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Important week ahead

Jul 25, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

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Victory has often been just out of the Nationals' reach since the All-Star break.

It's been more than two weeks since the Nationals were last seen in the District, two weeks that saw one of baseball's hottest clubs hit the All-Star break with a .500 record, then stumble out of the restart gate with a disappointing 3-6 road trip.

The team that returned home on a red-eye from Los Angeles Sunday night is frustrated by its play, still struggling to produce at the plate on a regular basis and showing some cracks in its previously air-tight pitching staff and defensive alignment.

With the exception of an 11-1 thumping in Atlanta to open the season's second half, the Nationals have been highly competitive. Seven of their last nine losses have come by one run; Sunday's loss to the Dodgers came by two runs. That only compounds the frustration level among a clubhouse of players and coaches that believes this team should be winning more of these close games.

They'll have a chance to get themselves back on track during a nine-game homestand that begins Tuesday, a homestand that could be as significant as any this club has experienced in 2011.

From a straight competitive standpoint, these nine games against the Marlins, Mets and Braves are important. All are division opponents, theRead more »

200 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. The Joker - Jul 25, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Perhaps Rizzo could beg Double-Switch to come back.

  2. Knoxville Nat - Jul 25, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    If the price is right give me Bourn over Upton any time.

  3. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 25, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Nats were fundamentally a stronger team under Riggs. Uncle Davey's idea of managing seems to be to wait for the three-run home run. Defense is regressing at an alarming rate, especially Desmond's. I've been a Desmond fan. But at this point if some other team is offering someone decent — Michael Bourn, for instance — and we can package Desi and a top reliever (even Clip or Storen), I'd pull the trigger. There's no use standing pat with this group. Be bold.

  4. A DC Wonk - Jul 25, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    MZ wrote: The moves Rizzo makes (or doesn't make) will go a long way toward determining where the Nationals wind up in the standings at the end of this season.I'm more interested, however, in those moves that will effect where the Nationals wind up in the standings at the end of next season.

  5. HHover - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Sample sizes, people!I'm not sure what kind of manager Davey really is at this point in his life/career, and with this team. But judging him on 23 games is silly, and it's doubly silly if we're drawing a contrast to Riggs' phenomenally luck last few weeks. As for trades: I wouldn't be surprised if this is a less eventful trade season for the Nats than many are hoping/fearing. This is the time for rumors to fly, and 95% of them are BS. Best to be guided by the immortal wisdom of Motown: believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear.

  6. A DC Wonk - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me said… Nats were fundamentally a stronger team under Riggs. Uncle Davey's idea of managing seems to be to wait for the three-run home run.Have you been watching the games? Have you missed the bunts? If I'm reading this table right (http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.aspx?pos=all&lg=all&stats=bat&type=0&season=2011&month=7&season1=2011) the Nats have the second most sacrifice bunts in the major leagues for the month of July.Or, yesterday, did you miss that the Nats had bases loaded and nobody out? You would have preferred a bunt and play for just one run in that situation?

  7. Jim in MD - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Sunshine B.C., I agree wholeheartedly. The Nats' defense has regressed. Say what you like about Riggleman, but he did have this team playing "clean" baseball. When they lost, you could chalk it up to the other team being better that day. Now, they're giving away runs and beating themselves. Desmond's quote says it all: "We're not playing the same brand of baseball that we were when we came out of the gates from the beginning. I feel like we're a little flat."

  8. sjm308 - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    I am thinking that we will not see that blockbuster trade that people love to speculate about – my main concern is that the team for 2012 and beyond is not impacted.No sense looking back concerning Riggs/Johnson. We have to go forward and it will be interesting to see how this mini slump is handled in house. My thoughts are that I am not happy with Davey so far but like HHoover has said, its way too early to be dumping on him, especially with his track record. If we do make a trade and I have my pick of the CF's out there I take Denard Span of the Twins. Again, I don't want to give up the future for this but if its fantasy land, I want Span over the others.

  9. Scott from Burke - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:21 PM

    Seriously? Desmond's quote says it all: "We're not playing the same brand of baseball that we were when we came out of the gates from the beginning. I feel like we're a little flat." Until they hit that hot streak they were about 10 games under .500. Is it possible Desmond is trying to find an excuse for the errors he continues to make? That's like the ESPN reporter doing a negative story and getting a quote from Werth. Or a failing student complaining about a teacher. Let me hear from Zim or Espi or Clipp or Storen..not a guy who handles every third groundball like its a live grenade.

  10. N. Cognito - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    This place gets more and more unreadable, every day.

  11. Scott from Burke - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    N. Cognito:Losing creates anger.

  12. Steve M. - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    There are players when traded bring the new team a short-term jolt. It happens every year. Look at Cody Ross in San Francisco or some guy named Nyjer Morgan in 2009 for Washington and again in 2011 in Milwaukee.That's all great and then you look at the player's history the following year and it never seems close to that production you got when they were first traded. Kind of like being a newlywed.Unless there is a miraculous finsih, the Nats won't be in the playoffs in 2011 so why trade key parts for players for that "Cody Ross" playoff jolt?BJ Upton will give you a jolt in 2011 if traded and then settle into what he was in Tampa plus maybe about 20 points to his BA/OBP I predict. Here is his current slash .229/.310/.395 Add .20 across the board to make it easy and .249/.330Here is Bernadina .253/.313/.360 Not much difference except Upton has a little more pop. Bernadina gets on base more now than Upton.Just wondering why anyone thinks you go all out on Upton when he is marginally better than a Roger Bernadina at over 10 times the cost and for only 2 years.

  13. masnstinks - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    I think that the trade deadline will come and go with nary a whimper. I also think that this team can be fine the way it is if each player performs. Bringing in someone new can be risky business – just ask the White Sox( see Dunn, Adam) and the Braves ( see Uggla, Dan). Maybe it's better to keep the players you know for now and build in the off-season.Right now – I agree with a lot of the posters that the defense has regressed and , it may be a small sample size – but Johnson does not look like he's going to be a good fit going forward. I hope the ballclub really does their homework and keeps and open mind when finding a long-term manager. Use the rest of the season to see who will stay and who will go and then fill in holes.Exception – trade marquis now and let Wang try his spot ( if it doesn't work, Detweiler?). I would like to see them proceed very carefully when building next year's team. I also always look forward to September and getting a look at call-ups. Espi was really a delight last September. I think it helps the young guys going into the off-season if they get a taste of the big leagues. (And yes, I am aware that Uggla is now heating up – hope for Werth?)

  14. Doc - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Under Davey, I'm thinking that defense has 'relaxed' from Riggs' regimented style. Certainly, the game errors have increased.Offense may have improved, but I have no stats to back that impression up. These guys seem to have trouble walkin' and chewin' gum at the same time.I hope Wang does well, but I see him being DFA'd after a few starts.

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    N.Cognito…. you've said it correctly. That's precisely why I've all but stopped contributing.

  16. David - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Ive said this before, but Im ready for Desmond to be traded. And Lombo brought. He's showing no signs of figuring out major league pitching. His career minor league slashline even looks nothing like his one good season in 2009. his current numbers look closer to his pre 2009 minor league numbers. On a side note, I'm fascinted and curious by how well Wang will do against the Mets.

  17. gonatsgo - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    N. Cognito – Anything in particular making you steam up today that you would like to refute? Not noticing anything too crazy today, even considering the sub-par road trip. Care to offer your opinion on the hot topics? How will Wang look? Who will get traded? Is BJ Upton an attractive candidate for our team? Why is the defense shaky? It's a good bet that none of these questions will get answered today, though, sadly…

  18. Steve M. - Jul 25, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    A DC Wonk said… MZ wrote: The moves Rizzo makes (or doesn't make) will go a long way toward determining where the Nationals wind up in the standings at the end of this season.I'm more interested, however, in those moves that will effect where the Nationals wind up in the standings at the end of next season. July 25, 2011 9:53 AM I agree with Mark. A winning record in 2011 will go a long way in future Free Agent dealings and further be a stepping stone for this team to get to the playoffs. Generally 92 wins is the magic number to make the playoffs although this year with the Braves it will probably be higher.You end up with a winning record of 82-80 which would put you hypothetically 10 games away in improvement to get a Wild Card spot.I think the goodwill you build in with the fanbase and future fanbase and Free Agents and your competition of getting to 82-80 is still an achievable, although difficult goal. If you aren't getting offered reasonable trades than go forward with what you have Mr. Rizzo and win 82.In the off-season, you will see what areas of improvement you have.

  19. PAY TO PLAY - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    @NatsJack in Florida said… N.Cognito…. you've said it correctly. That's precisely why I've all but stopped contributing. July 25, 2011 10:48 AM Come on really? I'm not posting much because I enjoy reading the conversation. There is alot of passion here. Jack, I think part of your issue is you put yourself out with some predictions and observations that didn't pan out and maybe you got a little egg on your face. Big deal. At least you have the guts to predict and give your opinion. Most people won't do that. They take the safe route and say nothing except the obvious that Jayson Werth strikes out to often or Desmond boots to many balls.I for one enjoy your thoughts and don't worry about being right or wrong all the time. I supported Riggleman and look where that got me!

  20. baseballswami - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Someone posting on bunts – while I have noticed that we still sac bunt, the bunts for hits have gone away. I thought Bernie and Espi had been pretty successful on that front and at times it gave us a base runner when offense was tough to come by. I think it's a good idea – not often enough so that they know it's coming, but still a weapon. I would like to see it now and again.

  21. dale - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    It appears to me the stitching that held this team on course up to now is unraveling. Not thrashing the Dodgers and Astros is a potent sigh that this team peaked before the All Star break. Is this homestand crucial? Yes, if you think the team will be competitive in its own division someday, but actually I think the season has been settled. There obviously should be no talk of a run for the wild card–the Atlanta series answered that question. All in all, this last road trip was the crucial part of the season. The last 60 games would best be used to answer questions for 2012 and the new personnel coming into the major league level.

  22. DFL - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    With Stephen Drew out for year for the Diamondbacks, I wonder whether the Nats should consider trading Ian Desmond to Arizona, maybe for Paul Goldscmidt or Collin Cowgill, move Espinosa to short and bring up Lombardozzi.

