Monday, August 29, 2011

Most significant developments of 2011

US Presswire photo
Jordan Zimmermann's breakthrough was a key development of the season.
First off, an explanation for the lack of postings on the site over the weekend and why it's probably going to remain this way for the immediate future. As you probably know, my wife and I have been expecting our first child all season. His official due date is Oct. 4, but he is definitely going to be born before that, almost certainly in the next two weeks. (What can I say? The kid just really wants to see Stephen Strasburg with his own eyes!) The good news is, both Mrs. Z and Baby Z are healthy. We're just playing the waiting game now, which of course prevents me from covering the team the way I normally do. Thanks for understanding; can't wait to post the news (and hopefully some photos) once the big day arrives!

OK, back to baseball. The Nationals got swept in Cincinnati over the weekend, three disheartening losses that featured plenty of frustrating moments. They're off today, spending their time in Atlanta before opening a three-game series against the Braves tomorrow night.

What I'd like to do with this off-day posting is pose a couple of questions to all of you: 1) What has been the most significant development of the 2011 season to date? and 2) What remains the most significant development that could play out over the next month?

Let's start with the most significant development to date. To me, there are no shortage of candidates. You've got Jordan Zimmermann's full return from Tommy John surgery and ascension to front-line starter. You've got Michael Morse's breakthrough as one of the most-potent (and consistent) offensive forces in the National League. You've got Drew Storen's arrival as a legit, big-league closer (yesterday's blown save notwithstanding). You've got solid rookie campaigns by both Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos (though their second-half regressions have put some damper on things). And, in the negative category, you've got Jayson Werth's disappointing year after signing his mammoth contract, plus Ian Desmond's struggles at the plate (and occasionally in the field).

What do you think stands out the most from that list? Or, if you've got another development that I didn't include, what is it? Personally, I think Zimmermann's development trumps the rest of the pack. He set himself up to be a really solid No. 2 starter behind Strasburg next season and beyond, a crucial development for a franchise trying to take the next step.

Now, let's run through what still needs to be seen over the season's final month. Again, there are no shortage of choices. Strasburg's pending return (almost certainly Sept. 6 or 7 against the Dodgers) is right up there. So is Chien-Ming Wang's continued progression as the Nats decide whether to attempt to re-sign him over the winter. Ross Detwiler's remaining starts will be closely scrutinized, as well. The manner in which Espinosa and Ramos finish out their rookie seasons -- and Desmond finishes out his second full season -- could have long-term implications. And we're going to get a good look at Chris Marrero and (probably) Steve Lombardozzi, Tom Milone and Brad Peacock.

So, what's your choice for the most significant development that remains to play out over the next month? While Strasburg's return may seem like the no-brainer choice, I'm actually going to go with Wang instead. Not that Strasburg's September isn't going to be important; I just believe he's already established that he's 100 percent healthy and ready to go all-out in 2012. The five or so starts he makes up here the rest of this season will only be the tune-up for his full return next year. Wang, on the other hand, still has a lot left to prove. There's no understating his potential significance to this franchise moving forward. If he continues to progress the way he has since returning from the DL, he absolutely looks like a strong No. 3 starter behind Strasburg and Zimmermann. If he regresses at all, or has trouble remaining consistent through the finish line, you have to question whether it's worth bringing him back.

There you have it. You've got my opinion. Now, I'll put both questions to all of you: What has been the most significant development of the season to date? And what remains the most significant development that could play out over the next month?

204 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 204   Newer›   Newest»
«Oldest ‹Older 1 – 200 of 204 Newer› Newest»
dryw said...

Mark, best wishes to you, Mrs. Z, and Baby Z. My niece was born six weeks early and has never had any problems. She spent a couple of weeks in NICU just to grow, but that's it. Hoping for the same for Baby Z!

To me the most significant development is not any one player, but just the feeling (despite the current, really depressing losing streak) that the team may finally be turning a corner--ok, probably not on this season, as I keep hoping every time we string together 3-4 wins, but that there are finally some real pieces of the future in place, with more in the pipeline.

In prior years, my dad would go to a game or two with me when he was in town, and he'd always say that Zim was the only real ballplayer on the team. I would usually argue for Adam or Josh or someone, but he did have a point, to some extent. Now, even if you count out the "hopefullys," we're starting to look like the beginnings of a legit team.

I'll take that!

Joe Seamhead said...

I agree with your Wang analysis.If he returns all the way to his previous form, and we resign him, it would certainly more then justify the.risk taken in backing his recovery.
I was a huge Jesus Flores fan before his injury. Every day it seems that he is getting closer to where he was, which was one of the best up and coming catchers in the league. If he continues to improve the rest of the season, he will make choosing between him and Wilson Ramos very tough.
Of douse the most significant development for the team wasn't / isn't a player on the field, in my opinion. It's the Riggleman resignation, and subsequent hiring of Davey Johnson. We'll have to see how that ultimately plays out!

Joe Seamhead said...

Darn auto correct. The second paragraph should have started with,"Of course the most significant development...."

Joe Seamhead said...

Except it was the third paragraph...is the coffee ready yet?

Anonymous said...

I think if the Nats want Wang he has an obligation to them. I know in the real world it doesn't work that way but he wouldn't be in the position he is in if it easn't for the Nats.

I think pitching as a whole was the biggest development. Then Morse a close second. Never saw that coming.

Another_Sam said...

MZ -- the most significant development, IMHO, is the news you updated in the lead of your posting. The rest of this stuff is pale in comparison. Congratulations to all. And thank for your work in making this another fun season.

Will said...

Instead of picking just one player to highlight, I'm going to highlight over a hundred.

The improvement of the farm system was the biggest development this season. This season we've seen just a glimpse of some of the fruit it has begun to bear. Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa, Chris Marrero, Cole Kimball, Ross Detwiler, Ryan Mattheus, and (to a less extent) Flores and Maya were all products of the farm system who got time in the big leagues this season. Which meant we could avoid some of the washed-up has-beens like Brian Bruney and Jason Simontacchi as we had in previous seasons.

Couple that with break out performances by guys still in the minors, like Bryce Harper, Peacock, Milone, Lombardozzi, Hood, Rosenbaum, etc, and we have a fresh pipeline of youth to fill in the gaps for years to come.

Finally, we added some premier talent to the already strong bunch- Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin and Purke are all very good prospects.

That's the most significant development of the season to me, and it'll be fun to watch as we reap the benefits over the next several seasons.

masnstinks said...

I think that the managerial change has created the most significant impact on this team. Rizzo was building a certain style of team - pitching/defense and it would appear that has been either derailed and the team will continue to regress - or- the team will take a new direction next year under DJ and be a better team. I do not believe this manager will work within the previous plan. It remains to be seen whether or not the organization will adjust the team to suit the manager or make a full out search for a new manager. I think some of the chaos that we are seeing now is a direct result of the team not knowing what its style or identity is. A mid-season change in philosophy is very tough, even with a seasoned team. I don't believe it is clear yet what will happen next year, but there has definitely been a paradigm shift. And Mark - best wishes to you and your family. Can't wait for the photos of baby Z!

baseballswami said...

Will -- well said, and thanks for reminding us!

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the update, Mark. I had a feeling that might be the case. As Another_Sam notes, any other developments of the season pale in comparison to the impending birth of the Baby To Be Named Later. My "baby" sister and my nephew were "preemies," and both were born at earlier points in the pregnancy. Despite having taken an early lead, as it were, each went on to thrive and to lead a completely normal life, and there have been many developments in medicine since then.

Will need to mull over the Nats-related portion of the post but just wanted to get this in there.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Mark, Mrs. Z and Baby-to-be-named-Later Z: No need to hurry up to beat the Sept. 1 roster expansion deadline, but it seems like that may be the case. Sounds like you may have a young GM-in-the-making on the way. Seriously, best wishes to all and we're all pulling for everyone. Can't wait to see the photos. This baby is going to have hundreds of god parents! No question for the Z household, this is the most significant development of 2011!

natsfan1a said...

On the team developments front, I'm having trouble picking out the most significant. Scanning Mark's list of possibilities for developments to date, I'd picked out JZ before reading the rest of the post. Nothing jumped to mind for the TBD category, but once I read Mark's choice of Wang, it made sense to me, too.

That said, I also liked Will's take on the farm system, although it took more than one season of behind-the-scenes work to get there. dryw's point on perceptions of the team also resonated, although imo any changes in *public* perception started with last year's drafting of SS (cough--bandwagoners :-)).

Natslifer said...

Mark, my first came 5 weeks early and we spent a few weeks in the NICU ourselves - truly the most amazing place in modern medicine IMHO. Don't worry about anything and we look forward to hearing your great news soon.

To the questions:
- Someone hit on it already but lack of offense/change in manager/what do we do for a manager next year is a super key development. Rizzo said he developed for pitching and defense and Davey said he likes to win games 8-4. Something's gotta give in that picture.
- The Jayson Werth thing is also really interesting in terms of team chemistry. If everyone accepts that he makes the money because he was there at the right time/place, how much does his lack of performance (and seeming lack of personality) gnaw away at the team's ability to fight through tough times?

