Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Not the worst idea I've heard

The Goessling Game: The Nationals-B.J. Upton rumor passes the smell test

B. J. Upton wouldn't be the worst idea I've heard as a trade target.

He's young, plays a premium position and has massive upside.

OTOH, he's never delivered on his promise at the major league level and now has a long track record of lack of success. He's no Devon White in CF and he's no Rickey Henderson when it comes to getting on base.

Oh and you'd have to pay him after 2012.

Maybe I've just talked myself out of Bossman Jr.

This decision comes down to a pure scouting evaluation of Upton as a person and a player. The numbers say he's not likely to improve and what he is isn't much.

But if there is an environmental factor, a physical problem or simply bad instruction perhaps Upton's talents could be unleashed elsewhere.

If they can get him without having to pay the price for his potential and the FO has a clear idea of how he could be better, then why the hell not?

In the end, I highly doubt the Nationals would trade for Upton. It's really a high risk move for an organization which has shown little appetite for risk.

A few random thoughts on the 2011 season so far:

Danny Espinosa and Jordan Zimmermann seem to have established themselves as useful players. That was (and is) a crucial goal for this season.

Mike Morse is proving spring training stats don't matter -- BTW Ryan Langerhans has 2 HRs for Seattle so far I'm just saying.

Rick Ankiel has two great skills -- hitting for power and throwing from the outfield. It proves all you need is one or two above average skills to find work in baseball.

Jason Marquis is healthy. That's good. Now if he can just maintain it for three months he can be spun into something very useful come July 31.

I can't make up my mind about Ian Desmond. By the numbers, he a negative fielder which is astounding. I know about the errors -- they are highlighted and chronicled. But it seems to me I see a play or two nearly every game that an average shortstop (let's call him Phristian) would not get to. Or a throw they wouldn't make. That's an extra out for the defense in the same way an error is an extra out for the offense. Maybe I don't see enough other SS in action to really judge and the numbers really do the job but in my mind they could do a lot worse at short than Desmond.

Wilson Ramos has been extremely lucky so far. I'll grant you that. But he seems comfortable back there and there is some pop in his bat. Again, he may not be All-Star quality but he looks like he'll be in the fraternity of catchers for quite a while.

Interesting stat during the Brewers/Phils game last night. Shawn Marcum was starting for the Brewers and throwing at best in the mid-80s. They posted a list of the slowest fastballs among starters in 2011. I'd be willing to bet you already know who topped this list by 3 mph if I remember correctly.I can't imagine what kind of confidence it takes to walk out to the mound armed with nothing like Livan! does and still get guys out.

One suggestion for the game day staff at the park -- if you have a game that's close but say has gone on for such a long time that 95% of the visible seats from the CF camera are empty -- bring some people down from the cheap seats and fill them up. I feel like I'm watching college baseball when the CF shot shows NO ONE in the background. I know you want to maintain exclusivity for these posh seats but trust me when I tell you it looks like crap on TV.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Leonys Martin: Why isn't he headed to Harrisburg?

Minor Developments: Early returns - Fantasy - Yahoo! Sports

I can’t help but wonder if the injury to Josh Hamilton(notes) has the Rangers pushing the panic button today, with the big news being the expected signing of Cuban defector Leonys Martin. The club is reportedly offering Martin, a center fielder, a whopping $15 million dollar bonus along with a spot on the 40-man roster. Here is a little background on Martin, who was a budding star in Cuba. He offers speed, defense, and true lead-off ability, and may see the field in short order if Julio Borbon(notes) can’t pick up the pace. I’d expect Martin to start off at Double-A Frisco, and move quickly from there.

$16 million. That's all it would take. And you would have yourselves the EXACT type of player you need: a CF who can be a plus defender with a good OBP so he can be your lead off hitter!

This is an ELUSIVE skill set. It's on par with top starters and SS who can hit with power. Why wouldn't you do anything and everything to get one for nothing more than cash?

So why again is the Nats payroll so low this year despite the fact they play in a massive media market? And the owners are billionaires? And why can't they be the ones announcing this signing.

It can't be hard. I mean just call the guys agent and say "Whatever the Rangers are offering, we'll offer more." No matter what shady deals have gone down, money talks and BS walks.

Hell, have Livan! call the guy. Would he really not take a call from perhaps the most successful Cuban major league pitcher going today?

Wait till the signing is announced and Rizzo is asked about it. "We made an offer but we came in 2nd" is the odds on favorite.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Managerial Soap Opera

Marlins' Edwin Rodriguez is lone manager on early-season hot seat - Jon Heyman - SI.com

So our old friend the Bowden-hating Jon Heyman put Riggleman on the "warm" seat.

I can't say it isn't speculation with some merit since you have a manger of a non descript club with a non descript record. If it turns out to be accurate, hey you are a freaking visionary. If not, no one remembers.

What would be interesting is: Does the FO let a managerial soap opera commence?

One where we get hints and not quite definitive answers to questions about the managers status. It becomes a part of nearly every game story, it percolates through the old and new media everyone speculating on if and or when they may call the press conference to "make a change."

It's a way to stay in the headlines if you have a team that isn't particularly interesting or successful. And I really hope this FO doesn't go down that road.

Look, we all know this is a 70 win team. Without Zimmerman and LaRoche its probably a 60 win team!

(You'd have to have the lowest odd ever today for seeing a no hitter or perfect game when Halladay faces the emaciated Nats lineup)

So why turn yourself into that organization that habitually sacrifices its employees to satiated the blood lust of fan base. Riggleman has a nearly impossible job if the job is for him to win 81 games. He should be judged solely on how he handles the development of the younger players and making sure the egos of the older players don't become a clubhouse cancer.

That's a tall enough order and encouraging the speculation even behind the scenes would make the season more interesting but would be damaging to the club in the long term.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Strasburg's Elbow saved me $60

The worst Strasburg jersey ever - DC Sports Bog - The Washington Post

I was looking for a hook to note this and here it is.

Got my Strasburg jersey 50% at Modell's along with a #37 red t-shirt. So, so far, that torn elbow ligament has me $60 ahead. If it heals. Otherwise, I have some real painful memories hanging in my closet.

As for the opening series . . . look we didn't expect a .500 season. In fact, they are a 70-75 win team at best.

But J Zimm pitched well. That was the only game I saw for an extended period of time and if he hadn't had the strike zone squeezed to an unreasonable extent, he would have had an even better outing. That should be very encouraging. His development as a solid #2 is one of the key goals for 2011.

Danny Espinosa looks like he belongs. Another key development for 2011.

Have to like Wilson Ramos' start. Operation Phase out Pudge coming along nicely. It was good of him to bounce into a patented Pudge DP on Sunday just to remind us why this is important.

Did we expect Desmond to be an effective leadoff hitter? No. I certainly hope not. He's miscast there. But leadoff hitters are hard to find. It should be the #1 priority going forward on the hitting side.

Did we see Mike Morse or Rick Ankiel as long term solutions? No we didn't. And they aren't. So if they fail it means very little (aside from more losses this year than expected) and they will be easy to dispose of.

Rest of the important 2011 stories begin when the minor league seasons start. Obviously everyone will be watching Harper. But there are a lot of other stories.

Will Norris bash his was to Washington this year? Or at least set us up to take a job in 2012? Will Detweiler force himself into the big league rotation? Will any of the talented OF's in Potomac breakout and establish themselves as a third strong position player prospect for the system?

Finally, how will Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray develop?

I'm setting the bar pretty low. But that seems most reasonable to me. Barring a string of unfathomable bad luck though, the expectations for 2012 will be much higher.