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Two decisions made, another looming

Mar 28, 2010, 10:09 PM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Ian Desmond has made the roster, but what about Scott Olsen?

VIERA, Fla. — What began as a lazy Sunday morning at Space Coast Stadium quickly turned into one of the spring' most intriguing days.

To recap…

— Ian Desmond has made the club and will be the Opening Day shortstop.

— Cristian Guzman also will make the club, but serve as a backup at shortstop and second base.

— Justin Maxwell was optioned to Class AAA Syracuse, a fitting conclusion to a disappointing spring.

— Scott Olsen, given up for dead 12 hours ago, put together his strongest start of the spring and made one last case for a spot in the Opening Day rotation.

So at the end of the day, the Nationals made two key decisions that will shape their outlook for 2010 and now must confront another that has been looming all spring. Let's begin with the two decisions thatRead more »

  1. Doc - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    Someone has the stats, but I'll bet right now that Desmond has better range than Jeter, who is listed as only 10th in MLB comparisons. Jeter has had a great past, but it is the past! Go Desi!

  2. Anonymous - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    Was there any chance to trade Guzman? Seems like right field could still use some stability.

  3. Bill C-H - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:34 PM

    Keep Olsen – cheap at twice the price. The "Plan" is to have lots of pitchers; keep the best(and a few extra), and make some trades to get great prospects or proven veterans. I want to win a 100 games in 2011!

  4. JayB - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Mark,It is not credible that they do not know what the speed on Olsen was. I know the Scoreboard did not have it but you can bet the Nats know. Time to find out. When I was in minor league camp I over heard several conversations about getting a gun reading on everyone pitching that day….They know!

  5. Ben - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    Nice breakdown, well done. I'm inclined to say keep him somewhere, but its not my money.

  6. Steve M. - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Mark – How many fastballs do you think Olsen had today?

  7. Steve M. - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:43 PM

    Mark – How many fastballs do you think Olsen had today over 90 MPH?

  8. Section 222 - Mar 28, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    What's wrong with paying Olson a million bucks to continue to strengthen his shoulder in Syracuse? He can be ready to come up if Mock or Stammen falters, and Wang/Strasburg/Detwiler aren't ready. Are they seriously considering walking away from a guy who pitched as well as he did today and has an option left? I can hardly believe that. This is not a Patterson/Hill situation.

  9. Nervous Nats Fan - Mar 28, 2010 at 11:25 PM

    Can he refuse being sent down? If I'm not mistaken, he has an option year remaining.I mean, clearly he could sulk about it, but does his contract give him the chance to walk away?

  10. phil dunn - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    It's not like Olsen is a $10 million gamble. We are talking about peanuts here. Certainly, the franchise can afford to take this small gamble. If Olsen turns out to have value and the Nats have no room for him, he would certainly have trade value. Decent left handed pitchers don't grow on trees. Further, there's no guarantee that Livan, Stammen and Mock will produce. I'll bet at least one of those three falters Martis was in the starting rotation last April and he has all but disappeared. KEEP OLSEN.

  11. peric - Mar 29, 2010 at 12:48 AM

    Given the number of pitchers Rizzo has stockpiled including: Ryan Mattheus(TJ), Burnett(TJ), Severino(TJ), JZimm(TJ), Wang(shoulder) …Do you really believe that Mike Rizzo is going to outright release a left-handed starter, with starting experience in the majors, who is still young, and who has now shown that he is progressively getting stronger and better? They really only have 4 other left-handed starters who are close to or are major league ready. Lannan, Thompson, Detwiler, and Chico.If it happens its an ownership decision not one by Mike Rizzo to save $750,000.

  12. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    Olsen stays. Somewhere. Either here in DC (DL? BP?) Or (most unlikely), Syracuse.Someone in the Nats starting 5 will either start stinking it up or get hurt….and Olsen will be viewed a godsend.

  13. Avar - Mar 29, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    They have to keep Olsen. They have some depth but all of it is uncertain. Livo, Stammen, Mock, everyone in the minors, all uncertain. Even Strasburg. I know he dominated but that was spring. He's not a given. Even if Livo doesn't "struggle" but pitches like he usually does – Olsen is a significantly better pitcher than that when he's on form and it's looks like he's close to that.Pay the money, use the option. Or if you want to cut someone, cut Livo but that doesn't make sense either until they are much more confident one of the replacements will be better than Livo.

  14. Wily Mo Peterson - Mar 29, 2010 at 2:26 AM

    I agree with peric. With the dearth of quality lefty starts high in the organization, $750,000 is worth seeing if a 26 year old lefty who has already started 112 games, with 475 strikeouts to 264 walks can get healthy and find his form. Also we hold a team option for 2011, I think for $2.5 mil, so if he does get healthy and realize his potential he will be an affordable lefty starter or great trade bait. Again he is only 26 and he has been improving throughout spring training, lets see what the guys got.

  15. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    I would let him go. SS, Zimmerman, or Wang would bump him out anyway. Even if he pitched well, it won't help this team this year. I don't see any upside for keeping him.

  16. Joel - Mar 29, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    I really don't get it… all spring long we've been told by every writer, reporter, analyst, and team rep that the most important factor in determining whether or not Scott Olsen can win a job and be an effective pitcher in this league again is his velocity. It has been the center piece of every start Olsen has made so far. But now, on the most important start, the one that may very well determine his immidiate, if not long term future in the sport, nobody, not even the team's manager(!?!) seems to know anything about his velocity?

  17. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    For anybody that really cares, there was one scout behind home plate with a gun and he obviously didn't work for the Nats (or if he did, no one is fessing up).Jack

  18. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    How is quality pitching depth a problem? How is keeping Olsen at a $750k cost even debatable? Three of the last 4 years, the Nats have had at least 10 different guys start 6+ games. Just as in year's past, there will be guys who don't perform, who get injured, who hit inning ceilings and who don't recover on the expected timetable. Zimmermann may make some late year starts just when Strasburg is shutting down. All 5 of the April starters are unlikely to be effective and make 30 starts, and be replaced by one of Olsen, Detwiler or Wang. If we somehow luck into 2008 SP durability (with better results), then we have a surplus of cheap, MLB pitching at the midsummer trade deadline. What am I missing here?-NatinBeantown

  19. JayB - Mar 29, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    What you are missing is the Lerners are very cheap and if you want to stay on their good side you either wear leather pants, suck up to Mark Son and let him shag files OR you save money when ever possible and hope you made the best call. Rizzo has a hard job.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2010 at 2:59 PM

    JayB:So you're saying we're not getting Carl Crawford in LF next year?-NatinBeantown





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