Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trade vs. draft picks

I don't want to harp on the Adam Dunn story forever, and we'll certainly start moving on to other topics soon -- the Winter Meetings begin Monday, after all -- but I did want to touch on one more aspect of this whole thing while it's still fresh on everyone's minds.

A lot of people have been wondering the last two days why the Nationals didn't simply trade Dunn in July instead of letting him walk as a free agent now and getting the two draft picks as compensation. Many fans are suggesting Mike Rizzo blew it by not dealing Dunn to the White Sox at the trade deadline in exchange for promising young pitcher Daniel Hudson.

Well, that's probably not a fair criticism, because as best as I can tell, the White Sox never offered a Hudson-for-Dunn trade.

I happened to have MLB Network on yesterday afternoon during their marathon showing of "The Club," a show about the White Sox's front office and clubhouse. I hadn't previously seen much of the show during the season, and perhaps some of you did, but I was most interested in the episode that centered around the July 31 trade deadline. MLB's cameras were right there in the conference room with Chicago GM Kenny Williams and his staff on July 31, and while they didn't come all the way out and acknowledge it, it was obvious they were in talks with the Nats about Dunn.

That part wasn't surprising, of course, because we knew Rizzo and Williams were engaged in talks down to the wire and that Williams had serious interest in acquiring Dunn.

What I found most interesting, though, was that it became very clear the White Sox were not offering Hudson (or Edwin Jackson, for that matter) to the Nats in a Dunn trade. Quite the contrary, Williams was absolutely intent on keeping his big-league rotation intact. Williams' No. 1 priority at the deadline was ensuring he had a quality No. 5 starter for the stretch run. He liked Hudson's long-term potential but wasn't confident the rookie could handle the pressure of a pennant race. Jackson seemed a more reliable choice at that point, so Williams was willing to send Hudson to the Diamondbacks for the veteran right-hander.

I know there was speculation at the time that the White Sox acquired Jackson only to immediately "flip" him to the Nationals in a Dunn trade, but that was never going to happen either. Again, Williams' top priority was having a capable No. 5 starter. Had he sent Jackson away after dealing Hudson for him, the Sox wouldn't have had anyone to take that last spot in the rotation. At one point in the show, someone asks Williams about the potential for a Jackson-for-Dunn deal, to which Williams responds: "There hasn't even been an offer. I'd rather keep Jackson."

Point is, the White Sox weren't going to trade any major-league starting pitchers to the Nationals in a Dunn trade. The player Rizzo had his eyes fixed on, meanwhile, was not a pitcher but second baseman Gordon Beckham. And Williams had zero interest making that deal. He said he would not remove one member of his current big-league lineup just to add someone else.

So the talks never really went anywhere, and that's why Dunn wasn't traded to Chicago in July. Rizzo would only have done it with Beckham included (something I was hearing myself at the time). Williams wasn't going to offer Hudson or Jackson.

Does all that mean Rizzo made the right choice keeping Dunn for the remainder of the season and now taking two draft picks for him? Not necessarily. We'll probably never know what the absolute best trade offer for Dunn was (and it could very well have come from another club, not the White Sox).

But as this debate rages on, and as we analyze it several years from now once we see who these two draft picks turn into, let's not argue that Rizzo gaffed by turning down a Hudson-for-Dunn trade. Because it's pretty clear that was never a possibility.


pauloyd said...

Good research Mark, this is the part the riles me up the most and I am glad to be wrong. Still, I hold Rizzo accountable for over-valuing his own skill of drafting players. Somewhere on some team interested in Dunn, he should've been able to find two good prospects with some track record that makes them a better gamble then draft picks.

test said...

What about the market impact of Adrian Gonzalez going to the Red Sox now too?

citizen16 said...

Excellent info Mark. I'll give Rizzo the benefit of the doubt on this, and I personally wouldn't assume that Rizzo could have found good prospects for Dunn in July. I think if he could have found two solid prospects that he would have taken them over the unknowns of the draft.

Now the Nats have essentially 3 first round draft picks for 2011 (if you consider the sandwich picks as part of the first round). Yes, the draft is a gamble, but now the team has 3 chances to find someone in the first round that can impact the team quickly. That also has to help the overall strategy for drafting if you know you can take a more "sure thing" while also taking some risks all in the first round.

I don't know that much about the draft, but lots of people keep saying that this is a deep draft. Maybe out of the 3 picks they can find one college player that is MLB ready by September 2011 and part of the 2012 MLB team. Recent history shows a several players who have moved up that quickly (e.g., Zimmerman).

I'll miss Dunn, but fan favorites get traded or leave via free agency all the time. It doesn't necessarily mean the team is doomed.

Doc said...

Rizzo's gaff was not signing Dunn, period.

Rizzo's forte as a GM is signing lame-armed pitchers and trading for his former draft choices from Arizona. He's the Fred Sandford of the baseball buy and sell world.

dale said...

"Rizzo's forte as a GM is signing lame-armed pitchers and trading for his former draft choices from Arizona."

Hush, don't let out the secret that he resurrected the bullpen in one season and signed Matt Capps as well. But some people just like the feel of that hairshirt.

BinM said...

Thanks Mark - That puts a clearer light on the WSH/CWS trade talks at the deadline. Suprising to hear that Beckham was the sticking point, & not one of the pitchers.

Souldrummer said...

Thanks for the research. After the size of the deal that I saw they gave to Dunn, I very much believed that Hudson was on the table. The Club not withstanding, I'm not totally sure that he wasn't on the table at some point, though. Remember Hudson was called up when Peavy went down, correct? If Rizzo had aggressively asked for Hudson early in the talks while Hudson was in the minors, it's possible that he might have been available at that time. Once he came up and started pitching well for the White Sox, though, his value went up quite a deal and then it's possible he exceed Dunn. But even then, there's a Dunn plus a minor asset that might focus on a prospect he likes better. Or Chicago isn't the only team that was interested in Dunn.

