Thursday, September 30, 2010

For die-hards, time for next step

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nyjer Morgan scored the Nats' lone run in tonight's 7-1 loss.
They gathered behind the first base dugout for the bottom of the ninth. The die-hards. The season-ticket holders. The ones who sit through all the blowouts and the rain delays and the pitching changes and the presidents races and the scoreboard promotions and the dancing ushers and the errors and the blown leads and the extra innings and the occasional walk-off home run.

They don't number in the tens of thousands, but they're there every night through thick and thin. And when the final inning of the season at Nationals Park arrives, they make their way down toward the dugout to bond with each other and bid farewell to their team.

What they lack in numbers they make up for in dedication. Lord knows, it takes some serious dedication to support this franchise on a daily, monthly and yearly basis. For six years now, they've been turning out, having not tasted a whiff of anything resembling a pennant race since that first season at RFK Stadium.

And they haven't gone unnoticed by the men in uniform who offered thanks to them all after tonight's unspectacular 7-1 loss to the Phillies.

"The number of fans that comes out is going to double and triple here when we really get it going," Jim Riggleman said. "And we want that to happen sooner than later, but for the ones who are here now, the ones who are here through the tough times. They're so supportive.

"You don't get any of the negative stuff, the catcalls and booing of players. I think they appreciate our guys play hard and give a good effort. Our players appreciate the way our fans treat them here. It's going to get the reputation of a great place to play. But you can only wait so long. Fans have been very patient."

Yes, they have. They were patient through two losing seasons to close out RFK. They were patient through two 100-loss seasons to open Nationals Park. And they were patient through this up-and-down season that will result in an improvement from 59 to something between 68 and 71 wins but still feels like a missed opportunity in many ways.

"The fans are growing with us," Adam Dunn said. "These fans didn't grow up Nationals fans. There weren't kids that were 4 years old that are now 35 that are lifelong Nationals fans. The fans are growing with the organization. If you go anywhere else and the team loses 100 games for two straight [years], it would be a boo-fest. People would come to boo and not to watch baseball."

There were the occasional boos in NatsTown this season, but overall the vibe was one of encouragement more than discouragement.

But those days probably have come to an end. When those die-hards return for Opening Day 2011, they're going to expect something more. After six years of suffering, they're ready to receive some payoff for their dedication.

Not a pennant race. No one's going to reasonably expect that, not with Stephen Strasburg set to spend the first half of 2011 in the solitary confines of Viera, Fla. But a .500 record is a reasonable goal, and anything less than that would have to be considered a disappointment.

"We're going to improve somewhere between [nine] and 11 wins from last year," Mike Rizzo said today. "I think if we take the same track, that progression puts us somewhere in the .500 type of range if we can match that same progression. So I think we're on our way to the competing stages right now. And soon, with some improvements to the roster, getting to the next level would be the objective."

So how do they get there? Well, re-signing Dunn would be an important first step. Rizzo said today his team needs a cleanup-hitting first baseman and "we want it to be Adam Dunn."

Dunn didn't exactly state a strong case for a contract extension tonight when he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. That Golden Sombrero, though, may have been due in part to the jitters he felt realizing this might be his final home game as a National. He admitted he "tried to hit every ball as far as I possibly could."

The butterflies increased in number during Dunn's final at-bat in the bottom of the ninth, when the crowd rose and offered a standing ovation.

"You can't even put that into words," he said. "That's the first time in a long time I've had that feeling of ... I wouldn't call 'em nerves, but I would call 'em jitters. I haven't had that in baseball in a long time. Tonight, for some reason, I had it, and it was a pretty cool feeling."

Improvement in 2011, of course, will require more than Dunn's re-signing. Rizzo says his top priority this winter is to acquire a No. 1 starter to fill the void left by Strasburg's injury. He'll also need to add a veteran arm to an already talented bullpen and significantly bolster what was a wretched bench this season.

