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Posted at 10:21 AM ET, 01/ 8/2011

The Nationals' pursuit of pitching

By Adam Kilgore

Even before this offseason started, Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo publicly and clearly established his winter's first priority. He wanted to acquire a frontline starting pitcher, the kind who takes the ball on opening day, who makes fans hope his turn in the rotation aligns with the night they have tickets.

If Rizzo did not fully grasp the degree of difficulty attached to his goal, he surely does now. Barring any trade scenarios that have remained under the radar even as pure speculation (Fausto Carmona, maybe?), the Nationals will head into spring training with roughly the same starting rotation they finished last season with. Matt Garza was the last elite name thought to be available, and he came off the market yesterday when the Cubs swung a trade with a four-prospect package, a hefty ransom the Nationals would have had difficulty trumping.

There are still a gaggle of free agent starting pitchers to be picked through, but none fill the qualifications Rizzo outlined back in the fall. There are innings eaters and reclamation projects. The best names are ones like Jeremy Bonderman, Dave Bush, Jeff Francis, John Maine, Chris Young, Jarrod Washburn, Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood.

On opening day, the Nationals will probably hand the ball to Livan Hernandez, Jordan Zimmermann or maybe, for the third straight season, John Lannan.

It was not for lack of trying, and there were times the Nationals came close. The failure to add a starting pitcher must have been painful and maddening for Rizzo. Here is a timeline of how it happened.

Sept. 29: Rizzo lays out his plan. "I think as we've been saying for a while now, starting pitching is our biggest need," Rizzo said, sitting in the home dugout before the final game of 2010 at Nationals Park. "We need a guy to head the rotation, a front-of-the-rotation guy to put everybody in what we feel is their proper place in the rotation. That's the No. 1 priority going into the offseason."

Nov. 16: The going is tough. By the time the general manager meetings arrived, the extreme scarcity and high cost of pitching talent had become clear. One GM compared finding a starter to finding the Easter Bunny.

"They're as precious as gold, and they're very difficult to obtain," Rizzo said in Orlando. "They're very expensive to obtain, either cash-expensive or player-expensive. But we're continuing to try and improve ourselves in that category."

"I'd be comfortable [trading valued prospects] depending on who we are losing," Rizzo added. "There's certain positions on the team where we have great depth where you wouldn't mind losing even a really good, front-line prospect because you have a prospect or two behind him. Those are the decisions that you have to make based on the player or players that they're asking for."

Nov. 30: Jorge De La Rosa snubs the Nats. Perhaps the second-best free agent pitcher on the market after Cliff Lee, De La Rosa re-signed with the Rockies for less money than the Nationals offered.

Dec. 7: Cliff Lee buzz is only buzz. On the second morning of the winter meetings, there were some wild rumors about Lee and the Nationals. The Nationals did indeed meet with his agent, but they were doing due diligence and kicking tires, not plotting the sequel to the Jayson Werth signing. Rizzo called signing a "long shot" at the start of the winter, and that never changed. Lee, of course, eventually signed with the Phillies.

Dec. 10: Carl Pavano interest? The Nationals had met with Carl Pavano's agent both the GM meetings and the winter meetings. It seemed like maybe there would be a possible deal, but the sides did not meet again after that, Rizzo said.

Dec. 13: The Nats focus on a trade. Having missed out on De La Rosa, feeling lukewarm on Pavano and realizing Lee will end up elsewhere, the Nationals begin to turn their attention for a trade for either Zack Greinke or Matt Garza, the two best pitchers available in a trade.

Dec. 19: The Brewers land Zack Greinke. This one stung the most. We would learn later the Nationals were close to a deal with the Royals and were even ready to offer Greinke a lucrative contract extension. But Greinke used his no-trade clause to nix the deal and headed to Milwaukee instead.

Jan. 7: The Cubs land Matt Garza. It's unclear as of yet how much engagement, if any, the Nationals had with the Rays on Garza. But the Cubs offered a package that the Nationals would have been hard-pressed to match without decimating their farm system.


And now here we are
.

By Adam Kilgore  | January 8, 2011; 10:21 AM ET
 
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Next: Mariners sign Adam Kennedy

Comments

I'm not at all pleased with the starting rotation. Nevertheless, I'm going to put a positive spin on what the Nats have. In 2009, Marquis had a very solid year, quite a few quality starts and that was in Colorado, not exactly a pitcher friendly environment. Lannan, for a couple of years was in the top ten (NL) in quality starts before last year's implosion. I don't know how many quality starts Hernandez had last year, but there had to be quite a few. Maya looked good in Winter Ball. (I realize that isn't all that significant, but neither were his starts with Washington)
If Zimm is healthy, and it appears he is, the team could have a bonafide top of the rotation starter. And my favorite possibility for surprising people, Deitweiler, might prove to be very solid. Remember, pre injury, he'd done very well at triple A, before returning to the Nats in September. He continued to do very well then too.
I disagree, Adam. This is not the same pitching staff as last year. Sure it's some of the same people, but they were coming off injury and just starting to get it together.
There's also a couple of possibilities in the minors such as Milone and Peacock. To reiterate, it doesn't appear that the Nats have much to offer in the starting pitching department, but they might surprise us.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 8, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

It's not the end of the road yet; Rizzo & the Nationals could always offer salary relief to a team. Derek Lowe (ATL), Barry Zito (SF), or Scott Kazmir (LAA) would all be a step up from the majority of arms on the staff, and might be available for less than Garza would have cost in terms of talent.

I'd stay away from someone like Zambrano (CUB) however - He's always struck me as a high-maintenance sort.

Posted by: BinM | January 8, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm with both of you jcampbell and BinM.
There is a reasonable possibility that our rotation, with the same people, may be better than last year. It would seem to some degree that it's got to be better.
I'm hoping mostly for a much different Yunesky Maya. The poor guy had not thrown to competition for a year or more, then threw 21 innings in the minors and then 26 innings for the Nats. He'll be much more prepared come April.

And I do hope Rizzo is pursuing something like BinM suggests. Get a decent, professional pitcher who can throw 200 innings, giving up a moderate amount in prospects / trade and taking on their high salary. It's an acquisition strategy that plays to our organizational strength. Payroll flexibility.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 8, 2011 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I know we lack a dominant, power-arm on the pitching staff (with the exception of J. Zimmermann and, eventually, Strasburg), but a pitching staff of Zimmermann and four guys who can pitch like Lannan did before last year (and in August and September of 2010, along with Jason Marquis) would be quite respectable.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 8, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Reposted with correction:

I know we lack a dominant, proven power-arm in the starting rotation (with the exception of J. Zimmermann and, eventually, Strasburg), but a pitching staff of Zimmermann and four guys who can pitch like Lannan did before last year (and in August and September of 2010, along with Jason Marquis) would be quite respectable.