Rizzo clearly believes that he has a tremendous ability to scout and research players available to all teams in the draft. At this point, though, it's unclear whether he's able to scout other teams well enough and negotiate with other teams well enough to make some healthy compromises that can help accelerate the plan.

Personally, I feel they screwed up. They should have offered Dunn a legit 3 year offer, maybe 3 years 45M within 6 weeks of the start of the season. If he didn't take it, moving him should have been a high priority because settling for draft picks says to the world that we're 3 years away from competing.

Glad to have more information for the debate, though, and thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

Mark, could the Nats have matched the Red Sox offer for Gonzo? Norris, Solis and one other?

Jamie in Lincoln

NatinBeantown said...

Thanks for following up on this, Mark. Disinformation does not sit well in the offseason rumor mill.

Related, in the get-off-Rizzo's-back dept: I noticed that Lastings Milledge was non-tendered by the Pirates this week. Rizzo's first trade now looks even better in hindsight. Hanrahan is still young, but I don't think he had a future in D.C. On the Nats' side, Burnett has developed into the rock of our bullpen, and I'd bet good money that Morgan gets his head straight and levels off as a plus defender in CF that gets you .280 and 30SB for another few years. That kind of value for Milledge/Hanrahan was and is a great deal.

This team is run by adults now. They're not perfect, they don't have a $150m payroll, and they don't have magic no-injury pixie dust. But they're professionals building a viable team and system. Some fans need to back off.

On the other hand, we've been "two years away" from competitive for five years running now, and the blame for that lies squarely on MLB/Loria for gutting the franchise, Jim Bowden for incompetence, and the Lerners for retaining Bowden and for handcuffing the F.O. I hate what those three have put the city and the fans through for 5 years, and only hope that they've learned enough to give the 2011 team some juice while we wait for the cavalry in 2012.

Souldrummer said...

Morgan was a -1.1 WAR player last year, one of the worst players in the majors and a national embarassment. Milledge was a -1.2 WAR player last year. To me, that deal will probably ultimately be Hanrahan vs. Burnett. Maybe we flip Morgan into something else. Maybe he becomes a bench player. As of now, he's a subreplacement centerfielder that Rizzo has an almost pathological loyalty to. I can't believe that he's not smart enough to look at Morgan's platoon splits and realize that there might have been some value last year in trying out Maxwell in center or trying to find a platoon partner for him elsewhere during the offseason.

Hope Morgan bounces back for sure, but I'm not expecting him to be that big of a contributor unless we can limit his at bats against left handed pitching.

Anonymous said...

@anon 12:46 - I don't believe Solis could have been part of any package - under the rules a draft pick can't be traded for one year. So if the Pads wanted a top-notch pitching prospect as part of the package, I have to think Zimmermann is the only one we have who'd have fit the bill. That's pretty much the organization's problem in terms of making any big deal where we trade away prospects - we just don't have that many yet.

6thandD said...

I find it very short-sighted on part of the Nationals that they didn't offer the 4 years at 14 million per year. Not only do you get a slugger at that price, but you grease the skids for resigning your "face of the franchise". As it stands now, bye bye Zimmerman.

Anonymous said...

I really don't care about Hudson, Jackson or even Beckham. Dunn should have been signed to the contract he asked for, for what he brought to the team in terms of fan interest and performance, he was well worth it. And I think you continuing to discuss this issue on the blog is valid, Mark. Not signing Dunn is indicative of how the franchise is being run and the fan base's growing dissatisfaction. Its THE major Nats story since the Lerners were awarded the franchise, in my opinion.

I may be wrong about this, particuarly since I only saw the MLB series at the time of its first airing in the summer, but I thought that Hudson was allegedly offered several days (maybe even weeks) before the MLB Network cameras were in the war room, and by then they had traded Hudson for Jackson. So I don't know that what went on in the MLB series really is definitive about whether Rizzo turned down Hudson for Dunn or not.

NatinBeantown said...

I don't disagree: Morgan was miserable last year. But he was fantastic in 2009. I think the real player lies somewhere inbetween (plus defender, #8 hitter or platoon). That's more than any team is getting out of Milledge.

Buzz Killjoy said...

The local paper has an article on the Dunn signing. It appears to be picked up from a wire service attributable as "Sports Net".(North of the 49Th BTW).
In this article, there is reference to a claim that Adam exercised a "no trade clause" to veto any trade to an AMERICAN LEAGUE team at the trade deadline.
Does this sound plausible?

Tegwar said...


Nice info that the regular fan doesn’t usually get to see and it helps explain why he wasn’t traded to the White Sox.

As for Dunn I can see the argument both ways on keeping him or letting him walk do to age, money and defensive prowess. However I don’t think the Nationals handled it as well as they could. Souldrummer is correct that the Nationals had to decide what to do with Dunn at the beginning of the season. The market for salaries was still depressed at the time and as we see now markets change. The intangible that Dunn gave the Nationals was good will; Dunn was a player who could play for many other teams but said he wanted to be a National. The National now have no top free agents on their team and many who have turned down offers even at higher salaries.

This is now all water under the bridge except for what Rizzo may learn from this situation. This is now Rizzo’s team he better figure out what team he wants in 2012 and make some decisions in early 2011. The Nationals don’t have as many options as other contending teams and unless they realize this they will always be the boy who wants the prettiest girl in school but goes how empty handed.

Anonymous said...

I can't fathom having to watch Adam Dunn for six seasons, had the Nats signed him for 4 years. I'd have given up MY season tickets!

As it is, the Chisox have over 750 strikeouts to look forward to. The next week should be interesting and it is good for the Nats that the Adam Dunn saga played itself out before the winter meetings.

Golfersal said...

Mark, you should continue to harp on the Dunn thing.

Not that Rizzo's thinking was sound, many agree that 4 years had hazards and that realistically Dunn probably has 2 good years left, if he was in the National League. But going to the American League and being a DH could up him blast out homeruns for the four years.

