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Sealed with a kiss

Jun 7, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

PHOENIX — Some thoughts to share on this Tuesday morning as you contemplate how the Nationals managed to blow last night's game in San Francisco and as I contemplate my upcoming flight home to D.C…

– Turns out Bryce Harper's leg injury wasn't serious at all. After taking a fastball off his lower right leg in the first inning Sunday afternoon at Hagerstown, the kid was back in the lineup last night against Greensboro. And he promptly crushed his 14th homer of the season. And then as he was about to cross the plate, he blew a kiss to Greensboro pitcher Zachary Neal. Yes, he blew a kiss to the opposing pitcher. Don't believe me? Click on the above video from Comcast SportsNet and leave your comments below.

– Speaking of big-name players in the minor leagues, Ryan Zimmerman took his rehab stint show to Potomac last night and went 2-for-3 with a double. So if you're keeping track of such things, Zim is now 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and a walk in two rehab games. It would appear his bat is perfectly ready to come off the DL. But that doesn't mean he's ready to return quite yet. Zimmerman's bigger issue right now is in the field. He admits he's still a little sore making
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105 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    And that kiss is the reason the kid needs to stay in the minors for awhile, he pulls that stunt at higher levels, even AA, he will get crushed by the other team. I realize he is only 18, but grow up!

  2. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    I'm sure Daubauch and Zimm had a word with kid after the theatrics. That's why he's in low A, to learn how to become a major leaguer.

  3. Rabbit - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    That "kiss" could have been a reaction to something the pitcher did which couldn't be seen in the video.

  4. rmoore446 - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    I agree with Rabbit. Notice that an umpire appeared around third base and jogged with Harper home, staying between him and the pitcher. He had to be jawing at Harper. I suspect that the pitcher took offense at Harper's standing and admiring the shot before beginning his jog.But I also agree that he needs to learn to ignore provocations and mature a bit more.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Bryce is a kid that's grown up in a working class environment and doesn't take to cheap shots like the pitch at his knee the day before. He did showboat out of the box on the HR and probably did evoke some smart a$$ comment out of the pitcher, hence the kiss.I kinda' like it.On another note, I believe the Nats got 3 quality ball players yesterday. I see Rendon as a Ryan Braun type ball player with better defensive skills and Goodwin is a steal at 34.

  6. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Good point Rabbit. That was my reaction, too. Strange that the report is silent re that possibility. I've never heard of Harper showing up an opponent without some contribution by that opponent. But I'll have to stay tuned. … BTW, the Hagerstown manager's name is spelled Daubach, not Daubauch, and Zimm would've had to call Harper from Potomac to have a word with him last night.

  7. Jim in MD - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Regardless of whether or not the pitcher was guilty of some real or imagined offense, the Crown Prince is a professional and he should act like one. Can you see Tony LaRussa or Kirk Gibson allowing Harper's public display of affection to pass without some sort of retaliation? His next at bat might result in a fastball a little higher than his kneecap. The homer was sufficient payback for any alleged insult by the pitcher. If you are "The Man," people know it. One doesn't need to resort to this type of behavior to make a point.

  8. joemktg - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    1) Saw Zim last night (thanks again natsfan1). Batting cage swings were frightening, and his two hits last night were ropes (first one was parallel to ground all the way to deep LF). Telltale sign: slow roller to third, and Zim did what he does best on those.2) Beginning to think Harper is the straw that stirs the drink, and you know the originator of that phrase always put on a show: expecting the same out of that young man. So long as he treats his teammates, coaches and fans with the utmost of respect, he can blow kisses all he wants.

  9. HHover - Jun 7, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    Both the kiss and the "he started it!" excuse belong back on the playground. Grow up, Bryce.

  10. Manassas Nats Fan - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:02 PM

    As I recall Kirk GIbson fist pumped his way through a homer "I can't believe what I just saw." Kirk has no room to talk. Zimm had nothing to say to Harper afterwords as he was not even at the game. He moved to Potomac. The bullpen last night imploded for the second consecutive game. That is the beginning of a bad habit that must stop.Batters score 4 off Timmy last night and take the rest of the night off (a habit they have done often).This road trip now has had a 20 inning runless streak, and now working on a 9 inning one. Eck (the hardest working man in baseball according to everyone), needs to take films and study with the players. They take to many good pitches and swing at too many bad ones. Needs to have their eyes checked.

  11. Doc - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM

    Actually, Prince Oppo Boppo blew the pitcher 2 kisses. Hey, he adds some drama to the game–fans come to the ol' ball park to see drama, particularly at Hargerstown. Minor league parks thrive on drama and hype. Anybody notice our favorite rookie catcher doing a slow trot around the MLB bases in the last game with the Snakes? Same differenc as blowing kisses.The more I watch MLB games, the more tats I see on players arms and necks. So what's the problem with Harper's Kiss eye black??? I guess Rizzo hasn't noticed the other players' tats—maybe he thinks that they are bruises!Harper's out there on the field playing the game that he has a passion for, and he's real good. Build a team with passion, and you'll build a winner!! According to Pedro Martinez, that's what separates the Phillies from other MLB teams.Sometimes it takes a blown kiss or 2. The Babe once took on a whole stadium on the top of the dugout!Goooooooooooooooo Bryce!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    As someone on another thread stated….. thank you Adam Dunn for Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin.

