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Series preview: Nats at Cardinals

Apr 19, 2011, 1:21 PM EDT

Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. — LHP John Lannan (1-1, 3.38) vs. RHP Jake Westbrook (1-1, 7.63)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM, WFED-1500 AM

Wednesday, 8:15 p.m. — RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-2, 2.45) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (2-0, 1.35)
TV: MASN2 Radio: WJFK-106.7 FM

Thursday, 1:45 p.m. — LHP Tom Gorzelanny (1-1, 5.68) vs. RHP Kyle Lohse (2-1, 2.82)
TV: MASN Radio: WFED-1500 AM, WHFS-1580 AM

CARDINALS UPDATE
After a sluggish start to the season, St. Louis has won four of five to get back to .500 entering this series. But all is not rosy in the Gateway City. Closer Ryan Franklin has blown four of his five save opportunities to date, including Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers, and now manager Tony La Russa is considering a change. Whether La Russa goes with right-hander Mitchell Boggs or a closer-by-committee remains to be seen.

Offensively, the Cardinals struggled during the season's first week. But the return of Matt Holliday from an emergency appendectomy has re-energized the lineup. Holliday is hitting .441 with nine RBI and a 1.235 OPS in his first nine games. Veteran Lance Berkman (six homers in 14 games) has also proven a welcome addition.

The rotation was a question mark coming into the season, with co-ace Adam Wainwright sidelined for all of 2011 after Tommy John surgery. But Chris Carpenter and Co. have held down the fort, and KyleRead more »

  1. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Why is it that many pundits believe as the season goes longer that the Nats' starting pitching will regress? To me, given the type of pitchers they are, except for Zimmermann, sinker ball pitchers, their pitches will become more effective as their arms grow weary if that makes any sense. What do y'all think?UNTERP

  2. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 19, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Jordan Zimmermann keeps facing the opposing teams #2 pitcher. I guess better Garcia then Wainwright. Let's hope JZim has come up with a new strategy on Albert Pujols.

  3. N. Cognito - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    The belief that they will regress is based upon the fat that except for Gorzelanny, they are pitching much better than expected.It's a very safe bet.

  4. N. Cognito - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    That should be "fact," not "fat."

  5. erocks33 - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Hey Mark — In regards to Thursday's afternoon game, I thought you mentioned previously that WJFK wouldn't be airing afternoon games because they preferred not to interrupt their glorious regular programming. Will Thursday's game be on WJFK (which would be great since I could listen at work)?

  6. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Watching Pujols play is pure joy.My hope is that if the Nats play .500 ball this season, with the return of Strasburg and possible emergence of Harper next year, Pujols would see the Nationals as an attractive long-term home after his contract with the Cards is up.$200M over 7 years? Would that be enough to bring him over here? (I love spending the Lerners' money.)

  7. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    I prefer "fat", just the "fats".I'll say that they are in a zone and the zone vanishes sometime in October…UNTERP

  8. N. Cognito - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Anonymous said… "Watching Pujols play is pure joy.$200M over 7 years? Would that be enough to bring him over here?"Not enough. The Cards supposedly offered him 8 years and in excess of $200M.

  9. Bill B - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Anonymous & N.Cognito: statistically it's a safe bet the Nats' pitchers will regress, but this is one of those situations where stat heads acknowledge stats are of limited value. J Zimmerman, Marquis, and Lannan are coming off injuries, and JZim is almost a rookie. The logic probably does apply to Livan, but they said that last year. So, the question remains whether an old dog learned some new tricks and has become a better pitcher.

  10. Bill B - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    N.Cognito: my heart flutters at the thought of Pujols in DC, but I don't think it's all that likely. I think the Werth signing probably made that kind of cash impossible to lay out. On the other hand, a lot of the big spenders have solid, long-term first basemen: Yanks (Tex), BoSox (Gonzalez), Phils (Howard). Maybe the Rangers or Dodgers would make a run at him. Interesting possibilities. I have a feeling the Cards will cough up the cash in the end, however.

