Monday, October 15, 2012

Position analysis: Infield

US Presswire photo
Adam LaRoche could leave via free agency, creating a hole at first base.
As we transition into offseason mode, we'll start by breaking down the Nationals' roster by position (infield, outfield, catcher, rotation and bullpen) this week and examine where things stand at season's end and where things might stand moving forward. Today's position: Infield...

1B ADAM LaROCHE
Stats: 154 G, 647 PA, 33 HR, 100 RBI, .271 AVG, .343 OBP, .510 SLG
7 E, 6.1 UZR, 3.8 WAR
2012 salary: $9 million
Contract status: $10 million mutual option in 2013, if declined becomes free agent
Where he fits in: Perhaps the Nationals' team MVP, LaRoche's contributions this season were immeasurable. He was the club's most consistent offensive player, setting a career-high in homers and matching his career-high in RBI. He played Gold Glove-caliber defense at first base, saving his teammates from being charged with countless errors. And he was a calming and popular presence in the clubhouse. For all of those reasons, the Nationals want to bring LaRoche back for 2013. The problem? He's likely to decline the one-year, mutual option, wanting a longer-term deal. The Nationals are open to that, and the two sides have begun preliminary talks. They'd ideally like to get something done before LaRoche is allowed to become a free agent (five days after conclusion of the World Series) so these next couple of weeks could be significant.

2B DANNY ESPINOSA
Stats: 160 G, 658 PA, 17 HR, 56 RBI, .247 AVG, .315 OBP, .402 SLG
13 E, 7.1 UZR at 2B, 3.8 WAR
2012 salary: $506,000
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2014, free agent in 2017
Where he fits in: Despite periods of offensive success, it proved to be a difficult season at the plate for Espinosa, who in his second full season saw his on-base and slugging percentages and walk totals drop while his strikeout total rose to an NL-high 189. He ended on a sour note in the NLDS, going 1-for-15 and failing to drive in a run. Espinosa's defensive work, on the other hand, remains spectacular. He not only played brilliantly at second base, but he was well above average at shortstop while filling in for the injured Ian Desmond following the All-Star break. Though there are some who would like to see the Nationals give Steve Lombardozzi a chance to take over everyday duties, the organization remains committed to Espinosa and believes he can enjoy the same of offensive breakthrough next season that Desmond enjoyed this season.

SS IAN DESMOND
Stats: 130 G, 547 PA, 25 HR, 73 RBI, .292 AVG, .335 OBP, .511 SLG
15 E, 4.8 UZR, 5.4 WAR
2012 salary: $512,500
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible, free agent in 2016
Where he fits in: Remember when there was talk of Desmond getting traded so the Nationals could slide Danny Espinosa over to shortstop? That was only seven months ago. It feels like seven years after Desmond put together an All-Star season and established himself as one of the best all-around shortstops in the majors. He finally found his offensive niche, embracing the idea of being a run producer who mostly hit sixth in the Nationals' lineup, and in the process raised his batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentages to career-high levels. He even took his defensive game to another level, reducing his error total from 34 in 2010 to 23 in 2011 to 15 this year. Entering his first year of arbitration eligibility, Desmond is under team control for three more seasons. But now might be the time for Mike Rizzo to lock him up beyond 2015, before the price gets way out of control.

3B RYAN ZIMMERMAN
Stats: 145 G, 641 PA, 25 HR, 95 RBI, .282 AVG, .346 OBP, .478 SLG
19 E, -0.6 UZR, 4.5 WAR
2012 salary: $12.1 million
Contract status: $14 million in 2013, $14 million in 2014, $14 million in 2015, $14 million in 2016, $14 million in 2017, $14 million in 2018, $18 million in 2019, $18 million club option in 2020, free agent in 2021
Where he fits in: Zimmerman's season really has to be split into two pieces: pre-cortisone and post-cortisone. In 55 games before receiving the pain-killing shot in his ailing right shoulder on June 23, he was hitting a paltry .218 with a .285 on-base percentage and .305 slugging percentage. In 90 games after receiving the shot, he hit .321 with a .383 on-base percentage and .584 slugging percentage (MVP-worthy numbers). Zimmerman will probably need surgery now to repair the AC joint. The Nationals can only hope that allows him to stay healthy and productive for the entire 2013 season, and that a strong shoulder also allows him to correct his troublesome throwing mechanics at third base.

INF STEVE LOMBARDOZZI
Stats: 126 G, 416 PA, 3 HR, 27 RBI, .273 AVG, .317 OBP, .354 SLG
4 E, 1.6 UZR at 2B, 1.3 UZR in LF, 0.8 WAR
2012 salary: $481,000
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2015, free agent in 2018
Where he fits in: Davey Johnson wanted to give Lombardozzi about 300 plate appearances in his rookie season. He wound up needing the versatile player much more than that, resulting in 416 plate appearances spread out between second base, third base and left field. Lombardozzi proved adept at handling whatever was thrown his way, and he showed significant poise and a mature hitting approach for someone with his limited experience. A real luxury to have as a utility player, he might be good enough to play second base every day, though it doesn't appear he'll get that chance on this team in 2013.

INF CHAD TRACY
Stats: 73 G, 105 PA, 3 HR, 14 RBI, .269 AVG, .343 OBP, .441 SLG
1 E, 0.3 UZR at 1B, 0.6 UZR at 3B, 0.5 WAR
2012 salary: $750,000
Contract status: $1 million in 2013, free agent in 2014
Where he fits in: The Nationals were so pleased with Tracy as their top pinch-hitter off the bench, they already signed him for another season. The veteran corner infielder will be back in 2013 and hope to provide as many clutch hits from the left side of the plate as he did in 2012. Though his appearances were almost entirely limited to one at-bat per game, Tracy did perform surprisingly well at both first and third bases, which is nice to know in case he's needed there.

INF MARK DEROSA
Stats: 48 G, 101 PA, 0 HR, 6 RBI, .188 AVG, .300 OBP, .247 SLG
1 E, -3.8 UZR in OF, 0.4 UZR at 3B, -0.4 WAR
2012 salary: $800,000
Contract status: Free agent
Where he fits in: A beloved clubhouse presence who kept his teammates loose all season and then fired them up before Game 4 of the NLDS by reaching a speech from Teddy Roosevelt, DeRosa simply couldn't stay healthy enough to make an impact on the field. Though his surgically repaired wrist felt fine, the 37-year-old has lost his power stroke and was a liability in the field. He's unlikely to be re-signed by the Nationals, but should he elect to retire, the Nationals could offer him a coaching position somewhere in the organization.

IN THE MINORS
Remember Chris Marrero, the 2006 first-round draft pick who was supposed to become a major producer in the Nationals' lineup? It never happened. Beset by injuries once again, the 24-year-old first baseman played in only 37 games at Class AAA Syracuse and didn't homer. The club did get a nice performance out of 24-year-old third baseman Carlos Rivero, who after getting claimed off waivers from the Phillies hit .303 with 10 homers at Syracuse. The star infielder in the system, of course, is Anthony Rendon, the Nationals' first-round pick in 2011 who missed most of the season with a fractured ankle but finished strong at Class AA Harrisburg. He's currently playing in the Arizona Fall League and could be big-league ready by Sept. 2013. Shortstop Zach Walters put together a really nice season at three levels (Class A Potomac, Harrisburg and Syracuse) and hit a combined .266 with 12 homers. Third baseman Matt Skole burst onto the scene and was named organizational player of the year after clubbing 27 homers with 92 RBI at low-Class A Hagerstown. Skole was paired up early in the season with shortstop Jason Martinson, who totaled 22 homers and 106 RBI between Hagerstown and Potomac. And then there's our old pal Carlos Alvarez, aka Esmailyn Gonzalez, who at 26 still hasn't advanced beyond Hagerstown, where he hit .171 in 20 games.

OFFSEASON NEED?
It all boils down to whether the Nationals are able to work out a deal to bring LaRoche back for another season, two or three. If they are, this team is set around the infield. If they aren't, they'll have to decide whether to move Michael Morse back to first base from left field, give the job to Tyler Moore or look outside the organization. With DeRosa likely gone, the Nationals also might be in the market for a veteran infielder, preferably a right-handed hitter who could play the corner positions.

290 comments:

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sjm308 said...

I hate to be first but I am betting by the time I post this someone else will have beat me to it.

Thanks for getting my mind off what was and looking toward what will be.

I don't know much about the newer stats but it seems with Espinosa having the same value as LaRoche in WAR, that he will be very hard to replace. I like that he can slide over to SS when Ian needs a break and I like that Lombardozzi can play multiple positions as well. Signing Tracy also fills the need for a 3rd corner infielder. Does this mean that Rendon spends the beginning of the year in AA or AAA? It would seem to be wise, no matter how well he plays this spring.

Not to complicate this post, but thinking about options (which pretty much took me most of last spring to figure out). Mark, or one of our knowledgable posters. Who are the young guns in our organization who are out of options? I think Bernadina and Brown would have to clear waivers if they don't make the 25 man roster. We traded for Perry because he did have an option but I am guessing we used that this last year so does he have to make the club as well? and finally, where is Garcia on the option thing? Thanks for answering something that does not involve the infield.

Go Nats!

MicheleS said...

I would think that if they bring back ALR, Tyler is going to have to go to winter ball to work on LF. That being said.. Lock up Desi, Espi get's another year (just like Desi did) and you have chips in the minors to trade for other needs - like another starting pichter.

NatsLady said...

The great Earl Weaver, Davey's idol, said a run saved is as good as a run scored. Danny isn't going anywhere except to a good, professional hitting coach. Having two GG-level shortstops is an unbelievable asset. I say keep Lombardozzi until the trade deadline, in case of injuries. If the infield is healthy, Lombo is one heck of a trade chip on July 31--and we will have a need, just not sure what it will be.

Hard to get value out of Marrero. He will have to play in Syracuse, and if he can stay healthy and productive, he goes--also at the deadline.

Need to make LaRoche a reasonable but NOT Prince Fielder type option. 2012 was his age-32 year. He will get 3/$45 ($15 million per year) easily on the open market, maybe more. I'd offer him that plus an option for a fourth year, when he would be 36. He will be on a playoff team, and can pretty much count on bonuses.

I really don't care who LaRoche "blocks." Davey doesn't like Morse at 1B--he used him there exactly once, if I recall, seemed to prefer even Tracy.

Teach Moore to play LF, trade Bernadina and Morse and replace them with Corey Brown. If you package Morse and Bernadina right now, you can get something good in return. Bernadina could probably start for a lesser team, and Morse needs to be in the AL as a DH, or go to some team that doesn't have LaRoche at 1B. If you wait on dealing Morse he'll get injured again and if you wait on dealing Bernadina teams will fill up their holes with other choices.

NatsJack in Florida said...

My only problem with Danny is high strike out totals (and I mean lead the league high) are almost always in a players DNA and extremely hard to correct. It's alot more than shortening his stroke.

The Nats sent him to Puerto Rico 2 winters ago to correct the loop in his swing but the hammate bone injury short circuited that effort.

Ther's an awful lot of work to do to correct his issues.

rmoore446 said...

The biggest question for me is Espinosa. He is extraordinarily undisciplined at the plate. Why throw him a strike when he will swing at just about anything.

With a home run slugger, 189 strikeouts is somewhat acceptable but Espinosa would need to double his home runs to reach that level. He can go on hot streaks. But when the pressure increased at the end of the season he went cold and in the five-game playoff, he was pitiful at the plate. Nats' fan hell is having Espinosa at the plate in a close game with a runner on third and one out.

