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Should Nats trade from surplus?

Oct 20, 2011, 1:54 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Ross Detwiler is one of several young arms the Nationals have in their arsenal.

We've talked a lot already this offseason about what positions the Nationals need to improve to get themselves closer to contention in 2012. This morning, let's turn the tables a bit and talk about what positions they might actually find themselves overstocked.

Mike Rizzo has often explained the two byproducts of building up a deep farm system: 1) To supply your big-league roster with talented, young players, and 2) To give yourself some trade chips to go out and acquire something else you need.

Perhaps for the first time since they arrived in town, the Nationals find themselves in a situation where they could move some young players from a position of depth in order to address another position of need.

This especially appears to be true in the pitching department. In addition to their two young studs — Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann — the Nats also have a potential surplus of starters age 27 or younger: John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Brad Peacock and TommyRead more »

  1. Mike - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:06 PM

    For the right deal, I think Lannan and Detwiler and Flores could be expendable.

  2. N. Cognito - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    For the right deal, everyone could be expendable.

  3. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    Who would be expendable for the wrong deal?

  4. SCNatsFan - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    I don't agree with those punting on Detwiler, not with the way he pitched at the end of the season. If his strides were do to mechanical flaws that the organization fixed then why sell low on him.As for LannEn, I think he'll be much more appreciated as a #4 starter then our #1.Trade no one! Sign Crisp and Wilson then let the chips fall where they may.

  5. SCNatsFan - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… Who would be expendable for the wrong deal? Apparently Morgan was

  6. N. Cognito - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… "Who would be expendable for the wrong deal?"You should direct that question to Jim Bowden.

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Maybe it doesn't have to be a veteran who can help immediately–somebody close to being ready who can fill the leadoff hole for several years would be worth thinning out the pitching prospects. Catchers, OTOH, maybe not. Flores wants to start, and I don't blame him, but if they trade him, they need a genuine backup catcher (not a frustrated starter), which is probably not Pudge because they can't give him enough ABs.

  8. Evan S - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    The Nats should not trade from their bullpen, not even a little. It is a strength and entirely homegrown. I like Rizzo, but cannot for the life of me understand why he would have Clippard or Storen on the block, they are two of the best relievers in the game and are an absolute shut down force in the 7th inning and beyond. I still can see them trading either Desmond or Lombardozzi. I could also see Flores, Milone and Balester on the block. That being said, some have pegged the Nationals as being in on Jose Reyes. If they bring him in then the team should not trade for anyone, especially not a CF. If we get Reyes, then a platoon at CF seems more palatable and we might be able to escape more games without a true 3rd starter. I would much rather see this team enter next year with a rotation of Strasburg, Zimmermann, Lannan, Detwiler, Peacock/Wang than having them sell the farm for some people. HOWEVER, I do believe that the Nats might be able to take a run at the wild card as soon as next year, and having another veteran arm might help support the rotation after Strasburg is shut down.

  9. Evan S - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    SCNats, I agree with you, let the chips fall where they should, a great article was just published in ESPN the mag about how sometimes the best thing to do as a rebuilding team is nothing. The nats may be in that category. The one thing they really lack in their pipe is a CF prospect, but everything else is about ready to burst onto the major league scene. I totally agree with you on Detwiler, this kid CAN pitch, he's just taken a slow road to the majors. Him as our 5th starter next year would not be a bad thing.

  10. SCNatsFan - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:32 PM

    With the penchant for arms in the pen to get blown out I wouldn't deal from there unless we got our socks knocked off by a deal. Plus relievers can go from the penthouse to the outhouse quicker then just about any position, especially when overused. Look no farther then Ayala and Majewski when they lit it up here.

