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Where’d the offense go?

May 19, 2010, 2:40 PM EDT


Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
The Nats missed Adam Dunn's bat the last three days.

Only three days ago, the Nationals were flying high in Colorado, owners of a 20-15 record and a lineup that had busted out at last.

When the Nats arrived at Coors Field Friday afternoon, they had scored a combined 26 runs over the previous three days and players and coaches spoke as though this was finally the kind of productive offense they had been expecting to emerge for a while.

So what happened? Five days and five losses later, that same offense has produced a total of 10 runs. And thus the Nationals club that returns home tonight to face the Mets is sitting at .500 (20-20).

Perhaps we were too quick in declaring the Nats lineup "clicking on all cylinders." Or perhaps there were other factors at play. Such as the fact Jim Riggleman hasn't fielded his top 1-through-8 in any of the last five games. Indeed, we haven't seen the lineup of Morgan-Kennedy-Zimmerman-Dunn-Willingham-Rodriguez-Bernadina-Desmond since the 14-6 victory Thursday night in Denver.

It's not Riggleman's fault. It's the weather's. And the injury bug's.

First off, Friday night's game in Colorado was rained out. The resulting day-night doubleheader Saturday forced Riggleman to give some guys a breather, not wanting to run them into the ground duringRead more »

  1. JayB - May 19, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    AND THEY NEED a RF OF that does not have Willie Harris in it…..He has really hurt the team. It looks like he is 40 years old all of a sudden. Guys lose it fast and Harris is a prime example of a guy who is over matched. I would not be surprised to see him DFA by August….but will it be too late by then…how many strikeouts and how many dropped balls in RF before now and August?

  2. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 19, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Mark, you're a true delight to read. Seriously. But I really *hate* the phrase "clicking on all cylinders." You're either "clicking" or "firing on all cylinders." I mean, clicking in all cylinders is a problem. (It's better than getting untracked on all cylinders, but still.)Anyway, just a pet peeve. Regardless, please keep up the superior work!-kevin

  3. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 19, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    JayB – I agree. Do you think Bernadina has what it takes? If 2010 was the year they were supposed to "build a good team" rather than "be a good team", giving Bernadina and Maxwell extended looks are/were a good idea. Maxwell got the extended look and didn't really make it. Bernadina, maybe. And if you're putting together a team that's supposed to be good through the 20-teens, do you trade away any minor-league pitchers (Bergmann et al notwithstanding) for an RF?

  4. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    I'd rather click on all cylinders than have a ground strain. Even a mild one.

  5. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    The lack of depth on this team is a real problem. As the Mets last year showed us, you can never have too many backup position players, and we have virtually none of note. Hell, most of our everyday position players should probably be backups. In the initial excitement about the team being competitive at last (or at least nowhere near the worst team in baseball) I think it was easy to lose sight of just how many holes we have to fill before we can truly be considered contenders. We need to stack up on prospects (GOOD prospects with easily recognizable upside, not a bunch of mediocre ones and hoping for another Tyler Clippard), both via intelligent drafting and strategic trades with other teams.

  6. Mark Zuckerman - May 19, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Clearly, I'm not firing on all cylinders yet today! :)

  7. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    And IMO there are a lot of players we should be trading… Willingham, for one. We could've unloaded him last year for some great prospects, which could've paid dividends down the line. Last thing I want to do is trade too much of our starting pitching, the Nationals certainly know how prone pitchers are to injuries and how inconsistent their starts can be. The problem is that we don't have a lot of players to trade, which is why we're going to need to either spend a decent amount of money for depth or try the Rays' approach and attempt it mostly from the draft.

