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Organizational depth chart

Feb 4, 2011, 3:57 PM EDT

UPDATE AT 3:35 P.M. — I've added some more names to the list after the Nats announced this afternoon the signings of J.D. Martin, Matt Chico, Carlos Maldonado and Kevin Barker to minor-league contracts and spring training invitations issued to Derek Norris, Jhonatan Solano and Josh Wilkie…

Since pitchers and catchers report in a mere 11 days, and since there have been some non-roster additions in the last week, this seems an appropriate time to run through the Nationals' depth chart at each position.

There will still be more names added to the list in the next 11 days, as more invitations are extended to big-league camp. But hopefully this helps give everyone a good sense of where the Nats stand at the moment…

CATCHER
Ivan Rodriguez
Wilson Ramos
Jesus Flores
Carlos Maldonado
Derek Norris
Jhonatan Solano

FIRST BASE
Adam LaRoche
Michael Morse
Matt Stairs
Chris Marrero
Michael Aubrey
Kevin Barker

SECOND BASE
Danny Espinosa
Jerry HairstonRead more ยป

103 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. DCJohn - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Exactly how many players are being invited to Spring Training? In 2009, the Nats invited 89 players, and what a disasterous season ensued. In the old days, Spring Training was meant for members on the 40 man roaster, and not that much more. Maybe there should be a mini-camp between the World Series and Spring Training. I just don't see how these guys how Rizzo and Riggleman are going to get this team ready to play with so many guys vying for playing time. Where am I wrong?

  2. Original Nats Fan - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    I'm looking forward to seeing how the team shapes up this spring. What do you see as the major battles to make a spot, Mark?

  3. SCNatsFan - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Mark, looking at the depth chart, your thoughts on the rule 5 players? Any chance they make the team or do you think we try to work out trades for them or simply let them return?

  4. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    DCJohn: I would guess there will end up being around 60-65 players in camp. That's about normal. Most are the guys who will end up at Syracuse and Harrisburg. Since full minor-league camp doesn't usually begin until early-to-mid-March, there's nowhere for those players to be for the first couple weeks of the spring. So a couple weeks in big-league camp is good for them, even if they have no shot of making the Opening Day roster.Original Nats Fan: The biggest roster battles, to me, will be the No. 2 catcher (Ramos vs. Flores), the last spot or two in the bullpen (Balester, Rodriguez, Stammen, Gaudin, Ramirez and others) and the last spot on the bench (Gonzalez, Cora, Stairs, maybe Nix).SCNatsFan: I think both Rule 5 guys (Elvin Ramirez and Brian Broderick) face very long odds to make the Opening Day roster. Just too much depth in front of them. If either has a great spring, I could see the Nats trying to work out a trade to keep one or both.

  5. Sunderland - Feb 4, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    Mark:In all seriousness and with sincerity, thanks for keeping early February interesting.I'm hoping Harper gets 100% of the best rookie treatment our vets can throw at him, and that he handles it like a humble and respectful rookie.I'm hoping Corey Brown blows peoples doors off and make Rizzo really re-think his commitment to Nyjer.I'm hoping Coffey and HRod throw strikes and solidify their status as potential late innings guys.I'm hoping Espinosa shows he's ready to face MLB pitching every day.I'm hoping Pudge pulls a groin and misses a ton of time so Flores and Ramos can have a chance to show what they can do. (sorry Pudge)I'm hoping CMW at least shows enough that we can be confident that he'll pitch some decent MLB ball in 2011.And I'm hoping when the Nats play the Yankees in spring training that JMax plays 9, bangs out base hits, runs down balls has sleeps with a smile on his face all night long.

  6. Ben - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    To be fair Sunderland, the stock pile of guys who can play center field in a pinch suggests that Rizzo doesn't have that much faith in Morgan at all. He is more or less untradable, and he has earned a spot in Spring Training but, there seems to be a lot of back-up plans and vague rumours of trades for a replacements.Other than that I agree and will place Ramos, Espinosa and Brown atop my list of guys I am pulling for this spring.

  7. Theophilus - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    About 15 of these guys are fringe major league players whose best chance of being on a big league roster is if MLB decides to add two teams in the American League before Opening Day and bench players are needed. A couple are worse than that. Two or three pitchers are OK (if healthy) but there is no room on the 25-man roster. Those we can keep. The rest, however, it would be nice if Rizzo could trade them all for five guys off Pittsburgh's Rookie League roster and a Perogie to challenge Teddy for last place.And you say there are more names coming? I'm in agreement w/ those who think all this rosterial sclerosis impairs efforts to teach the Nats young players and their knucklehead (singular) the fundamentals of baseball.Send the rest to tour the Space Center until someone sprains a pinkie and a substitute is needed.

  8. kingfishfarms - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Interesting that the Nats MLB depth chart site still has Maxwell listed. Somebody needs to do a little maintenance. The depth chart also shows Werth listed third in left field and not listed at all in center. Anyone know who is responsible for the on-line depth chart?

