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Beltway Baseball Live – 9/13/11

Sep 13, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

It had been a couple of weeks since our last Beltway Baseball show — that pesky new baby thing kind of got in the way — but we returned today with an all-new live episode. CSNwashington.com's Chase Hughes and I discussed Stephen Strasburg, Ross Detwiler and Chris Marrero, among other topics. We also answered your questions.

If you missed the show live, no worries. Here it is, in its entirety. Part 1 is above; Part 2, where we answer your questions, is below the jump…Read more ยป

  1. Drew8 - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Mark:Are the Nats showcasing Chris Marrero, or do they think he has a future as their first baseman?Which position do you think Anthony Rendon will play at the major league level? Who will the Nats deal to make room?

  2. MIcheleS - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    Has there been any update/rumors on signing RZim to an extension?

  3. Doc - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:50 PM

    What are Davey's ratings of Flo's development? Jesus's game looks like it's almost back to where it was pre '09 injury.

  4. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    Chase.. for today's show.. don't bounce your leg..shows the nerves!

  5. Drew8 - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    2011 on base percentage:Adam Dunn — .292 (with a .162 batting average)Adam LaRoche — .288 (with a .172 batting avg.)Ian Desmond — .289 (with a .243 batting avg!)Mark: The Nationals can't really believe Ian Desmond is their leadoff hitter, can they?In the words of that famed scout John McEnroe: You cannot be serious.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    @Drew – What's his OBP when leading off?I don't know, just wondering, and suspecting that if there is any answer besides a rhetorical one, it'll be there.

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    oh, and who is "Flo"?

  8. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    Flores.Nevermind.

  9. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    That gal on the Progressive Insurance commercials? She's a little flaky, but better than the Geico caveman, imo. I *did* like the old school AFLAC duck's voice, but the new one not so much. Oh, never mind.Sec 3, My Sofa said… oh, and who is "Flo"? September 13, 2011 9:39 AM

  10. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    The duck has a new voice? I don't believe I approve of that.

  11. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    I think things should always stay the same and never ever change.Kind of like commenters' opinions.

  12. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Dude.I think I just blew my own mind.That [stuff] was deep, yo.

  13. Steve M. - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Mark, what do you see as the #1 off-season priority?Who do you see in this group Wang, Detwiler, Milone, Peacock being part of the Opening Day 2012 rotation?

  14. MicheleS - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Any update on the CF situation? Is this going to be Werth's Job Next year? Will they be platooning RF now? I think Span would come at too high a price (since the Twins think we fleeced them out of Ramos) and the Rays are going to demand a high price for Upton (and there is much debate among the chatters if we even want either Upton/Span)

  15. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    @Scoo … the former duck was Gilbert Gottfried–you heard about why they changed, right? Hey, maybe they could get Dibble!Anybody else remember "Duck and Weevil"?"catride" … must be a message in that.

  16. Grandstander - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    @ Sec 3As a leadoff hitter this season, Desmond is slashing .258/.296/.417As for a question, I have 2. Davey Johnson has repeatedly expressed frustration with the quality of his bench players. Is there anyone on the bench who might stick, or will they all be gone next season?Also, while we seem to have a wealth of young arms to fill the rotation, none have really proven themselves yet. Obviously guys like Milone and Peacock haven't had the time to do so, but will the Nats be actively pursuing a FA arm to fill in a spot on the rotation, or will they rely instead on the young crop of talent they have and hope it works out? What are the chances they sign Wang to an incentive-laden contract and take the risk of having him take up a roster spot?

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    Thx, G. Yeah, them ain't inspiring numbers.

  18. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:20 PM

    Hadn't heard, Sec3, but now I have, thanks to you.

  19. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    Will Pudge be here next year? Don't see how with Flores coming back up to par and Ramos a future star.

  20. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Ditto MicheleS's 2d question: How do Davey and Rizzo think Werth is doing in CF, and is that a potential answer for 2012?

