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Burnett signs 2-year extension

Dec 23, 2010, 2:32 PM EDT

The Nationals have signed reliever Sean Burnett to a two-year contract with a team option for a third year, according to a source close to the left-hander.

Burnett, who was entering the second of his three arbitration seasons, will make $1.4 million in 2011 and $2.3 million in 2012. He would be eligible for free agency at that point, but the Nationals have the choice of either picking up a $3.5 million option for 2013 or paying a $250,000 buyout. Burnett could also elect to opt out of the third year, sacrificing the buyout but becoming a free agent.

The deal should become official later today once the 28-year-old passes a physical.

Burnett has become a vital member of the back end of the Nationals' bullpen since his acquisition from the Pirates as part of the June 2009 trade that also brought Nyjer Morgan to D.C. in exchange for Lastings Milledge and Joel Hanrahan. He has established himself as managerRead more »

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:36 PM

    I think JayB labeled Burnett as one of those TJ arms that came back with less velocity. This is a good signing as he should develope into a great trade piece later on.

  2. Big Cat - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Good move. While not a big star, Sean is a solid pro. Also, he's a lefty

  3. sjm 308 - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Met Sean briefly when he was signing stuff at the Nat's Park store on the last week of the season. Good for him! We have holes but you can't think the bullpen is one of them. Will we get a first baseman by Christmas??Go Nats!!

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM

    I'm betting that LaRoche signs with eiter us or the Orioles by 5:00 PM tomorrow evening. Sure hope it's us.

  5. Anonymous8 - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    Finally the Nats are planning ahead. Wish they did that with a guy named Dunn!!!!!!!!!An additional 4 year extension with Zim would be smart too at something close to Werth's numbers.

  6. JayB - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:49 PM

    Njack,nope I read that one too but it was not me….I said that Lastings and Morgan both will be out of baseball by the end of 2011 and that Sean and Joel both needed a change of teams and would be a long term wash…..I stand behind both assessments.

  7. Souldrummer - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Simple move for both sides. He lost arbitration last year, right? I'm sure he doesn't want to go through that again, and the team would like to have cost certainty moving forward. Cool with this move.

  8. JayB - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    I would much prefer Adam L as well….Just do it….Chris M is not ever going be more than a DH at best and Norris is going to take a few years to learn 1B after Rizzo admits he can not set up and receive pitches with any consistency. I said it back during the AFL final game….he let 3 balls go right by him in the first 2 innings and never once did Norris get a target or get his glove up and turned before the ball was on the way…..if he does not do it after several full seasons as a pro it is not going to happen.

  9. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    NatsJack, do you have intel or is that your hunch? It would be great if you had some inside info. I'm always amazed at how much of that there is here. I'm with you on LaRoche.fpcsteve

  10. Poog - Dec 23, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Nats were planning ahead with Dunn…it's just that many armchair GM's don't agree with Rizzo's commitment to pitching, speed, and defense. I do. A legitimate fielder at 1B makes Zimmerman, Desmond, and Espinoza better fielders and limits the number of 4 and 5 out innings the fragile Nats pitching staff has to endure. Even if Lee, LaRoche or whomever don't match Adam's power numbers, the sum total of the team should be stronger. My biggest concern is actually clubhouse related given how strongly Zim lobbied for his retention. But by all accounts, Werth is exactly that same kind of solid veteran presence this young team needs. Time for Nats fans to look forward instead of constantly looking in the rear view mirror. Rizzo may prove to be mistaken or delayed in implementing his plan, but it's just not accurate to say that he doesn't have one. Also, the Lerners aren't cheap…it just seems that they're just now beginning to understand that they also have to spend money to put a major-league like team on the field while they wait for their youngsters to develop. 30 year absence of baseball didn't create the kind of blind loyalty that the Redskins enjoy in this town. And oh yeah, great signing with Burnett.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Sorry JayB… I attributed a comment by one of our many "Anonymous" posters to you. There are things that we agree on from time to time, but giving up on 21 year olds is not one of them. I watched his performance in Arizona, as well, and certainly developed doubts but am willing to wait one more season to see if there is any improvement.52 days till Pitchers and Catchers report.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    No insight except for the desire for alot of FA's to get things over by Christmans.LaRoche's interest in the O's stems from them getting his good buddy Mark Reynolds. Our hang up is the three years he's looking for.

