Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
How much playing time do you think Ivan Rodriguez will get? I think it would be a waste if he gets only the amount of playing time Wil Nieves had last year. Pudge can still provide some serious offense besides his defensive skills.
-- Alex C., Montreal
He'll get more than that just because Flores is so injury-prone. I have a feeling that Flores' injury might be worse than we think...if that's the case, Nieves might even get as much time this year as he did last year.
How much interest are the Nationals showing in Aroldis Chapman? It looks like his upside could be as high as Stephen Strasburg's and, if signed, would give the club an outstanding top of the rotation for years to come.
--- Jeff O., Victoria, Texas
I'm not expecting them to make a big run for them, and I can't really blame them. Chapman has a lot of talent, but he is nowhere near the polished prospect Strasburg is. A team that doesn't spend a lot of money throwing $15 mil at a guy who isn't a sure thing doesn't pass the smell test to me.
Would Felipe Lopez be a good fit at second base for the Nats?
-- Sean B., Washington
Absolutely not. What a friggin' bum. Whoever signs him is going to be disappointed-his BABIP in 2009 was almost 30 points higher than it had ever been before. He'll come back down to earth and make somebody else's fans miserable in 2010.
What happened to all the John Smoltz buzz? It seems like ages ago that we've heard anything about the Nats trying to acquire a starting pitcher. If you were in Rizzo's shoes, which free-agent pitchers would you sign?
-- Scott W., Onley, Va.
I agree with Ladson that Smoltz and the Nats have mutual interest, but more in terms of a each side having a backup date to prom. I think the Nats might chase Jon Garland but end up with Doug Davis. I'm always wary of both for some reason (I guess I just expect the bottom to fall out sometime soon), but if we could get either on a one-year deal in the $5-7 mil range, I wouldn't be opposed to it.
What are the Nationals' options if Cristian Guzman can`t play second base?
-- Ryan L., Dunn, N.C.
Gonzalez and Harris are the likeliest options, but a dark horse could be Mike Morse. He played 19 games at 2B for Tacoma in 2009. Reasonable FA options include Orlando Hudson, Mark Derosa, Kelly Johnson and even Ronnie Belliard.
What are the chances of bringing Vladimir Guerrero back into the organization?
-- Kelvin A., Rockville, Md.
None unless they trade Willingham or Dunn. Guerrero is not a good fit for an NL team anyways-he only played 16 innings in the field in 2009.
What's the status of Chris Marrero? Can we expect him in the big leagues anytime soon?
-- Colin W., Germantown, Md.
To be honest, I have no clue. Marrero is at the age where he can either catapult through the system and end up in DC in September (fairly likely) or bottom out completely and be done with baseball (highly unlikely). He didn't look very good in 84 PA's at Harrisburg, but that's a very small sample size. We'll know for sure when the ASG rolls around whether or not he can hack it in AA.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Who do you think will be the Nationals' Opening Day shortstop?
-- Patrick S., Chantilly, Va.
Ian Desmond. I honestly don't think the Nats will make a run at an ML-worthy 2B or SS, leaving them with Desmond at SS and Guzman at 2B.
It seems odd that the Nationals would offer arbitration to right-hander Jason Bergmann. Likeable as he is, he's an average pitcher at best.
-- Mike H., Washington
Average at best, yes, but what else describes the Nats bullpen? I'm surprised they didn't non-tender him and try to bring him back at a cheaper salary, but to be honest, it's not a truly cost-prohibitive decision.
What do you think the rotation and bullpen will look like on Opening Day next year? I expect Stephen Strasburg and Drew Storen not to be on the roster until later in 2010.
-- Keith C., Greenbelt, Md.
Rotation: Lannan, Detwiler, Olsen, Garland, Marquis
Bullpen: Bergmann, Balester, Burnett, Clippard, Mock and Bruney as the Closer.
Strasburg and Storen will not be in the Majors until at least a month in, I bet.
If the Nationals are unable to land a "Big Time" starter this offseason, do you see any potential trade packages that could land Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay?
-- Michael L., Williamsburg Va.
Well, I obviously missed the boat on this one, but such a deal would cost some sort of a combination of Norris, Storen, Desmond and Marrero (plus maybe some pitchers like Detwiler and Mock), and I don't think the Nats could (or would even want to) match the Phillies' offer.
Will Clippard get a shot in the rotation? He's deadly against left-handed hitters. Just ask Bobby Cox, who would like to have him.
-- Brandon D., Muncie, Ind.
Deadly against lefties, yes, but he still had a .207 BABIP last year. Expect plenty of regression, and further bullpen relegation.
Not too long, it was reported that the Nationals were shopping Josh Willingham and Adam Dunn because they are defensive liabilities. Why? There bats are crucial parts of the lineup, and with Nyjer Morgan, Willie Harris, Roger Bernadina and Justin Maxwell in the mix, the defense is solid.
