Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LaRoche wins first Gold Glove

US Presswire photo
Managers and coaches voted Adam LaRoche the NL's best defensive first baseman.
The best offensive season of Adam LaRoche's career may actually have helped the Nationals first baseman be recognized at long last for his fielding prowess.

LaRoche won his first-ever Rawlings Gold Glove award tonight, selected as the best defensive first baseman in the National League in voting among managers and coaches.

LaRoche has long been considered stellar in the field, but the 32-year-old had never been recognized for it, losing out in previous Gold Glove selections to the likes of Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez and Derrek Lee.

The NL's managers and coaches finally gave LaRoche his due this year, citing his .995 fielding percentage and ability to snatch up errant throws that saved his infield mates from being charged with errors.

It probably didn't hurt that LaRoche enjoyed the best offensive season of his career -- he clubbed 33 homers with 100 RBI and a .271 batting average -- while playing for a first-place team, raising his profile among the rest of the league.

LaRoche was selected over two other finalists at first base: the Reds' Joey Votto (last year's winner) and the Braves' Freddie Freeman.

Now a free agent, LaRoche hopes to sign a long-term deal to stay with the Nationals. The two sides hold an exclusive negotiating window until Saturday, at which point LaRoche is free to talk to other clubs. He's believed to be seeking a three-year contract worth somewhere in the range of $33 million to $36 million.

Though teammate Ian Desmond also was a finalist to win his first Gold Glove award, the Nationals shortstop lost out to the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins (who won for the fourth time in six years).

Desmond, 27, enjoyed a breakthrough season at the plate and in the field, earning his first All-Star selection in the process. After committing a MLB-high 34 errors in 2010, he cleaned up his defensive game and brought that number down to 23 in 2011 and 15 this season.

Rollins committed the fewest errors (13) and had the best fielding percentage (.978) among qualifying NL shortstops.

LaRoche joins Ryan Zimmerman (2009) as the only Gold Glove award winners in Nationals history.

The full list of this year's winners...

NATIONAL LEAGUE
P - Mark Buehrle, MIA
C - Yadier Molina, STL
1B - Adam LaRoche, WASH
2B - Darwin Barney, CHC
SS - Jimmy Rollins, PHI
3B - Chase Headley, SD
LF - Carlos Gonzalez, COL
CF - Andrew McCutchen, PIT
RF - Jason Heyward, ATL

AMERICAN LEAGUE
P - Jeremy Hellickson, TB and Jake Peavy, CHW
C - Matt Wieters, BAL
1B - Mark Teixeira, NYY
2B - Robinson Cano, NYY
SS - J.J. Hardy, BAL
3B - Adrian Beltre, TEX
LF - Alex Gordon, KC
CF - Adam Jones, BAL
RF - Josh Reddick, OAK

140 comments:

RickH said...

Congrats, Adam!!! Well deserved. (Now, let's sign him!)

Gonat said...

Well deserved by Adam. Much of what he does isn't formulated in traditional fielding stats. Amazing scoops at 1st.

Gonat said...

By the way, Anthony Rendon has the only hit thru 3 innings for Salt River.

phil dunton said...

The cost of re-signing Laroche just went up!

natsfan1a said...

Congrats to Adam. Was happy to see that he won it (and happy to have power back in time to do so).

Shoshana said...

I am so happy for Adam LaRoche. What a great year for him and how wonderful for him to finally be acknowledged for his superior defensive skills.

Of course I was hoping for Desmond to win the award for SS, but aside from that, I was not happy with Rollins winning. He did not seem to be putting much effort out there. Sure he had the fewest errors and had a good fielding percentage. That's because he wasn't trying to make many plays. It helped the Phillies opponents though.

natsfan1a said...

Hope that Drake gave him a big hug, too. :-)

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Totally deserving. And he makes it look so darn easy. Really hoping to see him win it again at Nats Park in 2013, 2014, 2015...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I cannot wait to see Bernie's wall-crashing catch in Houston in the all-time web gems...

baseballswami said...

Rollins is a joke. Lazy voting on prior reputation. No range anymore.

MicheleS said...

ADAM! Now pay him!

SonnyG10 said...

Cudos to Adam

sjm308 said...

Well deserved. Hoping the Ian will win the Silver Slugger but more important is who we sign rather then who wins these awards. The big award was won a couple of days ago when the Giants won game four. That is the only award I am really interested in.

peric said...

The big award was won a couple of days ago when the Giants won game four. That is the only award I am really interested in.

Precisely.

Likely THE award the players are most interested in. States unequivocally to the world that the player is both great individually and as part of a team.

They surely like the other stuff, and the all star nod ... but given all the hullaballoo over the Stras shutdown one can be sure they deem this one as all important.

baseballswami said...

Bernie shut out but Desi with a play!

Gonat said...

I thought Bernadina in Houston was a Top 10 Web Gem

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I am completely stunned. No Shark. Wow.

Not even in the Top 10? You gotta be kidding.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unoQ80FEhbs

Michael S said...

"Madam that's Adam, ain't no other woman that's had ' em" - The Tubes

Gonat said...

The Bernadina catch absolutely prevented a walk-off which made it a game saving play. I would say Top 5 on degree of difficulty and the fact it saved the game.

SonnyG10 said...

No Shark? Damn, we're still not getting enough respect. Bernie was definitely in the top 10.

baseballswami said...

Glad Ian was in it, but I didn't really think that was his best play. I hate it that the highlights of the third basemen were not as good as Zim everyday. That show was just awful and some of the results leave me scratching my head.

JaneB said...

The Shark catch in Houston absolutely ought to have been in the top ten. What were they thinking? Just the drama of it...they lose if he misses, and then he disappears and reappears with the ball.

So happy for ALR. I hope they sign him.

UnkyD said...

Pay the man, Shirley.

bobfromalexandria said...

I loved Adam Dunn, but saw him miss balls that lost games. Now ALR wins a deserved Golden Glove. Could he really go unsigned?

Gonat said...

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2012/10/30/3578926/gold-gloves-2012-awards-winners-rawlings

Neyer summed it up well. I also agree with what he said about Adam LaRoche winning.