  21. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    Duck and Weevil, no. Duck and cover, yes.Cosign, Scooter. ;-)In other news, looking forward to watching a Nats game tonight. Was out of town with very limited Internet access and didn't see much more than the boxscores in the local (OH) fishwrap. Did see where Jeremy Affeldt cut his hand while using a knife to separate frozen burgers and had to have surgery. Dude. Seriously.Scooter said… Dude. I think I just blew my own mind. That [stuff] was deep, yo. September 13, 2011 10:00 AM

  22. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    As for the subject at hand (um, that was not intentional), I'd be interested in thoughts on Morse's future, from both a position standpoint and from a contract standpoint.

  23. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Good questions but I'm thinking that the matter of which player we chatters want does not tend to factor into FO decisions (and I'm fine with that ;-)).MicheleS said… Any update on the CF situation? Is this going to be Werth's Job Next year? Will they be platooning RF now? I think Span would come at too high a price (since the Twins think we fleeced them out of Ramos) and the Rays are going to demand a high price for Upton (and there is much debate among the chatters if we even want either Upton/Span) September 13, 2011 10:08 AM

  24. Section 222 - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    What do you think of generally limiting Strasburg to between 5 and 6 innings per start (as opposed the 6 or 7 that JZnn pitched) in order to give him 5 or 6 more starts and not have to shut him down in September 2012, as we are fighting for a Wild Card spot? :-)Do you expect Gomes to accept arbitration (which the Nats have to offer him to get a compensation pick if he declines), thereby taking that RH pinch hitter platoon spot that might otherwise go to Marrero? Is it possible both will be on the 25-man come next April?

  25. josh f - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Looking ahead to the 2012 rotation — seems like we have a big gap btw Strasburg and Zimmermann at the top, and then Lannan/Wang etc. at the bottom. Are there any pitchers outside the organization that could come up in trade talks or FA signings this offseason? I think we need a strong #3, and I don't trust anyone currently on the roster to fill that role.

  26. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    @Sofa– Des last 28 days (since he became leadoff hitter):.288/.327/.462 However, 5 walks, 24 K's in that period. The rankings for OBP for the last 30 days areRamos (.397), Werth (.356 been tried at leadoff)Marrero (.345), Morse (.336), Espi (.333) then Desi at .325, followed by RZimm, Ankiel and Gomes.So who–on the current roster–would you have lead off other than Desi?http://www.fangraphs.com/winss.aspx?team=Nationals&pos=all&stats=bat&qual=50&type=8&season=2011&month=3&season1=2011

  27. sjm308 - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Mark:Both my questions were already asked but I will include them in hopes you will get to both.1. Do you think the FO will actively look for a FA pitcher to bolster our starters (and effectively move LannEn back to a #4)2. Are you as impressed with Werth in CF as I am?Third question would be – do we currently have a leadoff type hitter in our system at this point or will that have to be a FA signing as well.thanksSEVEN MORE WINS TO GO!!!go nats!

  28. sjm308 - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    OK, another question.Do you think Detwiler has a better chance of ending up in the bullpen or will they continue to try him as a starter? Same thing for Gorzo and is it silly to have 3 lefties in the bullpen at the start of a season? That is assuming they keep Burnett and his fairly hefty contract.

  29. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    sjm308– me, very impressed by Werth in CF. Gets to everything. According to Fangraphs, 2011 UZR/150 in CF – 20.4 (105 innings)His record in CF for Philly was mixed.Maybe the FO is going after a leadoff hitter who is not a centerfielder?

  30. sjm308 - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    natslady – no stats here but I like the way he just seems to glide after each ball and he really can cover a lot of ground (there is probably some uzr or other anagram that will tell me I am wrong but I don't care about that, I just like how he tracks the ball) Mark – the questions just keep popping up in my little brainWill Livan be back next year? and do you think he can fill the role of long reliever and do we really need a long reliever? It seems like there is rarely a game where a reliever goes more than 2 innings and it also seems like Gorzo & Detwiler can do that pretty well.I promise thats my last one

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Too early for these type of questions. Fall Instructional League will be starting in a week.I'll be able to follow Rendon, Purke, Goodwin and Meyer pretty close and get some updates for everbody.What I really want is an update on the Tune Inn. Anybody know?