  23. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    2010 69-93 Last place by 10 games2009 59-103 Last place by 11 games2008 59-102 Last place by 12.5 games61 games left. We are at 49-52. I think without a major trade, we can win 31 games. LET'S DO THIS!!!The most important thing is to show fans, and yes, free agents, that we have a solid team to back up the starting rotation.We cannot trade Clip or Storen or Mattheus or even HRod, because you can't build the bullpen up again from scratch. His last few starts have shown that Burnett can come back, it's too bad he seems mentally fragile, but so be it–Cat can get on it. I think we are better off making trades in the off-season when we see what's available, what the price is, and how the unknowns like Wang and the September callups pan out.Would not like to see BJ Upton on the team. Am open to Bourne or a free agent, but not sure there is any rush. I seriously believe Desi has the rest of the year to clean up his act. If he does, great, if not, "it's been fun, have a nice life."

  24. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    DLF, I suggested a trade to the Arizona Diamondbacks just after Drew was injured. Desi is making it hard for the trade to materialize, because he can't offer them a good bat or error-free defense. Therein lies the rub.

  25. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    NatsJack, Pay to Play, et al., I'm kind of a newbie here, so maybe I'm not the best person to address your concerns, but I'll try anyway.What is it that you would expect from a fan blog?1) Some thoughtful posts about issues regarding the present and future composition of the team;2) Companionship and chatter during a game;3) Humor;4) Minimal backbiting and sniping.Which of these do you feel is lacking?

  26. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Oh, and I forgot to mention, and I should have put this first:**** a top-notch host!

  27. SCNatsFan - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    For me my time on the Desmond bandwagon is coming to a close. I've been hopeful and a supporter of his since he arrives but he seems to not learn a thing from ame to game. He range is enticing but those of us who thought he defense would improve with time have been shown otherwise, and his repeated hacking at the first pitch and multiple poor ABs means its like like his performance at the plate is his upside. I hate hate hate to give up on him but I'm starting to think the best he will ever be is a below average defender with below average offensive skills.

  28. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    PAY TO PLAY said… @NatsJack in Florida said… N.Cognito….You beat me to the punch PAY TO PLAY, except you put it more eloquently than I would have put it. We, you can't take yourselves too seriously. Otherwise we, you will find yourself under the precipice. All of you are too intelligent not to have seen this coming. But what is life unless you wear your heart on a sleeve…

  29. PAY TO PLAY - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    NatsLady, I have no complaints really. This is a wonderful place to go and Im not much of a poster. I just enjoy reading the comments and interaction. Sometimes people get in attack mode and it gets a bit cyber-violent.There has been a huge pickup lately with people like yourself being active. I really appreciate the kindness and thoughtfulness of our host Mr. Mark Zuckerman. The site is great and his writings are really good and the site isn't super-commericialized like some of the others.Just glad to come to a place where some people give good insight within their realm of knowledge.

  30. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    Why can't the catcher play a night game and then a day game? I would tell Ramos that until Pudge comes back you are playing every game. That perforrmance by Flores yesterday should get him back to single A for the rest of his life.

  31. PAY TO PLAY - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    Thanks UNTERP.NAT I do think for those who live locally a "meet" at a game would be fun. It does surprise me how many live outside the Washington region.

  32. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Defense is an important consideration in acquiring a cf, especially when you consider that Harper, a new left fielder, could be up late next year.Bourn was far and away the best cf in the majors in 2010. Fangraphs had his UZR (ultimate zone rating) at 19.4 and the next closest in the majors was Marlon Byrd at 9.8.FWIW, Bill James' panel also named Bourn the best center fielder in the majors.Interestingly, the cf who was third in the majors in UZR was Julio Borbon of Texas at 8.7. With Rizzo reluctant to (literally) bet the farm, Borbon might play into what Mark's been saying — acquire a cf on the verge.Denard Span ranked seventh on the UZR list at 4.4 and Upton was 10th at 1.9. All of these guys are quality centerfielders. On the other hand, Colby Rasmus ranked 16th at -6.7.Fangraphs says Roger Bernadina is a lousy center fielder. His UZR as a centerfielder in 2011, after 405 innings at the position, is -5.3. His UZR is better in left field — at 0.6.Offensively, Span has a career OBP of .366 and averaged 22 SB his first three seasons.Bourn has a career OBP of .336, but it has been better in the last three seasons. He led the NL in stolen bases in 2009 with 61 and in 2010 with 52. He leads the league again with 37.Upton has stolen between 42 and 44 bases the last three years. His OBP is lower — .341 for his career and .310 this year.Of course, Upton's added dimension is power. He had 38 doubles and 18 homers in 2010. This year he has 13 doubles and 15 homers — two fewer than Morse and Espinosa.I think either Bourn or Upton would be an upgrade in cf, but if it's Upton, then the 2b (Lombo, Rendon) might become your leadoff hitter.

  33. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    NatsLady…I really enjoy when posters snipe at me. The only time I won't enjoy it is when I'm six feet under. And I mean it…

  34. Water23 - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    NatsJack, I do miss you posts. Come back! I think dale might be on the right reack. This team was always thought to be a 72-75 win team. It lost it starting 1B for the season. Its 3B for about a third and its top FA has struggle (or busted out). As to pitchers, it has been a mixed bag. Some pleasant surprises, SP – Livo maintaining, Lannan returing, Zimnn ace like RP – Storen and Clipp improving but there have been just as many issues struggles/injures Gorzelanny, Burnett, Gaudin and Kimball. Then there is the unexpected development of Morse and Espy(Yes people were high on him but he is a rookie), Ramos and Nix really stepped into add some pop. Alas, the team is just below mediocre and as people always say that is why you play 162 games. I think they will play better as the season goes along but there are some significant holes in this lineup. To be a top tier team you need decent production from your lineup and that is not happening.It will either through trades of player moves. I have noticed the thought of moving Desmond to CF (he has speed and the arm) and shifting Espy over with Lom or other coming up has not gotten a lot of traction.

  35. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    NatsJack, fwiw, I miss your trenchant insights. Just scroll past the pointless, self-indulgent stuff. I do.

  36. baseballswami - Jul 25, 2011 at 3:57 PM

    While it was fun for a while to consider the Nats as being in contention(!) I am not sure that it was realistic. Again – the emotional fan in me loved it, while the rational part kind of knew this wasn't our year. That being said, that doesn't mean the rest of our season is meaningless. I would love to see us finish around .500 and with a better record than previous years. I would love to see us finish in a place other than 5th.And – I would truly love to see a good brand of baseball and see most of the parts of our future team showing us what can be ahead. Agree with masnstinks – love September call ups so we can see some of the younger players get their first experience in the bigs. This homestand could get really interesting – I hope the guys find some energy, get a few lucky bounces and get on another roll. You have got to admit – that streak they had was just plain fun! Maybe someone else's pitching staff/bullpen/offense will have a really off-day – generally I would prefer that we earn our way to wins, but if we can get a lucky one, maybe it will pick us up and get things going. Go Nats!!!

  37. gonatsgo - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    What's this I am starting to hear? Is the pain of yesterday starting to fade? Do I hear some hope? No, can't be! and Mark, my man — I just have to say that I don't like it when the big picture above is something bad. It's downright traumatic to keep seeing it over and over again. Could you find something good for your next one? Oh – and I have another question that has been bothering me since a post yesterday. What does anyone think about Ankiel – is he a good outfielder or not? I think he has a good arm, not expert enough to say whether or not he fields well. He has hit since the dl, but generally is a pretty free swinger. What do you all think? I am not calling for his head – just not sure how to assess.

  38. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    baseballswami said… While it was fun for a while to consider the Nats as being in contention(!) I am not sure that it was realistic…Go Nats!!! Ditto…

  39. Steve M. - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Observations from the last week.1) Espinosa is struggling again at the plate and when you look at this team winning, they need him. Unfortunately even before this mini-slump he has the worst swing & miss percentage of all the players on the team. Good time for him to lay down a bunt or 2 for a hit and get his confidence back.2) Flores, not sure what has happened to him and agree that Ramos needs to play 6 games a week instead of 5 and probably just take a rest on Day games.3) Bullpen management as I said before has been Davey's biggest problem. To let Henry Rodriguez pitch when he lost control was possibly the difference in a Win and Loss on Saturday in LA4) Gorzelanny is not right. Not sure what is wrong with him. He was the only bright spot in Rizzo's 2011 trades so hope he finds himself quickly5) Stealing bases. Other than Ryan Zimmerman trying to surprise everyone with his blazing speed and Werth advancing while nobody was watching, where has the swiping of bases gone? I know Laynce Nix technically was called out on steal that was possibly a hit & run, just wondering if Davey knows this team before he got here made things happen by being aggressive.

  40. sunderland - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    MarkZ – Do the Nats have an option on Wang for 2012?

  41. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Gonatsgo:Ankiel initially was a disaster as an outfielder, but he has improved over time.Per Fangraphs:2008 UZR -11.92009 UZR -0.32010 UZR 0.42011 UZR 0.6As we have seen, the ex-pitcher has a cannon of an arm.

  42. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Steve M. said… 2) Flores, not sure what has happened to him and agree that Ramos needs to play 6 games a week instead of 5 and probably just take a rest on Day games.Flores was my favorite Nats player back when. His injury has retarded and maybe ended his ability to play at a ML level. He might need another year to heal. It's very difficult watching him play anymore.1) Espinosa is struggling again at the plate and when you look at this team winning, they need him. Unfortunately even before this mini-slump he has the worst swing & miss percentage of all the players on the team. Good time for him to lay down a bunt or 2 for a hit and get his confidence back.Desmond should be in the 2 spot.Espi should be batting 6th…

  43. SonnyG10 - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    NatsJack and N.Cognito, I hope you guys stick around, as I enjoy your comments. I have considered NatsJack's opinions as the gold standard, but there are several other posters who are also really good.

