Monday, December 6, 2010

More on Jayson Werth

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- As the shock of the Jayson Werth signing begins to wear off, plenty of thoughts come to mind. Here's what I was pondering last night, presented in bullet-by-bullet form for your early morning consideration while I make my way to the Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort for the official start of the Winter Meetings (despite what yesterday's events suggested)...

-- The Nationals are by no means done adding to their 2011 roster. I am completely convinced of that. The Werth contract would make zero sense as a stand-alone move. He's not the kind of player who can lift a last-place club all by himself and carry it on his back to the precipice of contention. I really believe this is just the first of several big moves to come from Mike Rizzo and Co. "We're not finished," Rizzo said yesterday. "We understand that we've got holes to fill. We're going to be aggressive and do what we can to address those. ... As we've shown here, when there's a player that we target, that really fits what we're trying to do, we're going to go after him and acquire him."

-- What else should we expect? Let's start at first base, which remains vacated since Adam Dunn's departure. I don't see the Nats moving Josh Willingham or Michael Morse in from the outfield. Rizzo clearly wants an above-average defensive player, and he almost certainly wants a left-handed bat to break up what is suddenly a really right-handed-heavy lineup with Ryan Zimmerman, Werth and Willingham. The two names to watch, as they've been all along, are Carlos Pena and Adam LaRoche. Either one fits the bill. I strongly believe the Nats will wind up signing one of those two guys.

-- All the offensive punch and defensive improvement in the world don't mean squat if the Nationals don't get better pitching, so that remains a top priority. We know they've been aggressive in trying to land the top free agent starters but were spurned by Jorge de la Rosa and Javier Vazquez. Given how much they were willing to outspend the competition for Werth, you've got to believe they're going to make a humongous offer to Cliff Lee. Whether the prize lefty is willing to take the money and come to D.C. over New York or Texas remains to be seen. My hunch is that he'll stick with one of the guaranteed contenders (Yankees or Rangers). That only leaves Carl Pavano among the top free agent starters. I'm told the Nats are being equally aggressive in pursuing him, but again, there are going to be a lot of contenders for his services. And Rizzo might be more reluctant to break the bank with a soon-to-be 35-year-old pitcher than he was with a 31-year-old right fielder. Which means...

-- ... the Nationals' best chance at acquiring a front-line starter may be through a trade. And one of the biggest trade chips they've got is Willingham. It should be clear by now that Rizzo is attempting to build a club that can be competitive in 2011 but really contend in 2012. Willingham, of course, becomes a free agent at the end of the season. He's a valuable guy to have on your team, but he's also an injury risk and at best an average left fielder who is going to cost money in his next contract. With Werth in the fold (and assuming the Nats sign either Pena or LaRoche at first base) it seems like Willingham becomes expendable. I'm also reminded of how often Rizzo and Jim Riggleman mentioned how they believe Roger Bernadina is best-suited to play left field. We know he won't be in right field now. Maybe he winds up as the everyday left fielder in 2011 and beyond.

-- Let's assume all this happens, that the Nats sign either Pena or LaRoche and that Willingham is part of a trade package for a pitcher. You'd be looking at an Opening Day lineup along these lines...

CF Nyjer Morgan
SS Ian Desmond
3B Ryan Zimmerman
1B Carlos Pena/Adam LaRoche
RF Jayson Werth
LF Roger Bernadina
2B Danny Espinosa
C Ivan Rodriguez/Wilson Ramos
That's not a bad lineup, provided Morgan returns to some kind of reasonable form as a leadoff man and that Bernadina and Espinosa continue to progress into better hitters.

-- It is going to be absolutely fascinating comparing Dunn and Werth over the next four years. They are by no means the same type of player, so a direct comparison is unfair. But the events of the last few days make it very clear that Rizzo believes Werth is going to contribute a heck of a lot more to the Nationals from 2011-14 than Dunn would have had he come back on a four-year contract. As for 2015-17 ... well, Rizzo's taking an awfully big gamble that Werth can sustain his level of production at the plate and in the field into his late 30s.

-- Speaking of that, I think it's safe to say there is no chance Jayson Werth is going to be worth $18 million in 2016 and 2017. Even in a best-case scenario, you just can't believe this guy is going to be among the best all-around players in baseball at age 37 and 38. The Nationals know that. It's probably best not to think about how overpaid Werth is going to be in the final two years of this contract. Probably best to just think of it as though the vast majority of the $126 million is for the first four or five years of the deal.