  11. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    You need trade bait for July 31st in case you need to add a final piece or 2 so you can't empty out what you have and chase a deal.I probably pass on a Denard Span deal as Coco Crisp can certainly be had in Free Agency. Even if the Nats later find a better CF, Crisp becomes a great bench/role player.I don't chase CJ Wilson. His 2.95 ERA can be passed over to find a 3.45 ERA like Wandy Rodriguez. To save .50 points in ERA for 30 starts is 15 runs per year. Save the cash and sign Ryan Madson in Free agency and trade for Wandy Rodriguez. The sum of adding Madson, Wandy and offense will far surpass what you get in CJ Wilson.I think you sign Crisp and Madson in Free Agency. I think you trade for Alex Gordon and Wandy Rodriguez. Wandy is a salary dump and shouldn't cost much more than Detwiler or Milone. Alex Gordon will cost the Nats a pitcher and middle infielder and maybe Bernadina.I still believe there are untouchables. I wouldn't trade Peacock, Purke, AJ Cole, Harper, Rendon.Solis, Norris, Tyler Moore, Marrero, Detwiler, Lombardozzi, Milone, Bernadina, HenRod, would be the pool I would trade from.If the deal was right I would consider Espinosa and John Lannan and Flores.You can't make a trade to leave a hole like trading Jesus Flores without a solution

  12. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:51 PM

    They aren't going to trade Clipp, ever, and they aren't going to trade Storen unless they can get someone REALLY good (cf., the Ramos-Capps trade). Henry and Mattheus could combine to close games, so although I don't want to describe Storen as "expendable," he may be at the height of his value on the trade market. However, the trend seems to be to stock the bullpen with GOOD arms and not plan on complete games, or even 7 innings from all the starters. So, I'm also reluctant to trade relievers.Wilson might be cheaper after his postseason record, but I would not go for Fielder. We already have LaRoche, where would we put Fielder? You can't sit him on the bench, and you can't sit LaRoche on the bench until July. So pass on Fielder and get a bat that fits in the outfield. I think our infield is set.

  13. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Flores could (and probably should) be traded, he can bring good value as a starting catcher for another team.If Pudge is willing, I would say sign him as a player-coach. If not, bring up Norris. There are also a couple other "almost ready" guys in case of injury, so I don't think we would be opening up a big hole by trading Flores.

  14. Bowdenball - Oct 20, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Steve M:Span is a better ballplayer than Crisp in every respect, he's four years younger, and he's signed for a reasonable price through 2014 with a club option through 2015 if he turns into a star. I could understand if you thought Crisp + prospects would be better than Span, but I don't know how you can make that call without knowing who the prospects would be or what Crisp would cost in free agency. Comparing only what we do have a good idea about, Span is the better ballplayer and asset and it's not even close.

  15. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    Evan S said… SCNats, I agree with you, let the chips fall where they should, a great article was just published in ESPN the mag about how sometimes the best thing to do as a rebuilding team is nothing. The nats may be in that category. October 20, 2011 10:31 AM That's a good point about doing nothing but even with a healthy LaRoche coming back, the offense needs some help. If you can strengthen your rotation and bullpen, you do it. You can't ignore the offense. Free Agency this year doesn't have much. I think Rizzo will have to trade for a bat.You mentioned Balester, I don't think any teams are desiring him but he could be a +1 in a trade deal.Like others, I like Detwiler, I just don't see him as anything more than a #4 or #5 starter as I believe if he pitched every 5 days, he wouldn't be spectacular just like in his AAA season. The Nats had him pitching in September with 6 and 7 days rest between starts. That doesn't help to evaluate a pitcher with stamina issues. He has to be on the roster either as a starter or in the bullpen since he has no MiLB options left. I project him in the bullpen or traded.

  16. Bowdenball - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Also, Rendon and Purke can't be traded until one year from their draft date, so no need to worry about that.I do like your plan of going after a guy like Wandy instead of overpaying for CJ Wilson, though. I'm not sure about Madsen- deals for expensive free agent relievers are almost always a disaster- but otherwise I like your other ideas of guys to pursue and guys you'd be willing to trade and not trade.