  44. Theophilus - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Ankiel is as good a centerfielder as Upton. Numbers albeit part-time are similar. Unlike Bernandina he can come in or go out on the ball hit directly at him. Of course Davey Johnson plays for the three-run homer. He hit 43 dingers one season and played w/ Boog Powell, Frank Robbie, Reggie Jackson and Hank Aaron. And he's got a team of free swinging streak hitters — Espinosa, Zimmerman, Morse, Nix, Werth, Ankiel, Ramos — who all should be hitting 20+ a year. Not a great bunt-and-run lineup — unless you want Hairston and Cora starting a bunch of games, which was what you were getting while Zimmerman was hurt.I got depressed by all of the negativism on this site a couple of months ago and dropped off. Now I come back and find a New Negativism — including Riggo bashers trashing Johnson. Going to go see Wang Fri. nite and expect him to return (eventually) to his "three ground balls and a cloud of dust" self.

  45. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Pay to Play noted that he's surprised at how many posters here live outside the Washington region.A lot of us are expatriates, wearing the colors out in Nationals Nation.Arlington is home to me. I actually miss the crush of Tysons at Christmas, something our Richmond friends would never understand.Farid in Idaho grew up in Falls Church. I think Nats Jack said he played high school ball in Falls Church.I'd be curious to hear about the D.C. ties of the folks in Oregon, SC and Beantown.

  46. natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Second that, on both counts. (On a related note, some days I wish I had an autoscroller, as my mouse hand gets about worn out. Either we need a win soon or I need a new navigation device. :-))Sec 3, My Sofa said… NatsJack, fwiw, I miss your trenchant insights. Just scroll past the pointless, self-indulgent stuff. I do. July 25, 2011 11:46 AM

  47. natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Heck, I live in Fairfax County, and *I* don't understand that yearning (the parking lot madness is too much for me). However, I'm not big on crowds generally. Guess I'll have to figure out how to handle it when (not if) the Nats arrive at the playoffs one day. :-)I actually miss the crush of Tysons at Christmas, something our Richmond friends would never understand.

  48. natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    On another note, kinda funny (or sad) ad in the Sunday WaPo. It related to a special offer for select Nats games in association with the PostPoints program. Among the eligible games listed was the August series vs. the Arizona Cardinals. ummmm…somebody is evidently ready for some football. (I *think* that's what they call that pointy-ball pastime? Patooie! :-))

  49. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    What Dale at 11:07 said.The last road trip showed that this season is over as far as getting to the playoffs is concerned. Hopefully the front office can trade away anyone they don't view as a core player. Then the rest of the team can play spoiler like they did to the Mets on '07 and '08. That's exciting too. If they get lucky, they'll finish around .500 and that would still be an improvement.NatsLady, I'm with you on Burnett, but I will venture to say his struggles are the result of being used improperly. If he goes back to being a LOOGY or pitching just one inning with no inherited runners, I think he'll be okay.

  50. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    Speaking of trades, the Nats need both a leadoff hitter and someone to fill the number two hole. Both spots have been a revolving door all year, and one way to send someone's batting average into a nosedive is to stick them in either spot (lately Danny Espinosa). Bernadina has been okay I guess, but I don't think the front office is sold on him. Espinosa, Desmond, and Werth have all struggled there, and to me, they all fit best hitting lower in the line-up. I hope the front office can fill both spots via trades, free agency, or maybe someone from the minors — but not with B.J. Upton.

  51. Knoxville Nat - Jul 25, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    For Drew8 and Pay to Play……….a native of Silver Spring, relocated to SEC country several years ago.

  52. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    UNTERP NAT,Ummmmmmm, no. Desmond should not be batting 2nd. The top two batters need to get on base so 3-4-5 can bat them in. Desmond is a free swinger like Ankiel and is almost always 0-2 after two pitches. And he doesn't draw enough walks.Everyone is focused on the need for a leadoff hitter while the number two hole is just as much of a problem in my opinion.I think you're right that Espy should be batting 6th, and I would even consider batting him 5th until Werth finds his mojo.

  53. Bowdenball - Jul 25, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    The people drawing conclusions about Davey Johnson after 23 games should ask Orioles fans what they thought of Buck Showalter after his first 23 (or 33 or 53) games, and compare that to what they think of Buck now.A manager's job performance and legacy is best assessed in terms of years, not weeks.

  54. NatinBeantown - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I lived in DC after school in 2000 and was hooked on the team the day MLB announced the move, and was a half-season ticket holder in RFK. Wrote (poorly) about the Nats regularly on DCist.Moved to Boston for grad school a few years ago, but I can't stomach AL baseball. Somehow my Nat-fanaticism has actually increased while up here…

  55. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    The Great Unwashed said… He hit, I believe, .270 hitting mostly in the 2 spot last season and every time he's been in the 2 spot this season he's hit considerably better…Anyway if Espi was hitting 5th or 6th, who will hit 2nd?

  56. sunderland - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Bowdenball, you make a very good point, for sure. However, I for one am making no judgement at all about Davey Johnson. But at the same time I am noting that the team is not playing the game defensively as well as they did earlier in the year. It gets downright sloppy at times, and this happened only rarely the first three months of the season.I had no illusion about the Nats in the playoffs but I was enormously encouraged that the Nats were playing the game really well, very rarely beating themselves. In this area, there has been significant regression over the past month. Attributable to our manager? I wouldn't hazard a guess.

  57. NatinBeantown - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    And I should say, I've become more and more convinced that Bernie deserves the full remainder of the season as his leadoff tryout. That 10-pitch BB to lead off yesterday was the latest evidence that he understands the role better than any previous guy they've slotted there. The problem is where to stick him on defense, as neither he is not a true CF, and the corner spots appear to be pretty locked down for the next several years (Werth and Morse/Harper).

  58. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    sunderland said… Bowdenball, you make a very good point, for sure…The team turned the switch off almost immediately after Riggleman quit. Monkey see, monkey do…

  59. sunderland - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    1a, now see if you can delete the test! I tried.I failed.

  60. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    The Nats defense hasn't regressed at all. Three key ingredients to that defense are likely not completely up or adapted to the long 162 game season. The 2nd half is what separates the men from the boys.1.. Zim is having bad games. Is he completely recovered from adominalsurgery? Having your core sliced up is not conducive to good fielding. And of late he has been horrendous at times.2. Espinosa has yet to play a full 162 game season. He's a rookie.3. This is only Desmond's second year. Its clear he has serious problems maintaining focus. Now, try that over 162 games. Riggleman had the same problem last year, I expect it will be better this year because the talent level in the infield should be vastly superior in the field. The real question marks are on the recovering Zim and the backup catcher every 3rd day Flores.So, no its not Davey Johnson's managing. Riggleman .445. .445 .445 .445 .445 .445, .445 do we need to say it A THOUSAND TMES!? That's the worst winning percentage since 1900!!!??? Johnson's is well over .500? Okay? So, Stop now Sunshine; its really a completely ridiculous argument. And the reality, based on the players' reaction, is that the big loss WAS MCLAREN NOT Riggleman? But, I do hope Riggleman becomes the Orioles next manager …. serve Angelos right. Werth was already struggling. We've seen Zim having problems in the field since he got back … and even at bat. Desmond is still a work in progress. Ankiel and Bernadina aren't very good CF's which is why BJ Upton is such an attractive trade possibility for this team. Flores is really terrible at catcher. He was just as bad in Syracuse which is why you never once heard Knorr mention him in interviews. He was always talking up Jhonatan Solano.

  61. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    UNTERP.NAT,Yes, Desmond hit .270 while playing most of the time in the two hole. But that was last year. He's not doing it this year. If he was, he'd be a mainstay in that spot right now. Currently he's hitting 8th. Why? Because he didn't hit well in the 2 spot when he was given the chance this year. He gets behind in the count right away almost every time and then becomes an out. In that regard, he's been consistent.It's too bad. He hit much better when he made a lot of errors, but once he settled down defensively, he couldn't hit. What's frustrating is that he can't seem to put both elements together. If he was hitting .270 with the reduced errors from this year, he'd be one of the bright spots on this team and considered a core player. People talk about trading him but who would take him right now?What I'm saying is both the one and two holes are not adequately filled as far as I'm concerened. As to who hits there, your guess is as good as mine.

  62. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    The Great Unwashed said… Because he didn't hit well in the 2 spot when he was given the chance this year. that's not true at all. He's struggle at the leadoff and 8th. He's hit at the 2 pot but has only been there a few times. Werth hit there half the season, then Espi. I don't have the stats here but if someone brave would check this out, I believe this will bear true. He's not going to hit in the 8th spot…

  63. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Good point, Anon 2:30. We're used to seeing Zimm be fantastic defensively and a real threat at the plate, yet since he came back, he's looked awfully… human. Balls he used to get to are getting by him and he's grounding out a lot. BUT, he's always hit into a lot of double plays and before the injury his throwing was suspect at times. We're just seeing him down a bit more than usual. Maybe he hasn't fully recovered from the surgery but I'd still rather have him out there than not.I predicted 75 wins this year. Based on the last road trip and how they've been playing lately, it's not looking any better than that. Not trying to be negative; it's just fact. But 75 wins is still an improvement over last year, and if the Nats can knock off a team trying to make the playoffs, I can live with that.

  64. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    UNTERP,I don't have his stats hitting second either. Maybe he did hit well at #2 this year but apparently not enough to justify him staying there. My recollection is that he struggled hitting second but I could be wrong. He doesn't draw walks either and this year he's almost always 0-2 after the second pitch. That doesn't cut it hitting 2nd.Are you saying moving him around in the order has hurt him at the plate?

  65. natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    I can't delete my own posts, maybe because I don't use an account. But my test post is gone now so I guess Mark deleted it. (Hope this post works.)sunderland said… 1a, now see if you can delete the test! I tried. I failed. July 25, 2011 2:27 PM

  66. sunderland - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    ESPN.com says Desmond has 162 AB's at #2, more than any double other lineup spot. And he's hitting lousy there.One thing I forgot, while we thought he was hitting number 8 a lot, some of those games he was hitting number 9. He has 63 AB's at #8 and 28 at #9.Oh, and 1a, if you just stayed quite, I would have thought you a GENIUS!

  67. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    1A:To put a bow on the Tysons at Christmas bit. I always found it reassuringly egalitarian to see famous people scrambling at Christmas just like the rest of us.At different Christmases I spotted Jim Wright, Tom Daschle and Darrell Green at Tysons. Guess you can imagine the best scrambler in that trio.