Don said...

Zuck -- in the last thread I said that Desi is not a very good glove man, you responded that you disagree with that sentiment. This was by far his best season with the glove, and it was good, but I am not sure that it was very good. And one good season does not make a guy a very good fielder generally, does it? There were only 7 SS who started 120 games in the NL last year. Starlin Castro made 27 errors, so he had no chance for a GG. Of the remaining 6 guys, Desi ranks 4th according to FanGraphs (UZR and UZR/150), not bad but not very good either, no? He was last of the 6 in DPs turned, his FLDG% is never very good and was worst of the group, not to mention that his range is not terrific either (5th according to FanGrpahs, ESPN had his Range Factor as the worst of the group -- for whatever that is worth). I'd also presume that had Alex Gonzalez and Tulo been healthy they would have ranked ahead of our boy too (as they have the last couple of years coming into 2012). Leaving out Desi's potential for greatness with the glove, what makes you believe that Ian actually IS a very good glove man? Thanks!

Gonat said...

Rendon is 2-4 so far tonight. BA up to .271

SonnyG10 said...

I may have to rethink my 106 win prediction for the 2013 Nats if they don't resign Adam and an EJax equivalent.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Don: From watching him in person every day, I would say what stood out about Desmond was his ability both to make what felt like every routine play with no hint of trepidation while also regularly making plays that required far more than routine effort. I thought Desmond was as reliable in the field as just about any shortstop in the NL while also capable of making spectacular plays.

The numbers will say what they say, and I don't discount them. But all I can do is judge with my eyes, and my eyes told me Desmond had a very good year in the field. It would appear NL managers and coaches felt the same way, deeming him one of the four best shortstops in the league.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Well-earned and much deserved. Congratulations to Adam. I am so happy for him and his proud son. If they gave an award for best teammate he'd win that one, too.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Does anybody know if LaRoche uses a Rawlings glove?

Drew said...

Well done, Adam!

P.S. While Rendon's AFL batting average has inched up to .271, his on base percentage is .357.

Someday soon we might see Goodwin and Rendon as on-base machines in front of Harper, Zim, LaRoche, Desmond and Werth.

Bill Ladson recently suggested that a lead off hitter such as Michael Bourn is on the Nats' shopping list, in addition to a fifth starter. With Goodwin just a year away, I can't imagine why the Nats would spend the money on Bourn instead of making do with Werth atop the lineup for one more season.

rabbit34 said...

LaRoche won the GG. Yeah, ok. Now what? Glad he won it. Rah rah. Now what? We didn't win the WS. Houston didn't either. But really, the Nationals are great. I love to go watch their games. I just don't let them influence my life.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Apparently they influence your life enough to want to make sure people know how you feel by posting on his site. Seems rather contradictory.

JayB said...

I agree with Mark on eyes vs. stats on Ian especially with respect to range. His range was greater than those who had better range stats. That UZR/UZR150 stat is not very good at all. It must be too sensitive to some type of input that does not tell the story. Too many players who are clearly blessed with great range come up with whacked UZR ratings. Keep working on that one please stat boys.

baseballswami said...

Part of what makes Desi a very good SS is the way he holds the middle infield together. He had great leadership qualities and the ability to calm down the pitcher, slow down the game, make sure everyone is alert. I am sure that those who nominate and vote know that being a good defender is more than a circus catch. The guys doing the show did not acknowledge any other qualities , though. It was only about the web gem.

Dave said...

Congratulations to Adam. Well deserved.

But Jimmy Rollins? Really?

rabbit34 said...

Between the Nationals and Orioles...four gold gloves!! Rah! Good going guys. But, no WS. Boo. It is Halloween. So, who will AL play for next year? No AL will mean more ID errors. Too bad he didn't get the glove this year. But, hey, it doesn't affect my life!!

natsfan1a said...

Don't know but I'm thinking that he'll have some very nice, personalized ones next season. :-)

Theophilus T. S. said...

Does anybody know if LaRoche uses a Rawlings glove?
October 31, 2012 3:24 AM

NatsJack in Florida said...

3 Orioles get Gold Gloves?...Just goes to show you how bad the American League is defensively. (rimshot)

Faraz Shaikh said...

NatsJack, don't know about Hardy and Jones but Weiters is pretty good.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Faraz... all in jest. Just can't pass up an opportunity to knock the AL.

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
3 Orioles get Gold Gloves?...Just goes to show you how bad the American League is defensively. (rimshot)

October 31, 2012 7:24 AM
____________________________

I agree with Faraz but how in the heck does Adam Jones win? A complete joke of the voting. Trout got robbed.

Gonat said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
Does anybody know if LaRoche uses a Rawlings glove?

October 31, 2012 3:24 AM
________________________________

Adam LaRoche uses a Mizuno glove.

baseballswami said...

Natsjack -- the AL plays defense? I thought all they did was play home run derby?

Drew said...

As a former critic of Ian Desmond, I'll note a very encouraging sign. He has maintained excellent range and has cut his errors in half from two years ago.

Doc said...

Rollins' name must have come first on the ballot.

Most of the managers and coaches play on loosing teams...no wonder they can't appreciate Desi!

sm13 said...

Congrats to Adam. Ryan, Ian, and Danny sure know how good he is. What always marvels me is how smoothly and calmly he plays the position. Routine play or spectacular play, he just goes about his business.

If Ian continues to improve, like he did this year over last year, i would expect a few gold gloves for his trophy shelf.

Avar said...

Congrats to Adam, well deserved. I did think Desi deserved his finalist status but not the trophy. That should have been Barnes. Rollins is a joke. As are McCutheon, Gonzalez and Headley. Well, Headley wasn't a joke but Wright was so much better that it's a joke. I know advanced D stats are imperfect but you can't give trophies to guys with lousy ones like McCutcheon (MINUS 7 for crying out loud) and Rollins. Just awful.

The AL was better. Only Jones was messed up there. Span is an artist w/ the stats to prove it. But, once you get a rep, you keep it, good or bad.

Last year these awards made more sense, guess we regressed.

sjm308 said...