  13. raymitten - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Good move, Burnett is much more reliable than Storen or Clippard, at least in 2010 he was. I'm not going to be happy with the first baseman because we let the best available option go. I'll be satisfied with either LaRoche or D Lee. If its Casey Kotchman or Branyan I'm going to head for the ledge! Is Yonder Alonzo a possibility?

  14. Anonymous8 - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    JayB, just curious as to why you want LaRoche over DLee.I think DLee's clutch numbers are better and his upside is tremendous. It is 20 HRs vs 25 HRs if they both stay around 2010 numbers. Lee scores more runs but gives you less RBIs. For those who don't like K's, Lee is much lower.I think DLee hits closer to 30 and DLee has much better OBP then LaRoche.Personally, either one is an upgrade although I like giving Michael Morse more playing time which would be greater with LaRoche and LaRoche is another lefty bat although LaRoche is decent against lefty pitchers. LaRoche last year had much lower 7th to 9th inning numbers than 1st to 6th innings. That hadn't been his trend in his career but last year was hitting under .200 in the later innings.If there was anything we didn't like in Dunn was that fall off in the latter innings and lack of clutch. I am sure if I noticed that stat that probably Rizzo has too. Still LaRoche had a career high of 100 RBIs with those 172 K's.I just think for those who had their issues with Dunn, LaRoche has many similarities while giving better defense.

  15. Anonymous8 - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:24 PM

    Ray, Yonder Alonso is only coming over in trade and he isn't a big power guy at this point in his career. I agree with JayB that Derek Norris should be groomed for 1st base just like the smart decision Rizzo used in moving Bryce Harper to the outfield.

  16. JayB - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    My issue with Lee is at best he is a one year solution and very likely to get hurt thus not even a full year solution…then next year we waste all off season looking for another cheap stop gap. Adam L is much younger and more likely to stay health for 2-3 years and add some stability to the line up until Norris is ready at 1B….he sure is no catcher but he is a perfect Rizzo type as far as athleticism so that seems to make sense to me. Not giving up on Norris as a player…he is not a catcher.

  17. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:40 PM

    JayB, we are one voice when it comes to 1st base. Lee's only here for one season, then it's start all over again.I believe part of LaRoches' strikeout rate is attributable to the whole Diamondbacks approach last year. They struck out like they liked it.He usually is in the 120 – 140 K range with an OBP in the .345 range.

  18. Anonymous8 - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    Michael Morse is a very good stop gap. LaRoche is not the long term answer either just the best available LH bat. That is why every other team has stepped away. Not much to get excited about with LaRoche.I was a Dunn guy so still hard to swallow thinking LaRoche is much of an upgrade.I think that Lee has enough confidence in himself that he would do a 1 year deal. Hope if they get Lee they get an option year just in case.Also JayB outside of Lee's injury in 2006, he has been very durable.

  19. sec 3 my sofa - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    FWIW, from MLBTR. Sounds familiar, but I can't quite place where I've heard this before about some other team:Braves Notes: Payroll, Greinke, Uggla, ChipperBy Ben Nicholson-Smith [December 22 at 10:00pm CST]Braves GM Frank Wren told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he has noticed a “re-emphasis on speed” in baseball over the past five or six years. Wren said he’d like the Braves to transition into a more athletic club, but that’s far from the only interesting comment he made. Here’s the latest: * Wren says the Braves have “an ample payroll to win” without question. The Mets and Phillies may spend more, but teams like the Rays win with less. * The Braves discussed trading for Zack Greinke, but decided against it. “We talked about it,” Wren said. “I just think it was going to be cost-prohibitive for us, because some of those players it would have taken to make that deal are players we’re going to be counting on in the next year or two, and we think they’re going to be premium talents at the major league level.” * Generally speaking, Wren said he is hesitant to trade “productive, game-changing” young players who could have a “huge major league impact in the future.”