Lastly, I was all prepared for a winning streak when this losing streak came around. Record-wise, I always have that Boz "teams rarely improve more than 10 games year to year" metric in my head... can we somehow get to 80 wins this year because we need to be in the hunt next year.

SCNatsFan said...

Mr and Mrs Z... good luck to you both, hoping both are happy and healthy after the big day comes

pauloyd said...

Hey, congrats. Our first baby is due September 30th so I am feeling the same way...

Dawn said...

Well, first and foremost babies trump baseball. Best wishes for a safe and beautiful delivery (and get a good nights sleep while waiting). Baseball wise, JZ's performance this year, better than expected. Ramos (with mentoring from Pudge) has been solid, Flores if healthy will be a starter somewhere, bringing a good trade for an improving farm system. Catcher depth is like money in the bank, everybody wants it. Future is bright but unpredictable, kind of like Desmond's performance.

AndesAngle said...

Most significant development so far is overall progress of team. No more talk of signing big time FA in offseason.

The rest of the season I want to see Marrero, Lombardozzi, Peacock and Milone make a huge impact. Enough to make the team on opening day next year.

An overall complaint is the lack of hitting from some players.

As for the baby, hang in there. Our kids tried to come early too. Mom rested and all went well. My prayers go out to you and your family.

The Joker said...

The development of Brian Bixler as a centerfielder.

DFL said...

The two most significant positive developments for the Nats were the comeback of Jordan Zimmerman and the rise of Michael Morse. The most negative developments were the disappointing hitting of Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond. Werth is untradeable while Desmond would provide little in return if traded.

What the team must be wary of in the last month of the season is a swoon that might sap the team's confidence for next season.

Anonymous said...

Congrats Mark and Mrs. Z.

The emergence of Michael Morse as an offensive threat and a versatile if not Gold Glove quality defender. Had Morse not in May and June, no one would have. He is the Nats MVP by a mile.

Feel Wood said...

Clearly the most significant development for the Nationals in 2011 was the earthquake. They haven't won a game since.

rmoore446 said...

Best wishes to your family and glad you are able to spend more time with them while awaiting the new little one.

JZ's development is most significant, as not much trumps a frontline pitcher. Michael Morse proving he can perform at such a high level for an entire season is second. We need reliable bats and his has been the only consistant one for the entire season.

For the remainder of the season, Wang's development is number one.

jd said...

Mark,

All the best to you and your wife.

Will hit it on the head. This team had to get to where it's development of young players was at least on par with other teams. High draft picks and wise spending on draftees (drafting over slot) has brought us to where we have some of the brightest young stars in the pipeline and the quantity is beginning to match the quality.

natsfan1a said...

er, I should have typed "last year's debut of SS."

sm13 said...

Best wishes to you and Mrs. Z and new forthcoming baby Z!

This year's biggest development is the crowd at Nats Park -- for typical games (e.g., weeknights) more folks are in thier seats, the proportion of Nats fans is greater, fans seem to be louder and more inclined get out of their seats and root their team on. To me this is because this team has turned the corner and is now viewed as going up, rather than down. Folks have "hope" -- we can pull this game out in the late inninings; we can close out this win. That's a big change over the last few years. (My second place winner is Drew, who has established himself as a legitimate major league closer with a long career ahead of him. Stability at that position will be key as we contend for the playoffs.)

I think Ross Detweiler is the player to watch the rest of this season. His last start was a bit shaky and we need to see if he can bounce back to form. The next few weeks will go a long way to seeing whether he's our #4 next year, after Stras, JZimm, & Lannan. I'd pencil in Wang at #5, as he's shown enough already to bring him back in 2012.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I'm going with Riggleman, and Morse a close second. When Bowden left, they had a reokacement ready. I don't get the feeling DJ was a considered choice, and that is way disruptive to an organization. Not that he's not a good manager, but he doesn't seem like a good transition guy under the circumstances.

Morse was mostly a surprise. Not even his champions in here (all two of them) ever said he was a top-ten hitter, and + mitt at first. And he plays most every day. Znn, OTOH, wasn't such a shock--this was his projected level if they were lucky.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

*replacement

natsfan1a said...

In other news, Ankiel's arm is getting some love on Big League Stew (scroll down for the item):

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew

natsfan1a said...

Charlie's call is great: he is!...he is!...make the call...he is out at third base!

CBinDC said...

The beginning of the seasons most significant development is that Mike Morse is really the big bat they needed and wanted for so long and that Jayson Werth is not yet the best breakfast they ever had. The most significant development in the last half is, after the Phillie series at home, that the Organization is so bad at devolving a fan base and projecting a solid Organization image about the team (as in NYY or Red Sox or St. Louis) they seem to have not learned a thing from past mistakes and clueless at how to correct them. People are not upset because they want to be upset they are because they want this to succeed and be a part of it in the process. If they want an example of what ignoring the complaints do to your image then look no further then PEPCO who was named the most hated company in the USA. (BTW I think the past weekend shows what happens that you can correct such mistakes, PEPCO that is)

NatsLady said...

Can I vote for Tyler Clippard? After an unbelievable excess of "vultured" wins last year he set stranding inherited runners as his goal--and he is off the charts. I know relievers who are not closers don't make headlines, but there will come a day when he will save the day.

I'm on the Wang bandwagon. One more good start and offer him good money, right now--maybe not top dollar but good money. If he makes two more good starts other teams will start to notice and the bidding war will start. I think he will have loyalty to the Nats (and I have just a wee feeling he likes the NL), but you can't expect him to turn down megabucks from the Yanks if they come calling.

I'm a little worried that Morse's year will be a fluke, sincerely hope that I'm wrong. I hope Morse morph's into a year-after-year solid player.

Riggleman's unexpected departure has to be ranked up there as a significant development, even though I don't place as much stock on the manager's role as some do. If Riggs had not gone over the cliff, and if the Nats improve by 10 games over last year, we would be stuck with him. Not a playoff calibre manager, not the guy I want to see manage Stras, JZimm or the guys coming up. Whether Davey stays or goes (and I'm iffy on that), we are better off without Riggs.

Another significant development has to be the maturing of Rizzo as GM and the Lerners as owners. Not only standing up to Riggs, what about Pfitzner and the yoyo's in Prince William County? Nats Park is admired all over baseball (got raves from Eric Karabell and Mr. Tony but still not great with vendors when crowd is over 30K).

And, lest we forget: How about that draft and those draft signings??

The fact that with the dregs and the scrubs and LaRoche out and RZimm out we actually had playoff hopes well into July is amazing. No realistic fan expected the Nats to be a .500 team this year, and we might not be--but we are going to improve at least five games over last year and maybe ten. Steady as she goes, that is significant.

Moving forward: extend RZimm for a lotta years (maybe not ten, but at least seven or eight.) Give Clipp whatever he wants in arbitration. See if Desi can develop permanently as a leadoff hitter, and drill some baseball IQ into the head that's on top of a very talented body. GIve him another year (2012).

As some have suggested, acquire Mark Buerhle and Coco Crisp...

Hunt around for good bench players, make sure Gorzy knows he's a long reliever and possible spot start but is not going to be in the rotation, offer something to Livo, make Pudge a coach, see if Ankiel can either improve his hitting or exorcise his demons and get back on the mound... I can think of a dozen other things but have gone on too long.

Oh, and why don't we have a writer for the Nationals on ESPN Sweetspot? The Nats page is pitiful!

NatsLady said...

1A-- that was a great call by Charlie. I heard it in real-time and I was laughing my a** off.

Don't forget to re-sign Charlie and Dave. And keep 'em on the radio!

bups said...

The most significant thing this season was Rizzo signing another expensive free agent who was damaged goods--Adam Laroche. Last year it was Jason Marquis. A close second is the terrible season Jason Werth is having.

LoveDaNats said...

First off, congratulations on the impending arrival of baby Z! As a former Lamaze teacher, I would suspect Mrs. Z is on bed rest and if so, you have your hands full, Mark.
I think our most significant development this year has been the emergence of a true major league rotation. Especially, the development of John Lannan. I was not much of a fan. I thought he deserved the demotion last year and gave him a small chance of actually becoming a reliable starter. I have been pleasantly surprised by him this year. As he approaches .500 in wins and losses, I could see him as a legitimate #3 next year, even though everyone else seems to think it will be Wang.
I also think the Nats will manage to pull out 81 wins, although I could be delusional.

sm13 said...

NatsLady has it right about extending Zim this winter. There is no reason we need to spend big bucks on a free agent this off-season, so let's use that money to tie up Ryan for a 5-year $100 m extension.

I still don't get the Coco Crisp infatuation, though. He's beena journeyman throughout his career -- not at all what we need.

Go Nats!

NatsLady said...

LOveDaNats-- right on about the rotation. I had forgotten how reliable it was during the first half, except for the Mayan adventure. I'm rooting for

1. JZimm
2. Stras
3. Lannan
4. Wang
5. TBA (Detwiler, FA acquisition?)

I'd swap Wang and Lannan but I think it's better not to have four righties in a row.

As for Coco Crisp 1) love the name; 2) he's a hustler. Not sure what to do about Sharkadina, though. That guy's a puzzle to me.

Speaking of hustle, Bixler showed with the triple that he has some power. Maybe if he got a chance to play consistently he could improve as a hitter.

