Wednesday, January 9, 2013

LaRoche on returning to the Nats

USA Today Sports Images
Adam LaRoche signed a two-year, $24 million contract yesterday.
Adam LaRoche held a conference call this afternoon to discuss his decision to re-sign with the Nationals for two years and a guaranteed $24 million. Here's a full transcript for your reading enjoyment...

Q: What made you decide to re-sign with the Nationals and what kind of offers did you get from other teams?
"I don't mind you asking, but as far as the other teams go, I'm going to keep this out of the discussion. You guys probably have an idea who some of them are, but the offers from other teams and some of the teams that were involved, I'm going to stay away from. I can say that the reason it took as long as it did -- and there are a couple of them -- but one of the big ones was I fighting to do what I could to get back to Washington. I made that very clear at the end of the season that this is where I wanted to be. And honestly as far as my personal preference throughout the offseason, that never changed.

"Now, there were points in the offseason where I thought that it may not happen, it may not be realistic to end up back in Washington. So obviously we had to look down other roads. But it never changed the fact that it was my No. 1 choice. But it's done and I'm back in D.C. and it couldn't have worked out any better."

Q: Besides the chance to win, what were the other reasons you wanted to come back?
"It's a comfort thing, any time you play somewhere a couple years and are familiar with it. My kids enjoy it. I like playing there. I like seeing the change in that city from when I played against the Nationals for years with zero excitement, not a lot of hope, not a ton of success on that club. Now to see the transformation of that whole city, and I think it's only going to get better.

"Playing for Davey. I love playing for Davey. I love the fact that clubhouse is one big family. There's not a lot of separation in there over the course of a season, which is tough to do. When you get guys together for that long, to see that kind of camaraderie ... it's basically like one big family in there. It's special, and you don't get that everywhere you play."

Q: Were you surprised that with the new CBA, the market for you wasn't more, especially coming off a career year? Do you think the qualifying offer affected you?
"I think it did. That's coming from other people a lot smarter than I am who just kind of explained it to me. I think it's probably affected a couple of other players in addition to me. There's some guys still out there who are pretty good ballplayers looking for jobs. I don't know how that's going to play out in the future. I know it definitely hindered some teams from going after guys they'd have normally gone after. Where money may not be a big issue with that team. They have plenty of money as far as payroll goes. But they don't want to give up that [compensatory draft] pick. I think there were probably two or three, maybe four teams that was in effect that were interested in me but just didn't want to give up that pick. But again, looking back, it may have been the best thing to end up getting back here. I can't say right now that it was a bad thing. I do know that it affected the amount of teams that were interested. That's all I can say."

Q: How bad do you feel for Michael Morse, who is now either going to be on the bench or traded?
"Yeah, I don't think you're going to see Mikey on the bench. Mike's a guy that you can get in the middle of a lineup in the big leagues. He's proven that. I don't know what's going to happen there. Selfishly, I would love to have him on our team and in that lineup. Of course, we've got a little bit of a logjam out there, so something's going to have to happen. Again, he's going to be playing for somebody. Whether it's us, whether we make a move and get prospects or whatever they're going after, this isn't in any way a career-ender for Michael. I think he's just getting started. He's going to tear it up with someone. Hopefully it's with us. But I don't make that decision and I'm glad that I'm not, because it's going to be a tough one for them."

Q: You wanted a three-year contract. At what point did you realize you were going to have to come to some kind of compromise?
"Probably a week ago. I was beginning to realize they were dead-set on the two years. I had a couple of conversations with Riz. We sat down in Florida, and he explained the situation and was very clear about it. And he stuck with it. In the end, it wasn't necessarily the third year. We kind of conceded that. It was probably more some of the smaller things, working out the buyout or whether we could do a no-trade clause or something like that. That no-trade clause was a hang-up for a little while. On my end, I don't want to be traded. I want to be there, because I think you all know the direction the organization is going is phenomenal. I think they could be really solid for a long time, so I don't want to be traded. But apparently that's a Nationals policy where I think they did it for Jayson [Werth] but after that they're going to shut that down and not give any more no-trade provisions. So it's something to work through and it took a little longer than I would've liked."

Q: So they did not grant you a no-trade clause?
"No. And that's what I was going for, a no-trade. And Riz didn't want to do it. He explained why. They're going to try to stay away from that going on. If we do our job on the field and do what we're capable of doing, I don't think it's going to be an issue anyway."

Q: How important was the third-year option for you?
"I don't know when it came about. You'd have to ask Riz about that, because a lot of what I did was through my agent at different time frames over the winter. And I don't know that Rizz was against it from the beginning. He could have been. But I think what it does is it gets us closer to the AAV [average annual value] that we were looking for with that buyout. So if they decide not to pick up that option or whatever, then there's a buyout attached to that."