  32. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Too early? Pshaw. Just looked at the archive of the weekly Boz chat and someone had asked when was the best time for fans to visit spring training. Now, that's early. (ahhh, Florida baseball…we're all jealous, NatsJack. :-))

  33. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    NatsLady, As usual you are the voice of reason. It's not fair to judge Desmond's OBP for the whole season when he has clearly changed his approach completely in the past month. If he just adds about 10 – 15 walks for the entire year and maintain his new approach he could be a very reasonable leadoff hitter. I think that the Nats have one more year to evaluate whether Desmond/Espinosa/Lombardozzi are the answer up the middle or if we need to look outside? I previously advocated perusing Reyes but I think that he's destined to spend long stretches on the DL every year and at $20 mil a year that's not a good investment. If we are willing to spend big bucks on someone outside our org. how about Matt Kemp? I think we can put a package together (centered on Rendon) to entice the Dodgers.

  34. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    Mark, What is your impression as far as DJ future outlook? do you think he intends to return next year? beyond? What do you think Rizzo's outlook is regarding the manager? will he be interviewing or is the job Davey's if he wants it?

  35. SCNatsFan - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    What comes first, a Nats playoff berth or Teddy winning a race?

  36. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    SCNatsFan… I think the Playoff Berth (including a World Series) before Teddy wins a race!

  37. Feel Wood - Sep 13, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    What do you think Rizzo's outlook is regarding the manager? will he be interviewing or is the job Davey's if he wants it?Yes and yes. They are required to conduct interviews to meet MLB minority hiring guidelines, but it's been pretty clear all along that the job is Davey's if he wants it – and if he doesn't want it, he will probably have a huge say in whoever they hire. And there really have been no indications so far that Davey won't be back next year. He's clearly not just managing out the string, and pretty much everything he has been doing is with an eye toward next year.One scenario I could see playing out is that they formally interview Bo Porter in order to meet the minority hiring guidelines and then in order to retain him as a coach give him either explicit or implicit assurance that he will be groomed to become Davey's successor when Davey steps down in a few years. Not unlike what Torre did with Mattingly.

  38. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Teddy = L.O.S.E.R. Can't seem to keep his head in the game. Yeah, it's a big head, but so are the heads of the other guys, Teddy. No alibis, dude. ;-)

  39. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Even though I got blasted yesterday for calling Buerhle a left-handed Livo, I'm still on that track.Looking at games logs (rather than ERA or W/L) you ask, how often did the pitcher "melt down" and put the game out of reach for a low scoring team like the Nats?Buerhle started 28 games, Livo 29.Buerhle had three games with 6+ earned runs (one in April and his last two in September, is that an orange flag?)Livo had five games with 6+ earned runs, scattered through the year.Buerhle started slow (his first five starts were 4, 5, 0, 5, 6 ER but from May to August he was excellent, only ONE game with 4 ER.Livo, on the other hand, was not so excellent, he had seven games with 4 ER (over the season). Still, a nice record of keeping the team in games with 3 or less ER in his starts.I don't think we'll get Buerhle, for the reasons discussed yesterday. But he does, consistently, keep his team in the game.P.S., despite Davey's love of the big bats, I would not be at all surprised if Morse got dealt in the off-season.

  40. Drew8 - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    jd said: "It's not fair to judge Desmond's OBP for the whole season."Really? OK, let's look at it over his CAREER of 1,228 plate appearances.Career on base percentage:Rob Deer .324Dave Kingman .302Ian Desmond: .300Desmond's on base percenage is awful any way you slice it.

  41. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Feel Wood, I don't think they are required to interview anyone if they are just retaining their manager. no? Also I thought that the Ronney rule only applied in football; I wasn't aware that MLB has such a prerequisite in place. If Porter is really the heir apparent; shouldn't he be the bench coach alongside Davey?

  42. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Any chance they go after Yu Darvish?

  43. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    I was under the impression Bo Porter said he didn't want to manage. I could be remembering that wrong.I'm not Bo Porter, and I don't play him on TV, so I can't speak for him, but to me, a faux interview would be insulting. That said, third base coaches are often the next manager.

  44. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Unless Desi can take more walks, I don't think he is the long term leadoff. But for now, is there a better choice on the roster (Lombo?), so let him work on it, it's September.

  45. joemktg - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    With the season almost complete, and the kiddies playing with the big club, which positions need to be fortified via free agency? What's the early prognosis?

  46. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    @NL, re Buerhle…one question: why is six runs the cutoff? Wouldn't a Quality Start be less arbitrary?