Posted by: bertbkatz | January 8, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Great defense? In his long and extremely humorous essay, Boswell somehow managed to completely and conveniently forget about Ian The Human Error Machine Desmond at short and Nyjer the Ultimate Confused Tantrum Thrower in center (not to mention even more confused on the basepaths).

Defense is supposed to be our strength? When our weakest players are the quarterbacks up the middle?
Really?
Meet 2011. Same as 2010....Wait, no Strasburg>
Sorry worse.
.500 baseball? That's funnier than a Chris Rock joke.
Try 100+ losses.
Book it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 8, 2011 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Like everyone, including Rizzo, I am disappointed with the club's failure to secure SP this year. Fact is that two SP rejected the Nats at any price because they have persistently been a poor performing team with cheap ownership. Until both of those things change, and hopefully the Werth signing is an indicator that they will, the Nats will have trouble attracting the players we want. If things are changing, then this problem will slowly resolve itself over a few seasons. I do agree with those who think that matching what the Cubs did was a good non-move for the club. Znn alone would have been hard to give up, and throw in 3 other top prospects (or actual players) and it is way too much.

Boz had an interesting article regarding the importance of D. Obviously Rizzo values it highly. Pitching was a critical unaddressed need, though, and I'm not sure that not pursuing Pavano is a good move. Although I understand that he is asking a lot for what amounts to an average pitcher who just completed a terrific year. Still...

Posted by: NatsFly | January 8, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Agreed there is good reason to expect the starting pitching to be improved, even if Rizzo didn't get what he wanted.

Posted by: nats24 | January 8, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

With the starting pitchers the Nats are going to trot out there, the fielders will need armor, pads and nets to protect themselves. Defense indeed.

BTW as far as the Cubs/Rays deal, from everything I've read, the Cubs merely gave up 2 bonefide prospects with the rest pretty much filler. So it really wasn't the haul that Kilgore, thru the Nats press releases, would have you believe. Cubbies didn't even give up their top prospects. So Nats again simply folded.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 8, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@skinsfan. In fairness, Boz has repeatedly said that he expected Desmond to improved markedly in reducing his errors, as most MLB rookie SS do in their second season. Although he didn't state that in this article, anyone who follows the team pretty much knows his views on that point. Morgan, on the other hand, was a disaster last year. Will he return to his 09 form, or was what we saw in 10 the real Nyjer? I hope for the former, but fear the latter.

Posted by: NatsFly | January 8, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Have said it a couple times before but while Skins fan is booking his 100 loss season for the Nationals he can also book the fact that we will have a .500 season or better before his deadskins. Desmond will cut his errors by at least 10 and Zimm by 5 just by having a firstbaseman that CAN CATCH THE BALL. Espinosa is a gem and yes, Morgan is troubling to lots of us but we will catch the ball even better than last year. Not sure we will be at 81 wins this year but we will continue to improve and the 100 loss seasons are behind us. I am hoping for 75 - 87 and wouldn't it be great if we were actually relevent in Sept.
Go Nats!

Posted by: sjm3091 | January 8, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

If Brown manages to beat out the weak armed Morgan for an outfield spot (Remember most of his AAA record was from the beginning of the season before he found his stroke in AA and carried to AAA.) And Ramos starting most of the games; a line up vastly, vastly improved over the one leaving ST 2011.

This ain't Danny Snyder's dead skins @skins_fan_22, you're here because they really are horrendous.

No, Rizzo could not manage to land a top starter. But he did bring in another power pitcher who might be ready for the bigs this year in former prospect Jimmy Barthmaier who is coming back from TJ. Mock is still a possibility, though seemingly more remote than ever. And of course Zimmermann should be back from the TJ. Yuniesky Maya flashed his old form from Cuba in winter ball this season.

None of these were there after ST 2010. None were available. Strasburg was sent to the minors to acclimate to the majors and hone his skills.

So, even the starting rotation should be improved over the rotation that started out after ST 2010. But there are still too many question marks. However, that also means things could either way. It really is possible that the rotation could be vastly improved.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

>>and wouldn't it be great if we were actually relevent in Sept.

Actually I'd take simply not being irrelevant by May.

And as far as comparing the Nats to the Redskins, well comparing one loser to another doesn't really bolster your case. Know what I mean?

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 8, 2011 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's recap:
No new starting pitchers from a team that pushed toward 100 losses.
And who is at the helm of this rebuilt team?
Oh yea the same manager who consistently played Willie Harris instead of Morse and Kennedy instead of anyone. And who doubleswitched Guzman into RF and that great Astros loss.
I can think of so many games Riggleman cost us but not one he won for us.
Don't forget Mr. DoubleSwitch Riggleman in your upcoming equation. He's good for about 100 losses. Just check his career resume.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 8, 2011 12:15 PM | Report abuse

@skins fan, according to a very reputable site, the Cubs gave up their #3, 4, 8 & 15th prospect, not exactly filler. In our case that is Espinosa, Solis, Burgess and Meyers, not exactly folding.

Posted by: sjt1455 | January 8, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I know he didn't just say Bruce Chen.

Posted by: egoodman8 | January 8, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

NatsFly - You're making some assumptions here, and stating this as "fact" that certainly may not be.

"Fact is that two SP rejected the Nats at any price because they have persistently been a poor performing team with cheap ownership."

I'm guessing you're talking about De la Rosa and Javier Vazquez?
Both had reasons for signing where they signed. Certainly they may have accepted offers to pitch in Boston or Philly, who knows? But Vazquez very much wanted to be in Florida, and also insisted on a one year contract. And very often players who have had success want to stay with their current team, which is what De la Rosa chose to do.

Stating as fact that they would not come to DC at any price, and stating as fact that the reason for that is both poor performance and cheap ownership, is just being very presumptious, and not, well, factual.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 8, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Defense wins Super Bowls, not World Series. You merely need a capable defense in baseball which would be a serious upgrade of what we've seen from the Nats the last couple of years. Pitching on the other hand does win World Series. The only pitchers currently with the Nats who could possibly be considered for a contending team are Strasburg and maybe Zimmermann but that remains to be seen.