Q: Have you talked to any teammates, and what kind of reaction have you gotten?
"Yeah, it's been great. I've heard from probably half of them. Guys who were just waiting around seeing what was going to happen. The feedback has been phenomenal on the other side of it, that everybody loves Michael [Morse]. So it's kind of ... you're happy and sad at the same time. You're getting a guy back and you're also losing a guy. So there's mixed emotions in there. But overall, I think we're all pretty fired up about the squad we've got."

Q: Anything you have to do at your age to better keep yourself in shape?
"There's a little bit. I was actually laughing the other day. I've got my trainer in here. I've got a barn out at the ranch, we've got a weight room and a cage. And I told him back in the day, I didn't have to go through any of this. I usually spent my offseason trying to put on as much weight as possible because I lose so much during the season. But now, I can't go have a large pizza every night and rely on being that weight. So yeah, there's more preparation, probably starting a month earlier than I used to. I've kind of learned with age there are some more things I have to do. And obviously during the season, there's a lot more that goes into getting ready for a game now than there was seven or eight years ago. You could roll out of bed and be pretty loose. As far as that, I feel great. I think I've put on about 12-15 pounds. Everything's good so far."

Q: What did Davey Johnson's recruitment efforts mean to you?
"It was pretty funny. I think you guys heard a lot of it. Davey was pretty public about me coming back. He sent some hilarious text messages over the season. Whether it was to come out and be my right-hand man on the ranch or if he could offer up one of his paychecks, whatever he could do. I think he was joking about a lot of it. But on my end, that's not what swayed me. Just playing for him last year and knowing the kind of guy he is and how much he cares about his club, the way he runs the club and manages the game. I've had a lot of managers, and he's right up there at the top. Aside from how good this team is going to be, one of the things was coming back for what he said was going to be his last year."

Q: What do you think of the other offseason moves, adding Denard Span and Dan Haren?
"I think the Haren move -- knowing Dan, I played with him -- he's a warrior. But I could say the same thing about Edwin last year. Dan's a phenomenal pitcher. If you look at his career, he's proven that and he's going to be a force for us. I know he's been on some teams in the past where he was pretty much one of two really good pitchers. Now he's stepping in here where we've got five or six guys who could be No. 1 or 2 for several organizations. And you look at the leadoff spot, I think that was a big topic last year. I think we all knew that was a small piece that was missing out of our lineup and we had to put Jayson in there. Jayson is a run producer. Yeah, he gets on base a lot. But I think all of us would like to see him more in a position to drive in runs as well as score runs. So moving him out of the 1-hole, I think you'll see more of that out of him."

Q: Can this team be better next year?
"There's absolutely no way to tell. There's no way to tell what's going to happen. You look at last year, as good as we played and as many games as we won, we still had a lot of injuries early on. We lost Stras late. Bryce was just getting his feet wet. Desi and Espi are coming into their own. So there's no telling. You can look on paper and we can make all the predictions, but time will tell."

95 comments:

Section 222 said...

This is so much fun to read!

Don said...

Love me some ALR.

NCNatsie said...

Class guy. What's the sabermetric for that?

BigCat said...

i think Werth loves leading off. Does anyone have his average in the leadoff spot compared to the others spots in the lineup?

snopes1 said...

I'm not predicting this by any means, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the surplus outfielder who is traded turn out to be Denard Span rather than Michael Morse.

Putting aside outmoded ideas about the "type" of player who should hit leadoff, it seems pretty obvious that an outfield of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Michael Morse would be far more valuable offensively than a Werth/Harper/Span outfield (just look at OPS's).

There would be some defensive loss if Morse is kept instead of Span, but it wouldn't be nearly enough to offset the additional runs lost by moving Morse. Span is better than Harper in CF, but Harper was getting better and better as the season progressed, so I don't think you'd give away much there. And while Harper is much better defensively than Morse, the importance of defense isn't nearly as great in LF as it is in CF.

It wouldn't surprise me if Rizzo signed Span to give the team leverage in its negotiations with LaRoche. With that mission accomplished, he might now flip Span for a prospect (in essence trading Alex Meyer for another prospect and the return of Adam LaRoche).

It would certainly be a popular move in the clubhouse.

My preferred lineup:

1 - Jayson Werth
2 - Bryce Harper
3 - Ryan Zimmerman
4 - Michael Morse
5 - Adam LaRoche
6 - Ian Desmond
7 - Wilson Ramos (flip 7 and 8 when Suzuki starts)
8 - Danny Espinosa

NatsJack in Florida said...

Snopes....All I can do is shake my head.

peric said...

If they did decide to keep Morse, Span and Werth could both have someone breathing down their necks ... might be a good thing perhaps?

peric said...

