Monday, November 5, 2012

The Nats' possible free agent targets

US Presswire photo
Could the Nationals splurge for right-hander Zack Greinke?
While most of the sporting public spent the weekend watching football and perfecting the art of changing channels the moment yet another incessant campaign ad overtook their TV screens, baseball's free agency period officially opened for business.

You most likely didn't hear a whole lot about it, because as anyone who follows baseball knows, no free agents actually sign the moment free agency begins. This isn't the NFL, and Ted Lerner didn't have his private jet gassed up and ready to hit the skies at 12:01 a.m. Saturday in pursuit of the Nationals' top target.

No, baseball operates at a slower, more calculated pace than other sports on the field, and the same holds true off the field over the winter. Players want to test the market and see just how many teams are willing to pay how much for their services. And general managers want to wait and see just how things play out around them and not overpay in a fruitless effort to pounce on a guy before he has a chance to talk to anyone else.

Truth be told, the Hot Stove League won't really kick into high gear for several more weeks, not until the Winter Meetings (Dec. 3-6 in Nashville) draws closer. But any good GM has already put together his wish list and knows what he's looking for well before the holiday shopping season arrives, and Mike Rizzo is no different. The Nationals GM was already putting together his free agency board before his team was eliminated from the postseason.

Rizzo doesn't reveal his list publicly, but it's not too difficult to speculate what names likely appear on it. With the Nationals' offseason needs -- a No. 5 starter, a lefty reliever, potentially a center fielder -- no secret, let's take a look at some of the free agents Rizzo is most likely targeting this winter...

RHP ZACK GREINKE
Greinke might well be the biggest prize on the market, one whose contract could easily surpass the $100 million threshold. Are the pitching-rich Nationals really going to spend that kind of money on another starter? Though there are reasons to believe they won't, the possibility shouldn't be discounted for one simple reason: Rizzo really likes Greinke. He made every attempt to acquire the right-hander via trade prior to the 2011 season, offering the Royals a package that would have featured several players off a list that included Jordan Zimmermann, Danny Espinosa and Drew Storen. Greinke nixed the whole possibility, saying he wanted to pitch for a team that had a chance to win right then, and wound up in Milwaukee. Given the current state of the Nationals, you have to believe the 29-year-old feels differently about this organization now than he did two winters ago. It still may cost far more than the Nationals are willing to spend, but if the price was right, Rizzo wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger on a move that would give his team unquestionably the best rotation in baseball.

CF MICHAEL BOURN
This is a name that has been linked to the Nationals for quite a while, going back at least to July 31, 2011, when Rizzo sought to pry him away from Houston at the trade deadline. The Nats have long been searching for a classic, leadoff-hitting center fielder, and Bourn perfectly fits the mold. But the need to acquire such a player may not be nearly as great now as it was 15 months ago. Bryce Harper certainly appears capable of playing center field every day in 2013 (and perhaps beyond). Brian Goodwin (currently tearing up the Arizona Fall League) could be ready to take over that position in 2014. And if they re-sign Adam LaRoche and choose not to trade Michael Morse, the Nationals won't have any openings in their outfield to begin with. Given the kind of contract agent Scott Boras is going to seek for the 30-year-old Bourn -- five years -- this connection appears less and less plausible.

RHP KYLE LOHSE
A veteran right-hander with a decent track record of durability coming off a fantastic season with a playoff participant? That sounds exactly like what the Nationals want in a No. 5 starter. Trouble is, Lohse is coming off the best season of his career at age 34 and his agent (Boras, again) is going to want to parlay that into as many years as possible. The Nationals are less inclined to make a long-term investment in another starter ... unless that starter is viewed as a true cornerstone arm like Greinke.

RHP ANIBAL SANCHEZ
He's made at least 31 starts, thrown at least 195 innings and posted a sub-4.00 ERA each of the last three seasons. That's an ideal No. 5 starter who could be had much cheaper than Lohse. The Nationals saw plenty of Sanchez at his absolute best against them when he pitched for the Marlins -- he's 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 19 career starts against them -- so you've got to believe they have a favorable impression of him.

RHP DAN HAREN
It was a wild weekend for Haren, who at one point appeared to be headed to the Cubs via a trade but ultimately was allowed by the Angels to become a free agent. The 32-year-old is everything you'd want in a free agent starter: durable enough to make 30 starts for eight straight seasons, dominant enough to post a .565 winning percentage and a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 4-to-1. The only red flag with Haren -- the only one -- is his back, which acted up some this season and probably contributed to his fastball velocity dropping all the way down to 88 mph. It would be a bit of a gamble, but a healthy Haren is as good as just about any pitcher in the game.

CF B.J. UPTON
Here's another name who has been linked to the Nationals for what feels like ages. Rizzo inquired several times about trading for Upton, but the Rays' asking price was always too high. Now he's available via free agency. Again, though, the Nationals must decide whether the 28-year-old Virginia native who still hasn't realized his true potential is worth the price ... and whether he's a significant upgrade over whoever off their current roster would have to go to make room for him.

RHP HIROKI KURODA
Kuroda may simply accept the Yankees' $13.3 million qualifying offer and return for a second season in the Bronx. Or he may want to return to Los Angeles, where his big-league career began. But if there's any chance of convincing the 37-year-old to come to D.C., Rizzo might want to try it. Kuroda is a highly reliable veteran whose performance didn't drop at all after moving from spacious Dodger Stadium to cozy Yankee Stadium. And he won't require a long-term deal, perhaps willing to sign for only one year (though at a hefty price). At those terms, he would seem a really good fit for the Nationals.

LHP JEREMY AFFELDT
The Nationals would love to re-sign Sean Burnett. But if they can't, they're going to be in the market for another left-handed reliever, and Affeldt is the only other quality one out there. The 33-year-old was fantastic for the Giants, both during the regular season and postseason, and he'd certainly be a valuable piece to the Nats' bullpen. But given the lack of good lefty relievers on the market this winter, neither Affeldt nor Burnett will come cheap.

114 comments:

MicheleS said...

Just say NO to Bourn!!! (And probably Upton too).

baseballswami said...

At this point I feel that any player signed has to be better than what we already have by quite a bit. If they are not going to contribute to more curly W's then why bother? Why pay lots of money and risk tampering with the Nats clubhouse ecosystem ? With the mythical number five pitcher- can they get you more wins than John Lannan ? Is that CF better than Bryce? Is Affelt better than Burnett? Hoping Rizzo plays it cool. I just don't think we need Bourne or Upton with Bryce doing well and Goodwin showing so much promise.

Positively Half St. said...

I would love to have Bourn on the team, although that is tempered by the likelihood that it means The Beast is traded. I absolutely do not want BJ Upton, who appears like he will never reach his potential.

+1/2St.

Constant Reader said...