-- Ben F., Suffolk, Va.
The problem with the defensive whizzes is that only Morgan and Zimmerman are actually starters. The team, in my opinion, has 2 plus fielders in Morgan and Zimmerman, 2 minus fielders in Willingham and Dunn, 2 average fielders in Rodriguez/Flores and Dukes and 2 average fielders with a bigger potential to fall into the lower category than the higher in Desmond and Guzman.
I still like the potential of left-hander Matt Chico. Based on his progress in rehab, what do you think his chances are of being with the team in 2010?
-- Todd B., Smithsburg, Md.
I'm admittedly not a big fan about Chico. He had a below average, yet still lucky, year in 2007. I don't think he'll be back for good, unless he comes back with control and durability.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Terrible for Arizona, good for Detroit, great for the Yankees.
One of the following RP's at 1 year/$1-2 mil: J.J. Putz, Joe Beimel, Bob Howry, Octavio Dotel
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Still working on the hitters list. Hopefully it will be done by Wednesday. For now, here is your inbox.
Should we start being concerned about the durability and toughness of right-hander Stephen Strasburg? It seems every week or so he is being scratched for some reason or another?
-- Kerm S., Gettysburg, Pa.
Until he starts having arm problems, I'm not really worried. A neck tweak and a knee injury don't sound like long-term injuries. Also, there is the possibility that Strasburg could have/wanted to play but the Nats didn't want their number one investment to get hurt worse.
Now that they have locked up the No. 1 pick in the First-Year Player Draft for the second successive year, are the Nationals hesitant to spend a lot of money for Bryce Harper?
-- Jack T., Winter Park, Fla.
Anything you've heard Rizzo say about Harper so far is just posturing. We really won't know who the #1 pick should be until the season starts...there is no guarantee Harper stays healthy or adapts to JuCo ball. I don't think Harper will command much more than the average #1 overall pick, which the Nats have to plan on budgeting anyways.
Will left-hander Sean Burnett get a chance to be in the starting rotation?
-- Jim M., Chattanooga, Tenn.
Ladson says no, Burnett says no, and I agree. He's a lot better as a reliever.
Whatever happened to former pitching coach Randy St. Claire? Did he land on his feet somewhere in the Majors? How is he doing? I miss St. Claire. I thought he was a pretty good pitching coach.
-- James W., Warrenton, Va.
He moved south to the Marlins. I wish him the best of luck, but something had to change and he was the first scapegoat.
Do the Nats still have interest in Tom Glavine? Is there a chance that they'll make him an offer this offseason?
-- Kevin H., Westminster, Md.
I don't see the upside of adding Glavine anymore. He hasn't pitched since 2008, hasn't been average since 2007 and hasn't been good since 2006.
The club should go with Cristian Guzman and Willie Harris at second base. They should be splitting time 60-40 in favor of Guzman. Your thoughts?
-- Dean O., Winnipeg, Canada
Eh...I'd say 75-25 at most. Harris is too valuable as a utility man to stick at 2B even semi-permanently.
I am of course still an Expos fan, and I was wondering if you could tell me which players from the 2004 team are still left on the Nationals' roster?
-- Jonathan S., Montreal
Ladson says it's just Livo.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Minniti joins the Nationals after spending the previous nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, the last two as their Director of Baseball Operations. With the Pirates, Minniti's focuses included rules compliance, transactions, budgeting and contract negotiations. Minniti graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a double major in Mathematics and Statistics.
"Minniti previously worked for Dave Littlefield as, essentially, his point man on baseball rules, waivers and the like. Under Huntington, he handled those issues but had additional responsibility, including accompanying the team on the road when Huntington did not." (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11/2009)
"'I do a little bit of everything,' (Minniti) said. 'I'm responsible for managing the major league rules and regulations, along with waivers and transactions. It means a lot of late nights, but it's also been a lot of fun.'" (The York Dispatch, 2/2008)
"Minniti is twenty-seven-years-old, single, loves Jazz, and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002 with dual majors in mathematics and statistics. But don’t call him a Moneyball executive. 'I would say I’m less a statistics oriented guy but I don’t have the applied scouting experience. My belief is in the people who have spent their lives out there watching, and playing, and coaching it. The level of appreciation I have for that will never wane – it’s such a difference maker.'
"There had been some speculation Minniti was being sought out by Josh Byrnes in Arizona last year and even more speculation he was being pursued by another club this winter (maybe the D’backs again?). I interviewed Minniti back in 2008 and found him to be a very articulate individual with a deep passion for the game. He’s not a traditional scout type of AGM, although he’s been dipping into scouting for years now. Instead, he’s a mathematical wizard who intimately knows the inside of the paperwork game. He’s a perfect fit for Rizzo who is the ultimate scout." (NewBucs, 11/2009)
Here's some jibberjabbering to wake you up on Monday morning!
