Skip to content

What’s left to do?

Jan 6, 2011, 3:13 PM EDT

In coming to terms this week with Adam LaRoche, the Nationals were able to cross off one of their big offseason needs: a first baseman to replace Adam Dunn. They had already crossed off their need for a power-hitting outfielder with Jayson Werth. And they previously addressed needs off the bench (Rick Ankiel, Matt Stairs) and in the bullpen (Henry Rodriguez, Rule 5 draftee Elvin Ramirez).

So, what's left for the Nats to do before pitchers and catchers report to Space Coast Stadium on February 15?

Let's run through the remaining areas of need heading into the offseason's final month…

STARTING PITCHING
I suppose this is always going to be a need. Every GM in baseball says he's always looking for more pitching. Well, maybe not the guys in Philadelphia (Ruben Amaro Jr.) or San Francisco (Brian Sabean). Mike Rizzo would certainly say he's looking for more pitching. Whether he actually acquires any before spring training remains to be seen.

There are essentially three remaining avenues for the Nationals to pick up a starter: 1) Sign a high-tier free agent, 2) Trade for an established guy, or 3) Sign an affordable pitcher off the scrap heap.

Carl Pavano is the only high-tier free agent left on the market, and though the Nats have been connected to the right-hander all winter, I've never believed he was likely to land here. Team officials have been reluctant all along to give the 35-year-old a multi-year deal, andRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    1. convert Storen to SP2. sign Yu Darvish NOW

  2. SpotsyNats - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    And two off-field holes: TV analyst and radio deal. Bill at Nationals.com lists finalists as Knight, F.P. Santangelo, and Joe Magrane. Go Joe! (Sorry Ray)Also I've heard nothing regarding a successor to Kasten as team president.

  3. SonnyG10 - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Wouldn't mind seeing David Eckstein here. Don't know the other two.

  4. alexva - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Anon @ 10:24 – Yu Darvish announced he is staying in Asia, he is not available now.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Jerry Hairston would be my first choice for a back up veteran infielder. And I'm comfortable that the bull pen as is but Jon Rauch wouldn't hurt.And finally, I really don't want to trade any prospects until I see how last years draft starts to shake out and how well we do in this years draft.For all the naysayers, the approach taken by Rizzo has been measured and successful. I'm looking forward to February 14th with much anticipation.

  6. JD - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Starting pitchers: 1).Jeff Francis and Brad Penny are interesting but only for 1 year at $3 mil or less. 2) Garza is not as good as Greinke; I wouldn't give up 3 prospects for him. Straight up for Norris or Desmond maybe but not much more.I would kick the tires on Billingsly, Anibal Sanchez, Jonathan Sanchez. 3) The Orioles gave Kevin Gregg crazy money for 2 years probably making Fuentes unreasonably expensive; I don't know if Qualls or Rauch are an upgrade over what we have; I actually really like our bullpen even if there is no clear cut closer. 4) We absolutely need a veteran infielder as a fall back to Espinosa; Eckstein and Hairston sound interesting as long as we understand that we are not signing Utley here.

  7. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Looks like there will be no successor named for Kasten as team president. Andrew Feffer is the COO and is taking on many of the duties previously held by Kasten, e.g. off the field management. Rizzo has a stranglehold on the baseball operations side of the house. And Mark Lerner has taken on the role as the public face of the front office, which Kasten used to do almost exclusively. If they were to hire a team president, there is no niche in which he could operate. Therefore, they won't have one.

  8. Bowdenball - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Jeff Francis is the pitching option that intrigues me the most, by far. His post-TJ numbers look good to me. He was a bit unlucky, but his FIP numbers from 2010 suggest he's every bit as good as Pavano and he comes at a fraction of the price.

  9. JamesFan - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    -Pavano not worth the price.-Garza maybe if we don't trade away Espy, Des and Znn.-No on the scrap heap. I would rather see what we've got on board rather than waste time on declining or risky outside talent.-Get Soriano even if it costs a pick and a chunk of money. We don't have a closer and one of this caliber may not come up any time soon. Storen is not ready and may never be. Get hime on a two or three year deal.-I'm sure Rizzo will do the right thing on a utility infielder. I like the intensity and commitment of the whole Eckstein family.