  47. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    NatsLady can speak for herself (and does, quite well), but aren't quality start criteria pretty arbitrary too?Also, I think there's a difference between "not-a-quality-start" (e.g., 4 runs over 7.1 innings) and "crap-tacular bullpen-killing meltdown." Both are worth looking at.

  48. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Ok, here's a stats question that will have a straight answer: runs scored–at what point does the win probability for runs scored, disregarding runs allowed, exceed 50%?If you score X runs, more often than not you will win.

  49. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Scooter, I agree. All stats are arbitrary to some extent. That's why I looked at the game logs. And, if I had time, I'd like to look at box scores and game tapes to see how many of the 6+ games were early inning "bullpen-killing meltdowns" and how many times an outfielder didn't get to a ball in the late innings and three runs scored.

  50. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Scooter, maybe, but it is a standard that is tracked, not cherrypicked to give a certain result (not that she is), and iirc, 5 runs was historically the average score for winning, until steroids, so that 4.5 ERA sorta fits.

  51. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    Don't know if this has been answered yet, but Ian's splits while batting leadoff (161 plate appearances):.258/.296/.417

  52. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Sofa, the six runs was arbitrary. Using fangraphs, when Lannan melted down and the score was 6-0 in the 3rd, the Nats had a 4.7% chance of winning the game. The Dodgers had 10-20% chance when it was 3-0 in the 4th inning in their game on 9/10. (They got some runners on base later but never actually scored).You pretty much have to say that if your pitcher has given you a less than 5% chance to win the game, he has not done his job.

  53. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    My point about Desmond is that he has changed his approach to hitting over the past month for the batter and I think it may be instructive to see if this will be a permanent improvement or just a blip; I think we have one more full year to figure this out. NatsLady, I think that the new hitting approach (not swinging at the 1st pitch all the time; spoiling good pitches etc) will ultimately lead to more walks.

  54. Eugene in Oregon - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:18 PM

    @ 12:37 p.m. Sec 3, My Sofa said…Ok, here's a stats question that will have a straight answer: runs scored–at what point does the win probability for runs scored, disregarding runs allowed, exceed 50%?If you score X runs, more often than not you will win.——————————-Not sure there's ever a "straight answer" to a stats question, but I think the simple answer is probably five (5) runs. I know that the average number of runs scored per game by a single team has been hovering around 4.8 for the past decade (with some variation between the two leagues — NL being a bit lower). I'm not a stats/math expert, but if the average is fractionally below five, then scoring five runs should give you a slightly better than average expectation of win. I think that makes sense. In fact, you've already alluded to it @ 12:42 in citing five as the average score for winning. Thus, as soon as you reach five runs (assuming the other team hasn't already surpassed that number) your win probability is going above 50%. I think that makes sense, but I'd be happy to be corrected.

  55. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Eugene, average runs scored may be a better question than the one I asked, thanks.

  56. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    I just remembered: Dave Studeman looked at something a few years back that includes the answer to Sec3's question. Click here, scroll down to the first table of numbers, and you'll find your answer.Hint: 5

  57. Not a straight answer to a stats question - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    It also depends on when you score the five runs. A 5-0 game in the first inning is (obviously) not the same as a 5-0 game in the eighth inning, and this is reflected in the fangraphs logs. -NatsLady

  58. Scooter - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Oops. Forgot to mention, that's based on all MLB games, 2000-2004. But of course you, Dear Reader, would know that after following the link, because you always make a point of checking the sample in question and the reported margin of error.

  59. JaneB - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Why on EARTH would we deal Morse, when he is so great for us and dirt cheap at that? I would take that as a sign aren't playing for the near term future, as in 2013. Which means we need a way better 2012. And that means we need Morse's bat.On the radio last night, Bo sure sounded like he would like to manage. I loved the way he was talking about players and what goes into making things happen at the plate and on the bases.

  60. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    We would deal Morse because1) he is unlikely to repeat his performance of this year (IMO). He has not shown the consistency of a Ryan Zimmerman. Also, he is 30 years old next season.2) unless he does repeat it, there is no defensive position where he can play that he won't be costing us runs. 3) the fact that he is cheap and under team control is attractive to other teams. That's the nature of deals–you look around, especially at the low-budget teams, and see which one has a piece we need, whether that be a starting pitcher or a leadoff hitter or whatever.

