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News and notes

Jan 3, 2011, 3:43 PM EDT

Hope everyone had a happy and safe New Year's. Let's start 2011 off with some quick-hit news and notes for your perusal…

– Even though he was traded to the Brewers two weeks ago, Zack Greinke's name keeps popping up in relation to the Nationals. SI.com's Jon Heyman wrote on Twitter last night that the Nats offered Greinke a "big extension" to try to convince the right-hander to agree to a trade to D.C. Greinke, who as we now know exercised his no-trade clause to block a deal to the Nationals, wasn't interested in the contract offer. After seven seasons languishing in Kansas City, Greinke wanted to play for a team that had a chance to win now. He didn't see that in Washington, so that's why he's now in Milwaukee.

There's really no reason to agonize over this any more. The Nationals did everything they could to try to acquire Greinke, and the fact they offered him an extension is no surprise. He's only signed through 2012, so they would have been incredibly foolish to trade away half their roster for this guy and then not lock him up long-term. And it's not all that surprising Greinke turned the Nats down. Look, as much as the organization has improved over the last 18 months, it's still perceived around baseball as an afterthought. Even those who believe the Nationals are on the right track admit they're not ready to win in 2011. Should we be all that surprised Greinke nixed the trade so he could instead go to Milwaukee, where the Brewers are geared up to make a legitimate run at the NL Central title this year?

The Nats can fork over $126 million to Jayson Werth. They can pay record signing bonuses to Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Until they actually do something positive on the field against major-leagueRead more ยป

  1. SonnyG10 - Jan 3, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Whatever radio station they use, I wish they would fix it so that you could get good reception inside Nationals Park. I like to listen to the game on the radio while I'm at the park, but the reception is not very good there.

  2. Pilchard - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Milwaukee + no contract > Washington + huge new contractOuch.

  3. NatinBeantown - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Mark (and others),One need I haven't seen Rizzo address (admittedly a lesser priority than SP and 1B) is a veteran backup for MI. I like Gonzalez as a defensive replacement and backup, but I'm really concerned about a situation where either ID or DE are not in the lineup for an extended period (b/c of the real possibility of an injury or prolonged struggle). Is the club pursuing this? Are they interested in Orlando Cabrera (no idea if he's trying to find a starting gig).

  4. Steve M. - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    On the Greinke situation, the guy is a flake. I wouldn't get too caught up on anything he says or does. He chose the Brewers who will have a tough time getting past the Reds and Cardinals to compete in the NL Central so what sense did that make? Wait till he has to face Albert Pujols and Joey Votto 3 to 5 times a season against both. My guess is he will be the Opening Day starter in Cincy on March 31st so that will be quite the matchup and I hope Greinke gets knocked out in the 1st!

  5. Doc - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Cranky may have been the most obvious pitcher avaibable, but his past record was seriously short of 'excitement worthy', and certainly not worthy of the reported Nats trading pieces.Shades of Bartolo Colon for Sizemore, Phillips, and Cliff Lee. Only in this case it didn't happen. One has to question why Rizzo would even consider such a swap!We'll all have fun in 2011, and future seasons, comparing Cranky's record and the stats of the reported tradeable Nats.

  6. David Lint - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I'm sure Ray Knight is a nice man… but I cannot stand him being the color man in 2011. Please, MASN, keep Ray in the pre/post game chair.

  7. sparky - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I really like Ray Knight doing color. About once or twice a month. Any more often, and I'm with David.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    How about bringing back Tom Paciorek? He was always good for a laugh when things were going bad.

  9. Theophilus - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    One small improvement the Nats/MASN could make would be to replace Holliday as the backup TV play-by-play guy. I don't know how many days off Carpenter gets but a half inning of Holliday is two outs too many. Assuming that you could tell whether there were three outs or runners on 1st, 2d or 3d. I recognize that some people revere him for his malaprop-pensity but he's the Willard Scott of sports — the schtick (except it isn't a schtick, its the real thing) has completely worn off and is most conspicuous over a baseball field. Just getting rid of him would make a least a half-dozen of my days this year better.

  10. Theophilus - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I want to add a personal note to my college dorm pal NatsJackinFL, who I am happy to see back in the New Year.

  11. joemktg - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    1) What motivated Werth to sign vs. Greinke not to sign? Did Werth see something that Greinke did not? Did Greinke just want to get through this year on a squad that has a chance to win in '11, then collect on a big payday?2) I'll go one step further than SonnyG10: get a radio signal that can be heard on the western side of FFX County.3) Ray's color commentary is great for the nuts and bolts of the game, and his butchering of the English language (and telestrator) is very entertaining. 4) Give all the beat writers some air time during pre-game. All they're doing during pre-game is eating that nonsense the club lays out for them.

