Thursday, February 2, 2012

Transcript of Rizzo's conference call

General manager Mike Rizzo held a conference call this afternoon to discuss the Nationals' acquisition of Edwin Jackson and what it means for the rest of his pitching staff.

Here's a full transcript from that conference call with reporters...

Q: Edwin Jackson is a guy you've been after for quite some time, as far back as 2010. What do you like about him and what impresses you the most about him?
RIZZO: I wouldn't describe it as we've been after him since 2010. We saw an opportunity here to acquire a young, hard-throwing, power-pitching, innings-eating type of starting pitcher and we thought it was a good value at a good term. You can never have enough good, quality starting pitching, and we felt it was a good enough value to make him a National.

Q: With all of the starting pitching you have, does this help you try to acquire a bat?
RIZZO: I think they're mutually exclusive. We made this decision to help us in our starting rotation, and we feel that we've done that.

Q: You guys do now have at least seven, if not more, guys who have started in the past. How do you see the rotation shaping up, and what do you do with all those extra guys who are not going to be in the rotation?
RIZZO: Well, we're certainly going to have good competition in spring training. We're going to bring the best 25 north with us. It gives us depth and options, not only in the rotation but in the bullpen. From the start of spring training, when everyone talks about "You have too many starters," to the reality of the grueling major-league season when you're looking for starters, we feel that we have good depth and a great talent base.

Q: Do you see yourself making a trade between now and spring training?
RIZZO: We're certainly always open to make a deal that makes sense for us and if it can improve the ballclub. We did not acquire Edwin Jackson to trade another starting pitcher. If, in spring training or before spring training, a deal comes up that we can't pass up and it positively impacts our ballclub, we'll certainly be open-minded about it. We know that we have depth in the rotation. We've got good quality, hard-throwing, power pitchers that we're going to go into camp with. And if all is healthy and we have an opportunity to make a trade to improve ourselves somewhere else, we'll certainly look into it. But I like the competition aspect of this, and there's going to be a lot of good pitchers out there in spring training this year, and the best 25 guys will go north.

Q: How do you balance between moves that will help you in the short-term (like signing Jackson) versus whatever effect it might have on other guys who you have control of for a longer time?
RIZZO: I think you have to have a vision and a long-term view of what you're trying to do. The signing has to make sense for you. A big reason to acquire an Edwin Jackson ... not only is he a young, talented pitcher that's had success in the past, but you look at the other parts of our rotation where Stephen Strasburg's going to be on some sort of pitch limit, Jordan Zimmermann is coming off a 160-inning season and has never pitched 200 innings in the big leagues, Chien-Ming Wang coming off a couple years of inactivity and hasn't really stretched his arm out through a long period of time, we felt that we had an innings shortage. If you do the research, out of the eight playoff teams last year, six of those eight team had two, 200-plus inning pitchers on the team. We felt that we had an innings shortage. This not only fixes the innings shortage, it also gives us a quality standard that we feel can compete with any team in the division.

Q: With John Lannan today losing his arbitration case, and now Edwin Jackson being added to the fold, is Lannan too valuable as a starting pitcher for you? Or would you consider a possibility of using him as a long reliever?
RIZZO: I think John, his strength is as a starting pitcher. I think that he's a quality starter that's given us quality innings in the past. I believe is going to give us quality innings in the future. He's an asset to our team and gives us quality and also gives us depth and options.

Q: Can Jackson still get better as a pitcher, and how?
RIZZO: We think he's got a bit of an upside left. He's a guy that we've seen a lot. I've scouted a lot personally when I was doing scouting for other clubs. We're going to make a few tweaks to his delivery. Last year he was a different pitcher from the windup than he was from the stretch. We feel that there's certain tweaks we can make to his delivery that will make it more difficult to see. And if you look at the splits as far as runners on base pitching from the stretch, and runners not on base pitching from the windup, the numbers are really surprising: a .338 batting average against pitching from the windup and much, much less from the stretch. So we've got some ideas that we've mentioned to Edwin, and he's very receptive to them. Pending him passing the physical, we'll introduce them to him and see if we can gradually implement them and see if it improves his command and his deceptiveness. The stuff is there. The power is there. And again, a terrific character guy, makeup guy, another guy with a World Series ring and a guy we feel really good about having on the club.