  61. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    JaneB, that's good to hear. I suspect Bo would be an interesting manager here.Scooter–what can I say? Right on point, and then some. Lots of interesting data there.

  62. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    I think that the focus on Desi AS A LEADOFF HITTER is a little misplaced, as is the entire line of thought that we need a traditional leadoff hitter. We need good hitters certainly, and OBP is a great shorthand measure of how good a batter is at batting: avoiding outs kind of feels like the first goal. But whether someone needs to be a slap hitting, speedy guy isn't too important to me. Boggs was a leadoff guy for quite a while, and he seemed to do pretty well there.But the question of whether Desi is a good enough hitter to play every day, well I am mixed. I guess where I come out is that the Nats will be unlikely to contend with both Desi and Espy playing the MI (one is fine), and the other MI spot needs to add more offensively. But whether they should do something this offseason depends on whether they are really trying to compete next year, or just get up over .500 and point towards 2013. Plus, while I generally am against 'waiting' for a prospect to be ready, there are players to do it for. Harper is clearly one, and Rendon may be another, but no way to know until he starts playing. If he lights up the AFL, it may be entirely reasonable to go with Desi/Espy/Lombo next year until Rendon is ready in 2013. Ackley has come up quickly and done pretty well, and Rendon may be in that class.But CF? They shouldn't wait for anyone in the org to step up, unless they are convinced Werth can do it. I would love to see Bourjos. They also need to get another good, youngish starter, which has to be through trade also (Danks, Billingsly). But they will have to pay a price in prospects for both positions, and I think it is worth it, maybe even necessary to get to the next level.

  63. Feel Wood - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    I don't think they are required to interview anyone if they are just retaining their manager. no? Also I thought that the Ronney rule only applied in football; I wasn't aware that MLB has such a prerequisite in place.Although it's not formalized like the Rooney rule is in football, I believe there is a strong suggestion from MLB that minority candidates be interviewd before a permanent hire is made. (MLB is big on the not-explicity-stated "binding rule." Ask the Mets about the one saying you can't wear FDNY hats in NYC on 9/11.) This is probably why Rizzo gave Davey a multi-year consultant contract instead of just hiring him as manager for multiple years.If Porter is really the heir apparent; shouldn't he be the bench coach alongside Davey?Don Mattingly was Torre's hitting coach all those years, not the bench coach. I was under the impression Bo Porter said he didn't want to manage. I could be remembering that wrong.Bo Porter was interviewed by Dave Jageler on the radio pregame show last night, and when asked about managing his answer was yes that's something he wants to do, but he knows that it's not up to him to dictate when or if it happens. He also firmly stated he wants to stay in the Nats organization. Put two and two together and it looks like he'd be willing to wait it out if Davey comes back, because given Davey's age you know he will step down before too many more years.

  64. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    NatsLady – are you predicting that is what the Nats WILL do, or what they SHOULD do?

  65. NickNat - Sep 13, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Looks like a lot of my questions have been asked, except for one that is probably just important to me. Following Pudge caused me to become a Nats fan (now I am hooked). What are the chances he is retained as a back-up next season? Also, seems kinda petty to me that (as long as he is healthy)that Davy couldn't give Pudge a couple of starts the remainder of the season. What's up? 1 or 2 games won't make any difference to Flores or Ramos development.

  66. NatsLady - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Wally, good question. Yes, I think they should deal Morse for a young starting pitcher if Detwiler/Milone/Peacock (and Wang) don't put it together in September, and there's not a lot of time left. They might have to throw a prospect into the package, hopefully not a top prospect. They still might have to go into the FA market for another starting pitcher, but the market is not strong, even if you are willing to spend the $$. Buerhle might pitch one more year, but not likely two more years, so that doesn't help us for 2013.You have to figure even if everything works out and you start the spring with(1) Stras, (2)JZimm, (3)Lannan, (4)Detwiler/Peacock/Milone, and (5)Wang, someone will get injured or flame out. Whether they will–? That I can't predict.

  67. Mike Rizzo - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    P.S., despite Davey's love of the big bats, I would not be at all surprised if Morse got dealt in the off-season.I know Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn is a friend of mine. And Michael Morse, you are no Adam Dunn.

