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Riggleman to Mets? Nats to Taiwan?

Oct 11, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Jim Riggleman will interview for the Mets' vacant bench coach job today.

Though Jim Riggleman knew he might never get a chance to manage again when he abruptly resigned from the Nationals in June over a contract dispute, he also knew he still had plenty of friends in the game who might be willing to offer him work.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy wound up helping Riggleman secure a special assignment scouting position over the summer. And now the 58-year-old is getting an opportunity to interview for a spot on a big-league coaching staff.

Riggleman will interview today with the Mets for their vacant bench coach job, sources familiar with the process confirmed, raising the possibility he could wind up on the staff of one of the Nats' division rivals.

Riggleman is just one of several candidates up for the job — former A's manager Bob Geren also is slated to interview today — but he appears to be a strong contender and has a longstanding relationship withRead more ยป

  1. FS - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Good luck to Riggs. I hope he finds something suitable.Anyways, hoping Harper starts owning AFL soon.And that's definitely no All-Star team MLB sending to Taiwan. LOL!

  2. natsfan1a - Oct 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    McLaren was under the radar for me until his last days with the Major League club, when I thought he handled the difficult circumstances in a classy, standup manner. Good luck to him in his future endeavors (although it would be easier to wish that if he didn't land within our division). As for Riggleman, meh. (lol, the captcha is flopso)

  3. Section 222 - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Ha! If Riggs lands with the Mets, he can convey all the secrets he knows about our personnel — like Morse can't hit RH pitching and is better coming off the bench.

  4. baseballswami - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Riggs with the Mets would be very strange, indeed. Would he get booed at Nats Park?

  5. Feel Wood - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Interim Jim lives. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Born to bench coach. How many times has he vultured a manager job by bench coaching for a guy who gets fired? Did it in Washington. Did it in Seattle. Did it in San Diego. If he hires Riggleman, Terry Collins better watch his back.

  6. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 11, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    None of the Nats have looked like much this past week, but keep an eye on this kid Gilles (rhymes with Phillies, which is who he plays for).

  7. Nattydread - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    Good luck to Riggleman. He rode out of DC — and probably his last MLB head manager job — on a 10 game winning streak. Thumbing his nose at Rizzo all the way. It'd probably be worth a few wins against the Nats for the Mets to hire him… Or maybe not.I agree. Interim Jim is his calling card.

  8. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Mark Z,In the odds-and-ends category, the most interesting Nats tidbit I've noticed in the past few days was the report in the WashPost that the Nats have hired a media consultant to help renegotiate the MASN deal with which they are saddled (at least the compensation portion of it). If you're looking for story ideas for the next few weeks, I would welcome a report on that deal, which seems so inherently unfair in terms of both compensation and broadcast coverage. I think many fans (myself included) just can't fully grasp that it is apparently a 'forever' arrangement (although, of course, even a 'permanent' contract can be renegotiated and replaced by a new one). I think many of us would welcome additional details both on the existing arrangement and on any Nats efforts to revisit key elements of the deal.

  9. Anonymous - Oct 11, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Section 222, you made me giggle.

  10. Theophilus` - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Riggleman was managing for wins; that's why he was always reaching into hats looking for rabbits. Johnson was managing to shape next year's roster. Given the shape of the roster, his bias for youth over veterans, and his subordination of winning to other goals, Johnson's job was better. The Mets will need an interim manager next year or the year after — I don't think Collins has much of a hold on that clubhouse and I think the club's exercise of its option was dictated as much by economics as anything else. I hope Riggleman gets the job. The Nats are going to be a much better team so it's no skin off our patootie.

  11. Theophilus - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Meant to say Johnson's job was "easier." Who is managing the Scorpions. I don't see the point of putting Martin on that roster if he's not going to be used. I would think the team really wants to know if he's going to be a factor in Spring Training.

  12. Anonymous - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    Hard for me to believe that the Mets — or any team — would be able to sell season tickets based on hiring a washed-up manager with a lifetime .445 winning percentage and a demonstrated proclivity to quit mid-season over behind-the-scenes issues. (Oh, and yes, he would rightly be booed at Nats Park.)