I like Rizzo's approach but it's going to be until about Phase 8 when this team contends on a consistent basis.

Posted by: pwilly | January 8, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@dead_skin_22,

"Let's recap:
No new starting pitchers from a team that pushed toward 100 losses."

Again, ahmm wrong? Who is Jordan Zimmermann? Who is Yuniesky Maya? Who is Jimmy Barthmaier.

No, they aren't a Grienke. But it is possible that Zimmermann could be as good as Matt Cain which means better than Garza. As you might recall these pitchers were not available. Right?

So, this rotation should be decidedly different. It really should be improved.

The line up should be vastly improved with just enough veteran leadership (Pudge, Werth, LaRoche), vastly improved defensively both in terms of athleticism and range.

"And who is at the helm of this rebuilt team?
Oh yea the same manager who consistently played Willie Harris instead of Morse and Kennedy instead of anyone. And who doubleswitched Guzman into RF and that great Astros loss.
I can think of so many games Riggleman cost us but not one he won for us. Don't forget Mr. DoubleSwitch Riggleman in your upcoming equation. He's good for about 100 losses. Just check his career resume."

Riggleman doesn't have Guzman or Harris. Seems unlikely Harris will be back given Ankiel. Apparently, Riggleman likes Ankiel. Oh forgot ... Rizzo somehow managed to vastly improve the bench AND the bullpen?

Rodriguez, Carr, KImball, and Ramirez all flame throwers, all added to the mix.

At catcher Pudge now has 2 backups in Ramos and Flores who weren't there last season.

I am not a fan of Riggleman or his double switches. And a weak pitching rotation will lend itself to more of that. However, he does have more talent on the bench. And the bullpen looks to improve over 2010.

Like it not this team IS IMPROVED. Still think it would be nice to have those 6-11 picks in June's draft. And although 100 losses is possible, I think it highly unlikely. The worst they should do probably should be 75-80 wins.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 12:56 PM | Report abuse

"Defense wins Super Bowls, not World Series. You merely need a capable defense in baseball which would be a serious upgrade of what we've seen from the Nats the last couple of year."

Please name the BIG power hitter in the SF Giants lineup? Can you name him? Did anyone in that lineup hit as many homeruns as Dunn?

Methinks more disgruntled Redskins fans.

Please see 2010 San Francisco Giants and the 2010 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Pitching and defense can and more often than not will win world series. It even happened way back in 1966. Consistent offense helps to get you to that point but it doesn't have to be a star studded power laden one ... as the two teams above aptly demonstrate.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Let's recap:
A team that improved by 10 wins from 2009 - 2010.
A team that improved its defense at 1B, RF and LF.
Two young, exceptionally athletic middle infielders with great range.
A new pitcher who won the Cy Young equivalent in his last seasons in both Cuba and the DR.
A vastly improved bench.
Two SP's hurt for much of last season coming back at full strength.
A new cleanup hitter who can hit both lefties and righties.

Another 10 game improvement?
Looks like it.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 8, 2011 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Try 100+ losses.
Book it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 8, 2011 11:46 AM

skins_fan_22 never having anything good to say about the Nats. Ever.
Book it.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 8, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

" (with the exception of J. Zimmermann and, eventually, Strasburg),"

Zimmermann really isn't any more proven than Maya. Maybe slightly more so than Detwiler. This is their year to prove them belong. For power pitcher Garrett Mock it may be his last chance given his age. For Jimmy Barthmaier perhaps his first shot at the majors for a team that could use another power pitcher.

At this point the only proven commodity is Livan Hernandez. And due to age and loss of velocity he can be disastrously inconsistent.

The rotation definitely should improve. But its not a given.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 1:12 PM | Report abuse

peric: Go easy with the hype for Barthmaier - His numbers (from four leagues, A+ highest) last year were'nt that good [48.3IP, 4.10ERA, 1.36WHIP, 2.3:1K-W, & .280BAA]; That, plus he turns 27 before spring training starts.
Not saying he'll fail - He just looks more like an institutional arm than a prospect to me.

If you're going to play a 'long-shot', Meyers, Milone, Roark, Peacock, or even Arnesen have better chances, imo.

Posted by: BinM | January 8, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

It's even harder to position your defense when your pitchers don't throw hard. If you have someone who comes with some gas, you can at least pitch someone away and know that they'll probably hit it there. Or jam them and get a grounder. These puff pastry chefs out there have to be exacting in their location, or else it's like last year where the bullpen led the league in innings. It seems like Pants wanted to build up a bullpen with the knowledge that the starters would get rocked. Again, he's working backwards. Why do you think all these guys we have took 100 pitches to get through 5 innings? Because they're friggin scared, and it's only natural with their stuff. But, like Boswell says, he'll get a 10 foot statue of a glove if this 'defensive plan' of Pants' shows any results. It's basically gonna look a helluva lot like last year, but without Strasburg. Like the man said today, you can't catch the 150 homers they gave up last year, and they don't even play in a home run hitter's park. Not by a long shot. A whole lot of chuck and duck.
Got a special treat for all you kids out there - The Fancy Pants Blues - by Ronnie Wood

when I get the chance
to flash my fancy pants
I do-hoooooooo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPWzL_IvuRk

Posted by: Brue | January 8, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Why hasn't Carl Pavano signed with the Twins yet? How come Adam forgot him in his list of free agents?

Posted by: Section314 | January 8, 2011 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@Sunderland--actually the second pitcher I was referring to was Greinke who said point blank that he exercised his no-trade-to-the-Nats clause because he didn't think the Nats could win. Sounds factual to me. You have a point about the cheap owners comment. Nobody said they weren't coming here because the owners are cheap. That was me being frustrated because I think their cheapness over the years has led to a poor on-field product, which did result in SPs not coming here.

That said, I do see some hope for an improved season. The D has been upgraded but the O has declined. Whether those offset or result in some overall improvement remains to be seen. The pitching rotation, even without an addition, could improve if we have some luck with some of the guys coming off injuries and some newcomers like Maya. I was encouraged enough to keep my season tickets, but I also recognize that this team has a huge reputational deficit to overcome. Hopefully the owners recognize that, finally, and are moving to rebuild their reputation along with the product on the field.

Posted by: NatsFly | January 8, 2011 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Where is it confirmed that De la Rosa took less money from the Rockies than the Nats offered? And how much are we supposedly talking about?