  12. Jaxpo Nat - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    NatinBeantown: I think you sell Gonzalez a little short. I feel he is an okay option for filling in, even if for an extended period. Frankly, I'm not sure that, given consistent playing time, he isn't good enough to be a starter at this level. I don't think someone of Cabrera's stature will sign to be merely a backup insurance option.And GOD, PLEASE DO NOT MAKE ME LISTEN TO RAY KNIGHT EVERY NIGHT!

  13. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    I think they will probably play it at Landover unfort. They want maximum seating capacity…and they were able seat 70 k (split 40/30 between pitt and dc fans)..so, I dont know if Natstown would be the venue……

  14. DFL - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Werth signed for mercenary reasons. The money was too good. Nobody else was going to give him $ 126 million for 7 years. So what if he draws his pay cheque from a dysfunctional company? He will be able to retire in luxury while, say, Elijah Dukes rots in the Florida penitentiary, Aaron Boone coaches third base in AA or Matt Chico pitches away in obscurity in Syracuse for ten years.

  15. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Did you all see this Ladson blurb about Bryce Harper being on the Opening Day roster 2011 got picked up by SI's FanNation in their Truth or Rumor.Has Ladson lost his mind?http://section409.blogspot.com/2011/01/bryce-harper-to-make-majors-in-2011.html

  16. N. Cognito - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Werth has a ring. He's not stupid. $$$$The irony is, Charlie and Dave are fantastic yet unheard while Carpenter is a dullard, Knight is a blabbering idiot and Holiday is simply lost.

  17. HHover - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    @ joemktg – What Werth saw was the Nats offering him crazy $$$ in his last shot at a big payday. Greinke is 3-1/2 yrs younger and will be on the FA market in 2 years–if nothing else, he has another shot at the Nats offering to grossly overpay him then.

  18. phil dunn - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Now that Os have signed Lee, everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop with the Nats signing Laroche. My sense is that Laroche really doesn't want to play here so he might settle for a one year deal with a possible contender. Maybe a couple of years in purgatory with the Pirates was enough for Laroche.

  19. N. Cognito - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    PAY TO PLAY said… "Has Ladson lost his mind?"Can't lose what you've never had.

  20. GameDog - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Mark's right, you can't really blame Greinke for going with the Brewers. He's been in KC for his whole career, which is probably the worst place to be from a player's perspective. Greinke's a competitor and he's tired of having no hope of competing. I don't think he's interested in helping the Nats get to a .500 record this year. And, as much as the Lerner's and Rizzo talk about building a winner, I don't think Greinke is inclined to take their word for it (or any owner for that matter).Also, from a business perspective, it makes sense to go play for a competitive team, show what he can do for a decent team. That should greatly benefit him when he hits free agency.The Nats need to post a respectable record this year. That, along with the return of Strasburg in 2012, and the obligatory "show me the money" contract might be enough to lure a top free agent pitcher.

  21. CoverageisLacking - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    "Saturday's high temperature in Washington was 58 degrees. The average high on January 1 is 43 degrees."A city actually having a real winter should be a prerequisite to that city hosting the "Winter Classic."

  22. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Started to write a comment about the Winter Classic. Realized I know nothing about hockey or climatology. What's left, ice making? Take water, make it real cold. Helpful? I thought not.If we get a Winter Classic, gotta believe Dallas will not be far behind.

  23. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I'm with CiL. "Winter" Classic? In D.C? C'mon. Let's be serious. This thing should not be held south of Buffalo and, preferably, in Edmonton or Calgary. It's supposed to celebrate the heritage of hockey. Last time I checked, there weren't too many pick-up hockey games being played on the C&O Canal.Now, to the serious stuff. Who's going to be Sunshine Bobby's (the announcer, not the blogger) color guy?To my way of thinking, the Nats have gone steadily downhill with their choice of color men to sit along Sunshine. Of course, that may have a lot to do with listening to Bobby's banalities over the course of a six-month season: "You know, Ray, the Nats are 6-25 entering this lengthy road trip. If they can just go 1-9 on this West Coast trip, things could get v-e-r-r-r-r-r-y interesting in the middle of that NL East race."The Nats' color commentator grades since the days of good old Mel Proctor, who seems like Vin Scully by comparison:Four-star Ron Darling (2005): underrated here. Parlayed Proctor's teachings to become the Mets' SNY lead color guy.Three-star Tom Paciorek (2006): Also underrated here, and had the plus of not taking himself seriously. A major plus.One-and-a-half star Don Sutton (2007-2008): He was great. Just ask him.One and a-half star Rob Dibble (2009-Aug. 2010): He gets one and a-half stars: a half a star for each half-season he lasted. I know Mr. Bombastic was a favorite of Nats Insiders. I just couldn't stand the guy.My only recommendation for 2011: no visible tatoos on the forearms. Does that eliminate Chris Knoche?On second thought, can they just simulcast Charlie and Dave?

