'd rather have Alberto Gonzales than Joey Cora as a utility infielder."

Oops. Make that Alex Cora (who started in the majors in 1998, Joey Cora's last year).

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 19, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

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

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




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company