Improvement will need to come not only from outside sources but from within. Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos need to take the next step. So do Drew Storen and Jordan Zimmermann. Nyjer Morgan needs to rediscover the form he displayed prior to this season or else lose his job altogether. Roger Bernadina and Michael Morse need to establish themselves as legitimate pieces to the puzzle.

Put that all together, and the Nationals as a franchise can take the next step in 2011 and appease a fan base that desperately wants to see tangible signs of progress in the standings.

"We want to win just as bad as anyone else," Ryan Zimmerman said. "We have great fans here. Everyone wonders why we don't sell out and stuff. When you win, you'll sell out. The next step is just kind of fine-tuning the team that we have, going out and addressing the needs that we need in the offseason, and I'm sure Mike is on top of that, just like he's on top of everything else. That's kind of the next step, to go out and get what you need and go from there."

If they can do that, if the Nats can add the necessary pieces, retain the necessary cogs and see their burgeoning young corps make the necessary strides, success can come next year.

And perhaps on September 25, 2011, when those die-hards gather behind the dugout for the ninth inning of their home finale against the Braves, they'll be celebrating more than the conclusion of another baseball season.

Perhaps this time, at last, they'll be celebrating the conclusion of a winning baseball season.


Mr Donkey said...

Strange night at the park. It felt like the Nats were winning because it was coming to the end. No more losing till next season. It was a fun night. We'll get them next year!

souldrummer said...

Nice take. How did people feel about tonight's President's Race? There's some real irony in a "We'll Miss You Stan Kasten" President's Race finale on Fan Appreciation Night with a bunch of Philly fans in attendance. I thought the video board tribute was appropriate. I thought that the President's Race thing was a missed opportunity to focus on a grand finale for the fans kind of things.

Of course, I'm probably just bummed that Abe beat George for the season lead. Remember folks, Abe is a juicer and he must be tested. Until Bud Selig hold the Presidents accountable to the full blood testing of the MLB contract, these races are strictly exhibitions and can't be taken credibly.

Which means Teddy's record is really 0-0.

Sam said...

I disagree with Dunn. I have been an Expos fan since I was born (and followed baseball competently since I was 6), so I have grown up watching this team play. There are still some of us out there!

So, six years of futility? Not bad, not bad. Try 14...and if you really want it tough, I know people who have been fans since 1969...

Anonymous said...

I always try to make it to the last home game of the year, and I've been wondering (off and on) for a couple of days why I do it. I haven't really been able to come up with a good answer. I guess it just *feels* like the right thing to do. Ken Burns or Thomas Boswell or someone who thinks serious thoughts about these things could probably come up with a much more poetic answer, but I'm happy to leave it at "it feels like the right thing to do". Anyway, it's good to know that the team knows there are at least a few of us who are still with them . . .

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


Thank you again for your work this year. Congratulations on being spot on on the number of wins this team will achieve in 2010 as I recall. Next year I like that you are talking about .500 as what should be expected. As you know, my view is that is too little to late to save this franchise from a new level of embarrassment (hard to believe they could go lower but it will happen). They lead the lead in errors yet again. Their fan base is basiclly done and gone and now they have to go out on the open market and get top quality FA's to come in for 2011....that is just not going to happen.

Trades you say? Look at the trades Rizzo has made to date. Look at the Dunn Deal he failed to make with CSox.....He is not they type of GM that can make a deal for a top line player because he over values what he has and asks for too much in return. Very little evidence points to a established top line players will come through trades so what will happen in my view is more of the same....Pudge, Jason M types and at best a incremental improvement and a dead fan base with many games in the 3000 fans in the park.....Nats just blew the golden opportunity and they will pay a steep price for 10 years to come for failing to win in the first 3 years in a new park. Losing is now ingrained in the Nats collective being. Locally and Nationally wen you say think Losers. It did not have to be this way.

Anonymous said...

Exactly what was wrong with the Capps-Ramos trade?

Anonymous said...