  68. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    sunderland said… thanks Sunderland. I stand corrected.Desmond can't hit anywhere…

  69. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:15 PM

    MLBTR reports the Nats are talking Denard Span with the Twinkees. Note the times are CST, so this is pretty fresh:Nationals, Twins Discussed Denard SpanBy Tim Dierkes [July 25 at 2:03pm CST]2:03 p.m.: The Nationals have talked to the Twins about Span, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The Nationals are unwilling to trade Drew Storen or Tyler Clippard, though Rosenthal feels Ian Desmond could be of interest to the Twins.1:30 p.m: Twins center fielder Denard Span is high on the Nationals' list of targets, reports Amanda Comak of the Washington Times. Span would fit the team's desire for a controllable center fielder/leadoff hitter, assuming there are no ill effects from a concussion suffered in June.Span, 27, is hitting .294/.361/.385 on the season in 255 plate appearances. His center field defense has been a plus in recent years, according to UZR. His team-friendly contract has less than $15MM remaining through 2014, plus a club option for '15. It's not known whether the Twins consider Span expendable; Ben Revere has a .249/.287/.284 line filling in. The asking price would surely be significant.Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first mentioned Span as a potential Nats target earlier this month, along with B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, and Colby Rasmus.

  70. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    The Great Unwashed said… Are you saying moving him around in the order has hurt him at the plate? It ain't helping. What suggestions do you have?

  71. natsfan1a - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Drew, thanks for the clarification. My problem (?) is that I never thought that famous people were any different from the rest of us. Well, they're more famous, but they still put their pants on one leg at a time, as my mom would have said.Dang, Sunderland. I need all the help I can get in the genius department.Is it time for baseball yet? Sigh. Off days are sooo boring. :-)

  72. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    At least Desmond's consistent. :@)

  73. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    UNTERP,I think you nailed it when you said Desmond can't hit anywhere. As for my suggestion, I got nothing. Sorry.

  74. gonatsgo - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I would just like to repeat this – I have said it again and will probably have to say it again — just because some of us express doubts about Johnson, or even don't like him all that much, or maybe don't think he will work out with the nats – that is not trashing. Trashing is highly emotional, irrational tirades filled with hatorade and personal attacks. What some of us are doing is just expressing an opinion or a doubt — something people tend to do in blogs. I think the criticism has been pretty mild and tempered with the knowledge that it hasn't been that many games. On the other hand, lots of other posters are willing to wait and give the benefit of the doubt – also valid in a blog. I think some people just get mad when they are disagreed with. I like reading everyone's opinion unless they are very nasty. I fully confess that my feelings about Johnson are colored by a long history of not liking him. When you are somewhat older and go back a long way as a baseball fan it's really hard to turn something like that around. Really trying to be fair, though.

  75. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    gonatsgo said… Okay, thanks… :@)

  76. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    It's not Davey's fault…

  77. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Desmond is still young enough to be a work in progress. Once he gets the fielding gaffes under control perhaps then he will be able to refocus more on his offense. Its what makes him attractive as a trading chip.

  78. HHover - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Without endorsing Anon's anti-Riggleman rant, I would agree that folks are seeing the past thru rose colored glasses if they think the Nats defense was pristine B.D. (before Davey). They played great defense as they managed–not coincidentally–to claw their way back to .500. But remember that the defense was not stellar in April, and Desi in particular stunk before he went on paternity leave. He came back and played flawlessly, and now has had a rough couple of weeks. Average it out, and he's still on pace for about 10 few errors than last year. Likewise, the team as a whole is still middle of the pack in defense this year, on a pace to commit about 101 errors, or 26 fewer than last year, when they were tied for worst in MLB. I'm frustrated by the bad defense lately too, but it's a mistake to read too much into it a streak of a few games or ABs and not to acknowledge the overall improvement. I'm more concerned, long term, about the offense, because it's been anemic consistently, both B.D. and A.D.I'd be very surprised if the Nats make deals for any established offensive producers here at the trade deadline, because they'd be bidding against contenders who would pay more for short term production. The best to hope for is prospects who could contribute at the plate down the road, but not this year.

  79. NatinBeantown - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Ian's splits per lineup spot:#1 52 PAs .180#2 176 PAs .235#5 10 PAs .222#6 13 PAs .385#7 24 PAs .300#8 74 PAs .206#9 32 PAs .179Really only the #2 spot has enough PAs to draw any conclusions from, but clearly he benefits from being in the middle of the action and getting good pitches to hit. He's too aggressive with a tendency to chase breaking pitches to be the one-man-offense that 1 & 8/9 require. As currently constructed, Espinosa and Roger are the only guys with the approach and results to bat #1 or #2. Werth will be there, too when he returns to his usual self, which I still think will happen.I think the optimum lineup most nights has Bernie, Espinosa, Zim, Morse, Nix, Werth, Desmond,Ramos, P. Werth goes to #2 or #5 once he heats up.Hairston should always lead off when Bernie is sitting.

  80. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    NatinBeantown said… Good research. I like your lineup, though I still believe Espi is better off batting sixth, but Nats have no one else to hit 2nd…

  81. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Somebody way up above said Bernie has earned a shot at hitting leadoff through the end of the year. I'm not so sure. This is from Amanda Comak of The Washington Times in her piece about the Nats looking at Denard Span."(Bernadina's) average on the whole (.260) isn't bad but out of the leadoff spot exclusively, he's hitting .221 with a .290 on-base percentage this season, both numbers the Nationals would clearly like to see improved."Bernadina has exceptional speed and beats out both bunts and infield singles, but doesn't walk much (just 17 times in 225 plate appearances as a leadoff hitter) and strikes out a lot (45 times when batting first)."Also as noted up above in the 11:38 a.m. post, Bernie has poor stats as a center fielder, with an Ultimate Zone Rating of -5.3. Despite all of his splendid acrobatics, Fangraphs concludes that he's cost the Nats 5 runs in center this year.If the Nats do acquire Span, Bernie still might get an extended look, given that Denard is recovering from a June concussion he suffered in a collision at home plate.(P.S. Yes, I do have a life. It's good to be on vacation.)

  82. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Drew8 said… Bernie is a natural 2 hitter, not a leadoff, but no one gets this. Even Bernie has said he prefers hitting 2nd…

  83. jeffwx - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Dave Johnson rightly says you need all 25 players to win. The biggest improvement therefore would be to release the player who's giving the least contribution, offensively and defensively. Unfortunately, that is Matt Stairs…by releasing him and replacing him with Marerro, Lombo.., would provide more options on offense and defense than Stairs can provide.

  84. sjm308 - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    NatsJack – you can take a break now but please please please get rested up for Spring Training. Your posts during that time were "required reading" for this old fan.I have always loved this blog and read all the way through and have learned a great deal from most of you. I would be excited to get Span, he was my number one choice during all of this but I hope we don't give up too many prospects. I have been a big Desmond supporter but I just read where he has the lowest OPS in baseball right now and he just has to start hitting or the moves will definitely be justified. I still don't want Espinosa to move to SS this late in the year.The only thing I would like to see Davey do different is keep our relievers to one inning. It seems like most of them get in trouble when they are brought back out. Maybe its sitting in the dugout and cooling off, I can't imagine its fatigue but if we are going to have a bullpen then use them. I said "only" but I do think we have stopped bunting for basehits as well. I liked Bernie and Espy going up and at least faking the bunt. Thought it got the infield playing in at the corners which helps the hitter if he slaps it by them.Excited to see what Wang can do on Friday but I don't have great expectations. Just making it back from shoulder issues is a great story and I am hoping for the best. If nothing else, we will know what his future for us is. Do we have rights for the following year?Go Nats

  85. Water23 - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Forget Span or Upton. The top CF is Bourn. It will cost but he is under control for two years and might be extend (Boras). Span has average/OBP but no speed. Upton has speed but no OBP (right now, granted he had greatness before).Upton (potential)/Span(control-ability) will make it that either will cost as much as Bourn in players/prospects.I hope Rizzo thinks long and hard about this. It is nice to find a reclamation project once in a while but right now they need to add some guaranteed performers.For months, we have been discussing the dearth of Top of the Order hitters and yet he fills all the needs High OBP/Speed and excellent defense. We drafted well this year so if you have to use some top prospects that is fine. I am not saying all of them but Milone + one or two more and Bernie or other (to fill thier MLB roster needs) makes sense.

  86. NatinBeantown - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    UNTERP- Thanks and I agree. In an ideal world, Werth gets back to .350 OBP and takes over #2 and moves Espi back where he belongs.Drew8- That was me about Bernie. I think that Span is one of the few names I would get excited about that changes my calculus. He's a legit CF/leadoff guy, and would move Bernie to the 4th OF position, where's I think he's a perfect fit. But other than magically raise his OBP 100 points, he's done everything he's been asked and more this year in terms of work ethic and approach.Ken Rosenthal's take, however, is never a reason for me to get excited, so I'm not holding my breath.Not for nothing, wouldn't it be hilarious irony if we traded Norris to the Twinkies as Mauer insurance?

  87. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:07 PM

    Don't be surprised if the Twins nab Derek Norris as part of a deal for Span.Joe Mauer is 6'5 and 235 pounds. With his injury history they can't keep him behind the dish forever.Norris also would take away some of their sting from trading Ramos.

  88. Water23 - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    NatinBeantown,That would be hilarious!

  89. JD - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    I don't ascribe to the theory of a player blaming his offensive woes on his place in the batting order. People have posted that so and so is more 'comfortable' batting 2nd or 5th or whatever; makes no sense to me. Wherever you hit in the batting order your goal should always be to get on base and the people who get on base the most should hit highest in the batting order simply because they will get more opportunities to get on base. I agree that batting in front of the pitcher is hard because you are not likely to get anything to hit but this does not explain constantly swinging at the 1st offering and hitting a lazy fly ball for an out.

  90. The Great Unwashed - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Werth looks at too many good pitches to bat 2nd. He can hit for power when he's right, so he fits better hitting 5th because Morse has proven this year that he's a better fit for the 4 hole. Espy hits better batting 6th even though no one is protecting him. I'm basing this on recollection and not stats. Am I wrong?

