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How do they stack up in NL East?

Jan 21, 2011, 4:41 PM EDT

Having added a $126 million right fielder, a back-of-the-rotation starter, a couple of relievers and several veteran bench players, the Nationals appear to have improved over the offseason. This franchise may not be ready to win quite yet, but those back-to-back, 100-loss seasons from 2008-09 are looking more and more like a distant memory.

Improved or not, though, the Nats won’t start turning heads until they start overtaking their rivals in the NL East. They’ve finished last in the division three straight seasons and five times in six years since arriving in town.

Have the Nationals improved enough this winter to escape the NL East basement? On CSNwashington.com, I rank the Nats against their division rivals in various categories and decide how they stack up against the Phillies, Braves, Marlins and Mets.

114 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Anonymous - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Mark,Thanks! Any news on a radio deal fo 2011? Thanks

  2. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    I was told a few days ago that the Nats were close to a deal that would keep games on 1500 AM while also simulcasting them on 106.7 FM. I haven't heard, however, how the recent news of 1500 being sold by Bonneville to Hubbard might affect the proposed deal (if at all).

  3. Anonymous - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Mark,I notice you didn't include defense in your rankings. Since it's such a priority for Rizzo, I'd be interested to hear how you think the Nats stack up that category as well.Allan

  4. DFL - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Phillies 95-67Braves 91-71Mets 84-78Marlins 77-85Nats 70-92

  5. Alex - Jan 21, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I really do see them finishing ahead of the Mets this season. PhilliesBravesMarlinsNatsMetsAnd they could finish above the Marlins, too, if Zimmermann has a solid season and Morgan gets back to '09 form. That would be nice.

  6. SpotsyNats - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Mark,Agreed with Allan re: defense.If you take your rankings to the next step and assign a point value (5 points for 1, 4 points for 2, etc.) Then the rankings are:1. ATL (16)2. PHI (14)3. NATS (12)4. FLA (11)5. NYM (7)Of course, the flaw here is that “bench” carries the same weight as “starting rotation”, which is nonsensical. So what should the weights be and should there be any categories for intangibles (stadium, experience) or coaching?

  7. Steve M. - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Mark, good analysis on your CSN but I no longer feel the Phillies have the #1 lineup. Jimmy Rollins (32 y.o.) isn't what he was and Victorino had his worse year at 29 years old and if you look closely was a few points above Nyjer on his simple slash line with that .259/.327 with a better power configuration. Utley gets on base at a great clip (especially against lefties) but has been having injuries and Ryan Howard put up his lowest power numbers of his career.Without Jayson Werth, I think the Phillies lineup is not scarey anymore and I think the Braves with McCann, Uggla, Heyward, Prado and Freeman will perform better.The Nats big 3 I think are the best in the NL East right now but the supporting cast of the other 5 don't have numbers to support anything spectacular unless someone like Nyjer and Morse steps up.The Marlins lost Uggla but still strong with Hanley Ramirez and Mike Stanton and Coghlan etc. Hard to say with some of their young guys where they will be at.I would rank the Braves lineup ahead of the Phillies and the Phillies starters unfortunately are the best in the MLB.So my lineup rankings are: NL East rankings: 1. Braves, 2. Phillies, 3. Nationals, 4. Marlins 5. MetsI agree with everything else and see the Nats in a dogfight for 3rd place and probably will be in 4th.

  8. NatinBeantown - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    What's interesting is that this could be like 2005 in the NL East, where .500 ball still gets you 4th or 5th place.Movement in the division standings will have a lot to do with whether the Nats let the Fish beat them like a drum head-to-head again this year.

  9. Mark Zuckerman - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Fair points about me not including defense. I sort of took that into consideration as I was doing the lineup rankings, though didn't give defense nearly as much weight as offense.If I had to rank the NL East strictly on defense, I guess I'd go: 1. Mets, 2. Phillies, 3. Nationals, 4. Marlins, 5. Braves.

  10. SCNatsFan - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    I think it is a fair and accurate review Mark. Would be nice to escape the cellar and start trending upwards but, like Boz said the other day, at least the current lineup with SS and Harper on the way and an owner who is letting loose the pursestrings (somewhat) it's an exciting time to be a Nats fan. Thanks for all your hardwork keeping us informed.

  11. Bratislava, Slovakia - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    But let's not forget that:– on each team, someone will get injured;– on each team, someone will perform significantly worse than anticipated; and– on each team, someone will perform significantly better than anticipated.Re the injury (or injuries) point, the question is "how badly?" (or "out for how long?). Last season the Nats saw Zimmerman injured early, but not too badly and not out for more than a few weeks. Then they saw Strasburg suffer a season-ending injury. Who will it be this year?Re the "someone will perform worse" point, last year that was clearly Morgan. Was it a bad year or a predictor? Who knows? Will this year's "worse" be LaRoche or Zimmerman or Werth — which would be a season killer for the Nats? Or will it be someone like Livan, who might be more easily replaceable? We'll see.Re the "someone will perform better" point, I guess last year's example would be Morse, but his better-than-expected performance only generated a couple of extra wins. Would that one of our middle infielders have a totally unanticipated "better" year like Jose Bautista did. But that's the stuff of dreams…Anyway, as Stengel or Berra or someone once said, that's why they play the game(s).

  12. Theophilus - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    Glad to see people talking about something other than A. Gonzalez, Maxwell and which of several dubious minor leaguers should be dumped from the roster.I'm not impressed w/ the Braves lineup. They've got their own Nyjer Morgan problem in CF, what is Uggla w/out Ramirez, and they are apparently relying on a rookie at 1B. Does Heyward have a sophomore slump? Does Infante overachieve again? McCann can be pitched to. Beyond Prado I'm not certain they have anyone that will scare you AB after AB. Most of all, no Bobby Cox. Cox, not talent, got them close to the postseason last year. There will be a transition, and Gonzalez in Miami was no genius — certainly no Leyland or McKeon. The Marlins — no Uggla — are always an injury or two from disaster. Buck is not what they think they are getting. They have three times as many sophomore slump possibilities as Atlanta. I'm not saying the Nats will finish second because it's probably too much to hope both those teams will tank — but I'd be interested hearing the odds on it.

  13. Mark'd - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    SteveM you are such a homer and I love it!Is JRoll only 32? I thought he was about 39.I think it is a pick 'em on 1st to 4th on the NL East lineups and like the 1990's Braves the Phillies look better than MadduxSmoltzGlavine IMHO for the starting pitchers.The NL East will be more tightly fought and the Nats biggest weakness will be the starters and the hope is being helped out by a more effective defense.

  14. Steve M. - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Good defensive rankings Mark! Seems fair to have the Nats in 3rd there also!

  15. Anonymous - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    I enjoyed the analysis. One factor that I am sure all of us are considering is the Nats' major potential weakness (starting rotation) can negatively impact one of the team's greatest potential strengths (the bullpen). Too many five inning or so outings by the starters will likely wear the pen down again by mid-season, and that is when the potential will be there for trouble of the sort we've seen the past three seasons.

  16. Slidell - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    If the Nats can play Florida at least even, there's a good chance of squeezing out ahead of them in the standings. Every game won or lost with them amounts to a two-game spread. Overall, we will need to have more than our share of good bounces. However, things are certainly better than they were.