  9. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    @kingfishfarms,Ladson often makes up his own fantasy versions of the Nats roster. No one knows what he is thinking when he does that … he mostly ends up wrong.

  10. SCNatsFan - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Thanks for the answer

  11. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    I would X-out Stairs for any outfield position? Why would you trade Willingham then? The guy can't play the outfield period and if Riggleman puts him out there then shame on him. First base maybe … he's just a "DH" bench pinch hitter that gets pulled for a guy who can field after he is done.

  12. original Nats Fan - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    thanks, Mark Those are the guys I'll keep a close watch on.

  13. The Great Unwashed - Feb 4, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    There's at least some degree of real depth in every one of these lists — with the exception of starting pitching. Not to imply that Rizzo didn't try there, but it is the 800 lb. gorilla in the room after all.

  14. md62red - Feb 4, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    I notice you only went 3 deep on the C's — would Norris have been #4? Also, no sign of A Olbrychewski or whatever his name is! I think we'd all agree that J Max simply wasn't able to take advantage of the big league opportunities he was given….but at least he would have made the depth chart! Losing Strasborg is certainly a huge blow for 2011 and question marks abound when it comes to the SP depth chart; very fragile aspect to this team. Again, where's Olbrychewski? Anyone know if he go by Ski or Chewie? Finally, I'm not sure if the analogy is relevant here or not, but in football the amount of players practicing is inversely proportional to the quality of reps for all. The more players, the less the quality.

  15. SpashCity - Feb 4, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    md62red – Olbrychowski is a relief pitcher who split last season between A and AA. This is a list of organizational depth, which includes every player in the organization. Mark lists 17 players as relief pitchers, 7 or 8 of which will make the 25 man roster to start the season, another 7 that will go to AAA and the rest will likely be cut.We traded Maxwell (a AAAA/ML backup tweener) for a prospect. It's not a big deal that he isn't at the top of the organizational depth chart.

  16. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    DCJohn said……In 2009, the Nats invited 89 players, and what a disasterous season ensued.r u seriously blaming the 2009 season on the # of ST invitees???!!!

  17. md_schmidt - Feb 4, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    SpashCity…..I know it's difficult to see via a blog, but my comments regarding Olbrychowski were purely tongue in cheek! But thanks for clarifying what an organizational depth chart is for me ;-)

  18. NatinBeantown - Feb 4, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    If Stairs makes the team, I hope MASN has a special camera on Riggs as he tries to adjust his lineup card to insert a PH without a corresponding sub at another position. So hard! Must… double… switch!

  19. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Finally it would end on how all those injured arms come back. Guys like Detwiler(1-3) Marquis(2-9), Atilano(6-7), Stammen(4-4),Zimmermann(1-2), Mock(0-0) and Wang will really have to show something near 100% of rehab to start to talk about depth.

  20. Mark'd - Feb 4, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Ben – I too will be pulling for Ramos, Brown and Espi and hope JFlo shows he is back and hoping Desi shows he is the SS of the future.I am hoping Maya and Detwiler have great Springs to give Rizzo & Riggs reason to ponder!To Sunderland, Pudge will do fine to mid-May and then I expect fatigue to set in just like last year. I just hope Rizzo is smart enough to anticipate this.

  21. db423 - Feb 4, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Let's say you were a GM and had a player you weren't too happy with, but at the moment you had no better options, including trading him. Would you a) release him, b) let it be known publicly that you were looking for a replacement and keep playing him, c) publicly act like he's your starter, play him, and hope somebody will be impressed enough to take him off your hands. I think most would answer c).I question people who make the assertion that Mike Rizzo has a "commitment" or an "attachment" to Nyger Morgan. He's simply pursuing strategy c) right now. If anyone he's brought in (Brown perhaps) shows enough for him to believe that he's got someone to replace Morgan, he'll make a move. That's what smart GMs do.

  22. Another_Sam - Feb 4, 2011 at 10:52 PM

    MZ said "…pitchers and catchers report in 11 days …". Gotta be the best job in the world. The second best is watching big leaguers. I'm ready. Enough snow.

  23. BinM - Feb 4, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    I'm pleased to see Solano, Norris & Wilkie get NRI status for this year; A couple of weeks' work with the the big-league staff can't hurt their chances for the future (Solano & Wilkie in particular). Sorry to see that Mandel & Milone weren't included.

  24. waddu eye no - Feb 5, 2011 at 12:11 AM

    11 days.

  25. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Ny effing J er

  26. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    JJayJulietN-Y-J-E-RNyjer

  27. Dougie - Feb 5, 2011 at 12:24 AM

    Yay. JD Martin is back.And, yes, I'm serious.

  28. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    That said, the point is a good, if a you-would-like-to-think-was-obvious-but-you-know-better, one.

