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Beltway Baseball Live – 10/18/11

Oct 18, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

NatsTown has been fairly quiet since the season ended three weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues to discuss. Chase Hughes tackled a bunch of topics this afternoon during our first offseason installment of Beltway Baseball Live.

We talked about the postseason and previewied the World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers. As always, we took your questions. I even raised the possibility of the Nationals making a run at Albert Pujols this winter (if that doesn’t pique your interest, I don’t know what will).

If you missed the show live at 2 p.m., never fear. Here’s the entire episode for your enjoyment…

  1. ehay2k - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Can you play a little fantasy Nats-ball for us, and assume everyone is healthy and playing their assigned positions next year, and playing to their career averages (except for Morse, of course) and figure out what might happen? How many more R/HR/RBI and how would that compare to this year?

  2. Natslifer - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:41 AM

    Where does the Manager search stand????

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    What search?

  4. Anonymous - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    After the world series they will announce – blackout.

  5. gonatsgo - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Any chance Zim will get signed to an extension – please, Santa, please, please, please?

  6. NatsLady - Oct 18, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    With the new PR/Business guy brought on board (sorry, forgot his name), is there any chance the TV contract can be renegotiated for 2012 or is that further out in years? Will they keep up the advertising campaign–new slogan? You see Nats popping up everywhere from bus stands to internet banners and I hope that continues.I would love to see more games on broadcast TV (right now just Sunday afternoon games) or some kind of deal where we can get them on the Internet, even if it's only away games which are blacked out on MLB.tv. While on the subject of TV, when will we hear who our broadcast team will be?

  7. Doc - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Both HRod and Ramirez, our Rule 5 Draft pick from the Mets, came to '11 ST injured out of Winter League play.Can Rizzo control the Nats playing in the WL? Is there any need to be using an experienced pitcher's arm in Winter League play?

  8. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    Saw a great one liner on MLBTRADERUMORS that Jayson Werth is recruiting Free Agent Madson to the Nats. Mark, do you think Rizzo would spend any more money in the bullpen as he has the tough decision on Gorzelanny?Could you imagine Clip-Storen-Madson as 7th-8th-Closer? All I can say is, the Braves would have competition for best 'pen

  9. FS - Oct 18, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Have you heard anything about CBA? What kind of changes we should be expecting going forward, most likely not 2012 season but the season after?What do you think of two 15-teams leagues? What about inter-league games all season long?I don't have any questions regarding Nationals right now, maybe after world series is over.

  10. FS - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Oh I guess I have that same question about Madson as SteveM does. I think with HRod's potential and enough in-house options, we need not go after Madson and spend that money for better bench or something.What is your opinion on the possible signing of RM?

  11. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I may have missed a story about this somewhere along the line, but what is LaRoche's status right now (health-wise)? I know his surgery was 'successful' (aren't they all?). But has he 'resumed baseball activities' (as they now like to say) yet? Has he swung a bat? Made a throw? It would seem to me that the team would want to know a lot about him and his recovery before Spring Training. If he's not going to be ready, they'll need two new solid OFs, not just the one most people have been discussing.

  12. JaneB - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    I'm also interested in your opinions of whether we get Zim signed before Spring training, and add a "with sugar on top" to the plea of gonatsgo.When will know where Pudge lands, so we know whether we are keeping or trading Jesus? And how much worse are the pitchers down there that he is hitting in the 400's?

  13. MicheleS - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Can you find Jon Heyman of SI and tell him the NATS are not going to go after Prince Fielder. He keeps saying on the MLB network that we are going to go hard after Prince. Is Boras paying the National writers to keep floating this?

  14. MicheleS - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    When are the winter meetings and do you get to go? We need you there!

  15. N. Cognito - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:46 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… What search?Maybe Dave Johnson is missing.gonatsgo said… "Any chance Zim will get signed to an extension – please, Santa, please, please, please?"This offseason? Very little. The need to re-sign him soon is only in yours and other fans' minds.

  16. Scooter - Oct 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    Oh, brother. Did Uncle Davey wander away again? We need to get him a new home aide, dagnabbit.

  17. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    The Free Agent market for starting pitching and oufielders is thin this year. Much better next year.Do you trade for 2 breakout players like Alex Gordon of the Royals who was a top leadoff man in 2011 and then there is Brandon McCarthy of the A's who stepped up with great pitching stats?

  18. Mark'd - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Any updates on Rendon?

  19. Wally - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Ditto to Mark'd – Anything more on Rendon to share, and how about Purke? I can see the AFL stats for him, but any behind the scenes information would be great.