  13. Anonymous - Oct 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    If the Mets are using the possibility of someone becoming bench coach to gin up season ticket sales, they're barking up the wrong tree. No one buys season tickets to watch the bench coach. They could dig up Casey Stengel's corpse and install it on the bench next to the manager and that would still be the case.

  14. Anonymous - Oct 11, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Riggleman was still better than Manny Acta, who was so lazy he wouldn't leave the dugout to defend one of his players against an umpire.

  15. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    The shaping of the NL East is going to be real interesting. Now with Ryan Howard's blown achilles and many players going to Free Agency, they have their work cut out for them. Do they accept the option on Roy Oswalt or let him walk? They will still have the best trio of starters.The Braves are in a similar situation as the Nats in returning most of their players for next year. Not making the playoffs probably hurt their cash flow and they may not be buyers in Free Agency. Chipper is a question mark as is Derek Lowe.The Mets will probably lose Jose Reyes but get back Ike Davis. With no Carlos Beltran and a starting rotation that struggled, not sure if they can improve much.The Marlins should have back Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez and lose Javier Vasquez. With their new manager almost anything can happen. Rumor is with their new stadium they will increase payroll. Does he really go after Carlos Zambrano and will Guillen convince ownership to get his guy Mark Buehrle.

  16. Water23 - Oct 11, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    So, in thinking about Nats off-season moves, I have discussed acquiring a Lead-off hitter but let's think about pitchers. Instead of signing a MLB FA go for Darvish. It will cost a lot and is a risk but there is no compensation loss other than money. Wilson or CC would be nice but why not add a young SP with huge upside instead of an older SP?

  17. Dawn - Oct 11, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    Bringing more MLB to the world stage, sounds like the Nationals are well-represented (is Pudge still considered a Nat?).Heard a nice story about Riggs supporting Willie Harris(per Kilgore)even after he had left the Nationals. Still like Riggs, always have. He played to win with the tools he had. Have nothing against Davy, he just reminds me of a Used Car Salesman, smart but always interested in whats new and shiny to impress the customers. Riggs is more like the head of the Service Department, just as smart but doesn't waste the company's time babying customers or subordinates, he just finds a way to make it work. Does that make any sense?Okay,Okay…Bear with me I am working on no sleep people. Between Lions and Tigers and Bears…

  18. Feel Wood - Oct 11, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Riggs is more like the head of the Service Department, just as smart but doesn't waste the company's time babying customers or subordinates, he just finds a way to make it work. Does that make any sense?No, because in 10+ years of major league managing Riggleman was never able to make it work. Worst W-L record in over 100 years of any manager that managed for that long a time. Maybe Riggleman was able to get the engine to turn over on occasion, but you can't ride the odd 10-game winning streak to the Hall of Fame. If there's one thing you know about Riggleman when he takes over as manager of your team, it's that he's not going to be able to take it where it needs to go.

  19. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    Water23, the Darvish move is perfect for the Yankees or Red Sox. Big risk, big reward just like Daisuke.The Nats need stop gaps in the starting pitching to get the young arms in the Minors time to develop unless they decide the risk is worth the reward. CJ Wilson is the most intriguing but he will have 5 teams really go hard after him. I think the Nats are a player. Deep pockets with a chance to supplant themselves by force into the mix.The Nats payroll appears to be going over that $80 million threshold for next year and could easily go over $90 with a top Free Agent or 2.

  20. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 5:58 PM

    Steve M. I think signing Wilson for a 4+ year contract would be a mistake (He won't sign for less and his salary is almost certain to exceed his value). In a couple of years we will have at least 3 top of the rotation pitchers (SS, JZ and Cole) with Meyer a distinct possibility to be in the mix. Solis is regarded as an excellent 4th starter and this is before you consider Lannan, Detwiler, Peacock, Milone, Rosenbaum, Ray. I am for a short term improvement as long as it in no way interferes with the long term plan. So what I,m saying and I think you agree we should find a 2 year starting pitcher who is somewhat of an improvement (maybe it's Wang) and a 2 year outfield solution until Harper and Rendon arrive.

