Monday, April 26, 2010

Still sore about Soriano?

Good morning from the D concourse at Dulles International Airport, where my flight to Chicago awaits. The Nationals open a three-game series tonight against the Cubs, which means another reunion with old friend Alfonso Soriano.

It's hard to believe it's been four years since Soriano roamed left field at RFK Stadium, mashed 46 homers (still a Nats record) and stole 41 bases. That remains, in my opinion, the best individual season in Nats history, though a case can certainly be made for Ryan Zimmerman's Gold Glove/Silver Slugger combo last year.

It's easy to forget now, but there was plenty of uproar over the Nationals' decision to let Soriano walk as a free agent in the winter of 2006. They took plenty of heat from fans and media alike who felt they should have made a better offer to keep Soriano ... or at least traded him at the July 31 deadline.

Four years later, though, I think it should be noted the Nats made the right call. Soriano hasn't been close to the same player he was in 2006. He's battled several injuries, he's lost both power and speed. And last week he was chastised by Cubs TV analyst Bob Brenly for failing to hustle.

Oh, and did we mention Soriano is only in the fourth year of an eight-year, $136 million contract? Would you prefer the Nats were on the hook for that right now?

Seems to me the only remaining debate is whether the Nationals should have traded Soriano instead of letting him go as a free agent. What could they have gotten for him in a trade? Well, the best offer I ever heard for him was right-hander Kevin Slowey of the Twins.

The Nats did get draft pick compensation for losing Soriano as a free agent, two picks actually. Those turned out to be left-hander Josh Smoker (who has battled injuries and inconsistencies) and is pretty much a bust at this point, and right-hander Jordan Zimmermann. Zimmermann, of course, was the organization's top pitching prospect and was off to a strong start last season before Tommy John surgery derailed his career.

If Zimmermann returns as hoped and becomes a solid big-league starter, I think the Nats come out on top in the end. If he doesn't make it back ... well, then there's an argument to be made the club made a mistake.

What do you think? Did the Nats make the right move with Soriano? Post your comments and I'll check them out when I arrive in Chicago.


Tcostant said...

He should have been traded, I heard Sloweys name too. He could have help the team sooner and that does mean something.

I thought at the time, the Nats should have offer the 5 Year/$75 million sooner (like July before the trade deadline) rather than a save face offer later after the Cubs offered more years.

We never know, if he had stayed on a 5 year deal, if things may have been different.

Mark - BTW - Do you know if the Nats plan to start Strustburg on Saturday or Sunday in Harrisburg assuming he is not moved up to AAA by then? Saturday would be 5 days rest, but Sunday is his normial turn based on a off day this week. Let me know, want to go up there again.

natsfan1a said...

(Standard disclaimer: Not a GM, even of the armchair variety. Don't play one on tv. yada yada yada...)

I do think they made the right call. I'd hoped he might stay with us, but not with a contract like that. They showed him the $$, and he went for it. In addition to the issues noted above, Sori's being yanked late in the games for defense, and evidently is a bit flinchy about the wall in left (which I might be, too, if I were out there trying to field, but that's another story).,CST-SPT-cub13.article

Andrew said...

Mark - I think Soriano's 40/40/40 season in the post-steroid era puts him in a club with questionables like Bonds, ARod and Canseco as the only 4 members of the 40/40 club although I do believe Bonds was clean when he went 40/40. That makes AS12's season one of the greatest power/speed offensive season's in MLB history. I am glad he did it in a Nats uniform for the full season.

The fans really liked Soriano and you never know how he would have fared had he stayed in Washington but in hindsight, the Nats made the right decision and got JZim and Smoker.

Don't count Smoker out. He is a determined young man who could bounce back and be the pitcher we all thought he was going to be when drafted in 2007.

Traveler8 said...

Not to be to Candide-like, but I think we actually got the best of all possible worlds - it was so much fun going to the ballpark to watch Soriano play (and only Niger Morgan last year has come close to that sort of novelty) that I am glad we did not trade him, and if Jordan Zimmermann comes back we will certainly be the best off.

greg said...

i always thought they made the right call not to resign him. the numbers were going to be (and turned out to be) crazy for him. and there was no way he was going to be worth it toward the end of that contract. which, of course, was closer to when the nats would be competitive and thus when they'd actually need that money to sign FAs to help the team over the top.

on a side note, if you haven't seen it, baseball tonight on ESPN had a nice segment with strasburg and there's a good article about him on the site right now.

greg said...

btw, my two favorite quotes from that article?