In any event, Rizzo said it himslef -- a front line SP has been the primary goal for a while now. They have to get something done on this. They can trade and take on a bad salary, and given the payroll flexibility there's no excuse. They can get a 15 game winner who can pitch 200 innings -- Derk Lowe, Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Wandy Rodriguez, Ervin Santana, etc.

Just becasue it is hard to land front end starters, the club cannot simply throw its hands up and say "well, we tried" -- this is a must get.

If they land something that resembles an Ace and some late inning pen help, they have a shot to fall into that tird of baseball that wins 80 but less than 90 -- that would be awesome. They can get there, but they need that SP badly to have a chance.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 8, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Just a further elaboration on why Greinke didn't want to come to the Nats. From what I read, he exercised his no-trade clause because the didn't think the Nats could win NOW. He felt staying at KC was comparable to where the Nats would likely be this year. In the NL Central, there isn't Philly and Atlanta to deal with, Cincinnati and St. Louis weren't necessarily seen as that far ahead of Milwaukee, with its push to get strong pitching, so he may think a Division championship is more within reach now. So, while I'm not happy about the negative reflection on the Nats, if he was short-sighted enough just to care about next year, and not the next five, it made sense to him in his universe.

Reputations do die hard, and the Nats only have themselves to blame for digging the hole they dug. But after the Strasburg, Harper and Werth signings, "cheapness" is no longer a real issue. And remember, Bowden, who helped sell the cheap reclamation project notion, is gone. To me the real shame is that the Nats didn't get Aroldis Chapman last year, there they actually seem to have been outbid again and were surprised it happened. I think if we'd gotten him, the whole situation would have looked a lot brighter for this year.

Posted by: swhite21 | January 8, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Why not take a chance on one, two or three of these guys?

Jeremy Bonderman, Dave Bush, Jeff Francis, John Maine, Chris Young, Jarrod Washburn, Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood.

Posted by: dorseylaw | January 8, 2011 3:00 PM | Report abuse

peric, you crack me up how you latch onto guys like Barthmaier and suggest they're even on the radar screen. How's your man Nate Karns doing?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 8, 2011 3:45 PM | Report abuse

>>Why not take a chance on one, two or three of these guys?

Jeremy Bonderman, Dave Bush, Jeff Francis, John Maine, Chris Young, Jarrod Washburn, Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood.
Posted by: dorseylaw

Looking at his stats, Bonderman has probably lost velocity since he came back from that blood clot. 112 K's as compared to 200 in '06. His 5.53 ERA would put him on a short leash. Millwood completely lost his breaking ball last year. If you have no feel for your breaking stuff, your arm is usually shot, nerves are gone.

Posted by: Brue | January 8, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@BinM,

"peric: Go easy with the hype for Barthmaier - His numbers (from four leagues, A+ highest) last year were'nt that good [48.3IP, 4.10ERA, 1.36WHIP, 2.3:1K-W, & .280BAA]; That, plus he turns 27 before spring training starts. Not saying he'll fail ... "

I am not saying either. I believe he is as much a question mark as Zimmermann, Detwiler, but especially Zimmermann. Why? Looking at the progression of his stats: In A+ he pitched 147 innings with 134 strike outs. Too many walks, not so great WHIP. 1.391. But he is improving. 11-8 record and a 3.62 ERA with Houston.

Then? He suddenly and inexplicable becomes Jason Marquis? Only pitches 96 innings with slightly above 6 ERA and 1.778 WHIP. 73 strike outs 44 walks. Gets traded to Pittsburgh does reasonably well between AAA-AA ball. 48 walks 111 strike outs.

This is when the TJ problem is finally discovered ... the guy found a way to adjust to the bad elbow ... apparently pretty well which is impressive. But you can only go so long ... and like many players (including many on the Nats roster) he hides the fact he has a problem. They are young, every year TJ success rate improves but most (if they are smart) are afraid of surgery. Might not have ever faced surgery in their entire lives!!!!

Barthmaier recovers from TJ and gets traded to Washington. For Potomac last year he had 26 K's against 7 walks. 3.62 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP. Five games started in 9 appearances with playoff bound Potomac and a 4 - 1 record.

Just maybe you are looking at a doppleganger of Jordan Zimmermann in the making ... just maybe. Which is why he is slated to pitch in AAA. But just might end up in the majors. Just before the TJ surgery he appeared to mastering control by reducing walks which maintaining the same frequency of K's.
He continued that trend with Potomac while rehabbing from the TJ.

Rizzo is a pretty savvy scout. And Pittsburgh is not a very well run organization by all accounts.

We'll just have to wait and see.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

"peric, you crack me up how you latch onto guys like Barthmaier and suggest they're even on the radar screen. How's your man Nate Karns doing?

Posted by: CoverageisLacking"

Dear D-bag "CoverageisLacking",

That is like asking me how Nick Adenhart is doing. What a clown? I suppose you never bother to keep with the Nats do you? My impression is the guy had to have surgery for a life threatening non-baseball related malady? I suspect what that might be but apparently he is keeping it private.

What an a-clown sheesh.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 3:59 PM | Report abuse

peric, I don't see the reason for name-calling, but anyway, I'm the clown? Come on. http://natsfarm.com/2010/07/19/minor-league-transactions-25/

But I think you proved my point--you latch on to obscure guys who, for one reason or another, have TONS to prove before they even register as prospects. Karns is one example, Barthmaier is another. It's misleading and absurd.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 8, 2011 4:11 PM | Report abuse

skins fan 22,

Since 100+ losses is a lock, I don't know why you are wasting time posting on this blog every day. You should be working to accumulate as much money as you can between now and the beginning of the season, so that you can bet the under on the Nats win total. I haven't seen the win totals released yet, but it's going to be at least 70. Since you say, there is no chance of 62 wins, betting that they won't get 70 should be the easiest money ever made.

Seriously, start working on obtaining loans immediately. The opportunity to double your money in 6 months with no risk is unheard of in investing. Congratulations!

Posted by: sollazo | January 8, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

"But I think you proved my point--you latch on to obscure guys who, for one reason or another, have TONS to prove before they even register as prospects. Karns is one example, Barthmaier is another. It's misleading and absurd."

Nope, you've proven mine. You are an a-clown and clearly someone who has no compassion. Dude, one of the player's moms told me that he had surgery ... imagine you are a parent and Karns is your kid?

Dude one word: pathetic. Shut it.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 4:25 PM | Report abuse

And while we're at it?