  24. SUSasskuash - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    2 thoughts on Greinke's logic: (1) The Brewers may be better than the Nats this year, but they are far from a contender and would take a LOT of luck to even win the NL Central. (2) I don't think Greinke wanted an extension; I think he wants to hit FA. The commenter who suggested going to Milwaukee gives him a chance to improve his W and W% makes a lot of sense. That way he can demand more in FA, and then maybe the Nats can convince him to come to DC for the same reason$ they convinced Werth…Also, I will not watch the Nats on MASN if Ray Knight is doing the broadcast again. I'll just listen to Dave and Charlie, and only see the team live. Ray Knight was TERRIBLE- he made me miss Dibble even though I was never a fan of Dibble's

  25. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    I think it's time to mix in the radio guys to the TV play by play. Offer the color job to Billy Ripken, even if it's just a part time gig for him. He's good on XM and the MLB network.

  26. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    and ditch Johnny H. He is terible in the booth and in the studio.

  27. Pilchard - Jan 3, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    Not sure I agree with the idea that Greinke wants to play the free agent game. He signed an extension with KC to avoid FA, and his contract with KC barred trades to the Yankees, Mets and Boston. If he wants to stay out of the spot-light in the big markets, free agency will not be that lucrative of a deal for him. If he and the Brewers have some success, would not be at all surprised if he signs a long term contract with Milwaukee during the next year.

  28. JaneB - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    I am with simulcasting Charlie and Dave. They know what the heck they're talking about. They can keep the count straight. I never understood how Johnny Holiday got this job and never understand how he keeps it. Why is it okay for him to get wrong what's actually going on on the field …but Dibble can't make an editorial comment? That makes no sense. Like Ron Darling but I guess he's got a fine job now.

  29. Ballinonabudget - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    I was at the Winter Classic. Unbelievable atmosphere. At the end of the game, a bunch of Pittsburgh fans were talking smack about the Nats. Whatever. It would be awesome if they could bring it to Nats Park. It's not the temperature that is the biggest concern (they keep the ice frozen from underneath and anything below 60 degrees is fine) it's the rain that is the problem. It freezes as soon as it hits the ice and makes the ice uneven and unsafe for the players. Tailgating before the game was great, but there isn't really anywhere to do that around Nats Park. Maybe they could open up RFK and bring the shuttle buses back.

  30. Wally - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    It would be good to get an enjoyable announcing team. I liked Carpenter initially, but have soured on him. I like Ray Knight better than any of the previous ones we had (Sutton was the worst, and I don't remember Darling here well, but not crazy about him based on his other gigs), but I think that we can do better. What is Jon Miller doing these days? Always liked him from the Balt days.Does it have to be someone from the old boys network?

  31. Everett W. - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    I'm not sure how the Nats can swing both a major FM and AM in the D.C. market. If forced to choose, the FM WJFK which reaches Nats fans based primarily in northern Virginia seems the better option.

  32. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Miller has been doing the Giants games for some years now, so he's unlikely to be available. I do sorta miss Wimpy, but there's got to be other good announcers out there.

  33. N. Cognito - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    The biggest problems we've had with the announcers is they feel they have to talk through the entire broadcast. They end up saying so much non-sensical stupid stuff.If Carpy would stick strictly to PBP and not feel he has to provide lead-ins to the color guy, he might be passable. His lame and/or idiotic attempts at analysis-based lead-ins are the legends of face palming.We need a color guy who is a cross between Sutton (expert analysis but less haughty and dry) and a toned-down Dibble (some emotion with legit criticism mixed in).

  34. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Theophilus…. not real sure who your referring to when you call me "old college dorm pal". Unless you were at East Carolina from September 1965 to February 1966?But it's good to be back from a holiday break and only 41 days till pitchers and catchers report.

  35. OppositeofwhatCourtbelieves - Jan 3, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Mark Z,How does "Harper to break camp with team" not make your bullet-points? The Nats need a LH bat in the middle of their order and putting Bryce in between Werth and Zim would give him plenty of protection. I'm sure he can learn the little things as the season progress. Besides, Kenny Powers has taught us that fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless.