His defense was superb for most of the season with a fantastic range. But his frustration at the plate did creep into his fielding.

Or maybe it is the pressure of a pennant race and playoffs. He appears to shrink under pressure rather than rise to the occasion. I'm sure Davey remains committed to him. The only reason I can see for sticking with him throughout the St. Louis series is fear that replacing him in the starting lineup would do great harm to his fragile confidence.

Davey's confidence in Desmond was rewarded and perhaps it can happen again. It's worth an all-out effort this spring given his great range and potential but he has to mature and improve or be traded.

baseballswami said...

Ok - I know it's time to move on but one more post? I did watch last night - the Cardinals hitters don't chase balls ( ask Drew) and they spray strikes all over the field ( ask Jordan) - our HITTERS at every position need to be like that! I am so sorry that Bryce's triple and homer have been ignored - once he wasn't sick he was terrific. Remember Thursday's game as much as Friday's! Ok -- infield. ALR if he doesn't ask for too many years, but if that doesn't work out, then Tyler Moore, who will be criticized because he won't be the fielder ALR is yet. It takes years to be that good. Danny - oh, Danny. He needs a sports shrink. He just has to solve the hitting problem. Desi -- aces!!!Zim - we'll see if he EVER has a healthy year. Lombo - kind of hope he gets traded as I think he is too good for the bench. Chad Tracy - captain of the goon squad again in 2013. DeRosa - move to a coaching position.

NatsLady said...

Danny hit .247 and slugged .404 and was tied with Darwin Barney as the best fielding 2B in MLB.

He's not a guy who likes the spotlight, you can tell that. He loves to be in the field making doubleplays and grabbing line drives. It doesn't matter to me if he makes outs by way of K's or popouts--which he also did, frustratingly. You are focusing too much on the strikeouts.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Jeff Zimmermann of FanGraphs had few words for Danny's season:
http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/index.php/evaluating-my-evaluations/

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I already see where Espinosa will be this offseason's Desi, the whipping boy whom everyone wants to trade, cut or send back to SYR. I'm as disappointed as anybody with Espi's lack of plate discipline and Ks. But his glove is amazing, and he's probably worth saving just for that. I think we get spoiled and expect every one of our infielders to his .280 with 20 HRs. Somehow, someway teach Espi to lay off that low inside breaking pitch. Better glasses, contacts, Lasik, I don't care.

Extending ALR would be lovely. But I still think they'll allow him to walk and Moore will be our everyday 2013 first baseman. Which isn't a bad Plan B. He isn't quite ALR offensively or defensively, but he's got plenty of power and hits in the clutch.

I like Nats Lady's idea of packaging Morse and Shark for either a No. 4-type starter (behind Jesus, J-Zimm and Gio). I think both may be at their peak of value right now.

Marrero = Larry Broadway.

Faraz Shaikh said...

As far as strikeouts are concerned, Nationals had third worst K% in NL. Behind only Astros and Pirates. It is not just Danny.

natsfan1a said...

Armchair GM stuff = meh. But for those who feel differently, enjoy. I'm going to the kitten cam. :-)

MicheleS said...

Sunshine.. If the reports are true that they are talking to ALR about extension, then Tyler needs to learn LF or he will be bench or trade bait. Davey's comment that they need ALR back more than they need Davey is pretty telling.

Theophilus T. S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Feel Wood said...

During the season my brother Phil fielded numerous calls about the possibility of LaRoche leaving and Tyler Moore becoming the everyday first baseman. His response was always "If this team makes it to the World Series, I really don't see Mike Rizzo entering the next season with a virtual rookie at first base." Well, they didn't quite make it to the World Series, but I have to agree with Phil. If LaRoche does leave (and I would be willing to bet he won't) Tyler Moore is not going to be his replacement.

Joe Seamhead said...

With his speed, along with being a switch hitter, Danny could improve his offensive worth by learning how to be a better bunter. He could bunt for a hit virtually at will . Most of the time reaching base is just as good by bunt as a flare to the OF. Though he's a very strong, compact guy, he has way too much self delusion that he is a power hitter. .280 is not beyond the realm of possibility if he shortened his swing and made getting on base as his priority, be it by spray hits, bunts, or more BB's.

Theophilus T. S. said...



LaRoche is the key; if he goes, there are a lot of moving parts. Once he is resolved, the roles of Morse, Moore, Bernadina are clear.

With 2013 being Morse's FA year the incentive to trade him now is powerful. However, if LaRoche is gone, retaining Morse is nearly essential, and even in the event LaRoche returns, trading Morse means the Nats have to accept the possibility of a step backward in 2013 and it is much less likely they will take a step forward. Plus any trading partner would look at Morse as a one-year rental.

Anyone who questions Morse's value/health didn't see his HR in Game 4. All the way back. For people who look at the Lerners as an unlimited money bucket (think, Strasburg, Harper as FAs), what makes the most sense is to go all out this winter for a three-year extension plus one or two club options for Morse (the minimum he would want in his walk year). If he performs, then he would be a hot trade commodity at the end of '13 or '14 if he has become surplusage; if he under-performs then the Lerners can afford to eat a big contract, which seems to be something that goes w/ the territory for the big-money teams anyway.

Dave said...

(From the previous thread...)

I have to say, I wouldn't be surprised if the Cardinals took the Giants in four or five games. They are looking very good.

Not that I want it to happen, but at least that would confirm that our Nats were beaten, rather than that they blew the game.

NatsLady said...

We didn't know what we had in LaRoche because of his injury year. Now we do. A player like that doesn't come along every day. Reliable, productive, professional. Good in the clubhouse, mentored Bryce--who still won't be 21 and drinking age next year.

Of course every player says they "want to stay," so you can't go by that... I don't expect him to give a "home town" discount, why should he? But a "bird in hand" as they say. Sign him as long as it's not unreasonable; he doesn't strike me as an unreasonable guy.

As regards Morse, yes, he can hit. No one doubts that. But he is a liability in the outfield and only marginal at 1B. Time and again he misjudged how balls were going to play in his home park. Singles became doubles, he assumed balls were going foul, etc.

Agree that if they can't re-sign ALR they have to keep Morse and plunk him at 1B, but I don't like that option. Moore will end up at 1B half the season because Morse will get injured.

D'Gourds said...

Okay, nobody has mentioned the 800# gorilla in the room. Ryan Zimmerman has the yips when he is unhurried to throw. If we can't sign ALR, why not move Zim to 1st and bring up Rendon to play 3rd? Maybe the surgery will help his throwimg, but I doubt it. It's all psychological. I undsrstand that he wouldn't love the move, but you can no longer deny the problem.

JamesFan said...

Yes, Espinoza will be debated endlessly this winter. Let's get it going. He is a natural shortstop, not a secondbaseman. Yes, great defense, but that is offset by his being a consistent rally killer, even in the 7 spot. The Nats cannot afford to have a secondbaseman who leads the NL in strikeouts. Finally, I do not think that his experience translates to a Desmond-like breakout. He's not a rookie. He has played almost as much in the ML as Desi, but continues to deteriorate at the plate, not get better. He has value because somebody needs a quality shortstop and will pay well to get him. My view is obvious--let him go, give Lombo a year and if that doesn't work out, put Rendon at second in 2014 until they move Zim to first.

rmoore446 said...

I know Espi is a favorite of yours, NatsLady, and I respect your opinion. I am not giving up on him. As I said he's worth an all out effort in the Spring--bring on additional hitting instructors, have sports psychologists working in shifts like stevedores. Whatever it takes.

If he can take instruction, his plate discipline should improve. And maybe improved performance at the plate will help him maintain his high level of defense even in high pressure games.

NatsLady said...

D'Gourds, if it's "all pyschological" then it can (and should be fixed). If RZ gets his shoulder fixed and still can't make those overhand throws, then I see the 1B option. But I think his shoulder was hampering those throws, not his psyche. Let him make a few good, pain-free throws in the spring and he'll be fine.

Rendon is going to be Lombo in 2013, if we are lucky. He comes up to get 300 ABs and ML playing time and we will see what we have in him. I understand Davey didn't want a lot of bodies hanging around in September, but Rendon didn't even get a "cup of coffee." All we are seeing is potential. You can't go with an untried rookie at 3B. Even with his throwing errors Zim was far from a liability at 3B.

Cwj said...

Nats will be fine next year (no, I'm not completely over Friday's loss. Getting better though :-).
But seriously, the Nats are going to be a force for the next couple of years at least.




NatsLady said...

JamesFan, yes, they can, because they don't have a SS who leads the league in strikeouts. If Desi played 2B and Danny played SS we wouldn't be having this discussion because SS is not expected to be an offensive position. Well, on our team it is. I fully expect Danny to improve, and I definitely expect Danny to get smarter about not popping up, fouling out, or striking out with a man on third and less than one out. But, overall, so he goes from .247 to .250 (as the fangraphs guy says). BIG DEAL.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Re: Espinosa, respectfully disagree that high K hitters can't be cured. For example, Mike Schmidt Ked over 30 percent of his plate appearances in his second season (.249); in his first MVP year, the rate was about 1-in-6; career rate was about 19 percent. I'm not contending Espinosa is Schmidt, but his glove is Schmidt, his hot hitting streaks (e.g., August) are wondrous to behold, and the high number of doubles suggests there is more HR power in his bat than we have seen.

NatsLady said...

And I agree on Danny bunting more--although he already bunts a lot. Davey should go for the squeeze with Danny up. He should just do it all the time, especially if Desi is on 3B, even without the "element of surprise."

hiramhover said...

ALR: Of course the Nats are talking to him about an extension--why wouldn't they? Whether the talks are that serious, or likely to result in his return, I very much doubt.

Danny: While anything is possible, I think he's unlikely to have a breakthrough like Ian did this year. A lot of Desmond's improvement this year was due to a power surge--his K and BB %s remained the same but his HRs soared, to 25 this year, after 10 and 8 in 2010 and 2011. With Danny, a lot of the power is already there--17 HRs this year, 21 last year. His problem is the K rate, which is higher than Desmond's and harder to fix--he's seen 2 full years of big league pitching now and there's no real sign of improvement.

Desmond: While we're on the subject of Desmond--I wouldn't be at all surprised to see some regression next year, given how dependent this year's success was on those potentially fickle HR #s.

NatsLady said...

hh--agree Desi might regress on the HRs, but we saw a lot of singles in the NLDS. Desi is turning into a smart hitter, and I like that.

NatsLady said...

hh--I don't think Danny will have a "breakout" year, either. Maybe in 2014. Improvement is all I hope for in 2013, plus the great D. Let him go from .247 to .257 no one should complain.

JD said...


Nats Lady,

ALR is a classic player who will get a contract based on what he did this year rather than what he is likely to do going forward. At age 33 there is a very strong likelihood that he will start a fairly steep decline and that coupled with the fact that he is basically coming off his best year ever with the bat should serve as a red light for Rizzo. ALR for 3 + 1 is a terrible idea especially since we are already carrying a bad contract with Jayson Werth.

Morse played reasonably decent at 1st last year but I do agree that he is not an ideal NL player; I would look to package him somewhere in a deal. I would be reasonably comfortable with Tyler Moore at 1st.

I think you have to take Espi with a grain of salt. His overall numbers are really ok for 1 7th place hitter and there is a good chance he will get better; that coupled with his defense makes his return a no brainer.