Ramos might not be ready when spring training rolls around ... he might end up doing some rehab assignment after Florida. Pencil Suzuki in.

peric said...

Snopes....All I can do is shake my head.

If Span becomes somewhat ineffective or inconsistent like Morgan (another Rizzo / FO choice) and Morse is tearing it up somewhere else?

What do you think everyone is going to say genius?

Unknown said...

Imagine if the Nationals were an AL team or the NL adopts the DH. I do not like the DH, but, man, the Nats would be heck on wheels! Line up of Werth, Harper, Zim, LaRoche, Morse, Desmond, Espinosa, Suzuki and Ramos, Span and Davey able to match up pitchers without worrying about burning his bench. Oh, my!

Anyway, I hope they keep Morse or get a huge return. Nice problems to have. Remember the old problems? Lannan or Oldalis Perez as #1 starter?

These are the good old days!

NatsJack in Florida said...

Still shaking my head but now snickering.

Gonat said...

I can't believe what I read here some days. That $10 mill contract for LARoche allows Riz the flexibility to keep Morse but he isn't trading Span this season.

natsfan1a said...

"I've got a barn out at the ranch, we've got a weight room and a cage."

Wait, he's doing cage matches to get in shape? What, oh, for batting. Never mind...

Anyway, nice piece, Mark. Thanks.

UnkyD said...

Breathtaking, Snopes...... I'm buying none of that nonsense.... Sure, Rizzo trades his best pitching prospect for a CF he's been publicly interested in for two years, as a ruse to wrestle ALR back into the fold, thinking he can flip Span for a comparable prospect, broadcasting to the free agent population, now and on the future, that he'll whisper ANYTHING in your ear, in order to callously use you work down the price of another player........ Did you devote ANY time to thinking that one through?! As I said....breathtaking....

NatsJack in Florida said...

Still snickering.

UnkyD said...

Oh, I'd also love the rational behind the bit about that being a popular move, in the clubhouse.... Mikey is certainly popular, but Span seems like a really cool cat, from the little I've heard since the deal. The clubhouse would be pleased to find that such cold calculations are made.....

Breathtaking....

natsfan1a said...

hmmm...ran that trade scenario through the snopes.com urban legends database, but came up with nada. :-)

Joe Seamhead said...

Snopes, if Rizzo had never made the trade for Span I would have been happy with Morse as the primary leftfielder with Harp in CF. Once the Span trade happened that whole scenario went out the window. Would Morse put up more offense then Span? No question, of course he would. Is the lineup as a whole superior with Span leading off, sans Morse? I believe it will be. I really think that the Nats will score more runs, and wear other pitchers down more with Span leading off. Rizzo must think so, too. The only thing that Span and Morgan have in common that I see is that they both are lefthanded hitters and they are both African Americans. Nyjer Morgan was awarded centerfield by default when he got here, as he was better then anybody else we had at the time. Today, that Nyjer Morgan would be DFA on this team. I will give you that if Morse is traded he probably will put up great numbers wherever he goes. Folks, Span, barring injury, will play centerfield and will be the everyday leadoff hitter. Anything else thrown out on this blog is fantasy babbleball, and no, Ryan Zimmerman will not play first base for the Nationals, barring injury, no matter what Rendon does, at least not before the 2015 season, IMHO.

NatsJack in Florida said...

One other major difference between Morgan and Span. One has a ML contract that covers him for 2 more years + an option and the other is looking for work.

SCNatsFan said...

peric I don't know why you have it in for Span but Rizzo did not get him to sit him on the bench - period. And Lord knows we didn't give up Meyer to trade him. Like all players he will have to produce to be in the lineup but he will be given every opportunity to stay in the lineup.

TheManBearPig said...

Cat, Werth's OBP was .388 hitting leadoff in 2012 (best among NL leadoff hitters, although he had just under 150 AB as a leadoff hitter). Too few AB in any other slot to be a big enough sample size to tell, but he's unlike a lot of other players in that his OBP over the last 3 years is a little better with bases empty than with runers on, and even a little better than that when he's leading off an inning. So, even if Werth isn't the typical leadoff hitter, he's very good in that slot. He'll probably fill the #2 slot just about as well. It will be good to have opposing pitchers throw 12+/- pitches in the 1st inning before they see the #3 hitter.

Unknown said...

"Desi and Espi..."

I love how the baseball world gives you a nickname and it remains part of you forever.

By the second day of my covering the Nationals last May, everyone started calling me "Rush." "Hey Davey, this is Rush, he's from Idaho." "Hey Bryce, this is Rush of the Idaho State Journal."

Even the emails were "Dear Rush..."

There is something about baseball where everyone associated with the team--no matter how unimportant--is part of that team through and through.

Way cool.

Farid Rushdi@ Idaho

JayB said...

This was a very good move and very important to winning WS.

