Tuesday, January 4, 2011

LaRoche signs 2-year deal

Updated at 10:38 p.m.

The Nationals' longstanding vacancy at first base has been filled at last. Free agent Adam LaRoche agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract this evening, club sources confirmed.

The deal won't become official until LaRoche passes a physical, which is due to take place Thursday in Washington. Contract terms stipulate that LaRoche will make $7 million in 2011 and $8 million in 2012, with a $10 million mutual option for 2013 that the Nationals can buy out for $1 million.

The 31-year-old has been on the Nationals' radar for nearly a month, ever since the club found itself in need of a new first baseman after Adam Dunn signed a four-year, $56 million contract with the White Sox. General manager Mike Rizzo also pursued fellow free agents Carlos Pena and Derrek Lee, but each veteran signed elsewhere (Pena with the Cubs, Lee with the Orioles).

That left LaRoche as the lone remaining free agent first baseman of significance, and the Nationals as the lone remaining team still in the market for such a player.

LaRoche is a career .271 hitter over seven big-league seasons with the Braves, Pirates, Red Sox and Diamondbacks. He has hit exactly 25 home runs each of the last three years and set a career high with 100 RBI last season with Arizona (though his .261 batting average, .320 on-base percentage and .468 slugging percentage all fell below his career averages).

LaRoche's offensive production won't match the man he's replacing -- Dunn has hit at least 38 homers with at least a .356 on-base percentage each of the last seven years -- but he is a more gifted defensive player. His .995 career fielding percentage is fifth-best among all qualifying first basemen since 2004. (His Ultimate Zone Rating over the span, though, is -15.9, fourth-worst among qualifying first basemen, according to Fangraphs.)

The left-handed LaRoche figures to bat either fourth or fifth, joining Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth as the heart of the Nationals' new-look lineup.


Will said...

Wow. That one really came out of left field!

I'll be interested to see what the final figures are for his annual salary. $7m/season sounds about right. Then maybe a few million in post-season awards, like MVP voting and Gold Gloves?

Is it even possible to base incentives off statistical achievements, like 30 HR or a .300 average?

Pilchard said...

Are the Nats done other than signing non-roster invitees?

natscan reduxit said...

... okay, good. Now, about that arm yet unsigned ...?

Go La Nats!

Farid Rushdi said...

A couple of notes here ...

1) Dunn batted .199 against lefties while LaRoche hit .264 last season.

2) Dunn batted .169 with runners in scoring position and two out, LaRoche hit .274.

LaRoche will be a better EVERYDAY first baseman and will certainly be better late in the game and with runners on base.

That said, I was really liked Dunn, but I did grow weary of watching him strikeout with runners on second and third with two out and the Nationals a run behind.

I really think that he'll be better for the team in the long run (home runs aren't everything). After all, Dunn had 103 RBI to LaRoche's 100.

Will said...

And regarding LaRoche's defense:
If you ignore his atrocious 2005 defensive numbers, he's a plus defender for his career. He'd go from -15.9 to +2.3, which would put him in the top 15 or so 1B defensively.

It looks like we got an average to slightly above average fielder at first.

Anonymous said...

Farid agree with everything you say. It will be nice to have a first baseman that doesn't have to be removed for defensive reasons late in games.

Will said...

I'm afraid you won't be free of those strikeouts. LaRoche struck out 172 times last year.

Joe Sommer said...

There is always hope for Garza. Which could shake things up quite a bit, because I can't imaging the Nats getting Garza without sacrificing Storen and either Desmond or Espinosa, and possibly something else.

Anonymous said...

Sorry also to see Adam D go, but it's an upgrade defensively and possibly with timely hitting. Glad to see the Nats move on this finally. Still need a starting pitcher, but definitely like that a plan is being worked by the FO.

BinM said...

Winner, winner, Chicken dinner!

Good - Now the Nationals have a legit 1B to start 2011, and a LH-hitter with some power for the lineup. Shave off another 10-12 errors from the 2010 totals for the IF as well. This is a good thing, people.

JayB said...

UZR fails to tell the story yet again....-15...that is BS and is so out of line that it should have been a huge red flag for Mark not to even mention such a poor excuse for a stat.....You have to watch games to judge defense...there is no stat work using.....not even errors....Dunn did not make many errors...they all went to Zimm and Ian D.

Wally said...

I don't think that you can base bonuses off incentives like # of home runs, etc any longer. I think it is in the CBA. Awards like MVP are ok.

I hope it is around $7m per, I worry it could be a few million higher.

Anonymous8 said...

From Boz: LaRoche has a mutual option for a third year worth $10m. #Nats can buy out for $1m. Makes $15m first 2 years.

A straight 3 year $21 million deal makes more sense to me if that was ever on the table.

Now the Nats should make a run at Pavano. Still think you get him so you can trade off a back of the rotation pitcher for prospects.

Anonymous said...

Now go out and get a pitcher -- most likely Pavano, at this point.

Tegwar said...

It's a good signing at a reasonable cost both monetarily and time wise and it addresses an obvious need. Now on to signing a starter or a versatile bullpen pitcher and maybe a safety IF'er. Rizzo is addressing the teams obvious needs which is what a good GM must do to field a respectable team.

natsfan1a said...

Who's at first. Finally.

Mark said...

Here's what I like best about this----no more talk about Dmitri Fielder.

Steady Eddie said...

One additional point in favor of this signing building on what JayB said (I can't believe I could write that!) -- for the next two years at least the Nats are going to have at most one (Zimmermann in 2011) or two (in 2012) power pitchers. Even if some of the rest have good years, they're still finesse pitchers who live or die by the ground ball out. Going from 1 1/2 solid infielders this past year to hopefully the whole infield this coming season (not to mention above-average catching) is worth a half-dozen more wins at least. While the dysfunctional front office should have traded Dunn away this summer when we could get more than draft picks for him, Rizzo was right to want him off first base -- especially with this pitching staff.

