Tuesday, May 22, 2012

On Desmond, Stammen and Harper



PHILADELPHIA -- We kind of got caught up in the ninth-inning drama from last night's game, and if you're interested in even more discussion about Henry Rodriguez and what the Nationals are going to do with their closer's role now, I would encourage you to watch the above video.

But there were plenty of other significant developments that played out during the 2-1 win over the Phillies, and we wouldn't want to ignore those altogether. So let's run through the other hot postgame topics of discussion...

-- Ian Desmond once again produced at the plate. With a second-inning homer (his seventh of the season) and a fourth-inning RBI single, he wound up driving in both of the Nationals' runs. Desmond seems to have taken quite well to the fifth spot in this new-look lineup -- he's 5-for-13 with three doubles, a homer and four RBI -- and he certainly seems comfortable as a middle-of-the-lineup hitter.

The third-year shortstop had an interesting explanation for his sudden power surge, which you can read in Chase Hughes' postgame article on CSNwashington.com.

-- Also lost in the shuffle a bit was another fantastic performance by Craig Stammen, who took over for Gio Gonzalez in the seventh and wound up tossing two scoreless innings. How remarkable (and unexpected) is it that the 28-year-old right-hander has transformed himself from a back-of-the-rotation also-ran into a long reliever into one of the most-dominant setup men in the majors?

Though he admits he's surprised how this all worked out, Stammen isn't surprised that he's been able to make this transition, thanks in large part to the manner in which Davey Johnson has been using him since Opening Day.

"The way Davey's used me pretty much the entire year is if a lefty starter is pitching, I was kind of getting in the game at any point," he said. "So there's been games, not necessarily we were winning 2-0, but we're losing 2-1 or it's tied. I've been in games like that. So pitching in close ballgames is nothing new. To me, it's the same whether you're winning or losing. If it's close, you can't give them an inch."

With Henry Rodriguez struggling and Brad Lidge and Drew Storen still recovering from injury, some have questioned whether Stammen could take over as closer. He does have a little experience doing that at the University of Dayton, but he's not expecting to get the call from Johnson yet.

"I'll leave that up to him," Stammen said. "I did that in college, and it was pretty fun. We'll see. I don't think I've quite earned it yet. There's other people in our bullpen that have done the job quite well over the years."

-- Perhaps the biggest storyline entering the game was Bryce Harper making his first appearance at Citizens Bank Park, but that didn't turn out to be much of an issue. Yes, the kid was booed every time he stepped to the plate, but the catcalls almost seemed cursory, as if the Philly crowd felt like it was just supposed to boo Harper but not entirely sure why.

No Duracells or Energizers were thrown in Harper's direction, though it did appear someone tossed some kind of garbage near him as he caught a flyball in the ninth.

Perhaps the most interesting interaction Harper had yesterday came hours before the game, as Chase explains in this piece on CSNwashington.com.

151 comments:

NatsLady said...

From the previous thread, here is SI's analysis of the Nats ranking No. 2 (behind the Texas Rangers).

Washington Nationals
WAR Winning Percentage: .667; Current Winning Percentage: .585; WAR Wins: 27; Current Wins: 24

New acquisitions Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson have been integral parts of the Nationals' rotation, which has been the best in the league in nearly every pitching category. Gonzalez has the highest strikeout rate of any qualified starter in the majors (11.10), and Jackson's 4.60 K/BB rate ranks 10th in the league. The latter is a reflection of Jackson's ongoing progression. He has managed to cut his walk rate to half of his career average.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/baseball/mlb/05/21/power.rankings.week.6/index.html#ixzz1vbxqiWTs

Manassas Nats' Fan said...

I like Harper in the 2 hole and Desmond in 5 hole. When Morse comes back and Desmond is still hitting this well in the 5 hole, Morse might be relegated to the 6 hole.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

So these are the national writers we trust? As opposed to the other knuckleheads who don't follow individual teams?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Lombo seems too jumpy at lead-off and it is a factor of his inexperience. You would hate for this lead-off experiment to ruin this kid. I am very concerned about it as I have seen it before.

Ankiel needs some more days off and come in for late inning defense. These high leverage whiffs are just becoming too commonplace. If Davey plays him, the 8 spot is the right place for him.

MicheleS said...

CSN.. thanks for not only sending our fearless leader Mark on these road trips, but it's great to see Chase (and I think Kelli) there as well.

joemktg said...

"As for why (Desmond) is hitting with more power this season? Desmond: 'I think "daddy strength." They say when you have a kid you get stronger...'"

I don't know what he's talking about: my kids have sucked the damn life out of me. I must've missed the memo on that one.

MicheleS said...

joemktg.. I am thinking with a 1 year old.. Desi is power lifting that baby. He isn't to the stage when the suck the life out of you..


Sec 3???? not sure I understand your comment

joemktg said...

MicheleS: so his time will come...

David said...

Down on the farm today... Corey Brown just hit his 5th home run in the last 10 games. Make that 11 RBI's in the last 10 games too. I think he's figured out AAA pitching.

Grandstander said...

Once again, the fantasy baseball blog Razzball has the perfect term for H-Rod:

Cuddle Boy – Relievers who are good with holds but fail anytime they try to close. See Rafael Betancourt, LaTroy Hawkins, the kid from American Virgin who pays for the abortion of a girl his friend knocked up and then, when she’s recovered, goes back to that guy.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Michele, just remembering that when certain national columnists were less than impressed with the Nats, we collectively decided they were basically know-nothing attention-grabbers, and I wanted to differentiate these SI writers, who correctly recognize the team's awesomeness.

MicheleS said...

Ahh Sec 3.. kind of like Jon Heyman, who was in the attention grabber column , but now seems to be slipping (albeit kicking and screaming) to the team being awesome...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsLady, fascinating stuff from SI. Difference in wins are partially attributable to all of the blown saves.

On the other side of that coin, that closer (JJ) in Baltimore that most have ever heard of is a perfect 14 for 14. What a difference an effective closer makes to your team.