  13. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    My bust on my earlier comment of Zimm talking to Harper, forgot he was at Potomac last night.Doesn't matter what the pitcher did. Harper should just let his actions speak for themselves. Depositing the pitch in the woods should be all the retribution he needs. Now Harper might get buzzed up and in the next game. And the Hagerstown pitcher will be obligated to retaliate and so on. Just creates drama that's not needed.And Ramos's trot around the bases probably earned him one in the ribs during the next D'Backs series. When that happens he should just put his head down and trot to first.

  14. Anonymous8 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    If Pudge Rodriguez was being showcased last night to the Giants, the Nats may only get a case of balls in return. Not only did he choke at numerous at-bats (0-6), his calls behind the plate especially with HenRod was a head scratcher. Almost everything was a breaking ball for a guy that throws 100 mph.

  15. Anonymous8 - Jun 7, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    – Speaking of big-name players in the minor leagues, Ryan Zimmerman took his rehab stint show to Potomac last night and went 2-for-3 with a double. So if you're keeping track of such things, Zim is now 4-for-5 with two doubles, a triple and a walk in two rehab games. It would appear his bat is perfectly ready to come off the DL. But that doesn't mean he's ready to return quite yet. Zimmerman's bigger issue right now is in the field. He admits he's still a little sore making throws or reaching for balls hit well to his side. Look for him to continue the rehab tour for the rest of the week, then coming off the DL when the Nationals open a homestand next Tuesday.______________________________The Nats announced yesterday $2 tickets again and this would be for that game you mention Mark next Tuesday!Good time to come out and see this new kid Ryan Zimmerman.

  16. Richard - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    I like the young Harper's passion and attitude, which he'll probably refine as he matures. I'm tired of the laid back, Sad Man, "real pro" approach. We've had too little passion over the years. Werth may have been signed to change that attitude. (Now if he'd only hit a little better!)

  17. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:09 PM

    NatsJack, I agree completely. Rendon is a steal at 6. He is likely as good a hitter or better than Starling except he is much closer to the majors. Rendon may get here before Harper. If he signs relatively soon he should start at Potomac and then play all year at Harrisburg next year. Meyer is a potential mo. 3 and should also be up by next September and Goodwin is a steal at 34. Do you suppose Rendon starts his career at 2nd base right off the bat? I saw him on TV last night; he is not a proto typical 3rd baseman size wise. The days of Hairston, Ankiel, Morgan etc are coming to an end. This will be some kind of team in a couple of years.

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    I see Rendon as 'Ryan Braun' wth much better defensive tools. Rizzo and the staff want Rendon to completely rest which shouldn't be a problem since a Boras client RARELY (if ever) signs before the deadline. I doubt we see him much before the Fall Instructional League with a possible appearance in the Arizona Fall League, then Harrisburg next season and see where he goes from there.Had Goodwin stayed at North carolina he wouldn't have been in this draft and projected to an early first rounder next year.

  19. Cwj - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:29 PM

    Yeah, Harper's young and will learn. But as Richard hinted at above, a couple players with attitude may not be such a bad thing for the Nats.Terrible loss last night, btw. I went to bed with the Nats up 4-0, only to awaken this morning to the news they had lost in extra innings.Riggs often talks about a specific pitcher for the 7th, 8th and 9th inning. Well, maybe he should give it a try one of these days. How about:7th- Clippard8th- Clippard9th- Storen

  20. fpcsteve - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Some people might say Kirk Gibson has passion and has the Diamondbacks playing with passion. He strikes me as bush and his team is beginning to reflect that as well. Passion, laid back, etc., I guess, is in the eye of the beholder. I think of Eddie Murray and don't see passion. But I do see a great player and a winner. Maybe there is room for all kinds of players. Agree with JD on the change that is coming.

  21. Joe Seamhead - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    My,son played ball through college and he once had a very successful coach that said "We aren't here to make the other team like us. The more they hate us, the more they'll beat themselves by being obsessed with beating us." Harper has a bit of that attitude, and I kind of like it, though my son says he needs to be much more established before exhibiting it.Keep in mind that the kid has spent his baseball life being the youngest guy on the field, taking a lot of flak, and the brash attitude helps to drive him to what he is as a player, IMHO.It looks like a great Nat's draft!

  22. SCNatsFan - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Harper will be the kind of player you will like (or tolerate) while he is on your team but will hate when he is on another. He might not set the MLB record for HRs but I think he might beat the HBP record. He's cocky and his play backs it up but some of the things he does are just bush and you wonder if he doesn't change how he will be accepted in a clubhouse, especially if he isn't putting up monster numbers.

  23. Bowdenball - Jun 7, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    I know all-star selections are too hung up on batting average for this to actually happen, but the Nats' best player in the 2011 season so far is Danny Espinosa, who Mark didn't even mention. It's really not even all that close according to some metrics. He's the only Nats player with a WAR over 2.0 according to Fangraphs. Next is Zimmermann at 1.8, next batter is Werth at 1.3. In fact, Espinosa actually ranks 11th in the NL. And not that it should matter much, but he's also the most exciting Nats player to watch.Could baseball look past the outdated use of batting average as the leading indicator of player value and actually invite the National who deserves to be at the all-star game? It's probably too much to ask.

  24. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I believer Harper will grow up and mature. I am less worried about him than I am about why the bullpen keeps finding new ways to lose games. This really gets me. It has become quite consistant.

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Anyone concerned about Rendon's size as a third basemen needs look no further than Placido Polanco in Philadelphia. Tell me you wouldn't want that professional bat in your line up.

