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Tuesday news and discussion

Jan 11, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

I’m on vacation this week, but NatsTown never sleeps. So in my absence, please feel free to use this thread to pass along any news from today and to discuss any other Nats-related topics of your choice.

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    So Adam Kennedy signs a minor league contract wit the 101 loss Seattle Mariners as insurance for their prized rookie.Now that should really boost their fans morale.

  2. Constant Reader - Jan 11, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    Should we spend today predicting who our veteran, middle infield backup will be?

  3. Section 215, Row A - Jan 11, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    NatsJack:My wife and I just bought a pair of season tickets for spring training. Section 109, Row 6. With the exception of March 10-12, they are all available. I wanted to give you first crack at 15% off face value (what StubHub is gonna take) for any or all of 'em. Your fellow INSIDER.

  4. Wally - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    So here is my wish list for the remaining offseason:SP – Bonderman or FrancisRP – Soriano plus Rauch/Balfour (I think that we would be done surrendering picks after Soriano)MI – Hairston or EcksteinRH OF – Andruw JonesThat would be a team known for defense and lights out bullpen, with slightly below average offense but the ability to use platoon splits to enhance their results. Poor to slightly below average SP, depending on how people like MArquis, Lannan and Maya perform.Not a bad team, tho.

  5. Anonymous - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Two questions Wally:Why Bonderman or Francis over an innings eater like Millwood? Balfour is a Type A. Would we have to give up a pick for both Soriano & Balfour?

  6. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    I wish Kennedy well. Seriously.I don't do predictions, so I won't weigh in on that front, but might anyone be up for either of these thread possibilities at some point this week?(1) fan tips on spring training (flights, hotels, eateries, whatevers)(2) fan baseball book recommendations

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Section 215, Row A…. Thanks for the offer but I have season tickets in Row 3, Section 111.I actually bought 4 extra tickets for the NYY game on Saturday. You should be able to exceed the Stub Hub fee by alot for that game.

  8. DC Tom - Jan 11, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    natsfan1a,Best baseball book I've read in quite some time is The Bullpen Gospels, by journeyman pitcher Dirk Hayhurst.http://dirkhayhurst.com/books/About life as a pitcher over one season in the minor leagues. A perfect book to read during a spring training trip because it gives you a sense as to what is really happening there.If we're having a utility infielder pool, I'm gonna pick Nick Punto. Primarily because he's a switch hitter and a plus defender, which makes him an ideal late-game double-switch choice. He also can start at 2B as Espinosa insurance if needed. Absolutely, positively no offense, however.He will not necessarily be cheap, relatively speaking. Punto must be waiting for an opportunity to start somewhere.

  9. P. Cole - Jan 11, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Is Jesse Orosco available?

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Just a note on my favorite rite of Spring Training. I love that two week period that exists from the pitchers and catchers reporting date and the first spring training game.The practice fields are all full, the gang bullpen has 8 pitchers throwing, the outfielders are practicing hitting the cut off man, infielders are working situatuional plays, all within 60 feet of each other and open for complete observation.Work starts with stretching at 9:00 AM and then breaks up into the individual groups. Around 10:15 batting practice starts on 2 of the fields and players are running back and forth between different locations.Everything goes pretty quickly and things start breaking up around 11:30 – 12:00 noon.Players and coaches are available before and after the practice and are usually very open for conversation, autographs and photo's.I always go over the first available Friday and Saturday but this year I have an invitaion to spend a day at St. Lucie observing the Mets.I look forward to being able to compare camp work outs.

  11. JD - Jan 11, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Middle infielder – Eckstein. Relief pitcher – Rauch.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    JD… we agree. David Eckstein and Jon Rauch is a helluva an up gradeover Brian Bruney and Adam Kennedy.

  13. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Looks like you can take Brad Penny off the list. Buster Olney is saying Penny to the Tigers for a 1 year, 3 Million deal.