  29. Sunderland - Feb 5, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    Regarding committment to Nyjer, recall that last year Nyjer never came out as a result of a double switch, the one thing he and Zimmerman had in common last year. People think the Nats might plays Bernadina in CF, but they had Bernie last year and he got time in CF only when Nyjer was hurt in August and suspended in September but Nyjer never got pulled on a double switch. If you think that was 100% Riggleman, perhaps. I think Rizzo had influence there.Maybe this year will be different. Obviously db423 you try and make the player seem as valuable as possible. But the Nats showed committment to Nyjer last year above and beyond what he deserved. That might end in a couple weeks. It might not.

  30. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Sunderland — It's late in the day but: the principal objective of the double switch is to avoid the situation where the pitcher leads off or bats early in the upcoming ABs. That way there is no reason to pinch hit and burn a reliever after a third (or two-thirds) of an inning. Morgan as the (nominal) lead-off man, bats immediately behind the pitcher's spot. So, you don't double switch and put New Hurler in the lineup immediately behind where Old Hurler would have been — but for the switch — leading off. Accordingly, the lead off man, i.e., Morgan, is the last guy for whom the manager would be inclined to make a switch. If Morgan was never double-switched, that's hardly surprising and means nothing about "commitment."

  31. BinM - Feb 5, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    @Theophilus: A good point, that Sunderland may have overlooked. The leadoff hitter in a starting lineup is the most immune to a double-switch, as he follows the #9 slot (usually the pitcher) in a given lineup. With the defensive improvements the Nationals could field this year, maybe Riggleman will become less likely to empty the bench with double-switch moves this season. Last year, he seemed to be constantly thinking on the defensive side of things; In 2011, the defense looks a lot less shaky in late-inning situations (RZim-Werth-LaRoche-Espinosa) than last year (RZim-Morse-Dunn-Guzman).

  32. Wily Mo Petersen - Feb 5, 2011 at 1:38 AM

    Mark, do scouts believe Bryce Harper has the athleticism to play center field?If he could that would be pretty amazing to have the best power hitter in the game in center.

  33. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 1:47 AM

    Mark, do scouts believe Bryce Harper has the athleticism to play center field?I understand Rizzo, Clark, and Kline plan to try him there in Hagerstown and Potomac.

  34. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 5, 2011 at 2:05 AM

    The Nats do plan to have Harper working out in center field some this spring. They don't know if long-term he'll be able to play the position, but they certainly want to see how he handles it at this point.

  35. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 4:03 AM

    Harper in CF. Visions of ca. 1955-56, Mays, Mantle and Snider playing CF in NY.

  36. sjm 308 - Feb 5, 2011 at 5:30 AM

    Agree with Theo!! Mantle came up as a 19 year old in 51. I am reading "The Last Boy" about Mickey. Did you guys know he made 55 errors at shortstop in C ball the year before they brought him up. Moved him to CF that spring and he wore #6 in his first few months before being sent down to Kansas City. When he came back up in August 6 had been given away and he had #7 from then on.

  37. Sunderland - Feb 5, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    Theophilus / BinM: Of course that makes sense the first time Riggleman double switches. It does not come into play on subsequent double switches.Regardless, IMO, Nyjer was shown well more respect and commitment from the Nats in 2010 than he earned. (That I may have overlooked! Puhlease)

  38. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Ok so I am trying to be positive here….Lots of improvement in defense and athleticism. Lots of improvement by subtraction from the days of Kennedy and Guzman and Lopez and Billiard before them…..Gone are the days of Williams and Reeding and Mike B (bonds home run guy)……BUT…..Livo, Jason M. and Lannan……that is just inexcusable to go into the season with those 3 as your 1, 2, and 3 Starters…..NOBODY has a worse pitching staff than that….NOBODY!

  39. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    And yes those three are an improvement over 207/2008 cattle calls but this is 2011 and fans have a right to expect more than those days….a lot more and that starting pitching is just asking to be clobbered.

  40. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Nyjer came in and lit this place up in '08. So maybe he had a bad year. I had a bad year once. Let's see how he does, because he is a real plus when he's on.

  41. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    2009……..for 5 weeks…..this is just like the people who are going to say Lannan and Jason M…..both looked OK in Sept of last year…..Morgan's body of work is consistently bad…..especially against LH pitching….Jason M is done and Lannan is OK as a # 5 not an opening day pitcher….Livo is who he is…..a long reliever who you can plug in anywhere as a rubber arm….Opening day starter…top of the rotation guy…..joke.

  42. Sunderland - Feb 5, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    JayB, of course as we all know it's about performance, not predictions. It's also about pitching, not solely about starters. In 2010, our team ERA of 4.13 was better than 11 other MLB clubs. Even our lousy rotation posted an ERA better than 4 other MLB clubs.So we walk into 2011 with what we have, which looks and feels more promising than 2010. Even you seem to think so. And while we may go through 2011 without a shut down ace, there does seem to be a chance that the guys in the #4 and #5 slots will be better than we had in previous years, right? So is it out of the question that we improve our team ERA in 2011? As crazy as it sounds, if our staff can give up 1 fewer earned run per week, our team ERA would improve enough that we would have placed 12th out of 30 in 2010.Now it's possible our bellpen regresses and does not pitch as well as they did in 2010.But I look up, and I do not see the sky falling.

