Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Passing scene

Not an inspired title I know.

It's as inspired as the National's winter so far.

Brian Bruney? An older and more injury prone Joel Hanrahan. Fantastic.

Pudge Rodriguez? Had to give him two years. Really, once Gregg Zaun was off the market, he was the best left. In terms of value to the Nationals, we now know the cost to get your team name engraved on a plaque in Cooperstown. Way down at the bottom but there none the less.

Here's two questions.

1) When the Rangers bid $7.5m/1 for Rich Hardin, why didn't the Nats pipe up immediately and say $8m? They are supposedly looking for starting pitching. Rich Hardin is potentially the best starter on the market. There is a chance he earns way more than $8m next season. No other starter left in free agency has a snowball's chance in hell of earning $8m next season.

And don't start with me about Jon Garland or Jason Marquis. Neither one could be a #1 starter and neither one would fetch a fat price in prospects at the trade deadline. Once again, the Nats fail to take a calculated risk looking for a big reward.

2) A top tier relief arm goes on the market. He's dealt for a guy who's been dealt twice in recent memory. Basically roster filler. So the prospect price is practically nil. This guy would immediately become your closer and be one of the better ones in the National League. So, why does Rafael Soriano go to the Rays and not the Nats? Maybe Atlanta didn't want to deal in the division. OK I can accept that. But did they even ask?

They are still playing rinky-dink small market baseball. That mentality is not going to work. Kansas City and Pittsburgh have tried and failed. This is a major media market and can support a much higher payroll team. They can also afford to take chances and make mistakes. If you are going to make a mistake, at least do it with something that has a chance of paying off big.


  1. Is Rich Hardin Rich Harden's non-injury prone twin? The double-edged sword at work here is that free agents don't want to come to Washington, so they have to overpay, but then you end up giving $6M over two years to the slowly rotting corpse of Pudge.

    It would have taken more than $8M to lure Harden to DC and given his history I'm not sure he's worth it. A front-line starting pitcher doesn't do our youngsters or the bullpen any good if he's dispensing pitching tips from the dugout. That's Smoltz's job anyway.

  2. It's one year. ONE YEAR. If they had offered him 3/30 I'd be with you.

    Of course he's injury prone. That's why he comes cheap. If he was a 200IP workhorse with his peripherals, he'd be getting CC Sabathia money.

    Yes, its a risk. And there would be a good chance it didn't pan out. But if it did, it could be franchise changing. Imagine what a contender would pay at the deadline for an effective Rich HardEn? Would you be more likely to go to the park knowing HardEn was pitching that night? I would be since I would know its way more likely the Nats would win that night.

    Why would it have taken more than $8m? Does HardEn really think its worth $500,000 to pitch in Texas? Really? A bandbox ballpark in the DH league vs. a neutral park with pitchers striking out every turn. Where is HardEn going to max out his value? Answer: Not in Texas and not for half a million less. This free agent tax is a myth. Given equal offers, a player would go to the better team. Given unequal offers, the player goes for the money. End of story. Open the checkbook and they will come.

    If he gets hurt, oh well. How is the team any worse off? They still need someone to pitch those innings.