  10. Sec314 - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Put me down as favoring David Eckstein too. He's smart, tough and competitive. He's got rings and wants to win. I'm glad to see a Professional Writer agree with me that Alberto Gonzalez does not cut it as the back up infielder.

  11. Mark'd - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I still think Ross Detwiler should be converted to the bullpen and being a lefty makes him a perfect fit.Bring back Guzy if he would accept a bench role as I like him better than the other veterans on the list.

  12. DFL - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    The Nats could ask Jamie Moyer to sign for, say, $ 3 million but he won't do it. I'd offer one of the following a $ 2-3 million contract- Jeff Francis, Brad Penny, Jason Schmidt or Jarrod Washburn. I'd offer Chris Young a million bucks.

  13. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Soriano would cost a 3rd round pick, considering our two 1sts are protected and the 2nd rounder went for Werth. Is that really what would stand in the way of his signing?

  14. Capitol Baseball - Jan 6, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Jerry Hairston and David Eckstein are both perfectly passable back up infielders for Espinosa.

  15. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    What's left to do?Cut Nyjer Morgan!

  16. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    I say this with the caveat that the Nationals should never look backward. So no more talk of re-signing Nick, Goozie or, for that matter, Nook Logan. OK, I made that last one up.But there is an ex-Nat that I think could be useful, if only for their offseason basketball team. I'm talking about 6-11 Jon Rauch (ROWSH), who was the Twins' best reliever for awhile before they acquired our best reliever, Uncle Matty Capps. The original Matty Ice.I think Rauch has plenty left in the tank, could be a calming influence for our kiddie corps relievers, and just might inherit the closer's job if Storen et al have a hiccup.I'm sure the cost wouldn't be much and, hey, he wouldn't need directions to Space Coast Stadium.Pulling out my old Adam Dunn chant:Sign. Big. Jon. Rauch. Now.

  17. JaneB - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    David Eckstein — ABSOLUUUUUTELY! I think he is one of the hardest working guys in baseball. I'm a fan from when he was a Card. Jon Rauch — I was crushed when we traded him and would love to see him back on our mound. And he's good, too. He is calm and focused and would be great in the bull pen.STILL don't know why we don't want Batista, because he always always produced for us. What do the pros see in him (or what DON'T they see in him) that keeps him from coming back?

  18. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    They already have Bixley and he probably fieldsAs good as AGonz and might hit better. If you're looking for offense there's Cantu.Have to wonder if post-TJ Barthmaier beatsa Francis. Or Pavano. He's a power pitcher.

  19. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Wouldn't mind seeing Millwood move over from the AL East. Almost always an improvement in production when that happens. JT

  20. erocks33 - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    how about Nick Punto for the utility IF position? He can play 2B, SS and 3B and is a switch-hitter. As for kicking the tires on SP's, I say NO to Pavano. We already have a Pavano on this team. His name is Jason Marquis. I am intrigued about Jeff Francis and Brad Penny. If they could land either of those for a couple mil for one season, that wouldn't be bad.Also, I wouldn't mind if they got creative with some sort of deal to bring John Maine in for a look-see. I haven't heard how he's been healing this off-season and he's really fallen off the radar of most clubs.Finally (and this is a joke, people), what's Pedro Martinez up to these days?

  21. JD - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Soriano is talking a minimum of 3 years @$10mil per; relievers not named Mariano Rivera are never worth this kind of money; you just don't get enough value from them even if they are wonderful. I think between Balester, Rodriguez, Stammen, Burnet and Storen we have an exceptional bullpen and holes in many other places so let's not waste it here. I agree with NatsJack that we have a ton of good young arms coming up and a very thin list of prospects so let's not go crazy for someone like Garza. Greinke was a special case because he is a top echelon; cy young winner in his prime; you give up prospects for guys like that not 2nd or 3rd tier pitchers.

  22. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    alexva,just throw stupid money at him (and his club) and watch this newly-divorced bolt for the US of A!

  23. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    You all know what is going to happen don't you? Well, if you don't, let me enlighten you. NADA. Thats right, they're done….at least as far as doing anything substantial, and thats ok. They have exceeded my expectations for the off season as it is. I never really expected any more than fodder as far as obtaining a quality starting pitcher for 2011. 2012 is a different story. I expect nothing less than to bolster the rotation to aid a rising quality staff in that season. The return of Strasburg, the maturing of Zimmerman will lend enticement for a solid #2 arm to come visit the monuments and museums on a more permanent basis. Lannan should remain as the #4 and several legitimate contenders for the #5 spot are already here. Soooooo, lets just see how 2011 unfolds and hope for an exciting 2012. No since fooling ourselves, this aint the year, but no more excuses after this season. JTinSC

  24. Mark'd - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    DFL – sorry to tell you that Jamie Moyer had TJ surgery and won't be pitching for a long time if ever again.