In fact, one minor league umpire supervisor told Baseball Tonight's Eduardo Perez that some of the minor league umps admit to missing calls on Strasburg's breaking pitch because of it's unusual and varied movement. "I guess that's a good thing, I guess it's moving a lot," Strasburg joked.


Here's a final thought. Strasburg paid us a visit on the night of the first round of the NFL draft, as we saw lots of televised shots of first-round football picks surrounded by entourages and blinged up with diamond watches the size of manhole covers. That's fine; it's their moment and they should enjoy it as they see fit. Strasburg, however, arrived only with his wife, Rachel, after they drove themselves, in their own car, over to our "Baseball Tonight" studios in Bristol, Conn., following Harrisburg's game at New Britain. No posse, no limo, no agents, no PR reps.

Pete said...

Sounds like everybody loses to some extent, if you ask me. If Z'nn comes back in decent form I'd say the Nats come out slightly ahead. At the very least, the Lerners saved some money that they have used to shore up the rotation with free agent signings like Jason Marquis. And Soriano was really the only real reason to watch that team the last year at RFK.

Mike said...

It's an oft-repeated lament, but still, one can't help but wonder whether the Nats would have got a better offer than Kevin Slowey for Soriano if they'd had someone besides Jim Bowden at the helm.

Jeeves said...

At the time, I thought they should have traded Soriano (Not sign him). The only name, other than Slowey, I heard discussed was Anahiem's shortstop, Aybar plus some outfielder in the minor leagues.
Bottom line, considering we have Desmond and Espinosa now, I like the way it worked out, especially if Zimmermann regains his form.

Wally said...

I heard it as Slowey and Jason Kubel, which probably should have been taken, if actually offered.

Anonymous said...

Out of all the Bowden trades in his four years as the Nats GM the trade for Soriano was his best. He gave up Wilkerson (retired now) Sledge, & Armando Galarraga. All three of those guys have done nothing since that trade so the Nats made out on that one. Smoker has been been a bust draft pick, but if JZ (Zimmermann) comes back and is the pitcher we saw last season we have a solid #2 pitcher in his prime years.

Speaking of Jim Bowden trades, worst trade he ever made for the Nats is...........
Juan Rivera (OF) & Maicer Izturis (IF) to the Angels for Jose Guillen (OF).

Rivera and Izturis have been big parts in the Angels dominance in the AL West the past five-six seasons and are great role players who are both still with the team. Gullen was out of DC after the end of '06 season.

You know Rizzo would love to still have Rivera and Izturis on this Nats team b/c of their talent and character they bring to the Angels clubhouse.


Doc said...

At the time of the signing I told a Cubs' fan friend of mine, that the Cubs would eventually regret the signing--particularly the 8 years. Soriano had no real back story for 46 dingers, and his fielding was suspect. In addition, he was going on 31. Its the really rare MBL player that can escape Bill James' age stats.

Just not signing Soriano was a plus for the Nats. With Jordan Zimmermann's eventual success (knock on wood!) its an even a better deal.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget what we gave up to get him!
Armando Galarraga is the only one still playing. Would he be helping the Nats? He was pretty good in 2008 for Detroit.

Anonymous said...

I was a Bowden apologist way back when. Even though I am now an ex-apologist and recognize just what a rotten job JimBo did, I still think this played out fine for the Nats. The Nats never got an offer for Soriano that seemed worthy. The contract the Cubs offered Soriano was and still is remarkably bad. The net of the rest players moving around is neutral for one amazing season out of Soriano for the fans. If JZimm makes it back, it becomes net positive for the Nats.

Capitol Baseball said...

First, I have to say that I love the blog title pun. Big fan.

On Soriano, I think that the Nats made the right call in letting him go for free agency. It was a conscious decision that was probably difficult to make coming off of such a great season in DC, but that may have been his peak as a player. He may have had another year or two in him; there was no way to tell. But he was in his 30s and traditionally a guy who prides himself on speed and has a history of injuries could have been a liability. In contrast, you pick up a guy like Jordan Zimmermann who has a great year before is untimely injury.

