Thursday, July 14, 2011

Catching up on Thursday's news

Sorry for the recent lack of postings; I was traveling all day, so I'm just now catching up with several newsworthy items that developed over the course of the afternoon and evening.

Let's run through them all in quick-fire fashion...

-- Jim Riggleman has been hired by the Giants as a special assignment scout. The former Nationals manager has long been close friends with San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy -- Bochy was Riggleman's third base coach in San Diego 20 years ago and succeeded him as manager -- so it seemed a logical landing spot. Riggleman was in San Diego this evening to meet with Bochy and Giants GM Brian Sabean and the three settled on this position in rather quick fashion. "I look forward to sitting down with Riggs and Brian and talking," Bochy told reporters before the hiring was made official. "It could be doing some scouting, it could be looking at our minor leagues, basically some consulting."

-- The Nationals granted J.C. Romero his unconditional release, ending any possibility of the veteran lefty joining their bullpen. The former Phillies reliever signed a minor-league contract with the Nats on June 29 and reported to Class AAA Syracuse. Romero posted a 1.29 ERA in five appearances, allowing one run and three hits with five strikeouts and a walk in seven innings, but his contract included an "out" clause if he wasn't promoted to the big leagues by now. Once the Nationals decided not to call him up, Romero asked for and was granted his release. He immediately signed a minor-league deal with the Yankees and will report to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

-- The club announced the signings of four draft picks: right-handers Taylor Hill (sixth round), Greg Holt (eighth round) and Dixon Anderson (ninth round), plus left-hander Nicholas Lee (18th round). The Nationals have now signed all of their draft picks from rounds 5-12, though they've yet to sign anyone drafted in the first four rounds. Most of those players are expected to wait until the Aug. 15 deadline before coming to terms.

-- Got back to town this evening and thought to myself: Man, what great weather. Not great enough, however, for Class A Potomac to play its doubleheader against Kinston. After getting washed out last night from a thunderstorm, the two teams were unable to play the makeup doubleheader tonight because of the continuing drainage problems at Pfitzner Stadium. That's 12 P-Nats home games now that have been postponed this season, and it's gotten to the point where Nationals GM Mike Rizzo felt the need to issue a statement. "The Washington Nationals would never consider asking our players, or those of our opponents, to play on a field that we believe represents a safety threat," Rizzo said. "The Nationals have repeatedly requested that dangerous field conditions be addressed under the supervision of Major League Baseball. Recent unsupervised work has resulted in a field that is even more dangerous. We regret any inconvenience this may cause to fans of the Potomac Nationals, but we know they join us in wanting only the best for our players."

-- Pitching probables for this weekend's series in Atlanta were announced. Livan Hernandez will face Tim Hudson in tomorrow night's opener. John Lannan, who was knocked out of his last outing after taking a line drive to his face, will start on schedule Saturday night against Tommy Hanson. Tom Gorzelanny faces All-Star Jair Jurrjens in Sunday's finale. That means Jason Marquis and Jordan Zimmmermann will start the first two games in Houston next week, though the order hasn't been announced yet.

44 comments:

Gonat said...

The P-Nats drainage problem cost them a chance at Bryce Harper. Sucks for them and our High A guys stuck in that swamp.

I like the rotation and even though the Braves matchups are tough, hoping our guys can go toe to toe. JZim and Marquis should get decent matchups in Houston.

Oldguy said...

We will see Atlanta's three best: Jurrgens, Hanson, Hudson. Combined W/L 30-13.

Anonymous said...

So, if Livo loses to Hudson, and JZimm wins against the #5 starter in Houston, that's supposed to reflect upon Livo and JZimm?

HHover said...

Glad to bear that Lannan will be ready Saturday--that's good news after the scary end to his last start.

Nice too that after a tough weekend in ATL, the Nats will get to face some weaker teams out west.

HHover said...

Erm ... "hear that Lannan will be ready"

NatsLady said...

Went to a P-Nats game a few weeks ago. It rained hard for about 15 minutes just before game time. Later the opponent's third baseman slipped and just about twisted his ankle on a seam between the infield and outfield (the usher pointed it out to me when I asked why it happened).

So it's not just us, it's the other teams' players that suffer. Nice scoreboard, though.

NatsLady said...

Watching Cubs/Marlins. Hard to judge who is worse.

FS said...

NatsLady, I just came from Wrigley Field. Cubs have indeed mastered the art of chocking. They have more than 100 years of experience by now.

As far as Marlins concerned, I think Garza pitched a decent game and Cubs' OF played solid defense behind him, especially Fokudome saved him couple of times by robbing extra base hits I think.

FS said...

*choking. Bad mistake there.