  17. Steve M. - Jan 21, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Theophilus – I think that Heyward and Stanton have to have great sophomore years for their teams. Hoping neither do.This is all projecting out and having fun with it but I am glad the Phillies look weaker on paper and if the Nats stop bringing in the lefty reliever to face Utley which seems to backfire each time as I think the Phillies will stack 3 lefties together. The Phillies go:1. Rollins2. Polanco3. Utley4. Howard5. Ibanez6. Victorino7. D.Brown8. Ruiz

  18. Mark'd - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Slidell, so true on going head to head with the Marlins as that is the key to 3rd or 4th. The Nyjer factor will be interesting after the 2010 fights. Maybe the Marlins can keep plunking Nyjer and help his OBP and allow him to steal 2nd.

  19. Anonymous - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    It very well could end up like this:1. Brown2. Desmond3. Zimmerman 4. LaRoche5. Werth6. Morse/Ankiel7. Espinosa8. Ramos

  20. Doc - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Good analysis MarkMeister. I think our rotation ranks ahead of the Braves, and for sure the Mets–nobody in this universe ranks ahead of the Phillies! The Braves have an aging rotation with a bunch of end of the rotation kind of guys. We might even pass the Fish in this area–surprise, surprise!Everything else I'd have to agree with. Flores/Pudge/Ramos, if all healthy should put us in a special category. Minus CF, our offense may also surprise us. If Espi hits, were good! If Brown/Ankiel, or the hockey guy, does something real, were even better!

  21. raymitten - Jan 21, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    I think you're selling the everyday lineup short. As far as position players, I think we stack up pretty well against everyone — the Phillies starters are severely damaged by replacing Werth with Brown and Utley and Rollins have both declined. The Marlins are less stacked then they were with Uggla and there is no one on the Mets I would trade for a Nat in any position. I also think you're failing to account for experience in players like Espy and Desi may well result in much stronger play from the middle of the infield on both sides of the ball. Here's my rankings:BravesPhilliesNationalsMarlinsMetsI think the Nats will only go as far as the pitching will go, and we probably won't contend solely because of the starting staff.

  22. Carl in 309 - Jan 21, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Enjoyed this analysis. It'll be an interesting benchmark for all of us as the season progresses. In the spirit of optimism–strongest before pitchers and catchers report–I'll favor Raymitton's predicted final standings (of course, I thought we'd finish above .500 last year). It does look like the division has two groupings–the Phillies with the Braves chasing; and the Nats, Marlins, and Mets fighting to see who gets a better draft pick.Related to our personnel, there's a similarly fun column on ESPN by Jayson Stark on his "most underrated team," drawing from both leagues. Two of this blog's favorite personalities are on the list: Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn.

  23. Wally - Jan 21, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    I am a homer too, but I have to admit, I am enjoying the comments to this one. I especially liked "I think our rotation ranks ahead of the Braves" by Doc.Let loose the pidgeons and bring on pitchers and catchers!

  24. Harper_ROY_2012 - Jan 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Here is my prediction for the NL East:1) Phillies run away with it wire to wire.2) Braves3) Marlins4) Mets5) Nats (70 – 92)

  25. Mark'd - Jan 21, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    RaysMitten, I guess you agree with SteveM's analysis because you basically rewrote it.

  26. The Great Unwashed - Jan 21, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Steve M. and Slidell beat me to the punch. At least some degree of progress should be measured by the Nats vs. Marlins season series. If the Nats have a winning record against Florida, they'll probably finish 4th in the NL East.I also think the Nats will finish ahead of the Mets, but that both teams will be below .500. Unfortunately, my prediction is based on the current state of the starting rotation. Unless something changes, (maybe a trade or two) it'll take an act of God for the Nats to have a winning record with the overabundance of #4 and #5 starters they have.But then again, as Dennis Miller used to say, "What do I know? I could be wrong."

  27. HHover - Jan 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    What Wally said–the Nats' rotation is better than the Braves'?! The Nats would have to count themselves blessed if they had the same problems as Atlanta. Yes, Lowe turns 38 this year, but Hudson is the same age as Livo. Both Hudson and Livo are probably due for a decline after strong 2010s, but Hudson's 2010 was way better, and Livo's 2011 decline will almost surely be steeper. And Atlanta's 3-4 starters (Jurrgens and Hanson) both turn 25 this year and have career ERAs better than anyone on the Nats' staff. I know winter is a time to let your hopes run wild, but there's no reason to let them come completely untethered from reality.Mark's analysis looks right to me–it's reasonable to hope for some improvement over 2010, but the Nats will still be lucky to make it out of last place this season.

  28. Mark'd - Jan 21, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    If you give any stock in the MLB channels analysis they picked the Nats in 4th and Ryan Zimmerman as the 2nd best 3rd baseman in the MLB.

  29. JD - Jan 21, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    My 2 cents worth: 1)Phillies by at least 10 games unless 2 of their starting pitchers go down. 2)Marlins Much better rotation than the Braves + 3 sophomore studs (Morrison,Stanton,Sanchez). 3 Braves – Big drop off's from Hudosn, Prado and Infante. Jurgens very injury prone. 4) Nats by a hair over the Mets; I think they are a 75 win team as constituted with a nice year from Marquis (contract year) and Zimmermann with a potential upside of .500 if they get some contribution from Wang and if Espi and Desi have decent years.

  30. Doc - Jan 21, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    NL East on defense. Probably right Mark, you usually are. Even though Nats have a lot to prove from last year's leaky crew, I think some surprising improvement is in order, particularly at middle infield, 1st Base, and RF. Not sure about CF???Anyway, I think the Nats will be a lot closer to the Mets and Phillies in defense than they were last year.

  31. David - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    I think the Nats might finish 4th but I rather they finish .500 regardless of position rank. It’s hard to rank the rotation starters and match them up against another team because I think the strength of the Nationals rotation is depth not quality. Every team has pitchers that slump or get injured but the Nats should have a suitable replacement available. It’s hard to rank depth but I think the Nats will play .450 to .460 ball most of the season, maybe a little better in September if Strasburg comes back.

  32. John C. - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    FWIW, I actually see the Nats' rotation as being better than the Mets. Everyone assumes Santana (a) comes back on time; and (b) comes back without rust or diminution of skills. Santana is 32, not 26 – I think those are pretty wild assumptions to make. Right now their rotation is Pelfrey, Dickey, … Niese? … and … two other guys? They're not going to invest at this point, either, because they are waiting out a couple of bad contracts.The more the Nationals can get out of their starters, the more they will get out of the bulpen. Given the number of IP from the bullpen, it's remarkable that they were as effective as they were in 2010.I do like the bench, although I don't think that Stairs will be on it – except possibly the first couple of weeks if they decide to go with four starters.

  33. Another_Sam - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Regarding the bullpen: what's with Clippard? I had such high hopes for him and when I looked closer he seemed so shaky?

  34. NatsFan2005 - Jan 21, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    There are three main reasons the Nats cannot escape the basement in 2011: (1) no starting pitching; (2) Riggleman (163 games under .500 career and counting fast); and (3) Morgan on the team at all — let alone center field and lead off. A hundred losses are a real probablility. There is no reason in history or statistics to suggest Zimmermann will win more than he loses, and the rest of them are born losers.