Zimmerman's value decreases when you move him off 3rd base. His numbers relative to most 3rd basemen are off the charts; among 1st baseman he would be ok but not spectacular. I think the Nats view Zim as a 3rd baseman.

A lot of posters have Rendon ending up at 2nd base; that's not happening. The Nats haven't even tried him there in any minor league game and he is playing 3rd base in the AFL. I think Rendon together with Morse and perhaps Flores and/or Lombo can be part of a package that Lands us someone like Justin Upton. Then you can play Werth in left and Harper in right and all of the sudden you have a very good defensive outfield.

Cwj said...

I hate playing GM, but I think LaRoche should be re-signed. Give him a good extension.
Though I doubted it earlier, there apparently may be some benefit to veterans with "playoff experience".
Not to mention LaRoche can hit and field with the best of them :-)

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Kilgore is on 106.7 oh boy

NatsLady said...

hh--disagree on ALR. I think the talks are serious. The alternatives (Moore, Morse) are not attractive and you aren't going to use trade chips for a 1B. You can't let the infield become a problem, period. Pay the man. Then turn your attention to the real holes in the team.

Tcostant said...

I have no use for Espinosa unless he can change his hitting approach to get a run in with less than two outs with a runner on third. How many times do I need to wtach him dtrike out or pop up and sceam at my TV. Change you approach in these situations or get lost.

On Tracy, I thought he signed a two year extention in September?

rmoore446 said...

I wonder if Desi's surge in home runs had a negative influence on Espinosa. Late in the season I had the feeling that Danny wanted so much to reach 20 HRs, it really hurt him. If he forgot the home run swing, I think plenty of his line drives would leave the park. He has the bat speed.

hiramhover said...

NatsLady

I agree about Espi--the defense and power (for a MI, anyway) are already there, so he doesn't need to have the kind of breakout that Desi did. If this year was Danny's low, at 3.8 fWAR, it's still a lot higher than Desi's low--Ian was at 1.3 and 1.4 fWAR in 2010 and 2011.

NatsLady said...

JD, I would like that outfield, and if that doesn't work, pay the money to get BJ Upton, isn't he a free agent? I don't know what is going on with Justin, he has not fulfilled his potential in Arizona and he's not the only one (Stephen Drew comes to mind). How about Chris Young? He is expendable in Arizona, good D, good pop.

I don't think ALR will have a "steep" decline. He will decline, but it will be gradual. He is a smart athlete from a baseball family and knows how to keep himself in condition for a long season. As for getting a contract based on a career year, if I recall, his numbers this year were not that far out of line from his previous healthy years. Look back at what he did with the Pirates and D-backs and Atlanta. He's been the same guy since 2004 offensively and his defense has greatly improved. Plus he played 154 games.

MicheleS said...

Ghost.. Recap Kilgore for me. I am avoiding all Sports talk shows for a long time.

rmoore446 said...

I'm for signing LaRoche as long as he doesn't demand a crazy number of years. I bet they come together.

Eventually, Ryan will move to first but I don't see that move happening anytime soon. I love Morse but he's been fragile for most of his career and that won't get better as he ages. He might be a key part of a trade to upgrade the pitching.

NatsLady said...

FWIW, this was LaRoche's age 32 year. He won't be 33 until November.

NatsLady said...

Me, too, I'm not listening to sports radio. Going back to politics so I can reconnect with my mother, sister and brother-in-law. I've been absent from my family for several months...

DHamm said...

I've got a Gold Glove caliber 2B who hits 7th, averages .250, with 17 HR and 80 RBI, I don't care how he gets to .250...180 pop flys or 180 K's.

How many runs is he saving a season?

NatsLady said...

Adam LaRoche, through the years...

A steady, productive player. 2012 was not a breakout year.

http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=1904&position=1B

SCNatsFan said...

There aren't enough ABs for ALR, Morse and Moore so if ALR signs then I expect one to be dealt. Harper isn't the long term answer in CF - nor is Werth - so we are stuck with a glut of corner OFs.

As foe Espi, I believe I've made my feelings well known - this is what he is. At no level - NO level - has his K percentage been less then 25% and this year was a career worst. This isn't a phenomenon of not being able to hit MLB pitching, its been like this since rookie ball. How smart do you have to be to realize with 2 strikes you need to shorten your swing and make contact? Based on that, I'm going to say that it isn't because Danny isn't trying it's because he isn't good enough. Unless you try to break him of his switch hitting and have him pick a side and devote his energy to that then I believe what trots out there 160 times a year the same that we got this year - good defensively, some pop, some hot streaks but a below average major league hitter who will be close to the league lead in Ks and if he trys just a little he can lead the league in Ks. And there will be a lot of games that we are just giving away outs in our lineup by playing him every day even when he is stone cold.

rmoore446 said...

DHamm--80 RBIs? I thought Espi had 56 not 80. If we are fantasizing about next year, why not dream about "just" 150 Ks to go with the 80 RBIs and let's push his homer total into the 20s. I think he has that potential. As long as we are dreaming, dream big.

natsfan1a said...

What is this sports talk radio you all speak of? ;-)

JD said...


NatsLady,

Check ALR's career's numbers. This was far and away his best year (3.8 WAR); the next best one was 2006 with the Braves (2.5).

This is nothing personal; I loved ALR this year but players decline in their mid 30's. That's how it goes. A one year deal is defensible; 3 + 1 to me is almost irresponsible.

Moore had 10 home run in 171 at bats and was clearly not intimidated by the bright lights. I would be fine rolling the dice with him next year.

JaneB said...

I'm avoiding all sports talk shows for a while, too. No more morning ESPN on the treadmill for me till November or so. But I can't stomach the political stuff either.

On Danny, I'm in the "run saved is a run earned" camp. I love his defense. It would be great if they could help him relax, and repair his swing, if the swing really is what the problem is. I defer to others on that. I just like his defense.

On Morse, it never occurred to me tip I was reading this that he might not play for us. If he doesn't, I hope we make that deal with an AL player because more than anyone so far, it would be awful to see him come to the plate for another team. Oy. More misery to contemplate. Returning to a news free-sports free zone somewhere.

SCNatsFan said...

Sign ALR
Sign Bourne
Trade Morse and Espi for Price

Price, JZim, SS, Gio, Detwiler

Let the drooling begin

Faraz Shaikh said...

I remember reading an argument that ALR's production looks elite now than before because of decline in league average numbers over the years, while ALR has maintained his numbers.

So remember while WAR is calculating based on replacement level players, replacement level players have changed over the years. makes sense to me.

Faraz Shaikh said...

SCNatsFan, if you think Morse (not elite defense at any position and with injury history) and Espinosa (MI with superb defense but not much bat at this point) is enough for Price (under team control for about as much time as Espi), you are dreaming?

JD said...


I don't know if I would pay BJ Upton the big bucks . His OBP this year was under .300.Justin in a down year slashed .280 .355 .430 and won't turn 25 until August. In 2011 he was a 6.4 WAR player and in the MVP conversation. That's who I'd target.

rmoore446 said...

I am also skipping sports talk radio as well as the MLB network until we are past the post season.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

MicheleS said...
Ghost.. Recap Kilgore for me. I am avoiding all Sports talk shows for a long time.

October 15, 2012 9:46 AM


He disected the 5th game after the Sports Junkies had done the same before Kilgore came on. It was mostly on Davey's flip-flop on using EJax and not walking Kozma in the 9th. To quote Lurch after Kilgore hung up "GIO SUCKED" as he went on to say "11 walks in 2 games".

Kilgore said he brain froze and never asked Davey why he didn't walk Kozma and said he has tried unsuccessfully to talk to Davey the past 2 days.

NatsLady said...

JD, in previous high offense years his WAR was pushed down because he was not a good defender. This year he was both.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Problem I have with Moore's addition AND ALR's subtraction is we are replacing a LH bat with another RH bat and taking a hit on IF defense as well. That is why, I liked the idea of Hamilton in our lineup if we miss ALR. However, that also creates some problems (most K-happy lineup ever?).

Theophilus T. S. said...

I don't think I can stand another winter of Upton-love. Two jerks whose teams have decided they can't win w/ an Upton in the lineup. While you're at it, why don't you bring in the Dmitri/Delmon Young tandem?

NatsLady said...

Players do decline in their mid-30's. Three years would be LaRoche's 35 y.o. season. He will decline a lot less slowly than Fielder, who, IMO, will be washed up at 32 except as a DH. I go three years. We'll see what Rizzo does.

natsfan1a said...

I love MLB Network but not watching it here either.

rmoore446 said...

I am also skipping sports talk radio as well as the MLB network until we are past the post season.
October 15, 2012 10:11 AM

NatsLady said...

JD, despite being unhappy with Justin, I don't think Arizona will let him go. Try for Chris Young instead.

SCNatsFan said...

Faraz I'm sure other players would be involved for Price but those would be the main guys.

And remember, according to this board, Espi is about to break out :)

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Sports talk radio is the crack cocaine of media. I've kicked that habit.

And I'm not watching the Cardinals either, at least through this series.

Like seeing an ex-wife with a really hot guy. Not ready for that yet.

Just saying the word "Descalsco" raises my blood pressure to dangerous levels.

JD said...


SCNatsFan,

Bourne makes 0 sense to me. Check out how badly he played in the 2nd half.

I don't think there's a way in hell Tampa lets price go.

Besides, when you already have 4 young stud starters it doesn't make sense to pour money into a no.5 starter. I like Ghost's idea of a Kyle Lohse if you can get him for 1 or 2 years.

JD said...


NatsLady,

I think Mike Rizzo has a way of targeting 'A' type players; we have quite a bit to give in return. Rendon is a top notch prospect and Morse is a proven run producer and if you throw in Flores and Lombo that's not something to walk away from casually.

hiramhover said...

FS

Decribing Danny as "not much bat" is going too far. Combining the last 2 seasons, he's 13 of 20 among 2B in wRC+--below average offense, but not that far below.

If you want to see not much bat, look to Lombo--better average but almost no power. His wRC+ would have placed him 3d worst on that list of 2B.

I get the frustration with Danny's Ks--I share it, believe me, and I wonder how much it can be remedied. But even with it, he's a better player than a lot of people seem ready to acknowledge.

NatsLady said...

I don't want Hamilton, who will be 32 next season (speaking of mid-thirties decline), has a history of injuries and we all know the off-field drama. Ron Washington had to baby him constantly (watch their interaction during a game) and he literally had to be talked into playing on some occasions.

Davey may be a players' manager, but he doesn't baby his players--he won't want Hamilton. I don't think Hamilton can play CF much longer and do we need yet another corner outfield candidate.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

I disagree that Bryce isn't at least a suitable CF for the foreseeable future. I know he misjudges a ball about every two weeks, but I thought he was an extremely adequate defensive CF and improved throughout the year. I don't see the need for a Bourn or Upton at all. Werth may not be the prototypical leadoff hitter, but he's serviceable there. Bryce is ideal No. 2. Offensively and defensively, he's only going to get better. He seemed, and I think he even said this, to like CF better than the corner positions. Better reads, etc. And his arm is second to none. I think we have a surfeit of outfielders, and can use some as trade bait.

LannEn plus Shark plus Morse would get some teams' attention. Or even two of those three.

Theophilus T. S. said...

NatsLady --

For most of the season I respected your opinions. Now you're advocating for Chris Young? Who probably couldn't hit .260 in the Cape Cod League? Who's been putting stuff in your coffee?

NatsLady said...

If Bryce would hit the cutoff man occasionally he would improve right there.