The tender/nontender date for arbitration is November 30 (at least that's what Google told me). I have always liked John Lannan, but as a business decision, he's always seemed like a certain nontender to me. I'm sure you've got a post coming on tender/nontenders Mark and I look forward to reading your analysis. Last year was happenstance created from EJax late signing. No one plans to store a big league ready, $5M starter in AAA.

I made the argument Friday night that the pipeline looks too good to make a five-year offer to Bourn. Love your "less and less plausible" comment Mark. The question seems much more of a toss up for an additional starter (note I didn't say fifth). Years is always the question. Greinke is going to take five for sure. Could you/would you do Sanchez three? I still think James Shields and the last of his two contract years looks like a 'fit' for us.

My two cents.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Fifth starter: After going through all candidates named here, Kuroda on a one-year deal sounds best right now. Everyone else has at least one issue related to them. I like Haren and Sanchez as fall back options. And then I am willing to bet on Lohse.

CF: No to both Bourn and Upton. I do like Upton better than Bourn and won't be yelling anti-Rizzo chants if Rizzo does sign him (I do think he has potential do what Ellsbury did one year on yearly basis). However, both are serious K-machines. I won't someone in our lineup who walks more than Ks. At least one guy.

LH reliever: Like Mark said, neither will come cheap. If we are paying top dollar, might as well get the best option out there which seems to be Affeldt. But I wonder how much AT&T park played part in his numbers. I would be fine with either on a 3-year deal.

Faraz Shaikh said...

*won't: change that to want.

Gonat said...

RHP ANIBAL SANCHEZ
He's made at least 31 starts, thrown at least 195 innings and posted a sub-4.00 ERA each of the last three seasons. That's an ideal No. 5 starter who could be had much cheaper than Lohse. The Nationals saw plenty of Sanchez at his absolute best against them when he pitched for the Marlins -- he's 8-0 with a 1.97 ERA in 19 career starts against them -- so you've got to believe they have a favorable impression of him.
_____________________________

Mark, you hit the surface with him. He is the youngest of the crop of FA pitchers who will be 29 or under. The research I did on him and some comments from others also added is that he had been a better pitcher on the road with a 3.40's ERA on the road and pitches about 1.20 ERA at Nats Park.

The question is, does he like pitching at Nats Park or is it his mastery of the Nationals?

The only negative we found was his 5+ career ERA vs the Braves and he hasn't pitched all that well at his home parks.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Why would Sanchez be cheaper? He is the youngest of all candidates I believe and he is a pretty good starter, maybe Doug Fister level. I don't think he will come cheap.

Gonat said...

The Nats need one Free Agent. His name is Adam LaRoche. After that, a couple of lefty relievers.

I think if Rizzo goes after a pitcher, he's looking for 3 years or less.

The most important add-ons to this roster are players that fit in with this clubhouse. They all need to pass the Jayson Werth test.

WWJD is What Would Jayson Do.

Candide said...

Mark: Rizzo doesn't reveal his list publicly, but it's not too difficult to speculate what names likely appear on it.

Not difficult to speculate, but to speculate ACCURATELY? Does anyone remember speculation the Nats were going to go after Werth until the day it happened?

At this point, it's probably more difficult for Rizzo to pull a "this changes everything" surprise. When we were losing 100 games a season, any big-name signing was a blockbuster. Now, not so much, even Greinke.

Swami, you totally said what I was thinking while reading this. Who can the Nats possibly sign that will make the team significantly better? And at what price? Everyone keeps saying the Nats could use an experienced pitcher, a steady hand who won't cave under pressure. Didn't Lannan make a good enough case last year?

Gonat said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
Why would Sanchez be cheaper? He is the youngest of all candidates I believe and he is a pretty good starter, maybe Doug Fister level. I don't think he will come cheap.
___________________________________

He won't be cheap in terms of total contract but won't be as expensive in terms of $ per year.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Greinke thinks he's Halladay or Lee and should be paid accordingly -- and he isn't, at least not for the last three years. He's a squirrel, high maintenance, doesn't like to pitch on the road. There's a good chance that sometime during this next contract the team will have to send someone to knock on his door every morning and ask if he's coming to work today.

Bourn is a 30+ year old leadoff man whose game depends on his legs, Ks almost as much as Espinosa (the last thing you want in front of Harper, Zimmerman and whoever is #4) and won't get younger or faster. And we don't need him.

Lohse's career pre-2011 says he's been extremely lucky the last two years. More than a year with him would be a mistake, and you know he's not going there.

Sanchez -- I forget which it is, he pitches well at home and crumby on the road, or is it the other way around. Anyway, he's inconsistent, and the Nats have a lot of experience with that. The question is whether, like the most-recent holder of that job, he'll melt down. I think he might be worth the risk, but again I think will want more years than he's needed for. The trick will be to get a tradeable contract.

Haren is strictly a call for the medicos. If he's not Oswalt, I'd be very happy with him.

Upton -- for a guy that's been in the league as many years as he has, you have to stop talking about his "true potential." Tampa had many chances to give him a Longoria-like extension, didn't do it, have wanted to get rid of him for a long time. Anytime a team wants to move a guy they've had for so long, you have to be listening for the message.

Kuroda, I'd take for a year in a heartbeat.

Between Affeldt and Burnett, they have to get one of them. A LH bullpen combination of Duke and Gorzellany, or Duke, Gorzellany and M. Gonzalez, doesn't do it for me.

Gonat said...

Candide said...
Swami, you totally said what I was thinking while reading this. Who can the Nats possibly sign that will make the team significantly better? And at what price? Everyone keeps saying the Nats could use an experienced pitcher, a steady hand who won't cave under pressure. Didn't Lannan make a good enough case last year?

November 05, 2012 8:08 AM
______________________________________

If you read Kilgore's comments, he thinks Lannan will be a sign & trade or a non-tender.

I agree with you that John fits the need of the 5th starter where the team then has flexibility if they need to upgrade to do so at July 31st.

The team already has a stealth top 4 which is what you need for the post-season Stras, Gio, JZim and Det.

Teddy Rochlis said...

mark i think you left off a crucial member of this list, Adam LaRoche, right now he is a free agent and a decision on ALR has got to be #1 priority, because it effects the decisions made for the outfield, and what deal do you think can be made with him so that he is resigned? i think 2/26 with 3rd year option? or maybe 3/35

D'Gourds said...

trade for r a dickey who is in his walk year. Then sign him to a 3-4 year deal. The mets have so many needs and we have the young talent to fill them.

Gonat said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
Greinke thinks he's Halladay or Lee and should be paid accordingly -- and he isn't, at least not for the last three years. He's a squirrel, high maintenance, doesn't like to pitch on the road. There's a good chance that sometime during this next contract the team will have to send someone to knock on his door every morning and ask if he's coming to work today.
_____________________________________

You speak it like it really is. I've never seen a pitcher who has been living off the reputation of 1 magical season. Uh, that magical season was FOUR years ago. What have you done for me lately?

