Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Breaking down the Opening Day roster

US Presswire photo
Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo have assembled a roster they believe can win this year.
The Nationals have never opened a season with a roster quite this talented or quite this deep. Remember those past squads that included the likes of Jerome Williams, Odalis Perez, Brandon Watson, Brian Broderick and J.J. Davis? That's not the case anymore.

If anything, the Nationals had stockpiled too much talent in big-league camp this spring and couldn't find enough spots to keep everyone worthy of a job. Thus, you'll now find John Lannan pitching in Syracuse and Chad Durbin pitching in Atlanta.

Whether general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson made the right decisions in assembling their Opening Day roster remains to be seen. For now, let's take a closer look at the 25 men who will take the field tomorrow in Chicago (plus the six men who will begin the season on the disabled list)...

CATCHERS (2)

WILSON RAMOS -- After a harrowing experience in his native Venezuela this winter, the young catcher was relieved and happy to be back among teammates this spring. He'll start five or six times per week behind the plate and look to build off his strong rookie season.

JESUS FLORES -- Once the Nationals' long-term catching answer, he lost that title after a two-year battle with a shoulder injury and after the emergence of Ramos. But he still offers a strong bat off the bench and figures to be used often as a pinch-hitter.

INFIELDERS (6)

ADAM LaROCHE -- Last season was an unmitigated disaster for the veteran first baseman, who tried to play through a shoulder tear but succumbed to the injury by May. He missed time this spring with a foot injury but returned for the final week of camp and looks ready to finally provide the big bat and smooth glove the Nationals expected all along.

DANNY ESPINOSA -- A potential All-Star during the first half of his rookie season, he fell apart over the summer and fall. The young second baseman arrived at camp this spring confident he could recapture his top form, but he continued to strikeout at an alarming rate.

IAN DESMOND -- Having made strides defensively in 2011, the shortstop will now look to bring his offensive game to a higher level in 2012. The Nationals are asking him to leadoff, but they aren't asking him to adjust his approach in an attempt to better fit that traditional mold.

RYAN ZIMMERMAN -- Now that he's locked up through at least 2019, the Face of the Franchise can focus on putting together a full, dominant season like he produced in '09 and '10. An encouraging sign: The seventh-year third baseman started raking at the plate on the first day of spring training and never let up.

STEVE LOMBARDOZZI -- Though the Nationals believe he'll become an everyday second baseman in the big leagues someday, for now they believe he can be an effective utilityman. The rookie from Howard County will see time at second base, shortstop, third base and possibly even in left field.

CHAD TRACY -- An unlikely candidate to make the Opening Day when camp opened, the veteran corner infielder performed well enough to keep himself in the mix. And when a couple lineup regulars were forced to start the season on the DL, Tracy was ready to step in and help out.

OUTFIELDERS (5)

JAYSON WERTH -- HIs first season in D.C. didn't go as planned, but the $126 million right fielder looked more comfortable this spring, both at the plate and in the clubhouse. There will be plenty of pressure on him to perform in year two of a seven-year contract, but it should help that he's got more talent around him now.

ROGER BERNADINA -- A gifted athlete who has flashed moments of glory, he's never been able to put it all together. He'll get another chance this season, though, seeing time in both center and left fields while Rick Ankiel and Michael Morse recover from injuries.

MARK DeROSA -- The acquisition of this 37-year-old jack-of-all-trades was a top priority for manager Davey Johnson, and for good reason. Healthy after a wrist injury hampered him for more than two seasons, he might just be the best bench player the Nationals have ever had and could see time at all four corner positions.

BRETT CARROLL -- An unheralded former Marlins outfielder, he impressed Nationals coaches from the day he walked into camp. Capable of starting in center field against left-handers and even strapping on the catcher's gear in an emergency, he could prove valuable over a full season.

XAVIER NADY -- Unemployed in mid-March, the veteran outfielder signed a minor-league deal with the Nationals, wound up in big-league camp with one week to go and wound up making the roster. And with injuries sidelining others, he should see considerable action early this season.

ROTATION (5)

STEPHEN STRASBURG -- The hype has dissipated, but the dominating arsenal of pitches hasn't. Having fully recovered from Tommy John surgery, the young ace of the staff looks poised to blow away opposing hitters every five days until he reaches his limit of roughly 160 innings.

