Thursday, November 3, 2011

Who might Nats pursue in free agency?

Who might Nats pursue in free agency?:

'via Blog this'

The pickins' is slim. They are all available for a reason. Some like Grady Sizemore are severe injury risks while others like Coco Crisp are just overrated.

I've discussed Sizemore before and I think the same question is there. If the Nats believe they are a serious contender in 2012, can they take a chance that their #1 need, a starting CF/leadoff man, will only play 30 games?

It didn't matter all that much that Adam LaRoche went down. But as we all know, its much easier to find a decent corner infielder than a high OBP CF leadoff man. Putting your faith in Sizemore's busted knees would be a huge gamble which if they held up would be great but would sink the season if it doesn't.

As I said before, taking a chance on a player like Sizemore would be an easy call. Absolutely you do it since the downside would be a couple more losses and better draft position. Now, the downside might be loss of a chance to contend and a step backwards.

I won't go into great detail right now but I am firmly in the camp that says if Yu Darvish is available then he is the one guy who it makes sense to go after hard.

One thing I will say is: Darvish is NOT a Japanese pitcher. He's 6' 5" 220lbs. He's half Iranian. He cannot and should not be compared to any Japanese pitcher before him.

In addition, Darvish is 25, younger than most imports from the Far East and has not been worked nearly as hard.

I invite you to check out Darvish's numbers from his NPL career. Remember that the NPL is roughly equal to AA. If a 6' 5" 220 20 year old threw 200 IP in AA ball with a sub 2 ERA and a nearly 9k/9 he'd be the top pitching prospect in all of baseball.

Since then Darvish has thrown 200 innings four times. But not significantly more than 200. In other words, he's broken in. Young pitchers that get to their late 20's with no significant arm injuries after strong workloads tend to stay injury free. I'd put way more faith in Darvish staying healthy and effective than any other FA pitcher out there.

Unfortunately, its not clear yet if Darvish will even be available. And if so, can the Nats outbid the Yankees or the Rangers. I should say would they because they certainly COULD since monetary resources should not be a problem.

While Zuckerman mentioned B.J. Upton as a trade target, I think another young CF should be thrown into this pile as a trade target.

Lorenzo Cain is 25 and now stuck behind Melky Cabrera in KC. He's a plus defender and he's improved his on base skills tremendously over the last few seasons. He's expendable to the Royals but I'm sure would cost at least 2 good prospects. To get a younf CF/leadoff guy who could grow with the rest of your young players it's worth it to at least offer say Brad Peacock and Steve Lombardozzi and see if that gets the job done.

1 comment:

  1. Two comments
    1) RE:Sizemore -- yes, he's a risk. But who else are you going to get? BJ Upton is the only other guy out there, and he's not without his own risks. Plus you have to give up players or draft picks to get him. Sizemore, you just write a check. (if Upton is non-tendered, that's different.) So it's either Ankiel and Sizemore and wait for Harper, or Upton, a long, expensive deal, and long-term risk. I think I'd rather go with Sizemore.

    2) Darvish: There's all kinds of reasons I don't want to put much effort into signing him:
    a: the Japanese leagues are junkball leagues. Everyone lives on tons of off-speed junk, and while Darvish throws hard, he still gets most of his Ks on slow sliders. And the batters don't hit hard - they hit crap onto the turf and run fast. So you can't really translate JPL numbers as if they're AA -- the styles are different enough that I'm not comfortable with those translations. Few Japanese pitchers throw 98 with movement and an 88-mph changeup; few Japanese hitters could hit such pitching anyway. Those guys are plentiful in AA, (and A, and other places in the US/Dominican) so we just don't know, and won't know until we have a league that pits a few AA-level teams against a few Japanese teams for a bunch of games each year to build up data.

    b: I thought 25 was very young for a Japanese pitcher to come over as well. It's younger than the rest, but only by 2 or 3 years, not 5 or 6 like I thought. So yes, he's going to be productive for longer, but it's not an especially large difference.
    c: teams with Deep Pockets are going to overlook point A and just say "he's a machine! sign him!!" and pay bajillions of dollars for him. That means that could be a very expensive mistake on someone who we just don't know how well he'll perform.