  8. JayB - May 19, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    I have been saying for a long time that the window has closed on Maxwell……Baseball is a complex game and tools are not enough to become a major league player. If I was Rizzo I would trade or cut Maxwell now before the rest of the league understands his lack of baseball skills vs physical skills.Roger B is much different. He has baseball skills and some tools too….I like him in CF but it is just killing the team to pretend this is going to produce at RF the way they need a RF to produce. So it seems Rizzo has decided that this year is not about winning anything and we have to watch a flawed roster try to overcome planned weaknesses. I do not like that. MLB is about winning every year and trying to win every year. What what would I do….Trade as much as it takes to get a RFer who can produce now. There are no sure things in baseball and next year and any year after that could be a injury/down year for Zim/lots of key guys. They were 20 and 15 and in the play offs. That is the best chance they will have for a run ever……grab the brass ring RIZZO! Make a deal, Trade Morgan if you need to and play Roger in CF but get us a power hitting RFer who has proven he can produce runs and play some D. I know it is going to be hard to do now….that is one reasons we needed do this in the winter.

  9. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Joe Posnanski had a great article that said that teams not named the Yankees and Red Sox have 'time' as a weapon. Meaning they can stink and build and not have the pressures of winning. http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/05/17/diary-of-a-losing-team-517/So, trading away the kitchen sink might not necessarily be a good thing. However, that being said, I think the Nationals have used a lot of their losing time already (2006-2009) and the lack of credible young position players is killing them — not to mention that their current pitching staff is made up of smoke and mirrors. If they can stay at .500 till mid June (presumably when the pitching staff gets additions), then I think JayB is accurate, the focus does not have to be on development time and it would be criminal to not at least 'try' to win games.

  10. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    I don't see it at all. What good is a right fielder like Dye, who's fielding makes you wish for Adam Dunn, going to do to help Morgan not 0 for 5 at the top of the batting order? Convince Guzman to walk a few times so that his OBP is higher than Willingham's (he's not an RBI man he is supposed to be a table setter right?) get Dunn out of his rut? The only consistent hitters in Riggleman's lineups: Zimmerman, IRod, and Guzman (but Guzman doesn't count because he is a singles hitter who doesn't walk).Look at some of the lineups. Guzman batting third? Harris leading off? And JayB seems bound and determined not to give any sort of chance to Bernadina and perhaps some Morse? Instead he would prefer trading invaluable pitching on the off chance he might, he might get someone as good as Ken Griffey jr. when he was a lot younger. Because that's what it would take. And to get that you would have to give up an awful lot dude. You ready to part with Strasburg so soon. The problem really can't be put on a single position. They were winning with the right field platoon weren't they? So, its not right field. As far as Bernadina playing CF? Guess you haven't been doing your reading. Riggleman now wants to play Desmond in center field? I assume to rescue Guzman's shortstop position. Boy, and it sure seems like you post a lot of the same thing over-and-over again? I thought you were policing that Mark?

  11. Grandstander - May 19, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I think the scariest prospect is that we let Dunn go and don't fill that hole in the lineup. As much as he has been maligned for his patience/stubbornness at the plate, he offers protection for Zim and the chance to win the game with one swing. In the post-steroid era, that is a rarity, especially in the NL. I wasn't a huge buyer on Dunn before this road trip, but watching him when he's hot (triple deck homer!!) and watching the lineup without him, I'm fucking sold! Sure, the Phillies didn't do us any favors by giving Howard that much money, but Dunn clearly wants to play here. And after hearing Carp fawn over Carpenter and his loyalty to Cards last night, I think Dunn would also be willing to take a small pay cut to stay in DC and watch this team morph into a contender.

  12. Michael J. Hayde - May 19, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Boy, lose a few road games and the naysayers come out of the woodwork. We have a fundamentally sound team NOW. Bernadina is emerging from the shadows as a solid RF contributor: power hitter, excellent glove. It does look like Harris is becoming a liability, but other than that, there's no reason to follow "JAYsus" and his disciples.

  13. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:31 PM

    Rizzo never said he wanted Desmond in center, he said that like many great shortstops he COULD play center. People really need to stop misinterpreting this, it is muddling an eminently clear situation. Nobody wants to keep Guzman around after his contract is finished and if they did it certainly wouldn't be at shortstop over Desmond.

  14. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    If they make any trade I hope its for Cliff Lee something they really do still need. A top of the rotation starting left-handed pitcher. Not a #4, #5. They have way too many of those and that I fear will soon come to roost for this team.