But the problem that I have with Rizzo is that he blew smoke up our rear-ends. All that BS on how he wanted to sign Dunn and the importance of Dunn is BS. If not he would of had some dialog going with Dunn and his people. Of course what Dunn got from the White Sox was probably way over what Rizzo wanted to pay, but still if he would of really been serious a three year $13 to $14million deal could of gotten Dunn. Look at what Dunn has done for the White Sox's in deferring money so that the White Sox could resign Paul Konerko. Again Dunn is a team guy and wants to do the best for the team.

I like Rizzo and what he has done but this was his first muffed call. He rolled the dice that nobody would give Dunn four years but in listening to what Dunn's feeling were, his mind was made up in the last week of the year that he was going someplace else.

Now we don't know the thinking of Rizzo, who knows maybe a healty Flores could move to first base but I seriously don't like the direction (or lack of direction) that we are seeing from Rizzo right now.

He has to right the ship in the next week because moral is really at a all time low to the point that there is zero incentive in buying season tickets or getting involved in groups to buy season tickets.

Message to Mr. Rizzo, get off your butt and help your season ticket holders feel that they have made the right choice in buying from the Nats instead of buying from Stub Hub at a cheaper price day of game.

Farid Rushdi said...

If Ryan Howard was but just one or two quality players on the Phillies roster, there is no way they would have kept him and resigned him to that rediculous contract. Because of the talent elsewehre, they could afford to carry his glove and live with the 200 strikeouts per year.

Just like if the Nats have a Jimmy Rollins or Jason Werth at every spot, they could have afforded to keep Dunn and his errors and strikeouts.

Doc said...

Mark/David have both well summed up the Dunn Debacle. FO types like Rizzo who assume that they can always fool fans and reporters alike usually get fired, sooner rather than later.

Tell you what Mike Natso, win more games without Dunn in 'll than you did this year---we might give you back some of the respect that
your indecisiveness and vacillation lost you.

Anonymous said...

Mark great post. A post like today's is why I come to your site everyday. I'm glad you set the record straight. It's so easy for people to assume things and then pass judgement based on that.

I have really been surprised by all the uproar over Dunn. I am sorry to see him go too, but some of the things that are being posted are sort of, if not bordering on ridiculous. A true fan of any team is there in good times and bad times. And I realize as Washington National fans we have had far more bad times than good. But I think everyone that feels this is the end of the world, that is tying their decisions to purchase tickets based on the team not signing a player, needs to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror. It almost seems like season ticket holders feel like the team owes you something. Well guess what, they don't. Perhaps you should go throw your support behind another team if you don't like things in Nats Town. I'm sure Mr Angelos would love to take your money.

JayB said...


Do you agree that the Lerners do not owe their fans and especially the shrinking but in my case 7 years now Season Ticket base ANYTHING?

I feel Lerners owe us at the very least a competitive product and a explanation of why they have failed to provide it. I also feel they need to explain why they have reneged on their commitment to not take profits out of the club....they clearly are doing that now, have in the past and plan to in the future.....I know they feel they can say they are paying off debt what is your feeling on this issue?

Anonymous said...

This was a good judgement call by Rizzo. We need to look at it again in 2 years time to see if it bears out. Remember Alfonso Soriano and all the gnashing of teeth and how cheap Washington was when the Cubs signed him. Who wants him on this team now? Four years was too long for Dunn and obviously at the trade deadline not enough was offered so Rizzo made the right call.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe nobody is talking about the Gonzalez trade from Padres to White Sox. This is a guy I thought the Nats wanted for years now...another missed opportunity. I think Adrian is only like 29 or so as well. Anyway, if the Yanks get Crawford, Nats could trade for Garnder and get us a cf and leadoff only 26 yrs old. He had about a .380 obp and can steal bases fairly well. Its a start, and not shabby w Harper coming in 2012. Add Webb, Laroche and another outfielder, like Nady or someone.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand all the crying over Dunn. No team in the NL was going to give Dunn 4 years. Why should the Nats handcuff themselves with a 35 year old Dunn stumbling around 1st base like the second coming of Frankenstein for 15 mill per year?

BinM said...

JayBeee: If you are continually so dissatisfied by the on-the-field product that the Lerner's provide, why do you keep your season ticket plan, and continue to pump money into their pockets?

Being a baseball fan is one thing, but based on your comments over the years, you've just been pouring money down a hole simply for the right to complain. There are other, far less costly ways to do that.

Anonymous said...

"JayBeee: If you are continually so dissatisfied by the on-the-field product that the Lerner's provide, why do you keep your season ticket plan, and continue to pump money into their pockets?"

It's been said many times before, but let me say it again. Because JayB is an idiot.

Anonymous said...

JayB, let me answer for Mark. The Lerners owe you and the season ticket base NOTHING. You are not privileged or better than anyone else because you have a season ticket plan. This team doesn't have to explain and rationalize every move they make because you feel they have to. No one forced you to buy those tickets. If you don't like it then don't renew and move on.

And how do you know they are taking profits out of the team? Have you seen their books? Have you looked over their financial statements? You seem to know everything you must be psychic now. Or maybe just psycho?

That last I heard they were a private company and didn't share their financial information with anyone. Oh wait you are a season ticket holder and you are privileged so I'm sure Ted and Mark have had you up to their office to review their financials before the end of the year.

Sorry my bad.

Anonymous said...

"Message to Mr. Rizzo, get off your butt and help your season ticket holders feel that they have made the right choice in buying from the Nats instead of buying from Stub Hub at a cheaper price day of game."