-- What happens once Bryce Harper arrives on the scene sometime in late 2012 or early 2013? Isn't he supposed to be the Nationals' right fielder of the future? Plenty of time for that whole dilemma to sort itself out, but the safe assumption is that Werth ends up moving somewhere else on the field as he gets older. Could be left field. Could be first base.

-- If you thought the Werth signing was a jaw-dropper, I've heard some growing rumblings about an even more surprising deal in the works. I'm talking about a player no one has mentioned being even remotely under consideration by the Nationals this winter. I don't want to throw his name out there, because I haven't been able to get anyone in an official capacity who might know about this to confirm it. But I heard this name from multiple people yesterday, people who in my experience wouldn't just throw that out there without having some actual knowledge. I'll see if I can get some confirmation from official sources this morning.

-- Finally, speaking of people in the know, I'd be remiss if I didn't give credit where credit's due. Mike Harris, who runs the Nats Fanboy Looser blog, strongly suggested the Werth signing was imminent early yesterday afternoon before anyone else had published anything connecting him to the Nats. Nice job, Mike. Your newspaper reporting background pays off.

-- Plenty more to come today on the first official day of the Winter Meetings...

89 comments:

joemktg said...

Nyjer in CF and forthcoming Bryce in RF are the two factors that make that lineup questionable.

My hope is that Nyjer demonstrates in Viera that 2010 was an aberration, but I don't have faith that this is going to occur. Rizzo mentioned that Werth can play CF and RF during the presser, so he's thrown it out there. Morse becomes a placeholder in RF till 2012.

3 other items:
1) Can't you let one of the other blogs run with the jaw-dropping rumor while you work to confirm? At least the trial balloon is out there.
2) What have you learned regarding the scheduling of your flights?
3) Assuming your budget doesn't allow you to stay at the Swan or the Dolphin. RV'ing in the parking lot?

Brian R. said...

Zach Greinke. The mystery player is Zach Greinke.

Although I just googled "Zach Greinke Nationals" and there was an article saying the Nationals inquired. So maybe it is someone even more surprising. Maybe it is Francisco Liriano. Maybe it is Adam Wainwright.

Maybe it is Josh Johnson.

Brian R. said...

Hang on. The Nats told Jayson Werth who they were targeting this offseason. Boras presumably knew. Werth said he was impressed by the offseason plan.

Liriano, Wainwright, and Johnson are all represented by agents other than Scott Boras. I think it is more likely to be somebody whom they could admit to targeting in Boras' presence. Except that Boras' pitching stable is curiously weak: Tommy Hanson, Jeremy Hellickson, Edwin Jackson, Jair Jurrjens, Mike Pelfrey, Jered Weaver, Barry Zito. Julian Tavarez.

Hang on... Jered Weaver...

Brian R. said...

I'm starting to like the thought of Weaver. If the Boston Red Sox close in on Carl Crawford, then Willingham makes sense for their outfield, where Rivera is mediocre and Abreu is doomed to DH. One year of Hammer's nowhere near enough, of course, so one would think we throw in Burgess, a reliever, and a pretty good pitching prospect or two.

bhazelwd5 said...

I certainly hope this isn't a stand alone contract because on it's own, you're right, it makes no sense. If we're willing to go "all in" on a guy like Werth (a season after a similar - albeit younger - version was available in Matt Holliday) then we HAVE to upgrade the rotation. Without a serious investment in the staff in one of the next two offseasons, there's no chance this team is competitive in 2012.

With or without Strasburg in '12, this team ain't going anywhere until we massively upgrade the rest of the staff around him.

sparky said...

Awww, now Mark's just teasin' us.

It better not be Manny Ramirez....

MikeHarris said...

You are a gentleman and a scholar and I thank you - and you've been in the business long enough to know everybody gets lucky sometime.

You're still the man for Nats info.

And if it helps, I heard a "wow" thing, too, to rival this one.

Matt said...

Desmond and Clippard to Tampa for Garza and Bartlett. (contingent on Garza signing long-term contract similar to Gonzalez with Boston)

NatsJack in Florida said...

Matt.... I hope you are right! Bartlett is a natural lead off guy and Garza will dominate in the National League.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmm....Carlos Pena hit a whopping .196 with an eyepopping 158 k's last year. Granted he did hit 28 bombs, but then, Adam Dunn hit close to 40 and we got rid of him. I pass if I'm GM

Adam Laroche hit .261 in 150 games with 25 bombs. Thats a little better, but still pales next to Dunn's stats. Put Marrero at first and go for pitching

Big Cat said...