  14. NatinBeantown - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I think Balfour is going to fall to tje Nats. The remaining teams willing to really invest in relief appear to be focused on Soriano and Fuentes. Since Balfour would only cost Rizzo a 3rd round pick (as opposed to costing other teams a first rounder), Balfour's "price" is lower to us. I'm sure that the value of half season of Balfour and prospects from a July trade vastly exceed $2m and a 3rd rounder. 2010 Capps = 2011 Balfour(disclaimer: pure speculation above)

  15. HHover - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    I don’t get the slobbering after Soriano. Yes, he's good, but closers just aren’t that hard to find (or manufacture), which is why no one’s giving him the $$$ and years he wants. The investment esp. doesn’t make sense for a team that won’t be contending for a couple of years anyway–the $$$ he’d get paid in 2011 would be a complete waste for the Nats, and trying to move him to a contender at the summer trade deadline would be hard with his high salary and remaining years.

  16. Steve M. - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    NatsJack in FLA, only problem is David Eckstein wouldn't be equivalent to an Adam Kennedy of last season. Adam Kennedy was supposed to be the starting 2nd baseman for 2010 and possibly 2011. Eckstein would be a bench role player.Personally, I don't think the Nats need to take up another roster spot for a weak hitting middle infielder as another utility man as Gonzo can play SS/3rd/2nd and the Yankees brought him up as a shortstop. Morse can cover 1st base and Espinosa can play Shortstop if needed. If Rizzo needs someone else, Steve Lombardozzi, Josh Johnson, Rick Hague and Kobernus are all close.One of Rizzo's biggest issues with his 2010 was defining roles clearly for these guys. Riggleman must of said 100 times how he needed to spread the at-bats around with Guzman and Maxwell and WHarris. To me a role player is a guy that knows his role just like Bryce Harper did so brilliantly in Arizona Fall League for his 2 times a week. A bench guy may not play many innings in a week but always has to be ready. I think this season Rizzo has a bench established and the only player I am concerned about is Nyjer Morgan as to whether he is going to be more of a LH vs RH guy in CF.

  17. Wally - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Anon @ 8:16I think that Bonderman and Francis are both younger and have a little more upside than Millwood, so I prefer them although the preference is slight. Bonderman throws harder, which gives him a little more differentiation from the rest of the staff; Francis had a higher previous peak. Millwood would be ok.As for the compensation picks, somewhere in the foggy recesses of my mind, I think that it stops at Round 3 so my theory was that if we sign Soriano, then Balfour doesn't cost anything. If I am wrong, then it is still just a 4th rounder, and since bullpen guys almost always have trade value in July, and both these guys are sought after, we can trade then for a prospect(s) that have higher value than a 4th rounder.My bigger theory is to develop a really strong aspect of the team. Right now they are good in BP, ok-good on D, ok-below average on O, and poor at SP. I don't see SP improving unless someone(s) on their roster takes a big step forward; they are what they are. Hitting also seems like a hard thing to improve right now, but a righty hitting OF with some pop could let them platoon into higher production.But they have a chance to acquire a lights out bullpen, which could make for an interesting season and at least allow them to psychologically play to a strength. Sort of what the Padres did last year. I haven't gone through all the roster issues with their budding group of young BP guys and who has options left – that obviously needs to be done. But it gives the Nats a chance to present a different feel that might match up well with teams.

  18. NatinBeantown - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Steve M.-That's a reasonable analysis, but pretend it is May 15th, and Espinosa is hitting .190 and looking lost at the plate, or one of he and Desmond get hurt. You need a MI starter for at least a month. What then?

  19. Sunderland - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    From MLBTR, via Buster Olney.Just one more thing I have in common with an MLB All-Star.Concernging Rafael Soriano, "If some club was willing to pay him to be its bullpen catcher for $45MM over the next three years, Soriano would consider it.”

  20. Wally - Jan 11, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Sorry to post so much on this topic, but to explain the bullpen idea. Assuming they add Soriano and Balfour, and have a 12 person pitching staff, they go 9th – Soriano8th – Storen/Burnett7th – Clip/Balfour5/6th – Stammen/HRod (if Stammen makes the rotation, then insert Balester, Kimball or someone else)That depth shortens the game and covers for a weak starting group. If a starter goes 5 and gives up 4 runs, the Nats still have a fighting chance to win. And the lineup knows that the pen should be able to hold them, maybe reinforcing a 'never quit' attitude. It certainly won't always work that way, but it could be a good formula.By mid season, maybe they flip 2 or 3 of those guys for prospects and bring up Balester, Kimball, Slaten etc.