Message to all pissed off STH who think they can cancel their plans and just buy cheap StubHub tix: Where the hell do you think all those cheap StubHub tickets come from anyway? STH who are not using their own tickets, that's who. As more and more STH get pissed off and don't renew, the only STH left will be those who bought them because they actually want to go to the games. (We do exist.) In other words, your source for cheap tix on StubHub has dried up. If you want to go to a game, you'll be paying full price at the gate.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 3:42 is an idiot. Teams typically pour tickets into the secondary markets even when they aren't supposed to i.e. immoral. Cubs did it and the papers crucified them, Yankees do it (I bought an ALCS ticket from them), and the Nats probably do too. I know the Redskins have been doing it for years. They do it to either A) sell premium seats at a higher cost or B) to unload tix that they cant sell. It is a common business practice and there are NUMEROUS articles about it - look it up yourself if you don't believe me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:42

I guess you don't go to many game? Right now you can buy a $10 ticket and sit almost anywhere you want. This work almost every time! On the few occasions that an usher does come up to me usually I talk my way into staying where I am by noting all the empty seats around me and they let me stay.

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

Doesn't it seem like the Orioles and Nats match up reasonably well for a trade? Willingham and one of Espy or Desi fit their needs well. One of their young, erratic but high upside pitchers, and maybe Pie, fit Nats needs. Not Matusz, i don't think we have anything that warrants him. Not sure how to make the values be commensurate, but it seems like there is a basis for some discussion there. If the can get past the territorial issues. Does anyone know if they have ever made a trade?

Anonymous said...

I'm in a group with season's tickets since that first year in RFK. In the new stadium, I've gone from 44 tickets, to 26 last year to 14 next year. The product on the field doesn't justify $75 tickets. The front office talks a good show but I don't see any chance for a competitive clubs for at least two more years. 2011 is yet another building year [one cannot rebuild if they have never built anything]. This is the 4th or 5th consecutive building year and the team really isn't getting better. In fact, 2011 may have less pitching and offense than 2010. Dunn cannot be replaced offensively. On the mound, it is hard to expect Livo to be anywhere near as good in 2010 and all the other pitchers are, at best, marginal #3 starters. A better defensive 1B will help but right now, I'm beginning to think that Morse may be in a learning year at 1B. If the Nats sign Webb, I'm waiting to see how they spin him to be the answer. He is one of the biggest off-season question marks. Things can happen as the off-season continues but right now another 100 loss season seems to be likely happening. Attendance will drop a lot and the front office won't need to look too far to find the answer.


Anonymous said...

Anon 3:38. You must have your nose so far up Ted Lerner's booty that you have starved your brain of all oxygen. Economics 101 aside, you should realize that people care more about sports teams than general businesses. Last I looked, I haven't found a blog complaining about the Pentagon City Mall's Macy's wallpaper.

Let me explain it in a manner that you Lerner apologists can understand. Sports teams are considered a community trust - a bargain if you will. It is a bargain between the fan and the community. The community will support the team and the owner will put a team on the field that the community can take pride and yes ownership in. When one side feels betrayed the relationship breaks down. Tampa Bay Rays ownership, for instance, feels betrayed by their fans and one team member went so far to say that they should get more support from their community, especially when they were about to clinch a playoff spot. The Pittsburgh Pirate community feels betrayed by their ownership group. But there are enough people in the community (and enough revenue sharing money) to keep that franchise profitable, even if they don't field a competitive payroll (which they intend to keep doing until they are required to do so).

Now the Nationals ownership and community are at this crossroads. Some already left because they were done with this team. Others are feeling betrayed and contemplating leaving because they believe this team will follow the Pittsburgh model. And others just don't care and will give the owners their money regardless [similar to addiction - no matter how detrimental it is to your well-being, you can't stop doing the behavior]. The bottom group you can piss on. JayB is one of those people and most who regularly contribute to this blog fit in that boat as well. Best those people can do is complain. The middle group is your base. Losing the base is a risky strategy as they might not always come back. The top group are the band wagoners. They'll be back whenever the team does better. But like rats on a ship, they jump with the first sign of trouble. The SS games are a good example, the stadium was filled with those people who disappeared as the games became less spectacle and SS got hurt.

So the question remains what type of team do the Lerner's want? Do they want a competitive team that the community embraces or do they want a profitable enterprise that their pockets embrace? And if it is the later, can they withstand the criticism that comes with making that decision?

When the O's up north came to this cross road, they through their actions chose to field some lousy teams. There is some circumstantial evidence that it was done to prevent a DC team. The O's had a 'youth' movement ("come watch the kids play") and a scrap heap movement. And now, who knows where they are and how much they will recover. However, a lot of people bemoan the state of the franchise and additionally it is not attracting the youth in that city. Think of it this way, I remember the 1997 O's, the last year of relevancy. That is 13 years of frustration. Kids who are 18 now were 8 for that season. If the O's have 5 more years of loserdom it is possible that a generation of possible fans will only know the O's as a loser product.

Is that what the owners want for the Nationals? How many years has it been for this team? How many years will pass if this team ever wins? Everyone says 2012 now. In 2007 it was 2009. In 2009 it was 2011. Now it seems we all have written off 2011. Can anyone guarantee a winning season in 2012? Anyone? Beuhler? Beuhler?

DCDingo said...

I think JayB some deserves some credit for balancing some of the rosy views of others. So far JayB is batting .545. As for those who say the team owes loyal customers nothing and true fans are always there for the team (never complain?)... I want you for a customer. You're the ones I can persuade to be seated near the bathroom in the restaurant or to accept that the engine is supposed to sound that way. Sport is big business, I accept that, so I look for satisfaction as a customer. Washington is my town, Baltimore is not. I'd like a satisfying baseball meal in my own town, please.

Anonymous said...

I agree with DCDingo on giving JayB some credit. Or, put another way, cut him some slack. We're just friends talking baseball. Shared interests, different points of view--that is what makes NI great. Complete agreement? Nope. Respect? Yup.

JayB said...

It is need to over react...he has been the same person with 50 ID's and Anonymous when he likes to attack me or his other favorite's all baseball and it all good (aside from ABM)

Anonymous said...