GIO GONZALEZ -- The Nationals paid a steep price to acquire him (four top prospects) but he looked worth it this spring. The left-hander has a live fastball and a devastating curveball that should play well in the NL. All he needs to do is cut down on his walks a bit.

JORDAN ZIMMERMANN -- Stephen Strasburg draws all the attention, but the Nationals' other Tommy John surgery survivor might just be the best pitcher on the staff this season. He already finished in the top-10 in ERA in the NL last year, and now the reins have been taken off the bulldog right-hander.

EDWIN JACKSON -- The Nationals swooped in late during the offseason to sign this talented, if sometimes erratic, right-hander and gave him a one-year, $11 million contract. He spent the spring tinkering on his mechanics, but he finished strong and will look to find a level of consistency this season.

ROSS DETWILER -- Destined all spring to serve as the Nats' long man and emergency starter, the former first-round pick learned Tuesday he'll actually open the season in the rotation with Chien-Ming Wang on the DL. The organization made a bold move giving him the job; now it's up to him to seize the opportunity.

BULLPEN (7)

TYLER CLIPPARD -- Perhaps baseball's most dominant reliever last year, the funky-throwing right-hander earned his first All-Star berth. He's good enough to close, but he's actually more valuable to the Nats as the guy who puts out fires in the seventh and eighth innings.

BRAD LIDGE -- Dumped by a Phillies club that apparently thought he was damaged goods, the 35-year-old right-hander signed with the Nationals for only $1 million, then had a brilliant spring. With Drew Storen on the DL for the moment, he'll get a chance to serve as temporary closer.

HENRY RODRIGUEZ -- The question with this right-hander isn't how hard he's going to throw the ball. It's where the ball's going to land. Fortunately, H-Rod had near-perfect control this spring, making him a potentially devastating arm near the back of the Nats' bullpen.

SEAN BURNETT -- After a ragged first half to the season, the left-hander bounced back strong following the All-Star break. He'll be counted on once to again to record some big outs against some of the NL's toughest left-handed hitters.

TOM GORZELANNY -- Pedestrian as a starter, the left-hander proved quite effective out of the bullpen during the second half of last season. He could be another long man, or he could be used to record some key outs against left-handed sluggers.

RYAN MATTHEUS -- The right-hander faced tough odds to make the bullpen out of spring training, but Drew Storen's elbow injury opened the door. A Tommy John surgery survivor, he can dial his fastball up to 95 mph.

CRAIG STAMMEN -- The final player to make the Opening Day roster, he'll serve as Davey Johnson's right-handed long reliever and potential emergency starter. The 2005 draft pick pitched well last September and again this spring, earning his way onto the club at the last possible moment.

15-DAY DL

RICK ANKIEL -- Needing a stop-gap in center field until top prospect Bryce Harper is ready, the Nationals were going to turn to the defensively gifted former pitcher, who was working on improving his offensive game this spring. A lingering quad strain, though, kept him out of action for much of March and made a season-opening DL stint necessary.

MICHAEL MORSE -- Fresh off a breakthrough season that earned him a two-year contract, Morse suffered a lat strain early in camp and wasn't able to recover in time to make the Opening Day roster. He could be back in the cleanup spot and in left field within a week, though, at which point he'll hope to pick up where he left off in September.

DREW STOREN -- After ascending to the closer's role last season and saving 43 games in the process, Storen missed most of spring training with elbow inflammation. He'll open the season on the DL but is expected to return by mid-April.

CHIEN-MING WANG -- Just when it looked like the Taiwanese right-hander was all the way back from major shoulder surgery, he suffered a scary-looking hamstring injury in spring training. The Nationals will take their time bringing him back, but they still expect big things from the former 19-game winner.

60-DAY DL

CHRIS MARRERO -- The Nationals' 2006 first-round pick probably would have made the club as a backup first baseman and right-handed bat off the bench. But he tore his hamstring playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and won't be ready to return until at least June.

COLE KIMBALL -- A fireballing reliever who made a strong impression early last season, he wound up needing major shoulder surgery. He won't be eligible to come off the DL until June and may need even more time than that to fully heal.

74 comments:

dabassguy1 said...

Bring on the real games. It's been a long wait.

GYFNG

bdrube said...