Feel Wood said...

Kilgore said he brain froze and never asked Davey why he didn't walk Kozma

As Boswell pointed out in his column yesterday, first base was not open until there was a 1-2 count on Kozma. No manager in his right mind is going to throw up four fingers in a situation like that, even if the pitcher is due up next.

You all need to quit fixating on Davey's "mistakes" being the reason they lost game 5. No manager is ever perfect in his in-game decisions. There's as much luck involved in those supposed "mistakes" Davey made as anything else. None of what Davey did on Friday night was the reason they lost that game. That game and indeed the whole series was lost because virtually all of the players without postseason experience came undone, and those few players on the team who did have big game experience either came undone themselves (Jackson) or their contributions were not enough to make up for everything else that happened (Werth). No manager could have done anything to stop that from happening.

NatsLady said...

Theo, only reason I said Chris Young is because he's available and cheap and has some power--and because I don't think it pays to go all out for Upton. You are right, I didn't realize he was only a .239 career hitter. Taking back on Chris Young. :)

JD said...


Ghost,

Today is the 1st time I am actually able to discuss baseball since Friday and I have absolutely no intention of watching any baseball until spring training.

I read some of your comments re the Friday game in previous threads and I have to say that I mostly disagree your observations.

1) Gio was not at his best but he did not blow up like EJax did in game 2 or JZimm did in game 3; he managed to get us through 5 innings and left with a 3 run lead - that's not awful.

2) You can't compare Gio's performance through 5 innings to Wainright's performance through 2+ innings; Wainright was getting blasted and Matheny had to take him out. Gio was left in because anyone you bring in that early is likely to be worse than Gio.

3) EJax over Matheus in the 7th makes sense to me as well. Your starters are better pitchers than your middle releavers and it's a classic playoff move to use the starter who is on his throwing day to get through the 7th inning.

4) Davie's managing brought us to the 9th inning with a 2 run lead and our closer on the mound; I would take that situation any day of the week.

5) Storen was ridiculously unlucky; there were at least 2 pitches which could have been called strike 3; one on Molina and one on Freese (Joyce would have punched out) and the ground ball Descalso (this year's Mark Lemke) hit was 2 inches away from being a final out.

I do agree with you that Molina was the man to go after because the worst he can do is tie the game up; I think Storen was not pitching around him; he made good pitches but did not get the results.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Mark writes... the organization remains committed to Espinosa and believes he can enjoy the same of offensive breakthrough next season that Desmond enjoyed this season.

Who in the organization remains committed?

Is it that the only viable option out there right now is Steve Lombardozzi?

I suggested during the year that Espi + Lombo would make the perfect platoon with Lombo starting against RH pitching and Danny against LH pitching. Combined they become an All Star at 2nd base. Espi's final numbers were poor given his OBP, clutch #'s, late inning numbers, and K's.

The difference between Desi last year and Espi this year is that Desi showcased his talents the last 45 days of 2011 while Espi was just poor down the stretch with little consistency.

When Danny finally realizes he isn't a power hitter and is a 2nd baseman with power, he may harness his strengths. Swinging for the Upper Deck with his long swing won't cut it and I don't expect that the Nats can afford to keep banking on his "potential" with Lombo in the shadows.

mick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mick said...

Hello gang... I see that Saturday's posts were not the final ones until January, so I am back with my NI family!

I heard over the weekend that BJ Upton is back in the equation, anyone else hear the same?

NatsLady said...

FW--that is what I thought, too.

As Boswell pointed out in his column yesterday, first base was not open until there was a 1-2 count on Kozma. No manager in his right mind is going to throw up four fingers in a situation like that, even if the pitcher is due up next.

I'm not sure why Davey didn't take Gio out sooner or why he put EJax in, but I suspect (as I said yesterday) that Mattheus and Garcia were under the weather, as Stammen was earlier in the week, and Davey knew it would be hard to get 5 innings out of the bullpen. Plus Gio has a history of working himself out of these jams.

Where I would criticize Davey (and Suzuki) is not slowing the game down in the 9th. How does Molina not get picked off? Storen made good pitches, pitches that a lot of hitters would have swung at if they were being aggressive. Cards didn't expect to win the game, they didn't even have a pitcher warming. They were good, but they were also very lucky. You can't manage to luck.

Honestly, if Mattheus had come and given up a single, or worse, a HR--as he is perfectly capable of doing--we would be second-guessing Davey on why he didn't stay with his closer.

rmoore446 said...

I don't want the Nats to go for Upton. Bourne would be a better move but I agree with Sunshine Bobby that we are well-stocked with outfielders. Signing another for a marginal CF defensive upgrade would just increase the OF logjam.

JD said...


By the way,

My heart goes out to Drew Storen. Friday night will live with him for a long time but even Mariano Rivera gave away a 1 run lead to the DBacks in the 9th inning in game 7 of the world series.

I am a big fan of both Clip and Storen and they can both play on my team anytime.

Feel Wood said...

LannEn plus Shark plus Morse would get some teams' attention. Or even two of those three.

If you've been paying attention to how Rizzo operates in the trade market, you'd realize that he never dangles a package out there as bait to see who will bite. Rather, he sets his sights on the player he wants and then works a deal to get him. So he's not going to trade any player just because their value will never be higher or because Davey will not be able to find enough playing time for someone who really deserves it or any other reason like that. He's only going to trade a guy if that's what it takes to get the player he wants. Depending on what other team that guy plays for, what it takes to get him is going to be different. And Rizzo has shown that he has the patience to wait it out if necessary when the other team keeps asking for someone he doesn't want to trade. Rizzo is the complete opposite of a knee-jerk trader, and he's not going to change his stripes now.

rmoore446 said...

Completely agree with NatsLady at 10:41. If Davey removed Storen and his replacement gave up the winning hits, the second-guessing would be endless.

JD said...

'Honestly, if Mattheus had come and given up a single, or worse, a HR--as he is perfectly capable of doing--we would be second-guessing Davey on why he didn't stay with his closer.'

Exactly !

NatsLady said...

JD, I am so with you on Clip and Storen. I remember how happy they were in spring training, how happy Clip was in his interview, and being goofy with 50 Shades of Grey. Clip taught Storen his change-up and Storen will be good to go next season with that added to his repertoire. Meanwhile, Clip is working on his cutter so that he won't blow out his shoulder and can have a long career.

SCNatsFan said...

JD - have to view it as a learning experience for Drew; if that inning ruins him then so be it but I'm of the opinion it will make him work harder, be more focused and be a better pitcher because of it. Sometimes the best motivator is adversity and the Nats didn't experience much of it this year.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Feel Wood, its in Kilgore and the media's best interest to keep rehashing it.

Excellent point on 1st base not being immediately open and with the 1-2 count, let Storen keep working but it would have been that moment where you pause to think of the possibility at that point of "extra innings" and then forcing Matheny's hand.

Again, easy in hindsight.

To JD, no way do I bring in EJax until absolutely necessary as he just isn't good in his 1st inning of work. That doesn't bode well for a relief pitcher.

I haven't gone back to the video of the 4th and 5th innings of Game 5 but as I sat at the game I saw frustration and Gio getting agitated and Suzuki and him shaking off. His pitches were missing and count them, 8 relievers at the ready plus EJax for extra innings if that need arose.

Gorzo, Stammen, Garcia, Burnett, MGonzo, Mattheus, Clippard, Storen + EJax.

Davey only used Stammen, Burnett for 1 batter, EJax for the 7th, Clip for the 8th, Storen for the 9th.

If he pulls Gio in the 4th or after that walk in the 5th and brings in Mattheus and then progresses each inning as the matchups come up, I think you end up in a better situation as you preserve that 6-1 lead.

NatsLady said...

If he pulls Gio in the 4th or after that walk in the 5th and brings in Mattheus and then progresses each inning as the matchups come up, I think you end up in a better situation as you preserve that 6-1 lead.

Ghost, I see that, you see that, Davey saw that. If he didn't do it, there was a reason. We may never find out the reason, but there was a reason.

JD said...


Espinosa won't be platooned; if the team decides he is not the answer they will find a way for him out the door. But strike outs notwithstanding Espinosa is still a pretty good player with a very good upside.

Espinosa's year this year was better than Desmond's last year across the board; let's not be so anxious to show him the door.

I agree that he needs to work on his 2 strike approach and I think he has the ability to do so.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

rmoore446 said...
Completely agree with NatsLady at 10:41. If Davey removed Storen and his replacement gave up the winning hits, the second-guessing would be endless.

October 15, 2012 10:45 AM


I agree with that too. Storen really was the victim of Marquez missing that strike call on pitch 1 to Molina that clearly was a strike and backed up by the official pitch locator. Also Storen was a victim of that doink by Kozma.

If he could take back any pitch it would have been that pitch to DeScalso which wasn't located well but still BABIP luck.

My only issue with Storen was he couldn't let Molina get on with a walk as he had to earn his way on. Walking Freese just made it worse and then you leave yourself with little room for making a mistake....which happened.

Its the life of the closer and has happened to Mariano.

JD said...


Ghost,

How do you know that Matheus doesn't blow up in that situation? Gio ostill left with a 3 run lead and you have to agree that he is a better pitcher than Matheus.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...


NatsLady said...

If Bryce would hit the cutoff man occasionally he would improve right there.

Yeah, there is that. That's what ST is for.

JD said...


Ghost,

I agree re Molina and I don't think Drew was pitching around him. Once he walked I started having that feeling of impending doom; I thought Freese would homer and Drew really was very careful with him. But as you say the BABIP gods were unkind on the Descalso hit.

mick said...

48 hours later... I really can not fault Davey... I look at things at the time they are going on, the only concern I had during game five was after Gio walked the first batter, yes, Davey should have pulled him. The Ejax move I understand what Davey was doing and that was he was really thought Ejax would come in an do what J Zim did the night before. That is the loyalty part of Davey and overall loyal managers win more than they lose. perhaps Mattheus should have come in after Drew 's first 2 batters when it was 7-5? However, what is being overlooked and I have to tip my hat to the Cards... 45,000 Nats fans screaming, 2 strikes to 2 different batters, and neither one of them bit and swung! That is amazing! By the way, what is perhaps and under-rated factor is the no strike call to Molina at the begginimg of the count, the ump missed it and who knows, if he calls it a strike, does Drew's mindset change??

The one thing I feel good about is that back in September I posted that Nats Park MUST become like Yankee Stadium in post season, well gang we fans well exceeded any playoff game in terms of fan noise and emotion and intensity I ever seen in my life time and on the same level as 1977 Yankee Stadium, 1975 Fenway Park, 1969 and 1973 Shea and 1980 in Philly!! That alone has been worth the 45 year plus wait for this old boy!!!

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

To JD at 10:37 a.m.:

You get the Nats Insider version of the Pulitzer. Well said, well thought-out, well written.

And you convinced me: I'm not watching any baseball until ST either.

Good luck, Tigers, Yankees, Cards, Giants. You're carrying out without me.

And I am SO GLAD IT IS FREAKING RAINING!!

JD said...


My last post for a while; I gotta get some work done.

I think Bryce will have a superb year next year; maybe not as good as Trout but inthat area code for sure.

NatsLady said...

SCN--remember when Detwiler went to the bullpen and he said it focused him? I have to believe that 9th inning will focus Storen--if he even needs "focus." This was his first experience in postseason ball. He pitched a scoreless 9th in the tie game on Thursday with the season on the line. He pitched a scoreless 9th in the first game on Sunday with a 1-run lead (and got the "save." After he gave up the double to Beltran he got two out. The two walks killed him but they were both 3-2 counts. (Sorry, it was Descalso that stole 2B, not Molina, but that still should not have happened.)

