Wednesday, December 31, 2008
While you're over here, check out my new-ish blog, Decision-A-Day. No really, do it.
There hasn't been much Nats news lately, so I wanted to post up something quick on the Caps. It's been almost 3 months since I've mentioned them, which is surprising, considering the fact that I hold them in as high (if not higher) esteem than the Nats. I don't really know why I don't blog about them, I guess when you have a well put-together team there is less to gripe about.
But anyways, the Caps won game number 9 of 10 tonight, defeating Buffalo 4-2. They did this without any Alex Ovechkin points, which is promising. Buffalo is a good team. When you can beat them even when the best player in the league is a non-factor and many other key players are out (Semin, Poti, Fleischmann, Federov, etc.), you are a good team.
But anyways, I'm proud of my 2nd-place Caps. They're the only of my favorite pro teams that I really have much to hope for in the coming few years.
On a side note, everyone have a safe and happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
What is the point in wasting money on a pitcher like Daniel Cabrera, who has a career ERA over 5.00 and did not win more than 10 games in the past four seasons? What am I missing here?
-- Alex C., Montreal
You're missing the fact that he has so much "upside" and "potential."
Sarcasm aside, you can't be a successful pitcher in the ML if you give up an abnormal amount of hits AND walks. The amount of hits allowed are pretty hard to change, so he'll have to lower his walks to be worth it. Looks like JimBow made another stupid move...he's the pitching equivalent of Nook Logan. A change in scenery will supposedly benefit Cabrera...yeah, just like a change in scenery benefited Jose Vidro.
Why haven't the Nationals given third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, the team's most respected player, the contract he deserves?
-- Eileen S., Arlington, Va.
It's been a while since I've really paid attention to the subject, but last I saw Zimmerman wanted to be paid like so-and-so player and the Nats wanted to pay him like Troy Tulowitzski. Problem is, both players (forgive me for forgetting Zim's "comparable") were in completely different situations when they signed those contracts, either in the number of years of team control left or in actual performance. So without a precedent, these things will take time. Be patient, I have full faith that Zimmerman will be around past his final arb-eligible year.
A leadoff hitter has always been a problem since the Nationals arrived in Washington. Is free-agent second baseman Orlando Hudson on the radar?
-- Rogers C., New Carrollton, Md.
Oh goodness, I hope so. Imagine what this team could do if they signed Hudson, Dunn and a starter like Randy Johnson. Trade Milledge for a young pitcher and you have a team that might actually be able to compete.
What is Elijah Dukes' future with the Nationals?
-- Phyllis D., Tampa, Fla.
His future with the Nationals coincides with his future in professional sports. If he stays out of trouble, he's ours for a long time, and he will be a force. I am not afraid to go out on a limb and say Elijah Dukes will be in the Hall of Fame if he stays out of trouble.
I know Wily Mo Pena is back because he exercised his player option, but with so many outfielders, what do you think the team is going to do with him?
-- Dan H., Aspen Hill, Md.
He'll befriend Riggleman on the bench, I suppose.
I know the Nationals have a lot of young talent. Which Minor Leaguers do you see battling for a Major League job?
-- Austin D., West Hartford, Conn.
Zimmermann, Balester, Atilano, Martin, Mock, Montz and maybe Bernadina/Maxwell if an OF is dealt.
Don't forget that it wasn't Nick Johnson's fault that he fractured his leg in 2006. He crashed into his own player. He should be back at full strength in 2009. I wouldn't give up on him. He has heart. He's working out every day to be stronger and ready to resume his position. He'll recover from the torn sheath in his right wrist just as he did with the fractured leg. The Nationals should save themselves $160 million dollars and put it where it's needed: pitching.
-- Johnson J., Sacramento, Calif.
Ladson was right on one part and wrong on the other. Johnson gets hurt almost every year. It's usually a "freak injury", but his injuries simply never heal quickly. Simple injuries that take other players a few days or weeks to recover turn into weeks or months for Johnson. Which is where Ladson made his wrong point. I'll just point you to FJB for the explanation for the "Johnson and David Ortiz had the same injury" dealio.
Is there any chance that the Nats will go after Willy Taveras? He steals bases and can play the outfield.
-- Dalton C., Olympia, Wa.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
If he is guaranteed a spot at all in the majors let alone a rotation spot, this is an awful signing. I don't care how hard he throws. He simply is not a good pitcher. Maybe converting him to a reliever or something would work, but a ton of walks plus a ton of hits is never a good combination.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
Why would the Nationals non-tender a guy like right-hander Tim Redding, but offer a contract to an injured pitcher such as Shawn Hill?
-- Ross B., Highland, Md.
