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Efficient Lannan has start to build off

Mar 23, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
John Lannan was highly efficient during yesterday's six-inning start.

VIERA, Fla. — It's tough to find a pitching rhythm when every other start you make in spring training comes in a minor-league game on a back field at 11 a.m. Entering yesterday's outing against the Astros, John Lannan had very little feel for how he was progressing this spring, due in part to the fact he had made only two previous appearances in big-league games, none since March 12 against the Yankees.

So Lannan's incredibly efficient six innings against Houston — he allowed one run on two hits and needed only 66 pitches to do it — was probably the best indication the left-hander has gotten for his readiness entering the season.

"It's something to build off of," he said.

With the Nationals wanting to see Yunesky Maya several times against big-league competition, Lannan was relegated to scrimmage duties at the minor-league complex twice in the last two weeks. In his only two major-league outings this spring, he had allowed six runs on seven hits and four walks over 7 1/3 innings.

The lefty was much better yesterday against the Astros. He jumped ahead of hitters with first-pitch strikes, kept the ball on the ground and was so efficient, he actually needed to throw 15 more pitches inRead more »

  1. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    The truest statement in all of baseball is "the pitchers best friend is strike one". Pitching ahead in the count is an absolute neccessity for all "pitch to contact" guys. Power pitchers with command become unhitable. It's the first thing I track in any ball game whether it's for us or against us. Nothing portends the eventual track a game takes than this trend.

  2. Another_Sam - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    LOL here but Astros fans may be in a panic that this staff handcuffed the 'Stros all afternoon? Just kidding. I hope that this pitching carries over.

  3. Another_Sam - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    NatsJack – Lakeland tomorrow evening. Are you in?

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Another_Sam…. Maybe… won't know till tomorrow around noon. I'll post someting then. I'll cetainly be at Fridays, Sundays and Tuesday finale.

  5. Another_Sam - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    NatsJack – Thursday is our last game. If I don't see you there I'll find you on Half Street. Nice meeting you and thank you for all your postings.

  6. Andrew - Mar 23, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    http://mlbbuzz.yardbarker.com/blog/mlbbuzz/nationals_facing_numerous_decisions/4428779?new_post=trueHere is Pudge trade talk, dropping BOTH Bernie and Nyjer while keeping BOTH Nix and Stairs. That doesn't make sense to me. Neither is a defensive replacement.

  7. Another_Sam - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Regarding CF – I saw spring numbers for the three contenders as a sidebar on Mark's other page. If one looks just at the offensive numbers alone and factors out the emotional response, it's easy to see that's it not a slam dunk there? (A professional writer wouldn't mix metaphors like that. Maybe my iPad spelling corrector did this?)

  8. Nitwit Nat Fan - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    I don't care how well John Lannan pitches, he doesn't throw the ball through a brick wall.

  9. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Andrew…. There are so many things wrong with that article it's almost laughable. This is what you get when a "national sports scribe" write using conjecture and the infamous "an opposing team executive" as your source. The Nationals will go north with Pudge as the starter and Ramos as the back up, but more like a 50/50 split and Flores in Syracuse and Norris in Harrisburg. IF there were any discussions on Pudge or any other catchers, it was for future possibilities at the trade deadline.Dropping both Benadina AND Morgan to keep Stairs, Nix AND Ankiel is a possiblity only in that both Morgan and Bernadina have options. However, I only see one of the two being optioned with Stairs being DFA'd (who'd pick him up?) and sent to Syracuse as a player/coach role.This team is not good or deep enough to have a specialist as a pinch hitter. That is a luxury only a talented and deep contender can afford.

  10. Ernie - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:17 PM

    @Another_SamI saw the same graphic and thought that, by those numbers, Bernadina looks like a younger version of Ankiel offensively. Similar power, average, etc. I'm not sold on Bernadina, but if they're that similar I don't get what the upside is of picking a guy at the end of a mediocre career.

  11. Another_Sam - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Ernie – yes, I agree. And I also agree, NatsJack – I don't see this club affording the luxury of a PH specialist.

