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Outfield could stay intact in ’11

Oct 2, 2010, 12:07 AM EDT

NEW YORK — For all the shuffling around that’s taken place in the outfield this season, the Nationals might very well enter 2011 with the same group of players vying for three starting spots.

Though the Nats got consistent, everyday production from only left fielder Josh Willingham (whose season ended in August due to a knee injury), they feel like the remaining quartet of Nyjer Morgan, Roger Bernadina, Michael Morse and Justin Maxwell could be more productive than anything they could reasonably acquire this winter.

“I think the most likely scenario is we’ll have pretty much the same group,” Jim Riggleman said before tonight’s game against the Mets. “Now, if [GM] Mike [Rizzo] acquires an outfielder that has superior numbers to these guys, then these guys will be put on the back burner. But I don’t anticipate that happening.”

Read the full story on CSNwashington.com.

  1. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 12:33 AM

    now that sounds like "The Plan" in action. woohoo!. Get real.Get rid of nyjer morgan, pick up a real CF, and let Morse and Bernie platoon RF.

  2. JayB - Oct 2, 2010 at 12:39 AM

    No, NO, NO!!!!!! Morgan must go and they need a Big Bat in RF. Move Morse to 1B and use the Cash saved by letting Dunn go to get Jason W or Crawford. Improved Defense less strikeouts means a better team

  3. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 12:40 AM

    Now I am really depressed………

  4. Stuart - Oct 2, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    Morgan must go. Makes me long for Austin Kearns.

  5. HHover - Oct 2, 2010 at 1:22 AM

    In Riggs' defense (not something I find myself saying often): as he says in Mark's CSN piece, the OF market is pretty thin–esp. for CF, which is what they most sorely need. And Rizzo has already announced that he has other priorities. Put that together, and it's hard to see big changes in the OF.

  6. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 1:39 AM

    Do you know what I hate the most about a franchise that just sucks. Its the small remaining base of super-fans. The super-fan are the ones who pride themselves on not booing, ignoring lousy play as if it is a little league team, making excuses for the Nationals payroll, thinking Riggs is a real MLB manager, saying things like 'at least DC has baseball,' and pretty much accepting losing seasons as acceptable. And its not like I am insane. I know a lot of baseball fans who have pretty much been turned off by the Nationals. And this news just adds fuel to the fire. But listening to the super fans, they'll probably tell you that this news is great because they love Nyjer Morgan because he has hustle or heart. Funny how those attributes don't show up in the standings.

  7. The Anti-Clint - Oct 2, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    Maxwell? Seriously???? If he's still around next year, I'm not going to any games. I think the competition should be between Bernadina, Hammer, Nyjer and Morse. Though, if Dunn doesn't re-sign, Morse would be a decent replacement at first base.

  8. JaneB - Oct 2, 2010 at 1:52 AM

    Anon at 9:39, I'd say I fit the description of a super fan. I don't see what it helps for me (or anyone, frankly, who isn't actually making the decisions) to get all exorcised about what trades should be made, or who should be playing what position. I don't have any control over any of it. I can live mad, or I can enjoy what there is to enjoy. I do appreciate Nyjers hustle; I do wish he hadn't messed up that play with Justin tonight, etc. I think he probably would be better off in a new city. And I'll love him as long as we've got him,I can't tell if you are for or against the super fan. For me, it let's me love whist there is to love. It's baseball. At any moment, something spectacular is possible. Even with the outfield we already have.

  9. Feel Wood - Oct 2, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    This is not going to be Riggleman's decision to make, so his opinion right now on who'll be playing outfield next year (or any other position, for that matter) is virtually worthless. Rizzo will let Riggleman know who's on next year's team in due time. Relax, Riggleman, you'll still have plenty of time to plot your double switches.

  10. markfd - Oct 2, 2010 at 2:26 AM

    The status quo is the status NO in the outfield for 2011.

  11. NatBiscuit - Oct 2, 2010 at 2:58 AM

    An outfield with a healthy Willingham, Morse, and Bernadina, Maxwell, and Morgan really is not all that bad. If both Willingham and Morse can play 140 games with the same level of production they showed themselves capable of then you can play the better of Bernadina/Maxwell/Morgan without concern. If you get 2009 Morgan that's not just a good outfield, its a superior one. But really if you have healthy full years from the Hammer and Morse then the center fielder can be defensive oriented.

  12. OlneyNat - Oct 2, 2010 at 3:46 AM

    Not good to hear. This time is fine at third, ss, second, and catcher. If we sign Dunn then we need a late-inning defensive first baseeman, or we need to sign a better defensive first baseman. We cannot keep the same outfield. We need at least one big bat if not two. Too many mistakes, like tonight, in the outfield and too many weak arms and bats. The core is there. Read Boswell in the Post yesterday. Oh, and we need a front line pitcher. Time to boost the payroll to 85 million and get over .500. Next year is a pivotal year.

