Friday, January 27, 2012

Too much pitching?

US Presswire photo
Ryan Mattheus pitched well last year but will have a tough time making this year's team.
It's a tired cliche among baseball folks: "You can never have enough pitching." Yes, it's true. No team has ever been hurt by having too many good pitchers on its staff.

But sometimes too much pitching can lead to some potential problems, and the Nationals could find themselves in such a scenario come late-March.

Yesterday's signing of Brad Lidge added yet another accomplished arm to a pitching staff that already looked both strong and deep, and it perhaps caused some people to pause and wonder if the Nationals are going to have enough spots on the Opening Day roster to accommodate everyone deserving of a job.

Let's run through all the pitchers on the 40-man roster, broken down into starters and relievers...

1. Stephen Strasburg
2. Jordan Zimmermann
3. Gio Gonzalez (L)
4. Chien-Ming Wang
5. John Lannan (L)
6. Ross Detwiler (L)
7. Tom Gorzelanny (L)
8. Yunesky Maya
9. Matt Purke (L)

1. Drew Storen
2. Tyler Clippard
3. Brad Lidge
4. Sean Burnett (L)
5. Henry Rodriguez
6. Ryan Mattheus
7. Craig Stammen
8. Ryan Perry
9. Cole Kimball (Inj)
10. Atahualpa Severino (L)

Now, it's hardly unusual for the Nationals to have 19 pitchers on the 40-man roster entering spring training. They've had plenty more in the past. (Remember the 2007 rotation "battle" that featured John Patterson and 12 guys fighting for the other four jobs?)

But it is unusual, for this franchise, that so many of those 19 pitchers would come to camp truly deserving of a spot on the Opening Day roster.

So, how do the Nationals pare that list of 19 down to the 12 guys who will actually make the squad? Well, we can eliminate a few of them right off the bat. Kimball is rehabbing from rotator cuff surgery and won't be ready to return until at least the All-Star break. Purke has yet to throw an inning of regular-season professional ball. Maya is ... well, we've seen enough the last two years to know what he is.

So that brings the number down to a more manageable 16. Except it starts getting a lot more difficult crossing off names at this point.

Three rotation spots are already set in stone: Strasburg, Zimmermann and Gonzalez. General manager Mike Rizzo said last month the remaining two spots would be up for grabs among the trio of Wang, Lannan and Detwiler. Common sense suggests Wang and Lannan are clear frontrunners for those spots, based on the fact neither profiles well as a reliever, not to mention the fact they're making starter money: $4 million for Wang and either $5 million or $5.7 million for Lannan (who is headed to arbitration).

Detwiler, who has only two years of big-league service time, doesn't make near as much money as his counterparts. He also doesn't profile well as a reliever. Ideally, he'd open the season at Class AAA Syracuse, but he's out of options and thus can't be sent to the minors without first being exposed to waivers. So the Nationals probably have no choice but to put him in the bullpen as a long man.

This is where things start getting really complicated and open roster spots become hard to find.

The top five relievers listed above are all essentially guaranteed jobs. Storen is the closer. Clippard is an All-Star setup man. Lidge is the veteran mentor who could step in to close in a pinch. Burnett is the top lefty and is making $2.3 million this year. Rodriguez has the best arm of the entire bunch and is out of options.

Which leaves only one remaining spot on a 12-man pitching staff. A spot that seemingly has to go to Gorzelanny. Why? Did we mention he and the Nationals just recently agreed to a $3 million contract.

There is another legitimate reason for both Detwiler and Gorzelanny to make the club, even if they're not in the Opening Day rotation. The Nationals know they're going to need more than five starters over the course of the season. That would be the case for any team in any given year, but it will especially come into play this year because of the innings limit on Strasburg (roughly 160) and the fact Wang hasn't surpassed 95 innings since 2007 with the Yankees (before a shoulder injury derailed his career).

And the Nationals don't have many viable starting options waiting in the wings at Syracuse. Remember, they just traded away Brad Peacock and Tommy Milone to get Gonzalez. They also lost Brad Meyers to the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft (though it's possible, maybe even probable, they could get him back at some point).

So, Detwiler and Gorzelanny (and to a lesser extent Maya) are the Nationals' primary starters-in-waiting in case of injury or other issue.

(Since we're sort of on the topic, I know many have wondered whether the Nats might figure out a way to shut down Strasburg in midseason in an attempt to save his innings for September ... and perhaps beyond. Don't count on that. A club official all but ruled out that possibility yesterday when the subject was raised. As he pointed out, shutting down any pitcher in midseason would then require him to start all over again as though he was going through spring training. That process would take a month, and the Nationals have no intention of screwing around with Strasburg's development like that.)

What's the end result of all that? Well, the Nationals are looking at a scenario in which they're going to have to carry two left-handed starters in their bullpen as long relievers. And there doesn't appear to be any room for a couple of young right-handers who pitched quite well last season: Mattheus (2.81 ERA in 35 games) and Stammen (0.87 ERA in seven games).

Fortunately for the club, both Mattheus and Stammen have options, so they can open the season at Syracuse and be called upon when needed. The same applies to Perry (acquired from the Tigers in exchange for Collin Balester, who was out of options) and Severino (3.86 ERA in six games).

Is it possible the Nationals could look to trade away someone to help clear up a spot somewhere on the pitching staff? Sure, though when asked about this potential dilemma yesterday, general manager Mike Rizzo indicated he doesn't feel like he has to make a move at this point.

"We certainly have enough roster spots for them," Rizzo said. "We never have enough quality arms and quality, talented players. We like the depth we have, the fact that we have options on players. And we like the fact that we're a deep ballclub with more players coming.

"It's a good situation. Competition is always good. The best 25 are going to go north, and we'll see who that is during spring training. But I like the competition aspect. I like the fact that we are deep in the rotation and in the bullpen with power arms and with young players coming. So I like the situation we're in."

An excess of quality pitching. Honestly, who wouldn't like to be in that situation?


Stew Magnuson said...

Trade the man who has shown over and over again that he doesn't have the necessary skills to pitch at this level: Henry Rodriguez. Let him learn how to pitch in another organization.

Get Some Players said...

It's never a bad thing to have excess pitchers in spring training. Injuries can and will happen.

Half Street Ripper said...

If this conundrum isn't a sign of the progress this team has made I don't know what is.

HHover said...

Great analysis, but I'm surprised you dismiss the idea of a trade before the regular season starts--there are obviously places where the Nats have needs (cough, cough, CF/lead-off hitter).

And yeah, you quote Rizzo pooh-poohing the idea of a trade. But I think we've seen enough of Rizzo's MO (and I think it's a good MO, btw) to know that he's going to pooh-pooh the idea of a trade right up to the time when he makes one.

Binx Bolling said...

Perhaps I have misunderstood Davey Johnson's views on the pitching staff, but doesn't he want an 11 man staff rather than 12?

Anonymous said...

This assumes that no pitcher tweaks an elbow,shoulder or some other body part between now and opening day. My guess is that the Nats "surplus" gets called on early and often which will solve any roster dilemmas.


DH said...

"...And there doesn't appear to be any room for a couple of young right-handers who pitched quite well last season: Mattheus (2.81 ERA in 35 games) and Stammen (0.87 ERA in seven games)..."

just forget about Stammen already

Anonymous said...

Lead off and CF can be had for the excess inventory.

Ryan Eades said...

Thanks for laying all this out Mark. I'd have to question Rizzo's party line of "the best 25 guys are going to go north" because that's simply not going to be the case, assuming no injuries or trades. Mattheus or Stammen would give Davey much more flexibility on the 25 man roster than two lefty long men, but such is life.

It really is a luxurious position to be in, especially for those of us who have been with the Nats since day one and remember the barely Triple-A quality rotations they've thrown out there in the past.

I hate to say it because I love the guy, but I think the best case scenario would be a few guys in the minors - Purke, Meyer, Solis (if healthy), maybe one or two more - show quick progress the first half of the season and give Rizzo the confidence to trade Lannan at the deadline and move Detwiler into the rotation, knowing that in 2013 their SP depth will be 8 or 9 deep again between the bigs and Triple A.

Obviously with the shortage of MLB ready starters this season to go 8/9 deep many are still speculating of the possibility the Nats continue to look at Roy Oswalt, but hopefully the way you've laid this out will finally get those folks into the mindset that there simply isn't a place for Oswalt on this club. If one or two guys had options, sure, but as constructed, the Nats are too handcuffed with the pitchers they do have to think about bringing in another veteran starter.

Joe Seamhead said...

Stew M, I think you pull the trigger too fast on Henry. He looked very, very good his last few outings in 2011. This kid came to us late last spring, had visa issues, got here with a stiff neck that lasted through much of the early part of the year. I honestly think that the main thing that he lacks is confidence, which seemed to soar upwards in September. Let him have a whole camp working with our staff and see what develops. As Mark said, he has the best arm of the bunch. I honestly think that he's got a shot of being an outstanding reliever.

Anonymous said...

You can see a trade coming. I'd say one of the lefties Burnett or Gorz are likely to be traded. I think the Nats would love to trade Burnett, Marrero, Bernidina and cash for Upton. You could throw in other bullpen names for Burnett. Also could see either a six man rotation or Strasburg on a 4-5 inning limit early in the year to save his innings.

Ryan Eades said...

Agree with Joe Seamhead on Henry Rodriguez. Anyone who isn't STOKED to see HRod pitching in the back end of the bullpen this season simply didn't watch the last month of the 2011 season.

I think it's obvious Rizzo is always looking for a trade to improve the club, but folks, it ain't as easy as, we need this and here it is. Piling up a bunch of okay players (Bernie, Marrero, Gorz, Burnett, etc) isn't going to tally up enough value to get a high quality CF or leadoff guy (Upton, Bourjos, etc). You've got to give up quality to get quality.

lefty1950 said...