  20. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:43 PM

    Burnett, the solid lefty in the bullpen. Good move.Lee not LaRoche for 1 or 2 years. Then Prince Fielder or a top first base prospect. Morse as backup you don't really have to worry about health issues. Lee is the better hitter and fielder of the two. LaRoch just has the left handed bat.Not sure why ESPN keeps predicting Ankiel starts in left. He hits left handed pitching as bad as Morgan and Bernadina. I doubt he is as good a fielder as Bernadina and can't hit like Morse. He and Corey Brown both look more like competition for Morgan. According to the expert JayB, and that isn't you its Mr. Knorr, Derrick Norris really hasn't caught that many games in the minors. He had that injury and alternated with other catchers initially. Knorr agrees he has a problem getting comfortable to block balls but he is superior at pitch selection. Knorr feels he needs another 2 years of catching. Apparently Keith Law agrees with this assessment for what its worth. Norris starts at catcher after 2 years unless someone offers Rizzo the top of the rotation power pitcher of his dreams in a trade.

  21. CoverageisLacking - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:46 PM

    Poog said:"Nats were planning ahead with Dunn…it's just that many armchair GM's don't agree with Rizzo's commitment to pitching, speed, and defense. I do. A legitimate fielder at 1B makes Zimmerman, Desmond, and Espinoza better fielders and limits the number of 4 and 5 out innings the fragile Nats pitching staff has to endure."@Poog: So then why did Rizzo offer Dunn a 3-year deal?

  22. DFL - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    First off, this was a good signing. Relief pitching was one area of improvement last season and Burnett was part of that improvement.There is a good chance that 2011 might be a lost season in many ways. No Strasburg. A large part of the hitting gone- Dunn and Willingham. If Lee is signed at first, look for him to be traded for youth at the trading deadline. Rodriguez could completely collapse as a player. Ramos and Espinoza might prove unready. Lannan might pitch like he did in the first half last year. Hernandez might pitch like he did in the last half, a pitcher on his last legs. Jordan Zimmerman might not mature as a starter. Ryan Zimmerman might slide as a hitter with a weaker line-up. He might even become discouraged at how bad the team is and become club house poison.As for potential positives. Jordan Zimmerman might pitch the a genuine ace. Lannan, Marquis and Hernandez might prove to be reliable back-end starters. Werth might star as he did in Philadelphia. Ryan Zimmerman might play like an all-star. Espinoza might prove that he is a legitimate major league infielder. Desmond might continue on a path as a top-notch shortstop.

  23. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Looks like Frank Wren and Mike Rizzo belong to the same school of thought. Thus Roy Clark, Doug Harris, Minniti. By 2013, if they are lucky this time and get some top of the rotation starters, they should be more than competitive on a yearly basis.

  24. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    @Poog: So then why did Rizzo offer Dunn a 3-year deal?To trade to the WhiteSox or some other AL team needing a DH bat near the trade deadline of course.

  25. sec 3 my sofa - Dec 23, 2010 at 3:59 PM

    "I agree with JayB that Derek Norris should be groomed for 1st base just like the smart decision Rizzo used in moving Bryce Harper to the outfield."Harper is an exception, you can't use him to compare to anybody, really. Apparently, the kid could play anywhere, literally. I don't think moving a failed catcher (if he is) to first is as easy as all that.We've gone on and on (and on and on and on…) about the need for a reasonably defensive first-baseman, unless he hits enough to make up for everybody's consequent errors, not just his own (e.g., Dunn, and Rizzo is obviously lukewarm on that idea).

  26. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    A Braves-Nats rivalry year in and year out (featuring young, gifted players) would be quite the thing. That would be especially true if the Phils and the Fish were fodder for that rivalry.fpcsteve

  27. sec 3 my sofa - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    OTOH, IF they get Derrek Lee, who has been reasonably durable but will need days off, THEN I can see having Nicky back on the bench, starting maybe 20 games and being another lefty on the bench. Assuming he can still hit while not playing regularly, which come to think of it, may be a problem in his case.

  28. N. Cognito - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    CoverageisLacking said… "So then why did Rizzo offer Dunn a 3-year deal?"Just speculation but I think there's a gap between what the Nats had last year at 1B, Dunn, and what they want to have in about 2 years (someone via development, free agency or trade). Signing Dunn for 3 more years would be an option for filling that gap.