I will say what I said several dozen times last year, its not about velo, its about locating your velo. That's the difference between Verlander and the David Clyde's of the MLB. Its the difference between Aroldis Chapman (currently) and Henry Rodriguez.

You need a closer with the 'stuff' and the mental toughness to prevail, uh, a guy like Chad Cordero.

"He's (Chad Cordero) not a guy that throws 97, 98 mph with a closer's mentality. He hits the corners. He doesn't pitch in the middle of the plate. You don't have to worry about too much game-calling as far as offspeed pitches and tricking hitters. Everybody throughout the league knows that he's going to throw the fastball. He just does a good job locating it." - Washington Nationals Catcher Brian Schneider on MLB.com (Bill Ladson, 06/30/2005)

Sounds like until Drew Storen comes back, Craig Stammen needs to straighten out that brim of his cap.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Some other random thoughts other than the good ones above: Lombo's OBP, .388, is by far the best on the team (Stras is a close 2nd!). I'd love to see Lombo leading off for the next 8 games, at least, to see what he'd do as an everyday player. ... Zimm's SLG is ugly at .354. At least a dozen Nats have higher SLG! What would the Nats' record be with Zimm and Morse slugging! Anyway, we've seen Zimm's bat quiet before -- and then he gets hot. ... Espi slash line = .211/.279./333. It seems Davey making Lombo noises. Either Danny starts hitting or his playing time must diminish (despite a double and a homer (and 2 Ks) on Sunday). His Ks (50) are tied for 4th in all of MLB; only Dunn (62) is out there by himself as #1. ... Flores, too, isn't slugging, either, but will start slugging more with every day play.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Chad Cordero, the man with the 91mph heater, 47 saves in 2005 with a 1.82 ERA. Awards:

2005 Closer of the Year (Finalist)
2005 Delivery Man of the Month Award (June)
2005 Delivery Man of the Year Finalist
2005 Pitcher of the Month Award (June)
2005 Rolaids Relief Man Award
2005 Sporting News Reliever of the Year Award

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/nl/nationals/2005-06-27-feature-cordero_x.htm

Steady Eddie said...

Manassas said When Morse comes back and Desmond is still hitting this well in the 5 hole, Morse might be relegated to the 6 hole.

Nah ga happen. Desi will be fine in 6. The real challenge will be when Werth comes back. Maybe that will be time to get creative --

1 - Harper CF
2 - Werth RF
3 - Zim 3B
4 - ALR 1B
5 - Morse LF
6 - Desi SS
7 - Espi/Lombo 2B
8 - Flores C

What starter would want to look at facing that 1 through 6? "Unrelenting" is how I would describe that, and I think it makes sense.

Harper -- reasonably high OBP, pitch selectivity gets him walks, speed strikes terror in every fielder.
Werth -- also reasonably high OBP, lots o walks, gets protection from Zim.
and you all know the rest.

That's a contending team right there.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Here's my June 1st lineup:

Brown CF
Lombo 2B
Zim 3B
LaRoche 1B
Morse LF
Harper RF
Desi SS
Flores C

Bench: Catcher, Tracy, Bernadina, Ankiel, DeRosa

I think Espinosa, Nady, and Moore need to figure it out.

Sue Dominus said...

I will say what I said several dozen times last year, its not about velo, its about locating your velo. That's the difference between Verlander and the David Clyde's of the MLB. Its the difference between Aroldis Chapman (currently) and Henry Rodriguez.

Aroldis Chapman isn't locating his velo too well lately either.

NatsLady said...

Thought about it. In our current situation--

- Espi should lead off, w/ Lombo in the 2 hole if both are playing. Espi needs to see pitches and can take walks, Lombo not ready to leadoff but will be fine if he can get on base for RZ etc., to drive home.

- No, you can't bat Ankiel 8 in front of the slow catcher. Then you have the fast runner behind the slow runner, not tenable if both are on base with the pitcher to bunt (or hit). Also, if Ankiel walks or singles he can steal the base and make it home if Flores singles. The reverse is not true.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sue, perfect timing! That's because he was driving 93!

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steady Eddie said...

Looks like Chapman was trying to catch up with his own heater.

peric said...

Some other random thoughts other than the good ones above: Lombo's OBP, .388, is by far the best on the team (Stras is a close 2nd!).

Lombo actually spec's out well as a #2 guy. He doesn't have the speed but he can certainly hustle and perhaps he is a switch hitting version of a healthy Nick-the-stick.

Typically the speed guy leads off and from the perspective of many it pays to when the lead-off has a good bit of pop. A long at bat ending with a home run can throw a pitcher out of his rhythm for the rest of the game.

Given the way Ankiel keeps striking out it sure looks like its time to give Corey Brown a look. If, as many claim, HRod hasn't changed 'his spots' then definitely neither has Ankiel. He should be relegated to the bench as a late inning defensive replacement. I'm not sure how effective he would be as a pinch hitter. He never even attempts to work a walk.

Steady Eddie said...

Ghost -- problem with Brown leading off (even assuming they find a way to add him to the 40 man) is that he's taken some time for his hitting to get acclimated at every level. You don't want to start him off putting that kind of pressure on him, or deflate the team with that kind of too-constant out at the top of the order while he's figuring things out.

If they bring him up -- which with Ankiel being Ankiel (h/t NatsLady) makes sense -- start him off at #7 in front of Flores (again, for the reasons NatsLady gave for Ankiel).

NatsLady said...

Here is the story on Marquis. What a run of bad luck, breaking his leg last year and his daughter's bad accident this spring.

Twins DFA Marquis

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120522&content_id=31973430&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

Milone doing just fine out there in California. Not Cy Young yet (like our Gio if he keeps on this way), but just fine.

peric said...

Moore need to figure it out.

Leave Moore out of it. The guy hardly plays. He's an insurance policy right now. They need to send him back to AAA where he can get every day at bats and get more experience in the outfield.

Davey knows he isn't doing him justice languishing on the bench.

peric said...