The Nats have come a long way in three years when you devote a whole write-up about an excess of pitching. As you reported yesterday, "Wow, Baseball America had #Nats with MLB's No. 1 farm system before Gio Gonzalez trade" Rizzo has done an outstanding job since he took over as GM and all second guessing of his decisions should be put on hold. I have a feeling that he has a couple of moves left before spring training, which is only 23 days away.

Anonymous said...

Get rid of Detwiler, please. Needs 8 days between starts and can't relieve.

m20832 said...

Ok, the Nats have a pretty good pitching staff. That's Great and I'm sure that will lead to more wins.
But I believe that a major concern will be the offense putting the ball in play. Is Eckstein still the hitting coach? It seemed like this was a major concern last season.

Anonymous said...

The NATS are going to have to be very clever in how they use Gorzelanny and a 2nd long-man out of the 'pen to keep them fresh and effective for when they are required, as it will be hard to give enough innings to 2 long men. Because this is a rebuilding year for Wang, I would put him in the pen to pick up Stras every 5th day and make Lannan and Detwiler my 4th and 5th.

lesatcsc said...

What are the odds the Nats deal one or two of the pitchers without options, like Det, to a team for younger prospects that perhaps aren't as close to being ML ready but have upside and options? He's already done it once with Bally.

NatsJack in Florids said...

For everyone praising HRods September, just check out his Winter League stats. Yuk!

He needs a great spring amd display a much improved command to get me excited.

fpcsteve said...

Nice option, lesatcsc. It solves two problems at once: it moves a player who doesn't have a clearly-defined role (or, apparently, skill set) and helps restock the farm system. Can he pitch on a normal rest schedule? Can he be counted on to pitch out of the bullpen on a regular basis? Your proposal is especially helpful if the reported issues surrounding Detwiler's lack of stamina and coachability are true.

jcj5y said...

I agree with lesatcsc, a Balester-like trade could be in the works, but only if the Nats can get back a starter or swing man with options. Could be a rarer commodity.

Barring a trade, I think the 12 pitchers are set. It is possible that they could go with 13 guys on the staff for a while, especially if the bench is something like DeRosa, Lombardozzi, Flores, Bernadina.

N. Cognito said...

"The best 25 are going to go north..."

I hate when GMs say that, and the ALL say that, because it's not true. Options are an important consideration in who goes north with the ballclub.

greg said...

Anonymous (9:10) said...
Lead off and CF can be had for the excess inventory.

Anonymous (9:16) said...
I think the Nats would love to trade Burnett, Marrero, Bernidina and cash for Upton.

(a) *quality* CF/leadoff guys aren't going to be found for, essentially, castoffs. even if you packages 3-4 of them. as someone else said, you have to give quality to get quality. GMs don't trade quality for quantity.

(b) i'm *sure* the nats would like to do that deal. but why would the rays do that deal? it takes two to tango, and you have to give the other team a reason to trade. even if you don't love upton, he's worth more than marrero (AAAA), bernadina (AAAA), a mediocre lefty setup guy and some money.

Anonymous said...

Think they'll be showcasing a couple of these guys in Spring Training to gin up interest in a possible trade?

alexva said...

A decision between Detwiler and Lannan appears inevitable unless they deal Gorzelany. I don't think Detwiler and Gorzelany fit in the same bullpen.

Lannan seems like the most likely and maybe we eat some of the salary in any deal. There are plenty of clubs that could use him in a 4/5 starters role.

Harper_ROY_2012 said...

Mark Z. I do not always say this, but I agree with your assessment of the likely pitching roster going into Opening Day, nice job and timely!

Unless someone offers a great trade, I would not go looking for one if I were Rizzo. As you correctly pointed out Mark Z, the cupboard is now pretty bare at AAA on the pitching side of things, so the few relievers we do have there are precious.

I know you do not delve much into the minors on this blog but where do you see the AAA starters coming from as many of the AA are probably too raw to continue their development in Syracuse? Do you anticpate a flurry of minor league pitcher signings as we creep towards ST?

Ryan Eades said...

For the "trade one of the starters" sect - I'd be SHOCKED if Rizzo traded one of the six starters before the All-Star break, if at all. The bottom line is you need at least 8 or 9 MLB quality starters to come anywhere close to competing for a playoff birth, so you simply don't trade one of these guys for "younger prospects" that aren't close to being MLB ready until you have a couple guys in your own system that are (or close to being) MLB ready. The Nats don't have those guys now that they dealt Peacock and Milone. By midseason? Who knows, maybe Meyer and Purke progress so rapidly Rizzo feels confident enough to deal Lannan or Detwiler. Maybe not.

And regarding trading Detwiler at all, you definitely don't trade away a power lefty until you are so exhausted by frustration at stunted development that you just can't deal with it anymore. That is absolutely NOT where the Nats are with Detwiler. You certainly DO NOT trade away a lefty (esp power lefty) in the NL East where the incumbent champion (for several years running) is stacked with lefty bats up and down the lineup. Lastly, you absolutely don't trade away a power lefty who now has a perfect mentor on how to be a successful power lefty in the big leagues - see Gonzalez, Gio - that will probably have a locker next to his.

From the other perspective of the "team" you want to trade one of these guys to, let me ask you - why in the world would another team trade a young pitcher with plenty of minor league options and team control that is anywhere close to being MLB ready, for a pitcher with more service years (closer to FA) and no options?? The GM you find to make that deal will be the GM you read about getting fired the next day.

The most likely scenario, IMO, is that Rizzo ends up having to stay the course with the 40 man roster and fans will have to understand the master plan is for the Nationals to be a "complete" team ready to make a run at serious contention in 2013, not 2012.

Is one more year of a little patience that big of a deal? It's not like it's 90-100 loss patience, they are still good enough to win 85 games this year and flirt with a wild card spot. It's going to be a fun season, but the real window at serious winning/contending (90+ wins every year) is 2013-2017/18.

Steve M. said...

HHover said...
Great analysis, but I'm surprised you dismiss the idea of a trade before the regular season starts--there are obviously places where the Nats have needs (cough, cough, CF/lead-off hitter).

And yeah, you quote Rizzo pooh-poohing the idea of a trade. But I think we've seen enough of Rizzo's MO (and I think it's a good MO, btw) to know that he's going to pooh-pooh the idea of a trade right up to the time when he makes one.

January 27, 2012 8:59 AM

I agree. Rizzo is a funny guy. He kind of shocked everyone when he said earlier this week that he would like to improve the bench and the bullpen and already had Lidge in his back pocket. I wouldn't be surprised if he brings back Ankiel.

Of course he is going to try to make a trade but it won't be easy to get the quality OF Rizzo needs. Better to downplay it then look like a failure if it doesn't get done.

People mentioning HenRod, some teams would "take a chance" on him and when you have to use the words "take a chance" you won't get much of anything back in return. I don't know what you do with him. He doesn't have options and wouldn't pass through waivers so I think you have to take him through Spring Training and see what happens.

I'm not as impressed as others are on HenRod's heater. 98MPH with little movement is not a problem for most MLB hitters unless it is placed where the catchers glove is and you can mix it in with a slider or changeup. It may be tougher to center HenRod's heater, but they can still make contact. Its really his walks that kill you and those wild pitches.

I don't see any mystery with the starting 5:
JZim, Stras, Gio, Lannan, Wang

Gorzo, Detwiler, Burnett, Lidge, Clip, Storen

There is one bullpen spot to be won out of:
HenRod, Stammen, Perry, Mattheus and since HenRod has no options, he is probably the front-runner for the 7th spot in the bullpen.

Barring a trade, I think the only guess is who gets the coveted 5th spot on the bench.

Theophilus said...

The goal is to get something of value in a trade, not just clear out the 40-man roster. Realistically, none of these spare parts -- individually or collectively -- will fetch a long-term solution to the CF issue. Therefore, Nats should be looking to trade one or, two of these guys for someone's underachiever, to hold the fort until (A) Harper arrives and forces Werth to CF and/or (B) Harper arrives, Morse moves to first, Werth goes to LF and Taylor/Perez/Goodwin is ready to take over in CF (2014 at the earliest). So what the Nats should be expecting is, at most, a two-year patch. That shouldn't be hard to find. Yesterday I mentioned Franklin Gutierrez; someone yesterday mentioned Peterson from Miami -- I don't recall seeing him play but he has good Minor League nos.

Detwiler has the most upside among the spare parts but has an injury history and no options. The best candidates to go are HRodriguez (everyone wants someone who can throw 100 mph), Gorzelany (everyone -- except Nats -- always needs an extra LH starter), Stammen (would probably start for a half-dozen teams in the AL). Severino truly is a spare part and isn't ever going to pitch meaningful innings for the Nats.

That's plenty of options for getting a good glove -- the most important qualification for the job -- in CF.

markfd said...

On a tangential note to the signing of Brad Lidge, any thought that Lidge and Werth can coax Raul Ibanez to come over to the Nats and serve a 4th OF/PH role? I know it is not as attractive as a DH job in the AL, but Ibanez is a hitting machine against the Nats: .279 4 HR 14 RBI last season and over the past 3 seasons .333 16 HR 46 RBI

Anonymous said...

Harper_ROY_2012 said...
Mark Z. I do not always say this, but I agree with your assessment of the likely pitching roster going into Opening Day, nice job and timely!

Did Mark really come up with anything earth shattering that hasn't been discussed for weeks besides penciling Lidge into the Bullpen?

The only question is a trade and does Henry Rodriguez self-destruct.

Anonymous said...

A trade had better be coming.

N. Cognito said...

Anonymous said...
"Did Mark really come up with anything earth shattering that hasn't been discussed for weeks besides penciling Lidge into the Bullpen?"