  12. sjm308 - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    I also question keeping Stairs, although he has apparently been a big help in the clubhouse. It would be great if NatsJack is correct (he seems to usually be on the money) and Stairs can start in Syracuse. He would be a great call-up if (I almost put that in capital letters but I hate posters that do that), we are in the playoff hunt going into Sept. I still believe that Bernadina is a better corner outfielder then CF so maybe they do send him down and have him continue to work on learning the angles from CF. Unless Brown shows something or they move Harper here this is a key position for next year, not to mention now.Go Nats

  13. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    RCR cards and more info should be getting mailed within the next few days.

  14. Knoxville Nat - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Ernie,Like you I'm not sold just yet on Bernadina but after reading Boswell's column this morning I can see some benefit to keeping Ankiel (a 1 year contract)around the clubhouse and letting Bernie get regular playing time in Syracuse.Off topic, I'm heading to Viera tomorrow evening for my first Nats ST and will be catching games on Friday, Sunday and Monday night at the Mouse's ballpark against the Braves. It is going to be darn difficult to focus on work here today and for that time I'm in the office tomorrow. Any idea who's pitching Friday night against the Cards?

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Just a guess but probably Marquis. He needs to atone for his last start.

  16. Dave - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    Anon 8:57: "RCR cards and more info should be getting mailed within the next few days."I hope so. I've already had one plan partner ask about it. He wants to use the points for parking. Opening Day is eight days from now.Not a big fan of the last-minute Red Carpet Rewards this year.

  17. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:34 PM

    One vote for Stairs. Everyone agrees the team needs a major attitude adjustment. Carrying Cora, Stairs and Ankiel (although Ankiel as an everyday player makes me squirm) instead of Gonzalez, Morgan and Bernandina gives backbone in the dugout and the clubhouse to the young veterans (Zimmerman, Desmond, Morse and most of the pitching staff) who are expected to lead the team. Counting ABs as the DH in interleague games in AL cities, Stairs would end up with somewhere around 110-120 PAs, about the same as Maxwell last year except much more productive. That's hardly a waste.Zimmerman, et al, should take the field knowing that in the 7th, 8th and 9th there are the tools on the bench — Cora to put down a bunt, move a runner; Ankiel to (hopefully) park one; Stairs to get a hit or force a pitching change — to win the game. Gonzalez (of the 8 RBIs), Morgan can't do that, and Bernandina is just gonna have to — and needs to — straighten himself out by playing every day.

  18. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    NatsJack…if you don't mind, can you give me your opinion and scouting report for Todd Coffey? I still don't understand why they signed him in the first place considering that a)they already had enough candidates for the bullpen and b)his numbers weren't that great to begin with. Is there something i am missing that perhaps you can should shed some light on because his perforance certianly hasn't subsided my concerns.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    @ Knoxville Nat…. re: Friday's Cardinals game. Get there early… Like by 4:30 at the latest. And don't park in the main lot North of the ball park. Park in the South lot which means if you are coming from the north, you can get in the left lane and bypass all the traffic waiting to enter the north lot. The south lot is for season ticket holders but if you are early enough, they have about 250 spots for the general public.

  20. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    Further regarding the value of a left-handed pinch-hitter, Gates Brown took the Tigers to the World Series in 1968 with barely 100 plate appearances.

  21. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Dave said… "Not a big fan of the last-minute Red Carpet Rewards this year."Me neither, but it's a new process this year. Your points will be on your RCR card.

  22. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Anonymous @ 9:40…. Rizzo was trying to catch lightning in a bottle similar to what transpired last year with Capps. If you remember, Capps didn't exactly impress us in ST last year, much like Coffey this year. Coffey's last outing was actually pretty good but except for Burnett, Broderick and Balester they've all been big time inconsistant.

  23. Knoxville Nat - Mar 23, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    NatsJack,Thanks for the tips. We are coming from Melbourne however getting there by 4:30 will be difficult as we will be waiting for my nephew to drive up that afternoon from Port St. Lucie area and he doesn't expect to be in until sometime around 4:30 or 5:00.Can you suggest a plan B?

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Theophilus…. Surely you don't compare this team to the '68 Tigers that won 104 games. And if you are going to compare Stairs to Maxwell, please include defense.Not harping here… just trying to kepp it real.

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Knoxville Nat…. Just come in from the South and enter the first parking lot you find. There's a Church and the County Public Works Facility on the same entrance road to the South lot. Most people fight there way to the North Lot.

