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Elijah Dukes released

Mar 17, 2010, 2:10 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Elijah Dukes had just three hits in 20 at-bats this spring before his release today.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Nationals have unconditionally released outfielder Elijah Dukes, the team announced this morning.

[UPDATE AT 11:05 A.M.] Manager Jim Riggleman says Dukes' release was strictly a baseball decision and that there were no off-field issues. The club felt Dukes would not provide the kind of production needed from an everyday right fielder and that he wouldn't benefit from either coming off the bench or playing every day at Class AAA.

Riggleman said the club has several other options in right field, including Willie Harris, Justin Maxwell and Mike Morse.

[UPDATE AT 11:55 A.M.] Riggleman on Dukes: "Players now and then fall into that category of: they're regulars in the big leagues. They're not bench players. And they're not Triple-A players. They're either going to play for you in the big leagues, or they're not going to be on the team. They need to get their at-bats as a regular, rather than coming off the bench. We didn't see that as a fit for Elijah. And we didn't see the value of having him play Triple-A baseball anymore. He's played a lot of minor-league baseball. He went down there last year, and to his credit did a fine job. But it just didn't feel like that was the path to take. I don't know how much we could have got out of that this year."

[UPDATE AT 11:57 A.M.] General manager Mike Rizzo said there was no one "singular incident" that led to Dukes' release. Rizzo did say he felt the clubhouse as it's now constructed would be better. He added that while he'll always look at outside options, he's content to moveRead more »

  1. SpringfieldFan - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    Unconditionally released means they couldn't find a trade partner for him, which means no other team was willing to take him on despite his talent? Such a sad ending to this story. Best of luck to you, Elijah. We're rooting for you as you move forward in your life. I'm sorry you weren't able to succeed here.Can't wait to see you in DC, Maxwell.

  2. Oscar Sodani - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    What??? Seriously, they couldn't find someone to take him off their hands? And they couldn't use him as a reserve? He must have done something seriously wrong here.

  3. Steven J. Berke - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:21 PM

    Has to be more than not finding a trade partner; he had an option year left, which means they could have just sent him down. Something unusual must have happened.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    I'm sure, Oscar, like myself, hates to speculate but it's hard not to in this situation.

  5. JayB - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    Say what you want about me but was I correct about this one? I told you his lack of work in the Winter was going to come back to be an issue. Rizzo is going to have to answer some tough questions on why he did not get a back up plan in place this winter! Mike Morse is the best solution now it seems.

  6. U-Hoo - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    When they signed him, didn't they say there was a zero-tolerance policy for screw-ups?

  7. Oscar Sodani - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Mike Morse cannot be the answer – neither can Bernadina or Maxwell. They are not Major league starting RFs. Even Desmond, as much as I love the guy, doesn't have the punch necessary to be a starting RF. Someone in another forum suggested maybe they signed Jermaine Dye? It would make sense as a stop gap, but man, for an organization whose closest RF prospects are really really far away (Burgess and Hood), this release makes very little sense to me unless something big went down.Defensively, it huts even more if Willingham is playing RF and Desmond is playing LF.

  8. Doc - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    A sad ending. It further emphasises how professional sports takes emotional prowess, as well as physical attributes, to be successful. Another example is Milton Bradley who, in spite of his physical gifts, struggles emotionally.

  9. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    Ladies and gentlemen, your new starting right fielder, at least until Guzman is gone: Ian Desmond.

  10. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    I don't think any of them are the answer in and of themselves, but a good-enough platoon can be found among them to produce .2750-20-75 or so.

  11. natsstats - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Adam Kennedy in right, Desmond at short, and Guzman at second?

  12. JayB - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Rizzo has said he must play SS somewhere….I think he means it.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    Ben Goessling tweeted that it was purely a baseball decision, had nothing to do with any off-field problems.Curiouser and curiouser.

  14. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Rizzo has said that Desmond must play every day, that he won't be a utility guy riding the pine most of the time. I don't think he's ever said that he has to play SS every day. And even if he did, plans can always change in response to circumstances.

  15. JohninMPLS - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Man, this one kind of eats me up. I was really pulling for the guy.Best of luck, Elijah.