NatsJack: as one whose life is influenced by this team and this blog I loved your comeback. Not saying baseball is the end all and be all in retirement but it sure is a fun way to spend an hour or so in the off season and I was actually getting in a little trouble with the spousal equivalent in season.

As I read rabbits comments I just can't help thinking of Eyeore in Winnie the Pooh.

Go Nats!!

sjm308 said...

Mark: It is such a pleasure and a surprise to see you in the comment part of this site. Keep up the great work!!

Peric or Drew (or anyone else) - where do Rendon and Goodwin start next spring? Will they jump to AAA? Does anyone see them making a huge jump onto the 25 man roster coming North? Is that just too big a jump? I honestly think we could see one or both before next season ends, and I am not talking about the Sept. call up.
Thanks in advance.

NatsJack in Florida said...

sjm308.....slow down a little bit. Rendon should start at Harrisburg and Goodwin either Potomac or Harrisburg but most likely Potomac.

Both have things beyond their baseball skills that need work.

Rendon has the more polished skills but still needs to prove his ability to play everyday and Goodwin needs to show he can take the same maturity path that Bryce did between 18yo and 19 yo.

A ST camp around polished Major Leaguers should assist Goodwin and a couple of injury free months plus solid numbers will help Rendon.

SlowPitch63 said...

I normally read this the day after because I play a lot and watch several games a night that I have recorded. I thus have nothing to say because the moment has passed and I would be redundant, irrelevant, unread or all three.
That does not decrease from the joy this site adds to my life.
Thank you Mark and thank you all regular posters although my favorites are the ladies, 1a, MichelleS, NN, NL. The relatively few personal attacks disturb me but the blog is very well policed by the regular posters especially by the aforementioned.
Thanks again to all maybe I can participate during the Hot Stove season.
Let's Play Two!

fast eddie said...

WaPo is strangely silent today on the ALR negotiations. Is no news bad news? Or will Rizzo pull it out at the last minute, a la the Strasburg signing?
If ALR becomes a free agent, he's gone.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Fast Eddie....ALR owes it to himself to see what his value is on the open market. Signing before Saturday would be a disservice to himself and his family. Absolutely nothing wrong with holding a Nats offer in his pocket until he ways all his options.

And it doesn't necessarily mean he's gone.

Theophilus T. S. said...

I think Goodwin starts in Harrisburg. Last year the FO was touting Michael Taylor, who had a crap year when he should have progressed. If they think Taylor still has major league potential, they'll let him start every day in CF in Potomac. And Goodwin will start in H'Burg even if offensively challenged during the 1st half of the season. I don't have a clear sense what is going on w/ Rendon. Does he need help w/ his defense? If so, he should start in Potomac and work on the D, and not have to worry about going 0-4 every other day. Once he's a little more solid on defense, then move him up to Harrisburg (July?) and Syracuse a month later.

fast eddie said...

If Rizzo and Davey decide they really want to keep him, why not make a pre-emptive strike and put their best offer on the table now? (an offer he can't refuse, i.e. 3 years, plus an option year?)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Mark Zuckerman said...
The numbers will say what they say, and I don't discount them. But all I can do is judge with my eyes, and my eyes told me Desmond had a very good year in the field. It would appear NL managers and coaches felt the same way, deeming him one of the four best shortstops in the league.

October 31, 2012 12:24 AM


I am glad Mark also uses the proper approach for evaluation.

Desi's range was very impressive. The only way to get a hit was when the ball was drilled through the 5.5 hole or up the middle. Desi got to some balls he had to eat. I was also impressed with his leadership.

JD said...


SJM,

The way the minors are set up most of the top prospects play in AA. AAA is normally a sort of a taxi squad and is normally rostered by veterans; many of whom have at least had a cup of coffee in the majors.

Occasionally teams like to test a top prospect in AAA just to see how a player settles in with older experienced players (Bryce Harper).

I would say that Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin and Skole will all start in AA next year along with Solis. I would expect Solano, Rosenbaum, Komatsu and possibly Leon to start in AAA as well as the last cuts from the big club and new veteran signees.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Fast Eddie....ALR owes it to himself to see what his value is on the open market. Signing before Saturday would be a disservice to himself and his family. Absolutely nothing wrong with holding a Nats offer in his pocket until he ways all his options.

And it doesn't necessarily mean he's gone.

October 31, 2012 9:38 AM


Texas and Boston will be in the mix of the teams that can afford him and go longer on terms of contract as they have the DH as a fallback.

I don't see either team going longer than 5 years and I don't see the Nats going to 5 years.

Will ALR take a 3 year with a vesting option to stay here or will it take a 4 year deal or will he push for a 5 year deal? There is definitely a "hometown" advantage but I would think Texas may be enticing for Adam too. He was a Boston Red Sox for a few weeks and probably wouldn't go back there.

Rizzo has made the right decisions in the past and probably has a good Plan "B".

Doc said...

So we got Brian Goodwin for The Dunnkey and his -0.4 WAR!

Go you Nats' scouts!!!!!

What a steal of a deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GoooooooooooNats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

natsfan1a said...

It's always nice to hear from you, SlowPitch. I'm also behind on reading due to having been without power from Monday night to Tuesday night.

Will be fun to see what other awards await. We'll also get some baseball this weekend with an AFL game on Saturday (MLB Network, I believe).

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
sjm308.....slow down a little bit. Rendon should start at Harrisburg and Goodwin either Potomac or Harrisburg but most likely Potomac.
October 31, 2012 8:51 AM


As I recall, Goodwin went from Hagerstown straight to Harrisburg. Goodwin excelled at Low A and started off slow at Harrisburg as it was a huge adjustment. He is raking in the AFL.

Are you suggesting dropping him back a level to Potomac?

As a lefty, Goodwin does very well against RH pitching. He has to get better vs the LH pitching.

Faraz Shaikh said...

GoSM, he was Red Sox for few days I think.

Faraz Shaikh said...

they got him from pittsburgh and then traded him to braves within days.

Faraz Shaikh said...

if we sign a veteran starter for a minor league deal and need him for few starts during the season, can we option him back to minors if not needed or we have to put him through waivers?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Doc said...
So we got Brian Goodwin for The Dunnkey and his -0.4 WAR!

