Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Nats head home early

USA Today Images
Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo each left Nashville on Wednesday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Having already addressed two major needs and sensing there was nothing left to accomplish here, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson left the Winter Meetings this afternoon, one day before the event officially concludes.

General managers typically stay at the meetings through the Thursday morning Rule 5 draft, but the Nationals aren't expected to select any players and don't really have any available roster space for an unproved project like that anyway.

Rizzo apparently also felt there weren't any more discussions with agents or other clubs that needed to be done in person, so he departed the Gaylord Opryland today and headed back to Washington.

"You know, we didn't have a whole big wish list," Johnson said before departing for his home outside Orlando. "I didn't have a whole big wish list, and Dan Haren's a really great pickup. Of course we got Denard Span before. I think he's a quality player also.

"Other than our first base situation, I think the only area we needed a little depth was our starting pitching. We need that, we'll have that with a couple guys we'll have in Syracuse. I like our infield depth. I like the way our outfield depth's coming together. I like where we're going."

The Nationals acquired Span from the Twins last week, addressing their longstanding need for a leadoff hitter and center fielder. They came to terms with Haren Tuesday morning on a one-year, $13 million contract, the final piece to their starting rotation.

Haren, a California native, is scheduled to fly to Washington tonight and undergo a physical tomorrow, the results of which will determine whether his deal becomes official.

The only questions the Nationals still face are at first base (whether they re-sign Adam LaRoche or shift Michael Morse from left field) and in the bullpen (whether they're able to sign a left-hander to replace free agent Sean Burnett).

The status of negotiations with LaRoche haven't changed during the Winter Meetings. He's still seeking a three-year contract; the Nationals won't offer more than two years.

Johnson continues to believe the veteran first baseman will sign a deal to return to Washington.

"I think so. I won't really sleep real comfortable until he does," the manager said. "I hope that gets worked out. Everybody knows each other. I think everybody has a lot of comfort zone, not just on the field but in the clubhouse and off the field.

"I had him at my golf tournament and I told him: 'You don't want to go somewhere and be miserable.' You know you're going to have a good time in D.C., and I won't platoon you. We'll see. I don't know if there's a deadline, but that'd be a nice Christmas present. That would put the icing on the cake."

46 comments:

MicheleS said...

RePosting since it's just tooo good:

Just got home and Saw my favorite Peter Gammons on MLB Network Had nothing but high praise for the Nats and - in a very nice Peter way - totally slammed the Phillies! HAHAHAHAHA! Tick Tock!!!!!!

MicheleS said...

Oh and for those of you that think ALR could go to the Pirates. Umm, the Fans there HATE him (I have a lot of Pirate fans as friends - and they were SCREAMING about him this year). remember he got boooed when the Nats went to Pittsburgh.

peric said...

Everything else will have to wait until the big money teams make their roster moves. Then everything will settle out and the trade offers will begin in earnest. And LaRoche just might find a different spot ... if it goes down like the Adam Dunn deal.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Does Harden fill up the 40-man roster? Or is there a spot left? (Not counting a couple of throw-aways.)

NatsLady said...

Rizzo cracks me up. Let the other guys have their four-team blockbuster trades and their Greinkes and Hamiltons. I'm heading home in case RG3 goes to another Caps game.

Meanwhile, Davey thinks he's encouraging ALR to sign by telling him he won't get any days off?

NatsJack in Florida said...

I think there are 2 spots left.

NatsLady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Section 222 said...

Shorter Rizzo -- "I'm in the driver's seat on every level here. The agents and the other GMs have my number." Heh, heh. Well played.

He's also got work to do on figuring out how much to offer JZnn, Desi, and Storen to avoid the bad feeling that going all the way to arbitration causes. Or maybe even reach multi-year agreements with them.

On Burnett, I just think Rizzo doesn't want to pay that kind of money for a reliever, even if he's the best LH option out there.

staring out the window waiting for spring said...

Theo, I count 36 on the roster on the Nat's site.

Section 222 said...

Michele is absolutely right about ALR and the Pirates fans. I was at a Nats game there in 2011 where the fans all around me were absolutely ripping on him. What they hated most was his lack of emotion. It didn't sit well that he'd show no fire when he'd strike out with men on base. They thought he wasn't really trying and didn't care. Very interesting contrast to the way he's been received in DC. The thing is that he had a very good year in 2008. They have short memories in Pgh I guess.

staring out the window waiting for spring said...