No, it's not earth shattering, but then neither is an anonymous poster complaining about it.

Feel Wood said...

On a tangential note to the signing of Brad Lidge, any thought that Lidge and Werth can coax Raul Ibanez to come over to the Nats and serve a 4th OF/PH role?

Ibanez is washed up. Literally the only team he can still hit against is the Nats. How does signing him do the Nats any good?

Steve M. said...

A lot of talk about Bernadina being in a platoon situation with Mike Cameron and Bill Ladson has been vocal on it saying "no way" that Bernadina is a bench guy.

I want to point out that Bernadina batting 6th in the order in his career 108 PAs hit .305 with a .380 OBP and .516 slugging and .895 OPS. Bernadina is .021 higher against RH pitching. If I adjust those numbers for batting againt RH pitching in the 6 hole you are looking at a BA of .326 and an OBP over .400.

Last year in 67 PA's against all pitchers in the 2 hole, Bernadina crushed .313/.333 /.563/.896

I don't know why people want to throw this guy out. He stinks against LH pitching and not good in the leadoff. Common sense to me says this was the same problem the Nats had with Nyjer Morgan. There was this unwillingness to move him back in the order or platoon him with a RH counterpart.


Nats1924 said...

For the life of me I still don't understand why we don't 'kick the tires' with Juan Pierre....

We have an OF spot avail, and we need a lead off man....why not offer a 1yr deal?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Good call N. Cognito.

lesatcsc said...

Folks here seem to be focused on a trade as a way of curing all ills. There are plenty of reasons for making a trade that don't necessarily make a huge impact at the ML level. Ryan Eades asked "why in the world would another team trade a young pitcher with plenty of minor league options and team control that is anywhere close to being MLB ready, for a pitcher with more service years (closer to FA) and no options??" The answer to that is simple. Because sometimes it makes sense to do so. If you have been lucky enough to amass a number of good looking arms that are all at roughly the same stage of development in the minors (and therefore competing with each other for innings) but are still a couple years away and you are short at the ML level, sometimes it makes sense to deal for a guy that may help you now. For a team like the Nats that have guys that they would like to keep but can't because of the numbers game, it makes sense too. On paper the Nats give up "more" because they will be giving up a guy who will play in the bigs immediately and who knows what will happen with a prospect, but they will be filling in a gap in their supply chain of young pitchers. I think if you're the Nats you're watching those teams that have thin ML rotations/bullpens and scouting their prospects. As ST gets underway, you figure out who is in and who is out on your staff, but that might be good enough to pitch in the bigs elsewhere and you see if you can get something to restock your system for the guys you can't use and can't keep. It's win/win. Plus it would be a shame to fill a spot on the Nats pitching staff with a guy that really isn't in the right role simply because you will otherwise lose him because he has no options left.

PAY TO PLAY said...

Steve, I don't think the problem is Bernadina, have you seen Mike Cameron's numbers? Yes, he bounced back to a decent stint after being picked up by the Marlins last year. His numbers before that are kind of awful.

The Nats need to find a decent part time Centerfielder who rakes against LH pitching. Sounds like Lorenzo Cain of the Royals. I'm sure there are others.

NatStat said...

You would wonder if all the ST pitchers will get a chance to show their stuff. But I guess with all the back lot minor league games this will sort out.

Have there not been a few times in the past where the Nats pitching staff has had 13 members? The problem with that, of course, is that it reduces the bench.

Think I see a trade or 2 coming.

Theophilus said...

Another short-term possibility would be Nate McLouth (Pittsburgh). They signed him for one year at $1.75MM, for no apparent reason (4th outfielder?). Yet they have two prospects who will start the year at AAA, including a CF, that will likely be ML-ready this year.

For that matter, Nats could try packaging Lannan, Bernadina, a reliever and a minor-league pitcher for McCutchen, who will soon become expensive surplusage so far as Pittsburgh is concerned.

Note that Yankees now have at least 11 pitchers with million-dollar plus major-league contracts. Can't imagine where Myers will fit in that group. Maybe he comes back in time for pitchers and catchers to report to ST.

N. Cognito said...

The longer posts would be easier to read if the fonts were a little bigger and the line spacing was about 1.5.

Paragraphs, with spaces inserted between them also would help; lesatcsc's post being the most recent example of needing paragraphs.

N. Cognito said...

Don't be shocked if one or two pitchers start the season on the DL.

Steve M. said...

P2P, I don't disagree with you about Cameron. I am stating that's the options I see with the players the Nats currently have. If you take out Cameron's at-bats vs. the Nats last year, his numbers are atrocious.

Good point that the Nats can possibly find a platoon partner who hits LH well. Lorenzo Cain would be an excellent choice. Speed, defense and struggles against RH pitching and rakes on LH pitching.

NatsNut said...

@ryan eades, I think your comment makes a lot of sense. I'm a little surprised at all the trade talk to get rid of these guys. I'm not thinking trades at all. I'm thinking, yea, that group should just about cover us.

As for the "patience for one more year", even if we don't go all the way, this year will be far from some kind of long-suffering forbearance. This year is going to be FUN to watch!

Constant Reader said...

I thought about posting these thoughts when the Fielder signing was announced, but got too busy and missed the opportunity. I'll post it here since it seems to fit today.

Feels to me like we are close in 2012, but we also have lots of questions.


* How will Strasburg react to his first full season?
* Can JZimm sustain his level over an entire season?
* Can Gio translate to the NL and our ballpark?
* Is CMW going to pitch more like his best self or like Maya?
* Is Detwiler finally going to put it all together (and will he get the chance)?
* Can Clip and Storen keep it up?
* Will HRod ever consistently be the video game pitcher we all drool over?
* Will Burnett settle down to be effective again?


* Can RZimm produce another healthy, monster year like 2010?
* Will Jayson Werth produce a year like his Phillies years?
* Will Adam LaRoche return to his pre-2011 form?
* Is Michael Morse really the 2011 Michael Morse?
* Desmond, Espinosa, Ramos ... is what we see of the closer to their floor or the ceiling?
* Will BHarp earn his way to Washington, Syracuse or Harrisburg this spring?

I think we have reason to be optimistic about many more of those questions than not. I never thought it was a great idea for us to sign Fielder to a huge contract like he got or trade for a one-year rental player like Upton this off season. I'd like to assume 2013 is our year (and first of several) based on good answers to all these questions and solve more of our outstanding issues next year after we see the development of Rendon, Goodwin, Purke, Solis, and Meyer in 2012.

My two cents.

blovy8 said...

The Royals aren't giving up Cain, he was a big piece of that Greinke trade and is starting for them now that they dealt Melky Cabrera. Nobody is going to hand over a reasonable CF option easily or a trade would have happened. I've seen projections for Bernadina as around 260/320/390. While that's not a leadoff hitter, it's an acceptable place holder with no cost to the roster in money or opportunity.. My guess is there will be a good veteran hitter who misses out on a dh job in the AL, who might fall to the Nats like Lidge did. A guy like Pierre had to settle for a minor-league deal, not that he can hack center any more, but that kind of tells you that Bernadina is valued a bit more than expected by the Nats, I think.

Steve M. said...

NatsNut said...
@ryan eades, I think your comment makes a lot of sense. I'm a little surprised at all the trade talk to get rid of these guys. I'm not thinking trades at all. I'm thinking, yea, that group should just about cover us.

As for the "patience for one more year", even if we don't go all the way, this year will be far from some kind of long-suffering forbearance. This year is going to be FUN to watch!

January 27, 2012 11:21 AM

You wrote "I'm a little surprised at all the trade talk to get rid of these guys."

Who is saying make trades to get rid of guys? Thats just ridiculous. The Nats have no issues of losing anyone if they are creative. They have 6 starters without options which means one has to go to the bullpen and makes most sense that Detwiler moves to the bullpen.

Everyone else has options. They don't have to trade guys to clear room. They only need to make a trade if a trade makes sense. The Nats could use another RH centerfielder.

Ryan Eades said...

@lesatcsc - You describe a very basic level of baseball trades 101. What you are missing is the premise under which the Nationals are operating.

They only have six, at best seven if you count Stammen, legitimate MLB ready starting pitchers. You need 8 or 9 MLB legit starters to get through a six month season with hopes of contention. So the whole point is they can't trade any of them because of the lack of depth in MLB ready talent post Gio trade.

So in your 101 scenario of how to make a trade, duh sometimes teams trade a MLB player for prospects. However the Nationals, because they hope to contend for a playoff birth this year and because of Strasburg's innings limit, cannot trade ANY MLB ready starting pitchers without getting someone in return who could, in turn, be MLB ready or close to it.

Hence my point that no GM worth a lick is going to trade MLB ready (or close to it) starting pitching with club control and several options for basically a similarly talented MLB starter that has more service time and no options. If the GM needs to fill that sort of a rotation spot, they'd use the guy already in their system.

The fact is, the best you are going to get for Lannan straight up would be a Single-A prospect. Then you are all of a sudden short-handed with only five starters, any of which could get hurt and one of which will be shut down at 160 innings.

If you put Lannan in a package deal, he's not a center piece, he's a toss in. Same with Bernadina or a couple others mentioned. The names I'm seeing above are premiere talent. Like someone else said above, GMs don't trade quanity for quality. To get an Upton or McCutcheon, or any other premiere talent you've got to give up something much more valuable than a No. 5 starter and a AAAA player.

Kenz aFan said...

There's always the trade option. In the American League, the Indians have no left-handed starting pitchers, and the Tigers, Angels and Yankees only have one lefty SP. Any of those teams would be good trade partners. With any of those teams, the Nats could swap a lefty for a righty, who could act as the right-handed long man to compliment Gorzelanny, or they could add to the pot and try to acquire a bat, either to come off the bench, or at one of the regular spots.