  21. John C. - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    The problem with adding players is that you have to make room for them. As I see it, right now there are 24 spots taken:SP: (5) Livo, Lannan, Marquis, Zimmermann, guy (probably Maya, but possibly Stammen, Detwiler or Mock).RP: (7) Storen, Slaten, Burnett, Clippard, Rodriguez, Balestar, [Maya, Stammen, Detwiler or Mock as the long man].OF: (5) Werth, Morgan, Morse, Bernadina, Ankiel.IF: (5) Zimmerman, LaRoche, Desmond, Espinosa, Gonzalez.C: (2) Pudge, Ramos.The 25th player should be someone who can play IF, because if someone other than 1b (Morse could fill in there) gets hurt there's no one else. I guess Morse, who came up as a SS, would do for a couple of innings – but he was a lousy SS when he regularly practiced there. And another IF would give insurance if Espinosa struggles out of the gate.

  22. John C. - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    I do like the idea of adding Soriano, in part to flip him, and in part to keep him from signing with the White Sox. If he signs with the White Sox, the Nationals' compensation for Dunn would drop from the White Sox #1 pick (#21 overall) to their #2 pick (probably around #70 overall). That would hurt a lot.

  23. Steve M. - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    NatinBeantown, when I posted I thought through the ramifications of the infield and think AGonzo is capable of filling in for slumps and in case of an injury you have to look to the Minor Leagues at that point.Having AGonzo and a "has been" weak hitting low range infielder taking up space on the bench isn't what this team needs. While all these "utility" names that have been thrown around are interesting to ponder, it is one less spot for someone who shines in Spring Training that can be that 25th man whether it is an outfielder or infielder or Matt Stairs.

  24. Les in NC - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    natsfan1a,I completely agree with DC Tom on The Bullpen Gospels! It is a great book to read! I got this book for Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed it.On the infielder subject, the Nats could still sign Willie Harris to a minor league deal to see how he preforms in ST. I think the 25th man is either Matt Stairs or Harris. (He HAS to have a better year than last year right? Plus, he "knows his role").

  25. SonnyG10 - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    NatsJack in Florida, thanks for sharing your favorite rite of spring training. I will keep that in mind if I'm able to come down there during that time.

  26. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    John C. said… The problem with adding players is that you have to make room for them. As I see it, right now there are 24 spots taken:SP: (5) Livo, Lannan, Marquis, Zimmermann, guy (probably Maya, but possibly Stammen, Detwiler or Mock).RP: (7) Storen, Slaten, Burnett, Clippard, Rodriguez, Balestar, [Maya, Stammen, Detwiler or Mock as the long man].OF: (5) Werth, Morgan, Morse, Bernadina, Ankiel.IF: (5) Zimmerman, LaRoche, Desmond, Espinosa, Gonzalez.C: (2) Pudge, Ramos.Thanks for spelling that out. You are right, with 7 relievers there is only ONE spot left.I still think Detwiler being a lefty is my pick for reliever as he fills 2 roles, long man in relief and lefty specialist. If the team picked up Rafael Soriano than Balestar or HRod is the odd man out. BTW, we should hear today or tomorrow who the Nats removed from the 40 man to make room for Adam LaRoche.Whomever the Nats pick up as a utility guy, they would most likely have to sign a Minor League deal so Rizzo wouldn't have to shake up the 40 man roster immediately.

  27. NatinBeantown - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Steve M.I disagree that we should have Gonzalez as the primary fallback for an extended starting role. I can just see a Memorial Day lineup with AGonz starting at 2b over a struggling or injured Espinosa, and Desmond or Zimmerman playing through an injury or slump because we don't have another viable MI on the roster. What I love about Rizzo is the professional roster management that sets us up to avoid these foreseeable disasters (a far cry from a roster full of one-tool, once-prospects that JimBo gave us).I agree wholeheartedly, however, that this is a position easily filled in ST, giving a young guy an opportunity to step up, or bringing in someone cut from another team's camp.