  25. Sunderland - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Yu Darvish?No one can "just sign him", so can we please stop with the "sign Yu Darvish" posts.It's a process that includes his team posting him and selling the right to negoiate with him to the highest bidder. And as alexva pointed out, Darvish has said he intends to pitch in Japan this year.Jamie Moyer? Had TJ surgery Dec 1.I've always like Chris Young. Wonder if he's throwing and healthy. Seems unlikely to me that we keep Ankiel and Stairs on the 25 man roster. Stairs had to be bummed when we signed Ankiel. Hoping Corey Brown kills it in Spring Training forces his way into the lineup.And positively no to Guzman. No range, no arm, poor bat, lousy OBP. Good guy, but we're better than that. Unfortunately, Cristian may be out of work. But fortunately, he made a good living.

  26. face - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    1. Francis2. Beimel3. EcksteinYou're welcome.

  27. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Jeeves' starting pitching in 2011–Zimmermann, Deitweiler, Peacock, Storen, and Maya or Barthmaier. Then sign Soriano. And I'm only half kidding. To watch Marquis, Lannan, and Hernandez go out there day after day is just plain depressing and beyond the call of a duty for this fan.

  28. JD - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    JTinSC,I don't agree; I think there are a bunch of moves between now and opening day; some of these 'secondary' moves maybe critical in the final makeup of the team.

  29. DFL - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Mark, thank you for the information. Sad to see the ageless Moyer almost certainly finished.Eckstein would be my choice as reserve infielder. He's a winner. Hairston intrigues as he plays outfield and infield. Do they dare sign both and drop Gonzalez or ship Gonzalez to Syracuse? And is Willie Harris still a free agent? He had a poor BA last year yet hit 10 home runs. He walks a lot for a mediocre hitter. He plays all three outfield positions and has played every infield position but first base for the Nats. I'd bet he could be the emergency catcher.

  30. N. Cognito - Jan 6, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I'd like to see the Nats break camp without Harris or Gonzo.Harris just doesn't have it anymore and Gonzo never did have it.

  31. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Eh, what the heck. Put me down for an Eckstein! :-)

  32. NatinBeantown - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    I would be satisfied by just shoring up the roster, but I'd be thrilled if we could get an established major league arm (Garza, Shields, Carmona, etc) in exchange for prospects where we have some depth. Marrero is blocked by Laroche and his own Dunn-like liabilites. I love Norris, but between Ramos, Flores, Werth and Harper, I don't know where he plays on the big club in 2012-14.I gotta think Clippard or Storen + Marrero intrigues the Rays.

  33. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Would love to see Hairston on the team, he is very versitile, sort of a Willie Harris but much better!Pitching, I would rather see what the dozen or so guys in the organization have to offer in ST.Sign Fuentes!

  34. nastsfan1a - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Oh, and if I have to give a reason, because he always annoyed the heck out of me when playing against any team for which I was rooting. Would be nice to have him on "our" side.Would also be nice to see a starter added, I suppose one of the red-tag specials. (btw, when do we get to stop shopping in that aisle? I suppose after we've "arrived" as a competitive or, dare I say, contending team? Yeah, I said "we." I'm such a homer…)

  35. JD - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    natsfan1a, You never stop shopping in that aisle; that's where the Giants found Aubrey Huff and he was a key to the championship. You can't overpay everyone; you have to find some bargains. You can sign Brad Penny for $3mil and he may win you 15 games; you know he has the stuff to do it; Jeff Francis was a bigtime starter before his TJ surgery; might he regain his form?