If the Nats wanted to deal with a National League team, the Braves and Cards each only have one left-handed starting pitcher as of right now.

Thing is, any of those teams could be trade partners, and with the Nats having too many left-handed starters, they could solve their rotation problem by acquiring a right-handed long man, or as I said, sweeten the offer and get a better return. No matter what they do, starting the season with two left-handed long men makes zero sense and removes an option for the manager. A right-handed pitcher would work better with Gorzo, and would give Davey a choice he wouldn't otherwise have if he had two lefty long men.

From where I'm sitting, a trade makes the most sense, because starting the season with two lefty long guys, would be a defeatist move. Besides, any of the teams I listed could be good trading partners, because both sides could help each other.

The Yankees have Phil Hughes, Brett Gardner and Chris Dickerson, the Indians have Alex White, Michael Brantley, and even Ubaldo Jimenez, who had an off year last year and who they might be willing to deal. The Angels have Jerome Williams, who pitched well, but my not have a rotation spot this year, and they have Trumbo, who was their first baseman last year, and who can also play the outfield and then there's Jeremy Moore who can play the corner OF spots and maybe even CF in a pinch, but not everyday.

One thing for sure, spring training will be very interesting, and if I would keep a close eye on the Angels camp,because if Mike Trout looks like he's going to start the season in CF, the Angels will have to decide on what to do with Peter Bourjos, because LF and RF are being taken up by expensive bats (Wells and Hunter). Who knows, maybe a deal that sends them a pitcher or two, in exchange for Torri Hunter and cash, could be a nice one year place-holder for Harper.

Yes indeed, it's going to be a very interesting and exciting spring training for Nats fans to watch this year.

PAY TO PLAY said...

When GMs are proposing trades, they need to sell it like Boras sells a FA. If you convince another GM that their need is a LH starter or a bullpen arm and they really have 4 or 5 outfielders, then you can possbily pull off the trade. Plenty of GMs are content and it takes some salesmanship.

Detwiler is the LH starter a team may still need to round out their rotation.

blovy8 said...

I bet the Nats will get someone on a minor league deal - Sergio Mitre, Doug Davis, etc. - guys who are holding onto a chance at regaining an ML job who probably are better than Maya at least.

PAY TO PLAY said...

Kenz aFan, you nailed it in much better detail. I am sure Rizzo's people have identified possible trading partners.

Bourjos would be extremely expensive in terms of trade and Torii Hunter will be 37 and making $18,000,000. Torii is a part time player now and nobody wants to pick up that salary.

Anonymous said...

Nats are not getting McCutcheon. Bucs GM said he could trade but it would have to be a "franchise-chainging, massive overpay" on the part of the other club. Rizzo is not going to bankrupt the bullpen for a CF.

OTOH, Oswalt is still ought there for a bargain price. Rizzo grabs him and flips a lefty SP and a reliever?

jcj5y said...

blovy8 is right--signing a veteran to a minor league deal is probably the most likely way for the Nats to create some additional rotation depth.

sjm308 said...

NCog: great response!

It seems a shame that decisions could be made on options so Rizzo saying the best 25 will go north is not really true.

Is there a chance they will bounce Stammen back into a starters role at AAA with the lack of depth we have now? Doesn't seem fair to him and I think he was decent coming out of the pen at the end of the year.

I like HRod and think there is still more upside. He doesn't have a straight 98 mph fastball. I saw many more pitches above 100 and while some were nowhere near the plate, the ones that were, were not hit. When he comes back with that 82 mph sinker its just great to watch the batter as he walks back to the dugout. I do believe though that NatsJack is correct. If he is wild in ST there is a chance he might not make it. Problem is, someone will scoop him up quickly.

I would not think we will see a trade if at all until late in ST. I think its been proven that injuries are a big part of ST and all these pitchers will prove a big plus as we continue to improve.

Cwj said...

Hard to read that some friends here are so down on Henry Rodriguez.
My gods, he does indeed have a secondary pitch to his (MLB leading by the way, 98.0 mph)"moving" heater. Have you seen his slider? Amazing.

Here is how I'd like to see the staff:

-Burnett (he actually wasn't as bad as it seemed)
-Rodriguez (did I mention he threw harder than anyone, anywhere, last year?)
-Anyone who doesn't make the rotation

hallwagner said...

we shoulda signed jamie moyer for rotation depth. LOL

Mark'd said...

Juan Pierre to the Phillies

Cwj said...

Well said re: HRod, SJM308!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Mark' forgot to say "on a minor league contract".

Cwj said...

One more thing about Henry Rodriguez, and then I'm done defending him :-)
He topped 100mph 127 times last year! Aroldis Chapman was the only one better, at 158 times. After HRod and AChap no one even came close (Parnell was third, hitting 100mph "only" 84 times).

Oh and yes he has control problems :) Still though, with an arm like that he must stay on the staff.

Mark'd said...

....on a Minor League contract ;-(

Mark'd said...

Cwj, velo is great when you hit your spots. Too many casual fans overprice high Velo pitchers while overlooking their WHIP and ERA. Control is key.

Justin Verlander dialed back his Velo a few MPH for better control and movement and Strasburg has done the same. Both can still reach back for 100 if they need it.

Cwj said...

Mark'd- That's true. But relievers can unload more than starters.
If Stras and Verlander were relievers they'd be up there no doubt.

And you also have a very good point about control, but what I was trying to do was point out that Henry Rodriguez (ERA 3.56, FIP 3.24)deserves a secure spot in the bullpen.

Cwj said...

Mark'd- And, of course, you were not implying I am a casual fan ;-) But I do love velocity!

I don't post here often during the winter (hibernation), but surely you remember me :) I called a come from behind win against the Braves twice last year :-)

Theophilus said...

Rodriguez, because of his velocity, "must stay on the staff?"

"Once the rocket goes up, who cares where it comes down." -- T. Lehrer

Steve M. said...

Mark'd, I think ERAs can be very misleading for relievers and look no further than Doug Slaten. On WHIP, yes, Henry's 1.508 isn't stealth.

I do agree with you that some people 'love' the heater. I have no problem with Clip or Storen's 93mph heater because at the end of the day it is all about effectiveness.

Anonymous said...

Juan Pierre on a minor league deal is a great signing by the Phils.

Cwj said...

Theophilus- haha :-)

Fortunately, most of his rockets go to the backstop rather than into the bleachers :)

Anonymous said...

How about a trade of Detwiler, Bernadina and Gorzelany or Lanahan for Brett Gardner of the Yankees.

natsfan1a said...

I recall reading your posts in the past, Cwj. Nice to "see" you!

Cwj said...

I don't post here often during the winter (hibernation), but surely you remember me :) I called a come from behind win against the Braves twice last year :-)
January 27, 2012 12:33 PM

Cwj said...

Clippard is a very good example of a strikeout artist who doesn't throw terribly hard (though he can hit 93, as Steve said). His wild delivery and awesome change makes him great.

No, velocity isn't everything. It's fun to watch though ;)

PAY TO PLAY said...

HenRod had a RE24 of -4.3 which isn't good at all. He put himself into too many high leverage situations at his own doing. His BB/9 of 5.50 is poor. His ERA of course doesn't count that he allowed 7 of the 20 inherited runners to score.

There was a reason Oakland got rid of this guy.

His Winter League numbers are baaaad.

This is all the same old story, different day. Its been debated over and over again. He's bad Henry a lot of the time, good Henry some of the time and OH HENRY too much of the time.

Cwj said...

Hey there Natsfan!
Yeah, we all had some good times last year.
I'm extremely excited about this season :)

natsfan1a said...

In other news, it's fun to see the baby boomer references on here today. First "The Russians Are Coming" and now "Werner Von Braun." Who's next? :-)

I saw one such allusion on MLB Network the other day. Was watching a show on the 50 top nicknames (for individuals as well as teams), and they showed a picture of the animated character "Tom Terrific" (who inspired a player nickname, as y'all know).

DH said...

Q to the board -

can the team sign Harper to an extension beyond the first year of FA to negate 'losing a year of FA' if he start in WSH?

NatsLady said...

Off-topic, but important:

We had a thunderstorm this morning in DC. Spring is on its way!

Cwj said...

Pay To Play- He got himself out of most high leverage situations.
Allowing .35% inherited runners to score is average, not bad.

Who cares about Winter League? Not me :)

We can debate stats all day long (which would actually be fun :) But I understand your points.
Henry Rodriguez is a Major League reliever who will be in the bullpen on opening day.
The good, the bad and the ugly :)

Theophilus said...

Had to look up "RE24." Sort of an interesting stat, but an observer from an early time could reach the same conclusion by noting that, "When H. Rodriguez comes into the game, things have a tendency to go to s+++." It's not about nos., it's about outcomes.

Cwj said...

NatsLady- Feels like spring here in the mountains as well.
Can't wait for ST!

Eugene in Oregon said...

I would argue that you actually can have too much pitching, if a team focuses on pitching to the exclusion of hitting. To be clear, the Nats aren't there yet (by any means). But the folks at Baseball Prospectus and similar sites have documented that teams that overstock in pitching (measured in payroll percentage devoted to pitchers) don't necessarily perform best in the regular season (measured in playoff appearances). The Nats are fortunate in that -- for at least the next several seasons -- they seem to have good pitchers who are under team control at reasonable, affordable salaries.

But the key is balance, whether measured in payroll, number of 'quality' players, or -- my preference -- runs allowed/runs scored. My concern remains that the Nats still need another solid run-creating player to bring their runs-scored total more into line with their runs-allowed. Mr. Fielder would have gone a long way (maybe the whole way) in that direction. An elite CF/lead-off hitter with a solid OBP would obviously help, as would Mr. Harper putting up ROY numbers following an early-season call-up. And I know a lot of people are counting on 'career average' performances from players like Mr. Werth and Mr. LaRoche (not to mention Mr. Zimmerman).

