Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ramos is gone, but not for long

PHILADELPHIA — Wilson Ramos returns to Syracuse today, his first, extremely brief, stint with the Nationals complete after three days and one game played. Wil Nieves who had been placed on the temporary leave list while his wife Yormarie gave birth to the couple's first daughter Wednesday afternoon, rejoins the Nats tonight and will be in uniform for Game 2 against the Phillies.

It's hard to draw real conclusions about Ramos based on one game, but the 23-year-old drew positive reviews from Nationals pitchers on his game-calling abilities. He also flashed some impressive defensive skill in scooping up a sacrifice bunt attempt in Atlanta on Thursday and gunning down a runner at third base. And he displayed an ability to work the count and foul off some tough two-strike pitches.

If nothing else, Ramos leaves the Nationals wanting to see more of him, though they're going to have to wait another 11 days before they get the chance again. Ramos will be among the September call-ups. The question then becomes how much playing time he'll get down the stretch.

The way Jim Riggleman answered that question yesterday lends me to believe the rookie catcher may not get as much action as fans would like.

"It's always a tough little period there, when you have young players coming up and you have veteran players who have been out there going hard for you all year," Riggleman said. "As curious as you are about Ramos, or any other young player, the respect for the veteran players has to be considered. You can't just bury them and forget what they've done for you all year. They've given the effort all year. They've played hard. [If you] take September away from them, you're going to lose those guys.

"You know, those guys are going to be part of your future, also. They're looking at you like: 'Hey, I gave you good effort all year, and now you're going to take those at-bats away from me?' It's a two-way street. You've got to respect the veteran players. At the same time, try to mix the other guys in there and try to get a read on them, too."

In other words: Ivan Rodriguez remains this organization's No. 1 catcher. He signed a two-year deal. He's pursuing 3,000 hits. He's going to be in the Hall of Fame someday. He's not suddenly going to cede all of his playing time to a rookie.

It's a delicate balancing act, but if the Nationals' plan for 2011 really is to have Pudge and Ramos share the job, setting the stage for Ramos to take over as the everyday catcher in 2012, the kid needs to play more than once every four or five days this September.


Anonymous said...

Ah Jim? Nieves IS NOT A PART of the future dude. Else why trade an ALL-STAR Closer for a catcher? This respect for the game and for veterans who may again lead this team to 100 losses (third straight year) just doesn't jive with what's going on.

I think Rizzo told Zim and the rest what they had to do to keep their lineup intact? WIN. Are they winning Riggleman? NO. Figure it out Jim because Bucky Showalter isn't the only guy out there looking for a major league manager's job? Your statement is a LOSING attitude. Respecting
veterans and the game is more important than winning now or in the future? Its why you get fired after a year dude! WAKE UP!

Shaking head ruefully, ruefully ...

hleeo3 said...

I think if Jim had his way he would leave Ramos on the bench all of September and continue to play Pudge and Nieves. I feel sorry for Ramos, it is not his fault he isn't a "veteran". He was blocked in Minnesota because of Mauer and now he will be blocked by Riggleman.

Riggles I think you should be reminded why Pudge was signed... he was signed with the intention of being a temporary fix for the catcher's position until we got Flores back. He was never meant to perform for 400 to 500 PAs he is getting too old for that. Nieves, God bless him and his wife and newborn. Is not needed anymore because Pudge was always seen as the backup. Seeing that Flores won't be coming back anytime soon, Rizzo got Ramos. This respecting the veterans crap has got to go. I am sure Rizzo will have to put his foot down on this one, just like he probably had to do with Desmond.

SonnyG10 said...

Have the Nats given up on Flores? I noticed Ramos was wearing No 3, which I believe was Flores' number. How does pre-injury Flores compare with Ramos?

Doc said...

@Anonymous: I would echo that sentiment. Riggleman always seems more interested in mollifying players than displaying a winning attitude for the fans.

What has game-catcher Nieves done this year to deserve even more playing time in September than Ramos?? Pudge, well that's another story and one that most of us Nats fans would like to continue see unfold, as he throws out runners, calls the games, and does a few things with the stick, going towards 3,000 hits.

NatinBeantown said...

I'm with Riggs on this one, and it's why I'm glad internet commenters don't run the club.

