Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Position analysis: Outfield

US Presswire photo
Jayson Werth's first season in D.C. didn't quite go as he hoped it would.
Throughout the week, we'll be breaking down the Nationals' roster by position (catcher, infield, outfield, rotation and bullpen) and looking both where things stand at the end of the season and where things might stand moving forward. Today's position: Outfield...

Stats: 150 G, 649 PA, 20 HR, 58 RBI, .232 AVG, .330 OBP, .389 SLG
8 E, 1.0 UZR, 2.5 WAR
2011 salary: $10.571 million
Contract status: $13.571 million in 2012, $16.571 million in 2013, $20.571 million in 2014, $21.571 million in 2015, $21.571 million in 2016, $21.571 million in 2017, free agent in 2018
Where he fits in: Well, he's signed for six more years and $115.4 million more, so he better fit in somewhere. After a disappointing first season in Washington, Werth will hope to come out of the gates swinging a better bat in 2012. It's still uncertain which outfield position he'll occupy. If the Nationals acquire a true center fielder, Werth will remain in right. If they feel like they're better off acquiring a right fielder, Werth will be in center. And with Bryce Harper arriving in the not-too-distant future, it's possible Werth could wind up finishing out his contract in left field.

Stats: 146 G, 575 PA, 31 HR, 95 RBI, .303 AVG, .360 OBP, .550 SLG
7 E, -5.1 UZR at 1B, -7.9 UZR in LF, 3.4 WAR
2011 salary: $1.050 million
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible, free agent in 2014
Where he fits in: A true breakthrough season has ensured Morse's place in the heart of the Nationals' lineup. He'll probably open 2012 as their cleanup hitter, providing protection for Ryan Zimmerman. Because Adam LaRoche is expected back from shoulder surgery, Morse should begin next year in left field. But look for him to work his way back to first base at some point, because his defensive play is far better there than in the outfield.

Stats: 122 G, 415 PA, 9 HR, 37 RBI, .239 AVG, .296 OBP, .363 SLG
1 E, 6.9 UZR, 1.4 WAR
2011 salary: $1.5 million
Contract status: Free agent
Where he fits in: Ankiel was abysmal at the plate early in the season, but he started producing in the second half. He also owns the best and most-accurate outfield arm in baseball. Because of all that, there could be a place for him on next year's roster, though probably as a fourth outfielder and not as a regular in center field as he was this season.

Stats: 124 G, 351 PA, 16 HR, 44 RBI, .250 AVG, .299 OBP, .451 SLG
2 E, -5.5 UZR, 0.6 WAR
2011 salary: $700,000
Contract status: Free agent
Where he fits in: Nix's 2011 followed the opposite track that Ankiel's did. He was a key offensive contributor early on, but tailed off dramatically in the second half, hampered in part by a nagging Achilles' heel injury. If he's healthy, Nix could be a valuable guy off the bench. But there's only going to be room for one left-handed reserve outfielder. Which means there's virtually no chance the Nats re-sign both Nix and Ankiel.

Stats: 120 G, 372 PA, 14 HR, 43 RBI, .209 AVG, .325 OBP, .389 SLG
2 E, 1.4 UZR, 1.5 WAR
2011 salary: $1.75 million
Contract status: Free agent
Where he fits in: Gomes' acquisition from the Reds in late-July was done to appease Davey Johnson, who desperately wanting a right-handed power bat off his bench. Gomes didn't provide a whole lot of pop, but he does have a decent track record, and teammates liked him. It's possible the Nationals look to re-sign him, though probably not for anywhere near as much money as he made this year.

Stats: 91 G, 337 PA, 7 HR, 27 RBI, .243 AVG, .301 OBP, .362 SLG
1 E, 3.5 UZR, 0.8 WAR
2011 salary: $450,000
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2013, Free agent in 2016
Where he fits in: After racking enough frequent flier miles going back and forth between D.C. and Syracuse, Bernadina will be out of options come next season. Which means he either has to make the roster or risk being lost to another club. He does just enough at the plate and in the field to intrigue you, but he's yet to be able to do it at a consistent level. Given what else they have under contract and in the farm system, the Nats might just decide to cut ties with one of the few remaining Expos signees still in the organization.

Stats: 79 G, 94 PA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .205 AVG, .267 OBP, .265 SLG
1 E, 2.2 UZR, -0.2 WAR
2011 salary: $415,000
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible in 2014, Free agent in 2017
Where he fits in: The stats don't look like much, but Bixler did contribute to the Nationals both via his hustle and his surprisingly strong defensive play in the outfield (he'd never played there until this season). On the one hand, the Nats should be at a stage in their development that they can find a better 25th man than Bixler. On the other hand, he's both affordable and somewhat valuable. Maybe he sticks.