  35. John C. - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    @NatsFan2005: You and I shall have to agree to disagree, my friend. While 100 losses is a possibility, it's not that likely IMHO. No more likely than the team catching lighting in a bottle and finishing above .500. More likely is a season in transition to the younger players (Livo, Marquis, Pudge on the way out; Ramos, Zimmermann, etc on the way in) where the team finishes with around 75 wins.

  36. Mark'd - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    I am cautiously optimistic about 2011 for overall improvement and get to that 74 to 78 win mark and out of the NL East cellar. Based on bench strength, improved defense, team speed and a slightyly improved starting rotation I believe this team will exceed the 2010 record.I'm not fooling myself into any belief that this squad is the 2010 version of the Padres but there is no reason not to be cautiously optimistic after all the moves and Bill James player projections.

  37. JD - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    Another_Sam,Clippard = overused.NatsFan2005, I disagree; I think the starting pitching will be fine if not spectacular; I think 2 inning starts we often saw from Atilano, Olsen etc. will be much less frequent and I think Morgan will be much better than last year or he won't be on the team. I agree that Zimmermann is a great unknown but he could be a positive surprise as easily as a negative one; he certainly has the stuff. BTW if we don't see serious improvement from Zimmermann, Detwiler, Storen we should take a very long look at the job Mc.Catty is doing.

  38. JD - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:43 PM

    Mark'd, I think we have a much better lineup than the Padres had in 2009 and who is to say that Marquis can't do for us what Garland did for them? they are essentially the same pitcher.

  39. Mark'd - Jan 21, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    @JD, the Nats will be bettwer than the 2009 Padres just not sure if the can be the 2010 version of the Padres ;-)

  40. Theophilus - Jan 21, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    Too much negativism. This team is better than, for example, the 1989 Orioles, who were in the fight for the AL East until the last weekend. It's just as possible for a pitcher to have an unexpectedly good year as it is for one to have a Marquis year. Jeff Ballard was 18-8 for that Orioles team, more than a third of his career victories. There were a lot of bums on that staff (not counting Curt Schilling).

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  42. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    "I think we have a much better lineup than the Padres had in 2009 and who is to say that Marquis can't do for us what Garland did for them? they are essentially the same pitcher."Well, to be fair, the Padres didn't have to play the Phillies 18 times.3

  43. Tim - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    I think the 2011 team looks to be about 8 wins better than the 2010 team. And the 2010 team was actually unlucky, they did underachive their pythagorean. So maybe +10 and flirting with .500 is not so improbabble.

  44. Anonymous8 - Jan 22, 2011 at 1:16 AM

    @Tim, you are correct that the team was -2 under the pythagorean so if you start from 71 the team would be right at .500 if they were +10 over the 2010 pythagorean which could be overly optimistic.I also like year over year comparisons and this is the best starting rotation since 2005. It still isn't a great rotation but again it is improved over the 2010 team as is also the defense and team athleticism and the bench. Keys for 2011 success is Jordan Zimmermann showing his April 2009 brilliance consistently, Nyjer Morgan being close to the Nyjer of 2009, IDesmond cutting his errors below 20, and Espinosa geting to a .340 OBP.

  45. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    Keys for 2011 success are: Jordan Zimmermann and Gorzelanny showing their April 2009/2010 brilliance consistently, one of Detwiler/Mock/Maya making a break through (money's on Maya), Lannan as a consistent #4/#5 starter, Livo or Marquis long relief spot start innings eaters. Bullpen repeats and has similar success with fewer innings pitched, Nyjer Morgan being close to the Nyjer of 2009, IDesmond cutting his errors below 20, and Espinosa geting to a .340 OBP.

  46. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    .500 is a must but if it mean Ian D has less than 20 errors forget it. He will be in the 30's again. If .500 means Morgan must return to his 45 day flash of great play from 2009…..for a full 2011….that is not happening either. Jordan Z…..he could very well pitch up to his potential…..so that is good but the other two….not a chance.

  47. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    I do see a much improved roster. Rizzo had a good idea ow what needed to be done. He failed to execute it in many cases and that is going to really hurt long run. Had to get the starting pitching…he knew it…it would be very interesting to have him tell us what he would have done differently if he could have done it again with hind site. I think he should have acted much earlier on the pitching…like MIA did right out of the gate in early November. He should have broke the bank for Del a Rosa, same approach as Jason W. but of course much different numbers. Rizzo will find out very soon that he should have addressed Lead Off and CF as well. He should have targeted this as a must improve spot like he did starting pitching and defense…Morgan will be Dukes'ed in March with no real replacement in hand…again…..In the end Rizzo has failed to do what he set out to do, what was needed to insure he is not going to relive this years disappointments again next winter….If LoserTown is still LoserTown in September of 2011….Rizzo will pay a very heavy price This was his one shot in his 5 year contract window…..Let's hope he gets very lucky and the team is able to win more than it loses this year. No he will not get fired….he will just have to watch some really bad baseball for several more years…just like us.

  48. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Saying that I.D. will be plus 30 in errors this year….I don't think so. He showed better judgment in the 2nd half of 10 and better play at first won't hurt either. The pitching should be better than last season if for no other reason the arms have to be healthier….don't they? JTinSC

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    JayB… He DID break the bank for DeLaRosa… We offered more money than the Rockies but DeLaRosa wanted to stay in Colrorado. We were able to sign Marquis last season for EXACTLY the opposite reason… Marquis only had ONE promise to be in a starting rotation.He offered more for Greinke than Milwaukee but Greinke did not want to come to Washington….You continue to act like Rizzoworks in a vacuum!Man your household must be full of pessimism.

  50. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    I think 30 errors a year is just what you get with I.D. H is going to be 26 and has played Pro Ball for well over 7 years. He has not learned to charge the easy routine ball and that is what leads to the errors more than anything else. I think he will be should be the CF for the next 10 years and Danny E should move to SS this spring….These are the type of strategic moves that should have been made last year and in Winter Ball this year…..Not sure why Rizzo thinks I.D. is going to all of a sudden change his MO after so many years perfecting the problems. He did improve by not throwing ball he should not after great plays…that is not his most frequent error…his issue is the 4hopper hit right to him where he sits back and takes his time….Adam L. will help keep some from going into the seats but it still will be an error…just not a 2 base error…

  51. dale - Jan 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    "This was his one shot in his five year contract window". — JayBHow in the world do you come up with this conclusion? I differ strongly in that I see 2011 as a base for the 2012/2013 seasons. There was actually only one elite pitcher available this year, you can not make DelaRosa into something that he is not. Rizzo has improved the team to the extent that we have a stronger bench, competition at multiple positions, and upgraded the defense. It will take time for Strassburg to heal, Zimmermann to regain his form, the infield to meld and the outfield to be complete. With SS going down no one even dreamed that 2011 had to be the magic year. Everything points to 2012 and beyond. Rizzo will be here for his five years, long enough for you to change your bias.

  52. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    NJack,Braking the bank means getting it done…whatever it takes. He does not have to do this all the time…but he does have to do it for key roster spots and Starting Pitching is one of them. He has to break the loser image and losing cycle that Lerner ownership created. Just the facts here…does not affect home-life…just living is the real world here.