Anon@7:41am - Don't feed the troll.

Andrew said...

We were there at the end of the game near the dugout.

Lost in it for many there who didn't see this unfolding (was it on TV?) was what I saw as an emotional moment when Adam Dunn's son came on to the field with his father. They seemed to be looking for a worthy kid. Adam takes off his jersey and walked to the opening on the homeplate side of the dugout and handed his sweaty jersey to the kid to my left.

It was a great moment. Some players threw out their batting gloves and Nyjer Morgan also had a great moment too as he brought an armful of bats. I think Nyjer handed out 3 bats and all to kids although one adult snagged one from a kid.

Anonymous said...

Sam, Not to play who's suffered more, but I will anyway. There are those of us who are old Nats (Senators version) fans going back 50 or more years. My team has never been in a pennant race in my lifetime. (2005 wasn't a pennant race). Not once. That's generations of futility with a 33 year black hole in the middle of it, worse than the Cubs, certainly worse than the Pirates and worse than the Expos... up 'til the good folks in Montreal lost their team (a loss I can empathize with). So, Dunn did have it wrong. It's not 6 years, its 65 years (since the last pennant race) or 77 years (since the last pennant) or 86 years (since the only World Series Championship). I'll put our futility up against anyones... Lamentations over. Can't wait till March 31.

Anonymous said...

Like Sam, I'll point out that some of us have suffered for more than 6 years. But we've done it in Washington.

Sympathies to Expos fans, but they cannot lecture Washington on baseball hardship. When Montreal has gone 33 seasons without a team, and not seen the postseason in 77 years, then we can talk.

And believe me, I understand your pain.

Bob said...

Nicely put Mark

JaneB said...

I loved hearing about Dunn and Morgan, Andrew. Thank you! I was at the other end of the dugout feeling like someone who'd gone around the bend, holding my little thank you sign. But it's how I feel. The best last game was last year, with JMax's grand slam ending. Last night might have been the last night we saw him, and Willie, maybe Nyjer and Dunn. And those of you tempted to pile on and saw we SHOULD lose them, please don't. Some other day, fine. These are players who have done their best, who really care about this team and the fans...Justin hugged the security people, and an usher.

As much as we want them to be better, so does every guy on last night's roster. They DO appreciate the die hards. They do their best, every night, for the same game we love so much...even on the days someone here thinks they're slacking.

I watched the last part of the Tenth Innjng when I got home last night. they showed how Boston fans were taking World Series memorabilia to grave sites of people who never lived to see their Sox do it. I don't want to wait till I'm dead to see us win in the post season (or GET to the post-season, for that matter). But along the way, I intend to love them and stay positive and not care when my voice is hoarse from shouting things like,"Sign Adam Dunn" when they need to be shouted.

One last thing: we had Phillies fans around us last night. I nicely let them know that we cheer FOR our guys and we don't boo the other guys, unless they are the four guys in the blue shirts, and that we hoped they would watch the same way. They did! So I loved it that Riggleman said he appreciated that we stay positive.

Go Nats! Sign Adam Dunn!

CapPeterson said...

JayB a troll?? If you want to experience real trolls, stroll on over to Nationals Journal...

Pete said...

It wouldn't suck as hard if we didn't have to endure Philly trolls to start and end the season. Man I hate me some Philadelphia.

I'm not entirely clear how this team reaches .500 next year. I think we have a large enough sample size to see what sort of players Nyjer Morgan and Roger Bernadina will be (mediocre at best). Willingham's return will help, at least until the all star break, but then I suspect his wheels will fall off again or he'll be traded. Espinoza is a nice player but doesn't hit well. Dunn is probably gonzo. The lineup will still have marginal talents like Livo, Marquis and Lannan.

Feel Wood said...

"The best last game was last year, with JMax's grand slam ending."