  20. Pat - Oct 18, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Ok, Bryce Harper is being sold as a slow starter at the plate by you and the organization. But could it also be that once he does make the Bigs he could be a bit streaky and not nearly as consistent of a hitter as he's being billed? Will big league pitching catch him out?

  21. Patience is a Virtue - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    We'll all have a much better feel for Bryce Harper's propensity toward slow starts, his streakiness, his consistency or lack thereof, and him many other big-league attributes in, oh, about 2014 or 2015.

  22. Patience (corrected) - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Make that "…his many other…"

  23. Mick - Oct 18, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Cards prove that Nats can be them in 2012 or 2013.

  24. Dawn - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Echoing JaneB about Pudge, Nats leaning towards or away from re-signing him? (Flores' landing place non-withstanding. What is the Nats stand regarding the upcoming trip to Taiwan for players, do they embrace it?

  25. Mick - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    I think Nats pitching was as good or better than several of the MLB playoff teams. I know this has nothing to do with the Nats, but Rex Grossman sucks and Randy Edsall is the second coming of Bob Ward at UMD and that really sucks!

  26. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    For all those clamoring for Rizzo to get another Ace, the stats tell a different story when you have a better than average rotation already. Simple math, you get wins by outscoring your opponents. It doesn't matter if you have an Ace with an adjusted 2.85 ERA if he doesn't average 3.85 a game in run support, its going to be hard to win.At this point, the Nats were #7 in the MLB in team pitching, and 4 earned runs behind the Angels for #6 in MLB. Maybe you take some of the Braves approach and beef up the bullpen and get a Ryan Madson and get a solid #3 pitcher plus Wang for depth instead of trying to get the elusive #1. A better bullpen will also bring down team ERA.So go to the other side and look at improving the offense by at least a 1/2 run per game to get the Nats to at least the MLB average. The MLB average is 694 and Nats scored 624.Remember a Front Line starter gives you about 33 starts a year and a 1 run difference between a 3.80 ERA to a 2.80 ERA is equivalent to 33 runs a year.The Nats can more easily make up those pitching runs almost 2 1/2 times over by adding offense and it starts at the leadoff. If Ian Desmond's stats were removed from leadoff, the Nats were 94 for 468 batting .201 vs. .226 with Desmond. OBP would have been .259 vs. .285 with Desmond. I don't know if Desmond is the answer. I do know that the Nats were even worse in the 2 hole with a .283 OBP. Clearly the team was better with Desmond leading off and Werth batting 2nd. They can possibly improve even more with a new leadoff with the hopes Desmond keeps the same September approach he had at the plate in the 7 hole for the Nats in 2012.The Nats scored only 65 runs in 1st innings of games in 2011. That number has to increase to well over 80. They must jump on pitchers early and often in 2012. Desmond's OBP was .331 the last month of the season. Alex Gordon was .376 OBP the entire season in 2011.If Desmond could some how take his .331 OBP to the 7 hole where the Nats average .304 for the season, big improvement there too!I strongly believe there are many ways to make a playoff run, and its all about achieving the right balance.

  27. FS - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:35 PM

    Which of our minor leaguers are eligible for Rule 5 draft this December?

  28. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Alex Gordon also killed the National League. He hit .373 with a .455 OBP and .657 slugging with a 1.111 OPS. That was over 18 games so a nice sample size. His 6 games against the Cardinals yielded .304 /.407 /.609 /1.016 Overall vs. RH pitching he was .314 /.384 /.517 /.901

  29. FS - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Getting Gordon now will cost us more than it would have last off-season. I think trading for a player especially after a good season is difficult. What should be done is Nats FO should recognize some talent that is candidate for better performance next season and trade for them.

  30. Anonymous - Oct 18, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Our batters strike out SO much. We're #1 in K's for all of MLB I believe. And we've moved WAY UP over the last few seasons–every year we move "up" in the strikeout standings.Mark–what is the team's strategy to put the ball in play in 2012?

  31. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    FS, definitely, Gordon had a breakout season probably better than Michael Morse overall. The nice thing about Gordon is he can also play a multitude of positions such as corner OF, 2nd and 3rd as well as 1st so all around a better player. If you think Gordon's 2011 is what he will be, then you think about trading Detwiler or Milone + Lombardozzi for him. He is under contract for Team control for 2 years so not sure if I would give up much more like Lannan or Espinosa in a 2 player trade.Given what the Royals did when Greinke got to 2 years left, they looked to cash in. Hopefully the same with Gordon.From ESPN on Greinke:http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb/features/rumors?date=20111018&action=login&appRedirect=http%3a%2f%2finsider.espn.go.com%2fmlb%2ffeatures%2frumors%3fdate%3d20111018Rumor on ESPN is that the Brewers have 1 year left of Greinke and will look to trade him.Greinke made a comment about playing in Texas yesterday. If the Rangers lose CJ Wilson, you have to wonder if they trade for Greinke on a 1 year rental.Certainly not suggesting the Nats go after a 1 year rental. Different situation on July 31, 2012.