  29. Big Cat - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    I think Detwiler should be added to the bullpen. He has decent stuff, but not starter stuff. That would give us two decent lefties out there.

  30. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    Most experts seem to feel that Norris will eventually make a fine catcher. He's ranked as the second best prospect for the 2nd year in a row. Its likely one reason why they moved Bryce Harper to the outfield. First base would probably be Lee, Morse and Ankiel. Not Nicky J. I suspect his days as a Nat are now over and done.

  31. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    @Poog: So then why did Rizzo offer Dunn a 3-year deal?Simple. Because in order to get some players, you have to overpay. And not every player has money as the top thing they want out of a deal. Some want other things, like a no-trade clause (e.g. Werth) or in Dunn's case, contract years. Rizzo would have been okay with Dunn at first for another year, or maybe two. But the only way he could get Dunn for that one or two years would be to overpay. Piling on additional money on a one or two year deal would not work with Dunn, though, because that's not the payment he really wanted. Rizzo could only overpay by adding more years to the contract. He drew the line (wisely) at three years. That was as much as he was willing to overpay to get 1-2 years of Dunn.

  32. sec 3 my sofa - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Nah, the Nicky thing was a fantasy to let me get the old 24 out of the back of the closet. So to speak.

  33. sec 3 my sofa - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Ankiel at first? He's never played first.

  34. sec 3 my sofa - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    Well, unless you count covering first as a pitcher.

  35. sparky - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    I'm pretty sure Livo could play first base a few days a week. Although that wouold take one of our stronger bats off the bench

  36. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    If Ankiel could field the pitcher's position he could likely play first. He is the super Willy replacement.

  37. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    I think Detwiler should be added to the bullpen. He has decent stuff, but not starter stuff. That would give us two decent lefties out there.And Solis and Rosenbaum just might push him there. Have to wonder if Thompson ends up in the pen?

  38. TimDz - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    DFL wrote: *There is a good chance that 2011 might be a lost season in many ways. No Strasburg. A large part of the hitting gone- Dunn and Willingham. If Lee is signed at first, look for him to be traded for youth at the trading deadline. Rodriguez could completely collapse as a player. Ramos and Espinoza might prove unready. Lannan might pitch like he did in the first half last year. Hernandez might pitch like he did in the last half, a pitcher on his last legs. Jordan Zimmerman might not mature as a starter. Ryan Zimmerman might slide as a hitter with a weaker line-up. He might even become discouraged at how bad the team is and become club house poison.As for potential positives. Jordan Zimmerman might pitch the a genuine ace. Lannan, Marquis and Hernandez might prove to be reliable back-end starters. Werth might star as he did in Philadelphia. Ryan Zimmerman might play like an all-star. Espinoza might prove that he is a legitimate major league infielder. Desmond might continue on a path as a top-notch shortstop.*This gets my vote for Bipolar comment of the week…

  39. sparky - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    TimDZ: When I first read DFL's post, I completely agree'd with it. But now that you've re-posted it, I strongly disagree with it.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    Haven't laughed this much in weeks!

  41. raymitten - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:51 PM

    I don't think Norris at 1b is a rational idea. He is short and squatty for a ballplayer — built like a catcher. And he's never played there. How is converting a catcher to 1b keeping with Rizzo's 'defense' manifesto? I'd prefer Lee over LaRoche but either one is acceptable. The Orioles seem to want whatever one we are rumored to want at the time. When LaRoche was linked here, suddenly the Orioles had to have him. When the Nats cooled on LaRoche and went to Lee, then the Orioles suddenly dropped LaRoche and started negioiating with Lee. One wonders if they are trying to win some 'battle of the hot stove beltway' with this imaginary rivalry. I think Rizzo should put out in the press that we are pursing Casey Kotchman with a seven year contract and let the Orioles 'win'.

  42. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    If Flores stays healthy, what are people's thoughts on him versus Norris? Is Norris really the catcher of the future or is he blocked anyway?

  43. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    If you think that referencing bi-polar disorder is a smart and funny way to describe someone's remarks, you are not only an idiot but mean-spirited as well. Think twice and speak once (or not at all if you don't know what you're talking about). My daughter suffers from bi-polar and there is nothing remotely funny about it.