"Barthmaier was near the top of Houston’s farm system rankings for several years until 2007, when he struggled in his first attempt at AA. Following the 2007 season, Houston designated Barthmaier for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster. The Pirates claimed Barthmaier, and saw him rebound at the AA and AAA levels in 2008."

Nota bene: TOP PROSPECT. Right?

"Coming in to the 2009 season, Barthmaier was rated the number 12 prospect in the Pirates’ farm system by Baseball America. He was considered one of the best starting pitching prospects in the Pirates’ farm system, thanks to his 2008 AAA success, and his pitch selection. He threw a 91-93 MPH fastball, which touches 96, and an 85 MPH hard breaking ball that rated as one of the best breaking pitches in the International League in 2008."

Again : TOP PROSPECT. Right?

"Barthmaier went down early in 2009 with an elbow injury and needed Tommy John surgery. He will compete for a job out of Spring Training, but isn’t likely to make the team. At 26, he still has a chance to make it in the majors as a starter, however the Pirates need him to do something this season, or risk losing him to minor league free agency following the season."

Again : Question mark ... kind of like Zimmermann and perhaps even Strasburg.

Q.E.D.

Posted by: periculum | January 8, 2011 4:30 PM | Report abuse

peric, psst, just between you and me.
Being the 12th ranked prospect in the Pirates oraganization means something?

I ain't disagreeing about your Barthmaier arguement. I know nothing about the dude. But you gotta build a better case than #12 in the Pirates system.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 8, 2011 4:48 PM | Report abuse

It's truly amusing how some people, on this board, take joy in putting down the Nats. Mostly just out of ignorance: i.e Why didn't Rizzo go out and sign Lee, Hamels (Phillies don't really need him, etc.). A sensible GM assesses his club's needs this year and, maybe, the future. A fool tries to make trades for the immediate result and doesn't deal with realism.

By the way, I wonder if Greinke would have gone to the Cubbies if he had seen the trade for Garza that said that they wanted (needed?) to win now.

Posted by: mikecatcher50 | January 8, 2011 5:18 PM | Report abuse

I don't come to this discussion daily as I used to, but I am glad to see that folks can still be passionate about the team. Oh, and passionate about flaming.

I am disappointed mostly about the team's inability to convince a free agent pitcher to sign. I am not convinced that Greinke will be worth it for the Brewers, and I am content to keep prospects one more year before a Garza-like trade.

There is only the hope that Maya, Zimmermann and Wang perform up to best-case scenarios. Otherwise, we will be simply hoping for a win total in the 70s, and a 2012 team that includes both Strasburg and Harper.

+1/2St.

Posted by: kevincostello | January 8, 2011 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Going through this thread late...

Peric - Surely you're not suggesting Livan's loss of velocity has anything to do with his potential effectiveness? How is losing 5 MPH on a 64 MPH pitch in any way shape or form affect that pitch?

Posted by: swang30 | January 8, 2011 5:31 PM | Report abuse

The Nats had one--ONE--need this offseason----Not RF (where they already had Michael Morse), and not first base where they already had Adam Dunn.
The only and most important need for the Nats was----Wait for it----
PITCHING>

But instead, the Nats created and traded holes in right and first to gain nothing and where it counted most, did absolutely NOTHING>

If you think this brings me joy, you are quite mistaken. It makes me real sad.
You don't have to be a genius GM to know what the Nats lack. Any nutless monkey can tell you that.

Pitching wins championships in baseball. Not RFs. Just look at the SF Giants.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 8, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Peric it is rather humorous to see you suggest I don't have compassion for Karns, and then to look at the comment thread I linked to at NFA and see you speculate wildly about the kid's condition.

The point remains the same. Don't try to turn guys into prospects when they quite simply are not. You couldn't stop talking about Karns when the guy hadn't thrown a professional pitch yet. Barthmaier was the #12 prospect in the Bucs' system 2 years ago? And now, when the kid is 27 and still hasn't done anything, you're pointing to him as a "new starting pitcher" for this year as compared to last?

And then you make personal attacks against me and engage in juvenile name-calling? Please.

Posted by: CoverageisLacking | January 8, 2011 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Skins_Fan:
There's like 10 really good QB's in the NFL, but what 32 teams? (sorry, if I'm wrong, I think the NFL is stupid). The others, like the Skins for the past decade or more, deal with what they have.
There's 30 teams in MLB, each with 5 SP's.
So there's 150 spots for SP's in MLB, and about 20+ really good SP's.
This year, it seemed like maybe 5 were available.
Cliffey
De la Rosa
Vasquez (does he count?)
Garza
Greinke
We didn't get one.
Neither did 25 other MLB teams.
Pretty much all of which need SP's.

BTW, the Giants came one day away from not even making the playoffs. So it's not like their formula will necessarily work next year. They're fortunate to be playing in a crappy division. If they were NL east, they would not even have made the playoffs. It's not like "Go SP and screw the rest" is a workable formula.

Aside from that, spot on!

Posted by: Sunderland | January 8, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

sollazo -- the Nats are not losing 100 games in 2011. It is hard to lose that many games -- I know they have done it before, but this club will not lose that many. They have not done enough to get better, but they are better than 2010 right now and they are not done. If the Mets don't get healthy and lucky with the SP casting call, the Nats may actually manage not to finish last.

Posted by: dfh21 | January 8, 2011 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"The Nats had one--ONE--need this offseason----Not RF (where they already had Michael Morse), and not first base where they already had Adam Dunn.
The only and most important need for the Nats was----Wait for it----
PITCHING>"

There are three aspects to the game. Offense, defense and pitching. The Nats were absolutely terrible in two of them last season - defense and pitching. Offense was (mostly) okay. So Rizzo needed to do more than just acquire pitching, even if that was his first priority. So maybe he missed out on getting a marquee starter. That's a tough thing to do, even if you pull out all the stops trying. But Rizzo has improved the defense, possibly greatly. And he has held his own on offense, and most likely on pitching too. Those sides of the game will be no worse next year, and defense will be better. Ergo, a better team. Maybe not as good as it could have been if Rizzo had been successful in snagging a top starter, but so what? If all he'd done was get a starter and nothing else, they might actually have ended up worse.

Posted by: nunof1 | January 8, 2011 6:19 PM | Report abuse

dfh21,

I'm not predicting 100 losses. I was just pointing out that skins fan should soon become very rich since he says 100+ is a lock, and he probably only needs 92 to make money.