  28. Steve M. - Jan 11, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Nat in Beantown, Eckstein wants a 40 man spot which I don't think Rizzo does. I think Rizzo invites a Bloomquist, WHarris to a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite and figures it out in Spring Training and does not give up a coveted Roster spot to any utility guy until Spring Training wraps up. Like you said, it gives him the flexibility of getting someone else released by another team too or other scenarios.I think John C. and Pay2Play both made great points. There really is 1 spot left. Just 1. It will most likely go to another infielder hybrid since they have the #6 guy in the OF on the 40 man in Corey Brown so it will be an infielder type but let Lombardozzi, Josh Johnson, Rick Hague and Kobernus all compete too.

  29. DFL - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    An added reason to sign David Eckstein is that he has been an integral part of two World Series winners. The Nats franchise needs a change of a morale and attitude. Players must expect to be winners. Too many Nats are used to losing.

  30. Carl in 309 - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    @Natsfan1a, regarding ideas for visiting Viera and Spring Training—Been twice, including last year to see Strasburg’s last ST start, and have seen 4 games total at Space Coast Stadium. Place is typically windy, and with the exception of seats at the back of bleacher sections on the first and third base sides, there’s little cover from the sun (most of us northern types aren’t exactly ready for March Florida sun—so bring sun block!). Food concessions are (now) pretty decent—for ballpark food. There’s lots of parking, though the traffic tie-ups getting out are irritating (especially if you’re headed north on I-95).For hotels, I’ve either commuted from the Orlando area (it’s about a 70+/- minute drive from there) or stayed in a hotel in Melbourne. I used Hotwire for the Melbourne hotel last year; got a great deal and was within easy driving distance of the park. Bigger issue was traffic on I-95; for a couple of years, there’s been a lot of construction on that stretch—someone local could update us on that. It was an issue rushing to catch Strasburg’s game last year—I missed the two first-inning homers he surrendered! You’d probably find other hotel options around Cocoa Beach.For eats away from the stadium, look for your favorite chains (I remember a former Post Nats beat reporter always bragging about a certain Paneras—which I have yet to find!). With the exception of good grapefruit, I don’t think of traveling to this part of Florida for the food.Keep in mind that a mid- to late-March visit will see some travel competition from Spring Break types. If you’re flying down, it’s hard to beat our friends at Southwest for great fares into Orlando—especially from the greater DC area (they cover both IAD and BWI).My favorite weekend to visit Viera is the one where there’s a Friday night game and Saturday afternoon game both in Viera—this year, that weekend is March 11/12 (with the Yankees on Saturday). Alas, I’ll be abroad at the time. My alternative this year: March 25/26—at Viera Friday evening; in Kissimmee at Houston on Saturday afternoon; in and out of Orlando for one night’s stay. The first time I did this excursion, I did a school break around Easter (timing is wrong for that this year), and with my daughter covered 5 ST games in a 90-minute radius around Orlando in 4 days (including two drives to Viera); filling in free time at places like Disney and Cirque du Soleil. Also, Cape Canaveral is quite close to Viera.Don’t forget that the beat reporters cover these games and are pretty accessible at the ballpark through the press box windows (open!) right behind home plate. Show up well before first pitch if you want to chat. I had a good conversation with Adam last year (which I wrote to him about prior to arriving).And if you want to see players (as opposed to games), then February is when to go. Never caught that time at Viera, but twice have experienced early spring training in Tucson—seeing the Diamondbacks in the season that would bring them their World Series championship and the White Sox the spring after their last championship (Diamondbacks ran a much more wide open and accessible ST, even though they’re both basically at the same facility).Enjoy your visit!

  31. NatinBeantown - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    For those who know better than me: Chase Lambin (RH, 2B): He has a little pop (15 hr in 2010), and he played really well in AAA last year–the Chiefs' only IL all-star. Yes, he's 31. Does he have any shot at the OD roster, or is he the difinition of organizational filler?

  32. Mark'd - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Totally agree with Steve M. last statement. At this point of the off-season Eckstein would have to take a non-roster spot which he probably won't do.

  33. Stranded_in_Philly - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I like bringing Rausch back as a proven, versatile reliever, and brining in Bloomquist as a bench player. He can play all over the field, which gives the Nats a lot of flexibility in looking to get some of the young guys more ABs in AAA, or adding pitchers to the roster.