Q: When did you first start contract talks?
RIZZO: We started initial discussions probably about 10 or 12 days ago. When he came to a possible shorter-term deal, a one-year deal, it made it much more palatable for us. When we recognized that on a one-year deal, the term and the value of this pitcher was too good to pass up, we felt it improved our club immensely. And it made up the innings gap I thought we had. There comes a point when his value was such that we were comfortable making the deal.

Q: His walk total came down last year. Any reasons you could detect for that?
RIZZO: You've seen his walks are trending in the right direction. I think a more mature pitcher, not afraid of pitching to contact, attacking the strike zone, especially early in counts. That's a mindset we're going to pound into all of our starting pitchers this year again, as we have in the past. With his stuff, he needs to be comfortable and confident that he can get guys out, especially early in the count. Not nibble, and thus not walk so many guys and be more successful."

Q: Are you in "win-now" mode?
RIZZO: I've been in win-now mode my whole career. We just didn't have the players capable of winning. We feel that we're a team that's going to be very, very competitive in a really, really difficult division. Our goal is to play meaningful games in September and beyond. And we feel the acquisition of this kind of talent allows us and gets us a step closer to doing that.

Q: Can you confirm if Lannan still has a minor-league option?
RIZZO: John Lannan does have an option to go to the minor leagues. We feel that he's a major-league pitcher. He's major-league caliber. He's major-league ready to help a contending team. And we feel he's a solid, major-league starting pitcher, and that's what we're going to use him as.

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

He can claimm whatever he wants about the Nats standing pat with the stack of arms they have. Mike might as well be wearing a sandwich board that reads "Starting Pitchers! Get 'em while they last!"

dfh21

Anonymous8 said...

dfh21, he is smart to say nothing. Can't look desperate. Hmmm, where have we heard that before....

NatsJack in Florida said...

It's almost shamefull how seemingly knowledgeable posters can know so little about how the game works at the MLB level.

Gonat said...

RIZZO: We think he's got a bit of an upside left. He's a guy that we've seen a lot. I've scouted a lot personally when I was doing scouting for other clubs. We're going to make a few tweaks to his delivery. Last year he was a different pitcher from the windup than he was from the stretch. We feel that there's certain tweaks we can make to his delivery that will make it more difficult to see. And if you look at the splits as far as runners on base pitching from the stretch, and runners not on base pitching from the windup, the numbers are really surprising: a .338 batting average against pitching from the windup and much, much less from the stretch. So we've got some ideas that we've mentioned to Edwin, and he's very receptive to them. Pending him passing the physical, we'll introduce them to him and see if we can gradually implement them and see if it improves his command and his deceptiveness. The stuff is there. The power is there. And again, a terrific character guy, makeup guy, another guy with a World Series ring and a guy we feel really good about having on the club.

________________________________

Interesting. Hope he can be fixed in that regard. If not, maybe you just pitch him out of the stretch like a few relievers do with nobody on base.

Anonymous8 said...

Peter Gammons doesn't think Lannan will be traded unless the right outfielder becomes available and the Nats may wait until the end of Spring Training before they would make a deal.

Sunderland said...

Payroll status, 18 guys who total out at $82M (presuming EJax at $10M). Four of those (Maya, Rendon, Purke and Harper) likely not on OD roster. So that's 14 spots from the 25 man. 7 guys pre-arb, Desmond, Storen, Ramos, Espinosa, HRod, Bernadina, Detwiler average $500K each = $3.5M is then $85.5 for 21 guys. DeRosa and Cameron at $2M combined is $87.5 for 23 guys. Last two spots up for grabs, call it $1.5M combined, is 29 contracts and 25 guys on the active roster for about $89M.
Of course, if something happens to Lannen....

MicheleS said...

dfh21..

Take deep breathes... drink a beer and relax. Something is bound to happen before the start of the season. Just sit back and watch it unfold and appreciate the better team you have before you (it's not perfect, but hey we still have time for more moves)

Sunderland said...

Gonat, hard to believe that we're going to take a pitcher from Dave Duncan and improve him. But whadoiknow?

Anonymous said...

At any other point in Nats history, EJax would have immediately become the Opening Day starter. Today, he's No. 4.

That is serious progress.

Gonat said...

MicheleS with sage advice.

Gonat said...

Sunderland said...
Gonat, hard to believe that we're going to take a pitcher from Dave Duncan and improve him. But whadoiknow?