Wil Nieves will not be on the roster next year. It's obvious. But he's busted his butt for the team for a few years and contributed a fair amount (esp timely hits) for a backup catcher. If I were a player and I saw a teammate lose his job because he attended to his daughter's birth, I'd be furious. Riggs has a team out of contention in August, so he knows how important respect for his players is to keep them playing hard through October.

Ramos is the future, undoubtedly, and I'm as excited as anyone. But Pudge and Nieves are the present, at least for 6 more weeks.

Mark Zuckerman said...

SonnyG10: Flores actually changed his number from 3 to 26 this spring, used to wear 26 in minors and wanted to make a change after last year's frustration. So the Nats didn't give away his number to Ramos.

As for the comparison, I think there are a lot of similarities between Ramos now and Flores in late-2007 (when he was finishing up his Rule 5 season). Both have good plate discipline. Ramos might have an edge in arm strength/accuracy, though I'm basing that on the one play I've seen him make so far.

greg said...

i see no reason ramos shouldn't be taking away nieves' ABs. none whatsoever. nieves will be rewarded by continuing to receive a paycheck. his play has not *earned* him starts over a guy who needs to be developed.

being a veteran shouldn't *earn* you playing time. playing well should. if nieves had played better this season, maybe the story would be different. but he's a fringe player, at best, and giving him ABs in september does nothing for this team. it shouldn't make the other veterans happy, especially those who are going to be here next season and need ramos to develop and get as many of his growing pains out of the way now as possible.

i have no problem with him not stealing pudge's ABs, but he should get most of nieves' ABs. doing otherwise is detrimental to everyone but nieves.

Anonymous said...

Mark -

You can add the fact that both Ramos and Flores are Venezuelan. I wonder a bit how that might work out in a couple of years if both are still team mates .. would they be happy to share the load?

Best Rgds, Mark in Arlington

lesatcsc said...

"If I were a player and I saw a teammate lose his job because he attended to his daughter's birth, I'd be furious." What nonsense! He's not losing his job because of his daughter's birth. He's losing his job because he's the third best catcher on a team with playing time for two. He has zero power and doesn't hit for much average. You want to keep your job, figure out how to hit more. This has absolutely nothing to do with Nieves getting a few days off to attend an extremely important family event and everything to do with what he brings to the table in terms of skills.

Anonymous said...

Wil Nieves will not be on the roster next year. It's obvious. But he's busted his butt for the team for a few years and contributed a fair amount (esp timely hits) for a backup catcher.

And the facts are that Wil Nieves is a sub-Mendoza light hitting catcher with a weak arm. Look how many stolen bases there are against the Nats with Nieves catching? Compared to IRod? This guy should not be playing in the major leagues. Just on his defense Ramos is far, far superior. And its almost dead certain he will hit better? Have to say the statement above by NatsinBeantown is polly-anna-ish to the extreme bordering on silliness ... sheesh ... its a good thing ***YOU*** don't manage or run a team.

Anonymous said...

IRod, as good as he is, can't last forever. There will still be room for another catcher or two. So, if Flores can come back you never know what could happen. But, Rizzo also bought himself some long term insurance by drafting come catching talent this year.

But Wil Nieves? He really symbolizes why the Nats may lose 100 games for 3 straight years. His play often borders on futility ... its often pathetic. Just like the Nats and their records of late. He needs to start a new career, find a good coaching/catching job down in the minors like John Poppet.

Joe Seamhead said...

Davey! Davey Johnson! King of the Nats next year!

Anonymous said...

Riggleman is a special kind of awful. No wonder he's got such a bad career W-L.

Anonymous said...

Rizzo and Riggleman need to both look in the mirror and decide if this is about playing mancrushes, double switches, or about winning.

Rizzo can't be blamed for Jason Marquis's injury or Detwiler's, but he really messed up with the RF situation going into the season and having his sub-Mendoza (is there a name for a .100 hitter)guy in Maxwell as his go to guy.

Garrett Mock at 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA at AA in his last 3 starts was promoted today to AAA and he is another Rizzo mancrush. How can you promote this guy when he hasn't earned it?

If this team can rid itself of all these Rizzo mancrushes then maybe it can move forward as the team needs bench depth for the future and upgrades in 3 position players.

Anonymous said...

DFA Nieves!

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