  21. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I was intrigued by Reyes until he bunted for a single and took himself out of the game to secure the batting title. Let some other team throw $20 mil a year at this selfish player.

  22. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Re Darvish, If you look at the list of pitchers who came over from Japan they have all under performed their contracts with the exception of Hideo Nomo. Let someone else go there; we have better options inhouse.

  23. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    JD, we agree on CJ Wilson and I would think Texas then NYY are the frontrunners anyway and I feel the same about Darvish. Nice story, not worth the risk.I wrote in the last thread about what I would do for playoff improvement. I don't take CJ Wilson coming here too seriously. I go with who I said 2 months ago, Crisp and Buehrle and trade for Alex Gordon to be this team's leadoff hitter.

  24. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Steve M. What are you giving up for Gordon?

  25. Theophilus - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Darvish looks like a Yankee to me. Both the Yankees and Red Sox are desperate for pitching. Both will bid exorbitantly to keep the other from getting him. The Rays, after palming off Upton on someone — hopefully, not the Nats — will win the AL East.

  26. Knoxville Nat - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    Steve M. said "…trade for Alex Gordan to be this team's leadoff hitter."Okay but what position will he play in the field? I don't see him replacing LaRoche/Morse at first or Zimmerman at third. That leaves left field as the only other position he has played in MLB (to my knowledge)and you certainly aren't thinking of replacing Morse. Has he ever played CF and if not can he handle it? What would it take to acquire him from the Royals?

  27. Wally - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    I like Gordon. I think his break out this year was for real. But I can't see why the Royals would trade him, since they are trying to get better too and I don't see an obvious replacement. Sure they want pitching, but they want Jordan Zimmerman type pitching (which I think we all agree is out of the question). I don't think Detwiler does it, and Peacock is probably too unproven.So I think that we would have to overpay for him, and for the package that gets this done, we ought to have a good chance at Bourjos, who would fit positionally better for us.

  28. Dawn - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Feel Wood; Perhaps, but I think Riggs did well with the talent he had to work with. Time will tell if he has an effect on the next team he is a part of. Personally, I thought he left the Nationals a better team than when he was given the reins.

  29. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    I have confirmed Gordon has 2 year remaining on his contract. He is also open to signing a long-term deal. The risk with him is whether he is a breakout player or will decline to his norm. I think he is a breakout player.I know the Royals need a SS, 2nd, RF, and Starter. I would offer them Bernadina, Lombardozzi and a choice of Lannan/Detwiler/Milone. I think they so no but Gordon is an intriuging player.

  30. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Knoxville Nat said… Steve M. said "…trade for Alex Gordan to be this team's leadoff hitter."Okay but what position will he play in the field? I don't see him replacing LaRoche/Morse at first or Zimmerman at third. That leaves left field as the only other position he has played in MLB (to my knowledge)and you certainly aren't thinking of replacing Morse. Has he ever played CF and if not can he handle it? What would it take to acquire him from the Royals? October 11, 2011 2:27 PM I see Gordon playing RF. See what I wrote in the "Playoffs" thread.