  36. waddu eye no - Jan 3, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    a simulcast would be nice, but not likely, so:1. get us a radio station we can hear in herndon.2. sync it so there's no delay between tv and radio3. ignore carp, hollowday and zzzzz g'knight completely

  37. Carl in 309 - Jan 3, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Slow day in Hot Stove Land–we're rehashing not getting Greinke (we'll likely see him twice in the Spring: the April 15-17 home series against the Brewers; and our return visit on May 23-25–maybe we'll all do some learning from those encounters); and discussing Nats tv announcers.I'd rather hear whose really still in the running for Rizzo's bids to be in the starting rotation; and if we want to debate tv, how about lobbying for more free-tv coverage of the Nats (I can't get excited about a couple of guys I never get to hear without cable).More to the point, are we ever going to land Adam LaRoche?Happy New Year–pitchers and catchers report on or about Feb. 13th!

  38. raymitten - Jan 3, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I am both a Nats and Caps season ticket holder, and I've heard things from both teams about a Winter Classic in DC. Right before he resigned, I attended a conference Stan Kasten held in conjunction with the DC Bar. He indicated that the Winter Classic would be coming here within a couple of years. George McPhee stated in a Capitals season ticket holder fan forum recently that the league promised Washington the game when the Caps agreed to participate in Pittsburgh. On the NHL Network, when questioned about holding the game at FedExField, Ted Leonsis responded "Nationals Park is great too." The Lerners are minority owners of the Caps. I'd expect the Winter Classic at Nats Park within three years. More importantly, to hell with Greinke. Why is Heyman even reporting this junk at this point. He didn't want to come here. We get it. Move on.

  39. N. Cognito - Jan 3, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    OppositeofwhatCourtbelieves said… "Mark Z,How does "Harper to break camp with team" not make your bullet-points?"Please tell me you're joking.Don't pay attention to the Tim Dierkes behind the curtain. Except that they are quick with news, Mlbtraderumors is garbage. People post that junk and then it sprouts legs.

  40. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    It is said on the Nationals web site that LaRoche and Nats are close to a deal:http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110103&content_id=16382890&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

  41. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    Mark,I have a question for you regarding TV coverage. I hope you can help me with it.I want the Nats' game to be replayed on MASN 100 percent of the time. Is this possible?Sometimes I'm working on a weekend when the Nats have a day game. I go home to watch the replay, and the Orioles are on. I hate this. Are Yankees fans only given the option of seeing a Mets replay, because they're in the same geographic area?Last season the Nats won a great game (1pm start) at home (which I missed), so I went home to watch the replay. The O's weren't due to come on till late that night as they were on the West Coast. So do I get a Nats replay from 5-8pm? No, I got some lame football game replay from two of the tiniest and most obscure schools in America.I only want what other MLB fans have nationwide. Can we get 100 percent of Nats' games replayed on MASN?Thanks

  42. http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110103&content_id=16382890&vkey=news_was&c_id=was - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    It is said on the Nationals web site that LaRoche and Nats are close to a deal:

  43. HHover - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Anon @3:04Of course, that report is coming the same Bill Ladson who says if Bryce Harper does well in spring training, it "wouldn't come as a surprise if" he's on the opening day roster.

  44. Wally - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Anyone see the CarGo extension with the Rockies? 7/$80m. I am usually in favor of the players when it comes to contracts and paying the money, but that one seems premature to me. Great year, but he seemed to have huge road/home splits. I think that I would have let him do it again before giving him a 7 year deal.

  45. Sunderland - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Wally, it's a risk either way. If he performed great again next year, then it costs the Rockies 7 / $120.Good deal for both sides I wopuld say.

  46. court, rfk428 - Jan 3, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    Ease up on MLBTR. When you have "Rumors" in your name, you have to take the info with a grain of salt. The point of the site is to bring every half-cocked idea into the light so the baseball uber-fans have something to constantly read.As for Harper, no matter how well he does, he's not as polished as Strasburg was and he was sent down. There is plenty for Bryce to learn in the minors (like how to play the OF) and I'm sure the FO won't want him screwing up with the eyes of the nation on him. It will be interesting to see what level Harper is assigned to – hopefully Potomac.-actuallywhatCourtthinks

  47. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    There is one Nat official (Bob Boone) who feels that Bryce's play on the field should dictate where he starts out. He doesn't rule out anything.That being said, the actual braintrust (Mike Rizzo, Davey Johnson, Roy Clark, and Phil Rizzo) will start Bryce at Hagerstown with an outside chance that he could start at Potomac. They WILL NOT let him stumble anywhere. They want him to progress succesfuly from station to station and take NO CHANCE that he has to be demoted for any reason. The last player I remember advancing from A ball to the Major Leagues was Kent Hrbek and that was only after he had 2 full seasons in A ball, a late September call up that was sucessfull and then lit up the next Spring Training season.Bryce Harper has the tools to advance rapidly but he will not be coming north with the big club for opening day.