February 02, 2012 6:42 PM
____________________________

My thoughts exactly regarding Dave Duncan who was the best pitching coach in the Majors, and consider the huge improvement in the 2 months after being EJax was traded from the White Sox to the Cardinals.

We will see what Rizzo accomplishes.

MicheleS said...

Gonat/Sunderland.
Wasn't Duncan on leave the last month or so of the season?

And thanks Gonat.. sometimes we all need to have a cold one... ;-)

Gonat said...
MicheleS with sage advice.

natsfan1a said...

I had the same thought, MicheleS. If memory serves, his wife was seriously ill.

Gonat said...

MicheleS, Dave Duncan finished the season and is now on indefinite leave from the Cardinals

Scott from Burke said...

Rizzon on Lannan "He's major-league ready to help a contending team." In other words, please come get him from us. He will help you! Lannan is a dog as a starter..only going 5 1/3 (I worte about this often last year on this site) but he usually got through the first few innings pretty good. I could see him as a back of the rotation/long relief/emergency/in case of injury starter..but he's so below average

Scott from Burke said...

I meant back of bullpen, not rotation

baseballswami said...

I have had a very long, busy day completely away from technology. When I checked my phone and saw the 29292 message I did a very comedic double-take. Weren't we just discussing having a plethora of starting pitchers? And now there is one more? This guy sure has been on a lot of teams, makes me wonder what the deal is, though. I think the situation with John Lannan - being our ace and dropping each year, the situation with us not needing Livo or Pudge anymore - are indications of a real transition in this ballclub. As a charter fan, it's really hard for me to let go of guys I have watched and appreciated.

Rizzo translation machine said...

Cliche, cliche, cliche. Furthermore, platitude! And to conclude, truism and prosaic banality.

The Fox said...

Rizzo explains the pick-up quite well when he talks about long term vision and innings.

You can improve your team by signing better quality players or by adding more depth. This signing does both. 10 million dollars only seems like a lot when looking back at how much this team spent in the past. A 10 million dollar signing for 1 year carries very little risk and it creates more options than you can list.

Now Rizzo doth protest too much, methinks with his selling of Lannan. I'm not sure that you can get what you want with Lannan at this point because if a team wanted a starter like him they could of signed Jackson. Yea he is 5 million cheaper but for a team that thinks it can compete that's not much money.

Detwiler might be more valuable because he is cheaper and might have more of an upside and a non-contending team might want him. Rizzo could trade almost anyone except the big 3 SZG and probably Clippard no one else is safe.

One things for certain with Davey managing and Zimmerman and ALR playing well and a real starting pitcher taking the mound for every outing this ain't your old Nationals team.

Know-nothing said...

Dumb question:

Could this be an insurance policy on Wang? Why not hold the extra pitchers until you see what you have toward the end of spring training, then make your trade for whatever you can get. If Wang's shoulder is acting up, you still have a solid rotation and aren't shopping in desperation.

Of course, if a good deal for an outfielder comes along, there's no need to wait...

Rizzo might have something up his sleeve, but it also seems like a smart hedge. He could just be waiting for the market to ripen for Lannan/Detwiler.

Section 221 said...

We are dealing with the rest of the league from a position of relative strength. We lack a top-of-the order/center fielder player. We now have pieces to put together. Whether it might be Upton or McCuthen, we have players available that fit other team's needs in positions other than center field. Heck, you can even flip Jackson and absorb some of the money, if the right deal comes along.
Mr. Rizzo is very shrewd and knowledgeable. I would not want to play cards against him.

gonatsgo said...

How far are we from Werth in center and Harper in right? Months? Then maybe in 2013 we have a new centerfielder, Werth in left, Harper in right ( or vice versa) and Morse at first? Are we really getting tantalizingly close?

sjm308 said...

My bold prediction (and you can easily add stupid to the bold) is that none of our 7 starters are traded. Lannan starts the year in AAA. Detwiler starts the year in the bullpen and as injuries tweak the roster they both start meaningful games. I mean, how many games did Maya start last year? and I believe the Gorzolany also had a decent number.

I love that dfh cares and analyses the heck out of Rizzo and his statements but Michele is right, I am now opening one of many beers and will enjoy the thoughts of JZ, GG, and EJ as our opening 3 pitchers in the playoffs.

Go Nats!!

ps: this is really dreaming but I am the one that has Corey Brown starting in CF. What if CM Wang gets back to 90% of what he was in 2007?

Anonymous said...