Lets hope Morgan isn't coming back. I am so over him and his little banjo bat and popgun arm (to the wrong base)

Anonymous8 said...

Can someone help Mark with graphics so Jayson Werth can be shown wearing a Curly W cap or the cool new road cap? LOL

Will said...

Dude. You can't tease us with such a juicy tidbit like that.

Due to process of elimination, you have to be referring to a trade in the works. The only notable free agents remaining are Lee, Crawford, Beltre and Pavano, and we've been linked to all of them, save Beltre for obvious reasons. This leads me to believe it has to be a SP. Rizzo has made it known that acquiring an ace is his priority, which clearly isn't possible to do through free agency, unless we get Lee.

So who are some top SPs that might be available?
I think it has to be someone on the Angels, particularly Dan Haren. He was acquired at the deadline for a playoff run that never materialized. Furthermore, the Angels' biggest holes are the Nationals biggest advantages. Scioscia clearly doesn't value/like Napoli for whatever reason, and he's been mentioned frequently as one of the players most likely to get dealt. Jeff Mathis is one of the worst everyday players in the game, thus a deal including Ramos or Norris would certainly appeal to the Angels. Secondly, they have a hole at SS. Brandon Wood is the epitome of a failed prospect, and Maicer Izturis is the epitome of a league average SS. Desmond or Espinosa are probably very appealing to the Angels.

I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of deal of Haren for Norris, Desmond and another lesser prospect (perhaps someone like Peacock or Meyers). This would be a similar haul to what the Padres got for AGon, if not better and more MLB ready. However, Haren still has 2 or 3 years left on his contract, and for a relatively affordable price ($12-13m/year).

Crap. Now I got myself all excited over the possibility of Haren!

Tell me I'm wrong Mark.

raymitten said...

C'mon...you've got a secret and can't share it?!? I think its another OF. They aren't going to let Willingham go for Bernadina to play everyday after the Werth deal. Just my guess.

I think Grienke to the Nats is a possibility. Flores or Norris, Willingham, Desmond and Detwiler. Would that do it? As much as Rizz seems to be focusing on defense, Desmond isn't a good defender and has a lot of value right now. Of course, we'd still need another middle IF....

Anonymous8 said...

Fangraphs comparisons of Werth vs. Dunn looks like the Nationals got an upgrade although the added value of this that adds to the value is the Phillies didn't retain Werth which means the Nationals get a 11% bump since they won't face him 18 times a year as Werth was a Nats killer so this is even a bigger advantage!

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/a-jayson-werth-article-without-a-pun-in-the-headline/

Will said...

Whoops, I meant Aybar not Izturis. Either way, they're pretty comparable- decent, utility infielders, but not starters. It also looks like Izturis will get a bit more time at 3B this year, and Aybar is the odd man out.

Just one more note on Haren, who I think the mystery man is, though it could be any of him, Weaver or Kazmir (though Kazmir isn't really an "ace"). Over the past 3 years, according to WAR, Haren is the 8th best pitcher in baseball with 17 WAR. That's better than the likes of Felix Hernandez and Ubaldo Jimenez, and comparable to Jon Lester. Haren's managed to be one of the most underrated SPs in the game, and he's certainly that "ace" Rizzo is looking for.

Brian R. said...

@ Mike Harris

Why would Rizzo want to surprise us with a right-handed third baseman? We've got the best one there is already. I'm not questioning you, just questioning the wisdom of the move.

Anonymous said...

What a tease you are. This alone keeps the interest up. I'm hoping its a front of the rotation starter, via trade or free agency as long as it doesn't bankrupt the farm system beyond recovery. JTinSC

MikeHarris said...

Brian R. - not saying it makes sense. Lots of things don't make sense. I'd rather see LaRoche at this point since he wouldn't have to be THE big bat. I agree with you, I don't get it. But I've learned to never say no way.

This is just me, not a source, not anything and I haven't posted it on my own blog yet. I'd be shocked is Desmond is SS next year. I think he'll be moved as part of a big package for a pitcher. Strike while it is hot and all that.

Anonymous8 said...

The mystery player is Carl Crawford but I don't think the Nats can pull it off. It would be amazing but then you still have mediocre pitching until next year.

I think after the Nats pulled off getting Werth and these constant endorsements from Scott Boras, the Nats will be more seriously considered by Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford then they were 2 days ago.

If the Nats got Cliff Lee by some miracle, they are instantly a pre-season contender for the Wild Card and then the favorite for the Division in 2012.