  48. JamesFan - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    The Nats don't have a radio network south of the city. 1500 is a very weak signal in the South. FM or AM doesn't matter if the signal carries the region. Radio is very important to building a fan base. This should be a priority.

  49. mjr - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    I'd vote for Charlie and Dave moving to television. They, at least, know what's going on, and are way-easier on the eyes than the likes of Ray Knight, Johnny Holliday, and Phil Wood.Going back to the Spring Training discussion, does anyone know what goes on in the very first days after Ps and Cs report? I have to be in FL in mid-February which probably nixes a March trip. I wouldn't mind hanging out at the training complex for a couple of days if there's actually something going on. Thanks for any info.

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 3, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    There is alot of bull pen work by the pitchers. The throwing areas are fenced but you can stand right there and watch from 5' away. Lots of pitchers fielding work with, believe it or not, bunting practice. There usually are several position players that report early so the catchers and early arrivals take batting practice. If you never been to training camp, these practices take place at the Carl Barger complex just about 1/4 north of Space Coast Stadium and you actual can mingle withe the players before and after proactice.

  51. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    Anon at 3:06: It's OK to want it. But why you would think Mark has anything to do with it beats me. Try writing to MASN. That probably won't help, either, but at least it's pointed in the right direction. Have you considered recording the games?Oh, and other MLB teams re-broadcast their day games at night? This I didn't know.

  52. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Not sure a Winter Classic could sell out Fed Ex Field. But Nats Park is probably too small. Hence rumors that the NHL is looking at having the Classic at Ravens Stadium in Baltimore, which is close in size to Heinz Field. Only rumors, mind you. But it makes some sense. Caps fans would go crazy, but it is an NHL decision, not a Caps management decision.

  53. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    to Anon @ 5:03 PM:While I agree that Nats Park is small, I believe that they would have no problem selling out Fed Ex. I follow Hockey and the Winter classic has taken on a life of its own.My guess is that it would be the Caps hosting an east coast team, most likely the Rangers.While the Rangers are not necessarily a rival of the Caps (Unless you go back to the old Patrick Division), they are one of the oringinal six teams, have yet to play in a Classic and, coming from New York, there would be a whole lot of folks interested in making the trip down I-95.We now return to our regularly scheduled Nat's chat…TimDz

  54. Big Cat - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    Wonder what John Lowenstein is doing now. Ol Brother Lo was tremendous as an Oriole color man back in the 80's. Never a dull moment with him.

  55. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    If I'm not mistaken, the issue with the WTOP FMs is that they all must totally simulcast or they get considered separate stations by the ratings services…which would hinder WTOP's long-standing "top of the heap" rating. If I were the person in the Nats organization who cared about broadcast (and, there's been precious little evidence over the years that such a person exists), my gripe with AM 1500 would be there's no regularly scheduled programming that supports baseball…no chance to grab a listener whose radio just happens to be on that frequency anyway. Baseball games wedged between low-rated chatter about federal bureaucracy won't attract new listeners. They should either insist Bonneville flip 1500 to all talk (a golden opportunity missed years ago, before 106.7 and 570 went sports), or put themselves on a sport station. How silly is it that the best-known sports station in town — WTEM — broadcasts the Baltimore team. Nats on 980 and 100.3, Orioles on 1500.If they remain on 1500, the Nats should spend a couple of bucks and buy time on any of the zillion brokered AM stations around the 'burbs, to ensure the games could actually be heard south or west of the beltway at night.

  56. David - Jan 3, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    What I find interesting about the trade for Greinke isn't that he didn't want to come to Washington, which could be for many reasons of which I don't care is number one with me, but what Rizzo was offering to get him. I think the trade shows that Rizzo highly prizes a top of the rotation pitcher. I think it shows that Rizzo will trade any prospect outside of Harper, who can't be traded until June for said pitcher. I sort of agree with this philosophy as long as the pitcher is not too old and that he truly is a top of the rotation pitcher. I know that no trade involving players or prospects for a top pitcher will surprise me now. I think Rizzo does have a outline of exactly what type of team he would like. As to whether or not he is able to obtain these type of players is to be seen.As for announcers I've never seen one that everyone likes. I was a big Jon Miller fan growing up listening to him on the radio but when he first started doing TV he was not as good and had to learn the medium. I still think he is a better radio announcer. The Winter Classic is a gimmick but a really cool one. Just the fact that network TV picks it up is good for hockey. If the NHL could get a network contract for playing outside all hockey game would be played there. If the Caps play in the Winter Classic at National's park I'll go. If it is at FedEx not so much.And for what its worth I think Harper will start in Potomac because I don't think they will want to promote him more than once and he more than held his own in the AFL.