  11. NatinBeantown - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Bill B,I share your caution/skepticism on Pujols. But the more interesting question–do any of those teams have a stud prospect blocked by those huge multiyear deals? Lars Anderson from the Sox? Yonder Alonso, blocked by Votto in Cincinnati?

  12. DFL - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    No to Pujols. He's bound to slide in productivity. The Nats good pitching with Zimmerman out and many regulars failing to hit their weight is further proof that pitching is the building block for successful baseball.

  13. Section 222 - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    Bill B. said: "I think the Werth signing probably made that kind of cash impossible to lay out." Repeat after me: "The Lerners are billionaires. They are the richest owners in MLB. The Lerners are billionaires. They are the richest owners in MLB."Sign Pujols and you can easily re-sign Zim. Zim, Pujols, Werth, and Harper in 2013 is a pretty darn fearsome 3-4-5-6 for 2013 and beyond. Heck, even a head case like Greinke might want to play for that tema.Yeah I know it's a pipedream, but if it doesn't happen it won't be because of Werth's contract.

  14. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    So apparently Harper got removed from the game last night in the 7th inning. From nationalsprospects.com "Newsome was the replacement for Bryce Harper, who struck out and flew out before being sent to the bench in the seventh. Daubauch would not elaborate beyond the stock answer of “manager’s decision” and its corollary, “he’ll be back in the lineup tomorrow."I wonder what he did.

  15. Tim - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    From the Hagerstown Herald-Mail newspaper's site: "Newsome replaced Harper, who served at designated hitter on Monday. The Washington Nationals’ top prospect struck out and flew out in his two at-bats to drop his average to .235 before being lifted. He didn’t appear injured as he sat in the dugout the rest of the game.'It was a manager’s decision,' Daubach said. 'He will be back in the lineup tomorrow.'Harper probably didn't look good and needed to sit.As far as our pitching's sustainability… Since we have three fairly young, unproven starters (for the most part), consistency over the long haul of a full season will tell the tale. The younger and more inexpereinced the arms, the less consistent they'll be. That's conventional wisdom.However, I think this might be the year they grow up and blossom. Hope springs eternal!

  16. Tim - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I wonder if the umps will call a strike on a check-swing from Berkman???Sorry, I couldn't help myself.

  17. Scooter - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    A couple quick thoughts. First, I kind of think that signing Werth doesn't make other large contracts impossible; it makes them necessary. You don't make that kind of investment and then say, "Well, we got a star. I sure hope he wins!"And DFL is right: Pujols will certainly regress. In a couple years, he will only be the 5th-best player in the solar system. (I also suspect he will stay in St. Louis.)

  18. Gonats - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    I see Goessling is running with the BJ Upton rumor too. My concern goes to a player who has the skills and doesn't use them. Hard to get out of mind watching a ball go past him as he jogs to the ball.Any repeat of the frustration with guys like Lastings Milledge who kind of mailed it in just makes me feel, do you really want this guy?

  19. Doc - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Hey Natsfans what's the skinny on Cameron Selik, a Nats 22nd round draft pick last year? He throwing the ball for the Suns, and the other guys seem to be swinging and missing. Where's he on the Nats' prospects' list?

  20. fpcsteve - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Who knows how old Pujols actually is? I'm guessing he has that answer, but no one else. Who thinks he is actually 31? I don't. He may be a hard worker and all that, but I think his age will catch up with him sooner than later. Does he look 31 to you? I would be scared to sign him for that reason–lingering doubt about his age. Just a thought…

