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Thursday news and discussion

Jan 13, 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. Positively Half St. - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    OK- MLBTR says that the Nats may be trying to swoop in and sign Chris Young, whom the Mets have been working toward signing for a while. This is another injury case, but a player with a winning lifetime record.1. Should the Nats try?2. Don't you think that this time, at least, there is no reason for someone to reject the Nats because the other team has a better chance of winning now?+1/2St.

  2. Sunderland - Jan 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    1 – Yes, I think they should go after him.2 – With Chris Young, it's not going to be about winning now. It's almost the opposite. He'd rather go to a place that, if healthy, he knows he's gonna get the ball every fifth day.His choice might come down to things we know little about, like whether he has a preferance for one pitching coach over another, a preference for the weather, for a home stadium, etc. He'll be picking the place where he thinks he has the best chance to pitch and succeed, not where he has the best chance for a possible playoff run.FYI – He was a heck of a basketball player, graduated Princeton, won the Ivy League Rookie of the Year in both baseball and basketball during his freshman season.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    His best option for a chance to make the rotation would be us, however knowing the new Mets management like I do, they will sell their pitcher friendly ball park and the spot in their rotation till Santana recovers and depnding how he performs, a spot even after Santana returns.

  4. sjm 308 - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    I have read that Young is still not healed but I also would not mind seeing us take another gamble. I mean, we are still waiting and hoping for Wang to come around and if he does, its a huge plus for us and we really did not over spend for that gamble (see Dimitri Young etc). I also wonder how long Francis, Millwood and others out there wait to sign. Does it help a pitcher to be in camp on time? I would think so and maybe all these deals will fall into place in the next two weeks. One thing about Rizzo, he keeps things close to the vest.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 13, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    And remember that Young already has a relationship with Sandy A. and Paul Dipodesta from San Diego.

  6. John C. - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    I have to admit that my first thought when I read that is that Young's agent is trying to get the Mets to up the price.It feels strange to say it, but right now if he wants a starting slot it may be easier to get with the Mets. With Santana out until at least mid-season, the Mets' rotation is Pelfrey, Dickey … Niese … um … TBA, and TBA. Right now Dillon Gee and Jennry Mejia are the leading candidates, but I wouldn't trade rotations with the Mets if I were Rizzo.Wow, I think I'll need some time to get used to that concept!

  7. Sunderland - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    sjm, I think it's fair to say that if people were convinced Young is completely healed, he wouldn't be hunting for work this late in the offseason at bargain pricing.So presuming he is not 100% seems fair.Not sure how much agent wrangling / positioning / spinning would go on with Young. He's gonna sign cheap, that's pretty clear. And it will be a one year deal too, also pretty clear. But I'll surely agree with that Wow! comment.

  8. Steve M. - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    http://www.nationals360.com/2011/01/danny-espinosa-hand-healing-great-ill-be-100-in-viera.html#tpA good write up on Danny Espinosa. So glad he wasn't traded. The kid has the right attitude and the Nats have a chance to have many Web Gems at 2nd base. I think he will be a Gold Glove calibre 2nd baseman although we all know that doesn't mean he will win a Gold Glove.You can envision defensive upgrades at 1st, 2nd, RF, and LF over last years crew. If LaRoche is as good as advertised, then Desi will also upgrade himself on throwing errors with the assistance of LaRoche.The other person who may benefit is Nyjer Morgan who won't have to shade towards LF. Nyjer was improved in his defensive range in August/Sept.The biggest change I perceive will be with the pitchers. They will have greater confidence in their defense. Back in 2008, I was talking to one of the Nats pitchers about some of the bizarre defenses that Acta would put together and how he felt seeing the lineup card with a guy like LoDuca in LF and Dmitri at 1st base and his reply was "long day".Can you imagine some of the defensive lineups Manny Acta would concoct back in 2008. My favorite was the embarassment of June 28, 2008 in a 9-1 LOSS. He may have set a record for defensive changes and substitutions.Catcher – Flores/Nieves3rd base – Belliard/Pete Orr/Kory CastoShortstop – Cristian Guzman/Pete Orr2nd base – Felipe Lopez1st base- Dmitri Young/Paul LoDucaLeft Field – Paul LoDuca/Wily Mo PenaCenter Field – Lastings Milledge/Willie HarrisRight Field – Elijah DukesThat defense could have set a record for lowest UZR ever!