What strikes me the most is that we have a whole pitching staff of flamethrowers, with just a couple of exceptions. We definitely won't be ranking near the bottom of the league in Ks anymore. :)

Les in NC said...

....well our pitchers won't be.

Our batters...that's another story.

We definitely have the best 25 man roster we have ever had! With depth in the minors (and DL) even! This season has been too long in coming, and I can't wait for the games to begin!

GYFNG!

bdrube said...

Carrying over a thought from the Lannan thread:

The key stat (from baseball reference): In 33 starts last year, Lannan's WAR was just 0.9, while Detwiler's total as a starter and reliever in about 1/3rd of the total innings was 1.1. Simply stated, Detwiler is a better pitcher than Lannan right now.

I'm not a Lannan-basher by any means, but them's the facts.

baseballswami said...

Now - if they can all just go out there and put it all together..............praying to the baseball gods and watching Bull Durhman, just to make sure I am properly in the mood for tomorrow. Anyone watching the official opening day game tonight? I really hate watching baseball on the four-letter network. I kind of wish the countdown would switch to hours now.

HHover said...

bdrube

I think you're reading those charts wrong, or I need more coffee and better glasses. When I look, I see as Ross as 0.4 WAR last year, and Lannan as 1.3.

MicheleS said...

So my question is, when Ankiel and Morse come off the DL - who goes? Tracy
/Carroll /Bernie/Nady or do the put Lombo back in AAA?

Hmmm..
B25GN! (or at least the healthy ones!!!)

HHover said...

Ok - I do need better glasses and more coffee - you were citing Baseball-reference, I was citing fangraphs.

Tho when they diverge that sharply, it's reason not to put a lot of faith in either.

MicheleS said...

Just wanted to give a link to Amanda today. Good piece on NatGio

fast eddie said...

This score from yesterday made my day:
Manatee Comm. College--2 Baltimore Orioles--1

Congratulations, Peter--you're entering your 15th consecutive losing season.
You and "The Danny" can't stop meddling, playing "fantasy" ball with your respective teams.

sjm308 said...

Michele S - my guesses on who goes down are
Mattheus when Storen arrives
Tracy when Morse returns
and I have no idea what happens when Ankiel gets better. If Bernadina is playing well, I guess its between Nady/Carroll. Can't remember when there was this tough a choice but I don't think its going to Lombardozzi even though he has that prized option thing working for him.

My question is what will happen to Lannan? I am not rooting for injuries to any of our starters but isn't that the only way he makes it back to our club?

Another question would be, what happens when Wang is ready? I think you have to keep Detwiler for you would surely lose him if you tried to option him. That would leave Stammen going back to AAA I guess.

No matter what happens ..... Go Nats!!

MicheleS said...

Since my phoned died at the park yesterday, one last comment about the game..

The BEST Thing was Wilson hitting that home run to the red porch seats. Picking up where he left off last season, that was his favorite spot to hit home runs!

bdrube said...

@HHover - either way, there is no denying that Ross has far more talent. Here is hoping that he is so good that there will be another dilemma for the Nats when Wang is ready to return.

NatsLady said...

MicheleS, it was fun meeting you. Here's to many more happy times. Go Nats.

Feel Wood said...

I'm not a Lannan-basher by any means, but them's the facts.

Not really. Them's the stats, or more accurately the pseudo stats. As Mark Twain reputedly once said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Statistics can be manipulated or invented to "prove" any argument you want. They are not facts. A fact is something that either did or did not happen. One or the other. A fact is not something that is derived based on some complex formula. Some statistics, the so-called counting stats like hits, home runs, etc, could be considered to be facts. A player either hit the home run, or he didn't. Averages like BA, OBP, WHIP and ERA could also be considered as facts, since their value is totally dependent on other facts. A pitcher pitched that number of innings and gave up that number of earned runs, which precisely defines his ERA. But the so-called "advanced" stats take basic facts and manipulate them by introducing extraneous factors and formulas. Things like WAR, FIP, pRAA, etc are not facts, because their value is totally dependent on the formula and extraneous factors. If the formula is changed, the value changes - even though the underlying actions of the player, like getting a hit or striking out a batter, remain the same.