  21. Nattaboy58 - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Agreed, Section 222. And to DFL – disagree bigtime. You don't sign Pujols to an 7, 8, or 9 year contract because you think he'll still be an MVP in 2020. You do it because, unless you're a bad ball club, having him on your team instantly makes you a serious contender. Probably for at LEAST 4 years. Not only because of his production, but for the flock of other FAs he'll draw, the spike in ticket sales, and the vault to serious franchise.A pipe dream? So far. But it shouldn't be out of the question – I'd LOVE to hear the Lerners' take.Just for fun, possible lineup in 2012 after signing Pujols:CF: FAABP (that's free agent attracted by Pujols – Sizemore, DeJesus, Crisp are FAs)2B: Espinosa3B: Zimmmerman1B: PujolsRF: HarperLF: WerthSS: DesmondC: RamosRotation:StrasburgFAABP (Maybe a Buerle or Duke type)Zimmermann2011 Breakout – Maya/Detwiler/???Lannan/Gorzelanny/Cheap Veteran with a ringSick. Nasty. C'mon, Natstown, dream big. Perhaps we should start a campaign

  22. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    I think this road trip will be the test so see if this team is for real or if recent fortunes is a fluke.

  23. Scooter - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    fpcsteve, if you can tell a 31- from a 34-year-old by looking at him, your vision is much better than mine. (Which isn't actually that hard.) Only way I know to do it is cut him open and count the rings.

  24. Cwj - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Regarding the starting pitchers regressing, I doubt they will pitch as well as they have all season. But, I also doubt they will regress that much. None of them seem to be "lucky" thus far. Their K/BB ratios and WHIP indicate that.And remember that JZimm is considered the real deal. A true power pitcher with nasty stuff. He will likely get even better, in my opinion.

  25. N. Cognito - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    Unless the bidding gets outlandish, the Nats have the money to spend on Pujols – and that's not even dipping into the Lerner's bank accounts. The real crux of signing him would be, given Albert's age and expected regression (not as soon or as much as most players), what does Rizzo believe Pujols to be worth.

  26. DFL - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Who knows, perhaps the most important player at Hagerstown is Cameron Selik.

  27. Gonats - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    fpcsteve said… Who knows how old Pujols actually is? I'm guessing he has that answer, but no one else. Who thinks he is actually 31? I don't. He may be a hard worker and all that, but I think his age will catch up with him sooner than later. Does he look 31 to you? I would be scared to sign him for that reason–lingering doubt about his age. Just a thought… April 19, 2011 11:31 AM ____________________________________That is why he dropped so far in the Draft due to "rumors" of his age. On that 60 Minutes segment they did on Pujols they showed him in High School with full-on facial hair at what was said 16 years of age.I'm no expert, but I am betting with fpcsteve on this one. Probably 33 to 34 years old.

  28. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    The Nats will throw $200M at Pujols, who will turn it down to stay with the Cards.The Washington Nationals: Expect it.

  29. Sunderland - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    There always been skepticism about how old Pujols eally is. It's not at all out of the realm of possibility that he is 3 or so years older than MLB believes. I'd stay away from him if the deal is 7+ years.Harper batting 5th next season? Get serious.Also, big expectations for Strasburg for 2012 are unrealistic. He'll be getting a feel for pitches and for how his arm reacts to things. There is bound to be the minor setback here or there, and he'll be innings limited for sure. The Strasburg people are waiting for won't be here until 2013.

  30. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    This schedule will go through its toughest test starting on April 29th with SF Giants 4 games,then to Philly, then to Florida Marlins, then to Atlanta before returning home against the Marlins on May 13 to 15th. That's a 16 game stretch with 1 day off on May 9th. Anyone have a Ryan Zimmerman update? Let's hope he is back and ready for those 16 games.

  31. Nattaboy58 - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    The Pujols to Washington 2012 campaign has begun. We're using the hashtag #RAPPIN on twitter. Reasons Albert Pujols Plays in Natstown 2012:-Harper could give him hitting tips!-All 200 Nats fans would only have to contribute 1 million each!Tweet yours or post em' here.

  32. Cwj - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    @Sunderland- I don't think it's a given that Strasburg wont be close to 100% in 2012.Look at JZimm. His velocity and control are already back to where they were before TJ surgery, and Strasburg is almost exactly one year behind him in his schedule.Stras will likely be pitching this September, and that's when he'll be regaining his feel.Barring any arm-related setback I expect him to be dominant in 2012.Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But an 80% Strasburg is still an ace.