Thank you Lerners, Rizzo and Davey

JayB said...

Morgan should learn from Lastings.....Japan is where they can shine.....for some reason that fan base values their show boat act.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JayB.....do they have professional ice hockey in Japan.Morgan needs all the options he can get.

TheManBearPig said...

It's not hard to be a skeptic about the Span deal if you're a Nats fan who hasn't watched him a lot - based on past numbers, you could reasonably (albeit a bit pessimistically) project him to be a .330-ish OBP hitter, which would be a disappointment. But I'm guessing that Rizzo knows something that tells him Span is on his way back to being the .380+ OBP hitter he was before his injury. Maybe Span in/Morse out is still a net loss offensively, but it's probably more likely a wash. IMO, it's more likely that ALR instead of Morse is a net loss offensively, but that's only because I think Morse is going to have a beastly walk year, not because I think ALR's production is going to drop off a lot.

MicheleS said...

Wow,, just spit my glass of wine out...

JoeS.. yup, that hole Ryan Z to 1b just took a little hit. I believe the prediction was that he would be at 1b full time by end of 2013.

I think Rizzo does right by Beast and trades him (as much as I would love to keep him for the bench or emergency). He deserves a starting job, it's his FA year and he only has ONE SHOT at a big/good contract.

Plus, Tyler is on the bench and Tarasco can work with him on the OF Skills.

MicheleS said...

BTW.. Bryce will be at Nats Fest

Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring said...

OT, but can someone explain the whole than/then confusion thing? I don't remember ever seeing it until a few years ago, and now it's all over the place. WTH?

MicheleS said...

Hey LOOK a LOOGY Candidate:

Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosi

Free agent LHP Brandon Mann signs minor-league deal with #Nats including invite to ML camp, according to agent Steve Canter.

MicheleS said...

and more info (rizzo looking for diamond in the rough):

Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosi
Mann pitched in Rays and Dodgers farm systems and for Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan last two seasons.

BigCat said...

I will hate to see the big galoot Morse traded. I to would be fine without Span, but Riz has something for those speedy CF's that lead off. And he is tremendous on D. But knowing Harper's work ethic, it probably wouldn't be long before he was one of the top CF in the game also. But, it is what it is. Im gonna miss those booming shots to right center from Mike. I hope we hold him till the end of spring to guard against injury though.

Nyjer? Good God.....good riddance

MicheleS said...

WOW!!!!
Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_Rosenthal

Source: #Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is in Puerto Rico tonight watching Javier Vazquez pitch.

sm13 said...

Adam is total class. Easy to see why Rizzo worked to get him back. You've got to feel for Morse, though. I hope the trade happens soon for his sake.

Feel Wood said...

What else is there to do in Puerto Rico?

TimDz said...

I don't see Morse being traded immediately...a lot of what is being written about him is that the Nats shouldn't expect to get too much for a guy who is a free agent at the end of the year...

Personally, I think Rizzo will sit back for a while and let the potential suitors play off each other to extract the best possible deal...

Joe Seamhead said...

JayB, just curious, how do you think the Nats should handle Morse now that ALR is re-signed?

Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring said...

Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosi
Free agent LHP Brandon Mann signs minor-league deal with #Nats including invite to ML camp, according to agent Steve Canter.


So whatever happened to Sean West coming here?

baseballswami said...

It's such a relief to talk about something other than the hof. Only a month or so to go! Can't wait!

MurrayTheRed said...

Gee Adam didn't mention MicheleS's offer of the side of beef - must of slipped his mind. ;) I was actually reading carefully to see if he mentioned it!

Snopes1, Peric that is some really crazy conspiracy theory stuff. No way. I predict a trade announcement for Morse in the next 48 hours. I love Morse in more ways then you know, and hope it all works out best for him. Allow me to tell a story I think you all will like. I fellow season ticket holder sits near us, and almost always brings his small son even to late night games. They are big Morse fans, and call out to him every time he's in the on-deck circle. Most players never look into nor acknowledge the fans when they are on-deck. Morse is not one of those (Werth also, he always scans the crowd like he's looking for someone). Most of the time Morse gives the kid or his dad a head-bob. One day late last year, before the start of the game, he called the boy over and handed him a bat. Not just any bat but one of the ones that are custom made for Morse, not cheap. Morse signed it with an inscription that read: "Couldn't have done it without you!" Wow, what a guy. You should have seen the father, he showed that bat to me with a smile that was ear to ear. And immediately went to the team store to buy one of those protective clear tubes to store it in. Morse deserves an every day job, and should get a big contract next off-season.

peric said...

So whatever happened to Sean West coming here?

Potential AAA / AA org filler left-handed starter. Former 1st round pick of the Marlins. I don't think he pitched last year in the minors or majors. Perhaps Japan?