One outfielder in the Nationals' system, of course, stands out from the rest of the pack. With Bryce Harper, it's not a question of whether he'll reach the big leagues. It's simply a question of when he arrives. In all likelihood, the 19-year-old prospect will open 2012 at Class AAA. If he performs there, he could get a promotion to D.C. in midseason. In Syracuse, Harper will probably play alongside center fielder Corey Brown, who got a September call-up but wound up getting only three plate appearances before being shut down for surgery to repair an infection in his knee. Destin Hood, the Nats' second-round pick in the 2008 draft, enjoyed a solid season at Class A Potomac, posting a .364 OBP with 47 extra-base hits and 21 stolen bases. Hood's teammate at Potomac, Eury Perez has tremendous speed but drew only 22 walks in 119 games this season. Team officials really like Michael Taylor, a sixth-round pick in 2009 who recorded 46 extra-base hits in 126 games at low-Class A Hagerstown. It'll be interesting to watch how quickly the Nationals promote one of this summer's highly touted draft picks, Brian Goodwin.

Mike Rizzo has made it clear one of his top priorities this winter is to acquire either a center fielder or a right fielder who can get on base at a high clip. That's easier said than done, but it really is a glaring weakness on the Nationals' roster. The free agent class, though, isn't fantastic. If anything, the Nats might be wise to find a temporary solution for 2012 and then dive head-first into a 2013 free agent class that will include Matt Kemp, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn.


MicheleS said...

I will be really curious as to what Rizzo does this offseason. Will he get a true CF/Leadoff? Will he get a stop gap in Right until Prince Oppo Boppo is ready? What happens if Prince Oppo Boppo doesn't progress fast enough (he stalled at AA)? Do we have a true CF guy in the minors?

We seem to have plenty of infielders in the minors and our pitching depth has improved, but we appear to be short of OFs.

I actually think this is our biggest need this off season. Settle the OF positions now or do we wait until the 2012 Free Agents?

Gonat said...

Mark said...With Bryce Harper, it's not a question of whether he'll reach the big leagues. It's simply a question of when he arrives. In all likelihood, the 19-year-old prospect will open 2012 at Class AAA.

....the Nats might be wise to find a temporary solution for 2012 and then dive head-first into a 2013 free agent class that will include Matt Kemp, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn.

The original strategy was having Bryce Harper master each level. He never really dominated AA. I thought he would start in AA and dominate and then move to AAA.

Glad you agree to the "temporary solution" for 2012 and long-term in the off-season next year. It is worth waiting for Matt Kemp and Michael Bourn. It really sets up well to get Coco Crisp this season as a good stop-gap who could transition to a key bench player for 2013.

FS said...

Question 1: What about minor leaguers from other teams that are blocked? For example, is Adam Jones blocking any CF in O's minor league that has a high on base percentage with enough speed to hit at the top of the order?

#2: I agree with Gonat that Bryce should be at AA, not because of his offense but his defense. Has he really developed enough to play OF on a big league club? Yes, he has the arm but you need more than that to play any OF position?

#3: Is Bernadina really at risk to lose his position with this team ahead of Bixler? Bernie has a better bat, speed, and probably the glove also than Bixler.

If we can get Gardner somehow, that would be great.

Anonymous said...

It seemed like Harper's slump in AA started when he hurt his thumb. Hand injuries of course can really mess up your swing and sap power. Anyone have more info on that? I'd bet that was more of a factor than adjusting to the AA pitching. Looked like he was just returning to form when he pulled the hamstring. If he tears up AFL I'd start him in AAA next year.

Water23 said...

Funny to hear the mention of Bourn as a solution next year. He could have been had this year been a long-term solution (by re-signing him). He is exactly what the Nats need and as a bonus he would not have gone to an division opponent (who might sign him).
I know there are some ifs in my statement but he really did fit our short and long term needs and it is just disappointing to be reminded of that.

Mark'd said...

Thanks NatsJACK, so the 2011 top 3 picks are crawling at this point in time. Hoping they would be out of the gates more like Purke.

I really don't like what you saw on Meyer. 90's with no movement is a HR Derby waiting to happen. The Rendon situation of course is the real mind boggler.

Anonymous said...

What about Archie Gilbert ? He his too old to be a prospect but he had a good season in AA.

Mark'd said...

Water23, so right on Bourn. The Braves gave up fringe prospects much like the Phillies on Hunter Pence. Houston was having a fire sale and Rizzo missed the advertisements.

DFL said...