  53. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Dale,If they lose 90 to 100 games yet again this year….No FA or Trade player with Veto power will come here just like last year. Fan base is going to be well under 10K this year for none Philly type games at home…..It was bad luck that SS went down….does not change the reality that this is a huge year for the team and Rizzo did not get enough done by his own admission to change the culture……he knows he failed to get Starting Pitching that would make a difference and he is about to learn Lead Off plans are a pipe dream. He should now be able to reflect on what went wrong.

  54. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    JayB… So if silly money is always the answer, please explain Cliff Lee to Philadelphia.

  55. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    No always the answer….when you create loser town like the Lerner did by keeping Jimbo as a playmate for your son and not spending any money year after year THEN it is your only tool…..They have to spend it in a big way to recover from self created problem…..Jason W came for money….just a way over pay….need to do it 2 more times with a pitcher and lead off hitter….Nats created the problem….Rizzo must fix it…nobody else wanted Rizzo a a GM….this is his only shot…he knows it.

  56. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    The most difficult commodities to obtain are "true #1's" and that goes for starting pitching as well as true lead off hitters. JayB… as the resident expert in building the perfect ball club, please tell us what or how you would accomplish these apparently simple tasks.

  57. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Not Simple…..but need to be done…Del a Rosa should have been paid like a number one. He is not but so be it. That extra money is a drop in the bucket compared to the profit Lerner has taken out of the team over the past 5 years. Lead off…..I think something we can a agree on is that Rizzo needs to face facts that Morgan is a negative….until Rizzo faces the stats staring him in the face then it does not matter…..When he does DFA him like he did Dukes it will be too late for this year to make a good move fro a position of weakness.

  58. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    DeLaRosa isn't even a #2 in Colorado and I contend that Gozelanny is comparable to him and better than Vasquez. Our #1 is sitting in San Diego and won't be available till late August.As for lead off… I don't think even Rizzo believes in Morgan any more…. His career #'s bear out his ineffectiveness… I contend that a true lead off hitter is probably hardest to come by and if you don't have one, you're always dealing from weakness. More than 15 teams suffer from this dilemma, not just us.I believe we will have to develope our own leadoff guy and he's probably 2 seasons away.

  59. Sunderland - Jan 22, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Wily Mo Pena signs a MiLB deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. JayB, De la Rosa rebuffed all offers, he wante to stay in Colorada, his family is happy there, he make more money than he ever dreamed of time 1,000.Same with Javier Vazquez. He specifically wanted to be in Florida. Nothing we could do about it, and it wasn't just "I don't want to play for the Nationals".Just read about how when Lou Boudreau was released by the Indians in 1950, he chose to go to Boston because he admired ex-shortstop and then current Boston GM Joe Cronin so much.He said he had an offer for more money from the Senators and Clark Griffith, but his heart lead him to Boston.The more things change…..

  60. Water23 - Jan 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    One thing we are not discussing is that Rizzo has other options to solve his problems at SP and Lead-off. If money will not get it done at MLB level then look to Internationl FAs? Drop a bunch of cash in Dominican/Latin America/Asia for some prospects and/or top-Japanese players. It is like a second draft and we have heard all a long that they want to build a Farm System first then go to Phase II. So, spend the extra cash and build it. The Yanks and BoSox do this and that is one way they restock their systems after trading for a top player or losing their #1 pick when they sign a Type A FA.Now, there will be misses when you go this route but no more than the regular draft but this should provide a solid amount of talent for now and the future.

  61. Water23 - Jan 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    One of the problems with this approach is the same with MLB FAs. If you continue to lose it is a tough sell. So, you have to spend extra to get things going in the right direction. I think we would all be happy if next year's rotation was SS, JZimm, Yu Darvish, Gorzelanny and either a rejuvenated CMW or other.

  62. Wally - Jan 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    I don't think that it was possible to fix this team in 1 offseason; maybe not 2. Rizzo recrafted the team into a different style, and while it may mean a sideways move in terms of record this year, he thinks it is positive movement towards a winning team. Fewer pieces to add. I'll let it play out before rendering a verdict. His big mistake was the announcement of getting a #1 starter at the beginning of the offseason. There was no reason to say that, and it created expectations that led to fan reaction when it didn't happen. If he needed to signal anything, he could simply have said 'improve the rotation'.But this whole thing of FAs won't come here if we lose 90 games, I just don't buy. I agree that if the money is roughly comparable, FAs will go to the better situation/team. But in MOST cases, they will go for the best $$. Yes, Greinke rejected us, and DeLaRosa turned down more money to stay in Col. But we don't know how much more he turned down, right? And did Crawford give a discount to go to Boston? Beltre to Texas? Soriano to NYY? From what I can tell, those guys all got the best offer where they signed. And even Lee, he took the highest annual value out there. Sure, he passed up more guaranteed money, but people can differ on which is the better offer – kind of like choosing a job with a higher salary and no pension over a one with a lower salary and a pension. There isn't a right answer.Werth and Laroche came this year because it was the best offer/situation they had. If the Lerners are willing to pay market dollars, we'll get more next year too. What Rizzo needs to do, and cannot make a big mistake on, is getting the talent evaluation right. Werth's contract will be fine if he remains productive player for 6 years. If not, it could be trouble.

  63. Another_Sam - Jan 22, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Why have we stopped ragging on Riggleman? Kinder, gentler? Are we elevating the dialogue? or . . . However, I say: Nats will again lead the league in silly meaningless automatic double switches. LOL

  64. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Del a Rosa is the same as Gozelanny????? Njack…that and your AJ Morris is a super star comments tells me all I need to know about your famous name dropping and scouting capabilities…..stay hot…

  65. Water23 - Jan 22, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    "Wally,And did Crawford give a discount to go to Boston? Beltre to Texas? Soriano to NYY?"I think the point is that Crawford/Beltre/Soriano went for Money and winning. Nats only have Money right now and for the foreseable future. Also, remember that Ryan Zimmerman may pull a Greinke in 2012. Tired of losing 90+ games a year and talk of the team dominating in 2013 or 14 or 15 when all the prospects arrive/are healthy, he asks to be moved to a contender knowing he will get paid as a Type A FA. Now, granted Mr. Nat has never said anything but how much he likes being here but the money will be huge and he will be able to choose his next employer from a bunch of perennial contenders as well as the Nats. So, here is hoping things are really changing.

  66. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    This is exactly why this year MATTERS!….Rizzo has to drop the Loser Tag the Lerners forced on the is team NOW…..Njack and this types have been talking about 3-5 years for the past 5 years…..at some point the time is now…..if they drop 90 games this team will not recover…they are the Pittsburgh and KC combined. Lots of "promising talent" and 100 loses ever year!

