Monday, March 5, 2012

Gorzelanny's disastrous day

Associated Press photo
Fernando Martinez circles the bases after homering off Tom Gorzelanny.
VIERA, Fla. -- Spring training pitching lines mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Guys are more interested in getting work done and building up arm strength than producing results.

But some pitching lines are so noteworthy -- good or bad -- that they need explanation. So it was yesterday with Tom Gorzelanny, who endured through a nightmare of an appearance in the Nationals' 10-2 exhibition loss to the Astros.

Pitching in relief of Stephen Strasburg, Gorzelanny faced 12 Houston batters over two innings. He retired three of them. Seven wound up crossing the plate, all of them earned runs charged to the left-hander.

Oh, there were also a pair of three-run homers, four walks, a hit batter and a wild pitch.

Suffice it to say, this was not a positive outing for the 29-year-old lefty, though manager Davey Johnson took the blame for leaving him out there as long as he did.

Johnson probably would have pulled Gorzelanny after he walked back-to-back hitters in the fourth, the latter coming with the bases loaded. But due to a miscommunication with the bullpen, right-hander Ryan Mattheus wasn't ready to enter yet, so Gorzelanny was forced to stay in the game. He promptly let in one run on the wild pitch, then served up a three-run homer to Fernando Martinez.

"I guess I'm rusty," Johnson said. "Twelve years [without managing] spring training, I guess I'm rusty. Put that one on me for letting him out there to take a beating."

Gorzelanny wound up throwing 47 pitches over one official inning.

"He said he needed the work," Johnson said. "But that's not the kind of work I want to get him."

Though he's being stretched out right now as though he was a starter, Gorzelanny is expected to open the season in the Nationals' bullpen as one of two long relievers. He performed well in that role late last season, posting a 2.42 ERA in 15 relief appearances (as opposed to a 4.46 ERA in 15 starts), and that prompted the Nationals to tender him a contract over the winter and ultimately re-sign him for $3 million.

That doesn't necessarily mean Gorzelanny's roster spot is secure. Because he was an arbitration-eligible player this year, his full salary is not guaranteed. If the Nationals were to release him before March 21, they would be responsible for only one-sixth of his salary ($500,000).

The club made similar moves in 2008 with John Patterson and in 2009 with Shawn Hill, releasing each pitcher more than 15 days before the season opener and thus not being responsible for paying their full salaries.

61 comments:

bdrube said...

"If the Nationals were to release him before March 21, they would be responsible for only one-sixth of his salary ($500,000)."


Sounds like Gorzelanny's on thin ice, especially considering how many lefty relievers we have.

MicheleS said...

And for those of you hoping we could some how fleece the Pirates out of McCutcheon,, they just signed him to sa 6 year deal. He won't be going any where for a long time.

Gorzy as the odd man out.. hadn't thought of that one.

jeeves said...

A repost. Another former Expo fan here--from the get-go. Was at the opening game at Jarry Park in '69 and at the opening of the BigO later. Got my Physed degree from McGill and taught for years in the Montreal area attending many games along the way. Have been an avid Nats fan sice the beginning and, likea few others here have been posting since the start.

Anonymous said...

Wow Zuck, kind of dark for you to be hinting at the club releasing Gorz after him having one terrible outing early in ST, no? Maybe Desmond should also be concerned he's toast after his 2 errors yesterday? No.

Gorz is likely going to be fine. Give the guy a chace to whow what he's got before you Shawn Hill the guy out the back gate of Viera.

dfh21

Anonymous said...

Yikes . . .

Give the guy a CHANCE to SHOW what he's got

dfh21

Drew said...

Desmond shouldn't be particularly concerned about his two errors yesterday, though I hope it brings somebody in power closer to the inevitable epiphany.

Now, if I were a "leadoff hitter" with a .304 career on base percentage in 1,300 plate appearances, I would be greatly concerned.

Theophilus said...

One of the LHs in the BP -- Gorzelanny, Burnett, Lannan, Detweiler -- is going to have to go. Rizzo will trade one of them for someone's Class A mid-level prospect, if he has to, before giving any of them the axe. The only reason to mention the possibility of cutting Gorzelanny is that they could do it (inexpensively) not that there is any chance they will.

Having said that, I have no great affinity for Gorzelanny. He's another piece of evidence for Rizzo's round-heels infatuation with other people's mediocre relievers (e.g., Coffey, Rodriguez, Gaudin, Durbin and so forth), some of whom waste coaching time, ST innings and meal money, and others who just try everyone's patience until it breaks.

Feel Wood said...

Spring training games are when guys work on things. In Gorzelanny's case, he's working on getting Pattersoned.

Feel Wood said...

The only reason to mention the possibility of cutting Gorzelanny is that they could do it (inexpensively) not that there is any chance they will.