This is not to say that the advanced stats are useless. As long as the notion that they are not facts is kept in mind, they can be valuable tools in making comparisons between players. Thus, it may be a fact that Detwiler had a higher WAR than Lannan, but that does not translate into making it a fact that Detwiler is better than Lannan. It's only one factor in that determination, and possibly not even an important one at that.

Them's the facts.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Speaking of lefties the Nats used to need, the Dodgers released Matt Chico last week.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady, right back at you!


PFB Sofa.. my how things have changed for us and for the better!
GYFNG!!

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

One thing I've been wondering: if Lombardozzi is "viewed in the organization" as a, if not the, second-baseman of the future, aren't they pretty much guaranteeing that they think one of Desmond, Espinosa, or Lombardozzi will not be here in 2013, or 2014 at the latest?

Not that this kind of competition is so unusual on a good team, it's just such unfamiliar territory here that it'll take some getting used to.

sjm308 said...

FeelWood - I am just so happy that when I was young there were just Wins/Losses ERA batting ave etc.
I was horrible at math from day one and those other things would have confused me even more. Don't get me wrong, I actually like reading here about all the various depths people can go to analyze a player but again, being old I just like to "look" at a player and "look" at a game to figure out who I think is doing well. I remember the first time I saw HRod pitch and as I remember, it wasn't all that pretty but man, could he fire the ball!! I have supported him ever since and it looks like he is ready for a breakout year.

My favorite stat is the WIN! I agree that keeping Detwiler is probably the right choice and I do understand this is Professional Baseball. Lannan will make 5 million dollars this year with a chance at even more in years to come with the CBA in place. I don't feel sorry for him but he did WIN 10 games for us last year and I am hopeful our #5 pitcher this year will have an even better stat.

Go Nats!

Steady Eddie said...

Sec. 3--

And don't forget Rendon will likely be up at some time next year.

This is whAt the best teams look like -- bench guys (and who knows which they'll be? That's why they play the games) who would start for most other teams.

One good thing is that Desi is hopefully starting to play like he knows this is his make-or-break year.

Anonymous said...

Feel Wood said...

Not really. Them's the stats, or more accurately the pseudo stats. As Mark Twain reputedly once said, there are lies, damned lies and statistics. Statistics can be manipulated or invented to "prove" any argument you want.

As I said in the previous thread, John Lanna is a good 6th man in a 5 man rotation, just good enough to get you beat.

Gonat said...

HHover said...
bdrube

I think you're reading those charts wrong, or I need more coffee and better glasses. When I look, I see as Ross as 0.4 WAR last year, and Lannan as 1.3.

April 04, 2012 8:02 AM
_________________________

WAR as calculated by BaseballRef vs FanGraphs vary greatly.

Whichever you use, the issue with Detwiler and all the accolades he received and the big boost in WAR were largely from good outings on rest between starts of 6, 7, 8 and 10 days.

The proof in this pudding will be how Ross Detwiler does on 5 days of regular rest. This has always been Ross's issue including his time in AAA last year.

Personally I hope Ross does great and proves all of doubters wrong.

Gonat said...

Funny how Peric rarely signed his name but did yesterday to show everyone that his stats on Lannan were relevant to his demotion.

Peric is now back in the underground.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

And don't forget Rendon will likely be up at some time next year.

I remembered him, but he has yet to play one inning of professional baseball in games that count. I think next year is optimistic under those circumstances.

But yes, the point is, they have multiple people, finally, and that's new here. Normal in other places, but new here.

Anonymous said...

John Lannan W 38 L 51 = .426 winning percentage.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Actually, that fits the point. We have become accustomed to seeing players run straight up to the majors, because there was no one blocking them, and maybe it's distorted our perception of how far away some of them really are, in a normal farm system, which this has not been since they were the Montreal/Santurce Expos. Someone mentioned earlier that pitchers haven't had the developmental experience they might have gotten in other systems, and that's probably true for position players up to now, as well. It takes most players years of minor league baseball to get to the Show, if they make it at all, for a good franchise.

DFL said...

If I were John Lannan I'd be incredibly angry at the demotion and ask for a trade. On the other hand, he's paid $ 5 million a year. He's in the upper one percent in wealth in the country. There are worse things than pitching every fifth day in Syracuse. Of course, the caveat is that if Lannan languishes in Syracuse for the better part of a year, he will be hard-pressed to ever earn as much as $ 5 million a year again.

sm13 said...