  15. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    Nobody wants to keep Guzman around after his contract is finished and if they did it certainly wouldn't be at shortstop over Desmond.I think you forgot to ask Riggleman about his thoughts on the matter.

  16. NatinBeantown - May 19, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    I've got it! How about a stud RF who is likely to be on the trade market? How about .314/.388/.510, with plus fielding, who is a veritable model in the clubhouse?Think the Indians would deal him?http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/welcome-back-austin-kearns/

  17. NatinBeantown - May 19, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    For the record, I'm not actually saying Rizzo should pursue it, I'm just enjoying the picture perfect irony.

  18. JayB - May 19, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Anon 11:25….clueless…..Desmond is not moving to CF until and when they have a better option at SS and THAT IS NOT GUZMAN….With each Harris Strikeout and dropped ball in RF and with each 1 and 2 run production I will point out the RF problem….Watch the games and stop pretending you understand the game….Riggs wants to put Desmond in CF……priceless lack of perspective on baseball and what is said by Riggs.

  19. JayB - May 19, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Kearns like Nick will be hurt more than they play this year like all years.

  20. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 3:55 PM

    Rizzo wanted Desmond at SS from the beginning. It was Riggleman who last year inexplicably commented that Desmond may be a utility player who might see time in RF, and then infamously put him out there one game. This spring Rizzo again stated emphatically that Desmond was going to play full time at SS somewhere after some vague comments from Riggleman. So, Rizzo on target again, IMO. Riggleman in his own orbit.

  21. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Do you band-wagoner’s really think position-by-position the Nationals stack up well with the rest of the NL east? The answer is no. Riggleman is doing a good job with a flawed roster. He is using speed to his advantage and relying on clutch hits. And he is getting really good pitching performances from unlikely contributors. They are fun to watch, no doubt. But real fans want a winner, not a plan. JayB wants the Nationals to win so bad its killing him. And he is harping on the roster’s major glaring weakness. Bernadina is .288/.351/.442 and 2 HR with an OPS of .793. While the average NL RF is .268/.344/.471 and 6 HR with an OPS of .815. Even throwing out his HRs (as he has played less) based on his traditional stats it is obvious that Bernadina is a below average right fielder (and by the way Bernadina has looked a bit shaky in RF defensively). However, average NL CF is .263/.336/.422 with an OPS of .758. Bernadina does match up well with that batting line (in fact he is better) and his defense is also better in center. So sadly you no-nothing Dibble wannabe’s, JayB is right. Bernadina, so far, is not the right answer in RF.

  22. NatsNut - May 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Hey, maybe this will make them move on getting Dunn signed to a good contract.

  23. bdrube - May 19, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    There are some really contradictory sentiments on this board. Trade Willingham for prospects! Trade for a MLB quality right fielder. Those are mutually exclusive options. Either we are trying to win this year, or we're not. If we are not, then Willingham, Dunn, Guzman, Kennedy, Rodriguez, Livan and Marquis (when healthy) should be dumped in trades. The problem is that the team is in a box after two 100 loss seasons with a dwindling fan base. Another triple digit showing on the downside and only the crickets and Phillie fans will show up next year. They squandered their bad years without getting enough through the draft in return. Thanks, Jimbo.

  24. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 19, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    Anon@12:00 — with a small sample size, do you really think an OPS of 793 is that much worse than an OPS of 815? It's really not. And he's got plus defense, so it's really kind of a wash. I'm not saying "he's the answer." I'm saying he deserves a look at being the answer. Besides, what better is out there? Anything significantly better is going to take more than we're willing to give up. At what position are we overstocked? (besides DL.) So you're right, I don't think Bernadina is the answer. But he might be, and he's at least earned a few more weeks to find out.In 2005, we knew there was very little talent on the team, and very little in the minors, so we knew it was their last chance at decency for some time. So you make flailing trades trying to get a stopgap at 2b and SS. But now, we know there's better coming. (Espinosa, Norris, Strasburg, Wang, Zimmermann, Flores?, Harper, a slew of eyebrow-raisers in the lower minors…) Why buy high now on an RF when there's a slew of pretty-reliable talent on the way?

