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.