  44. Mark - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:07 PM

    Detwiler should be a lefty arm in the bullpen. Flores has to stay healthy and Ramos has to show he is the catcher of this teams future then Rizzo has to decide on Norris.To Ray Mitten, Norris is built like Kevin Youkilis who is a good 1st baseman and was an All Star there in 2009.

  45. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Excellent signing at a reasonable price and as Mark states I would not be surprised if Burnett closes out a few more games this year.As for 1st base I think the Nat’s will be all in on Prince Fielder next year. With Boston and the Yankees out of the picture there are only a few clubs that will pay the 100 million dollar price tag, Braves, Cubs, Angels, the Giants although I think Sandoval will be moved to first and maybe the Brewers although with Greinke added to the payroll and Weeks also becoming a free agent their budget is going to get a little tight. This means that Rizzo does not want to tie up first base for 3 years. I’m sure the assessment that LaRoche is more valuable now is correct, but I think Rizzo wants someone better at first for the long run. As for Norris I think he will continue to be a catcher until he either makes the Nationals or is traded. Norris has started to receive a lot of attention from other clubs as a possible 30 HR catcher. He receives a lot more in trade value as a catcher than a 1st baseman or RF’er. Norris may well be a 1st baseman or a RF’er in the future however he won’t be one until he completely fails as catcher.

  46. Mark - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    The Baltimore blogs are calling a Reynolds/LaRoche combo a 400K combo meal. I agree with Ray Mitten that the Orioles have this strange fascination of shadowing the Nats focus on 1st base. It is very strange and creepy which is the definition of that TROLL Angelos.The Orioles also want the Nats to sign a 1st baseman first so they can be the last team standing and have all the leverage in negotiating with the remaining player sort of how the Nats did with Adam Dunn in January 2009.

  47. Section 223 - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM

    Prince Fielder. No, no, no, heck no. Rizzo is not going to get a younger, um, larger version of Dunn. No way, no how. If the team is going to throw a lot of money at a first baseman, why not look at the current resident of St. Louis? Of course, he seems to want to stay.

  48. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Prince Fielder is Dmitri Young plus 20 pounds. I think his actual height is maybe 6'0" by 5' wide.Hockey goalie yes, Nats 1st baseman "No". IMHO

  49. Wally - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    I think that Norris stays at C. His bat plays extremely well there, not so much at 1B. Think Pujols, Gonzalez, Teixera, Youklis, Votto, Fielder, … He isn't in that class. And while I haven't seen him play at all, I have read a number of reports by scouting/writing types that suggest that he will be able to survive back there. If you pair him in a platoon with a strong defensive guy like Ramos, that could be very effective.As for Laroche v. Lee, the difference in their abilities is marginal, but the decision shouldn't be made by which side of the plate they line up. It only matters how you do against R/L pitchers, right? So here are some tidbits, courtesy of Fangraphs (I didn't track down all of the different slash lines):Career v RightiesLee – .287 BALaroche – .277 BA2010Lee – .256 BALaroche – .259 BAIt doesn't overwhelmingly suggest Laroche, does it? What if I also added that Laroche hit higher against Lefties in 2010 (.264) than righties?And defense looks slightly in Lee's favor, but mostly a wash. Laroche – 2010 5.2 UZR, but career -15.9; Lee – 2010 2.1 UZR, career 7.3.The biggest question to answer, in deciding which one to go for, is whether Lee is done or not. If 2010 was the start of the end, then we should stay away from him. Otherwise, if you think that it was an aberration, I would take the cheaper option. They appear to be very similar at this stage of their respective careers, and Laroche is not as good as some of us seem to think he is. We are talking bottom 1/3 of 1Bs regardless which one we get.

  50. Feel Wood - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    At a Brewers-Nats game in early 2008, Prince Fielder singled and Dmitri Young was covering him at first. I had not yet finished my first beer of the night, but I swear I saw the Nats Park playing field list to starboard right then and there.

  51. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:39 PM

    @Section 223Everyone wants Prince Albert over Prince Fielder but that's just not going to happen. I'm not a big Fielder fan but his fist base defense has improved and he is still young enough to sign a long term contract. Also the bidding war will be less and the Nats can offer the most money if they want him and with Scott Boras being his agent that usually does the trick. Not saying this is what I would do, just saying I think this is part of the thinking that Rizzo is taking into account.

