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Stairs DFA’d to clear space for Gomes

Jul 27, 2011, 7:10 PM EDT

Updated at 5:08 p.m.

Needing to clear a roster spot for newly acquired outfielder Jonny Gomes, the Nationals designated Matt Stairs for assignment today, likely ending the veteran's career after 19 seasons.

The Nationals signed Stairs over the winter, hoping even at the age of 43 he could provide a potent bat off the bench. But the pinch-hitting specialist never got on track, beginning the season 0-for-16 and finishing with a .154 average (10-for-65 in 56 games).

Baseball's all-time leader in pinch-hit home runs with 23, Stairs recorded only one extra-base hit (a double) and two RBI with the Nationals. His lone contribution of significance came July 1 against the Pirates, when he roped a run-scoring single off the right-field fence to secure a 2-1, walk-off victory.

"He never got sharp, and we never really got him sharp," manager Davey Johnson said. "And he didn't have the kind of productionRead more ยป

  1. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Still hard to believe he was hitting cleanup a coupe of weeks ago.

  2. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    Is everyone happy now?

  3. Unkyd - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    All the best, of everything to you, Matt Stairs!! It's not your fault… Father Time is a persistent opponent…..

  4. Nats1924 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    I liked Stairs – Any chance he'd accept a minor league spot?..prob not

  5. Section 222 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    Yes @unterp I'm happy. Should have been done long ago. And no, I don't think this move means the Nats will make the playoffs. The legions of fans who cringed when Stairs came to the plate (much less started at 1B) never thought getting rid of him would be a silver bullet. We just couldn't understand why the team would waste a roster spot on somoene who couldn't hit, run, or field.

  6. P. Cole - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    He'll be back . . . as a coach or manager.

  7. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Actually, I'm kinda sad for him, UNTERP. Despite how his career ended, if this is the end for him, Stairs did have noteworthy accomplishments over time, particularly as a pinch-hitter, and nobody can take that away from him. Also, despite the fact that his offense was not what we'd hoped for, the success or failure of a team never rests on one player, imho (that said, I'm confident that another scapegoat will emerge, this being the interwebz and all). I wish Stairs well whatever the future holds for him.

  8. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    What took them so long!

  9. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Yes, unterp.nat, this makes me happy.

  10. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I shouldn't have posted anything. LOL…

  11. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    19 year career in the big leagues, he will have great stories to tell for years to come. Hope he managed his money well because that is 19 years of pretty hefty earnings. I also hope he returns in our organization as a coach. I believe he helped Storen earlier in the year and I imagine he was a resource in the clubhouse and dugout as well.That being said, I also could not understand why he continued to dodge the bullet so to speak. We were looking at Jordan Zimms offense stats on the scoreboard last night, higher batting ave. and more rbi's than Stairs which is really a joke when you consider Zimmnn is not even our best hitting pitcher.Back at it tonight, one less CF prospect on the board. Does that help or hurt us?

  12. Eugene in Oregon - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    UNTERP – I'm never happy to see someone lose a job (with the exception of certain politicians and a few media types), but I am glad to see the Nats make a move that should have been made weeks, if not months, ago. Like Section 222, I don't expect Mr. Stairs' departure to lead to a quick, new ten-game winning streak. But replacing Mr. Stairs with Mr. Gomes is a huge upgrade, regardless of their respective BAs. Whatever faults Mr. Gomes may have as a hitter, fielder, or baserunner, he's clearly superior to Mr. Stairs as an all-around baseball player. As the Nats strive to maintain respectability (and that's about all we can really expect with the remainder of this season), Mr. Gomes will give the manager many more — and much better — options that did Mr. Stairs. I wish Mr. Stairs well in retirement (or whatever new career he chooses), but I'm happy to see him replaced on the Nats' roster.

  13. Drew8 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    If the Nats re-sign Gomes, Bernadina might be the odd man out next year.Figure the five outfielders will include:1. New cf (via deadline deal or offseason FA).2. Morse starting in LF (LaRoche at 1b)3. Werth starting in right4. Nix as good LH bench bat.5. Gomes as good RH bench bat.As we go forward, the interesting/troubling thing is that we could have a disconnect in personnel.Rizzo built this club on the Giants model, emphasizing pitching and defense. Davey Johnson prefers a Weaver-style team with a slugging Roenicke/Lowenstein tandem on the bench.I hope this club solidifies and is .500 or thereabouts. But if it goes south and Davey does not return, how will they construct next year's model?P.S. FWIW, MLBTR speculates that the Nats are the mystery team among the half-dozen in on Ubaldo Jimenez. That would not surprise me, especially after the failed romance with Greinke.Rizzo has often said that Ace 1A is the Nats' chief need. There won't be one on the market this fall, given that CC probably will re-sign and CJ Wilson probably will re-up with Texas.I love Ubaldo, but hands off Znn, Espi and Storen, please.

