Monday, December 3, 2012

Nats unlikely to retain Burnett

US Presswire photo
Sean Burnett has received interest from as many as eight clubs this winter.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nationals are resigned to the fact they aren't likely to re-sign Sean Burnett.

With as many as eight clubs in the mix for a left-handed reliever who could command a three-year contract in the neighborhood of $15 million, general manager Mike Rizzo all but conceded defeat this evening.

"We like Sean. We'd like to bring him back. But it has to make sense for us," Rizzo said. "And right now, I don't see a fit financially or term-wise. But he hasn't signed with anybody yet. We'll see where it leads us."

Burnett is the best available lefty on the market this winter after posting a 2.38 ERA in 70 appearances for the Nationals last season. He's the rare reliever who has established a track record of consistency and durability, boasting a 2.85 ERA while appearing in 283 games over the last four years (third-most in the majors).

Despite that track record, the Nationals are reluctant to make a long-term commitment to Burnett -- or any reliever -- given the typical volatility of the position.

They'll need to fill Burnett's role, however, and prefer for his replacement to be left-handed. Veteran Michael Gonzalez, who had a 3.03 ERA in 47 games for the Nationals last season, is a candidate to return on a one-year deal.

Fellow lefty Zach Duke, who signed a one-year contract of his own today, will be used as a long reliever and potential starter in case of injury.

"We'd like to get a second left-hander [in addition to Duke]," Rizzo said. "It's not a necessity, because our right-handers get out lefties so well. But in a perfect world, we'd like to get a second left-hander in the bullpen."

As things currently stand, the Nationals are looking at a bullpen of closer Drew Storen, setup man Tyler Clippard, Duke and right-handers Ryan Mattheus, Craig Stammen and Henry Rodriguez.

Right-hander Christian Garcia, who impressed out of the bullpen in September and made the postseason roster, will be stretched out next spring to potentially become a starter either in Washington or at Class AAA Syracuse.

36 comments:

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

Wow 3 at $15M, that is WAY too pricey.

NatsLady said...

James O'Hara ‏@nextyeardc
The MASN story finally has an update, MLB is apparently pushing FOX to by out the rights to MASN from Angelos. What a mess.

MicheleS said...

NatsLady, the SBJ had a story on it. Fox and Masn haven't talked in weeks.

phil dunton said...

Barf, not Henry Rodriguez. My nerves could not take another season of him.

SCNatsFan said...

Duke, Bray and Gonzales sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Too many ifs involved.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Just read the SBJ story. It may explain why there's been no movement by MLB to 'solve' the MASN-Nats dispute, i.e., MLB was waiting for negotiations to play out. Because it now appears, according to the SBJ piece, that nothing is happening, one can only hope that MLB will now do it's job and impose a fair settlement. But I'm not holding my breath on either MLB acting or the settlement being truly fair.

Theophilus T. S. said...

My plans for an enjoyable season rest on Rodriguez being traded to the Chunichi Dragons for a box of ramen.

Eugene in Oregon said...

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

NatsJack in Florida said...

Get ready for a full dose of Hen Rod through all Spring Training. And after that, who knows.

MicheleS said...

What would Spring Training be without rounds of Bourbon and Maalox?

realdealnats said...

Eugene & NJ--I hear ya that relievers are fungible; don't overspend, but I'd feel a lot better with Sean listed in that BP for at least this upcoming year--and I know he wants 3. I understand you don't want to overpay at a certain position, and that an arm can suddenly go south, and that the WS can be a crap shoot in the end but man, 5-6mil per year for Sean would put us in a lot better position this year in the late innings. And I think about money spent on Wang and EJax. Seems penny wise and pound foolish to me.

Doc said...

NatsJack, Henry did OK in ST last year.

It was later on that his sales' commissiwith the Maalox Co. started to kick in!! Let's hope that it was the elboe bone chips that made him be bad Henry!!!

Fugeddabout the lefties, give HRod a chance---again!

hiramhover said...

Good for Sean if he can get it, but I sure don't want the Nats to be the ones paying it.

I guess I shouldn't be, but I'm surprised to see so many posters spending the Lerners' money on so many different players--$36M for ALR, $7M to keep Morse too, $100M+ for Greinke, $15M for Burnett, etc., etc. But hey, the Nats are close, and it's only (someone else's) money.

About the MASN story - Sounds like MLB called in Fox in the first place because the negotiations had stalled out months ago, and Bud hoped FOX would buy off/buy out Angelos and make the problem go away. Didn't work, so Bud's back to doing what he does best--nothing.

NatsLady said...

What is SBJ and when was the story?

hiramhover said...

Sports Business Journal had a story today:

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2012/12/03/Media/Fox-Sports.aspx

Gonat said...

NatsJack in Florida said...
Get ready for a full dose of Hen Rod through all Spring Training. And after that, who knows.

December 03, 2012 7:06 PM
__________________________________

That should be the way to go unless some team absolutely wants Hen in a trade

Steady Eddie said...

Take a deep breath, folks. These are preliminary moves.

Bray has a minor league contract and a ST invite, period.

Duke is promising but a little iffy, sure. But he lets Rizxo look for more from a position of strength and not thevulnerability of an empty cupboard.

Like NJ said, HRod gets a ST look to see if the surgery brought him back to his late 2011 form. Remember, for all the love and patience Davey and Rizzo showed him last year, they basically kept him off the mound in all but the most inconsequential situations after the ASB. Davey's always all in on almost everyone, to boost their confidence, until they're ready to cut them.

Yes, relievers are mostly fungible, and Rizzo has a mostly good eye for 'em. As I recall, the response to his signing Michael Gonzalez last year was mostly "who?" and "whatever". He outperformed everyone's expectations.

In Davey and Rizzo we trust.