NatsLady said...

Er, sorry, make that three righties in a row. Putting JZimm above Stras because of the innings limitation for Stras. JZimm will be up to full strength and hopefully less prone to think he has to be perfect every inning and every pitch.

Get some OFFENSE Rizzo!

Anonymous said...

I'd pencil in Wang at #5

Probably not a good idea to use "pencil" and "Wang" in the same sentence.

Steve M. said...

Mark, let's hope Babby Z. waits a few more weeks for you! Exciting and nervous times I bet. Been there!

NatsLady said...

Mark Z: my neph was a premie (under 2 pounds) and he went on to play football, and he's now all grown up and graduated from college. Has a touch of asthma left over and allergies (can't pet my kitties) but is a great kid.

SpringfieldFan said...

Lannan's consistency. I feel like I've watched John Lannan grow up over his years here, and I couldn't be prouder of the true major league pitcher he's finally become.

baseballswami said...

One of the things I love about this site is that Mark can stay home with his family - start something thought-provoking - and then sit back and wait for the contributions to come flowing out. Even when I don't agree, I have already enjoyed reading all of these thoughtful, intelligent posts. Keep it coming. Many of you have brought up things I hadn't thought of. Also appreciate that (for the most part) the disagreements are respectful.Agree that even though I like the Sharkadina, I have no idea what their plan is with him and also, I would like to see what Bixler can do - I like what I see in the small sample size. Question - how does everyone think Marrero did yesterday ( not his first game, yesterday)?

Steve M. said...

I think the most significant impact this season that was positive was this starting rotation performing at a high level. All 5 stepped up at first and even though Gorzo slid and Livan was inconsistent, overall, this was what this team needed. 2 guys stood out in JZim and Lannan and now can be significant pieces in the 2012 rotation with Strasburg.

Here's what I love about this team is this core of young talent. Sure, need to extend Zim and Morse and maybe even Lannan. When you do that, you have a true core that can stay together for several years and keep getting better.

The most significant one-time negative was key injuries. The DL of Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche was tough on the team depth and the offense. To lose 2 guys that you knew were 90 RBI guys each would have a significant impact on the offense.

The most significant one-time positive occurence was the signing of all the key Draft picks.

The most significant positive surprise was the emergence of "Beast Mode". Yah, you know who I am talking about.

The most significant "huh" moment was the departure of Riggleman and the timing was bad.

The worst roster move was Matt Stairs as it was like playing with 24 players on the team and he wasn't DFA'd soon enough. Couldn't understand on March 30th how you keep Stairs over Bernadina and still can't.

In the bad luck department, Rizzo constructed what looked like a great bullpen although the one big risk in Rule 5 Broderick backfired and even though Storen had a rocky Spring Training he turned out fine as did stand-out Tyler Clippard who was the team's lone All Star. Coffey was also a pleasant surprise just to see him stagger as he couldn't handle the innings load. The rest have just been HORRIBLE and have contributed to inflated ERAs, no decisions, and losses for many of the starters. The parade of inherited runners scoring can best define the 2011 bullpen.

The biggest single blunder for the season was NO LEADOFF MAN. Rizzo was going into Spring Training with Nyjer Morgan as your Centerfielder. We already knew he couldn't hit LH pitching and Rizzo didn't seem to have a plan. Rizzo didn't bring in a RH CF counterpart that would platoon unless Jerry Hairston was going to be that guy. Instead the Nyjer in CF dragged on to the end of Spring Training when he was finally traded for Cutter Dykstra, who? Yah, that will be a trivia question one day. The Nats would then cut Roger Bernadina and go with Rick Ankiel, yah, the guy with the rocket arm but 2 years ago had a .285 OBP. This would turn into a cascading effect of Lead-off carousel.

Steve M. said...

baseballswami, I thought Marrero, once he calmed his nerves, did great. I liked his soft hands on defense and the quick compact swing.

Time will tell what he can be at this level. Remember, there is no book on him and when there is a book on him he has to make adjustments which is when we will see what he really is. Wilson Ramos can tell you all about making adjustments. I think Wilson was batting near .375 through the end of April.

NatsNut said...

Mark, I respectfully disagree. Zimmermann's development back from TJ surgery was a no-brainer. That was just a matter of when, not if.

The biggest development, by far, was Morse's breakout and that infield defense. I don't even think I need to elaborate on that. =)

The most negative is the outfield defense. I think Werth's defense is even worse than his offense, believe it or not. He's TERRIBLE. If the media keeps treating that stupid knee-sliding thing he does on every play (half of which he misses) as a "defensive highlight" I'm going to scream.

NatsNut said...

re: babies and baseball. I love this Dave Barry quote:
"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base."

jd said...

I would not spend big bucks on Buhrle or Crisp. I would rather go with Peacock or Milone and spend the money on Zimmerman, Morse the next set of draftees etc. Crisp is interesting but his career numbers are fair; not great. I think that Wang will sign for $5 mil with a 2nd year mutual option of $6 mil. This way if he has a good and healthy year he can decline the option and sign a 3 or 4 year deal for bigger bucks.

If Crisp is too pricey we will need to resolve the center field issues elsewhere (trade). I don't need to see Ankiel et. al starting next year.

PAY TO PLAY said...

What has been the most significant development of the season to date?

To me, Mike Rizzo making the same crucial mistakes 2 years in a row as he went into Spring Training with a outfield in disarray. 2010 was the Elijah Dukes debacle and 2011 was the Nyjer Morgan repeat. The Nyjer move was further magnified by trading Josh Willingham for a relief pitcher with no options left.

Rizzo then went into the regular season with to many players he had a personal comfort level with instead of constructing the best team. Sorry, this isn't a Country Club it is a pro sports team and Rick Ankiel as a starter was a huge Opening Day mistake as was Matt Stairs anchoring your bench and your locker room as the Veteran spokesperson.

After Ryan Zimmmerman and LaRoche both went down quick and hard and Werth was hitting near Mendoza, it was seriously a miracle that this team didn't fall apart. I give Riggleman credit for whatever he did on his watch.

Anonymous said...

jd, has it all figured out so we can all go home. Lets go with what we have. We are going to count on more AAA players to fill the rotation and depth and hope for the best.

waddu eye no said...

yo Z family -

don't know where you all live, but Dr C at ashburn pediatrics is the best preemie doc in the world (no bias, just a close personal friend.)

best to the three of you

jd said...

Steve M.

Great points about the need for adjustments and readjustments. I too think that Marrero looked pretty good after the 1st few innings but I,m not sure where he fits in on a regular basis.

I have been really impressed with Desmond over the past couple of weeks. I don't necessarily care about the results but I do care about the approach. He has not been giving away at bats like he has all year; takes a lot of pitches, spoils a lot of good pitches and is getting solid hits and even some of the outs have been hit very hard. I am cautiously optimistic that this new Desmond is sustainable because results can slump but if the approach is good the results will eventually follow.

Mick said...

Great posts Mark, let me take a crack at your Q's:

1) What has been the most significant development of the 2011 season to date? and

Jordan Zimm's comeback first and foremost and the development of a playoff caliber pitching staff. One more leffty reliever needed and Narts should only stay in house, NO FREE AGENTS NEEDED WITH PITCHING



2) What remains the most significant development that could play out over the next month?

Duh, this is so easy, and it is replacing stiffs with guys that can hit, this too should be done in house however 1-2 free agents, Coco Crips, a power hitter would be good to add.

Finally a new manager, that is so crystal clear to me. Davey was a great manager in the day. Nats need an in your face manager in 2012

Anonymous said...

Was it Dr C at ashburn pediatrics who invented the C-section?

gonatsgo said...

I love all these positive developments and would love to see the team play some good, solid, baseball this last month. Losing doesn't necessarily bother me as much as bad baseball does. We have seen this team play tight defense, which was another positive change from previous years. Is this a development that still exists, was it a fluke, can it turn back around? Statistically, is our defense still better than it has been - how do you judge that? I know that earlier in the year it was markedly better.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Post of the day consideration:

NatsNut said...

re: babies and baseball. I love this Dave Barry quote:
"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base."
August 29, 2011 11:29 AM

Kinda like Nook Logan rounding third base. To quote Charlie: "Where was he going? What was he doing? What was he thinking?"

NatsLady said...

gonatsgo, if you will look back a couple of entries, I made a long post with statistical analysis of the Nats defense.

Bottom line, our defense was hampered by
1) LaRoche out, RZimm out and not back up to par for a month.
2) Morse worst 1B in MLB.

Anonymous said...

"If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving infant's life, she will choose to save the infant's life without even considering if there is a man on base."

Yes. But when she heaves the baby in to keep that man on base from scoring, will she hit the cutoff man?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

5 Most Positive Developments:

1. Morse. Where would this team be without him? MVP by a Mile.
2. Healthy returns of JZimm and RZimm. Now, can Stras repeat from TJ?
3. Clip. Where would this bullpen be without him?
4. Espi, despite the second-half slide.
5. Team not picking up Carp's option for '12.
5 Most Negative Developments:

1. Second-half slide, especially defensively.
2. Davey. I think the game has passed him by.
3. Werth, obviously.
4. LaRoche, obviously.
5. Overall lack of plate discipline, and this falls directly on Eckstein. I can't imagine he will be back for '12.