  43. Feel Wood - Feb 5, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    "Regarding committment to Nyjer, recall that last year Nyjer never came out as a result of a double switch"Well, since one of the points of a double switch is to push the pitcher's spot in the batting order as far away as possible, this stands to reason. Nyjer almost always was batting leadoff, so to double switch for him would have moved the pitcher's spot only one spot down. I bet if you checked every game in the whole NL for the last 10 years you probably wouldn't find a case where the player right behind the pitcher in the batting order got double-switched out of a game. Makes no sense.

  44. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 5, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Sunderland, I think maye you and Jayb are looking at different skies, with different pies in them. You seem to be saying they'll be better than we've seen lately, and maybe approach .500, which is a far more likely outcome–apple pie.Jayb seems to be saying that rotation will never contend for the division, and that is his standard. Orange pie. Which you don't often see, but is actually pretty good.I know you'll both excuse me if I've inadvertently misstated either of your relative positions.

  45. Sunderland - Feb 5, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    When it's about pie, there are no wrong answers.Feelwood, how many games did Riggleman do only 1 double switch?The first double switch the leadoff guy pretty much never come out, sure. But after that? I'd guess we had 120 games with more than one double switch (is that a goofy estimate?). And Nyjer never got pulled.

  46. Feel Wood - Feb 5, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Riggleman never double switches for defensive purposes. It's always about getting the pitcher out of the game – usually because he doesn't trust the pitcher to get out of a jam, or occasionally to bring in a matchup reliever, or sometimes to pinch hit for the pitcher when a hit is needed to get a rally going. As has been mentioned before, Riggleman needs to start having more trust in his starters to work their way out of jams they have created. That might backfire on him, but really there's no other way to develop the needed toughness in the starting staff. Sink or swim. Separate the wheat from the chaff. Doing that would eliminate many double switches.And no, your estimate of 120 games with multiple double switches is way off the mark. I doubt there were 120 games with even one double switch. Second double switches are so relatively rare that it's not surprising that the the luck of the draw never resulted in Nyjer getting pulled.

  47. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    Oh I think well over 100 games had double switches is them….easy….and yes no bad pie in my view…..Bad Starting pitching but pie no….My point was that it is way past time to be happy with a 5-10 game improvement for Nats team that lost over 300 games in 3 years…..That starting staff clearly will not compete for a division….but it also will not provide enough improvement in record to be respectable to the rest of MLB players next winter.2006 and 2007 we were told that they were working and spending on the farm to be ready by 2009/10 to compete and win a division in 2011….they are at least 3 years behind with that starting staff. Just holding Lerners accountable here for a bunch of bad decisions they have made and continue to make even today. They must spend on top player development, International FA, MLB FA and Draft……all at the same time….not one and then maybe the other next year…..ALL AT THE SAME TIME!

  48. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Bad Starting pitching but pie no….My point was that it is way past time to be happy with a 5-10 game improvement for Nats team that lost over 300 games in 3 years…..That starting staff clearly will not compete for a division … No, we don't know that. Last year, with soft-tossers and control artists at the top of the rotation you knew … the continuing failures of Mock and Detwiler along with their injuries, Zimmermann recovering from TJ, Stras working his way through the minors. The complete break down of Marquis and Lannan led directly to Livo.This year? Gorzelanny is no slouch and he isn't a soft tosser. Neither is Maya. And Zimmermann is back … are they all three questions? Sure, but far less questionable than last year's motley group. What you are missing is a bonafide ace to stabilize the rotation. That may still be acquired … at the very least there still is Strasburg. Given both Mock and Detwiler's loss of velocity last year the injuries clearly affected them. As for Maya the rust showed. Gorzelanny is also an injury (sore arm) risk. Maybe things will be different this year. Maybe …

  49. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Maybe….that is no way to build a winning tradition…..And Maya tops out at 90 MPH…he is a bust. Rizzo misjudged the market and then cheaped out after losing out on a true hard throwing Cuban….It amazes me how some people just refuse to see facts. Do I want a better team….you bet….but I am not willing to close my eyes and live a lie.

  50. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Some time ago I posted a comment concerning the 1989 Orioles, who came into the final Saturday of the season one game out of first in the AL East and finished 87-75. I said something to the effect that, "That staff had a lot of bums." I'm pretty sure no one in the rotation (Milacki, Ballard, Schmidt, D. Johnson, Harnisch) had more than 60 career wins. Actually, upon further research, they had the sixth worst ERA in the AL that year (4.00).The point being, Teddy may never win a race but it is possible to contend with very mediocre pitching. A concession: those Orioles — back in a day when "The Oriole Way" meant something different than it does now — had nine fewer errors than any other team in the AL. One way of looking at that: the pitchers were probably worse than their numbers indicated.