  25. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    @bdrube is right. There is not enough in the minors to trade. Balester? Crickets. Maxwell? Crickets. Chico? Crickets. They could trade Dereck Norris and some of their bums if they intend to take Harper in the draft and expect Harper to stay at catcher and believe Harper is better than Norris. But that is a LOT of if's. And that idea might be too risky. But it would sure be nice to talk about playoffs for this team….

  26. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Position by position, I'd say the Nationals are mostly right in the middle of the NL East…IF:Dunn – above Ike Davis, Gary Sanchez, and Troy Glaus; below Ryan Howard.Kennedy – worst 2B in the NL East.Desmond – below Ramirez and Rollins (when healthy), above Escobar, Reyes, and Castro (when he's not).Zimmerman – best 3B in the NL East.Pudge – Barajas is arguably hitting better right now but with McCann slumping I'd at least put him at number two.OF:Morgan – below Victorino, McClouth, and Pagan, better than Maybin. But if he starts stealing intelligently I might move him up a spot.Willingham – best LF (offensively, anyway) in the NL East.Anyone in our RF platoon – probably worst in the NL East.By my math, that's two number ones (3B and LF), two number twos (C and 1B), one number three (SS), one number four (CF), and two last place finishes (RF and 2B). Overall about half our lineup is in the top half of the league offensively and half is in the bottom half, putting us right in the middle, where we should expect to be competitive and play .500 ball with the NL East.We have a pretty decent hitting lineup. At times it can look brilliant. The chief issue is our total lack of depth, which is exposed by illness.

  27. JayB - May 19, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    bdrube…..Exactly. Stan and Ted had their building time. Not the fans fault they failed to produce any re prospects in the field and let an owners bromance cloud their GM choice. Lerner needs to step up and cover the poor decisions they made 2006-2009 with cash…..it will take another $30 Million to win this year….Lerner milked far more than that out the club last year alone. Just do it.

  28. greg - May 19, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    while i don't think that bernadina is the answer in RF, anon 12:00, the stats you put up there don't exactly bolster your point all that much. you're going to quibble over 22pts of OPS as not being equivalent? i think a +- 25pts variance would be pretty reasonable range. especially given how early in the season it is. and especially if you factor in defense.case in point, do you realize justin upton's OPS is only 764 so far this season? hunter pence: 674. again, i'm not saying bernadina is the answer in RF. he's a CF/4th OF, imo. but if you're going to use stats to make your point, use some that clearly state the case. the ones you put up there, to me, say "average RF offensively."

  29. Steve M. - May 19, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    The team hit a little rough patch. Not time to panic except it is a great time to see what is broke and fix it. They should pick it up quickly on the home stand and get a big boost in 2 weeks from Strasburg.The Nats get going when Nyjer is playing well and these 0-fer games where he doesn't find a way to get on base and the caught stealings just wont cut it. Willie Harris was brought in yesterday as the lefty vs. the rightie in that crucial PH and wasn't close to connecting. His diagonal movement forward on balls in LF are fine but when a ball is hit over his head he doesn't get to the final point fast enough to be set for a catch, and it appears twice that I can remember in RF he misplayed sinking liners. So if you can't hit and can't steal bases and your defense is not cutting it I can only suspect you are on the team because there is nobody else down on the farm to take your spot, and I take Willie before I take Maxwell.Kennedy just hasn't been clutch and 2nd base will be a need again in the offseason.This team needs a RH outfielder in RF and it will have to come via a trade or keep it as is if the trade cant work. I believe Jason Werth will be a Free Agent after the season ;-)) and Hanley Ramirez may be available right now although you have to wonder if Rizzo wouldn't want a troublemaker like him for the right price?