Anonymous said...

NATSLADY. No way is Morse the worst 1b in league. The heck with LaRoche. This team needs bats and bats bad. If you have to give up a little Dfense to get it then so be it. LaRoche batting 230 is NOT what this team needs. WE NEED HITTERS!!!!

Steve M. said...

NatsLady said...

1. JZimm
2. Stras
3. Lannan
4. Wang
5. TBA (Detwiler, FA acquisition?)



Rizzo and Lerner need to decide if 2012 is another year of continued progress/improvement or if they are going for a playoff contender.

If 2012 is just another year of improving, then your rotation is fine. If you want it to be something more, than you will have to improve and get a 2A or #3 and Mark Buehrle would fit in well and give the veteran presence.

Milone and Peacock can continue to develop in the Minors and the Detwiler decision has to be made. With players like Purke who may get to AA in 2012 and Milone, the system has a lot of good lefties. Where the team is deficient in lefties is in the bullpen.

Here is my 2012 rotation which I put up a few weeks ago:

1) JZim
2) Strasburg
3) Buehrle
4) Lannan
5) Milone or Wang (leaning towards Wang)

markfd said...

Good luck to you, Mrs. Z and Baby Z.

PAY TO PLAY said...

The team needs that pesky leadoff guy with a high OBP. I think you can get Coco Crisp who probably doesn't fit Rizzo's prototype because he needs 1 dayoff a week as he has shown over his career. The A's were willing to do that and they got very good production out of him. The A's have also given Josh Willingham some days off which the Nats also weren't willing to do and Willingham should finish 2011 healthy.

The Nats seem to want to play their guys every day unless it is for a LH/RH platoon like last year in RF. The other choice is what Rizzo refused to do with Nyjer Morgan and use him in platoon and put him out there with a RH centerfielder. Could you put BJ Upton together with Roger Bernadina or Lorenzo Cain together with Roger Bernadina and make a trade instead of going Free Agent?

In my opinion, Jayson Werth needed to sit a few more games this year except the bench went short when LaRoche was replaced by Morse with Stairs was dead weight.

PAY TO PLAY said...

The health of LaRoche and whether they trade him will really define the 2012 roster for the starters. You could still keep Marrero regardless as he can play against lefty pitching and sit LaRoche or if you trade LaRoche, possibly Marrero becomes your 1st baseman and Morse your LF.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

As fotr what's left to see this year, a week ago I would have said .500, but that is pretty much toast now. So I'll go with, do they finish without key injuries, and gel behind Davey, or not?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I wouldn't mind seeing some new guys, but I don't expect it before the end of this season.

PAY TO PLAY said...

Mark, could we do a seperate poll or blog post on Davey Johnson. I hate to admit it but he should have stayed retired. Nice guy. Great baseball mind. He just is not getting the job done. It took until yesterday for Davey to get thrown out of a game and get angry. The comment yesterday which compared him to Acta was spot on in demeanor and trying to be a players coach and I think that was said when Davey was laughing in the dugout as Ian Desmond was called out on an outside pitch and jawboned the ump.

The discussion on the lack of team aggressiveness tried to return yesterday only to mixed consequences. Desmond's steal was good. The attempt to hit & run was good. Morse going 1st to 3rd, bad. Werth running 2nd to 3rd without a force and the ball hit in front of him, bad.

Davey changed this team into his vision and has failed. It went from an aggressive run & shoot team to a methodical conservative team that would win on big innings, only it never happened and the 1 run losses turned on the Nats.

Davey keeps talking about a power bench and 2 long relievers. Davey, really? That's why it is failing?

The team is 22-32 under Davey after going 40-38 and in the playoff hunt under his predecessors.

N. Cognito said...

This is STILL about a 75 win team. Nothing has changed, except fans expectations based upon the normal ups and downs of a major league baseball team.

Constant Reader said...

First and foremost, best wishes to you and Mama Z and Baby Z. When we went, I was told by my wife to answer every question posed with the word "epidural". What's your name? Epidural. What's your religion? Epidural.

Good luck focusing during these breathless times.

Theophilus said...

Best development of the year: Clippard and Storen as a one-two punch. Ultimately, I was disappointed by Zimmermann's inability to get into the late innings. Chalk it up to growth as in many respects this was a do-over of his rookie season.

Developments hoped for in September: Wang and Detweiler.

Don't want to see them depending on a free-agent pitcher next year. There isn't one out there, Buerhle included, that will be better than Zimmermann/Strasburg and won't impede the development of younger pitchers or hamstring the Nats in the future. Giving a six-year contract to a pitcher in the middle of his career is Zitoville all over again.

God save us from Coco Crips [sic]. When four teams have found a guy dispensable and his best season was six years ago, the marketplace is saying something to which attention should be paid. If the Nats are that desperate for a CF, they have enuf minor league pieces to trade for one with more potential.

N. Cognito said...

"Overall lack of plate discipline, and this falls directly on Eckstein. I can't imagine he will be back for '12"

How does it fall on Eckstein? This is how these guys have approached hitting their entire careers.
Eckstein may not be a great or even good hitting coach, but you (and others here) are misplacing the blame. If there's any blame to be placed, it goes to Rizzo.

Anonymous said...

N. Cognito, hope you are right. They need to find their "clutch".

N. Cognito said...

Coco Crisp is not the roof. He's the blue tarp you put on your roof until you can get your roof fixed.

Wally said...

Mark- glad to hear that everyone is healthy. I am sure that is an exciting yet frustrating time.

Most significant Dev - btw, when thinking long term, I only come up with positives this year, with the possible exception of Desi. Young players proving their worth, no career threatening injuries, several key steps forward
- Jordan Zimm: he had this potential, but to see him fulfill it
- John Lannan: young enough to be a part of the future, and solidified his status as a solid SP
- Espy and Ramos as starters: Great D, improving O. Scratch two more positions off the 'need' list
- Morse: great year, fun guy to root for. I am little worried about him duplicating it, but even 85% of this year is a good player.

Remaining to watch
- it has to primarily be Stras. No pain, velo ok, gain some innings. Big help for next year.

jd said...

N.Cognito,

As long as the tarp doesn't cost you $10 mil.

Feel Wood said...

"Overall lack of plate discipline, and this falls directly on Eckstein. I can't imagine he will be back for '12"

How does it fall on Eckstein?


FP told the story on air yesterday of one of his hiiting coaches during his playing days who used to ask him each and every time before he went to the plate "What's your plan here?" He would not let a batter go up unless he had a plan for that AB. Different strokes for different folks, but I don't think Eckstein does this. But of course FP "Man with a Plan" Santangelo was a career .245/.364/.351 hitter over 2073 plate appearances, so there's that.

baseballswami said...

Feel Wood - I heard that and found it interesting. Obviously fp was not a superstar but I do like his grasp of the entire game. I would call him a positive development of this season and the best we have had!

Constant Reader said...

To the first question, we are finally a serious, legitimate major league baseball team. When I think about how utterly embarrassing and laughable our franchise was in '07 and '08, it is just wonderful to be engaged in the dialogue we are having right now. JZim as an elite starter. Michael Morse worthy of down ballot MVP votes. Homegrown talent arriving. Potential blockbuster draft this year. The Riggs debacle aside, it is so much more fun to be talking about these developments than Jerome Williams or Paul Lo Duca.

To the second question, I tend to agree with you, Mark, about Wang. He could be a #3 starter behind Strasburg and JZim on a pennant contender in '12. No one else with our franchise currently can. I love Lannan and Livo, but they are #5's on a pennant contender. Detwiler, Peacock and Milone are still unknowns.

I also think seeing Lombardozzi during September is a close second to the Wang show (had to throw that in there). Knowing just how close he is makes trading one of Lombardozzi, Espi and Desi more plausible.

My two cents.

Unkyd said...

I haven't read the thread, so my apologies if this link has already been posted: it seems that Kilgore has noticed My Boy's recent improvement:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/ian-desmond-turning-his-season-around/2011/08/28/gIQAb6RBmJ_blog.html?wpisrc=nl_sports

(and, if Baby Z is listening... You sure have a lot of nice Nats fans waiting for a peek at you!!! Fingers crossed, and all my best Posnergy headed your way! )

Va Nat said...

Mark- I have been blessed with two children and while their births occurred when Stephen Strasburg was in first and third grade, the memories from those days are the most wonderful of my life. Enjoy your special day and all the best to you, your wife and the baby. As for the questions, the most significant development has been the steady addition of more talented young players to the Nats' system. When the talent matures, things will be very exciting in DC. The most significant thing to occur over the rest of the season would be the return of a healthy, dominant Strasburg to the Nats' rotation.

Section 215 Row A said...

I wanted to echo NatsNut comment that JZim was expected and Morse was the positive surprise. The negative surprise has been Werth who has been AWFUL offensively...when he wasn't striking out he was hitting into DPs. But as NatsNut points out...he is a pretty weak outfielder as well. My sense is he can't go back on a ball...I don't know if he is fence shy but the warning track seems to cause a lot of balls to bounce off his glove...

JamesFan said...