  91. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:48 PM

    by releasing him and replacing him with Marerro, Lombo.., would provide more options on offense and defense than Stairs can provide.Disagree with the above. But first … just to aggravate the child-like petulance of NatsJack:I stand by my 'anti-Riggleman rant', the guy came out in public and said the Nats "weren't really good yet" yet from Johnson we continue to hear paraphrasing: "we're going to get it, we have good bats in the lineup, we're going to put it together". Riggleman himself said he had a bad attitude throughout this season and even last year because of the contract that he himself agreed to? Dr. Viktor E. Frankl said that even in the most adverse circumstances the one thing we will always have control over is our own attitude. And he survived 3 concentration camps?And JIm Riggleman couldn't find it in his heart to have a "good attitude" while making $600,000 a year managing his hometown team? Right now this country might default on its debt and 650,00 0 folks making a whole heck of a lot less than that might lose their jobs in the ensuing 3 months? Riggleman was just as serious a problem as Dukes and Morgan and I'm really surprised Rizzo never manned up enough to do something about it earlier.Now, back to the comment mentioned above. I agree with dumping Stairs for Wang … prefer a good relief pitcher. Perhaps that's what Gorzelanny becomes?I don't agree with bringing Marerro and Lombardozzi up and letting them rust on the bench. If he purportedly is "org filler" they'd be better off with Antonelli, or bringing back Bixler for that matter. Marerro and Lobardozzi need to play every day. And right now they are blocked from doing that in the majors. Once the minor league season ends I'm sure we'll see both added to the roster as a part of September call ups but until then let them stay in Syracuse and fight to improve the win loss record there.

  92. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Yo peric, thanks for going out of your way to aggravate. That was thoughtful. Just what we're looking for out of this site. pe-ric.

  93. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    Drew8,I too think it would be fitting (and hilarious) if the Nationals trade Derek Norris to the Twins as part of a deal for Span. I think Ramos doesn't have quite the bat that Norris does, but his defense is much better and he should become a consistent .270-17-60 hitter (playing 130 games or so). That's certainly good enough for me.Here are the moves the team needs to make to prepare for (hopefully) contending next year:1-Trade Ian Desmond, move Daniel Espinosa over to short and bring up Stephen Lombardozzi. 2-Trade for Denard Span (or Michael Bourn but Span will do)This would be a very strong (and young) lineup (here are their career 162-game averages (Lombardozzi is minor league #'s and Harper is a guess):1-(CF) Denard Span .289-7-68 (26 steals)2-(2B) Stephen Lombardozzi .300-4-40, (22 steals)3-(3B) Ryan Zimmerman .289-26-964-(1B) Michael Morse .295-30-95 (Nats #'s only)5-(RF) Jayson Werth .267-30-85 (since 2008)6-(LF) Bryce Harper .300-20-90 (just guessing)7-(SS) Daniel Espinosa .231-29-888-(C) Wilson Ramos .252-17-65If they just hit their career averages (and Lombardozzi and Harper do as expected), this seems to be a team with lower than average batting averages but higher than average power and speed.Of course, next year will be a little different, with Adam LaRoche likely back at first (for a year) and Morse back in left. Farid in Idaho

  94. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:12 PM

    Joe Christensen, national baseball writer for the Star-Tribune, reports that Nats scout Bill Singer has been hanging around the Twins ballpark. Christensen says that with Jason Kubel now off the DL and Span to follow at some point, the Twins have a logjam in the outfield, with Michael Cuddyer, Delmon Young and Ben Revere.His musings are interesting, tho his suggestion of a Storen for Span deal is a bit rich for my blood.Christensen reports:"I know everyone wonders what's going to happen when Denard Span returns from the DL. I wonder, too. I'm not trying to dodge the question, but I don't know if it's worth contemplating, with Span still a long way from returning. He has yet to play a full game for Rochester, and is 1-for-12 so far on his rehab stint.""I also wonder if the Twins would consider trading Kubel or Young before the July 31 deadline. Kubel can become a free agent after this season, and Young will be eligible for free agency after 2012."Another option would be trading Revere or Span. The Nationals are looking for a center fielder, and maybe one of those two players would help the Twins get reliever Drew Storen. (Pure speculation on my part.)"Nationals scout Bill Singer, the scout most responsible for helping Washington acquire Wilson Ramos for Matt Capps, has been here at Target Field recently."

  95. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Yo peric, thanks for going out of your way to aggravate. That was thoughtful. Just what we're looking for out of this site. pe-ric.How about them O's? O's fan? ~smiles~

  96. sjm308 - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Not sure how one Anon knows another anon is Peric but its not important.When I coached I used a Frankel quote "that which does not kill me, makes me stronger" and again that was from his surviving those horrible camps.I am all for sending Norris for Span or Bourn. Realize we will have to send more but he truely is blocked and I think Flores will get better and he certainly is saying all the right things. Not sure I would put Storen in that trade but I have heard people here talk about the importance of someone who can play 150+ games vs. a relief pitcher so if it happens I won't go through the roof.I do like Bernadina as our 4th outfielder and he is young enough that he can continue to develop. I am pleased with what Nix and Ankiel have provided this year but definitely would like to see us younger.I absolutely love looking at projected lineups and the one anon 4:59 provided is certainly solid. The question mark of course is Lombardozzi and also, we have never seen Espinosa a SS in the majors. Still, there is very little to be upset with and if LaRoche is healthy, you can start with him at First, and Morse in LF while they wait for Harper. We also have a nice bench with Flores as the backup catcher and I would like to see them resign Hairston plus you have Bernadina.

  97. sjm308 - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:25 PM

    Also, still waiting for someone to tell me about who has the rights to Wang after this season??Probably not that important but if he is lights out I would certainly like to have the option of signing him without bidding against other clubs.

  98. baseballswami - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    We may be struggling a little bit, but another streak could be just around the corner. Then the kingdom of Natstown will rejoice! Werth will hit over his weight instead of under it. Desi will field everything crisply and cleanly. Our switch hitting rookie will send baseballs into orbit. Matt Stairs will retire and Ryan Zimmerman will throw b-b's to first, where Mike Morse will continue to pillage with his bat. Pudge will return in triumph and continue his march to 3000 hits, Bernie will steal every base in the same game. All of our pitchers will throw unhittable stuff and opposing batters will whiff and cry. It's a beautiful dream – and completely unaided by pharmaceuticals! Go You CRAZY FREAKIN Nats, GO!

  99. dale - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Basically, Harper is going to have to learn center field. Why? Morse won't be at first base in 2012; no way they are going to let LaRoche sit. So the whole point is that trading away valuable assets for a centerfield prospect does not make sense at this point. Your June 2012 outfield will be Morse, Harper and Werth. Bernardina will start at the position as a placeholder. There is even some talk of the Nats coveting Price Fielder for first base, so whatever happens I do not expect Morse to play there next year. (Worst case scenario is that Harper can not learn center field and Werth is asked to play there. Then again worst worse case is that Harper never makes it out of AAA and Nats fans go into waves of depression.)I doubt that you see the Nats make a trade that gets in return more than a minor league prospect at CF. Everything that Rizzo does at this point has to be with the focus on 2012 and beyond and not for improving this season.

  100. sjm308 - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    In a non-baseball question. I remember when you guys helped natsfan a1a with a computer problem. If we have 99 comments, is there a key I can hit to get me to the bottom of the comments? I have an old MacBook and while I don't mind scrolling down, I figure there has to be an easier way to get to the end of the page.as always thanks and Go Nats!!

  101. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    Press option key while you press down arrow key to scroll in larger increments otherwise page down on your keyboard.

  102. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Basically, Harper is going to have to learn center field. Why? Right now he is struggling or scuffling to play a decent left field in AA Harrisburg. What that tells me is that the move left field wasn't as much of a "strategic move" for future placement as trying to give him less to chew while learning to be a major league outfielder.Apparently, Harper has a long way to go. A very long way.

  103. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Dale: Respectfully, I don't think Harper will play center next year. I subscribe to a theory that Farid first posted elsewhere, perhaps at MLBTR.The season starts with LaRoche at first, Morse in left and Harper in the minors. LaRoche is dealt at the trade deadline, which is just about the time Harper passes Super Two status.Harper comes up to play left and Morse moves back to first base.The Nats still need a center fielder/leadoff hitter, which is why they're sounding teams out on Bourn, Span and Upton.

  104. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:53 PM

    So when we are talking of future Center fielders, are we talking about for the next five years is it for the next 5 and above years or just for about 2 to three years. the reason I ask is i feel like there is more than a 80% chance that one of Eury Perez, Destin Hood or Brian Goodwin(if signed) would be able to step in one of the OF position along with Harper and Werth in the next two years. So if we are talking about "long term solution" why not wait for one of these guys to finish developing. two of them could also possibly be leadoff hitters or maybe Lombadozzi could be the answer there.

  105. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    In the end I believe Upton is almost a "sleeper" potential superstar in center. Almost hand in glove perfect for the Nats. Particularly given the plan to play a less than ready Harper in one outfield position. They will need the very best centerfielder manning that position as a result. That is in fact BJ Upton. I suspect Rizzo may be right about his offense coming around with a change of scenery and a new contract.

  106. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    We also have Redon, who might have too play one of the corner outfield position in the next 2 yrs if he is signed and his injury is not a problem.

  107. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    1-(CF) BJ Upton2-(SS) Danny Espinosa (switch hitter)3-(3B) Ryan Zimmerman4-(1B) Michael Morse5-(LF) Bryce Harper (left handed)6-(RF) Jayson Werth7-(C) Wilson Ramos8-(2B) Stephen Lombardozzi (switch hitter)Lombardozzi will have to adapt to using the platoon bat in the majors just as Espinosa is doing … and it will likely be more of a struggle as Espinosa is the superior athlete.Bench: Antonelll, Bixler, Bernadina, Nix, Solano, and Hairston.

  108. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:05 PM

    We also have Redon, who might have too play one of the corner outfield position in the next 2 yrs if he is signed and his injury is not a problem.With an arm injury the outfield is definitely less attractive than second base. And Lombardozzi would end up being a UTL or traded. Rendon should be much better.