  31. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    To answer Mark's question, "What would make the Nats a playoff team?"The Nats were top 10 in pitching and bottom 10 in offense and middle 10 in defense. Since defense and pitching go hand-in-hand and your offensive players also play defense, it is important to get good 2-way players.For example, if you add a Josh Willingham for offense, you give up on defense.There is 1 offensive opening on the team with LaRoche coming back as I see it. Do you get a speedy CF who can play defense and can possibly be leadoff or get the #6 hitter who will play corner outfield and be a HR threat? I see 1 player who is a triple threat. Alex Gordon was the Royals leadoff for 89 games and spent the rest of the time in the 3 hole. He actually excelled at leadoff as kind of an Ian Kinsler type. Big power to go with high on-base and some good speed. He not only gives you the on-base threat but is also a RBI guy.For those that don't know the Gordon storyin the 2005 Draft, he was the heralded 3rd baseman who was ranked higher than Zim. JUpton went #1, Gordon went #2, RZim, #4, Braun #5, Ricky Romero #6, Tulowitzki #7, McCutcheon #11, Jay Bruce #12, Elsbury #51 so it was a bumper crop for draft picks except Alex Gordon was a late bloomer in the bunch.Gordon was a 5.9 WAR on BaseRef and 6.9 WAR on FanGraphs a .879 OPS with a .303/.376/.502 slash. Based on service time he appears to have 1 to 2 years before Free Agency. Crisp is a Free Agent and can bat almost anywhere in the batting order from leadoff to 8th. Big speed, good glove, good arm, clutch bat. Durability may be his biggest problem. He can also play off the bench.Bringing in 2 new players may be overkill but if you want to be a playoff team, you need depth.If the Nats get CJ Wilson, great, if not I pointed out a while ago 2 other lefties in Mark Buehrle who is Free Agent or Wandy Rodriguez in a trade. Both are durable pitching into the 7th inning of each game consistently. Buehrle didn't finish his season well and what I found was that is typical for him in his career. He starts out a little slow in April which is probably due to the colder Chicago weather and for May, June and July goes respectively 3.28, 3.48 to 3.79 in ERA. In August and September, he is 4.02 to 4.21.So I believe you go after another strong bat, a player like Crisp who is your insurance for leadoff and a 4th outfielder and get the #3 starter. You slide Detwiler then into the bullpen.1) Alex Gordon RF LH2) Jayson Werth CF RH3) Zim 3B RH4) Morse LF RH5) LaRoche 1B LH6) Desmond SS RH7) Espi 2B Swith8) Ramos C RH1) JZim RH2) Stras RH3) Buehrle LH4) Lannan LH5) Wang RH1) Gorzo Longman LH2) HenRod RH stopper3) Coffey RH stopper4) Mattheus RH5) Burnett LH6) Detwiler LH 7th inning setup7) Clippard RH 8th inning setup8) Storen RH closer1) Crisp CF Switch2) Flores C RH3) Lombo Infield Swith4) Ankiel OF SwitchI am thinking Davey goes with an 8 man 'pen and 1 short on the bench. October 11, 2011 11:48 AM

  32. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Steve M. If I'm Drayton Moore I hang up and tell Rizzo never to call again. Gordon was a 6.9 WAR player for the Royals last year (that's 9th in all MLB tied with Joey Votto). You don't trade a player like that for a collection of bench players and a bottom of the rotation starter. If I'm Moore I tell Rizzo start over and if I don't hear JZim or at least Cole + Solis I'm hanging up.

  33. N. Cognito - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    Feel Wood said… "No, because in 10+ years of major league managing Riggleman was never able to make it work. Worst W-L record in over 100 years of any manager that managed for that long a time."I am definitely NOT a Riggs guy – always thought he was meh – only liked him because he was a local guy, but I keep hearing this nonsense every now and then. A totally unfair to Riggs, who, for whatever reasons, has never had a good team to manage. No manager would have a much better record with the teams he has had.

  34. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    JD, it is Greinke all over again. 2 years left on the contract that they won't pony up for. They can sell "high" on him.Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. I would trade Solis. No way on JZim or Cole or Purke.

  35. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Steve M. Greinke wanted out. The Royals are actually not that far off with a great farm system. I don't think they are giving Gordon away. But hey I've been wrong before.

  36. raymitten - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Hope Riggs gets the job. Took a team with only 26 wins at the All Star break and was a shambles funadmentally, and had them over .500 under two years. I personally saw his hard work over two spring trainings. He contributed a great deal to the success of the Nationals and I hope that those looking to hire him recognize that. They will be getting a good baseball man, and a good guy.

  37. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    JD, Greinke wanted to be on a winning team and he felt the Royals weren't in the right direction and he could be traded for prospects.

  38. Mark'd - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:38 PM

    The Royals have Hosmer as the face of their franchise and even they don't know if Gordon is the real deal. They need Lombo or Espinosa as the Royals are struggling in middle infield. Again, can't overpay. Espinosa has 5 years of team control.Outside of Kinsler and Reyes, I think Gordon was the best leadoff. They did move him back and forth in the lineup and Gordon played most at leadoff.SteveM, 4 man bench? What do you do with Bernadina?