Biggest surprise: consistent quality starting pitching;

To Watch: (1) How Rizzo tackles the obvious hitting problems up the middle at ss, 2d and cf. Who survives and who is there next April.
(2) Performance of Malone and Peacock in September (3) who is the veteran starter on next year's staff--Wang, Livo, an off-season acquisition? (4) Who gets traded over the winter--I see a blockbuster coming.

DFL said...

Milone should be given a turn in the rotation for September. He had a very impressive 148-14 K-to-BB mark this season in 144 innings. Yet his ERA was 3.33, fine but not Sandy Koufax-like as his 148-14 ratio would indicate. I wonder why.

Steve M. said...

PAY TO PLAY said... The health of LaRoche and whether they trade him will really define the 2012 roster for the starters. You could still keep Marrero regardless as he can play against lefty pitching and sit LaRoche or if you trade LaRoche, possibly Marrero becomes your 1st baseman and Morse your LF.
August 29, 2011 12:38 PM


For the position players, there will be a lot riding on the health and short-term future of Adam LaRoche to determine the 2012 roster. I think I would want Marrero to be in the mix regardless as I see nothing wrong with some youth on the bench.

I have also been in agreement with JD that the couple of Free Agents you need have to be on short-term contracts. Zito failure usually costs a team although the Giants won a WS with him on the payroll. The albatross the Nats may have is Jayson Werth, time will tell and he is here to stay.

1) New acquisition or Bernadina CF
2) Jayson Werth RF
3) Ryan Zimmerman 3B
4) Michael Morse LF
5) Adam LaRoche 1B
6) Ian Desmond SS
7) Danny Espinosa 2B
8) Wilson Ramos C

1) JZim
2) Strasburg
3) Free Agent
4) Lannan
5) Wang or Milone

1) Storen CL
2) Clippard SU 8th
3) Detwiler SU 7th
4)
5)
6)
7) Livo Long Man

1) Ankiel
2) Bernadina or Free Agent
3) Lombardozzi or Free Agent
4) Flores
5) Marrero or Free Agent

Yes, blow up the bullpen and start over. Burnett shouldn't be guaranteed a spot even if he is under a million contract in 2012.

Again, top priority in the off season is to extend Ryan Zimmerman then Michael Morse.

JaneB said...

Off topic but whatevah...

Notice of a virtual shower for Mark and Mrs. Z! Several folks have been interested in this, and we wanted to share the info with more of our imaginary friends. We've been tipped off about a gift registry here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry.html?ie=UTF8&type=baby&id=37Z2X6WXQ8IUC.

Other gifts, including some already required in Nats Stadium, will get sent to a destination TBD. More on that soon.

Steve M. said...

DFL said...
Milone should be given a turn in the rotation for September. He had a very impressive 148-14 K-to-BB mark this season in 144 innings. Yet his ERA was 3.33, fine but not Sandy Koufax-like as his 148-14 ratio would indicate. I wonder why.

August 29, 2011 1:56 PM


Milone seems to put his pitches in the zone and has been hit on his mistake pitches. Definitely need to see how he pitches in September and go from there. I still don't see a need to rush him to the Majors.

There are many pitchers who have moved up in the Minors this year, Rosenbaum, Martis, Peacock, Milone, and Detwiler. I expect Purke to accel quickly also so he will be in the mix for the future (Sept 2013 - June 2014). That is 6 guys competing for very few spots plus you have Cole, Ray, Solis and Meyer.

If Wang makes the 2012 rotation, then 4 spots are taken with 1 spot open for a Free Agent or a youngster.

NatsLady said...

Let's start off with the fact that Adam LaRoche is NOT a .230 hitter. He is a .260+ hitter.

Rizzo's vision was for an infield of LaRoche, Espi, RZimm and Desi. You could have 4 Gold Gloves right there, if Desi kept his head and RZimm and LaRoche were not injured. A ground ball would seldom get out of the infield and if it did, the next one would be a double play.

Next year, you have groundball pitchers with Wang and Lannan, and JZimm adjusts his game to aim for fewer strikeouts (and lower pitch count). Stras the same. So, you aim for the same type infield, and if Marrero turns out good, trade LaRoche at the July deadline.

The outfield was discussed above, with Nyjer gone in Spring training. So the outfield, where Werth, Morse, Nix, Bernadina and Ankiel were stationed should have brought offense. That didn't happen, as we all know. But to say that Rizzo didn't have a plan is foolish--he had a plan. It was sabatoged by injuries and poor performance, and then the bullpen got overused and there goes the season.

With all the good things that happened (Morse, Clippard-Storen, JZimm, Lannan, stable starting rotation, etc.) and less bad luck and bad performance the Nats might, just might, have gotten easily over .500.

I don't think we had above average bad luck. Every team has injuries and players who don't perform up to standard. But, bottom line, there was not enough depth on this team in 2011 to cover the losses.

Scott from Burke said...

The most significant development was the Nats becoming an almost legitamite MLB franchise...big free agent signing and inking all the draft choices sent the message to fans, players and other teams the Lerners will spend money...O's fans must be frustrated that they really have no chance of making the playoffs unless the Yankees and Red Sox team planes, oh, never mind, I won't go there..but after some embarrassing missteps (not signing Crow, not paying for stadium because offices weren't done (although i do recognize the wariness of dealing with the DC govt) it was becoming more and more obvious the Lerners sold Herr Selig a false bill of goods..so good on the owners for ponying up..it's a good start..as to the rest of the season the 1, 2 or 3 starters that they bring up and how they perform to see if they can get major league hitters out so we can sweep some of the ashes from the fireplace of what is our starting rotation.

PAY TO PLAY said...

@NatsLady, "The outfield was discussed above, with Nyjer gone in Spring training. So the outfield, where Werth, Morse, Nix, Bernadina and Ankiel were stationed should have brought offense. That didn't happen, as we all know. But to say that Rizzo didn't have a plan is foolish--he had a plan. It was sabatoged by injuries and poor performance, and then the bullpen got overused and there goes the season."

Don't revise history. Bernadina was not part of the original roster as Stairs was. All good guys and not one of Opening Day roster was a leadoff hitter. The injuries were in the infield. Rizzo repeated the same mistake he made in 2010 with the outfield and Werth didn't come close to picking up the slack.

JaneB said...

ON topic: I think the development of Grown Up pitching was huge. Just huge. Michael Morse becoming Michael Morse (or, in FP's word's "must see TV"). We were missing that bat, and he had it all along.

Riggleman quitting -- maybe the biggest deal of the season. They were building a defensive, scrappy team while he was here. Now...I'm not sure what they are building. Not sure that what Davey seems to want to build is buildable anymore. I used to just feel bad for Riggleman, and now I am mad. Not that it matters.

That D-Backs game where it went 14 innings and we won anyway -- and the game LannEn won -- both seem like hallmark games to me. In the past, no way we win those. I felt like it took our guys being in a new place to be able to win, and then the actual winning itself added another vibe they've long needed.

We didn't trade Drew Storen for a damaged goods CF...also a good (non) development...

Mark'd said...

SteveM, at some point you have to look at what the Atlanta Braves did and convert fringe starters into relievers like Mock. I can see Meyer as a reliever also. The Henry Rodriguez thing is tough to watch. Total BLOWPU.

Tyler Clippard is your best example of starter to reliever equals star.

sjm308 said...

One of the few times where the posts were probably as informative as Mark's piece.

Mr. Z - my son was born early (under 5 lbs as I remember), he is 30, healthy, happy and a big Nationals Fan. Hope you get as much enjoyment going to games with your kid as I have had with mine.

Top development for me which is really gone unanswered is Riggs leaving in the middle of the year. I can't imagine how a team can just pick up in the middle of a season and they honestly did not. JZimm was solid, Morse was good but as far as on field development, Clippard & Storen at the end of games was just dynamite and should be for years to come.

For the next month I will be extremely interested in seeing if Wang can continue to improve. If he does we now have at least 4 pieces and if Detwiler does the same there will be a battle for # 5 with the minor league guys (don't forget Purke).

Most important to me is extending RZimm for another 5 years or more. He is just a joy to watch and a huge key to us taking the next step.

jeffwx said...

Congrats to the Mark family.

Most significant development compared to 2010 to me:
much improved defense (Desmond-Espi, Ankiel, Werth)
much improved bullben (Storen, Clippard, Coffee, long relief)
A top of the rotation starter in J. Zimm

Nats finishing with 75 wins would be good.

Steve M. said...

Mark'd, look no further than Aroldis Chapman yesterday who was supposed to be the LH Stephen Strasburg. Plenty of examples out there now. The Nats still have Wilkie, Zinicola and Mock before they start converting starters and then you still have Craig Stammen and the continued question on Detwiler. If Milone shines and you extend Wang, then Detwiler needs to be a reliever where he can help the team and not as a mop-up but as a 7th inning set-up in the O'Flaherty role.

Yes, Venters and Kimbrel were both Atlanta homegrowns that were converted from Starter to Reliever in the Minor Leagues.

sjm308 said...