If he continues to pitch like he did yesterday, at his salary he would have zero trade value. They would definitely cut him in that situation.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Drew re: Desmond. Besides his .304 OBP, throw in his .957 fielding, high SO and low walks. He's had 2+ years to prove himself.
As Earl Weaver said about Dennis Martinez, after banishing him to the bullpen: "I gave him more chances than I gave my first wife!"

Fast Eddie

Sunderland said...

jeeves and others, it's cool we have Expos fans here.
Fast Eddie flashing some Earl Weaver, nice.

Desmond is completely safe this year. Gorzelanny, not so, and that $3M salary is part of the reason. He's not that useful, especially if have have Detwiler in the bullpen, and it kinda looks like we will.

Theophilus said...

After Earl Weaver gave up on Dennis Martinez, El Presidente went on to win nearly 140 more games, including more games than any other Martinez in Expos history. A pretty emphatic, "Up yours!"

Theophilus said...

Re: fleecing Pirates out of McCutcheon, maybe he's unavailable but they have a couple of outfielders who will be at Triple-A this spring who are said to be major-league ready. Some of those folks too impatient to wait for Taylor/Perez/Goodwin should be willing to take one of those off their hands.

JR said...

Dennis Martinez won 140 more games after he got sober, after Earl Weaver retired. Not that he didn't want to say "Up Yours" to Earl, I imagine a lot of players did, but Denny Martinez was at his bottom when Earl was managing, so it's understandable where Earl was coming from.

LoveDaNats said...

A truly ugly outing for Gorzelanny yesterday. But I remember last ST when Drew Storen was SO bad. I thought we were doomed at closer. But he was lights out during the year. Still time for Gorzelanny.

Grandstander said...

Did I seriously just see Tom Gorzelanny compared to Dennis Martinez? I need my coffee...

Sunderland said...

LoveDaNats. Perspective.
Bah Humbug.

I wish we had a guy named Jettison on the roster so he could be Pattersoned.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Speaking of Shawn Hill, is he entirely out of baseball now? He had a spring invitation from the Marlins last season, but nothing this year, afaik.

Democrafty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sjm308 said...

Theo: Rizzo might have an affinity for other people's relievers but Gorzo came to us as a guy who could start and relieve. He won 14 games as a starter for the Pirates (although that was way back in 2007). He didn't start to work out of the pen until he was shipped to the Cubs in 2009 and I believe we brought him in to start when we first signed him. Like others here though, I had not thought about him being "Patterson'd" but we really do have a bunch of lefties.

A question to our Montreal posters - does your city still have a professional baseball team? It would be sad that the city where Jackie Robinson made his debut does not, plus its a really neat city. I have been twice and enjoyed it.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Anonymous said...Yikes . . .
Give the guy a CHANCE to SHOW what he's got
dfh21
March 05, 2012 7:38 AM

One word: Pattersoned.

Gorzy won't see March 21st with this club.

Anonymous said...

Obviously you can't put a lot of stock in one spring training outing; though I wouldn't mind the Nats saving a few million, Patterson'ing him and using Stammen. I think (finally) they have the luxury of not salivating over anyone who has a pulse and can hit the strike zone on a semi-regular basis. They have Perry, Mattheus, etc. who all have a much cheaper price tag.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

A little out of date, SJM, but in answer to your question, non.

No Pro Baseball in Montreal, and Little Hope of Any
NYT, June 19, 2010

JamesFan said...

DJ leaving him out there may be telling. Gorzy was a shakey starter and now he is a shakey reliever. We have more talent than slots, so give him a chance, but he's got to do better by March 21.

D'Gourds said...

I know it's only the second day of Spring Training but...watching Desmond boot routine plays at short plus going an impatient 0-3 at leadoff and Werth striking out and hit a weak pop up to 2nd with a TERRIBLE swing gives me a forboding feeling for the Nats' future as currently constructed. I think we'll be seeing Rendon play 2nd and Espinosa move over to SS pretty soon. We're unfortunately stuck with Werth for a while. Oh God I hope those guys prove me wrong!

JamesFan said...

D'Gourds, we may all be facing the hype of the off season meeting the reality of playing the game.

HHover said...

It's amazing they even bother to play more than 2 ST games, when so many commenters here have already seen all they need to.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

You guys. You worry the ball around the infield. You worry your way down to first. You worry in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry?

Larry: Worrywarts!

Worrywarts!

bdrube said...

@HHover - it isn't a matter of seeing all we need to see, it's a matter of the weakest link among the starting position players and the weakest link on the pitching staff playing down to our worst expectations.

For Desmond it will be a question of whether he remains the starter or becomes a backup (or gets traded). For Gorzo, there is no compelling reason to keep a so-so, 29-year-old journeyman on the staff if he can't get the job done when we have so many other options.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Storen and Clippard both had several outings last ST where they were clobbered. I was even thinking Storen needed to start in AAA until he had two solid outings at the end of ST.