Wow, pretty impressive how quickly everyone jumped aboard the "EJax" (as opposed to Edwin or Jackson or Edwin Jackson) bandwagon. This site is so hip.

Anon translation machine said...

Ad hominem attack, wise a** comment, miscellaneous vitriol, eh, I got nothing.

Constant Reader said...

Check this out on CNN/SI. How many of us have waited seemingly forever for this (I'm an '05 STH)?

With Jackson addition, Nationals look ready for a run at October

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/joe_lemire/02/02/edwin.jackson.nationals/index.html#ixzz1lHB4xIyu

Anonymous8 said...

The Marlins may have received the most pub in November and early December, then Anaheim with Wilson/Pujols and then it went to the Rangers with Darvish and its been the Nationals ever since then. Yes Detroit got about 3 days of pub with Fielder but the Nats nightly are all over the MLB Network and when ESPN is talking baseball they are talking Nats.

Anonymous said...

Lannan said no when the idea of AAA on OD was broached. The Nats started to shop him. That's it in a nutshell.

But of course the Nats are going to sing his praises, that he is a quality starter who will compete for a spot. Otherwise it would reduce his value on the trade market.

Detwiler is far too valuable and cheap to be traded. And he wouldn't fetch enough back for it to be worth it unless he was included in a package to get exactly what Rizzo, Johnson and the FO want. Highly unlikely.

Anonymous said...

ps: this is really dreaming but I am the one that has Corey Brown starting in CF.

Its not happening on opening day unless he makes everyone forget Bryce Harper is even there. But if he shows enough, puts up good numbers, makes the team it could happen by the All Star break. He is going to have emulate Mike Morse and become a very dangerous hitter and excellent glove off of the bench first.

Anonymous8 said...

Boras continues a lackluster off-season. He came through in a huge way for Princey and lets face it Madson, EJax and Carlos Pena, all signed disappointing 1 year deals and Spilborghs and Millwood signed even worse deals as they only got Minor League deals.

Heyman is saying that EJax's best offer was a 3 yr $30 offer but 1 year at $10 made more sense.

Boras clients Johnny Damon, Pudge Rodriguez, Jason Varitek, Magglio Ordonez, Rick Ankiel, Mike Gonzalez, and Xavier Nady, J.D. Drew are all Boras unsigned clients and Alex Cora retired.

Bigfish said...

Re Rizzo translation machine:

I, on the other hand, appreciate witty snarkiness. We should start the shot-drinking contest for every time Rizzo says, "We're taking the best 25 north."

Sunderland said...

Anon "Detwiler is far too valuable and cheap to be traded. And he wouldn't fetch enough back for it to be worth it unless he was included in a package to get exactly what Rizzo, Johnson and the FO want."

If he is valuable, and if he is cheap (under cost control) how is it that you say he wouldn't fetch enough? Isn't that exactly what other GM's would be looking for? Someone valuable and cheap.

Anonymous said...

MicheleS -- I am not concerned that Rizzo is selling pitchers, not at all. I am glad to see them being bold and having inventory to move is a great thing. I just think it comical that Rizzo is talking like he's not working phones like made trying to unload Lannan or somebody else when he without doubt is doing so.

No deep breaths needed, well not on pitching. I have to go about three fingers in to a bottle of Makers Mark every time someone says the word Desmond, but that's my problem and another conversation all together in any event.

dfh21

Feel Wood said...

dfh21, Desmond will be a whole new player next year. You won't even recognize him out there.

That's right, you won't even recognize him. I can guarantee it. Why? He'll be wearing number 20, not number 6.

Mark'd said...

Anon8, that's quite the list Boras has. I'm too lazy to research everything for accuracy. If that is all accurate I would say Boras has also not had a great Hot Stove winter sans Fielder.

Anonymous said...

20?
Wasn't that Frank Robinson's number?

dfh21

Anonymous said...

This could get interesting.....

SCNatsFan said...

I still think at some point someone gets moved; simply too many arms, although a 6 man rotation (which Rizzo has said won't happen) would sure be interesting. I understand the innings worry with Wang and Stras but I can't see enough starts to keep everyone remotely happy. Me thinks Rizzo will wait until spring training, see how Wang is doing then shop Lannan to the first team that loses a starter and has nothihg at AAA to replace him.