But even with those, I worry that the Nats remain over balanced in the direction of pitching, not in payroll percentage but in terms of quality players. I hope I'm wrong, but if the Nats hope to play 'meaningful' games in September, they're going to need to acquire that additional hitter before the trade deadline. At this point in the offseason, however, it probably makes sense to wait until early- to mid-summer to make a trade after you've figured out how things are developing with the entire roster. And I suspect that's what the Nats' management is doing (i.e., no more 'big' moves before the summer).

Anonymous said...

And as you pointed out : JOHN LANNAN ALSO HAS AN OPTION Mark? WTF dude?

There is a good reason why Lannan is the ONLY Nat going through arbitration at this point. Last year the stats added up showed him to be the worst starter of all starting pitchers. Worst of lefties worst of righties. He is not effective coming out of the bullpen. He was worse than Yunesky Maya.

Lannan belongs in Syracuse pitching along side Maya. If you are going to criticize Maya you must criticize Lannan because when push comes to shove?

Anonymous said...

Trade Desmond, Flores, Storen any prospect other than Harper, Purke or Rendon and throw in Teddy himself if need be to the Bucs for McCutchen.

Feel Wood said...

can the team sign Harper to an extension beyond the first year of FA to negate 'losing a year of FA' if he start in WSH?

Theoretically, yes. But the next Boras client to do that will probably be the first.

Cwj said...

Anon- As much as I like Lannan (remember when he was the "ace" of the staff?) I tend to agree that he's a weak link in the rotation. In which case either Detwiler (I like him in the bullpen) or Maya (who is terrible) will challenge him during ST.
Gorzelanny maybe? But Mark Z covered that.

Cwj said...

Anon 1:14- Trade Storen?
Nevers! :)

Cwj said...

There's no stat for "chemistry", but if there was than Clippard and Storen would have it.
I don't think that duo should be broken up, even for a CF.

Anonymous said...

Closers are not that hard to come by, all things considered. I'd trade Storen if they could get a CF back in the deal.


Cwj said...

dfh21- That's true. "Closer" is just a title, I believe. But that doesn't mean Storen isn't a very key member of the bullpen.
Clippard and Storen could split "saves" really. But they are good pitchers which is why I wouldn't like either one traded.

blovy8 said...

There's also a reason why they offered Lannan $5 million in arbitration. He's worth keeping, and if he never gets any better, he's still much more likely to not miss any starts than anyone else on the staff. Just because the projection systems don't know how he's doing it, doesn't mean he isn't actually getting the job done. 750 above-average innings isn't just dumb luck.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Talking about weather, JayB be must be around here somewhere because Central Florida has been under dark clouds all day. ;-)

blovy8 said...

Hey, there are worse things than having prospective starters languishing the bullpen, I just saw that Tim Redding and Daniel Cabrera signed minor-league deals...elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

READ MY LIPS...........U can NEVER have TOOOOO much PITCHING!!!!! Gooday,


alexva said...

I'll never understand why some think you can trade 3,4,5 or 105 marginal players for one superstar.

jd said...


When Storen and Clippard start making Madson money it won't be practical to keep them both. You just don't get enough extra wins to justify that. Atlanta will face the same issue when their 3 young studs become expensive.

A quality center fielder is always more valuable than any reliever.

BTW; Clippard is a very strong candidate to have a bit of a down year. JMHO.

jd said...


Excellent point.

Nattydread said...

N. Cognito said...

"The best 25 are going to go north..."

I hate when GMs say that, and the ALL say that, because it's not true. Options are an important consideration in who goes north with the ballclub.

Okay. Imagine if Rizzo said, "I'm sending north the 25 players that make the most financial sense for the ball club. My job is also to make money for the Lerners, not only to win games."

PAY TO PLAY said...

Cwj, Inherited runner stats are so misleading. Coffey came in 1 time with bases loaded and no outs and didn't allow any to score.

What kills me is relievers that come in with the situation set-up with 2 outs and a runner on 2nd and allow that runner to score. That is Doug Slaten.

I can't recall all of Henry's 7 inherited runners he allowed to score. Each situation is different.

Let's see how he does in Spring Training and debate it then.

N. Cognito said...

NatsLady said...
"We had a thunderstorm this morning in DC. Spring is on its way!"

It is so nice outside right now. Is there a game today?

N. Cognito said...

Nattydread said...
"Okay. Imagine if Rizzo said, "I'm sending north the 25 players that make the most financial sense for the ball club. My job is also to make money for the Lerners, not only to win games."

It's not about financial sense. Fans need to realize it's also about managing a 40 man roster, not just a 25 man roster. You don't lose players to waivers, that you want to keep.

Nattydread said...

Agree, N. cognito. But I believe the discussion was also about sending BH north. Not sending him, if he rakes in spring training, is purely about $$$.

N. Cognito said...

"Nattydread said...
Agree, N. cognito. But I believe the discussion was also about sending BH north. Not sending him, if he rakes in spring training, is purely about $$$."

It's mostly about having his skills on the team for an extra year. His salary is set for the next however many years he signed for. What he gets signed for at the end of that contract, or when he might sign an extension, will depend upon what he's doing then.
Oh yeah, the Nats save on meal money, but I don't think that ever comes into play on when to bring someone up.

Cwj said...

Pay To Play- True enough.
For what its worth I'm a little surprised that Coffey wasn't signed. He only allowed 7 of 36 inherited runners to score (19%).
Lidge only allowed 1 of 8 to score, but that is a limited sample.

Just for fun, aside from Coffey the best Nats in the inherited runners stat were:
Clippard- 10/46 (22%) and Mattheus- 8/29 (28%).
Storen only inherited 10 runners, 2 scored.

Cwj said...

Sorry if I'm boring people with stats, but I'm home with a cold and have nothing to do but read about baseball and post here :)
Oh and of course MLB network is on in the background. I didn't get that channel until last month. Some of the shows are pretty good.

natsfan1a said...

Cwj, I love MLB Network. Don't know what I'd do without it in the dark days of no baseball. Stare out the window and wait for spring, I guess. ;-)

Unkyd said...

23 days, Kiddies..... :)

Cwj said...

Ugh, 23 days seems like an eternity.

lesatcsc said...

Sorry Ryan Eades, but you missed my point. I'm not proposing that you don't need lots of starters to get through a ML season, I am simply suggesting that there may be a math problem and the path you propose may simply not be possible.

If I'm not mistaken neither Gorz nor Det have any options left. If you have 5 others starting and then Clip, Stor, Lidge, Burke and Rodriguez in the bullpen, you're at 10 pitchers before you consider those two. Do the Nats really want two long LH relievers in the pen, and are they better to carry those two than say, Mattheus, or eventually Kimball? It's fine to speculate that you're going to need 8 or 9 pitchers, but there will be games to win in April and those two guys may not be who you want out there to get that done. And if you decide it's Mattheus because you think you will need the reliever, the math doesn't let you keep the extra starter, whether you wish to or not. Neither of those guys will clear waivers so if you can't keep them you might as well try and net a nice return through a trade. The problem is, I don't think any of our depth SPs have any options left.

I also still count 8 SPs even if you trade one of the two I mentioned. The current 5, either Gorz or Det, Stammen and as a last resort Maya. And that's assuming that none of their prospects develop into ML ready starters over the summer. I think if you're regularly using your 8th guy it doesn't matter who he is because you're fundamentally screwed. None of the play-off teams will be going that deep into their pitching depth.

By the by, I also think you're way undervaluing Lannan. Guys that win 10 games and have as consistent a track record as he does don't grow on trees. That said, Det is probably a more attractive trade option and might net a AA/AAA ready prospect with some upside. I wasn't thinking about ML ready prospects.

David said...

any truth to the Oswalt rumors?

natsfan1a said...

Okay, random baseball link of the day, evidently Jeff Francoeur is a pretty cool guy (yeah, I know, but read it anyway).

N. Cognito said...

David said...
"any truth to the Oswalt rumors?"

Two words: Ken Rosenthal.

Cwj said...

Natsfan- Cool story thanks for the link!
The Hardball Times is a great site.

Unkyd said...

lesatcsc, the only thing left out of your very cogent argument, is LannEn's option. Yes he has one left, and barring further changes to the equation, he stands to begin the season in Syracuse. It has nothing to do with his value (real or perceived), it's just the numbers game that good teams struggle with every spring. Two lefthanded long men makes no sense, as you correctly point out. It sucks for JL, but the odds are that he'll get several starts, as we'll never get through the season on the same 5 starters. Circumstances may arise, which see him (or Det, or Gorzo) to be moved, but I hope not, because I don't see us moving a SP, unless we're not contending, unless 2 or 3 of the Kids are lights out, in AA or AAA. Re: Oswalt... Can't see that, unless we already move a SP ... Thoughts?

Roy O said...

I want a World Series ring.

natsfan1a said...

What, a 'dozer wasn't good enough for you? Geez, some pitchers. :-)

NatsLady said...

Jim Leland was on Mike and Mike this morning (toward the end of the podcast). Very impressive and interesting.

(1) Cabrera will be playing 3rd base but that is the "only change" we are making since Cabrera and Fielder are the same player at 1B.

(2) He wants Cabrera at 255 lbs., and no less. Acknowledges the loss of defense but says Cabrera may not have range but has good hands and a good arm.

(3) They are playing "old school" -- power out of the corner bases and corner outfield. He will hit Cabrera 3 and Fielder 4.

(4) V-Mart will still DH next year.