  16. Positively Half St. - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    JayB-1. You were right.2. Maybe there is a backup plan, and Rizzo waited for it to solidify. I am hoping it is in fact Jermaine Dye.

  17. JayB - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Rizzo said at the end of Sept. that Dukes had to work in Winter ball to learn to ID off speed pitches….He needed 200 AB….In late Nov. Rizzo said Dukes would be returning to Licey to work in Winter ball after the death of his father. Spanish Language newspapers reported that either he refused to come back to Licey or Licey refused to take him back…..I have asked Mark several times for clarification on this story…..It seems Rizzo means what he says….Dukes did not get the work in this winter and did not come to camp until early like 95% of the rest of the team did. Dunn has been working on 1B two weeks before reporting time…..It is a huge waste of talent and poor planning by Rizzo but Dukes has no one to blame but himself.

  18. Positively Half St. - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Remember that we got Dukes for Glenn Gibson, a minor leaguer who did not impress, and is back in the Nationals system. In the end, Dukes cost the Nationals essentially nothing. Hopefully, he can turn his life around.I am amazed, but I actually feel some relief about this. No more waiting for the other shoe to drop, and another chance to separate the Nats from the Bowden era.

  19. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Jermaine Dye can't field and couldn't bat last year. Let's pray it isn't him.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    What the heck Mark, can you get to the bottom of this, something BAD must have happenend for an unconditional release.

  21. Doc - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    MLB and GMs are famous for denying the obvious. 'Buffaloing' the press is one of their learned skills. I have a hard time believing that off the field deportment was not an issue.

  22. Positively Half St. - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Anon-Dye had 27 homers and 64 walks last year. He wasn't totally hopeless at the bat.

  23. Avar - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Kudos to JayB for calling it.BUT, if Dukes didn't fulfill Rizzo's off-season requirement, why did they wait until now to drop him?And if this isn't for off-field issues, then it's stupid. He makes the minimum and has an option year. If he can't hit the curve, send him down. Why release him?Either it's off-field issues or it's dumb.

  24. Oscar Sodani - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:08 PM

    Dye can still hit – he had an amazing 1st half (.302/.375/.567, 20 HRs) and an atrocious 2nd half (.179/.293/.297). If he's healthy, Rizzo should snap him up, even though his defense is sub-par.

  25. Mark - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    The Nats cannot afford to have Dunn, Willingham and Dye on the field at the same time.And as for Dukes… wow. He must have violated his off-field clauses. Baseball wise, I still see Dukes as a potential middle of the lineup threat – but I also see a lack of growth, but with 1 option left, why not send him to Syracuse?Finally, I don't mind Desmond as a super sub, but if you have Guzman and Desmond in the lineup, you've weakened the offense.

  26. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    willie harris provides the production we need from a right fielder!!!???in what ways does this make us a better team?-longterm

  27. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Dye is 36.He hit .250/.340/.453 – for the total season. But he hit .179/.293/.297 after the All-Star Break, after hitting .302/.375/.567 His glove was attrocious in left field. The Nationals already have enough bad fielders. And to put him in right is asking for trouble.

  28. greg - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    the timing of this is what makes it so odd. has his play in the first couple of weeks of ST been that much worse than the rest of the options?there's got to be something more to this.

  29. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Willie Harris is a light hitting utlity man! Why would you put him in RF, does he bat 9th and we have a boudle leadoff hitter like the A's did in the Billy Martin days!? Of the 3 that Riggleman mentioned the best hitter is Morse BUT using him in RF means his utility value is decreased significantly..this throws the whole bench situation into chaos!

  30. Sasskuash - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Riggleman's reason is either baloney, or a terrible baseball decision. If he's not the answer in RF, send him down and trade him for something. Keep him in Syracuse for cheap depth. Something bigger must have happened here, or this is an awful move by the Nats.

  31. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Jermaine Dye is pushing 36 years old (if he hasn't already reached it) they had started using him as a DH in Chicago. His average plummeted to .250 last year. I think you would be better off with Willingham in right and he is no solution given his fielding. Morse seems like a far better solution. He has the athleticism to learn the position and thrive. He played shortstop for Seattle and right field should be far less challenging.