I would put that second. The best last game was the last game at RFK in 2007. A crowd of over 40,000. Pregame ceremonies with old Senators greats. Manny Acta pulled out all the managing stops to win that game, and the team in general was showing a real sense of progress that whole last month. After the game, more ceremonies as the RFK home plate was dug up to be transported and replanted at Nationals Park. Everything about that day was perfect. Everyone who was at that game left with a sense of hope.

In contrast, while Maxwell's grand slam was an excellent finish to the season, had he not hit it that day would have been every bit as much a downer as yesterday was - except that it didn't rain.

Doc said...

Nice take on the issues of a failing season Mark. Ultimately, a team's success is pursued for the fans, die-hard or otherwise.

I liked the Dunn's and Zim's relections on fans and winning.


Anonymous said...

"JayB a troll?? If you want to experience real trolls, stroll on over to Nationals Journal..."

How do you think JayB ended up here? He was such a notorious troll over there that they finally managed to drive him away, and he showed up here. JayB's motto: SSDD.

N. Cognito said...

I applaud those die hard fans who were there last night and on many nights this season. You are better than me. It's been difficult being a Nats fan the last 3 years.
I could go on about why I wasn't there, but I won't. One poster here has already pissed in the punch bowl.

Anonymous said...

1) I don't think any one can reasonably consider Brandon Webb a #1 top of the rotation guy at this stage.

2) Cliff Lee Won't happen and it shouldn't because he will require something like 6 years at $150 mil and years 4 - 6 may be not be pretty; the Yankees can afford to eat $75 mil in order to win in years 1 - 3 but most other teams can't.

3) Putting Zimmermann in a package to acquire a no. 1 pitcher is exactly the wrong thing to do as Zimmermann has the very real potential to be better than the pitcher you acquire.

4) Derek Norris and Chris Marrero are exactly the type of players the Nats should use to upgrade their major league team because they may be attractive to rebuilding teams who have assets they want to move.

5) I think that Grady Sizemore is a very interesting player to target as he is coming off several injury riddled seasons and his talent may be better than his current market value.

6) A stud starter and better table setters at the top of the order; preferably in the outfield are exactly the holes which need to be filled for 2011.

7) The Nats should consider moving Willingham somewhere near the top of the order to take advantage of the fact that he gets on base all the time.

8) I am not 100% convinced that Espinosa will hit; really not convinced that Bernadina is an everyday player.

9) I wouldn't be so quick to dump Harris and Kennedy; coming off bad years they are still veterans who should improve to their normal levels next year.

10) .500 should be a reasonable goal for 2011; it's not a huge leap from .500 to contention.

Happy off season to everyone.

TimDz said...

"JayB a troll?? If you want to experience real trolls, stroll on over to Nationals Journal..."

How do you think JayB ended up here? He was such a notorious troll over there that they finally managed to drive him away, and he showed up here. JayB's motto: SSDD.

While JayB is, IMO, pessimistic, I have seen his posts here and would disagree with the troll label. His post above stated his opinion and I did not see it as inflamatory.

I guess, at least by definition, an internet troll is one who often uses fallacious arguments or attack other users they attempt to defend themselves from the troll's activities.

JayB is angry at what he perceives as management dropping the ball.

(disclaimer: do not take this defense of JayB as being me, in any way, shape or form, agreeing with his opinions)

Anonymous said...

From Section 223 -

People often ask me why I am a full season ticket holder with the Nationals. For me, it's obvious. I love the game of baseball and the major leagues perform at the highest level of that game.

It is also why I enjoy and encourage this particular website. Mark is a very good writer with knowledge of the game I love. I try to send him some photos for his use, if he wants because I would like to see this website continue. I subscribe because I enjoy writing that is realistic, but fair.