  30. JayB - May 19, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    a slew of eyebrow-raisers in the lower minors…) Why buy high now on an RF when there's a slew of pretty-reliable talent on the way?LIKE WHO? Norris and nobody else. Storen and Nobody Else….Who else is an eyebrow-raiser? Burgess, Smoker, McGeary, Maybe Danny E but a slew?….please…

  31. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Here is my grading thus far of the Nats players (offense nto the only factor)Morgan CKennedy CZimmerman ADunn CWillingham ARodriguez ADesmond CBernadina CBenchHarris DMorse CGuzman ANieves CGonzalez AHere is my solution and new batting order:Morgan CFRodriguez CGuzman 2BZimmerman 3BDunn 1BWillingham LFMorse RFDesmond SS

  32. PDowdy83 - May 19, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    The more games the Nats win, the less intelligent the statements become on here. Why can't people just enjoy the fact they are on pace for 81 wins instead of 59. That is without Lannan pitching well, Marquis being an injury bust and Strasburg not even debuting yet. Lanna looks to have turned the corner hopefully and Strasburg will be here in a couple of weeks. Can't we all just appreciate good baseball and stop worrying about what Kasten and the Lerners didn't do over the last 3 years?Oh, and stop posting ANONYMOUSLY! Enter a freakin name if you are going to post. It's not that hard!

  33. Mr. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 4:42 PM

    PDowdy83 said… "Oh, and stop posting ANONYMOUSLY! Enter a freakin name if you are going to post. It's not that hard!"Okay.

  34. Steve M. - May 19, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I like the idea of grading if it includes all around offense and defense so I will play along:Morgan C-Kennedy C-Zimmerman A+Dunn BWillingham B+I. Rodriguez A-Desmond BBernadina C+BenchHarris D-Morse C+Guzman BNieves CGonzalez B-

  35. Chris - May 19, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 19, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    JayB – you're right that the Lerners had their time and squandered it. And they're paying the price in terms of an empty ballpark. Fine.BUT, what would you do about it? If you don't think anything of the guys the nats have in the minors, what makes you think any other team's GM would like them enough to part with a good RF? If not, then you're looking at the FA market. OK, fine. Who's a good free agent RF? Jermaine Dye? Please, he's more done than David Ortiz. Austin Kearns was available… har har. Who was available at 2b last winter, for that matter? I mean, really. Where's the available talent??Anyway, my point is that even though we as fans deserve better, there's not much the Lerners can do, is there? (Short of absorbing our rage, waterboarding Clint, and letting Teddy win)

  37. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    @pdowdy83Welcome to a Major League Baseball town! Right now Red Sox Nation is talking about their terrible starting pitching and looking to trade anybody. Yankeeverse is wondering about Joba and Rivera. Phillie Phanatics are fretting over the closer role. The NY Mess is calling for Manuel's and Reyes's head. And here in Natstown we want a run producing RF. Geeze, its like you are newbie or something. What baseball town has a bunch of autonomons talking sunshine and stating that we should enjoy the season? Even Reds fans got some quibbles (i.e. Dusty Baker). It's part of being a baseball town. It's like some of you guys take criticism of the team super personal. Get over yourself!

  38. Jaxpo Nat - May 19, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Personally, I'd like to see what Bernadina can do for the rest of the season and, since RF is the only "open position," play him there. My only question for all those clamoring for a trade for a RFer is WHO EXACTLY DO YOU THINK WE COULD TRADE FOR? Do you think the Phillies will fork over Werth? Maybe we can pry Heyward from the Braves. I know, I know: the Dodgers would certainly be willing to part ways with Ethier. Wake up people. Any trade would involve some questionable has been/never was such as Francoeur or maybe Cody Ross. Face it, we aren't exactly trading with a stacked deck of prospects. Whoever we could get in a trade would be only measurably better than our current situation. No, let Bernadina play and see what we have. That is, of course, unless the Mariners call dying to send us Ichiro for Derek Norris.

  39. Knoxville Nat - May 19, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    In regards to those posters who think Riggleman is bound and determined to make Guzman a full time shortstop and move Desmond to the outfield, may I submit that often times what Riggs has to say about Desmond is in reply to a question asked of him and not necessarily his intentions or preferences. I for one believe that Riggleman has no intentions whatsoever of moving Desmond to the OF and furthermore I believe that Guzman will not be part of the 2011 Nationals, especially at his current contract rate. Guzman will most likely be available as a free agent after the season as I don't see a big demand in the trade market for someone with his limited defensive capabilities. On the other hand there may be a manager in Cleveland who would like to reunited with him.

