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The Nats’ "big night"

Aug 16, 2011, 4:16 AM EST

Updated at 2:12 a.m.

From the moment they assumed control of the Nationals organization in the summer of 2006, the Lerner family insisted they would be as committed as any other club in baseball to building a winning franchise through the draft, scouting and player development.

They had taken plenty of steps along the way to back up that assertion. But on Monday night, they took a giant leap forward and quashed any doubts that may have still lingered about their willingness to spend whatever it takes to build a team from the bottom up.

In signing all of their top picks from this summer’s draft — third baseman Anthony Rendon, right-hander Alex Meyer, outfielder Brian Goodwin and left-hander Matt Purke — the Nationals doled out about $16.5 million to four players who have yet to appear in one professional game.

Of course, that’s only $1 million less than they paid Austin Kearns in a 2007 contract extension. So let’s not get completely carried away here.

Wait, too late for that. Just listen to the way Mike Rizzo crowed early Tuesday morning in announcing the deals.

“We’re the talk of the industry right now,” the general manager said. “Before we signed these players, we had a minor-league system that the needle was heading north in a big, big way. And this just solidifies us as, to me, one of the great scouting and player development organizations in baseball. We feel really good about ourselves tonight.”

Bold words from Rizzo, who has always been confident in his abilities to draft and sign players but doesn’t always show that much bravado
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125 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Suicide Squeeze - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:17 AM


  2. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:19 AM


  3. Drew8 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:20 AM

  4. DCGuy7 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:23 AM


  5. JaneB - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:27 AM

    Who do you bet we see up first? Rendon?

  6. Big Oil - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:29 AM

    Wow. Wow. Great job. Nats fans – lets all keep these classes in mind.

  7. Big Oil - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:32 AM


  8. Gonat - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:32 AM

    @jimcallisBA Jim Callis #Nationals gave 1st rder Anthony Rendon big league deal: $6 mil bonus, $7.2 mil guarantee, 4 years plus option. #mlbdraft8 minutes ago

  9. rmoore446 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:32 AM


  10. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:34 AM

    Rizzo does seem to have the Midas touch when drafting and then signing top prospects.

  11. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    Mark, Did Hawtin Buchanan sign?

  12. Gonat - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    The Lerners are now making every other owner in town look cheap except Dan Snyder.The Orioles held firm and got their guy Bundy for millions less than estimates and his demands. Bundy should have hired Boras.

  13. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:36 AM

    @Water23 Replete with the gold he's dishing out

  14. Drew8 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:38 AM

    This is un-freaking believable.StrasburgZimmermannPeacockDetwilerPurkeMeyerColeRaySolisLannanMiloneMeyersRosenbaumJordanThat's 14 good to great pitching prospects off the top of my head!

  15. SonnyG10 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:39 AM

    Fantastic! Way to go Rizzo, the Lerner family, and everyone involved. GYFNG!!!!!

  16. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    @Anonymous 12:36,It is how the game is played and he plays it well. He might have a checkered past on signing FA but that is a different matter. This is how teams build the depth to dominate.

  17. Wally - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:51 AM

    Mark – what is the point of the 5th year club option? He is under team control either way. Just a hedge against a large arb award?

  18. A DC Wonk - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:53 AM

    So, the non-signing of Adam Dunn — two of those picks — is looking pretty darn good right now, eh?

  19. sjm308 - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    Non signing looking really goodDrew, pretty nice job off the top of your head. I have been following R. Martin in AA and his era is now .094 with 11 saves. He has not allowed a run in his last 9 games. Also add E. Arnesen who was just named pitcher of the week. We really do have some depth now, especially on the mound.

  20. A DC Wonk - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:01 AM

    From WashTimes:The numbers are, as expected, astronomical….Draft experts were already crowing over the Nationals shrewd selection when they nabbed Rendon at No. 6 overall, where he fell to largely because of injury concern, and Meyer at No. 23. Those compliments only got more effusive when they tabbed Goodwin in the supplemental round, 34th overall, and Purke — once considered a potential No. 1 overall pick — in the third round at No. 93. Even before the selection of Purke, another who saw his stock fall because of an injury-riddled season, ESPN’s Keith Law and Jason A. Churchill called the Nationals top three selections an “unbelievable haul.” The ESPN experts also noted that, while it might cost them roughly $15 million, “if they get all four under contract, the Nationals will have one of the strongest classes on the draft.”You gotta hand it to Rizzo (and Lerner) for this one.

  21. Don Hammack - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:09 AM

    I've posted several times in these threads, but Hawtin Buchanan has already completed summer school classes at Ole Miss. He was always going to play ball there. (I live about two miles from Biloxi High.) Ole Miss' biggest drama tonight was in its football secondary, where Senquez Golston (another South Mississippian) turned down seven-figures from the Red Sox to go to school.

  22. Big Oil - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:18 AM

    Just read DC Wonk

  23. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    Don,Alas, many a clever negotiator does one thing and another when money is on the table. See Josh Bell, he sent MLB a letter that said tell everyone do not draft me but when the Pirates put $5 Million on the table all of a sudden he is a Pirate.Sometimes, guaranteed money changes things. And that is why I asked and hoped he would change his mind.

  24. gonats 3 - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:27 AM

    Who do I want to see? LOMBAROZZI at 2B with Espinosa at SS and Desmond gone for whatever. Wish Desi was something but he is what you see he is. Not that great in the field and not smart enough at the plate. MEH. Defense wins championships; defense in baseball is pitching, pitching, pitching. Lots of folks can catch and throw.

  25. Don Hammack - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:36 AM

    No problem, Water23. I just doubted his draft spot and likely offer would overtake his desire to play at Ole Miss.