  51. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Maya tops out at 93-94. But he prefers to use the Livo guile … that's his bread and butter. He is still shaking off the rust … let's see what he has this spring velocity wise. Its better than hoping that Wang will again average 93.7. It isn't going to happen. I suspect Maya could do that … but he is a pitcher not a thrower. And its better to be a pitcher not a thrower. The Nats have had more than their share of just "throwers".

  52. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    Zimmermann missed a year w/ arm surgery; Maya missed nearly as much time as a refugee. Zimmermann had previously spent three months in a ML rotation; Maya had zero ML experience. Neither should be judged on their 2010 performance.Experience means things like noticing how the batter has changed his stance — by a couple of inches — from the last time you saw him. There were a couple of innings where Maya's curve ball nearly caused a batter's box spinal injury. It's really worth seeing what he can do with a Spring Training and some stability under his belt.

  53. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Hope you are correct about Maya…He was supposed to hit 94-95 per what he was sold to fans as a :Major International Signing"…..After close to 3 months as a professional he looked like a dud to me. We have seen so many false hopes from Nats Pitchers….Ross D is now a soft tossing Chico type….amazing what our player development program does to pitching talent.

  54. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    "We have seen so many false hopes from Nats Pitchers….Ross D is now a soft tossing Chico type….amazing what our player development program does to pitching talent."Someone needs to hold JayB accountable for being an idiot. If Detwiler is tossing soft, it's only when he's been hurt. Nothing to do with the player development program.

  55. Feel Wood - Feb 5, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Just for grins, I took a look at my scorecards for the 20 games where I kept score last season – a fairly representative random sampling of the 81 home games. Of those 20 games, 13 had no double switches by Riggleman (65%), six games had one double switch (30%), and only one game had two double switches (5%). Projected out over a 162 game season, that's 49 games with one double switch and 8 games with two. "I'd guess we had 120 games with more than one double switch" (Sunderland) "Oh I think well over 100 games had double switches is them….easy" (JayB) Dumb and Dumber!

  56. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    sample size error….FW…is that you ABM….as if I don't know….Ross D whole motion was F'ed with by our PD Staff in 2008….that is when he started losing MPH and then got hurt….look it up it was widely reported…..oh and get a sign on if you are going to be so pompous…and

  57. Sunderland - Feb 5, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    Feel Wood, thanks for taking the time to check that. I knew I was swagging the the amount of double switches (and sort intimated that when I lobbed the 120 number out there). Hard to believe that we double switched only game out of three, but I sure ain't arguing it. If I was that far off, I'll take the Dumb and call it a day.

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    "If I was that far off, I'll take the Dumb and call it a day."Now, *that's* accountability. Good for you, sir.Although I'm not sure that estimate isn't low. I would have guessed over half the games. I'm pretty sure there were more Curly (lineup) Shuffles than Curly W's.

  59. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    OTOH, blowouts generally don't encourage double-switching, so there's a big chunk out of the pool right there.

  60. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Of course, my opinion plus $5 will get you a venti latte.

  61. Michael J. Hayde - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    "sample size error….FW"There are no sample size errors when the entire universe is 162. As they say in the market research biz: "You don't have to eat the whole pot of stew to know what it tastes like."

  62. N. Cognito - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    All the double switches stand out because the batters brought in to pinch hit, SUCKED, and their replacements also SUCKED.I'm not as down on Riggleman on his double switches as some (most?) here. Most of the time he was trying to make something out of nothing.

  63. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    JayB needs to start buying his cigarettes at the supermarket. Maya was never sold as "94-95" FB. Cut-and-paste the link below: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/nationalsjournal/2010/07/nationals_sign_cuban_pitcher_y.htmlThat clearly states "89-92" and, in his better moments last year, that's what he did.

  64. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Here's an easier way to count it: how many games did Morse start? That will be approximately how many had the Curly Shuffle.

  65. JayB - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Looking at games in August….Double Switches are running at over 50% so that would sample out to 80 games not 100…..none of us want to spend time on this to prove who is right but it is very likely more double switches than wins….Rizzo from your link TH…."He's a terrific, poised, capable, major league-caliber pitcher," Rizzo said. "Some of the most successful organizations would like to sign him and put him directly into their rotation. We're one of them."…..I will find the 94-95 quote when I am at Jury Duty next week…..He was very rarely above 90 and sat a 88 most fastballs last year

  66. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    NCog — Thanks for giving Riggleman credit for trying to make chicken salad out of . . .. The managers with the best records are the ones who did things according to conventional baseball wisdom and didn't screw up the talent they were given to work with. Scoscia's supposed to be a good manager, has had great talent for years, and last year they finished below .500. Did he turn dumb? The kid who's auditioning for the job of son-in-law said about Riggelman, "For the first time, I feel like there's an adult in charge."

  67. Theophilus - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    The idea of JayB on jury duty should encourage capital punishment advocates everywhere.