  33. Water23 - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    Where will Pujols end up or How the Nats get Pujols -There a 3 things he will want.1) Must have 1B available. He is GG 1B and will not DH for at least a few years.2) Must be competitive now or in the near future. 3) Must be willing to commit over $200 million and not be crushed by it.Eliminated by 1) No 1B POS available – Yanks – Tex + Jeter + PosadaRed Sox – Agon + Youki Angels – Morales (also never spent $100 mill)White Sox – Konerko + Adam DunnCincy – Votto and no DHTigers – Cabrera + MartinezPhillies = Howard and no DH2) Not CompetitveAstrosPiratesOrioles (been there done that with A Belle)3) Unwilling to spend $200 millionRaysJaysTribeChiefsTwins A's MarinersFinsMets – In a terrible financial crushPadresGiantsSo it comes down to a precious few -Cards – are the favorite but will they spend the $$$?Rangers – Cruz + Hamilton = lots to pay and not a SP.Braves – Not their usual MO but possible.Cubs – Does not want to be hated in St. LouisDodgers – May have money in future but ownership has money troubles now.So, why not the Nats? They the have some payroll flexibilty as on $60 – $70 committed now and should be around $100 Million normally. Are an up and coming team. Pujols is the definition of the player Rizzo and the Lerners want(Hardworking, Clean, Good defender etc). Would be more of a franchise investment than a Salary.PS Zim signs his extension if Pujols is here.

  34. Mark Zuckerman - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    erocks33 said…In regards to Thursday's afternoon game, I thought you mentioned previously that WJFK wouldn't be airing afternoon games because they preferred not to interrupt their glorious regular programming. Will Thursday's game be on WJFK (which would be great since I could listen at work)?Sorry, my mistake. Thursday's game is on 1500 and 1580 AM, not 106.7 FM, which won't be carrying weekday afternoon games this season.

  35. fpcsteve - Apr 19, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Cut him open and count the rings–well said, sir. Nicely done.

  36. Unkyd - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    @Cwj: I have read that JZ will be on an innings count this year. So they may shut him down after 20 wins, or so, in Sept. (hehe) we'll see….

  37. Sunderland - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    JZ is certainly on an innings limit. It's not been openly discussed or announced, but it's certainly in the range of 150 innings.The only way Strasburg is pitching September 2012 is if his start is delayed. He'll also certainly have an innings limit (as he did last year, and would have had this year had he not blew a gasket or whatever the technical term is).

  38. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Prince Fielder- who by the way is four years younger than Pujols- would be a fine consolation prize assuming we lose the Albert Pujols sweepstakes.

  39. Sunderland - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    water23, thoughtful post on the Pujols destination, well done.Yankees – No reason to count them out. Don't go start applying logic to how they operate.White Sox and others, of course there's the possibility of a three way deal, where, for example, the Red Sox, White Sox or Tigers send one of their 1B/DH's to the A's, Blue Jays or some other 3rd team. But in the end, he's got to stay in STL. If the Cards let him go for 2 draft picks, there will be riots.

  40. Cwj - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    Unky and Sunderland- That sounds about right.150 innings comes out to about 25 starts or so.Certainly enough to help the team win.

  41. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Re Harper: In an interview a few days ago he was complaining that the pitching at his level is bad, and that's why he's not hitting well. He said something like, 'Up there the pitchers are all around the zone and easier to hit.' In other words, 'Why I am messing around in low A?' That's the kind of stuff he needs to get slapped out of him, and why they sent him to Daubach, a no-nonsense guy if there ever was one. I bet he mouthed off about lousy pitching and that's why Daubach sat him down. If so, good. He may have big-league talent, but he still has a low-A attitude. Course I'm just guessing, but it matches up with a lot of his comments from ST.

  42. Cwj - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    I really don't think the Nats should be pursuing Fielder. I would actually prefer a more defensive minded first baseman who can hit above average. LaRoche anyone?A true leadoff hitter who plays CF is what the Nats should be looking for for next season.Another starting pitcher or two wouldn't hurt either.Count me out of the Pujols/Fielder bandwagon.