  26. flynnie - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:44 AM

    Don Hammack – The redfish will be running soon. If you can still get out to Ship Island, you can catch them from the dock and the beach. Have a Captain's Platter for me!

  27. Don Hammack - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:58 AM

    Flynnie, I'm not much of a fisherman, but I'll eat a platter for you.

  28. flynnie - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:26 AM

    Thanks, Don. You know you're in a fine restaurant when the fresh flounder have holes in their sides from being gigged. Along the Mississippi coast and in Mobile Bay they use Coleman Lanterns to see through the water to the fish under the sand, and spear them with their home made gigs – broomstick with a nail on the end. In Pensacola Bay, which is clear because you don't have huge river systems pouring into it like you do with the Mississippi Sound or the Mobile River system, they make a flounder light out of pvc pipe which ends in a pie plate with a light bulb coated in a brush-on insulation. The light bulb is connected to two an electival cord which ends in alligator clips that are attached to a car battery floating on an inner tube. When you hook up the clips, the light comes on and suddenly you can see everything in the bay at night. It's like undersea stadium lighting, and there, covered in sand, is the flounder, who would eat you if he could. But the biter's bit, and he ends up on your plate, some of the finest dining you can imagine. It's magical where you live when the heat breaks and the Greater Gulf State Fair comes to town and "Pick of Dixie" football is in the air.

  29. flynnie - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:29 AM

    What a night for the Nats! This has been the best team since 2005, and now the promise of more to come! Congratulations to Mr. Rizzo, his dad, his scouts, and the Lerners for taking care of the long-suffering faithful!

  30. flynnie - Aug 16, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    I wonder if there's anything to the fact that all of these signings coincide with the departure of Stan Kasten. Was his primary loyalty to MLB, the Commissioner's office, and Bud's slot system? Was he an MLB mole tasked with making sure the Nats didn't cost the other MLB owners too much money?

  31. sunderland - Aug 16, 2011 at 7:20 AM

    Flynnie, your prosaic musings on the Mississippi coast captured me. But it is your speculations about Mr. Kasten that delight my soul.

  32. flynnie - Aug 16, 2011 at 7:59 AM

    The water in the Mississippi Sound is as muddy as the front office goings-on since 2005. Don Hammack is a better reason to go to Mississippi than the beach, which would be all mud if left to nature – the sand was dredged and the beach there man-made. You have to get out to the barrier islands – Ship Island is a good one out of Gulfport and Biloxi – to get the true Gulf experience of white sand and clear water. Not so the FloraBama Gulf Coast. That's why I recommend Pensacola for the beach and its bay for gigging flounder – it's clear water. Stan Kasten was not a nice guy. I didn't like how he fired Tom "Wimpy" Paciorek – a good man, and a fun announcer who had worked with Kasten at the Braves – to hire Sutton, a desparately ambitious man who wanted the booth to himself. Do we need more cut-throat ambition in this town? And I wonder whether he saw the true interest of baseball alligning with Bud Selig, his patron. The Lerners had to accept Kasten as a condition of getting the franchise, and had to give him an ownership position. "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" Jeremiah 17:9

  33. flynnie - Aug 16, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    OTOH, When Kasten announced his retirement at the last game of the 2010 season, Adam Kilgore, who should know, wrote that Kasten "often advised Nationals ownership toward a less frugal approach, advice not always taken." And he was here for the above-slot signing of Strasburg, personally going to see how Strasburg was coming along in Syracuse.

  34. Jeeves - Aug 16, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    flynnie–alias, Pat Conroy.

  35. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    Mark,Two quick things, 1) thanks for working hard and updating this article a few time and working until 2 AM (I start here and then browse the rest and it should be noted your former didn't post until later in the morning). 2) If the league moves this deadline as is discussed by a few inside MLB and many outside, let's hope they go to a system like the NFL. End it at 4 or 5 PM EST so we all can get some sleep.Thanks again for all your hard work.

  36. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    I will be the first, howbeit, an anon, to predict the Nationals winning seven straight WS beginning in 2013.

  37. fake Mike Rizzo - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I'm just getting warmed up.Anonymous said… MIKE RIZZO HOO-HAH August 16, 2011 12:19 AM

  38. natsfan1a - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Atta way, Nats scouts, FO, and Lerners! Atta way, Z-Man! Atta way, Flynnie!

  39. Joe S. - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Great job indeed: well worth every penny.But please remember, most top draft choices do not have distinguished major league careers. Rare is the true "can't miss" prospect, such as Strasburg or Harper. And some folk who start at the bottom of the barrel rise to the top. (Peacock, maybe?)

  40. natsfan1a - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Oh, dang! Just belatedly thought of my Baby Boy Z name suggestion. Dmitri Young Zuckerman. :-)

  41. FS - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    First of all, congratulations to Jim Thome on his incredible achievement. Hats off to the guy who did it without juicing. I know it does not concern us, Nats fans, but it is amazing how less national coverage this guy got, as compared to Jeter's 3000 hits.Anyways, very happy to hear that Nationals signed all top 13 picks. Great to have Rendon, Purke, Meyer, and Goodwin in the system along with other prospects. It will be great to see Rendon playing along with Harper, Ryan, Morse, Danny, etc soon. Also want Purke and co to be part of our pitching staff as soon as possible.I am very eager to see these guys play against some talent soon like AFL or something.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Man, am I looking forward to Fall Instructional League, or what?The past two seasons have been a blast due to Strasburg and "The Kid", but this season looks to be the most eventful from a player developement standpoint.