Too many people panic at absolutely nothing.

Section 222 said...

Where are all the usual suspects to assure us that spring training performances mean nothing? The truth is, they often mean something when you have guys competing for jobs. Gorzelanny is one of the guys who's job isn't assured. This performance doesn't doom him (DJ took some of the blame), but he has to do better the next few times out or his spot is in jeopardy. He can't be feeling very good this morning.

On the other hand, he might prefer to catch on with another squad as a starter, and his salary is probably too high to be traded. So maybe being Pattersoned wouldn't be the worst thing for his career. I'm a little surprised the Nats tendered him a contract to be honest. He's a very expensive long reliever. Anyone have any theories about that?

DCGuy7 said...

theory on Gorzo - options in case they trade Lannan or Det. That's all that makes sense, really.

Anonymous said...

Theory on Desmond - he can barely defend and he cannot hit. Espi to SS should happen sooner than later. We all know it is coming, just do it now before they start losing games while trying to convince themselves Desmond can NOW somehow do what he has never been able to do. Lombo to 2B until Rendon is ready. Gets you better D and better O. Desmond needs to go.

jd said...

Sec 222,

It means nothing for people who aren't fighting for jobs but getting for the season. For Gorzo it definitely means something.

All the Desmond detractors; It doesn't matter how much you bitch and moan he will make the team and more than likely be the leadoff hitter at least to start this year.

No way in hell Rendon is getting anywhere near 2nd base in real games; not with 2 bad ankles.I think he's starting at 3rd base in Potomac. NatsJack thinks Harrisburg but in either case he is a long ways from the show.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Steven at FJB started that site because folks got tired of the broken record and more or less told him to take it outside. To his credit, he did so, and reasonably well, too, for a while. Perhaps an IanDesmondSucks.com blog would be in order, and the rest of us can save wear and tear on the scroll wheel.

A DC Wonk said...

I wish we had a guy named Jettison

And, suddenly a tune popped into my head . . .

"Meet George Jettison"

(Jane his wife . . . )

JaneB said...

I remember last ST when people thought Storen must have been injured, he was giving up so much stuff. Let's just wait and watch. What I appreciated in this piece is the information (which I hd not retained) about the deadline to Patterson someone. How sad that John Patterson is memorialized by such an unhappy verb. Because when he was on, he was thrilling to watch. Though now the bar has been raised on Nats being "thrilling."

Anonymous said...

"Meet George Jettison"

Dog it against the Astros and you very well might.

Theophilus said...

Second the motion on the IanDesmondSucks.com blog. It's really tiresome. Possibly Mark could put up a widget at the bottom of this blog to allow people to vote in favor of denying Desmond the right to travel on Interstate highways and sending all of his offspring to foster homes -- everybody could just keep track of the tally and be spared all of the comments the trolls have been posting for the last three (?)years.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Gorzelanny's on thin ice, especially considering how many lefty relievers we have.

Yeah, like 2 veterans. Gorzelanny and Burnett. Severino isn't better.

He might get traded but he won't be released Mark. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Zuckerman is a Lannan fan that's clear. And that's the only guy that's on thin ice since its been determined that he can't pitch in relief. Let's see how your boy, the worst pitcher statistically three years running does tonight Mark.

Anonymous said...

One of the LHs in the BP -- Gorzelanny, Burnett, Lannan, Detweiler

There are ONLY TWO veteran relievers Theophillus. Gorzelanny is ONE of JUST TWO. Gorzelanny has a track record. Its actually better than Lanan's as a starter. Detwiler has yet to prove he can pitch consistently in the majors. And Burnett is coming off of a terrible year. And Lannan isn't a reliever.

Mark, sometimes I wonder ... John Lannan still the odd man out Mark.

Anonymous said...

He's not that useful, especially if have have Detwiler in the bullpen, and it kinda looks like we will.

And how many seasons has Detwiler pitched consistently in the majors Sunderland? And what's his career record look like ... Gorzelanny was far better coming out of the bullpen last year, he was better than Sean Burnett overall? And as a starter better than both Lannan and Detwiler.

If they cut Gorzelanny he would immediately be picked up. Sheesh.

JaneB said...

Anon at 11:25 -- Mark doesn't HAVE a boy. He is reporting what it would happen if Gorzelanny doesn't turn it around -- which is the logical next question some people here would have asked. He is reporting this stuff, for our benefit. And if he has favorites, I sure don't know who they are. And Anon at 11:32 he isn't ROOTING for Gorze to get cut -- he is preemptively telling us what that could look like, if it happened. I mean, speaking of "sheesh."

Astro said...

Ri ruv rou, Reorge.

Anonymous said...

"Meet George Jettison"

Dog it against the Astros and you very well might.
March 05, 2012 11:17 AM

natsfan1a said...