Ghost -- problem with Brown leading off (even assuming they find a way to add him to the 40 man) is that he's taken some time for his hitting to get acclimated at every level.

Brown has made some adjustments to his vision per his visit to the eye doc in the offseason. That may be why you are seeing many, many more walks, along with extra base hits and homers. That might have been the reason he had those issues before.

The think about Brown versus Ankiel? Ankiel HATES TO WALK. Corey Brown has reduced his K's and has a plethora of walks and a close to .400 OBP. That's a huge difference. Kind of like Adam LaRoche today versus Adam laRoche in 2010.

jeffwx said...

NatsLady, I thought about that except for a while there Berni was batting 8th ahead of the pitcher. Our fastest runner (with Harper) ahead of a slow or inexperienced runner in the pitcher.
Rules are made to be broken I guess.
My June lineup:
Lombo
Harper
Zimm
ALR
Desi
Morse
Espi
Flores

Desi is on a roll in the number 5 spot. I'd keep him there and reevaluate depending on Morse's progress

NatsLady said...

Also, I am glad Sports Illustrated noticed Ejax's improvement, because I sure like him a lot for "only" the No. 4 guy on our staff. He doesn't get the pub that the guys ahead of him get, but remember this:

Q: If the bullpen were exhausted and you needed to win a game, who on the staff would you pick?
A: Jackson.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

peric, he needs to play everyday and get reps in LF and 1st base.

jeffwx said...

Brown does look pretty awesome for the last month, and he may be a good to bring up when they think he's ready. I have no idea how management decides that but I suppose want to see how he hits a variety of pitchers/pitches ????

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Steady Eddie, Brown is the hot hand right now in AAA. Ride it for a while and see what you got. When Werth gets back, Brown probably goes to the bench or back to AAA.

Ankiel is a late inning defensive replacement on a team with bench space. We all get caught up in his vortex when he makes a nice play. Last night he made a Web Gem but so did John Mayberry on 1st to rob LaRoche and so did Zim at 3rd to start the doubleplay. We expect these guys who aren't contributing with their bats to do it with the gloves (and arm) sometimes.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

jeffwx said...
Desi is on a roll in the number 5 spot. I'd keep him there and reevaluate depending on Morse's progress

May 22, 2012 12:07 PM


Some of you are funny. Its not like Desi is 20 games in the 5 hole. Morse has to be the 4 or 5 hitter on this team. Desi is a quick assault specialist. After they get tired trying to carefully pitch to LaRoche, they make a mistake to Desi. On a good offensive team, Desi is a 6 or 7 hitter.

David said...

gameday tracking the Syracuse game today. Brown gets another hit, this time with the bases loaded. Give him another 2 RBI's. 2-4 with 5 RBI's.

peric said...

but I suppose want to see how he hits a variety of pitchers/pitches ???

When he doesn't get what he is looking for he walks. Why can't Rick Ankiel do that? What makes him so special? They've managed to teach Brown that trick .. that and his 2-3 hours of strobe light glasses.

jeffwx said...

Ghost...
We'll see how Morse looks and how much time he needs. If Desi continues to hit well, I'd keep him there until Morse shows his groove, IMHO. Why do you change what is not broken.
As for Ankiel, he's 1 for his last 18 with 9 K's...
Yep,,,Heinie Manush after retirement would be an upgrade on offense, let alone Corey Brown.

Steady Eddie said...

Peric -- agree completely on Moore. He needs daily ABs and he can't get them here.

Re Brown, while the eye stuff you mentioned may make his MLB adjustment faster, you want to let him see whether he now changes his past pattern under less pressure than he'll be leading.off from the start. If he jumps right into things, give him a try at lead off after 2 or 3 weeks. (by the way, when I wrote "Ankiel being Ankiel," it meant he needs to sit if we can get a credible replacement, and Brown may indeed be close to becoming that.).

Wonder if we could get a middling prospect from someone for Nady as a bench bat?

MicheleS said...

Speaking of National Journalists, some
Nats Love on mlb.com

jeffwx said...

Yeah...Ankiel is a bit older than Mr. Brown. Ankiel never was an exceptional hitter except 1-2 years in his 20s.

peric said...

Some of you are funny. Its not like Desi is 20 games in the 5 hole. Morse has to be the 4 or 5 hitter on this team. Desi is a quick assault specialist.

Actually Johnson said he considers Desi a potential #3 hitter in the future.

With Harper up and everybody assumed healthy. Johnson will likely alternate right and left-handed bats in the heart of the order ... so you'll see some combination of Zimmerman, Morse, LaRoche and Harper in the heart of the order. For now Desmond looks like a #5 - #6 hitter but you have to wonder how long its going to last ... before he reverts back to his mean of striking out more, lowering the BA and OBP below .200. I guess we'll see. And Espinosa emulating Desmond isn't helping ... 50+ strike outs is not good Danny and don't say they don't' matter because they do ... and your saying that likely landed you in a platoon situation.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Steady Eddie, Nady? Have you seen his stats? That's like Jason Marquis or Orlando Hudson, etc.

Nobody is giving you a box of balls for him. Sure, when he is DFA'd he will be signed by someone to a Minor League deal but nobody is giving up anything for him.

.137 /.192 /.274 /.466

peric said...

One thing is certain about Brown. With the info about his eye problem conveyed to the Syracuse Chief's announcing tandem which I read in their blog ... he is going to be a masher in day games.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Peric, Davey says a lot of things. Desi a #3 hitter. Sure.

jeffwx said...

Good article...thanks MicheleS...The reason Strasburg sits after 160 ip besides the fact that it's good practice is because the Nats can given the plethora of good arms they have and will have.

Davide said...

Here I am again.. :) Hi everybody!!
I have some questions:
1)Why do Philly's fans boo at Bryce?
2)I've seen that H-Rod is struggling playing as a closer lately so..why cannot Davey use Clippard in that role?He's already played there in the past and he's skilled for that role,isn't him?
3)Are there rumors (from Italy I can't hear good enough.. :D ) concerning possible acquisition of a power hitter to increase the number of runs?