  9. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Not a lot of risk in signing Young as yes, he will come cheap. No harm in stockpiling pitching as other avenues to acquire arms haven't panned out as yet. Maybe one or two of these fellas will pan out. JTinSC

  10. Carl in 309 - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Just when I thought Mark Z. had picked exactly the best week to take an overdue break (when baseball news this off-season would be at its nadir), you all find a Chris Young rumor. I thought we'd just exchange ideas on where best to get a beer and a burger in Viera!From what little I read about Young, I hope Rizzo passes. According to ESPN's rumors column today, he has never once pitched 200 innings in a season. We really need more durability than that. Let's hope the Mets take a flier on him–it's just what they need (e.g., another guy who can't play the entire season).But if we are talking about Young, why aren't we talking about John Maine, with whom the Phillies are reportedly talking?In the meantime, back to mapquesting chain restaurants in Viera!

  11. John O'Connor - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    If Young is healthy, he is very likely to be an effective pitcher. But as John C. said, Young might have the best chance of a rotation slot with the Mets at this point. If you can get Grienke or Garza, you boot somebody out of the rotation, but are the Nats ready at this point to give up on Livan, Lannan, Marquis, Zimmermann, or Maya? Because if you take one of those guys out of the rotation, you're probably giving up on them, and I have my doubts that Rizzo is ready to do that.

  12. Ballinonabudget - Jan 13, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    MLBTR relaying a Jon Heyman tweet: Arizona signs Willie Bloomquist.Scratch this one off the Nats' potential utility guy list.Hey Rizzo, gimmie some Punto!

  13. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    New blog post on signing pitching reclamation projects.Check it out here.

  14. Mark'd - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Steve M. – thanks for the memories, eh, nightmares. Nothing tops July 8 2008 when Nats were in Cincy.Acta moves LoDuca from catcher to 1st base and LoDuca comes out of the dugout with his 1st basemans glove that looks like it is as big as he is. The Nats are losing 5-3 and Votto grounds to Lopez who throws to LoDuca at 1st and Pauly drops the ball! +)!/( CLANK! The score goes to 6-3. In the top of the 9th the Nats rally to 6-5 with Nieves at the plate and he strikes out to end the game as the losing streak goes to 5 games.

  15. erocks33 - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    I wouldn't mind picking someone like Chris Young up on the cheap. Chances are he may not be healthy enough to start the season, which would benefit the Nats. JZim is going to have his innings limited this season (probably around 140-150 IP) so he may need to shut it down early.If they start the season with Maya in the rotation, how far into the season would he be able to pitch? Can he go 200 or so, or should he be limited to 140-150 as well?So if the Nats sign Young, they have him and Wang ready to step in mid-season to replace JZim and/or Maya and/or any other SP that might get hurt and/or struggle.Keep in mind that in the past 3 seasons, Young has started a total of 36 games (18 in '08; 14 in '09 and only 4 last year), so even if he can start the season 100%, he would need to have his innings limited as well.But I agree fully with Carl in 309 in that the Nats really should take a look at John Maine as well.

  16. Steve M. - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Ballinonabudget – Yep, back to Punto or Willie Haris, or Lombardozzi.Peyton Dowdy – Nice blog. Good luck!Mark'd – I just looked at the 7/6/08 boxscore. I seem to remember that game. Do you realize that LoDuca appeared in 16 games at 1st base in 2008 and had 3 errors? I also remember LoDuca swinging for the fences and the ball would go about 300 feet as a can of corn flyout. Probably the worst 1 year signing the Nats had. $5,000,000 LoPuka'd down the toilet.

  17. Wally - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    I am not that excited about Young. Would rather see Francis first, then Bonderman.

  18. markfd - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    I would not mind seeing some sort of incentive laden contract dangled Young's way. When healthy he is a good pitcher.On the infield front…sign Hairston!

  19. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/giants/detail?entry_id=80671This is a good article about Pablo Sandoval and how he is trying to get back to shape and doing it with his own money.I posted this because of the discussions pro/con on Prince Fielder. Fielder needs to get into a program like Sandoval.

  20. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    http://dc.sbnation.com/washington-nationals/2011/1/12/1930747/nationals-free-agnecy-adam-laroche-ryan-zimmermanAnother good one that says Adam Dunn and Matt Capps along with Zim and JWerth helped get LaRoche to the Nationals!Thanks Adam and Matt!