Eugene in Oregon said...

realdeal: There are stats-heads who can explain this a lot better than I ever could, but the message I've taken away from all those Baseball Prospectus and FanGraphs articles I've read over the years is that you can buy strikeouts, WHIP, etc. fairly easily and pretty cheaply within the world of available relievers. And teams get in trouble -- or at least don't much bang for their buck -- when they spend high on relievers (measured in both annual salary and length of contract). Sure, we all loved Mr. Burnett as a Nat. But he's replaceable for a lot less than he's seeking (dollars and years). As Steady Eddie points out above, the Nats found Michael Gonzalez on the proverbial scrapheap and look how that turned out. Relievers -- especially below the 8th/9th inning variety -- are like utility infielders; you can find what you need relatively cheaply. Better to devote your money to starters (whether pitchers or position players).

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

MicheleS said...

What would Spring Training be without rounds of Bourbon and Maalox?


Michele, I thought that was what Spring Training was for?

Candide said...

I don't understand the way everyone is throwing the word "fungible" around. "Fungible" means "being of such a nature that one part or quantity may be replaced by another equal part or quantity in the satisfaction of an obligation."

I hope no one here is trying to say that any reliever is as good as any other.

Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said...

It's 8:20. Gosh. Darn. Do I have to watch that OTHER team now?

Faraz Shaikh said...

Affeldt got 3/18 from Giants I believe. Why are people so opposed to the idea of Burnett for 3/15? I actually thought he would fetch the same contract as Affeldt.

Feel Wood said...

I hope no one here is trying to say that any reliever is as good as any other.

They are fungible, as in interchangeable parts. If the one you have installed right now turns out to be bad, you swap him out for another one instead of sending him out to get fixed. Starters are more like machines. If they break down, it's often worth taking the time/cost hit to get them fixed rather than throwing them on the scrap heap in favor of a new one - because new ones don't come cheap.

MicheleS said...

Faraz, my concern is you have Clipp in Arb and Storen is a super 2. That is where the money is going to go for the bullpen. It just seems the money for the middle relievers is getting crazy, but that could be just a function of TV money and drunk owners/gm's

realdealnats said...

Eugene--Thanks for the patient and clear response. I guess my thought was there do not seem to be many available left handed relievers available in FA. A question to all in general is what lefties are out there that fill the Nat's needs? I like Duke ok, but he's not who I'd hang my hat on. I really like the right side of the BP with Drew/Clip/Mattheus/Stammen/and Garcia. I held out hope for Henry until I found myself reaching for the revolver under the sofa. And I do hope his surgery will go a long way to righting his ship--meaning maybe it wasn't all a confidence thing. I guess I revert back to In Rizzo We Trust.

HH--Yeah I want to spend the Lerner's money. Not foolishly, but strategically. It seems to me this current window we're looking at is for 2-4 years. I like building a contender year in and year out as much as anyone. I really do. But right now--even though the WS might still be a crap shoot to an extent--I say get what you know you need in a judicious manner that you can stay within the luxury tax moving forward. So, to me, the security Burnett and Adam bring are worth it. The final starter--I'm still on the fence about which way to go. You want someone who will help you get to the playoffs--especially in case a starter goes down. But once there, I understand you only need 3, maybe 4. But you'd probably need a fine lefty reliever, and you'd like a left handed first basemen like Adam who'll lay out and snag a line drive to the right side, plus hit for power. I mean you could argue against me--and maybe Rizzo has reminded Adam--that the Lerner's paid him a year when he was completely shut down. But I've always found bringing up stuff like that might be logical but counter productive. So if push comes to shove--and he's gonna walk--I say pay the man for 3 years. If we can get him for 2 great. Re: Morse--I think if you keep ALR you gotta move him for a couple prospects to restock.

MicheleS said...

New Post. I love when Mark is cranking these out.

Eugene in Oregon said...

Candide -- In using the term 'fungible' I meant exactly what Feel Wood wrote at 8:26 p.m. (plus he added the starting pitcher bit, which I fully endorse).

Drew said...

If the Nats bring HROD back, then I hope his fan, Doc, is a psychiatrist. I'm gonna need one.

God help me when Henry slings the Freudian Slop.

Steady Eddie said...

Hey Candide, don't get all lexicograhical on us now, guy!

;-)

sjm308 said...

Couple questions:

Is Duke now signed to a major league contract?

Do you guys really think we will use only 5 or 6 starting pitchers this year?

My thoughts are that we need that #4/5 starter plus at least one other. It may be Garcia or Perry but I doubt that they will be the answer. It's one reason I wanted to keep Lannan.

On the bullpen, I will join Doc as an HRod fan and think if used correctly (6th or 7th inning, not entering a game with runners on base), he can be an asset. When he is the "good Henry" it doesn't matter if its a left or right handed batter, no one can hit him. I realize that he has rarely shown that but I have hope. I realize that Peric has drilled us all with the fact that Davey wants/needs lefties in his bullpen but I still think its more important to just get as much quality as possible and not worry about what hand they throw with.

realdealnats said...

sjm--Mark says in the last post he signed a 1 year major league contract.

DaveB said...

sjm ... It's tricky to have those 6th/7th/8th starters available when you don't have any MLB ready starters in the minors. I think it is why they signed Duke as a reliever, and why they will try Garcia and Perry as starters in Syracuse. One more would be nice (as I don't have much hope for Perry), so perhaps they can find another Zack Duke type (from last year) that is willing to spend the year at AAA until he is needed.

sjm308 said...

Thank you for those answers!!

Stew Magnuson said...

Henry Rodriguez! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

natsfan1a said...

Don't make me pull over this blog and get out my dictionary! ;-)

Steady Eddie said...

Hey Candide, don't get all lexicograhical on us now, guy!

;-)
December 03, 2012 9:15 PM

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