Also, Werth, Harper and RZ didn't have to just roll over in the bottom of the ninth.

NatsLady said...

I was thinking that about Nats Park when I was watching the Yanks game and the fans stood up and cheered, looking for a strikeout when there was only one out. The announcer said, wow, the fans are standing with only one out. I wanted to scream, didn't you see the Nat' games? The fans were standing for just about every play! Go Nats.

peric said...

Natslady worries way too much about fielding when it comes to Morse. I do declare its like listening to riggleman strategize snart ball snall brain lots of losing with Natslady favorite Rick Ankiel starting every day.

Uh I think the Cardinals won wuth offense. One of the three home runs in game #5 was provided by Morse. Morse makes a great bench bat when he isn't starting and Tyler Moore still isn't as good in left

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

1. Espinosa won't be platooned;

2. Espinosa is still a pretty good player with a very good upside.

October 15, 2012 10:52 AM


1. You are thinking to conventionally and old-school. New school says if you have a player on the bench who can create a natural platoon, do it.

2. How can you make a blanket statement saying he has "a very good upside"? I don't see it until Danny abandons the long swing. His best days were the shorter compact swing. The big looping swing doesn't work. Its an all or nothing, a once every 2 weeks HR and a lot of K's. His 189 K's led the National league which would be fine if he were truly a power hitter but he is not and had less HRs in 2011 than he did in 2010. His .315 OBP is not going to work. The pitchers don't even have to throw him strikes as he expands his strike zone.

Danny must show improvement and enough for all the excuses. He claimed his LH swing was hampered by the hamate bone, then it was the batters eye, then it was the shoulder. Too many excuses and none of them valid because his problem is three-fold: poor swing, seeing pitches, mental over physical.

mick said...

Nats Lady you state that "Also, Werth, Harper and RZ didn't have to just roll over in the bottom of the ninth"

However, at that point, the team was so drained and done. If Werth had gotten on, maybe Bryce approached the plate differently. I think the guys were just spent after what happened in the top of the 9th. Not excusing, but I understand why

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Werth, Harper and RZ didn't have to just roll over in the bottom of the ninth.

No, they didn't. But Motte somehow, some way was still throwing gas.

Plus, the air had completely come out of the balloon by then.

The only people making noise in the stadium were the four St. Louis tools sitting in front of us. They can talk all they want about all those classy wonderful St. Louis fans. I have the four exceptions that make that rule. As I was walking out, another Nats fan said to them: "Well, your team won. But you're still a bunch of f-ing d-bags." And they were.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"As regards Morse, yes, he can hit. No one doubts that. But he is a liability in the outfield and only marginal at 1B. Time and again he misjudged how balls were going to play in his home park. Singles became doubles, he assumed balls were going foul, etc.

Agree that if they can't re-sign ALR they have to keep Morse and plunk him at 1B, but I don't like that option. Moore will end up at 1B half the season because Morse will get injured."

I agree with everything you say about Morse and would add that he does not hustle - he does not run out ground balls and he has a habit of taking his time getting to balls hit to LF. He is molasses to Harp's quicksilver. His arm is below average, and runners take advantage of both his slowness to the ball and his inability to throw anyone out. He can be a beast at the plate but his lack of plate discipline leads to too many Ks and to far too many first-pitch swings and hitting into double plays. He is more often a rally-killer than a rally-maker.

Trade him. the Nats already have better options for LF in their own fold. Great idea to package him with the Shark to get an arm.

An AL team looking for a DH is where he would fit best.

I would also see if there is a market for Danny. Lombo is not as good in the field, but he is still good. And he is a contact hitter. The Nats need more guys in the lineup who can make contact, get on base, hit in situations, and fewer guys who strike out and GDPs. They will still have plenty of power without Danny at 2nd base. Moore was actually the most consistent power hitter they had, and he spent most of the year on the bench.

Of course, Rizzo will probably surprise everyone, again, by making moves that no one here has thought of. Don't even know why we bother with the speculations, interesting as they may be.

Feel Wood said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
Feel Wood, its in Kilgore and the media's best interest to keep rehashing it.


Why? What can possibly be gained from doing that?

Charlie Slowes was on 106.7 Saturday afternoon taking listener calls. All of the questions you and others have raised about Davey's managerial moves were put to him. He responded by saying that he was in Davey's office after the game and could have raised those questions then, but didn't. Why not? Because first of all, that's not his job. He's not a beat reporter. But mainly because at that point the wound of the loss was still too raw. He was sure that over time, the answers to those questions will emerge.

But even once they do emerge, they are not going to reveal anything that is not already known, nor will they change the outcome of the game. Davey has already given his answer to one of your questions. He said that he brought Jackson in because he thought that was his best option to get the guys out that were due up next. Any manager could have reasonably come to that conclusion, unless he presupposes that the player is going to fail. The same thing is true with all your other quibbles. There was nothing wild or wacky or out of the box in anything Davey did. He made perfectly reasonable choices in every single one of those situations. It's not his fault that the players failed to execute in every single one of them. Nor is there any guarantee that a different decision would have turned out better. So to continuously rehash all of it is a futile exercise. Again I say, what's the point of it?

mick said...

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

sorry you went through that, I had a better experience leaving the stadium as a Card fan said to my buddy and I, that your team will dominate the NL for the next 5 years and may win 2 WS. I thought that was classy and I wished him well.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

peric said...
Natslady worries way too much about fielding when it comes to Morse. I do declare its like listening to riggleman strategize snart ball snall brain lots of losing with Natslady favorite Rick Ankiel starting every day.

Uh I think the Cardinals won wuth offense. One of the three home runs in game #5 was provided by Morse. Morse makes a great bench bat when he isn't starting and Tyler Moore still isn't as good in left

October 15, 2012 11:03 AM


I tend to agree with you and you need that brawn in there for the heart of the lineup. LF is the only position to hide a weaker defender. His arm strength did improve as the season went on.

2 things about Morse: 1. His health. Must stay healthy. 2. He was biting too much on pitches he couldn't reach and his K% while acceptable was still high at 23% but did get better from 2011 to 2012 although his power numbers clearly dropped 80 points and most of that is probably attributed to his wrist and hand and lat.

Faraz Shaikh said...

question: how do I get paid back for NLCS tickets that I bought last week? I have not gotten any return on it. Do I contact someone or what?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Laddie Blah Blah said... agree with everything you say about Morse and would add that he does not hustle - he does not run out ground balls and he has a habit of taking his time getting to balls hit to LF.

I think he looks slow getting to balls because he just isn't fast, its not a lack of effort. Still better than Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn who both patrolled LF.

It may help to have him play a little deeper and closer to the line because Harp can cover the LF gap better.

NatsLady said...

FW, I think some of us (including me) are having a hard time letting go. We think we are going to speculate about next season but end up rehashing Friday night. I guess it's part of the grieving process--you go through the stages until you finally accept that the season is over--and we had a great season with 100 wins. The way the season was over was shocking, but would it have been worse with a blowout, or an extra-inning heartbreaker?

Take care, folks.

Faraz Shaikh said...

you know I still have those printed NLCS tickets in my bag. have to throw them in trash at some point I guess.

hiramhover said...

Ghost

A lot of truth in what you say about Danny from the left side, and what he needs to do to fix it.

But there's a problem with platooning him with Lombo--bad as Danny can be from the left side, Lombo isn't really that much better.

Over the last 2 years, Danny has a wRC+ of 91 batting as a lefty. Even tho Lombo has a higher average and lower K rate, his lack of power means that his wRC+ as a lefty this year, of 96, was only slightly higher. Or if you prefer the old school stats: Danny's OPS as a lefty this year was .694, Lombo's was .714.

That's not enough to justify the loss of Danny's superior defense for all the time that they're going to be facing a RHP.

natsfan1a said...

Faraz, if you bought tix through the team site, at the time of the presale there was a note to the effect that the amount paid would be credited back to the purchaser's card for any games that were not played. Don't know the timeline for that.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

This is the last time I will mention the Nats' pitchers in game 5 against the Cards. It's over, already. We can talk from now to doomsday and it will change nothing.

I think Davey nailed it when he said they were victims of their own "caution". That was his exact word. I would characterize it as pitching not to lose, rather than pitching to win. The epitome of a guy pitching to win was JZ in the 7th inning of game 4.

Storen, especially, seemed intent on getting the Cards to chase. JZ just blew them away. Storen should just forget what happened, ASAP. Unless your name is Rocky Marciano, every elite athlete in every major sport has suffered a crushing defeat, several times over. You can wallow in it and become Ralph Branca, or you can get up off the canvas and finish off Max Schmeling like Joe Louis did the next time he got the chance.

And we would be talking about the first game against the Giants if Desi had been able to snare Descalso's hot shot to short, regardless of how Storen and the rest of them pitched. That's baseball.

natsfan1a said...

Cut and pasted from the presale announcement email: In the event that a game is not necessary and therefore not played, all single game purchases for that game will automatically be refunded to the card on which it was purchased. No refunds will be issued for played games for any reason.

Faraz Shaikh said...

thanks 1a. Just called Nats number and they said, within two weeks. Kinda lame given that how quick everyone is to charge your card.

natsfan1a said...

You're welcome, Faraz.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"I think he looks slow getting to balls because he just isn't fast, its not a lack of effort. Still better than Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn who both patrolled LF."

I know he's not fast, but he compounds it by strolling around the field like a sight-seer. I made a point of watching him run out grounders and pop-ups to 1b, and "running out" is a great exaggeration of what he actually did. Maybe he has a hammy problem. If so, I take back what I said. He is the first guy I can recall who tweaked a hammy with his swing. Remember that?

I don't expect guys to hustle the way Harp does on almost every play, but I do expect to see them go through the motions, at least.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

There's a reason this team won 100 games and lost 67. They are good, actually very good. This team really doesn't have to do a think.

By the way, Kilgore says the Nats should pursue an older pitcher who would take less year in a FA deal, and he named Lohse and Peavy and said not Greinke with a fallback of keeping Lannan.

I have to agree with him and I would be fully on Lohse as I have said for a while. Then the Nats need to find 1 more pitcher who is AAA ready as you always need a 6th pitcher.

If the Nats do absolutely nothing except re-sign LaRoche and get back a healthy Ramos, then Rizzo has 2 pieces to trade: Flores and Lannan.

The Nats go into next year with:

1. Werth RF
2. Harper CF
3. Zim 3B
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Morse LF
6. Desi SS
7. Lombo/Espi 2B
8. Ramos/Suzuki C

1. Stras
2. Gio
3. JZim
4. Det
5. Lohse/Peavy/?

1. Suzuki/Ramos
2. Tracy
3. Bernadina
4. Espi/Lombo
5. T. Moore

1. Stammen
2. Gorzo
3. Garcia
4. Mattheus
5. Michael Gonzalez
6. Clippard
7. Storen

I have highlighted some of the question marks. Burnett has said he will decline his option at $3.5 million. Not sure what you do with the lefties but the RH should be set for the bullpen if Garcia comes back as a reliever.

Unknown said...

I'd like to see Tyler Moore considered part of the infield brigade. It's his natural position. If they don't sign LAR, hopefully he'd get a shot there, with Morse staying in LF where he did okay, fielding % .994, same as Werth

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

By the way, the aging of some teams work to their detriment as the Phoolies and Braves will see further decay of aging vets like Halladay, Lee and Tim Hudson in their starting pitchers. The Nats should improve as they move closer to peak age.