  43. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    FS,AFL roster should be interesting as we can send two and maybe three (with MLB permission) players.It is nice to have this kind of problem.Joe S, Agreed on your analysis but you need to have them and Rizzo did sign a lot of the teams pick so let's hope some gems come out of this group.

  44. MicheleS - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    NatsJack… we expect lots of reports from the instructional league this year!!!!Good job by Rizzo/Lerners.. and an EXCELLENT JOB by Mark for covering this for us!

  45. baseballswami - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    Congrats to the FO for signing a great draft class. HOWEVER — the deadline for signings needs to be moved earlier – the draft was in JUNE. The way I understand it, all of these guys will go to Fla to be evaluated, since they have not been playing for several months. Then they are sent out to various minor league organizations. Wait just a minute, though — the minor league seasons are getting close to being over, meaning they won't really play very much. No one negotiates until it's the deadline anyway – so why not move it earlier? That way the players actually get some time in before the off season. I know some of them will play AFL, but not all of them can. Wasted season. Only the Storen-like guys sign right away and get their time in. It's nice when they do, but if Boras is your agent and you are a high draft pick that's not going to happen. Does MLB have a reason for the length of time in between the draft and the signing deadline? Do they really think negotiating is going on?

  46. NatsLady - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Great for the Nats! This is gonna be fun. In fact, it already IS fun. Thanks, Mark, for your coverage. Maybe next year they will have a deadline earlier in the day.Did you see the triple play, 6-4-3-2, Milwaukee?

  47. Tcostant - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I'm glad we got all these guys signed, but I look forward to the year when signing our draft picks isn't the biggest news of the week.

  48. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    A great night for the Nats and Nats fans for sure. But the following portion of Mark's story is very disturbing:"Not wanting the Nationals to have any doubts about the status of that shoulder, Purke let the club administer an enhanced MRI when he visited Washington in early July. Rizzo said that test came back clean. Not many draft choices allow you to do a full MRI arthrogram and allow you to shoot dye into their bodies for us to get a clear, clear evaluation of his status," the GM said."So the "physicals" with two renowned orthopedists that Rendon passed did not include a full MRI arthrogram? Huh? That's the test that finally revealed Flores' injury, and probably LaRoche's as well. I simply do not understand why the Nats don't require the very best medical testing of players with shoulder problems (or any other problem for that matter). It's not like an MRI arthrogram is dangerous. I'm glad they did one on Purke, but Rendon and any other player or draftee with shoulder issues should be required to have one. Come on!

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    baseballswami….. They all will get 6 weeks of serious instruction and will take part in a 25 game season of Florida Instructional League games from the first week in September till the 3rd week in October. This is my SECOND favorite time of the year with Spring Training being my favorite.

  50. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:32 PM

    I'm going to Disney World. Been to Disneyland.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:34 PM

    Section 222…. so do you have all the medical records that were accumulated when Rendon first became injured? Are you saying that there is absolutely no information available from his days in school? And are the Nats required to share all this information with us? EVRERY TEAM goes through these medical issues. But for some reason, only the Nationals are inept. Focus on the Orioles and Brian Roberts, or maybe the Cardinals and Adam Wainwright, or the Marlins and Josh Johnson for crying out loud.

  52. Gonat - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    NatsJack, I think if the Nats get Buehrle, Coco Crisp and a top notch bullpen, you will like the 3rd week of October for other reasons. Wink, wink. Still thinking 2013 is the year.

  53. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Gonat…. And I totally agree. But I'm thinking just gettng to the first week in October next season playing meaningful baseball will be OK, too.

  54. Mark'd - Aug 16, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Yep, I know Gonat is saying 3rd week of October tongue in cheek but I also think he believes Pa….pa… playoffs are a reality with the right off season moves.The Lerners did this baseball city right. Now they have 4 more big checks to write wit Ryan Zimmerman and Michael Morse and then 2 Free Agents.My only reluctance is Strasburg's 2012 innings limit.

  55. NatinBeantown - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    You know, it occurs to me that, more than any other area of team-building, Rizzo and the Lerners are adept at leapfrogging other teams by drafting lots of "signability-issue" guys and throwing a ton of money at them–As opposed to leapfrogging others through huge MLB payroll and FA signings (see Cashman, Brian), through international signings, or through repeated one-sided trades (see Anthopoulos, Alex). This is the method that has allowed the Nationals to move up the organizational food chain more than any other.Which is why Nationals fans should be particularly aware of the coming collective bargaining agreement, and the league's focus on a hard-slotting system. If we drafted Purke in the 4th round and were required to only offer him $300-$500k, he would not be a National.Not raining on a fabulous day for a Nats Front Office Parade, but it's one aspect of the CBA that will be good for baseball but potentially bad for the Nats, moreso than other clubs because of our history exploiting the slotting system.

  56. A DC Wonk - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Building though the draft is the most sound way to build a solid team. You do that, then sign key free agents (or some key trades, if you ave enough minor league talent) — when the time is right. This is exactly the position that the FO has gotten us in. Really Superb. Joe S. said… But please remember, most top draft choices do not have distinguished major league careers.That's true — and well worth remembering.OTOH, college draftees have a significantly higher probability than high schoolers; and hitters have a significantly higher probability than pitchers.Nevertheless, we have to love what we see so far. I mean, take Meyers (who's been getting much less press than Purke). Meyers is 6'9" and can throw 100 mph. You gotta love that potential!As for "" – I still think 2013 is more realistic. That's probably when this draft class will start to make a real impact — and also probably the earliest time when Bryce will have his first good MLB year.But next year will be fun. Having both Strassy and JZimm will add a lot. So will a healthy LaRoche. And it's not out of the question that Rendon might advance as quickly as Ryan Zim did.Hoo-weee, you gotta love the direction this club is going in!