Greinke is a #2 pitcher and unless you think he will once again find what he had in 2009, he is just going to be paying Halladay money for a pitcher that only looks like Halladay a few times a year in the boxscore.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I wonder if not getting LaRoche will increase interest in Bourn. I hope not.

Gonat, I can't guess how much he will actually get but if he is not expensive, he will be a good number five. However, Kuroda seems to have no issues related to him.

Gonat said...

Theo said...Lohse's career pre-2011 says he's been extremely lucky the last two years. More than a year with him would be a mistake, and you know he's not going there.
____________________________________

Lohse didn't give up many secrets but he was asked what he did to improve himself and he answered that he changed his approach.

Did he really find something or was he really that darn lucky over 30+ starts?

I tend to think he found something kind of like Detwiler did back in July. I'm more concerned about his age as that will catch up with a pitcher quicker than anything. A long-term deal with him would be a bad thing and that's what he is looking for.

In most of the baseball world, he is flying under the radar so you never know.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Gonat --

Pitchers will never admit they've been lucky. Lohse would have said he found something even if all he found was a dead mouse behind the sofa.

Gonat said...

Faraz Shaikh said...
I wonder if not getting LaRoche will increase interest in Bourn. I hope not.

Gonat, I can't guess how much he will actually get but if he is not expensive, he will be a good number five. However, Kuroda seems to have no issues related to him.

November 05, 2012 8:27 AM
________________________________

You would have to think if LaRoche goes somewhere else, the door is open to get Bourn. The Nats can't afford another 5 to 7 year deal for an outfielder whose legs is what he depends on.

The dynamics of a speedsters game changes as they age and its usually 29 to 31 years old. Exceptions were Brock and Hendo who didn't slow down until their mid 30's. Bourn's steal numbers were way down which is fine, what's troubling is his caught stealing % was way up.

His K% stinks and his OBP is not great. His defense is excellent but that's not worth it in my opinion as Harper is doing an excellent job himself.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I am not sure how good Cards IF defense is but that might have played a hand in Lohse' BABIP defying numbers past two seasons.

Greinke is a pretty good pitcher. the only reason I will stay away from him is number of years and dollars. otherwise his k/BB ratio of 3.78 over last 3 seasons is top ten.

something I came across. over last 3 seasons, SS has the best k% of 30.8% among starters that have pitched at least 250 innings. next best is tyler clippard (reliever of course but has pitched 250 innings) with 29.6% K. Followed by Sale, Kershaw, and Morrow. Impressive!!!

Gonat said...

Theophilus T. S. said...
Gonat --

Pitchers will never admit they've been lucky. Lohse would have said he found something even if all he found was a dead mouse behind the sofa.

November 05, 2012 8:35 AM
_________________________________

That's a good point. I doubt he comes here because Rizzo would be hesitant to go more than 2 years on him.

Faraz Shaikh said...

oh and Sale's K% is 26.3%, more than four percent less than SS. that's insane. do we all actually realize how good SS is?

sjm308 said...

A point not mentioned yet is that sooner (JZimmnn & Desmond) or later (Strasburg & Harper) they are going to need big money to extend the core of this fine team. Signing a Bourne or Grienke to 5 years makes this just a little more difficult if not expensive. I realize we will have a better tv deal and probably increased attendance but for me, after signing Laroche, the next big step is extending Zimmermann & Desmond.

Second point - I would be willing to be that if Mark wrote a similar piece last year you would not have found the name Gio Gonzalez anywhere in it. I think Rizzo is a master at keeping things under wraps. It would not surprise me to see another name with this club that no one saw coming.

Third point - I really think we will see Rendon this season & hopefully he will make an impact. Maybe not as big as Bryce's but an impact none the less.

No to Bourne
No to Grienke
No to Upton
No to Lohse

I would kick the tires on the others & if its just one year I would not be screaming. I would also not scream if LaRoche & Burnett each got 3 years since they are a big part of what we have accomplished. Its just the way I feel about "team".

Go Nats!!

Faraz Shaikh said...

by the way, I found Blanton's name ahead of Greinke's in that list.

Feel Wood said...

If you read Kilgore's comments, he thinks Lannan will be a sign & trade or a non-tender.

Typical Kilgore analysis. Sign & trade would indicate that the Nats think Lannan has value. Non-tender means the Nats think he's worthless. So of course he'll be a sign & trade or a non-tender.

In related news, in the presidential race Kilgore thinks it will be Romney or Obama.

sjm308 said...

OK, one more point.

It has been pointed out that our fine manager just might be a little stubborn. In his time with us, we have not seen the stolen base as a key weapon. It is used but not depended upon. A big piece of Bourne's repertoire is the stolen base. Do any of you think Davey will all of a sudden start to run?, and if he does not, will Bourne's game suffer? Just wondering if Bourne is the right fit.

Faraz Shaikh said...

I will probably get blasted but if we lose LaRoche, we have to replace his LH power with another LH power bat. Thus, I suggest Hamilton on a short term, expensive deal. This will probably not happen since he seems to have lot of issues related to his personality and game. But there is not much doubt about his power.

sjm308, I doubt you will see all four here for a long time unless two of them sign team friendly extensions this off-season.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

Sanchez, for one good reason: if he played for us, we wouldn't ever have to face him and that 8-0 lifetime record.

Everybody else, meh.

Greinke ("Squirrel"...perfect!) at $100 million. Oh, please. If I want nut cases, we can re-sign Nyjer.

Bourn, Upton, et al...less than meh.

Gonat said...

Feelwood, Kilgore never said sign & retain.

NatsLady said...

Rosenthal looks at Bourne compared to BJ.

THE BOURN IDENTITY: A BIT OF A PUZZLE
At least one GM believes that Upton will get more attention on the market than Bourn, pointing out that Upton, 28, is nearly two years younger and hits for more power.
Bourn is perceived as the superior on-base threat, but his career .339 OBP is not much higher than Upton’s .336 (though Upton’s OBP last season was a career-low .298).
Two other aspects of Bourn’s offensive game are disturbing: His high strikeout totals as a leadoff hitter, and his second-half declines.
Bourn struck out a career-high 155 times last season, tying for seventh most in the NL, and has averaged 136 strikeouts the past four years.
He also batted .225 with a .636 OPS after the All-Star Game in 2012, and his post-All Star OPS the past four years is just .695.

All that said, Bourn is best appreciated when his game is viewed as a whole. He ranked as the top center fielder in the majors last season according to the plus-minus ratings on Bill James Online (the system actually rated Upton as a minus overall). Bourn also adds value on the basepaths, both as a base stealer and as a runner taking extra bases.

Put it all together, and Bourn ranked 13th in the majors with 6.4 Wins Above Replacement (WAR) last season. Upton ranked 61st with 3.3 WAR.