  26. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    NatsJack, I only mentioned Rendon's size in relation to the fact that we already have a top notch 3rd baseman and Rendon looks like he might be athletic enough to play 2nd moving Espinosa to short. I think the Nats need to decide where they want to go with this fairly soon. Of course if you were the Tampa Bay Rays you would look to trade Zim; plug in several other holes knowing that you are covered at 3rd for the next 6 or 7 years. I am not sure this approach will go over very well in DC though.

  27. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    JD… I certainly have no desire to lose Ryan Z and was just pointing out that size at 3rd base usually isn't an issue. I've mentioned several time over a couple of threads that Rendon is like Ryan Braun with a better defensive side. They'll find a place for him. I don't like conjecture at this point and unlike alot of posters that frequent this site, I have faith in the Nats baseball operations staff that includes Boone, Clark, Johnson, Corrales and Rizzo among others.

  28. Dawn - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    Sorry, if that was my kid I would have hauled him out of the Clubhouse by his ear. Not in front of fans but in front of his teammates. Bryce will be a great player, but great players have to understand they are role models.

  29. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Cwj said… Terrible loss last night, btw. I went to bed with the Nats up 4-0, only to awaken this morning to the news they had lost in extra innings.Riggs often talks about a specific pitcher for the 7th, 8th and 9th inning. Well, maybe he should give it a try one of these days. How about:7th- Clippard8th- Clippard9th- Storen June 7, 2011 9:29 AM You are on the right track but wrong about Clippard for 2 innings as you will wear him out. You can't overuse him which is why Riggleman had to bring in Coffey in the 8th instead of Clippard because Clip was used incorrectly on Sunday and couldn't pitch last night.Also, you talk about bad luck, the 8th inning was it. Dinks and doinks and one double down 3rd base that Hairston couldn't snag. Agree with Anon8 @8:48 about Pudge's pitch selection. Bizarre to say the least. Breaking pitch after breaking pitch in the dirt with a man on 3rd. It was like a Joel Hanrahan nightmare of burying a slider in the dirt for a game ending wild pitch with a man on 3rd. Was Pudge showing off his blocking skills? Still, Henry Rodriguez kept the game at a tie.You also have to give credit to San Francisco for their effort in the 8th inning to put balls in play which was something Werth and Pudge couldn't do in their at-bats and 5 K's between them.I loved the move to bring in Stammen in the 13th, only it was a replay of years past. Walks a career .167 batter with no power on 4 straight pitches to start the inning. Are you kidding me? Lannan pitched a gem and Desmond made play after play all night long. Including that nice play with men on 1st and 3rd and 1 out to throw out the runner at home and that Web Gem behind 2nd base.

  30. Unkyd - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    NatsJack: is it foolhardy to fantasize about Him in the outfield? We have decent infield prospects, but RH outfielders seem to be a a premium, no?

  31. FOTB - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    A regards Harper's conduct, Vince Lombardi, a fairly successful professional sports coach, is reputed to have said: When you get in the end zone, act like you've been there before. When you hit a HR, in minors or the majors, act like Laynce Nix. Put your head down and trot around the bases. Passion and high-fives afterward with teammates is fine. Anything directed at the other team is bush.

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Unkyd….Hence my 'Ryan Braun' comparison. But, heck, he coupld wind up at first base but I'll leave that for the brain trust.

  33. Water23 - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    On NatsJack point about comparisons between Rendon and Polanco, Polanco was orginally a Util 3B/2B in the Cards then Phillies organization but since Phils had Chase Utley coming to the majors they traded him. The Tigers enjoy his skills for a number of years and then he returned to Phils as a 3B and added his bat to their lineup.Hopefully ,we could be so lucky to add a high BA/OBP player for the ten years. That is the kind of player we want. He also seems like a good defender and positive team first player.

  34. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… JD… I certainly have no desire to lose Ryan Z and was just pointing out that size at 3rd base usually isn't an issue. I've mentioned several time over a couple of threads that Rendon is like Ryan Braun with a better defensive side. They'll find a place for him. I don't like conjecture at this point and unlike alot of posters that frequent this site, I have faith in the Nats baseball operations staff that includes Boone, Clark, Johnson, Corrales and Rizzo among others. June 7, 2011 10:39 AM Good comparison to Ryan Braun. The Nats have to make sure the shoulder is good to go and follow Mark Z's recommendation. After you sign him, you put him in LF like the Brewers did with Braun. His value will increase if you were ever to trade him. It is also good insurance to have this guy if Zim does decide to move on.I would feel much better about the future here if Zim was locked up for another 7 years and does a Braun type of contract or a hometown discount deal like Tulowitzki.I am glad Rizzo got the best player available at #6 and got the other 2 he wanted. Maybe the leadoff man of the future in Goodwin.

  35. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Steve M…. Projections for the outfield reveal a pretty crowded situation 2 -3 years from now. Werth, Goodwin, Harper seem to be a rosy scenario and if you throw in Rendon, it starts to get pleasantly crowded.And now the talk about B.J. Upton…. whew!!I like having options, especially when you are talking about potentially solid ball players.

  36. Mark'd - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    What a nice scenario to worry about too much talent. Werth could always be a 1st baseman down the road.