Drew8 said...

There's interesting and encouraging news from Harrisburg.

Chien-Ming Wang won again Thursday night, throwing six scoreless innings, with no walks. How bout that?

Harper went hitless, but he threw out ANOTHER runner, this time at the plate. The kid's got a howitzer. That's the ninth runner he's thrown out this year and his third in just five games at Harrisburg.

According to Harper's fielding stats at Baseball Reference.com, he threw out six runners at Hagerstown -- four from right field and two from centerfield. At Harrisburg he's gunned down three guys from left field in the five games.

Heading into tonight's game, in his Hagerstown and Harrisburg stints combined, Harper had 143 chances, 130 putouts, 8 assists and 5 errors. He had a .965 fielding percentage and a 1.82 range factor per game, which is putouts + assists/games played.

Two of Harper's five errors this year came in limited duty in center field.

Can somebody who understands fielding stats weigh in on Harper's range factor? I know he's fast and he has a good arm. Is 1.82 considered good range, or is the sample size too small to make a judgment?

Will said...

Here's to hoping that special assignment scout position is more than a one year deal, because Sabean might get some surprises when he finally sits down with Riggs.

Anonymous said...

For a team that already has so much trouble winning on the road, wouldn't it be logical to have your, far and away, best starter start TWO games of the 9-game road trip?

If Zimmermann starts the second game of the Houston series, he'll start against the worst team of the three and only start once. It would be a stunningly bad decision if this is what they decide.

Gonat said...

Anon @3:58, have you been following that Jordan Zimmmermann has an innings limit. They are trying to push him back in the rotation so that just happens to be Houston. It had nothing to do with matchups as he has faced plenty of the other team's #1 and #2 pitchers this season.

Gonat said...

From Bill Ladson on Werth:

"I saw at an early age that even the greatest of players go through [slumps]," Werth said. "I knew that he (Carlos Delgado in 2002) knew what the problem was. It's not always easy to fix it on the fly, especially when bad habits are hard to break.

"Hopefully, I'll get back to what I do best. It's not like it's real far away. I feel like I'm close [to getting out of the slump]. It's been frustrating."

Like he did during the first half, Werth plans to play hard every inning.

"A smart guy told me that only thing you can control is your effort and your intent," he said. "I'm going to hustle every day and I have good intentions. ... I'm aware [I'm not having a good season]. But once I get hot, I'll throw the team on my shoulders during the second half. I have no problem doing that. I want to be that guy. I want the ball. Do I get frustrated? Yeah, because I want to win. I want to be good, I want to be the best player that I can be. When you are not, I think it's pretty easy to get frustrated."

Anonymous said...

Gonat, what's the point in having him pitch more innings in September when we need to win games now, in order for there to be a chance for the September games to mean anything.

If we're already conceding the second half of the season then this strategy of not using your best starter twice in the first road trip after the All-Star break is just as valid as any other strategy.

If we're not conceding then winning games now is important so he should be pitching twice on this road trip. Innings pitched in July, when you're not out of playoff contention are more important than innings pitched in September when you're twenty games out.

Gonat said...

Anon @4:46, it isn't the way you want to draw it up as the situation with innings limits isn't optimum when the pitcher turns out to be your best.

JZim is at 115 innings now. He has roughly 7 to 8 games left to pitch to get to 160 innings. That will get him to approximately Aug 17 to Aug 22 unless they skip 2 rotation starts completely to get him to Sept 1st where maybe Strasburg can then take his spot in the rotation. I just don't see it as a seamless exchange. I could also see Chien-Ming Wang jumping in to take some JZim starts.

I also don't consider it conceding the 2nd half. I think the more curious part was setting the other 4 pitchers. Gorzo gets Jurrjens who is the Braves best this year.

Dave said...

Is there any reason for Potomac to be the Nats' high-A club, other than proximity?

This business with the field is very disturbing, and has been going on all year, as I recall.

Jeff L said...

I'm from Richmond and we have a very similar problem with our minor league stadium's field. Bad drainage led to the postponement of several games when the Richmond Braves (AAA) were here. The stadium was owned by the city so the Braves were reluctant to pay big $$ to fix it. The city was reluctant because the Braves were shopping around to leave (if I remember that correctly).

The field was eventually fixed by someone but it went on way longer than necessary.

So, who owns Pfitzner stadium--Potomac or the county?

NatsL said...

Prince William County owns Pfitzner Stadium.

http://www2.insidenova.com/news/2011/feb/21/taxpayers-provide-more-their-share-pfitzner-ar-855283/

NatsLady said...

Prince William County owns Pfitzner Stadium.

Sunderland said...