  21. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    From Bill Ladson's interview with Adam LaRoche:MLB.com: Did you talk to any players before getting a deal done with the Nationals? LaRoche: I spoke to Adam Dunn a little, and he really enjoyed his experience in Washington. He definitely recommended going to Washington. I talked to Ryan Zimmerman a few times before I signed. I spoke to Jayson Werth. I've known those guys from playing against them. I wanted to get their opinions. They were instrumental in my decision. They told me the direction they thought the team was going. MLB.com: I'm surprised that Adam Dunn gave you advice. That's really classy of him, don't you think? LaRoche: Yeah, it is. We have known each other for a long time. We talk quite a bit. I knew regardless of the situation, he was going to give me his honest opinion. As you know, he doesn't [lie to anyone] — whether it's good or bad. It's one of the things that I love about him. He was great. He said, "From the front office down to the coaching staff, everything was really good." He definitely recommended going to Washington. When you hear it from Zimmerman, Werth, Adam, Matt Capps and a couple of other guys, it's pretty convincing.

  22. sjm 308 - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Peyton, thanks for the new read, just what I need, more baseball stuff!!Sunderland, thanks for your input and god what a disaster that June 08 lineup was. Did anyone ever think LoDuca was a good signing? I am thinking that resigning Dimitri to such a huge contract might have been worse but we have so many to compare.Carl in 309, our group is moving up to 308 this season, please tell me they have a decent beer selection upstairs. I am not a beer snob but Bass or Newcastle would be my prefered choice since they stopped selling Guinness.Thanks to everyone who keeps me informed and entertained here (it really doesn't take much)Go Nats!!!

  23. Mark'd - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    P2P – no matter what JayB says, you read LaRoche's interview and this isn't 2008 any more. Rizzo has started to change the culture here which is the first step in winning.Even though Dunn left, hearing him say the good things gives you encouragement on this teams direction.

  24. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Thank you for the kind words Steve M and sjm 308. I appreciate it.I agree it is encouraging to hear Laroche talk about other players helping make his decision to come here easier.I also like the idea of adding Jerry Hairston. He is Willie Harris, but can actually play the infield better. Same speed and d. He has also hit 10 hrs each of the last 2 seasons. Why not bring him in?If we are taking a shot on a reclamation project I would say the only one left that I'd really be comfortable with is Jeff Francis. He pitched over 100 innings last year as oppossed to what Maine and Young did. I won't completely argue signing any of the 3 to boost competition but this really should be a year to give Maya and Detwiler enough innings for a solid evaluation.

  25. Steve M. - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    sjm 308 said… and god what a disaster that June 08 lineup was. Did anyone ever think LoDuca was a good signing? I am thinking that resigning Dimitri to such a huge contract might have been worse but we have so many to compare.Thanks to everyone who keeps me informed and entertained here (it really doesn't take much)Go Nats!!! LoDuca was worse than Dmitri as Dmitri got re-signed after being named "Comeback Player of the Year" so there was some justification there. LoDuca was a 36 year old that Acta tried to make into a utility guy. A good part of the season he was batting under .200 and had ZERO HR's for a guy that averaged over 10 per full season. He actually had a .281 slugging percentage which is lower than Livan's career slugging of .299. LoDuca had 6 bases loaded at-bats and went 0 for 5 in those situations and in 2 of the 5 he hit into DOUBLE PLAYS. I think the batboy had better production in 2008 than LoDuca.There has to be some SABR stat for worst player based on dollars spent. I would say Justin Maxwell except he was making about $400,000. To make it worse, he was miserable to the fans. Hands down the worst beating out Kearns, JMax, Marquis, Nook Logan, Josh Wilson, and Wiki Gonzalez.

  26. DFL - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    FOR DEBATE: 3-4-5 bating orderGiven that Jayson Werth is by far the fastest of the power section of the line-up, the most likely to score when one of the others doubles and the most likely to steal a base and ultimately score on a single by one of the others, and given that Adam LaRoche hits lefties rather well for a lefty, shouldn't the 3-4-5 positions in the Nats' line-up be Werth-Ryan Zimmerman-LaRoche?

  27. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Fangraphs has Lo Duca listed as being worth a whopping total of -$1.9m and on top of the ridiculous contract Bowden gave him that has to be the worst signing in Nats history. It is even worse than the Daniel Cabrera deal Bowden put together. Cabrera was only worth -$1.4m. Good ole Bowden.