  109. JaneB - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Anon at 5:55, what's making you think Upton has sleeper superstar status? His numbers don't look awesome (I admit I'm new tomlooking up stats, so maybe there is some other way to see it), or even like there is a trend up. Are you seeing some late bloomer characteristic in him?From where I sit, you move Marquis to get what you can, and we buy a free agent CF in November. Norris may not like being Mauer insurance, but it would be a karmic move. No trading Clip or Storen. We need them now butnwe will really need them next year.

  110. JaneB - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:13 PM

    I had to fill it in, and you will see why, but the capcha was rendon. Hmmmmm

  111. The Dude Abides - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Wang has the rights to Wang after this season. He'll be a free agent.

  112. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:18 PM

    Are you seeing some late bloomer characteristic in him?The stark contrast between his home and away splits. In Away games he is hitting .291 with a .370 OBP. He also has 15 homers and 13 doubles after 100 games. He also has 23 stolen bases against 7 caught. Looks like he is as disenchanted with playing in Tampa Bay as the fans are with him playing for Tampa Bay. You could say he has an attitude problem but Tampa's park is nightmarish much like Potomac's. Ownership is far more frugal than the purportedly "cheap Lerner's" ….His attitude might change returning home with a new contract (very possible given the Nats sparse salary structure). In the end the "contract" was what drove Riggleman and it sure seems like the anti-BJ types here are all pro-Riggleman. He is still very young only 26 and this younger than Ian Desmond and given that he has accomplished a good bit in just a short span of time. You have to consider the entire body of work.

  113. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:25 PM

    Anon 5:55 wrote:"They will need the very best centerfielder manning that position as a result. That is in fact BJ Upton."That is simply not true. Upton is a fine centerfielder, but he is nowhere close to Michael Bourn, who is the best in baseball by far.Please check the Fangraph stats in the 11:38 a.m. post. In 2010 Bourn saved his team 19.4 runs. Upton saved his team 1.9 runs.

  114. Wally - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    sjm308 said…Also, still waiting for someone to tell me about who has the rights to Wang after this season??sjm – I think that he is a free agent. I never heard mention that the Nats have an option on CMW, so if not, he is a FA at the end of the year. IIRC, this past offseason was his last year of team control – meaning that if the Nats offered him arbitration, they could have controlled him for 2011. They didn't (because you can only cut salary by 20% in arbitration, and they didn't want to commit to $1.6m). He wound up re-signing anyway, at a lower number ($1).So he can walk at the end of the year.

  115. HHover - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    JaneBAgreed. There's a difference between "sleeper" and "sleepwalker" and the latter is what Upton sometimes looks like. Upton's stats aren't that strong and they've been in decline for a couple of years. I'm not buying the bit about his home-away splits–he was actually better at home in 2009 and 2010 than away, and if he's disenchanted with the team, that should show up across the board.Bottom line is he's not a "sleeper" but a "change of scenery" guy, and those guys often aren't satisfied with a single change–for examples, see … I don't know … many of Jim Bowden's "edgy" signings. In any event, it's worth remembering that the Nats don't need an AS caliber player at every position. Which is fine, but then don't pay AS-caliber money, which is what Upton might likely demand to keep him around after 2012, when the Nats should with any luck be ready to contend for real.For me, he's clearly a pass.

  116. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:35 PM

    "The moves Rizzo makes (or doesn't make) will go a long way toward determining where the Nationals wind up in the standings at the end of this season."It is not important where the Nats end this season, finishing at .500 or 10 games under, means nothing. What is very important is how the deals Rizzo makes (or does not make) effect the roster for 2012 and beyond. Nats management should not play for .500 in 2011 at the risk of not playing for 2012. And how the seemingly content clubhouse feels about the talent of the existing group being good enough is pretty funny. Content to just have played themselves out of the WC race? dfh21

  117. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 10:53 PM

    Desmond batting:1st – .180/.212/.300 in 52 PA2nd – .235/.272/.290 in 176 PA8th – .206/.278/.254 in 74 PAIt's been ugly wherever they put him. oddly enough, though, he's hit .385/.385/1.077 (13 PA) batting 6th and .300/.417/.400 (24 PA) batting 7th. Of course, none of these sample sizes tell us anything. It's unlikely Desmond's any better in one batting order position vs. any other.

  118. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  119. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    First things first:At about noon Eastern, Baltimore-area radio reporter Jen Royle (Jen_Royle) posted on Twitter:Source: Friedman & Amaro are trying to work out a deal for BJ Upton… Nats interest still high. #Rays #PhilliesThen two hours later she posted:PHILLIES SOURCE: No interest in BJ Upton. NONE.Then an hour later:Gun to my head: Phillies truly have no interest in Upton — Rays trying to drive up price for Cleveland and DC. My gut says he'll be a Nat.And then shortly after that:MLB source: BJ Upton will be a NatGet used to it. Bourn does not have 15 homers and 13 doubles now does he? And Houston completely out of contention will be asking a lot more for him I suspect since Bourn isn't a guy they need to get rid of for salary and unpopularity reasons. Finally:In 2010 Bourn saved his team 19.4 runs. Upton saved his team 1.9 runs.Let's look at 2011 and at the proper stats from Fangraphs shall we?Bourn : -1.8 UZR and a -2.9 UZR/150Upton: -1.7 UZR and a -2.6 UZR/150Almost identical I'd say except that Upton has the superior arm. He also has one other tool Davey Johnson likes to have: POWER

  120. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:12 PM

    In February 2010 Steve Slowinsky of Fangraphs penned a very helpful explanation of UZR, or Ultimate Zone rating. Basically, he says it combines a number of defensive ratings to create an uber stat that puts a runs saved value to defense.(You can find these ratings by googling a player's name and fangraphs. Then scroll down to the "advanced fielding" statistics. The UZR figures are in a column on the right.)From Slowinsky:"Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is one of the two best publicly available defensive statistics, if not the best…"The basic gist is that UZR puts a run value to defense, attempting to quantify how many runs a player saved or gave up through their fielding prowess (or lack thereof). There are a couple different components to UZR, including: * Outfield Arm Runs (ARM) – the amount of runs above average an outfielder saves with their arm by preventing runners to advance. * Double-Play Runs (DPR) – the amount of runs above average an infielder is in turning double-plays. * Range Runs (RngR) – is the player an Ozzie Smith or an Adam Dunn? Do they get to more balls than average or not? * Error Runs (ErrR) – does the player commit more or fewer errors compared with a league-average player at the position?These categories are then all compiled into one mega-stat, UZR. Since UZR is measured as runs, it can be compared easily with a player’s offensive contributions (wRAA) tit for tat.In 2010 Yankees OF Brett Gardner led the majors with a UZR of 22.3 — he saved his team 22 runs.Matt Kemp had the worst UZR in the majors at -24.0, meaning his defense cost the Dodgers 24 runs.Ryan Zimmerman led the Nats at 13.9. Ian Desmond was worst on the club at -8.8.

  121. SCNatsFan - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    drew8, I went to McGill in Montreal and went to many an Expos game; growing up outside of NYC I fell into the camp of Yankee and Met haters (really, how can anyone like the Mets???) and stayed with the Spos, transferring my allegiance when they moved to DC. I'm able to remain a fan by the miracle of the MLB package on my local cable provider. Try to get up to game a year but never seems to be enough time in the year; that I don't live there and spend my $ at the stadium doesn't make me any less passionate then those who do… I just have saved alot of money!

  122. Drew8 - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    SC — Thanks for the shout. Glad to have a Nats fan in the Low Country.Hot under the collar Anon 7:08:In 657 games Michael Bourn has a career UZR of 36.9.In 762 games B.J. Upton has a career UZR of 18.2.Upton has more pop, but Bourn is a demonstrably better ballhawk.As I noted at 11:38 a.m., either would be an upgrade in CF. I'd be happy to have either, tho if it's B.J., I'd have Lombo or Rendon lead off.

  123. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:29 PM

    sjm308 said… When I coached I used a Frankel quote "that which does not kill me, makes me stronger" and again that was from his surviving those horrible camps.Sorry, but I can't let that go. "Was nicht tötet härtet ab." is Nietzsche.

  124. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    UZR is for losers guys. It is a tool that is designed to be objective, but which relies on subjectivity all over the place and it has holes you can drive a truck through. It is nothing that the club can bank on at all.

  125. Gonat - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Anonymous said… In the end I believe Upton is almost a "sleeper" potential superstar in center. Almost hand in glove perfect for the Nats. Particularly given the plan to play a less than ready Harper in one outfield position. They will need the very best centerfielder manning that position as a result. That is in fact BJ Upton. I suspect Rizzo may be right about his offense coming around with a change of scenery and a new contract. July 25, 2011 5:55 PM ____________________________What tells you that a regressing player at .229/.310 will all of a sudden find himself? It usually never happens except as SteveM describes above as that "new place" jolt. Look at Nyjer Morgan as your example.Even if BJ Upton finds himself and his bat in Washington, he is gone in 2 years any way.What do you see that none of the rest see? Did we not learn from Nyjer Morgan about the change of scenery which the Brewers fans will find out in 2012.I hope this doesn't come back to one of those "I told you so" threads.

  126. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    Once I heard the first rumor about BJ Upton I started watching all the Rays games I could. So over the last two weeks, all I can say is, not impressed. On the other hand, RZimm is in favor. Also, there have been a lot of leaks, so one feels that the FO is preparing the fan base for the trade.

  127. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:45 PM

    I really don't think the front office is bothered with the fan base's reaction. I really don't.

  128. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:46 PM

    Sofa, if they aren't, they should be. This isn't that big of a fan base.

  129. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    What tells you that a regressing player at .229/.310 will all of a sudden find himself?@GonatIf you read the blog further you would see that this question has already been answered. Repeating it again seems a bit of a waste? Instead of worrying about "I told you so" you might consider reading the comments further?

  130. sjm308 - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:49 PM

    Sec 3 – you are correct sir, I think I read it in a book by Frankel but the quote is definitely Nietzche. What Frankel was talking about was the people who survived camps compared to those who gave up and he used the quote to emphasize it. Thanks for keeping me semi-sharp as my brain continues to dull.Now, back to baseball – if we make that trade does Bernadina become the 4th outfielder and what happens with Nix and Ankiel, or do we finally dlf Stairs? I am guessing that several people on the 25 man squad get moved no matter who we get. I am not certain we get anybody if Rizzo does what he has done in the past.