I think when you get rid of Soriano, who cost you $10 million a year who was losing upside, and get a guy like Zimmermann who cost you league minimum for a great first season and nearly infinite upside, it seems pretty cost effective decision to me. The Nats made the right call.

Grandstander said...

Just because a move worked out in the end, does not necessarily mean it was the right move at the time. Even if JZimm ends up recovering, I still think we should have traded Soriano at the deadline. For one thing, we only know rumors of what was out there, not what was actually out there. For another, there's no telling how the draft would've worked out if we didn't get the compensation picks.

One thing is clear, however. Not resigning Soriano, as painful as it was after his season, was clearly the right move. That was just way too many years/too much money.

Sunderland said...

Bowden and the Nats handled Soriano the right way. Trading him in late July would have brought little, people don't give up much for a 2 month rental. And it would have, to some degree, soured our final two months of '06.
When he signed with the Cubs, those two draft choices were better than whatever we could have gotten in trade (regardless of who they turn out to be, it was two more good draft choices, some make it, some don't, but more is better).

In discussing JimBo though, we got a reminder this week that he did indeed do some very good things for the Nats. He traded for Luis Atilano just 3 weeks after his Tommy John surgery. That one might work out real well, huh?

Steve M. said...

Pete said...
And Soriano was really the only real reason to watch that team the last year at RFK.

Soriano left in 2006 and the Nats left RFK in 2007.

Are you kidding me though? Soriano was great but did you forget a Rookie named Ryan Zimmerman in 2006?

Zim was tearing up opposing pitchers and had 3 Walk Off winners in 2006 and an amazing Rookie feat of 110 RBI's! I think his walkoff HR against the Yankees and Chien Ming-Wang on Father's Day 2006 will be the greatest moment in Nationals history until this team can celebrate clinching a pennant.

Steve M. said...

Sunderland said...
Bowden and the Nats handled Soriano the right way. Trading him in late July would have brought little, people don't give up much for a 2 month rental. And it would have, to some degree, soured our final two months of '06.

I agree. If they had traded Soriano and allowed him to complete his 40/40 somewhere else it would have been like trading history you may never get back again.

Soriano hoisting that 40th stolen base above his head at RFK is still a fond memory and so glad it was done as a National. There is no price you can put on those type of memories.

The Cubs should do Soriano and themselves a favor and trade him and eat most of the remaining contract and give Soriano a chance to jumpstart his career somewhere else. The fans in the LF bleachers are brutal to him.

Souldrummer said...

I remember going to the park late in that season and I don't think that I wanted them to trade Soriano. He was a reason to come see the club and I didn't see us getting a franchise changing player in return. I remembered the offensively challenged team from '05 and it was nice to come to the park and see one guy that the opposing teams feared.

Letting him go was obviously correct as the length of the Chicago contract is ridiculous. We'll like letting him walk if Zimmermann comes back as a rotation guy. We'll like it less if he doesn't.

NatinBeantown said...

Per Rob Neyer, here's something the Cubbies can think about when they lament Sori's terrible contract:
Hey, New York Mets fans, think things couldn't get any worse? Next year former outfielder Bobby Bonilla goes back on the payroll at the ripe old age of 48.

In 1999, Bonilla returned to the Mets for a second stint at Shea following his borderline disastrous free-agent signing in 1992. Bonilla wasn't any better the second time around, so the Mets waived him in 2000. The problem was that the team still owed Bonilla $5.9 million in guaranteed salary.

Bonilla's agents worked out a deal with the Mets where he would defer the salary if the team would pay him $1,193,248.20 every July 1 from 2011 to 2035. Not a bad deal for someone who was so bad the team basically paid him to go away.

Anonymous said...

I was glad the team did not trade Soriano mid-way through his wonderful season. With a little tip of the cap to the Expo past and the very distant Senator heritage, the Nationals had a clean slate. It was nice to have that 40/40 season as an early success to celebrate. Jordan Z. was the lonely highlight in his season full of promise. Hopefully, there will be more but he gave us hope for a year. So the non-trade lifted two seasons. I was happy at the time and am very satisfied at how it worked out.