Dave said...

I'm feeling good about this. I still have my doubts about centerfield, and of course we need a starter, but our number of infield errors has probably just dropped considerably.

Gus in FFX said...

Great article on our new first baseman. Didn't know he was ADD.


Alex said...

@Anonymous8: No reason to lock us into a 3rd year when we can get 2 and see what happens (Marrero? Moore? Free agent?)

And I gotta think this makes it even MORE likely we sign Pavano. For one thing, team looks better in the short-run. For another, Nats look less desperate to offer him a third year. Rumor is the offer from the Nats is better than Minnesota.

It's out there. Now, it's time for Pavano to decide, possibly this week...

Theophilus said...

Goodness. What do we have left to talk about between now and Spring Training? (Please let it not be about Pavano. Even if he's healthy, his highest and best use is as trade bait before July 31.)

Jaxpo Nat said...

"Mutual option for 3rd year"... I am trying to make sense of that in my head. What good is a mutual option to anyone. If both sides have to agree, is it not the same as a 2-year deal with no option and then just re-sign? I guess it pins down the money... seems like nothing more than window dressing.

Stranded_in_Philly said...

Good signing, both in dollars and years. As for the Pavano rumors.... please no. Apparently ESPN Insider has mentioned a 3 year deal floating out there for Pavano. Thats too much for a 35 year old pitcher.

Ride this year out, then go back to the free agency pool next year when Strasburg is back and we have a better chance to put together a complete rotation and compete.

JayB said...

Yup, just like Boz said....and I I said for 4 years and just 3 days ago....Lerners caused this problem by being cheap and it did not have to be like this.....Rizzo quotes in that Boz article are like none you ever see.....love Boz or hate him...he is the only one with any access to the Nats leadership. Mark, do you call up Ted or Mark L or Rizzo ever? If yes, do they just not take your call ever? I know if that is the case you are not alone but still......Boz seems to be the only one who can get a quote outside a conference call or press conference.

Big Cat said...

Team looks almost set......on paper that is. Now we need a centerfielder and pitching, pitching, pitching.

JayB said...

I for one like the signing of a LH 1B with above average defense (-15 UZR, what a joke)....I find it amazing that Rizzo tells Boz that they have no intention of signing Carl P and the rest of Nats media look clueless.....I am not blaming Mark in any way so don't get your panties in a wad....just saying that this team has really failed to improve itself this off season and Rizzo failed in to date on his #1 priority....Starting Pitching.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JayB.... Where does Boz say Rizzo "tells" Boz that they have "no intention" of signing Pavano?

His comment "ascerbically" stated is that there has been no response from the Pavano camp to their offer made at the Winter Meetings.

Your continued desire to lay blame to Rizzo and the Lerners for not "instantly" transforming themselves into the next Yankee dynasty is so old and tired.

I believe the progress has been upward and, even with the current pitching staff which includes several minor league arms capable of providing substance, should approach .500 this season.

The fact that our starting lineup no longer contains two American League DH er's is a step forward.

Sunderland said...

JayB, don't hang you hat on Boswell.

Bozwell's article is stupid, and typical Boswell. Dunn got a much bigger payday than he did 2 years ago. Market dynamics change. But LaRoche getting a bigger payday is a sign the Nats were cheap and are paying for it today?

De la Rosa wanted to stay in Colorado. Yeah, we offered him more, but he chose Colorado. There are plenty of other teams he'd have turned down to stay in Colorado. Same with Vasquez. He had comfort with Florida for a bunch of reasons. He wanted to be in Florida. He turned us down, but he'd have turned down plenty of other teams to do what he wanted to do, pitch near home, where he's comfortable.
Rizzo got the deal he wanted. He wanted LaRoche for 2 years, he waited it out, and he signed a good deal.

What did it take for Ryan Howard to sign with the Phillies? Way above market price.
What did it take for CC to sign with the Yankees? Way above market price.
Jeter? Rivera? Way above market price.

Do we need to outbid others to get free agents? Uh, yeah.
Isn't that the way it works most of the time?
Why no article about how the White Sox are paying some sort of penalty for paying Dunn $15M a year when 2 years ago we signed him for $10M a year? Why are the Nats being singled out?

Boswell used to be a premier baseball writer.

Section 215, Row A said...

Well said NatsJack in Florida....I am drinking the same Kool-Aid

Sunderland said...

Sorry, another rant coming on....

Rizzo got exactly what he wanted. He didn't want Lee or Pena, partly because he didn't want a one year deal. A one year deal puts him back on the FA market next year and he doesn't want to have to do that. He wanted the lefty, good fielding, good bat of LaRoche, and he wanted him for two years.

Again, Rizzo handled this really well. He made the right public comments about wanting Lee and Pena, but if he really wanted them, he could have had them. He's got the money. You really think Lee decided the Orioles were a better place for him than the Nats??? Seriously??? No, the O's just offered him more money. Rizzo never wanted Lee, he wanted LaRoche's team to think he wanted Lee.

Quotes from MLB execs and quotes from politicians have to be parsed and put into context. They're never saying the complete truth, ever. The evidence is clear, if Rizzo wanted Lee he could easily have signed Lee. But he wanted LaRoche, and got what he wanted, on his terms, by playing this smart.

Done. Sorry.

JaneB said...

Okay. The Lerners were cheap for too long. We can all just stipulate to that, right? But they are clearly willing to spend now. Let's move forward and let it go. It happened. It's over. The consequences may still accrue but the attitude and behavior has shifted. We can't change the past. It's done.

