Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Dodged another bullet

We already knew Willy Taveras signed with the Reds, but it was for $6.25 mil over 2 years. I am so happy not to be a Reds fan right now.

While you're over here, check out my new-ish blog, Decision-A-Day. No really, do it.

Still Alive

Me, that is.

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

Wish List

Hendo asked for it, so here is the official DC Sports Plus Wish List:

1) Frank Howard back where he belongs-in DC!
2) Adam Dunn, Orlando Hudson, Randy Johnson and Stephen Strasburg
3) Takers for Wily Mo Pena and Dmitri Young
4) Nick Johnson to be healthy
5) the chance to run in the Presidents Race
6) the Lerners to stop being so dang cheap (goes with #2 and #3)
7) a World Series ring!

Did I miss anything? I reserve the right to update it-this was just the stuff off the top of my head!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


COREY PATTERSON IS A NATIONAL!!!!!!!! Ok, that was unneccesary. JORGE "SAMMY AIN'T GOT NOTHIN' ON ME" SOSA IS A NATIONAL!!!!! Ouch, the awful signings keep on coming. At least these are no-risk minor league signings. (EDIT-MLBTR says Sosa will earn $850k and Patterson will earn $800k. Goodness gracious, will somebody give me the dang GM job? At least I wouldn't go around signing awful players to contracts more than the league minimum).

And it looks like we lost out on the main prize of the offseason, Mark Teixeira. It will either be Nicky J/Da Meat Hook/Brad Eldred (can I just call him Breldred?) or Adam Dunn at 1B. It's ok, I'd rather have O-Dog at 2B and Adam Dunn than just Tex.

ANOTHER EDIT-the Nats signed 3 other guys to minor league deals: 
And I'll put up Sosa/Patterson's BR pages too:

Initial thoughts: All are meh. Chacin, Sosa and Patterson have all had exactly 1 standout season (and by standout I mean OPS+ or ERA+ above really just 1 "above average" season).

Monday Night Special

I was out all day, so here's your Monday Mailbag, available to you for breakfast on Tuesday Morning (or for a midnight snack to you night owls)

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.

God help us if they do. With Wil Nieves, Wily Mo Pena and Willie Harris, we have enough Wils as it is.

That's all for this week. Feel free to drop by my new blog, Decision-A-Day if you get a chance.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I take it back

The Cabrera signing isn't an awful signing as I called it last post. Terms have come out.

ESPN says the deal is worth $2.6 million.

This rivals the LoDuca/Fatstrada/Mackowiakkkkk signings from last year. What happened to being responsible with our $?

Did Steven at FJB wish for infinite ammo at Bowden for Christmas? He certainly got it.


Check out my new blog

Every day, I will make a post with a poll regarding a decision I have. It may be what I wear, who I start in my fantasy football league, what class to take or what to eat for lunch. I started with 3 polls while I gain readership. Please consider adding it to your feed reader, blog roll, bookmarks, etc.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nats sign Daniel Cabrera

For once, Ladson got it before anyone else. No terms yet. Here's his B-R page.

Here's the part that will make you cringe: "Known for his fastball, curveball and changeup, Cabrera will join a rotation that will include left-handers Scott Olsen and John Lannan."

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.

Seriously...we're not going to give anyone an ML guarantee and we might end up giving in to this guy?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Don't drink that cyanide just yet...

The Sox appear to be ducking out of the Teixeira race (for now at least), contrary to previous reports tonight. So chill out, blogosphere.

And P.S.-we dodged a bullet. Thanks, Astros!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Rough decision

It came down to studying for my Civil War final tomorrow and doing the mailbag. Tough call. So without further ado, here's your mailbag!

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

Thoughts on a couple of things

Now that I've got a minute (quite literally A minute...I SHOULD be studying for finals), I'll go over a few transactions the Nats have made lately:

Can't say I'm heartbroken over this move. Yea, his ERA+ was 102, indicating he was an average pitcher. I don't disagree with that. Over the span of the year, he was average...but he was also one of the most inconsistent pitchers I've ever seen. Generally speaking, a starting pitcher's inconsistancies tend to balance themselves out over the span of 200 innings in a year. I'm not so sure that the same case can be made for relief pitchers. Colome gave up 2 or more earned runs in 15% of his appearances (9 out of 61). There are a lot better ways to spend $1 mil than on Jesus Colome. I would, however, bring him back with a minor league deal.

Signed UTIL Wee Willie Harris to a 2 year, $3 mil extension
Great move. If this works out like it should, just hope this doesn't convince Bowden that he should get back to doing this on a regular basis. Resigning Da Meat Hook, Belliard, etc. after reclamation projects was bad enough. But, back to Wee Willie-$1.5 mil for the 6th best LF in baseball (and fan favorite) is a darn good deal. I have a feeling he'll go from being the 6th best LF to being a top 10 2B, though. Great move nonetheless.

I have mixed emotions on this one.
Pros of getting rid of him: Clearing space for young guys, saving $, not much upside.
Cons of getting rid of him: OMG NO STARTING PITCHING DEPTH!!!!!!

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.

Signing a million guys to minor league deals
Here's the list:
*=With the Nats organization last year
^=moves we already knew about

Beyond the Box Score gave "one line descriptions" of all of these guys: 
"Bynum is a speed burner capable of playing decent defense in the corners. Eldred spent 2008 in the Chicago White Sox organization. Guzman went from top prospect to AAA filler within three years. Orr, Langerhans, Vento, Jones and Padilla are re-signings. Langerhans will almost certainly have zero shot at breaking into the Nationals outfield. Whitney is a former Rule 5 pick of the  Nats from Cleveland's system and martin as well as Larrison are former Indians as well."

NFA classified the Guzman signing as "A nice gamble for a team that can afford to give it a shot."

FJB hates the Guzman signing, and I can't help but disagree. The guy is being signed to play in AAA for the shot to back up Ryan Zimmerman. His OBP numbers used to be a lot better. Maybe there's something in his swing Eckstein will point out that will allow him to make better adjustments, or maybe someone in our organization can help him learn better bat control and pitch selection. While this is unlikely, he's not blocking anyone and his contract is just a minor league deal. I seriously don't see downside in this signing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rule 5

The Nationals selected RHP Terrell Young from the Reds 1st overall in the 2008 Rule 5 Draft. First I would like to point out that Young is NOT a Bowden character. Bowden was fired in 2003 whereas Young was drafted in 2004's 10th round. Young looks like a solid pick that has a decent shot to stick. While he hasn't pitched above A+ ball, he doesn't give up many hits (7.32 H/9 over his minor league career, rose up to 8.49 this year), and keeps the ball in the yard (.32 HR/9 over his career, 1 in 59 and 1/3 innings this year). Check out the profile Brian over at NFA made up if you want to see more about him, as well as the AAA and AA portion results (and analysis). And before you get too excited/distraught-there have been rumors that the Nats drafted him for the purpose of selling/trading him. No official news on that yet (and no real rumors as to what team, other than the Rockies because we've been in talks with them), but we'll just have to see.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I am upset. Wanna know why? No help is on the way. This is poor management at it's worst...and most likely, it's not coming from Stan Kasten or Jim Bowden.

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

Roundup of sorts

Some various things...

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 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 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


Ladson was a little late posting it today so I didn't get to it before class. Here we go!

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 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.