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Meet me in St. Louis

May 17, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats hope to score more runs in St. Louis than they did in Colorado.

DENVER — When I packed my bags a week ago and embarked on this latest road trip for the Nationals, I was expecting to cover only the first two legs (New York, Colorado) and then head home while the team finished up in St. Louis.

But then the Nats went and purchased Drew Storen's contract, and the rookie reliever will be in uniform and available to pitch in a big-league game for the first time tonight. And clearly I couldn't skip out on that.

So, thanks to some help from the good folks at CSNwashington.com, I'm calling an audible at the line of scrimmage. Instead of flying from Denver to Dulles this morning, I'm flying from Denver to St. Louis, where hopefully a good Storen story or two awaits.

I'll be interested to see how the 22-year-old handles all the attention. He's typically very outgoing and media-friendly, in part because he's had good training (his father, Mark Patrick, is a sports-talk radio host). So I think he'll do fine with the spotlight.

And Storen does deserve the spotlight after playing second fiddle to Stephen Strasburg the last 11 months. Strasburg's day will come soon enough. Right now, Storen gets to soak up the limelight as a big-league ballplayer.

At the same time, Drew better be ready to pitch, because the Nationals certainly need him right now. They head into this abbreviated, two-game series against the Cardinals riding their first three-game losing streak of the season. With Redbirds ace ChrisRead more »

  1. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Storen deserves the spotlight sans Strasburg. A quick signing and start to his pro career is duly rewarded. Not to mention the fact that he's been lights out in the minors. Good luck Drew.

  2. Positively Half St. - May 17, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    Wait- Mark Patrick, formerly the "Big Chair" on XM's morning baseball show, is Drew Storen's dad? What is Mark Patrick doing these days?

  3. Positively Half St. - May 17, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    I figured Mark Patrick must be his step-dad, but it occurs to me that "Mark Patrick" is more likely a stage name for the radio.

  4. A DC Wonk - May 17, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Right. His father's name is Mark Storen, stage name: "Mark Patrick"

  5. Doc - May 17, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Correct-O-Mundo Positively Half St.! Mark Patrick is actually 'Mark Patrick Storen'. As I have previously suggested, it would be neat to have Drew's dad in the broadcast booth when he makes his first appearance on the mound for the Nats.

  6. natsfan1a - May 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

    Carrying over my congrats for Drew (I won't wish him luck because I don't think he needs it).Good on Comcast for sending you to cover Storen's arrival, Mark! Glad to know that you'll be there to observe and report.Re. Riggleman's comments, that's one thing I really like about this team. It does feel as though they'll give you a good effort every time, until the last out, and I appreciate that as a fan.

  7. natsfan1a - May 17, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    Wait, you're a fan of movie musicals? Awesome. Me, too. ;-)

  8. NatinBeantown - May 17, 2010 at 1:47 PM

    Good on CSN. Firsthand coverage for Insider is a plus for us, maybe not so much for Mrs. Zuckerman.

  9. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    I suspect they will still need more relief help besides Storen. Hopefully, some other worthy souls in Syracuse will also get the call soon.

  10. The Great Unwashed - May 17, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    It's just a rumor at this point, but ESPN's Buster Olney thinks it's a possibility that the Nats could pull off a trade for Roy Oswalt. Imagine what this team would be like if that happened.

  11. Grandstander - May 17, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    RE: Oswalt – There is simply no way in hell I see the Lerners agreeing to buy that contract. Especially with The Savior 2 weeks away and Wang, Zimmermann and Detweiler all recovering.

  12. Jack T. in Florida - May 17, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    Oswalt would be a rental and we wouldn't rent someone unless we were entrenched in a playoff run and none of the others (Detwiler, Wang, Zimmermann) were nowhere near ready to help.

  13. Moondogy51 - May 17, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Can't wait to see the whole package come together.

  14. The Great Unwashed - May 17, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Oswalt's contract runs through 2011 with a $16 million club option for 2012, so if he's a rental, it would be for 2 1/2 years.I read about his contract here: http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?49841-Roy-Oswalt-secures-a-five-year-contract-extensionHaving said that, it all depends on what happens with the pitchers we have waiting in the wings. I wouldn't be surprised if Wang's not ready until August based on what Rizzo said to Debbie Taylor yesterday during the game. Detweiler still isn't solid to the point you can say he's automatic, and Strasburg will undoubtedly win some games, but carrying the rotation is an awful lot to expect from a rookie. Even though he's ahead of schedule on his rehab, I also don't see Zimmermann really contributing all that much until 2011. If the Nats are going to contend this year, they need at least two solid starters.Grandstander's probably right in that the Lerners are too cheap to lay out the $40 million it would take to land Oswalt at the trade deadline, but I'm just saying it would help stabilize a rotation that hasn't been solid thus far. And it's beginning to show in the performance of the bullpen. Clippard can't win every game.And oh yeah, here's to hoping the bats come alive too.