  26. Meridian - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    This is not about Lannan but a general question about the Nats' overall approach to developing players — both pitchers and position players.If you're going to develop players from within, you need an approach and a coaching staff that succeeds in developing players' ability (beyond the simple experience of getting more playing time).Is the Nats' coaching/development staff, at both the major and minor league level, up to the task? Among position players, they've been unable to tap the potential of a number of high-potential outfielders. Even excepting Milledge and Dukes as head cases, Bernadina failed to seize his opportunity this year and Maxwell never did, even though he is now playing for the Yankees. Among the infielders, Desmond took an exceptionally long time to make the big-league club and remains error-prone in ways that would have seemed fixable at an earlier stage in his career.Among pitching prospects, virtually every front-line prospect has flamed out, many due to injuries. Detwiler is drafted and called one of the best ever by Tim Foli, and then they are trying to change his mechanics to conform to some abstract ideal, which makes no sense to me. Nor do they seem to have effectively coached Storen; quite the opposite, as his success yesterday (for whatever one inning is worth) came after people told him to forget what the coaches were telling him and "just throw."What do people think? What is the word around MLB on the quality of the Nationals' player development operation?

  27. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Meridian…. I could write a book on this but in a nutshell… Bob Boone is responsible for minor league player developement and his staff has been totally revamped. Most notably, Foli is gone and Bobby Henley is now the minor league coordinator although his title has changed. The difference between the two is night and day. They all have to answer to Rizzo so if results aren't forthcoming out of the last 2 drafts, changes will continue to be made.

  28. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    NatsJack — Not comparing Nats to Tigers. Just saying there are some commodities, like LH pinch-hitters and LH-hitting catchers, that are have value disproportionate to the amount of time they actually spend on the field. Maxwell's defensive value last year wasn't as significant as you imply. Because of Willingham's limitations, and the platoon situation (if that's what it was) in RF, Riggleman went through a lot more outfielders (e.g., Guzman) than should be necessary this year, if you pencil in Werth for 150 games and Morse for 135. And still, because of W. Harris, Maxwell was usually the last guy in. I'm uneasy about relying on four OF but there's none of the four that's going to dictate a defensive replacement and if there's an injury there's always Syracuse just a 50-minute flight on United Express away.Stairs as a PH can win more games than Bernandina as a late-inning defensive replacement.

  29. Feel Wood - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    "Dave said… "Not a big fan of the last-minute Red Carpet Rewards this year."Me neither, but it's a new process this year. Your points will be on your RCR card."So does this mean we will be able to go to the box office and use the RCR card to pay for tickets and parking as if it was a pre-loaded debit card? That's a MASSIVE improvement over last year's mail-in redemption system. Also, I guess the RCR card will replace the STH MVP card, since that was not included in my package this year.

  30. Mark'd - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I still see more upside with Bernie compared to Ankiel and Nyjer. He has more speed and will have a higher OBP I believe.

  31. sjm308 - Mar 23, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Theo:Interesting points on Stairs and I actually think you have a point – If its just baseball skills (hitting, throwing, running etc) I think its hard to keep Stairs but when you throw in the attitude thing and the fact that he would change the game in the late innings its a good point. I will not scream now if they keep him.On the Red Carpet, I guess I could call my guy but if you have 4 guys in a partial program does each guy get a RCR card?with the appropriate points?thanks guys

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    Theophilus… wasn't saying Maxwell's defense was significant, merely pointing out the difference between him and Stairs.The outfield will will consist of Werth, Morse, Ankiel/Bernadina/Morgan (pick 2) and Jerry Hairston, Jr. for 5 outfielders. The absence of Willingham will certainly lessen the need for defensive replacement in later innings. While I like and appreciate Stairs, I just can't see using a roster spot for him when Cora/Gonzalez (pick one)and even Nix have more expanded value.And, aside from pinch hitting, do we really need a 43 year old left handed hitting back up first baseman?

  33. Feel Wood - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    "On the Red Carpet, I guess I could call my guy but if you have 4 guys in a partial program does each guy get a RCR card?with the appropriate points?"If you're talking about a season ticket group that you are the organizer of, the answer is probably no. You'll get one card for the STH of record, the guy who holds the account. The Nats do not really cater to the season ticket groups, which probably makes sense because when it all comes down to it they are basically no different than the scalpers who buy season ticket plans to turn around and sell individual games.With them now offering all manner of mini-plans along with the full, half and quarter season plans, people who used to have to buy a full-season plan and form a group if they wanted to go to only 15-20 games now have lots of other alternatives – probably better alternatives, too.