No doubt the best Nats team ever to take the field. Let's hope they score enough runs to get off to a good start and build some momentum for the season. And, for good measure, I hope the Cards knock off the Marlins tonight. Go Nats!!

Gonat said...

Anonymous said...
John Lannan W 38 L 51 = .426 winning percentage.

April 04, 2012 9:18 AM
_____________________________

Give him 4.5 runs in support and he turns that around to W 51 L 38 = .574 winning percentage

Anonymous said...

Gonat said...

Give him 4.5 runs in support and he turns that around to W 51 L 38 = .574 winning percentage

Give Walter Johnson the Yankees and he may have never lost.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

If I were John Lannan I'd be incredibly angry at the demotion and ask for a trade.

If anybody had offered Rizzo even an A-level prospect, I don't doubt he would have been traded. If the Nats are going to have to pay most of that $5MM in any event, they might as well keep him.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

So when do we get the PREDICTIONS post?

Get Some Players said...

Brad Meyers is on the Yankees roster as of today.

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the Gio link, MicheleS. Great story!

Anonymous said...

Why is it not possible for the media to evaluate Desmond based on his actual performance, not some notion of how could he MIGHT be someday?

baseballswami said...

I don't think there is any one of our regular nats pitchers ( not the new guys) that should ever be judged on wins and losses. There has been an extreme lack of run support and , in some cases, costly errors behind them. JZim is the most glaring example - his w/l record with that era? I love RossyD -- but I do have concerns about his stamina - Stammen , who I understand is a good friend, could be the back part of Rossy's starts. RossD also has not been stretched out very far with being put in the long relief role - so maybe he can go long. Does anyone have access to his minor league track record as far as how deep he went in games? Bring on the cookies!!!!! This season has not yet started and it is already very intriguing. The depth is downright crazy. My non-reasonable, emotional favorites are RossD and Lombardozzi to make good. The vets - I am staunchly in the JZim camp and am looking for Danny to rebound.

Anonymous said...

Zuckerman's summary has this "Having made defensive strides in 2011 . . ." as if that somehow means Desmond was objectively good with the glove last year? Come on. Trouble being consistent with the glove, huge trouble getting on and striking out, not hitting for much power or average . . . the dude's game needs a lot of work. Lannan's in Cuse because they have 5 better guys to go with, fine, hard to argue with that, but why is Desmond or Espi not there with him?

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Because Rizzo and Johnson don't think there are better guys. Mark Zuckerman doesn't make out the lineup cards.

whatsanattau said...

I was right about Lannan all along too.

(He IS a nice guy who gets the most out of his talent!)

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

By the way, the forecast for Chicago tomorrow is partly sunny, breezy, a high around 50 degrees. Good day to pitch, if it's blowing in.

Gonat said...

Get Some Players said...
Brad Meyers is on the Yankees roster as of today.

April 04, 2012 9:45 AM
____________________________

Isn't he injured? Did Komatsu make the Cardinals? There are specific rules about Rule 5 players. Even Komatsu is on the roster, they have to create an opening when Schumaker comes off their DL. Potentially both of these guys could be returned.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

It will be, if as predicted it's out of the NE (gusting to 26). That's pretty much straight in.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Cards active roster today lists Komatsu. Looks like they're keeping him.

jd said...

Gonat said:

'Give him 4.5 runs in support and he turns that around to W 51 L 38 = .574 winning percentage'

And that's why wins and loses for a pitcher are a misleading number. Any stat which is dependent to a large degree on what other people do is essentially useless.

Dawn said...

Have a hard time bad-mouthing players. They are all people to me, a son, brother, parent and husband to others.

That brings me to an article I just read by Ken Rosenthal about Jason Marquis and his daughter Reese. Brought a lump to my throat and reminded me of all the negative posts about him. Am glad he has found a home with a class organization like the Twins.

As in Chad Durbin's case with the Braves, I hope Lannan finds a team if he doesn't stick with the Nats.

Richard Nixon said...

I was right about Whittaker Chambers. Fat lot of good it did me.

baseballswami said...

Oh - also hoping that Stammen makes good this season, too. This is going to be some wild ride!

jd said...

John Lannan is an excellent 5th starter. The problem is that he makes too much money to be a 5th starter. The Nats will trade him as soon as they can get anything resembling a prospect back.