  14. Doc - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    It was gonna happen, but good luck Matt. Just in time to help coach the University of Maine hockey team.As a teen-ager, hitting semi-pro ball against ex-Expo Spaceman Bill Lee convinced you that you could have a pro career—and you did. I was watching your Expo debut when you joined Larry Walker as the first two Canadians in the same ML outfield. You said you were proud of that—so were we!

  15. rmoore446 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    He had a great career but this had to happen. I would imagine his average as a pinch hitter this year was lower than the overall .154 but don't have time to check due to work.

  16. Scoohter - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    OMG where are the GNatinals going to find another player like this? They had him RIGHT THERE, he was ON THE ROSTER, a big hairy left-hander with experience, and they just DUMP HIM???!??!??Next year, when the club is running Ross Gload out there as the stagger toward 100 loses again, you people will BEG to have Mahtt Stares back!He was just going through a rough patch and needed Lasik and new approach and to get a lighter bat and choke up, and he would have COME AROUND like he ALWAYS DOES because he is PROFESSIONAL who KNOWS how TO win. WHY is this SO HARD to SEE?????????? At least hold on to him and maybe he'll be a Type A and you get a draft pick!!And instead they get NOTHING for him, that's NOTHING, and nothing from nothing leaves … (carry the 1) … NOTHING!!!!! The trade deadline isn't for FOUR MORE DAYS and they could have at least gotten Tugboat Backman or SOMEbody for him, who is running this place??!!!!???Rizzo FAIL. >:-( I'm rooting for the Tigers now.

  17. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I am guessing that he may not be done. Given his track record, and, though his season has been woeful, he hit .250 in July (3 for 12), not terrible for a pinch hitting type guy, and he can still pull a walk now and then. There might be a spot for him on an expanded roster in September. dfh21

  18. Tcostant - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    I AM happy now, to me I now love the Gomes trade.

  19. Unkyd - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Drew8 said…If the Nats re-sign Gomes, Bernadina might be the odd man out next year……………..If it boils down to Nix or The Shark….. Do you really keep Nix?

  20. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    We should throw a party… :@}

  21. rmoore446 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Stairs is probably already at the point that his full year's salary is guaranteed. And after an August in Syracuse getting his stroke back, he could get a September call-up.

  22. NatinBeantown - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Mr. Desmond, your official Whipping Boy dinner jacket has just arrived. Please enjoy the full vitriol of the blogging community.But seriously, I hope Stairs enjoys a well deserved cold one tonight and considers taking a coaching opportunity in the organization.

  23. JD - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    IMO neither Nix nor Gomes will return next year. They are both filler type players which can always find in the off season; you don't sign them to multi year deals. Every once in a while you sign a player like that and you get surprisingly good results ALA Nix this year but his career numbers indicate that this is an exception which you have no right to expect to repeat. I disagree with the overall opinion on Upton. To me he is exactly the type of player you acquire on the low and the fact that he only has this year and next remaining on his contract is a good thing because it prevents you from being stuck with a bad contract if things don't work out. I wouldn't go crazy in a trade for him but I would do Detwiler + Peacock.

  24. UNTERP.NAT - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    I think Austin Kearns our RF should be the official Whipping Boy. Ooops, he's not here anymore… :@}

  25. natsfan1a - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Scooter, Rizzo's biggest failing is probably that he does not have broad-based experience with fantasy baseball teams. Thus the need for fans who have such experience to share their know-how with him via posts to blogs such as this, with supplemental radio-show call-in advice also coming into play on as as-needed basis.Good call, NatInBeantown, though he may have to arm-wrestle Werth for the jacket.

  26. Drew8 - Jul 27, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    If Rizzo could get Bourn/Upton/Spanwithout surrenderingEspinosa/Zimm/Storen/Cole/RayI'd shout it from the rooftop.

  27. Whally - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    JD said …I disagree with the overall opinion on Upton. To me he is exactly the type of player you acquire on the low There is the rub. If they get him 'on the low', I am fine with it. My worry is that we buy high, not low, on him, and I think that would be a mistake. And imo, Peacock would be an overpay. Detwiler, Marrero, Meyer, Milone – ok with those guys.PS – hey DC, see what I did there? Bold AND italics! I am a fast learner

  28. Whally - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    By the way, is it just me, or could Livo be the 5th best hitter in today's lineup?

  29. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    Stairs made over $20 million in his 20 year carrer.You've got to be nuts to feel sorry for him.

  30. A DC Whonk - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    PS – hey DC, see what I did there? Bold AND italics! I am a fast learner Mazel tohv, my grasshopper. (to utterly mangle/mix metaphohrs)natsfan1a said… Scooter, Rizzo's biggest failing is probably that he does not have broad-based experience with fantasy baseball teams. Thus the need for fans who have such experience to share their know-how with him via posts to blogs such as this, with supplemental radio-show call-in advice also coming into play on as as-needed basis.Brilliant analysis! Well done!! (fwiw, I agree)

  31. A DC Whonk - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Whally said… By the way, is it just me, or could Livo be the 5th best hitter in today's lineup?It's Dhavey's fault.