WE can't change the future, either. But can quit festering over old stuff.

Go Nats!

Section 215 Row A said...

Sunderland, please!

You can't have it both ways: teams overpay to get a FA except when they don't (Cliff Lee, De la Rosa, Vasquez)? Boswell's point is that the Nats only get the FA they overpay for and by a considerable margin. Witness Teixiera and Lee. No one is coming because they like the town, the ballpark, the uniforms or the Nat's chance of winning.

Anonymous8 said...

Sunderland - I agree with you. The Nats have to OVERPAY only for the top-tier free agents like Teixeira, Cliff Lee and Jayson Werth. They didn't overpay for LaRoche or Marquis last year and won't have to for Pavano.

For the non-baseball students out there that pick up the Post, Boswell's article will paint a negative picture. I think we all can read between the lines.

Anonymous said...

Where is/are the top of the rotation starting pitcher or pitchers that Rizzo promised us...why isn't the media holding his feet to the fire for this...this offseason is one BIG FAIL! In 2012 even the additions of Harper and Strastburg will not help without a legit power hitting LF and two more starters and a veteran closer!!!

Boz got it right the Lerners have no clue what it takes to build a winning team and one signing and a couple of draft picks does not change that, but the more important thing that Boz misses is either does Rizzo! Kasten was the only one in his organization from day 1 who knew how to build something from nothing and he was marginalized until he couldn't take it anymore.

This is a sad fact but the Orioles are miles ahead in rebuilding compared to the Nats:

- They have a real major league manager and coaching staff

- They are solid offensively and defenasively at every position and they have home grown talent in the starting roration as well as a good veteran closer...sad day on Half St ladies and gentleman!

JayB said...

I said I liked the Adam L signing and I agree it is better than any one year contract, said it a month ago and a day ago.....I also said that the real issues caused by first 4 years of Lerner ownership are killing Rizzo's attempts to improve the team. I said this 4 years ago and predicted the current state of affairs....Lerners were Cheap fine but the real problem is it is effecting the product today and it effects the product for years going forward.

JayB said...


If Rizzo has not been actively talking to Carl P or his agent in over a month they are not going to get him........That quote tells us they paid a call on the agent at the winter meetings and nothing has happened since....that tells you all you need to know about Nats plans for Carl P.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JayB... the Nats have an offer in front of Carl Pavano and his agent. They made it at the Winter Meetings and were told that they would make a decision after the Holiday's.

True, that Pavano would prefer to stay in Minnesota but the Nats offer has to be matched (or at least approached) and that hasn't happened. The "qoute" tells us that Rizzo is not going to up his offer and everything is in Pavano's court.

JayB said...

Njack.....do you know they made an offer...If so then I am wrong....I do not think they have a contract offer on the table but if you do let us know

Anonymous said...

Good move. The right player, the right price, the right length of deal.
Despite the habitual carping in NatsTown, it strikes me that we have something in our favor that we've lacked for so long we barely recognize it when we see it. A REAL GM.
The number one rule to survival in an occasionally hostile universe? "Don't panic!"
You know what you're watching when you see someone take a series of artfully planned, well-timed, well-placed steps and an occasional leap to the heights? A damn ballet, people.
Do it well enough and people will pay to watch.
And if I'd won the Mega-Millions last night, I'd be buying a Season Ticket this morning.
Encore, Mr Rizzo. Encore!
Now find a lead-off hitter.

JamesFan said...

What about spending some cash for a lights out closer like Soriano?

JD said...

This is a good signing because at $8mil per year all you need is 2 WAR to get fair value and I think LaRoche can do that. The key for me is NOT committing to more than 2 years where the player can start a steep decline and you still have to pay him the big bucks.

The team as it is constituted now IMHO is a 75-78 win team which can reach .500 if they get anything from Wong and if Marquis expected improvement over last year exceeds the expected drop in Livo's production.

Please avoid giving Pavano more than 2 years; he is 35 and has historically only pitched well in contract walk years; he doesn't have 'swing and miss' stuff; given a real chance I think Craig Stammen puts up better numbers than Pavano next year at a fraction of the cost.

JD said...

On the other hand Brad Penny for 1 year @ $3mil would be a great signing because he does have 'swing and miss' stuff when healthy.

NatsJack in Florida said...

JayB ... not really a contract offer but the years and total dollars were discussed and the Nats didn't flinch while the Twins have.

Thats where the negativity from Rizzo originates.

I will not be suprised if Pavano's agent calls the Nationals and asks for a firm offer.

While I am not high on Pavano, I would much prefer him as a stop gap for 2 years than having to unload prospects on Garza.

It's time we, as fans, see the fruits of Rizzo's scouting staff ripen and I know we will see one or two oranization guys not mentioned previously on our pitching staff this season.

Sunderland said...

NJ in FL, agreed. Rizzo did not bid against himself for LaRoche, and he'll not be bidding against himself on Pavano.

Sec215, it *is* both ways. It just is. Money os normally the over-riding factor. So most times, you bid the most to win, and some will say you oveerpaid.

But plenty of these guys are making so much freakin' money that other factors play in as well.

Is Boz going to write an article about how the Yankees have screwed things up so much they have to overpay? Because they overpaid for A-Rod, CC, Jeter, Rivera and Teixiera. They bid the most on Cliff Lee and didn't get him. What's the difference 'tween the Nats and Yankees in that regard? Nothing. You win some and you lose some, money if often the over-riding factor but not always.
It is both ways.

I don't disagree that the Nat's need to overpay sometimes. Same is true everwhere. And I certainly don't disagree that the Lerners played this poorly for years.

DFL said...