  37. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Steve M. I don't see Rendon in the outfield at all. Comparisons need to point out that Braun is a poor defender at all positions but can be somewhat hidden in left field. Rendon is an excellent infielder and having his type of bat at 2nd is a tremendous advantage. I agree about extending Zimmerman long term but if he and his agent don't want to go that route it's not sacrilegious to discuss ways to maximize his value. NatsJack, Last year the Nats decided right off the bat that Harper would move to the outfield; it would be very educational to see where they put Rendon when he signs; might be a tell tale on how the team looks in 2 or 3 years. I don't think that the Nats expected to end up with Rendon; everyone had him going to Seattle. Logically it should have been Starling or Hultzen but when he fell to them at 6 they did the absolute right thing in taking the best player; a player who may be the best player in the draft.

  38. Mark'd - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    MLB Network did a story on the Cleveland Indians falling apart. A 1 1/2 game lead over Detroit now. Acta looked like he did in WAshington, lost without an answer. Fielding errors, mental errors and clubhouse problems.

  39. Bzl - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Bullpen is spent, and Maya starts tonight. I predict UGLY.

  40. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    To expand on my previous post in case it wasn't long enough if I were Rizzo I would approach Zim and offer a 7- 8 year extension at $120 – $140 mil. If they don't even counter but decide to wait out the end of the current contract to test free agency it might be a good idea to plant mr. Rendon at 3rd base right from the start.

  41. Jeff L - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    The Nats FO should be on the phone to Hagerstown this a.m. to tell Harper to have a little class. And, a fastball to the ribs should be coming.

  42. Knoxville Nat - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    All this talk about possibly acquiring Upton doesn't go over with me too well. While I will try and give him the benefit of the doubt I still see him (admit from a long distance) as the guy Longoria had to jump on for not hustling in the field, a guy who seems to have a reputation as a bit of a problem and a guy who has had declining numbers over the past two or three years. Is he worth making a trade for at this time?NatsJack….you are closer to Tampa than I am, what say you?

  43. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Knoxville Nat…Upton has had 2 or 3 incidents in the past 2 seasons that haven't set well with Maddon as well as Longoria, however, I firmly believe the influence of his long time chidhood buddy Ryam Zimmerman plus the influence of Jason Werth would more than keep him in check.

  44. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Two more days of the draft and then Rizzo gets to do his job and we find out if he can continue with his unprecedent Nats record of signing almost every single one of his top 20 or so picks.Hopefully, the Boras clients can be signed much earlier? With the injury situation it doesn't seem propitious to wait until the end with Rendon as Boras did with Harper and Starsburg.

  45. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Knoxville Nat, if they acquire Upton and give up anything more than a Antonelli for him I would be upset.The guy is batting .228 and they have Desmond Jennings to bring up. They will have to trade, DFA, or send someone down to make room.While the Nats could use a RH outfielder, with Zim coming back, Hairston will be the new RH outfielder.

  46. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    And he is very talented in spite of the recent numbers.

  47. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    I firmly believe the influence of his long time chidhood buddy Ryam Zimmerman plus the influence of Jason Werth would more than keep him in check.Not to mention family friend (see Upton, Justin) and mentor Mike Rizzo who believes a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

  48. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    While the Nats could use a RH outfielder, with Zim coming back, Hairston will be the new RH outfielder. Hairston has generally been extremely unimpressive in the field. He had a terrible night at third base last night and the comeback started on a double hit past him at third. It was a grounder that Zim would have gobbled up and likely Cora too. Hairston needs to go. He's a defensive liability whereever you play him.

  49. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    The Nats FO should be on the phone to Hagerstown this a.m. to tell Harper to have a little class. And, a fastball to the ribs should be coming. It just may mean he isn't ready for Harrisburg. He might not get the promotion he was expecting. That would probably send the appropriate message when he sees Kelso move up and he remains behind.

  50. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    JD said… To expand on my previous post in case it wasn't long enough if I were Rizzo I would approach Zim and offer a 7- 8 year extension at $120 – $140 mil. If they don't even counter but decide to wait out the end of the current contract to test free agency it might be a good idea to plant mr. Rendon at 3rd base right from the start. June 7, 2011 11:18 AM They have had contract extension talks but nothing serious. It is time to get serious. No reason to have Rendon audtioning at 3rd if Zim signs a 7 year extension so this will be interesting.

  51. N. Cognito - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Harper just turned 18.Think of all the stupid crap you did when you were 18.He'll be talked to.Get over it.

  52. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Anonymous said… While the Nats could use a RH outfielder, with Zim coming back, Hairston will be the new RH outfielder. Hairston has generally been extremely unimpressive in the field. He had a terrible night at third base last night and the comeback started on a double hit past him at third. It was a grounder that Zim would have gobbled up and likely Cora too. Hairston needs to go. He's a defensive liability whereever you play him. June 7, 2011 11:31 AM You are preaching to the choir there. I saw the game. It was a lousy reaction to a ball Zim would have had.The point is, Rizzo is keeping Hairston and this team isn't going to the playoffs so Upton probably takes Bernadina's spot and Hairston is back on the bench.Keep in mind what happens -if- LaRoche comes back, you have Morse also.Get Zim back and see where you are with LaRoche and go from there. No reason to give up prospects for Upton and his bag of issues.

  53. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Steve M. That's my point. If Zim is here for the long haul Rendon should be playing the position he will ultimately play in the majors; keep in mind that Rendon won't be in the minors for long; he's 21 not 18 and his bat is almost ready now.

  54. Big Oil - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    For the scouting buffs in here, check out the reports on Rendon below (not affiliated w/ site). Thrilled about the selection, believe he can add to his frame and that the shoulder isn't significant long-term.http://projectprospect.com/article/2010/07/15/anthony-rendon-scouting-report-part-ihttp://projectprospect.com/article/2010/07/23/anthony-rendon-scouting-report-part-ii

  55. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    N.Cognito, EXACTLY !