  131. NatsLady - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Nietzche originally said "Was mich nicht umbringt, macht mich starker."

  132. Anonymous - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:55 PM

    In 657 games Michael Bourn has a career UZR of 36.9.In 762 games B.J. Upton has a career UZR of 18.2.Upton is 26 years old. Bourn is 28 years old TWO years older.BUT in 2011 they look almost exactly the same. BUT again Upton isTWO years younger and has a much higher ceiling as a result, AND MORE TOOLS? IN other words: 5 tools not 4? Desmond didn't even get into the majors until he was 26.

  133. Gonat - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:56 PM

    Anon, I read all the hype and have read all the home/away and your disenchanted stuff and yes, for a shortterm Nyjer Morgan sweet kiss we will see improved numbers.After that, he will regress. I have seen this movie before and know the ending.The Rays are pumping him up because they want him gone and are great about getting the top deals just like they did with Garza.Upton may be great in the short-term and I am worried about Rizzo's ability to make a fair trade. Don't get me wrong, I would trade Todd Coffey and Matt Stairs for BJ Upton. Just don't think he is worth much more than that based on "sleeper potential".

  134. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 25, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    You're welcome, sjm; in fact, tho you'll hear the quote I gave a fair bit, what Neitzsche himself actually wrote is different. As long as we're correcting the record.

  135. sjm308 - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    What are people saying we are offering for Upton?Is it different for Bourn? or is it just speculation on both?I can see the Twins wanting Norris and can't imagine anyone would want Desmond with the year he is having but I am probably wrong as usual.

  136. sjm308 - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Thanks again Sec3 – I am sure I plagerized the heck out of the quote but it served my purposes to try and motivate my kids when their tongues were hanging and needed to be pushed just a bit more.My favorite quote was "Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm" Again, I cut it down from the original and I believe this one is Oliver Wendall Holmes.

  137. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    The notion that Man's will to meaning was a higher instinct that supersedes all of your basic 'lower' instincts was Frankl. In other words "man" had the ability to give up all in order to achieve the highest meaning. That was the big lesson he seems to have taken from the concentration camps.It appears to apply to sports and certainly to baseball where "giving yourself up" to make the play is often heard associated with web gems.

  138. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:05 AM

    When (as it's looking more like when than if) they trade for BJ Upton, it's likely to be no less than Clippard plus a good prospect, and I hope Rizzo means it when he says he ain't trading Storen. First round pick only two years out, and exceeding their expectations, and a clubhouse presence. If you don't keep that guy, who do you keep?

  139. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:07 AM

    One can almost be certain that Rizzo would immediately work to craft a new longer contract with Upton were he able to produce an amenable trade. I think that the trade would not occur with those parameters in place.Some folks might consider it another possible Werth-like mistake. The Yankees and BoSox make and have made dozens of such. And again, unlike the over 30 Werth Upton is still only 26.

  140. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    But it occurs to me, this is about the only time I miss Stan Kasten, and his apparent devotion to misdirecting the press. Made things more fun, to be surprised. Well, fun for us; not so sure about fun for Mark.

  141. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    First round pick only two years out, and exceeding their expectations, and a clubhouse presence. If you don't keep that guy, who do you keep?I don't think it would be Clippard or Storen. Mattheus or Detwiler along with Desmond who they truly almost desperately need to shore up a really porous infield. They might be able to use Marerro. But I can see them going for Tyler Moore first. I still think the deal would almost have to be multi-player/prospects on both sides to even out.

  142. sunderland - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    Harper has had a fairly productive sixth inning. Opened the hit parade against Zach Britton with a double, a rocket off the LF wall. And eight batters later, after Rhinehart and Moore went back to back, Harper laced a double down the RF line. 8 – 1 Harrisburg.

  143. HHover - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Anon @ 7:08So a Baltimore reporter tells us that she positively knows what teams in Philly, DC, and Tampa are going to do. Then she completely contradicts herself. Then she contradicts herself. And that's your most reliable source? 'Mmkay.The only thing that rings remotely true in that self-contradictory mess is the claim that teams are intentionally ginning up the rumor mill with falsehoods to try to gain some advantage for themselves.

  144. Waffle House in Bowie - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    Why are any of you reading these?

  145. Gonat - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Denard Span seems to be the best target for Rizzo. Span has one negative which is the lingering effects of a concussion. He has good numbers and would fit in well in DC if Rizzo could put the right package together. I would say of all the names mentioned I like Span, Bourn, Rasmus and then Upton in that order. Other pluses for Span is that he is already signed through 2014 with options for 2015 so you have 3 to 4 years of control and he is a CAA client which is also good for Rizzo. Span's .366 career OBP is what I really like. You are dependent on this year or his best year rather a consistency.This is the guy you go after!

  146. Gonat - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:53 AM

    http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?sid=t547&t=g_box&gid=2011_07_25_haraax_bowaax_1Harrisburg 8 Bowie 1Harper 2 doublesTyler Moore with his 24th Home RunI know we talked about a good reason to bring up Chris Marrero was to test Tyler Moore at AAA. If Tyler Moore worked on plate discipline, to talk more walks and cut down on strikeouts, there is something there.

  147. JaneB - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:54 AM

    I am suddenly getting email notices with every new comment posted. I love you all but…. Anyone know how I make it stop?…

  148. Gonat - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    "Take more walks" whoops

  149. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:57 AM

    Trade Desmond and Clippard or Storen to the Astros for Bourn and a prospect. Move Espi to SS and bring up Lombo for 2B. Also, please let Stairs retire in peace.

  150. Gonat - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Anonymous said… Trade Desmond and Clippard or Storen to the Astros for Bourn and a prospect. Move Espi to SS and bring up Lombo for 2B. Also, please let Stairs retire in peace. July 25, 2011 8:57 PM ____________________________________Is this Anon really Ed Wade? I have to wonder if other team's GMs come here to push their agendas ;-()Look, I love Bourn except he is another 2 year rental guy.

  151. Gonat - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:12 AM

    Bryce Harper with an RBI Sac Fly.Now 9-1

  152. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:35 AM

    If I own the Nats and Rizzo brings me Upton for Clippard or Storen plus a good prospect, I veto the trade and fire him on the spot.The Nationals are not in position to take a risk on another low on base percentage guy. And he isn't even a leadoff hitter, so you then are forced into trying to convert Rendon into that guy. And Upton has a questionable attitude to boot.I just can't comprehend the Upton thing.

  153. Mark'd - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    12-1 now for Harrisburg

  154. Mark'd - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:56 AM

    Final: Harrisburg 13 Bowie 2

  155. BinM - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    So, you're letting this stand as the only post for the day? Only a single post on an off-day before a critical home stand against division foes? Zuckerman, turn in your BWAA card immediately, you slacker! (kidding, folks, just kidding).

  156. Mark'd - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:00 AM

    Anon at 9:35, interesting thoughts especially about Upton not really a leadoff hitter.By the way, which Anon are you?

  157. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:06 AM

    Nice to hear this good news about Harper. Sec3, I'm curious what makes you believe the Nats really are going to trade for this Upton kid. All I've heard is standard rumor stuff. Just about every team "has interest" in just about every player.And Gonat, if you have formed an opinion as to which player's agent is a good fit for Mike Rizzo, you may want to take a break from this subject for a while. Listen to music or something.

  158. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Oh! and Jane, I haven't the slightest clue why you're getting comments by email (hi Jane!), but you might want to look for an "unsubscribe" link in the email itself.

  159. Drew8 - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:09 AM

    That's three doubles in two days for Harper. As he adjusts and heats up, keep an eye on his splits to see if they even out a bit.Going into tonight, against righties, he was 10-33 for a .303 average.Against lefties he was 1 for 20 for a .050 average.At Hagerstown tonight, Robbie Ray threw four scoreless innings and lowered his ERA to 2.00 — he must be on a tight pitch count in his first year out of high school.

  160. JaneB - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    Scooter! Thanks! That did the trick.

  161. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:36 AM

    I'll take Upton's AWAY splits to bat leadoff for me anytime. They are better than just about every player on the club offensively. Add in the 11 stolen bases (he has 23 total). NINE home runs … just away? A .285 batting average? .366 OBP? .841 OPS? 7 doubles? He hits .171 at home so there clearly is a problem that Rizzo feels he (with the help of childhood friend Ryan Zimmerman et al) can resolve? Let him try this guy looks worth the risk. And he still has huge potential at age 26. This is NOT a 30+ slap hitting Nyjer Morgan. This is a real 26 year old 5 tool major leaguer with full season experience dating back to 2007. 26 is young enough to still be ranked as a top prospect in AAA.

  162. A DC Wonk - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:37 AM

    Hey all — I'm going to tomorrow's game with my wife (into baseball) and my teenage daughter (into baseball occasionally) and some of her friends (into socializing).We got some $2 ticket specials — in the nosebleed section (406, Row L ;-) ).So, how do I meet up with some of the regulars here?

  163. Exposremains - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:39 AM

    If Nats trade Desmond it has to be for upton because they will have to make room for leadoff hitter Lombardozzi. D.Span also a leadoff.

  164. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:44 AM

    Wonky, you can meet me by coming back on Thursday afternoon. :-)

  165. NatStat - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:45 AM

    Bourn may be the best fit for the Nats. B.J. has had a series of run-ins with both team mates and manager for not playing hard.Span's concussion is a concern. While all baseball fans wish him the best, one only has to look to Jason Bay, Ryan Church, Justin Morneau, and former Giants catcher Methany(Sp.?) to see how difficult it is to recover post-concussively. There's no comprable surgery for the brain like there is Tommy John surgery for the arm.Neither Ian Desmond, nor Bourn for that matter, seem to have motivational issues like B.J. Upton, nor medical concerns like Span.

  166. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:50 AM

    There's no comprable surgery for the brain like there is Tommy John surgery for the arm.According to Rizzo a good treatment is a change of scenery.Keeping in mind that every game the Nats would play in Nats park or anywhere in the NL would be an AWAY game for BJ Upton. His numbers in AWAY games are at All Star levels.