Just a question regarding Carl Pavano and Nats alternatives- is Pavano that much better than Matt Chico, JD Martin or Shairon Martis? And isn't Martis a much younger man who can improve? The Nats are not going to the playoffs in 2011. Why not let Martis get 25 starts to see if he has a Nats future?

Johnbb21 said...

"I know we will see one or two oranization guys not mentioned previously on our pitching staff this season."

NatsJack: Who are you thinking about? Tom Milone? Brad Peacock?

C3PO said...

The Nats made an offer for Pavano and so has the Twins. Rizzo has been a little busy getting his 1st baseman so now he can work on his last major need which is starting pitching.

Pavano ultimately wanted 3 years at $11 million a year which neither offer is close to so now it will be time for the agent to try to get a little more and make their decision.

My guess is Pavano gets 2 years at $16 to $20 million over the 2 years.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Yes... Pavano is that much better than the guys you named. But he may not be better than several pitchers not listed on our 40 man roster that will be invited to camp in 39 more days.

Started to post this but saw Johnbb21 post...
Yes, that's 2 but there is also A.J. Morris and Sammy Solis.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

This came up in NJ a while back, but maybe there's no such thing as overpaying, unless maybe you're just bidding against yourself or otherwise being foolish. If you really can't get the guy at a lower price, then that's the price, *for you.* Maybe you got the wrong guy, or could have gotten the same production out of someone cheaper, but that's not exactly the same thing.

When do they start playing actual games, again? Seabiscuit's looking like a grease spot, here.

JD said...


Pavano is not worth it; walk away.


I think all the pitchers you mentioned are minor leaguers; Martis was far from dominant in AAA last year. I think Stammen may be a positive surprise and this may be the year we see if he can take the next step.

John C. said...

NatsJack, you think A.J. Morris is going to be on the MLB squad this season? That's a looong jump from A ball.

Btw, happy birthday to A.J. Cole, turns 19 today. 19, geez ... LOL

Do we lead the majors in A.J.s?

Sunderland said...

The one thing you would hope to get out of Pavano is 200 innings (which none of our AAAA guys could do). If he does it with a 4.00 ERA, so much the better.
We can't allow our bullpen to lead the league in innings pitched again this year if we expect improvement.

That said, also not high on Pavano.

JD said...

We still need:

1) A starting pitcher (not Pavano at $10 mil a year).

2) A middle infielder in case Espinosa can't cut it.

3) A solid low cost reliever (ALA Capps).

NatsJack in Florida said...

John C.... I don't expect him to make it out of camp but we should see him sometime during the season.

He has the best slider in the organization with 94-95 fastball and great command. They were developing his change up in Fall Instructional League and he and Ryan Mattheus were head and shoulders above everyone else.

Steve M. said...

There are a couple reasons I like Pavano which is he was a clubhouse leader in Minnesota last year and he has come back from adversity and injuries in his career which can help mentor guys like JZim and Strasburg who could use that type of mentor.

He turns 35 this week but his arm doesn't have the mileage of most 35 year olds because of the time he missed from injury.

His 3.75 ERA last year was the 3rd lowest of his career so the question is whether he can continue to be like last year or be closer to his career average of 4.34 which is always the risk with pitchers with track records like this.

The other thing about signing Pavano is giving Rizzo the ability to trade a young arm from the back of the rotation for some needed prospects.

Johnbb21 said...

NatsJack: I've seen several people giving Morris high praise. Is he going to be a starter though? The bullpen should be pretty tough to crack barring injury or a trade for Garza.

I think Solis could be very good, but he lost some velocity as the innings went on in the AFL final. IMO, he'll need to build strength and stamina before he makes the majors. I'd be surprised to see him this year.

For those interested, I noticed that Eury Perez hasn't played the last two nights other than a pinch hit/run appearance. He was held out of the lineup while all the Greinke talk was going on as well. Then as soon as Greinke was traded he was back in the lineup.

I wonder if there's talk of a deal for Garza. I could see him being discussed as a potential Upton replacement. I would think Marrero and several of the relievers would potentially be of interest to Tampa as well.

JD said...


I think the crop of pitchers you mentioned will end up anchoring the staff at Harrisburg this year. I think Atilano, Martis, Martin, Chico and Milone will start at Syracuse or be released; with the exception of Milone none of them have the stuff to start in the majors and it's time to move up the next group.

I may sound like a broken record but I really think that Craig Stammen has the stuff to be a respectable 4 or 5 in the majors; I also think that Brad Penny with his 95 mph fast ball can really help when healthy and can be had cheaply.
I think that Pavano for $3 -$5 million for 1 or 2 years would be a great signing but he is not a top of the rotation guy and he is at an age where he may very well decline quickly; you shouldn't give him $10 mil.

Will said...

Martis is a nonprospect at this point. His control has gotten worse each year in the minors, while his strikeout rates have dropped.

If we have to use any of the retreads like Mock, Chico, Martis, Martin or Atilano this year, then it means we're in for another disaster of a season and likely to lose 100 games again.

Our starting pitching depth chart reads something like this: Zimmermann, Hernandez, Marquis, Lannan, Wang, Detwiler, Maya, Stammen, Gaudin, Broderick and then possibly a couple of untested still-relevant prospects like Solis, Meyers, Peacock, Milone, Mandel, Roark and Tatusko before going back to the retreads.

There would have to be some sort of massive injury crisis or some sort of miraculous transformation in AAA for any of those guys to see any time in the big leagues.

PAY TO PLAY said...

This is quoted from Boswell and I find it humerous that Boz kisses a little Bal'more a$$ in delivering back a low blow to Rizzo. Hard to believe Rizzo would be quoted saying the following:

Derrek Lee picked the Orioles even though Nats GM Mike Rizzo said: "We liked Lee a lot. I don't know why he went to Baltimore over us." But he did.