  57. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    And for a(nother) blast from the past (re: J. Lowenstein as a color guy), where are Shelby Whitfield and Ron Menchine when you need them? I loved Whitfield's calls on Frank Howard's home runs: "It's deep to left field… You can kiss it good-bye." They broadcast for WTOP-1500, and we had no trouble picking them up in Warrenton. And as TimDz famously said, "We now return to our regularly-scheduled Nats Chat…"fpcsteve

  58. Another_Sam - Jan 3, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    I like Phil Wood in there with Johnny. [I like his discussion of the old, old Senators -- the ones who went to Minnesota.] I also like Johnny — a DC icon for sure. I'm okay with Carpenter, but someone else wouldh't be a deal breaker for me. Regarding radio stations: several years ago I got XmRadio because of the baseball and I've not listened to terresterial since I got it. Recommended to you all.I saw the note above about John Lowenstein. [sp?] I too liked him. His onetime partner Mel Proctor was here for a season but for some reason he didn't do well. In his first few games he couldn't follow the double switch. I guess he'd been doing AL for too long. He'd really be lost with here, in the Riggleman era. LOL. I liked Proctor.Today was a bit longer than yesterday. I could almost notice it. Spring training isn't all that far away. I'm ready. Enough of this geeking on trades and so on. [just kidding.] Let's play ball.

  59. Anonymous - Jan 3, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Hearing Ray Knight in the booth makes me want to shoot my television. Pre and Post only. No more Knight.

  60. Another_Sam - Jan 3, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    And above — right on whoever said Sutton was the worst that's been here. My problem with Sutton was that by listening to him you'd never know he was a sterling baseball player. I want the baseball man in the booth to talk baseball.

  61. Another_Sam - Jan 3, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    And dream on if you're thinking of Jon Miller here. Ha! BTW one of my fondest memoreies of spring training was being in the hot dog and beer line at Al Lang stadium in St. Petersburg quite a few years ago. I turned around and Jon Miller — shorts, topsiders, and a billowing Hawiaian [sp?] shirt was right behind me. I composed myself enough to speak, and we talked baseball. We then went to the condiment stand juggling our beers and dogs, sauced up the dogs, and went on our way. Pricelss. Baseball is great. Spring training is great.

  62. NatBiscuit - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    Perhaps its my southern roots, but I actually like Ray Knight. I certainly enjoyed him more than Rob Dibble or Ray Knight. I thought Tom Paciorek was the most enjoyable. I liked Darling but he never seemed to be able to move past his Mets affiliation. I am very appreciative of Carpenter's style, but his first few years he had trouble letting go of the Cardinals. Sutton was not happy to be here and it showed. Dibble has trouble remembering he's not the only one in the booth. He talked like he was a fan, but it was insincere and that showed too.Give Carpenter an experienced analyst who wants to have a discussion and who is happy to be employed. Preferably someone with a sense of humor.

  63. Anonymous - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    "Not sure a Winter Classic could sell out Fed Ex Field. But Nats Park is probably too small."Previous Winter Classics were played in Fenway Park and Wrigley Field, neither of which is bigger than Nationals Park. In those cases the NHL eschewed the much larger football stadiums in Chicago and Boston. No reason they would not also avoid FedEx, which is an eyesore more than it is a stadium – and hard to get to, to boot. Why did they use Heinz Field rather than PNC Park in Pittsburgh? Probably because that stadium is just as new and nice as PNC, basically in the same location, but bigger.

  64. N. Cognito - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    "Why did they use Heinz Field rather than PNC Park in Pittsburgh? Probably because that stadium is just as new and nice as PNC, basically in the same location, but bigger."Size (=$$$) is the big reason, but they've also learned that baseball parks have terrible sightlines for hockey. "Just as new" had nothing to do with picking Heinz Field.

  65. BinM - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    You want a good 'color' guy for MASN; Somebody with team association, a fresh voice – Ladies & Gentlemen, let me present Robert Fick! OK, OK, so that might be a little "blue" for our younger listeners… How 'bout Aaron "F'ing" Boone; H-m-m-m, No, that reeks of nepotism (among other things)… I understand Joe Morgan is looking for work; No, just about all the 'Cincy cadre' is gone, save for Bob Boone and Knight…. Wait a minute, that's it! Morgan in the booth with Crapenter, Knight on the pre- & post-game, and Boone in the FO. The stench of Bowden returns to Nationals Park.