  52. Mark - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Prince Fielder is listed at 5'11" and who knows his real weight. Personally I don't think he is that tall but regardless, STAY AWAY, DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS.

  53. Sunderland - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    Norris most certainly stays at catcher for 2 more years. No matter what he does as a hitter, he'll have more value as a catcher than as a 1B. Way to soon to think about what happens 2 years from now, way too many variables. But best case scenario is we trade from a position of strength.

  54. Section 223 - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    I agree that Big Al isn't likely to come here. But, I also don't think Rizzo is going to go after the Prince either. That would seem to go against all the recent moves he has made.

  55. Big Cat - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Why is this Derek Norris bandwagon growing? He hit 235 last year in Potomac, with 12 bombs. He hit 280 with 20 bombs in 09. Granted, that was in Hagerstown……a serious launching pad. I watched him in Potomac a lot. I am far from sold, and that is being nice. Now the big first baseman Moore, thats another story. Anyone know how he did in winter ball, if he played at all?

  56. CoverageisLacking - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    You guys who are responding to my question regarding Dunn are missing the point. My question wasn't asked in a vacuum–I was raising it in the context of the comment by Poog, which asserted that Rizzo didn't want Dunn, because Rizzo is committed to pitching, speed, and defense.The fact is that Rizzo did want Dunn, and he offered him a 3-year deal to try to get him. So the explanation regarding a commitment to pitching, speed and defense doesn't fly. If that was the explanation, Rizzo wouldn't have offered him the 3-year deal.

  57. N. Cognito - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    CoverageisLacking said… "You guys who are responding to my question regarding Dunn are missing the point."There were responses that addressed your point.

  58. natsfan1a - Dec 23, 2010 at 5:54 PM

    Attaboy, Sean.Anon @ 12:06, I agree with you re. inappropriate use of that term (and "schizophrenic" as well, for that matter), but I'm afraid it's a losing battle.

  59. Sunderland - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    CiL, there's also the possibility that Rizzo offered Dunn a contract that he knew Dunn would not accept. Then he doesn't have to deal with "The Nats never even made an offer".They made an offer. An offer they were very confident Adam Dunn would refuse.

  60. Feel Wood - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    "So the explanation regarding a commitment to pitching, speed and defense doesn't fly. If that was the explanation, Rizzo wouldn't have offered him the 3-year deal."Rizzo never said he didn't want Dunn because of his defense. That whole train of thought came from the press hearing Rizzo talking about wanting to improve the team's overall defense and athleticism, seeing that they had not yet re-signed Dunn, putting two and two together and getting five. The press is excellent at that kind of thing, and readers are lemmings who just lap it up and believe it as if it was gospel. Rizzo always would have been content to trade off Dunn's defensive liabilities in order to keep his offensive strengths, but only for the short term. One or two years, three years at the absolute max. He was never going to go four, and Dunn was never going to come down from four unless he absolutely had no other choice. In the end, Dunn had several other choices, so he left. That's all there is to it.

  61. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    Why was Dunn offered a 3 year deal if Rizzo didn’t want him?There are many answers to this question but the shortest one is Rizzo never wanted Dunn in the first place he was a Bowden signing with the Cincinnati connection. As far as I can tell Katsen and the Lerner’s wanted to keep Dunn because he was a fan favorite and he provided good offensive numbers. Rizzo thinks he can actually build a winning ball club and he wants to make this his team. Rizzo did not want to upset his owners and did not have the same type of leverage with Katsen around. Once Katsen left Rizzo negotiated hard and fair for Dunn but would not go the extra step need to sign him the fourth year. He also kind of new as Boswell did also that if a deal was not done before the seasons end Dunn most likely would not sign with the Nationals, its sort of a pride thing for baseball players. If Dunn had sign a 3 year deal Rizzo could still work around Dunn and possibly trade him in a year of two or compensate in other ways that would take to long to go into. Rizzo is a practical man, yes he wants pitching and defense and athletic players who doesn’t but you can’t always get what you want. That is why I think there is a distinct possibility that he will sacrifice some athleticism and defense for Prince Fielder next year. A line up with Zimmerman, Fielder and Werth at the heart of the order should be good enough to compete for a playoff spot if the pitching is there.