I agree with all those who think that Harper should start 2012 at Harrisburg. Let him hit .300 with power for three months before he goes to Syracuse. If it is a whole season at AA, so be it.

Water23 said...

Agreed NatsJack, Harper needs to finish what he started at AA. He was not the dominant hitter he was at Hagerstown. If he takes off fine. Otherwise, he is still very young and could use the time to develop.

Eugene in Oregon said...

What Mark's roster review suggests to me is that the Nats (and, in particular, Mr. Rizzo) have the luxury of flexibility to go out and find the best bat available for the next two seasons (i.e., to fill the existing hole in the 2012 line-up and to fill the anticipated hole that Morse will leave when he moves back to 1B in 2013). Now, obviously, 'best bat' can be defined in a number of different ways, but -- again -- the Nats have some flexibility here. In my mind, 'best' would be a high OBP lead-off bat, but if the Nats' management is convinced that Desmond can handle that job then they have even more flexibility. The key, however, is to add a chunk of runs to the poor 2011 numbers. Easy for me to write, but there are some realistic options out there, some as free agents and some potentially available in trades.

Anonymous said...

I have been watching the replays of Ankeil's amazing outfield throws on and (and I wish that somebody there would put together a compilation of his assists) .. I remember that FP said something like "why am I surprised" when they happen and that he "never gets tired" of seeing them".

IMO, Coco Crisp is not an upgrade

Mark in Arlington

jd said...

Anon @ 12:00

Ankiel .239 .296 .363 WAR 1.4 on 415 AB's

Crisp .264 .314 .379 WAR 2.2 on 593 AB's

If you extrapolate Ankiel's at bats over 593 you get to 2.0. So strictly speaking based on 2011 Crisp is an upgrade over Ankiel but not much of one.

As far as looking at amazing plays and drawing conclusions based on them I am against that because as I recall Bernadina and Willie Harris have several incredible plays in their history but are not overall great defenders. Ankiel is an excellent defender but he is a poor hitter.

Mark'd said...

Mark In Arlington, the Nats need higher OBP out of the CF position which is typically a high OBP position. Werth out of the 2 hole can do that and then Rizzo can get a new RF as Eugene suggests and leave Desmond at leadoff and use Ankiel off the bench.

Mark'd said...

JD, are steals a component of WAR? If it isnt, you can not say how huge a base threat Crisp is. It's like turning 40 singles into doubles which is not calculatied into Slugging Percentage.

SCNatsFan said...

Testing to see if my words of wisdom can finally be seen again...

The direction we head depends on if Zim stays long term. Get that done and we know the spare parts we have, we know what bait we have for other positions like starters or a center fielder.

Anonymous said...

@Water23 and Mark'd: Bourn is a Scott Boras client. Boras clients do not re-sign with teams they are traded to. They go into the free agent market and usually to the highest bidder. Atlanta gave up some second-tier prospects for a season and a half of Bourn--made sense for them because they had a chance to win it all this year. Nats can and should wait for him to come on the market after this season.

Mark'd said...

sjb, I respectfully disagree. Adrian Gonzalez is a top tier Boras client and he extended after his trade to Boston. Bourn could have solved all the problems.

Watching BJ Upton play doesn't impress me as a high energy CF. That caught stealing at 3rd in game 2 reminded ne of Nyjer. Key situation and got a lousy jump with 1 out. Cost the Rays.

Crisp will be 2nd behind Bourn in steals. Looking at Crisp's numbers, he slumped at the end of the season. He was a .345 OBP guy in 2010.

jd said...


Base running is part of WAR. I understand your point about stealing but then you have to take into account that he was thrown out stealing 9 times which ostensibly wiped out a single which was counted in the OBP.

What I'm saying is that a stolen base and a caught stealing don't cancel each other out. A caught stealing is a larger negative than a stolen base is a positive.

I think overall Crisp gets you one extra win in a year over Ankiel tops which is fine but I think we should try for better.

Mark'd said...

JD, I actually took his 49 steals and subtracted 9 for the 40.

I thought Fangraphs has a baserunning component for WAR and specifically omits stolen bases. I could be wrong. Check the definition of BSR.

Eugene in Oregon said...

jd @ 12:57 is correct about base running being a part of WAR. And as a lot of intelligent folks have concluded, even some very fast -- and exciting to watch -- base runners find their WAR going DOWN because of the multiple times they're caught stealing. I'd much rather have a smart, fast base runner going first to third on a single (or, better yet, first to home on a double) than giving up an out on a CS. If Morse, Zimmerman, and LaRoche can consistently produce in the 3,4,5 spots, the Nats will need the OBP a lot more than they need the steals.

baseballswami said...