  56. Mark'd - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    Back to intelligent conversations. Nice the trolls aren't awake yet. You guys are right about the Rendon strategy. This could be a blessing in disguise.

  57. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Mark'd, glad we have it all figured out. I thought I had the Draft all figured out with Starling or Hultzen to DC.

  58. Richard - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Mark's opener re how the Nats "managed to blow the game last night," was a bit below the belt (not that Belt). The Giants had 3 bloops and a flare in the 8th. They're on a serious serious roll. Carry over maybe from the 2010 magic? Anyway, they've got AT&T Park rockin' and rollin' like I've never seen in ol' laid back SF. And the Nats? Seriously karma deficient? Is Teddy Roosevelt smiling somewhere right now? All the karma is used in the draft maybe?

  59. Anonymous - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    If these three players the Nats got on draft day 1 pan out…woo hoo. As for Harper, lets not forget he is still just a kid and hopefully he'll grow up a lot and quick. I do have some concerns though that he could be a marked man.

  60. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Richard said… Mark's opener re how the Nats "managed to blow the game last night," was a bit below the belt (not that Belt). The Giants had 3 bloops and a flare in the 8th. They're on a serious serious roll. Carry over maybe from the 2010 magic? Anyway, they've got AT&T Park rockin' and rollin' like I've never seen in ol' laid back SF. And the Nats? Seriously karma deficient? Is Teddy Roosevelt smiling somewhere right now? All the karma is used in the draft maybe? June 7, 2011 12:31 PM Well said except they had that "double" past Hairston also. I am not stressing over a game where you get beat on dinks and doinks and bleeders off the end of the bat.A little disappointed in Werth's At-bats and bewildered about Pudge behind home plate on handling HenRod, and Stammen is back to tell us why he is a AAAA guy.As I said earlier, I loved the move to bring in Stammen in the 13th, only it was a replay of years past. Walks a career .167 batter with no power on 4 straight pitches to start the inning. Are you kidding me?

  61. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    phil dunn said… Show casing Pudge tonight? The Giants need a catcher with Posey out for the season. June 6, 2011 9:34 PM Besides blocking balls and calling a good game for Lannan, Pudge was horrible at the plate. The only good news is he didn't hit into any double plays while going 0-6 with 3 K's.Ramos in for a pinch-hitting appearance and ropes and no out single that almost split the gap.

  62. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I just did a bunch of draft analysis reading and it seems that Rizzo is saying that he expects Rendon to play at 3rd base and make a decision to move him at a later date if/when necessary. I also read that he does not really project well at 2nd base. Interesting.

  63. SCNatsFan - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Purke? Boy I hope Rizzo is spending $ on the medical staff because we are going to need it.

  64. raymitten - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    I saw Harper in spring training. Was ready to really like the guy, and after seeing his arrogant ways first hand I'm not impressed with Harper the person at all. Quite the contrast from everyone else Mike Rizzo has brought in. I'm hoping this is immaturity that he will 'outgrow' — otherwise, there are going to be a lot of bench clearing brawls in 2013, I'm afraid.

  65. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Steve M. I think that this idea that we are getting top notch talent for Pudge or even Marquis is not reality. AT the end of the day we may be better off letting them play out the year and take the draft choices.

  66. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Anonymous8 said… Thank you Adam Dunn for Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin June 6, 2011 10:18 PM Let's hope we can say that based on great performances in the future kind of like Thank You Alfonso Soriano for Jordan Zimmermann.The silver lining with getting these comp picks are huge for the future of the Nats minor league system which is one reason I think you earnestly attempt to work the strategy on Jason Marquis and extend him for 2012.Not only can Jason Marquis pitch, did you see him pinch-running last night hustling 1st to 3rd like a guy trying to fire up this team? I love watching him play. He and Jordan Zimmermann show real grit and determination out there. Whether they are batting, running, or just sitting in the dugout they seem to be 'in the game'.

  67. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    JD, I have been an advocate for extending Marquis and Pudge as neither will be even Type B free agents this season so if they walk you get ZERO. Keep that in mind.If you extend Marquis, you can turn him into a Type A if he has a great 2012. I don't think Pudge will qualify for anything even if you extend him.

  68. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    JD – Free agents are classified as either Type A, Type B, or unclassified. Type A free agents are those determined by the Elias Sports Bureau to be in the top 20% of all players based on the previous two seasons. Type B free agents are those in the next 20%. Unclassified free agents are those remaining in the bottom 60% of players.Because Marquis had the miserable 2010, he will fall into "unclassified" hence no compensatory picks. Since it is a rolling 2 year average, if the Nats extend Marquis, they will use 2011 and 2012 then to determine his Free Agent status.

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    I'm all for letting them play out their contracts and beg for another one. I want to see some of the home grown talent graduate to the staff and see what we've got. I'd start with Milhone and then go to Meyers or Peacock.We've got plenty of bullpen arms coming along but we need to find out if these guys can actually pitch as starters at the ML level.I'm OK with Marquis for now but if we don't trade him at the deadline then he can walk if he so chooses.Remember, there are others starters in the system coming along.

  70. Nick - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:21 PM

    Totally disagree regarding Pudge last night. He caught a great 13 Inning game, tons of respect from Giants and media on what a tough out he is, even with his diminished chances to hit, and how great he still is defensively. H Rod pitch selection a question perhaps, but so much goes into how his bullpen session was, scouting and what McCatty wants to see, not all up to Pudge, not to mention he got through the inning.