  67. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    I think he should have acted much earlier on the pitching…like MIA did right out of the gate in early November. He should have broke the bank for Del a Rosa, same approach as Jason W. but of course much different numbers. De LaRosa's numbers actually look worst than Gorzelanny's. Nope, Rizzo played it right when he went straight for the top WAR. He went straight for Grienke and Cliff Lee. He still needs another pitcher and their still might yet be another deal. With the Gorzelanny trade and the conference call the heat and spotlight is off a bit. He finds it better to do deals way underneath the radar. I think that is also a good approach.Rizzo will find out very soon that he should have addressed Lead Off and CF as well. He should have targeted this as a must improve spot like he did starting pitching and defense…Morgan will be Dukes'ed in March with no real replacement in hand…again…..Uh, dude he addressed center field? Corey Brown could turn out to be the diamond in the rough. Werth can play the position as can Bernadina. He also has Hairston? Right now the Nats do not lack for outfield help. At this point the only guy they might look at would be a guy like Andrew McCutchen. Their future in the outfield looks that bright right now.Leadoff? They really don't have a high OBP guy for either #1/#2. They have plenty of fast guys now … but no one with plate discipline including Morgan.

  68. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Del a Rosa is the same as Gozelanny????? Njack…that and your AJ Morris is a super star comments tells me all I need to know about your famous name dropping and scouting capabilities…..stay hot…Yes Jayb and Gorzelanny has a higher ceiling. He almost got his career ruined when Tracy abused and over used him in 2007. He really completely recovered last year. But the Cubs are another infamous dysfunctional franchise with a questionable GM. They kept playing musical chairs with Gorzelanny and Zambrano until they finally suspended Zambrano. The Cubs? Isn't that the team Piniella quit onin the middle of the season?Try keeping an open mind JayB. Gorzelanny does have talent as he proved between April and June last year in Chicago.

  69. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    If Jordan Zimmermann and Tom Gorzelanny come out the chute in April the way they are capable of you will have a #1/#2 combination. Livo will become an after thought and a pleasant memory from last year and the 2005+ time frame. Have they done this before JayB? Yes, Gorzelanny in April 2010, Zimmermann in April 2009.You have a choice of #3 do-or-dies: Detwiler/Mock/Maya. Two could end up in the rotation. Depending on who shows in ST.Then Lannan.Rizzo isn't going to wait on Marquis if he doesn't produce right up front. Livo should get Batista's spot. He would be perfect there.CMW might never start again … he may end up in the bullpen. After the all-star break things will be different. But I expect the team will be around .500 if not over at that point.

  70. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Why have we stopped ragging on Riggleman? Kinder, gentler? Are we elevating the dialogue? or . . . However, I say: Nats will again lead the league in silly meaningless automatic double switches. LOLIf Riggleman double-switches guys in who are hitting below the mendoza line for hitters. He'll catch it quick. Morse is now a popular player with fans this year and Riggleman knows it. At least they got rid of 2 players he seemed to favor way too much in Guzman and Harris. Has Guzman even signed with anyone?He's got Ankiel now … which means he won't be thinking about JMax.

  71. wally - Jan 22, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    @Water23 – I agree that those teams have an advantage, I was just trying to say that it doesn't mean no one will come here. The circumstances have to be right, like with Werth. And your point on Zimm is good, but thankfully we have some time to improve before being faced with that crossroads.My comment on talent evaluation is that it would be very damaging to spend big on guys who don't produce, so it is critical that the Nats be very good at this – both for prospects and for existing major league talent (which are different skills, I think). This is where FO'S distinguish themselves from other teams. A willingness to spend big is a great tool for this team to now have, but you have to do it for guys who produce. A really significant overpay for DeLaRosa just to get him – say 5/$50m, similar to Werth's overpay – could really have hurt this team if he didn't produce over that contract. He has enough questions that I think that 3 years is all that Rizzo should have offered, so I can't fault him that it wasn't enough to get it done. That guy could either become more consistent, or Oliver Perez.This wasn't a great market for starting pitching – Lee and Greinke for sure, maybe Garza, but everyone else had questions. Taking a flier on a guy with questions may be worth it, but it really depends on price. I don't know where to get better pitching at this stage – maybe they can take a chance on a high profile guy with a big contract that has underperformed? John Lackey? But once again, they should only do that if they are very confident that they know why he underperformed and that it is correctable (and be right about it). Alternatively, Cincy seems like it has rotation depth, and could probably use a SS. Espy or Desi for Travis Wood or Homer Bailey? Cincy is trying to win now, so that may give us an advantage. I thought that Willingham could have been used this way, but I guess he just didn't have that kind of market value.Sometimes I think that the best way to spend money on pitching for the Nats is to throw big dollars at a Dave Duncan or Don Cooper. Those guys just seem able, time and again, to take guys with mediocre results and get exceptional performance out of them. Who often times revert back to mediocrity once they leave. I am sure that they are highly valued and resistant to leaving, but if you threw a 3/$3m offer to them, would they jump ship?

  72. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    He "proved" something over 60 days…..sounds kind of stupid to me….Tim Reading and O Perez "proved" over the same type of time frame……come one…..He is fine….I am glad he is on the team but he is not what was needed. They need a guy who can throw hard, put some fear in the heart of the other team and dominate a game more often then not…..that is more like Del a Rosa then another Scott Olsen type……Gorzo is Lannan with a few more MPH but that is about it.

  73. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Why not spend 5/$50 on a pitcher like Del a Rosa….they have to over pay and start winning and someone is going to get lucky….The Money is in the bank from all the profits sucked out by Lerner the past 5 years…..sure would rather have a young hard throwing pitcher like Del a Rosa then Guzman or D Young or Kearns or all the other wasted cheaper signings……

  74. Peyton Dowdy - Jan 22, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    JayB, you are HIGHLY over touting de la Rosa. He walks too many just like Gorzelanny and he doesn't pitch enough innings. His track record is not very good in all honesty. He has potential but doesn't stay healthy. He has never pitched more than 185 innings and hasn't even really gotten to close to that number other than in 2009. People overvalue de la Rosa because the market was bad this off season. Gorzelanny actually had better numbers last season than de la Rosa did, not to mention each one has had only 1 really good season in the majors (Gorzy 2007, de la Rosa 2009). I think Gorzelanny has just as good of a chance this season to put up numbers equal to or greater than de la Rosa. Does that make him an ace? No, but de la Rosa never was either.Why would anybody pay $50MM for a guy who has a very weak track record? He screams Oliver Perez Jr.

  75. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Del a Rosa is not the best I agree….what I like is his K rate and that he was a FA so no trade of prospects needed…..Njack would like that…..we could trade those prospect for a another need….CF/Lead-Off!….The point is not which FA we over pay…that is what a GM and scouting department is for….the point is DO IT and end the culture of 3-5 years we will contend but for now…..losing if Fine…that has proven not to work.

  76. SonnyG10 - Jan 22, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    What I want for my Nats is a chance to be a contender year after year. I do not want a "one-shot" chance, then have to rebuild with no foundation to work from. To do that, you need a strong pipeline of talent available each year. To build that pipeline you need to build your minor league system using the best talent evaluators you can get. This is where you need to first put your money. This is exactly where the Learners put their money. I heard Mark Learner say when they took over the Nats that they were not going to take any money out of the team for at least 10 years…it was all going to be put into the team. To the best of my knowledge they are doing that. To say they should have put more money into players first is just plain WRONG!!!!! (ala Daniel Snyder and the Redskins) Once the pipeline is able to churn out good players every year, then your stars like Ryan Zimmerman can leave if they choose and you can plug another star in their place. This is what I think the Nats FO is going for and this is what I want.I do think they need to improve international scouting to better feed our pipeline.