And I agree with Mitch Williams on Hot Stove; don't get a CF because Werth is the CF and eventually Harper is here. You don't trade someone with the talent of Detwiler for a guy to play CF for 2 months; Bernie and Cameron can handle the load until then, and if they stink it up in Florida then Ankiel is just a phone call away.

gonatsgo said...

At the end of the 2011 season I never in a million years would have believed that we could be talking about Jordan Zimmermann possibly being number 4 in our rotation. That's just nuts. He could easily be our #1.

Anonymous said...

SCNats -- then, if it's not a CF, they trade for a top of the order SS or 2B, with Espi moving over? There's no other position left right now, no?

dfh21

ehay2k said...

OK, I just drank for the best 25 north.

But I'm also stoked because on MLB network they are talking about the Nats being the 4th or 5th best team in the NL! Two years ago they were talking about the Nats' likelihood of losing 120 games. Laughingstock was the operative word.

Progress! And may the best 25 go North! :-)

Anonymous said...

Best 25 go north!!

dfh21

Gonat said...

gonatsgo said...
At the end of the 2011 season I never in a million years would have believed that we could be talking about Jordan Zimmermann possibly being number 4 in our rotation. That's just nuts. He could easily be our #1.

February 02, 2012 8:55 PM
________________________________

If you go by ERA and WHIP and exclude Stras, Jordan Zimmermann is your #1 slightly ahead of Gio and way ahead of Edwin Jackson, Lannan and Wang.

SCNatsFan said...

dfh, you wonder how much faith Rizzo and Johnson will keep in Desmond if he's the piece holding the team up. You have to admit Lannan and Desmond could fetch you a pretty good player. There just is no way - no way - you can bring Harper north and give the extra year away. But for a cup of coffee call up Detwiler would be on his way to AAA and things would be alot clearer in the pen[ you bring Harper up when you can but you don't give that year away.

Confused said...

Exactly how many days do the Nats have to wait before bringing Harper up to preserve that extra year? One day? 10? Could someone explain the rule?

Anonymous said...

SCNats -- I'm not concerned about whether they have Harper on OD -- that year of control at the end is mostly about money and it's a long way away in any event -- I'll be OK with whatever decision they make on the kid; but I, not being a believer in Ian Desmond being the soultion at SS for the Nats, would love to see him packaged with Lannan to get something the club needs in return.

dfh21

NatsJack on Florida said...

This the last time I'll say this.

Ian Desmond is going to lead off and and be shortstop for 162 games (barring injury).

So Peric, shut up!

Cwj said...

Yeah J. Zimmermann is definitely (in my opinion) number 2 behind Strasburg. Followed by Gonzalez, Jackson and then probably Lannan.
That makes a very solid rotation (if Lannan stay put, of course).
Obviously Strasburg is special, and potentially top 5 in all of MLB. We'll have to wait and see how he does this year with 160 IP.

Lots of talent in this rotation! I get excited before every season, but wow this year I'm actually counting down the days until Opening Day!

Anonymous said...

Instead of going after the 'top flight' CF like McCutch, etc... and trying to figure out how we are going to put together a huge package for a player of his caliber...

Why not look for a player like Dexter Fowler? He is young, athletic, cheap, and still controllable. His defense has not come around yet (negative UZR), but his 3yr BA is .260+ and his 3yr OBP is .360+, and he steals about 15 bases per year.
With OBP that high, plus some steals... that is good enough to lead off.

Or is Dexter Fowler in the same class as McCutheon? I don't think so.

Gonat said...

NatsJack on Florida said...
This the last time I'll say this.

Ian Desmond is going to lead off and and be shortstop for 162 games (barring injury).

So Peric, shut up!

February 02, 2012 9:53 PM
__________________________________

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I am sick of the daily bashing and especially those that think Lombardozzi can take over leadoff and 2nd base and Espinosa can make a successful switch to shortstop and everything will be better.

The Fantasy Island approach here sometimes is tiring.

Gonat said...

Anon @10:08, we have discussed Dexter Fowler over the summer as a potential CF for the Nats. His road splits are very good and OBP is higher on the road which is why I really like him as you always have to be nervous about Rockie players. I am sure Rizzo has inquired because Dexter is a Boras client.

baseballswami said...

It's just so weird to hear the mlb analysts talk about the Nats so much - and in a positive way ( not making fun of something). Expectations are high. Now - if we only had some run support....

Section 222 said...