  39. Manny Acta - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Tell me about it.I am definitely NOT a Riggs guy – always thought he was meh – only liked him because he was a local guy, but I keep hearing this nonsense every now and then. A totally unfair to Riggs, who, for whatever reasons, has never had a good team to manage. No manager would have a much better record with the teams he has had.

  40. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    My overall feeling is this: We are not good enough to contend before Harper, Rendon and Cole are ready and it's critical not to do anything now to screw up the future which is very bright if we avoid mistakes (financial or baseball). If we do nothing but extend Zim and shore up the bench during this off season I would consider this a successful off season; if we happen to replace Ankiel with someone better that would be great but please,please stay away from Werth type signings.

  41. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    raymitten said… Hope Riggs gets the job. Took a team with only 26 wins at the All Star break and was a shambles funadmentally, and had them over .500 under two years. I personally saw his hard work over two spring trainings. He contributed a great deal to the success of the Nationals and I hope that those looking to hire him recognize that. They will be getting a good baseball man, and a good guy. October 11, 2011 3:35 PM Ray, I agree with you. It was amazing what he accomplished in a short amount of time. When the 2011 team was constructed, the injury bug hit and he still got the team over .500 Give the man some credit.

  42. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Mark'd, I see Bernadina as the 5th outfielder if you don't get Crisp otherwise he is trade bait. I still see potential with Bernadina. He is currently in Holland in his off-season training regimen. I just hope he comes back as a more consistent bunter.

  43. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Mistake in my post above, Ankiel is not a switch hitter.

  44. she said - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    It's interesting to look at what the Mets fans are saying at a similar blog: http://www.metsblog.com/2011/10/10/mets-to-interview-jim-riggleman-for-bench-coach-job/Sound familiar?

  45. Feel Wood - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Feel Wood said… "No, because in 10+ years of major league managing Riggleman was never able to make it work. Worst W-L record in over 100 years of any manager that managed for that long a time."I am definitely NOT a Riggs guy – always thought he was meh – only liked him because he was a local guy, but I keep hearing this nonsense every now and then. A totally unfair to Riggs, who, for whatever reasons, has never had a good team to manage. No manager would have a much better record with the teams he has had.So every single other manager in the past century who managed to hang onto an MLB job for 10+ years was only able to beat Riggleman's W-L record because they had better players to work with? If that's true, then Riggleman should never work again if only for the reason that he's a bad-player magnet, a "cooler" like William H. Macy was in the movie.

  46. Mark'd - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    I agree with JD, can't sell off the future for short-term however there are players that can be traded without changing the balance of the future.

  47. SCNatsFan - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    Mark'd I agree, there are some players who can be moved… unfortunately it would just be a swap of our underachieving trash for someone else's. To get quality back we'll need to give up quality. It will be nice to see us headed into ST not dumpster diving for once. Well, not diving head in, I'm sure we'll keep dipping our toes in.

  48. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    JD/Mark'd, I agree with you. Here's who I see expendable in the right deal as a pick from Column A and Column B:Detwiler, Lannan, Solis, Milone, StammenLombardozzi, Marrero, Bernadina, Brown, Antonelli

  49. Steve M. - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    SCNatsFan, there really were no reclamation projects except Chien-Ming Wang. Ankiel, Hairston, Nix, Cora, all contributed. Gaudin didn't work out. Stairs wasn't a dumpster dive, it was just a poorly thought out signing.

  50. Mark'd - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    SteveM, I would trade HenRod also in the right deal.

  51. Jeeves - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Why do so many of you think the Nats don't have the goods to be excellent contenders in 2012? A piece or two away–maybe. And I imagine they'll address at least one of those pieces. On paper, they have a heck of a lot more potential than did Arizonia this time last year. And, in my opinion, they still have.This team with health and one significant addition will be very good, maybe even excellent.It's as though many people's judgement is based solely on this past season. Arizonia is great, Werth can't hit, Kennedy and Hudson are going to be better than Stras and Zimm, Nats hitters will never hit with men on base, etc, etc.Baseball doesn't work that way.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:42 PM

    Jeeves… finally… a voice of reason. Thank you.