  62. sparky - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM

    But if someone wrote a few months ago that a lineup of Posey, Huff and Uribe is good enough to win the world series, they'd be run outta here.

  63. TimDz - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:31 PM

    To anon @12:06:I probably should have used the word waffle or waffling. It was never my intent to talk disparengly about what I understand is a serious medical issue. I apologize for offending you.

  64. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:35 PM

    Nice Tim. – aAdifferent anonymous.And somewhere 1a is smiling.Tis the season!

  65. natsfan1a - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:40 PM

    Yes, I am, Anon@1:35. How did you know? ;-)(And I second Anon @1:35, TimDz. Nicely done.)

  66. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    @sparkyNot me, with Lincecum, Cain, and Sanchez you can easily win the World Series if you can get there. The season is a marathon the post season is pitching and defense. You need two top notch pitchers to win the World Series if you have 3 it helps. San Francisco being in a weak division this year helped a lot. Good pitching always beats good hitting in the short run.

  67. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    replace Sanchez with Bumgarner.

  68. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    "Good pitching always beats good hitting in the short run."Tell that to the Atlanta Braves.They had plenty of great pitching teams that lost in the short run.

  69. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    If I remember correctly the Braves fell short on have a dominate closer that also counts as pitching. Poor Braves 10 non strike years in a row as division champ guess that proves it hitting wins.You can build your little hitting fantasy leagues I'll take pitching and defense.

  70. Steve M. - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:24 PM

    David is correct on the Post Season as it is pitching, defense, but also execution and clutch hitting as you have to score at least one run! Ask the team the Dodgers faced in 1966 when games were won and lost at 1-0.That is why the Nats have to get in contention and get their "Cliff Lee" at the trade deadline just as the Rangers did.When I look at the potential of home grown pitching studs here, it could work out for the Nats just like the Giants. I have a lot of faith in Strasburg. Rizzo has to stay away from any urge of trading away the future for a short term fix and I still dont think Greinke will dominate in Milwaukee for his 2 years there.

  71. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    Tim, thank you for your 1:31 post. My daughter is just now coming through a tough stretch, and the whole bi-polar thing is rough and raw for me. That doesn't excuse my language, however. I would like to apologize for failing to take my own advice. I thought once and posted. I got the meaning of your first post, and it was funny. I enjoy NJ and didn't post my name earlier because I didn't want to lose the camaraderie and conversation that is so great here. But that wasn't particularly courageous on my part, and for that I'm sorry. Thanks again for the second post. fpcsteve

  72. Steve M. - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1966_WS.shtmlI just looked up the 1966 for exact numbers. 2 games of the 4 game series were won by 1-0. The Dodgers had the big pitchers, Koufax, Drysdale, and Osteen against the O's McNally, Bunker and Palmer.Koufax with a 0.95 ERA in the Post Season looked like a lock and guess what, the Dodgers were held to a .226 OBP for the series.Pitching, defense, execution and clutch hitting!

  73. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    Hiya David. The Braves had 3 dominant years from Smoltz, 3 from Wohlers, 2 fom Rocker, they had closing.I'm just trying to point out that there is no "always" in baseball. But that went way over your head.But it's good of you to teach me that closing is part of pitching. That was instructional.I'll just go back to stupidly building a fanatasy team of hitters….

  74. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:46 PM

    fpcsteve… as someone who is in a 10+ year relationship with a bi-polar woman, and having been through the "rough patches" on many occaisions, I can tell you that she and I both use lite ribbing to keep us alert and cognizant of the condition.I certainly didn't mean to make lite of anyone elses situation and aplologize for doing so.Inspite of that, I still want a firstbaseman and am willing to take Lee for 1 year instead of LaRoche for 3. Ideally, LaRoche for 2 would be my preference.

  75. JayB - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:52 PM

    How does Maxwell do it?We lose A Thompson….looked good in spring training but had a bad year and was from Marlins for Nick Johnson a few years back and KEEP MAXWELL……NJack…do you have any idea why they refuse to give up on Maxwell.