NatsJack and Gonats -- Seriously? Come on guys, how can you say that? Would you keep him there if he's putting up the same numbers he did last year, with an OPB of .298? Will he be the leadoff if Rizzo deals Lannan and others for a CF who has a better history at that spot in the order, either in the next few weeks or before the season starts -- or at the trading deadline? Really?

Desmond was the leadoff hitter for the first month of last season, and he was awful. He hit well in late August and September, but he did that in September of '09 too. (I remember that monster homerun he hit to CF -- whoa!). His history by no means suggests that he will play the whole year at leadoff. Don't get me wrong, I don't think Lombardozzi can hit either, so I strongly disagree with those who think we should ditch Desmond and hand Lombo the leadoff spot. But I can't believe you expect Desmond to become a completely different player this year. And if he doesn't, don't we have to look at other options?

And don't tell people to shut up. That's just rude.

DC Tom said...

This is an awesome move.

If the Nats are in contention, we will need these all of these arms in September.

If they are not in contention, Wang and Jackson become valuable trading chips to contenders.

No downside to this at all, only upside.

PLAN B (getting Bio and Jackson) is now far better (and cheaper) than PLAN A (sign Buehrle).

Feel Wood said...

#20 at shortstop, #8 at second base. Take it to the bank.

Cwj said...

Yeah come on and relax folks :-)

These are great days for all of us, a winning Team will be fielded this season!

Unkyd said...

If we somehow wind up with Det, as #5, I gonna refer to our rotation, top to bottom, as The Five Dragons... They'll all be belching FIRE!!! Pretty much mid-90s or better, every day...
DragonStras
DragonGio
DragonZimm
DragonJax
DragonDet

Read 'em and weep.... That's a Full House! 3 Rs & 2 Ls....

Gonat said...

222 - Desmond is Davey's personal project. Ian will have a much better year. If he doesn't then Shortstop will be on the 2013 shopping list. I don't move Danny. He is Gold Glove quality and comfortable there at 2nd.

I want Lombo on the team so he can learn under the wings of Mark DeRosa.

lesatcsc said...

Take it to the bank, Desmond bats .257 with 8 HRs and a .302 OBP, steals 22 bases and makes 23 errors. He will have a great attitude doing it. It is what it is. If that makes DJ happy, then I guess it's enough.

If the Nats don't make a move to shore up the outfield, it will be a boat anchor for the offence all season. Even if most guys have better years, the offence probably isn't better than 20th overall; the thing is, with this pitching staff that might still be enough to play meaningful games in September. Some of those great Dodger teams had little in the way of offence and they were successful.

This doesn't look like a team that will build a lot of rallies. They might whack a bunch of homers and strikeout a lot, but they don't look like a team that will string together walks, singles and doubles. If they hit enough solo homers that too might be enough.

DeRosa has hit exactly 1 HR in two years. I hope his wrist is better, but it hasn't been since 2009, so one has to wonder. Cameron will be out of baseball (at least as a player) by about the same time Matt Stairs was done last year, if not sooner. Lombo will hit better than most think, just not sure it will be this year.

This is a good team, but it would sure be nice if they could figure out how to add another bat. It would be a shame to lead the league in pitching and not make the post-season because the team can't hit.

Section 222 said...

Gonat -- You're entitled to your opinion and your prediction. And believe me, I hope you're right about Desi. But it's simply not such a self-evident and "bankable" view that those who don't share it should be told to shut up. With this team coming together so well it's natural that fans will focus on the two weak links -- CF and SS.

It's fascinating how easy it is to be unambiguously happy about the EJax signing as opposed to the ambivalence many felt about the Gio trade. Guess those free agent signings aren't so bad after all.

On this very happy day for Nats fans, I do have a question for those who say we should keep all of our arms because "you can never have enough starting pitching," "we'll need more than five starters over the course of the season," etc. Where are we going to stash all of these arms? Let's assume Wang starts the season as the fifth starter. Storen, Clipp, Lidge, and Burnett are assured of bullpen spots, right? Is the rest of your pen the three lefty insurance starters -- Gorzo, Detwiler, and Lannan? And then there's H-Rod. Do we just release him in order to have a bullpen full of backup starters? Seems to me at the very least Lannan starts the season in Syracuse since he's the only one with options. But I really think one of the three has to be traded before Opening Day. There's just no room on the roster for three LH starters who aren't in the rotation.

Los Doce Ocho said...

dfh mentioned Harpers team controlled years.