  68. m20832 - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Well, that was a short Beltway Baseball Live…

  69. natsfan1a - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    I thought it was just me.

  70. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:37 PM

    NatsLady – I completely agree that the Nats should get another quality starter, and that the trade route is the likely venue. I don't think Morse gets it done, though. Cost control for 2 more years is a big plus, but I doubt his trade value matches his production, for two reasons: (a)the reasons you mentioned initially – let's call it the concern over a flukey year, and (b) slugging, poor fielding hitters don't have much value in the trade markets these days (See Willingham, Josh. And for those who think Rizzo blew that one, show me where he ever brought back a good package?).So while I believe that generally you should be willing to listen on any player, I doubt Morse's value brings back a Chad Billingsly or some pitcher like that. I think Desi or Espy, maybe Detwiler and a prospect or two is the more likely trade package that gets something like that done.

  71. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    NatsLady, I strongly disagree about Morse. I think our lineup cannot sustain the loss of production this would entail and I also feel that Morse can sustain similar production for the next several years.

  72. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM

    I suspect Rendon will settle in at second base, perhaps as a starter in 2013 or next season (midway point). Put Espy at SS and get rid of Desmond. Also, the Nats ought to go after CJ Wilson for their rotation. Leave Werth in center, play Harper in right. Morse looks out of place in LF — move him back to 1B and say goodbye to LaRoche.

  73. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:51 PM

    I mentioned Rendon as a potential trade chip because I feel that ultimately his best value will be at 3rd base and I think that we need to re sign Zimmerman to play that position for the foreseeable future. I think we can extract a heavy price for Rendon because he is young; cheap and projects to be a great hitter for many years. I am not saying we give him away but I think that teams such as the Dodgers are strongly motivated to reduce payroll so they might be inclined to part with an expensive young superstar if they can get Rendon. I agree with Wally that Morse has more value to the Nats than anything he will bring back in return.

  74. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Anon @ 2:46, 2 problems with your analysis. Harper is not ready to step in for at least another year and LaRoche is under contract for big bucks for 2012 so he's not going anywhere just yet. Unless an unforeseen trade happens LaRoche will be at 1st and Morse will be in left in April. With Werth playing center or right you are short one solid every day position player from a decent lineup.

  75. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    JD – I like the idea, but don't think it can happen. First, Rendon can't be traded until August 2012 (one year after signing). Sometimes these guys get traded as PTBNL at the trade deadline (like Pomeranz this year in the Ubaldo trade), but I haven't heard of an offseason deal with a PTBNL for the following August. Second, he probably needs to put up some good MiLB stats first before having that kind of trade value.

  76. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Wally, I broached that in a previous comment and of course you might be right. People have Rendon at 2nd, 1st and left field; I'm not so sure that he and his agent view this as his best career path. Of course we still have to extend Zim or this whole discussion is moot.

  77. BinM - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Wally has it right regarding Rendon; He can't be traded until one year after his signing date. The more likely trade 'teasers' this off-season year would be players like Flores, Marrero, Desmond, Morse, Bernadina, Brown, Detwiler, Maya, Milone, Peacock, Balester, Rodriguez & Mattheus. I stress the 'teaser' part, as these are all players who could be seen as controlled values that could bring a better player or prospects in return if traded, but hold decent value if retained.

  78. gonatsgo - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    You can talk until you are blue in the face about us needing a traditional lead-off hitter if you want. The fact remains that they are a rare commodity these days. I have heard many discussions on mlbtv about this subject and the fact that they just aren't out there. I think the reason they are trying to turn Desi into a leadoff hitter is because they know they aren't going to be able to buy one. The good ones are going to bring top dollar and pretty much write their own ticket to wherever they want to go. It's not like you can just go out to the baseball player store and order what you want….