  43. Cwj - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    That's a lot of guessing Anon 1:42

  44. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    After watching Prince on Friday and Sunday there is no way I would sign him. He is asking for 10 years and yes, he is young enough but with his weight and the fact that he already can't play the position I would definitely stay away.Pujols definitly becomes interesting after looking at water23's breakdown. I also love spending our owners money and they need to make a big splash this off-season. They will not have a Harper/Strasbug type draftee so lets go!! Is Boras, Pujols agent? just wondering.Finally, on the pitching. Except for Zimm, these guys are not that young and have been through this before. I see us dropping off a bit but not a huge amount and what makes me smile is we actually have a couple of reinforcement waiting in Syracuse. Has anyone heard anything about CM Wang? I am not counting on that but it would make for a great steal to have him contribute in June or July.Go Nats!!

  45. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    CF for the future?? Corey Brown!! Just might happen and they have to give him a shot at sometime.

  46. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Cwj–no question, but it matches up with a lot of other stuff, including why they sent Harper to low A instead of Potomac.

  47. Water23 - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    a few more things on Pujols,I agree that the StL fans will go nuts if they do not sign him but $210 – $230 Million over 7 years is a lot for one player.I think (but hope against hope) that the Nats will end up in the bottom half of the League garnering a top 15 pick. If this happens, then it is only a 2nd Rounder lost for the Nats. Sunderland, I agree the Yanks are a wildcard but I forgot to add A-Rod to the list. They just do not have the space in two years for 4 or 5 1B/DH when age kicks in for this team.

  48. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    sjm308:First of all, judging a player's worth based on a weekend is just silly. I assume I don't need to explain why.Second, who cares what Fielder is asking for? I can ask for a ten year major league deal too if I want. All that matters is what he'd actually get on the open market and whether he'd be worth it. The fact is, the guy's had an OPS+ of 157, 130, 166 and 137 over the last four seasons, and he'll be 28 at the end of the year. By way of comparison, Adam Dunn, the slugging lefty first baseman that Nats fans were begging the club to re-sign, had OPS+ figures of 136, 130, 144 and 138 the last four years. And he was 30 at the end of last year. And by all accounts, Prince plays better defense than Dunn.Is he perfect? No. But there's only one perfect option around who9 is perfect, and he's already 32 and will cost close to $30 million a year for up to a decade, and isn't likely to leave his hometown anyway. Fielder would represent a significant upgrade over LaRoche and thus make the Nats a better ballclub, end of story.

  49. Steve M. - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    cwj, probably no reason to speculate on 1st base as the Nats have with their option LaRoche through 2013.Top priorities after this year will be replacing Marquis and Livan (possibly from internal candidates), Centerfield as Ankiel will be a Free Agent, and the entire bench becomes Free Agents in Pudge, Nix, Stairs, Cora and Hairston.So there will be a lot of turnover and the hopes that internally the Nats can fill some spots such as Jesus Flores to replace Pudge and maybe Lombardozzi for Cora, and Corey Brown for Ankiel, etc.

  50. TimDz - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    Bowdenball said… Prince Fielder- who by the way is four years younger than Pujols- would be a fine consolation prize assuming we lose the Albert Pujols sweepstakes. ———–Um….did you watch the series this weekend? That pathetic throw alone was reason to stay away…It'd be Adam Dunn, minus a few inches, plus a few more pounds that will clearly affect him in the next few years.If the Nats don't go after Pujols, we'd be better off staying with LaRoche for next year and reassess Marerro.

  51. Knoxville Nat - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    sjm308 said "…these guys are not that young…"Lannan is only 26, Zimmermann just turned 25 and Gorzelanny is only 28. Average age of these 3 is 26.33 still on the young side for ML pitchers.

  52. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Knoxville Nat and you forgot that Strasburg will be 23 in July so the average drops to 25 1/2 years of age.