OMG,probably there are so many mistakes,sorry!! :(

natsfan1a said...

Thanks for the video and additional nuggets of info, and second the thanks to CSN for sending your intrepid reporters to Philly.

MicheleS, I'm loving the power lifting theory. As previously noted, I like the "daddy strength" expression. You got your man pitches, and you got your daddy strength. :-)

peric said...

Right now Coreu Brown is the best hitter on the Chiefs. Better than Tyler Moore was before he was brought up. And he appears to be improving.

In 195 PA he has a .396 wOBA and an 11.9 bRAA.

second is Tyler Moore with
63 PA, 0.399 wOBA, and a 5.1 bRAA.

Plus Brown has the potential to be a gold glove in the outfield.
He is a five tool player.

peric said...

Uh scratch that Xavier Paul in 96 PA has a .400 wOBA and a 6.1 pRAA he is also mashing.

David said...

Send Moore back to AAA. Bring up Brown (except for the 40 man issue). Then when Morse is ready... make a decision about Bernadina. Just having fun playing laptop GM.

jeffwx said...

Philly fans are passionate to a fault. They've always been that way. You can trace it back to end of the 19th century when fan violence in the stands (and sometimes on the field) was rampant in places like Philly, Boston and New York.

NatsLady said...

Got this from Twitter just now:

Craig Heist ‏@cheistWTOP
The #Nats will put Ryan Mattheus on the DL with plantar Fasciitis and reinstate Chien-Ming Wang from the DL according to a baseball source.

mick said...

I agree with David

mick said...

Moore needs more (no pun intended) time in AAA

jeffwx said...

Peric...good numbers on Brown. I guess they still want an experienced outfielder in Ankiel to help LF/RF. If Werth were healthy, I believe Brown would be up.

jeffwx said...

And Wang is in the bullpen, then.

Steady Eddie said...

Ghost -- I was agreeing on bringing up Brown, and that Ankiel is what you described him as, a late defensive glove/arm. A contending team can't afford his swinging from the heels at high heat and inside junk.

I care a lot less at his failure to get walks as such than his failure to have professional ABs when they're especially needed. He's probably cost the team at least a couple of wins and at least a half dozen runs already simply by his inability to get runners home from third with less than 2 outs -- incredibly frustrating.

mick said...

Baseball is funny, O's have 2 game skid and looked dejected after blowing a 3 run lead at home to lowly Red Sox. Nats have a 2game streak and avoided what could have been a very devastating loss

David said...

BRown is 26... and has played OF, mainly CF his whole life. He can handle any OF position with his athletic ability. I agree he'd be better suited at #7 in front of Flores. Let either Lombo or Espinosa hit leadoff for now.

Steady Eddie said...

mick -- one word: Marathon.

peric said...

@Davide,

1. Uhmm because he wants them to. No other reason I can think of ... they do like torturing Jayson Werth with taunts of Jaaaaayyyysoon over and over again. I think they read that Harper wanted boos so they accommodated him. That's good.

2. Clippard is an ALL STAR set up guy. He has pitched far too many innings under Jim Riggleman over the past 2 years leading up to this year. You wonder how much longer he can go? Plus he is wildly successful right where he is. By making him the closer, as Mark stated, you lose your ace fireman and top setup guy for the 7th and 8th innings. An ALL Star.

3. Nope. Davey Johnson firmly believes in staying within the system to acquire needed assets. He has always done that going way back when he first started managing. Rizzo et al compliment that approach quite well. They had their chance when Prince Fielder was available and he wanted to come here!! But they decided the number of years were too high. And at least as of now LaRoche appears to be reasonably good at it. When they get Morse back there's you heart of the order power bat. With Harper developing into one (hopefully) along with Zimmerman the Nats should have plenty of potential fire power.

peric said...

Moore needs more (no pun intended) time in AAA

Moore just need to play everyday in the majors or in AAA. In the majors first base is spoken for (LaRoche). In the minors he would get reps at first while learning to play the outfield on a regular consistent basis.

This is a case IMO where they may be ruining a prospect who is a potential everyday player by keeping him at the back of the bench.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Reading all those Cordero stats and stories, brings back memories. He was so awesome in that year and especially June.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Steady Eddie, When Ankiel comes up in a high leverage situation and the catcher says throw him heat inside and high and then inside and low and inside and high again and make sure none of them are in the strike zone.

On cue, Ankiel swings at all 3 for strikes and only finds air. Just pathetic.

peric said...

The #Nats will put Ryan Mattheus on the DL with plantar Fasciitis and reinstate Chien-Ming Wang from the DL according to a baseball source.

There goes your closer. That takes forever to completely heal. There's a surgery but its typically not recommended. Orthotics, foot exercises are normally prescribed until it heals itself. Maybe the Nats medicos know some new tricks. It literally took years for mine to heal.

peric said...

If I am the Nats I am not looking to traded for a power bat I am now out looking for a closer and perhaps some catching just in case. Sure Storen is the closer but he won't be here until the All Star break and it will take him some time to ramp up.

SCNatsFan said...

Twins just designated Marquis for assignment

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
Reading all those Cordero stats and stories, brings back memories. He was so awesome in that year and especially June.

May 22, 2012 12:48 PM


Sometimes I have to remind people that great closers come in all sizes and shapes and don't have to have 95+ velo.

In Real Estate they say location, location, location and I think its what makes a great pitcher a great pitcher in locating, locating, locating.

jeffwx said...

Peric, disagree with your point #3.

In the current roster, several players have come from outside the organization:
1. Jason Werth
2. ALR who you mention
3. Gio Gonzo for 4 prospects from within.
4. Edwin Jackson

5. Rick Ankiel
6. Xavier Nady
7. Mark DeRosa
8. Chad Tracey
9. W. Ramos
10. T. Gorzalonny
11. C-M Wang

They never would have acquired numbers 1-4 above if they believed strongly in staying within the system. Agree that most assets can come within, but to win in a reasonable amount of time, you also need to acquire key pieces (eg: more starting pitching depth as Davey/Rizzo did last off season).
You don't have many opportunities to win it all. With the Nats core, they decided to strengthen the team now rather than waiting to get all answers from prospects (I guess that's why they call them prospects...They have the potential).