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    You and I are both baffled by this. I guess they think Rick Eckstine can get him to shorten his stroke but it hasn't happened in 18 months and I don't see it happening period.

  77. Theophilus - Dec 23, 2010 at 7:57 PM

    Looks like everybody has taken the day off. 1. I haven't watched Norris play so have no idea about his technique. From accounts (two CS in AFL finals), however, he has a really good arm. If true, that alone makes it worthwhile to be patient w/ his development as a catcher. 2. As to choosing between Lee and LaRoche, I fear Lee is going to be injury prone. (And there is no hope of him becoming left-handed.) I don't think it is fair to pronounce about LaRoche based on last year. I can't imagine a more difficult position than batting either in front of or behind a .196 Fences or Bust hitter. There's either (1) no one on base ahead or you or (2) no reason to be petrified of the batter behind you — or both. LaRoche reminds me of Jeff Conine, and I'd take that, happily.

  78. JayB - Dec 23, 2010 at 8:04 PM

    Agreed…He has a huge stride and he is all arms….no wrists at all….Just trade him and get a injured single a pitcher with some years left before he becomes a Minor L FA……He is a complete waste of roster spots…hate to lose a LF pitcher with a fastball over 92 MPH to keep Max

  79. Anonymous - Dec 23, 2010 at 8:18 PM

    I used to be a basketball coach, and there were times when I couldn't (or wouldn't)give up on a player when everyone else begged me to. It was all about potential. In retrospect, it was also irrational. But I kept hoping and hoping in spite of what I saw (stats and performance). I think something like that is going on with the Nats and Maxwell, JayB and NatsJack. The Nats are hoping against hope that Maxwell will finally "happen." Is he coachable? That is the issue. And I would take Lee or LaRoche, too. On the spot. I hope you're right about the timing. Thanks for your 2:46 post, NatsJack.fpcsteve

  80. self-indugent too - Dec 23, 2010 at 8:24 PM

    So we agree with Susan Sontag, that people who use illness as a metaphor are a cancer on the body politic.

  81. David - Dec 23, 2010 at 9:54 PM

    Anon 2:35Sorry for the snide comment. I understand your point just the Braves aren't the example I'd use to prove it. The Braves actually won the division 14 times in a row and when their young pitchers were the most dominate they went to the WS 4 times in five years not counting the strike.I went back and looked it up because the memory not as good as it used to be but in the 3 WS that the Braves lost they actually outscored their opponents collectively. So hitting is not what failed them. Steve M brought up a better example the 1966 WS and I like this comparison because it is pre-steroid baseball which is what I think the game is closer to today. The original statement was that "if someone had stated a lineup of Posey, Huff and Uribe is good enough to win the world series, they'd be run outta here."I know that pitching will not "always" win but in a short series the better pitching will prevail. Cliff Lee is a fine starter that had not lost in postseason until this year but Lincecum out-pitched him. You could look at it that the Giants hit better than the Rangers however I don't think most baseball people would agree with that. I think that baseball may have changed back to 1966 baseball. I think most of the steroids have been removed. I think pitching and defense is even more important now. If you have the pitching and defense you just need an offense that will get you into the playoffs. Everyone know the importance of pitching but position players are now rushed to the big leagues and many don't even know how to throw the ball to the cutoff man. It will be interesting this year to see if first the Nats defense improves and second what difference that will make to the pitching and the won lost total.BTW I can tell you know your baseball and I'm sure I could have a beer with you sometime and talk baseball. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  82. Nick - Dec 24, 2010 at 6:13 AM

    Count me in the Lee camp for 1st base.If Rizzo intends to stick with his plan of defense, character and athleticism, there's really no question who to pick. LaRoche, while better than Dunn, isn't the kind of gold-glove caliber player Lee is/was. For those that have concerns about his age, he has an athletic frame that should age well. I say sign him on a one year deal at 9 million, platoon Morse as seen fit at first and left, and if Lee has a first half more like his 2009 season, deal him at the deadline and eat the rest of his salary to get a pitcher under control beyond 2011.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 86 63 -- 2
ATLANTA 75 75 11.5
MIAMI 73 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 17.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
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