  15. alm1000 - May 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    Great and Congrats to Drew!2 down, Bruney and Traveras and 1 to go – Batista. Come on Jimmie, DFA em!

  16. Sec3mysofa - May 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    It's not so much the money as the players going to Houston–they'd want a bundle, and the Nats aren't so overloaded that it makes sense to drop a bundle of prospects for him at this point.

  17. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 3:54 PM

    I wouldn't mind having Roy Oswalt on the team to tutor young Strasburg. I think that the Lerners are starting to see the fruits of spending money, and the general public is starting to notice as well.

  18. Sec3MySofa - May 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    That, and the rotation has, in fact, been solid so far, and is about to get better. Strasburg will probably replace Atilano unless something happens between now and then, like Lannan to the DL. But Livo has been solid so far, Olsen looks stable and together so far, and Stammen has been uneven, but he's a rookie, so that's not surprising or scary. They won't necessarily stay like that, but they do have some competent spot starters in Syracuse if they need one. Yes, Oswalt would be better than, say, Matt Chico, but would he add a lot of wins, a whole lot, given his salary? That's not at all clear.Bullpen. Give me bullpen.

  19. aspenbubba - May 17, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    Through the whole discussion thread Marquis wasn't mentioned once. I would think he would be back at the end of July early August. I agree with Unwashed that JZim should not be counted upon until 2011. Rizzo says out of the 'pen in September but I see a few spot starts.

  20. Sec 204 Row H Seat 7 - May 17, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Going after Oswalt would be the act of a team who is one or two players away from a World Series much less a playoffs berth. Lay off the kool-aid lads. Save the money for Harper, other draft choices and some big time FA sigings for 2011. And, as Sec3 said, it would cost us too much prospective talent to make the trade.

  21. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 4:10 PM

    Charlie and Dave were asked during yesterday's pregame questions from listeners about the possibility of Rizzo shopping for an Oswalt or a Cliff Lee. They said it was unlikely because of Wang, Marquis, Detwiler etc. but it seems like some of those guys might not be ready this summer.

  22. Sec3mySofa - May 17, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    All of these guys will certainly not be ready and good this summer, but they don't need all of them to be good (not that there'd be anything wrong with that). Figure Znn to be no earlier than Sept. 1, which is basically what the FO has said all along. Marquis is probably 50-50 to be back at all, but he might come back to what they thought they were getting. Wang was always a longshot, but so far, he seems to be a possibility for July or August, if everything goes just perfectly. Detwiler–meh. Never thought much of the guy. Nothing personal.Remember, Scott Olsen is in that group, too, and so far, he's way above most expectations. Will he stay there? Who know?So there's one in the bag, and nobody ruled out for sure.

  23. Souldrummer - May 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    @Sec 204Totally agree with this one. I see two moves that this team could make to improve and get younger/better.1) Would be for a younger RF that we would have control over for 2-3 years. Guys like Brad Hawpe, David DeJesus might fit this bill. Thankfully guys like Jeff Francoeur are off the map for this one. Bring Church back? (just kidding, but not by so much)2) Trade Willie Harris to a team where he would have more value. Willie Harris' value is that he's capable of being a strong defensive 4th OF and that he can play in the infield and save a roster spot. On this team, Guzman's versatility and Gonzalez's versatility make the infield part of that role superfluous. On the other hand, we'd like to have another right handed OF bat. I'd like to see JMax bat for either the kind of role Willy Taveras was playing or part of the RF platoon. I don't know what JMax's splits are against righties in Syracuse, but I think that if we bite the bullet and admit he's a 4/5 outfielder he may help fill a necessary role. Regardless, we'll know what we have and that's the most important thing this year: carry a flexible role where as many of your younger, inexpensive pieces get a chance to fulfill their potential before going out for an Oswald or signing a Jeramaine Dye. Those are Mets kind of moves and let the Mets remain in last place.

  24. Sec3MyStylebook - May 17, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Ok, ok … *Whom* know.

  25. The Great Unwashed - May 17, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Sec 204,But the Kool-Aid tastes SO GOOD right now. You want some, don't you? Tell you what, the first drink is on me…I hear what you're saying and I don't disagree, yet the Nats need a genuine, proven, lockdown ace if they're going to contend this year. It's as simple as that. I think it's too far-fetched to say that Strasburg will dominate as soon as he takes the mound in DC. I hope I'm wrong about that, but he'll probably take a few starts to get into a groove, and then it'll be late July/August. At AAA and below, he hasn't faced the likes of Albert Pujols, etc. so he's still unproven right now.Despite what Sec3MySofa says, I disagree that the starting rotation has been solid this year. For the most part, they have a hard time throwing more than five innings per start (except for Livan, and Olsen of late).Maybe trading for Oswalt isn't worth the prospects they'd lose, but it makes for a nice dream, doesn't it?