I love how everyone just seems to think that Rizzo can go right out to the baseball player store and buy exactly the player he wants and needs. It just doesn't work that way. There are some players available but none of them are perfect and most of them are going to come with price tags of money or players in trade that are probably too high for what you are getting. If the price is too high or if the player is just a marginal upgrade then you have to go with what you already have. There also seems to be an assumption that noone is going to ever get better than they were this season. We have seen Desi improve his defense - Ankiel might be too old to fix his hitting, but maybe not. I am sure that Rizzo will try to fill holes, but I am also sure that he has to have backup plans.

Mark'd said...

Eugene, an 82% steal rate is excellent. A true base stealing threat changes defensive alignments, get pickoff attempts and opens up holes more than non-stealing threats. Call it what you want, this player has better tools than Nyjer and plays smarter. Read up on comments on MLBTradeRumors on Crisp.

He has intangibles you can't quantify in boxscores just like Ankiels cannon. Players don't go 1st to 3rd on Ankiel when he is quickly on the ball, that's not calculated as a stat.

Wally said...

Fangraphs doesn't include SB or CS in its baserunning component. Crisp scored pretty well in it, regardless. He had a good year; seems like UZR was unusually down for him, which likely depressed his overall WAR rating too. He'd be an improvement, I think, but I worry that his 136 games played was his highest since 2007. Personally, I would still prefer Beltran and sliding Werth to CF, with Ankiel or Bernie as the 4th OF to spell them in CF (probably prefer Ankiel).

Desi, Werth, Zim, Morse, Beltran, Laroche, Espy, Ram-moose, SP. I could get used to that.

Wally said...

But getting back to the gist of this article by Mark, OF is the only area that, if they stand pat and do nothing, I will definitely be disappointed. I can see the arguments for standing pat elsewhere (INF, SP). I may not agree (I would at least add 1 SP, and am 'open' to a MI improvement), but it is plausible to go with what we have, and since I like all the players involved, I wouldn't be disappointed to see the same guys next year.

But not adding a 3d OF, either CF or RF, would be a real detriment to the hope of continued progress.

Mark'd said...

Wally, thanks, I thought WAR didn't include steals. If money didn't matter, Beltran could be a key pickup although his durability is a big question mark.

jd said...


Your points on base stealing and base running in general are well taken but as I said before I don't agree that a stolen base and a caught stealing cancel each other out; I think the caught stealing is has more of a negative value than a stolen base positive.

BTW; it is generally accepted bu most baseball analysts that base stealing was over rated for many years as well as sacrifice bunts and other actions which give away outs.

Tim said...

The entire Werth experiment in CF was done mainly to discover if, indeed, he can play CF .... when Harper comes up.

I'm not so sure he can. Sure, he can track down fly balls with the best of em, but I saw plenty of times when he didn't hit cutoff men and when he threw to the wrong side of the mound. Playing CF is an entirely different animal.

Harper will be with the major league club earlier rather than later for one important reason: his contract. He is making big money. I don't think the Nats are going to let time waste.

Trade for someone like Brett Gardner or even Michael Bourn. Give up Detwiler to get him. Put Harper in LF and work with him when LaRoche gets traded at the deadline next season. Move Morse to first, as stated. Then you have Harper in left, Gardner/Bourn/???? in CF, and Werth in RF.

Bernie vs Bixler? I love Bernie, but Bix can play IF and OF. He's a valuable commodity

We need infield and outfield depth. Zim will miss some games due to injury and someone else will as well... especially as many times as we get plunked.

Mark'd said...

JD, keep it in perspective. Crisp has one of the highest steal percentages in the majors and is ahead of Bourn who led in stolen bases. Crisp was #2 in the majors in steals.

JD, I will ask you again, is stolen bases in WAR?

baseballswami said...

It's been a week since the last nats game - I miss them and I am sad. I want the Nats to be playing extra baseball in October. Dear Mike Rizzo -- work your magic and make it happen? Thanks.

Wally said...

Tim said ...Harper will be with the major league club earlier rather than later for one important reason: his contract. He is making big money. I don't think the Nats are going to let time waste.

You may be right, but I think that there is at least an alternative view. The money is a sunk cost, the Nats are close to contending, and there is no reason to have someone learn on the job, so to speak; meaning, no need to rush him until he is out of options. Also, if you play it conservatively with Harper and assume that you only have him for the 6 years of team control (whereafter he heads off to FA land, and maybe the Yanks), then you want him as ready as possible before his clock starts; like Tampa does generally with their prospects. That line of thinking would put him up in 2013, maybe even June 2013, and allow for a stopgap of two years.