Great work Zman...just goes to show that we fans don't have a clue what really goes on in backrooms of mlb teams during negotiations. We speculate and all, but really, if any fan thinks they know how to run a franchise and can make smart decisions....its laughable. I'll leave that to the experts like Rizzo & co. Still, it is fun and keeps us interested, even if we don't know what the hell we're talking about, which is usually the case. "JT in SC"

Anonymous said...

Berkmann to the Cards (1 year). Another 1B gone. Hope we aren't too late to get the help we need. I also hope that we end up with LaRoche as opposed to Pena (and his .196) BA).

JayB said...

Rizzo is a good baseball man....that is not the is the Lerner's who are to blame here...they are micro managing, penny pinching, profit motivated owners......Their style does not translate to the baseball industry and it never will.....Said this a few months back....the worst part of being a Nats fan is all we can do is hope that Ted lets go of the team or dies soon....that sucks to root for that so I will continue hope the Lerners change....

Another_Sam said...

Anon 3:58 - Right on. A friend of mine says it this way: "Every ticket is Best Available Seating." LOL

Drew8 said...

I'm getting worried, too, now that Berkman is off the boards. Remember: the A's, the Orioles, the Cubs and the D-Backs still need first basemen, not to mention Pena's Rays.

Mark: I remember reading a post by you or Adam that Rizzo has erasable boards in his office projecting each position several years out. Who does Rizzo envision as this club's first baseman in 2012-14, when we think it might compete?

Does Rizzo see Marrero in that role? Does he plan to convert Norris or move Harper? Honestly, what is the plan?

Skeptical in Sunderland said...

It's amazing how many of you, including Mark Z (love you Mark), accept reality TV as factual.
It's an interesting saga, yes. It provides no evidence that a deal for a CWS SP was in the works, yes. But it does not provide any real evidence that a deal for a CWS SP was *not* in the works.

I'd venture to say that Kenny Williams is smart enough to know when the cameras are on, and smart enough to decide what to say and what not to say to the cameras.

I'm not saying the account from "The Club" is not fully and completely accurate. I am saying it is naive to believe that it is indeed fully and completely accurate.

An Briosca Mor said...

Yeah, JayB wishes death on Ted Lerner and I'm the root of all evil whether I say something here or not. Stay classy, JayB.

JayB said...

@ABM, keep creating your own reality.....if you say it enough it is real in your mind.....

JayB Says..."the worst part of being a Nats fan is all we can do is hope that Ted lets go of the team or dies soon....that sucks to root for that so I will continue hope the Lerners change...."

ABM creates his own reality....

Anonymous said...

I thought about the above comment and agree seems the son is interested in the game and would probably try to build a winner so he could do something on his own and not just follow in daddy's footsteps..besides, he didnt make the he probably wouldn't feel as emotionally invested in it...i hope this is trur because the owner is KILLING htis have to spend to win..granted the Twins have a small payroll but they have an established program with good players...we are a laughingstock...the best thing for this team wouold be for the senior lerner to die

Anonymous said...

Mark Lerner did indeed help make a lot of the Lerner money. He's worked in the family business his entire adult life - as have the husbands of his two sisters. It's not like he's part of a generation that just did their own thing while living off of Daddy's money. Everyone in the Lerner family has worked for what they've got. Granted, Mark's generation didn't start at zero like their father did. But they still worked to build that wealth.

It's a family business, and family ownership of the team. I wouldn't expect much change at all in how they operate once Mark's generation takes over. Indeed, that generation may already be running the show, for all you guys know. You might as well get used to it. Nothing's going to change.

Kevin Rusch, Section406 said...

For pete's sake, people. What's the point? At some point you're going to have to realize the Lerners don't give a hoot about baseball fans. They want companies, lobbyists, and minivans full of suburbanites and their rugrats (and of course Phillies fans) to show up, gorge themselves and their spawn with beer and ice cream, and watch the "Main Event" and kid themselves into thinking Teddy (or the team) will win. They don't care about the team. They don't care about the game. All they care about is getting people to park, eat, drink, and leave. 25 men in pajamas are just a means to an end. They've just signed Ryan Zimmerman's ticket out of town in 3 years, Strasburg's in 5, and Harper's in 7. Get used to it - we're going to make the Pirates look positively dominant in the next ten years.

I had season tickts in '05 - '08. Opening day of 2009, it was beautiful, warm, and tied in the 7th inning, and my friends from section 406 at RFK and I all realized it was so bad that we'd rather be at a staff meeting.

There's simply no hope anymore. The team wants to do whatever it takes to win 70 games, make the payments on the $600M loan, and herd the retarded masses currently clogging Tysons Corner Center through their taxpayer-funded food court.

Go to bowie. At least the parking's free.

JaneB said...

So, I'm one of the people whining about the failure tom keep Dunn, and how I don't want to be a STH anymore. I hope I feel differently by the time we have to finish forking over the dough. Here is what makes me feel so demoralized: instead of getting even incrementally better, this team is holding steady in the basement. And next year, the truly could field a team worse than ever. I love baseball. I love the Nats even though I am mad at the FO. I feel stupid to have believed in their PR about how they were building something and we were just two years from being competitive. As Mark put it so well a few days ago, we didn't have enough right pieces when we still HAD Dunn; now we have less. So why give these guys $7400 to toss away on retreads and gamble on prospects we may never see take the field? Why should I help with that? And how else do I make my feelings known? How else do I get to cast my vote?

That said, we are in for another season. Dunn made it fun. It was fun the have Zimm then Dunn then Josh at the plate; it felt possible to get something going. There's not even that now. It was possible to pretend ti myself that NEXT YEAR we could crack .500. Now, I feel like we'd be lucky to win 63 games. I really hope I'm wrong. I really hope I can fund someone to share these seats with. I really hope Rizzo and the Lerners can pull a miracle out.