Our rotation is obviously an eye sore, but there were only a few good options available this offseason. Are people seriously blaming Rizzo for not getting Cliff Lee or Greinke? Trading away your best young players/prospects for a pitcher like Garza just so you can approach a .500 record in 2011 is foolish. We will be better in 2011, and well positioned to make a bigger jump in 2012. Rome wasn't built in a offseason. At least I won't be watching Lastings Milledge, Austin Kearns, and Adam Dunn starting in the outfield on opening day.

Posted by: sollazo | January 8, 2011 6:52 PM | Report abuse

>>Why not take a chance on one, two or three of these guys?

Jeremy Bonderman, Dave Bush, Jeff Francis, John Maine, Chris Young, Jarrod Washburn, Bruce Chen and Kevin Millwood.
Posted by: dorseylaw

Looking at his stats, Bonderman has probably lost velocity since he came back from that blood clot. 112 K's as compared to 200 in '06. His 5.53 ERA would put him on a short leash. Millwood completely lost his breaking ball last year. If you have no feel for your breaking stuff, your arm is usually shot, nerves are gone.

Posted by: Brue | January 8, 2011 3:47 PM | Report abuse
-------------------
Yeah, but Chen seems to be back, Maine is going to be ready for spring training, nothing wrong with Francis, or Young?

Posted by: dorseylaw | January 8, 2011 7:36 PM | Report abuse

>>Yeah, but Chen seems to be back, Maine is going to be ready for spring training, nothing wrong with Francis, or Young?
Posted by: dorseylaw

Yeah but Chen is a vampire, he ends up reflecting the team he's with. Nowhere Man.

Posted by: Brue | January 8, 2011 9:03 PM | Report abuse

A healthy Marquis and Hernandez should provide 20-25 wins between the two, a mature Lannan, and a confident Zimmermann should be another 20-25. That's 40 or 50, need another 40 or so to be .500 which should be an admirable goal for 2011. Some guys will have to step up, but ol' Rizzo still may come up with something.

Go Nats!

Posted by: patsgrill4U | January 8, 2011 10:51 PM | Report abuse

One thing about Skins Fan is obvious. He's a football fan and knows next to nothing about baseball.

Posted by: jcampbell1 | January 9, 2011 7:01 AM | Report abuse

I love all this talk about a "marquee starter" like that's all the Nats lacked and they were handcuffed trying to get one.

Forget about a "Marquee Starter". How bout a #2, # 3, # 4, or # 5. Aside from Strasburg, who won't be with the team this year, the Nationals didn't have one pitcher--NOT ONE--who finished with a winning record last year.

Don't be fooled with all this "defense" talk. Their pitchers stunk and not because of bad defense but because of bad pitching.
No one said you had to have Lee or Greinke. But the Nats needed, and any GM worth his salt would have acquired, a #3, #4 or #5. That's not impossible.

Jordan Z has yet to prove himself. Detweiller is an unknown. Livo, bless his heart, is 100 year's old.

Don't let the Nats and Kilgore trick you into believeing that simply by changing parts at first and RF that the pitching is all of a sudden gonna turn into gold.
That's absurd.

The Nats could have improved themselves by simply picking up a couple of solid back end rotation guys, who would have been an improvement over who they had/have and they couldn't even do that.

As far as defense, as far as I can tell, they still have Desmond, who probably led all of baseball in errors last year and Morgan, who is completely clueless. So your'e telling me that both of those guys are all of a sudden gonna turn into gold glovers? Love to see it. But's that's more wishful thinking than fact.
And history says so.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 9, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

So, what AAAA-fodder are the Natinals going to sign to "stabilize" their rotation for the upcoming season?

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 9, 2011 12:34 PM | Report abuse

skinfan
Who is expecting the pitching to turn to gold? Who said anything like that? Who on the Nats said that? When did Kilgore suggest that?

And who in the world suggested Nyjer or Desmond were going to turn into gold glovers?

So what's your opinion?
With his first full season under his belt, and a capable defensive first baseman, do you think Desmond's defense will improve, decline, or hold steady?

Posted by: Sunderland | January 9, 2011 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Natinals will be lucky to win 50 games next year.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 9, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the 2011 defense...
LaRoche should save the Nationals 8-12 IF errors at 1B on throws alone (while possibly taking a few himself, blocking wild throws), and get to another 10-15 batted balls that Dunn never had a chance at last year - that's 18-35 shorter innings for the pitching staff, right off the top.

Espinosa (as long as he can hit) projects better range at 2B than the Guzman/Kennedy composite from 2010, as well. Even if he only knocks down balls, turning gap doubles into singles, it's another defensive improvement.

Desmond is the 'wild-card', imo; He has great range, and a very-good arm at SS, but has never posted even decent defensive numbers. He may trim his error count from learning when to 'eat' the occaisional grounder, and having a 1B with better hands, but that remains to be seen.

RZim should benefit from LaRoche the most, putting him back in GG contention simply by having a 1B who can corral those side-arm throws.

The outfield 'tightens up' defensively as well, with Werth replacing Bernadina/Taveras/Harris/Morse mess in RF (big plus, imo), and Morgan/Ankiel/Brown supplanting Morgan/Bernadina/Maxwell in CF (probably a wash). The Bernadina/Morse platoon in LF will hopefully be the equal of Willingham/Harris/Bernadina combo in LF as well for 2011.

Posted by: BinM | January 9, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

One bad thing about the spring is the trolls start to bloom.

I don't believe Rizzo is doen signing pitching, although in all likely hood whoever he signs isn't going to be who we hoped for. WIth so many options out there on the second (third?) tier I just don't see us not signing one.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 9, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm hopeful they'll sign another strong reliever and a starter who can compete for a position. In my own little world Quals would be a useful reliever and Bonderman might be a worthhile risk at starter. With all the prime starters off the market, why not take a risk on one with some upside. If he does not make the team you are no worse off and if he is healthy enough you get a younger starter with experience. Bonderman had/has shoulder issues, but claims to be healthy now. Quals has closer experience, but could just as easily pitch in support. Other options are available of course ...

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 9, 2011 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@SCNats: There are still pitchers out there worth Rizzo's attention via trade, imo. Players with heavy salaries, like Kazmir, Lohse, Lowe, & Zito, and teams looking for salary relief (LAA, StL, ATL & SF) as one example.

Also, teams looking for an out on 'problem' players/contracts: Silva & Zambrano [CUB], Blanton [PHI], or teams in flux, such as HOU (Myers, Rodriguez), Carmona [CLE], or Meche [KC].