I LOVE DREAMING!

Doc said...

Disney World is a good place for all this to happen!

Getting a 1B guy, could still leave Morse available for RF, with Werth in CF. The Hammer, Werth, and Morse is a solid hitting OF. Morgan, if he makes it through ST does the Willie Harris routine.

Sounds like, at this point, that Werth is the only solid bet in the OF.

raymitten said...

I don't want Beltre -- he's a contract year only player. I have contemplated whether they might get Mark Reynolds to replace Dunn. Zim friend, from Virginia, lots of HRs and strikeouts. And I think he could be moved to first.

Paul said...

Just a guess... Josh Beckett - The Red Sox need OF and bullpen help. WIllingham, Clippard, and a prospect?

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Just a comment on the back end of Jayson Werth's deal...

One thing that might lessen the sting of that 18 mil in 2017 (or whatever the actual number is)... baseball inflation. Contracts will keep on moving up. Maybe by that time, when he's locked down, those numbers won't be as eyecatching compared to the rest of the league. Similar to Tulo's contract.

raymitten said...

My comment on the back end of Werth's contract is that its the price of bringing this team up from also ran to eventual elite status. Well worth it, no matter how Werth pans out (and I think he's gonna be fine for the entire contract anyway.)

NatsJack in Florida said...

raymitten... it's good to hear that you've stepped back from the ledge and now understand the importance of letting things play out. There's more good news on the way.

Evan S said...

The only other move that would be a Jaw-dropper is signing Cliff Lee to 25 mil a year. No trade would really surprise me except for maybe trading young pieces for a supposedly "immovable" player like a Jered Weaver, Clayton Kershaw or Rick Porcello.

Anonymous said...

Trade factor for Werth on the last two yrs makes sense. If you think he'll hold up better than Dunn, then you just landed an equal to better hitter for 4 years and possible DH trade bait after that. That's solid long-term thinking. I love the signing.

And the 1-2 punch of Morgan and Desmond sounds incredibly unproductive and inconsistent. Let's hope one of the moves if for a solid lead off.

Anonymous said...

is the huge name Nick Johnson?

i prefer a trade for King Felix.

Sunderland said...

I'd guess Chad Qualls, although he's really good but not quite jaw-dropping. A true closer would help a lot and make our bullpen a real strength.

Maybe Barry Bonds is coming back!

Anonymous said...

I don't know who the secret candidate is but I'll bet Rizzo is discussing a package of Willingham, Desmond and a reliever (Clippard, Ballester more likely) which could bring in something very valuable. Heck, he could throw a catcher in there and you really would be talking about value enough to bring in Greinke.

I'm going to guess the mystery person is an Upton. It is clear to me that Rizzo has been talking with Tampa for some time now and they covet Willingham. They don't need a shortstop (Bartlett, Brignac) but probably do need a catcher. KC is loaded in the farm system but I don't think they have a viable shortstop in the near term (Tim Beckham may be a flop).

Anonymous8 said...

Ray, can't blame you at all for doubting the Front Office and stepping to the ledge. After the Dunn to the White Sox announcement, I had visions of 2008 where the team was unwatchable after Opening Day.

In a few days time, the Nats have reloaded and shocked the baseball world.

So another thought of mine is, could Stan Kasten have been the problem in the Front Office and not the Lerner's?

The other observation is that Rizzo got his guy over what Mark Lerner wanted as Mark was lobbying for Adam Dunn so Rizzo has a lot riding on this.

Anonymous said...

My prediction for the mystery deal: Derek Norris, Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmermann & another player to the Brewers for Prince Fielder. The Nats are already in bed with Boras, so they might as well make the move and give Fielder a contract that makes this Werth signing look like peanuts.

sjm 308 said...

Shoot, I was just about to drop Fielder's name as well and Anon 9:48 beat me to it!!
Posters need to understand they are going to go with Morgan for one more year in CF and they have also mentioned Bernadina as a better LF'r so I am guessing Willingham is being shopped heavily.

I actually like the idea of Barret and Garza coming here for Desmond, Willingham, a bullpen arm (not storen) and maybe another SP from the minors.

Can't wait to see who gets this right, even if we don't sign another blockbuster it sure is fun to speculate.

go Nationals!!

N. Cognito said...

NO to Prince Fielder!!

He's gonna eat his way out of major league baseball.

natsfan1a said...

Speaking of which (an oldie but a goodie):

http://www.theonion.com/articles/cc-sabathia-prince-fielder-keep-imagining-each-oth,2493/

Anonymous said...