  36. Pilchard - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Of the scrap heap pitchers, think that Francis is the most intriguing. He is only 28 (turns 29 this week), and two years ago, he was the ace on a team that went to the W-S. Unlike some other scrap-heap pitchers, he pitched a fair amount last year with 19 starts. Also, Colorado remains a very tough pitchers park; so, it's reasonable to expect better numbers in a pithcing friendly enviroment like Nats Park. As for the utility player, the Nats need to sign a guy that hits right handed and can play OF as Nyjer can not play everyday against LHPs and Bernadina is also lefthanded. That makes Hairston or Bloomquist the best option there.Mark, really surprised to see that you listed Matt Stairs as upgrading the Nats bench. He will be 43 when the season starts, and predictably, his offensive numbers are in free fall over the last couple of seasons (he is not getting better at age 43. Also, Stairs is incapable of playing any defensive position (played OF in 1 game last year), which really limits his value as a bench player for an NL team. I would rather have Willie Harris (and I do not want that Nats to resign him) as at least Willie can play a competent OF and can play an inning or two at 2nd when needed.

  37. NatinBeantown - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Pilchard: Maybe the silver lining is that with Stairs in a true PH role, Riggleman will be less inclined to double switch every damn time. Just get Stairs an at bat in the 9-spot in the seventh, then bring in Burnett for the bottom half.

  38. Sunderland - Jan 6, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    I think Pilchard speaks the truth about Matt Stairs, the Rays laugh at Clippard or Storen + Marrero and JTinSC is pretty dead on.Captcha – obolious, from the Greek for lamp shell

  39. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Good point re. Huff, JD (but I think the rally thong helped some).I have hazy memories of Francis getting lit up in the playoffs at some point, but I've not seen much of him otherwise. (Another good thing about MLB Network is that now I get to see televised non-local games featuring teams other than the BoSox and Yanks.)

  40. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Sign Soriano. Sign Eckstein. Include Storen/Espy for Garza.But most importantly, do not sign Willie Harris. He is (finally) right where he needs to be.

  41. Raff - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    So, people think Eckstein "is a winner," "is smart, tough, and competitive," "wants to win," and "is hard working." Fair enough.What he isn't is "any good at playing baseball at the MLB level."Here are five guys' 2010 BA/OBP/SLG/OPS, age, and salary:267/321/326/647 35 1,000,000266/311/337/648 32 8,000,000265/299/351/650 26 400,000267/299/380/679 32 1,700,000244/299/353/652 34 2,125,000They all stink.So which one would you want on your team? Well, I'd probably want the one who comes with any hope of a glimmer of upside potential — i.e., the young one — or the cheapest — in this case, also the young one.Lo and behold, that's Alberto Gonzalez.The other four are Eckstein, Guzman, Bloomquist, and Hairston. They're old and lousy (MLB-wise) and not worth the money.

  42. Kenz aFan - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Anonymous said… 1. convert Storen to SP 2. sign Yu Darvish NOWLooks like Kimbellhi from the Nats Discussion Forum got his 2 cents in. LOL

  43. Pilchard - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Raff,Great point. With that said, I don't think the choice for the Nats is Eckstein/Hairston/Bloomquist or Gonzalez. Everyone expects AG to make the club, but the Nats can't go into 2011 with Gonzo as the only non-starter that can play 2b/SS/3b as it is common for more than one guy to be out for a game or two at these spots. So, the question is who in addition to Gonzlez do the Nats take as a utility player? Based upon the current roster, I would think that they would want someone that could play both IF and OF competently and can pinch run or pinch hit. If not one of the 3 mentioned in your post (Christian Guzman is not returning), who do you suggest?

  44. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    The thing is, they don't need another backup infielder to replace Gonzales. They need another backup in addition to Gonzales. Typical 25-man roster makeup is 5 starting pitchers, 7 relievers, 2 catchers, 6 infielders and 5 outfielders. The 6/5 IF/OF ratio is a little flexible if you have guys like Harris who can play both, but right now the Nats don't really have someone like that. You could consider Morse or Ankiel as backups for 1B maybe, but really you need two backup guys who can play MI if necessary – especially if kids like Espinosa and Desmond are your starters. So you Gonzo haters need to chill out. He ain't going anywhere.

  45. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Feel Wood…. Thank you!

  46. JD - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:07 PM

    Raff, Hold on a minute; Eckstein's OBP in 2010 was .321 which is .22 higher than Gonzo; his projected OBP is .330 (Bill James) and his career OBP is .345; for someone to provide veteran insurance that's not bad. The fact that Gonzo had an OBP of .299 at the age of 26 tells you all you need to know about his hitting abilities.