  68. Anonymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    Small sample size…heh…the perfect description of JayB's brain.

  69. anonmymous - Feb 5, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Maya has been know to throw inside heat (direct translation from Spanish) when he needed to. That would be in the 93-94 range. Last year he averaged 89 shaking off the rust. Still better than Mock and Detwiler. In the majors and advanced leagues the ball has to have both sink and movement to be an effective fastball else its a home run. Clearly Maya trusts his breaking stuff more and so works backwards leading with that stuff and coming in later with the hard stuff. McCatty et al have to spend some time with him and get to know what he can do. He needs to learn about major league hitters, etc.

  70. Sunderland - Feb 5, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    I'm not saying sofa-dude is getting inside my head, but I did go to a coffee shop this afternoon and order a venti latte and some apple pie.

  71. natsfan1a - Feb 6, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Dang it, Sunderland! I managed to deny the pie impulse all day yesterday and now here it is in my face again this morning (as it were). mmmm….pie…

  72. Les in NC - Feb 6, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Ok, so now that the big game is today, who ya got?I will be rooting for GB, but I think the Steelers win 27-13.

  73. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    ABM…do you ever get tired of attacking people rather than topics?Oh well on Baseball….Mark it would be very interesting to get perspective from those who have been around Nats Spring Trainings for years (like you, fans and…….well Zim I guess.What specific the changes have been accomplished since 2007 to crate a winning expectation? Baseball stuff like routines, Drills, Instruction, Fundamentals, Talent, Accountability, Peer pressures to work hard, leadership from within the clubhouse…that kind of stuff). What do you see this year that indicates winning is the focus. What does Zimm see this year and what does the team still lack as far as a winning attitude from his viewpoint…Zim is much more honest and not a tad bit pissed that Dunn and Hammer is two bromances are gone….I think he will be very willing to tell it like he sees it this springOn Football……having the whole cul de sac over…….local Giant is booming the past 48 hours, hope this helps the economy get going faster…..Steelers win….don't really care much who wins these things until Redskins get back there (never played football so I am just a fan of the game, never offer view on what is wrong with teams, do not have that perspective….baseball I have played through major college program, coached and participated my whole life..that game I know.)

  74. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    A couple of days late, but an interesting article in SI about best and worst team medical results. Best, White Sox and Brewers. Worst, you guessed it, but Carroll gives the Nats a mulligan due to the Expos data. Assume because the budget was absurdly low due to contraction expectation. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/will_carroll/02/01/baseball-injuries/

  75. natsfan1a - Feb 6, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Well, I'm liking Mexico, as they're leading the series 3-1, and Vinny Castilla was their skipper back in the day. Although, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico are historically strong in the series.Ohhhh…maybe he meant that pointy-ball game? hmmm…Doritos usually has a strong showing, and there those who favor the, um, raw appeal of the Go-Daddy entries. I don't know. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. That's why they play the commercials and all that. :-)—Les in NC said… Ok, so now that the big game is today, who ya got?

  76. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Interesting to read in the SI work about what we all knew but had no data on….that is Nats could have done much better with injuries…….Nats medical spending was most likely a big part of the problem back when we all were pointing it out in 2006-9…So was Jimbo's low spending on cheap risky players with a history of injury…..I think much has changed….I hope….still just another data point in the Lerner file on how much of this institutionalized losing approach could have been avoided or at least minimized.

  77. BinM - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Just wondering how many of the NRI players have "opt-out" clauses in their contract? The clause is usually applied to a 'split-value' contract, and allows a player to become a free-agent if not added to the 40- (or 25-man) roster by a certain date. I could see Cora, Gaudin, Nix & Stairs holding that option, but wonder if there are others.

  78. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    BinM — I would expect most of the NRIs are realistic about their chances of making any big league roster and are really hoping for assignment to the Dominican Summer League, including a bunk and three squares a day.Only Cora and Stairs have a chance of opening this season in Washington.

  79. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Fangraphs shows that last year, the Nats pitchers spent more time on the average on the DL/games lost than any other team. Last year the Nats were second in games lost due to injury …

  80. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    Cora and Stairs? Stairs can't field and Cora can't hit. I hope they have improved to the point where they won't need these guys. Still, Cora makes a good infield coach … something Hairston doesn't have a rep for … but Hairston is the better player.

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Dagnabit JayB!!!! Do learning curves not exist in your world???? Any new business starts out with a business plan and while most new businesses fail in their first three years, the ones that survive are the ones that are able to adjust their plan to the things learned in executing that plan.Understanding that one simple premise would make your additions to this blog less inane.

  82. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Baseball is not a new business Njack….Learning curve is not that step for a new ownership group…that was the point of Stan K…..Lerner's are accountable for their decisions to keep Jimbo and ignore Stan's well documented advice to do things differently.

  83. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Yep….So they learned. Move on.