Nats Lady:

Thank You! I get so annoyed at people bashing LaRoche when if you look at his career which is not just 3 or 4 years but 8 or 9 he has AVERAGED 80+ rbi's and 20+ home runs plus he bats a decent .260+.
This is what Rizzo was looking for and he made plays at first base that I had not ever seen from our guys, even Nick Johnson. Morse did just fine for not having played but he is no LaRoche and if he comes back healthy I realize everyone and his mother wants him traded but he could be huge for us.

Anonymous said...

Pretty much all star relievers were once starters. Pretty much all failed relievers were once starters too. So yeah, go ahead and convert your failed starters into relievers, but it doesn't guarantee anything.

jeffwx said...

I like our 2012 infield as proposed by Nats Lady.
Would like to see a consistent fast leadoff hitter (.330 + OBP) in centerfield next year. Guaranteed to give you an additional 5 wins esp. if Werth hits (which he should, too stressed the first year). And then there's Laroche who helps improve team consistency with RISP (another 5 wins), then the improved starting rotation (another 5 wins)...giving us 90 wins in 2012.

Anonymous said...

I like a ton or what Rizzo has done. But he clearly went into ST2010 without a decent Plan B for RF and he clearly went into ST2011 without a decent Plan B for CF/leadoff.
sunderland

JaneB said...

sunderland, Rizzo didn't think he NEEEDED a Plan B for RF. Did anyone, beyond having a filler in case we needed one (and we had Bernie, Ankiel, Nix, and even Hairston if we needed). That Werth was so unproductive was one of the unhappy surprises of the year. To say the least. (I hasten to add I am still thrilled that the guy plays for us.)
Also, Unky, thanks for that link about Desi. I love him too.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that nobody mentioned Bryce Harper, he truly will not be ready next year or maybe the year after or maybe not at all. He wouldn't be the first number 1 not to make the majors.

Gonat said...

I like a ton or what Rizzo has done. But he clearly went into ST2010 without a decent Plan B for RF and he clearly went into ST2011 without a decent Plan B for CF/leadoff.
sunderland

August 29, 2011 3:26 PM
____________________________

P2P/Sunderland, I am with you. I think NatsLady wants to think it was fine. 2 years in a row? It turned out to be a huge mistake with no leadoff.

Rizzo can't be blamed for the failure of the bullpen although he can be blamed for not making it better as the season continued.

Biggest disappointments
1) No leadoff man to start the season
2) Yep, Zim was injured and so was LaRoche
3) The bullpen was broke & didn't get fixed
4) Josh Willingham for Henry Rodriguez
5) Lack of clutch on offense

Biggest Positives
1) The emergence of Morse as a starter
2) Top of the rotation solidified w/ JZim/Lannen
3) Clip & Store a lethal back of the 'pen
4) 2 great rookies in Ramos & Espi (lot of WAR)
5) Great Draft Purke, Rendon, Goodwin, Meyer

baseballswami said...

Agreed that a previously healthy LaRoche would have made a difference for us. I am just afraid that he will not be able to return to his previous form after so much time off. We have seen what shoulder surgeries are like to recover from. Granted, Wang is a pitcher, Flores a catcher who has to throw more than a 1b, but this is a very long lay-off for a guy that is not that young anymore. Overall - one of my takes on this season after being a from-the-first-day fan, is that our team has many more high quality baseball players than it did a few years ago where we had a bunch of has-beens and never-weres. We really don't have that many things on our wish list now.

gonatsgo said...

swami's post made me think of this -- How are we all going to react when we start getting new, bandwagon fans who haven't been in the trenches during the tough years. Will we be happy they are filling the seats or will we just be annoyed by them? It's coming, you know it is!

Gonat said...

Steve M. said...

1) New acquisition or Bernadina CF
2) Jayson Werth RF
3) Ryan Zimmerman 3B
4) Michael Morse LF
5) Adam LaRoche 1B
6) Ian Desmond SS
7) Danny Espinosa 2B
8) Wilson Ramos C

1) JZim
2) Strasburg
3) Free Agent
4) Lannan
5) Wang or Milone

1) Storen CL
2) Clippard SU 8th
3) Detwiler SU 7th
4)
5)
6)
7) Livo Long Man

1) Ankiel
2) Bernadina or Free Agent
3) Lombardozzi or Free Agent
4) Flores
5) Marrero or Free Agent

_______________________________

There aren't many holes for 2012 if LaRoche can play. 1 to 2 rotation spots, 2 to 5 relievers and CF/Leadoff and 2 to 3 bench spots. The Nats may only be looking for 2 to 4 players from the outside which is the best improvement the Nats have had in their history here.

Glad you have some youngsters on your bench. Bernadina is out of options in 2012 and if Bryce Harper is ready in June 2012, you will have the ability to option a player and Marrero may be the 2012 yo-yo.

JaneB said...

gonatsgo -- I'll be glad to see the new fans. As long as they don't scream at our own guys.

But your comment about the fans makes me think of another lovely development this year: fans who will stay till the last out, even when we are down by 4, because they know we can still win.

Gonat said...

gonatsgo said...
swami's post made me think of this -- How are we all going to react when we start getting new, bandwagon fans who haven't been in the trenches during the tough years. Will we be happy they are filling the seats or will we just be annoyed by them? It's coming, you know it is!

August 29, 2011 4:20 PM
_____________________________

It is a natural evolution that comes with winning. They were all there on June 8, 2010 for the Strasburg debut and it was a lot of fun having a full house and that energy.

N. Cognito said...

Here's how I see it, given that these guys do not get traded:
C Ramos
1B LaRoche - do the Nats make offers for Pujols of Fielder?
2B Espinosa - lots of promise with some real rough patches
3B Zimmerman
SS Desmond - will be given every opportunity to succeed
LF Morse
CF Gotta be somebody new
RF Werth

SP Strasburg
SP Zimmermann
SP Lannan
SP Wang - if re-signed; perhaps a free agent, if not
SP Detwiler - I think he's also going to get every chance to succeed

Bullpen - regular assortment of current Nats plus new acquisitions; Closer: Storen

Bench - gotta have a better bench - guys that are not one-dimensional and can at least get on base at least 30-32% of the time.

Marrero, Flores, Milone, Peacock, Lomardozzi, Harper, Bernadina, etc. will play full time at AA or AAA. Theses guys have options and if they're not gonna start, it's best to have them playing full time.

Wally said...

I have seen several comments touting the improved starting pitching this year as a positive development. It certainly has been better than past years, and overall pretty good, but thinking about 2012, it really just comes down to JZimm and Lannan. Anything Marquis added is gone; Gorzy seems out of the picture, and my guess is that he is non tendered or traded. Livo, well maybe he is back, but at his age (cough) and performance levels, it is almost a start by start analysis with him, if that. Personally, I wouldn't bring him back for the rotation, but I get why it might make sense (I have no problem with him as the long man in the pen).

So it led me to this question about how to fill out the rotation: do we want to make a play to contend next year? If yes, then I think that we have to go out and get at least a mid rotation starter somewhere (and a bat). I just don't see two rookies (or Detwiler plus a rookie) being the rotation of a contending team. It is possible, but not likely, especially when contending with Stras' innings limit. I have heard Buerhle mentioned; also think some trades for Danks or Floyd, or maybe Billingsley.

Otherwise you go with the kids, but realistically then we are targeting 2013 for contention. Either of these scenarios are plausible, in my mind. The safer route is to build for 2013, when you can factor in Harper, maybe Rendon, Purke and Meyer, but I would like to see them take a shot next year.

Wally said...

A question for NatsLady or some of the other sabremetrically inclined folks. I checked out JZimm's year of FanGraphs, and he ended with 3.5 WAR pitching. If you click on batting for him, it shows .5 WAR for batting and Baserunning. Do you know if that is additive to pitching (making it s 4 WAR year), or already included in the pitching number (Which seems odd).

By the way, that .5 WAR came mostly from Baserunning, which is just puzzling to me.

Gonat said...

To add to my post above, I could see Rendon quick to the Majors if there is a position for him not named 3rd base. More reason to lock up Ryan Zimmerman long-term.

With Bryce Harper and Rendon on their way and Werth here long-term, I can see moving Morse back to 1st, Rendon in LF, BHarper in CF, and Werth in RF.

The reason I like Crisp is he can be a low-risk stop gap and play off the bench.

My 2013 starters:

1) Espinosa 2B
2) Rendon LF
3) Zim 3B
4) Morse 1B
5) Werth RF
6) Harper CF
7) Desmond SS
8) Ramos C

1) Strasburg
2) JZim
3) Lannan
4) Milone
5) Purke

My 2014 starters:

1) Goodwin CF
2) Rendon LF
3) Zim 3B
4) Morse 1B
5) Harper RF
6) Espinosa SS
7) Desmond SS
8) Ramos C

1) Strasburg
2) JZim
3) Purke
4) Milone
5) Cole

In 2014, I move Werth to the bench for his remaining 4 years on contract making him the most expensive bench player in MLB history.

jd said...

gonat,

In 2014 Werth's salary will be $21 mil. You think he's going to the bench?

Unkyd said...

MAZEL MAZEL!!!!'!!!!!

Unkyd said...

Baby boy, didn't catch the name... reported on 980

Wally said...

washingnats William Ladson
by NFA_Brian
Great news: @markzuckerman and his wife, Rachel, have a new member of the family: Brian Leonard Zuckerman was born today at 12:13 p.m. ET

baseballswami said...