  66. N. Cognito - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:39 AM

    NatBiscuit said… "Perhaps its my southern roots, but I actually like Ray Knight. I certainly enjoyed him more than Rob Dibble or Ray Knight."????

  67. mjr - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Thanks, NatsJack. I do know where the training complex is – got to hang out there a bit last year. I just didn't know if the Ps & Cs would actually be outside doing stuff (like pitching and catching) or if they'd be inside doing leglifts and pushups for a few days.

  68. Anonymous - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Actually, if you want a broadcast team with ties to the Nats and TV experience, I give you…Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden. Tell me that wouldn't be entertaining no matter what's happening on the field that night.

  69. sec 3 my sofa - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:04 AM

    Growing up in Chicago, hockey was what we did (and watched–I saw Bobby Hull's 500th goal) when it was too cold to play baseball. Which is close enough for the Interwebs.The Rangers, having not been in a Winter Classic, would need to host, I think.

  70. Sunderland - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:32 AM

    Perhaps it's my southern roots, but I completely agree with NatsBiscuit. I certainly agree with him more than with N Cognito and NatsBiscuit.

  71. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    The sound you just heard was my head exploding. I will say that the combo would likely hold your attention, though…at least until you ran screaming from the living room. :-)— Actually, if you want a broadcast team with ties to the Nats and TV experience, I give you…Stan Kasten and Jim Bowden. Tell me that wouldn't be entertaining no matter what's happening on the field that night. January 3, 2011 8:22 PM

  72. Doc - Jan 4, 2011 at 4:11 AM

    Everybody has their own favorite combo of broadcasters and color analysts. Joe Morgan's analysis was always intelligent and knowledgeable, with a minimum of banter baloney. He and Jon Miller made a good team.

  73. Alex - Jan 4, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    1) Ray Knight as the color commentator? Oh, hell, please no. I don't understand why the Nats would want him, and the postings above (which almost unanimously appeared to be negative) are right on.2) Bryce Harper in 2011? Oh, hell, no. Give him time to tear through the minors. Remember, his clock starts when he comes up so why burn his first year when he's learning? Bring him up in June 2012 when Strasburg is firing missiles as well. Then we get him through 2018. 3) Winter Classic in DC? It's not speculation, it's only a question of when (I'm a Nats and Caps season ticket holder) as that was part of the deal with Pittsburgh. Probably 3 years. And you're kidding if you think a) they can't keep ice in DC (they keep it indoors and fans don't need jackets so why is outdoors not feasible) especially if they play at night or b) they can't sell out FedEx or wherever they want for this event. They could sell out either. But it's less complicated at a baseball park without competing with football hosts.

  74. Anonymous - Jan 4, 2011 at 8:47 AM

    I'm also a no vote on Knight. He's just not very articulate or insightful. Why not get someone who can actually add value, by providing insights not obvious on the surface? One model would be someone like Sutton, a really smart, thoughtful ex-pitcher who could speak from personal experience. Another would be a young stat geek, who could educate the rest of us about cybermetrics. Whoever it is, just make sure they're interesting and tell us something we don't already know.

  75. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Well, if we're taking a vote, I'm also in the underwhelmed division of Knight viewers. He seems like a nice guy, but what with the abuse of both the English language and the telestrator…um…well…crickets…

  76. Anonymous - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    A stat geek doing the broadcasts? You've got to be kidding.Although maybe they could get Ben Stein. If they do, I'd be absolutely giddy.

  77. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Bueller? Bueller? Anybody?

  78. Nattydread - Jan 4, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Tim Redding? Minor league deal from the Dodgers. Looks like the Nats ARE moving forward….

  79. Anonymous8 - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Talking about Tim Redding, great guy and FWIW, he did an admirable job during his time with the Nats.My thought on Tim Redding is that he should be moved to the bullpen. I wish him luck!

  80. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Speaking of JimBo (and fwiw):http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/See under "Nationals, LaRoche nearing two-year deal."

  81. dale - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I will side with those who enjoyed Knight's commentary. His droll, self -deprecating humor worked on a higher level than anything Dibble tried. The problem I had with Dibble was that by the second week of the season you had heard everything knowledgeable that Dibble could spout out. Every other broadcast became the same rehash of his act. When Carpenter started parroting Dibble it became insufferable. By contrast, Knight was able to draw upon his experiences as a player (as an infielder and a pitcher)and as a manager, which gave a nuanced view of the game from several perspectives.The Nationals could learn from the Redskin way of building an audience. The Redskins for decades had broadcast their games throughout the South so that their fanbase still exists to this day into the far reaches of Virginia. The investment of making the games able to heard throughout Virginia would help create a regional fanbase. Having more minor league affiliates in other regions of Virginia (they missed their opportunity with the Tidewater Tides) would be a no brainer as well. It's not likely that teams in NY or PA or going to create much of impact in creating fans there for the parent club.

