Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Approaching the "boiling point"

Nats Insider: Approaching the "boiling point"

My question is: Why? Why would anyone think this was really a .500 club?

I know they were for the first 100 games this season, a seeming impossibility with Ryan Zimmerman out for 50+ of them.

But they were (and are) at base the same 70 win team that left Viera in April. Three months of incredible luck shouldn't change long term perceptions (see 2005 for example)

Getting mad isn't the answer. It's pointless. They have played over their heads for most of the year and the fairy dust is starting to fade.

What's most troubling is this insistence that "we're not ready to punt this season" mentality. Admirable in some ways but if its more than a public posture then its the height of stupidity.

The 2011 edition of the Nationals is done. They aren't going to make a playoff run, they aren't even likely to finish over .500. Its time to think about next year and the years after that.

In terms of roster construction, Gomes is a great fit. He and Nix would make a near All-Star LF. Nix mashes RHP's .287/.321/.517 and Gomes mashes LHPs .333/.439/.537. (List of LFs with SLG over .500 right now Braun, Holliday, Hamilton (and Morse))

The one on the bench becomes a devastating late inning PH. And au revoir Matt Stairs. You were are good idea just not in practice.

They also got cash from the Reds too. Not a lot I'm sure, Gomes is only owed a little less than $500,000 for the rest of the year. They may be too clever by a half if they think they just bought a draft pick though -- its at least 50-50 Gomes accepts arbitration.

In the end, its not much of anything really. Maybe 2011 is a little better. Maybe they get a sandwich pick. Maybe they keep the Gomes/Nix platoon for 2012. Eh.

Now the real work.

Marquis needs to go. If for nothing else then to give his innings to someone with a future here. If they get replacements for Manno and Rhinehart so much the better. Based on a ll the chatter, Marquis should be somewhat valuable. No financial commitment after this year unlike say Wandy Rodriguez. He'll be cheaper in terms of prospect talent than Ubaldo and his higher upside and team friendly contract. But most of all, you could start Jason Marquis in a playoff game. You may not WANT to but you could. I don't think you can say that about the other easily available starters on the market.

I wouldn't say Marquis brings back a sure fire top 5 prospect. But he's worth something -- something with a high probability f being useful or with a low probability of being great.

But that's the get rid of half. The real franchise defining move is this pursuit of a CF.

First, lets be honest. If a young quality CF is available on the trade market there is a reason. They have flaws.

Upton's flaws are obvious -- he's more hype than production. The rays have to believe (and they've known him since he was 18) that he'll be another in a long line of uber talented athletes who never became baseball players. Nats would have to feel they can change him, make him a baseball player.

Rasmus is clearly out of favor in StL. Now being on Tony LaRussa's bad side isn't a total indictment but it does raise questions. And his on field performance is meh at best.

Span is a little older, a little less ceiling than Rasmus or Upton but perhaps the most dependable in terms of knowing what you are getting. Unlikely to be much better or worse than he's been. Not an ideal leadoff guy but you could do worse (and the Nats certainly have this year) not a lock down defender but good enough. Isn't a sucking chest wound but never going to be confused with an all star.

Upton's the high risk high reward move. I've advocated high risk/reward moves in the past so I'd have to say that's the way to go. Not sure I'd let Brad Peacock stand in the way of it either.

Finally, one note about the trade deadline. I am now resigned to the fact that every trade deadline will be an exercise is painful memories.

Why? Because the litany of trade deadline disasters now stands at Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz, Larry Anderson for Jeff Bagwell and . . . please I don't even want to mention it again but I'll just call it the "Never Forget" deal.

What's worse is the seeming indifference of these writers. The "oh wouldn't Nats fans be happy if . . . " OF COURSE WE WOULD. WHO WOULDNT WANT TO NOT BE ON THE END OF THE MOST STUPID LOPSIDED DEAL OF ALL TIME! THANK YOU VERY MUCH JACKASS!

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