No to Fielder and no to trading Z'mann. Desmond and Clippard to TB for Garza alone sounds good. If the trade includes Bartlett, it's great. Fielder for Z'mann gives us games with softball scores.
fpcsteve

Will said...

That would be far too much value for a year of Prince Fielder. Also, the Nationals need pitching, not hitting. Dealing Zimmermann makes little sense, unless they're acquiring another more polished SP.

The Red Sox essentially traded Eury Perez (Fuentes), Chris Marrero (Rizzo) and Norris (Kelly. Kelly is a pitcher, but they're similarly highly ranked prospects. Kelly 24th ranked prospect, Norris #38) for Adrian Gonzalez. Prince Fielder has substantially more concerns particularly about his weight and defense, and I'd expect a lesser package of prospects to snag him.

Anonymous said...

Willingham, Desmond and a bullpen or minor league pitcher to MIL for Fielder makes some sense. Fielder could walk after the season but so could Willingham. The Brewers need a shortstop. They desperately need pitching but I'm sure Rizzo wouldn't trade Zim'nn or Storen for a guy who could walk. I don't think Boras would even entertain not having Fielder test free agency for the Lerners. So you would have to be prepared for Prince to walk.

Heck, Prince went to Eau Gallie HS so he knows the way to Space Coast Stadium!

Farid Rushdi said...

Fielder will be a free agent next season, there is no way we're going to trade prospects for a one-year rental player (remember we gave up Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge & a minor leaguer to get Sorinao who had just one year left). Simililary, the Royals wouldn't accept Josh Willingham as part of a prospects-for-Greinke trade as he's a free agent next season too.

To get Greinke, I think it will take Derek Norris, Chris Marrero or Tyler Moore, Espinosa or Desmond, and another lesser quality player.

If the Nationals get one more real bat (another .280-20-80 type of guy), then yes, pull the trigger and go for Greinke. He said he's willing to play anywhere and waive his no-trade contract.Otherwise, use 2011 for that step-to-respectability, somewhere around .500.

Anonymous said...

"NO to Prince Fielder!!

He's gonna eat his way out of major league baseball."

But he'a a vegetarian, so the baby oysters will still be safe even with Dunn gone.

Frithstool said...

So here is the "read the tea leaves, quote that I need help with: "As we've shown here, when there's a player that we target, that really fits what we're trying to do, we're going to go after him and acquire him."

So Mark, maybe you could provide some analysis as (1) what exactly is it that Rizzo is "trying to do"? (2) why Werth "really fits what we're trying to do" and why Dunn doesn't "fit"?

raymitten said...

I am definitely off the ledge and firmly back on board. I can't tell you how many times over the past two years I've been at games watching Jayson Werth beat us and said "I'd love to have that guy but there's no way he'd ever come here." The signing exceeded my wildest expectations. Couldn't be happier.

Dizzy said...

I just love to see how PO'd the Philly fan reaction is, i.e. what a loser to take this deal over our 4 year offer.

That's sweet nectar to my ears.

But anything to reinvigorate the fan base is a good thing. The deal may be a little costly on the back end, but it makes us a better team than we were Saturday. As long as it doesn't cost us the ability to sign other players down the road by eating up all of our budget. I hope the Lerners keep their wallets open.

N. Cognito said...

Stephen Drew coming from Arizona.
No basis, just can't stand the thought of the low-OBP, high error Desmond playing short and making lots of outs in the 2-hole.

Just for the record, Drew won't be a free agent until after the 2012 season.

Brian R. said...

Mike Harris - thanks for your reply. Johnny Damon is a lefty, so we might see Beltre brought in, Willingham traded, and then Damon signed to be the left-handed hitter. Nonetheless I can't help remembering Rizzo's comment from earlier that getting a No 1 starting pitcher is the top priority. Definitely agree with you that in that case Desmond is gone. Rays and Angels are two teams with great pitchers and without good shortstops. Rays might find a catcher useful too. The Mariners' middle infield and LF look pretty weak...

N. Cognito said...

N. Cognito said...
"Stephen Drew coming from Arizona.
No basis, just can't stand the thought of the low-OBP, high error Desmond playing short and making lots of outs in the 2-hole."

You're an idiot. No way the D-backs trade Drew. He's low cost. Maybe next year. Besides, if the Nats move Desmond, they can slide Espinoza to SS and sign someone to play 2B. Secondbaseman are a little easier to find anyway.

mwyche said...