  34. BinM - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Beantown: Lambin signed with MIN a while back.

  35. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 11, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    NatinBeantown, Lambin was toast for lack of a better word in this organization and signed with the Twins organization. I thought when the Nats didn't bring Lambin or Whiting up as September callups last year it sent a message.If I were one of these hard working guys in AAA and didn't get a callup after playing better than a guy like Justin Maxwell, it would be demoralizing.

  36. NatinBeantown - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    PTP – Thanks, I hadn't seen that. Good luck to him. Knowing the Twins, he'll be starting 2B during their playoff run!

  37. alexva - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:09 PM

    There have been a lot of posts regarding Detwiler as a reliever. While in the short term he may be best suited to that role, IMHO he needs to go to Syracuse on Opening Day and make at least 25 starts to see if he can develop the command needed to succeed as a starter. He has never been allowed to stay in one place for an entire sesaon other than A+ and I value a starter over a reliever to the extent that I would give it one last shot. Other relievers are available for the time being.

  38. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:13 PM

    Thanks to Tom and Les for the book recommendation. I've heard good things about that one but haven't yet read it. Guess I need to put in on my to-read list.Thanks to NatsJack and Carl for the ST info. That's just the type of detail I was hoping to glean. We'd been leaning towards the March 25/27 time frame due to work and other commitments. Hadn't thought about the Spring Break aspect, though.

  39. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    NatinBeantown, reminds me of the circuitous route Brendan Harris took to the Twins. Harris becomes an upgrade for the Rays and had a big year in 2007 so they package him with Delmon Young to get MATT GARZA and Jason Bartlett in that trade that has now yielded so much for the Rays!So if Lambin went to Tampa first I would say he was destined for a big paycheck!Funny little Matt Garza/Nats twist there! It goes to show you how smart the guys with Tampa are. On ridiculously low payrolls, they are now turning out quality. I think they have a down year this year but after this Garza trade will be in great shape in 2013 and 2014.

  40. Steve M. - Jan 11, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    alexva said… There have been a lot of posts regarding Detwiler as a reliever. While in the short term he may be best suited to that role, IMHO he needs to go to Syracuse on Opening Day and make at least 25 starts to see if he can develop the command needed to succeed as a starter. He has never been allowed to stay in one place for an entire sesaon other than A+ and I value a starter over a reliever to the extent that I would give it one last shot. Other relievers are available for the time being. The only opinion that ultimately matters for the fate of Detwiler is that of Rizzo but I am in the opinion that Detwiler will never be a consistent starter.If he wasn't a lefty, then I would say leave him in AAA to figure it out but being a lefty he is more valuable then Stammen as long reliever when 4 of the 5 projected starters are all righty (JZim, Livo, Marquis, Maya) a lefty long reliever usually gets a better Lefty/Lefty matchup when they come into a game.In Detwiler's 3 games out of the 'pen last year he was very good with a .158 against Batting Average and .238 OBP. I also liked that he gave up no HRs and a 0.00 ERA. I know, not a huge sample size but it was the most relaxed I have seen him.For Detwiler to be a good reliever he has to excel in his lefty/lefty matchups which he was poor at as a starting pitcher last year.

  41. Tcostant - Jan 11, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Are the Nationals doing a NatsFest this year, I can't find anything on the website. Let me know.

  42. JaneB - Jan 11, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    LOVE THE SPRING TRAINING TIPS! Keep 'em coming.Natsfan1a — loved the Bullpen Gospels. Also, Living on the Black, by John Feinstein. Feinstein also wrote a mystery for middle school readers about how the Nats go to the World Serious and WIN with an Aaron Boone hit. Or catch. It was way fun. Finally the Tom Verducci book, The Yankee Years, about Joe Torre, was just wonderful. And I say that as a Yankee, um, disliker. I learned a ton from it and the Feinstein. Baseball books are better than no baseball.