  13. HHover - Oct 2, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    NatBiscuitThat would be a tolerable OF if they're producing offensively, but let's not kid ourselves–defensively, it would be a pretty crappy OF. Morse and Willingham both have limited range; Bernadina is better but still has a -7 UZR/150 on the season. And Morgan is not a "defensive oriented" CF who's able to make up for weakness at the corners–he's marginally above replacement, with a 2.2 UZR/150 on the season. Plus, he's way too prone to the kind of "you can't fix stupid" mistakes that he made in that collision with Maxwell tonight.

  14. citizen16 - Oct 2, 2010 at 5:23 AM

    If this is true, then hopes of another 10 game improvement will be slim. Rizzo will need to bring in at least 2 top of the rotation type pitchers. Can anyone really imagine the current outfield as the starting outfield for a playoff contender? If the Nats enter 2011 without a RF again, they'll need a lot of help/improvement from other positions. Didn't someone say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.Maybe Morse can finally have his breakout year and maybe Nyjer can return to his form of mid-2009….I'd still try to upgrade at least one of the outfield spots with a proven veteran. Regardless, I'll still be there next year watching the games with my kids and hoping for the best. There was definitely improvement this year over last, but I think they need more than just a little tinkering to get up to the 80 win level.

  15. lesatcsc - Oct 2, 2010 at 5:32 AM

    Was there a worse outfield in MLB this season? Add up all of the various guys that appeared out there and what have you got? Not a lot. Willingham was okay but hasn't put together a full season since when? Morgan hugely under-performed in every facet of the game. So who's the real Nyger, this year's version or the version that has appeared in parts of other seasons. Given his complete lack of muscle, he needs to be gold glove good in CF, up his OBP by 100 points AND steal 70+ bases without getting caught 40% of the time to be the full time CF on a good team. Anybody want to bet he can do that? Morse may be alright. Bernadina??? Why on earth would anyone count on him for any serious playing time next year. As the season has worn on he has gotten progressively worse at the plate. He has little power and only decent speed on the bases. I think we've finally established that he is a fourth or fifth OF at best. Maxwell??? You have to be joking? With an average that looks like a sales tax, I see no future for Justin. Harris??? Don't get me started! This is a dreadful outfield. Terrible, horrible, nightmarish! If the Nats are thinking of standing pat, they are announcing loudly and clearly that they have absolutely no interest whatsoever in being a winning team next year.Please don't sentence us to another year of having to tolerate Poopy McPoopy's insipid drivel because we cannot distance ourselves from one of the worst baseball franchises that has ever graced the planet. Having a real OF might accomplish that.

  16. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 11:31 AM

    Bernadina should be the CF. Morgan has to go.

  17. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 12:21 PM

    I love the fact that they want to stand pat with a crummy defensive outfield but have to get rid of Dunn because of poor defense at the position with the least defensive importance. What's the theme? I gotta go with payroll. What a depressing way to start the offseason.

  18. natsfan1a - Oct 2, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    JaneB: speaking only for myself, what an anonymous provocateur thinks of how fandom may be manifested in others is not my concern. IMHO, life's too short, and there are more important things to get exercised about than W-L records. If others don't feel that way, that's their business, but I choose not to get caught up in a cycle of attack and defend over my personal approach to fandom. Your mileage may vary, as always. (Oh, and go Nats! :-))

  19. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 2:02 PM

    With no realistic hope to get a big name free agent outfielder, the Nats will once again have the worst overall OF in the league. Think of all the failed "toolsy" players that Bowden brought us and now Rizzo doesn't seem to realize just how bad this outfield is. This is a "putting lipstick on a pig' moment in Nationals history. The next power outfielder in the Nationals future is currently unable to drink and is playing ball in the instructional league.I personally see the Nationals accomplishing nothing significant in the off-season and then end up losing 95 games next year. The only major change will be the unannounced season ticket sales will be about 9000. My guess it was around 10,500 this season. The team has only itself to blame. My prediction is that on some rainy day next season, there will be an official crowd of less than 10,000. The low this season was 10,999.

  20. Anonymous - Oct 2, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    Don't worry about the crowd. The super fan who clearly don't care about the standings as mentioned above and probably doesn't care about talent or skill is probably 8,000 strong. All is well in the world, the Lerner's will make their money, the Nats will stink, and the stadium experience will feel like a mausoleum. Yeah, awesome!

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