  53. Mark'd - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    Jeeves, the Phillies showed there are mo guarantees.

  54. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:52 PM

    Jeeves, I agree with you re Arizona the problem is we don't play in the NL west. Over the long season Philly has too much pitching for us to overcome (In 2012).Could we compete for a wild card if all the starts align? sure.

  55. Carpe Diem - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    NatsJack more like a VOICE OF TREASON. It is about continual improvement. Even Rizzo says 1 more starter and bat.

  56. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    Steve M. I agree with your list but I do hear good things about Solis; if you must trade him I'd want something decent back. Also; you can build a good bench and bullpen without touching any of your prospects but with smart secondary FA signings. That's key.

  57. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 11, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    As Jeeves said…. "a piece or two away".

  58. Carpe Diem - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    And everyone else is in agreement + shoring up the bench

  59. sjm308 - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    I also agree with Jeeves and I don't think we realize how important Laroche is to this next season. If we have a gold glove type firstbaseman who is hitting above .260, driving in 75+ runs and hitting 20+ homeruns, and add that to a healthy Zimm, I really think that will make a huge difference. Less errors for all 3 of our infielders, another big bat in the middle of the lineup, Werth can move to 2nd and his obp should lead to us scoring more runs and maybe more runs early in games which then helps both starting pitchers and the bullpen. Its like a domino affect. It just takes a couple of things to spark a team and we have those things in waiting. I can't wait.On Riggs, I always liked him, thought he made a huge mistake in making his ultimatum and I was upset about how difficult that transition was at first but it appears Davey really has a plan.

  60. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Jeeves,Actually, baseball does work that way most — but admittedly not all — of the time. Players' previous performances (as measured by their stats) tend to have significant predictive value, both in terms of their career averages and last season's numbers (particularly if last season's continue a several-season trend).That said, I'm an optimist and believe the Nats are heading in the right direction. Based on the production we've seen from Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannan, Wang (I assume he'll be signed for at least one more year), and Detwiller, I expect the pitching staff to be solid next year. But I still think the Nats need to go out and sign another proven major league pitcher, not least because someone will either get hurt or slump (as Cassandra reminded us yesterday).Similarly, while I think the Nats have a decent core of position players, they still need additional bats — at least one high OBP guy and probably one more SLG/OPS guy — to complement Morse, Zimmerman, Werth, LaRoche (assuming he's fully recovered) and the rest. But given the Nats struggles at the plate in 2011 (bottom 25% in virtually every meaningful statistical category), they simply cannot stand pat. Even if every single hitter performs 10% better than last season, they would still be only a middle-of-the-pack offensive team (i.e., using a 10% increase in runs as a proxy, they would finish 8th of 16 in runs scored). Yes, they might still be in contention for a wild card spot in mid-September — which would be exciting — but they would be hard-pressed to make the playoffs.So I don't think it's defeatist to say that the Nats need to be active this offseason.

  61. jd - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Eugene, You are right in general but there are 2 pitfalls the Nats must avoid. 1) Signing a free agent for too many year and too much money; this ties up positions and lessens payroll flexibility in the future. 2) Give away pieces of the future in an effort to get to the promised land sooner.

  62. Mark'd - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Eugene, really good post. I don't think you meant individually 10% better on all categories as 10% more for Ramos, Zim and Morse makes them all All Stars and Morse would be batting .33510% on OBP can also compound the numbers. Less outs means more at-bats giving more opportunity. 10% increase on runs is good for 8 more wins if pitching ERA stays the Same.

  63. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    Jd,Agree 100%. And, for the most part, I think they've managed to avoid both of those pitfalls so far. As witnessed in the two big trades that didn't happen (i.e., for Grienke and for Span), they've been unwilling to part with pieces they considered essential for the future. And even in the case of Werth's extremely generous (and long) contract, it would seem that they still have plenty of payroll flexibility for the future. I tend to believe that the GM can find a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher and an additional 'professional' hitter (as some people call them) or two without sacrificing the future, while at the same time positioning the club to play well in 2012, even as players like Harper, Rendon, etc. (not to mention the younger pitchers) continue to develop at the right pace.