No more Chipper Jones and if Michael Bourn leaves the Braves (hopefully), I don't see any reason why the Nats won't have an easier path to the NL East.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Mick said: Sorry you went through that, I had a better experience leaving the stadium as a Card fan said to my buddy and I, that your team will dominate the NL for the next 5 years and may win 2 WS. I thought that was classy and I wished him well.

Thanks, Mick. Yeah, I was under the mistaken impression Cards fans were classy. These four guys were anasthegiologists (SP?), the guys who pass gas in the OR. Make tons of money, I was told (by them). And I can attest that enabled them to afford, say, 17 Budweisers each at the ballpark. But it doesn't excuse their behavior. My wife is still hot about it. They kept holding up their little WS banner towels, blocking her view. I'm 6-5 so I could see over it. But my wife isn't. I asked them politely a couple of times. Finally, I just -- ahem -- accidentally konked one of them in the head with the spiral edge of my scorebook. Then they went running to the usher, whining, "He hit me!" The usher (whom I know and have tipped and said hello to on the way in), to his ever-lasting credit, looked at the tool, winked at me and basically, politely, told him to f-himself. So there was that.

Muddy said...

Speaking of class, many Nats fans stayed after the final out Friday night to cheer the Nats and their great season. Unlike the As in Oakland though, Nats didn't come back out on the field to receive ovation, which is understandable given their 9th inning debacle vs. the way the A's went down.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Kilgore has aped Mark's column, sorta. Implies the Nats should sign Alberto Gonzalez as reserve middle infielder, showing his brain still fried by Friday foldo.

Steady Eddie said...

Another aspect of Drew's inning in addition to that critical first-strike-that-was-but-wasn't on Molina, that I'm glad so many commenters have brought out today.

While Drew did K Craig just before Molina, his first pitch to Craig was a slider even more in the zone than the first to Molina -- and was also and even more unjustifiably called a ball by Marquez.

Drew didn't go back to that location against Craig with a slider again. He was able to K Craig by a swinging strike on a four seamer dangerously high in the zone (Craig couldn't get around on 96 quick enough after the slider), a 96 mph sinker low in the zone, and then getting him to chase a slider low and inside that was only a few inches higher than one that Craig hadn't bit on for ball 2.

So when Marquez again blew the first pitch call against Molina, Drew was up the creek. Molina was fouling off the high heat, and Marquez had taken away the only low-in-the-zone pitch that was safe to throw, a breaking ball that Molina would more likely roll for (hopefully) fieldable contact over if he swung at it. Drew only went back to a low-in-the-zone slider that barely missed on his fifth pitch against Molina, but Molina already knew he didn't need to protect the plate down there when Marquez was protecting it for him. (The only generous strikes Marquez gave all day were high and inside or outside.)

Against Freese, Drew went back to the low-in-the-zone slider on pitches 1 and 4. Freese fouled off the first that was entirely on the black, and spit on the 4th on a 1-2 pitch that was so close that any fair ump would have given it to Drew and could readily have defended it as a game-ending strike -- especially after Marquez had already shafted Drew on the Craig and Molina sliders.

All told, Drew threw 8 pitches in or within literally a couple of inches of the bottom quarter of the zone, which is where you want a first pitch and out pitch to be thrown in that situation. One was fouled off, one was a swinging strike (to Craig), only one (fully in the zone) was a called strike -- and FIVE were balls. By indefensibly blowing the call on those two strikes-called-balls at the pivotal point in Drew's outing, Marquez basically took away his best pitch, enabled Molina and Freese to hold back and not have to defend the plate where they should have had to (that is, not have to swing at very marginal balls on two-strike counts) -- and then set the stage for Drew having to throw elsewhere when the game was on the line thereafter.

Just despicable.

Steady Eddie said...

Laddie -- not only do I agree with your point about Morse in the outfield, I don't agree with Ghost that he's better there than Willingham, who would more often sprint on balls hit near the foul line, and looked more comfortable charging low liners than Morse seems to be, at least this season. Not suggesting there's a big difference there, but you don't put either Morse or Willingham in the same class of LF as Dunn, who looked as lost out there as the big, uncoordinated galoot you put at center in HS basketball because he was the biggest guy you had. Still think Morse is slightly more of a liability out there than Willingham.

Laddie, while my 12:10 post wasn't meant as a response to your comment about Drew trying to get guys to chase, I think it does explain why he ended up doing that. Marquez took away his best option by ensuring Molina and Freese didn't have to worry about defending the plate from low strikes when he clearly was not going to call them.

JD said...


Eddie,

I pretty agree with you across the board. The balls 2 inches outside where the Cards had no business taking could and would have been called 3rd strikes with 8 out of 10 umpires. Frank Pully used to say to complaining hitters :'swing the bat'.

I could not believe that the check swing with 45,000 people on their feet was not called a strike; the look on Freese face was: 'oh oh, I think I'm done'. I think you are right in your assessment that umps forced Storen's hand which is really quite unfortunate.

JD said...


I think that neither Morse nor Moore should be a viable option for left field next year and I think Rizzo knows this.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/dc-sports-bog/wp/2012/10/15/nats-players-praise-fans-after-loss/?wprss=rss_dc-sports-bog&tid=pp_widget

A nice piece about the baseball fanbase and player comments.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

I think that neither Morse nor Moore should be a viable option for left field next year and I think Rizzo knows this.

October 15, 2012 12:23 PM


While on paper, you and others are right. Not a good enough defender and he didn't have the 2011 power stroke.

On the other hand, the Nats had a formula that worked off of paper, clearly. LF was a black hole before Morse took over the position upon his return.

There are baseball intangibles and having Morse in the 5 hole is sizeable and hard to replace although he is a Free Agent after next year so you could stick with him and keep change minimal knowing where his weaknesses are and do a better job of removing him late in the game for defensive replacement which Davey didn't do often enough.

Muddy said...

Alphonso Marquez is the ump that called Cody Ross out on a ball at the knees to end a game on Sept. 12 vs. the Yankees, which was in the strike zone when it crossed the plate, but that caused Ross to go balistic and wave his bat over his own head, and got old Valentine out of the dugout and into a shouting match, and the Red Sox' national press legion up in arms ... . Maybe that was in the back of Alphonso's mind Friday night.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Laddie/Steady, yes, Morse was right behind Willingham in pure UZR at -7.9 vs -8.3 but keep in mind Morse was better in 2011 when he was healthy all year.

I believe Morse is better on his reads over his head and Willingham better on coming in on balls. Both, like I have said are not optimal but it is the corresponding offense you get from them that offset the loss in defense.

Lombo by the way was a +1.3

Section 222 said...

I'm generally refraining from commenting for a bit. Just don't have my heart in it. (Plus, I really should do some work after the past few weeks.) But wanted to pass on some info from my STH rep about refunds.

1. Refunds for single ticket purchases of NLCS games and credits for strip purchases (for (the Tiebreaker/WC/NLCS games) will be processed in the next two weeks.

2. Credits for STH strips will be applied to your monthly payments for next year's tickets until exhausted.

2. Presale refunds will go to the credit card you used to purchase the tickets.

3. Refunds and credits will be processed over the next few weeks.

4. Thankfully, they decided to hold off on charging us for WS tickets until after the NLDS. Oh, and that email we got on Saturday morning wasn't the Nats' fault. (We knew that from the DCSportsBog story from this weekend.)

One final note before I retreat into lurker mode. My friend who is a Tigers fan was in NYC this weekend. About 1 pm, he purchased a $175 ticket to Game 2 of the ACLS on StubHub for $35. Something tells me you wouldn't have been able to do that here, even if we had lost Game 1.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Muddy said...
Alphonso Marquez is the ump that called Cody Ross out on a ball at the knees to end a game on Sept. 12 vs. the Yankees, which was in the strike zone when it crossed the plate, but that caused Ross to go balistic and wave his bat over his own head, and got old Valentine out of the dugout and into a shouting match, and the Red Sox' national press legion up in arms ... . Maybe that was in the back of Alphonso's mind Friday night.

October 15, 2012 12:37 PM


That is a great point but you also have to know what was getting called by the home plate ump and Marquez wasn't giving the low strike most of the night. While clearly the 1st pitch to Molina was a strike by the official K Zone, Molina's 2 strikes came from foul balls and none of the other balls were in the strike zone which Marquez called correctly.

Drew was staying on the edges and while a K would have been great, on the 2-2 pitch he needed to get it over the plate on the outside and let BABIP work in his favor or hope for a swing & miss strike and he didn't do that as Molina laid off.

Balls 2, 3 and 4 were all balls that led to the walk.

Steady Eddie said...

Ghost, while Marquez's "generous strikes" -- as I wrote, high and inside or high and outside -- were roughly evenly distributed between the Nats and the Cards, he made four or five blown calls where clear pitch F/X strikes were called balls. ALL of those were to Nats pitchers (one to Gio, one to Clip, two to Drew, maybe one more to Gio or to EJax), NONE to Cards pitchers.

He made the two to Drew at the absolutely pivotal moments of the ninth inning, on first pitches that set the tone for the whole AB as to who has control and who's in charge. He got Craig because Craig was chasing, but after Molina saw the same thing on his first pitch that Craig saw on his, both he and Freese knew they didn't have to protect against anything down low, even on a two-strike count. As a pitcher, you have to have hitters on a good fastball hitting team with good batting eyes hitting down there. To virtually take away the bottom quarter of the strike zone in that situation gives such a huge advantage to the hitters that it's flat-out wrong and indefensible.

NatsNut said...

I knew I'd get a refund on my NLCS tickets, but the big question is whether the fees get refunded.

Joe Seamhead said...

Tyler Moore in RF makes me think of Willingham. Also, though I've seen guys get worse jumps, and take worse routes in left field than Josh Willingham, Michael Morse isn't one of them.Also, Morse went literally several years without being charged with an error.He was playing knocked up this year. He plays a much better RF then he does LF, but Werth is staying right where he is, for better, or worse.

JD said...


Ghost,


'Balls 2, 3 and 4 were all balls that led to the walk.'

I agree but at least 2 of them were way too close to take and to Eddie's point they were taking because they knew they wouldn't be rung up.

Feel Wood said...

NatsNut said...
I knew I'd get a refund on my NLCS tickets, but the big question is whether the fees get refunded.


Doubtful. If they are cast as "handling fees" as they typically are, then your tickets were "handled" whether the game was played or not. And now your refund has to be "handled." That's one nice thing about buying the full strip. One handling fee of $20 for the whole thing vice a handling fee on each individual ticket purchase.

Joe Seamhead said...

Nicked up! Sometimes auto correct is pretty funny! Knocked up!LOL!

Section 222 said...

NN, I'm pretty sure the exorbitant $7 per ticket "convenience fee" will be refunded. Not sure about the $4 per transaction "Order Processing" charge. Almost certain the $20 handling charge on the strips, which was for the whole package, will not be refunded. Consider that the cost of the suitable for framing tickets you'll never use.

Unknown said...

While Espinosa is great in the field and works well with Desmond, he needs some serious quality tutoring regarding his batting. A middle infielder striking out nearly 200 times doesn't cut it unless he hits 40 homers and drives in 110 runs. Eckstein has had two years to work with Espinosa with no success. I say again, hire a qualified major league hitting coach with good credentials to work with Desmond.