Tim also said ...Trade for someone like Brett Gardner or even Michael Bourn.

I hear you, this would be ideal. With Span hurt, there doesn't seem like a quality CF easily available on the market. I would love Bourjos, but as many have said, why would the Angels trade him, and how much would it cost? I think the same is true for Gardner.

jd said...


Stolen bases are not included in WAR. I don't know why we keep arguing. I agree with the general principal that Crisp is an upgrade over Ankiel; just not a significant upgrade IMO. to me B.J Upton at 4.1 WAR in an off year is much more interesting (not as a 1 year rental but as a long term option).

Tim said...

Wally --- I think the Yankees need starting pitching... desperately. In fact, they might outbid us for Wang. But I think they'd listen to a trade involving Lannen or Detwiler for Gardner. Gardner's not a superstar. His stats aren't that great.

Gonat said...

I see a difference of opinion on whether WAR encapsulates SB/CS. I believe it is calculated in the Offensive compenent and not in the BSR.

With that said, JD is right how bad a caught stealing hurts which was why a free wheeling Nyjer Morgan's OBP was so much worse than how it appeared on the surface. Can't come close to comparing an 82% success rate of Crisp to Nyjer's 67% plus you have to then take out isolated pickoffs that aren't in the CS component.

Keep in mind that Matt Kemp had a 79% steal rate this season and hits for power. Certainly a top 5 position player in MLB in 2011. Kemp was 1 HR from joining the 40/40 club with its 4 members (Bonds/Canseco/ARod/Soriano).

My opinion again is get a stop-gap for 2012 like Crisp and go all in for Kemp and Bourn and try to get 1 of them for 2013 and beyond.

Theophilus said...

I have said several times, Ankiel is a platoon player. He would be much better off facing a steady diet of RH pitchers than having to start and get 2,3, 4 ABs against lefties. By my count, he had about 80 ABs against lefthanders and hit around .140. Find yourself an adequate RH CF and you've got a solid platoon to forge through 2012 and maybe 2013. But for the Zimmerman and LaRoche injuries (and the later injury to Ankiel, which impressed Hairston at 3B and LF, Hairston and Ankiel together in CF would have been quite acceptable in 2011.

Wally said...

Tim - if that worked (Lannan or Det for Gardner), I would do it in a heart beat.

JamesFan said...

I see what Atlanta gave up for Bourne and what Philly gave up for Pence; then I read what the Nats were willing to give up for Greinke or Span and I fear that we will give up the future just to sign a centerfielder or a midling pitcher. I would rather stand pat than trade away young players who are the core of next year's team. We have expendabie players and somebody must need a left handed starter like Lannan or Det. Others who have value are Flores, Stammen, Bernie and a number of guys in the minors (Marrero, Lombo and some others). Nats, don't dump the any core players for incremental improvements or hope. Core players are Zim, Stras, Znn, Desi, Espi, Ramos, MM, Peacock, Milone, Henry, Storen and Clip.

JamesFan said...

Outfield options. Look at the cost of Sizemore and A Jones and possibly others. The price should be way down on Span. Check him out. Who in the minors is blocked, a la Ramos? Then look at Crisp. Whoever we go after must bring on base potential to the team. Otherwise, why bother. Ankiel and Bernie would be fine. Again, I do not want to give up core players to fill this gap.

Wally said...

AFL update - Scottsdale losing 3-0 in the 6th. We have only 1 hit, by Zach Walters who is playing 3rd. Harper and Norris are each 0-2 (Harper with 1 K).

No Nat pitchers in yet.

Mark'd said...

JamesFan, 100% agree. Scary. When it was written in July that Rizzo was desperate for a CF according to a rival GM, people do stupid things when they are desperate. I am concerned that Rizzo may over pay in a trade. I still contend he overpaid for HenRod and that Greinke would have killed this franchise. I am nervous which is why I prefer Free Agent over a trade as Rizzo is jumping without a parachute with StanK gone.

Eugene in Oregon said...

On the WAR question, it appears that and use slightly different equations to come up with a player's WAR. If I'm reading the footnotes correctly -- and I may not be -- FanGraphs does not use base-running stats to compute WAR, while Baseball-Reference does. But I think we can all agree that if the probability of success isn't in the 67-75% range (that number will vary on a year-by-year basis, depending on how some other stats play out), a player shouldn't be stealing and has the potential to harm the team.

Mark'd: My earlier comments weren't meant to suggest that I don't consider Crisp a viable option; I actually do. He's not my first choice, but I can see him as a one- to two-year placeholder.