  71. jd - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    I understand the rules Steve M. I just don't have the confidence that Marquis can sustain decent level performance for 2 years. I like how he battles I also know that he doesn't really have any great weapons and when you aren't able to miss bats sooner or later you get pummeled. I would extend Marquis for $2 mil but he won't sign for that especially if he has a deceiving win/lose record. Pudge's hitting ability is so poor these days where I can't see him around for one more year especially if it means blocking Flores and Norris both of whom are very close to major league ready.

  72. MoreMachoMan - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Some great comments to-day guys and gals. Don't think that B.J.Upton's attiude changes from one team to another just because he joins up with childhood and family friends–check out Milton Bradley's career on that issue.Concerning our hero Bryce Harper, remember ladies that this is a physical sport driven by testosterone and the will to win. Probably shouldn't be confused with a quilting party. The fans get to drink beer, hold up signs, and shout, right?

  73. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Nick – Did you watch the whole game? I love Pudge but he was off his game. His last at-bat where he just missed pulling it inside the bag at 3rd was his best at-bat. The others were horrible looking swing and misses and soft outs.He called a great game with Lannan and all the other relievers but must have thought he had Francisco Rodriguez in there instead of Henry Rodriguez.

  74. joemktg - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    RE: Marquis and PudgeYou can only get what the market gives you, so if the best the market can offer is less than what next year's draft offers (after so many collective years in the business, Rizzo & Co. know they can get from certain slots in the draft), then you let them walk and take the picks. If its a Capp for Ramos type deal, well…Time allows for judgement, and right now, letting Dunn walk and taking the picks is looking damn good. I'll trust Rizzo et al to make the right call on Marquis and Pudge.

  75. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Nick, Please; Pudge's OBP is .255 his overall WAR is .2 which includes his defense. I'm fairly sure that you can get better value out of Flores or Norris right now. NatsJack, Completely agree on your pitching analysis. We need to see what we have in Milone, Meyers and Peacock in fact I would be perfectly happy to drop Maya right now and check one of these guys out for 2 – 3 starts. With Strasburg coming back next year and with Meyer, Cole, Ray and Solis in the pipeline vets like Marquis and Livo will start riding into the sunset after this year.

  76. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Steve M…. Pudge seems to do that to one reliever every game he catches. I've seen him do it Storen, to Burnett, and to T Clip… He gets hung up on off speed stuff for 5 or 6 pitches in a row. Sooner of later, the hitter squares one up.I didn't see the sequence with Henry but it sounds like the same thing.

  77. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    joemktg, the way Free Agency goes, if a Top tier player walks on you like Dunn or Soriano, there is a parting gift in terms of comp picks, and the caveat to that is their classification as a Type A or Type B.If you aren't going to extend Marquis and Pudge, you have to trade them so you get something. Pretty simple concept.

  78. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:43 PM

    jd said… I understand the rules Steve M. I just don't have the confidence that Marquis can sustain decent level performance for 2 years.That's the crystal ball approach as to what the rest of this year and 2012 would be and that Rizzo has to get his arms around. I have always felt Marquis can help a team win April to July and then looks like a struggling #5 pitcher August to September. Not a bad thing so long as you know what you have. He is a passionate player and has a winner's attitude. I would extend him if the dollars are right.

  79. joemktg - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Steve M.: unless the projected value of the comp picks is less than the trade value. Marquis is a least a B, and Pudge borderline B. If the best offer out there is less than the projected comp pick, let him walk. Pretty simple concept.The Dunn trade conversations could very well have followed this simple formula.

  80. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Did I read where someone is comparing B.J. Upton to Milton Bradley? …Really?

  81. Steve M. - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Steve M…. Pudge seems to do that to one reliever every game he catches. I've seen him do it Storen, to Burnett, and to T Clip… He gets hung up on off speed stuff for 5 or 6 pitches in a row. Sooner of later, the hitter squares one up.I didn't see the sequence with Henry but it sounds like the same thing. June 7, 2011 1:35 PM Nothing Pudge did behind the plate cost the Nats last night. Just frustration. FP and Carp were going crazy after HenRod threw slider after slider in the dirt. Finally he threw 2 100 mph heaters in a row for the final out.I was actually impressed with HenRod as he didn't lose it and got the #4 hitter to roll over a grounder with men on 1st and 3rd with one out.This wasn't a Nats failure. They actually played really good, just missed out on some clutch hits. Morse went 0-4 after his early heroics against Lincecum.Stairs even had a pinch-hit so it looked like the Nats were going to win it in the 13th. Stammen was the head scratcher of the night. Every pitcher did a good to great job on a night where Giants magic took away the win in the 8th.

  82. Steve M, - Jun 7, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    joemktg said… Steve M.: unless the projected value of the comp picks is less than the trade value. Marquis is a least a B, and Pudge borderline B. If the best offer out there is less than the projected comp pick, let him walk. Pretty simple concept.The Dunn trade conversations could very well have followed this simple formula. June 7, 2011 1:47 PM joemktg, you are right. Rizzo played the Dunn scenario perfectly. When you have the upper hand, play from your strength. Rizzo did it there and did it with Capps. Not so much with Greinke—I think he was so determined to meet his self-imposed goal of getting a #1 starter that he was willing to mortgage the future. Could you imagine this team without JZim, Storen and Espy?That would have been one of those commercials for "WHAT WAS HE THINKING?" retort- He wasn't!