He didn't get an invite to major league camp as far as I know.

peric said...

Personally, I think Rizzo will sit back for a while and let the potential suitors play off each other to extract the best possible deal...

Or injuries happen ... sometimes fairly early in the year. He has two guys in the middle 30's in LaRoche and Werth ... so ...

Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring said...

peric said...
Looks like Rizzo picked up another left hander and this one is only 26:
Sean West
January 08, 2013 8:00 PM


OK. so this was?

baseballswami said...

I seriously doubt it.

peric said...

Boy Boz didn't even use his "flame-on" rhetoric ... in fact it was quite sympathetic yet he still managed to neatly slice and dice Shanahan in his veg-o-matic for not doing for him what Rizzo did for Strasburg.

Rizzo/Davey/the Lerners rise and Shanahan/Snyder fall. As it should be.
Class versus a scum bucket franchise.

sometimesitrains said...

just to echo what others have said, ALR is such a class act; and having him back with the team for the next two years is such a boon.

(P.S. Unknown -- don't even jest about the NL adopting the DH. :shuuders: .)

peric said...

OK. so this was?

Same guy. He's a starter NOT a LOOGY replacement part. At least not yet, not until player development gets him. He may end up as a pseudo prospect in that respect given his age. They may try to work with him the way they did with Erik Davis. Or he might not even make the team.

peric said...

Unknown is Farid from Idaho.

SCNatsFan said...

Someone smarter then me explain this... where would we fit Vazquez? He isn't going to AAA or pitch long relief.

peric said...

Someone smarter then me explain this... where would we fit Vazquez? He isn't going to AAA or pitch long relief.

THAT IS the million dollar question. He was good enough before he retired to command a major league contract. Still might. Is he better than Harren? Possibly. Interesting turn of events I must say!

peric said...

@TopProspectAlert: Javier Vazquez continues pitch like it's a decade ago. He went 6IP, 1ER, 6H, 1BB, 10K tonight in Puerto Rico Playoff action.

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

"He looked great, in very good shape": Mike Rizzo, @Nats GM on Javier Vazquez performance tonight at Juncos, winter ball.

Alex Cora--yes, "our" Alex Cora--is the GM of Vazguez team. Said he hit 95.

Doc said...

Really good interview Mark.

I was particularly wondering about ALR's off-season conditioning, and you touched on it.

Not everybody can do a good interview, but you did----tnanks!

peric said...

MurrayTheRed,

Morse had to work fairly hard to get to the bigs and stay. A lot of folks had a hand in helping him get there. Including the humidor for his bats that came as a gift from none other than Ichiro Suzuki. He deeply appreciates this and every opportunity he gets. He is the polar opposite of many players in this regard.

Baseball is a strange and fickle beast. You might be right in what you are saying but Rizzo might also be serious about not giving him away and may value Morse enough as that "hot spare" he thinks he might need sooner rather than later. You never know what might happen.

baseballswami said...

MM does seem to have a joy for the game and an appreciation for his better-late-than-never place in baseball. I love it that he doesn't even try to play it cool.

JayB said...

I would trade Morse for top MLB relief help and pitching at AA and AAA levels.

I would not want to have HROD on the team but they need a closer in my view and another LH arm that can do 7,8,9 type innings in a close game.

Tyler Moore is better than Morse in my view and much more durable. Morse will get hurt every year from here forward and his PED body breaks down past 30 Years

sjm308 said...

Just looked up Vazquez's #s and he had 12 straight years of 10 or more wins before retiring. I am not sure how many other pitchers can claim that with injuries etc. I just can't see him accepting a role in the minors but its neat that Rizzo is down there.

On my dream of Morse staying. Even though I realize it is a dream I do think we should keep him through the beginning of Spring Training as a minimum. Great story by Murray the Red and just another reason I really want him in our dugout.

I am wondering if I can go a post without mentioning Morse staying? As long as Natsjack does not snicker, I will persist. MicheleS, I am wondering if we can get some sort of bribe going for Mickey? Give me some ideas please. I realize you are already out a side of beef and the Johnny Walker Blue so these bribes will be on my tab. Maybe we can add them to our spread sheet?

Go Nats!!

peric said...

Tyler Moore is better than Morse in my view and much more durable. Morse will get hurt every year from here forward and his PED body breaks down past 30 Years

He hasn't taken them in years JayB? Tyler Moore is younger but he is also going to be 26. There is no evidence as to whether Moore will be any more durable than Morse. Morse's baseball injuries came from playing positions other than first base. I fear Tyler Moore in left field ....

If what you say is true then Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth might be due given the age of their bodies. And Morse at age 30 would fit well enough in either spot. Moore would not.

Pat said...

Any interest in Boone Logan + Nik Turley package for Morse?