  32. Grandstander - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    What's up Keith?

  33. Mark'd - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Ok Mark, you know you will be quoted on Pujols coming to Washington after your Beltway Baseball Live.

  34. Dawn - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    Dang, now it looks like I have to follow another team if I want to watch Pudge.So Werth is recruiting Madson as Closer for the Nats, I'm sure that makes Storen feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

  35. Water23 - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    To follow up on Mark's comment,Pujols on a 6-7 year deal maybe interesting. Yes, we have a ton of talent that could play 1B but Pujols plays 1B at HoF level. You could keep Morse at LF and figure out something to do with LaRoche – trade in SP or early in season maybe even to the Cards unlikely but possible. Having the greatest player of a generation, guaranteed HoF and potentially HR king, not to mention great defender and all around great off the field character, is not something to take lightly. I talked about who would go for him in SP and it is all true. It looks like the Cards, Cubs and maybe a darkhorse like the Angels with the Nats being big stack at the table. Cards – best chance but sometimes money does talkCubs – A lot of money in long-term deals already and maybe they wait to get Fielder for a little lessAngels – never gave out a $100 Mil contract and have a ton of players to fill a few holes.Nats – talent at the MLB and minor league level with sunk money on LaRoche.

  36. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    Francisco Rodriguez went to the Brewers as a set-up man and Rafael Soriano went to the Yankees as a set-up man.If Drew Storen can't embrace stepping back to 8th inning set-up to Madson or the other way around, who needs guys like that. What would be better than a 7th, 8th, 9th relievers to rival or be better than the Braves. I understand the money side that Mark is talking about only the payroll is there to spend. If you can't get a top FA starter, spend some of it on a reliever and send Gorzo packing (sorry Tom). It also gives Rizzo options if he did have to trade although in my mind, the ship has sailed on Denard Span and I would let that go.Talking about switching positions, I think Werth has to look at being an option for CF where he could platoon some with Ankiel or Bernadina to give Werth some additional rest. Werth played 150 games and most of those 11 games he didn't play were due to injury and not days off. It gives Rizzo a legitimate shot to get a corner outfielder.

  37. Water23 - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Steve M,I like your thinking and how about below for a ton of offense?Morse – LFWerth – CFLaRoche – RFPujols – 1Bplus Zim – 30+ HRRamos – 15 HREspy – 20 HRDesi – 10-15Using Ankiel and when ready Harper as backups.2013 would looks like – Morse – LFWerth – CF/RFHarper – RF/CF With Rendon and Goodwin plus other pushing for spots.

  38. PAY TO PLAY - Oct 18, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    Water23, the Pujols thing won't happen as the Cardinals will pay to keep him -or- he is going to cost $30 million a year for another team to step in and that is insane for any 1 player of his age unless you did it for 3 years. That would be about 1/3 of the Nats payroll on 1 player.Can you really risk the chance of injury? Look, its not my money so I say go for it. Just don't think it would ever happen.

  39. Water23 - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Also, I want to go on record that I love Morse and beast mode but if it turns out that his breakout is more of an anomaly than a permanent change (a la Lind, V. Wells, Brady Anderson etc) you would still have a potential OF of LaRoche, CF, Werth with Pujols at 1B

  40. Water23 - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:08 PM

    Pay to Play,In terms of spending, talent and expectations, the Nats are moving from the shallow end to the deep end. Time to take off the water wings and swim with the sharks.I know what you are saying but the Nats payroll should be in the 100+ range and the fan base will support it. Bringing Pujols here would provide a huge offensive lift with no players lost. We would then have very good MLB roster with a deep minor league talent pool. That is a way to long term success.And if in the unlikely event, the Nats fail to sign Pujols, driving up his price hurts the Cards and most likely the Cubs (as Fielder will want more). They are two of the teams that we want to disadvantage when possible. Same goes for Reyes and the Mets. Just raising the cost for the Mets is good for us.

  41. PAY TO PLAY - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Water23, I also hear what you are saying. Pujols for a few years would be great. Almost certainly elevates the lineup to SCAREY GOOD. Its just that you could spend that $30 million for 2 to 3 players where the sum of the parts is better than the whole.Remember, Pujols numbers did go down this year although still amazing numbers. Most likely he will start dropping some more each year.