Go you Nats' scouts!!!!!

What a steal of a deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GoooooooooooNats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

October 31, 2012 10:07 AM


That's the silver lining when you lose a top player to Free Agency and possibly why Rizzo won't do anything stupid with LaRoche.

Keep in mind, if the Nats offer LaRoche a 3 year deal, it doesn't mean his career has ended with Washington at that point in time.

The way the Braves handled Tim Hudson when he was due a new deal they took him from $15.5 million a year and dropped him to $9 million a year on his last contract. In 2010, Hudson made that $9 million and turned in an All Star season with a 4th place in Cy Young voting and a 2.91 ERA. Last year at 36 years old he was a 3.87 ERA and still worth that $9 million and the Braves just picked up the final year of his contract under a team option for 2013.

Hudson is just one example of team and player working well together and hoping LaRoche sees the opportunity here in Washington to get a well deserved payday and having faith in Rizzo that if he performs going forward this next contract doesn't have to be his last here in Washington.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
if we sign a veteran starter for a minor league deal and need him for few starts during the season, can we option him back to minors if not needed or we have to put him through waivers?

October 31, 2012 10:24 AM


Only for doubleheaders. If that veteran has no options, he would have to pass through waivers and accept going back to the Minors.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Ghost...re: Goodwin...it's a combination of his maturation and roster spots. He could go to Harrisburg or they may lower him to Potomac. Taylor really regressed and as young as he is, Hagerstown isn't out of the question.

I just think Rizzo will shake up some things at the lower levels and make some of these kids really prove themselves before advancing them.

Strasburg and Harper are generational type athletes. The rules were different for them.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Adam LaRoche's history is almost like Edwin Jacksons. A journeyman looking for a home although Adam's numbers have been more consistent he just has never gotten much respect and this Gold Glove is the 1st award he has won in his career.

When the Braves traded ALR to Pittsburgh for MGonzo it was to make room for some hot shot rookie named Scott Thorman who was out of baseball by the following year.

The year before ALR was traded he put up All-Star worthy numbers and slashed .285/.354/.561/.915 at the age of 26. It was one of the worst trades the Braves made.

ALR knows that when you get traded the dynamics change and your numbers can worsen as they did in Pittsburgh.

When ALR was traded back to Atlanta at the trade deadline he put up the best numbers of his career for that 2 month span .325/.401/.557/.957 and then went the Free Agent route for the 1st time in his career and only got a 1 year deal from Arizona.

Until this year, Free Agency hasn't been too kind to ALR. He got the 1 year deal from Arizona and the 2 year deal from Washington.

Adam has been with 5 teams in 9 seasons. If he is smart, he takes a fair deal from Rizzo and stays.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Ghost...re: Goodwin...it's a combination of his maturation and roster spots. He could go to Harrisburg or they may lower him to Potomac. Taylor really regressed and as young as he is, Hagerstown isn't out of the question.

I just think Rizzo will shake up some things at the lower levels and make some of these kids really prove themselves before advancing them.

Strasburg and Harper are generational type athletes. The rules were different for them.

October 31, 2012 10:34 AM


I was concerned about Goodwin when he jumped over Potomac and struggled in AA and very pleased he has bashed RH pitching in the AFL.

On Rendon, I saw him on a fast-track to the Majors derailed by injuries. He is best contact hitter in the Nats system.

My concern with Goodwin is going to be his problem hitting lefty pitching and Davey's reluctance to do platoons.

The Nats need to get Eury Perez progressed as he is the best RH outfield bat the system has right now.

sjm308 said...

Thanks to all for your opinions. NatsJack, I was not trying to move things up, just wanted to see if anyone thought they could jump several leagues with good play in the Arizona League and then continued good play in spring training.

I think its exciting that we actually have people in the minors who we are looking to make contributions and we also have a team that won 98 games!!! It is one thing to be the KC Royals who are always talking about their young players and then falling short. We have young players and go into next year with 4 solid starters. A good if not great infield, the most exciting young player in the National League and corner outfielders who do not need tweeking. Oh I forgot, we also have TWO starting catchers and a solid bullpen.

OK, I will get off the bandwagon and let rabbit, JB and others knock our lads down a peg.

Go Nats!!

Laddie Blah Blah said...

We will be able to see Rendon, Goodwin and Aaron Barrett in the futures game Saturday night. It will be televised by MLB.

SCNatsFan said...

I agree with the thoughts that ALR needs to see what the market offers; this should be his last big contract and coming off the year he did will set he and his family up for life. Unless Rizzo makes an offer like take this now or we are pulling all offers - which would be a horrible move - then ALR owes it to himself to hear other offers then decide.

Water23 said...

Not sure if this is mentioned but this is definitely the year to go after a top tier FA. We have the lowest pick in the draft

Also, I am not sure if we need to sign someone but this would be a good year to do it. I am still all in on Grienke which would not cost compensation.

Don said...


I don’t doubt Zuck's eyes so much as his heart -- it takes over his head on stuff like this. The numbers don't really back Desi up as being a very good fielder (being a finalist of 4 among a possible field of 6 or 7guys is not such a fantastic honor). Desi's range is OK, it is not great. We can be anecdotal and recall this or that great play, and Desi made a bunch, but the stat-heads rank these guys and Zuck loves their numbers when they show Zim as elite. (What I remember about Zuck’s Zim versus Kouzmanoff for the GG arguments come to mind.) But when they show Desi as decent yet not great, he changes his perspective a touch. Desi’s athleticism is great, he has good speed and a strong arm, he has the potential to be a gifted fielder -- but so far his hands are not great, he’s not great at the DP and his judgment (especially on throws) has been erratic. He has improved greatly, no doubt, but he was pretty terrible in 2010 and 2011. This is his first positive UZR season, and he struggled with the glove in the minors too. The numbers are what they are, Desi has not really proved that he can make the routine plays without trepidation as his fielding percentage is very low -- his best year .970 still ranks him worst of full time SS in the NL, so he’s very likely booting more than his share of plays he should make. And, though Mark correctly calls out that Desi regularly made plays that required more than routine effort, his range is not elite by any measure, so he’s likely not making more of those non-routine plays than a bunch of SS are making. Desi had a nice season with the glove (much better with the bat!); I am not saying he sucked or anything. He has made vast improvement, especially on the throwing errors (ALR have something to do with that maybe?). But, whether it is advanced metrics or old-fashioned chances and errors, to date Desi does not add-up to a very good glove SS. Mark's eyes are a little lustful for his home team. I think that he sees the potential more than the actual.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

SteveJM308, the Nats are in the best shape of any team in the Majors even if ALR walks and EJax goes elsewhere.