Some still look good (Carmona, Lowe, Rodriguez, Zambrano), some may be average (Blanton, Kazmir, Myers, Zito) & some may be damaged goods (Lohse, Meche, Silva).

The point is, there are still pitchers out there who could improve the Nationals staff in 2011; It's just a question of how hard the team (& Rizzo) will look for it, without "dumpster-diving".

Posted by: BinM | January 9, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Six or seven argumentative posters make for a long thread, it seems.

My two cents: Morgan is hopeless as a ML player; Desmond could turn out to be one, but he already seems to think his occasional spectacular plays made him the team's leader in 2010--a big problem for a rookie to overcome.

And Riggleman? Well, good luck putting up for another season with a dim-witted loser. He and Willie Harris seem joined at the hip.

I figure, when all is said and done, in a couple of years Morgan and Desmond will be gone, along with Riggleman. Starting pitching? Is Rizzo up to the job of getting some bona-fide ML starters? We'll see.

Overall, I see the Nats' being at about the same place the Orioles were some ten-twelve years ago. A long, slow slog lies ahead. At Balto, Showalter may be the real deal.

Posted by: JohnRDC | January 9, 2011 4:03 PM | Report abuse

@bisquits: Granted, there are still RP's on the free-agent market; It's just a question of 'best fit / best value', imo.

SU/CL Free-Agent candidates still include...
LH = Beimel, Fuentes[B], Okajima, Seay.
RH = DelCarmen, Farnsworth, Isringhausen, MacDougal, Qualls[B], Rauch, S.Rivera, R.Soriano[A].

Of that group, Fuentes, Qualls or Rauch meet the 'best-fit' criteria (able to close, but can pitch set-up as well), imo.

Whether Rizzo goes after one of them, or decides to 'stay the course' with Burnett & Storen remains to be seen.

Posted by: BinM | January 9, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

BinM, I agree, and I see Rizzo doing just what he did with LaRoche; as none of the remain options enamore him he'll wait until the price drops then sign one.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 9, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

@SCNatsfan: Sorry, but the trolls / cranks are here year-round, as they are on just about any blog.

Around here, most of them wait until the local NFL team falls out of contention to jump into the fray; Once their favorites 'crap the bed' yet again, they're more than ready to dump their anger & frustration on the Nationals, or so it seems.

Should the NFL team ever become 'relevent' again (playoff-worthy), the majority of them will most likely be distracted until February, at the latest.

Posted by: BinM | January 9, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

@BinM:
IMO, the only one who truly qualified as a "troll" was he who has been banished...PMP

The others are a combination of frustrated baseball fans, fans of other sports (those whom you mentioned) and armchair GM's who will p*ss and moan no matter WHAT move is made.

Then there are folks like myself: neophyte seam-heads who know little about the game and do their best to figure out the nuances about the game. My 11 year old son loves the game and, as a divorced father, having baseball back in DC (no matter how crappy the product) has been a blessing that has enabled me hours of enjoyment and bonding time with my son.

Posted by: TimDz | January 9, 2011 5:13 PM | Report abuse

@TimDz
I've got young adult children, and I too have had hours of enjoyment at the park with my kids. My boys are still going to the game with me and it is one of the joys in my life. I hope they never become so sour and embittered about sports that they spend hours complaining about every move made.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 9, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

>>At Balto, Showalter may be the real deal.
Posted by: JohnRDC

I had really hoped that the Nats would hire him. But at least one of our teams got him. I think he is the real deal and will be great in
B-More and that with the young arms they have, the Os are about ready to really bust out.
At least one of our local teams finally is.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | January 9, 2011 11:20 PM | Report abuse

@BinM:
IMO, the only one who truly qualified as a "troll" was he who has been banished...PMP
-------------

Who says he's banished?!?!?............

Good to see that at least one other poster on here knows the O's are leaps and bounds better than the NATINALS.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 10, 2011 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Let's give Rizzo some credit: He's not pretending that he accomplished his goals. He said front-line pitching was the no. 1 goal, everyone knew it would be difficult to acquire -- they don't grow on trees and are highly valued -- and despite some respectable tries they weren't able to pull it off. Plus, they resisted the temptation to make a bad trade just to save face and say "see, we got a pitcher."

The unfortunate reality is that the hole they've dug has forced them to incrementally improve other parts of the team while their home-grown pitching (hopefully) comes around. When that happens, this year or next, and the team edges closer to .500 and is seen as moving in the right direction, those key FA deals will be a little easier to make.

Patience does not come easy, believe me. I'm as frustrated as everybody on this blog. I don't think they handled the Dunn situation optimally, I don't think Morgan is the answer in CF, and I have real doubts about Riggleman's ability to win for all the reasons others have cited.

But, barring injury (and let's not forget, the injuries to the pitching staff over the last two years have been devastating), the team should be marginally improved. Enough to make a real difference (eg, another 10-game improvement)? We'll see.

And I agree with those who say they don't think Rizzo's done -- and not only with pitching. I am giving 50-50 odds that Nyjer Morgan does not start in CF on Opening Day.

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 10, 2011 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Meridian - Nice post.
Rizzo may not need to do anything else for CF. He got Corey Brown in the trade for Willingham. Some not (correctly) that Corey Brown hit sub .200 in AAA.
While that's true, that was all early in the season. He got sent down to AA where he raked (.322-ish, with some power and 19 for 20 in stolen base attempts, plus enough walks for an OBP over .400).
He then went back to AAA for the last 7 games of the year and didn't slow down, with 3 HR's and an OPS over 1.200 in his short stint there.

If he brings that stroke to spring training, he'll force Rizzo and Riggleman to play him.
The possibility I am most excited about the spring is seeing Corey Brown trot out to CF on March 31.

Posted by: Sunderland | January 10, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

SNOWED IN HERE IN THE A-T-L!! Yes that's right we got............... 5 inches of snow and ice last night and this morning that has crippled the Atlanta metro area go figure, anyway been reading the post on our pitching woes and at the start of this off season obtaining starting pitching that would change this team's fortune was a top priority but so far no go. Mike Rizzo didn't have a lot of choices deal away what little resources this team had via the farm system or outbid other teams for free agents (not gonna happen) so now we're back to square one. On a sad note the little girl(Christina Green) who was shot and killed on saturday in Tucson,Az was the granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green please keep her and all the victim's families in your prayers.