  26. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    I hope Drew picks up a win during thise series!

  27. alexva - May 17, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    It's way to early to make moves based on playoff possibilities. If we're still in in after the All Star break, maybe. Run with what we've got, continue to play some younger players like Bernadina, Atilano and even Chico. Remember we lost 200 games in 2008-09. Be happy with what we have and don't mortgage the future.

  28. Section 222 - May 17, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    As StanK has said, to win in the playoffs you need three starters, but to make the playoffs you need 10. Let's not forget, of Wang, Znn, and Detwiler, the surest thing is Znn, and he's not coming back until September. Let's also not forget, the Lerners are billionaires. Money shouldn't be the issue.

  29. Seccion3,MiSofa - May 17, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    Roy Oswalt was a 23rd Round pick out of high school (1996), fwiw. At 32, he's still fairly young, if carrying a bit of milage (>1800 innings in nine years). No point, just fodder for conversation.

  30. Section 3 of the Sofa Team - May 17, 2010 at 7:05 PM

    Unwashed is right that the are routinely going 5-something, but rarely 6 or 7 innings, per start. But they are keeping the team in the game most nights, even if you'd like them to get another couple of outs. Honestly, I can't say I get the feeling Riggleman is pulling them too early on a routine basis, though. They need another bullpen arm or two, and Storen will certainly be one of them.Of course, he HAS two arms. It's a figure of speech.

  31. Sunderland - May 17, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Oswalt is also no "lock down ace". He's pitching well this year (a 2.62 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP and his record is only 2 – 5? Sheesh.).Last year, 11 starts where he gave up 4 runs or more.He's a good pitcher, but Team Sofa is right in that he's an old 32, with 1,800 innings behind him, and a declining number of innings pitched each of the last 5 seasons.It all depends on the acquisition price, and how much help Houston will give us on his salary. And there would be a bunch of teams bidding for him.It seems really unlikely this deal would happen.

  32. The Great Unwashed - May 17, 2010 at 7:44 PM

    Sunderland,Forget Oswalt's 2-5 record. The Astros offense supporting him stinks. I'll take his 2.62 ERA though. Washington's offense is better than Houston's (usually) so he'd have a chance to keep the Nats in the game just about every time he starts.You're right that he's an old 32 with lots of mileage, but he's not 40. Okay, maybe I got carried away with the term "lockdown" but he is an ace and he's the best available on the market. Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, and Tim Lincecum aren't available. Livan's nice, and I'm glad he's on the team, but he's no ace. Neither is Lannan.Oswalt would be a trade deadline acquisition to bolster the Nats for the stretch run, assuming they're still in the race. Of course, it doesn't make sense to get him if the Nats have fallen off the map, but it would be nice to have him otherwise.His presence would give the Nats credibility in their rotation. Jason Marquis, who was brought in to give us that, hasn't done so. Maybe in the future, but not now.I'll have to admit that I don't think the Nats will get Oswalt, but I wouldn't object if they did. He'd also have to approve the trade because he's got a no-trade clause, so maybe the Nats are off the table because of that anyway.But this makes for good discussion.

  33. Sec3ImGettingTiredOfHavingToTypeThis - May 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    I've got to think the Mets would outbid anybody on salary, but they probably don't have enough inventory in the minors to compete on that part of the bid with, say, Boston or NYY (who might like to have Oswalt enough to take all his salary).

  34. Souldrummer - May 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    Dear Mr. Sunderland,I'm better than Roy Oswald and have a worse record. I watched that start he had against Lincecum and sent him a Sympathy card. Please read the attached pamphlet on the disadvantages of the W-L statistic in determining contract value.Signed,Society for the Abolishment of Pitcher W-LPresident Zach Greinke

  35. Sec3.JustSec3. - May 17, 2010 at 7:50 PM

    and it's a good point, always worth remembering and usually worth restating, that he doesn't have to be Cliff Lee to be worthwhile. Sure, I'd rather have him than not, and it's not my money anyway, but I can't see Houston letting him go for what Oswalt would be worth to the Nationals, who are not going to the Series this year.

  36. Knoxville Nat - May 17, 2010 at 8:00 PM

    If not Oswalt what is Cliff Lee's status in Seattle? Is he a FA after this season?