  77. Wally - Jan 22, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    I probably haven't said it well enough, but as for what I think that the Nats should have done this offseason, it is somewhere in the middle of these last comments. I agree with JayB's general comment that improving the major league team will help all areas of talent acquisition, and am all for throwing money at it where it will help. But I would not spend money just to spend, and I just don't see de la Rosa as that guy. My eval of him is very close to Peyton Dowdy. Strikeouts, yes, but a history of inconsistency otherwise at an age where, if he was going to figure it out consistently, he probably would have by now. I would rather that they offered 2/$25m for Kuroda, or even 3/$30m. Even though he is older, I feel more confident in what he would produce during those contract years than de la Rosa, especially over a 5 year contract.And I whole heartedly agree that it is essential to build a robust farm system, but what I don't agree with is to ignore spending money on the major league team while doing that. Predicting the development, sustainability of performance and injuries of numerous players is just too difficult to expect that you can consistently build for that moment where you have prospects ready to flourish so that you enter a 'cycle' of winning where it is ok to spend money on FAs. It can work, like what Tampa is doing, but there are many teams that try it and don't get it right. Arizona a few years ago when they made the playoffs seemed like they did it, and then disappeared. I think that approach extends the philosophy of building a quality farm system to an unnecessary extreme.I would add players at the major league level whenever the simple pay-for-performance equation yields a positive result. So I am good with the Werth contract even though they aren't at the peak point of their cycle, provided he holds up. Which gets me back to the talent appraisal skill. If they get that right, we will have a lot of good teams. If they don't, it won't matter what they spend.

  78. SonnyG10 - Jan 22, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Wally, I agree that the talent appraisal skill is the most important. That's how we can seperate ourselves from the rest of the teams over time.

  79. BinM - Jan 22, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the way Rizzo is constructing this team, it's just that he didn't have the FO behind him until now. Rizzo offered at or above 'fair market value' for some pitchers who would have helped the Nationals get better quick (De La Rosa, Grienke, Garza, C.Lee, Vazquez) this off-season, & was denied or bettered at every turn. He even thew reportedly 'stupid' money at Greinke, only to be refused. Blame whoever you want, but IMO Rizzo is doing everything he can to build a solid team in DC, from bottom to top.

  80. JayB - Jan 22, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Lerners are to blame that is clear. Rizzo has his one shot at at GM job after a whole life time of scouting….he has to make good on this now…he will not get another chance and the hand he was given by Lerner was really bad. I want to win now. Lerner fed us this Build the scouting and player development staff back in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009….even as it was clear that they would not even pay basic scouting travel expense reports (see WPost articles). The mistakes have been make, the $ has not been spent….it is past time to correct this mess….that means doing more faster….that means over paying for talent in ALL MARKETS…FA, TRADES, INTL…Japan. Draft…everywhere all the time…They milked the team without spending anything on what hey told us the were spending it on….Building the farm..That second effort started just in 2010…time is now.

  81. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    A willingness to spend big is a great tool for this team to now have, but you have to do it for guys who produce. A really significant overpay for DeLaRosa just to get him – say 5/$50m, similar to Werth's overpay – could really have hurt this team if he didn't produce over that contract. He has enough questions that I think that 3 years is all that Rizzo should have offered, so I can't fault him that it wasn't enough to get it done. That guy could either become more consistent, or Oliver Perez.They already have someone like that: Jason Marquis. They don't need another expensive failure like that. He and Lannan's continuing decline are the reasons why Livo ended up #1 starter last year. Even if he wasn't hurt Stras wasn't going to pitch that many innings and they had already planned on shutting him down.

  82. Anonymous - Jan 22, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Gorzelanny is an improved pitcher … also one who just came back from arm soreness last year … he could have been another Tommy John's thanks to Tracy's management of him when he first got to the majors. He still has the potential to be a top #2/#3 starter.He looks a lot better than Lannan especially in the sense that he continues to improve while Lannan continues to decline.So, why would the Lerner's suddenly decide to spend money JayB? They sure as heck aren't going to convinced by you. Enough complaints from STH's and former STH's might help. In the end its their own business acumen developed over the years. They trust Rizzo, his judgement and that of the people under him. This was not the case under Bowden. You can whine all you want about them picking the guy but he apparently sold them a bill of goods about creating cost effective winners. Bowden is the one who had to approve scout incidentals and travel not the Lerners. Do you actually believe that is not happening now with Rizzo? There is nothing anyone can do but let Rizzo have the reins and do what he does best. The Lerner's aren't going away, and neither is Rizzo. So, far he seems like he and his FO seem like they will be able to hold their own against the better FO's. If you **rush** a winner you risk ending up like the Cubs. Do you see a winning franchise there JayB? They sure spent a lot of money, and most fans see their GM as a dolt. Personally, so do I. Giving up Gorzelanny? Taking Garza over him seems a huge mistake. There's a reason why Piniella dumped the Cubs in the middle of the season … Its a damned good thing JayB isn't running things I'm sure the Nats would spend plenty of money and be far worst off than the Cubs.

  83. Anonymous - Jan 23, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    It is almost as if this were really important in the larger scheme of things. But it isn't. It's a game, a diversion at the end of the day or week. You cast your vote on the organization when you buy (or choose not to buy) a ticket.

  84. Theophilus - Jan 23, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Some people seem to have anger management issues. Anybody who thinks things would be better if the Nats burned a stack of Benjamins on the pitcher's mound (representing the lame-armed, strike-zone averse pitchers who wouldn't take the money) or threw a dump truck full of Krugerands into a bottomless pit (a/k/a Seattle Mariners) should just stay away. You want the Tigers' payroll? I'm pretty sure they'd trade. You think they're going to win any pennants this year? There are crappy teams (e.g., Cleveland, Houston, AZ) w/ no Strasburg or Harper to look forward to; there are fans in small markets (San Diego, KC) who get their thrills moving a jar around in a thunderstorm trying to catch lightning, and others (Tampa) who have to watch baseball in a vault. There are teams (Milwaukee) who are throwing the mortgage on the craps table for one season. There are teams (LAD) whose financial house isn't going to be in order for years. For the next year or two, just lean back in your clean, unobstructed view seat (thinking about Memorial Stadium in B'more) in Section 220, enjoy the smell of BBQ and look forward to the fireworks on Friday night.

  85. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 12:46 AM

    Cubs….play offs and over .500 many times in the past 5 years.Tigers in the to the last day several times in the past 5 years.SD and SEA bad to one year and +25 wins or so the next…..Nats….300 loses in 3 years…..It is time to change that pattern….last place every year in DC but one. That is not something to hanging your hat on.

  86. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 1:14 AM

    Hey thanks for putting this all into perspective…..Cubs, DET, CLE, SD, HOU, AZ….all the teams you point to as failures….ALL have had meaningful games in October since Lerners bought the team…..See how bad the Nats have been in the past TIME Will Tell but if they lay an egg yet again while teams like SD and Cubs, DET all have better records…I think you should look at the standings for the past 6 years.

  87. NatsJack in Floeida - Jan 23, 2011 at 1:36 AM

    Washington Nats….. 2005 Expansion team….Now we're not….. Take that JayB….