Turley, a left handed starter, is a bit of a late bloomer but his last 2 seasons in low A and high A have both been excellent... Scheduled to start this season in AA. Turley has become a borderline top 10 2013 Yankee prospect on most lists.

http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=&sid=t586&t=p_pbp&pid=543867

I doubt the Yanks would move Nova or Phelps with Logan for Morse

peric said...

As long as Natsjack does not snicker,

That's okay when the resident baseball genius turns out to be wrong we can make him eat his words along with his snicker.

peric said...

The scuttlebutt says the Yanks are way at the back of the line for Morse. They have nothing to offer that interests Rizzo.

At the front are the Tampa Bay Rays and that's where you should be looking not at the Spankees.

peric said...

The Beast likes DanceMoms according to his latest tweet for whatever that's worth.

Feel Wood said...

SCNatsFan said...

Someone smarter then me explain this... where would we fit Vazquez? He isn't going to AAA or pitch long relief.


Rizzo would sign Vazquez to a minor league contract which would give him a chance to make the rotation during spring training. If Vazquez does make the team, then Det or JZim could become this year's Lannan, either going to AAA or to the bullpen. If Vazquez doesn't make the team out of ST, he'll have an out clause in that minor league contract that lets him become a FA. Of course this will only happen if no other club is willing to give him a major league deal.

Pat said...

Oh please, if the Yankees offered Logan + Nova Rizzo would certainly be enticed... I highly doubt you get a return that matches that package considering other teams realize you have no place for Morse. I'm also sure the Nats would have no interest in any of the Yanks 4 top 100 prospects.... Silly comment.

Feel Wood said...

Remember, Morse = Willingham. Willingham brought back HRod + Corey Brown. Morse will not bring back anything more than that.

SCNatsFan said...

There is no way JZim goes to the minors and I can't believe with all the patience they have shown with Detwiler, with good returns, they option him. Unless Rizzo plans to move one of the starters I don't see this move msking sense unless Vazquez wants to come for the spring, see if someone gets hurt and signs somewhere else if no one does.

Section 222 said...

"He looked great, in very good shape": Mike Rizzo, @Nats GM on Javier Vazquez performance tonight at Juncos, winter ball.

Yes, but is he in the best shape of his life? At his age, that would really be saying something!

snopes1 said...

Well, I hoped to provoke a little more thoughtful comments than "snicker."

And some here seem to think that I compared Denard Span (class act, good player) with Nyjer Morgan (head case, terrible player). I'm not sure where that one came from at all. I didn't even mention Nyjer Morgan (I try not to think about him, actually).

Okay, you can all go back to arguing about whether it would be better to bat Bryce Harper second or third now (despite a boatload of studies showing that batting order makes essentially no difference to the bottom line of runs scored).

Back inside the box, little minds. No way that the Nats could do something as dumb as, say, play an all-thumbs third baseman at shortstop just to get his bat in the lineup. Only a fool would do something that would give up so much defense for offense (a fool like Davey Johnson, who moved Howard Johnson to shortstop in 1986 and won the World Series as a result).

Anyone want to give a reasoned (non-pejorative) response to why the Nats wouldn't be a better team for 2013 (remember, they're all in this year) with Morse instead of Span? I'm betting not.

Here's the equation you'd have to work through:

(1) How many offensive runs does Morse add over Span? This is tougher than you might think, you can't just rely on OPS or WAR (minus UZR), because neither fully accounts for Span's basepath prowess.

(2) How many defensive runs does Span in CF subtract over Harper in CF? This also isn't an easy calculation, since anyone who has looked carefully knows that UZR or FRAA or any other defensive metric is far from reliable at this point -- and the same can be said for subjective scouting reports.

(3) On the countervailing side, how many defensive runs does Harper subtract over Morse in LF? The same UZR/FRAA/scouting issues apply.

(4) Are there intangible clubhouse factors that actually affect runs scored/runs allowed? And even if there are (doubtful), would Morse (a big personality) really play better in the clubhouse with the self-effacing Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche than the nose-to-the-grindstone Span?

Nah, that's too much work. Let's just snicker and go back to our "I'm in with the in-crowd" discussions about minutiae.

As I said, I'm not predicting a Span trade. But you can bet that Rizzo and Johnson haven't ruled it out with a "snicker." They think.






sometimesitrains said...

Snopes -- without getting into the statistical thicket, i think it's important to recognize how limited the relative significant is of advanced statistics when applied to outfield defense. when a ball is hit to the outfield, and a third-base coach has seconds to make a determination about whether to put on the stop sign or whether to impersonate a Dutch windmill, he's not going to be pulling out his smartphone to calculate the fielder's dWAR. rather, he's going to be making an instantaneous judgment call reflecting his instincts about the fielder's positional sense and arm strength and accuracy as well as the speed and canniness of the baserunner (as filtered through his own tendency to be risk-positive versus risk-averse). realistically, it's hard for me to believe that a LF-CF combo of Harper and Span isn't going to stop a slew of runners from even attempting to score compared with the alternative pairing of Morse and Harper.

snopes1 said...