Baseballswami: You're 100% correct that Rizzo can't just visit the 'baseball player store' and pick out exactly the right fit for the Nats. Moreover, none of this off-season dealing is taking place in a vacuum. As I wrote the other day about starting pitchers -- but it applies equally to position players -- there are some deep-pocketed teams out there with very real needs of their own. Whether we're talking about a FA (Crisp) or a potential trade target (Gartner, who I'd take in heartbeat), the Nats aren't the only ones looking to upgrade.

Tegwar said...

Carlos Quentin might be a possibility for OF. Rizzo drafted him in the 1st round in 2003 when he was with Arizona. ESPN hints that he might be traded. Free agent 2013 so you could probably get him for prospects. Not a perfect fit but you could probably sign him to a two year contract because he is under arbitration. Davey would like him for his power but his avg is not so good.

Rizzo may not be able to get a lead off hitter but he should be able to get a good OF.

Wally said...

Pat Lehman came to pitch with 2 out, man on 2b. He threw a wild pitch, then went to 3-1 before getting Mikie Mahtook to line out to Harper in LF.

NatsJack in Florida said...

Matt Purke is still in Florida and started the game against the Astros today..... Not good...

2.1 innings 49 pitches, 25 strikes and 24 balls, 4 runs, 2 hits, 2 walks and 2 HBP's and zero K's. Topped out at 92 while averaging 89-90 and with a 83 mph slider.

Nats lost 8-3 with the hitting being supplied by Kevin Keyes 3 singles and 2 RBI and David Freitas with an RBI single. Jeff Kobernus also doubled.

This is the first FIL season that I haven't seen any of the draft picks who AREN"T pitchers play in any game. No Rendon (and I'm suspicious about that) no Goodwin (although a scout said he has seen him twice at Viera) and no Deion Williams, who I've seen but not in any dugouts during games. This may be a reflection on the improved state of the system and they are letting these guys adapt to professional life. They now have players at the low "A" and high "A" level that they want to "Instruct" more and who have higher ceilings than players of the past.

NatsLady said...

Mark'd: here's the thing. Rizzo obviously was NOT desperate for an OF last July, or we would have had one (Bourn, Pence, or Span). Span, we know why he didn't for the deal (concussion).

I don't think Pence would have fit on our team, and I doubt he wanted to come here. I know he doesn't have a "no trade" but you can bet he let his FO know that he wanted to go to a contender. Also, Philly would have outbid us.

Bourn would, IMO, have been a better fit, and it's not clear why Rizzo couldn't pull that off. Maybe he was just reluctant to part with as many prospects as Houston wanted, and he didn't see the necessity to give up a lot with the team not in contention for 2012 (despite the record at the All-Star Break).

Actually, as I write this, I think both Philly and Atlanta would have outbid us, since they both were hot for outfield bats in their races. You can see that Rizzo loves pitchers.

Now, if Davey had been in place for longer, Rizzo might have upped the bid. But he wasn't willing to throw Detwiler into the mix, and there you are. We'll have to see if that changes in the winter now that Wang has proved himself. But you have to recall that in July it was far from clear we could afford to trade a potential starting pitcher.

Gonat said...

There seem to be a few Rizzo apologists. There is no need for it. He is establishing a record while learning on his job. He will make mistakes and so far hasn't made any large ones.

The 2 controversial trades were never made in the Greinke deal and the Span deal. Willingham, Nyjer, Alberto Gonzalez, Hairston, and Marquis can all be debated as time goes on.

That comment about Rizzo being "desparate" may have come at a good time for him to catch himself because I think we all feel the best trade was the one that wasn't made Storen + PTBNL = Span

Going forward, Rizzo needs to be willing to walk away if the price isn't right. BJ Upton just isn't worth much because it is for 1 year. Adam Jones on the other hand is a 2 year deal and worth much more.

I still think you try to get your player in Free Agency as your 1st choice. That may only cost you Draft picks.

Gonat said...

NatsJack, just hoping these players are rusty.

Drew8 said...

Bill Ladson reported at the deadline that Rizzo chose not to deal for Bourn because Ed Wade insisted on Detwiler and the Nats balked.

Quentin would be an interesting stop-gap in right field if the Nats choose to wait a year for Upton and Bourn to reach free agency. Quentin has a very high on-base percentage and 20-homer power, but he's injury-prone.

If the Nats choose not to make a big splash now, they could go stop-gap and wait for a home-grwn combo of cf Goodwin and 2b Rendon at the top of the order.

But if they re-up Zim, which we all expect, they're going to have to make a significant deal eventually. The infield can't accommodate Rendon, Espinosa AND Desmond.

If those three were the three Manning brothers, Ian would be Cooper.