  40. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - May 19, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    And about Guzman's future… I don't like him starting anywhere, but he probably realizes as much as anyone else that he's on the downside of his career. If we could have him for cheap, teach him to take a walk, you could do worse than a utility man who can play defense anywhere and hit better than the pitcher in the 7th.

  41. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Maybe they should just move the AL and then they could have a DH? I mean, really. Where's the available talent??Exactly! Other than a YOUNG under 30 FA who hits someone like a BJ Upton who happens to be a free agent? It AIN'T THERE. JayB YOU sound clueless!You may be right Bernadina could end up in center if Morgan flounders. Okay so where is your lead off hitter? Your #2? With Guzman sucking up those spots its hard for anyone to determine who might be able to do the job? Again, this is Riggleman trying desperately to keep Guzman, and for some odd reason he still plays the guy at shortstop? Okay why not take out Zimmerman and put Guzman at third base then Riggleman? Its pretty ridiculous if you ask me. Desmond should play short every day. When he needs a blow, Gonzalez. He should bat second. This is still a rebuilding team I guess? So, what are we learning by putting Harris at lead off? Guzman batting second? And yeah JayB, someone who is a far better judge of talent like Michael Burgess. His name is Mike Rizzo. Are you saying you know more than he does? Really???Espinosa, Lombardozzi, Hood, Bloxom, Ramirez, Higley. They may be better than you seem to believe. And Chris Duncan plus Mench are still in Syracuse?The problem with this is still Riggleman. He will not try the younger players unless he is forced to. Or unless he likes them a lot (see JMax). He won't change. He will play HIS veterans even if they are hitting .179? So, how do you find out if someone else can do the job? Through Osmosis?

  42. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 5:31 PM

    Here's mine.Morgan / Bernadina CFWillingham LF (HIGH OBP)Guzman / Kennedy 2BZimmerman 3BDunn 1BRodriquez CBernadina / Morse RFDesmond SS

  43. Nats2005 - May 19, 2010 at 5:35 PM

    Kevin Rusch Section 406:Waterboarding Clint? The best idea in any post here today.

  44. Steve M. - May 19, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Nyjer Morgan needs to get his head back into the game. Did you see him dancing off of 1st base in the 9th last night? Dan Radison pulled him over (luckily) because the next move by the pitcher was a throw over to 1st. If Radison didn't do that, Nyjer would have been picked off and game over, although in the end the Nats lost anyway but still, this guy is just not playing smart.Nyjer may have thought he was cool Tony Plush based upon what he did in DC in 2009 except right now in 2010 he is Tony FLUSH as in flush the toilet and leave the seat down!NEWSFLASH to Tony Plush, in sports its "what have you done for me lately". Just ask Brian Bruney that!

  45. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    You got a point on the outfielders, and the value on young cheap talent. But I’ll bite and pretend the below is possible. DISCLAIMER: Mumblings of a Neophyte – I am not an expert nor member of a front office nor claim to know more than Rizzo. For young outfielders that might be MLB ready I think the Nationals can get….Jose Tabata of the Pirates (he'll take a lot of young talent, i.e. good pitcher and good prospect)Josh Reddick of the Red Sox (the Red Sox NEED a catcher)For RF’ers already in the Majors that the Nationals can get….Hunter Pence — maybe. He is having a down year. And the Astros *believe* that they can compete.Xavier Nady — May not be healthy. Doesn’t play much.Garrett Jones — Pirates. I don’t see the Pirates keeping anybody anyway.Anyway slim pickings and something that should have been addressed in the off-season.