  34. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    It's worth reading the article in today's Post on Greinke by Sheinen. Says a lot about perceptions of the Nats of knowledgeable insiders, such as an ace pitcher.

  35. sjm308 - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Thanks Feel, not good news for me since the guy that organized our group 5 years ago is really more of an accountant type and not a baseball guy. Will have to figure out how we share those points.

  36. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Mark'd — Last from me re Bernandina, Ankiel and Morgan. This is a micro version of the cluster . . . when the Nats had 46 pitchers running around camp a few years ago. Not enough ABs available for any of them to distinguish themselves. Has Bernandina regressed? Has Morgan actually learned anything? No idea. Long term, i.e., beyond this year, Bernandina may have more going for him than Ankiel, and certainly more than Morgan. But this Spring the best you can say is there hasn't been any progress. Both he and Morgan should have played winter ball. Right now Ankiel looks like a better CF than Bernandina and could — though he probably won't — hit 20 HR. Bernandina didn't take advantage of his opportunity — having nothing to do w/ body mass, incidentally — and it looks like he's going to have to take a step back.

  37. A DC Wonk - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    "I don't care how well John Lannan pitches, he doesn't throw the ball through a brick wall."And the point is . . . ?Half the Atlanta starters from the 90's couldn't either — it didn't hurt them.And, for that matter, Livo can't even throw a ball through a plane of glass. But he led the team (among starters) in wins, IP, K's, 2nd to Strasburg in ERA & WHIP.

  38. Dave - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Re: the Red Carpet Rewards program:My understanding is that there is one RCR card (of some kind, which we will know when they arrive–perhaps the day before OD?) in each season-ticket box. So, one RCR card for each seat that you have.I know this only because this is what my ticket rep told me last month. I do not know anything else beyond that–nor does anybody here, unless they work for the Nats.Last year, with those cockamamie pieces of paper, we at least had a good month or so to plan this stuff and start the process of redemption. This year, they truly do seem to making it up as they go along.Since these RCR points are part of the value for which we pay as season-ticket holders this year, it seems passing strange that the Nats are making it nearly impossible to use them, say, for parking next Thursday or parking/games next weekend. There's not a lot of value to them if you can't use them.

  39. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    My understanding.You will get 2 RCR cards. Points will be on the primary card. The other card can be used by a family member or season ticket partner, if and when you transfer points to it. That person will have to set up a My Nationals Ticket account to use the card – something like that. The idea is you'd be able to use the card online or at a kiosk to redeem your points.I haven't heard what dates are blackout dates, though it's evident that Opening Day is a blackout date for redeeming points for tickets (and posibly also for parking). It would have been nice to have blackout date info already so people can begin to think about how they want to use their points.Using your points for parking is the least efficient use of your points.

  40. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Accounts with a large number of seats might get more than 2 RCR cards. I don't remember the specifics since it didn't apply to my account.

  41. sjm308 - Mar 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Just talked to my guy and I realize this could change with each agent you talk to. What my guy says is that if you have 5 seats you will get 5 cards but ONLY the primary card (guy who actually sends the money to the Nationals) will have points on it. He can go on-line and transfer points to each card. That means I have to suck up and be nice until those points are distributed. (ha,ha). I agree that this is being done very late. I loved seeing more games last year and wanted to try and get my games picked early but that is not going to happen. As with most things, the Nationals are still trying to figure out how to run a major league program.One other thing, there is no MVP card this year and the RCR card will serve that purpose as well.

  42. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Converting RCR from a manual process to an computerized one is not a trivial matter. That's the reason it is taking so long.The advantage of the computerized system is that you will know the results of your redemption request within days, and perhaps sooner for redemption of non-premium seats and parking.The one card per seat thing sounds right but my faulty memory is telling me there's still a maximum to the number of cards you'd get.