  83. Avar - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Couple of thoughts. I don't believe in blaming a catcher for a pitcher's performance, not even pitch selection. HRod threw all the pitches, Pudge threw none. Granted, Pudge should be helping him but every pitch belong to the pitcher.Harper was totally bush throwing the kiss but he's 18 and will probably get that sorted out quick. A couple of fastballs to the ribs will probably help.I think advanced stats have shown us that great hitters can be worth below average defense but great defense is never worth horrible offense. Therefore, they cannot re-sign Pudge. For Marquis, I love everything about that guy but they can't extend him yet. He will not be Type B this no matter what so wait for the end of the season. Make sure he keeps it up. But, I'm all for bringing him back next year if he does. My confidence that Desmond can figure it out is waning. Not gone yet but waning.

  84. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Steve M…. please… Greineke stated flat out that he wanted to pitch for a contender. Rizzo new this and he knew Greineke had total veto on any trade.Rizzo tried but he knew it was not going to happen. What he accomplished, though, was to send a message through out baseball that the Nats are serious and the Jason Werth signing was just a begining. The fact that Milwaukee WANTED to make the trade also told baseball that there are some valuable pieces on the roster and the future is trending up in D.C.I sure didn't want Espi OR J Zimm in that deal but it did let people know that we are not going to sit still. There will be a constant effort to improve.That's one of the reasons I like the idea of B.J. Upton in CF and in the lead off spot. Maybe not for the long term, but it makes us better today.

  85. Water23 - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    I agree with NatsJack, adding move skill players to the roster may entice others top FAs to sign with the team. Granted, we may not need or be able to sign top 1B but filling other needs like CF would make us look less like the Pirates and more like the Braves.

  86. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    I really think Rizzo would have pulled the trigger on that trade and to be fair I was for it at the time because to me JZimm and Espi were projections and with all due respect Storen is a reliever and he's not Mariano Rivera. Greinke is a young top of the rotation guy still under contract for 2 years with a Cy Young in his back pocket. In retrospect I,m glad it didn't happened because JZimm is erasing my doubts every time out (he may yet be as good as Greinke)and Espy is a superb 2 way young player. As they say; sometimes the best deals are the ones you don't make. I also lobbied for a Dunn for Hudson trade and whether I was right or wrong depends on how well Mr. Meyer and Mr. Goodwin turn out. Hudson is pretty damn good. The hordes calling for a Dunn resign were very obviously incorrect.

  87. NatsJack in Florida - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Buster Olney projects our line up in 2013 to include Prince Fielder at 1b (not something I particularly relish) with a TBD leading off (Goodwin/Upton? maybe) Bryce 2nd, Zim 3rd, Fielder 4th, Werth 5th, Rendon 6th (and at 2b), Ramos 7th, and Espi 8th (at SS). He envisions Desmond as a roving DeLaRosa type player filling in at ss, 3b, and the outfield.Sure sounds sweet!

  88. Water23 - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    And Laroche can be a defensive replacement for ole double switch!

  89. baseballswami - Jun 7, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Stammen hadn't pitched to mlb batters in what – a year? He was then thrown into a terrible situation against a first place team. Ok – so it wasn't the greatest performance. Perhaps if our team hadn't stopped scoring from the 4th inning on wouldn't have been an issue. Our offense continues to force our pitchers to be absolutely perfect. Their era's are low, they are holding good teams for inning after inning – in that situation, something is going to give eventually. Sunday, they dbacks blinked first, last night ( this morning?) we blinked first.

  90. Mark'd - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    JD, I called for a Dunn resign and was I wrong. To NATSJACK, no way do you convince me Rizzo knew Greinke wouldn't accept that deal. 100% agree with SteveM.The future is bright if Rizzo stays away from quick fixes. No to Upon, no to guys with bad attitudes.

  91. JD - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    We drafted Matt Purke in the 3rd round. He was in everyone's 1st round until he developed shoulder bursitis early this year and when he finally returned he had lost some velocity and was ineffective. If the health issues can be mitigated it's a nice pick in the 3rd round. Oh, and he also wants 1st round money.

  92. Knoxville Nat - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    We all want first round money!!And Water23, if I'm not mistaken LaRoche only has a 2 year contract (option for a 3rd year?) meaning he probably won't be here in 2013 if the Nats do in fact sign Fielder.

  93. Alan_A - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    Re: Harper – enough about "passion." This is baseball, not football or a sales meeting or anything childish like that. No room for the Romantic fallacy here. Baseball is for mature people with mature attitudes. It's Zen. Right now, Harper is a poor excuse for a Samurai.

  94. Joe Seamhead - Jun 7, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    None of us know what preceded Bryce Harper's kiss. Maybe the opposing pitcher said something to the effect that he was going to make Harper his bitch, which I have seen and heard on more then one occasion in h.s., college, and minor league ball. Harper's under a microscope, playing up, and on everybody's hit list. Give the 18 year old kid a break.

  95. masnstinks - Jun 7, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    When I saw the video I was expecting some big, dramatic moment with hand gestures – it was actually kind of subtle. He did showboat and admire the hr at the plate for a while, and it's a lock the opposing pitcher was jawing at him.That's why the ump was between them on the bases, even before the kiss. He does need to learn restraint – that's why he is still in A ball, not because he needs to learn how to hit. I know it's wrong of me to laugh – but I just love this kid. He is going to be right up there with the "characters" in the game.