No way we trade for Fielder, all Rizzos been preaching is althleticism & defense Fielder has neither. Rizzos working on a deal for a front line pitcher for this year and the future I don't think Pavano fits that bill and they'd only bring him n on a 2 year deal max. Now Lee woud fit the bill but I just don't see Lee coming here w/ The Yanks & Rangers trying to sign him. Rizzo must be working on trading for a pitcher. I'm really hoping its Grienke, I think a package of Willingham, Clippard, Marrero, & Desmond gets it done...none of the four I mentioned were bought here by Rizzo and although it'd b tought loosing Desmond I think Greinkes value makes up for it.

Slidell said...

I join the chorus of "No to Prince". Anyone remember the Lost Year of Dmitri?
The extravagance(?) of the Werth contract is probably intended in part to be an attention-getter to the FAs and to soften up trade prospects who might have the Nats on their "no" list. It might work.

Anonymous said...

Justin Upton. Say bye to the farm, though (and maybe a third of last year's starting lineup).

Feel Wood said...

"I join the chorus of "No to Prince". Anyone remember the Lost Year of Dmitri?"

Not only that. I remember a game that year when MIL was here, Fielder got on, and he and Dmitri were standing there at first right next to each other. I do believe I saw the entire field list to starboard at that point.

Bobo said...

Hey Hey everyone. It's your old pal BOBO! Yep I saw you signed Phillie Favorite Jason Werth. Way to go. Now I have another reason to come down to your ballpark, Booo all the other nats, especially zimmerman (what a dope), and watch the rest of the phillies win another NL east against you no pitching bunch of losers.

Steve M. said...

When the Nats got Nats killer Josh Willingham 2 years ago I was happy and I feel the same way about Jayson Werth.

Werth was always the classy understated guy behind overrated Ryan Howard. Yes, the Nats overpaid for him which is understandable for a last place team to do.

Very happy that the Lerner's spent the money because it is goodwill to the fanbase and the rest of baseball which made it a smart move.

I also continue to laugh at people acting like a GM to put together a package for trades. No way do you trade a potential stud pitcher like Jordan Zimmermann for a position player like Prince Fielder. YOU CAN'T TRADE AWAY KEY STARTING PITCHING.

The Nats can get LaRoche as a stop gap at 1st base and provide superior defense and a decent bat. With better defense behind the Nats pitchers, the Nats pitchers will look better. This team should think more like the Tampa Bay Rays with 3 good front line starters, solid defense and speed. In 2012, you want to have Strasburg, JZimmermann, and 1 more pitcher to step up.

Again, don't trade away the youth for a short term fix.

Souldrummer said...

The mystery player is Adrian Beltre, folks. Same guy who was ahead of the curve with Werth. I cannot see that making any sense, but hey, I couldn't see Werth coming either.

http://natslooser.blogspot.com/2010/12/ok-this-one-is-just-rumor-now.html

JaneB said...

It's much happier here, stepped back from the ledge, where the stove feels nice and hot. Can't wait to hear what they bring us in terms of starting pitching. That's what Rizzo said would be the priority. I love reading all the analysis and guesses about who it could be. I hope it's someone who, like Werth, I used to hate seeing play against us.

Speaking of Werth...boy is he in for a different fan experience in DC! We don't boo our own guys. In fact the only guys we ever boo are the four who wear that blue uniform, and even then it's not often.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is I hope its a pitcher ... like Matt Cain. If its Matt Cain hallelujah pass the bacon!

N. Cognito said...

Beltre could move to first. Wouldn't be a bad move at his age and many 3B make pretty good 1B.

SS and CF are still big position problems.

JaneB said...

Wikipedia already lists Werth as. Nat!

Anonymous said...

You have to figure Rizzo kicked the tires on the possibility of an Upton trade before going with the Werth deal. It was just too expensive in terms of prospects. Looks like the O's are getting Mark Reynolds for first base.

Kenz aFan said...

Mark said, "I'm talking about a player no one has mentioned being even remotely under consideration by the Nationals this winter."

I'm wondering if you offered a clue by using the term "this winter", which could mean there may have been talk of the unnamed player during the regular season, or in a previous one.

That said, the only Boras client, who could by himself be even more of a jaw-dropping deal, would be a trade for Mark Teixeira, and since I doubt very much the Yankees would part with him, I suspect the mystery jaw-dropping deal is a mega trade with the Red Sox, which would net the Nats Daisuke Matsuzaka (although getting Jon Lester would almost make more sense, dollar wise for the Sox) and Kevin Youkilis. The move would free up more than enough money so the Red Sox could make a strong run for Cliff Lee.