  17. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    Bowdenball said… Steve M:Span is a better ballplayer than Crisp in every respect, he's four years younger, and he's signed for a reasonable price through 2014 with a club option through 2015 if he turns into a star. I could understand if you thought Crisp + prospects would be better than Span, but I don't know how you can make that call without knowing who the prospects would be or what Crisp would cost in free agency. Comparing only what we do have a good idea about, Span is the better ballplayer and asset and it's not even close. October 20, 2011 10:59 AM Did you miss that Denard Span had a serious brain injury? Will he ever be the same again?I don't have the answers. I wouldn't take the risk given that next years Free Agent class is projected to have Michael Bourn, Matt Kemp and BJ Upton plus we will see who emerges in the Nats Farm system.

  18. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Bowdenball said… Also, Rendon and Purke can't be traded until one year from their draft date, so no need to worry about that.October 20, 2011 11:03 AM Now teams are including new draftees in PTBNL and "naming" them at the 1 year mark like they did with Pomerantz and some others.

  19. N. Cognito - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Steve M. said… "I don't have the answers."That there is calendar marking stuff. ;^)

  20. Wally - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… Who would be expendable for the wrong deal?Maya.On Span, he never really recovered from his concussion. I know that he played a bit towards the end of the year, but I don't think he was really healthy. So, if the Twins stick to their asking price from the summer, we have to pass. But if they drop their requirements, I think that he would be a great 'buy low' candidate. I am not sure what that translates to in prospects, but a Lombo/Milone combo would work for me.As for Mark's question, I would only trade for guys who are clearly improvements. Otherwise keep all of them, and utilize the option game to keep control of them. If the medical guys felt good about it, I would take something of a flyer on an injury-recovery guy with a high ceiling (like my Span example), but otherwise I would only target star or near-star quality guys. I think that the Nats have enough internal options that we should avoid the cheaper, middling guys that we went for in the past.

  21. Constant Reader - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    My two cents: the only two players on our 40-man that aren't tradeable are Strasburg and Harper (ignoring those that aren't eligible to be traded, Purke and Rendon). I actually could envision moving either Zimm, and Boz made a pretty reasonable case in his column on the construction of the Rangers as to why that is plausible.I think I posed this question on a thread a few weeks ago: 'what are reasonable aspirations for a team that is certain to lose its best pitcher in August?' I lean away from 2012 rental players (e.g., BJ Upton). I am not certain what the right answer is, but I am really looking forward to watching Rizzo give us his answer over the winter.

  22. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Wally said… On Span, he never really recovered from his concussion. I know that he played a bit towards the end of the year, but I don't think he was really healthy. So, if the Twins stick to their asking price from the summer, we have to pass. But if they drop their requirements, I think that he would be a great 'buy low' candidate. I am not sure what that translates to in prospects, but a Lombo/Milone combo would work for me.October 20, 2011 11:16 AM I am thinking along the same lines as you but Lombo is a top prospect. His batting average in his short time in Sept is not indicative of what he will be as it was a small sample size.The Twins wanted a reliever. I would trade them HenRod or Balester. No more than that. No way on Milone.

  23. Get Some Players - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Is Rendon going to play in the AFL?

  24. Mark'd - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    The Twins could've had Storen for Span. Luck be with you. They didn't do the deal and NatsTown is fortunate. Now you go back and offer less as Span is a bigger risk than before. It has to be Josh Wilkie now or Balaster.

  25. Wally - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Steve M – I have a feeling neither Milone nor Lombo will become full time starters at the MLB level, but there is enough of a chance that another team could value them like they will. The Twins, for instance, badly need MI help and I think that they would be more inclined to take a chance. I probably feel more bullish on Milone than Lombo. Lombo also represents an area of extreme organizational depth, imo, and so I would be willing to be take a chance on him if another team valued him as a starter. We have two young starters, Rendon is somewhere in that mix, then Walters, Kobernus, Hague, Antonelli (if resigned) at lower levels.