I've never cared for the term, for that reason.

JaneB said...

How sad that John Patterson is memorialized by such an unhappy verb. Because when he was on, he was thrilling to watch.
March 05, 2012 11:06 AM

natsfan1a said...

Now that I think about it, I wouldn't care for it even if he'd not been thrilling. Anyhoo.

FireJohnLannan blog said...

Now hiring authors.

Feel Wood said...

If they cut Gorzelanny he would immediately be picked up. Sheesh.

Maybe, maybe not. If they waive him right before Opening Day, any team that claims him would have to put him on their 25 man roster at his current salary. If a team wanted him as a starter, they might be willing to pay that much. As a reliever, maybe not.

Of course, if they Patterson him he probably would get signed immediately by someone, since they'd no longer have to pay his salary. They could even sign him to a minor league deal. Which is why he won't get Pattersoned unless his next few ST appearances are as bad as yesterday's, or close to that. But there's no guarantee that won't happen, so Gorzelanny indded has to be considered to be on thin ice until his performance improves.

Lannan OTOH has more wiggle room, even if his performance is bad, thanks to his option.

Anonymous said...

Zuckerman's non-mention of Desmond's struggles with the glove is telling. Mark seems to want to ignore or minimize the real problems with players he likes personally. The blow-back on that kind of handling of Ian by Zuckerman and Comack and Kilgore (they all love Desmond as if they have been instructed to do so) is the venom in the blogosphere against Desmond as if he is some sacred cow. Stop the madness on both sides. Be rational. Desmond is a big question mark; he has much to prove and his leash is short as the club has options. Yesterday's errors did not help his cause.

SpringfieldFan said...

AMEN.

JaneB said...

How sad that John Patterson is memorialized by such an unhappy verb. Because when he was on, he was thrilling to watch.

LoveDaNats said...

Geez! Is this "hatin' on Mark" day? We all have favorites on the team and hope they perform well. Reporting the facts is all he's doing and when he posts a personal opinion, he tells us in advance.
If Desi looks like he did yesterday at the BoSox exhibition, then I'll worry. Until then, not so much.

N. Cognito said...

Anonymous said...
"Zuckerman's non-mention of Desmond's struggles with the glove is telling. Mark seems to want to ignore or minimize the real problems with players he likes personally."

Are you just being snarky or are you a buffoon? I'm guessing the later so I'm curious, do you work at it or does it come naturally?

D'Gourds said...

Conspiracy theories aside, why is there such anger toward people stating their honest, negative opinion? If you can't express it on a blog like this, then where can you?
I just don't understand why Desmond has been annointed the starting ss and leadoff man in camp. He just hasn't earned it yet. Lombardozzi should be in the mix.

Anonymous said...

N Cog -- do you have to do this every week? You take offense to something and get personal and insulting; it's not me who is being a buffoon.

Anonymous said...

Not sure about conspiracy either, but Gorz is a middle relief guy right now. Not such an integral player all things considered. Desmond's the starting SS with an iffy glove and questionable OBP skills who needs a hot start as they are looking for him to play a huge role and they have guys in camp who might be able to take his job, yet Zuck's got no thoughts on Ian's pretty disastrous day yesterday? I am not sure Zuck plays favorites or anything, but I want to know what's going on with Desmond more than I do Gorz. What are they doping to make Ian more likely to succeed, what's the strategy he's bringing this year, what options do the Nats have if Ian gets injured or is ineffective, what are Ian's thoughts about it all? etc.

dfh21

Richard said...

Kinda discouraging to see so few fans in the stands at Viera yesterday as I watched on MASN. Some were evening wearing Fish hats. I'd like to believe the Nats nation has a chance to battle the Phillies nation this year, for example, the first week in May at Nats Park. But I see the number of fans at the Phillies' first spring training game vs. the Yanks on Saturday on MLB TV -- I watched it just for an inning or two, okay! -- and I gotta tip my hat to them. If we can't do better than that opening day of spring training it ain't lookin' good.

N. Cognito said...

Anonymous said...
"N Cog -- do you have to do this every week? You take offense to something and get personal and insulting; it's not me who is being a buffoon."

The statement I replied to was patently insipid and lacking in any sense of reasonable thought. It begged to be ridiculed.

The Eponymous Mario Mendoza said...

TELL me about it!

Anonymous said...

N Cog. Not sure that you're using your fancy-pantsed words right. Insipid statements don't beg for anything, they kinda just lay there. Some hint that Zuckerman leans toward this or that player in favoritism might not be at all accurate, but calling that statement about Zuckerman's coverage insipid is not accurate either. If it were inspid, you would not have gotten your panties in a bunch over it and started calling people names. But you did. Dictionaries are available on-line now, btw. Check them out.

NatsFanJim said...

Release Gorz -- put him -- and us -- out of the misery.

Post a Comment