  57. Natslifer - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Lets put the Rendon shoulder conversation a different way. Rendon's shoulder was hurt badly enough to severely limit his play. He never had surgery but now everyone says "all is well" – this does sound exactly like LaRoche. The Nats tell everyone that Purke allowed an MRI but don't say boo about Rendon – seems logical that Rendon didn't let them do one. This all makes perfect sense to me – Boras say's no because if there's any issue then his client gets less. Sounds like good negotiating strategy to me. But who cares?? I think there's even odds that Rendon needs surgery and he misses a bunch of time. He's young and a third baseman and he'll come back.

  58. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    NatinBeantown….. I have been aware of the potential for the "hard slotting" in the next CBA and figured that it would help in the Purke negotiations, however, it wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing for the Nats.For one, I'm not so sure the Players Union will go for a hard slotting but if they do, the Nats will still be ahead of most teams as they have spent the most money on their amateur scouting on the national level. The quality AND the quantity of scouts witin the organization is extremely impressive.

  59. Mick - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Does this also reinforce to other potential stud free agents that the Nats are serious and secondly, how many if at all will the Nats pursue for 2012? my guess is they may pursue only a leadof hitting CF and that is all.

  60. Big Cat - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Great job Rizzo! Hopefully some of these kids will end up in Potomac so I can watch them a little. As for tonight, Lets go Mr Wang!NatsJack, you got the life. Probably retired, live a mile from the complex and play golf too. Bet there is a local watering hole where you can watch the games when you don't have it on your 65 inch HD at the crib

  61. A DC Wonk - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Natsinbeantown — those are very astute comments. I suppose the slightly silver lining is that the CBA-renewal is coming _after_ this year's draft signings!

  62. Mick - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    Had a thought, why not Mike Wallace as an assistant in 2012. I think he is terrific and would relate well with the young players and my other thought would be to get local scout and former GW coach Mike Toomey involved, he helped scout many Giant players from their championship team.

  63. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Ol Tooms. That little guy can dance

  64. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Big Cat…. Parts of your take are correct. I'm not retired but only work two full days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) and half days on Monday and Thursdays (7 AM till 11 AM). And I actually live 50 miles from Viera but only 20 miles from both Disney and the Astros in Kissimmee and 40 miles from the Tigers in Lakeland. And it's only a 42" HD and the watering hole is about 2 miles up the street. (And I do play golf.)

  65. NatinBeantown - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    NatsJack, I agree that the Nats have invested the resources into a top shelf amateur scouting department in the U.S. I agree that provides (and will continute to provide) a marginal advantage over other teams in terms of roster building, i.e. our 4th rounder has a better likelihood of success than your 4th rounder.But the change in the CBA is a different thing, and it would adversely affect the Nats. More than any other team, we have exploited the strange current "recommended slotting" system, and used big bonuses and contracts to get more, better players through the draft than other teams, i.e. signing 3 first-round talents in one draft. Pittsburgh and Josh Bell are an example of another team doing it. If a hard slotting system is accepted, that advantage disappears.

  66. NatinBeantown - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:51 PM

    There is one advantage the Nats have in the amateur draft I am happy will be disappearing: I hope this is the last year there is enough deadwood on the 40-man roster to give two MLB contracts to signees. Assuming we will somehow add Lombardozzi to the 40-man to protect him from Rule 5, and assuming that we need to free a space for one or two FAs, what are the corresponding moves?

  67. baseballswami - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Modest goals – finish somewhere other than 5th this year, winning record next year and at least threaten for the top or wild card. 2013 – pa-pa-playoffs! Let's get these guys on a plane and down to Florida and start seeing what they can do! CMW tonight – holding my breath to see if he can keep doing what he did last time. 26 coming up against NLEast – how will we do? I am going with 14-12.Feeling like maybe we get to the Marlins this go around. Of course, we also have to do better against the teams (non-nl east) that remain that do not have winning records. That is something we really have to fix.

  68. TimDz - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Regarding Rendon's shoulder…Now that he has signed and is in the fold, the Nats would be well served to insist that he get the MRI arthrogram done (if it hasn't already been completed) before he steps onto the field. If it shows something that needs to be addressed through surgery…DO IT NOW…I'd rather see him put on the shelf for a few months now as opposed to it potentially getting worse down the line.

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    NatinBeantown…. the Nats have got a ways to go before worrying about Lombardozzi and Rule 5 status. I'm pretty sure they have at least 1 and maybe 2 years before that kicks in.But I'd like to see him on the 40 man, as well.

  70. Will - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    NatinBeantown,There's still a lot of dead wood on the 40 man roster. Adam Carr, Elvin Ramirez, Garrett Mock, Severino, Doug Slaten, Ivan Rodriguez, Alex Cora, and a couple of Ankiel, Bixler, Corey Brown, Gomes and Nix surely won't be around next year.

  71. Will - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    NatsJack,Lombardozzi signed when he was 19 years old, thus he may spend 4 years in the minors before becoming eligible for Rule 5. His first season was 2008, which means he'll be eligible this offseason.I could be wrong, and perhaps his 48 games in 2008 don't qualify as a "full season", but if not this year, then certainly next year.

  72. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    NatinBeantown,I think the new CBA may affect the Nats but it seems that they set out a plan to take advantage of one part of the player acquisition system due to its low cost/high reward results. Who is to say that if the new CBA has hard slotting that they do not switch to Int'l FA signings as the new low cost/high reward option. They money saved via hard slotting could be used there and get similar results. And when that loophole is closed, well… we can hope we have dominated for a bit and can afford to play/pay with the big boys.