Gonat said...

Drew8, trust me, Rendon could play LF or RF if that is where they tell him to play. You find spots for good players just like the Cardinals did in 2001 for Albert Pujols where he shared time mostly in the outfield (78 games), 3rd base (55 games) and the rest at 1st base. In 2002, Pujols played 118 games in the OF and 41 at 3rd base.

Now why wasn't Pujols at 1st base? Because they had a guy named Tino Martinez. Pujols split time at 3rd with a guy named Placido Polanco.

If Bryce Harper can be moved from catcher to the outfield, so can Rendon be moved to the outfield.

An (almost) Ole Miss alum said...

Drew8 @ 6:41 p.m. - Speaking of the Manning brothers, did you know that Archie was drafted by MLB teams three times? Atlanta took a shot as he was graduating from high school, by KC partway through his college career, and by the White Sox following his senior year at Ole Miss. As I recall, Archie was an all-SEC shortstop at least once, maybe twice. Toward the end of his pro-football career, I once heard him say that he often mused about what sort of a career he'd have had in baseball. One could add a second level of musing and wonder whether, if Archie had signed with the White Sox, the boys would have followed him into baseball instead of football?

BinM said...

In regards to comments by a large number of posters on the future of one Anthony Rendon: Please try & keep your chicken-to-egg ratios in mind when running projections.

Yes, he was considered a "steal" in this year's draft at #6; Yes, a majority of voices already invision him as a big part of the Nationals lineup, some as early as 2012, and some of those voices have deemed players like Desmond, Lombardozzi, or others fungible simply because of his presence on the roster. But the truth of the matter is, he has yet to play a single inning of professional baseball at ANY level.

Until he can post some kind of reasonable sample as a professional baseball player, he's simply a pipe dream folks; You can envision him at 3B, 2B, or even LF, but all he really is is just a single lottery ticket at this point. I'm not just singling out Rendon here; The same could be said about any media-hyped draft pick on any team in MLB.

Anonymous8 said...

BinM, you are correct that too much sleep is lost over where Rendon will play. Some are projecting him at positions that are taken by incumbents which may be grasping for straws. In the depth chart for 2013, I think we all agree Morse will slide over to 1st leaving 1 outfield position open. There's a guy named Bryce Harper who is being groomed as an outfielder.

If the Nats make a stop-gap 1 year move for a Crisp, maybe 2 outfield spots can be open.

As far as we know, Rendon is being groomed as a 3rd baseman and that can certainly change.

John C. said...

@Tim: Brett Gardner isn't coming. Lannan or Detwiler. It's not happening. Gardner is not THE star on the Yankees, but he's better than anyone currently on the Nationals not named Ryan Zimmerman (when Zim is healthy). Gardner was a 6.1 WAR player last year, 5.1 this year. For comparison, Espinosa led the Nationals at 3.5 WAR, and Morse was 3.1. That's because Gardner is an offensive threat and possibly the best LF in MLB.

Oh, and he's cost-effective. And the Yankees don't have an obvious replacement, so trading him creates a hole in their lineup. And the Yankees' farm system is deep in exactly the same positions (C, P) that the Nationals system is. I'd love to see Gardner in a Nats jersey, but there's no way.

BinM said...

Anon8: My point is that far too many people (both professional pundits & voices from the blogosphere) get swept into the hype behind certain players and start making gross assumptions based purely on hype.

When a highly thought of player is signed, let's see what they're capable of first before assigning short-term expectations to them as individuals. As an example, look back to the expectations across the Natosphere for Harper as a draft choice & Werth as a free agent.

Werth was realized by many as an oversign, but will carry an under-acheivers' burden forward from a large number of voices; The initial expectation (based on salary alone) was far too high. Harper was thought by some to be MLB-ready at the age of 18, when hindsight showed him to be able, but not overwhelming at the AA level. If anything, his progress proved that Rizzo & staff probably made the correct initial assessment by placing him in low-A as a starting point.

All I'm trying to get across is that most fan expectations for players should realistically be dialed down at least one level until a player starts to establish a track record. With that in mind IMHO, the 2011 top-end picks should be assigned as follows - Rendon (MLB contract) to POT [high A], Purke (MLB contract) to HAG, with Meyer & Goodwin both initially posted to Auburn.

BinM said...

For the 2012 OF, any player acquisition (whether in CF or RF) will be short-term (two years at best) imo.
From the current roster, Ankiel can play CF as well as nearly anyone in MLB, but is replacement level overall as a hitter; Werth is a decent CF defensively, and a plus bat offensively, but is not a long-term solution for CF. Morse is viable in LF short-term, but is better suited at 1B in the long run.