Morse moves to 1st base and the Nats will find a CF or corner OF to match up with Werth and Harper and the Nats have in-house options for that.

Once the ALR situation is resolved, the Nats will know what direction to go in. They have backup plans for almost every situation in-house as Bernadina/Moore could be the LF solution and Lannan could be the 5th starter in the worse case situations.

Again, there isn't a team in the Majors right now as self-sufficient as the Nats.

The Danny Espinosa situation will also get figured out in 2013 in his Junior season. Either he proves he is the player he has the potential to be or he will be replaced by Lombardozzi or Anthony Rendon.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Thanks GoSM. I suspected that will be the case.

Anyways, adding rotation depth in AAA is also a necessity.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Don said...

I don’t doubt Zuck's eyes so much as his heart -- it takes over his head on stuff like this.


Don, obviously you want to pick a fight with Mark. Mark isn't wrong on this. Desmond stepped up as a top defender, not the best in the NL but certainly Top 3. What was so impressive to me is how he made ajustments. Sometimes he is so smoothe that he makes tough plays look easy.

In the 7th inning of Game 1 of the NLDS and no outs with the Nats losing 2-1 and bases loaded he was at doubleplay depth. Mattheus induces a groundball that was hit hard enough and Desi turned a 6-2 at the plate. He made it look so easy and did it with no hesitation. The next play was turned for a doubleplay and the Nats miraculously got thru that inning without giving up a run and eventually won that game.

Desmond had a similar play a few weeks earlier and botched the play. It showed me how he adjusted and how he is always learning. Being a good defender is about making all the routine plays and making the hard plays look routine.

If you don't see the talent or are a hater, that's fine but Mark gave you his thoughts and he shouldn't be criticized for having a good eye for baseball.

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

Faraz Shaikh said...
Thanks GoSM. I suspected that will be the case.

Anyways, adding rotation depth in AAA is also a necessity.

October 31, 2012 11:17 AM


Finding 1 Zach Duke is a neccesity and finding 2 would be great.

Feel Wood said...

Desi’s athleticism is great, he has good speed and a strong arm, he has the potential to be a gifted fielder -- but so far his hands are not great, he’s not great at the DP and his judgment (especially on throws) has been erratic.

You need to quit watching 11:00 news highlight packages and start watching games. Every game, in its entirety. Because you clearly don't know what you're talking about.

JD said...


Ghost,

I don't find Don's comments to be that of a hater at all. The problem with the 'eye' test is that you have your eye on your players 162 times a year but you only see some other players from 6 to 18 times a year which means that even if you have a great eye your analysis is bound to be subjective and over influenced by spectacular plays you see from your team.

The only way to analyze a player's performance objectively is through numbers and as of now UZR is the best metric to judge defense.

As far as GG voting we all now that's BS and is influenced more by offense and reputation than defense.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Some people like Don forget that Desi was hampered most of the season with the injured oblique. You try to turn some of those plays with that injury.

Doc said...

Ghost, thanks for jumping in and defending Desi.

I haven't looked at his advanced fielding metrics lately, but I'll trust my eyes on this one. His range has to be better than almost all SS's.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Desi is the heart of the Nats.



Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

Ghost,

I don't find Don's comments to be that of a hater at all


I am talking about a hater of Mark moreso. Calling him "Zuck" and criticising his opinions after Mark explained himself Don went on the attack again. That's someone of questionable intentions and "hater" is possibly in play although that could be too strong of a word.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Doc said...
Ghost, thanks for jumping in and defending Desi.

I haven't looked at his advanced fielding metrics lately, but I'll trust my eyes on this one. His range has to be better than almost all SS's.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Desi is the heart of the Nats.
October 31, 2012 11:53 AM


Doc, it doesn't happen often in baseball that a player turns his career around in a matter of months.

Desi did that in 2011. He wasn't even above .299 OBP for the 1st few months of 2011 then Davey took over and Desi excelled to a level where he rose to a level where he ended the season on a positive note and followed up 2012 as an All Star and improved at all levels of his game.

Desi has stepped up to a level where he may be as you say the "Heart of the Nats". He has leadership and was clutch and was a major reason for the Nats success and turnaround.

NatsJack in Florida said...

I started to post this earlier but didn't. Don. in three words... "You Are Wrong".

happy 2 pylon said...

natsjack - agreed about the desi detractors

to paraphrase:
http://www.nonstick.com/sounds/Elmer_Fudd/ltef_006.mp3

Faraz Shaikh said...

GoSM, I think Lannen is more suitable comparison. we will likely lose him this off-season. who can we replace him with at AAA? someone who is willing to get a minor league deal?

by the way, who has the best fastball among our prospects?

JD said...


Doc, Ghost,

Desi needs no defending. His overall metrics rank him tops in the NL with a 5.4 WAR and 2nd only to Ben Zobrist in the majors. Defensively his numbers in the NL rank 2nd to Zack Cozart of the Reds.

JD said...


Faraz,

Giolito; when he comes back from TJ. He was sitting at 99 mph in high school.

hmm... said...

JD:
Desi needs no defending.

Nor does mark

gymzg

Don said...

Wow. Touchy touchy. I am a hater for getting into a discussion in which I am not in agreement with Mark? I may have questionable intentions (like what?) for calling a guy named Zuckerman "Zuck"? Funny stuff.

What's closer to haterism is stuff like I "clearly do not know what I am talking about" -- forget that nothing I said is even close to being provocative and is supported by at least some evidence. I said Desi had improved but has not yet proven himslef to be a very good glove man. Disagree away, but anyone who thinks that is a wildly and purely false statement is likely to be the one not watching the games.



natsfan1a said...