Detwiler may not be better but we need to find out once and for all and he is still cheap.

whatsanattau said...

Desmond is not the best fielder ever, but his range is good and his throwing has improved (or maybe it was never as bad as it appeared when Dunn was the firstbaseman).

Offensively he has looked strong so far. He will likely ebb and flow but 15 HR, 20 sb, and .340 OBP is not an unreasonable expectation for this year. His OBP has always been better at the top of the lineup - or more specifically, when batting with protection. I know it is de rigueur to criticize our own players to prove we know something about baseball, but Desmond is actually a valuable asset to this team...

Anonymous said...

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...
Cards active roster today lists Komatsu. Looks like they're keeping him.

April 04, 2012 10:40 AM

Keeping him for "now".

baseballswami said...

Dawn -thanks for mentioning the Jason Marquis story by Ken Rosenthal. I had a lump in my throat the entire time. I don't know how to make links in here, but all of you baseball fan, fathers, anyone, actually - should read this article. Wow.
It will really put things in perspective. Go Xena!!

Anonymous said...

If you were to start a team and could pick only NL shortstops which would you choose over Desmond?

Better than Desi: J.Reyes, D.Gordon, S.Castro, T.Tulowitzki.

People I would take after Desi: J.Bartlett, Z.Cozart, C.Barmes, R.Furcal(Nats fav), S.Drew, T.Pastornicky, J.Lowrie, A.Gonzalez, R.Tejada, J.Rollins, B.Crawford.

My point is that there aren't that many good shortstops. Everyone wants Desmond to be a Tulowitzki. He isn't. Get over it. He's still better than most of the guys out there.

DEM

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

I know it is de rigueur to criticize our own players to prove we know something about baseball

I got nothing to prove.

Wait, that came out wrong...

natsfan1a said...

Thanks to Dawn for the heads up on the Marquis story.

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Swami, do you mean this one?

Marquis back as injured daughter heals

natsfan1a said...

lol, hope you've got that coke fountain ready, sec3.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Last I saw, Alex Meyers was injured and while he's listed on the Yankees roster, they do have 29 names on their 25 man roster.

Anonymous said...

Not sure why they let Durbin go without getting something in return. They should have traded him to the Braves given that they wanted him that bad, not just releasing him. For this reason alone, they should have sent Mattheus down. Of course, maybe the Nats were thinknin that they didnt want to waste Mattheus' last option, since he's likely going to be sent down when Storen (and definitely Wang) comes back. Still, the Nats certainly did not win this game of chicken with the Braves.

NatsNut said...

Hey Sofa, I'm behind. What's PFB?

John C. said...

Meyers is still on the Yankees' roster, but their roster (http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/team/roster_active.jsp?c_id=nyy) still has 29 players. Meyers is almost certainly going to be put on the DL when the season opens; he hasn't pitched at all in ST since injuring his shoulder while working out in the offseason.

Given the Yankees' roster, if Meyers pitches this season it will be for Syracuse. If he's healthy enough to pitch there's no spot on the roster for him in the Bronx. If he's not healthy enough to pitch it's the Yankees paying him, not the Nationals. Remember that even if he's on the DL all this season, the Yankees have to keep him on the active roster for 90 days next year or offer him back to the Nationals. You can't duck the Rule 5 process by hiding someone on the DL all season.

NatsNut said...

Oh wait. I think I got it right when I hit submit. Pretty Freakin' Bueno?

GoNats said...

Ok obviously the pitching staff is revamped, but what has improved offensively? OK, Laroche is hopefully back but he has not hit near .300 in any of his seasons except '09 bc he played 50 games. Now I'm excited as everyone else about the potential, but besides zimm starting the season healthy, whats going to be the difference offensively?

Wally said...

jd said...
John Lannan is an excellent 5th starter. The problem is that he makes too much money to be a 5th starter. The Nats will trade him as soon as they can get anything resembling a prospect back.

Detwiler may not be better but we need to find out once and for all and he is still cheap.
April 04, 2012 10:44 AM


I could see this argument if they cut him yesterday and saved some money, but Lannan's 2012 salary at this point is a sunk cost. So I think that it was purely a baseball decision, and my speculation is that it is primarily Davey's lack of enthusiasm for Lannan that was the deciding factor. It seemed like they were lukewarm in their support of him all spring.