Hill is a better pitcher than Redding, hands down. Redding was going to cost twice as much as Hill. It depends on what you want-180 mediocre innings or a gamble between probably 50 and 150 excellent or mediocre innings. I like the gamble.
Should the Nats give up on first baseman Nick Johnson because he gets injured every year? I could definitely see the Athletics or Giants come calling in a hurry.
-- Brian F., Sacramento, Calif.
I love Nick. He's a tremendous player and has so much value to the team, putting up the two best individual seasons (according to FJB, at least) in Nationals history in 2005 and '06. But he's been the least valuable player for the last two years, with 38 games played. We just can't afford to count on him anymore, I'm sorry. If there is decent interest in him, trade him. If not, hold on to him, let him build up his value, and then play it by ear from there.
In one of the previous mailbags, you said that Wily Mo Pena is recovering from shoulder surgery and should be ready for Spring Training. But is there any real need for the Nationals to keep him? It seems like they have an abundance of outfielders and Pena wasn't very productive last year.
-- Kristen L., Rockville, Md.
"There isn't a need for Pena. But you have to remember one thing: the Nationals declined a $5 million club option on Pena, who subsequently exercised a $2 million player option for the 2009 season last October." Thank you, Bill.
Any chance the Nationals would sign Dunn to play first base?
-- Fritz S., Rockville, Md.
Well they sure wouldn't signing him to play shortstop...
With Jon Rauch and Chad Cordero gone, who will be the Nationals' closer in 2009?
-- Rodney B., Greer, S.C.
Hanrahan. Don't believe the Fuentes BS...Mr. Lerner must have naked pictures of Ladson to get him to print that.
I know the Nationals don't plan on spending much money on pitching this offseason, so what do you think about bringing Livan Hernandez back? He might not be the best pitcher in the league, but he is a free agent and, if nothing else, he's an innings-eater.
-- Will R., Rose Haven, Md.
If we don't keep Redding at ~$2 mil, we will not bring Livo back at anything more than a minor league deal with a ST invite.
That's all there is...kinda a dissapoingly lame mailbag. Step it up with your questions, blogosphere!
One other note-the live chat with Jim Bowden is tomorrow at 11 am. I will be at work then, but enjoy! I'd appreciate it if someone asked Jim how the complexion of the game would change if trading draft picks were allowed, so if anyone is around the computer and wants to ask, they get an A+ for the day!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I'm leaning toward liking this move, or at least agreeing with it. You know what you're getting with Redding: roughly 180 innings of 5-ish ERA ball. I think we can get something similar out of guys from our system, though, and not just the obvious names...I'm talking minor league FA's. This move really opens a door for J.D. Martin (and to a lesser extent, Preston Larrison) to challenge for a spot in Spring Training and I have a sneaking suspicion he'll end up on the Opening Day roster. There's my fearless prediction.
NFA classified the Guzman signing as "A nice gamble for a team that can afford to give it a shot."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Arguments can be made that this is a good move. Tons of money is wasted every year on lousy pitchers who get signed by teams in desperation. I would understand if they said they wouldn't go after guys looking for so-and-so amount of money or so-and-so years. But no ML guarantees? I mean seriously, come on. With the economy the way it is (and the deepest SP market in recent history), the market is never going to get better. There is a ton to choose from, and it will probably come semi-discounted.
Don't try to tell me Ben Sheets or Oliver Perez couldn't fit into the plan. Don't try to tell me Randy Johnson couldn't help Olsen and Lannan scout batters or help them with their pickoff moves. This is ridiculous (to put it nicely) and until a report comes out saying otherwise, I'm blaming it all on the Lerners. We know Bowden and Kasten aren't trying to screw the team over (even though with JimBow, it appears so a lot of the time). This kind of report reeks of CHEEEEEEEAP! I hope the Hannukah fairy gives them a gift that characterizes them best: a sack of crap. And don't give me the "well we'll trade for our pitching" crap. Nobody wants to trade any decent young pitcher for anything less than a king's ransom (except for the Marlins). I don't want to give up Ryan Zimmerman, Lastings Milledge and Jesus Flores to fill out the dang rotation.
As much as I love to sit here and make my "Who should we sign posts," I'm not even gonna bother continuing the series with the "Major League Arms" edition, since we won't sign any. Just refer to my "Minor League Edition" and try to find this year's Odalis Perez. Your choices are the likes of Jeff Weaver, Claudio Vargas and Matt Cassel's brother. Finding one needle in a haystack is tough enough, but by the looks of things, we'll need at least 2, maybe 3. Nice move, Nats.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
According to MLBTR, Jim Bowden apparently explored the idea of trading for Royals starter Zack Greinke. Tim Dierkes of MLBTR did speculate the following, however: "Of course, that could've just been a phone call inquiry from Jim Bowden to Dayton Moore that went nowhere." I doubt we have the right pieces to sniff a Greinke deal, but it's nice to see a name pop up that would be a good idea for the club, even if it won't happen. Also, the original article (from ESPN.com) notes some other names Bowden has asked about, most notably (or most conceivably) Joey Votto. The Reds took 1B Yonder Alonso seventh overall this year. Alonso is apparently very close to major league-ready (especially having signed a Major League contract, thus putting him on the 40 man roster), which could make Votto expendable. But the question remiains-will the Reds answer JimBow's calls?