Feel Wood said...

My sister's birthday was the other day, but I'm late in acknowledging it because I was at the games. So I'm considering giving her World Series tickets for her birthday. The only question is how many would be appropriate? I have four.

Tcostant said...

Nats Nut there is a note on the Nationals website that the tickets and convenience fee will be refunded (so I'm guessing there are keeping that processing fee). So that isn't to bad... I'd rather be going to the games.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/postseason.jsp

Unknown said...

Regarding Laroche, this is another Adam Dunn situation. Dunn wanted to stay but he wanted four years and lots of money--$56 million. Sure Laroche wants to stay too but he's not going to take less than three years and $45 million. He's 33 years old and has had a career season, which he is unlikely to repeat. Unless his salary demands are reasonable and he settles for just two years, I would let him walk and hand the job to Morse. Maybe The Shark can take over CF and Harper could move to LF. That would be a huge defensive upgrade.

natsfan1a said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natsfan1a said...

No need to guess. The last line in the text linked to is this: The handling fee is non-refundable.

Tcostant said...

Nats Nut there is a note on the Nationals website that the tickets and convenience fee will be refunded (so I'm guessing there are keeping that processing fee). So that isn't to bad... I'd rather be going to the games.

http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/postseason.jsp
October 15, 2012 1:19 PM

rogieshan said...

For once, the Nats are poised to add from a position of strength, financially and talent-wise. Players and their agents are now attracted to this team and the city. I believe management will target another front-line starter to go with Strasburg, Gonzales, Zimmermann & Detwiler. The core players are already here, but one can never predict injuries and the club needs to protect itself from not having quality replacements should the need arise.

As for Espinosa, there's no question about his defense. It's gold-glove. But, the poor guy wants so hard to be a power-hitting run producer AND a catalyst all-in-one. Whereas Desmond finally figured it out this season, Espinosa is still struggling out there to find it. I hope he can reflect on the turmoil he went through this season and come out better for it.

Unknown said...

Forget Tyler Moore in the OF, he's slow and his arm is extremely weak. Use him as part of a trade package to acquire a quality fifth starter to replace Edwin Jackson. Another option is to give Moore the first base job if Morse is traded. It would be a huge mistake to bring Jackson back.

Theophilus T. S. said...

As I said previously, assuming LaRoche wants $45MM over three years, pay the man -- unless the Nats want to risk taking a measurable step backward. If he helps them get back to the playoffs next year, it's a good deal even if years 2-3 look like sunk money. That's one of the prices of being a consistent playoff team -- an extra column on the payroll for "Regrets" (see Philthies, NYY). Up to the insane point (see, Cubs), you can't be worried about possibly wasting money.

Faraz Shaikh said...

if you had tickets shipped or something, then it makes sense to keep handling fee. i printed the tickets online, so I will get it all back (I called Nats again). Otherwise, I was totally ready to fight for it. :P

basically, you should get it all back except handling fee for shipped tickets.

Theophilus T. S. said...

"It would be a huge mistake to bring Jackson back."

If they brought Jackson back, it would warrant the fans burning Tyson's II.

SonnyG10 said...

I have no problem with any of the decisions that Davey made. They were good enough that if luck was on our side instead of the Cards, we would have won.

In regards to Danny Espinosa, I do think he tries too hard to hit home runs. I think he needs some dis-incentive to swing for the fences, especially on the third strike. Maybe Davey needs to sit him on the bench every time he strikes out without protecting the plate on the third strike. I don't know, but somehow he needs to understand getting on base is much more important than hitting a home run.

I did watch the first game between the Cards and Giants and noticed a lot of similarities between that game and our 5th game with the Cards. Also the announcers kept making references to our 5th game. It was painful, so I will join the group that doesn't watch any more of the playoffs.

natsfan1a said...

Good leg work, Faraz. :-)

sjm308 said...

Just caught up on comments.

Have not had any sports radio on the entire morning which is totally a new experience for me.

I will also not watch baseball until next spring. That could change but not right now.

Thanks for the info on the remaining funds/ticket situation. I trust it will all get sorted out but I have a terrific agent if it does not.

The more I think about our outfield, the more I think we can easily get another year in CF from Bryce and I think he will improve greatly as he settles into that position. Remember, he was still being moved to all 3 outfield positions early in the spring and this was his first full year there. I leave Werth in RF unless you all can tell me why its beneficial for him to move. That leave LF and while its obvious Morse will not be earning a gold glove, it does give us a power hitting, middle of the lineup slugger. Key is, can he stay healthy?

Off to the gym.

Go Nats!!

SonnyG10 said...

I was thrilled with the fans support during the playoffs. It was a lot of fun to be part of such an enthusiastic crowd.

Steady Eddie said...

JD @ 1:10, thanks -- that was exactly my point in a lot fewer words.

Perfect example of that is Drew's Pitch 4 (85 mph slider) to Freese:
http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/pfx.php?s_type=3&sp_type=1&batterX=79&inning1=y&inning2=y&inning3=y&inning4=y&inning5=y&inning6=y&inning7=y&inning8=y&inning9=y&month=10&day=12&game=gid_2012_10_12_slnmlb_wasmlb_1%2F&year=2012&pitchSel=519322&prevGame=gid_2012_10_12_slnmlb_wasmlb_1%2F

At most, an inch below the zone.

It's disgraceful that Freese felt he didn't have to foul that pitch off in a situation like that, with the Cards' entire season on the line. I'm sorry, nobody's batting eye other than Ted Williams' has been that fine as to "know" that would be a ball -- unless you have Marquez's first pitch blown calls to Craig and Molina clearly telling Molina and Freese so.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
"It would be a huge mistake to bring Jackson back."

If they brought Jackson back, it would warrant the fans burning Tyson's II.

October 15, 2012 1:39 PM


I was not on Team EJax much like I was not on Team Henry. Any time you have to refer to someone as Good Henry Bad Henry or Good Edwin or Bad Edwin, you are in trouble as a team.

Baseball is about consistency not hoping for the next great outing to show up like Edwin's mastery early in the season against the Reds.

EJax had 3 great starts in 2012 and his game at the end of the season against the Phillies gave what I concluded at the time to be possibly suspect as a false positive since he was facing a "B" squad.

But there were many here reminding me that EJax was brought here for his post-season ability. Well, bad EJax showed up twice - his lousy start and then that fateful 7th inning of 1 run work in game 5 relief.

Kyle Lohse would be a huge pickup for this team if they can get him on a 2 or 3 year deal.

Luckily with all the youth, the Nats can afford to overpay LaRoche and Lohse and still get JZim and Desi under long-term deals.

The Nats can be "in" on Bourn to help their buddy Boras out with the hopes he goes to the Texas Rangers.

There are very few parts the Nats really do need for 2013 but I would be all over Lohse as the main acquisition early into Free Agency before the rest can react.

Also, do the Nats pursue Ryan Madson who is coming off of Tommy John?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Steady Eddie, great work on that. The Cardinals have been so well disciplined as finesse players in those situations to do that but it was also because Drew was nibbling and wasn't attacking.

He had to be careful with Freese. He didn't need to with Molina with 1 on and 2 out.

Exposremains said...

Just came back from the post office here in Orlando, I paid with my Nationals credit card and got my 1st "Sorry buddy, I can't believe they blew it..."

It doesn't get easier.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

sjm308 said...
That leave LF and while its obvious Morse will not be earning a gold glove, it does give us a power hitting, middle of the lineup slugger. Key is, can he stay healthy?


I had that as my key above too with staying healthy. Morse is so streaky hot that in 2011 he literally carried the team for several games at a time.



JD said...


I would do 2 years and a lot of money on Lohse but I wouldn't touch a longer contract.

I wouldn't go within 10 miles of Madson; I think our pen with the addition of Garcia is fine. I would be concerned if Burnett isn't back. He was critical to our success this year and I'm not sure if Mike Gonzalez is up to that role by himself.

Steady Eddie said...

Ghost, agree with you fully on EJax after his late-season and postseason performance. They gave him all the opportunities and tests and he came up short, showing why a good guy in the clubhouse and a good character guy has been with so many teams. They see the promise and think, "maybe we can get him consistent" but, apparently not.

There's a distinction from HRod in that he's still young and may have had his lack of control attributable to his elbow injury. He looked really good last September and in ST and pretty good until that awful Saturday night meltdown in Stras' start against the Dodgers in late April. It shouldn't be too costly to see what he has after surgery in ST and early next season.

In other words, HRod does have a higher ceiling that he has shown, and still could reach at his young age. EJax is what he is.

JD said...


Ghost,

I don't think he was nibbling. I thought he was attacking and with quality pitches. You can't just throw a cookie up there to quality hitters like Molina.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

You know the Cardinals last night went out to a 6-0 lead and Lynn fell apart and the score went to 6-4 in the 4th when Lynn was pulled. The Cards bullpen didn't give up another run nor would the Cardinals offense score again.

Sure, it was a Game 1 and didn't have the "do or die" feel to it but the Cardinals bullpen did its job in attack mode with Kelly, Rzepczynski, Mujica and Rosenthal, Boggs and Motte.

Of the remaining 16 outs the Cardinals bullpen had to get to finish the game, 12 were made in the field and only 4 K's. The Cardinals strategy was to use the pitcher's park to their advantage.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD said...

Ghost,

I don't think he was nibbling. I thought he was attacking and with quality pitches. You can't just throw a cookie up there to quality hitters like Molina.

October 15, 2012 2:36 PM


Look at the Pitch screen for Molina. The last 3 balls were all out of the zone. The ball that turned out to be Ball 3 needed to get the plate. Of course not as a cookie.

I remember one appearance this year that Drew was really struggling and threw a pitch over the plate with his 4 seamer and it ended on a fly out to Bryce in CF and Drew got the save and the Nats a win.

Drew couldn't allow Molina to get a free pass nor could he lay in a meatball. A quality strike is what was needed.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

And by the way, I don't blame Drew because he got screwed as did the Nats. Marquez called a lousy 9th inning.

I think Marquez didn't want to decide and be wrong and it was going to take an obvious strike to be called as such, but he could have and should have called the Strike 1 on Molina.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

By the way, Tyler Moore ended up with 229 innings in LF and finished with a -2.9 UZR. That was better this year than all Nats LFers not named Bernadina or Lombardozzi and better than former Nats Justin Maxwell and Josh Willingham.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, Madson would be a work-in-progress and is a Boras client and could be a good 1 year deal to have what he thought he was getting in Lidge and didn't get.

Also, I agree on Lohse as 2 years would be a good length.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Steady, I'm just not a HRod guy. The Nats need a fire baller like Trevor Rosenthal. Holy moley. Heat with accuracy and a gamers mentality.

HenRod just has heat and I don't think the elbow issue had anything to do with his mentality. I just think its another excuse and frankly, I think the team was giving him and the fanbase another excuse.

baseballswami said...

I am kind of sorry that most of you have been unable to watch last night's game or listen to the radio. I dabbled a bit and then stayed because I was totally shocked at what I heard. I heard that the Cardinals caught some magic and somehow managed to beat the Nats. I did not hear that the nats collapsed. I heard that they did not know how those hitters took those wicked sliders. I heard how great a season the nats had, what a good team they are, how badly people feel for Drew and how it's not all on him. There has been kindness, respect and perspective. Not what I was expecting at all.The other thing I am hearing is this -- On Thursday the nats had innumerable people held in thrall and then took them to the very heights that sports can take you. On Friday they took even more people to the lowest of lows. People are still emotional, not sleeping, sick, depressed - trying to get a grip. This is not the sign of an irrelevant team, or of apathy. The Nats now have the entire area and people all over the country in the palm of their hands. There is tremendous emotion and passion out there. What a huge change! While you are all still mourning the game that they lost, I am feeling the vacuum of the season being over and missing the daily game stories and mini-dramas. You want apathy - go watch the Yankees, empty seats, not running out ground balls, fans booing their so-called favorite players. Yikes. Even though they are still technically still in it, I wouldn't trade teams for the world!