Avar said...

Letting him go was obviously the right move, as opposed to signing him, what a horrible thought!

I liked letting him finish the year and that 40/40 year is a great memory. Picking up Smoker and JZimnn was a good bargain, opportunity-wise, even if they don't pan out. But, I think J-Zimnn is still a high percentage prospect. Good wiki entry on Tommy John surgery with a list of those who have had it. Includes Chris Carpenter, Tim Hudson and several others.

The Soriano contract is one of the deals that may very well end the Cubs' recent run of strong teams (Bradley and Zambrano being others). It's a shame they couldn't win one during that run. Hopefully, this new owner will help them re-tool quickly. (My wife is a Cubs fan so please excuse the pro-Cubs leanings here - Nats are first in my heart but followed the Cubs for a long time before '05).

Anonymous said...

As I read (excellent) articles like this one, and the comments that follow (including mine, usually) I note how "inside baseball" they are. We've had a good discussion here on the x's and o's of getting rid of Soriano.

What's lost is the impact on the fan base when a team runs a 5-year player merry-go-round. People loved Soriano, little kids idolized him. Gone.

Rauch--Hondo-like Hulk, great reliever. Gone.
Jamey Carroll--huge favorite, fans loved him, produced on and off field. Gone. Guillen/fiery-fighter-loved/gone. Schneider/loved/gone--LoDuca walks in. Marlon Byrd/maybe our best hustle player besides Nyjer, ever....gone.

And we have the entire 2008 and 2009 seasons starting bland nothingmen like Casto and Orr and Langerhans and Bard and the fat little anonymous catcher we got from the Braves or somewhere. The fans don't know any of the people on the field they change so often.

The fans lose interest. The restaurant changed the menu every day and the food got worse and worse for years and years. Then the classic misspelled "Under New Mangement" sign goes up and the x's and o's guys wonder why the restaurant is empty.

Souldrummer said...

@Anonymous 12:29
I don't think that the trades of these players are what has hurt fan interest. Losing does. We had a GM who wasn't as good about making intelligent veteran flipping decisions or taking a long view in scouting and prospect generation. Rizzo's moves have made a lot of sense. I probably would have felt better about trading Soriano had Rizzo been at the helm instead of Bowden.

But we probably would never have had Soriano in the first place if not for Bowden. Getting Soriano was one of his few good moves.

I don't get too attached to players unless they are young players under team control who are core pieces of the team. I root for the name on the front of the jersey instead of the name on the back. If I felt it would improve the team, I could deal with them trading Zimmerman or Lannan or Desmond. You just want a front office that makes sound and steady progress to winning. With improved defense and bullpen performance, Rizzo's done that so far.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind them getting the draft picks then and I have no regrets now. Yes, while it was a magical season, I always thought it was to much to pay for a player who was entering the back end of his career. Who knows how a long term contract for Soriano would have hamstrung the developement of the team we are now having the pleasure of watching. JTinSC

Anonymous said...

TO me, the whole question hinges on what was (or wasn't) available - and there are two ways to address it: (1) If Slowey (and only Slowey) was really the best deal available; (2) If there was some other, better, unreported, unknown deal that Ol' Leatherpants missed out on because he was hoping for Pujols and something.

I've never really seen evidence for (2) that convinces me there was such a deal - there were a lot of rumors flying around as to what might possibly be offered, but precious little as to what actually WAS offered, so I'm going with set of facts (1).

In that case, doing nothing looks like the right course of action. Slowey, in 60 ML starts has pitched to a 4.3 ERA. Not bad, not great. He's 27, so he's got a few years left, but Z'nn alone looks to be better than Slowey and is three years younger than Slowey. Smoker may be a bust, but he's still only 21, i.e. two years younger than Z'nn, so he's still got some time to figure it out - admittedly, this is a big year for him.

But here's why I'm harping on age: If they made the Slowey deal, he would have been part of the '08-'09 disaster - maybe he would have helped some with the starters and made them 95 loss teams instead of 100+ loss teams, but for the long term future, Z'nn looks to be a lot better.