It absolutely does matter if he starts OD on the major league roster. Thats one less team controlled, albeit expensive, year. If the Nats wait around two months to call him up, then Harper's free agency is delayed a year. But he could be a Super 2 player depending on how early he could be called up adn that would mean more $ during his arbitration years.

Its an interesting question for the team. Bring up Harper, "Best 25 go North" and put Werth in center or delay Harper's free agency by having Bernadina/Cameron or some other less talented but more experienced combo complete the OF equation?

Play for 2012 or 2018?

Losing on Prince says 2018, but signing EJ says 2012.

I'm fired up about signing EJ. Incredibly smart move especially in light of Buerhle signing for $58 mil! Super depth to offset questions with basically the entire starting staff. I hope all SP are kept, but I dont see how its possible unless Lannan, Gorzo or somehow Detwiler make it to AAA. Otherwise the SP's set up as long term guys with potential/team controlled deals or experienced guys w/ expiring deals. Great position to have from a management standpoint.

I do wonder if Rizzo would have traded for Gio if he knew he could get such a favorable 1 year deal on EJ.

Buster Olney picks the Nats as a pre-spring training WC by the way. Pretty exciting.

Los Doce Ocho said...

lesatcsc said...

If the Nats don't make a move to shore up the outfield, it will be a boat anchor for the offence all season. Even if most guys have better years, the offence probably isn't better than 20th overall




I'll preface this by saying I'm concerned about the offense. Will healthy seasosn from Zim & LaRoche and improvement from the team controlled players be enough to offset any decline from Morse, injuries or 'sophomore slumps'?

I have no idea.

But, SF did just win the 2010 WS with a below league average offense. Cody Ross, Edgar Renteria, Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Andres Torres and RC Buster Posey carried the offense. That is not murderer's row. It helps when you have one of the three best pitching staffs. Yet winning a WS can still be done with an average offense.

Cwj said...

Unkyd- Very true! With Detwiler in the rotation the Nats have a very hard throwing 5.
Average fastball velocity:
1. Strasburg 95.8
2. Jackson 94.5
3. Zimmermann 93.4
4. Gonzalez 92.5
5. Detwiler 92.2

MLB avg is (91.2 or around that.)
Of course, velocity isn't everything. But this is a very hard throwing rotation indeed.

Anonymous said...

So Peric, shut up!

Natsjack I haven't said anything about Desmond leading off. You'll have to fend off most of the posters on Natsprospects.com as to whether Espinosa is the better shortstop or not. I'm in agreement with them.

Bottom line: Desmond hasn't shown enough to be good enough trade bait to acquire BJ Upton before he is a free agent. If he was you would see him down in Florida in a Nats uniform. This is the year Desmond must prove that his original booster (Davey Johnson) was right. Otherwise? It could end up with Desmond traded for a "meh" prospect and Anthony Rendon moving in at second base.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. I am sick of the daily bashing and especially those that think Lombardozzi can take over leadoff and 2nd base and Espinosa can make a successful switch to shortstop and everything will be better.


For what exactly? You're an idiot if you believe Desmond is a better leadoff hitter than Lombardozzi. But you'll see and you know what? I'll be here to jump right down your throat and rip out your heart for being wrong ... year again ... and again ...

And it ain't just me its most of the minor league followers/posters on NationalsProspects.com? Who know a hell uv a lot more than you. Sorry to give you the really bad news but hey there it is?'

Anonymous said...

Losing on Prince says 2018, but signing EJ says 2012.

At some point maybe we'll learn you yungins ...

No, losing Prince means losing 2012 ... not playoffs but a potential world series. Now, its continue to build to win year-in and year out. 2012 is still a a rebuilding year with EJax. About learning to win to get over .500 possibly make the playoffs. With Prince it was almost a definite. Now, its wait for the prospects to develop, and they will. So, its not 2018. More like 2013-2014.

Drew said...

Reposting some numbers from the Beltway Baseball thread:

Those of us who criticize Ian aren't impugning his character. It's his performance.

Once more, with feeling:

Fangraphs ranked 22 qualifying shortstops across a range of categories for 2011.

Desmond's .967 fielding percentage ranked 18th of 22.

His 23 errors ranked 20th out of 22.

His UZR of -5.4 ranked 18th of 22.

His on base percentage of .298 ranked 19th of 22.

His .358 slugging percentage ranked 19th of 22.