  46. greg - May 19, 2010 at 6:04 PM

    aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaaaaa… [breathe, dammit!]aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaaaaa…ok, seriously, kevin rusch's comment about waterboarding clint isn't the best post of the day (although i'll agree with it).it's his comment that if you could "teach [guzman] to take a walk…"*snicker*lol…hahahahahaaaa…seriously. for realz. this is christian guzman we're talking about, right? the guy who has 250 BBs in more than 5000 ABs? who's only once had more than 30 BBs (and that was in 2000)? who last year had 16 BBs in 531 ABs? the guy with the career OBP of 308? who'll be 33 and in his 12th ML season in 2011? i'm sure the light will go on for him. soon. really. *chuckle*sorry, i can't stop sniggering about teaching him to take walks.

  47. The Great Unwashed - May 19, 2010 at 6:07 PM

    Jaxpo Nat,You hit the nail on the head. This team has what it has and they have to use what they have. Besides, no one is making trades right now because the trade deadline is still a few months away. If the Nats are fortunate enough to be contenders and decide to buy instead of sell, then we can criticize the front office if they can't get it done. Until then, no other team is going to take Bergmann or Maxwell in exchange for a top RF or 2B. That's just unrealistic.

  48. NatinBeantown - May 19, 2010 at 6:21 PM

    On another topic, does anyone know if Rizzo and co. are going to be in the DR on Friday to watch Yunesky Maya work out? We were so close on the Chapman bidding, and even with SS and the injury brigade on the way, we're pretty dangerously thin til late summer in the rotation.You can never have too much pitching. You can never have too much pitching. You can never…

  49. Sunderland - May 19, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    My frustration, with the RF production, with the lack of MLB depth & with the lack of AAA offensive depth is a frustration with the Lerners for being tight with cash over the years.They have chosen to make Nats fans wait for years for a good team, and at this rate we're still a few years away. We've got very good starting pitching on the horizon, in that sense 'the plan' is showing progress, but why is it that 'the plan' can't also allow for getting better by spending some of the Lerners billions? (Recall, for three years in a row, Forbes has estimated that the Nats have been in the top 3 for profit. How can you read this and not be frustrated with the Lerners?)It's not like we are suddenly hurting for offense, suddenly realizing we have a hole in RF. We've had a hole in RF ever since the 2006 version of Jose Guillen. We came into spring with the RF plan being: – Hope that Dukes had suddenly learned how to hit – Hope that Maxwell had suddenly learned how to hit – Hope that some combination of Bernadina, Taveras, Morse and Harris would perform at a major league levelThat's a lousy plan.And to the "well what would you do about it crowd", the answer is very simple.I would give Mike Rizzo the money and freedom to do what Mike Rizzo does.Because it's obvious from the way we draft and the way we deal with free agents that Rizzo has little money, and therefore little freedom.I trust Rizzo to make good baseball decsions, and good business decisions when it comes to baseball matters.Apparently, I trust him more than the Lerners do.

  50. Sec3(not his real name)MySofa - May 19, 2010 at 6:26 PM

    THIS is the Post of the Day (so far):___________Mr. Anonymous said… PDowdy83 said… "Oh, and stop posting ANONYMOUSLY! Enter a freakin name if you are going to post. It's not that hard!" Okay. May 19, 2010 12:42 PM

  51. Sec3.14159265 - May 19, 2010 at 6:36 PM

    If it's normal in a "baseball town" to fart and fume over the owners, the players, the manager, the umps, whatever, isn't it also typical to complain about how stupid all the other posters are, too? Srsly, the "they should trade Maxwell for Mark Teixeira" posts are coming in two and three a day lately. Almost as bad as the "trade the top pick" posts last year, which, thankfully, we've been spared this time. Which is nice. So there's that.

  52. N. Cognito - May 19, 2010 at 6:51 PM

    Sunderland said… "We came into spring with the RF plan being:- Hope that Dukes had suddenly learned how to hit…"That was a reasonable hope. He was a SERIOUS clubhouse problem that came to a head in Spring Training.