I'm behind on reading, as previously noted, but I'm guessing that the passages below, which could be read as intimations of bias and/or homerism, may have been what some found objectionable (and, fwiw, I do not have that impression of Mark).

"I don’t doubt Zuck's eyes so much as his heart -- it takes over his head on stuff like this."

"Mark's eyes are a little lustful for his home team. I think that he sees the potential more than the actual."

Wow. Touchy touchy. I am a hater for getting into a discussion in which I am not in agreement with Mark? I may have questionable intentions (like what?) for calling a guy named Zuckerman "Zuck"? Funny stuff.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

Doc, Ghost,

Desi needs no defending. His overall metrics rank him tops in the NL with a 5.4 WAR and 2nd only to Ben Zobrist in the majors. Defensively his numbers in the NL rank 2nd to Zack Cozart of the Reds.
October 31, 2012 12:15 PM


Just let Don know that.

Faraz Shaikh said...

by the way, no Nationals manage to win Fielding bible award.

Also did not notice it at first but Trout not winning gold glove is a shame.

Feel Wood said...

I said Desi had improved but has not yet proven himslef to be a very good glove man. Disagree away, but anyone who thinks that is a wildly and purely false statement is likely to be the one not watching the games.

Well, the managers and coaches who watched the games and then voted for Gold Glove thought he is a good enough glove man to be in the top four. And actually it could have been higher than that. Did you notice how all the other positions had only two or three finalists while NL shortstop had four? That's because those finalists weren't selected before the voting. They were the top echelon at each position after the voting. They could have eliminated the announcement of finalists completely and just announced the winners directly, but clearly included that step to build suspense for the TV show. So the reason there were four shortstops and only two or three at other positions is because there was bunching at the top of the voting results at shortstop. Yes, there are four very good fielding shortstops in the NL right now. The fact that Desmond is in that group but was not selected highest among them by people who watch the games doesn't mean he's not a very good glove man. Au contraire. It means he's one of the best.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I still like Haren as a Nationals even if Angels pick up his option.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

What's amazing to me studying the UZR metrics for CFs is how good Bryce Harper rated. Even Bryce rated above Andrew McCutcheon who won the Gold Glove.

With Bryce being more than capable in CF and Werth doing well in leadoff, it really gives Rizzo many more options if LaRoche does choose to leave.

A year ago it looked dim that the Nats largest hole would be CF and leadoff.

Now the holes are small: 5th starter if Rizzo is looking to upgrade, AAA depth at starting pitching, and the LaRoche domino.

I still think that even if EJax walks and LaRoche doesn't re-sign that the Nats have enough internal options and Minor League depth and July 31st deadline moves that they could do absolutely nothing if they chose to.

Don said...

natsfan1a - -Fair enough. I should not have intimated that Zuck is towing the Nats company line on Desi or the like, if that is the way it was read. But Zuck's opinion, not his striaght reporting is what is at issue here, and I do think that Zuck has had a history of pulling-for Desi. Calling-out his great potential and hoping the team has patience with him, that Rizzo does not move him or send him down, or whatever. And Zuck was right as Desi turned in a great season.

Ghost: That Desi's numbers (which ones?) rank 2nd to Cozart in the NL claim begs for some back-up, no?

Gonat said...

SteveM, good point on Bryce. Once Bryce's frame starts filling out he probably will be the rightfielder.

The encouraging news is the Nats with or without LaRoche are a very good team and hoping its with LaRoche.

JD said...


DON,

I was referring to WAR among shot stops which does indeed rank Desi 2nd overall in the majors at 5.4. Ben Zobrist was at 5.9.

Check it out on Fan Graphs.

Don said...

Feelwood - Because NL SS had 4 not 3 finalists it means all of that? You know a lot about bunching. All of the positions had at least 3 guys, AL C also had 4 finalists. Not sure that means all that much.

And is it not odd how some guy hits 25-30 HRs and finds himself in the Gold Glove conversation, not like Desi's big offensive production had ANTYTHING to do with him getting some Gold Glove love, of course. This is defense we are taling about -- Derek Jeter deserved to win all of his, heck, Rafi deserved the one he won when he did not even really play. The people who watched the games (in which Rafi did not play) voted and all. ;-)

Don said...

JD -- I did not think that WAR was a pure defensive metric. You said Desi ranked 2 behind Cozart -- where is that? Thanks!

JD said...


Gonat,

I am all for Bryce staying in CF at least until we figure out if Goodwin can hit in the majors; I think it adds to his value.

I think Werth at this stage of his career is better suited to LF than RF. I think if ALR leaves it changes the entire dynamics of the team makeup; it hurts us in infield defense but it does give us an opportunity to improve outfield defense by removing Morse from the outfield.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

The home grown core + Werth and Gio and I will include Ramos as home grown is quite encouraging for the future:

Outfield core: Harper Werth _________
Infield core: Zimmerman, Desmond _____ ______
Pitchers core: Stras, Gio, JZim, Det _____
Catchers core: Ramos

How many teams have this many core players? Only the Nats.

Team control:
Harper 6 more years
Werth 5 more years
Zim 8 more years with option
Desi 3 more years
Ramos 4 more years
Stras 4 more years
Gio 6 more years with 2 options
JZim 3 more years
Det 3 more years

Then look at Espinosa if he emerges and other depth in TyMo and Lombo and all the future stars in the Minor Leagues!

JD said...


Ghost,

Perez is an interesting guy. He did way better in AAA than at any level below that; he is a 100% singles hitter. He had good stolen base numbers but not spectacular and he was caught steeling in about 25% of his attempts.

He kind of profiles like a young Juan Pierre which isn't bad but I don't think Davie loves that kind of player.

Gonat said...

JD, agreed on the outfield formation. Nice to have the flexibility with Bryce.

JD said...


Ghost,

There is no denying that we are set up to compete better than any other team in the majors and I fully expect us to contend for at least the next 5 years. We should however keep in mind that when it comes to the playoffs it's still a crap shoot and you are guaranteed nothing no matter how good you are.