  96. logan - Jun 7, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    In Bryce's defense, he said something on Twitter today about ESPN having only "one side of the story" when it came to the 'kiss.' Apparently the opposing pitcher was making looks/glares into their dugout after each strikeout and it was rubbing them wrong. At any rate, this could not be any less significant a story.

  97. Richard - Jun 7, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Through their first 12 picks the Nats have taken no HS guys! Unless Manny Rodriquez is a HS guy. That's great. Thank you Mike Rizzo for this approach. HS guys are too risky. And although some HS guys are mature beyond their years, most can be expected to do immature stuff. There's no choice in re the Dominican Republic. They gotta get them young. And the Nats had to take Harper. There's a lot to love about Harper, but he's gonna be 18 sometimes … for awhile. Maybe he'll always be producing drama. I'm looking forward to finding out.

  98. erocks33 - Jun 7, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    baseballswami said… Stammen hadn't pitched to mlb batters in what – a year?———————————————–Last night, Stammen still didn't pitch to any MLB batters. He faced:* backup catcher Chris Stewart (walks him on 4 pitches)* relief pitcher Javier Lopez (strikeout on bunt attempt, but all but one of the pitches were out of the strike zone)* CF Andres Torres (singles)* 3B Miguel Tejada (what is he now, 50 years old?)* 2B Freddy Sanchez (game winning single)Stammen threw 15 pitches, only 7 were strikes (and 3 of those courtesy of the relief pitcher attempting to bunt). Stammen is who we thought he was … a AAAA-type pitcher. He might be useful in a bullpen somewhere, I just wish it was somewhere else. Tired of seeing the same old players. At least we won't see Jason Bergmann get called up again! But watch out, Garrett Mock is rehabbing in Harrisburg …

  99. TimDz - Jun 7, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    I just got top look at the video…he could have done worse, that is for sure…That will not be tolerated in the majors, as it will be a sure ticket to "fastball in the ribs city" or a plunking of a team mate later in the game. If the latter happens, the vets on the team will surely set him straight.Not sure if anyone else commented on this (and I don't plan on going through the 100 or so comments to find out…), but…what's up with the cheesey 'stash? He needs to get a step closer to the razor tomorrow morning…

  100. fpcsteve - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    "Oh, and he also wants 1st round money." JD, I laughed when I read that. It reminded me of somethng my father said on occasion: "People in hell want ice water, but they ain't gittin' any." Purke was lined up to get a big contract with the Rangers last year and walked away. Walked right into 3rd round money. Nice line on what he wants. Well played, sir.

  101. Wally - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:15 PM

    I haven't quite run though this entire thread, but wanted to add a few comments to the topics. Harper's kiss was the first time he did something as a Nat that I wish he didn't. All the other stuff seemed well within normal pushback, given what others were doing to him. Still not that big a deal to me, though, since I don't think that he has to necessarily turn the other cheek when other guys taunt or challenge him. I think Kilgore is right that this stuff will fizzle out as he reaches higher levels because he won't be provoked or challenged as much.Re Dunn, I think the comparison is not Dunn v. Meyer/Goodwin, but also Hudson v. Meyer/Goodwin, and we also have to take timing into account. Hudson is pretty good, and he is a major leaguer right now.Not a fan of the Purke pick because I can't see him signing for less than $3/$4m, and don't see a realistic scenario that we offer that. Maybe if he is healed and goes to Cape Cod and pitches for a while to demonstrate it, like Renaudo last year? Love the first two picks, and pretty solid on Goodwin although I would have taken Norris or Howard (high ceiling HS pitchers with big price tags). Goodwin has a 'fast but poor reads' label in CF, and I am kind of over that type of player.

  102. Gonats - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    erocks33 said… baseballswami said…Stammen hadn't pitched to mlb batters in what – a year?———————————————–Last night, Stammen still didn't pitch to any MLB batters. He faced:* backup catcher Chris Stewart (walks him on 4 pitches)* relief pitcher Javier Lopez (strikeout on bunt attempt, but all but one of the pitches were out of the strike zone)* CF Andres Torres (singles)* 3B Miguel Tejada (what is he now, 50 years old?)* 2B Freddy Sanchez (game winning single)Stammen threw 15 pitches, only 7 were strikes (and 3 of those courtesy of the relief pitcher attempting to bunt). Stammen is who we thought he was … a AAAA-type pitcher. He might be useful in a bullpen somewhere, I just wish it was somewhere else. Tired of seeing the same old players. At least we won't see Jason Bergmann get called up again! But watch out, Garrett Mock is rehabbing in Harrisburg … June 7, 2011 4:45 PM ________________________________Good research on that. Everybody played their hearts out and haven't seen a lousy outing like that since….since….Doug Slaten!

  103. DCJohn - Jun 7, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    My son went to college in Greensboro, NC and one of the worst brawl I've ever seen was the Greensboro team. It might be part of the culture. They are in second place behind the Suns and they may have an enormous chip on their collective shoulders. The Comcast video of Harper's blowing the kiss has gone viral. Tune into to tonights game on the internet because I am sure that there is going to more tonight. By the way, the Suns lost 3-2 in that game. Gave up three runs in the top of the eighth. Sound familar.

  104. natsfan1a - Jun 7, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    I'm with Wally and Tim on the kissy-face (probably with others as well but I'm not going to scroll through all of the comments either – love y'all but…dang, I gotta get dinner started).

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