  88. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    Sure we have mad some progress from our first year when we hit our high water mark in attendance, wins and meaningful games in Sept……2010 team was out of the race before all star break, lead baseball in losses over 3 years, set low for attendance in brand new park and was the worst defensive team in baseball over 3 years….Starting pitching was "led" by Livo and L Atilono for much of the year…..yea that is progress for you

  89. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 23, 2011 at 2:14 AM

    Thanks for making my point.

  90. Anonymous - Jan 23, 2011 at 5:08 AM

    JayB,The Nats are sixth in the draft order. Not first as they had been for the previous two years under Bowden. (Albeit it would be nice to be set up as nicely as the TB Rays with 13 picks in the first, supplementary and second round or in the first 90.). The Nats have three picks and I expect they will pick some impact players who will reach the pro's sooner rather than later. Rizzo is not going to pick HS/prep school players with those picks like Bowden did. They will be high-end college players. Like it or not they are improving. It just isn't fast enough for you? Believe me Zimmermann and Gorzelanny at the top of the rotation will be a vast improvement over last year when Livo became the #1 starter. Add in the vastly improved fielding / defense to go with them … and ol' double switch might actually have to wait until later in games before he does his one-trick-pony. The bullpen has vastly improved depth over last year. So much so I expect a trade will be fashioned with a team like Tampa Bay soon enough. Looking at the Rays and their two most recent pickups in Damon and Manny … well both of those players know the Rays will be in the thick of it. They only need a bullpen as theirs is now pretty depleted. Enter the Nats. After Zimmermann and power lefty Gorzelanny I expect we'll see Livo's protege Maya at #3. I can't see Marquis or Livo in that spot. Detwiler might finally show he is ready. (I'm not holding my breath). Mock is less likely. Finally, Lannan would follow at the end of the rotation where he belongs. I doubt we will ever see CMW start many games (if any for the Nats. Rizzo makes mistakes: Wang and Marquis are two. Both calculated risks that should never have been taken by this team. But they were desperate for starting pitching … He appears to be learning from them quickly and not repeating. Which is why Pavano was not of interest, nor Galarraga. Its why he ramped up the front office and scouting.I firmly believe Rizzo hates to lose more than you do. I watched this guy sitting in pouring rain watching his pitchers pitch. He loves scouting, loves his job and really hates to lose. You can almost feel it … Its why I believe he will find one more starting pitcher … somehow, someway to make his a winning team this year. If he does he knows he will have access to better free agents next year. His draft picks will be progressing nicely and he will have even more (unfortunately not the Rays historic bonanza). Players will want to come to play in your new park and see if they can't make a bit of history …

  91. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    I agree with much of what you said Anon:12:08Rizzo clearly loves his job. He clearly hates to lose and I think he is very angry about all the disrespect shown to him by Zack G and the others this of season.I am not critical of Rizzo's plan or his passion or his work ethic. I am pointing out he has failed to achieve what he had to do this off season. As you point out very well….if he did/somehow does produce a winning team in 2011 then his job is much easier next winter. My point is the very high risk of producing a sub .500 team that has no starting pitching, no lead-off/CFer and a fan base that is even smaller next year than this years, sub 10K Base. That is a very real possibility and if it happens Rizzo will never be able to recover from it. That is why it was so important to do whatever was needed to prevent what is looking like another losing season with no excitement after the "new super cool" weekday 4 hour fan fest.

  92. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    That said, I have my season tickets….I have my two trips to FL all set…..I will be there supporting the Nats and looking carefully to see all this great improvement some see….if it is there in the record I will be the first to say so. If it is there on the field but not the record I will be happy but next winter FA are going to be even more likely to disrespect Rizzo again.

  93. SonnyG10 - Jan 23, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Nicely put, Anon 12:08.

  94. Anonymous8 - Jan 23, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    JayB is on speed writing. Its the same old tired points. Lerner lerner lerner. Change your whine. There are owners that have had professional sports teams for decades and have done nothing but pocket profits while duping their fanbase. I can think of one guy up the BW Parkway that has owned his team for over 18 years and has done nothing and also helped extract his share of profit off of the Nationals back while consistently through previous years blocking any team in Washington that could have been a relocated franchise with a competitive advantage (low franchise cost + good farm system + ability to set team media). The Lerners have owned the Nationals for 4 1/2 years and got suckered into a purchase which overmatched them at first with a GM that sold them a bad bill of goods. It is like buying any business that you know nothing about. Before you start spending good money after bad you have to figure out where you are. We wouldn't even be having this discussion if the Nats had a stacked farm system in 2005 but it was so badly depleted. Really sad when you have to consider what the Lerner's really bought for $450,000,000 in 2006. JayB, while they have turned profits the value of the franchise they have purchased is losing value and second, every legitimate business owner strives to turn a profit. Am I frustrated as a STH of the Nats? Yes, but I have seen for the past 2 years a real effort at improving the farm system and team and I would rather look at the glass 1/2 full and be a "homer". I enjoy Mark's blog because the information is good and the posters really are the most intelligent in NatsTown then there is you JayB. For some reason you draw so many in like I am doing here too. So many people try to play up to you and your needs. Yes, you make some valid points but like I said, it is regurgitated same ole same ole whine.

  95. Anonymous - Jan 23, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    If the consensus is that Nyjer is not the answer as a lead-off man/CF, why is Rizzo not looking for a short-term solution for this year? There's an obvious one still out there: Scott Podsednik

  96. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    A8…There has been improvements from Jimbo days….we are all past that….the point is that the pace of these improvements are too slow and are not going to create enough momentum to change the LoserTown Image. This year is the last chance in my view to change the culture and perception….No one can predict Harper or SS ever making it to DC with any where near the success many are assuming. Zimm is not going to wait around past next year and if he walks like Zack G and so many others who spend year after year losing…..game over…no amount of money or drafting is going to turn this around. Yes Lerners sucked in a huge way and likely still do…Keeping Jimbo was unforgivable but that is not the point…it is just the reason we are here….now that we are here…LoserTown….what needs to happen now….That is my focus.

  97. Anonymous8 - Jan 23, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    JayB, yes, yes, and yes and nobody died because Lerner sucked in a huge way.This isn't life and death. The Cubs have sucked for generations and they sell-out and people are optimistic there that next year may be their year.Trust me, I still am ticked over the JimBo years but more focused on not repeating the same mistakes of the past.The overriding biggest concern here is the performance of the starting rotation and the back-up plan if Nyjer isn't a true .340 OBP in 2011.Speaking of Nyjer, here is a sign outside the Colorado Rockies clubhouse that maybe they should afix to Nyjer's locker:http://i1086.photobucket.com/albums/j442/Lumber_Jack_Bat_Co/DSC06422.jpg

  98. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    A8….That sign is perfect for Morgan and most of us….I could take some away from it that is for sure…..SO…we agree on the need for more starting pitching and a new CF and Lead-off…that is all I have been saying right? Do you not agree that we need it now and we should do everything possible…..break the bank if needed but do it NOW?

  99. alexva - Jan 23, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    There are risks attached to the DO IT NOW plan if the player does not perform; overpaying can lead to burdensome contracts and depleting the marginal farm system of it's best prospects being 1&2 in my mind. While you can say that's a risk that must be taken, I'd prefer the more patient approach and take the risk that steady improvement will be enough.