  32. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    Mark:Is Dukes' release setting the stage for a trade for a right fielder? I feel like the Nats' brass has some sort of further announcement up its sleeve…

  33. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:53 PM

    Putting Morse, Willingham, or Harris in RF makes no sense if this team is serious about upgrading its defense. I don't know enough about Maxwell's and Bernadina's defensive abilities, but they seem better than Dukes or the other candidates. All of this seems to point to more PT for Desmond. Or, a trade.

  34. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    I can't see where this will hurt the team, but I am optimistic it will help. In my opinion, we have many more enthusiastic and aspiring players than Dukes. In general, this was a good move.

  35. jcville - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I get what Riggs and Riz are saying, but Dukes has value. If not to us, then to another team. He's worth at least an A-ball prospect, if not more. Why not explore that, Rizzo?

  36. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    From MLB Trade Rumors:"This is very surprising news, as Dukes projected as the team's starting right fielder and has a minor league option left. Goessling talked to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, who said the team made many attempts to trade Dukes but could not find an interested team (Twitter link)."

  37. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Sounds from Jim's comments that they might have approached Elijah about platooning in RF with someone else and hsi answer was not just no but hell no, so he took that answer to Rizzo and Rizzo said byb bye

  38. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Greg, I agree with you. This was not a baseball decision.The question is whether Rizzo received a message on his cell phone after the news was delivered…

  39. natsfan1a - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Mark, I really appreciate your expanded coverage here for the non-tweeters among us. I'm old school and prefer to see quotes in context, and news in portions greater than 140 characters. Thanks for providing that.

  40. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Morse might be able to hit 20+ home runs as a starter and drive in 100 RBI. He has shown that potential both in Syracuse (outperforming Dukes last year) and in the majors. The problem with Dukes is that he has never played that position on a regular basis. Could he learn it? Probably, but they really needed to work that into his repertoire in the offseason. He is assuredly athletic enough.

  41. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Grabbing at straws here, but this article (in Spanish) makes very clear that the Licey Tigers were not interested in having Dukes back after he left the Dominican Republic because of his father's death. Perhaps reports the team received from Licey played a role? -Mikehttp://www.licey.com/licey_temporada/1739.html

  42. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    A's are one club to turn the Nats down.

  43. Jeff Wang - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    What about Super Willy as an everyday (or nearly everyday) starter? When he needs to move to middle infield to spell Guz-gone, Bernadina or Maxwell (I prefer the former) can play…Super Willy was annoyed that he was typecasted into an utility guy and not an everyday playter. maybe he can fill the need?

  44. Mark - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Mark is a trade in the works? You know, we can deal from the vast amount of depth we have in #5 and AAAA starting pitching…

  45. Sasskuash - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    Anon (posted at 11:55 AM)- Even if the Nats think that Dukes will not help the team this year or in the future, like you suggest, releasing him is still not the best way to handle it. Due to his athletic abilities, and his cheap contract for this year and his next 3 potential professional seasons in arbitration, he still has value. If the Nats wanted to get rid of him for purely baseball reasons, then they need to extract at least some value for him. That could be a trade for a prospect, or it could just be the value of depth in the minors in case somebody gets hurt.An analogy is if you have a car that is in fine working order but you decide you want a better one. It would be foolish to leave this car on the side of the road with the keys in it and a sign that says "take me." You should get something for the car- trade it in when you buy the new one, sell it yourself for extra cash, or donate it to a charity so they can do some good (and you get the tax break). Just because you don't want this car anymore doesn't make it worthless, and if you don't do something to extract that value, I would say you are behaving foolishly. The Nats had a player with at least SOME value, and they just let him go for absolutely nothing. If there is not more to this story (off the field incident, fight in the locker room, something along those lines), as Riggleman suggests, then the Nats behaved foolishly by not getting anything in exchange for Dukes' services. To me, that makes it a very bad move (again, assuming Riggleman is truthful about it being "strictly a baseball decision").

  46. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:24 PM

    If there is a trade my guess here would be a trade involving Willingham and others for a young RF prospect who can't find a place in a crowded lineup. Then you move Morse to left field. Harris should also bring some value.

  47. HabsProf - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Trade Strasburg for Jay Bruce!!!Sorry, couldn't help myself.

  48. HabsProf - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    More seriously, while I don't like the idea of both Dunn and Willingham in the outfield at the same time, the Nats could always get a 1st baseman and move Dunn back to outfield.