So with all that, the only "even more jaw-dropping" deal that come to mind, are either a trade for Teixeira, which I cant see happening, unless the Yankees regret giving him the contract they did, or a deal with the Red Sox for Lester (or Matsuzaka) and Youkilis.

Anonymous said...

Beltre could also play second base and probably pretty well since he has also played some shortstop. That would leave open a trade of Desmond + Willingham + ?? for a pitcher or two. They seemingly almost have to keep Espinosa because of his switch-hitting bat. Plus his value is going to be down because of the surgery. He likely won't be able to really hit for a year or so.

JMW IV said...

Dear Mystery Player:

Please be Prince Fielder.

Signed,

JMad

Anonymous said...

Perhaps with Beltre in the fold plus a rapid trigger pull of a trade for a frontline young pitcher ... you might just get Cliff Lee to take notice and consider the possibilities. They need to continue in deep stealth mode to pull this all off.

McKinley said...

Rizzo has made it clear he's looking for guys that approach 5-tool capabilities, certainly defense and speed as part of the package. Fielder is a riskier Adam Dunn clone. If fan/owner favorite Dunn didn't meet the GM's line in the sand on what he was willing to do, Prince Fielder simply makes no sense. Nobody on the Nats is so good that they shouldn't be considered in a trade. Only Zimmerman, Strasburg and Harper are currently invested as players whose departures would be seen as fan betrayal.

Anonymous said...

Desmond as part of a trade for pitching helps solve 2 problems: pitching and defense. Espinosa to short (upgrade over Desmond) and perhaps a short-term FA for 2B to build a bridge to Lombardozzi. That is the D part. The pitcher helps fill our biggest hole. This is just hot-stove talk. Just an idea. I think Desmond helps more in a trade than as our SS.
fpcsteve

N. Cognito said...

I wouldn't call ONE game at second and SEVEN at short, over his entire career, as "some."

Kenz aFan said...
"Mark said, "I'm talking about a player no one has mentioned being even remotely under consideration by the Nationals this winter."

I'm wondering if you offered a clue by using the term "this winter", which could mean there may have been talk of the unnamed player during the regular season, or in a previous one."

You are reading way too much into "this winter."

natsfan1a said...

Eh, I think I'll just wait and see rather than trying to guess the player.

In other news, I knew there were multiple Anonymi, but now it seems that we'll have to try to keep the N. Cogniti straight, too. I'm sooo confused...

N. Cognito said...

N. Cognito said...
"Stephen Drew coming from Arizona.
No basis, just can't stand the thought of the low-OBP, high error Desmond playing short and making lots of outs in the 2-hole."

You're an idiot. No way the D-backs trade Drew. He's low cost. Maybe next year. Besides, if the Nats move Desmond, they can slide Espinoza to SS and sign someone to play 2B. Secondbaseman are a little easier to find anyway.
December 6, 2010 11:08 AM

JMW IV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Secondbaseman are a little easier to find anyway.

Or create ... as in Adrian Beltre along with his 28 home runs.

Then you come up with a left handed hitting first baseman and its done.

JMW IV said...

get over your image issues people.

Prince Fielder is one of the best power hitters in all of baseball, and he's not a butcher in the field.

and he's 28.

don't compare him to Dmitri Young. Dmitri was old, fat, and lazy and not even in the same league as Fielder as a baseball player.

Fielder is just fat. and the fact that he is fat means nothing when he plays decent-to-good defense at 1B, hits 35 hrs, and posts a 400+ OBP and a a OPS that hovers around .900 every year.

but you don't want a player of that caliber because he isn't a bodybuilder.

cmon son. Rizzo can't be that stupid.

if he can be had for a reasonable price in terms of players, you have to do that deal. if the Brewers want too much, then pass.

Andrew Stebbins said...

Adrian Beltre.

At second base.

N. Cognito said...

I have figured out who the player is.

Albert Pujols.

We'll be trading Ian Desmond, Josh Willingham and a couple of minor prospects for Pujols. The Nats have worked out a deal to extend Pujols' contract for another 23 years, at $35 million per year.

Don't laugh. It's only a little more ridiculous than some of the other trade proposals I've read on this site.

And then, they're going to turn around and trade him even-up for Prince Fielder.

Anonymous said...

I know Willingham is a free agent next season and that Rizzo prefers to go year to year with him BUT you CANNOT replace the Hammer with the Flying Dutchman, that makes the acquisition of worth combined with the loss of dunn and willingham an offensive loss of catastrophic proportions!