What did you think about the Nationals making Jim Riggleman the permanent manager?
-- Charlie B., Washington
Pros: The team was much better when he started managing (regression to the mean?), players like him but also respect him, local guy, easy to cut bait with in the next few years if a better candidate comes along, no worse than Bobby Valentine.
Cons: Lots of baserunning mistakes, terrible track record with young pitchers, etc.
Overall, I think it was a good move because the Nats aren't particularly obligated to keep him around like they would be if they tried to "develop" a major league manager. It was slim pickens out there, so there was no real wrong (or right) answer. This way, the Nats can groom Tim Foli or Matt Lecroy to be a ML manager in a few year.s
Do you see a double-play combination of Ian Desmond and Cristian Guzman?
-- George M., Burke, Va.
No. I bet it will be Adam Everett (SS) and Desmond (at 2B). Like Ladson, I think the Nats will try and trade Guzman.
I was a big Ronnie Belliard fan. Do you see the Nats signing Belliard as a backup again?
-- Patrick S., Chantilly, Va.
I think he enjoyed the pennant chase a little too much to come back to the Nats as a bench player. I would be surprised if he didn't end up with the Dodgers.
What do you expect from Scott Olsen in 2010?
-- Ed B., Miami
A different uniform.
One of my favorite players is Jamey Carroll. He worked hard, was very fundamentally sound and was a great veteran player to have in the clubhouse. I hear he is a free agent. What are the odds of the Nationals bringing him back?
-- Justin F., Vienna, Va.
Ladson says 50% or less (which aren't bad odds when you think about it). I think that the Nats have a pretty good chance of getting something done-they have the playing time to offer in the infield and he's already a fan favorite. Why not bring Jamey back?
Ross Detwiler pitched much better after being recalled in September. Is there a good chance he will be in the Opening Day rotation?
-- Ryan K, Carlisle, Pa.
I would be very surprised if he wasn't, half due to how well he pitched down the stretch and half due to the lack of organizational depth.
How do you see Justin Maxwell fitting into Nationals' long-term plans?
-- Jack S., Jackson, Miss.
I have made it fairly well known that I don't think Maxwell is ready for the big leagues, and I don't know if he ever will be. He's an excellent fielder and a great bench bat, but I don't see him as much more than a platoon starter versus lefthanded pitching/bench bat/defensive whiz.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Is Mike Morse being considered for any Major League role in 2010? He was as impressive as any player on the team.
-- Joel G, Lynchburg, Va.
Morse should be in the mix, but he shouldn't be guaranteed a spot. He is much better defensively at 1B than Dunn and showed signs of brilliance with the bat, but 2009 Mike Morse is not what we should expect next year if he gets significant playing time. I'd put him down for an improvement in batting average, more walks, less strikeouts but a drop-off in power.
I don't think Adam Dunn's fielding was that bad at first base. How many errors did he make at the position?
-- Craig B., Gaithersburg, Md.
He only made 8 errors, but that doesn't tell the whole story. He has the worst UZR/150 out of all 1B over the last 3 years with at least 600 innings played in the field, twice as bad as Dmitri Young. It's a small-ish sample size, but Dunn simply does not reach the balls in play that a Major League 1B should be able to do.
What do you think right-hander Shairon Martis must do to be successful in the Major Leagues?
-- Daniel G., The Netherlands
He absolutely needs to start striking out more batters and walking less. Having more BB than K is simply not something you can do as a Major League SP. I'm not going to lie: I'm not a big believer in Martis.
Who will be the Nats' closer next season?
-- Jose C., Silver Spring, Md.
Hopefully somebody not in the organization. Ladson noted Mike Gonzalez as a possibility, and I wouldn't mind that. There are a handful of decent closers on the market: Kevin Gregg, Fernando Rodney, Rafael Soriano, Jose Valverde and Billy Wagner. I would not be surprised if the Nats made a run at one of them. I really, really, REALLY hope MacDougal is not the closer next year. He will not repeat his 2009 "success."
Jermaine Dye is a free agent. Could we see general manager Mike Rizzo make a move for him?
-- Nick S., Erma, N.J.
No. Dye is still a great hitter, but he has the outfield range of an elephant these days. He's still a useful player by AL standards for a team looking for a DH, but he's not a fit for the Nats.
What is your conclusion about Alberto Gonzalez? I think it's clear that he doesn't have what it takes to be a starter in the Majors.
-- Alex C., Montreal
I'm not ready to give up on him yet. He's been wildly inconsistent in the minors and majors throughout his career, so nobody really knows what to expect. He needs to be more patient, but his pre-2009 numbers suggest he will walk more than the 4.6% of the time he did in the majors this year. I think he has the ability to end up as a Guzman-type player, but then again, Guzman doesn't have what it takes to be a starter in the Majors either. I like him on the bench, though.