But I'm really disappointed, really demoralized and don't see the light at the end of a very expensive tunnel. When I was aMet fan, I only went to games here and there. Just on a financial basis it's very hard to stay enthusiastic. It's a lot of money to watch go down the tubes, especially since we are going backwards instead of forwards. Make sense now?

Doc said...

From the assinine comments on Dunn's fielding from the Lerners' planted in-house reporter/roving sycophant Ladson to Rizzo's lying BS on attempting to sign Dunn, it was all very dumb!

They have a lot for which to be ashamed.

And they want to sell tickets to us!

Anonymous said...

@ JaneB. Actually, when you don't have season tix anymore it's easy to let go of the anger. It's quite freeing. Then instead of coming into the park and watching terrible baseball and a typical 5-0 drubbing by the Marlins in the 3rd inning, you get to turn off the TV and watch something else. Ahhhh, see now I am breathing better. Of course being at the park for Phillies opening day at Nats Park does add a lot of anger again, but hey, its the Lerners. The only thing they do right is make money.

JayB said...

Lasting Milledge non tendered (cut).......a quick read of Pit Fans......sounds like everything I said in 2008 and March 2009 when I watched him in several spring training games and workouts.....bad baseball player, no work ethic and in denial that he needs to improve would be fun to seen him back with his Bud Manny Acta.....they deserve each other....remember all that BS about his "huge improvement on CF PIT is saying he was a bad LF or RF and ran into outs time and time again.......just what I saw back in 2008 and 2009.

Morgan is no better so that means

Anonymous said...

Actually, minor league ball is great. I think they play harder. Just an opinion... I watched the Rox' AA ball club in Tulsa for 4 year. That was a lot of fun. Got to see Tulowitzki, Fowler, and Ianetta among others. Doesn't count the other (present) big leaguers that came to town. Watching the Nats' farm teams won't be all bad. Has the value of being an effective protest, too.

JayB said...

...means nothing....Rizzo traded a bad player for a bad player....Pitchers are a wash too....they both need a new team.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am in the minority here, but I swear I still think this team has many key pieces in place and is moving in the right direction. And perhaps I have drank the Jim Jones Kool-Aid, but I think .500 is possible in 2011. What I am not going to do is write the season off on December 5th. I think we should give Rizzo a chance to put together the team first, then pass judgement on this team when spring training opens. If it looks like it does now, I will gladly jump on the bandwagon with the rest of you guys. But until then, I want to give the guy a break. Remember he has been GM now for less than two years. And he is still getting the mess that Jim Bowden left him sorted out. He didn't really come in with a clean slate or the players he would have chosen.

While Dunn is hard to replace, he is replaceable. No one on this team isn't. LaRoche had nearly identical RBI numbers, which are the most important batting stat I think, to Dunn last year. If Pena is signed, even with the poor batting average he hit 28 homeruns, so you are only replacing 10 of the 38 Dunn hit. Do you know how many we got our of Guzman/Kennedy/Gonzalez at 2nd base last year? 5. Espinosa hit 6 in his call up. If he can hit say 10 in 2011. If Desmond can go from 10 to say 15. And you get a full season of Willingham, I think you more than replace Dunn's homers. Losing Dunn isn't the end of the world. And we can argue statistics all you want, he was pretty bad at first base.

Of course the above is assuming all those guys are on the team opening day. But even if someone is traded you assume like value for like value. Like Milledge for Morgan. As JayB pointed out, bad player for bad player. You normal get in a trade what you trade away, good or bad.

Pitching and defense wins championships. At any level. The Giants won the world series and Aubrey Huff lead the team in homers with only 26. They only had one regular player hit over .300. They did it with pitching and defense and that is the direction Rizzo wants to go. And for every Ryan Zimmerman you had a Bowden guy like Harris or Guzman. It takes time people. Let's give him a chance. Let's see where we are in two months and what this team looks like. And maybe much like Alfonso Soriano, we will be better off without Dunn than with him.


Anonymous said...

I hate all the whining about the short term.

Look, the Nats aren't good. It's going to take several years to develop young players and build the foundation for a competitive team. Deal with it.

Meanwhile, I enjoy the Nationals whether they win or not. Sure, there are games where they crash and burn early. But the nature of baseball is that on any given day they have a chance to win. And even in the minority of games that quickly become blow-outs, it still can be interesting and enjoyable to watch.

I'd much prefer to accept a few more years of losing than rely on aging players who will give us short-term mediocrity at the expense of the long term. The road to competitiveness may be long, but the destination will be all the sweeter for it. Meanwhile, stop whining and enjoy the ride.

Tegwar said...

Anon 10:17

I think you are missing part of the point?

As a person who has been in a group of season ticket holder from the beginning I did not expect to be going to the playoffs right away. Yes it takes time to build a competitive team but it does not take 5 years to start to move that team in the right direction. So far the team has had 3 managers and two GM’s and they have consistently been one of the worst teams in baseball every year with one of the lowest payrolls. They have signed FA poorly and drafted terribly. Remember the Learner’s had nothing to do with Zimmerman being drafted MLB still owned the team then. In fact I can’t think of one everyday play the Nationals have drafted since the Lerner’s have owned the team and only one good starting pitcher Strasburg who is injured. Outside of getting good players with the very fists pick I think a monkey picking names from a hat could have done as well.

I did not expect Adam Dunn to take the Nationals to the playoffs when they signed him two years ago I only saw it as a stop gap to fielding a competitive team. I actually think it is the responsibility of a pro sports owner to field a competitive team. I understand that there are rebuilding years and injuries play a part but being in charge 5 years should at least not make you one of the leagues worst teams every year because some of the other teams are very poorly run.

So as a person who owns two seats that including food, drinks, and transportation cost me almost $200 dollars a game I don’t think it is “whining” that I am disappointed that the Nationals no longer have a clean up hitter. Additionally, I think the Nationals continually saying that they are only a year or two away from being a contending team is not helpful.