Davide said...

Ok,got it..thanks both jeffwx and peric.. :)

bowdenball said...

Making Clippard the closer is a terrible idea in my opinion. The runs and the outs recorded in the 7th and 8th innings count exactly the same as the runs and outs recorded in the 9th inning. Clippard has shown that he can pitch 90 very effective innings going mostly the seventh and eighth. He's shown he can inherit runners and strand them on base at a very good rate if needed. He can go two innings if needed. Why would you possibly want to sacrifice that in favor of unknown performance levels as a closer? Because it's less painful for the fans if you lose games in the 7th and 8th innings as compared to losing them in the 9th?

JD said...

Corey Brown may or may not be the answer at leadoff (he will be fine in CF) but I don't see ant reason not find out. He has 'graduated' AAA in my opinion so let's see if he's the real deal or just a AAAA player. But if he comes up we can't do what we did with Moore. He needs to start every day for a month and at lead off.

It's not like we have an all star in CF or at the lead off spot anyway so to me the risk is low.

jeffwx said...

I've Come to the conclusion that Stammen/Burnett/Lidge are your closers until the all-star break and then you reassess. ...with Clippard/Gorzo/Wang/HROD as setups...Sammy Solis back in 2-3 weeks.
No need to make a hasty trade for closer/catcher, IMHO.

JD said...

Bowdenball,

Because we think that Stammen and Burnett can handle the 7th and 8th inning and it is more devastating to blow a lead in the 9th because you don't have an opportunity to counter.

JD said...

jeffwx,

Not hasty. but a calculated move in these areas is not unreasonable especially the catcher.

jeffwx said...

Would also like to see Brown get a chance esp. now with two of our starting outfielders hurt (Morse, Werth). What better time than now when you need him most.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Somebody mentioned Brown and the 40-man roster issue. My own opinion is there are several people on the 40-man that don't need to be there. I suppose the FO might think otherwise. If so, then maybe Brown has to wait until Leon comes back -- anyone have any real idea when that will be/Hey, Mark! -- and they move Maldonado back off the 40-man roster.

Cautions: I wouldn't be surprised if Morse needs close to a month to break out (Exhibit A, April 2011); no assurance Brown will be able to quickly adapt to MLB pitching. You really want to shuffle the 40-man roster, kick some other player on the 25-man roster to the curb just so Brown can hit .175 in the seven slot? As intriguing as Brown might be, the conservative (prudent?) approach would be to bring him up in September and let him audition for a role on the 2013 roster and a starting spot in 2014.

jeffwx said...

Catcher is tenuous but if another one goes down, I'd sign up Ivan out of retirement and then get him a job in the organization.

NatsLady said...

I am torn on Clip as closer for all the reasons stated above and some others. But might have to go with it on a temporary basis because you don't want to have a lefty (Burnett) as your regular closer and Stammen valuable doing what he is doing. Maybe Davey will just go with flexible "game situation" closers, meaning platoons, who is coming up in the opponents' lineup, whose rested, etc. Wouldn't be the worst thing to consider the 7-8-9 innings as a unit and execute accordingly.

I know Davey likes "roles," but for two months the guys might just have to go with the flow. I think they are capable of that. Got my brand-new Clip jersey on today.

jeffwx said...

T.S. you make a good point but given the problems with outfield depth right now, what is the risk of giving Brown a try.

peric said...

As intriguing as Brown might be, the conservative (prudent?) approach would be to bring him up in September and let him audition for a role on the 2013 roster and a starting spot in 2014.

He has almost 30 RBI and 10 homers. Looks on pace to hit 30 or more. If Brown has 20+ by the All Star you have to figure he is a vast improvement over Ankiel offensively without losing much if anything defensively.

NatsLady said...

"whose" = "who's".

Steady Eddie said...

Theo -- if Davey and Rizzo had wanted to take the "conservative(prudent?) approach", they would not have brought up Harper when he was hitting .256 in AAA.

As to "kick some other player to the curb" -- that kind of silly rhetoric is irrelevant in a profession where most of your performance is so quantifiable. Guys who aren't performing up to the level of a contending team have no one to blame but themselves.

NatsLady said...

Not clear he would do it, and he already has a job with the Rangers organization.
__________________________________________________
jeffwx said...
Catcher is tenuous but if another one goes down, I'd sign up Ivan out of retirement and then get him a job in the organization.

David said...

Brown should have a legit shot at being the 2013 CFer. As great as LaRoche as been this year... I want to see Morse at 1B, Harper in LF, Brown in center, and Werth in RF. Remember Morse hits better when playing 1B instead LF. :-)

peric said...

They never would have acquired numbers 1-4 above if they believed strongly in staying within the system.

ALR and Werth were signed while Riggleman was managing. NOT Johnson. Jackson is on a 1 year deal the intent there was to put a veteran, playoff experienced veteran who could stabilize the rotation for younger less experienced prospects. I would put Gio in that group. Gio **IS** a direct result of the farm system. They traded enough prospects to get him. Then there's Wang who also fits that bill but he was signed as a free agent as was Werth.

In general, historically, Davey will go all the way down to the A level to find talent which is what he did with the Mets. Riggleman preferred his veterans from outside ... usually guys he knew from organizations like the Cardinals, Dodgers, etc.

peric said...

And Jackson is the oldest starter right now yet is still under 30. Note the change in philosophy at the manger's level.

bowdenball said...

JD-

1. You think Stammen and Burnett can handle the 7th and 8th, and I agree with you. But we have a lot more history that suggests that Clippard can DEFINITELY handle it and all the things that come with it- more innings over the course of a season, inherited runners, etc. Why mess with success, and lose 20 innings a year of your most effective reliever in the process?