Michael Morse = Josh Willingham.

Let's look at the evidence (based on Morse's only 3 seasons as a regular).

Age 28 season - Morse .870 OPS, Willingham .834 OPS
Age 29 season - Morse .910 OPS, Willingham .863 OPS
Age 30 season - Morse .791 OPS, Willingham .848 OPS

Yep, Morse does pretty much equal Willingham.

But I think it's likely that Morse would get less in return than Willingham did, given Morse's late-blooming and injury-riddled career -- and especially with Rizzo telegraphing that Morse MUST GO NOW!

Span, on the other, who is contractually tied up through 2015, would produce some serious prospects in return.

Yes, Mike Morse only has one year left to go on his contract -- but the Nats say they want to win in 2013. The best way to do that is to keep Morse, and it would be a bonus to get a blue chip prospect who could project beyond 2013.

peric said...

If Vazquez does make the team, then Det or JZim could become this year's Lannan, either going to AAA or to the bullpen.

Detwiler is out of options so that isn't happening. Bullpen? Possibly but given Detwiler's progression that seems doubtful.

Another possibility could be a trade of Harren (as opposed to the young pitchers). I strongly doubt Rizzo will trade any young pitcher in his rotation unless a David Price is involved in the swap. Adding a Vazquez might make that possible but you'd still have to find a way to dispense with Harren unless two of the pitchers went and honestly I can't see Rizzo doing that.

If Rizzo signs Vazquez he would have to give him a major league contract I suspect as there are other teams that will.

He is almost forced into a trade scenario at that point.

And Tampa NOT THE Spankees would be the logical trade partner Pat.

peric said...

Oh please, if the Yankees offered Logan + Nova Rizzo would certainly be enticed...

Oh puhhhleeeze? Another Spankees fan? Rizzo had Tampa ready to trade Matt Moore for Adam Dunn. Are any of these guys even close to that? No.

sometimesitrains said...

the following is completely unrealistic, i know; it's sleepy, drunken pub-talk. but with Piazza magically getting more than 50% of the HOF vote notwithstanding his negligible catching prowess, it really makes me wish we could find a way to plug Morse in at catcher.

snopes1 said...

Sometimesitrains - I think we're saying the same thing about the unreliability of defensive metrics.

We probably differ on whether scouts are any better at gauging defensive abilities -- but you make a very interesting point about third base coaches probably being more interested in scouts' views than sabermetricians' views on this.

sjm308 said...

snopes - good analysis on your end but how many trades done in the winter ended with that player getting traded a second time before spending one day in the first teams uniform? I am not saying it won't happen just because it never has happened before because I obviously want Morse as well, but you have to admit it rarely happens. I am never inside most boxes but on this one my scenario has all 4 staying and no one getting traded.

peric said...

Morse will not bring back anything more than that.

Not unless there is a multi-player package. Lombardozzi is a starter not a utility guy ... its problematic but certainly possible.

snopes1 said...

sometimesitrains -

Well, maybe Harper at catcher? Or as someone else here said, Morse at second base?

peric said...

it really makes me wish we could find a way to plug Morse in at catcher.

Waaay too late for that ... besides you know who will raise his hand and jump and down to convince Rizzo to let him do that: Bryce Harper.

peric said...

Harper would have to spend at least 2 years in the minors to learn to be a major league catcher and it would shorter his career significantly.

sometimesitrains said...

well, Harper was originally a catcher. but it's a waste of his talents to play him at that position now, which is why he was converted to outfield.

RQB said...

Am I the only one who is outraged that he refers to the club as they and not we?!?

RQB said...

Am I the only one who is outraged that he refers to the club as they and not we?!?

snopes1 said...

Yeah, I was kidding about Harper at catcher. Maybe I should break down and start using smiley faces to show when I'm joking.

But not about Morse at second. Espinosa was a huge hole offensively.

Rizzo and Davey are perhaps the two most unconventional thinkers in baseball -- both the Hojo to SS and the Strasburg to the bench during the playoffs moves generated baseball-wide ridicule.

You'll never hear me saying Rizzo and Davey are wrong about something. Instead, when they do something I don't understand, I just say, "Hmmm, I wonder what they see that I don't."

snopes1 said...

sjm308 - I feel like I'm forgetting a fairly famous trade where the player traded for was traded again before the season started, but I can't remember who it was. But you're certainly right that it's rare.