  32. HHover - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    natsfan1a Loved your comment re the fantasy baseball GMs: spot on!As for whom to fit for the whipping boy wear: I think we're looking at a whole wedding party worth of dinner-jacket wearers–Werth, Desi, Davey, Rizzo.But Stairs is now the Dick Nixon of the lot – we won't have him to kick around any more (and unlike tricky Dick, I'm pretty sure he's not coming back in 6 years).

  33. A DC Whonk - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    Whally said… By the way, is it just me, or could Livo be the 5th best hitter in today's lineup?You know what's amazing — in 43 plate appearances, Livo's only struck out twice this year!

  34. Whally - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    Ken_Rosenthal tweets: #Nationals continuing to target #Twins' Span. Nats' Storen may be in play. #tradedeadline #MLBWell, I am happy, but I suspect not many of you are.

  35. joemktg - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    Correct you are Whally.RE: tonight's lineup…Poor Flores…a single or a walk = a double. Flores shoulder + Livo's 60MPH stuff = run-a-rama.

  36. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Stream of consciousness on Whally's retweet:Don't know how reliable Rosenthal is… Just finished listening to KLaw trash teams who overpay/overvalue relievers, including "closers"… Mattheus can develop as a closer… What is with the Twins??? Didn't they learn from last year? Do they think they are in contention? … Don't trade Clippard…

  37. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    The Nats can live without Storen, they really need every day guys with upside. Span is likely one of those guys.

  38. Whally - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    NatsLady – I think the theory about why starters or position players are worth more than relievers is just the sheer amount of time that they are in the game. A reliever gets in there maybe 70 innings a year; a good starter goes for 200 innings, and a position player might see 1,300 innings. So a good position player or starter is worth more than a great reliever. That is the theory, anyway (and I admit to buying into it).Law's point on overpaying is a little different: he thinks that small sample sizes for relievers make it impossible to predict with any confidence how one of them will perform over a two month stretch. So he thinks it is crazy for contending teams to pay a lot for a Heath Bell for the stretch run.For the Twins and Storen (if they are actually looking at him), they can at least project him over the next 4 years.

  39. Gonat - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    I LOVE JONNY GOMES!!!!!!!!! FINALLY A PLAYER WHO GOT RID OF STARES!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. NatStat - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    RE: Anonymous @ 4:29:Span is in post-concussive recovery—not likely to be an every day player, at least not this year; probably should keep Storen, as he is fully functioning.

  41. Gonat - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    I think this is a Davey move as Riggleman wasn't allowed to get rid of Stairs. Still think that a wiser move would have been to bring up a youngster to bring some youthful exhuberence.

  42. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    Despite the fact that Rosenthal is wrong far more than he is right I would be excited to see Span here. If I had to pick a new closer right now its kind of a slam dunk for Clippard don't you think? I also agree that Mattheus and heck even our "wild child" could possibly develop. I mean where we are right now is the perfect time to see what others can do (if we do lose Storen). Its not like we are in the midst of a pennant race. Hoping that is not true next year.

  43. sjm308 - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Wow – just saw tonights lineup over at MASNbenching Werth, Desmond, Ramos, BernadinaHairstonCoraZimmMorseNixEspinosaAnkielFloresHernandez

  44. JaneB - Jul 27, 2011 at 8:59 PM

    I hope Matt winds up coaching somewhere. I really do. I am glad that we will have a 25th player to pinch hit, who isn't an automatic out. I wish him well.In the meantime, I say prepare to see Werth unwind himself and break out of this hitting funk.

  45. A DC Whonk - Jul 27, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    sjm308 said… Wow – just saw tonights lineup over at MASN benching Werth, Desmond, Ramos, BernadinaWell, the Nats couldn't do any worse, hittingwise — except that Zim and Morse still seem to be hitting. And I see they are in there. Nix hit a homer last night, he's in. Espi hit the ball very hard last night, and he's in.Whether it's intentional or not, the non-performers of late are all benched today. I'm thinking that's a good thing at this point.

  46. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 27, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    Put me in the camp that nobody is untouchable here–Clipp, Storen, Desi, hell, FoF could go if the price were right. I have no problem trading a closer for an 150-game everyday player. Does anybody remember the Matt Capps-For-Ramos trade? How's that working out? Would more of you like to see Jesus ("E-2") Flores behind the plate for 120 games or so?

  47. Anonymous - Jul 27, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    I think we could have traded Stairs to the Vikings for a 5th rounder and a player to be named later.

  48. NatsLady - Jul 27, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    How about instead of innings, you looked at times the player touches the ball? Then relievers might be more comparable to outfielders…

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