What's a middle reliever worth, even a really good lefty? 2 wins, tops? A +1 WAR would be superb. Hard to figure that's worth $8-10MM, nevermind $12MM, per year. And yet, he may well get that, somewhere else.

Todd Boss said...

Haren and Duke were MLB signings, so they count as 40-man roster spots. I've got the Nats at 38/40 right now.

Water23 said...

You gotta love this quote from a recent Boswell article -

Span asked in a tweet, “What’s Natitude?” It’s trading for you, buddy, when plenty of others wouldn’t, then putting 13 million chips on Haren-to-win.

Nice! Welcome home Denard!

Eugene in Oregon said...

Just catching up with MLBTradeRumors -- while my students take their exam -- and thinking how nice it is that the Nats are not among those teams competing for 30-something utility IFs and platoon OFs in hopes that they might somehow recapture their glory years and thus be able to fill a full-time need. Even the Yankees seem to be in that category (heh, heh) this year. And looking at the dollars being spent on (and contract years being given to) some seemingly suspect players, I'm marveling at the Nats' ability to lock-up a solid CF for two or three years for a fraction of the market price. Well done Mr. Rizzo!

NatsLady said...

222, interesting. I guess we are used to the Face, who's not a fiery guy, though he did get upset a couple of times at bad calls. Our best players, before this year, like the Hammer and the Donkey, didn't show a lot of emotion, and of course Stras is stoic. Wasn't until this year, with Gio and Bryce, that we got some showmen, and even then, the veteran guys kept them 'in line.'

NatsJack in Florida said...

Todd Boss.....that's how I got to 2 spots left.

NatsLady said...

So the Pirates fans wanted LaRoche to throw a fit (or a bat) when he struck out? Um, we frown on that here...

feelanau said...

Davey's unabashed lobbying for ALR can't sit well with Morse. If ALR does end up going elsewhere, that's a rift that may require mending. Maybe this is crazy, but there were times last season when I got the sense that Morse wasn't Davey's cup of tea, whether it's his goofiness or whatever. I can go either way on it. i think Morse is better/more consistent offensively but ALR is better on defense and hits left handed. But if he leaves, it's not the end of the world. I just hope that Morse is able to forgive and forget that he was a distant second choice.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Possible, then, we won't see any 40-man roster moves until well into ST. Any additional FA action is likely to be minor league contracts, and the trades will probably even out. In any event, I think Kimball and Maya are throwaways.

Theophilus T. S. said...

Marrero, too, for that matter.

NatsLady said...

feelanau--last winter LaRoche had to hear endless Prince Fielder rumors, and knowing he was a
"second choice." He survived. Hopefully, Morse will also, if he's the last man standing. Once the season starts I think a lot of that is out-of-mind. It may return, of course, at contract time...

Tcostant said...

I love the article comparing this team vs. the '86 Mets. Gotta say that the writter lost me when they gave a 20 year old Harper the edge over a 24 year old Strawberry. I watch those teams and ever time Strawberry was up with men on base, you felt like he was gonna get a hit - no kidding. Harper I hope has the better career, but this one season view can only be Strawberry.

feelanau said...

NatsLady -- ALR/Prince not exactly the same. I don't recall that it was management rooting for Fielder over ALR. And the fans didn't have much to go on since ALR missed virtually all of the 2011 season. But I agree that Morse will have to get over it. Maybe it will even motivate him, which is a win/win for everyone.

realdealnats said...

Feelanau--Agreed on Morse's sentiments. But that's Davey: what goes through his mind comes out his mouth--his strength and his weakness. Mostly strength. I've thought more than once that what Morse is going through this year is what Adam suffered through last year with all the Fielder talk.

Michelle and 222--just had one of my son's friends over last night and is a die hard Pirates fan from Pittsburgh--he didn't hate ALR--but was surprised he was a good fielder--not great but even good. Like once ALR left Pittsburgh he fell off the planet. Weird b/c this kid follows the game.

Steady Eddie said...

feelanau -- Morse is in his walk year and knows - or his agent will tell him - that he needs to act like a pro in his own self-interest. He knows there's no way he stays with the Nats after 2013 so his whole season -- here or somewhere else (assuming a trade to somewhere else doesn't include an extension) -- is about showing his stuff for a last, big ~3-4-5 year contract.