The only other possible deal that would change that was Kubel AND Slowey - Kubel would look really good in RF and he and Slowey would be nice pieces for the next 3-4 years. But in the choice of Z'nn or Slowey, I think you have to tend towards Z'nn's upside.

Anonymous said...

this stuff is all too hard. trading for soriano was exciting but watching the cubs overpay was (and is!) hilarious. i'm happy we have strasburg now. if anything had been done differently we might not. no regrets. otherwise we might still have bowden also. movin on and up.

i'm split 50/50 between taillon and harper now.

JayB said...


The issue was not keep Alfonso or let him go. The issue was spend money to put a decent product on the field or not. Lerner and Stan choose to put a bad product on the field. That choice has killed a once thriving season ticket base of about 25,000 seats. At best it is 6000 seats now.

I was in favor of letting him go but spending at the 85 Million salary level in 2007,8 and 9...on short term FA contracts. They did not do it and the product suffered. Rizzo has done well but what could he do with an extra 20 Million....hello Chapman and a RFer?

Steve M. said...

Anon @ 12:29 - Out of complicated trades comes a blurred trail of players many years down the road of what you gave up and what you got.

The line on Brian Schneider as I recall is that he was packaged with Ryan Church for Lastings Milledge who was then traded with Joel Hanrahan for Sean Burnett and a guy named Nyjer Morgan. Not to shabby at this point in time.

As Souldrummer points out, it is supposed to be the name on the front of the jersey that counts and I say if you have young kids it is probably the name on the back of the jersey that gets them excited about a team.

Strasburg may have more star power than any of them put together so if he performs well at the MLB level, the youngsters in town will really get excited about a guy they can see showcased every 5th day on ESPN. It is my hope that Bora$$ markets him nationally to Nike and Gatorade like he has done to Topps as that will bring true national exposure to him and his teammates in a way that Chien Ming-Wang will in Asia.

With all the screwups ownership has made, they may have gotten this one right!

BTW, can anything short of a WS ring make JayB happy?

Les in NC said...

"i'm split 50/50 between taillon and harper now."

I, admittedly don't know Taillon's stats, but have been following Harpers season.... In 47 games in 156 AB's Bryce is batting a really cool .410 and slugging .917 with 21 homers, 15 SB's, and 61 RBI! (with a wooden bat)

Im just putting that out there, cuz I am extremely impressed with this kid's potential!

JayB said...


Team has done well to clean up the errors and get ride of head cases in the locker room. Team is being run by Rizzo and that is a good thing. If you don't perform you are out (see Mock, Bergman and Dukes).

Riggleman has made taking infield mandatory from my understanding at all home games. This is something I said would help and Mark and others said is just not done....well guess works and is being done. I like that.

I may never get over Jimbo and Mark Lerner wasting 3 years of my time and money. I may never get over Stan wasting opportunity to improve the product with some sound FA signings and spending at a respectable $85 Million level over the past 3 years.

I go to most every game and the product is finally watchable again. That does not mean it could not be much better. What if they signed Chapman and traded for a higher salary proven RFer Vet in addition to everyone else this off season.....hello wild card race in all summer 2010.

Tcostant said...

Hey - "JayB" -

Just so you know the Lerners did NOT own the team when Soriano left as a free agent. MLB was still the "owner" then.

Les in NC said...

According to Wikipedia, Ted Lerner took over ownership in mid-2006.

Anonymous said...

Of all the x's and o's traps that people run into, I believe the greatest is the common remark, "Well you have to remember that MLB owned the team untl 200X, and the Lerners didn't take over until 200X."

First of all, when people say this, they are 100 percent correct. I have no argument, x and o people!

For the 10 percent of Nats fans that sneak time from work to post on NatsInsider or NatsJournal every day, this argument is highly salient.

But large, large numbers of people who attended games at RFK the first three years and then the first two years at Nats Park evaluated the Nats the way they evaluate schools or restaurants or cars--and they concluded the product just got worse and worse. Losing Soriano made a BIG impression on these non-x and -o people. They asked, Who gets rid of their best player?

Would you buy a car if they seller said the first owner didn't change the oil for 50,000 miles, but I've improved oil changes to every 15,000 miles? Or go to a restaurant where four of your friends got sick after a meal 3 years ago, but only 2 got sick after a meal last year--under new management?