Wow - that was fast! What time did he post this morning? Hope everything is ok!!

Gonat said...

jd said...
gonat,

In 2014 Werth's salary will be $21 mil. You think he's going to the bench?

August 29, 2011 5:31 PM
_______________________________

Unfortunately, that is when he will be next to werthless. Remember, that is 2+ seasons from now. JD, you are one of the biggest opponents of long-term contracts especially when it isn't your own player.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the news, Insiders.

Congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Z, and welcome to the world, Brian!

I guess Mark will be handing out the virtual ceegars later. :-)

Gonat said...

So Mark Zuckerman named his son after Brian Goodwin! Congrats!

natsfan1a said...

Don't forget to visit the link provided by my esteemed colleague Jane B earlier in the thread if you wish to send a baby gift:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/registry.html?ie=UTF8&type=baby&id=37Z2X6WXQ8IUC

baseballswami said...

back to baseball and carrying on as MZ would wish before I forget my question: How long does a pitcher have to pitch and how old would he be before being considered a veteran? To the point - when will Lannan be considered a veteran? From what I see - he is getting there. How about Wang? If he stays and is healthy he is surely a veteran.I know there is no exact time at which you are anointed a veteran, just wondering what would go into that designation.

meixler said...

haven't posted in a while but I've got to say Congratulations Mark!

natsfan1a said...

And more from another source because, you know, it's Ladson and all (kidding!):

masnBen Ben Goessling onMASN
Congratulations to @MarkZuckerman, who welcomed his first child, Brian Leonard Zuckerman, into the world today. Mom and baby are well.
16 minutes ago

gonatsgo said...

Fantastic news - congratulations to the Zuckerman family! Hoping all is well.

joemktg said...

Mazel tov!! Best to Mr. and Mrs. Z and Brian Leonard Zuckerman!!

"Most significant developments of 2011": NO DOUBT!

Mark'd said...

Way to go Team Zuckerman!

LoveDaNats said...

Congrats, Mark and Rachel! Welcome to the world, Brian!
@gonatsgo
i will probably be one of the super smug annoying fans lording it over all the bandwagoners that I was here when it counted. I'll just drop names like Wilkerson, Wily Mo, Nook, Hanrahan.........etc.

natsfan1a said...

Me, too, LoveDaNats. I've even mused on occasion about a secret question or even a full-fledged test that would separate poseurs from hard core, original fans. ;-)

That said, I'd also be happy to see plenty of bandwagoner money invested in the team.

gonatsgo said...

Here you go -- who was Termel Sledge?

JaneB said...

Hurrah for the Zuckermans -- all three of them!

NatsLady said...

Congrats Mark and Rachel, and God Bless you and keep you healthy.

Anonymous said...

Rachel and Mark: Mazel Tov and welcome Brian! Hope all is well.

My son was born 6 weeks early approx. 19 years ago. Spent 28 days in the NICU just to grow. Ask plenty of questions and don't worry - these little guys are a lot stronger than they look!!!

My son is now a college sophmore even though he started out very early and in his case, very small. He is a sports' nut and hopes to join the world of sports' media just like you, Mark.

God Bless all three of you, having a preemie can be a little scary but you will be amazed how quickly you get used to their world. You are in my prayers.

Princess Jazzy

sm13 said...

Welcome Brian! I hope Mom and baby are doing well -- and Dad, too. Hope you get to see many World Series games at Nats Park!!

Mark'd said...

Agreed that Werth sooner than later will be a bench role guy.

sm13 said...

Hey no one has mentioned not signing Adam Dunn as a positive development -- his stats make Jayson Werth's look a whole lot better!

Traveler8 said...

Congratulations, Mark and Rachel! Getting the chance to be a mom has been a very special thing in my life, and I think you will have that same wonderful feeling.

Traveler8 said...

@gonatsgo, wasn't it Terrmel Sledge, or is that the trick question?

natsfan1a said...

That would be a good one, gonatsgo.

JaneB said...

I am looking at this post again and wonder if, when Mark put it up, he knew this day would bring one of the most significant developments of 2011 or any other year?

We will definitely need a thread, next year, when the bandwagonners show up, about what they missed. Not the stuff they would hear about in the general course of things (like Zimm's walk off against the Yanks on father's day). But stuff like, who once made Frank Robinson cry? And absolutely Sledge! So so much stuff!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Now coming into pitch...No. 8 pounds, 1 ounce (I just made that up...)Brian...Leonard...Zuckerman!

Obviously named after Brian Lawrence...and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Tremendous news! Remember, Mark, in 18 years, college tuition! Congratulations to all.

Tremendous, tremendous, tremendous.

Go you freaking Zuckerman Go!!

In the immortal words of Carp: "How far will this one go?"

BinM said...

Let me join the throng, and mazel mazel to the family Zuckerman. This is clearly the most significant development in 2011 for both Mark & Rachel.

Dawn said...

Congrats and Best Wishes to the Z family, emphasis on "Family". It is a wonderful thing, you are blessed. Have two lovely daughters of my own, 25 and 21 respectively, they are still the lights of our lives and our greatest accomplishment.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@JaneB: For the soon-to-be uninitiated:
The day Nook Logan made the final out taking too wide a turn at third...John Patterson's 14-strikeout night...Ramon Ortiz homers! while throwing eight no-hit innings...The first rain delay when the RFK grounds crew was overmatched...Farewell to Frank day...J-Maxx's walkoff slam (did that REALLY go over the left field wall?)...Joey "He can suck on it and he can like it" Eicshen...Miss Iowa...Who threw the ball nearly into the dugout while trying to make a curveball curve (was it Matt Chico?)...Willy Tavares...PLoD playing first...FLop's wonderful, ahem, attitude...These should get us started. Great idea!

natsfan1a said...

All good ones, JaneB and Sunshine (and, yeah, it was Chico). How about, who heard circus music when he positioned himself to catch an infield pop-up?

natsfan1a said...

Hint: he also experienced instant relief at the hands of his masseuse.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

@natsfan1a: I'm dying. You can't tease us like that. I'll take a wild stab and say Vinny Castilla, but I really don't have a clue.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Jesus "Every day" Colome?

Anonymous said...

Buster Olney says BL Zuckerman projects to middle infielder with his size, but his current lack of footspeed troubles scouts.

natsfan1a said...

It was Da Meat Hook, Sunshine. I remember one where he went down on his back and laughed about it. I think he took a divot out of the turf that time. Love ya, Dmitri! ;-)

The question for Vinny would be "who liked to spit out his bubblegum and take a swing at it?" (perhaps after a strikeout but can't recall the triggering circumstances).

There could also be a question regarding for whose buttocks did NatsTown pray?

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Is BL Zuckerman another Boras client? And is he signable?

natsfan1a said...

Your 7:51 question correlates with the buttocks prayer, Sunshine.

Good one, Anon@7:52.

natsfan1a said...

The Dmitri circus music quote has been cited by Carp on broadcasts.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Well, THAT was Colome. I heeded Jimbo's wishes on that one.

I do remember Da Meat pulling up a divot catching a popup. You're right. Great one.

Oh, there's a million stories for the bandwagon-jumpers.

natsfan1a said...

Oh, great. If he's with Boras he'll be a bonus baby for sure.

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, there's plenty of gold to mine there, Sunshine.

Drew8 said...

Congrats Family Z!

Glad to hear all are well.

Brian, welcome to the fold.

Dave said...

(Sorry I'm late to this party. That's what having to work all day will do to you. Yep, Loudoun County schools are back in session!)

Very best wishes to Mark, Rachel, and Brian. I have your link bookmarked, JaneB, and I will attend to things this evening.

Mark asked for input as to most significant development, not most surprising development. I love Morse and the fantastic surprise he's been. That has been a very pleasant surprise, true enough.

But for me, the most significant development this year is the quality of the pitching staff. We have had a rotation that has been relatively steady since day one (particularly in comparison to past Nationals history).

The starters have gone deep into games, and we are now actually used to the starting pitcher going over five innings. I think we've come to expect six or more out of most of them. It looks like Wang really is coming back; Marquis was very solid while he was with us; the rest have been quite decent.

And despite our occasional (frequent?) expressions of frustration, the bullpen has generally been solid. There is certainly room for improvement, but let us all recall the brief history of Brian Bruney as a Nats reliever. I believe those days are gone forever.

I think pitching is the first thing you have to get right when building a good club, and I think our pitching is far beyond "well on the way."

baseballswami said...

What body part did we pray for on Colome? They'll never get that one!Traveler 8 - good one on the spelling - it is Terrmel, with 2 r's! you win...

BinM said...

basebalswammi @5:49 - You could probably use a guideline of 120 starts for a starting pitcher, 200GP for a reliever, and 2500PA for a field player as a rough standard before applying the 'veteran' tag and not be too far off. That usually equates to four+ years of MLB service, and puts a player pretty close to earning a pension, given the current CBA.

If a player makes it that long, he's usually proven that he has enough talent or moxie to be worthy of the label, imo.

baseballswami said...

I posted too slowly and the answer was already out there!

BinM said...

"We pray for his buttocks" - Jim Bowden, in reference to a cyst / boil causing Jesus Colome some distress.