(5) He has absolutely no problem with a 1-year contract, he prefers it that way so there is no obligation on either side.

There was move, but this is not "Tigers Insider," I guess.

Big Cat said... are just mad you never caught anyone with HRods stuff. Bradley was 86-87 with a decent "controlled curve" He would have a hard time making this staff.

As for HRods winter stats......he was working on some things

JaneB said...

Anon at 1:14, I think you bumped your head on something.

Others: 23 days seems like an eternity, but remember when the count down clock was in three digits?

If Oswalt is better than our starters, why not sign him for not much, if no one else will? They keep saying they want a vet in the dugout. He's quit a vet.

How do I see what HRod's numbers were in winter ball? I used to cringe whenever he came in the game, but by the end of the season I was watching through the split fingers of the hands covering my face, because he could be great. You never know. But that's an (inglorious) piece of his power, too. I sort of hope we keep HRod, if only because then I won't worry that he might inadvertently bean one of my guys. MY guys! I claim them as MINE! Though I'm willing to share them with you all.

Capcha: eratick. That's HRod for sure.

Anonymous said...

It does appear that the Nats are set up to make a move involving relief pitching ... I suspect they would have to sign Oswalt to make that possibility greater.

The best strategy is still to get Upton now and then extend him and move Morse to first base when Harper arrives. Desmond can't be shortstop for very much longer with Rendon in the picture.

The Fox said...

Nats Lady,

The Tigers are going to be a case study on how many runs and games will a poor infield defense cost you.

Cabrera and Fielder are two of the best hitters in baseball so the runs they produce should easily compensate for their poor defense.

However a defensive miscue in a playoff game could cost them the series and not be forgot easily.

greg said...

only thing to keep in mind re: oswalt... if you sign him, now you have 3 guys competing for one spot, two of whom have no options and all three either can't pitch in the bullpen or weren't very good in that role. just creates more roster issues without necessarily fixing the later season issues (since oswalt is an injury risk as well).

agreed that several people (mostly anons) here have posted some pretty whacked trade offers, where they offer up guys who are barely spare parts for a quality starter (or, in gardner's case, a blossoming quality CF).

and feelwood, i hate to rain on your parade, but harper would be the *second* boras star client to buck the trend and sign the extension, if he did so. see: jered weaver, angels.

but, that said, i agree that it wouldn't happen. i just don't think harper is the "extend into FA years" kind of guy. i think he'll test FA. and, if i had to be honest, i think the nats will have to seriously win him over to keep him from constantly dreaming of being a yankee when he hits FA. i hope he's great and i hope we win him over, but i'm not counting on it (although i would never admit that to my yankee fan friends).

Anonymous said...

Ian Desmond is the key to this club. Pressure is on Desmond in a huge way. If he hits and gets on and makes the plays in the field, then this club looks pretty good. If he plays poorly, the Nats are likely not going to compete (hard to overcome bad lead off and/or bad SS glove when you're a team that projects to be chasing a Wild Card). I hope he's ready, and I would love to see the guy succeed. His Nats career likely comes down to how well his overall game goes for April.


NatsLady said...

Fox, I agree. It was just kind of cool to hear the manager's strategy so clearly laid out, strengths and weaknesses. Of course, the Tigers also have a great rotation, with the best pitcher in baseball.

The Nats also have good pitching, but is our defense enough to make up for the (at present) apparent lack of offense?

natsfan1a said...

JaneB, offseason stats are on the team site, here.

The Fox said...


That's a little unfair to Desmond and it almost sets him up to fail. Desmond is responsible to play good defense and not be a liability with the bat but he really is not a lead off hitter no matter how much Rizzo and Davey want him to be. Yes he is going to try and do it and I do think he can change his approach and have a better OBP but not having a good lead off hitter is more Rizzo's fault for not getting someone better. I'm not blaming Rizzo there were not a lot of easy option although he probably could have gotten Pagon who is also not a great CF.

You are right that a lot of how he plays will determine how the Nats do but I'm not going to come down hard on him for not being a good lead off hitter because I really don't think he is one.

Sorry if this is a rant.

The Fox said...

Nats Lady,

I had to think about your question "is The Nats good pitching, and good defense enough to make up for the (at present) apparent lack of offense?"

If I was going to paint a possible rosy scenario one that I've seen happen a few times in baseball. I would say that Rizzo has constructed a team of young talented pitchers who with the help of their defense gain confidence as the season goes on and keeps the team in almost every game. Add in a few really good or great players having career years,(Usually for hitters this happens between 26 and 29)Desmond 26, Zimmerman 27, and Morse 30, and combine that with what Mark wrote a few days ago about starting pitcher pitching 200 innings or as I see it making all their starts and yes it is possible to have a playoff team.

A lot of things would really have to go correctly for this to happen but with out the young starting pitchers having confidence none of it is possible.

We all remember Soriano (30) having arguably his best year in 2006 with career highs in HR, OBP, and OPS along with 41 SB and you can see that these career years are usually arbitrary except that they happen in a players prime years.

Will the Nationals have 2 or 3 players with career years? Probably not. But if they do they probably won't be wasted like Soriano's was. Things could be a very interesting this season.

I may have had one too many beers before I wrote this ;).

lesatcsc said...

Unkyd - I didn't forget that Lannan has an option, I just find it hard to believe they would send him to Syracuse coming off last year. You're right, that would really suck for him, and I can't imagine the Lerners will be keen to be paying a AAA pitcher over $5M. That's probably me thinking with my heart and not my head, it certainly could happen. It might even make sense if they really want to see what Det can do for a few months (perhaps even to drive his trade value up).

On the Upton question I still think the only way to pry him from the Rays hands is to offer a starting position player and the only candidates I can see them doing that with is either Desy or Espy. They wouldn't go straight up for either one of those, but since they need a SS that earns less but can play every day, I think they're the only ones that might make a trade doable. I could see taking a chance with Desy because I think Espy has more upside, both offensively and defensively, which is why I would want Espy if I was the Rays GM. I don't think you can make that deal unless you know Upton will sign an extension.

Personally, I would rather they sign a decent veteran corner OF that adds some pop and doesn't kill the Nats defensively for a year. They need more offence and at least one more OF to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Fox -- I get that it is not Demsond's fault that they are looking at him to bat lead off and that he may not be well-suited for the role, but that is where they are going to play the guy. I am not setting him up to fail, if anyone is, it is the Nats who are saying that he can handle lead off and are not talking about a Plan B.

I don't see how you cannot blame Rizzo for them not having a lead off hitter. Mike seems to think that unless he can get the long term ideal uber glove CF lead off man he covets that he should not bother getting anyone who has a track record of being able to handle the lead off role in the mean time.

In any event, Desmond needs to hit. He's going into his 3rd full season as the everyday SS and he regressed last year from a less than stellar 2010. Even if they drop him to a low spot, he stil need to hit. The guy cannot K 130+ times for single digit HR's and an OPS that starts with a 6. Maybe if he was superlative with the glove, the club could tolerate him having such a weak bat, but his D is iffy and it always has been, at every level he's played. It's great hat he has the athleticism to make the spectacular play, but the guy needs to make the plays MLB SS's have to make every day (he cannot have a fielding percentage at .960).

It's pretty amazing how raw Desmond's game is at this point in his career. His approach at the plate is not at all solid and he botches plays in the field that he has the talent and experience to make in his sleep.

He needs to put it all together now or they are going to have to cut bait. How much more time can the club, now looking to win, give the guy to learn his craft in the bigs?


Just sayin' said...

Regarding the question of whether the Nats pitching and defense is "enough to make up for the (at present) apparent lack of offense?": Until the Nats score more runs than they give up, it's not a matter of the pitching "making up for" the offense -- you simply can't have a winning record (or certainly not one that's more than a game or two or three over .500). As someone above says, the Nats need balance. You can add Oswalt and Edwin Jackson if you want, but they won't "make up for" the lack of run production (at least as exhibited by the 2010 and 2011 Nats).

waddu eye no said...

nats lady said:

We had a thunderstorm this morning in DC. Spring is on its way!

more news - my first crocus is up! batter up next!

Sound familiar? said...

dj in Fl. said...

I hope this is the last time we will be an answer on Jeopardy. Category was last in the NL.

The azaleas and red bud are are blooming in FL., and the local ball field was full of high school hopefulls going thru drills. Life is good, come on down!

Anonymous said...

Personally, I would rather they sign a decent veteran corner OF that adds some pop and doesn't kill the Nats defensively for a year. They need more offence and at least one more OF to be taken seriously.

Easier to come by signing Fielder. Now, its going to have to be Werth and Morse because let's face it; with Werth's contract, Morse's stats and Harper in the offing there wouldn't be enough at bats or time in the field for such a player. Its why they would opt for an AL team where the DH is available.

Again, this is why pursuing Fielder made such an abundant amount of sense given the situation the Nats find themselves in. His is an elite, impact left-handed bat. And he is young. Offensively better than the highly touted Texiera. It's why they really weren't pursuing the CF or hasn't anyone been watching? They are paying Werth enough to man CF well enough until they come up with the viable permanent solution. Bottom line: Signing Werth to a no-trade, 8 year contract blocks too many roster moves starting with young prospects-to-be. Its why, Mark, Rizzo was not keen on pursuing a CF as you thought now was he? Its why he wanted to accomplish that through trade ... now it will be accomplished through attrition I expect.

Tyler Moore hits AAA and Destin Hood hits AA this year. Brian Goodwin starts out his professional career. They'll have to evaluate them by midseason to see where they stand first.

No matter what happens they still lack that impact left-handed bat that Fielder would have provided. Harper can't yet be relied upon to provide that ... that's both foolish and silly to even think that. It will take him some time to come up to Fielder's speed if he ever does.

Anonymous said...