On Tuesday, the Orioles signed another player in whom the Nats had shown some interest, reliever Kevin Gregg, for $10 million over two years.

JD said...

Will I agree with you completely; I forgot about Gaudin; he may be a decent sleeper; certainly better than Atilano and Martin. Also Danny Rosenbaum had a nice year last year so he may be in the mix somewhere in the Milone, Mandel area.

I am really excited to see the stud prospects NatsJack is talking about to see if they can dominate at their levels before beginning the move up.

Mark said...

Pay2Play - I Google'd that exact quote that Boswell wrote from Rizzo which has already shown up requoted in AP and other sources but couldn't find the original quote.

Seems suspicious to me and possibly out of context.

Nats fan in NJ said...

The question none of us can answer is: What is the cost of Garza? Based on what Milwaukee paid for Grienke, the cost for Garza is going to be pretty high. Storen, Des/Esp, Flores/Ramos and Perez? Is that too much? I think it is, but Tampa may not. I would not like the Nats to make that move. I think it is in Tampa's best interest to hold onto Garza until the July trade deadline (or if a big name gets hurt) and see what they can get then.

From a Nats perspective, I'd trade Storen and Des/Esp for Garza, but how many holes do you create by trading much more then that? If you can make that trade, sign Eckstein to play infield and spend the money on Soriano.

Steve M. said...

3 years of Garza and arbitration would be fine if you don't give up the building blocks. Yes, trade Storen, Derek Norris and Chris Marrero and John Lannan. If they want an outfielder throw in Justin Maxwell.

I wouldn't give up Jordan Zimmermann, Desmond or Espinosa at this point.

Pilchard said...

The Nats could get Garza straight up for Derek Norris. The Rays like Norris a lot.

Anonymous said...

"Seems suspicious to me and possibly out of context."

Boswell's entire life is lived out of context. His guru is Earl Weaver - who although not dead as was recently erroneously reported, is entirely irrelevant to today's game. Therefore, anything written by Boswell should be considered suspect by definition.

Water23 said...

Sign Soriano. It cost less than normal thanks to the Werth signing and we get a lights out closer. It may take a two year deal ($10 mill a year still keeps us below last year's payroll). So either we have a top closer when we make the run in '12 or a few prospect(s) either at the trading deadline '11 or '12(a la Capps) and we let Storen et al take over.

And speaking of ways to improve the team, they might consider amping up their Int'l FAs signings. Yes, we got burned before but that is an area when $$$ millions can really bring some long term depth.

These two actions would be consistent with the other Phase II moves. Continue adding top players without breaking the bank and building depth through non-traditional ways.

Go Nats!

Sunderland said...

johnbb21 - Nice observation about Eury's playing time. Certainly could be an indication that there's some trade talks going on. Thanks....

For those interested, I noticed that Eury Perez hasn't played the last two nights other than a pinch hit/run appearance. He was held out of the lineup while all the Greinke talk was going on as well. Then as soon as Greinke was traded he was back in the lineup.

I wonder if there's talk of a deal for Garza.***

Wally said...

I agree with JD's take in several of his posts. Pavano isn't worth the reported commitment, certainly not 3 years. And I think that Stammen is underappreciated here, and could be a pleasant surprise.

I would like to see another starter added, tho, and can't count on a trade. I would like to see only 1 year deals. Bonderman, Francis, even Millwood could be effective. Penny also, I am just not current on his injury situation. I care less about dollars on a 1 yr deal, especially this year where the Nats have ample payroll room.

As an aside, I think that the Nats need to move out a bunch these AAAA guys. They are clogging rotation space and need to make way for prospects that have a chance. Atilano, Martis, beloved Matty Chico, even Martin need to be traded, released or moved to the pen. I would like to see some amount of Meyers, Peacock, Milone, Mandel, Roark and Tatusko in Syracuse's rotation.

Maybe the Nats need to try for Billingsley instead of Garza. Storen, Espy, Ramos? I would make that trade, and it could fit several Dodger needs.

Sign Eckstein, so long as he knows he is a back up going into the season. Or (wait for it) ... what about Guzzy on a 1 year, $2m deal? By the way, that Rizzo trade for Guzzy looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Steve M. said...

Anon @ 11:01. True that.

I ask you "Why do you think Derrek Lee went to Baltimore instead of Washington". I respond back, "He was one of 2 we were looking at with LaRoche and I don't know why he went to Baltimore over us but we were really pursuing more than a 1 year deal and liked LaRoche's left handed bat".

A little cut & paste and boom, you have a horrible looking quote.

Whore-nalism 101. Funny though that only Boswell had that quote. What a great journalist is he and now it is being re-quoted dozens of times over!

Anonymous said...

Steve M. said...
3 years of Garza and arbitration would be fine if you don't give up the building blocks. Yes, trade Storen, Derek Norris and Chris Marrero and John Lannan. If they want an outfielder throw in Justin Maxwell.

Hey Steve, I wonder if they'd let us also throw in Atinano and Chico and Mock and Stairs and heck, do we still own Chris Duncan?

DFL said...

There's a very good piece by Adam Kilgore at Nats Journal for those interested. LaRoche loves to hunt. If he likes deer hunting, LaRoche has found a home in DC.

Water23 said...


Touche on SP for 1 a year. Money is not as big an issue as you wash your hands of them if they fall apart. It should be noted that we now have a 1 yr deal with Marquis.

Also, I actually like the Guzie idea. He was a team player last year and would be an ideal Util INF for $2 million. He then replaces TAWH etc and build the solid bench we need to win.