Drew8 said...

P.S. Some of the year's biggest developments stemmed from Rizzo's decision -- against braying by me and countless others -- not to resign Adam Dunn.

A .163 average with a .578 OPS. Holy cow.

That move improved the defense, underscored Morse's value, brought the Nats Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin and likely freed up money for a Zimm extension or for the CFTBNL.

Huge.

BinM said...

Which bth, was one of the dumbest statements I've ever read / heard in regards to a player injury.

LoveDaNats said...

@JaneB
Did you say you would be publishing an address in case we wanted to send something for the Z family?

Gonat said...

Drew8, very true. I think one of the reasons so many Washingtonians of 45 years of age and older saw Adam Dunn as their replacement to childhood favorite Frank Howard.

I also think Dunn will regret his decision to leave for MONEY which is what it came down to. Karma is a funny thing as it happened to Soriano. Its almost now becoming a curse that when a FA leaves Washington for big money, expect it to be a career disappointing move.

Soriano brought us Jordan Zimmermann and a resurgent Josh Smoker and hopefully Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin will be talked about one day as fondly as we all talk about JZim.

BinM said...

@Drew8 - I'll admit, I was amongst those calling for the resigning of Dunn as well. Rizzo saying otherwise may work out well in the long-run, having gained Meyer & Goodwin as draft signings in return.

I like the depth that the team has gained over the last few drafts, as the Nationals' have moved from a totally gutted minor-league system in 2005 to a fairly rich & deep system in just six years. No more free-agent 'cattle-calls' for pitchers, and no more one-year plugins like PLoD, DaMeat, or Milledge expected to carry a major role in the offense.

The system has grown from one MLB-level prospect (RZim) in 2005 to 16-20 deep going into 2012. That's a really good thing.

Constant Reader said...

Welcome to the world Brian. It's a pretty cool place. Hopefully those of us who have been here awhile can make it better for you.

Congrats on the best day of your life Mark.

Sorry, I get choked up too easily.

SonnyG10 said...

Mark, good luck and prayers for Baby Z. I'll bet you'll be as excited as I was for my first one.

I agree that the progress of Jordan Zimmermann is the most important development this year, even if it was expected. This may keep Rizzo from trading away core pieces for a top of the rotation pitcher. I was most surprised by Michael Morse, not only by his hitting, but also his defense at first base. Not quite on LaRoache's level, but quite servicable.

I disagree with those that say Rizzo failed in not having backup plans for CF/lead-off hitter. Those players do not grow on trees and they are hard to acquire without tearing up your team.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Cyrus music? Miley or Billy Rae?

Oh.
Nevermind.

I always thought that was for Nick Johnson, though.

and 1a, for what it's worth, in Wrigley, they ask you where Phil Cavarretta went to high school. Let's not make this too easy.

K.D. said...

Stopping in to say congratulations to you and Mrs. Z on the blessed arrival of of your son. It is a wonderful thing, the birth of a child. Your life will be filled with such joy (and a few dozen years of sleepless nights).

Gonat said...

Tom Milone with another great outing. No runs 1 hit in 5. BTW, Peacock starter the 2nd game in the doubleheader.
http://syracuse.chiefs.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t552&t=g_box&gid=2011_08_29_syraaa_lhvaaa_1

Aussie Gus said...

Mazeltov Mark and Mrs Z, and welcome Brian. Remember Mark, all he needs is lots of love. All the rest just works itself out.

Navy Nats Fan said...

After getting scooped by Ladson, Goessling, and Olney (among others), Mark finally weighs in with additional details:

@MarkZuckerman: Guess word is already out, but if you didn't hear: Brian Zuckerman was born at 12:13 p.m. today, 6 lb, 9 oz. He and Rachel are doing great.

Congratulations Mark and Rachel - L'Chaim!

Dave said...

@Sunshine 7:44, I was at that rain-delayed game when the grounds crew just couldn't handle the tarp. It was immensely entertaining. In fact, that was my first Nats game. I watched it from the 500-level.

Here's another one (I don't think I missed it above, but if so, sorry): who turned his back on his manager on the mound while being relieved of duty and then got traded away?

joNAThan said...

Biggest development of 2011: a new son for Mr. and Mrs. Zuckerman. Congrats and best wishes to the family

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the details, NNF.

LoveDaNats, yes, I think Jane said she'd get back to us regarding a shipping address TBD. For now, there's the Amazon link, but there's no cute baby Nats gear on the wish list. ;-)

JaneB said...

Yes... We will publish an address, but have to figure out which address that would be. The principals are a little, ummm, busy at the moment. Hope to have it by tomorrow.

What great "you had to be there from the beginning" moments!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Wait a minute--Brian Leonard? His nickname is going to be Blinni?

natsfan1a said...

Was that Ohka, Dave?

natsfan1a said...

And his initials will be BLZ. Which may be his first word, now that I think of it.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Tomo Okha, Dave. C'mon, something HARD. Like who were they playing, or who took what would have been his next start?

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

"BLZ"?
Didn't the queen say that?

natsfan1a said...

Okay, this guy pitched for the Nats. Earlier in his career, he was married on the mound at the Durham Bulls ballpark between games of a doubleheader. (Would make a better story if he'd started both of them, but I don't think he did. Maybe not even one of them. But I digress.)

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

I think we should call him Buck. Buck Leonard Zuckerman, the Blogson.




pacidem.

Late to the Blog, but not Late to the Nats said...

More things bandwagoner will have missed - as much as I hate the lame "Teddy Can't Win" meme, there have been some great moments in the series. My favorite - Teddy swooping down the zip line at Opening Day 2007.

natsfan1a said...

I like that idea, sec3.

Zip line? Heck, I remember when the presidents were one-dimensional and "raced" on the scoreboard. ;-)

Wally said...

Ah, the fun begins, Mark. Health is the only thing to focus on, everything else works out. Congratulations to you and Rachel.

Ok, for the soon-to-be band standers, I have a few. I hope these weren't asked.

Who said, 'I got tired of watching him pitch' and who was it about? Same questions for 'He had a bad aura'?

And I am not sure if anyone answered the 'who made Robby cry' question, so I will. Matt LeCroy.

baseballswami said...

Daniel Cabrera - and I believe he was invited to leave the team by Bowden?

natsfan1a said...

Rizzo but can't recall which pitcher at the moment - a reliever, I think.

I'm heading off to bed now, so y'all can have until tomorrow a.m. on the Durham/DC pitcher. :-)

Wally said...

Swami - half right. Cabrera it was, but Rizzo made the statement shortly after taking over for Bowden. One of my all time favorite comments, which was both exceedingly true yet completely inappropriate for a GM to make.

1A - I assume you were going for the second one? Yes to Rizzo, and also yes to a reliever. But I think this one will be a
Iittle harder.

PS. Secret word was Babbl. Seemed appropriate

baseballswami said...

We must entertain ourselves in the absence of a game. And our games are soooo stressful. Temporarily stumped natsfan1a - will sleep on it.

Anonymous8 said...

Watched Buehrle pitch a 7 2/3 inning shutout with 4 hits tonight against the Twins and lowered his ERA to 3.05. All I can say is this is the guy the Nats need. A lefty with stuff that can go deep into games. I would dream of what he would do against the lefty hitters on the Phillies and Braves!

With all the Nats young lefties, this guy would be a great veteran mentor also.

Gonat said...

Corey Brown with a nice Syracuse doubleheader and is 4-6 so far today and has his average over .235

Gonat said...

Peacock tried to 1 up Milone and also pitched 5 scoreless in Syracuse to match Milone's outing in the 2nd game of the doubleheader.

Really good day for both of them!

A DC Wonk said...

Mazel Tov to the Z family. And, from one father to another: there are no words to describe the highs -- you just have to live it to get it.

And, sigh, the time goes by way too darn fast. We're packing up my firstborn tonight as he leaves for school tomorrow -- the first one to leave the coup here (sniff sniff)

SonnyG10 said...
I disagree with those that say Rizzo failed in not having backup plans for CF/lead-off hitter. Those players do not grow on trees and they are hard to acquire without tearing up your team.


Absolutely. Further, you need to have stuff to get stuff. And until this year, we were thin all over, especially in the farm system.

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS TO THE ENTIRE ZUCKERMAN FAMILY! Bet the the kid already weighs more than Chico Harlan. LOL. ;) Don't let the dingo eat yourrah baybay, my friend. BEST TO MRS. Z.!

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Maybe they could get Bartolo Colon from the Yankees.



Whoa--"palin"? Not sure how to take that.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

You know, we could all chip in and just cover the games for Mark for a while...

natsfan1a said...

Okay, sec3. We'll put you on the next flight to Atlanta. :-)

natsfan1a said...

Wally, if you're still reading, I can't decide between Jesse English and Garrett Mock.

Wally said...

1A - sorry, just circled back. No to English and Mock. Happened in 2009. Trying to think of a hint that doesn't give it away. OK: same initials as a much better, and more famous, Nats pitcher.

natsfan1a said...

Ah, Steven Shell then?

«Oldest ‹Older 1 – 200 of 204 Newer› Newest» «Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 204   Newer› Newest»

Post a Comment