  73. John C. - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    @Natsinbeantown: remember that players on the 60 day DL don't count against the 40 man limit. That's why Strasburg and Elvin Ramirez (remember him? Rule 5 guy?) don't count against the limit. Strasburg is coming off the DL when his 30 day rehab runs out, but the Nats could easily move Cole Kimball and/or Adam LaRoche from the 15 to the 60 day DL to account for both Strasburg and Lombardozzi if they wish. There is also the potential to move Pudge to the 60 day DL; DJ has already hinted that he may be done for the year with his oblique muscle problems.More long term, the obvious deadwood on the 40 man roster right now is Garrett Mock, who pitched his way from starting in DC to the bullpen in rookie ball (he may be the only 28yo in the Gulf Coast League).

  74. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Wow. Slapped down by NatsJack. I guess I've hit the big time. To answer your rhetorical question, no, I don't have all of Rendon's records. I assume you don't either. I'm just noting that according to Mark's report, the Nats said that Rendon passed two physicals from renowned orthopedists, and yet Rizzo also said that Purke having an MRI arthrogram was unusual. I assume you would agree that that strongly suggests that Rendon did not have that test. And that doesn't trouble you at all? You are so trusting of the Nats medical staff that you're fine with saying Rendon's shoulder is not a problem even though the most advanced medical test was not used? Based on the reporting at the time, I believe that Flores' injury, which cost him the better part of two seasons, was misdiagnosed at first and probably aggravated by letting him play a few months after he went down. Only after the MRI arthrogram did he have the surgery he needed. I'd hate to find out that Rendon's injury is more serious than reported. A few thousand dollars in medical testing is a small price to pay for just a little more certainty, don't you think? Maybe we sign him anyway, but being surprised by shoulder injuries that turn out to be worse than we thought they were has unfortunately been a pattern with this team and it worries me. Now, maybe there's an explanation for the different level of examinations given to the two prize prospects. But it hasn't been reported, and you don't know any more than I do what it might be. You're willing to trust them. Based on past experience, I'm not. And Rizzo's quote seems to suggest that somehow the player in which the team is about to invest millions of dollars gets to decide what kinds of tests will be done. That's crazy. The bottom line is that I believe that the Nats should use (and require) the most sophisticated medical testing possible in all cases — both for the team's and the players' protection. Do you really disagree with that?Finally, where did you see in my comment that only the Nats are inept in this department? Last I checked, this is a blog about the Nats, not the Cards, Orioles, or Marlins. Why would I pick on those teams here, even I followed them (which I don't)?

  75. NatinBeantown - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Thanks Will. I'm interested to see how Mock reacts to his switch to the bullpen and if that's where he can finally realize his arm's potential.Count me among those very interested to see how the few weeks remaining in the AAA season play out for Corey Brown, who has finally caught fire in August (.415 BA with 4 HRs in last 11 games)

  76. Feel Wood - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    I simply do not understand why the Nats don't require the very best medical testing of players with shoulder problems (or any other problem for that matter). It's not like an MRI arthrogram is dangerous. I'm glad they did one on Purke, but Rendon and any other player or draftee with shoulder issues should be required to have one.Regarding Rendon's shoulder…Now that he has signed and is in the fold, the Nats would be well served to insist that he get the MRI arthrogram done (if it hasn't already been completed) before he steps onto the field. Statements such as these are just so incredibly clueless. These are baseball players, not lab rats. No team can require or force any player to undergo any medical procedure. It is always the player's choice as to what gets done to his body. This is particularly true when the player is under contract. Even before a contract is signed, it is still the player's choice, and no player is going to agree to undergo any medical test or procedure just to ease the mind of the team that's trying to sign him, unless he thinks that it will up his ante in the negotiations. This is why Purke agreed to the advanced MRI and Rendon didn't. Purke realized that if he didn't do it, the Nationals' offer would come in lower than what he was prepared to accept, while Rendon knew that having an advanced MRI could only decrease whatever offer he'd get, not increase it.Anyone who thinks there's a way that teams can guarantee not having injury problems by "testing players more thoroughly before they sign them" or by "having a better medical staff" is truly living in la-la land.

  77. Wally - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Players under control for 3+ years:Strasburg, Espy, Ramos, Desmond, Lannan, JZimm, Storen, Clippard, Werth2+ years:RZimMorse'A' prospects: Harper, Rendon, Cole, Purke, Meyer'B' Prospects:Norris, Ray, Solis, Lombo, Hood, MarreroYeah, feeling pretty good. Not missing the days of Simontacchi, et al.

  78. Bowdenball - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Section 222:It wasn't just the Nats' medical staff that looked at Rendon. One of the orthopedists was Dr. Lewis Yocum, who is basically Dr. James Andrews Jr. Here is an article from Forbes about him: the Nats' medical staff? Maybe not. Trust that guy? Absolutely.

  79. Steve M. - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    NatinBeantown said… Thanks Will. I'm interested to see how Mock reacts to his switch to the bullpen and if that's where he can finally realize his arm's potential.Count me among those very interested to see how the few weeks remaining in the AAA season play out for Corey Brown, who has finally caught fire in August (.415 BA with 4 HRs in last 11 games) August 16, 2011 10:17 AM Corey's situation is perplexing to say the least. Above average power, long swing. Where have we seen that before. He started slow from the ankle injury he sustained in Spring Training. Then they tinkered with his swing when he first got to Syracuse. He had that long lefty swing. The adjustments didn't seem to work. They re-did his swing again. Slightly better results. 3rd time the charm? Anyone see him lately? He is hitting but can he stay in the groove or is he going to be like Danny Espinosa boom & bust cycles?Mock has done well in the 2 weeks he has become a reliever. Again, it is AAA but finally they realized what 90% of us here knew, that he was never going to be a good MLB starter. The next step will be, can he be a good MLB reliever. Rizzo loves the guy. Enough said. Now if they can come to the same revelation on Detwiler, sooner than later this kid can be a productive part of the revamped 2012 bullpen.