MicheleS said...

Looks like Sean is going to Angels

JD said...


realdealnats,

LaRoche wasn't always a great fielder; he has really improved especially through his years with the DBacks and the Nats.

DL in VA said...

Well, Burnett is gone.

Which brings up two questions: is there anyone on another team that 1) is analogous to Burnett, 2) is tradable to the Nats, and 3) we can get to wear his hat crooked?

JD said...


MichelleS,

And Choate to the Cards. I wander if Bill Bray is the LOOGY apparent or if there's someone else to come. I know Rizzo won't pay crazy money for that role; I'd bring back MGon if possible.

JD said...


It's a 2 year deal for Sean. I wander at what price?

NatsJack in Florida said...

Angels blogs are reporting between 8 and 9 mil for 2 years (4 - 4.5 per year)

Eugene in Oregon said...

Repeat the refrain: Relievers are fungible; don't overspend.

The Nats are in such a good position right now talent-wise and contract-wise that they can afford to sign a couple more 7th-inning-types and let them compete. See who has the strongest arm and the liveliest movement on the ball as of late March. Then bring one or two north and release, assign to AAA, or trade the others, as appropriate.

NatsLady said...

The Angels finalized their bullpen search on Wednesday, signing left-handed reliever Sean Burnett to a two-year deal with a club option, a source told MLB.com.

The deal, which is still pending a physical, is expected to be just south of the two-year, $9.5 million deal Kyuji Fujikawa got with the Cubs, and way south of the three-year, $18 million deal Jeremy Affeldt signed with the Giants.

MicheleS said...

Well, JP Howell's name has been mentioned as a LOOGY

Don said...

Love Davey: He tells ALR that he won't platoon him. As if Adam is worried he's going to be sharing ABs.

bobfromalexandria said...

Agree completely and been worried it

MicheleS said...

Don, remember Davey's comment in Spring Training last year when Adam's foot was a problem? Platooning with DeRo. I bet that's what is behind the comment from Davey.

phil dunton said...

Davey talks about ALR like he is the second coming of Joey Votto or Albert Pujols. He. had a career year but his career stats are very ordinary and he's getting old. If he reverts to his Pirates stats, fans will wish he went the way of Adam Dunn.

NatsLady said...

MASN ‏@masnsports

Add Jim Riggleman to list of potential Orioles third base coaches http://bit.ly/11GDUmS

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

And Rizzo heads out of Nashville the way Willie Sutton used to exit banks.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

If the Orioles hire Riggleman, does he stay the full season?

feelanau said...

I understand not giving Burnett the 3 years/$18M that Affeldt got from the Giants, but 2 years/$8-9M seems reasonable. I'm sorry to see him go. As for the departure of the Nats contingent from Nashville, I love it. It says, "we're done here; you all can finish up." Let's just hope the 2013 performance matches the Natitude!

natsfan1a said...

Hopefully, at least until the batter reaches third base.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

If the Orioles hire Riggleman, does he stay the full season?
December 05, 2012 6:33 PM

Don said...

Ok, thanks MicheleS - so makes sense to me now. :-)

Jim Webster said...

Someone needs to tell me where the Beast fits if ALR re-signs. He doesn't seem like a bench player or 4th outfielder. Would a trade be the only option?

Laddie Blah Blah said...

"Someone needs to tell me where the Beast fits if ALR re-signs."

He doesn't. He is a liability in the OF, where the Nats have other, better options. Both Moore and Tracy are available as backups to ALR at 1b. Rizzo is not going to make room for the Beast, IMO, by moving Moore, Lombo, Tracy or Bernie.

He belongs in the AL, where his bat and power are ideal for DH, and his woeful glove, plodding stride, and weak arm will do no harm. He can carry a club with his bat, alone, for weeks, as long as he stays healthy. Not having to play in the field will reduce the possibility of injuries in the AL.

When asked about Morse the other day, Davey made no mention of his role on next year's team, either at 1b or in the OF. Just a matter of time before Rizzo moves him. Rizzo said, himself, that his decision on Morse, or anyone else, is not dependent on whether ALR re-signs, or not.

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