  79. Anonymous - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    OK, the Nats are 27th in MLB in batting 24th in runs scored, 10th in ERA and 10th in runs allowed, but to get better, the Nats should trade their most productive offensive player in 2011 (Mike Morse) for a 3rd or 4th starter? How is that addressing the Nats primary problem: lack of offense? Next year, the Nats starting staff autmatically improves by adding Strasburg for 160 innings. Add in another year of development for Jordan Zimmerman, and the Nats pitching is already far ahead of 2011. Just amazes me that anyone could spend even a fraction of time watching this team, and suggest that they would be improved by dumping their most productive hitter to fill a middle to end of rotation slot which looks like it could be competently handled by the assets already in place (Lannan, Detwiler, Milone, Peacock) or by another one year deal with Livan or Wang. Also to address another comment, could not disagree more with the thought that Harper is more than a year away. Barring injury Harper will be up by next June. His talent is exceptional, and he is already on the 40 man roster. He will have a big AZ Fall League campaign, and a strong start in H'burg in 2012 will put him in the major around Memorial Day next year.Pilchard

  80. BinM - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    jd: With Rendon, his bat & overall hitting prowess will help determine his final position; As many have said before, "the bat will play". Most of the field is open for him (except catcher, SS & maybe RF due to an average arm). If he gets the aluminium out of his swing quickly and hits in the AFL & minors, he could be in DC as soon as April 2013. We'll have a better grasp of his field position by then as well.

  81. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    JD – If Rendon can handle 2B, I doubt he or his agent would object since his bat profiles a little better there than 3B, imo (due to increased power expectations at 3B). But I agree on 1B and LF. I just can't see 1B at all for him. Given that he isn't overly big (and looking at Ackley go from 1B/CF to passable 2B), I think that there is a chance he can handle the switch. But this is putting the cart before the horse and I agree with BinM; he has to play (and hit) to show he is over the injury first. Leaving him at his comfortable position while he makes this move to the pros makes sense to me.I don't see the Nats being able to get Kemp. It really is a shame that Norris took a sideways step this year. Organizationally, we could afford to deal him, and if he hit well, that would have been a very valuable trade piece. He still has value, but not as much.If we go low budget CF, I think old friend Marlon Byrd could be interesting. Doesn't walk much, but no one does any more, it seems.

  82. JaneB - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    I agree with Pilchard. We have not much offense…we need that more than anything else. Imagine where we would've been without Morse. Solving the offense issue, to me, is the higher priority. I don't think his production is going down just because he is 30, either. Not that I have a crystal ball.In past years, we needed pitching pitching pitching. Next year, hitting hitting pitching. My view, anyway…

  83. jd - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    I think that Norris will absolutely hit and I think other teams know this as well. I don't think we should be in a big rush to deal him. His .360 OBP will play very nicely in our lineup.

  84. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    I don't think we should be in a big rush to deal him.Again, you can't trade draft picks, and you can't trade draftees for a full year (more or less).

  85. A DC Wonk - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    NatsLady said… We would deal Morse because 1) he is unlikely to repeat his performance of this year (IMO). I wonder about that. He's been terrifically consistent. He batted .289 last year and 15 HR with just under 300 plate appearances. In AAA the year before he batted over .325. This year, except for April, he's played well every single month.His lifetime (1200 plate appearances) slash line is: 298/.358/.497I think every month folks are thinking "he can't sustain it", and yet he does.I have a sneaking suspicion that it just took him a bit longer to develop, but that he's just a solid, and very underrated everywhere outside of DC, player.

  86. Wally - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… I don't think we should be in a big rush to deal him. Again, you can't trade draft picks, and you can't trade draftees for a full year (more or less).I think that JD was referring to Norris there, who can be traded.And I am in no rush to trade anyone, but I do see a fairly strong need for a CF and a good SP, and I don't believe that you can get those without giving up someone who has value.On pitching, while Detwiler, Milone, Wang, etc look so much better than the Jason Simontacchis and Tim Reddings (I have blacked out any other names), I really don't see them able to maintain a rotation spot for Philly, ATL, MIL, et al. So I think if we want to be in that category, we need a Danks-type, let's say, to add to Stras, JZ, Lannan. And let the others take turns at the 5th spot.

  87. Sec 3, My Sofa - Sep 13, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    I think that JD was referring to Norris there, who can be traded.He certainly was. Clear as day. Where was I going? What was I thinking??Thanks, and my apologies to JD.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
WASHINGTON 86 63 -- 2
ATLANTA 75 75 11.5
MIAMI 73 76 13.0
NEW YORK 72 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 17.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
Full season schedule

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

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MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
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