  43. Doc - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    @Meridian, et.al.: It's always made me wonder about the Nats' minor league coaching program that they have middle infielders like Desmond that take 6 years to go through the system and still have holes in their fundamnetal fielding game when they arrive in the Bigs. It's even more difficult to understand when most of their 'roving coaches/consultants' had careers as middle infielders, and you can include Rizzo and Riggleman in that category.Bernadina has been in the Nats' system, for what 8-10 years, and he still handles CF like a puzzle. I agree, going through the minors should be an instructional opportunity, not largely a function of getting games and innings in. It's hard to believe that a couple of Storen's former opposing batters team mates actually point out things that the pitching coach should have noted, and maybe did. Storen has been pitching high in the zone since the latter part of last season. It seems to date from when he started lifting his front left foot higher to generate more speed on his fastball, but losing location at the same time.

  44. Feel Wood - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    Re the RCR program complaints, you guys realize you're complaining about a freebie, a gift, a REWARD, right? I suppose if someone gave you a free lunch you'd be complaining that the soup is a little cold, too, huh?

  45. N. Cognito - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Doc said… "It's always made me wonder about the Nats' minor league coaching program that they have middle infielders like Desmond that take 6 years to go through the system and still have holes in their fundamnetal fielding game when they arrive in the Bigs."That's like saying, "With the right coaching, every hitter should be able to hit 60 homeruns a season." Every player is also limited by their natural abilities.

  46. Feel Wood - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Doc said… "It's always made me wonder about the Nats' minor league coaching program that they have middle infielders like Desmond that take 6 years to go through the system and still have holes in their fundamnetal fielding game when they arrive in the Bigs."Keep in mind that in the time that Desmond and Bernadina have been with the franchise it has been through two ownership groups and three GMs. The first ownership group and its GM were basically in dismantle mode the whole time, and the second GM was in a holding pattern for the first part of his tenure. It has only been with the current ownership and GM that a common top-to-bottom organizational philosophy could emerge, and that's too late to backfit it onto guys who spent so much time in organization chaos.

  47. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    "I know this only because this is what my ticket rep told me last month. I do not know anything else beyond that–nor does anybody here, unless they work for the Nats."http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/was/ticketing/rewards.jsp This web page has been out there for at least a month (I know because I saw it that long ago) and tells all the details about RCR points allocation and redemption. The only thing it doesn't have are the blackout dates, but based on what dates were blacked out last year that should be pretty easy to guess. That ought to be more than enough info for people to make their plans and then hit the ground running when the program opens in the next few days.

  48. Steve M. - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    I try to stay analytical and objective but using my judgment of the stats and the way Bernadina has been seemingly "used" I don't like it.It was written that Bernie and Morse would compete for the LF job so Bernie comes in bulked up to try to get his power numbers up. Then Morse comes out on fire and deserved the LF spot so now Bernie is competing for CF and I think statistically he has outplayed Nyjer and Ankiel. I don't think Bernadina is a future All-Star but I see him being a solid contributor just like he was through August 15th last year before he fell into a funk.Here's my bigger issue is that Rizzo is playing with a man's life and livelihood and his confidence level. Bernadina is a good person. Don't mess with a man like that. Trade him as I am sure he can contribute on another team that doesn't want to become the geriatric team of baseball. (Now I take all this back if Bernie makes the team ;-))

  49. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 23, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/mlb/desire-to-win-now-kept-greinke-from-joining-nationals/2011/03/22/ABA2NPFB_story.htmlGreat Sheinin article on the Greinke and I applaud Greinke for realizing that you effect a team's growth when you consider trading JZim, Storen and Espinosa. I still question Rizzo for considering it and even more blown away that Greinke saw that as a negative too."The Nationals are trying to build a winner,” Greinke said, “and if I’m going to go there, I didn’t really want them to trade away the players they were going to build around. That hurts their team.” When it was suggested to Greinke that perhaps his path will intersect with that of the Nationals another time — Greinke’s current contract expires after the 2012 season, roughly the time the Nationals expect to become legitimate contenders — he did not shoot down the notion.“Maybe it works out better that the deal [with Washington] didn’t go through,” Greinke said. “In two years I might be a free agent, and then they get to keep the players [who would have been] in the trade. And some of those guys could end up being key players for them.”

