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The future is now

May 17, 2010, 2:00 AM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Jim Riggleman will have a new relief option to call upon tomorrow.

DENVER — Mike Rizzo never had a set date in mind for Drew Storen's big-league debut. Rizzo's seen enough pitchers develop over the years, and he knows you don't call them up until they're ready for the challenge.

With Storen, of course, it was never a question of whether he'd be ready for the challenge, just a matter of when. And it's been obvious for several weeks now that the kid is ready.

But there were other factors that went into Rizzo's decision to purchase Storen's contract and fly him to St. Louis to make his major-league debut tomorrow. For one thing, Rizzo wanted to reward the reliever for signing immediately after the draft last summer. It will forever be noted now that Storen reached the majors before Stephen Strasburg, even if only by a couple of weeks. And there's a good chance Storen will attain "Super 2" status because of this move and thus be eligible for arbitration after 2012 instead of 2013. (Either way, he still won't be able to become a free agent until after the 2016 season.)

More than that, though, the timetable for Storen's promotion became clearer because the Nationals genuinely need him right now. You can make a legitimate case that between the two, Storen would actually be more valuable to this team right now than Strasburg. Obviously, Strasburg's arrival in two weeks or so will benefit the club. How could it not? But more than a dominant ace, the Nationals need another reliable reliever.

That much was obvious this weekend at Coors Field, where the Nats dropped three of four to the Rockies, all three losses in tight games decided late. You think Storen's presence might have helped turn atRead more ยป

  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - May 17, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    You nailed it, Mark. This team is in this thing, and figures to be all season long, at least for the wild card. Storen is needed now, as a 7th and 8th inning guy, so that Clipp doesn't make 120 appearances. The choice of B. Bruney to walk the plank was just so obvious. If any MLB team claims this guy, we ought to offer them a two-fer: throw in Elijah Dukes too.

  2. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 2:42 AM

    In addition to a quicker trip to the bigs, Storen is also getting to debut in St. Louis, only a 3 1/2 hour drive for Indiana family and friends to see his debut.

  3. TheBorg - May 17, 2010 at 2:43 AM

    i hope Bruney passes thru waivers, and accepts the assignment to Syracuse. he's too good to pitch this way. but i agree with his DFA: he CAN NOT be relied upon right now for a .500 team.

  4. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 2:44 AM

    I'm happy you said good things about Bruney, Mark. Some of the commenters on the previous thread were way too harsh. His pitching wasn't adequate, but that's not a moral issue. Baseball is harshly competitive at best–psychologically rough on any player who is not a star. (Jim Bouton's book is very good on this.) Fans shouldn't make it any worse than it has to be.

  5. Grandstander - May 17, 2010 at 2:46 AM

    Hey, I'd be willing to send over Batista for a case of beer if anyone would bite on Bruney.Somebody call the pirates and see if they want anyone else!

  6. Doc - May 17, 2010 at 2:47 AM

    I guess Bruney summed up his own status failures. Unfortunately, he has some great stuff that needs to be harnessed. He's done it before, and the Nats thought that he could do it again. Maybe the next time around there's a pitching coach who can get him in gear. Everybody on the Nats coaching side did their best and kept the faith, until it was no longer viable for the good of the team—a little like Dukes, but for different reasons.

  7. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    Bernadina was not drafted he was signed as a non-drafted free agent. Very good story though.

  8. JayB - May 17, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    ANON8….Mark agrees with me that Storen could have changed the outcome of games in May….He talks to at least one this weekend alone…I say 4 in May…..try not to let your hatred of me get in the way of your IQ

  9. Dryw - May 17, 2010 at 10:32 AM

    Mark, another very well written post. I'm really enjoying your blog. I'm also glad that someone out there can acknowledge that Strasburg is not the only valuable member of the pitching staff! I mean, no matter how good the guy is, he is only going to be pitching every fifth day, and I agree with you that right now we need a solid reliever more.Go Nats! Time to get back on the winning track tonight…

  10. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 17, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    On a somewhat different topic, where's the offense? Is the offensive hole in RF and Nyjer Morgan's reversion to the mean the explanation? We're certainly getting more offense from C, and that's great. But is the automatic out in RF breaking our run-scoring machine?

  11. Anonymous - May 17, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Bernadina is hitting .304. In the past seven days he has an OPS of 1.067. What right field hole? Morse went 2 for 3 as did Guzman. Morgan has been very ineffective against left-handed pitching. Ian Desmond is still learning to hit the major league pitchers he is finally getting a chance to face. You can't rely forever on Ivan Rodriguez in the heart of the order. Zimmerman, Dunn, and Willingham have to be consistently productive together for this offense to work. Otherwise, you get the low scoring small ball games.

  12. Doc - May 17, 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Speaking of the future, are the Reds outscouting the Nats, and everybody else, in Latin America?? Looks like it!

  13. Anonymous - May 18, 2010 at 3:16 AM

    is washington nationals first base Dan Radison from Columbia,IL, son of Pete & Norma Radison?

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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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)...

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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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