I am a baseball fan and I would like to support the Nationals financially to help bring a competitive team to Washington, however if the Nationals want to save their pennies and not be wasteful with their money I only have two courses of actions complaining and hope that someone is listening or stopping my financially support of the team. If the Nationals want to be prudent with their money I hope they understand that I may also want to be more prudent with mine. This seams to be a losing proposition for me as a baseball fan and for the Lerner’s as owners.

Matt said...

JayB, I think you should give Rizzo more credit for the Burnett+Morgan/Milledge+Hanrahan trade. The pitchers, as you say, were a wash. Personally, I'd rather have Morgan than Milledge: Morgan at least had the good 2009, and he doesn't have a long track record of being a head case. I still have some hope that thinking about things over the winter will help Morgan figure it out and find the Morgan of '09. So while we'll have to wait and see how he does in the spring, I think the book might be closed on Milledge - I'm not sure he finds another ML job.

JayB said...

Morgan may not have as long a track record as a "HEAD CASE" but he sure has the lead after last year's for expectations of the club....What David Said.....This is not a new problem...Lerners do not get a pass on their first 4 years of ownership. Rizzo had been part of the team from day one of their ownership and they choose to keep Jimbo.....The story here is not just the past 2 years people...the story goes back to summer of 2006.

David said it best...all the Lerners have done is set up a lose, lose between themselves and the fan base....

Anonymous said...

@JayB: Why does Sean Burnett (as one of the pitchers in the Pirates-Nats deal) "need a new team?" Burnett was very good in the pen for the Nationals last year, and is going to be in the mix for 8th inning guy/closer (if Storen struggles) this season. Needs a new team? Why?

John C.

Anonymous said...

Mike Rizzo is converting the team to his image of a winner from the flawed Jim Bowden model. He started, in the background, in 2006 when he first came. He is likely why they have Jordan Zimmermann today. His model is a team of players who are athletic and have speed, and field their positions at close-to if not at gold glove levels.

Adam Dunn does not fit that model. Josh Willingham does not fit that model. Not many players they currently have fit that model. Zimmerman fits the model. Desmond, Espinosa, and Lombardozzi fit the model. Bernadina may fit the model. Ramos fits the model, Norris hopefully will as well.

If (as rumored) they sign Jayson Werth who is over 30 like Dunn but much faster and far more athletic? Are you really going to complain?

On the pitching side of things he appears to favor power arms both at the top of the rotation and definitely in relief. Without Strasburg he really only has Zimmermann right now ... possibly Mock and Detwiler. After that? But in the bullpen the "Bally experiment", after some big fits and starts, appears to work. There's Storen, Clippard, and more on the way up. If you don't have the power pitching SP you had better have it in your bullpen. This is significantly different from when Bowden was running the show.

Let the man do his job peeps!!!! Rizzo isn't perfect but he appears to be more than competent at it!

BinM said...

David: In terms of draftees / signings of 'everyday' players, let's take a look...
CA)- Rodriguez (FA-2009 =Rizzo); Ramos (Trade-2010 =Rizzo).
1B)- TBD (2010= Rizzo).
2B)- Espinosa (Draft-2008= Bowden/Rizzo).
3B)- Zimmerman (Draft-2005= Bowden).
SS)- Desmond (Draft-2004= Minaya).
LF)- Willingham (Trade-2008= Bowden).
CF)- Morgan (Trade-2009= Rizzo).
RF)- Bernadina (Draft-2001= Stoneman?), Morse (Trade-2009= Rizzo).
Based on this summary of eight positions (10 players), the 'credit' line looks like this:
-Rizzo (2009-current)= 5.5 (Pudge, Ramos, Morgan, Morse, 1/2 credit for Espinosa + 1B).
-Bowden (2005-2009)= 2.5 (Zimmerman, Willingham, 1/2 credit for Espinosa).
-Minaya (2002-2005)= 1.0 (Desmond).
-Others (1969-2002)= 1.0) (Bernadina).

Rizzo has had more influence over the current roster than any of his predecessors; Does that make him solely responsible for the poor W-L records from 2006 to date? I think not entirely, since he was handed a horrifically weak farm system upon taking the job.

The true test of a GM's overall skills in overall roster-building are seen in years 3-5, not in year 1-2, in particular when looking at drafted players. Not to sound like a Rizzo apologist, but the next two years should bear more of the truth in how good (or bad) he is as a GM.

JayB said...

John C,

Sean does not need a new team now....Both he and Joel needED new teams before the trade....Sean is not as good as his end of 2010 season he is not better than Joel.....a wash at best....Joel H may well turn out to have the longer and better career...Lastings and Morgan both will be out of baseball in the next 18 months.

JayB said...

Ladson is such a he has the headline article on that the Nats are "on the look out for upgrades" they will have their eyes open but don't expect any plan or real something falls into there path then OK but that is about all you should expect.....Mark does Nats PR write this stuff and Bill uploads it?

JayB said...


In you own accounting of credit, Rizzo is responsible for the weakest part of the team. BIG HOLE at 1B, Pudge at C, Morgan at CF...that is not anything to be proud of....don't forget Rizzo picked Riggs to stay...just look to the North to see what happens when you get a real quality Manager with a track record of winning not near all time low of Losing like Riggs.

JayB said...

Don't forget ADAM KENNEDY, Mark B, and our Major International Signings of Martin and Maya....yup Rizzo is doing a fine job.....

Anonymous said...

Constant Reader here again. When the news came out, I immediately went back and found the post where Mark said back on Sept 28 that he, personally, wouldn’t go 4 years and $56M – exactly what Dunn got. Spooky. I also asked what we could have gotten from the ChiSox at the trade deadline so we could know the comparison with draft picks. I really appreciate you following up with this post. Your responsiveness, Mark, is why lots of us keep coming back to this blog.