  50. Wally - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    I have wondered quite a bit about their player development program too. On the one hand, it doesn't seem so great, yet to their credit, over the last couple of years, a number of young guys have been promoted to the major league level. No real stars, but a bunch of contributors.I remember asking Brian Oliver at NFA a few years ago what he thought of the Nats PD group, and the answer was something like 'jury is still out'. I agree with what N Cognito said implicitly, which is that building a good farm system has two essential elements – drafting talented guys, and then developing them to see them reach their talent levels. By most measures that I can see, Rizzo has done well by the scouting/drafting side, but Brian's response still seems appropriate to me on the player development side (although I am encouraged by NatsJack's comments about Henley). It also seems like a hard area to judge objectively (other than purely how many prospects reach the majors, I guess). As a part of player development, it also does seem like our pitchers get hurt a lot. I just read Jonah Keri's book on Tampa Bay (the Extra 2%), and one of the things that he highlights is their massive commitment not only to sabremetrics, but also the Pitch FX stuff. They have a couple of guys who have built a database that charts every pitch (not just of opposing pitchers but of all the pitchers in their system). One thing that they are trying to develop is a system to predict pitching injuries by judging movements in release points and other things that show a pitcher under stress (and more likely to get injured). They claim to literally relay that to Maddon during games to tell him when they think a guy is at a high risk of injury (or conversely, can pitch longer). I don't know what to make of any of that, honestly. It sounds cool, but it also sounds like one of those 'technology can make all your troubles go away' pitches. I will say that I don't think Tampa has had anyone in their entire organization, minors or majors, who had to have TJ surgery in the last few years.

  51. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    I thought I was finished w/ this subject but it seems not. Where on earth did the idea come from that Bernadina "bulked up" to become a power-hitting corner outfielder? When he showed up in camp he said he was trying to improve strength because he ran out of gas last August. And who says corner outfielders need to be bulked-up power hitters? Nick Markakis? Or that being a bulked-up beast is incompatible w/ being a great center fielder? Josh Hamilton?Bernadina just hasn't stood out enough this Spring — so far — to demand to be on the field every day. If he goes to Syracuse, he'll be back soon enough (if he's the best outfielder down there).

  52. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Feel Wood said… "Re the RCR program complaints, you guys realize you're complaining about a freebie, a gift, a REWARD, right? I suppose if someone gave you a free lunch you'd be complaining that the soup is a little cold, too, huh?"That's never stopped many Nats fans.I wouldn't be surprised if the Nats Bucks are on the card. I heard they were looking to make the card also work like a debit card, wherein you could load it with money to use at concession stands and at the team store (and tickets?). Makes sense considering when and if the Nats get good, the RCR will naturally go away.

  53. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Nitwit Nat Fan said…I don't care how well John Lannan pitches, he doesn't throw the ball through a brick wall.As Balester said "you know what's going on". YOU should know what's going on. Lannan's stock is not going to get any higher and he is still young and the Nats have two left-handers in Gorzelanny and Detwiler. Plus more on the way such as MIlone, Rosenbaum and Solis. 1. Who would you rather see at the top of the rotation on opening day? Stephen Strasburg, Cliff Lee, Zack Grienke or John Lannan? All have better velocity and movement.2. Look at this team's record with John Lannan as its defacto ace?3. John Lannan couldn't even hold his spot against 35 going on 50 year old soft-tosser Livan Hernandez? If you were to pick a soft-tosser for your rotation who would you pick? Livo or Lannan? 4. Seems like everyone on this blog complained bitterly about guys like JD Martin and Atilano as the only Nats choices. And you really think another soft-tosser is going to be that much better? Can get this team to .500 or above? Really? Now that's a nit-wit Nats fan.A trade of Lannan will be a sign that the time has come for this team to finally moving forward.

  54. N. Cognito - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Steve M. said… "Here's my bigger issue is that Rizzo is playing with a man's life and livelihood and his confidence level."Playing with his life and livelihood? Get real! Next you're going to be telling us Rizzo goes over to Bernadina's house just to kick his dog.

  55. Dave - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Do most of you keep all 81 games of your full season tickets? Because I have to work for a living, I share mine with six other people.We all were told that part of what we were paying for this year were points worth extra tickets and parking and so on. This was part of the advertised product–not an after-the-fact freebie that was added on.We have a reasonable expectation of receiving the full product we paid for early enough that we can actually use it.Frankly, I'll be very glad when the Nats no longer have to bribe us to renew our season plans. But bribe they have this year–except they are not delivering the promised bribe.