  80. Mick - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Charlie Manuel said back in May, Nats will be a playoff franchise on a yearly basis by about 2014. What I want to see is a 500 or slightly above finish this season. Next season an expectation of 90 wins I do not think is fantasy. it may not be enough in the East to win a division or be Wild Card, but that is OK. My feeling is by 2013, Braves and or Phillies slip a bit and Nats are a 90-95 win club and that is where the we watch baseball in October in DC.

  81. JaneB - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Wally, what about Peacock as a prospect — does he go on the list as an A or a B or not at all?

  82. Mick - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Actually, I forgot, with realignment and adding more teams to playoffs, the odds of baseball in DC in Oct increase.

  83. Wally - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    JaneB – I forgot about him, thanks! I'd say B+, not in Cole, Purke (if healthy) or Meyer level, but higher than Ray and Solis.Once Rizzo gets a little sleep, he should turn to locking up some of these guys. RZim, of course, but they are going to have to pay full price there (and they should).But JZimm and Morse are the most obvious candidates for team-friendly contracts, since neither has made a lot yet. Guarantee Morse two years for say $9m, and in return get two team options for $12m each. Similar for JZimm, maybe 3yrs, $15m guaranteed, with two option years at $12m and $15m? Then let Espy and Ramos perform again next year and do the same for them.

  84. fpcsteve - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    WaPo reports that Rendon's injury was to a muscle and not the shoulder joint itself. That would explain the absence of advanced testing and diagnosis. It seems to me that self-interest would assure Nats fans that the Nats' front office was satisfied that Rendon was healthy. Reagarding Corey Brown, I hate to be a skeptic, but I wonder if his improved stats are coming at the expense of tired arms and late-season call-ups. I have heard that theory advanced before as a way of explaining some late-season improvements. Just a thought…

  85. Will - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    Feel Wood said, "Anyone who thinks there's a way that teams can guarantee not having injury problems by "testing players more thoroughly before they sign them" or by "having a better medical staff" is truly living in la-la land.There is some evidence that better staff results in lesser time lost to injury. There's been some work compiling information about players and how much time they spent on the DL over the past decade. The interesting results was that the White Sox were exceptionally healthy. From 2002 to 2009, the Sox spent just over 2000 days on the DL, almost 2 times less than the next healthiest team, and almost 4 times healthier than the least healthy team. Clearly, the White Sox staff (whether its management in assessing which players to sign, or the trainers treating the players they have) are doing something right. Check out the article here, with lots of fun graphs and charts.Also of note, over the same period 02-09, the Nationals/Expos were the 4th least healthiest team.

  86. Mick - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Good point Will and that is scary too. Imagine if Nats did have injury problems then, we could have been talking about a club losing 130 plus games, lol

  87. Big Cat - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    Feel Wood……would you spend 6 million on a horse with a bum leg? Bet your answer is no. The principal is the same here. Any of you who think a player isn't a piece of beef are very naive

  88. Bowdenball - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Mick-I agree with your timeline, but don't hold your breath waiting for the Braves to fall off. They have an impressive array of young talent both on their major league roster and in the minors. They had the 4th ranked farm system at the beginning of this year, and you could make a legitimate case that members of their big league club should finish first, second and third in the NL Rookie of the Year race.

  89. Section 222 - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    Good points by NatsLifer and FeelWood about players not being lab rats. But, at the least, if the Nats actually asked Rendon to have an MRI Arthrogram and he (or Boras) refused, then the Nats shouldn't be touting the fact that he passed physicals with renowned orthopedists.Bowdenball is certainly right that Yocum is a big name. He's the guy who did Chad Cordero's surgery if I remember correctly. And Jordan Zimmermann's TJ surgery as well. I trust him, but I'd trust him more if he had done an MRI Arthrogram, and I'll bet he would have liked to have one done too. I'm not saying we shouldn't have signed Rendon, and I certainly won't argue that we paid too much based on his physical condition. After all, as I've said many times before, THE LERNERS ARE BILLIONAIRES. But I'm tired of rosy scenarios and misleading upbeat prognoses of our players' injuries. The great thing about being a blog commenter with no actual responsibities is you get to say "I told you so" if things turn out they way you feared. I'm truly hoping I won't have that opportunity this time around.

  90. Wally - Aug 16, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    IMO, the difference between the medical evaluation the Nats felt they needed to do between Purke and Rendon is solely positional. Even assuming the worst for Rendon, let's say torn rotator cuff (I know that isn't the diagnosis), it onoy delays his start, not changes his performance expectations. Laroche lost this season but is expected to make a full recovery.For pitchers, it changes everything. Barret Loux went from a $2+m bonus to several hundred $K when he was diagnosed with a shoulder tear last year before signing.

  91. Mick - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Bowdenball, your correct and I'm thinking more Philly going down a bit. As long as we are winning and close to 90 wins a year and in it to the end, I am happy. What makes baseball special is that there are so many other things to watch for as a fan, Strassburg winning 30, back to back no hitters, Morse and/or Harper one day hitting 50 plus HR's and greaking RBI record, etc..