  100. Anonymous - Jan 23, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    "we agree on the need for more starting pitching and a new CF and Lead-off…that is all I have been saying right?"Not so fast. What happens if Desmond becomes a +.340OBP hitter. Shouldn't he be considered for lead off? Espinosa less likely but always possible. And as for CF. Corey Brown might serve?

  101. Anonymous - Jan 23, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Podsednik is just a Nyjer clone, several years older. Lots of caught-stealings.

  102. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    I did float the Ian D move to CF and Lead Off a few posts back….That is what they should have done last year in Sept and then sent ID to winter ball to work on CF….I really like that idea because I do not see him as a SS who will ever learn to charge routine balls….that is why he will continue to have over 30 errors a year. Danny E is a much better infielder.

  103. Anonymous8 - Jan 23, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    JayB said… A8….That sign is perfect for Morgan and most of us….I could take some away from it that is for sure…..SO…we agree on the need for more starting pitching and a new CF and Lead-off…that is all I have been saying right? Do you not agree that we need it now and we should do everything possible…..break the bank if needed but do it NOW? JayB, your messages seem jumbled sometimes so I am glad we agree. I was simply interpreting what the posters here see as the 2 potential problem areas. Now with that said, the pitching is a wild card with much to be determined in Spring Training: 1) Jordan Zimmermann has to prove himself again. Can he be the future #2 starter for the Nats 2) Gorzelanny has to prove that he is a viable starter 3) Marquis has never had great arm endurance but if he is like he was towards the end of 2010 and like his career averages he should bridge the gap until Strasburg is ready to return on 9/1/2011 4) John Lannan has regressed year over year and has to pitch to contact with better pitch location and mechanics. I would still trade him if Rizzo could get the right AAA CF prospect. 5) Livan Hernandez. An innings eater who doesn't play high energy. Hasn't had an ERA as low as last year since he was an Expo. Which Livo will the Nats have in 2011?The CF situation. It has been so well documented here on just how bad his 2010 season was. The intangibles of the demise of Nyjer Morgan in 2010 was so much worse than any other single factor in my opinion. The team would have given him over 600 plate appearances if he wasn't suspended by the league. Why did the team stick with him for so long. Those adjusted numbers for OBP when you subtract, caught stealings, pickoffs, and baserunning errors of .263 is mind boggling.Rizzo has to put Nyjer on a short lease. If he has a bad Spring Training just DFA him. This team doesn't need his negative vibe in 2011.

  104. JayB - Jan 23, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    A8,To me what you just documented/chronicled is a road map to disaster and 90-100 loses….That starting pitching is trash except for MAYBE ZImmNN….don't know what he can do anymore so we can give it a try but other than that….we know what those others are and they are LOSERS if put in any other spot than 5 or maybe 4 with Gorzo…..Just not a good idea to go into this critical year with so many question marks in the rotation. CF…..just like Dukes before him Morgan will get Cut not DFA and then what….AGAIN…bad planning here.

  105. Anonymous8 - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    JayB – See, there you go again, you take the negative side of it. The good news is if one of these starters doesn't impress in Spring Training there still is Maya, Detwiler and others.

  106. JayB - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    a8….Detwiler's MPH was down every year he has been a pro….he is looking like John Lannan these days without the control….Maya was a huge disappointment….That DR league made Anderson Hernandez a super star in the Winter a few years back remember that guy?….Maya has a 89 MPH fastball….come on this is the whole problem….wing and a prayer is not going to get us to where we need to be to get FA's to come in….

  107. Anonymous - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:49 AM

    JayB is the mayor of LoserTown. That's how he knows so much about being a loser. He's been one all his life. Pay him no mind.

  108. Aussie Gus - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Dear Baseball fans,As you can see from my nom de plume, I live in Australia. We like Cricket here. It's like baseball, in that it is a bat and ball sport, and it has fielders who have to catch the ball.http://www.foxsports.com.au/Cricket/finch039s-amazing-grab/video-e6frf3g3-1225992920812?subcat=1225864537493&site=FoxSportsNow please understand, the fielder is about 80 meters (260 feet) from the batter, and the ball was probably travelling at around 85 miles per hour. My question is, why do you wear gloves?

  109. Anonymous - Jan 24, 2011 at 6:23 AM

    The great thing about Cricket is an Adam Dunn could bat forever.

  110. JayB - Jan 24, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Lots of roster movement due very soon….looking it over it seems their are 5 moves that are easy ones to make.Maxwell, and 4 pitchers – L. Atalono, S. Martis, Mock, and Severino – none of those moves would hurt at all….in fact I could see Rizzo smiling after some of them….Amazing that this team has 5 easy roster spots to give at this stage of their "Improvement" cycle. When these decision become hard then we are making progress….at this point it just shows how poor a roster we still have after such a "great" winter.

  111. Joe Seamhead - Jan 24, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Rizzo has improved the team. Not enough to compete for the playoffs yet, but getting more watchable. This team will never see the playoffs with Morgan and/or Riggleman. None of the "ace" SP's that were available were going to come her,e and the rest weren't worth mortgaging any of the young players that we're grooming. JayB, deLaRosa has become your broken record. Man, get over it. He ain't coming here, and he's never going to be the second coming anyway.Also, sorry to all of the Adam Dunn fans, but as lovable as he is, he's another one that the Nats were never going to win with. There was no place to hide his many deficiencies. Godspeed to SS's recovery!

  112. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 24, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    As a final thought for this thread. If the Mets actually look at Willie Harris and Mike O'Conner as viable options for their 25 man roster and not that there connected in any way, how bad can we be?

  113. Wally - Jan 24, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    I am with NatsJack, time to move on. But the hot stove is mostly over, and still several weeks before pitchers and catchers, so maybe some baseball anecdotes to pass the time? I read this one the other day on Joe Posnanski's blog, and blatantly steal it and pass it on. It came up when he was talking about a music group called Yo la Tengo, and he explained the baseball origination of the name (presumably)."The story, which you have no doubt heard, comes from the legendarily bad 1962 Mets. It seems that center fielder Richie Asburn, a great player who in the winter of his career found himself stranded on what is widely regarded as the worst team in National League history, kept colliding with shortstop Elio Chacon. The problem, they soon realized, is that they simply did not understand each other. Chacon was from Venezuela and spoke no English at all. So Ashburn, being an amenable teammate, decided to do something about it. He learned how to say "I got it" in Spanish. That's "Yo La Tengo."And there came the game when a pop-up was dropping into that no-man's land in short left-center and Chacon went after it and Ashburn went after it. Ashburn screamed out "Yo la tengo! Yo la tengo!" Chacon, hearing the words of his country, backed off. Ashburn contentedly settled under the ball — and an outfielder from Pittsburgh named Frank Thomas plowed right into him."

  114. mockcarr - Jan 25, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    There's way too much hate for Morgan going on – maybe the league figured him out, maybe he needs to make adjustments, certainly he had emotional problems, but even including last year's mess, he's got a 344 OBP over 1400 plate appearances, and minor league numbers that show he's probably a .290 hitter. There's no harm at all in seeing if last year was the aberration, because he had been an excellent center fielder for several years and defense and onbase percentage should be the priorities. If he gives you pre-2010 numbers, with more stop signs from the bench, it will not be a position to worry about for now, and you can let minor league prospects work their way into contention for that spot.

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