Frank Howard is a free agent. I agree wholeheartedly with Dave Shenin of the Post...the Nats would be idiots to pass up this PR opportunity. It's falling right into their laps...so let's see how the (mis)management can screw it up.
The Nats named a new strength and conditioning coach as well as a new physical therapist today. John Philbin, the new S&C coach, spent 1992-2000 in the same capacity with the Redskins. Does anyone remember whether or not the Skins looked "fit" in that timeframe?
Monday, December 1, 2008
If they sign a first baseman like Mark Teixeira, what are the Nationals' plans for Nick Johnson?
-- Don T., Milwaukee
Start him and bench Teixeira, durrrrrrr. But in reality, I think we'd ship him off to an AL team who can DH him (Oakland has reportedly been interested and I could see the Yankees in on him if they lose on Tex).
Knowing the Nationals had one of the worst ERAs in the National League last year, would you rather get a high-priced slugger or a pitcher?
-- Matt S., Farmingdale, N.Y.
I'd rather have a good pitcher than a good slugger but at the same time I'd rather have a high-priced slugger than a high-priced pitcher, if that makes sense. I think with a slugger you're more likely to get production in the latter years of those big contracts.
Given the glut of outfielders on the Nats' roster, do you see one of them possibly moving to first base?
-- Chris W., Woodbridge, Conn.
Willingham is the only one I can see moving to 1B. Kearns and Dukes are too valuable defensively in the outfield and I don't think Milledge or Pena could handle 1B.
Did Ryan Wagner re-sign with the Nationals after electing free agency?
-- Kristen H., Alexandria, Va.
Yes. Info was cloudy on this at first, but Baseball America seemed to have confirmed it a while ago. Funny how a certain Nationals.com reporter never said anything about it...
I would like to see the Nats sign Pedro Martinez to a one-year deal. Although he has been hurt often, Martinez has shown he can be dominant at times. I also think he could be a good mentor for Collin Balester or Jordan Zimmermann. What are your thoughts?
-- Eric R., Shullsburg, Wis.
I wholeheartedly agree with this idea. Sign 2 pitchers with injury risks-Pedro and Ben Sheets. Between the two of them, you might get 300 innings of Cy Young pitching. Or you might get 100. Money is the only risk, but these guys come at a discount. These are the types of moves that we need to be making-take chances on guys with immense talent and hope that they stay healthy. The difference would be that we would (probably for the first time ever) have decent plan B's if these guys go down with injuries. We have several capable starters already: Balester, Redding, Lannan, Bergmann, Zimmermann, Olsen, Hill Martis, etc. but It's safe to say Sheets and Pedro would be 1-2. That would leave us with probably Lannan, Olsen and Balester, with Redding as a long reliever, Bergmann put in the pen where I think he belongs, Hill on the DL and Zimmermann and martis with more time in AA/AAA. EDIT-I forgot about Randy Johnson. I wholeheartedly support signing him.
Why not put Ronnie Belliard at first base? In limited time, he has put up decent offensive numbers.
-- Andy S., Fairfax, Va.
He's not tall enough, simply put.
Do you see the Nats trying to sign any veteran starting pitchers?
-- Andy S., Fairfax, Va.
"Yes, I do. Who that is, I don't know." Answer of the year, Ladson. Ideally, as I said, the Nats would bring in Pedro and Sheets. I think a retread like Mike Hampton is more likely, however (although his lefthandedness might keep the Nats from doing so...any ideas on another guy? I had a list at some point that I'll dig for). EDIT-Hampton signed with the Astros, so we really will need to look elsewhere.
What's Wily Mo Pena been up to this offseason?
-- Dan D., Washington
He's gotten as many hits this offseason as he did last season, that's for sure.
"A couple of weeks ago, general manager Jim Bowden told the local media that Pena is slowly recovering from shoulder surgery and it has prevented him from playing winter ball this offseason. Pena is expected to be ready for Spring Training, however."-Ladson
Do you think Ian Desmond has a chance to become the Nationals' regular shortstop in two years?
-- Gary G., North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
No. He can't hit. I'm done being optimistic with this guy...until he can prove me wrong (a la Mike Hinckley), I'm sticking to my gut and saying no, Ian Desmond will never be a starting shortstop in the major leagues.