PAY TO PLAY said...

Marrero could be a good DH in the American League and would be a nice part of a trade but to throw in guys like Eury Perez who can be roaming CF for 6+ years in Washington and Wilson Ramos who could be the catcher of the future here is a lot to give up while Espinosa and Desmond are the future of the middle of this infield.

Garza would be a nice addition here but you can't mortgage your future for him.

Johnbb21 said...

NatsJack: Is Morris going to be a starter? Do you see him at Harrisburg to begin the season? Thanks.

I wouldn't trade Desmond or Espinosa for Garza. I don't think Tampa would want them as much anyway with Brignac and Rodriguez.

Sunderland said...

Please not Guzman. Nothing bad about his attitude or character, he was fine last year in his weird role.
But he's got no range, not much arm, not much bat, even less OBP. We can do better.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Johnbb21.... I expect he'll start at Harrisburg and the way they were making him work on the change up, he should be a starter.

Will said...

Marrero doesn't have the power to be a good 1B or DH. His career minor league SLG is .450, which you'd expect to drop quite a bit over the first few years in the majors. I know the average DH quality has really gone downhill recently, but I still can't see an AL team finding Marrero useful. Most AL teams simply use their best bat off the bench (Ortiz, Guerrero and Thome exlcuded), and Marrero doesn't seem like he'd fill that role. He also lacks versatility. He can't field anywhere besides first, and he's not that good there either. I think it would be in our best interest to hold onto him, hope his power develops, and see if we can get any use out of him towards the end of 2012, as LaRoche's contract runs out. His value has stagnated for the past few years, so it wouldn't make sense to sell when his value is so low, and he is still only 22.

Will said...

Wally, I agree. Rizzo should target a couple pitchers for 1 year deals.

Whether they're starters or relievers doesn't matter much to me. Sign and trade deals are a great way to buy a better farm system. Besides the draft, which only happens once a year, you can sign guys like Capps to a 1/$3.5m deal, and a few months later come away with Wilson Ramos and Joe Testa.
For the Nats, money isn't an issue, so eat some of the players contracts if necessary, but a flyer on relievers like Rauch, Qualls or Fuentes or starters like Bonderman, Francis or Penny could add further depth to our farm system.

Faraz Shaikh said...

After the Laroche signing, let us look at our projected lineup against Tim Hudson and Atlanta Braves.

CF - Nyjer Morgan
2B - Danny Espinosa
3B - Ryan Zimmerman
1B - Adam Laroche
RF - Jayson Werth
LF - Roger Bernadina
SS - Ian Desmond
C - Ivan Rodriguez / Wilson Ramos

This is the lineup I would like to see but most likely they will flip Espinosa with Desmond.

Hopefully by the time Laroche is done, Marrero or Moore will be ready offensively and defensively. No complaints from my side. This side does look more solid than 2010 opening day lineup did.

Anonymous said...

get Yu Darvish! it only costs money (albeit a lot of it)

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

"A little cut & paste and boom, you have a horrible looking quote."

You can't POSSIBLY know that. And you're criticizing *his* integrity?!

Anonymous said...

I am more relieved than happy about this. LaRoche was the only viable alternative left. If Russell Branyan was the Nats first baseman, I would have jumped off the ledge. But I'm not drinking the Kool Aid that LaRoche is better than Dunn. He's worse. Much worse. Fewer home runs, a history of fewer RBI's, and I'm not sure that any percieved improvement in defense is going to make up the difference.

I'm not going to bust Rizz for not getting a starting pitcher, he tried to get the best one out there (Grienke) and that didn't work out. There really isn't that much on the FA market to improve upon Marquis/Livo/J Zimm/Lannan and a fifth. We are getting the ace we need back when Stras returns in late '11/early '12.

John C. said...

The big difference for the 2011 Nats over the 2010 Nats at this point for me is the bench. Last year's bench was pitiful. Willie Harris (.183), Justin Maxwell (.144), Kevin Mensch (.111), Wil Nieves (.203) and Alberto Gonzalez(.247) - all of them at or well under the Mendoza line except for Gonzalez, who somehow managed to only drive in five runs in 198 plate appearances! It made you wonder why they ever pinch hit for the pitcher.

Next year they'll have a stick from the right side (Morse) the left side (Ankiel) and the best of last year's lousy batting averages in slick fielding Gonzalez. They have a lefty with real thump in Matt Stairs who will be fighting for the last roster slot, too, although I think that they'll probably go with another infielder. Still, it's a great improvement.

Steve M. said...

raymitten - I always found it interesting for the Dunn haters who thought it was easy to replace him. You can replace anyone but not necessarily improve.

I think with a combo deal of Werth + LaRoche this team is better, and got to what Rizzo wanted in a more athletic team with better fielding.

ERAs should get better because of it with lower pitch counts.

Should, should, should better turn into those positive results or the egg goes squarely in Rizzo's face. Lerner wanted to retain Dunn but let the team architect reconstruct the team without Dunn.

As a fan of the team, I hope Rizzo was right. Less HRs for better production.

Sunderland said...


Consider performance with RISP and RISP and 2 outs.

2010 RISP
Dunn .217 AVG, .427 SLG
LaRoche .306 AVG, .573 SLG

2010 RISP 2 out
Dunn .169 AVG, .366 SLG
LaRoche .274 AVG, .575 SLG

Overall, LaRoche splits against righties and lefties were more balanced than Dunn's were. So all a manager had to do was bring in a lefty reliever, and then the guy they were facing wasn't Dunn the stud, it was Dunn the guy who hits .199 and slugs .416.

Another way of looking at it. They had basically the same number of AB's last year. Dunn hit 13 more home runs, but only knocked in 3 more runs. LaRoche will be more than capable in taking Dunn's spot in the order.