  92. NatinBeantown - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    An aside, regarding the 2012 Draft… Elias just released their updated rankings. Gomes is a solid Type B (though I think the question with him is whether he would just accept arbitration, rejoin the team, and squash that potential supplemental draft pick)Pudge and Nix are just barely below the cutoff for Type B. It's hard to imagine a scenario where either one gets over the cusp before the end of the year.FWIW, Jerry Hairston is nowhere near the cutoff, nor (obviously) was Marquis.

  93. Feel Wood - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    There is some evidence that better staff results in lesser time lost to injury.Really? Or are you just using time lost to injury as the metric to judge the quality of the medical staff? "This team loses less time to injury, therefore they must have better doctors!" Riiiiight.

  94. TimDz (aka clueless) - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Feelwood….So sorry that my "cluelessness" agitated you, but I still feel (in my opinion, clueless as it may be) that a team that invests such money into a player whose physical ability is key to their performance should have the right to demand such procedures. LaRoche tried to tough it out and I feel (clueless opinion time again) he did more damage to his shoulder and to the team in the process.Of course, I could be wrong…One more thing…I respect any opposite opinions, but I get a bit hacked off when people start in on personal attacks and, while being called "clueless" and "in La-La land" are not necessarily akin to calling someone a derrogatory name, it is still counterproductive…

  95. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Great day to be a Nats fan! Super point about the Kearns contract. Even with so much paid out to these guys, it's a fraction of what it would take on the open market in a couple years. No way you'd get all four for that little ever again. If ever $16M was a good investment, this would def qualify.

  96. Steve M. - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Bowdenball said… Section 222:It wasn't just the Nats' medical staff that looked at Rendon. One of the orthopedists was Dr. Lewis Yocum, who is basically Dr. James Andrews Jr. Here is an article from Forbes about him: the Nats' medical staff? Maybe not. Trust that guy? Absolutely. August 16, 2011 10:27 AM Yocum is now the top TJ Doc and I am sure he knows shoulders too. Glad due diligence beyond staff doctors was used.The Nats were the #1 team for best Draft. An amazing job to get Purke in the same way they got Werth. They made an outstanding presentation to him and his family.This team should maybe get into the top 10 in Farm Systems now. Rizzo has to improve in International now and make sure the A ball facilities and staff are where they need to be to make sure teaching the Nats way and player development and proper attitude are core values.I think when the MLB club is a winner, it also enhances what the young kids have to look forward to. Everybody wants to play for a winner.

  97. Mark'd - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:11 PM

    SteveM, don't you think they got Werth with the Brinks truck full of money?

  98. Feel Wood - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Feel Wood……would you spend 6 million on a horse with a bum leg? Bet your answer is no. The principal is the same here. Any of you who think a player isn't a piece of beef are very naiveYou seem to forget that baseball players are human beings, whereas horses and pieces of beef aren't. And in this society, human beings have rights that horses and pieces of beef don't, among which is the right not to be probed against their will. Governments can get away with violating that right, but a mere business like MLB would have a hard time doing it. Look how difficult it was for them to implement drug testing programs, and that's not even an invasive procedure like the advanced MRIs you guys are saying should be required of anyone with the temerity to try to play professional ball.

  99. Will - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    Feel Wood,Did you read my post or the article at all? I said it could be attributed to the GM/scouts signing players less likely to be prone to injury (eg why 5 teams passed on Rendon because of injury concerns to pick less risky players) or due to the medical staff. However, there is clearly something different the White Sox staff is doing. There is no small sample size, when we're talking about 8 seasons of hundreds of players in thousands of games.White Sox players missed 6000 fewer days than Rangers players. That's 750 days per season. That is very significant, and very meaningful. It allows you to put the best team out onto the field each day.

  100. Richard - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    I love the way Rendon swings. He releases his top hand on his follow through and throws his whole body into the swing so that by the time he's finished swinging he's changed position a bit in the box. It reminds me of another guy about 5'10" 190 lbs who swung that way: Willie Mays! He too got tremendous power out of a smaller package, but, okay, Willie was a bit more "cut" than Anthony is at present. And then there's Rendon's great batting eye and discipline. Hey, yeah, I kinda like this guy! — And obviously I too believe the Nats are to be congratulated on this and the prior two drafts.

  101. Steve M. - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Mark'd, I stand corrected, let me restate this, great presentation to the player and the family and a boatload of cash but keep in mind that Texeira walked away from the top offer which was the Nationals. Some players want both, the money and the ring. Werth already has the ring and hopefully gets a few here in Washington.I think some players need to be convinced and supposedly Jayson Werth wanted to make sure this team was working towards winning in the future.Jayson could have stayed with the Phillies for a 3 year $42,000,000 deal. He is set for life now and not many athletes can say that.

  102. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    "White Sox players missed 6000 fewer days than Rangers players. That's 750 days per season. That is very significant, and very meaningful. It allows you to put the best team out onto the field each day." Perhaps not the best example — which one of those teams made the World Series?

  103. Natslifer - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Feel Wood – are you saying that you believe once a player is signed, that the player can refuse to have an MRI or other diagnostic procedure if the Nats want him to have one?

  104. PAY TO PLAY - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    From Kilgore. Nats depth of players of 25 years of age and younger:STARTER PITCHERS Stephen StrasburgJordan ZimmermannAlex MeyerMatt Purke Kylin TurnbullRobbie RayA.J. ColeBrad PeacockTom MiloneRoss DetilwerBrad MeyersSammy SolisDanny RosenbaumINFIELD Danny EspinosaIan DesmondStephen LombardozziAnthony RendonChris MarreroTyler MooreBlake KelsoRick HagueJeff KobernusOUTFIELD Bryce HarperBrian GoodwinDestin HoodMichael TaylorErik KomatsuEury PerezRandolph OduberCATCHER Wilson RamosDerek NorrisDavid FreitasSandy LeonRELIEVERS Drew StorenTyler ClippardRafael MartinRyan MattheusCole Kimball

  105. The Joker - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Pete Orr would be more valuable than a crippled Tony Rendon.