I think this is where the Nats would like to go...big offers to Crawford and Lee and a small short-term deal to LaRoche (then you can trade Willingham) and Plan B is trade for Greinke (bye bye Ian Desmond, Norris, Brad Peacock and one of our dozen of potential starters, maybe Martis or Mock plus bullpen guys not named Storen) sign Pena and then trade Willingham for another starting pitcher. I hope Plan A comes true!

JMW IV said...

hey Mark...you gotta throw us a bone.

is the Myster Guy a pitcher, or a position player?

Anonymous said...

MLB Trade Rumors says James Loney. It's not the big name that everyone is looking for but it does make sense.

Anonymous said...

Adrian Beltre leads to another scary, jaw dropping thought: He is a third baseman and probably in the top 5 in terms of player value. Zim could net that starting pitcher and then some.

Souldrummer said...

@Anonymous 12:50PM
We need to learn from the Dunn situation and trade people at peak value if they aren't long term pieces. Willingham doesn't seem to be part of the long term picture with Werth and then Harper as future corner outfielders. Are we a playoff team next year? Unless there are other moves for pitching, using Willingham to fill a greater need at first base or with pitching seems to make sense.

Will said...

"Prince Fielder is one of the best power hitters in all of baseball, and he's not a butcher in the field."

That's simply not true. Over the past three years, Fielder is the worst defensive regular 1B (using UZR). If you lower the criteria to just 1500 innings played at 1B over the last three years, which is about one full season, then Fielder is the 3rd worst, only trumped by Dunn and Giambi.

If Adam Dunn had always played 1B and was born 4 years later, he'd change his name to Prince Fielder. Just look at their career wOBA- Fielder: .387, Dunn: .384. Unfortunately for Dunn, he was mistaken for an outfielder, which hurt his reputation big-time.

Kenz aFan said...

N. Cognito said, You are reading way too much into "this winter."

Ah, come on, it's the off-season, one of the best parts of the off-season is talking about possibilities. I know Teixeira is never going to happen, but with the Gonzalez trade a done deal, Youkilis moves to 3B, where Lowrie has impressed and who's younger and cheaper could make Youkilis available. The possibility of a trade for Matsuzaka and Youkilis (or another player) isn't as far fetched as all that. The Red Sox are knee deep in infielders now.

N. Cognito said...

"This winter" is not a clue for anything.

Jim Webster said...

Mark sez: "I think it's safe to say there is no chance Jayson Werth is going to be worth $18 million in 2016 and 2017."
The odds make that a safe bet, but NYT piece today on Jeter points out that Ted Williams hit .388 in 1956 at age 39 and Stan Musial hit .330 in 1962 when he was 41.
Just sayin'.
Or should I say just hopin'.

Anonymous said...

No to Fielder, doesn't fit the Rizzo mold of "athletic and defense."

No to Beltre. He is a payday type player. In 2004, the year before his first shot at free agency, he hit .334 with 48 home runs.

Then he signed a 5-year $64 million contract with Seattle. The next five years he hit (.255, 268, .276, .266, .265) and never hit more than 26 homeruns.

Then last off-season all he could get was a 1-year deal with Boston. He hit .321 with 28 homers.

Now apparently he wants another 5-year deal worth at least $70 million.

The Mariner's have seen this movie before and it sucks.

Anonymous said...

Beltre makes sense as the next move. He is represented by Boras.

sec3mysofa said...

Derek Jeter?

sec3 said...

Well, Bonds and Pujols were already taken...

Anonymous said...

Lerners and Rizzo to The Establishment (Yanks, Sawx, Phillies, etc): Suck on it and like it!

Golfersal said...

Mr. Mark,

Could your bombshell be that Rizzo is looking to sign Adrian Beltre to a five year deal, moving him to second base and dangling either Desmond or Espinosa and Willingham to Kansas City for Zack Greinke or some other big name pitcher???
Hearing that Rizzo is close to the Beltre deal which would be big.

Inquiring minds want to know.

DFL said...

Scot Podsednik can be had for $ 4 million if the Nats decide to trade Josh Willingham. Podsednik could play left and bat lead-off. At lead-off, Podsednik would be an upgrade from Nyjer Morgan.

Anonymous said...

There is zero chance that the Red Sox will trade Jon Lester. He is one of the top LHP in baseball and has a very reasonable contract. Matsuzaka, on the other hand, is probably available.

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