  53. Unkyd - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    @ Bowdenball: Nothing invites friendly discourse quite like like declaring the story(conversation) to be over… If the story weren't ended, I might wonder aloud whether I'd really want to drop a 10 year deal on such am obese fellow.

  54. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Detwiler just turned 25 also so next year this staff could average 26 1/2 if your starters are:1) Strasburg2) JZim3) Detwiler4) Lannan5) GorzelannyMaya turns 30 in August

  55. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Count this fan as NOT one who was on the Dunn bandwagon. Nobody seems to bring up any correlation between the Nats pitching and the fact that they have a real, honest-to-god first baseman this season. There are easily two plays every game that LaRoche makes routinely that you wonder would Dunn have made. Not that Dunn would have missed all of them but LaRoche is one of the key reasons the pitching has been so good. Maybe this Rizzo guy knows something about baseball.Also, it is nice having a real bench this season.

  56. Water23 - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    SteveM,I think you do not worry about a few million on a player when you have a chance to get the best player at that position/in baseball. That is like saying "We have Marquis/Lannan/Gorzelanny so pass on C.C Sabathia." The evaluation changes when you get to the Stratosphere players.Also, I forgot to mention that if he sign and if, and it is a big if, he continues to play well for most of the contract he will break most of the meaningful baseball records as a Nationals. That must be worth a few million to the Lerners.

  57. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Unkyd:The conversation I declared "over" is that he would be an upgrade over LaRoche and thus would make the Nats a better ballclub in the immediate future at that position. I assume no rational baseball fan could dispute that, anecdotal evidence from a weekend series aside.That doesn't mean the conversation about whether he'd be a long-term signing is "over." There's definitely pros and cons to signing him this offseason. I'd know some of the cons- his weight makes him a candidate for a severe dropoff after 30, for example. But I'm happy to hear more, and discuss whether and at what price people would consider him a good addition. However, how he did in three games does not constitute evidence of anything. Not when there's ample evidence that over 100 or 1000 games, he's a better ballplayer than Nats fan favorite Adam Dunn. Also, I'm sure Prince Fielder and every other free agent in the history of baseball will delighted to hear from you guys that all they have to do is ask for a 10 year deal and they'll get one!!!

  58. PAY TO PLAY - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    The Mets have DFA'd their Rule 5 2nd baseman Brad Emaus and recalled Justin Turner who doesn't look like an upgrade.

  59. Anonymous - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    As much as I love Poo, I'd rather go for an upper level veteran pitcher to go with Srasburg and Zimm. I don't care how many records Poo breaks. I want wins and pitching is the key…UNTERP

  60. Steve M. - Apr 19, 2011 at 6:59 PM

    Water23 – You all can have your fun with speculating on Pujols, PFielder, and even Derrek Lee, but it is just so out of the realm right now that I can't believe you all are serious. We are still in April and 15 games into this season.Will the Nats jump in with an offer for Pujols? I think they will. Will they get him? NO. My point is the Nats have paid for LaRoche for next year and have the 2013 option.The money should be spent on again trying to add an ace as Carpenter and Roy Oswalt and Sabathia may all be available.You can never have enough pitching.

  61. Unkyd - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Bowdenball: actually, imahafta apologize for that bit of testiness… you pushed one of MY buttons, which makes it MY bad. No harm, no foul (I hope).Now, Fielder over LaRoche… I'll give you that Fielder would be an upgrade (although, you'll need to show me the defensive advantage), but for it to make the Nats a better TEAM, you'd have to take everything into consideration. The respective contracts; does Marrero come up and show he belongs (I know…hardly a defensive prodigy…), value versus other options….. I'm just not buying that we're a better team, and deals that big (and don't kid yourself…SOMEone will overpay the Big Guy), need to be "end of story", before you pull the trigger.And seriously, my comment, above, was minor, but pissy, and I'm really not a plick, so please accept my apology….Go Nats!!!!!!