If you consider the fact that closers usually inherit a bases-empty situation while setup guys are called upon in all situations, there's a lot of evidence that setup guys have far more leverage when it comes to a team's success. Here's one of many articles that explore this idea:

http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2010/11/age-of-setup-man.html

Also, the argument that it's more devastating to blow a lead in the 9th because "you don't have a chance to counter" makes no sense to me. Not only is it obviously wrong when the team is at home, it also seems to assume that teams only try to score runs if they have to. I don't get that. I think the argument is based on the fact that losing a lead in the 9th is more gut-wrenching than losing a lead in the 7th and 8th. But it looks the same in the standings.

peric said...

Not that Johnson is opposed to veterans ... he likes them for bench spots though ... for starters he seems to like to go young.

MicheleS said...

DJ and Vets; Anyone remember Gary Carter or Keith Hernandez? I believe they were both starters.

jeffwx said...

Peric, So you consider trades of prospects staying within the organization (eg: your Gio reference) ?

And picking up free agents to fill Major League positions (that cost resources) staying within the organization ?

And picking up Werth WAS a decision made under Rizzo (unless he was so influenced by Rigglemann that he had to sign him ???, Unlikely I think).

I guess we disagree on what the definition of staying within the organization to fill major league roster positions is.

Personally, I like looking within the organization as much as possible too, but acquiring from outside to fill needed gaps like Davey/Rizzo did in their off-season moves.

peric said...

With Mattheus on the DL. HRod inconsistent and ineffective, and confidence at a 2012 low, Storen still 2 or 3 months away. I wouldn't rely on LIdge to do it for one night much less 2 or 3 months. He barely holds his own ... he isn't even effective in a setup role.

Sure looks like the only solution is a trade. Nate Karns might be a solution but he still in A ball working his way back from injury. But they have him starting. Cameron Selik he's not that good yet ... both older prospects. Then there's Hassan Pena who might just be another HRod like headache.

Maybe its me but it sure looks like they may need to go outside.

NatsLady said...

Another chancy weather night at Nats Park North.

weather in Philly

http://www.bing.com/weather/search?q=philadelphia%20weather&unit=F&qpvt=philadelphia+weather&FORM=DTPWEA

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David, this team needs 4 legit outfielders with 2 Lefties and 2 Righties. Harper, Brown, Morse and Werth may work but Brown would need to price he is a Major Leaguer.

Morse serves a dual purpose to also give LaRoche some days off at 1st.

SCNatsFan said...

Sure Clippard is an 8th inning beast but for Davey not to use him for fear of screwing up his mojo is just wrong. You use who gives you the best chance to win and the players as professionals should do what it takes to accomplish that. That's what winning teams do and why so many talented players with bigger egos never play on winning teams. Not saying is true of Clip but I don't see how using him in the 9th ruins him.

And peric, my heel spur took about 7 days to recover so I think your experience is about the worst case scenario and sorry that is the case. There is at best a very reasonable chance this is something that won't take long to get better.

NatsLady said...

peric--what do we have to trade? Pitching and catching was our strength, especially (we thought) some extra relievers. Can't deplete the farm any more. Don't see it happening. Just have to wait it out.

MicheleS said...

Jeff.. agree with you. Davey was one of the first consultants hired by Rizzo, I have no doubt the ALR move was one that Davey at least commented on.

peric said...

Peric, So you consider trades of prospects staying within the organization (eg: your Gio reference) ?

Gio Gonzalez IS AS Young and has a similar ceiling to any of the prospects the Nats had and have. Liken him to trading for a Purke or Solis. It was a trade of prospects for prospect IMO.

The difference is the talent ceiling and the age. Young enough to still be developing. And as we've seen Gio continues to improve.

EJax is a one year rental. The Nats may attempt to keep him longer because of his performance. but his agent is Boras. We'll have to see how that plays out.

peric said...

Jeff.. agree with you. Davey was one of the first consultants hired by Rizzo, I have no doubt the ALR move was one that Davey at least commented on.

Everybody has a role in the organization. Davey never traveled with the major league team or did any major league scouting. His focus was on the minors and the prospects as it was with the Mets before he started managing there.

MicheleS said...

Speaking of the Gio Trade. Tommy Milone beat the Angels last night.

jeffwx said...

and Ray Knight...believe he was a starter.
. A manager/GM look for opportunities to strengthen their roster. Opportunities sometimes come from outside (eg: Gio, Jackson, Werth, ALR, Ramos...) and often from within ( Zimm, Harper, Desi, Espi, Stras, Zimmnn, Storen...).
Once you have most of your parts defined from your minor league system, then you may need to fill in the final pieces from opportunities of any kind that may be present.

bowdenball said...

SCNatsFan-

It doesn't ruin Clip to use him in the 9th. It just doesn't maximize his usage to help the team win, since he's shown he can effectively pitch 90 innings a year and can strand runners.

Take a look at the link I posted, it might help if my explanation hasn't been clear.

peric said...

peric--what do we have to trade?

Starting pitching: Wang, Detwiler, even Stammen. Bernadina ancillary to them.

Arneson and Mandel actually look really good down in the minors. They both look major league ready ... plus Maya could fill Stammen's role. Atkins had been extremely good this year in Syracuse.

Or as you say they can wait it out. But what if Storen takes some time to ramp up? What if Storen isn't Storen? Lidge is coming off the shoulder? Now Mattheus on the DL? He actually was their best closer possibility after Storen.

I don't know ... it sure looks like they should be hedging their bets.

whatsanattau said...

There are plenty of assets in the system to trade if they want to do that. Remember, the 2012 draft is around the corner and will backfill any departures. The shortage is not what they have to trade, but what they can trade for. There are a bunch of teams looking to make significant upgrades in relief. (And other positions for that matter.) There are no closers on the market that are better than what the Nats have and can be had for a reasonable price. If the Yankees and Red Sox have not found an affordable solution, they don't exist.

peric said...

and Ray Knight.