With the probability of Harper being called up over the next 18 months as a corner OF, the focus for 2012 should remain on a high OPB player capable of playing CF through 2013; Where he bats in the lineup is of secondary concern.

Anonymous said...

As an outfield stopgap, two words: David Dejesus. Lifetime .356 obp, good defense, lh bat, can play all of positions. Coming off a subpar year, can probably be had for a one or two year deal, so he wont block Harper and could easily slide over to the 4th outfielder slot when the time comes. Doesnt have the speed of coco crisp, but a better offensive player.

John C. said...

Another possible free agent stopgap: Michael Cuddyer.

Anonymous said...

My take is similar to NatsJack (go figure) but I believe the organization's strategy will be to pair Bryce Harper with Anthony Rendon. It provides competition both for the top prospect and spot AND for that spot on the 25 man before rosters expand. In spite of Goessling's continuous litany of wrong-headed, cronyism favoring Riggleman (and certain players like John Lannan) in claiming that Riggleman did not have much say in the roster ... I think we've seen night-and-day differences since Johnson took over ... particularly with the number of September call-ups, the amount they played (a whole heck of a lot) contrasted/compared with Riggleman over the last two years. Wrong way Ben had it wrong again.
Therefore, with Johnson, anything is possible a Harper or even a Rendon (less likely) traveling north on the 25-man out of ST 2012 is not that distant a possibility. Might not be the best thing for the prospects but it could happen.

Meanwhile it'll be interesting to watch Zach Walters (another future possibility) who has yet to surpass high A in the AFL. Rendon will not play in the AFL but I suspect Rendon will be paired with Harper next season as a impetus to improve his fielding and his maturity level ...
faster. Thrown in Tyler Moore, Corey Brown, Derek Norris, and perhaps Zach Walters ... and you have an interesting mix of top positional prospects playing together.

I don't see Hood or Perez making enough of an improvement initially to jump to AA. As far as Brian Goodwin , is concernedI think he'll get a great deal of attention this winter to determine how far away he might be. He may end up as the next outfielder to make it up to the top rung.

The Nats have plenty of youth to develop in the outfield with Bryce Harper, Jesus Valdez, Corey Brown, Brian Goodwin, Destin Hood, and perhaps Eric Komatsu and Eury Perez.

But it was the fill-in extras, Archie Gilbert and Chris Rahl that had All Star years in the high minors.

Ryan in Virginia said...

Mike Rizzo is doing an awesome job.

We won 80 games with our best player (Zim) missing about 60 games and our best pitcher (Strasburg) missing about 80% of the season. And last year's addition Adam LaRoche(25HR/100RBI the season before he got hurt)

Can't wait to have a full spring training and season with Davey Johnson.

While Zimmerman was out, most of the lineup wasn't in their natural spot in the lineup. Adding a healthy Ryan Zimmerman, Adam LaRoche, and Stephen Strasburg to start the year, not to mention the bullpen Ryan Mattheus, Cole Kimball... I for one, think that may be all we need to add to our 80 win season to put us in contention. A september call up for Bryce Harper, Tyler Moore, Derek Norris...why overpay or sell the farm system to go out and get players when we have the young talent knocking on the door.

I think Werth has done a great job of helping change over to a winning atmosphere, he gets on base quite a bit for having such a down year as much as he draws walks. I think he can handle the CF job, but Bryce Harper has been playing at CF too in his minor league stint. Gomes/Nix have a good mix as corner outfielders and Nix/Morse can rotate at 1B too. Mix in Lombardozzi up the middle.

SS Desmond
CF Werth
3B Zimmerman
LF Morse
1B LaRoche
2B Espinosa
RF Gomes/Nix
C Ramos

Bench (Probably keep 4)
C Flores(if they don't trade him)/Norris
INF Lombardozzi
1B/OF Nix/Gomes
1B Marrero/OF Ankiel

R Strasburg
R Zimmermann
L Lannan
R CMW (Hopefully, If they can re-sign him)
R Peacock/L Milone/L Detwiler/L Gorzelanny (If they don't sign CJ Wilson)

Long Relievers(Probably keep 2)
L Gorzelanny/R Livan/L Detwiler

Rest of Bullpen Options(Probably keep 3)
R Mattheus
R Kimbell
L Severino
L Burnett

7 R H-Rod
8 R Clip
9 R Storen

Any Thoughts....?

Gonat said...

Ryan, I guess if they don't add a new OF, your starting 8 is possible. 4 man bench is interesting. I don't see Norris being in the mix this year. Will Cole Kimball be recovered by the start of the season? Don't believe Livan will be in the mix at all.

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