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

So we should be finding out in the next day or so who got DFAd/waived to make room for LaRoche and there will likely be another 1-2 to to get dropped before camp opens just 5 short weeks from now.

(BTW Carribean World Series comes in early February.)

I know many are ready to give up on Maxwell, but I see him as someone to keep in the organization another year and I still see 2-3 pitchers on the roster that are not likely to be valuable downstream. So, I'm recommending Martis, Martin, and Mock for DFA as needed.

My thoughts on Maxwell are that he is righthanded, defensively gifted in CF, and capable of providing 5th outfielder functionality in the event of mid year injury to another outfielder. I don't believe he'll ever be a starter, but the Nats have too many 5th starters on the 40 man and not enough position players.

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

Just for the heck of it, I thought I’d research a few of the still available veteran SP’s to see how their stats compared to some of the Nats veteran SP’s. Keep in mind this is very basic research and I only pulled up stats for these pitchers’ last 90-100 games started (in some pitchers cases, this encompasses the past 3 seasons; while due to injury others took upwards of 6 seasons). Look over some of these and see who you’d like to have (if any) in the Nats rotation:

Player A – GS (97); # of years to start this many games (5):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
33-25 ….. 3.60 …… 550.2 …... 110 ……. 1.19 ……... 8.0 ….. 3.9

Player B – GS (95); # of years to start this many games (4):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
28-38 …... 4.10 …… 566.1 …... 103 ……. 1.41 ……... 4.6 ….. 3.3

Player C – GS (96); # of years to start this many games (5):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
39-32 …... 4.17 … 542.0 …... 102 ……….. 1.31 ……... 7.8 ….. 4.0

Player D – GS (89); # of years to start this many games (4):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
36-26 …... 4.23 … 531.2 …... 104 ……….. 1.39 ……... 5.6 ….. 3.0

Player E – GS (101); # of years to start this many games (4):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
29-38 …... 4.44 … 580.1 …... 103 ……….. 1.57 ……... 6.8 ….. 4.4

Player F – GS (109); # of years to start this many games (5):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
38-36 …... 4.50 … 662.1 …... 106 ……….. 1.37 ……... 6.0 ….. 2.8

Posted by: erocks33 | January 10, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sunderland,
I agree that Brown and Morgan's performance in ST is the most important storyline for the Nats in '11. Your Brown splits are interesting--there's no doubt he can rake at the AA level. However, isn't the last week of AAA (after MLB goes with 40 man rosters) sort of like AA continued? I'm not disputing his turnaround, but we've all been burned by projecting hot Septembers before.

Meridian1 - who else is out there? Do you see a salary dump/reclamation trade (Zambrano, Kazmir, etc)? Someone who's just not been on the radar?

Posted by: natinbeantown | January 10, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

And here are the rest I looked up …

Player G – GS (91); # of years to start this many games (6):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
40-31 …... 4.55 … 566.0 …... 93 ……….. 1.33 ………. 5.4 ….. 1.7

Player H – GS (107); # of years to start this many games (4):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
40-40 …... 4.58 … 633.1 …... 100 ……….. 1.43 ……... 4.9 ….. 3.6

Player I – GS (91); # of years to start this many games (3):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
26-36 …... 4.58 … 558.0 …... 97 ………... 1.48 ……... 6.1 …... 3.0

Player J – GS (104); # of years to start this many games (5):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
36-32 …... 4.82 … 641.0 ….... 93 ……….. 1.41 ……... 7.1 …... 3.0

Player K – GS (112); # of years to start this many games (4):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
34-42 …... 4.92 … 660.0 ……. 85 ……….. 1.37 ……... 6.0 …... 2.6

Player L – GS (95); # of years to start this many games (3):
W-L ……. ERA ……. IP ……. ERA+ ……. WHIP ……. K/9 ….. BB/9
32-35 …... 4.97 … 575.1 ……. 83 ……….. 1.51 ……... 4.4 …... 2.7

Posted by: erocks33 | January 10, 2011 11:18 AM | Report abuse

natsbiscuits,
I think Brown replaces Maxwell's ability to be a plus-defender defensive substitute, in a younger player with upside. He's a lefty, but Maxwell doesn't really hit MLB pitchers from either side (I know, neither does Brown, but Maxwell has proven that he never will by this point). I'd replace Mock on your DFA list with Maxwell. Mock has some of the best stuff in the organization, and had his 2010 audition marred by injury. Certainly worth a real look in 2011.

Posted by: natinbeantown | January 10, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that they are all one armed men - a little damaged at this point in their careers. But on a purely statistical basis, its easy to see quite a few upgrades. I've always been a low-WHIP high IP guy as opposed to a low ERA/High K/9 guy. Of course it's good to have all four. But low-WHIP usually means fewer pitches, less stress on your defense.

And spinning off on another tangent, it is my biggest concern about Z'nn. So far he has shown the ability to strike out a lot of people in five innings. I'd rather see him pitch 7-8 innings and strike out same/fewer.

Posted by: natbiscuits | January 10, 2011 11:36 AM | Report abuse

@natinbeantown: To answer your question, I have no specific wisdom on whom Rizzo might go after. Others have speculated; I have nothing to add. I just don't believe he's folding his tent.

On Maxwell, I really wanted him to succeed. I was there the night in 2009 he hit the grand slam and hoped that might be the beginning of big things for him, but the RF job was practically handed to him last year and he blew it. For a while I wondered whether they'd given him enough of a chance, but it's hard not to conclude he just can't hit well enough.

Posted by: Meridian1 | January 10, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

I think everyone was hoping that Maxwell's poor showing was just jitters but as the season wore on he just seemed more and more clueless at the plate (unless the bases were loaded, of course). Don't know if going back to SYR and regaining his confidence would help or if he's just not a major league hitter; doesn't seem a great option to carry for the bench.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | January 10, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

@BinM:
IMO, the only one who truly qualified as a "troll" was he who has been banished...PMP
-------------

Who says he's banished?!?!?............

Good to see that at least one other poster on here knows the O's are leaps and bounds better than the NATINALS.

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 10, 2011 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Have the Natinals at least hired someone to spell-check their uniforms?

Posted by: DixonTheDog | January 10, 2011 3:30 PM | Report abuse

This is all just too much for me to handle. It's all soooo sad.

I'm getting Debbi "The Butcher" Taylor t-shirts made for this season. I'll be wearing them all season in protest. I'm not even sure what it is I am even protesting at this point, but rest assured, I will protest.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | January 10, 2011 4:33 PM | Report abuse

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