Steve M. said...

Sec 3, My Sofa said...
"A little cut & paste and boom, you have a horrible looking quote."

You can't POSSIBLY know that. And you're criticizing *his* integrity?!


You are right, I don't know that. I am trying to rationalize how that could have happened and very easily. I find it so remote that Rizzo would say that in the context written.

Could he have, sure. Someone should ask Rizzo as he is the one who looks bad by the quote and makes it look like another Angelos victory on the Nats.

Anonymous said...

Just read the Boz piece and man it made me angry. Instead of a nice piece on picking up a first baseman he uses it to take shots and write a very negative piece. I don't get that at all.

Mark said...

Anonymous 12:46, I am with you. Boz rarely says anything nice even on a day we should be happy. Nobody wanted Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee but Boz turns the table on Rizzo.

Rizzo should be steaming mad!

I also have my own reservations on the legitimacy of the quote.

Faraz Shaikh said...

People who are complaining about letting Dunn go. What would you have the management do now? trade laroche for Dunn with White Sox. I mean seriously it is over. Laroche is here, Dunn is not. Move on.

Johnbb21 said...

Thanks NatsJack. That does make sense. I had read a lot about him being moved to the pen, so I wanted to be sure.

I remember a lot of people thought he had the second best year in the NCAA after Strasburg in 2009. The fears were his size, age, and high pitch counts. Perhaps the Nats got a steal.

As far as Yu Darvish, I have to think the Yankees and Mets will be all over him next year. The Yanks missed out big this year and the Mets have a ton of money coming off the books. I bet Alderson wants to make a splash.

It will be interesting to see how far the Nats go for Darvish. They should have Strasburg and Zimmnn ready to go. Plus Solis looks legit; someone like Detwiler, Maya, Meyers, Morris or Peacock could break through; they could sign or trade for a Greinke, Oswalt or Garza; it wouldn't be shocking if Gerrit Cole (Boras client), Matt Purke, or Matt Barnes were there pick at #6. All three are legit studs and could be ready quickly. I think it's possible, if not likely that the Nats won't be as desperate for Darvish as some other teams.

Anyone have any thoughts on any other trade the Nats could be working on where they'd hold out Perez? Garza was the only guy I had.

JD said...


Dunn is one game a year better than Laroche overall but is earning twice as much and for 4 years. Werth is 2 games better than Willingham so overall we gained a potential 1 game WAR. The bench should add 1 to 2 more games and Marquis at his normal production should add 4-5 games. If we lose a couple because Livo regresses but gain a couple because we don't have to pitch Martin, Atilano etc then we should win about 78 games.

If we get dramatic improvement from Desmond and Morgan and anything at all from Wang we may be a .500 team.

PAY TO PLAY said...

From Boswell You don't know whether to laugh or cry. The Nats stood on their heads for days trying to convince '09 AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to accept a trade to Washington and get a fat contract extension beyond '12. Before the Nats and Kansas City could shape a final deal, Greinke invoked his no-trade clause rather than come to D.C. So, two weeks ago, K.C. traded him to Milwaukee. You know, the town in Wisconsin that hasn't been to the World Series since '82.

The Nats and their money also have been turned down regularly by less notable objects of their affection. The Nats probably outbid the Rockies for lefty Jorge de la Rosa, with more than $30 million on the table, but he stayed in Colorado. The Nats analyzed Carlos Pena all summer, but, after hitting .196, he signed with the Cubs because their hitting coach is his old guru. Derrek Lee picked the Orioles.

The whole article has to make you cringe then makes it look like Baltimore is a step up from the Nationals.

So, your damned if you do and damned if you don't.

If you took a 1 year deal for Derrek Lee or Carlos Pena then you would be cheap for taking a player coming off of a bad season.

Boswell's article ends on a high note with a low blow The Nats delivered the shock with the signing of Werth, but they haven't delivered much of the awe yet. So far, the Nats' winter is probably a slight upgrade thanks to better defense at first base, and in right field and left, too. But no sane team takes on a $126 million contract, including $20 million salaries for Werth in '16 and '17, just so it can avoid 90 losses.

Sunderland said...

Keep in mind that Strasburg will certainly be innings limited in 2012. No way they let him go over 140 innings. I expect they might even keep him in Florida, away from the cold, for the first few weeks of the season.
Zimmermann too will be on similar innings restriction this season, and if things go well, perhaps up to 175 innings in 2012.

How about a trade for Zito?
We take on that silly contract and in return offer prospects of lesser value. Costs us money (which we have) and not much in prospects (which we need to keep).

Boz Not Well said...

Does Boswell mention anywhere that the Yankees and their money were turned down by Greinke and Cliff Lee and maybe even Carl Crawford?

Steve M. said...

Heck, the Yankees had to overpay for their own player, DEREK JETER!

N. Cognito said...

Wally said...
"Or (wait for it) ... what about Guzzy on a 1 year, $2m deal? By the way, that Rizzo trade for Guzzy looks pretty good, doesn't it?"

Please ban this guy.
Thank you.

N. Cognito said...

Boz Not Well said...
"Does Boswell mention anywhere that the Yankees and their money were turned down by Greinke and Cliff Lee and maybe even Carl Crawford?"

Nope. Doesn't fit with his love for the O's and hate for the Nats.

Someone Pretending to be N. Cognito said...

Let's get Felipe Lopez instead

Anonymous said...

get Yu Darvish now! they need him this year not next!

The real N. Cognito (really!) said...

Felipe "The Dog" Lopez!

There is an appropriate position for him with the team but I think the Nats already have someone more qualified to clean the toilets in the clubhouse.