  26. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    Wally, not sure on Milone but no better than a 4 or 5. He still makes great trade bait and depth in AAA in case Davey needs a starter in a pinch so I don't throw anyone into a trade unless the trade warrants it.I see Lombo as a 2nd baseman or super utility guy. He can hit too. Think Jamey Carroll who was a utility guy who became a starter. I think Lombo is MLB quality.Again, I am going in another direction with my strategy and the Royals need middle infield help also. The Nats can play JWerth in CF and fortify him with Crisp off the bench or Ankiel off the bench or Bernadina off the bench. Crisp makes the most sense since he is a switch hitter and has a higher OBP when played less. They would make the perfect platoon of sorts. Then I go after Alex Gordon in a trade. He not only can play corner outfield, he clearly can play 3rd and 1st and from what I hear he can play 2nd base also.

  27. Mark'd - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    SteveM, we are less then 2 weeks to November and Free Agency will commence. What move do the Nats make first?

  28. VladiHondo - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Two cautionary tales of dealing from Bullpen Strength.In 1990 the Reds won the World Series with the 3 Nasty Boys leading the bullpen. After a disappointing '91, the 1st Nasty Boy, Randy Myers was traded. He pitche 7 more seasons averaging 60 Games, and 36 Saves with a 3.57 ERA.Another disappointing season in '92 led to the trade of Norm Charlton. Norm also pitched 7 more seasons, not as well as Myers, but still 7 seasons on 4.61 ERA.The sole remaining Nasty Boy the Reds decided to keep, Dribble, promptly injured his arm in '93 and valiantly (muttley) pitched thru it to a tune of 6+ ERA, helping his team SO MUCH. After a year off after surgery, he came back worse than ever, 7+ ERA and was out of baseball.In 2k5, the Nats had a formidable bullpen, led by Chad Cordero (1.82), Gary Majewski (2.93), Luis Ayala (2.66), Joey Eischen (3.22) and Hector Carrasco (2.04). By August 2k6, all were gone save Cordero. Majek via trade, Ayala to injury, Eischen to ineffectiveness (8.22 ERA) and Carrasco to free agency. After 2k7, Cordero's career was done due to labrum injury and the Nats bullpen strength was obliterated and a major weakness.

  29. sjm308 - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    Point I don't think made on Crisp vs. Span.No doubt Span has the bigger upside even with his concussion issues, but he is going to cost you something. Crisp is a FA and will just cost money. I also like Steve M's ideas and if we make a trade, Rodriguez might be the way to go. I would also be excited to get Madsen as you just can't have enough arms in the bullpen (see Cards).That would give us the CF/leadoff position we all think is necessary, a strong #3 veteran pitcher and another strong arm in the bullpen.

  30. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    VladiHondo, agree on bullpen strength. Also agree on not burning out your 'pen. Still, I like the idea if you can get a Madson to do it and non-tender Gorzo.

  31. sjm308 - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    I just realized I didn't address Mark's point and my opinion is we do have some trade pieces but I am hoping Flores is not one of them. The problem could arise that he become disgruntled but you still have the July trading deadline and might have a better idea of exactly what you need to move to the next level by then. If we have to trade this offseason, I think most of our prospects won't bring much in return. Would you expect Bally to bring in much? Detwiler is a tough call, I loved him in Sept. but didn't he pitch with 6 or 7 days rest? The fact that he is out of options also is troubling so I think you could package him into something worth value. We also had another infielder in the minors who had been drafted high by someone else and while I think he is 25 or 26, he had a nice season and might be a consideration as well. I think it was Antonelli or something like that. So I guess I would trade Bally, Det, and Lombo if we honestly are getting something decent in return like Wandy.