Are the Nats content with starting Wil Nieves next season at catcher until Jesus Flores is healthy?
-- Will S., Reston, Va.
Please, no. Nieves is barely passable as a backup let alone a starter. He's a great guy and everything, but he's not a great player.
What is happening with Tim Foli? I heard a lot of positive things about his work as the Syracuse manager, but now I read that Trent Jewett was just named to that position. Will Foli be a coach for the Nats? Is he in the running for the manager position? Thanks.
-- Scott S., Vienna, Va.
I don't have the answer, but Ladson does:
"Foli has done great things in the Nationals' Minor League system. One could say he is the best manager/coach they have ever had in the system. I would have to believe a promotion to the big leagues is in order. From what I understand, if Foli is not promoted to the big leagues, he will be an advisor in the Minor Leagues."
I'm glad to hear this, because the Nats should not let Foli get away from the organization.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Right-hander Drew Storen has been touted as a closer. If he makes the big league team, how about starting him off as a setup man, and then working him into the closer role by midseason?
-- Shane B., Vancouver, Canada
Sounds good to me. Who else is going to close? If the team keeps MacDougal around, they're insane...wayyy too expensive for a guy who is probably going to implode at some point. I think it's funny that Hanrahan is five times better than MacDougal and got run out of town while MacDougal should be a guaranteed non-tender and everyone wants to hold on to his lucky 2009 ERA.
I don't think it's necessary to trade Adam Dunn. Look at first basemen such as Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder and Carlos Delgado. They don't have the defensive skills at first base, but each had brought their teams into the playoffs.
-- Yu-Hung S., Chiayi, Taiwan
They didn't singlehandedly bring their teams to the playoffs...it takes a whole team of talent to matter. I hope the Nats do the right thing and move either Dunn or Willingham for a great young starting pitcher before the season.
What is the status of left-hander Jack McGeary? Is he a Major League talent? Will he get a look at next year's Spring Training?
-- Larry L., Spring Springs, Md.
I like what Spin Williams said in this article: “Some of Jack’s numbers aren’t what you would like to see but he has competed. We really feel good about his progress. He’s really still a first-year player.’’ He wasn't so impressive this year, but what can you really expect from a guy going from 63 and 2/3 innings to 112 innings? The fact that he made it through the season is impressive. The walk rates are frightening, but he has plenty of time to straighten them out...he's only 20 for goodness sake.
Do you see the Nats going after right-hander Pedro Martinez if he becomes a free agent?
-- Isaac R., Baltimore
I doubt it. They didn't go hard after him this season and he's only going to be more expensive and a year older next year.
I would love to see the Nationals add someone like Mark De Rosa to their lineup. He could be a huge upgrade.
-- Travis A., Cornelius, N.C.
I like DeRosa, but he only had a .319 OBP this year...while it will probably stabilize to the .340s or .350s, he'll be 35 next year coming off of a poor year. If he comes cheap, I'll take him, but not at more than $1.5 million.
The Nationals played better when Ian Desmond and Justin Maxwell were in the lineup. Why is it that the fans always seem to "wait" with our prospects when it's clear they have the ability to play at this level? The atmosphere at the ballpark was completely different when these kids took the field. Your thoughts?
-- Mick F., Springfield, Md.
There is no question that Maxwell and Desmond are incredibly talented, but Desmond hadn't broken a .800 OPS in the minors since 2004 and Maxwell was pretty awful in AAA even this year. Don't overlook sample size with early ML results.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Do you see the Nationals bringing in another bat this offseason? And who might be the fit at the position?
-- Justin L., Washington
I doubt it. The only field positions I really see the Nats adding players at are middle infield and catcher, and I expect them to pick up defensive-minded players at both positions.
If you think the Nationals are one or two years away from having a winning season, you are a fool. Who do they have in the Minor Leagues that could step up and play in the Majors?
-- Nguyen B., Washington
Here's a list of 7 rookies who can potentially make a big impression in the Majors this year:
1-Stephen Strasburg, RHP
2-Drew Storen, RHP
3-Ian Desmond, SS
4-Justin Maxwell, OF
5-Bradley Meyers, RHP
6-Clint Everts, RHP
7-Chris Marrero-1B (only if he sets the world on fire during spring training, and even so he would likely not be up until at least the All Star Break).
Which players are guaranteed to start for the Nationals next year?
-- Rich R., Slingerlands, N.Y.
Dunn, Morgan, Willingham and Zimmerman are the only 4 I can see being guaranteed spots.
Do you think the Nationals should pursue Mets catcher Brian Schneider?
-- Gloria L., Washington
Absolutely. The Nats haven't had a consistently good defensive catcher since he left.