Monday, February 14, 2011

Harper to Center Field? Music to my ears « Nationals Arm Race

Harper to Center Field? Music to my ears « Nationals Arm Race

I wholehearedly agree. When you really look at that list of CF's, it makes perfect sense.

And Harper wouldn't have to hit 40 HR's to be useful. Most of those guys are just like Nyjer, no power and no OBP ability. We're assuming Bryce will be a plus OBP guy aren't we?

Right now, we have above league average production in two places: 3B and RF. The problem with that is: league average is higher there than for the up the middle positions. You get a better spread, a bigger advantage if your best guys play positions where everybody else has punch and judy hitters. Harper in CF would be one of those extra plus guys.

So, our old friend Elijah lets us know he got baked before games. Not surprising I suppose. If the team was covering up for him when they said his release was "performance" related I can understand that even empathize. The dick move would have been to say He's a pothead and we don't want him around anymore. I'm sure Elijah's lack of job offers tells you all you need to know about what was said behind the scenes.

MLB trade rumors publishes the news that the Nats made TWO international signings!

Here's the money quote:
The club remains hesitant to hand out massive signing bonuses like the one they gave 16-year-old Esmailyn Gonzalez, who really turned out to be 20-year-old Carlos Alvarez, in 2006. Excluding the Yunesky Maya major league deal, the Nationals spent about $1MM on signing bonuses for prospects in Latin America last year, one of the smallest budgets in the majors. Now, DiPuglia tells Kilgore, the club is starting to spend more on international players.

There is no excuse for this. That was three (now four) years ago. What is so hard about compiling a list of the 10 best Dominican or Venezuelan teenagers have a look see and then spreading around some cash? Since the Nats management has kept payroll far below what can reasonably be expected for a team in the 7th largest media market in the country (and first in percapita income) then they needed to show where the savings were going. This is the most cost effective way to develop assets. How many lottery tickets can you buy for one LoDuca?

I think the most interesting part of the spring for the Nats will be how the catching situation shakes out. They have two major league ready backstops and a future Hall of Famer. Then they have another one who is probably going to be better than them all on the fast track. Its the first time I can remember where the team has a genuine surplus of talent. And at a premium position. I assume Flores will start the year in Syracuse so he can play every day with Ramos slowly displacing Pudge as the year grinds on. In an ideal world, Flores plays well enough to create a trade market and no one gets hurt creating a perceived need to keep all of them around. Call the Rays Mike. They need catching and they have a boatload of talented prospects.

I also wonder if they will have the guts to keep the Ramirez kid they got in the Rule V draft over Todd Coffey. Coffey represents nothing, even at his best he might bring back a Shiron Martis while the kid may fail miserably or could turn into a controllable long term asset. Seems like an easy choice for a team on the low end of the success continuum but I'll bet I'm wrong.

I do hope they don't give up on Danny Espinosa too quickly. Its a near lock he'll have a subpar season with the stick, those hamate injuries for a baseball player are a killer. It's basically the hitters Tommy John surgery . . . it takes a year to heal before they are back to normal. Unless he really struggles with the leather, please keep running him out there. He may be punchless but at least he's getting seasoning. That's what 2011 is all about.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out to nationalsarmrace!

    When i saw the Harper to CF story, i kinda hit myself in the head. Why didn't I think of that? He's fast, he's got a great arm, and can be groomed for CF. This would let the Nats continue to audition guys for left until we find a slugger who Rizzo is happy with from a defensive perspective.

  2. Dale Murphy.

    That's who Harper can grow up to be. At least in terms of his development. Drafted as a catcher and moved eventually to CF.

    I'd take Murphy's peak, lets just hope Harper avoids Murphy's extended downside (unless that downside is playing for the Yankees at $35 million a year)