The full article (with some comments on Morse, but nothing we haven't already thrashed out on here).

philadelphia-phillies-connections-to-bj-upton-could-help-in-free-agency

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/philadelphia-phillies-connections-to-bj-upton-could-help-in-free-agency-110412

Steady Eddie said...

It's an easy and pretty safe prediction that Rizzo will not sign any SP to a contract longer than 2 years at most, preferably one year. There's too much coming up the pipeline -- Meyer, Purke, Solis, possibly Karns -- to leave no room in the rotation. Even more important, we should shortly have JZim and Desi on extended, pricey contracts to add to Werth's, Zimm's, and Gio's. then we need to leave room for at least giving ourselves a shot to resign Stras, and Harper after him, and hopefully we'll want to keep Ramos, and Rendon or Danny. Adding a $15+m a year pitcher like Grienke, or anyone who'll demand at least 4-5 years at big $, just doesn't fit with Rizzo's long term plan to sustain for many years what's now coming to fruition.

Gonat said...

Davey's mentor, Earl Weaver in 1970 had 84 steals as a team and 39 caught stealing. Not a good percentage. Paul Blair led the team with 24 out of 35 attempts.

The Nats this year had 105 steals and 35 caught stealing. Ian Desmond was 21 of 27 to lead the team.

While the Nats aren't running wild, I expect a few more steals from Bryce Harper and about the same from Ian Desmond. Davey just doesn't like to give up outs which is why he isn't so keen on sac bunts from position players.

Feel Wood said...

Gonat said...
Feelwood, Kilgore never said sign & retain.


So? Neither did I. The point is, if they think Lannan has value they will tender him a contract and either trade him or keep him. The only way they would non-tender him is if they think he's worthless and are willing to cut him loose for nothing in return. Kilgore predicts one or the other of those outcomes will occur. Outstanding analysis. Not.

Steady Eddie said...

sjm, I didn't see your 8:43 post before I wrote mine but it looks like we're thinking in the same direction.

FS, I think it's safe to say Rizzo will make every effort to keep all four (I assume you meant our starting rotation now), and that both sides will do what they need to have them stay. Between Werth and Favey, the young 'uns will know how rare what Rizzo is building here is, and they don't want the frustration if bouncing around to teams like the Red Six or (worse) the Cubs.

Candide said...

Theophilus T. S. said...Lohse would have said he found something even if all he found was a dead mouse behind the sofa.

See, posts like this one are why this blog software needs a "Like" button.

baseballswami said...

sjm308-- Yes! While the 2013 season is important, the Nats have to avoid that contract glut down the road that so many other teams have faced. There are Nats that have to be locked up long term and we don't want that money spent now on contracts that are too long. I am going back to Lannan -- we didn't see much of him this year, but he has lots of experience, knows the league, knows how to pitch, is tough minded , is a definite innings eater. We have the defense now to support his style of pitching. I think he could have more wins in 2013 than EJax had in 2012. Some of you are acting like he is some deadbeat. I have more faith in him than that - and if for some reason he stinks, they can get rid of him once and for all. We also have options coming up from the minors. Do you really think Grienke would come here and play second ( or third, or fourth) fiddle to Stras, Gio, JZim and Det? Now that being said, if we could get Sanchez for a reasonable amount and number of years, that would be cool - or Kuroda. But no expensive, long term contracts.

sm13 said...

Theo - I concur with your assessments. None of those players is worth a long term deal for big bucks bavause none of them are a big enough upgrade over what we have in house and in the pipeline. I'm with SJM, we need to spend the money needed to lock up JZimm, Desi, Stras, and Harper for the long haul.

My vote is to re-sign LaRoche for two years with an option, sign Affeldt (or Burnett) for no more than 2 years, and try to get EJax back for one year once he tests the market, like last year.

Off topic, I got see Brian Goodwin on mlb-tv on Saturday and came away very impressed. I would expect him to be in cf for the big club in 2014.

fast eddie said...

It's informative to read all the Bourn comments here. It's about 10-1 against him. To summarize: he's a K machine, his "caught stealing" rate is up (and Davey doesn't like steals anyway), he'll be slower at 34-35 at the end of his contract. His career BA is .272 with OBP of .338 (league average?) The only positive is to marginally improve CF defense.
You convinced me: just say no.

NatsLady said...

MLB Daily Dish ‏@mlbdailydish
Report: Hiroki Kuroda "has told friends" he is choosing between the #Yankees and a return to Japan. http://sbn.to/TFx7GO

Gonat said...

fast eddie said...
It's informative to read all the Bourn comments here. It's about 10-1 against him. To summarize: he's a K machine, his "caught stealing" rate is up (and Davey doesn't like steals anyway), he'll be slower at 34-35 at the end of his contract. His career BA is .272 with OBP of .338 (league average?) The only positive is to marginally improve CF defense.
You convinced me: just say no.

November 05, 2012 9:30 AM
_________________________________

That's a good summary. What really matters is what Rizzo thinks and a year ago I would say Bourn would have been the top priority at this point and time then something happened, Davey got a leadoff guy in Werth and a CF in Bryce Harper and the needs now have shifted.

My money is on Justin Upton if LaRoche walks. If LaRoche stays, I don't see a lot of change. Lefty for the bullpen, a veteran or 2 for AAA, a possible newbie for the starting rotation.

Todd Boss said...

THANK YOU for finally being a voice of reason with the ridiculous "Nats want Bourn" rumors. Its like sportswriters just check their notes from July 2011 and keep spouting out the same drivel over and over. If you look at nearly EVERY "hot stove league" preview by a national writer it lists the Nats coveting Bourn. Please, just let the rumors stop!

Doc said...

Cranky Greinke at the right price, but he'll get a lot more somewhere else.

Nats already have a Michael Bourn--but he goes under the pseudonym of Brian Goodwin. He's 10 years younger, and has more power than the real Michael Bourn. Goodwin seems to have a good attitude too!

Goodwin will be lighting up the NL Leader Boards when Bourn is hitting .220 in the last year of a 5yr. Borass contract with some poor deluded team (probably the Braves)!

baseballswami said...

Doc - watched the rising stars game on Saturday and was impressed not only by Goodwins's hitting. He just looked the part. I know that's intangible, but I liked the way he carred himself and played. His hitting line would have looked even better but he got totally robbed by Billy Hamilton. We have built a farm system with these great young players to be used for one of two things -- they either come up and play in the show and contribute to the team or they are trade bait. At some point they will need to be used. I can definitely see him in the outfield with Bryce and Jayson in 2014. Think he starts in AA or AAA?

baseballswami said...

Just read an article about the top 5 free agents. LaRoche is not listed as one of them. Really.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

Some of those guys, like Bourn and, I think, Lohse, would cost Rizzo his 1st round draft pick next year, and that factor will certainly enter into the equation.