  82. Pedro G - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    Charlie and Dave are among the BEST in the business. Decades from now, folks will probably talk about them like they talk about Ernie Harwell, Bob Prince and Scully. Just listen to a few other teams and you'll hear the difference.The Nats should be trying to get them on some blowtorch AM station and as many FM stations as possible. Crank it.As to TV, dumping Dibble was a great move. Unfortunately somebody in the front office hired the guy knowing full-well what they were getting. And it didn't work. Hopefully they will look for somebody who thinks FIRST, and then speaks in a professional, listenable tones–not making sounds like a babbling four-year-old chimp. Advice–don't hire someone who calls himself "Nastyboy." It won't end well.Carpenter is completely spongelike. That's not necessarily a bad thing if he's paired with a strong partner. And remember the Nats tried to get rid of him once and couldn't make the upgrade.Bob and Phil are fine from the set but don't send them to the booth.

  83. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    OTOH, I did not agree with the move. They knew what they were getting in Dibble and they dumped him for being what they knew what they were getting. As the duck says, AFLAC? I don't grok the level of ire that the man seems to elicit from some, but that's just me, and it's all water under the bridge now.I *do* love Charlie and Dave.

  84. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Proofer's note: Delete extraneous "what" after "knew"?Writer's note: Uh, yeah.That is all. Carry on…Oh, and the Captcha is "supboxe." Heh.

  85. NatinBeantown - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, please announce the LaRoche deal. This is officially the doldrums of the offseason.Announce it, let us play righty-lefty-righty for a few days and then debate Pavano. The next 6 weeks can't go quick enough…

  86. Nattydread - Jan 4, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Totally agree with NatinBeantown. Jeeezus. Just announce the signing and let us get on to another topic. Wonder what Jason Werth thinks about all of these major moves we've been seeing…

  87. Ron Franklin - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    natsfan1a said… "They knew what they were getting in Dibble and they dumped him for being what they knew what they were getting."Just because you take the ugly girl to the dance, it doesn't mean you have to sleep with her.

  88. DC Tom - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    I'm pretty sure it is all-but-announced that the 2012 Winter Classic will be in the new Yankees Stadium, featuring the Rangers.We will know when the Winter Classic has run its course when they propose to hold it at Dodgers Stadium. But don't rule out DC or anywhere, for that matter: the first NHL outdoor game was held in the Caesar's Palace parking lot in Las Vegas in 1991.

  89. N. Cognito - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    DC Tom said… "I'm pretty sure it is all-but-announced that the 2012 Winter Classic will be in the new Yankees Stadium, featuring the Rangers."Ummm. No. Pinstripe Bowl.

  90. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    I think Knight is OK as a color guy. I don't mind his dialect, and he definitely supplies more nuts-and-bolts baseball info than many I've heard, including Dibble. Dibble knows what he knows really well, it seemed, but there wasn't much of it–unsurprising in a relief pitcher, in hindsight, compared to a former position player and manager, or even a HOF starting pitcher.Doc, you and I may be the last two people left who still like Joe Morgan's work, but by now I think we've heard everything he knows, too.Which only serves to remind me again how good Vin Scully really is. He makes announcing look like a superpower.

  91. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Ummm, Ron … you remember WHY they fired Dibble? Lesson there.

  92. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    But fwiw, I think Dibble could have worked. He turned out to be too limited, and a little too much in love with his own persona, but it wasn't a bad idea, and I thought he improved Carpenter. But he didn't seem to learn much, did he?

  93. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    uhhh, that was an ironic attempt at representing sexism, right?—Ron Franklin said… natsfan1a said… "They knew what they were getting in Dibble and they dumped him for being what they knew what they were getting." Just because you take the ugly girl to the dance, it doesn't mean you have to sleep with her.

  94. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    sec3, I also felt that Dibble added something to Carpenter – maybe an edge. I enjoyed their interplay and Dibble made me LOL at least once per broadcast. I like people who make me LOL. You're one of them, fwiw.

  95. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    "Them" being people who make me LOL.

  96. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 4, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    As opposed to *one of THEM* — y'know, *those* people

  97. natsfan1a - Jan 4, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Just trying to be more precise (which can be both a professional curse and a blessing, I suppose). :-)(And what the heck is a "phusher"?)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 54 --
ATLANTA 68 61 6.0
MIAMI 64 63 9.0
NEW YORK 60 69 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 57 71 17.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
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.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
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