  28. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Re LoDuca, don't forget his stellar performance in the MASN booth subbing for Don Sutton while LoDuca himself was on the DL. He made an offhand remark that outed Ryan Zimmerman as being injured before anyone in management or even Zimmerman himself had announced it. Perhaps that has something to do with why LoDuca hasn't picked up any broadcast work since he retired from the game?http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2008/05/shoulder_issues_commentator_is.html

  29. NatinBeantown - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Steve M.-Not to mention bringing LoDuca bringing the stain of the Mitchell Report on the Nats barely a week after signing.Hmmm… a 36-year-old, widely known PED user, involved in numerous clubhouse controversies, with declining production… for nearly 10% of the MLB payroll. AWESOME.

  30. Steve M. - Jan 13, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Peyton, how could I have left Daniel Cabrera off that list!Thanks for that. He made some of Balester's pitches look good last year!

  31. Steve M. - Jan 13, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    NatinBeantown – Thanks for the summation. I am actually laughing out loud at my computer.I used to wonder if Bowden was making side deals with players. The $10 million/2 year deal to Dmitri Young, $8 million extension to Kearns, $2.6 million to Daniel Cabrera, and giving $5 million to LoDuca has to make one ponder about what the heck Bowden was doing. Every GM has his lapses but the $5 million to LoDuca was one of those WTF moments.

  32. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    And don't forget that the reason Bowden needed to sign LoDuca in the first place was because he had just got done trading Brian Schneider and Ryan Church for Lastings Milledge.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 13, 2011 at 6:18 PM

    While at the Winter Meetings while walking with Sandy Alderson, we happened upon Jim Bowden and Tommy Lasorda. Sandy stopped to say hello and introduced me to both. Bowden actually remembered me from sitting to his right during the springs of 2007 and 2008 in Viera. I managed to thank him for being in radio and not in any management position, all with a beaming smile on my face.

  34. db423 - Jan 13, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    Just before Chris Young broke into the majors, he used to spend off-seasons in DC because his then girl friend was from NoVa. He and I had a mutual friend, so he used to come to my place of work to throw and do fitness stuff. He is a quality guy and would be a great locker room addition. I hope the Nats pick him up. I don't know if he married the NoVa girl, but if he did, that might be a tie-breaker in getting him to come to the Nats.

  35. N. Cognito - Jan 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    If Young is not healthy, who cares if he's a "great guy in the locker room."

  36. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I think he did marry the NoVa girl. His wife, Liz Patrick, is daughter of Dick Patrick, minority owner of the Caps. Last wiki updated she was finishing her law degree at Georgetown. That could make DC seem appealing :-) On an unrelated note Frank Robinson was hospitalized at the winter meetings. Hopefully it is minor and he'll recover quickly!http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110113&content_id=16431256&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb

  37. Doc - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Signing a wounded arm like Chris Young would be a pitching addition that represents a signicant contribution to the Nats staff in the possibility range, not the probability range. The stats suggest that Young has a history of, at best, journeyman contributions in his career. Nats have lots of journeyman pitchers.

  38. Carl in 309 - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    @sjm308; re. beerWhat can I tell you–each new season seems to bring changes in what's served where. I've been known to go down to the Section 100 level for a craft beer or a brat when at times they haven't been available up in the "real" baseball seats. Generally, I find there are options beyond Bud and Miller Lite (and I am a bit of beer snob, so I judge a park by the quality of its beer selection). I have also found some responsiveness in calling Nats customer service staff on availability of stuff over time. Can't promise Newkie Browns, but you'll find a couple of options as the season progresses.And if you haven't been up in the 300-level seats much before, I think you'll like it up here. I call these seats the "real" baseball ones because the fans are reasonably authentic (and clued in), and the perspective on the game from inside the third-base bag is pretty decent. I also see 10 games a year down in the 200-level club seats (we've just moved up the third base line from right behind home plate), and for pure joy of watching the game (versus impressing a client or a daughter's boyfriend), I prefer being up in 309.

  39. John C. - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    I'm also in the 309 contingent – I'm in a group that splits four season tickets, so I get to about a dozen games a year. If you hear some lunatic shouting "Never Give Up! Never Surrender!" after the Nats fall behind – well, that's me.Carl in 309 is right – particularly from the first couple of rows, I think they are the best value in the ballpark (when you sit in the seat that you buy a ticket for ;-). The section looks straight down the RF line. My only complaint is that, thanks to the luxury boxes and the diminished overhang compared to RFK, not many foul balls make it. You had to be on your toes at RFK, but only an Adam Dunn or Ryan Howard type of hitter vs. a power arm can get a foul ball up there at Natstown.