I go to baseball games because I want my team to continue playing in a nice stadium. Because I am an amateur photographer and love baseball and history, I take a long view with a wide lens approach to the Nationals. The best thing they did this year was let Rizzo be in charge of baseball talent and then go around the league and scoop up other talent evaluators. That shows me the committment I am looking for in any endeavor. I have favorite players and opinions on what should be done, just like everyone else, but ultimately I know that the baseball people know more than I do and are privy to information that I don't have. I root for my team and wish them the best. I also applaud great plays by the other team. If the Nats don't get into the playoffs, it's indeed a shame. But, I love seeing the progress of better defense in the infield behind a ground-ball pitcher (like the other night with Jason pitching) and towering home runs and a team that just plays hard.

Thanks to the Nats and Mark for an enjoyable season and I look forward to next season.

Chris said...

Jayb isn't a troll, he's just an overly negative moron who lives in a fantasy world where he actually believes he has inside connections with the Nats.

Anonymous said...

JayB is entitled to his opinions. We just don't need to hear the same thing over and over and over and over and over again, painting EVERYTHING as defining the Nats as being cheap or incompetent. To him, when Ted, Mark or Stan breathe, they are stealing oxygen from the rest of us.

JayB said...

Capps Ramos trade is a good trade but on one that improved the team in the short run. They have to get better with Cliff Lee types..proven Start players and that is not going to happen. Nats missed the opportunity back in 2007 and 2008 to go into the park and be at least .500 by now. That was a big mistake.

Stuart said...

I must report a Random Act of Kindness by a Phillie Fan last night. While waiting to met friends at the Centerfield gate last night, a Phillie fan gave me a ticket he wasn't able to use. I wound up sitting behind Phillie dugout and can't believe so many Phillie fans were able to get premium seats. Didn't hear one word or see one act that was remotly out of line. I look forward to the time we're celebrating the end of a championship regular season.

Suicide Squeeze said...

Just like to thank Mark for fabulous writing all year and offering a different perspective/angle to individual games and overall trends.

My nomination for post of the year:

I'd also like to thank JayB for making an average baseball fan like me feel smart in comparison.

carolync said...

I'm a die-hard STH who was there throughout this disappointing season. And I have to say this is the most discouraged I have ever been about the prospects for the coming season.
I understood in the spring that this was considered a year the team was going nowhere and thus could be used to evaluate some bargain basement minor leaguers such as Desmond, Maxwell, Morse, and Bernadina. So here we go again, trotting out those same players for next year and hoping against hope for improvement.
Eight hits in 3 games against the Phillies underscores the fact that this team has no consistent hitters other than Zimmerman. The 2010 team trails the much-maligned 2009 team in number of hits, triples, doubles, and homers, and has lower team batting average and lower OBP. I don't care about Dunn one way or the other but they need to bring in some proven, consistent hitters.
Of the current crop of young players, I am most encouraged about Espinosa and believe he will be next season's shortstop. He is a better fielder and smarter player than Desmond and at least seems to have some pop in his bat. I also have high hopes for Ramos based on the little I've seen.
We're getting our season tickets for next season but I'm not expecting anything other than another modest improvement.

Anonymous said...

I'd argue that the gut punch that was the 1994 Expos season was pretty unbearable.

Anonymous said...

Cap Peterson 9:44 AM

Wow Cap, you are still posting and you died in May 1980. How amazing!

natsfan1a said...

I don't think that JayB is a troll. He has strong opinions, and he voices them, as he is entitled to do. He also doesn't tend to lash out at other commenters, as some anonymi are prone to do.

RJD1 said...

As I tell people who ask me why I have a partial season ticket plan: "Bad baseball is better than no baseball at all." I grew up in Miami and moved to DC the year before the Marlins started playing down there. Still thrilled to have a team here. Wish they were better, though. I have an 8 year old who has been going to games since he was 3 and he wakes up every morning asking "Dad, what was the Nationals score from last night?" I hope to tell him more mornings than not that the Nats won.

Steve M. said...

This years Draft which included Bryce Harper and AJ Cole should yield huge benefits in a few years. Strasburg should be back in 2012. This season gives you some optimism on many fronts except I still see 2011 as a building year.