  37. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 17, 2010 at 8:07 PM

    First off, Buster Olney has not been right about anything regarding this team. Next to Keith Law, Olney probably is the worst source of information one could imagine regarding the Nats. The locals (Mark, the Posties, even Ladson) are far more plugged-in than the national media, who have basically treated this franchise as a punch line for five years.Having said that, if the Nats have a chance to snag/rent/steal Oswalt, by all means do it. As Section 222 points out, 1) you can't have enough pitching and 2) Do I really care if Teddy Lerner has $10 fewer million in the bank by this time next year?Oswalt is needed for the following reasons:1. There is no hard evidence to support anything that might suggest Wang will be ready anytime soon. Is he even on a throwing regimen? I haven't heard/seen anything that would suggest that.2. Detwiler is shaky, even if he makes it back.3. JZimm is another year away, at least. Tommy John recovery is a two-year deal. Look at Matt Chico.4. So that leaves us with Livo/Olsen/Stammen/a shaky Lannan/and a shakier Marquis coming off elbow surgery. How far do you think Atilano is going to carry us?5. Jesus is going to be on a 100-innings cap once he gets up here. They might shut him down by Labor Day, Boras's orders.6. As has been mentioned, Oswalt's 2-and-5 record is deceiving. Houston is a worse offensive team than us. Plus, they had a horrible 0-and-7 start when everybody was a loser.7. Signing Oswalt would be a game-changer in terms of public perception. It would show the Lerners are serious and might even get rid of the Lerners-are-cheep albatross.I'd dangle injury-prone Marrero, a pitching prospect or two and any choice of Willie Harris/Morse/Gonzo, but not Willingham. Any pitching prospect except Jesus and Storen might also get the job done.

  38. markfd - May 17, 2010 at 8:09 PM

    Glad you got to go to St. Louis to cover the Storen story, hope you do not get rained out tonight! Question about the upcoming Reds series, if SS makes his debut during that Series what are the odds he gets matched up against fellow super-collegian Mike Leake? Are they on a similiar schedule in the rotation?

  39. SBrent - May 17, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Interesting that now Sec 3.Sofa has to say the Nationals "Aren't going to the Series this year." A month ago any of us would have said "let's face it, the Nats aren't going to the Playoffs this year." But now…it doesn't seem quite so insane a premise that they just might. No one is predicting it, no one thinks it's likely, exactly….but somehow it's no longer enough of a rhetorical slam dunk to just toss off that of course we're not going to the playoffs this year. You gotta say "Series." Such a difference a good month makes! What a great season for baseball in Washington we've had so far!

  40. Souldrummer - May 17, 2010 at 8:21 PM

    @SunshineWe were kicking this around at Federal Baseball today. For the face of the Astros, the price is likely to be high in prospects. They won't be looking for a straight salary dump. Think Norris, Detweiler, and Brad Meyers at a minimum. They would probably want Zimmerman as part of a deal as well. Marrero doesn't carry much weight these days as a guy with an OPS around .600 in AA.

  41. Mark Zuckerman - May 17, 2010 at 8:30 PM

    Markfd: Leake last pitched on Saturday. If he goes every fifth day from here on out, he'd line up to start … June 4 against the Nats (and possibly Strasburg!) But before you get too excited, the Reds have an off-day June 3, so it's more likely he and everyone else on the staff will be pushed back a day, putting Leake in line to start June 5 at Nationals Park.

  42. Sec3MyWorld - May 17, 2010 at 8:42 PM

    And you know, SBrent, that I seriously considered not posting even that, before shaking my head to clear away the dream sequence …

  43. SBrent - May 17, 2010 at 8:53 PM

    LOL Awesome!

  44. Sec3GettingCranky,GoingToEatNow - May 17, 2010 at 8:58 PM

    Sunshine: Agree on Olney, the aforementioned locals, Wang, Detwiler, and Zimmermann. Lannan is not all that shaky, IMO, but OK. Atilano, as was mentioned, is still a promising rookie at best, for whom next year, not this one, is likely to be the showdown.It would be very bad luck if NONE of these guys makes it, but it could happen. And, as Boswell points out, Strasburg is very possibly looking at a few serious beatdowns between now and Labor Day (when he'll be shut down by the FO, not Boras. They're the ones paying him all that dough, and they have very clear and excellent baseball reasons to not break his arm.) No one is saying Oswalt's W/L record means anything. Seriously, WTF? No one suggested that. The Lerners-are-cheap thing is probably dead and buried everywhere but among some of us, I think, since they signed Strasburg. Not taking the Nats seriously, which winning, and only winning, fixes, is right behind it. Don't mistake what Buster Olney writes for what baseball people think. And seriously, "injury-prone Marrero, a pitching prospect or two and any choice of Willie Harris/Morse/Gonzo, but not Willingham. Any pitching prospect except Jesus and Storen might also get the job done." ?? Not even Omar Minaya makes that trade.

  45. K.D. - May 17, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    As an Ivan Rodriguez fan I watched the Astros quite a bit last year. Oswalt has had re-occurring back issues, I like him, but he may be an injury risk.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 49 --
ATLANTA 58 52 1.5
MIAMI 53 56 6.0
NEW YORK 52 57 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 49 61 10.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Braves 7:35 p.m.
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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