And remember, I'm not predicting it, I just won't be surprised if it happens. Span's skill set is highly valued by a lot of GM's and Morse's is undervalued by a lot of GM's (see how little we received for Willingham). If some other GM makes a great proposal for Span, it wouldn't surprise me to see Rizzo take it.

But obviously, that's not the most likely outcome.

snopes1 said...

>>>natsfan1a: hmmm...ran that trade scenario through the snopes.com >>>urban legends database, but came up with nada. :-)

Ha! Thanks for the reference.

I'm old and have been using the Snopes moniker online for so long that I was a little annoyed when snopes.com "stole" *my* name. For what it's worth, it's a reference to my Mississippi redneck heritage, which the aristocratic-wannabe William Faulkner memorably trashed in his "Snopes trilogy."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes_trilogy

Section 222 said...

You can argue about whether replacing Morse with Span in the lineup was a good move for the offense (the defensive upgrade is undeniable), but I'd be totally shocked if Span is traded at this point. And based on Rizzo's interview with Mark yesterday and various other things he's said, it's pretty clear he's looking to trade Morse. (He's a middle of the order bat with great power, should be a starter, not going to give him away but if the right deal comes along, etc etc.) He's been coveting Span for years and finally got him. He's not going to trade him, just like Davey's not going to bench him before a nearly season long look at him in the leadoff spot.

Yeah, Morse came up as a shortstop. That was a long time ago. No one thinks he's capable of playing any position in the infield other than 1B at this point. I don't expect an immediate trade though. Rizzo can afford to wait for the right offer.

Joe Seamhead said...

Thanks for your feedback on Morse, JayB.
Snopes, my rambling post earlier was not just in response to your theory on Span, but went on to address another poster comparing Morgan and Span. As to addressing why the team has a good chance to have a more productive lineup with Span vs. Morse, I've given my opinions, in detail, a couple of other times on why I think so. I may be wrong, but I truly believe that high OBP, speedy leadoff guys not only set the table, but upset the opposition's pitchers to a point resulting in mistake pitches, pickoff attempts and errors. With a serious base stealer on, the rest of the batters tend to get more fastballs thrown to them in an attempt to hold the runner. I honestly believe that the Nats will have a good chance of winning more games with the combo of this lineup and a vastly improved defense in the OF. You don't agree, and I respect your opinion.
As to your "I'm in with the in crowd" comment, the last time I was in the "in crowd" was 1967 at P Street Beach Be-Ins, and though I wasn't the one snickering at your thought that Span be the one traded rather then Morse did make me roll my eyes. Seeing how Rizzo has had a want for a pro typical leadoff CF every since he became GM and finally lands the guy he has wanted all along, suggestions that he might now trade him seem not only highly unlikely, but ludicrous to me.

Faraz Shaikh said...

trade Span, demote RD or JZ to AAA, morse at catcher? where is all this coming from?

baseballswami said...

ZNN to the minors- now that 's just funny. Never spent much time there- never will. I predict he and Det will give SS and Gio a run for their money. These guys compete against each other , pitching and hitting. It's going to be sweet.

Rabbit34 said...

I don't believe much about what politicians and sports people say. It is all about money. But, I'm happy Adam is back for a couple more years.

sjm308 said...

Remember, with my plan, no one gets sent to the minors, no one is traded, no one moves to a new position. Morse stays, plays both corner outfield and infield positions as a super sub, is our clutch pinch hitter off the bench and leads us to the World Series.

UnkyD said...

Snopes, your musings re: Morse's offense v. Span's have merit, of course, but the point is totally moot. Span is a player, and a type of player whom Rizzo has long coveted, and paid a fairly high price for. And the meat of this lineup doesn't lack firepower, with out Morse, and who looks like they'll score more runs than Span, this year...seriously? With his on base skills, and the bats behind him.... Your beef may be with aquiring Span, in the first place, but that ship has sailed.... That's all I'm saying...

natsfan1a said...

And my thanks to you for the literary explanation. I didn't pick up on the Faulkner connection, but I can relate. My husband and I are both descendants of Appalachian folk. :-)

snopes1 said...

>>>natsfan1a: hmmm...ran that trade scenario through the snopes.com >>>urban legends database, but came up with nada. :-)

Ha! Thanks for the reference.

I'm old and have been using the Snopes moniker online for so long that I was a little annoyed when snopes.com "stole" *my* name. For what it's worth, it's a reference to my Mississippi redneck heritage, which the aristocratic-wannabe William Faulkner memorably trashed in his "Snopes trilogy."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes_trilogy
January 10, 2013 12:37 AM

natsfan1a said...

OT (and bipartisan) joke alert.

Q: How do you know when politicians are lying?

A: Their lips are moving.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion.

Rabbit34 said...

I don't believe much about what politicians and sports people say. It is all about money. But, I'm happy Adam is back for a couple more years.
January 10, 2013 7:13 AM

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