I never listen to anything Ray Knight has to say ... Marge Schott's lap dog.

David said...

Ankiel or Bernadina could be the 4th OFer. Neither would be starting though.

SCNatsFan said...

bowdenball, I understand the numbers but no matter what we do to get to the 9th with a lead it fails if we blow it up then. There is no rule saying if we are trouble in the 8th then Clip can pitch, on nights like last night he can pitch the 9th.

peric said...

Morse serves a dual purpose to also give LaRoche some days off at 1st.

Not under Davey. Davey said he was a left fielder exclusively. He has Chad Tracy plus DeRosa for that role. At least until Marerro got back. Davey played Marerro a lot ... but not Moore ... of course LaRoche was out ... still ...

jeffwx said...

I will never agree that trading prospects for a major league player is coming within the organization.
The philosophy of building within the organization is just that...developing your minor league talent and Waiting for them to become Major League ready. Of course, one cannot subscribe to that philosophy solely as you'll need to find a few pieces from outside to win now or soon.
We have a rare opportunity with both Strasburg and Harper on our team for the next few years. I think that is one reason why Rizzo/DJ went outside to try to put together a winner soon and before they get a bazzillion dollars to play for the Yankees/Redsox/Dodger or Heaven forbid the phillies.

ehay2k said...

Peric, Marge Scott is dead. Ray wasn't her lap dog when he played for Davey. Your comment is a total non-sequitor and avoids facing the argument that DJ likes veteran starters too.

whatsanattau said...

BTW, the closer-types that are on the trade market have all failed in the role at least as significantly as HROD. You'd rather have Marmol, Balfour, ...?

Maybe you can get Brett Myers, but you'll pay 150% of value. Probably cost you 1 ready now player and 2 ready soons.

jeffwx said...

OK, I'm listening. where/who are Arenson and Mandel ?
Are they an upgrade over Perry ?

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

before they get a bazzillion dollars to play for the Yankees/Redsox/Dodger or Heaven forbid the phillies.

Unless they get a bazillion dollars to play here. Don't forget the Nats are coming into some money soon, from better attendance, and from a much improved MASN deal.

ehay2k said...

Dang spell check - Schott.

jeffwx said...

Sect 3....I hope you are right.
How much better is the new MASN deal ?
It seems to me that when it comes to money, super MLB attorney Angelos doesn't lose.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Still be be determined, jeffwx, but we should know next week, if memory serves. See Boswell's column from about a week or two ago on the subject.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

peric said...
With Mattheus on the DL. HRod inconsistent and ineffective, and confidence at a 2012 low, Storen still 2 or 3 months away. I wouldn't rely on LIdge to do it for one night much less 2 or 3 months. He barely holds his own ... he isn't even effective in a setup role.

Sure looks like the only solution is a trade. Nate Karns might be a solution but he still in A ball working his way back from injury. But they have him starting. Cameron Selik he's not that good yet ... both older prospects. Then there's Hassan Pena who might just be another HRod like headache.

Maybe its me but it sure looks like they may need to go outside.

May 22, 2012 1:26 PM


Give Lidge a chance to comeback and show he can pitch in the 6th inning. You don't hand the keys to the closers car just yet.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Jeff, this Boswell column

bowdenball said...

SCNats fan...

Same is true of the 7th and 8th. If you can't carry a lead through those innings you don't even need a closer.

Like i said before, the emotions are different but the final result is the same. The idea is to score runs and prevent the opponent from scoring runs. Doesn't matter when and how you accomplish either of those objectives. And Clippard is best used as a setup man, when the manager has the flexibility to use him in high leverage situations. Managers simply don't have that flexibility with respect to closers, thanks to the save category and groupthink. Even Davey has shown that he is bound by the unwritten rules of closers.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS said...
Speaking of the Gio Trade. Tommy Milone beat the Angels last night.

May 22, 2012 1:32 PM


Tommy beat them with 1 earned run. He also beat them with a 87mph fastball. Was he that slow when he pitched in September?

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

They don't need go to go out for a closer. Stammen can close, Burnett can close, and yes, Clippard can close. Davey may not prefer it, but it's easier to get a 7th inning guy who's not that bad for a few weeks, than a closer you will have to overpay to get, and then be stuck with when Storen is back in a little over a month.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

peric said...
and Ray Knight.

I never listen to anything Ray Knight has to say ... Marge Schott's lap dog.

May 22, 2012 1:37 PM


Ray is as close as you get to speaking real on Nats TV/Radio. FP and Charlie come close but don't cross the line and Bob is Bob.

I love my homies in the good times but every once in a while you want someone to speak the truth and Ray will do it and he won't do it for ratings like the shock jock Rob Dibble.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

I like Ray. He's not the most articulate guy on the staff, but he knows a lot about baseball, and he can convey it, eventually. The man was very successful at the highest level for a long time.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...
They don't need go to go out for a closer. Stammen can close, Burnett can close, and yes, Clippard can close. Davey may not prefer it, but it's easier to get a 7th inning guy who's not that bad for a few weeks, than a closer you will have to overpay to get, and then be stuck with when Storen is back in a little over a month.

May 22, 2012 1:55 PM


That guy may be named Ross Detwiler after Friday.

Gorzo Long Man LH
Henry Long Man mop-up
Wang 6th inning RH
Perry 6th inning RH (2 inning pitcher)
Burnett 7th inning LH
Clippard 8th inning & stopper RH
Stammen Closer RH

Ideally, Lidge replaces Perry and Wang becomes your 2 inning guy with game on the line.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

That guy may be named Ross Detwiler after Friday.

Indeed.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

And wouldn't it be ironic if Detwiler winds up as a closer?
Not a lot of lefty closers out there, but it would be funny.

Sue Dominus said...

That guy may be named Ross Detwiler after Friday.

Right, because if there's one thing a closer needs to be, it's a bulldog. And if there's one thing you don't want your closer to be, it's a whiner.