  49. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    Super Willy wants to play 2nd base. I'm not sure why they didn't give him a chance to unseat the much older Kennedy. Surely his fielding is the culprit.

  50. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Every player has an on-field value that is measured against his off-field deportment. That latter category probably includes things like work effort and dedication to one's craft. For Dukes, the bottom half of this calculation likely is higher than it is for most. His offensive production is not that great, and moving him out provides an opportunity to improve the team further. Maybe it's Maxwell, maybe it's Bernadina. Maybe not. Rizzo has to see them play to determine if they can hit in the majors.

  51. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    The first baseman would again be Morse. Perhaps they have decided its time to give him a shot at starting? He has better athleticism than Dunn as again, as much as he is derided at the position, he played at the major league level as a STARTING shortstop. That in itself proves that he could learn to manage both left and right field, perhaps even center field.

  52. Tigerlily - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    It could truly just be a "baseball decision" as in, let's open up the competition to others who have performed this preseason and take away the assumption that Dukes was assured a spot regardless of how he performed this spring. I however hope that a big trade is in the works for a starting pitcher and big-bopping, gold glove outfielder (heavy sigh).

  53. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    Ah, Justin Maxwell YOU ARE HITTING .115 this spring? Get used to competing with Mike Daniel for CF in Syracuse. Looks like they may just select Taveras or Bernadian over you?From the Goessling "twitter":"Justin Maxwell alluded to "distractions" in the past with Dukes, but would not say what those were."

  54. Avar - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Now that Rizzo's quote about the clubhouse being more unified is out there, this is obviously an unacceptable combo of poor performance, lack of work and attitude. I like that our GM doesn't tolerate that.Now, about Willie. I love that guy and want him on our team. But why is anyone talking about him playing everyday at any position?? Here are his career numbers over NINE big league seasons – 246/331/351. Those are not even good numbers for a back up, at any position. But, they are fine for a back up who plays almost every position and well.Again, I love Willie, but unfortunately, he is a well documented poor hitter. I'm sorry but that is the fact. Morse, Bernadina or Maxwell are all better options in RF because they are all young enough to still have upside.

  55. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:54 PM

    Riggleman said it many times that the clubhouse would be better off and more cohesive with Dukes gone. He obviously didn't mesh well with the other players and probably had few friends on the team.

  56. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    peric, where do you get your ideas? From an outside persepctive, you seem to make a lot of things up. For example, Holder is a future Ace, Morse is a good fielding SS (career UZR at -27 over 57 games), Willie harris should be a regular, and on and on. Does your stuff come from anyone reputable or are you just throwing things out there?

  57. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    What a surprise! Seems that another Jim Bowden experiment has been ended, perhaps inclusively. I would have liked seeing more of Elijah, but the strong suggestion that the team was neither impressed with his off-season preparation nor his club-house demeanor suggests that Rizzo (and others) want a different personality on the field. If that's the plan, I'm ready. Not interested in Dye; don't think W. Harris is a long-term answer; please don't put Dunn back in left . . . Carl in 309.

  58. sbrent - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Sasskuash, I think the answer is that NO ONE ELSE WANTED HIM. i don't think the club could possibly be so stupid as to take nothing for Dukes when they could have gotten something. The answer is, no such offer was available, which means in effect he didn't have any value in professional baseball. While this is a surprise, I take it as a good sign that the team is willing to cut its losses and start fresh, rather then continue with a wishing/hoping/praying strategy for a player who's had plenty of time and chances to get it together, and has never managed consistently to do it.

  59. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:11 PM

    Gee I never said that Holder is a "future ace", nor that Morse is a good fielder at shortstop Mr. Anonymous. Remembering that last year **I** was right about JD Martin, right about Mike Morse? AND THIS SPRING right about Aaron Thompson. Unlike Sue Dinem I don't believe everything the baseball prospectus has to say. What I did say is that Morse DID manage to win the job AND did start in the major leagues at shortstop. Holder has good stuff and throws strikes according to his scouting reports. He could be a good starter and is not a "soft tosser" He has major league command of 3 pitches. Nathan Karns throws a 97 MPH fastball. Quick Mr. Anonymous name any new young prospect that throws a 97 MPH fastball? Ding, ding, ding yes Steven Strasburg. He could be the real "sleeper" in the bunch.I believe that Morse CAN play right or left field adequately enough for this team. I also believe he will put up better offensive numbers than Dukes. He was way better than Dukes in Syracuse and in the majors. And I said he is athletic.