  47. phil dunn - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    I think calling Carl Pavano a "high tier" free agent is a stretch. Pavano has had two strong seasons in his major league career and both of them occurred during contract expiration years. Signing him to a three year contract at age 35 with this type of history looks risky to me.

  48. Raff - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Pilchard & JD, I'd rather the Nats just stick with Gonzalez and Willie Harris than take on Eckstein. I don't think either Gonzo or Willie is great (although Bill James's 2011 projections for Willie Harris are better than those for Eckstein), but I just think Eckstein is utterly, illogically, and mind-bogglingly overrated.

  49. DFL - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Eckstein has a lifetime OBP of .348, has a lifetime OPS of .706, has played in two All-Star games, played in four post-seasons and two World Series, and was MVP of the 2006 World Series. His OPS last season was .657.Gonzalez has a lifetime OBP of .292, has a lifetime OPS of .623, and has never played in the post-season. His OPS last season was .578.It would appear that one of the above players is somewhat more accomplished than the other. Unless the Lerners wish to be miserly, given that Eckstein earned $ 1 million last season and Gonzalez made about $ 400,000, Eckstein is the superior choice.

  50. JD - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    Raff, I don't have a problem with Willie Harris and for that matter Adam Kennedy; it's just a question of expectations. We are talking about a utility infielder here. I know Eckstein stinks but you are not getting Robinson Cano or Utley so for the required role he might be ok (on the cheap). My fear is that Espinosa really struggles (.150) and you have to keep throwing him out there because you don't have anyone else; for that matter I don't think you can have any great expectations from Bernadina either; my gut feeling is that by the all star break Morse will be the every day left fielder (god help us if it's Ankiel). I don't really get Matt Stairs because at the end of the day you will get nothing from him except the occasional bomb off the bench; you'l get the same thing from Willie Harris and he can play the field reasonably well.

  51. CoverageisLacking - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    Wow. If they were to sign Eckstein, I can only begin to imagine how insufferable Carpenter would be, talking incessantly about our "scrappy," "hard-nosed," utility infielder who "never stops working" and "plays baseball the right way" but who, as Raff points out, isn't actually a good major league baseball player. The prospect alone makes me nauseous.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    But it's not an "either, or" scenario. It's "in addition to" scenario. And I want the defensive abilities of Gonzo certainly over the defensive abilities of Eckstein. Both wouldn't be bad.

  53. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    If Soriano signs with the White Sox, will that move our Dunn compensation from the 1st to the 2nd round – Soriano is a higher rated Type A player? If so, how much would that possibility impact a decision on signing Soriano?ML

  54. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Robert [RF] Fick is good for the occasional bomb as well. What? You didn't mean F-bombs? Oh. Never mind…JD said… (snip) I don't really get Matt Stairs because at the end of the day you will get nothing from him except the occasional bomb off the bench; you'l get the same thing from Willie Harris and he can play the field reasonably well.

  55. phil dunn - Jan 6, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    The starting pitching is going to put a lot of pressure on the bullpen, just like it did last season. I think Big John Rauch would be a good addition as he is an effective setup guy and also a good closer. He did a good job closing for the Twins last season until they acquired Matt Capps. He was also an effective closer for the Nats after Chad Cordero went down.

  56. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Matt Stairs is this year's Bret Boone. Expect it. Just hope they don't waste too many ABs on him in ST.

  57. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    I would sign Rauch and David Eckstein. Go with our current pitching staff and hope a year later reaps better results. Jordan Zimmermann still has a lot to prove. He's not a lock! Good thing Livan is back again. If money allows, Rizzo should sign Francis to a 1-year contract. The big lefty is worth taking a chance on. But, speaking of fliers, there's always Wang. Hopefully, Wang has a good spring.

  58. Doc - Jan 6, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    What's left to do? Fire the manager, and find a hockey rink for Nyj!

  59. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    What is the deal with Jeremy Bonderman? He is still young and looked to be a stud a few years ago. If his stuff is still there, I would take a flier on him.

  60. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 6, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Just because he had an off 2010 doesn't mean he can't play. Just sayin.

  61. Ryuga Hideki - Jan 6, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Besides a bullpen and bench help which are not must, I think this team is set for opening day 2011.I don't like the LF situation so that it is uncertain who will be our starting LF or a combination of Bernadina-Morse. I mean most teams have are not in this situation.