On Free Agency, I don't see the Nats getting a #1 this year in Free Agency. Not being a pessimist, just being a realist.

I guess it also depends on Rizzo's definition of a #1 starter. Most of the pitchers available are 3's and 4's and Jason Marquis quality. Cliff Lee is the only #1 and he isn't coming here and we all know that. Brandon Webb used to be a dominate #1 and if that is who Rizzo is talking about, I say don't BS us. Brandon Webb is not ready to even project him into a starting rotation let alone a #1 as he is a long shot at this point just like Chien Min-Wang

This team has to get better through the players in the current system. Lerner should save his money on spending $7.5 million a year on guys like Jason Marquis and spend it on keeping control of the good players you have and an acquistion for the bullpen and key bench players.

The Draft is key to the growth here as you get 6 years of control and eventually Rizzo will find that future ace or #2 and maybe even a top position player.

Luck plays such a big part of this game. The team that takes the 3rd rounder that becomes the perennial All Star or a player that is a late bloomer and even that player that is thrown in as part of a trade that becomes an All Star. At some point, one of these pitchers in the Minors for the Nats will emerge as the next best thing. Not sure who it will be but it will happen.

It is always interesting how the mid-market teams but together a winning team and since the Phillies are in the Nats division, their current success was actually based on Draft decisions they made 12 years ago and trades they made in the last 7 to 8 years. They are still drafting well from what you could see with some of their youngest players. They haven't made 1 big Free Agent signing, just big key trades to add to their success.

I think if Rizzo looks at what the Tampa Bay Rays, the (yuck) Phillies have done, and the San Franciso Giants, they will figure a way to build a contending team and stick close to Stan's plan.

The Phillies didn't always have a gigantic payroll but now they sell-out every game and get that post-season money and are turning a profit. Hate giving the Phillies credit and hoping they are soon on the decline but their rise to the top has worked.

Anonymous said...

I saw on MLBTR that the diamondbacks might think of trading Mark Reynolds. If Dunn walks, what would everyone think of trying to pick him up? Get the UVA gang back together?

Dave said...

A couple points:

I agree that JayB is not at all a troll. A troll is that idiot who posts at NJ for the team that shall not be named in the neighboring city. JayB is more negative than I would like, but does not attack other posters here.

I know it feels like a bummer of a season, a great disappointment. However, the win-loss record at the end of this year will be significantly better than last year.

Not near .500 yet, but nowhere near 103 losses. Call me a pollyanna, but that is in fact progress.

Anonymous said...

"I saw on MLBTR that the diamondbacks might think of trading Mark Reynolds. If Dunn walks, what would everyone think of trying to pick him up?"

Yeah. We've seen what 4 Ks in one game looks like. Why not go for 5?

Sec3MySofa said...

Not a troll. Dead-horse-beater, sure. But not a troll. That's silly. And he signs his posts.

But Mark has to be the King of The Die-Hards, consistently providing the best coverage in town. If I think these guys are hard to watch (and I do) on a regular basis, I can only imagine what having to write intelligently about them about 200 times a season must be like.

Pedro G. said...

Why did I go to last night's game and all the other end-of-the-season games for a team that still can't climb over .500? The late commissioner Bart Giamatti summed it up best (including today's weather report):

" It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

You can read the rest here:

Sign Adam Dunn and another veteran starting pitcher.

natsfan1a said...

I second that emotion, sec3. Also, Mark has been watching them from day one, as have many of us. Tip of the hat to you, Mr. Z.


But Mark has to be the King of The Die-Hards, consistently providing the best coverage in town. If I think these guys are hard to watch (and I do) on a regular basis, I can only imagine what having to write intelligently about them about 200 times a season must be like.
September 30, 2010 12:33 PM

alexva said...

4 days from now I will no longer get to watch and root for my favorite team and players until April. That’s the sad part, not that what I rooted for has failed to win an additional 10 games over the last six months. It’s hard to believe that many go to such lengths to disparage and then say that .500 would be okay. Would one more win every three weeks really change your outlook?