Gonat said...

SteveM, nice to see that core chart especially given the ages of all those players below 29 years old except Werth.

JD said...


Don,

In the defensive metrics of Fan Graphs. Crawford and Barmes are also ahead of Desi but they were not regulars throughout the year.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, I see Eury Perez as a bench role player and as a RH bat he compliments well with Bryce and Goodwin who are LH, he is perfect to hopefully be a Juan Pierre type.

Eury's XBH will come from shots down the leftfield line and some that make it into gaps otherwise you are right that he is a slap singles hitter with speed.

Tcostant said...

Has anyone seen their credit for the NLCS yet? Today was suppose to be the last drop dead day. I know they might blame "Sandy" but the fact is these were suppose to be processed last week and it might take 'til today to post. Does anyone have an update?

P.S. Congrads to ALR, he was the best 1B in the league by far.

Feel Wood said...

Yes, we all need to get things straight here.

Managers and coaches watch the games and conclude that Desi is one of the best fielding shortstops in the league.

Mark Zuckerman, myself and every other poster here watches the games and concludes that Desi is one of the best fielding shortstops in the league.

Don watches the games and concludes that Desi is bad with the glove.

Clearly Don is right and everyone else is wrong.

Steady Eddie said...

Tcostant -- I just talked to my ST rep about that today, before the next payment for 2013 tix was due (tomorrow) -- I thought I already had an excess credit (I bought a couple of extra strips for friends) and didn't want to pay still more $ over my balance due.

Apparently none of these credit transactions have shown up in the "My Tickets" account page because that's run by Tickets.com, not the Nats or even MLB.

But he looked on the computer and found that for some reason (which actually is positive in my case at least), Tickets.com refunded the price (including markup) of NLCS Game 1 to my credit card, not my Nats ST account, and credited the rest against the 2013 ST balance.

So you need to call your ST rep to get the numbers in your case.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

Ghost,

There is no denying that we are set up to compete better than any other team in the majors and I fully expect us to contend for at least the next 5 years. We should however keep in mind that when it comes to the playoffs it's still a crap shoot and you are guaranteed nothing no matter how good you are.

October 31, 2012 1:51 PM


I would say 3 years of great times ahead and hopefully more but Rizzo needs to make sure he keeps the youth so this team doesn't resemble what is happening to the Yankees and Phillies.

The Phillies in a few years will be a good case study for 1 and done and like you said once you are in the playoffs it doesn't guarantee you anything. The Phillies of 2011 were the best in the Majors with an amazing starting rotation only to get knocked out by the Wild Card team in the 1st round.

I still think Bochy made some ballsy moves and to win 2 of the last 3 years, he is doing something right. Their July pickups of Cody Ross 3 years ago and Marco Scutaro paid huge dividends.

Tcostant said...

I talked to my rep, all is good thanks. The one interesting thing is that Game 1 of NLCS was credited staight back to my credit card and the rest offset my season tickets.

But thanks, this confirmed that no payment tomorrow and none until 1/2/13.

Feel Wood said...

Tcostant said...
Has anyone seen their credit for the NLCS yet? Today was suppose to be the last drop dead day.


I don't recall a "drop dead day" ever being announced. What was announced was more of a timeframe for refunds, and I think we're still in the middle of it. Clearly this is not a process that happens in an instant. Just as every ticket was purchased in a separate transaction, every refund probably takes place in a separate transaction. There are multiple places delays could occur - with the team, with Tickets.com, with the credit card company. If you really think you should have your money now, don't whine here. Call and ask about your specific situation. The worst you can get from doing that is better than whatever you'll find out here.

As an example of how no two of these processes are alike, I sold my parking for NLDS Game 1 and NLDS Game 2 in separate transactions on StubHub that occurred 24 hours apart. I got my check for Game 1 within a couple of days. It was more than a week after that that I got a notice that my check for Game 2 was being processed - just as I was getting ready to call and ask them where my money was.

JD said...


Ghost,

To be fair the Phills were at the top of the NL or close to that for about 5 years; where they went wrong in my opinion is when they gave long term deals to aging veterans like Howard and Rollins to where they will be well past their primes and making big bucks.

NatsLady said...

Congrats to Adam LaRoche. Why wouldn't you want the best 1B (saving maybe Joey Votto) back at almost any cost?

Re Desi: One thing about UZR and UZR/150 that I would be careful with is that you need three years of data to be confident in the results/comparisons. When you have a young and improving guy like Desi I'm not sure how reliable the data is. Not saying don't use it at all, but bear in mind its limitations. Fangraphs WAR adds both defense and offense for the final number, but you can see them separately.

Multiple online sources are reporting that Brad Meyers, who was picked by the New York Yankees in the December 2011 Rule 5 draft, has been returned to the Washington Nationals and assigned to the Syracuse Chiefs.

Brad Myers

http://nationalsprospects.com/2012/10/rule-5-pick-brad-meyers-returned/

JD said...


Ghost,

No doubt Bochy is a great post season manager but it wouldn't mean squat if he didn't get amazing starts from Vogelsong, Cain and Zito when it counted the most.

We handled all of these pitchers fairly easily and as I recall we really knocked Vogelsong around which just goes to show you that you can build and plan to death but in a tournament things happen.

JD said...


Brad Meyers = AAA depth; that's a good thing.

JD said...


NatsLady,

Anyone who sees Desi play the position for 162 games has to be blind to miss how good he is in the field. I only object when we anoint our players as the best at their position without the benefit of having seen the opposition as often. How many here can make intelligent comments about Zack Cozart's defense as an example?

peric said...

Under the heading of taking things too seriously ... as in death threats to Drew Storen (Remember his mom Pam reads that stuff!)


Just Don't!

peric said...

Brad Meyers = AAA depth; that's a good thing.

Craig Stammen, Tom Gorzelanny, and Zach Duke (if he is re-upped) just got some competition ... combine with Danny Rosenbaum? Lots of possibilities for the middle relief role Davey likes to keep well staffed.

NatsLady said...