I’m curious what other posters and Mark might think about the role Strasburg’s injury had on the Dunn decision. I know the posturing BEFORE the trade deadline was no more than three years. If Strasburg stays healthy, the entire approach to running the franchise changes. Maybe the Nats are willing to take a bigger risk with Dunn—including offering a fourth year. Maybe you can make a surprise run at the wildcard in ’11 and look to make a more serious run in ’12 with all the young players maturing. The risk of having Dunn makes a lot more sense then. But with Strasburg gone in ’11 and no certainty what we’ll get out of him in ’12, it changes the whole risk evaluation of Dunn.

Feels to me like Dunn’s fate was sealed with Strasburg’s injury. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...


Nationals bullpen: Matt Capps (traded for Ramos who will eventually replace Pudge), Clippard, Burnett, Slaten, Balester, and perhaps Cole Kimball.

This is an improved, younger bullpen.

The jury is still out on Rafael Martin and Yuniesky Maya. You may end up eating your words soon. Will you do that?

The athleticism of Zimmerman, Desmond, Espinosa, and Lombardozzi forms an improved younger infield.

The outfield is still a work in progress. But with Harper, Ramirez, Hood, Burgess and Perez on the way it seems like it could improve dramatically.

I'm not a fan of double-switch Riggleman either. But he appears to be following Rizzo's edicts when it comes to playing younger players like Espinosa and Desmond. Kennedy is not on Rizzo as much as its on Riggleman for playing Guzman far more than he should have at way too many different positions just to keep, what turned out to be an ineffective bat, in each game. Rizzo did trade the guy and got a couple of decent pitchers for him.

Have some patience.

natsfan1a said...

David (and other STH), I can't speak for Anon but it does not strike me that complaining has made much difference for STH to date, and I would be inclined to doubt that it will in the future. Not that you or others aren't entitled to complain, but it's a waste of energy if it has no impact on the product, imho, and it might be more effective when voiced directly to the team rather than on a blog.

Full disclosure, and as previously noted here and elsewhere: I'm not a STH but rather one who has put together my own "micro/mini" plans in conjunction with my husband and a friend since 2005. I'll continue to do so, though human/fan nature dictates that I'll be more inclined to pick up extra tickets when the team is doing well, and fewer when they're stinking up the joint.

Baseball tickets are discretionary spending. I spend what I'm comfortable with given my own finances and the level of play at any given time. I count myself lucky that I can afford to spend what I do on baseball tickets, fan gear, and associated items, as not everybody can afford to do so. For those of us who can afford to spend a fair chunk of our income on baseball, it's entirely our decision what to spend or whether to spend at all. We can complain as much as we like, but whether or not it has an effect on the product is debatable. As you've noted, not spending or spending less is another (and perhaps more effective) way to make a statement.

Anonymous said...

@Constant Reader,

I don't think the Dunn situation had anything to do with Strasburg's injury. Complaints from scouts about how Dunn actually caused/created more losses from his fielding than wins with his bat started very early on. The Nats had a great bullpen this year, even if the SP rotation was probably the worst in baseball. The relievers might have pulled out more games were it not for the fielding gaffes. The defense did not improve over last year.

I think this is more than any other reason is why you see an Espinosa and Desmond instead of Guzman and Kennedy. Desmond's and Zimmerman's throwing errors might have at least been halved with a better first baseman.

And in spite of Dunn's attitude toward DH'ing that is what he will do in Chicago (and would have in Baltimore as well). Especially If Konerko resigns with the Sox then ... of course the Nats could get in on that perhaps? No National League team was willing to take a chance with Dunn at first base. Except the Nats but only for 3 years.

That speaks volumes to me.

Anonymous said...

Gonzalez trade fell through. We need a 1b. I'm not saying it will happen but I'd like to see at least some attempt made at it. Including an extension.

Anonymous said...

If (as rumored) they sign Jayson Werth who is over 30 like Dunn but much faster and far more athletic? Are you really going to complain?

Where did you hear this? I have not read one thing that ties Werth to the Nationals.

Anonymous said...

Berkman's gone ...

Anonymous said...

Rotonews had the MLB.COM report of a deal being near. Let's see where/if this happens. Not expected for sure.


Matt said...

MLBTR claims the deal is done. Werth to Nats.

Anonymous said...

Jayson Werth! C'mon down Phillies fans!

I wanted the team to assure the fans they weren't becoming the Pittsburgh Pirates. They just did it. I was a hige Adam Dunn fan, but even I admit this is an upgrade.

Wally said...

Whoa! 7 years, $126m? I guess they accepted the fact that they need to overpay a few guys to get some momentum.

if true, gotta give it to the Lerners on this one - and I have been a critic. they are going to be roundly criticized by the 'experts', but who cares.

BinM said...

@JayBeee: Don't forget who they replaced before passing judgement...
CA)- Rodriguez & Ramos (Rizzo) over LoDuca/Nieves/others (Bowden).
1B)- Dunn (Bowden) over ??? (Rizzo); I'll give you this one.
CF)- Morgan (Rizzo) over Milledge (Rizzo) = washout; But over Logan/Kearns/etc. (Bowden), I'll take Rizzo's picks.

Now the case of Managers points back to the Lerners' as well, imo. Riggleman ($750k) over Showalter ($2M+); That was all about salary, just like Acta was.

Michael J. Hayde said...

It's official. Just got the email from

Washington Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo announced today that the Nationals have agreed to terms with free agent outfielder Jayson Werth.

An eight-year veteran, Werth spent the last four seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, where he made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2009. During the 2010 season, Werth batted .296 with 27 HR and 85 RBI in 156 regular season games.

Anonymous said...


1B)- Dunn (Bowden) over ??? (Rizzo); I'll give you this one.

I'm still waiting on this BinM, and think that Pena was a smokescreen for Werth. Think about it? The Lerner's ownership group appears to have given Rizzo carte blanche'. Crawford, Lee, Konerko? Anything is possible. If they manage to get Crawford too I do hope they will try Morse at first base and see what he can do with 400+ at bats.

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