I root for the process, doing it the right way, watching the players develop from kids to men, watching some fail to do so. I’m willing to wait it out because when success does arrive, it will be sweeter. I no longer root for the Dannyskins and don’t want to see the Nats become like them. There will be a time for “adding pieces” but that time is not now.

I don’t like going to games in an empty and lifeless stadium but I do. I’m a die hard, Go Nats

Steve M. said...

Why do you think the Diamondbacks want to move Mark Reynolds? They control him for 2 more seasons and a 3rd year option and want to dump his salary and they want top prospects.

He is batting .199 and strikes out consistently over 200 times a season while giving you 80+ RBIs this year and 30+ HRs. Reynolds is an aggresive power swinger and a swing and miss guy. He is decent with runners in scoring position with a career average of .261

Arizona has to rebuild and Mark Reynolds isn't in their long-term future. The D'Backs will only trade him for top young prospects. Can you give them Justin Maxwell and Garrett Mock?

Anonymous said...

'Would one more win every three weeks really change your outlook?'

Absolutely; because .500 is the springboard to something better; .500 means you are a couple of pieces away from being the Reds or the Twins etc. and this is what we fans want; no?

I don't abandon my team when they lose; heck I've been doing this for longer than I'd like to admit but come March 31st I will hope that our season turns out like the Padres season did or the Rockies last year or the Rays the past few years.

Anonymous said...

JayB's position is very clear; he believes that the NAts should have poured tons of money into A type free agents and this would have made us competitive immediately.

The problem is that he is wrong; this method has been tried by other owners many times; you don't have to look far (exhibit no. 1 - Baltimore Orioles). When you sign many expensive free agents you give up draft choices; you stump the development of young talent and you are not building the foundation needed to compete consistently.

Mark points out correctly that the Nats have also done a terrible job of drafting (Willems, Smoker etc.)and I think that this was a function of a job poorly done by Jim Bowden; I do feel that Rizzo has put in place a solid scouting machinery and has convinced the owners that drafting over slot is the way to go.

All we need now is a bit of patience,

Anonymous said...

In the world of baseball hope springs eternal, so I hope to see you all at the park next spring, with pep in your step, a glint in your eye, and a ready cheer on your lips when the umpire yells "Play Ball!" Why? because good or bad I love baseball and it is more fun with other people who share that love (well unless they are from.....)

Steve M. said...

Here is how the Phillies built themselves. Mostly internally and their biggest Free Agent acquisiton was Raul Ibanez at $10.5 million a year.

On their starting 25, only 2 were their own 1st round picks and Utley was the 15th pick overall. No #1 overall picks in the group. Ryan Howard was a 5th rounder!!!!!

Danys Baez
Free Agency

Antonio Bastardo
International signing by the Phillies 2005

Joe Blanton
Traded to the Phillies by the A's

Jose Contreras
Free Agency

Chad Durbin
Free Agency

Roy Halladay
Traded to the Phillies by the Blue Jays

Cole Hamels
Drafted by the Phillies in the 1st Round 17th
Pick 2002

Kyle Kendrick
Drafted by the Phillies in the 7th Round 2003

Brad Lidge
Traded to the Phillies by the Houston Astros

Ryan Madson
Drafted by the Phillies in the 9th Round 1998

Roy Oswalt
Traded to the Phillies by the Houston Astros

J.C. Romero
Free Agency

Carlos Ruiz
International signing by the Phillies 1998

Brian Schneider
Free Agency

Greg Dobbs
Waiver pick up

Ryan Howard
Drafted by the Phillies in the 5th Round 2001

Placido Polanco
Free Agency $5.1 million in 2010

Jimmy Rollins
Drafted by the Phillies in the 2nd Round 1996

Chase Utley
Drafted by the Phillies in the 1st Round 15th
Pick 2000

Wilson Valdez
Free Agency

Domonic Brown
Drafted by the Phillies in the 20th Round 2006

Ben Francisco
Traded to the Phillies by the Cleveland Indians

Raul Ibanez
Free Agency 3 years $31.5 million

John Mayberry
Traded to the Phillies by the Texas Rangers

Shane Victorino
Rule 5 pickup from the Los Angeles Dodgers

Jayson Werth
Minor league Free Agent in 2006. Signed 2 year deal originally

JaneB said...