JD, I am a big Desi fan, always have been. Same for Espi--and whoever said he needs motivation to try something new has forgotten the experiments with his HS batting coach, excessive time in the cages, floundering around with the "batting eye" excuse, etc. Danny is hyper-motivated and intense.

You are right on target about not being as knowledgable about other teams. I plan to spend this winter watching archived games--not ours, other teams'.

peric said...

Then look at Espinosa if he emerges and other depth in TyMo and Lombo and all the future stars in the Minor Leagues!

Honestly, at this point what they really and truly need is for Brett Mooneyham to come on strong like the horse he is touted as by Harris et al. They need that left-hander.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

Ghost,

To be fair the Phills were at the top of the NL or close to that for about 5 years; where they went wrong in my opinion is when they gave long term deals to aging veterans like Howard and Rollins to where they will be well past their primes and making big bucks.

October 31, 2012 2:35 PM


The goal is always winning World Series but also staying relevant long-term. Rizzo seems to have a good handle on the Nats blueprint. 2012 in hindsight was really a pleasant surprise a year ahead of schedule. Those Las Vegas odds will change when Rizzo makes his final roster moves but again, I don't see a better team built for the next 162 games.

peric said...

I still like Haren as a Nationals even if Angels pick up his option.

And certainly Rizzo likes Haren a lot ... and knows him well.

But Davey likes his match ups and its kind of hard to argue with the success Davey has had with the pitching staff ...

It seems implausible to some but I suspect if they go for anyone out there its going to be for someone a lot younger than Haren, with team control that throws from the left-side. Drew hit the nail on the head: think David Price in another huge Gio-like deal.

JD said...


Peric,

Dave Cameron suggests a trade of David Price and Tim Beckham for Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer.

How do we put together a package to like that for Price (Unless you want to do Espinosa, Morse and Rendon).

peric said...

Now the holes are small: 5th starter if Rizzo is looking to upgrade, AAA depth at starting pitching, and the LaRoche domino.

I still don't see AAA depth as a problem ... but then it depends on whether the discerning fan is willing to give the young prospects to prove their worth in Syracuse.

So, with Bradley Meyers, Danny Rosenbaum, Yunesky Maya, Tanner Roark, Jeff Mandel, and Erik Davis it looks they might have it covered. They surely could use another lefty in the mix. The possibility of one or both of Matt Purke, and Sammy Solis ending up in Syracuse before the 1st half is done seems more than probable ... however both with set-in-stone innings limits. Trevor Holder, Brian Broderick (remember him), Kevin Pucetas, and Cameron Selik ... all possibilities for promotion ....

Plus the two top right-handed starters in Nate Karns and Ryan Perry.

The Nats have plenty of starting pitching with a notable shortage (as in the majors) on the left side both starting and in relief. The starting rotation hole possibly assuaged by the 3 top lefties Purke, Solis, and Rosenbaum. Again, the first two with hard and fast innings limits.

I don't see AAA as short of depth of starting pitching.

peric said...

How do we put together a package to like that for Price (Unless you want to do Espinosa, Morse and Rendon).

Easy: Tyler Moore, one of Matt Purke or Sammy Solis, one of Nate Karns and Ryan Perry, Stephen Lombardozzi or Danny Espinosa, Michael Morse, and Tyler Clippard. Possibly adding Jesus Flores and Jhonatan Solano or Sandy Leon. Plus, Jeff Kobernus who looks close to ready.

I think that would do it. The Rays might want more ... the trick is to fill their need with surplus.

peric said...

Yes, a left-handed starter of David Price's ilk with team control until 2016 is well worth the going rate.

JD said...


Peric,

That;'s a lot of names but is there even one in that mix who Davie would trust to start in the bigs for let's say 2 months in case of injury? Not from current available data.

Someone may improve to perhaps be able to fill that void but most of the pitchers you mention already have enough of a track record to make that an unlikely scenario.

I exclude Purke and Solis from the bunch but of them are coming of serious arm injuries where you shouldn't count on them for 2013.

JD said...


Peric,

You are not getting Price without 2 proven major league regulars (I am not talking Flores or Lombo here) + Rendon at the very least.

JD said...


I don't understand why we are talking another no. 1 starter when we already have 4 superb young under team control starters who are soon to be super expensive. Makes no sense to me; I think one more stud outfielder ALA Justin Upton is more of a need than that.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Why would you want three lefties in one rotation?

peric said...

Why would you want three lefties in one rotation?

See Phillies, Braves, and even Marlins with impact left-handed hitters and power. See Howard, Ryan, Freeman, Freddie, Heyward, Jason, Morrison, Logan to just name a few.

I guess you haven't been watching Davey and how much he likes those matchups? Its one HUGE reason why Lannan was brought up to pitch those double headers and was kept stashed in AAA. One big reason why both Tom Gorzelanny and Zach Duke ended up on the roster with Lannan. Why Duke was signed to join Lannan in Syracuse?

John C. said...

On LHP: currently the Nats have three LHP in their rotation: Gio, Det and Lannan (arbitration eligible). While Lannan may be pushed out/let go, the Nationals have to find someone else first. The bullpen is more of an issue, with both Burnett and Mike Gonzalez liable to go elsewhere. I'd like to see them both brought back if the money is right - they were both useful last year. Right now Gorzelanny (arbitration eligible) is the only LHRP that the Nationals have control of, and they may well bring him back in the long man/swing starter role. Unless he has minor league options left, he's not going to Syracuse - he'll opt for free agency first.

Which brings us to AAA pitching depth, I'm less optimistic than Peric is on the current crop of candidates. Maya and Meyers (if healthy) are likely to start out in the AAA rotation. Ryan Perry is only a candidate if he clears waivers (no minor league options left). Christian Garcia has been tried twice as a starter and blew out his elbow twice; I don't think the Nationals are going there even though Davey wants to. Rosenbaum got hit pretty hard at AA ball, so almost certainly starts there again to try to work those issues out. Roark, Mandel and Davis are just bodies at this point; Mandel and Roark are aging out of contention and Davis isn't a starter. None of them are players that you'd want to have to make an emergency start in Nats Town, much less fill a rotation spot due to injury/ineffectiveness.

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