Jeff Wang said...

Just saying, if 10% of nats fans comment on Natsinsider, then the Nats are toast. There's no way to sustain a baseball team with 500 fans. (there can't be over 50 commenters on here... and I can't imagine over ~2-500 unique visitors...)

Farid said...

Well, Kevin Slowey is 25 and has a career 28-17 record with an ERA a little above 4.00 (which would translate into a 3.60 or so in the NL)

True, maybe Zimmermann will return to his all-star hype, but maybe not. In that case, Kevin Slowey would be a pretty good #3 starter right now.

Just sayin' .....

Mark Zuckerman said...

Jeff Wang: Actually, this site averages close to 2,000 unique visitors every day. The percentage of commenters to visitors is pretty low.

Oh, and for those who still don't remember: The Lerner family was awarded the franchise in May 2006. They took complete control in July 2006, a couple weeks before the trade deadline. They were most definitely running the club when Soriano became a free agent.

Mark Zuckerman said...

Tcostant: Sorry, meant to respond to your Strasburg question earlier. If he pitches tonight (there's some weather issues in Harrisburg, apparently) he's slated to come back on Saturday. Regular five day rotation, even with the off-day for the team.

Steve M. said...

JayB - The Nats got outbid on Aroldis Chapman so get over it. It would have been great but even the Yankees can't get everyone.

I still don't agree with all of what Rizzo does but for the most part C+ which is above average. He botched that RF spot so bad and his love affair for Justin Maxwell is something out of JimBo's book with Austin Kearns.

Maxwell is the last guy you want up to bat with a game on the line out of the entire position player roster. His OBP may be decent but his batting average is horrible and he looks lost at the plate most times swinging for the fences.

The difference on this team is Riggleman and a fresh start to a new season but very similar to the carryover from last year at the end of the season. Fresh attitudes are a great thing.

There isn't much difference between this team right now and the one that ended the '09 season plus the addition of Pudge, Kennedy, Bruney and Capps and a healthy Nyjer Morgan.

Anonymous said...

Maxwell is the last guy you want up to bat with a game on the line out of the entire position player roster.

Yeah, he really blew it on that last home game last season. Walk-off grand slams just don't cut it.

JayB said...

Rizzo got outbid because Lerners set the payroll too low....If the Lerners had set the payroll at $85-90 Million then the team would be a lot better right now. Steven S would be on the MLB club and Chapman would be up very soon. Lerner ownership is the biggest problem this team faces. Had the Collins group won the team this team would be in the playoffs by now and drawing 30K every night.

Anonymous said...

Had the Collins group won the team they'd be playing in Loudoun County and drawing no one. In case you hadn't noticed, business in Loudoun county is even worse than business around the Navy Yard, and no one fron DC or Maryland would ever go out there to ballgames. Hell, it's even too much of a haul out there from Arlington or Alexandria. Camden Yards would be much more accessible.

K.D. said...

Jeff Wang, as I am a new fan of this team I visit this site far more often than I comment on it. I have passed it along to other friends who do the same.

Anonymous said...

JayB (I presume) and many other, including myself, invest a lot into this team, emotion and money and time and identity.

Speaking for myself, losing is bearable.
What's not bearable, what's not acceptable, is having ownership steward THEIR investment, and squander and disrespect MY investment.

Ownership makes sure they're making money, they keep payroll low, they limit funds available for draft day, they do all kinds of things to ensure that they are taking care of THEIR investment.

And then they draft poorly in order to stay within budget, stay away from free agency in order to stay within budget, sell many thousands of group tickets to Philly fans to secure some revenue, put a lousy product on the field, etc, things that I feel are disrespectful to MY investment, things that make me feel MY investment is of no concern to them.

StanK's most famous quote is "we'll get the attendance we deserve".

What people are expecting is that when the Nats are winning, are in a pennant race, are in the playoffs, then attendance will increase.

But it doesn't have to be that way. (Look at the Redskins, they suck for most of 12 years and still sellout every game). If you build a real fan base, you can have good attendance without necessarily having a playoff team.

What JayB points out is that we HAD a passionate fans in 2005. We had a stronger fan base in 2005 than we have in 2010. How is that possible?