  53. alm1000 - May 19, 2010 at 6:56 PM

    Doom and gloom and the Lerners are cheap posts, what the heck, is it preseason again?The Lerners are cheap (I am the VP of that club) but we got Dunn last year and Pudge, Marquise (sp), Kennedy, Bruney and Walker this year. Pudge and Kenedy are working out – Marquise and Bruney, not so much and the jury is still out on Walker.Let's give Roger a chance in RF and spell him with Morse, he seems like he may be able to get the job done.I couldn't believe that Riggs batted Willie instead of Morse last night or that Batista is still on the team.I love baseball and having a team that is competitive again.Go Nats!

  54. Dope - May 19, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Hey Sec Pie. Look up strawman arguments as no one has said to trade Maxwell for Tex.

  55. Water23 - May 19, 2010 at 7:04 PM

    Kevin Rusch,You ask "Who was available at 2b?" I think he was a FA – Kelly Johnson .259/.346/.583/.929 with HR11, RBI 23,Runs 26,SB 3He is 28. Granted he had some bad seasons and would have cost a little more but he would be and upgrade.And I would say I am happy we are 20-20 but not content.

  56. Bowdenball - May 19, 2010 at 7:15 PM

    I know we all love Riggleman and what he's brought to our once-woeful Nats, but someone's gotta say it, so I will: He's costing us runs with his smallball strategy of bunting and base-stealing. Look at the data on run expectancy. First and second with nobody out is better than second and third with one out in terms of expected run production in the inning. This situation has come up at least, what, 4 or 5 times during the losing streak? Yet Riggleman bunts every time. By playing to get a run or two home, and to avoid having to answer tough questions about making unconventional plays, Riggleman is costing us the chance at the big inning.Even when he's right to bunt in that situation, like with pitchers, he refuses to adjust. Once Olsen went 0-2 in that critical spot there's not a fan alive who thought he'd get a sac bunt down successfully, so why not let him swing away? Similarly, when a great-hitting Stammen when 2-0 while trying to bunt, why not call it off and let him work the count or tee off on a pitch down the middle?And don't even get me started on the steal attempts against Olivo and Molina.I love Riggleman's skills with the players and keeping the troops happy and motivated, and he's a great guy. Any chance he could hire Acta to sit in the dugout and make the baseball decisions for him?

  57. Anonymous - May 19, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Let's go Bucs!

  58. Hocus Pocus (Hoc est nostrus dominus) - May 19, 2010 at 7:23 PM

    If this is ST then:- Hope that Dukes had suddenly learned how to hit and field less lackadaisically. – Hope that Maxwell had suddenly learned how to hit.- Hope that some combination of Bernadina, Taveras, Guzman, Desmond, Morse and Harris would perform at a major league level in right field.- Hope that Guzman's arm would work at shortstop because Riggleman was planning to play him there nonetheless.- Hope that by some miracle Desmond would convince management to let him play shortstop instead.- Pray that Marquis would straighten up and not look as horrible as he did in ST.- Pray that Rizzo could find other starting pitchers for the rotation other than Lannan. That was all they seemed to have at the time.- Pray that Dunn would learn to play 1st base well enough to at least break even in terms of his UZR versus his offense.

  59. PDowdy83 - May 20, 2010 at 2:20 AM

    @ Anon 12:57I'm definitely not a newbie and I would consider myself to have a well above average knowledge of baseball and this team. I'm not saying to not have an opinion, I'm just saying the same bunch of people criticize every move and contradict themselves a lot. It is those people who seem to be newbies.You have people saying we could have gotten "great" prospects for Willingham. If that were the case, I'm sure Rizzo would have pulled the trigger on a deal.Other people are saying we should trade for a RFer. Who do you think is available to be traded for that will be any better than Bernadina? It is mid May, nobody has completely ruled themselves out. Look at what the Rockies did last year, they were not good through the first quarter of the season, then made the playoffs.If anybody legitimately believes Rizzo isn't on the phones daily talking to other GMs that is pretty sad.Sure we need a true ace, a RFer and a better bat off the bench but it is too early in the season to get anybody worth a damn in a trade. Give it another couple weeks, loosen up some and enjoy good baseball.Oh an Mr. Anon, that post made me laugh out loud.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 72 53 --
ATLANTA 66 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 9.5
NEW YORK 60 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.0
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
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