  40. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Carl in 309 said…I also see 10 games a year down in the 200-level club seats (we've just moved up the third base line from right behind home plate), and for pure joy of watching the game (versus impressing a client or a daughter's boyfriend), I prefer being up in 309. I like the way you think, and would like to meet your daughter, sir.

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 13, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    I'm a right field foul pole guy in section 237. Usually sit in the first two rows, close to restrooms, food and beer. I've sat downstairs but find that the closer I am to the field, the further I am away from food, beer and restrooms.Plus you can get a bull pen guy to toss you a ball every now and then which I immediately give to some young kid close by.

  42. Carl in 309 - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    @anon; re. daughterYou may have missed your chances to meet her–I actually initially signed on for my upper deck and club seats beginning with the first Nats season (where the "club seats" were behind the home plate screen much closer to the field) as a way to engage my then middle-school child with baseball (and indirectly, with me!). Her first game was an interleague match at RFK when the Nats hosted the Mariners (had to wait until school was out!), and she was in awe of the experience. She also saw relatively little of the game because she was still figuring out the flow of the game. One thing she did witness–vividly–was this amazing stab of a line drive by Nick Johnson, with whom she immediately fell madly in love. My recollection is that the Nats won the game as well, but my memory is hazy.While she has remained a fan and now has a more traditional boy friend, her interest in the Nats has waned: first they dumped Ryan Church (she has an autographed bat from him); then traded Brian Snyder–another favorite of hers; and eventually the often-absent, but much beloved, Johnson. Last year, I barely got her to a half dozen games. And she's off to college after this summer.Guess I'll be the one sitting by myself with my other three empty seats in 309!

  43. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    "first they dumped Ryan Church (she has an autographed bat from him); then traded Brian Snyder-"Hey everyone. Don Sutton is back!

  44. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Oh God no.

  45. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    The Post (Kilgore) is reporting this afternoon that Willie Harris has offers from two other clubs and WILL NOT return to Nationals. Let's go after David Eckstein. I'll vote for Chris Young, too!

  46. Presidents Race Fan - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:32 PM

    I'm so relieved to know that Riggleman can no longer be tempted to PH Willie against every RH reliever.

  47. Anonymous - Jan 13, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    Have to wonder if the Nats FO might not wait to see what they might have in ST before reaching out again. The value of the players they might package in a trade might also increase as scouts take their measure in Spring Training.

  48. JaneB - Jan 13, 2011 at 11:43 PM

    Ah! I'm glad for Willie that there is interest elsewhere, I hope that for Justin, too, when the time comes.

  49. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2011 at 1:10 AM

    All your base will always belong to Willie Harris.

  50. Another_Sam - Jan 14, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    309 — I'm a bit of a beer snob myself. In Melbourne, go to Coasters on A1A. It's in a WalMart shopping center just between New Haven and Eau Galle. [sp?] They've got maybe 30 taps. They've a youtube video saying what's on tap currently. Check their website. Burgers pretty good; plenty of adequate food. Coasters is worth the trip for the beer.

  51. Another_Sam - Jan 14, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Anyone seeing a game in Jupiter can go to The Yardhouse, a sports pub with a lot of interesting beers on tap, in Palm Beach Gardens, just a short drive south of the ballpark. Last year I stayed a night in the Marriott just around the corner from that pub. Plenty of good taps; very good pub food.And last night someone recommended Island Fish Grill in Melbourne. Great fish, but, alas, only bottled beer, and only a few of those. My drill is to dine there, and then head for Coasters — see post above.

  52. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2011 at 2:53 AM

    glad to see the Yankees getting Soriano. Now the Nats compensation first round pick for Dunn will not be pushed back to round two. If the White Sox signed Soriano, the Rays would have received the #1 pick and the Nats would have got the #2.

  53. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2011 at 3:24 AM

    Here's Chico Harlan's recommendation:From Ben Goessling's blog:Just so you know I'm a lurker in these parts, and of course I've been known to get a bit too excited about food. Or, in this case, beer. Best part about Space Coast Stadium is its proximity to this place: http://wobusa.com/. It opened last year, and has about a 100 beers on tap from what I can remember.

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