  64. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 11, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Mark'd,Good point on the 'compounding' value of the individual components of hitting. I was just doing a quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation on runs scored, which I see as the best stand-alone metric for comparing team-to-team offense. I'll take your word that that's 8 additional wins. But remember that the Nats predicted wins (based on their runs scored/runs allowed) in 2011 was only 78 (not the 80 they achieved), so that still only gets them to 86 (plus or minus). Which, as I said, means that they'd be playing meaningful games in September, but without any guarantee of a playoff spot.

  65. Wally - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    Jeeves- as one of the people who think the Nats aren't just one player away, what I mean is that 1 player doesn't put them as favorites for a playoff spot going into the season. It doesn't mean I think they stink, and of course, they CAN make it with the team as is, but the things that need to go right make it unlikely as is.Arizona is a great example. They weren't a favorite going in to the season and honestly, if they replayed the season from scratch right now, I don't think that I would pick them to win. What happened for them this year is that their top 7 players all had their best season ever, according to WAR. One guy tied his best (Young), Upton was the next closest at 25% better than his previous best, and the numbers go as high as 250% better than their best seasons ever for their top two pitchers (Kennedy and Hudson). now, some of these guys are young enough that it is reasonable to think that they are still finding their true level, but others just had unusually great years.All that I was trying to say is that, when thinking about what would make us a playoff team, I would not like to feel like I need 5 guys to have a career year for us to make the playoffs. But I still feel very excited about what the Nats are doing and their future.

  66. Gonat - Oct 12, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    Jeeves, the Nats scored 624 runs this season. If they can increase that by 14% to get above 700, it certainly gets them into that range to be in the playoff discussion. Roughly 1/2 run per game more.Here's where the Nats were for BA/OBP in batting order:1st .226/ .285 2nd .222/ .283 3rd .270/ .344 4th .255/ .3305th .251/ .326 6th .260/ .330 7th .240/ .304 8th .259/ .318 There were a total of 1,485 plate appearances between the leadoff and 2nd batter. The 1st and 2nd spots got on base 412 times while a .320 OBP would get you 63 more men on base in the 1st and 2nd spots over the season. It also gets you 63 more at-bats during those games since they aren't extra outs. Not sure what metric would tell you how many of those runs would score. Now take 63 outs saved gives you an additional 63 at-bats and they get on at a .320 clip gives you 20 more base runners so of the 83 extra runners on base if 1/3 scores, you just found 27 runs.Werth needs to be in the 2 hole for 2012. BTW, Bernadina had the highest BA/OBP in the 2 hole .313/.333 in 67 plate appearances which may make that a compelling platoon in 2012 so Werth gets some days off. Werth had a .327 OBP.

  67. Gonat - Oct 12, 2011 at 3:29 AM

    From Jim Callis of Baseball America:Question: how many Astros prospects will make the top 50 on your list?Jim Callis: None, to the chagrin of my son Me: With all the prospects they got from the Phillies (Oswalt/Pence) and the Braves on the Bourn deal, that is horrible.

  68. Anonymou8s - Oct 12, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    http://www.csnwashington.com/10/12/11/Ivan-Carter-talks-with-Ryan-Zimmerman/landing.html?blockID=576008&feedID=6358Good interview with Zim on the future of the team. 2 things that Zim says that I found interesting were that Jayson Werth may not be a CF and John Lannan again mentioned as part of the Big 3 (JZim, Stras, Lannan). No mention of Wang. Most of the spots spoken for next year, 2 openings.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 54 43 --
ATLANTA 54 45 1.0
MIAMI 46 52 8.5
NEW YORK 46 53 9.0
PHILADELPHIA 43 56 12.0
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Rockies, 8:40 p.m.
WED: Nats at Rockies, 3:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
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.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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