Joe Seamhead said...

We'll see about Henry, Ghost. I hope, and think, that you are wrong.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Joe Seamhead, I hope I'm wrong but I think I am right because a guy like Henry has stuck around based solely on throwing heat. He is a flamethrower instead of a pitcher with velo and that is the distinction.

Trevor Rosenthal is a pitcher with velo. Big difference.

Now then, I expect when the pressure is off that Henry will wow you again but when you add pressure to Henry's appearance, I think you will see same ole Henry.

I'm not being a pessimist, rather just being a realist. I said this in Spring Training 2011 and almost every time he has pitched from that point forward.

Drew said...

I think LaRoche is the key to the other dominoes. If the Nats re-sign him for two years, I wouldn't be surprised if the club deals Morse in a package for pitching.

The Nats are very deep at first base and by 2014 the OF is shaping up as LF Werth, CF Goodwin, RF Harper.

The eternal question is where Rendon will play. (The fact that he's only played 3b so far in the minors isn't determinative. Espinosa played shortstop until he got to Syracuse.)

Rendon's bat is so valuable that I can't imagine the Nats would consider trading him, unless Price really did become available.

baseballswami said...

What in the world are we going to do with Lombo? He can't possibly go back to AAA, he is too good to sit the bench. For his sake, I hope he gets traded. I love that kid.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

baseballswami, I won't let myself get down because I believe it was a great season and I had circled 2013 as the "year" so this is all bonus to me. It won't stop me from analyzing and over-analyzing because that's what I do.

It came together quicker than I expected and while the Nats were the best team in the Majors in 2012, the starting pitching in the Playoffs other than Detwiler was just poor. Edwin was not the Post-season savior and Gio as Lurch on 106.7 this morning described him as "sucked" and JZim threw 78% fastballs to a team that was ready to ambush him and they did but his relief appearance in Game 4 was special indeed.

The Nats have to get smarter about pitching to their competition. These pitchers are too good to end up with the net results the starters had.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

baseballswami said...
What in the world are we going to do with Lombo? He can't possibly go back to AAA, he is too good to sit the bench. For his sake, I hope he gets traded. I love that kid.

October 15, 2012 3:18 PM


Did you see DeScalso? That's what you will get if you play Lombo everyday at 2nd base. A scrappy finesse type of player with good range and a decent arm who will get you a hit in the 7 hole.

Feel Wood said...

baseballswami said...
What in the world are we going to do with Lombo? He can't possibly go back to AAA, he is too good to sit the bench. For his sake, I hope he gets traded. I love that kid.


You need to start thinking like a fan of a winning team. Winning teams that have players like Lombo - good enough to start elsewhere but blocked here, versatile and able to contribute in many areas, under team control - don't just trade them for the good of the player. They keep them, and trade them only if absolutely necessary to fill a need. That's how winning teams maintain the depth that keeps them as winning teams.

Losing teams OTOH always trade such players, because they have so many holes to fill. That's why losing teams take so long to become winners, because if any one piece of their fragile puzzle goes missing, they have no depth to backfill with.

This may not be fair to such players, but it's baseball.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

By the way, Lombo's number were better than DeScalso in defense and offense according to FanGraphs. I think DeScalso just rose to the occassion on the bigger stage.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=2b&stats=fld&lg=nl&qual=120&type=1&season=2012&month=0&season1=2012&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Its an interesting contrast. DeScalso and Espinosa have the same amount of MLB experience 2 years plus a 2010 callup. They both hit in the 7 hole and neither had a great regular season.

When the chips were on the line in Game 5, Espi K'd in the 8th with 2 men on and Descalso hit a 2 run single in the 9th to set up the game winning runs.

That's how October legends are made.

JD said...


Ghost,

If you want a DeScalso at 2nd base then you are correct but keep in mind that DeScalso hit .227 .303 .324 with 4 home runs and 26 RBI's in 426 at bats. DeScalso is having a Mark Lemke playoff but he's not anywhere near as good as Espinosa IMO.

JD said...


Ghost,

You should know better than to put forth a tiny sample size as evidence of anything. Come on man !

Natslifer said...

Finally able to talk about it and have a couple of things:
- This is my favorite tweet: "LittleMollyS:
So my dad says, to save me the pain/burden he endured growing up a Red Sox fan, he's going to raise me as a Nats fan. ... Nice job, Dad."
- We will win 95 games next year. The beauty of what Rizzo has done is that he has several options to solve for a very good team (e.g., Bourne or no Bourne). This increases his leverage in negotiations and makes good players want to come play here.
- I've only scanned all the comments - any news about Zimmy's shoulder surgery?

baseballswami said...

Ghost - yes, the Nats have to get better at pitching to their competition. But when you are talking about the Cardinals in October? They take ridiculously close pitches and they spray strikes all over the field, they foul off almost anything - over and over. They are the very definition of a tough out. If only our HITTERS were paying attention!!! That's what they need to do. I understand Davey's philosophy, but you can't just put blinders on and do the same thing 100 percent of the time. I heard some of the Cardinals hitters talking about how they are up there " not trying to do too much" - they have a fantastic approach right now. I don't care if you are Cy Young, when an offense catches fire like that it almost doesn't matter where you put the pitch. They will find a way to take it for a ball, or hurt you with it. David Freese just blows my mind. Pitchers must see him in their worst nightmares.Our pitchers, except for EJax ( who I think will move on), are pretty inexperienced still and will take their awesome talent and learn how to pitch with it. I would love to see just a bit more of the amped up JZim, the calmed down Gio, the confident Det and the more mature Stras. I also hope they learn how to hold runners on next year. One step at a time. This year was a leap.

JamesFan said...

I do not blame Davey and for sure not Storen for the loss. Storen threw some great pitches, and I can't believe the Cards had the plate discipline to lay off them.

The loss come from the Cards being tougher minded, more experienced, more determined--and frankly luckier than the Nats.

Natslifer said...

JD - excellent Lemur reference.

JD said...


I wouldn't put Trevor Rosenthal in the hall of fame yet either. His minor league stats were not overwhelming.

I too was impressed with his raw stuff and command in this series but let's wait and see what he is over a full season in the bigs.

Feel Wood said...

When the chips were on the line in Game 5, Espi K'd in the 8th with 2 men on and Descalso hit a 2 run single in the 9th to set up the game winning runs.

That's how October legends are made.


Only if they can repeat the process year after year, as David Freese seems to be doing. Otherwise, it's just how obscure journeyman players earn a new middle name. Ask Bucky F. Dent and Aaron F. Boone if you don't believe me. Neither one of them is a "legend."

JD said...


JamesFan,

The took the pitches because Marquez wasn't calling the low strikes at all. If Jim Joyce is the plate amp we are having a game 2 NLCS conversation now.

JD said...


Swami,

As you know I am a glass half full guy and I posted last week that no matter how it rolls; this was a fantastic year and I still feel that way.

But this was the most devastating, crushing loss I as a fan have suffered in my many,many years of fanhood which include many hockey playoff overtime loses, super bowl loses and more; this was the definition of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and it wasn't anyone's fault; this one was could have ended the right way so many times that it really hurts.

Don't kid yourself, as good a team as we have climbing that mountain again won't be a cake walk and there will be many anxious moments to endure; just to get back to where we were and should still be.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, of course post-season is going to be a small sample size and we all wondered who would step up for the Nats and mostly everybody stepped up at different times and some like Tyler Moore and Jayson Werth did it to win games.

DeScalso deserves credit doing it based on that moment in time and he did it again last night.

The point is that Lombo had 3 chances to get a hit in the postseason and went 1 for 3. Espi had 15 chances and went 1 for 15 with 7 K's.

DeScalso went 3 for 5 in Game 5. Yes, a small sample size.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

I should also note that Chad Tracy just was not a factor down the stretch and in the post-season. He went 0-4 with just some poor at-bats efforts.

The Nats already gave him a contract for next year. I'm not sure what the hurry was but in hindsight it may not have been money well spent with Corey Brown able to do more for less if given the opportunity and by the way, Brown came up huge in 2 pinch-hit opportunities he had in 2011. One was a suicide squeeze and also his walk-off single against the Marlins. He is a + defender and gives you speed and power.

I don't think Chad ever got back his form from pre-injury last season.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Feel Wood, watch Yankeeography when they do the Aaron Boone segment. One at-bat of glory.

Yes, you are correct. Its doing it over and over again and by the way, love how Bryce finished Game 5 with the triple and HR and we all know he was sick Game 1, 2 and feeling a little better in Game 3.

Great finish for a teenager!

NatsLady said...

My disappointment is tempered by this thought experiment:

Imagine Stras started in the postseason, we beat the Cards and Giants and somehow went to Game 7 with the Tigers--and maybe beat them also, in Verlander vs. Stras.

What would be look forward to for 2013?

Right now, we know the team has flaws but SO much potential!!!! If we went to and won the WS the first time we had a decent team, it would be a letdown. Now we know what postseason feels like. So do players like Danny, Desi and Harper, and the pitchers. They will want more. They will want it again.

The fans are involved. All day at work today people were saying "I'm so sorry the Nats (and O's) lost). Not one comment on RG3 or that team winning.

JD said...


NatsLady,

I would have wanted an opportunity to try and repeat. You can't lose the way we did and not feel devastated. I am not yet ready to stop 'mourning'.

NatsLady said...

JD, we can repeat in 2014. After that the players will be getting older and more expensive, but hopefully not with a feeling of "entitlement."

NatsLady said...

BTW, I felt plenty devastated. It was so THERE, I could taste it, was already planning emails. That's why I'm so excited about next year.

Theophilus T. S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theophilus T. S. said...

Almost as unsettling as the people who want the Nats to shop at the "Buy Two Chuckleheads, Get One Free" sale are those who believe players such as Lohse and LaRoche (onomatopoetic, isn't it) who are at or near the top of their free agent class should be happy to sign two-year deals. If these are guys you really want, the Nats have to be prepared to overpay. Otherwise someone who really needs a 1B and/or a RHP is going to make that offer. (As between LaRoche and Boston, one thing in the Nats favor would he's already been there. Baltimore, Toronto, Seattle, Houston also come to mind.)

Section 222 said...

If we went to and won the WS the first time we had a decent team, it would be a letdown.

Uh, no it wouldn't.

Another_Sam said...

NatsLady -- I know the feeling. I was working up the rotation for the Giants series.

Joe Seamhead said...

Folks, I was almost as terrified as the batter every time HRod came in, but the first 8 or 9 of his appearances were electrifying. And he wasn't one dimensional. He threw a 98 MPH fastball followed by a devastating 80 mph hook. Then he lost control, and all of his confidence. Was it between his ears, or was he already hurt? Do you know one way or the other for sure? I don't.

Faraz Shaikh said...

If we had won this postseason, then I would start wondering whether we can put together a dominant run like yanks of late 90's and win multiple WS in a row. I would still like to see that happen starting next season.

Dave said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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