  42. Mark'd - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    …and here goes the Pujols machinations.

  43. Steve M. - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:34 PM

    Steve M. said… The Free Agent market for starting pitching and oufielders is thin this year. Much better next year.Do you trade for 2 breakout players like Alex Gordon of the Royals who was a top leadoff man in 2011 and then there is Brandon McCarthy of the A's who stepped up with great pitching stats? October 18, 2011 11:13 AM Great segment of Beltway Baseball. Any chance in your talk with Mike Rizzo tomorrow you can ask about the chance of going back to the Royals for a trade such as Alex Gordon who is a huge upgrade in leadoff and flexible on where he plays on defense.Pitcher trades, I see Brandon McCarthy on July 31st more than in the off-season as he is as he will be a Free Agent next year, but how's about Wandy Rodriguez? Houston I would think would want to dump his salary.

  44. Anonymous - Oct 18, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Water23, I don't see LaRoche playing RF in your scenario.

  45. FS - Oct 18, 2011 at 11:59 PM

    As much as I would like to see Pujols in Nats uniform, Albert should stay in STL. Like Mark Z said, he defines that franchise. I don't know many franchise players in recent times. I would really like Pujols, Zimmerman, Strasburg, etc to change that trend.

  46. Water23 - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    FS, Yes, let's make sure that STL gets their player and I am sure that everyone else will respect our wish to have Zim to stay with us forever. As much as I wish this would happen, if Zim gets near free agency a bunch of teams are going to be lining up to sign him.So, let's stop acting like we are a bottom dweller and begin to act and think like contender. The rest of the league is not our friends or buddies. They want to do two things Win and make money. The Nats are good at the latter and are working on the former.I am not intending to harsh on anyone commenter nor am I proposing the Nats try and crush everyone in every deal but they do need to continue to make improvements. Offense seem to make more sense on the FA market.And Pay to Play, it would be great but I do not see $30 Mill worth of CF/SP to fill out our roster. Sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons. Ergo my Laroche in RF; Werth CF which frees up options such as signing Pujols.I think we would all take a NL East championship with a consistent shot at the WS for a few down years on the back side.

  47. John C. - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:51 AM

    I get why the Nationals would love to have Alex Gordon or Brett Gardner. What I'm trying to figure out is why the Royals or Yankees would trade either player – at least not for anything the Nationals would be willing to part with. Throwing a bunch of spare parts (Detwiler or Milone + Lombardozzi? Really?) at the Royals will get Rizzo laughed at – after the Royals hang up the phone. I wouldn't be shocked if the "Rizzo Surprise" this offseason is a major push for Yu Darvish.

  48. Gonat - Oct 19, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    John C., you are correct, the Yankees aren't trading Brett Gardner. The Royals on the other hand showed last year that they would trade a top player for prospects when they traded Greinke who had 2 years left of team control just like Alex Gordon so you have a similar scenario.The Royals need middle infield help and starting pitching. They probably have the most depth in the outfield.

  49. FS - Oct 19, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    WOW Water23, I did not say anything about respecting anyone's wish or similar. I expressed my desire that I like to see players end their career with teams they started with. Would I love to have Pujols on my team? Absolutely. Should Albert be above all other players and stay with STL even if their offer is not the best? Definitely. I don't have anything more to do. Hope that makes my point clear. It has nothing to do with Nationals.

  50. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I took FS point to be more about pining for the bygone days of a player staying with one franchise for his entire career. If so, I agree, and think it would be great for the fans of St. Louis (and perhaps even for baseball) if that were the case with Pujols. Say what you will about Larry, uh, Chipper, I admire him for staying with his team, unlike Smoltz (I've always kinda liked Smoltz, when he wasn't facing my team, but how did going to that other team for a shot at a ring work out for him?).

  51. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    Oh, and on topic for the program, I'm stil rooting for the Cards, even if everybody does picks against them. I did like the rally monkey back in the day but where's the love for the squirrel? Maybe it just needs some awesome skitter-up music, as Millar opined on MLB Network last night. ;-)

  52. Mick - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    As far as Pujols goes, those G-DAMN Yankees will make a pitch for him too.

  53. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    They already have Teixeira at first, though.

  54. Water23 - Oct 19, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    FS, I should apologize as we should be group to discuss things and not hammer each other. I went to far in my efforts to promote what I feel the Nats and us their fans should have a the attitude. I guess I would like us to act more like the Yanks and BoSox where all players ours for the taking unless we pass instead of the attitude of maybe we might be able to persuade someone to join our team. Again, I am sorry for my exuberance.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 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

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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.

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