  62. Cwj - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I agree, and would add that pitching (and defense) win more games than one free agent slugger.I'm content with LaRoche at 1B.

  63. Steve M. - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Cwj said… I agree, and would add that pitching (and defense) win more games than one free agent slugger.I'm content with LaRoche at 1B. April 19, 2011 3:18 PM cwj, thanks for that and agree this is where Rizzo needs to stay on course and keep that focus. The offense stinks right now and the team is winning on pitching, bullpen, defense (better than last year), speed, and small ball and a few timely HRs. Kind of sounds like Earl Weaver.LaRoche has been spectacular with the glove and can hope we see him come around with the bat to his 2010 form. Werth is just struggling but luckily getting walks. Morse and Desmond hopefully coming out of their funk.The Nats need Zim back to anchor this offense and get on-base.

  64. Water23 - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    SteveM & cwj,You make a good point. But we seem to have a bunch of decent SP in the majors and minors; decent defense all thanks to Rizzo maneuverings so next year we need a big upgrade.I would be glad to see them stick with LaRoche get .270/357/4880 with 25 hr then add Sabathia/Carpenter (not so much Oswalt) plus some kinda of speed and or OBP machine to the top of the order (Bourn etc).

  65. TimDz - Apr 19, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    My bigger concern regarding LaRoche is the shoulder and if this will be a season long deal that will only degenerate over time. If that is the case, I'd much rather shut him down for a while (preferably after Zimm gets back) and avoid a longer trip to the DL or, God forbid, Surgery…

  66. FS - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    On Pujols, I would not add a player that will ask more than $200 million. Even if Lerners are richest owners, if Nationals would win WS with that signing, I am not in favor of handing out such huge contracts.Also, like someone mentioned earlier, pitching should be the base of our team. We have at least couple of solid arms in SS and JZimm. In the coming offseason, I would rather add a Sabathia than a Pujols.Let us not forget Rizzo loves trading. We can always find offensive help that way, if free agents does not work for us. Let us also give time to Danny, Ian, Corey, Harper, etc. They could very well be answers.

  67. Bowdenball - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Unkyd: I could tell that "end of story" was one of your buttons. We've all got 'em, no need for the profuse apology, consider it fully accepted.Sure, it depends on Marrero. And I think it also depends on how the Nats decide to resolve the Ramos/Flores/Norris logjam. If Ramos continues to look anything like the guy we're seeing so far in 2011, and Norris keeps hitting like he has the last couple years, maybe the Nats move him to 1B, and what looks like a possible hole in 2013 and beyond becomes a strength. Who knows.But if we are in a position where we feel the need to find a long term answer at 1B after this season and chase but don't get Pujols, we could do worse than Fielder. That's for sure. Especially because I'm not sure the market for him will be that strong, for the reasons others have given here regarding Pujols. Many of the big players are locked in at 1B for the foreseeable future, and at least one more will probably be locked in with Pujols by the time Fielder makes a deal.

  68. sjm308 - Apr 19, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Bowdenball – I am not upset either although you were a little harsh – my points were not just this weekend although he made several poor plays. Its a combination of 1. weight 2. length of contract 3. how well I think LaRoche has done in the field and 4. we have him signed for 2 years plus an option and right now there is no need to be looking for a firstbaseman when we have so many other obvious needs. Would he make this team better? Maybe, maybe not and you made it sound like it was 100% certain. I was not a huge Dunn fan and am obviously not a huge Prince fan either. The man hits, he does hustle but his weight and poor fielding (look up his uZer rating) scare me off.If I am going to spend my owners money, I am going after a top pitcher first.

  69. Unkyd - Apr 19, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Cool Beans, BB! I've had the same thoughts about Norris! I would think that a catcher, moving to first base, would have an ideal skill set, and a relatively easy transition… And it's a third catcher on the everyday roster, which would meet with Natsjack's approval, I believe….

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 73 54 --
ATLANTA 68 61 6.0
MIAMI 64 63 9.0
NEW YORK 60 69 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 57 71 17.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Mariners, 10:10 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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