Friday, July 29, 2011

Cheap Bastards Redux

NL East Notes: Nationals, Marlins, Reyes: MLB Rumors -

I can't swear by Jerry Crasnik's veracity. For all I know he may have made this up or been told it by some one with an axe to grind.

Because if he's right, then the CBs are back in charge.

$2.2 million. You want some team to give you a decent prospect and eat the money! Are you F*&$%^# Insane!

Here's the thing. YOU HAVE ALREADY SPENT THIS MONEY! Its not like you have to stroke a personal check you didn't expect. You were always going to have to pay this out.

For the last f*&^&*% time you are a big market club. I don't give an F about your current revenues and such. This is a big market, you are god damn BILLIONAIRES -- act like it! You eat that $2.2 million for breakfast to get a decent prospect. That's how you get better.

Besides, you are going to have to open the checkbook for Purke and Goodwin and Rendon and Meyers. Uh why hasn't that been done yet. And I won't rehash my utter disgust at the fact that you haven't made a single notable international signing AGAIN!

You flush $126 million down the toilet on Werth and now you are quibbling over this chump change? Man up. Or sell the team.

I know in theory it makes sense to trade a relief pitcher for an everyday CF given a rough equilibrium in salary and control. That doesn't make it easier to part with Drew Storen for Denard Span as much as the Twins people scream about how unfair it would be for them.

And yes Span in theory is exactly what they need and what I've been calling for them to find a CF with good OBP skills. An elusive creature no doubt. And he would be under contract till 2015 so he would in theory be part of team that was a contender. So as painful as it is to give up one of ours, its the right thing to do.

Although I will point out that you could have had BOTH Storen and your cost controlled leadoff CF had the CBs simply unclenched their wallets and ponied up for Leonsys Martin who is currently tearing through the Rangers system.

Or you could have had Colby Rasmus had you just been willing to eat Mark Teahan's $10 million. Todd Coffey and a B level pitcher plus that would have gotten it done.

Face it, you aren't getting what you want without paying up. Get over trying to star in Moneyball II, compete like the Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies and Angels do: with big fat wallets.

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!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Nats: Ready to deal?

The Nats: Ready to deal? - Yardbarker

Lots of stuff here. I assume Rosenthal has been talking to Rizzo -- that's where the VERY specific CF who can bat leadoff (hopefully that means high OBP not high SB) search target comes from.

I'm already on record as saying this is absolutely on point both in terms of identifying a need and trying to fill it with the right combination of skills.

His list of candidates is less than inspiring. B.J. Upton, Colby Rasmus, Denard Span or Michael Bourn. Meh. Upton will be very expensive very soon and is not a leadoff guy. Rasmus isn't a leadoff guy and based on his past year might not be as good as the prospect mavens thought. Bourn's value is his defense and his speed. OBP is marginal but acceptable. However he's a little bit too far along the age curve for his skill set and his salary. Span? Haven't looked at him closely.

I suppose that's why they are all available . . . they all have flaws.

Rosenthal doesn't mention Julio Borbon of the Rangers as a target. Not sure why since the Rangers need short relievers and Borbon is expendable. Would much rather have Leonsys Martin from the Rangers who would be absolutely perfect in terms of skill set, age and salary so I'm not holding my breath.

Interesting discussion of the middle infielders. Are teams really calling about Espinosa? I don't buy that at all. How valuable is Espinosa now . . . a good glove MI with power and cheap? He would fetch ANYONE short of say Mike Trout.

Wonder why they didn't think about Anthony Rendon as the ultimate beneficiary of a middle IF swap? He's more likely to be slotted there long term than Lombardozzi I would think.

I'm sure the Desmond bashers will be outraged about the assertion that Ian would be an upgrade as SS for more than a few contenders. But he would be. He's only 26 and he has really improved defensively and I don't care what the advanced defensive metrics say. If he's one run better than average then Derek Jeter must be costing the Yankees 50 runs a year. DO those metrics take his arm strength into account? How many extra outs has he created turning a double play that with a rag armed SS would have not been close? More than a few and I have to believe his out of area score has to be undercounted.

But with the glut of MIs now in the system . . . Desmond should go. He has present value AND long term value. He should bring back something nice too.

How can they not talk about Jason Marquis as a trade candidate? He's in a gots to go situation. There are plenty of candidates to replace him (Detweiler, Milone, Peacock and oh my gosh I cant believe I'm typing this Wang!) and you could reasonably ask him to start a post season game. What other starter who's really available can you say that about? I doubt Ubaldo is really available -- Wandy R. maybe

Please don't let the current flirtation with .500 stand in the way of deals. Just gather more assets. If you need to, you can use them in the offseason to get veterans if you think you need them for 2012.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Taking a long view

The Goessling Game: Davey Johnson taking a long view of Nationals' development

This piece just gives me a jumping off point for a few observations.

First off, please stop with the contend in 2011 crap. That isn't going to happen. It just isn't. Enjoy the winning, enjoy the 1 run wins because they will be gone as soon as they arrived.

I think a taste of it was administered last night. The overtaxed Clippard and Storen weren't available to put out the fire and the rest of the pen proved unable to hold the line. Expect to see more of that in the 2nd half.

Johnson's observations (about the questions at short and CF) are on point. Now it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that but at least I know he knows. FWIW.

Yes the NL East is tough division right now. but you know what? The Phillies are on their last legs. Right now, they are running on the fumes of two pitchers on the wrong side of 30. Check out their offense . . . middle of the pack despite playing in the CB bandbox. And best of all . . . there isn't a lot of room for their main offensive players to grow. Howard will continue to decline, Rollins, Utley Ibanez all on the down side.

Now the Braves are another matter. They are loaded with young talent specifically pitching. We still have to see how committed their ownership is to winning though. Oddly, this is one franchise that really doesn't see a huge boost from winning. Are they sudden;y going to start flooding Turner Field? How would this team's winning be different from the years and years of it they've been doing and not really enhancing the attendance figures? It would be easy to imagine an ownership group who is content to be very good but not be willing to step out on a limb and really make a championship investment. And that might be smart since they are unlikely to get back that investment (with more revenue from more fans)

There is a chance for the Nationals to contend soon perhaps as soon as 2012 if you want to wishfully think. But certainly by 2013 the erosion of the Phillie juggernaut should be evident and we'll know if the Braves ownership is willing to lay out for a title. And by then some of those holes could be fixed up.

If they are looking to fill holes, please do not be afraid to sacrifice this year. Burnett=gone. Marquis=gone. Nix=gone. Turn them into future assets, they can be whatever is the best deal since with the glut of young catchers and middle infielders there will have to be some trading in Mike Rizzo's future. Having a few extra assets to sweeten the pot could be the difference between winning a trade or coming in second again.

Also: Matt Stairs needs to be DFA'ed TODAY. He's on the team for one reason and one reason only: to give professional pinch hitting atbats late in games. A professional PH should be able to get a run in from 3rd with less than 2 outs. Not even asking for hit just a loud fly ball. Got a pop up. Tell me the team wouldn't be better off with Chris Marrero in his spot right now. Marrero could at least play the field and could match up late with LOOGY's. With Nix, Ankiel and Bernadina occupying the other bench PH spot at least Davey would have options. And it would be nice to see Marrero outlast all the "hes a bust" labels thrown on him for the past five years.