Because StanK and the Lerners are not concerned about the fan base. They are trying to conservatively, methodically and slowly build a winner.

That's fine, and when we win, we'll have fans again.
But when we start losing, we'll lose those same fans.

The Nationals need a much larger dedicated fan base, but they have made the wrong decision so many times, in might take another generation to have a similarly great scenario like they had in 2005.


Anonymous said...

Bowden should have traded Soriano. He should have been able to work out a deal with one of the other 29 teams to get value in return for the last two months of Soriano's contract as well as those two draft picks.

Farid Rushdi said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, Mark, but as I recall Mike Rizzo said that he thought he was the high bidder on Chapman and was surprised that the team didn't get him.

If so, it's not that the Lerner's didn't pony up the dollars, it's that they did and Rizzo (based on Chapman's agent) thought that was enough.

I'd be interested to know that if Rizzo knew another few million (I can't remember how much that was) would have brought Chapman to D.C., could he/would he have?

SonnyG10 said...

I'm interested in the Nationals being a strong contender year after year. I would like to feel that the Nats have a chance to go all the way every year from now on. In order to do that, they need to build a strong pipeline of talent coming into the organization. We need the best scouting system and best talent evaluators in the business. With a strong infrastructure, you can recover from losing a star player like Ryan Zimmerman or Stephen Strasburg if that should happen. Early on, this is where the money needs to go, not on a bunch of high priced FAs that maybe get you one or two years of top contending baseball. Winning the world series would not be worth it to me if it meant the team would crumble and be bad for years on end. I want that strong pipeline of talent coming in every year. I strongly believe this is what Stan Kasten and the Learner family are working towards. I think they are putting the best product on the field they can and still be consistant with building a strong foundation. Besides, there is no guarentee that spending a lot of money for free agents would get you a good team. Look at what the Redskins have done during Daniel Snyder's ownership.

Anonymous said...

On the Lerner group: I'm astonished at the lack of promotion of the club. And I can't believed they haven't greased some palms [with lavish dinners :-) ] to get highly visible coverage in the Post. Has anyone seen any billboards? Heard any ads except on the games themselves where they're preaching to the converted?

Mark Zuckerman said...

Farid: When the Nats made their offer to Chapman (about $20 million) they had no idea what other clubs were offering. Really, all of baseball was stunned when they found out the Reds offered $30 million. Even had they known, though, I don't believe the Nats would have matched Cincinnati's offer.

JayB said...


You are correct of course in how it went down and sadly how the Ownership would have reacted if they had perfect vision of the other offers. Just goes to show how handicapped this team is by the ownership. 15 Million dollars for Jason M but not willing to add 30 Million over what 5 years for Chapman. Just think of Steve S and A. Chapman over the next 5 years. Short sighted ownership more worried about paying off their debt early than building a winner.

Souldrummer said...

I really, really do feel that the Nats situation parallels the Caps in that they are learning how to adjust to a midmarket situation where they will have a hard time decleating the Redskins form Alpha Dog in an impatient market.

I get the sense that there is significant portion of former season ticket holders who suffered customer service and Plan Hype around the whole Patterson/Shaun Hill/Bergmann will save us stuff around when Soriano left. They are mad that the Lerners don't spend more.

Basically, I really feel that you have to vote with your feet. As long as they say that the plan is to be patient and keep our best players in the minors, then I feel we are best served keeping our dollars in walk up cheap seats for the big club and heavy investment in local minor league baseball, where Frederick and Bowie offer solid gameday experiences. When the Nats either compete in a pennant race during July and August or get wisely aggressive with payroll, then they deserve a bump in season tickets and prime ticket locations.

It will be so interesting to see how the DC market responds to Strasburg when he's called up. They've got to be counting on Strasburg coming up this year and there being a bump in season tickets for next year for those who want to be locked into his starts and a potential pennnant race.

Signing Dunn and Marquis bought me some time with ownership. Those were intelligent midmarket signings where they let the market come to them.

natsfan1a said...

ummm, those are not Nats affiliates...


As long as they say that the plan is to be patient and keep our best players in the minors, then I feel we are best served keeping our dollars in walk up cheap seats for the big club and heavy investment in local minor league baseball, where Frederick and Bowie offer solid gameday experiences.

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