  56. N. Cognito - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    Lighten up Francis.You'll get your RCR stuff early enough to use it.And no, nobody else that posts here works for a living. I'm Ted Lerner.;^)

  57. Nitwit Nat Fan - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Anonymous, give me John Lannan, a 3.50-4.25 ERA and no history of arm problems to a 4.00-4.50 ERA with a 94 MPH fastball who's going to miss one year in three to arm problems.As for the calling of starting pitchers a number 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5, remember in the regular season a number 4 will get as many starts as a 1 or 2. In fact, if the Nats wisely keep Lannan, he will likely have more starts than Steven Strasburg next year as Strasburg will be held out of starts at just a hint of ailment.

  58. Wally - Mar 23, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Nats farm system ranked 13th by Baseball America, and overall organization ranked 24th by Fangraphs.

  59. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    "Do most of you keep all 81 games of your full season tickets? Because I have to work for a living, I share mine with six other people."Why don't you just downgrade to a 21-game plan? Then you could enjoy your seats and your RCR all by yourself, without any of the administrative hassle that seems to be turning you into such a crank.

  60. Tim - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    P2P, 3 young talenterd MLB ready prosepects for a proven ace starter in his prime. I don't see how you don't make that deal if you are the Nats.

  61. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    "So does this mean we will be able to go to the box office and use the RCR card to pay for tickets and parking as if it was a pre-loaded debit card?"Still waiting on more detailed information, which should arrive with the RCR card. The e-mail, sent out a few months ago, stated that you would know about your redemption request in a matter of days, or some such wording.As for use as a debit card with money loaded on it, I believe that's still a work in progress.If you only get 2 cards and have 4 people in your group, it doesn't hurt to ask for more cards.

  62. PAY TO PLAY - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    Tim, you have your opinion and mine has always been to deal from a position of strength when you can.On Greinke, he wants to leave the Royals and won't go the Yankees and some other clubs so the Royals weren't in the position of strength as Greinke had the veto power essentially so the Nats didn't have to roll over to the Royals. Maybe you give them Lannan and Storen but to give them JZim + Storen and then throw in Espinosa is nuts in my opinion.On the Willingham trade for instance, the Nats didn't have to trade him at that point in time so you would think the Nats were dealing from relative strength and they got 2 mid-level prospects, but maybe Rizzo thought that was the best offer he was going to get from any club and there would be diminishing returns if Willingham got injured during the season.On Capps they got Ramos and some will question that too.The Hanrahan/Milledge for Nyjer/Burnett seems to have turned out slightly better for the Nats.As a trader, Rizzo hasn't impressed me with some of his moves and proposed/rumored moves. Again, just my opinion.

  63. JaneB - Mar 23, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    We have the full season plane, which we used to share out with two other couples, so we'd each get a third. Last year, we got half and shared out half. Now the others only took 20 tickets, and the remaining 61 is way more than we can actually get to whilst (yes) working for a living. It feels a bit like we're working to be able to afford baseball. But I love where our seats are (okay, one section over would be perfect) and I intend to keep them so that when they are GREAT and can't wait to get to the park, we still have them.Lannan works hard. He doesn't throw through brick walls. No one pitching for us does. So far. Love the one you're with. Bird in the hand. Alla that. We can pray for trades and FA megapaydays. Butstill support who we have.Interesting chart Mark had on the other page, comparing ST stats on Ankiel, Bernie and Nyjer. Bernie wins over them just based his age. In my view.

  64. Steve M. - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20110323&content_id=17084802&vkey=news_mlb&c_id=mlb#Phillies injuries continue as Oswalt is hit in the head by a line drive.

  65. N. Cognito - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    JaneB said…"We have the full season plane"WOW! Do you go to all the away games?:)

  66. Steve M. - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    JaneB said…Interesting chart Mark had on the other page, comparing ST stats on Ankiel, Bernie and Nyjer. Bernie wins over them just based his age. In my view. March 23, 2011 2:52 PM That is what I was comparing to also plus the length of time under team control. Ankiel is a 1 year deal. Have to keep Bernie and Ankiel and probably Nix and make Stairs into a Coach or advisor as he seems to be an asset there.To think a LH Stairs is a backup to a LH LaRoche doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

  67. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    I think it would be very interesting to see Morgan's reaction to an assignment to Syracuse. I don't know of too many 31 year olds that still have options.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Oliver Perez?!?!?!!?? Man, is Syracuse going to be crowded!