  43. alexva - Jan 11, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    JaneB- I guess it's not a mystery any more :)

  44. Anonymous - Jan 11, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    NatsJack in Florida, could you post the reporting date for pitchers and catchers more frequently? It's below zero out here, and I need all the hope you can gin up. All the ST talk here is killing me. I need to be reading about it and visualizing it. Soon. (-:fpcsteve

  45. Steve M. - Jan 11, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Tcostant said… Are the Nationals doing a NatsFest this year, I can't find anything on the website. Let me know. January 11, 2011 2:24 PM ——————————We were wondering the same thing. I guess the new Feffer Administration didn't see this as a Winter priority.Kind of a shame even with last years watered down version was decent. I thought the January 2009 NatsFest was great and could have been even better if they invited Washington's past to join in like Frank Howard, Dick Bosman, Harmon Killebrew, Frank Robinson, etc.While DC sports owners just did a summit at the Washington Post talking about the fans, it obviously doesn't resonate with the Lerner's "in charge people". With no NatsFest I think it is 2 steps backwards. The Nats do that Dream Foundation dinner which is $500 a plate and not really a fan gathering and the ESPN Zone luncheons are now closed so other than our interaction here, the Feffer doesn't see it as a priority I guess.

  46. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Tcostant, someone asked about it this a.m. on the Post's First Things First chat. Here's a cut and paste from Tracee Hamilton's response:UPDATE: No caravan, but a Fanfest right before the opener at Nats Park. Stay tuned for details. The business conference is streaming live, by the way, and will be available for viewing later if you're interested. The first 45 minutes or so were interesting to me.

  47. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    On a somewhat-related note, the P-Nats have a hot stove banquet planned for January 30:http://potomac.nationals.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t436(and thanks, JaneB)

  48. NatinBeantown - Jan 11, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    On a completely unrelated note, I came across the link below on Rob Neyer's blog. Very interesting (for February, at least). Nats #12 in prospects, aided greatly by that new young right fielder. You know, whatshisname.http://www.minorleagueball.com/2011/1/7/1921427/john-sickels-farm-system-rankings

  49. JD - Jan 11, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Brad Penny's contract sounds like exactly the type of thing the Nats should do. (1 year for $3mil+ incentives). I think this is a low risk high reward type contract. The next guy I would pursue is Francis. I real don't love Bonderman and/or Millwood.

  50. Water23 - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    Tcostant said…Are the Nationals doing a NatsFest this year, I can't find anything on the website. Let me know. As a STH, I called and asked about Nats FanFest. They said they are behind schedule and hope to update STH in the next week or so. He was not saying it was a go but it sounded promising for Feb.

  51. Anonymous - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    "Brad Penny's contract sounds like exactly the type of thing the Nats should do. (1 year for $3mil+ incentives). I think this is a low risk high reward type contract. The next guy I would pursue is Francis. I real don't love Bonderman and/or Millwood."************But that's the whole point of these low-risk speculations–if we knew in advance which ones would work out, they wouldn't be speculative, or even risky. So if you're in for a dime, it only improves your odds to go in for a dollar on several of them. So you get Bonderman *and* Millwood, too, if they'll agree to it in the first place, because you might be wrong.

  52. Anonymous - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    and yes, that is decidedly Bowdenesque, except he'd only get the cheap ones, at that.

  53. Another_Sam - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    anon 2:47 — P&C report in mid Feb. and the date's on various websites. and yes, it's a blast. I've seen these billionaire pitchers doing drills just like we used to do in high school — fielding the bunt, covering first, and so on. great fun.I remember the first time I went to ST, many years ago. I'd always heard about the running in the outfield. Well, I quickly saw that they're not talking sprinting on the outfield path. ha!Are you going to be there? You'll love it.I can offer a few specific tips on specific towns. i've already offered my thoughts on the way to plan and carry out the trip.

  54. DC Tom - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    I remember them not announcing NatsFest until this time right around last year as well.In other Nats website news, let's not forget that they are hosting auditions for the Racing Presidents on February 19. Email your resume and cover letter to entertainment@nationals.comhttp://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/fan_forum/presidents.jspWhat exactly would one put in a cover letter for that?How many of us would meet these qualifications:Between 5'7" and 6'6" in height• Ability to run from centerfield to home plate in 40 seconds (approximately 200 yards)• Ability to wear a costume weighing about 45 lbs for several hours• Available for at least 35 Nationals home games

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Actually, there are 33 days till pitchers and catchers report. The Nats won't take the field till the 15th so it's 35 days till then.