The Nats are loaded in the OF and Goodwin looks like he will be ready in a year, or two. Rizzo already has Harp, Werth, Morse, Brown, Bernie, TyMo and, if needed, Lombo. The money that would go to a 31 year-old OF could be better spent on retaining core players, such as JZ, or signing a FA arm, or two. There is a lot of speculation about Bourne in the sporting press, but it just does not make sense to me.

Of course, I was completely wrong about everything during last winter's hot stove season, so I probably shouldn't say anything. I hope I haven't jinxed the Nats into getting yet another strike-out artist to add to the lineup, especially at the top of the order. We have too many K artists, already.

JD said...


Swami,

Top prospects generally play in AA. AAA is normally a kind of a taxi squad which is normally rostered by veterans who have at one time or another played in the big leagues.

I fully expect our top prospects (Rendon, Goodwin, Meyer and perhaps Skole) to start in AA.

bowdenball said...

Unbelievable amount of cherry picking of numbers for Bourn here. Let me take issue with some of it and make some counterpoints:

Yes his CS in 2012 was down from 2011. But he was well above his career #s and also above the 75% threshold for productive base stealing. And speed translates into more than just steals. It's first to third and second to home on singles, scoring from first on doubles, and so on.

Stop calling him "30+." He'll be 30 in December and for all of next season. Saying he's "30+" puts him in the same category as guys in their late 30s for no reason. Be accurate. He'll be near peak for at least 2-3 more years, possible more than half of the length of his deal.

He's a superb defensive CF. Yes, Harper was adequate in CF. This year. But Bourn is an upgrade from Harper. And Harper in RF is an upgrade from Werth. And Werth in LF is a huge upgrade from Morse. You can't look at the move in isolation. Acquiring Bourn improves our defense in three spots.

2012 was the best year of his career power-wise. I don't know if he'll repeat it or not. But not one person mentioned it in their criticisms. If you want to talk about trends like his SB totals, make sure your analysis of trends goes both ways.

Yes, he does strike out a lot. You know who else struck out a lot? The 98 win 2012 Washington Nationals. Also the 2012 Oakland As, who actually led the league in Ks. Atlanta, Cincinnati and Baltimore also are in the upper tier for Ks in 2012. The three teams with the fewest Ks in 2012 were the Indians, the Twins and the Royals. Remind me again why I should care about Ks?

There is ZERO question that the 2013 Nationals would be better with him than without him. Same is probably true of the 2014 and 2015 Nationals. And they have the money to spend. I'm fine if people don't want him because they don't think he'll be worth the money- although I don't know how they know what he'll cost. But don't say he'd be bad for the team in the near future. He's a very good baseball player, and very good baseball players are a good thing for a baseball team to have.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Many good comments and how things have changed. 3 years ago there were too many holes. Today it is working towards finding 1 or 2 role players if ALR stays.

If ALR leaves, I think Rizzo has to look to replace that type of production in a 1st baseman or a corner outfielder and that production isn't easy to find and really doesn't exist in the FA market except for a player named Adam LaRoche.

JD said...


Swami,

Here is my take on LaRoche and it may not be a popular view here:

LaRoche is a dead fastball hitter (a very good one) who had his best year in 2012; if his bat slows down even a touch he is a strong candidate for a steep decline quickly.

LaRoche is an excellent sign for 1 year and a good sign for 2. Once you good longer than that you are risking a very bad contract and we already have one with Jayson Werth. If I was Rizzo I would offer LaRoche a very strong 2 year deal ($27 mil?) and walk away if he can get more years elsewhere.

Faraz Shaikh said...

Swami, I don't think laRoche is top five. But some writers have not included him even in top 20 which is ridiculous.

Gonat said...

baseballswami said...
Just read an article about the top 5 free agents. LaRoche is not listed as one of them. Really.

November 05, 2012 9:50 AM
_______________________________

Look at his entire career. He has always been under-rated and under the radar. When he 1st hit Free Agency the best deal he got was a 1 year deal with Arizona. Most don't even know who he is outside of here and Atlanta.

rogieshan said...

I know I'm in the minority here, but I still think Rizzo will pull off another Werthy-like stunner and sign Josh Hamilton to raise the power quotient in the lineup, something Davey Johnson seems to prefer over the running game.

Tcostant said...

Forget Kuroda; I heard on the radio this weekend that Kuroda is very loyal and will resign with the Yankees or go back to the Dodgers who he only left because of the prior ownership mess. If he signs with anyone other than the Yankees or Dodgers, I will eat my hat.

Tcostant said...

More and more I'm starting to like the Greinke idea. When the Braves signed Greg Maddux from the Cubs, most people though they had great pitching and needed help elsewhere, but the move was golden. History could repeat itself here...

JD said...


Bowdenball,

I went back and looked at Bourne more closely and you know; your points are well taken. He has had 4 strong years in a row and will more than likely earn his salary wherever he goes.

My only caution here is that our payroll will baloon up very quickly starting with long term deals for JZimm and Desmond and continuing with Stras et al.

baseballswami said...

I am kind of glad that ALR is under the radar. That could help us sign him. You have got to believe that someone out there recognizes the way he pulls an infield together. He would be valuable even with less offense. I think his smooth style without a lot of violent moving parts will enable him to remain a good hitter for a while. I don't see the Nats risking Hamilton. I don't think Kuroda will come here. Grienke will want the moon. Still thinking Sanchez, though. And I am in the "no more outfielders need apply" camp.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

If you look at the SF Giants they have one superstar in Posey and very good pitching. Panda is more a sideshow attraction. Their position players couldn't make the Nats outside of Posey.

Through maturation, the Nats pitching will be even better. Re-sign ALR and bolster the bullpen. Save the prospects and don't trade them.

Rendon and Goodwin look to be future impact players.

This team was good enough to win it all in 2012 and will be better in 2013.

rmoore446 said...

JD, I agree with your reasoning on LaRoche. I'm fine with two years with an option but doubtful about more. He would be a very expensive late inning defensive substitute for the third year and beyond.

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"There is ZERO question that the 2013 Nationals would be better with him than without him. Same is probably true of the 2014 and 2015 Nationals. And they have the money to spend. I'm fine if people don't want him because they don't think he'll be worth the money- although I don't know how they know what he'll cost. But don't say he'd be bad for the team in the near future. He's a very good baseball player, and very good baseball players are a good thing for a baseball team to have."

They do not need him, and they do have other more pressing needs and other places to better spend the money. The marginal improvement that he might offer is not worth the cost. The Nats could trade one or two of their current inventory of OFs and still be loaded without Bourne.

They need another starting pitcher and one or two relievers much more than they need another OFer. And besides Lombo, what do they have to back up the middle infield? Werth's OBP was around .390, and his stolen base percentage wasn't too shabby, either. The Nats already have the leadoff slot covered.