  69. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    Harrisburg will be crowded, too. Or the Syracuse unemployment office.

  70. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Anonymous, give me John Lannan, a 3.50-4.25 ERA and no history of arm problems to a 4.00-4.50 ERA with a 94 MPH fastball who's going to miss one year in three to arm problems.And Tom Gorzelanny, having had his arm almost blown out by that other nit-wit Jim Tracy still had a better year than Lannan in 2010? Why do you think Rizzo said he would've still made that deal Grienke or no Grienke, Cliff Lee or no Cliff Lee? The results from last year and past years speak for themselves. Lannan has no chance against the top aces in the league, not even in the NL East division. Naming him your #2 starter with Livo #1 is almost like begging for the first pick in the first round in 2012. And Rizzo has to know that.

  71. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:06 PM

    I still believe Ankiel wins the job as a trusted Riggleman crony. See Cristian Guzman, Willie Harris, and Ron Vilone for additional references.He has no bat. He will fail. Here's hoping Corey Brown recovers rapidly and rakes in Syracuse!

  72. Nitwit Nats Fan - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    In a 162 game season, number ones don't always, or even often, pitch every game against the number one of an opposing team. And number ones and twos occasionally have off days and number fours and fives can pitch spectacularly. It's a long season actually played by human beings and not by Bill James computer cut-outs.Anyway, with Strasburg, Detwiler, Zimmerman and Solis in the pipeline, there's no reason to require John Lannan to be a "Number One." If he turns out to be the next Jamie Moyer or Paul Splittorf, fine. It he becomes a Tom Glavine, great.

  73. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Anyway, with Strasburg, Detwiler, Zimmerman and Solis in the pipeline, there's no reason to require John Lannan to be a "Number One." If he turns out to be the next Jamie Moyer or Paul Splittorf, fine. It he becomes a Tom Glavine, great.Agreed! And with another franchise he might just be that #3, #4 guy they need to stabilize their rotation.This franchise needs prospects: pitching and positional. Rick Ankiel starting centerfielder? In platoon with Jerry Hairston Jr? That borders on ridiculous and for Nats fans its tragic!Besides needing a new manager, one who doesn't make his crony's starters, they need more prospects. Corey Brown could be a great CF iin the wings. As could Eury Perez. But there's an awful lot of risk there. And as for stating pitching most talent evaluators and scouts will tell you that the Nats starting rotation out of ST will be considered the worst in major league baseball? There's a lot that wrong with the roster Jim Riggleman is putting together (including Riggleman in the manager's spot). 75 wins is now looking like a miracle season?Its why propitious trades need be made now or very soon when the value of assets (players) is high. Lannan's will not get any higher. Its time to leverage that value into some close-to-majors prospects that will help the club get better in the future.

  74. Anonymous47 - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Somebody has a very difficult time disguising their rants.

  75. Theophilus - Mar 23, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Sometimes I think of the quaint 18th Century custom of dueling, and "Anonymous" and JayB, in the same paragraph.

  76. Nitwit Nats Fan - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    If the Nats win 75 games this year, be happy. .500 would be great. Patience is golden. 2012 is the breakout year and 2013 is a run for the playoffs.

  77. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Sometimes I think of the quaint 18th Century custom of dueling, and "Anonymous" and JayB, in the same paragraph.You wouldn't dare to cross my rapier wit, nor my finely honed blade.

  78. Anonymous - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    Somebody has a very difficult time disguising their rants.We could be Dave Nichols … if National News blog is any indication as it is in violent agreement … rapier switch, swish, switch!Questionable Decisions and Desperation: Questionable Decisions and Desperation

  79. Tim - Mar 23, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    P2P, You have to trade value to get value. No one is going to trade an ace starter for Lannan and a bullpen prospect. JZimm is a top of the rotation prospect and has value, Grinkie is a proven top of the rotation pitcher which is even more value. That is why they included two additional pieces in Storen and Espy. I like all 3 those guys but we have depth in the pen and infield and are seeking a SP. Ultiamtely you ahve to ask do you want to do a deal or not? Doing a deal like this is exactly what Rizzo wanted to do, it didn't happen, but not for lack of trying.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 45 --
ATLANTA 57 48 1.5
MIAMI 51 53 7.0
NEW YORK 50 55 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 59 12.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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