  167. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:52 AM

    The existence of something called Ultimate Zone Rating implies that there must also be a Penultimate Zone Rating, and perhaps many other Zone Ratings. How come we never hear about any of those?

  168. Anonymous8 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:03 AM

    Anonymous said… There's no comprable surgery for the brain like there is Tommy John surgery for the arm.According to Rizzo a good treatment is a change of scenery.Keeping in mind that every game the Nats would play in Nats park or anywhere in the NL would be an AWAY game for BJ Upton. His numbers in AWAY games are at All Star levels. July 25, 2011 10:50 PM Yah, I buy off on that just like Jayson Werth's great numbers at Nationals Park when he was a Phillie.What if BJ Upton's issues are playing in front of home crowds and has nothing to do with the Trop? You just never know with this guy. I saw tape of him on a story on the MLB Network. Just to many issues with him.

  169. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:06 AM

    Anonymous: you don't hear of those other "zone" ratings because they have been surpassed, or their agents aren't as good. Zone Rating was replaced by UZR, which expanded upon it. Total Zone is still kept — you can find it on b-r.com — and it even translates into the minors, which is especially handy.Those are the only two that come to mind with "zone" in their names, although I feel like I'm missing one.Anyway, thanks for asking! It's good to see folks trying to expand their knowledge base. I applaud your commitment to learning, and I wish others were as open to new experiences as you.

  170. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    In other news both Maya and Balester imploded today each allowing 7 runs. Balester did it in 1/3 of an inning.

  171. sunderland - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    BTW, Harper made a great catch at the wall in left center, then threw an amazing one hopper to the first baseman to try and double up a baserunner. Moore seemed surprised and didn't handle the throw. Regardless, impressive.And for the many of you who think Norris is a valuable prospect, he still has a lot to prove. He's flirting with Mendoza, and MLB GM's are less impressed with OBP from a slow catcher than they would be from a fleet leadoff hitter

  172. sjm308 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:12 AM

    So, Is Span back yet? or still not cleared. Love the updates on Harper and Harrisburg. O's must really be between a rock and hard place with their young pitching just destructing. So much for sending them down to get confidence.I have long defended Desmond on here (along with I believe unkd) I still would love to see him here all year and think he has value but it looks like there are at least 3 or 4 really good CF's out there and if we get one of them for Desmond and a prospect not named Peacock then I guess I won't have a cow. My choice as GM is to keep him but I have never gotten very good reviews from the owners on my GM work. I wonder if Rizzo has offered Lombardozzi in any of these trades?

  173. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:13 AM

    I definitely prefer Bourn, a real leadoff hitter. I'm not sure why our lineup would need Upton and his 20 HRs and 145 Ks. We need the leadoff hitter.

  174. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:14 AM

    BJ Upton just grounded out weakly with the bases loaded and 2 out in a tie game. Rays are at Oakland (away game).

  175. sjm308 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:15 AM

    Where do you guys get the updates on our minor league teams?

  176. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Side note: I decided to put on the tape of last night's Red/Braves game. Dontrelle Willis got the start for the Reds! I don't know how he'll do in this comeback. As I type this, I don't even know how he did in that game. But baseball is more interesting, and a lot more fun, with Dontrelle Willis and his crazy delivery in it. Not to mention his bat and glove.First inning, he took the throw on a 3-1 groundout. Took a tumble, and tagged first base as he rolled past it. What a hoot.

  177. Anonymous8 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:21 AM

    NatsLady said… BJ Upton just grounded out weakly with the bases loaded and 2 out in a tie game. Rays are at Oakland (away game). July 25, 2011 11:14 PM That happened in a road game? Oh my, that blows all the support for him away. There are so many reasons TO JUST SAY NO

  178. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:27 AM

    indeed 10:52, I recall asking about the preantepenultimate zone rating, quite some time back. never an answer, as I recall…

  179. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    FOUND IT!Rats. Now I'm stuck trying to figure out what a Preantepenultimate Zone Rating would be.Posted by: Sec3mysofa | September 8, 2009 11:36 AM

  180. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:30 AM

    There is a minor league website called MiLB.com. You can read stuff there. For a few $$ you can watch some AAA games.

  181. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    Sec3, my PAPUZR: my comment of 11:06 DID post, didn't it? Or is that only showing on my screen? Never an answer, my eye.(Only reason I didn't straighten you out last time was, I saw your question too late to answer it, and we had moved on.)

  182. sjm308 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:44 AM

    Thanks Nats Lady – that site is now bookmarked

  183. Drew8 - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:47 AM

    SJM:Google: Washington Nationals minor league affiliates.If the game is over, you can click on "recap" for the box scores and the play by play.If the game is in progress, just click on the affiliate, such as Harrisburg or Potomac. That takes you to the club's website, where you can follow the box score or play by play in progress.

  184. Scooter - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    sjm, do you already know about Nationals Prospects? Daily recaps and a whole lot more. I haven't read it in months — too many sites, too little time — but I found it very informative. "Sue" gives his very educated take on things.

  185. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:51 AM

    BJ Upton, first triple of the year, driving in a run, after fouling off a bunch of pitches.

  186. Whatanattau - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:55 AM

    Sometimes I miss my own insightful posts but at other times I find them trite and annoying. I think the trade to pursue is Lombardozzi and others for Span. As for Davey as manager, I think he is a clear upgrade and hope we get him through 2012.

  187. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:55 AM

    You're traveling through another dimension…a dimension not only of balls and strikes, but of stats. Next stop: the Penultimate Zone!www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEk8rup9y8I

  188. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 4:56 AM

    and yes, Scooter, there is a penultimate zone.

  189. Unkyd - Jul 26, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    Anon: "He is still very young only 26 and this younger than Ian Desmond"Desi will be 26, on 9/20Upton will be 27, on 8/21Is all your research this sloppy?

  190. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    So if a player spends a lot of time "in the zone" does his zone rating go up? How about if he zones out, what happens then? And did you know that ZIP code stands for "zone improvement plan"? Was that some penultimate SABR thing, perhaps to quantify players who were just mailing it in?

  191. natsfan1a - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Dredging up an older post, I would tend to agree with this. I'm pretty sure that (a) Rizzo doesn't spend his days scrolling through blog comments and (b) should he ever be inclined to do so, his response would not be to curl into the fetal position and mutter "Cr*p, 1a's not on board with this trade. WhatamIgonnado? WhatamIgonna do?" :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… I really don't think the front office is bothered with the fan base's reaction. I really don't.

  192. natsfan1a - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    Also, am I the only one here who thought of that Blazing Saddles scene?Howard Johnson: Y' know, Nietzsche said, "Out of chaos comes order."Olson Johnson: Oh, [blah blah blah], Howard. :-DSec 3, My Sofa said… sjm308 said… When I coached I used a Frankel quote "that which does not kill me, makes me stronger" and again that was from his surviving those horrible camps. Sorry, but I can't let that go. "Was nicht tötet härtet ab." is Nietzsche. July 25, 2011 7:29 PM

  193. Anonymous - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    Holy Christ this group needs a baseball game in the worst way…

  194. A DC Wonk - Jul 26, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Anonymous said… So if a player spends a lot of time "in the zone" does his zone rating go up? How about if he zones out, what happens then? And did you know that ZIP code stands for "zone improvement plan"? Was that some penultimate SABR thing, perhaps to quantify players who were just mailing it in?And it ignores the strike zone, too! (Although you do get extra points for schmoozing with fans in ESPN-Zone)

  195. Mike Rizzo - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Actually 1a, what I do is put out feelers via Ladson, Olney, Gammons, Passan, Stark etal. I then scour NatsInsider, NatsJournal, NatsArmsRace (but never, ever Let Teddy Win), and compile all the reponses into various categories. Apparently Sofa-Genius stumbled onto my Penultimate Zone Rating, which indexes and quantifies the fan reaction. And then somehow your intrepid clan unearthed the Zone Improvement Plan (I meant to get that going while Nyjer was still in town, ah well).

  196. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Sheesh, lot of early drinking. Get a baseball game, quick.

  197. NatsLady - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Apparently, they wanted to play football in Texas. And Cuddyer wanted to pitch–so he did. Didn't give up any runs, either.

  198. Steve M. - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    While I don't comment on WaPo, Kilgore wrote a decent Desmond/Lombardozzi piece.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/the-case-against-trading-ian-desmond/2011/07/26/gIQAGK12ZI_blog.html?wprss=nationals-journalI still don't think it is that simple to move Espinosa over to SS. Shortstop is the toughest position next to being a pitcher. It may not be a seamless, stressless transition and Lombardozzi hasn't taken one swing in the Majors.Also, while many pick on Desmond here, he is hitting about average on this particular team and still above Werth. It is the OBP that is hard to swallow.If Rizzo trades him, it has to be for the right reasons which is getting back a top player. Personally, I think it is too premature to trade Desmond until you know what Espi and Lombardozzi can do as a tandem.

  199. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jul 26, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Anonymous said… So if a player spends a lot of time "in the zone" does his zone rating go up? How about if he zones out, what happens then? And did you know that ZIP code stands for "zone improvement plan"? Was that some penultimate SABR thing, perhaps to quantify players who were just mailing it in? July 26, 2011 8:09 AM Best Anon Post of the Day, maybe the month.

  200. A DC Wonk - Jul 26, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Steve M. said… While I don't comment on WaPo, Kilgore wrote a decent Desmond/Lombardozzi piece.Steve, I'll go further — I think it's a pretty good article. For those who don't feel like checking it out, a few summary points:1. Trading Desmond now would be "selling low"2. He is still only 25, and under team control for a while3. UZR puts him at almost one of the 10 best SS in baseball4. 20-for-24 in SB's5. Lombardozzi's only played 33 games at AAA so far; perhaps better to see what he can do at the big league level in Sept to get a better handle on himKilgore concludes: "the case against trading Ian Desmond also comes down to this: Despite evidence to the contrary this year, he still could be a really, really good player."Fair points, all, imho.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 49 --
ATLANTA 58 52 1.5
MIAMI 53 56 6.0
NEW YORK 52 57 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 49 61 10.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Braves 7:35 p.m.
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