  60. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Here is Ben Goessling's take:"UPDATE AT 12:36 P.M.: We've done the run of interviews with Mike Rizzo, Jim Riggleman and Justin Maxwell (one possible replacement), and from those interviews, as well as discussions with other team officials, here's my synopsis of what happened: The Nationals felt Dukes wasn't hitting and wasn't going to finalize adjustments to his swing to recognize off-speed pitches anytime before the season. He wasn't well-liked in the clubhouse, according to sources. Maxwell said there were "distractions" with Dukes in the past, though he wouldn't elaborate on what those were, and Rizzo said the Nationals will be a more "cohesive, united group" without Dukes. His WARP last year was -0.1, meaning he was actually slightly worse than the readily-available replacement. The Nationals took all that into account and tried to trade him. When they couldn't, they concluded a change of scenery would be best for Dukes, and he couldn't help their organization any further. So they cut him.Rizzo said "no singular incident" contributed to Dukes being released, a statement echoed by team president Stan Kasten in a statement. Kasten also said people who think otherwise "don't know what they're talking about" — a tacit rebuke of former general manager Jim Bowden, now an analyst for XM and Fox Sports who tweeted this morning Dukes had been cut because of his "latest incident" and the Nationals enacted their "zero tolerance" policy with the outfielder, who had a history of legal troubles before he came to the Nationals.But when the Nationals took everything into account, they felt they would gain more from platooning a combination of players in right field and removing Dukes from their clubhouse than they would by keeping him in the lineup. If that doesn't work, it's possible they could pursue a player like free agent Jermaine Dye, though Rizzo said this morning the Nationals have not discussed Dye internally.For now, though, they're confident enough in what they have to think it's a better combination, on the field and in the clubhouse, than Dukes would be."

  61. Steve M. - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:15 PM

    I keep thinking of Nats320 stating many times since 2008 that Dukes was a 5 tool player. I saw one tool that was amazing. The man has a gun for a arm. I never saw the other 4 tools working at the same time.Dukes did show that he can be a RBI guy and clutch which is why I thought he would be a important Right Fielder for the Nats in 2010 if his fielding improved and baserunning.Question to Mark- can you reach out to his Agent or directly to Dukes for his side of the story?

  62. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    BTW, Mister Anonymous … I said that Willie Harris wants to be a regular and he wants to play second base. I read that here on this blog … sheesh ….

  63. Sasskuash - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    sbrent- after the last 2 years, no level of incompetence would surprise me. This team has lost all benefit of the doubt with me.

  64. natscan reduxit - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    … where's DaMeat when we need him?Go Nats!!

  65. alexva - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Marquis 1.0 4 5 5 2 1 0.Guess the Dukes release has him all shook up too.

  66. Mr. NATural - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    The other day (game on MASN) the 1st base umpire rung up Dukes on a third strike appeal. Dukes was angry. He was chewing gum or something and looked at the ump and spit the gum directly at him. I think this was the last straw.

  67. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    See @peric, there you go again. Trevor Holder has been hit pretty hard in the minors. A combined ERA of 6.97 in A ball and a combined WHIP of 1.79 does not seem to paint him as an "elite" prospect, especially at age 22.Nathan Karns has bad mechanics and poor command. You know who throws 97 with bad command, Daniel Cabrerra. Calling him the next Strasburg is at the least eager and at the most obnoxious. One thing is certain, Karns is no SURE thing. Being right about the Nats putting a soft tossing right hander into a lousy rotation last year is nothing special. Isn't that what you right about? The fact they needed a warm body in their rotation?Being a starting shortstop does not make you gifted. For instance Yuniesky Betancourt, he's a "starting" shortstop that has a title and is universally panned as not being good at the position.I like Mike Morse's bat. I haven't seen any scouting report calling him athletic.

  68. Jim Webster - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:39 PM

    SpringfieldFan speaks for me. "Best of luck to you, Elijah. We're rooting for you as you move forward in your life. I'm sorry you weren't able to succeed here."His story might have equaled Da Meat's.