Anon 4:46
Actually, in terms of pitching matchups, we should be throwing Gorzelanny, Marquis and Lannan at ATL.
The only chance we have of making a playoff push is to beat Atlanta ourselves. And the Braves as a team are batting .208 vs left handed pitching this season, worst in the NL.
We have 2 off days over the next 11 days, so we could re-shuffle the rotation later to spread out the three lefties.
But in terms of not conceding the second half, opening with the three lefties makes more sense than throwing Zimmermann in the ATL.

Sunderland said...

Wow. My bad. As soon as I sent that I knew something was not right. So we have the two lefties going against ATL, as it should be. I'll shut up now.

JaneB said...

We get a real game tonight. It's sort of ridiculous how jazzed that's making me.
Mark, please tell us they are sending you there.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

A couple of questions:

What are the options for the Nats regarding High A?

How long is the deal with Potomac?

Is the Carolina League the only logical option for High A for the Nats or are there other leagues in the Southeast or Midwest where the Nats could land a deal with a stadium that will not injure people or flood or a moments notice?

Tim said...

Drew8...

"Range Factor", if you want to call it that is based on the premise that the more balls you can get to, the more putouts you'll have and therefore, more assists, too.

There is NO good fielding stat or metric out there that accurately reflects fielding. Even fielding percentage has its flaws: for instance, the SS that handles the routine plays flawlessly, has less errors, might be old and slow and unable to make the spectacular plays or the ones deep in the hole that might save a run or two. There is NO stat available to reflect some of those immeasurables and intangibles.

JD said...

Harper,

The other High A leagues are in Florida and California. I think the Nats like having their teams in relative proximity to DC because this gives Rizzo et al a chance to see more games and makes it easier to move players around.

I'm sure the Nats can find another venue in the Carolina league if necessary and I don't know how long their current commitment is to Potomac. I am also not sure if they can opt out of their commitment based on breach of contract by the county.

Tim said...

I agree, Jane, Mark has to go to the game, and above all, get out of the pressbox so we can begin the offensive onslaught.

Go JuggerNats!

JD said...

Tim,

I disagree with your comments. Metrics such as UZR do exist and they cover exactly what you are discussing. The idea is that it's possible to lay out an area which an average fielder can cover based on historical evidence and then compare a given fielder's coverage based on that area.

It is generally agreed that UZR is imperfect but it's a reasonable relative measure by which to compare fielders. Fielding percentage is almost completely useless for the reasons you mention.

Joe Seamhead said...

I'll betcha that "special assignment scout" Jim Riggleman isn't making $600K as the the manager formerly known as Riggs was.

Dave said...

@Joe Seamhead, that's exactly what my wife said this morning when I told her Riggleman had interviewed out there.

"Special assignment scout" sounds a whole lot like a job you give a friend when you want to throw him a bone.

NatsLady said...

Didn't they just approve/build a baseball stadium in Loudoun County? Could the P-Nats relocate there?

natsfan1a said...

That doesn't seem to be an option, as was discussed in the Harper promotion thread a while back. You can visit the site of the Loudoun Hounds via the link below:

http://www.loudounhounds.com/fanfestnews.php

Gonat said...

Loudoun is for a independent league team of the Atlantic league. They are not MiLB or MLB affiliated.

NatsLady said...

I miss the Vermont Lake Monsters... (irrelevant comment).

Dave said...

I have a Lake Monsters cap on my hat rack. Remember when Bob and (? Don Sutton? Dibble?) were going on and on during the games about getting a Lake Monsters cap? All that banter actually sold me one.

TimDz said...

Regarding the Pfitz...
Found this article:

http://www2.insidenova.com/sports/2011/jul/15/2/potomac-nationals-eye-new-stadium-ar-1174669/

NatsLady said...

TimDZ -- good find. Hope it comes to pass. That would solve the problem in 2013.

NatsLady said...

Riggs -- $75K is my estimate. Plus no uniform allowance. Probably keeps him off TV.

natsfan1a said...

The P-Nats have been talking about a new stadium for years, originally to be near the site of the old one, if memory serves. Hope that it does come to pass, sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

There is no funding for a new stadium for the P-Nats In Woodbridge. There isn't even any money to fix the drainage problem. The Nats will have to move their high A team to another city.

I am surprised that they let Romero go because he pitched well at Syracuse and Rizzo has been crying for another left handed reliever.

Eugene in Oregon said...

For Mark Z (or anyone else who knows):

Is there more to the Romero story than simply not having a spot on the 25-man roster for him?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Whatever the issue with Romero, the Yankees snapped him up right away!

FOTB said...

Fear not JaneB and other worried fans. Mark Z is in Atlanta this weekend.

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