I didn't forget that Lannan has an option, I just find it hard to believe they would send him to Syracuse coming off last year. You're right, that would really suck for him, and I can't imagine the Lerners will be keen to be paying a AAA pitcher over $5M. That's probably me thinking with my heart and not my head, it certainly could happen. It might even make sense if they really want to see what Det can do for a few months (perhaps even to drive his trade value up).

If Detwiler starts pitching like a top-of-the-rotation starter do you actually believe the Nats and Davey Johnson would trade him? My God Lannan has had 3 bad years in a row. He is far worse than everyone's scape goat Gorzelanny. And believe me Gorzelanny, right now, is better than Detwiler. He's the one they might consider trading ... as for Lannan because of the arbitration process he now makes way too much money to be traded. He is an albatross. Will he get optioned to AAA Syracuse? Absolutely, if there's no room in the rotation and he loses his slot ... so he must have a tremendous spring to avoid that. Lannan was the ace of 100 loss teams. On teams where the starting pitching was the weakest part of the club.

Lannan is the only guy they are going to arbitration with ... and there is a reason people? Gawd what are you watching? And believe me he is not worth the 5 million they offered him! Not even close! Its ludicrous. Everyone is worried about Detwiler, H-Rod? No one here appears to really understand baseball then. And if Lannan is optioned I am willing to bet he asks for a trade ... my guess is that the Nats will try to convince him that he will get innings eventually ... but it will be too much for him ... no one wants Lannan at that salary my guess is he gets released.

Everyone said...

Sorry we don't understand baseball as well as you do; clearly no one here does.

The Fox said...


Your answer is correct and your answer shows why Desmond shouldn't be the lead off hitter.

You are also probably correct that it is Rizzo's fault but from where the team was when he took over to where it is now I'm willing to give him a pass on it. Angel Pagan was the easy stop gap solution and Rizzo could of traded Cory Brown and a minor league bullpen arm for him. Yea, I know some people think Cory will be great someday and if that ever happens there will already be someone else playing CF.

Desmond will be 26 this year and yes he needs to step up and take the SS job but he diffidently has the ability and the range and as you said he is very athletic. I don't think he is lazy because Davey likes him to much for that to be true. Maybe it is a loss of concentration but that can be from asking him to do to much in other areas. I think by putting extra pressure on him to do too much this increases the chance that his defense will suffer. Someone also needs to tell him to cut down on his swing when he has two strikes! He is actually quick enough to leg out a few hits.

Maybe Desmond does not turn out to be the Nats everyday SS but if he doesn't I think he could be an excellent utility player where he could play any position except CF and catcher.

I have this funny feeling that Desmond is going to be this years whipping boy and he probably doesn't deserve it.

lesatcsc said...

If Desmond becomes this year's whipping boy it will probably be because he deserves it. The alternative is that he is great and then everyone will love him. It really is make or break time for Desy.

For Anon 8:16 what is with the bold type? Does that make you more correct? Grow up dude, this is a site where people don't have to stoop to such stupid behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Where have you been? Desmond is EVERY year's whipping boy.

Anonymous said...

Wait - I thought John Lannan was the main whipping boy.

Mick said...

No such thing as too much pitching. I like adding Lidge

Wally said...

Keppinger - $1.5m
Theriot - $1.25m
Ross - $3m
A. jones - $2m
Betemit - 2/$3.5m

I am still puzzled by the bench construction this offseason. Any of those guys appear to be valuable bench guys/part time starters, they were around for a long time and they are cheap. I just don't see how Bernadina, Cameron, Derosa and Lombo look like better bench options.

Guess that is why I am just a guy who posts on blogs, and not a GM.

Eckhart Tolle said...

Two thousand years ago Marcus Aurelius wrote:
"Our anger or annoyance are more detrimental to us than the things themselves which anger or annoy us".

Most of the time, you will find this to be true. Negativity strengthens the ego, but it weakens you. It prevents true intelligence from arising and dealing with situations and people. When you recognize its futility and harmfulness, it begins to subside. You can then face and accept situations and people as they are, without this unnecessary inner baggage. This is the beginning of wisdom in action.
With love,

Drew said...

Pick up a bottle of BoldAnon. It's abrasive, but it doesn't leave an impression on anyone.

P.S. Mark: Is there any way to restore the prior leading, as you did with the fabled Arizona fix? The cramped type has become very hard to read.

Thanks for your efforts, as always.

lesatcsc said...


I'm with you, I don't get it. The Nats had the worst bench in MLB last year, vowed they would improve it for this year, but so far, it looks worse, not better. I mean, really? Mike Cameron? How stupid do we look?

Meanwhile, some pretty decent players signed elsewhere for a song. Maybe the PF saga hurt the Nats more than they would care to admit.

Neal said...

Here is the fly in the Harper's not coming north argument that everyone seems to be making. First, Davey said that he's bringing the best 25 players north and he's hoping that Harper is one of them. Now, Rizzo has publicly stated for everyone to hear, including Harper; that they are bringing the best 25 players north and if Harper is one of those 25, he'll be on the opening day roster. He went on to say that his contract status would have no bearing on this decision, only performance. If Harper truly is one of the 25 best and he is not brought north, then there will be a whole lot of ill will generated on the team. The players will know it, especially the new draftees and most importantly, Harper will know.

So, suppose that Harper earns his way onto the opening day roster and is promoted to the big league team right out of camp. Don't you think Harper knows full well the gamble that the Nats are taking, especially giving up a potential year of control? I think that there is a real good possibility that Harper will remember that trust and would probably be much more receptive to signing an extension at the right time. I know, he's represented by Boras and his clients never sign extensions. Well one of his clients did just that (signed an extension) this year, Jered Weaver. I will guaranty you this, if Harper doesn't make the opening day roster because the Nats did not keep their word and kept him back because of contract status, he's as good as gone as soon as his contract is up.

Opening day roster (IMHO):

1. Desmond - SS
2. Harper - RF
3. Zimmerman - 3B
4. Morse - LF
5. Werth - CF
6. LaRoche - 1B
7. Espinosa - 2B
8. Ramos - C
9. Strasburg - P

One possible exception to this is that LaRoche has a really good ST and someone is really desperate for a good 1B. The Rays also realize that they desperately need a SS. LaRoche is traded before opening day for prospects and/or bench bats (possibly back to the Bucks) and Desmond, along with Bernadina and Eury Perez are traded to the Rays for BJ Upton. In that case, the opening day roster might look like this:

1. Lombardozzi - 2B
2. Upton - CF
3. Zimmerman - 3B
4. Morse - 1B
5. Werth - RF
6. Harper - LF
7. Espinosa - SS
8. Ramos - C
9. Strasburg - P

Go Nats!

lesatcsc said...


You're smoking rope, buddy. Harper starts the season in Harrisburg or Syracuse, anything else is stupid. It's a business, Harper remembers nothing when he can be a FA, and you wouldn't either for $200+ million dollars.

Sorry, anything else is a pipe dream.

Sunderland said...

Neal, I gotta agree with les, there's plenty of wiggle room in the word "best". What else do you expect a GM to say? I don't see Harper on the MLB roster in April.

Joe Seamhead said...

Bold Anon 8:16, your bold print comes across like you're trying to deliver an angry lecture. I am to old to be lectured by some self-important baseball expert wanna be. I see your bold print and I just skip your dribble. Just want to let you know.
I also saw someone refer to Brad Lidge as a head case on a blog yesterday.Every report from fan and reporter about Lidge that I have ever read says that he is a class act. I don't have super high expectations of his numbers this year, but I do see him as a good mentor for, not just the pitching staff, but for the entire team. He is a fiercely competitive baseball player that has fairly vast playoff experience, including recording the final out in the World Series. An interesting side note, Charlie Manuel said that Lidge "was an important part of the Phillie's glory years." Freudian slip? Or an acknowledgement?

DH said...

Call boras and extend Harper b4 taking him north. Problem solved.

natsfan1a said...

My snowdrops are up. Twenty-two days to go...

waddu eye no said...

nats lady said:

We had a thunderstorm this morning in DC. Spring is on its way!

more news - my first crocus is up! batter up next!
January 27, 2012 7:47 PM

Gonat said...

Neal, you have Lombo starting the season in leadoff? You still think this is 2007. The guy has a partial months worth of lackluster at bats and you think he is ready to start and LEADOFF? If that was the case Tampa would want Lombo.

Gonat said...

Many discussions on trading a starter. BTB theorizes that when Cardinals sign Oswalt they can then look to trade Jake Westbrook.

sjm308 said...

Dear Eckart:

While I don't come to NI for therapy (well, in a way I guess we all do) I appreciate your thoughts. As one who has been hit with the bold print and called stupid it actually helps to have others point out the futility of that. While I realize that no one can make you feel inadequate without your consent, After that attack, I have taken the seamhead approach and just bypass anything in bold. I also try and use the natsjack approach and skip the anon comments in general although there are some valid points made by all. I come here to learn and enjoy baseball and our nationals, and like seamhead, I am too old to worry about someone else's negativity. It was just nice to read something that made me feel good. I realize everyone has a right to comment in the way they feel is valid but this place can sometimes get just a little too full of itself.

No more philosophy for the day. Go Nats

What other teams are looking at Ankiel??
Does Rizzo really feel the Bernadina/Cameron is the answer? I am still rooting for Corey Brown to break out and surprise us all.

Sunderland said...