  69. peric - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    We'll see "Mr. Anonymous". There is a reason they advanced Holder to Potomac so quickly. Karns does have those problems but unlike Cabrera who was in love with the radar gun he may be teachable. If they can change those thing? Karns still has 2 major league ready pitches which is more than just anyone else in the entire system has.But gee I was right about Martin, it must chafe your bum eh? When he pitched the Nats were 10-5. He finished 5-3 dude. HAH! AAAA is whatyou called him. We'll see. And the same for Morse. He's too big to play shortstop can't hit in the majors isn't that what you said last year. HAH.Dude continue to read the baseball prospectus so that I can continue to humiliate you at will … ~evil laugh~ Holder is a tough kid and a leader he will learn to pitch to win or die trying. That you can take to the bank.

  70. Spike94wl - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    I see shades of Ian Desmond playing RF all over this deal. Maybe they'll just switch Guzman to RF instead (that was sarcasm folks).

  71. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Read between the lines and give the Nationals (Mike Rizzo)some credit. There is obviously something going on behind the scenes. The Nationals showed some class and opted to not air any of ED's dirty laundry for the world to see. Let the National Inquirer dig into the dirty laundry. Revelling in someone else's problems is pretty desperate entertainment.

  72. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:22 PM

    The Nationals' offense was middle of the pack last year in the NL.I don't see how they can match that production again this year. Dunn's average will regress. Harris is not going to have another career year. The drop off from Nick Johnson to whoever is the 3rd OF, let's say Desmond, is huge. IRod can't be worse than Bard, but he won't be much better. Zimmerman may improve, but Guzman will not. I like Morgan, but he's not going for .351/.396 for an entire season. Even if Marquis, Lannan, and Wang pitch as hoped, for the #4 and #5 spots, the best case scenario is still "not completely useless." Bullpen is a mess.That's a long way of saying, who is the projected # 1 for 2011?

  73. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:54 PM

    @ peric, I never made those comments. You have me confused with someone else.But since you want to talk about J.D. Martin, let's talk about him. J.D.'s scouting report says, "Martin is described as “a strike-thrower with a below average fastball who lives off of his change-up.” His “fastball clocks in the high-80s, at best, but he locates it well while mixing in a cutter and changeup.” According to Steve McCatty, the Nationals pitching coach who also coached Martin at Syracuse, “he just located everything… In the sixth, seventh innings, he’d be at 65 pitches.”"If you remember last year's debacle of a MLB team, the Nationals needed a SP for Olsen and they turned to Martin. "“He’s not an overpowering guy, but he’s a professional pitcher and he’s earned the right to get up here and see if he can do it against major league hitters,” Riggleman told the Nationals’ official Web site." That's not a real ringing endorsement and his stats bear it out, his ERA was a 4.44 and his FIP was a 5.67. In fact his value was a -2.2, which means that he was 2.2 wins worse than a comparable replacement pitcher. So you were right that what, the Nationals needed a warm body to pitch them innings and he delivered on that need? And he was better than their other bad options? My God man, I wouldn't quit your day job and become Nostradamus quite yet.

  74. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Sad Sad & Shocking This is more of the same BS from management, Why wait so long to cut the guy? Rest assured the true story will come out. They cut him and get nothing!!!!!!! Unbeliveable

  75. HabsProf - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:02 PM

    Interesting piece by Rob Neyer re: Dukes.http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/2772/how-history-will-consider-nats-dukes

  76. Anonymous - Mar 17, 2010 at 9:45 PM

    somebody tell manny acta. hell, the indians already have (shudder) austin kearns in camp!

  77. peric - Mar 19, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Dear Mr. Anoymous Baseball Prospectus:"“He’s not an overpowering guy, but he’s a professional pitcher and he’s earned the right to get up here and see if he can do it against major league hitters,”Don't look now but you've just described third starter Scott Olsen and Matt Chico. Don't give up your day job, or your anonymous handle fool.

  78. peric - Mar 19, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    Not to mention Livan Hernandez the likely 4th or 5th starter? Get your head out of Baseball prospectus.

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NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (3) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 68 3.0
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 --
SAN FRANCISCO 85 71 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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