JayB definitely makes clear that he wishes the Lerners behaved differently, but it's also true that he doesn't level venom at posters here. One day, he may stop being mad at what's already happened and can't be changed because the past is the past. Speaking for myself, that always frustrates me in any one, not just JayB: it does no good to argue with reality. It's done. They didn't spend the money. They didn't play .500. Nothing we can do about it now. Not even venting and "I told you so" changes it. So maybe let yourself be frustrated by the behavior, and see that the person underneath is a diehard Nats fan, just like we are.

I'm glad he's here, though...I sometimes learn something from his posts. There's room for all in the die hard club.

Anonymous said...

"Can you give them Justin Maxwell and Garrett Mock? "

probably not... but maybe include marerro + a spare pitcher?

Michael J. Hayde said...

JayB: You have a lot of defenders here, and that's good. Once in awhile you make a salient point about this team. But, please PLEASE stop with the "Lerner's are too cheap to sign Cliff Lee types." You have to know that "Cliff Lee type" free agents WILL NOT COME TO A NON-CONTENDING TEAM no matter how much $$$ you're willing to spend. The Lerners put a good-faith offer on the table for Mark Texiera that was WORTH MORE than his Yankee deal. Did it work? No, because we're not the friggin' world-champion Yankees.

But there was a time that free agents weren't going to the Yankees either. It took a long, slow rebuilding process, with home-grown stars like Jeter, Pettite, Williams, Rivera, etc., and a few tactical additions like Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez, before A-listers like Clemens and Rodriguez came aboard. The Yankees could do it in six years because they had the legacy to provide a fan base to provide the income stream, and their entire foundation hadn't been raped and pillaged by MLB.

No, JayB, money doesn't talk as loud as you like to think. It's very probable we still have a few hard seasons ahead of us before the Cliff Lees and Mark Texieras take us seriously as a viable choice during their prime years.

Meantime, thank the Maker, as I do, that we have a team in DC. I was one of those at the game last night who rushed down to the first base dugout during the ninth and shed a tear that I have to wait six months until I can return. That realization was much, much sadder than the final score.

Dave said...

@Sec3MySofa: "Not a troll. Dead-horse-beater, sure. But not a troll. That's silly. And he signs his posts."

+1. At least we have a clue who JayB is from post to post.

It baffles me why almost half of the people who post here cannot put anything like a name, nickname, or pseudonym when they post something. The Blogger software lets you do it, why can't you?

natsfan1a said...

Along the same lines as Dave's post, it's possible to enter a persistent pseudonym or name in the Name/URL field without associating one's post with an existing account (be it Google, LiveJournal, or what have you). One needn't enter a URL.

IMO, persistent identities (be they pseudonyms or actual names) can help to establish good reputations and trust, as well as facilitating ongoing discussions within an online community. On the other end of the spectrum, anonymous identities, as unknown entities, may be met with skepticism by some.

Then there's the matter of changing identities. While in some cases they may be imposed by Web interface changes (cough...Nats Journal), or be used occasionally for humorous effect, in other cases they may be used to shed a negative reputation or even for sockpuppetry. (You could look it up.)

Anonymous said...

It is about time this miserable season has been put out to pasture. In the last three seasons since I've moved here, this is the most apathetic I've been about the last two months. While most people quit after Strasburg going down, I officially quit caring after StanK quit. Looking forward to next season, but this year's second half has been more than awful.

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