But I am ok with the baseball decision to option Lannan. I would probably have gone with him over Det, but it is close enough that I don't feel it too strongly.

But I agree with the commentary that Rizzo still needs to work on his public statements, particularly when they concern players. No reason to say 'mild interest' from other teams, or '5 guys better than him'. Sounds defensive, and also insulting to Lannan. Could have praised Ross - 'great stuff, great spring, forced his way into the rotation', while still saying that JL was a 'ML pitcher, great team guy and we'll be seeing him up here again this year'. He kind of said those things, but the other comments are what Lannan will remember. I don't care what questions he was getting, no more needed to be said. Kind of brings back the Shell ('I didn't like his aura') and Cabrera ('I got tired of watching him pitch') comments. He may unnecessarily alienate players with those kinds of comments.

Not saying that Rizzo is a bad GM because of this, just that it is a weak spot and he should improve in this area because it may come back to bite him someday.

Anonymous said...

.340 OBP is not an unreasonable expectation for this year?? Based on what? Desmond's never sniffed that kind of OBP success at any level. Not likely to happen.

natsfan1a said...

That's it, NatsNut. :-)

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

Frickin. Pretty Frickin Bueno. I win a coke!

natsfan1a said...

D'oh! Just help yourself at the fountain, sec3.

Alan_A said...

Before we get too far into the old stats vs. new stats debate (bubbling along underneath the Lannan v. Detwiler v. Jackson disagreements), a recommendation... have a look at Steven Goldman's introductory essay, "Beyond the Back of the Baseball Card," in the new Baseball Prospectus anthology, Extra Innings. A very good account (self-interested, yes, but still clear and well argued) of how some of the new stats work and, more importantly, what the intent is. While it's true as others have pointed out that many of the new stats involve assumptions and could introduce distortions, the purpose of the manipulation is to correct out other distortions in the old stats - for example, batting average, which rewards one way of getting on base over others, or won-lost record, which as we all know from vulture wins can be a sign that the pitcher happened to be around at the right time, following Woody Allen's formula for success in life (80% = showing up). ERA credits a pitcher in part for the quality of his defense, which is beyond his control. None of this is to say that the new stats should be accepted uncritically - the unexamined stat is not worth counting. But those who say that only wins count, or only runs count, are actually, whether they know it or not, supporting some of the new stats, which are an attempt to isolate the factors that lead more directly to runs and to wins.

So have a look.

And then let the ideological warfare continue...

Steady Eddie said...

What Wally said @ 11:01, except that the baseball decision had to consider that the fifth starter was going to have to go back to the bullpen when Wang returns, and everyone (I think including Lannan) agrees there's no point in putting Lannan in the pen.

whatsanattau said...

Desmond had OBP of .326, .328, and .331 July-Spetember 2011 and carried a +20 OBP when batting 1st in the order (i.e, his OBP was 20 points higher batting first). None of those numbers is .340, but all of them trend nicely and Desmond is still just 26. The assertion that he never hit that number at any level is completly wrong. (Just because you say it, does not make it true) he's had years of .357 (A ball in 2007) and .401 (AAA, AA 2009).

sjm308 said...

Great comments today, as usual. I do read NJ after coming here and Kilgore made a point I had not considered. Our schedule, while starting off soft, is not easy. While we are playing the Red Sox, Yankees, Rays and Blue Jays, the NL Central is feasting on Indians, Royals, Twins plus the Astro's and Cubs are not strong either. Its nothing our lads can't overcome but it is an interesting point that its not apples to apples when looking at wildcard contenders. Best way to off-set this is to win the division, so I will hoist more kool-aid to start the season.

Go Nats

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

what we need is a gif of Edward James Olmos saying "Pretty Frackin Bueno"

Section 3, My PFB Sofa said...

googlerats.

No results found for "pretty frackin' bueno".

Cwj said...

Sec 3- regarding the Predictions Post, I'd like to see Mark's.
Until then, I'll be posting my own player predictions very soon.
I worked hard on it to make sure they fall in line with my 87-75 prediction, runs scored, league averages for IP and ABs, etc.

First up will be the starting rotation. The Lannan move has forced me to make some modifications to what I started with.

Anyway, hope you guys and gals enjoy them :-)

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