  62. Anonymous - Jan 6, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Ryuga, it's not unusual for teams to platoon a left fielder. It's probably one of the more common places where platoons exist.If we played today, we have Bernadina starting against righties and Morse starting against lefties.

  63. LoveDaNats - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    Yeah to Jon Rauch! Whenever he started the 8th inning, I knew he was gonna get the 3 outs. A feeling I never had when Hanrahan had the ball.

  64. BinM - Jan 6, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    The current 40-man roster holds 3 Catchers, 5/6 infielders (the LaRoche signing still lacks a physical), 8 Outfielders, 13 Starters, and 11 relievers (41 total, including LaRoche). When the LaRoche signing becomes 'official', somebody will get exposed on a DFA, just to get back down to 40; Most likely one of the starters, imo. Any other player signed results in additional 'roster-churning', with a Major-League contract signing pushing another player off the roster, and into an 'exposed' position. Granted, there are some players that we think would be better off elsewhere, but be careful what you wish for.

  65. Arlington BigFish - Jan 7, 2011 at 12:01 AM

    I'm with JaneB, & no one's addressed her question. What's wrong with Batista as a bullpen guy? He did an OK job for us — not spectacular, but certainly workmanlike. But he doesn't appear anywhere in the discussion.

  66. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 7, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    As I recall, he wanted a two-year contract.

  67. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    I love Norris, but between Ramos, Flores, Werth and Harper, I don't know where he plays on the big club in 2012-14.If there's one thing that could be almost as valuable as a top notch top of the rotation starter? Its a top catcher. Offense and defense. Hard to come by.Flores and Ramos might end up as tradable commodities. If and only if Norris learns the defensive part of the game. He is the starting catcher and you can see that coming. He clearly has the offense, if he comes up to speed on the defense he might end up being one of the top catchers in the game.

  68. DaveR - Jan 7, 2011 at 1:58 AM

    Bonderman and Chris Young were both mentioned. Bonderman has lost his fastball and I read recently that Young's shoulder is not good. I echo several people touting Jeff Francis because he has the highest upside of the starters mentioned.

  69. Joe Seamhead - Jan 7, 2011 at 3:48 AM

    I don't get so many thinking that Rizzo would trade Ramos. He showed few negatives last year and we traded Capps to get him. I really see him as the Nat's everyday catcher for years to come. He has a decent bat, terrific defense, and the pitchers seem to feel a lot of confidence in him.

  70. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2011 at 4:24 AM

    Here's what I think: SP – would love to acquire Garza, but only if the price is reasonable (not likely to happen). Also, would like Pavano, but for no more than 2 yeas (also unlikely). Therefore, I would probably stay with what we have though Francis at 1 year may be worth a shot.Bullpen – I really like what we have in the bullpen. We have Storen, Burnett, Clippard, Rodriguez, Slaten, Balester, Stammen, Ramirez, and Kimball as candidates for 7 positions. Its deep. Still, Soriano would be a great get, but I think he may want too many years. I also would be Ok with Fuentes or Rauch (as I liked him a lot when he was here). Not sure I would consider much else as our group is strong. Veteran infielder – I definitely think we should pick up one of the 3 guys mentioned (Eckstein, Bloomquist, or Hairston). All 3 would be upgrades over Gonzalez and could step in if needed to start.

  71. Big Cat - Jan 7, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Sleeper in the pen is gonna be Colin Balester. Converted starter had a horrible year starting last year in AAA, but showed promise when moved to the pen. Was consistently clocked at 94-96 at the end of the year. This will probably be his final chance with the Nats, and maybe final chance anywhere.Keep an eye on these two also…..Cole Kimball and Henry Rodriguez. Both are power guys who can bring it. I think we stole Rodriguez. We'll see.I agree Detwiler should be in the pen. As a starter he always gets rocked when the hitters come up that second time. Put him in the pen as a lefty specialist. Have him drop down to a 3 quarter delivery. If he wasn't a number 1 draft pick, he would already be in the pen

  72. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    Finally: Fielding that can make our pitching better. Now we can make outs on grounders and infield bloopers. Yeah, we would LOVE to have a top-line starter, but right now, our fielding, and hitting are good enough that great pitching is still going to be needed to talk playoffs, but a 500+ season is highly do-able with what we have.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 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

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

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.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter