Category Archives: Uncategorized

Let The Countdown Begin

That would be the 5-day countdown until Adam Dunn becomes an unrestricted free agent. The Nats have a 5 day window to exclusively negotiate with Dunn before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.  If they don’t sign him within this 5 day period, he is gone. There is no reason why they would wait and get into a competitive bidding war with another team for his services and decide later that they are willing to pay a premium for him.  So in other words, he is gone. The team may as well have announced as much when they sent this e-mail to season ticket holders last week:

HAPPY HALLOWEEN NATS FANS! VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE NATIONALS PUMPKIN & ENTER TO WIN AN OFFICIAL GAME-WORN ADAM DUNN JERSEY

They are trying to unload all of his gear because it will be more or less worthless to the team 5 days from now. It’s really sad that the Lerners just look at our team as a business and not as a team to be built into winners. I hope they prove me wrong, but it looks like the only way things will improve is if Selig retires (for those who don’t know, he gift-wrapped this team to the Lerners instead of other competing bidders who were actually serious about baseball). Once Selig retires, hopefully his replacement will put pressure on chronically under-spending and underachieving clubs to do more to put competitive teams on the field. Having more cities around the country be enthusiastic about baseball would be good for MLB and they know this. It especially hits home during the playoffs when they want high TV ratings nationwide, not just in the competing cities. One start could be restructuring the luxury tax. I realize that it was intended to help the smaller market teams, but as we learned when the Pirates’ books were opened earlier this year, in some cases it can enable under-spending teams to put a terrible product on the field and still turn a profit. We need to find a way to fix that.

Advertisements

Personnel Moves

I appreciate Bill Ladson’s enthusiasm/interest in the Nationals, but I wonder how he could possibly come up with some of these personnel ideas for the Nationals and actually think they are remotely wise moves. I realize some of these are rumors that he’s hearing from the Nats’ front office. Here my are comments in response to these suggestions for a potential Adam Dunn replacement:

Carlos Pena, Rays:  He hit .196 this season. Please be serious.

Aubrey Huff, Giants:  He hit .290/26/86 this season. He will be 34 in a few months. Next season he’ll be lucky to go .270/24/78. Is that really an upgrade?

Paul Kornerko, White Sox:  He’ll be 35 years old next season. He had 100 RBIs for the first time in 4 years. Yes, he had a renaissance year. It’s not going to happen again.

Adam LaRoche, D-Backs:  He hit .261 this year. Dunn hit .260. Only if he comes real cheap.

James Loney, Dodgers:  Not much power and hit .267 this year. I’m still firmly against a trade for someone like this when you could sign a free agent who has better numbers without giving up a player.

Josh Willingham:  Willingham has played three games at the first base. Why would the Nats think his defense at 1B would be any better than Dunn’s? This is a ridiculous suggestion.

Jayson Werth, Phillies:  He will be 32 early next season and will be looking for a final big contact for financial security. He can’t even get to 100 RBI batting in a potent Phillies lineup. If the Nats sign him, look for him to average .255/22/70 over most of 3 seasons before being released by the team. You heard it here first.

 

Mid-Season Review

I’m not going to go into a player by player review of what the Nats have accomplished or failed to accomplish this season. However, I’m going to share a few key thoughts about how the Nats should approach the second half of the season.

Put on the trading block any pitcher on the active roster not named Strasburg, Storen or Clippard. You’ll notice I did not protect Capps there. While Capps is having a great year, holding onto a solid closer is not as critical when you are not headed to the post-season. And he could probably bring more in return right now than any other non-protected pitcher on the staff. Plus, he’s not making a ton of money this season, so a lot of teams would jump at the chance to have him. More on this later.

Play Nyjer every day in center until July 31st, hope for a surge, and try and trade him too. If he is not traded by the 31st and he has not gotten more consistent in every aspect of his game, then beginning in August make Bernie the starting CF and start Morse in right the rest of the season. We need to see if these guys are going to be able to be everyday players next season.

Trade Guz if we can get anything decent in return. Sign Dunn now to an extension.

Finally, we have got to be active in the free agent market this offseason. We need 2 quality starting pitchers, a closer if Capps is traded, another solid setup man, a big name second baseman who can hit for power and average, and a big bat in RF if Bernie or Morse don’t look like the solution by the end of the season. SPEND THE MONEY Lerners! We can’t wait any longer for the guys in the farm system to mature and hopefully become stars at the major league level. If you wait 3 more years, Zim’s contract will be up and who know if he’ll really re-sign here if we haven’t shown a commitment to winning by then. We don’t need to be buyers at the trade deadline. But please, be buyers in the offseason. If only takes cash to do that; you don’t have to part with top prospects. Take a chance on spending some money. We could contend next year if we do this. Thanks for reading.

As Good as Advertised

There’s not much more that can be said about last night other than Wow. Between the 14k, zero walk performance and the amazing electricity of the crowd, it was a night to remember. I can’t wait for Strasburg’s next start, and especially his next home start. I can only hope it will be another sellout, or close. It gives you hope of what it can and will be like when we get a few more pieces of the puzzle in place and become a playoff-caliber team. In 5+ seasons of Nats baseball, I’ve never seen the crowd hang on every pitch like they did last night. We can’t expect 14ks every time he goes out there, especially once teams gather some scouting reports on him. But it certainly looks like he is the real deal. Go Nats!

Nats Come Home Friday Along With a New Ballpark Addition

Alright, I am turning over a new leaf as of today, getting back to posting a lot more often. Really looking forward to the next homestand, especially with the opening of The Bullpen right across from the stadium. We will finally have a place for pre and post-game beers, live music, etc. check it out at http://www.thebullpendc.com/www/

Last night’s game was another entertaining one, although it had an ending that we’ve seen all too often this season: our opponent scored into the double digits and we lost despite our usual offensive explosion. Restating the obvious, we need pitching badly, both starters and relievers. And this is why is hurts so badly that the front office did not do more in the off-season to sign some decent free agent pitchers. At this point in the season, if we go after someone other than a free agent like Pedro, we’re going to have to give up some young players from our farm system, which we obviously don’t want to do. Guys, there is a delicate balance between investing in and stocking your farm system and spending free agent money to plug current holes. You did a solid job putting together an offense for this year, yet you did noting more than scrape up a few tiny band-aids to cover wounds that were much too big on the pitching front. At least the games are fun to watch, as you never know what could happen when we are at bat. Let’s get back on the winning track tonight.

Some Reason For Optimism

Besides putting together our first winning streak of the season, I feel compelled to point out a few other subtle moments that give me some optimism. First would be Monday night when Nick Johnson fielded a grounder from Derek Lowe and instead of touching first for the easy out, made sure to go to second for the out, not just to nail the lead runner, but to make Lowe run the bases. Subtle move, but Lowe ended up throwing 115 pitches, so any little bit that made him work harder might have contributed to us scratching out one more run than the Braves. That’s the kind of heads-up play that happens on good teams all the time. We need lots more of those. On Tuesday, I thought the baserunning gaffe at home plate was going to bring us back down to earth, but Dukes’ throw from the outfield and Flores’ throw to third both restored my faith in the good karma we have going right now. And of course the timely hitting and solid pitching we’ve gotten over the past few days. Let’s keep it up tonight!

Wow, How The Mighty Have Fallen

So Andruw Jones, he of the $36 million contract signed in 2008, is now a minor leaguer for the Texas Rangers, getting paid $500,000, with incentives only reaching $1 million.  And that’s only if he makes the roster as an everyday player (he needs to make 620 plate appearances to achieve the bonus).  Granted, he is not hurting for money by any means.  But to be “forced” to take that offer, that’s amazing.  The guy obviously wants to play baseball, as evidenced by his acceptance of this deal on the eve of the start of spring training.  He probably could have waited and gotten more money, but without a chance to prove himself in spring training and having the chance to crack a starting lineup.  I applaud him for that.   Still doesn’t take the “wow” factor out of it, since prior to last season, Jones had averaged 34 homers and 103 RBI over the past ten seasons!  The large number of unsigned, accomplished free agents adds an unusual backstory to spring training as we go through it week to week and see what amounts these players settle for, if they get jobs at all.