  56. Robert Vaughn - Jan 11, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    How much does the job pay?

  57. JD - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    I think the difference between Penny and Francis on one hand and Bonderman and Millwood on the other is that the 1st two are unquestionably better pitchers if they can fully regain their health; the other two are essentially healthy but have consistently performed at a mediocre level

  58. Kenz aFan - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:17 PM

    NatinBeantown said…That's a reasonable analysis, but pretend it is May 15th, and Espinosa is hitting .190 and looking lost at the plate, or one of he and Desmond get hurt. You need a MI starter for at least a month. What then?I wonder if there's even the remotest chance that the Nats could trade for the Rays, Ben Zobrist or the Dodgers, Jamey Carroll.

  59. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    That would be great, Another_Sam. Yes, I'd printed off the ST comments from a prior thread for my files.—I can offer a few specific tips on specific towns. i've already offered my thoughts on the way to plan and carry out the trip.

  60. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Gosh, I loved Jamey Carroll. (And, yes, I realize that may make my fandom suspect in some quarters. ;-))

  61. Anonymous - Jan 11, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Brad Penny signed today with the Tigers. He could have been a good pickup for us. I guess Nats felt differently. After Pavano, there isn't much left on the starting pitching free-agent scrapheap. There's always Matt Chico (say it isn't so!)

  62. BinM - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    @Kenz aFan: The Rays love Zobrist because of his versatility, and have him under contract until 2013; I can't see him being moved anytime soon. Carroll is still under contract with the Dodgers, and has a shot at the starting 2B gig; to quote The Band, "…and he ain't going nowhere". Now, guys like Bloomquist, Eckstein, Punto, etc., those are the more likely targets for a MI bench position for the Nationals alongside AGonz. Versatile, available, and looking for work.

  63. BinM - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:21 AM

    Anon@4:12pm: The problem with the "low-risk, high-reward" types is that they can still demand a major-league contract at this point of the off-season. The Nationals are already at the 40-man limit, so a MLB signing forces another player off the roster.Would Rizzo feel comfortable justifying "Yes, pitcher X is worth more at $3M for 2011 than our current player Z, who is cost-controlled through 2013"? There's the problem, imo.

  64. Anonymous - Jan 12, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    @ binM: this is a good point

  65. Rob Dibble's Ghost - Jan 12, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    from DCRTV – this is best-case scenario for a new radio deal:"WFED & WJFK To Share Nationals? – 1/11 – DCRTV is hearing rumblings floating around about a plan for Nationals coverage that keeps the team on Bonneville's WFED but signs CBS's Fairfax-studioed and Manassas-licensed WJFK as an affiliate. Federal news talker WFED features two AM signals, Wheaton's 1500 and Frederick's 820, that cover the core of the DC metro, the northeastern and northwestern suburbs, and the Frederick area just fine. But the two signals don't provide all that great coverage, especially at night, to much of Northern Virginia. But that's where sports talker WJFK's 106.7 FM signal blankets, all the way down to Harrisonburg and Fredericksburg, via its tower in Merrifield. WJFK, 106.7 The Fan, would get access to Nationals programs, players, and management via the affiliation deal. It seems that Bonneville, which also owns all-newser WTOP, has no problem with sharing the Nats in the DC market, but it remains to be seen if CBS's suit are up for such a deal. If it does happen, the winners would definitely be Nationals fans in the DC area, which would be able to hear their hometown baseball team clearly throughout the region – day or night. Stay tuned….."

  66. Anonymous - Jan 12, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    Now, guys like Bloomquist, Eckstein, Punto, etc., those are the more likely targets for a MI bench position for the Nationals alongside AGonz. Versatile, available, and looking for work.The problem with the speculation about THE utility guy is: Lombardozzi may be ready sooner … not later. He needs to be given a shot first.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 78 58 -- 18
ATLANTA 72 67 7.5
MIAMI 67 70 11.5
NEW YORK 65 74 14.5
PHILADELPHIA 64 74 15.0
Through Tuesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Braves at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Braves 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.

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