And Rizzo would have to give up his 1st round draft pick next year, too. Of course, I have never been right about what Rizzo will do, but I think I know what he will not do. He will not overpay to fill a marginal need.

NatsLady said...

interesting article, as you evaluate free agents.

Players who have above-average seasons are no better to have a 50-50 bet to have a productive season a year later.

free-agents-often-fall-short-of-their-expectations

http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/red-sox/content/20121104-free-agents-often-fall-short-of-their-expectations.ece

fast eddie said...

Rizzo is not ego-driven (a la Bowden). Last winter we were shocked by the deal for Gio and to a lesser extent, the EJax signing.
Now, we've got fewer holes to fill. Rather than go for the "top-tier" expensive starters like Greinke or Lohse, I could see a 1-2 year deal for Dempster or Sanchez.
Re-sign ALR, sign Burnett or Affeldt, and we're ready to beat anybody.

bowdenball said...

JD said...

My only caution here is that our payroll will baloon up very quickly starting with long term deals for JZimm and Desmond and continuing with Stras et al.


I agree. Nats need to be careful about obligations in 2015 and the years following that. I think he might be available at a reasonable price, though. There's a glut in the FA CF market, and the other big spenders are already set at that position, plus other teams can see the weaknesses in his game that the other posters here have mentioned. Let's say the Nats offer 4 years at 12 million per. I think he's worth it at that price. I know that's below most projections for the deal he'll land, but who beats that? The Braves maybe? Phillies? Giants? Anyone else?

Theophilus T. S. said...

Couple of thoughts --

One, don't say Johnson doesn't like to steal bases. He does like to steal bases -- tactically, not strategically. Nats finished 15th in SB, right in the middle, and Werth, Harper, Desmond, Espinosa, Bernadina (when he's not improvising) and Lombardozzi are fast, accomplished runners. In no way is this an argument for Bourn. Johnson does not count on winning games w/ one volume base-stealer running like a scalded rabbit. Johnson wants a variety of players who can run/steal bases so he can take an extra base/get into scoring position in the 7th, 8th or 9th when a run or two is badly needed.

Two, Bourn, with his 155 Ks, has no chance of getting on base one-quarter of his PAs. In order to make up for it, he has to run at virtually every opportunity in order to be in scoring position for the boppers behind him. Is he going to get faster, or slow down?

The Braves, who will have copious holes in their lineup next year with or without Bourn, don't want him badly enough to compete for his services. I know they don't usually spend big FA bucks. But they're signaling they'd rather, going forward, spend their money extending Heyward, Freeman and some of their pitchers.

You have to listen to what people aren't saying.

Jacob R. Watson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jacob R. Watson said...

Here is Zuckerman's post from this time last year as possible targets for the Nats... my how things have changed. http://www.natsinsider.com/2011/11/making-sense-of-free-agent-market.html

bowdenball said...

Laddie Blah Blah ...

I don't understand what "they don't need him" means. They'll win more games with him then without him. He improves the defense at three spots and improves the lineup substantially. Sure they have two quality OF options, but you need three. They "need" to win as many games as they can in the regular and hopefully postseason, and they win more games with Bourn than without him, simple as that. Also, how can you say he's not worth the cost if you don't know what he's gonna cost?

If the choice is between a SP and two quality relievers and Bourn, I agree with you that I'd rather have the pitchers. But there's no salary cap; they can get both if they're willing to spend. 2013-2015 are the Nats years to go for the gold. They have a ton more money to spend, thanks to the new TV deal whenever it gets done and the attendance jumps last year and presumably next. Why not get it all if you can limit your long-term exposure?

Feel Wood said...

Two, Bourn, with his 155 Ks, has no chance of getting on base one-quarter of his PAs.

Then how did he manage to get on base 34.8% of his PAs with 155 Ks in 2012? 34.8% is a lot mre than one-quarter.

You have to listen to what people aren't saying.

Looks like you did a lot of that in math class, didn't you?

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Feelwood, that's Yogi Berra math. LOL

JD said...


Bowdenball,

People are too fixated on K's. I'm with you; if you get on base 35% of the time I don't really care how you make your outs.

An outfield of Werth, Bourn and Harper is enormously better defensively than Morse, Harper, Werth.

I also never worry about 'blocking' upcoming prospects because: 1) prospects may or may not become stars and projecting prospects is a tricky business. 2) If they do graduate you can always use trades to fill other slots.

JD said...


Bowdenball,

He won't take 4 at $12 mil. He was a 6.4 WAR player last year and has been over 4 every year for the past 4 years. I think he is looking for 5 x 20 and I think someone will give it to him.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

JD, strikeouts happen and some K's are worse than others like doing it with a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs. Most times a K is just another out.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Mark, can you un-SPAM me. thanks

Theophilus T. S. said...

FeelWood --

Much as I detest stupid arguments, if Bourn struck out 155 times, and had an OBP around .340 -- good but not great -- then his BAPIP was somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, which is phenomenal if not unbelievable (speed factor). Think how much better his production would have been if he'd just been able to keep his bat on his shoulder a few more times, or tapped a few more slow rollers to short. Think also that he's only going to slow down and that speed will be less and less of a factor as he ages, he will get on base less, he will stretch fewer singles into doubles, and he will be thrown out going to third a few more times.

bowdenball said...

That may be true, JD. And if he costs 5 years 100 million, the Nats should pass. But I'm not sure it's true. Jose Reyes was coming off an even better season last year, and was two years younger at the time, and plays an even more valued defensive position. Reyes only got 6 years at $106 million. I don't see Bourn getting a deal almost as long as that one at a higher AAV, especially considering the glut of CF options on the market.

Theophilus T. S. said...

" . . . I also never worry about 'blocking' upcoming prospects because: 1) prospects may or may not become stars and projecting prospects is a tricky business. 2) If they do graduate you can always use trades to fill other slots."

Contra: Filling up your roster w/ veterans on expensive multi-year deals also inflates your payroll and denies the team the opportunity to thrive with select young players earning at or near the league minimum.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

There are players who K more often in clutch situations like with runners on 3rd and less than 2 outs. Did anyone check Bourn's clutch stats?

JD said...


Theo,

I agree 100% and this is why I am opposed to 4 - 5 year deals (not to mention 7) in principal but unlike other posters here I am not 100% sure that Goodwin will be a productive major leaguer. If Rizzo has complete confidence that Goodwin is indeed the real deal then he shouldn't and won't go there.

Also, your arguments re Bourn slowing down are not really on the mark IMO; he is not 35 and he can be expected to retain his speed for several more years.

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

I love ll you NIers, but can someone tell me why the obsession with Upton or Bourn?? I really believe we only need one more stopper. Am I wrong

Doc said...

Reading about Skole, Martinson, Goodwin, and Rendon in the AFL, I'm thinking that the Nats' farm system rating will get a comparative boost at the next publication.

Anybody have an opinion on the issue??

mick said...

Doc... and this goes to my point... whatever the Nats need, they have in their farm

JD said...


There is also a perception here that the Nats are full of sure fire prospects at all levels but that's simply not the case. Our farm system is middle of the pack at best (to be fair this is because we have so many young players at the big league level) with the only sure fire prospect being Anthony Rendon. I think that Goodwin and Meyer are in the likely category and Perez and Skole are possibilities but that's not a glut.

I think prospects such as Kobernus, Rosenbaum and Hood are fringy and we have to defer judgment on Solis and Purke until they are healthy.

natsfan1a said...

As y'all know, I don't do the armchair GM thing. However, I did just scroll the comments and see a few relating to the AFL Rising Stars game. Just in case you weren't aware of this, MLB Network is also scheduled to broadcast AFL games on Saturday, November 10 (at 8 ET) and Saturday, November 17 (at 3 ET). Maybe NatsLady can figure out whether they might also be available online. I remember that she'd turned up something on that possibility for last Saturday's game, but can't recall any specifics.

JD said...


My point above is not an indictment of Rizzo or the Nats; the opposite is true. He has graduated a ton of young talent to the majors and they have been successful in the big leagues but it doesn't add anything to discussion when we list 15 - 20 names of players; most of whom will never sniffs the big club.

natsfan1a said...

Ghost, did you also email Mark directly about the spam-flagging issue? He might see an email sooner than a comment (just a thought).

Gonat said...

Ghost Of Steve M. said...
There are players who K more often in clutch situations like with runners on 3rd and less than 2 outs. Did anyone check Bourn's clutch stats?

November 05, 2012 12:09 PM
_______________________________________

He has been excellent in those situations where he scored the runner(s) in 17 of the 28 plate appearances with runner on 3rd and less than 2 outs. He did K in 7 of the 28 plate appearances.

What I found interesting is how good Bourn is to start a game and remember him doing this to Lannan on July 21st, he is very good at leading off with a hit. Here's his slash to leadoff the game: .351/.437/.519/.956

Where he is poor is facing other teams bullpens late in the game: .229/.320/.335/.655 His K rate is much higher against relievers especially utilizing the lefty specialist against him.

Faraz Shaikh said...

by the way, what is everyone's opinion of Joe Blanton?

Taino in DC said...

Sooner or later you have to pay, or you can be the Rays, good every year but never go far in the playoffs. We are in a tough division that is not going to get any weaker, therefore I think is time to spend the money now , so we can get deep into the playoff years after year for the next 4 to 5 . No window is open forever.Sign ZACK GREINKE and with the new playoffs format , dont see how we wont win less than 90 games year after year for the next 4 to 5 years , then we reload .

Gonat said...

https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tsCEGKNVcxttZHoBc2O6q0w&output=html

For those of you that want to spend the money. The Nats finished 2012 at $92 million. Start penciling long-term deals and think about the true economics of keeping each core player like Stras, Bryce, JZim, Desi, and Ramos.

You just can't afford 1 big FA each season.

Pencil in #'s into that spreadsheet and then decide.

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

Gonat, my mother had a saying, You can't get everything you wish for. I think even George Steinbrenner knew that.

Dave said...

Thanks for that tip about the games on the MLB network, 1a. I did not get on NI for a couple of days, and then I saw that game thread of what must've been an AFL game. Felt like I was missing out on something I should've watched.

My personal strategy for getting through November, December, and January is not to get too worked up and then to be pleasantly (or sometimes unpleasantly) surprised at new signings and trades. But I'll keep checking here for some pretty smart back-and-forth on the hot stove season.

Faraz Shaikh said...

http://bit.ly/TFYIrv
Dave Cameron of FanGraphs on Dan Haren.

natsfan1a said...

You're welcome, Dave. On a related note, tonight at 8 ET, MLB Network has the Players Choice Awards.

Gonat said...

Faraz, good link and this really hits the point:

"For instance, we know that Dan Haren was placed on the DL with “lower back stiffness” in July, but only the Angels know what Haren was actually telling them at that point. It wouldn’t be the first time a team said that a pitcher’s back hurt when it was actually his elbow that was barking, and the motivation to keep any report of arm problems out of the media in your free agent walk year is pretty high. Of course, there’s no evidence that Haren’s arm hurt, and we shouldn’t just assume that the Angels were lying to everyone, but they’re the only team in a position to really know what was going on with him physically last summer."

Theophilus T. S. said...

Joe Blanton=right-handed Lannan w/out the upside.

Gonat said...

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/scott-boras-expects-tv-revenue-to-fuel-growth-of-free-agent-salaries-110412

Scott Boras speaks.

Kenz aFan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taino in DC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kenz aFan said...

With Davey as manager and because Davey much prefers power and big innings to nit and peck, one run at a time offense, between the available Center Fielders, I'd guess Davey would much prefer Upton over Bourn, and I'm pretty sure given Davey's preferences that it's not even close when it comes to those two. because he's slow to changes, he may prefer the players he has now.

The Nats OF isn't a weak point. As is, with Morse, Harper and Werth, with Moore and Bernie coming off the bench, they've got a well above average Outfield.

Defensively, the infield is as good as they get, with it's only weak point being the offense at 2B. Espi needs to improve his numbers, and hopefully, he does that sooner than later. Thankfully we have a solid 2nd option at 2B in Lombardozzi who's shown promise as a hitter to go along with his already solid glove.

Behind the plate, what more could a team ask for than have a catching duo of Wilson Ramos and Kurt Suzuki, with a solid 3rd option in Jesus Flores.

Pitching wise, the Nats need a strong 5th man for their rotation, preferably someone who can win more than half their starts. They also need to shore up their bullpen where they've got two solid closer types in Storen and Clippard, who could just as easily be ideal setup guys. The experiment with Henry Rodriguez will have to end soon, because his implosions could end up being extremely costly. Resigning Mike Gonzalez and/or Sean Burnett would be nice. I believe both (especially MG) were rejuvenated being part of such a young pitching staff. If signing either falls through, signing someone like Jeremy Affeldt is a solid choice, although I'm sure Rizzo could do just as well via the trade route.

The rotation with Strasburg, JZimm, Gio and Detwiler are, barring a trade, pretty much set in stone. All they need is that 5th guy to get them some wins. Personally, I'd rather have a SP who gets me the wins over one that eats up innings. Besides, we'll have plenty of innings eaters in 2013, so finding an innings eater is no longer the priority it once was.

Free Agent candidates are, as stated by Mark, are Greinke, Lohse, Sanchez and Haren (all Right-Handed Starters). From the left side, the choices aren't as plentiful, with Joe Saunders (Pitching in DC would be almost like playing at home) and Francisco Liriano being the best options. Thing is, are the Nats still a team that needs to sign pitchers who were good once and hope to be again? For a 5th SP, maybe.

While any of the RHP above would help improve the Nats rotation, it might end up being extremely expensive in a few years when the time comes to start talking about extensions for SS, JZimm, Gio and Harper, to name few. Of course by then they will have an even better TV deal, so maybe signing a name SP isn't something the Nats need to worry about.

As to what the Nats will do, IMO there are two possible scenarios, with the first being that the Nats sign LaRoche. In which case, Rizzo will focus on a starting pitcher, beefing up the bullpen and making sure we have a strong bench in 2013.

In scenario two: LaRoche signs with someone else, and if that happens, I suspect Morse's days as a Nat are numbered and he's traded, with the 1B job being given over to Tyler Moore, who's not only a very capable and strong option, but a much less expensive one as well. (the money saved could be spent elsewhere) They'll continue to focus on getting a SP, beefing up the bullpen and creating a strong bench, plus they add new focus on signing either Michael Bourn or B.J. Upton, or possibly trading for someone like Denard Span or Peter Bourjos, but not necessarily either of those two.

No matter what Mike Rizzo has up his sleeve this winter, we're gonna have a ball watching, listening and reading everything we can in an off-season, as fans we've been looking forward to for years, and for a few others, decades.

MicheleS said...

Stan's raiding the cookie jar:

Mark Zuckerman‏@ZuckermanCSN

Leaving #Nats. RT @BNightengale Pat Corrales, who worked with Stan Kasten in days with #Braves, hired as #Dodgers special assistant to GM

MicheleS said...

New Story on the Spring Training site - alert- it's politicians talking.

City Of Palms

Ghost Of Steve M. said...

And now will start speculation that Pat Corrales is part of a Go To LA. movement.

baseballswami said...

There is a new post and someone with lots of numbers and letters has some "interesting" comments.....

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"I don't understand what "they don't need him" means. They'll win more games with him then without him. He improves the defense at three spots and improves the lineup substantially."

It means they don't need him. They have an excellent leadoff man with a comparable stolen base ratio, so how is Bourn an improvement there? The Nats would have an excellent defensive OF with Brown in CF, Harp in RF, and Werth in LF next year, for example, and with Goodwin replacing Brown one year out. So they don't really need him on defense, either. Brown has plenty of speed, although he is more of a power hitter, so it depends upon what you value more. I prefer power, especially when you can combine it with plus speed.

So what do they need Bourn for? The Braves don't think they need him, and the Nats are already a better team than the Braves are, without him. They think they can improve their team by letting him go. Hello?

"They "need" to win as many games as they can in the regular and hopefully postseason, and they win more games with Bourn than without him, simple as that. Also, how can you say he's not worth the cost if you don't know what he's gonna cost?"

Well, that's tough one. Let's see, he's a Scott Boras client. That answer the cost question? The Nats only won more games than any other team in MLB last year without him. Whether they win more with him is a matter of opinion. I say they win fewer with him. I think they have better options already in house, both at leadoff and elsewhere because our other options have a lot more pop.

"Why not get it all if you can limit your long-term exposure?"

Phillies, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers are 4 reasons why I disagree. You can add Oakland, which went the opposite route and beat out the much higher-paid Angels. Last year we could have bid on CJ Wilson, or signed Mark Buerhle or Prince Fielder, et. al., and Rizzo did not go that route. Over-priced FAs are just not his style, and he was only the GM of the year, IMO.

Now, watch him go out and sign Bourn next week, just to make me look bad. LOL.

peric said...

I would love to have Bourn on the team, although that is tempered by the likelihood that it means The Beast is traded. I absolutely do not want BJ Upton, who appears like he will never reach his potential.

Still living on Giggleman's Island 1/2 Street? The land of slap hitters? Smart ball, small brain? For starters Davey isn't going to want Bourn not with Goodwin hitting for power and tearing up the AFL right now? Plus there's Harper, Bernadina, Corey Brown, Erik Komatsu.

Give it up will ya? Its never going to happen and given that Werth seems better suited to lead off than anywhere else in the lineup? In other words its just a ludicrous idea for the current roster construction of the 2013 Nationals.

peric said...

Not to mention Eury Perez if you want that kind of player ... if Davey did you would have seen Perez more ...

Give it up.

peric said...

LaRoche signs with someone else, and if that happens, I suspect Morse's days as a Nat are numbered and he's traded, with the 1B job being given over to Tyler Moore, who's not only a very capable and strong option,

This isn't going to happen either. Its going to be Ryan Zimmerman at first base starting a new collection of gold gloves and hopefully a 40 home run year. At third base you'll see the top prospect in the Nationals system: Anthony Rendon.

peric said...

He's a superb defensive CF. Yes, Harper was adequate in CF. This year. But Bourn is an upgrade from Harper. And Harper in RF is an upgrade from Werth. And Werth in LF is a huge upgrade from Morse. You can't look at the move in isolation. Acquiring Bourn improves our defense in three spots.

UPGRADE?? What division are you watching again? How many homers, RBI, runs? Compare that to Harper and Morse. Compare his OBP to Werth.

No Bourn is not an upgrade. But Goodwin just might be.

Fugggetaboutit will ya? Its **NOT** going to happen. The Bourn ship sailed along with the SS Upton and the Minow went to Florida with Jim Riggleman ... no more smart ball, small brain for the Nats.


sometimesitrains said...

hey all! long time lurker, first time poster. any chance the Nats seek to address the possible/probable loss of Burnett by moving Lannan to the 'pen?

Scooter said...

Welcome, sometimes. Not the craziest idea. Lannan isn't cheaper than Burnett, I don't think, but he does also serve as a backup starter. I suspect they'd rather have someone with experience coming from the pen, but you never know.

sometimesitrains said...

could be wrong, but i believe Lannan is at $5M, whereas Burnett turned recently turned down his side of a $3.5M mutual option, which means they're probably about comparable. since it doesn't seem likely that we both keep Lannan and resign Burnett as an FA, maybe Lannan can provide some left-handed innings as relief while still being insurance against one of the starting five getting injured?

UnkyD said...

One problem is that you'd have to pay LannEn to find out if he's a top drawer reliever, because that's what we'd need him to be. You gonna send him down again, if it doesn't work?

Howard White said...

Feel Wood said: "Two, Bourn, with his 155 Ks, has no chance of getting on base one-quarter of his PAs.

Then how did he manage to get on base 34.8% of his PAs with 155 Ks in 2012? 34.8% is a lot mre than one-quarter."

What he meant was not that he couldn't get on base a quarter of the time but that he wasted a quarter of his PAs. Its his English not his math that is questionable.

You have to listen to what people aren't saying.

Looks like you did a lot of that in math class, didn't you?

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