Detwiler's your man. Right.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Sec3, a year ago I thought Detwiler could do it. Now I'm not too sure. He is too easily agitated. On the other hand, Craig Stammen has been transformed.

The only way of knowing if Craig can do it is to give him the opportunity. After pitching 2 innings last night, the closer du jour tonight would probably be Clip or Burnett.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

but it's easier to get a 7th inning guy who's not that bad for a few weeks

That guy may be named Ross Detwiler after Friday.


Sue, I don't think he meant Detwiler for closer.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

Ghost, not that it's a question, but I think the same could be said for Strasburg--he seems to get pissed off and lose focus for a few hitters when things go his way sometimes, which is death for closers.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

*don't go his way

jeffwx said...

Thanks Sect. 3, etal....

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

jeffwx said...
Sect 3....I hope you are right.
How much better is the new MASN deal ?
It seems to me that when it comes to money, super MLB attorney Angelos doesn't lose.

May 22, 2012 1:47 PM


Sec, thanks for that link. That's the 1st time I read the update.

I agree with Jeff except Angelos is not a MLB attorney, he is a class action attorney specialist in the tobacco and asbestos industries representing plaintiffs. Those lawsuits pay the plaintiff lawyers very nicely.

He won't give up the money easily and I still believe after the share changes, this won't end nicely because Angelos still owns more than 80% of MASN.

He has all the ability with fiduciary responsibility to hire and fire and will find other ways to piss the Lerner's and Nats fans off. The whole MASN format is still O's tainted and expect it to get worse.

Also, Angelos may give himself a larger raise as President of MASN and keep in mind that the Lerner's split profits to their percentage of ownership. What if Angelos pays himself $20 million more a year as President of MASN? The Lerner's contribute towards 20% of that approximately so that is $4 mill back to Angelos. I don't see Angelos giving up without a fight or at least using creative accounting to get back a good chunk of what he has to pay out.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

I remember when Roger Craig was managing the Giants, and he made Jeff Brantley the closer, not because he had such brilliant stuff, but because he had "the nerves of a cat burgler."

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...
but it's easier to get a 7th inning guy who's not that bad for a few weeks

That guy may be named Ross Detwiler after Friday.


Sue, I don't think he meant Detwiler for closer.

May 22, 2012 2:33 PM


You are correct. I was saying Ross may be in that Stammen type of role for middle innings.

I want to be wrong about what I have said about Ross the last 4 years. I hope he can be a successful starter. I really think Davey/Rizzo give him Friday as one more chance. I just have serious doubts about his stamina not about his stuff.

Section 3, My PFB Hitterish Sofa said...

[Angelos] won't give up the money easily

There's that. The Lerners aren't known for rolling over like dogs, though.

natsfan1a said...

eeewwww, no thanks. Not a fan.

Maybe you can get Brett Myers, but you'll pay 150% of value. Probably cost you 1 ready now player and 2 ready soons.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I make a lot of bold statements and I want to be wrong about Ross. The good news is this Gio Gonzalez kid has proved me very wrong. I thought he wouldn't be effective outside of Oakland and that his walks would be a problem.

Credit to McCatty and staff as Gio has been great. If he can get his pitch counts down, he will be Top 3 in the NL as he has to go deeper into games.

David said...

How can you be a Nats fans and not know that Milone was a super soft tossing lefty, who's fastball hovered in the 86-88 range and is the second coming of Jamie Moyer? :-)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/post/morning-pixels-someone-threw-something-at-bryce-harper/2012/05/22/gIQALTnwhU_blog.html?tid=pm_sports_pop

As I saw last night, debris coming down behind Harper. Those Philthies fans are so clever.

natsfan1a said...

Also, here's a Sport Business Journal piece that preceded the Bos MASN column.

Sue Dominus said...

How can you be a Nats fans and not know that Milone was a super soft tossing lefty, who's fastball hovered in the 86-88 range and is the second coming of Jamie Moyer? :-)

Wrong. Milone is the charter member of Future Lannans of America. If he had remained here, eventually all the love for him would turn to hate, just like it did with Lannan.

natsfan1a said...

If by clever you mean creepy then yes. :-)

Those Philthies fans are so clever.

natsfan1a said...

On Harper, evidently the Phillies had extra security there.

jeffwx said...

yes, I didn't mean that Angelos is an MLB attorney per se, but I recall a cozy relationship between he and Selig when MLB needed some legal advice a couple years back...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

David, see I wanted to be lazy on Milone and I was correct from memory, he has dropped off on average and more so yesterday. His top speed was 91 last year vs 90 this year on his 4 seam. He averaged 89mph last year on his 4 seamer. He has dropped almost 1mph in average, but his movement has increased with more horizontal movement and slightly more vertical movement.

Fourseam (FA) 218 54% 7.11 -14.88 88.61 3.08 5.99 150 2,212

Here he is this year:

Fourseam (FA) 340 42% 7.11 -14.40 87.86 3.33 5.95 151 2,306

http://cdn.brooksbaseball.net/player_cards/card_imgs/543548.mph.L.png

MicheleS said...

1A.. thanks for the link on Harper security. Shows the team knows their fans (sadly).

Also, agree on the NO to Brett Myers.

baseballswami said...

Ray Knight has a stellar career and knows a lot about baseball. He is, however, much too personally close to Davey Johnson. He slavishly adores him waaay too much on the broadcasts. It's almost nauseating. It's fine that he feels that way, but should at least appear to have some objectivity. He will never, ever, disagree with one thing that Davey Johnson ever does. He is blind when it comes to him. His man-crush has really changed their show since Johnson took over. It's a shame, too - he was better before because he would play devil's advocate occasionally. Don't get me wrong, I love it that he is a homer, it's just way over the top.

sign_mart said...

dailydealtime
Write-up improves each of our communication with readers and visitor in net and by way of commenting it finish all process.

natsfan1a said...

Yeah, I was just saying how comment facilitates each of our reading with communicators and visit out of house and by way of blogging we finish all our processes.

That old-school, prestigious way of Scooter said...

Word.

Post a Comment