  84. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Well that was the point of the Question to Mark earlier in this post…..What signs will we see in Spring Training that the team has learned. That the focus is on sound baseball and fundementals. I know you spend time their….much more than I do so I would be interested in your view…… and I have seen some signs from last Spring that the days of Lastings and Dukes goofing off during drills with their hats on backwards are gone…..but then you watch them make well over 120 errors again last year and watch pitches look clueless bunting and Morgan being an ass…..and you have still ask yourself….what have the learned and where can you see it in the product.

  85. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    JayB — To see how much the Nationals (cumulatively, including the Bowden era) have learned, compare the 2005 roster (two pitchers still in the majors, three position players — including luminaries Nick Johnson and Jose Guillen — who have started since leaving the team) with this year's. The only way that team won 81 games has already been explored in "Angels in the Outfield." If you had grown up as a Senators fan, you'd understand the true meaning of patience. Or have you noted how much progress Peter Angelos has made on the learning curve? (Theo suspects the baseball experience claimed on JayB's curriculum vitae was of the Negamco or Strat-o-Matic variety. Spin away, meister.)

  86. BinM - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    @Theophilus: I was more concerned with the possible lineup for SYR when I posed the question – If either Cora or Stairs finish Spring Training with the Nationals, I'd be very worried. Cora's not in camp just to become a future coach, he's a possible player; Meanwhile Stairs is purely a bat off the bench, offering nothing else at this point, imo. Cora would still a nice 'insurance policy' in SYR, should either Espinosa or Desmond falter or get injured, as long as he can't 'opt-out'. Riggleman & Rizzo would be short-changeing the team with either of these players moving to the 25-man roster; The Nationals don't have the kind of overall talent / depth to carry a pure PH at this point, let alone two.

  87. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Not true Theo..but you are a funny guy it seems……I have struck out against Roger Clemens…twice in one game in college and played with more than a few players who had long major league careers. That is why I know this team has underperformed year after year and until very recently I hope, allowed players to expect to lose and feel good about it.No I was not a Senators fan….and proud to say so….those of you who think that is some kind of rational to enjoy bad baseball and poorly run franchises…..you sirs are a big part of the problem here in current DC baseball.

  88. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    JayB's learning curve is negative. He gets dumber as time goes by.

  89. Anonymous - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I wonder if JayB saw this old video clip of Ken Griffey Jr. on MLB Network the other day. Kid was wearing his cap backwards and had a sh*t-eating grin all over his face. The Mariners should have cut him, right JayB? He was never going to make anything of himself in the game.

  90. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    BinM — With all respect, I think any good team needs a LH pinch-hitter (for historical reference, see Gates Brown or Terry Crowley), to keep the other mgr from IBB-ing your No. 8 hitter (who might be Espinosa or Bernandina, guys w/ extra-base power, and both of whom would be batting LH against a RH pitcher). Last year's LH PH was Harris, who was, as I remember, 0-16 or 0-22 or something similar at one point. I think Stairs is better for the job than Ankiel. I know he didn't do much last year but am hoping he's still got some hits in his bat, and by reputation alone he would make some managers think carefully about their options.I don't think they signed Cora to send him to Syracuse — the guy is 35 — although I could be wrong. I don't see both Stairs and Cora making the Opening Day roster — in both cases I would see Ankiel as the loser. Although for the first few weeks they could get by w/ 11 pitchers, not 12. (Twelve pitchers seems like such a waste of a good roster spot. You seem to end up w/ guy like Bautista who may be useful every now and then but has to be brought in, or warmed up, every day to keep osteoporosis from setting in.) We shall see. Enjoy the SB.

  91. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    BinM makes an interesting point….it goes to the focus of the season and cost of past failures. What is the purpose of this year. Win as much as they can and gain some respect…if so they should carry Stairs to PH. This approach hopefully will lead to a 82 win season and a great winter FA signing season going into 2012.OR is the purpose of this season to continue to try to find some young cheap controlled players that could someday be MLB contributors on a winning team…in that case they would need those spots for Rule 5 types and Maxwell types…..My question to BinM is who the 40 man roster is worth taking that risk with….Brown?I think Rizzo has been clear that he hates watching players learn at the MLB level….Rizzo hates the word Prospect….It is clear to me he is going to try to win now….get respect…he hates what happened to him this winter…everyone disrespected him……I hope they get lucky and win enough because I do not see enough young talent to make a difference…they are going to have to fix this with money, trades and FA signings.

  92. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    ABM are you really comparing Griffy to Milledge….I remember seeing Jr with as a 8 year old….that kid loved baseball….he had fun and played the game the right way…..you may hate me but don't say stupid stuff just to try to show me up…..Griffy vs. Milledge…..you are a dope.

  93. BinM - Feb 6, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Theo @2:53 – You're out of bounds with that post. Counting the players from the '05 Nats remaining in MLB vs. the current roster is an inequitable comparison – not just apples to oranges, but more like apples to beef jerky. The 2005 Nationals was an aging roster, with few 'stars'; The fact that players like Schneider, Guillen, NJohnson, and a few others have survived may speak more to their actual ages in 2005, than it does to their relative skills.