  106. Water23 - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Mark'd, That is crazy talk. It was clearly Rizzo presentation that Shake Shack and Box Frites would be opening sometime in the middle of the season. That, two dollar Tuesdays and the Mikey's sweet smile made all the difference. Money was never a factor!

  107. natsfan1a - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    Now now, kids. I realize that some of you may have had a late night what with the draft news, and that you've been without Nats baseball for a couple of days. But don't make me stop this virtual car or send you all to your respective virtual rooms. ummm…is it time for live baseball yet? ;-)In other news, thanks to JaneB and others for their posts re. the Showtime series on the SF Giants (The Franchise). After some poking around, I discovered that our current cable package does include the channel. D'oh! So I'll be recording and watching the latest episodes.

  108. Big Cat - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    Feel Wood…..blah blah blah…answer the question. Would you pay 6 million dollars on a horse with a bum leg

  109. Feel Wood - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    So sorry that my "cluelessness" agitated you, but I still feel (in my opinion, clueless as it may be) that a team that invests such money into a player whose physical ability is key to their performance should have the right to demand such procedures. LaRoche tried to tough it out and I feel (clueless opinion time again) he did more damage to his shoulder and to the team in the process.In what industry in 21st century America does an employer have the right to demand that an employee undergo a medical procedure in order to keep his job? Realistically, only in cases where the result of that procedure will positively or negatively determine that employee's abilty to fulfill the requirements of the job. For example, if I have a security clearance one of the requirements of that job is that I be drug free, and therefore my employer has the right to require me to be drug-tested. But a baseball player is not required to be 100% healthy in order to do his job. If he can play hurt and still perform, he has the right to do that. So in the case of LaRoche, it clearly was a mistake for him to delay the advanced testing and evaluation that led to the decision to have surgery. But it was LaRoche's mistake, not the team's. They could not have told him "you either have this testing or you won't play." That would have been illegal. The only "right" they had vis a vis LaRoche was the right to not play him because he wasn't hitting. But if you recall, at the time there was no one on the whole team who was hitting, so it's 20-20 hindsight to say that they should have exercised that "right" on LaRoche and not any of the other guys.

  110. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Pay to Play….. careful when quoting Kilgore. Mattheus turns 28 in November.

  111. Will - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Anonymous,Perhaps not the best example — which one of those teams made the World Series?The data set is from 2002-2009, so to answer your question: the White Sox in 2005. From 2002-09 the Rangers did not once make the playoffs.

  112. NatsLady - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    With all deference to Kilgore, I think Tyler Clippard is 26? Mattheus is 27. Anyway, I guess the point is, we have a young team, with a nice sprinkling of veterans.

  113. Mark'd - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Water23, I know, what was I thinking. Your strategy surely works on hiring the fry guy though. LMAO

  114. NatsJack in Florida - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    And Rafael Martin turned 26 in May.

  115. NatsLady - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    With regard to players' physical exams– maybe it also depends on contract negotiations?

  116. PAY TO PLAY - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    NatsJack, good pick! He makes many errors in the field, so good save! The list is interesting as there are some very promising names. Now they need to turn into promising Rookies and top level players.The farm looks stacked nicely with lefty pitchers now.

  117. Natslifer - Aug 16, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    With all due respect, Feel Wood, the reason you submit to a drug test (or a DMV check or anything else) in any job is technically because your employment agreement that you sign says that you must do that in order to be employed. Does anyone know specifically if the MLB labor agreement or the contracts these guys sign allow a player to refuse a diagnostic procedure? No more generalizations here.(And really, again, who cares? He's either hurt or he's ok – if I were the Nats and I hadn't done one right away, I'd either ask him or force him to do it immediately to see exactly what they have. No argument that Yocum is the man but even he can't diagnose things completely with an external exam).

  118. Feel Wood - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Feel Wood…..blah blah blah…answer the question. Would you pay 6 million dollars on a horse with a bum legNo. Because (a) I don't have six million dollars, and (b) I have no need for a horse.

  119. The Joker - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I hope the Nats give complete physicals to our boys. Prostate exams and the like.

  120. baseballswami - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    And — most certainly — EYE EXAMS!!! Right?

  121. natsfan1a - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    And *that* statement got us a new post. (Ouch.) ;-)The Joker said… I hope the Nats give complete physicals to our boys. Prostate exams and the like. August 16, 2011 12:15 PM

  122. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    About Corey Brown. What I heard was that he decided that the tinkering of his swing was not working and so he went to Randy Knorr and asked if he could try things his way. he was permitted to do so and has since been better at the plate.

  123. Big Cat - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    You would assume that Rice University had the dye procedure done and the results(xrays) were given to the Nats doctors. Anyhow, I hope the kid is a stud and reaches the bigs quickly. It is good that the colleges went to the restricted-flight BBCor metal bats. This way scouts can get a truer read on prospects. Also, a lot of these exposure camps/tourneys at colleges are going to wooden bats.

  124. Harper_ROY_2012 - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Awesome news! Rizzo got it done, now we wait to reap the yields that he has sown in the minors.My only concern is that we have 9 projected middle infielders out of 12 legit infield prospects!

  125. Anonymous - Aug 16, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Some speculation about the Rule 5 draft earlier in this thread and Lombo being potentially exposed. He will be added to 40 man roster soon so that makes the age/time in service part of the equation moot. The clock stops ticking once he's on the 40 man roster so no chance of losing him in that draft.





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