His WAR of 1.4 ranked 20th of 22.

How could anyone be satisfied with that level of performance? It's glaringly bad.

However nice a fellow, Desmond is demonstrably one of the worst shortstops in the game.

jeeves said...

Said it before (was ignored) but I think the outfield of Morse, Werth, and Harper could be the best in the NL. (offensively). Last year, Morse had better stats than any left fielder other than Braun who will miss the first two months. Werth's stats combined and averaged over the last four years (including last years clunker) would be better than any of last years center fielders other than Kemp. Harper, of course, is a question mark as to whether he will make an immediate impact, but that's certainly a possibility considering his prodigious talent.
As for Desmond I've always been an apologist for the shortstop and believe he will be above average at the position in 2012.
Another favorite is Detweler, who, barring injury, will be an excellent pitcher next year. I just hope it's with the Nats, unless he is involved in a very good trade for that elusive center fieldef that would put Morse at first.

Roberto said...

Gonat said: "222 - Desmond is Davey's personal project. Ian will have a much better year. If he doesn't then Shortstop will be on the 2013 shopping list. I don't move Danny. He is Gold Glove quality and comfortable there at 2nd."

I am a Desmond skeptic. He's had 1000+ plate appearances and I think that I have a pretty good idea of what we can reasonably expect from him.

Here's the kicker: I am a life-long Mets fan who cried when Mookie Wilson hit it between Buckner's legs in 1986.

In other words, I am an acolyte at the Church of Davey Johnson. I've seen too many examples of his feelings about players turning out to be correct. He saw all-stars in Howard Johnson and Kevin Mitchell when others saw bit players. He saw that Doc was ready for The Show when everyone else thought he was crazy.

So, if he thinks Desmond can do it, I'm willing to suspend judgment for a while.

Feel Wood said...

Once more, with feeling:

Fangraphs ranked 22 qualifying shortstops across a range of categories for 2011.


Last time I looked, there are 30 MLB teams. Which means 8 teams don't even have a qualifying shortstop. It also means that if Desmond ranks 18 out of those 22, he's 18 out of 30 in MLB - which puts him almost at the middle of the pack for MLB starting shortstops. That's a far cry from being "one of the worst shortstops in the game."

natsfan1a said...

O.M.G. The team is having a "take back the park" drive for the May Phillies series. Now we're talking.

natsfan1a said...

I recently watched "Catching Hell," which deals with scapegoating by fans in the cases of that Buckner play and the Cubs/Bartman incident. fwiw, after having seen replays (which he'd not wanted to watch before), Buckner allowed as how his glove was a factor, it having closed of its own volition before the ball got there.

Here's the kicker: I am a life-long Mets fan who cried when Mookie Wilson hit it between Buckner's legs in 1986.

blovy8 said...

Yeah, 1.4 WAR is below average, but it's better than getting some utility guy or random AAA player there. Some of the guys ahead of him are probably pretty variable in their performance. While I agree that he really hasn't shown enough defensively or in plate discipline to count on as a good player, a relatively minor improvement in power (which his approach is really more suited to) would make him acceptable lower in the order. If he's misplaced as a leadoff guy, it's more because no one else is any good at either, and it's better to keep the other seven guys in the order comfortable even if it costs you some outs at the top of the order. Dick around with the other guys and you may have three or four underperforming spots instead of just one. If a guy who likes to leadoff and has a .350 OBP emerges, you can be pretty sure he'll be DJ's guy, he's not an idiot. A guy like Lombardozzi can force his way into the situation only by really playing well in his opportunities, and inserting himself as a super-utility guy who provides more than Bernadina or DeRosa. That's really not a tall order, actually.

DCPowerGator said...

if dezzie does not improve, espinosa's NATURAL position is SS! it might be a better player at SS than he is at 2B. plus, it is much easier to find a stopgap 2B for 2013 than a stopgap SS. then see if rendon can play his way into OD 2B job for 2014.

lombardozzi a nice player but probably does not project to being an above average ML starter, rendon is probably already better at the plate than he is. groom lombo for the 150 AB utility IF / defensive and injury replacement role. if you don't think that's an important role, please try to recall jerry hairston playing 3B for a good chunk of last season.

Anonymous said...

Other than height, which measurement standard shows Desmond exceeding the norm for a SS?

Anonymous said...

Comak rates Ian high on the enthusiasm scale.

Best 25 will go North!!

dfh21

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