  94. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    BinM — I'm hoping you misunderstand me. (In addition to which, I'm not certain which is the apples and which is the jerky.) I'm saying the current roster has (A) vastly more talent and (B) vastly more potential, and the way they got there was to sacrifice immediate gratification to a long-term vision. And the current roster may well win 81 games (or not) and that part of it that moves on to 2012 and 2013 will win quite a few more than 81 games in a season.

  95. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    I see signs — it's like tracking bread crumbs — of JayB coming around.

  96. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Theo….are you saying that this 40 man roster has enough talent to win more than 81 games next year? 2013? Time will tell but I do not think so. They have a lot of holes to fill……CF, LF, SS and 1B, SP and Closer all need to be addressed…where do you see the talent already with the team needed win 90 games in 2012/2013?

  97. BinM - Feb 6, 2011 at 9:44 PM

    JayB @3:48 – Who's worth either 'calling up' or keeping? – Brown is a low-level possible, as is Nix, particularly if a trade is made involving a LF or CF from the 40-man (Bernadina, Morgan, or Morse). Ankiel is a 'bubble' player in the OF mix, imo; Cora looks to be SYR-bound, unless Espinosa utterly collapses at the plate in Viera. Stairs should start the 2011 season in SYR as well (or be released), unless Riggleman demands a 2nd/3rd LH bat off the bench.

  98. JayB - Feb 6, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    I don't see any of that helping the long term development of anyone likely to help this team past this year, BinM…..I think you are going to see Cora and Stairs on the opening day roster. I think Rizzo is so mad and hurt by the likes of Lee, Zack G. and about 10 others who he had to hear them say…."Mike, I do not believe you are going to be any good any time soon…sorry I am signing with the Cubs or the O's, for less money…..that has to hurt….Rizzo will do what he can to win now with his plan R…..which I think is all he can do…but it is too late now in my view.

  99. Wally - Feb 6, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    In honor of the last week of the hot stove (hallelujah), here is a question: what are good bullpen guys worth? Seems like they are a highly valued part of the market right now – contracts to FA much higher than I would have thought in october, and some of the trades seem like they brought back some pretty good pieces. We gave up Hammer for Rodriguez (who I hadn't even heard of); Tampa gave up Bartlett for two more guys that I hadn't heard of; Balt got Reynolds for essentially David Hernandez and a lesser bullpen guy. So it seems like they have value.Do Burnett and Clippard reach that reputational level? If we packaged them together, could we get 1 good piece, like a Jake McGee, Anibal Sanchez, Gavin Floyd or Travis Wood, somebody like that? Should we, if we could (weaken a strength for a young guy with upside?) I think that I would, since we have some (unproven) but promising candidates behind them, if we could get a good young SP prospect or position player at need. If this works, it probably only works to a team really on the cusp of competing for a playoff spot.I am curious what others think.

  100. Theophilus - Feb 6, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Wally — Trading for relievers (or signing as free agents) is a crap shoot. Often they are whack jobs (F. Rodriguez)(or as difficult to maintain as tropical fish), get hurt (Cordero, Wagner), lose their confidence (Lidge as an Astro), forget where the strike zone is (Lidge as a Philly), etc. The number that are consistently good (the Riveras, Hoffmans) are few and far between. Papelbon had a 3-4 year run and now the Red Sox are itching to be rid of him. The best approach is to develop your own (Storen) or get one off the scrap heap (Capps) and try to have someone standing in line when the inevitable happens.

  101. Wally - Feb 6, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    Theo – I agree, I was just noting that other teams seem to be paying a lot for them, so should we try take advantage of the current market by trading some of ours? It is the one area that our stats from last year are impressive. Sounds like you think the market is overvaluing that segment too, so if they could get value at another position, go for it. Do I read your reply right?

  102. Anonymous - Feb 7, 2011 at 1:43 AM

    God I wish the stupid Super Bowl would get over so we can focus completely on baseball.

  103. N. Cognito - Feb 7, 2011 at 3:16 AM

    Off topic – GREAT DAY IN SPORTS!!Pittsburgh 0-2

Archives

FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 96 66 --
ATLANTA 79 83 17.0
NEW YORK 79 83 17.0
MIAMI 77 85 19.0
PHILADELPHIA 73 89 23.0

NL POSTSEASON SCHEDULE

NL WILD CARD GAME
WED: Giants at Pirates, 8:07 p.m. (ESPN)

NLDS
FRI: Game 1, Pirates at Nats, 12:07 p.m.,
OR Giants at Nats, 3:07 p.m. (FS1)
SAT: Game 2, PIT/SF at Nats, 5:37 p.m. (FS1)
MON: Game 3, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (MLBN)
OCT. 7: Game 4, Nats at PIT/SF, TBA (FS1)*
OCT. 9: Game 5, PIT/SF at Nats, TBA (FS1)*
*if necessary

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

ON THE RADIO

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

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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