I think the fact that Ankiel hits left-handed, like Bernadina, makes it unlikely we sign him. That's why they signed Cameron, looking at him as a right handed version of Ankiel.
That said, I really liked having Ankiel patrolling CF.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Marcus Aurelius (@ 11:58 p.m. last night) -- and no, Aurelius wasn't one of the early Latino players in the major leagues -- he wrote part of his Meditations in Carnuntum, a Roman settlement along the Danube River in what is now Austria. Now, across the river and about 15 miles southeast of Carnuntum, there's a baseball field just outside Bratislava, Slovakia. And there's a former major league pitcher (Tom Johnson, who was with the Twins in the 1970s) running a little league for Slovak kids to learn and play baseball. So if Marcus Aurelius were alive today, he could take in a double-header on a Saturday afternoon in May or June and still be back in Carnuntum for dinner.

Sunderland said...

Anon 9:54 beat me to it. I had the exact same thought!

Whatsanattau said...

Ramos emotions
Flores shoulder
LaRoche shoulder
Espinosa sophomore
Desmond lead off
Zimmerman endurance
DeRosa wrist
Morse repeat
Harper youth
Bernadina position
Cameron age
Werth rebound
25th man identity
Strasberg innings
Zimmermann 200
Gonzalez whip
Wang health
Lannan rotation
Detwiler bullpen
Gorzelany trade
Rodriguez accuracy
Clippard Wins
Storen repeat
Burnett bounce
Lidge velocity

Whatsanattau said...

Player question

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that the name Aurelio -- as in Aurelio Rodriguez, former 3B for the Tigers (and, for one season, the Senators) -- is derived from Aurelius (as in Marcus Aurelius). Thus, you can draw a direct line from Marcus Aurelius (Emperor) to Aurelio Rodriguez (Tigers) to Prince Fielder. Only two degrees of separation, right?

Decline and Fall said...

Marcus Aurelius was also the Emperor during the Roman-Parthian War of 161-166. Although Rome was ultimately victorious, the early campaigns were not always successful.

Historians at the time blamed Ian Desmondus for the problems.

NatsLady said...

Where are the Nats???? No respect--or no PR department?

Bill James said...

Using advanced analytical methods to compare different generations, I've concluded that while Marcus Aurelius had a better WAR than Ian Desmondus during the Parthian campaigns, Aurelio Rodriguez had a better career WAR than either of the other two.

Mick said...

My favorite emperor was Tourques Faceasand his wife was Sleazebageous, lol

NatsJack on Florida said...

Subject change. At the risk of alienating SteveM and others, I'm still a Detwiler guy. If he has worked on his core strength, he may be able to go 120 pitches with strength.

Looking forward to seeing him in 3 weeks.

Anonymous said...

Although I agree you can never have too much pitching, I really like the first 7 starters and first 7 relievers on Mark's list and that's already 2 too many. Therefore, I'm not too anxious for another pitcher to get added. (By the way, I also like Kimball a lot, but I recognize he's starting the year on the DL.)

From the starters, I think Gorzelanny is better suited for the bullpen. I also think Wang will be in the rotation cause with his history of injury, the Nationals probably want him pitching on a regular basis. So that essentially leaves Lannan and Detwiler fighting for the last spot. As much as I like Lannan, I would really love to see Detwiler get a chance. He looked great last year, but it was a small sample size. In Lannan, we know what we have - a very solid #4 or #5 man, but Detwiler could prove to be a lot more than a solid 4 or 5 man and I would love to see him get that opportunity.

Regarding the bullpen, I feel bad for Stammen and Mattheus cause I think they will likely be left off the roster and both guys looked like they deserve to be there, but since they have options and we have one of the starters (two if you count Gorzelanny) going to the pen, I just don't think they will make the team.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Where is everybody?

dj in Fl. said...

Watching Terps b-ball.
My second favorite team.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I'm at a Kerr's Wimg House. What channel on DirecTv?

whatsanattau said...

I like Detwiller too. I am hopeful he develops into more of a 7-8 inning pitcher. To me that is Lannan's biggest challenge too. Not state the obvious but being a 5-6 inning pitcher means giving up runs in the 5th and 6th. Detwiller has the physical attributes to be middle of the rotation starter. If he steps up this year as Davey seems to expect, and the young guns are all healthy, this rotation would be AWEsome.

NatsLady said...

Well, I'm at work. Cuts into my posting. :(

natsfan1a said...

I was at the SABR chapter meeting, which was quite enjoyable. Just got home. Now, I'm going to rustle up some grub. See. You. Later.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Where is everybody?
January 28, 2012 3:30 PM

baseballswami said...

Working -- and waiting for spring training to get here - tick, tock, tick, tock. I like Detweiler a lot , too and I was thinking that he was starting to figure it out. Matheus also seemed to have potential and I have always had a soft spot for Stammen. It will be interesting to see who shows up healthy, in shape and motivated.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what happened to NATS320?

It is almost like SBF and The Queen disappeared. Just wondering . . . I really enjoyed their work.

Thanks in advance for any info.

Anonymous said...

Noting here without boldface that Mark's coverage of the Lannan Arbitration (the ONLY Nat doing that this year) hearings is lacking. He'll likely continue to put a positive spin as if Lannan was still the ace of the staff.

Think about it Mark. Livan Hernandez, a way over-the-hill soft-tosser beat Lannan out for ace of the staff ... I think that says it all.

Anonymous said...

Having two left-handed long men isn't a problem that I can work up any angst about. After all, "long relief" doesn't really exist anymore. The sixth and seventh guys in the bullpen are really just "early relief."

If the starter makes it through five and the game is close, Davey will use some combination of our top five relievers. Today that looks like: HRod, Lidge, Burnett, Clippard and Storen. Whoever the last two men in the bullpen are, they won't pitch in a close game in the 6th inning or later.

Which means having a righthanded long man would make a difference only when:
-The starter gets knocked out before the fifth
-The game is close (matchups in mop-up situations aren't worth losing sleep over)
-The other team is weaker against righthanders.

That's right, even when Lannan gets tossed in the 2nd inning for plunking his fourth Phillie, our bullpen makeup isn't a problem (lefties are *good* against the phillies).

Truthfully, the larger concern is extra inning games. Often your last two guys in the bullpen have to pitch innings 12-14, and then 15-17 (or something like that). Again, it just doesn't happen often enough to risk having a AAAA in the rotation b/c you made a hasty roster move.

Now, last year when we couldn't put three right handed bats in the outfield... that was a different story.

Ambidextrous said...

Hey now fibi, we could put three right handed bats in the outfield last year...when Zimmernman and Desmond ran out to left field to catch a ball Nix couldn't get to...

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Where is everybody?
January 28, 2012 3:30 PM

Staring out the window waiting for spring.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading Marcus Aurelius' Meditations. In Latin. It's likely to take awhile.

MicheleS said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Where is everybody?


I went on a 6 mile hike on the W&OD trail looking for signs os spring... Saw some deer..not much else...

Anonymous said...

"Truthfully, the larger concern is extra inning games. Often your last two guys in the bullpen have to pitch innings 12-14, and then 15-17 (or something like that)."

Shoulda gone for Wilson Valdez...

Quack Addict said...

Hopin they keep MATTHEUS! gonna be good, he filled in big last year plus Davey likes him..How do you guys feel?

Will B said...

So hilarious update from the world of incompetence...MLB Shop is still "investigating" why they cancelled my order of a Morse shirsey and a Gio shirsey. Reason # 1 was the players weren't on the roster. I emailed a screenshot of the Nats' 40 man. Reason # 2 was that the numbers were mixed up...according to them, Morse was #47 and Gio was #38. On Gio press conference day, I emailed them pictures of Morse in #38 and Gio holding up #47 with Rizzo. They replied that their "investigation" continues...

NatsLady said...

Will B-- that is too funny. I found the Spring Training packages on the Nats page, though the Nats are NOT on the main MLB page, really.

However, I think me and the kitty will drive and sleep in the car if we go... and find a cheap motel with a/c for her to stay in during the games. I am familiar with cheap motels :) ;) [Some here may recall my Chicago adventure.]

SCNatsFan said...

I think thru injuries and players not performing you can't have too many arms... and somehow I believe if you are on this list and have options then I wouldn't get an apartment in DC just yet but there is a good chance at some point you'll see DC this season if you perform.

baseballswami said...

WillB - please keep us updated on your shirtsey saga - it is quite entertaining. We all really need you to stand up to "Ignorance of the Nats" syndrome. There may be a cure - I think it's winning.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Mattheus will make the team in spite of Mark's 'predictions'. Why? When healthy there definitely is another closer to backup Storen. Clippard really isn't. He isn't as good with men already on base as he is starting an inning clean. Lidge isn't a closer anymore. And H-Rod is just way too unpredictable.

But Mattheus? He was lights out in Syracuse as the closer. And he was pretty darned good up until he was injured. Another guy returning from Tommy John's.

He'll make the 25 man coming north. Absolutely must before John Lannan that's for darned sure.

SCNatsFan said...

Mattheus, with an option, can't make the team barring an inury or trade - just the business of baseball. We all want the best 25 going north but we can't give away Detwiler or HRod for nothig, just like we can't give away a year of Harper. It stinks but its nice the Nats finally have problems like this - like potentially having 2 lights out third basemen.

N. Cognito said...

Anonymous said...
"Does anyone know what happened to NATS320?"

Maybe he got a life.

NatsLady said...

@10:19-- I think you have that backwards. You may have been thinking of 2010, when Clipp "vultured" so many wins. In 2011, Clipp was excellent with men on base, he had a very low percent of inherited runners scoring For whatever reason (adrenalin?), he was not as effective as a closer, starting with clean bases.

Storen, OTOH, thrived on closing. I agree Mattheus, when health, was very good. But SCNatsFan is right, he won't start with the team. There will be injuries--he'll be up by July.

Anonymous said...

MZ says that Detwiler does not profile well as a reliever...but don't his stat's show that he has a very strong BAA the 1st time thru the batting order, which increases exponentially the 2d and 3d times through?

Post a Comment