SonnyG10 said...

I am very happy with our getting first base settled. I would not mind if we had to go into the season as we now stand. Anything Rizzo can do now to tweak the team will be icing on the cake for me.

I just read Boswell's article and I am very disappointed in him. I used to have a lot of respect for what he wrote, but not anymore.

Sunderland said...

I'm glad many of you felt similarly about Boswell's articel this morning. I ranted a couple times here prior to 8:00 am about it.

20 years ago Boswell was my favorite.
Sometime around 1999 he wrote an article where he said it time we accept that the best first baseman of all time is Mark McGwire. I flipped out. First time I ever wrote to The Post.

His article right before StanK left was so self-serving. He's a shadow of his former very excellent self.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Maybe it's just me, but I'm not getting all the sturm und drang over Boswell's column.

I understood it to be, basically: the Lerners tried to do things on the cheap, and pooched themselves and the team in the process. They may have learned their lesson, but now they just have to take the consequences, because rep matters around baseball.

Marvelous command of the obvious, maybe, but it's just a column in the sports section.

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Yeah, I figured that part. I think you don't appreciate why that's slander, is all.
Steve M. said...
Sec 3, My Sofa said...
"A little cut & paste and boom, you have a horrible looking quote."
You can't POSSIBLY know that. And you're criticizing *his* integrity?!
You are right, I don't know that. I am trying to rationalize how that could have happened and very easily. I find it so remote that Rizzo would say that in the context written.
Could he have, sure. Someone should ask Rizzo as he is the one who looks bad by the quote and makes it look like another Angelos victory on the Nats.

DFL said...

I just read Boswell's column and it seems to be accurate analysis. The 2006-2009 teams were terrible, often not much above AAA ball. Remember what the Lerners charged us top dollar for- Brandon Watson, Marlon Byrd, Luke Montz, Ryan Langerhans, Luis Ayala, Pete Orr, Lastings Milledge, Kory Casto, Elijah Dukes, Michael Restovich, Chris Snelling, Josh Bard, Johnny Estrada, Alex Cintron, Jamie Burke, Justin Maxwell, Robert Fick, Damian Jackson, Daniel Cabrera, Garrett Mock, Nook Logan, Rob Mackowiak, Austin Kearns, Emilio Bonifacio, and, of course, Wily Mo Pena. The Lerners have a lot of 'splainin' to do.

From the mood of his column, I think Boswell would approve trading Espinosa, Desmond or Norris to Tampa for Garza and sign him to a big contract. Then, perhaps, trading for Garza might persuade Carl Pavano to sign with the Nats. Of course, trading Espinosa or Desmond might force the Nats to re-sign one of two golden oldies- Kennedy or Guzman- but a revolution sometimes requires breaking a few eggs.

Mark'd said...

Sec'ySofa, yes that is the part of Boswells artilce I can agree with but all the rest is mean-spirited.

Maybe Boswell can follow Wilbon......OUT THE DOOR|

ForDaFanz said...

I agree with many of the comments regarding Boswell. Think he holds a bit of a grudge against the Nats regime because he lost his inside "source" (aka Stan Kasten).

Good signing at a good price. Just need a caretaker for a couple seasons at first base. Assuming both remain in the system, Marrero or Norris with the at first in a couple seasons.

Just saw that Jerry Crasnick of ESPN tweeted the Nats are one of seven teams with interest in Jeff Francis. I'll post again - Francis will be a better low cost investment then an expensive Pavano signing. Pavano is Jason Marquis II mistake waiting to happen. Francis will be a steady innings eater with upside.

Mark, any insight on a possible Francis signing by the Nats? Also, any chance Marrero gets a look this season in September or even before?

Mark'd said...

DFL - you think Boswell would approve? Who the "F" is Boswell? He has the power of the press and Rizzo has to play nice to him. He is just another hater in this town.

Go Blow Boswell!

...and note to Sec3, it is libel at best if that quote was true. Boswell should be ashamed for writing that stuff. Glad the Natsinsider people stood up for Rizzo!

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Honestly, I don't see "mean" anywhere in there, I really don't. And I'm usually touchy about that (as we've seen). He says they screwed up--well, they did. He says players turned them and their money down, which apparently has happened more than once. (Yeah, they didn't want to play for the Yankees either, but for different reasons, I think--or maybe they don't think NYY can win, who knows.)

Soul Possession, PFB Sofa said...

Ah. So you really don't know the difference.
That's a different problem. Can't help with that one.

natsfan1a said...

sec3, for whatever it may be worth, I didn't see "mean" in there, either.

Anonymous said...

Natsfan1a, you are a nice person so I could see you taking it with the glass 1/2 full mindset.

There are many good points of the Lerner ownership but the tone is negative overall.

Scooter said...

Not that anyone cares what I think, or is even reading these comments any more, but I think Tom Boswell is still excellent to read when he's talking about how the game of baseball is played, but a bit out of his depth when talking about things like salaries, revenues, and roster construction. The latter is something of a recent fad, and there are several writers who do it better because they have more practice. Boswell is still among the best on the game itself, though.

Scooter said...

(I also found it be negative -- obviously it was negative; that was the entire point; it was a negative column -- but not mean.)

Anonymous8 said...

Boz was negative for sure and probably unfair and he got everyone here to read his column so he accomplished his goal. Controversy brings in readers.

Mean spirited? Depends if your name is Ted Lerner. Almost disrespectful to a man who probably makes decisions with his heart.

Anonymous8 said...

I didn't write that well. Might be mean spirited if you are Ted Lerner the BILLIONAIRE as Boz refers to him.

I know, sometimes the truth hurts but I agree with mostnthat this has been the most productive off season of the Nats and it isn't over!

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