  32. Farid - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I wonder if the Mariners' Felix Hernandez could be available. Seattle was a bad team this year, maybe like the Nationals a couple of years back. By the time the rest of the team is strong again, Hernandez will be on the down-side of his career (seems we had that conversation with several Nats' veterans three years ago).What if the Nationals give up some cash for Wilson of Texas and some prospects for Hernandez? StrasburgHernandezZimmermannWilsonWangPretty good.The cost for Felix Hernandez would be pretty high. Say, John Lannan, Chris Marrero, Derek Norris, Stephen Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina. But I'd do it in a heartbeat. Hernandez would replace Lannan in the rotation, and catcher, first and second are all secured long-term at the major league level. They wouldn't be giving up any usable parts. What do you all think .. not necessarily if the Nationals should go after Hernandez, but rather would that be enough to get him?Farid

  33. Rob Roy McGregor - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    I'd be glad to trade Werthless for Markakis. Heck, I'd trade our right-field goatman for a couple dozen Faidley's crab cakes.

  34. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    Farid, I think the Nats can't afford a blockbuster trade right now. While King Felix would be great, Seattle will want a ton.I threw out the name Brandon McCarthy. He became a very good pitcher last year on a lousy team. Check out his stats. I think you will be impressed. Wandy Rodriguez will cost less in a trade and fit in as the perfect #3 and he is a lefty.

  35. anonymoussss - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Even really good relievers are a dime a dozen. The special ones are somewhat rare, but you still will find a couple of these on most teams. Clip may be special—I know I love him to death—and there is a chance Storen will also be special. But still, you trade those guys every time when you get the chance for a solid position player that we need.Just look at the Capps/Ramos trade.

  36. Anonymous - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    trading for shields/upton and signing reyes could make us the team to beat in the NL East.

  37. Anonymous - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    and sign darvish just to make sure.

  38. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    King Felix article http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ycn-10238439I am concerned in the tick up in Hernandez's ERA. He ended up over JZim and where Wandy Rodriguez is in terms of ERA. At $18.9 million and what it would cost to trade for him, I don't take that risk.

  39. sjm308 - Oct 20, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    Farid – I love the idea and also you validated each of the people we give up and it makes all the sense in the world from our end, but I am not sure its enough for Seattle and the heat they would take.Really inventive though and its what makes the next few months fun.RobRoy – not sure Markakis could stand the culture shock of coming to a team that actually has a chance to win. I see him like an Adam Dunn that does very well on a losing team. We all thought the White Sox would be the first winning team Dunn would play on but I guess that didn't workout too well for him did it?

  40. Doc - Oct 20, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    Span had a very good career going, until the concussion. Unfortunately, he is still in recovery, and may never regain his former status.Recovery from a concussion, for a batter, is one of the hardest transformations in sports. A brain concussion injury, in dimensional terms of degree of recovery, is more akin to a serious shoulder injury. Most players never recover to previous levels of performance. Justin Morneau, had a stellar career going, with greater stats than Span. Performance recovery for Justin is still waiting to happen.Almost 1 year later, NHL's Sidney Crosby is not yet ready to play.Professional sports needs to keep on the path of finding ways of protecting players from head injury. Some very talented kids are loosing careers over something that should be more closely managed.

  41. Mark'd - Oct 20, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    SJM, too funny on Dunn. I'm not bullish on Felix Hernandez. He is another pitcher who had an outstanding Cy season to fall back to a careers norm. Seattle would love to trade him to the Yankees.

  42. Mark'd - Oct 20, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Doc, very insightful on Span. Sounds like you are also on the side of "no" on Span. Like i said above, if you do revisit Span you offer even less than before.

  43. Toby - Oct 20, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    I don't get the concussion problems where players miss long periods of time. Until modern times, I can only remember Frank Gifford losing much time to a concussion. I experienced a concussion as a high school footballer, had no ill effects, and played the next week.

  44. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    SteveJM, I am still laughing about your Markakis and Dunn.I would actually take Adam Jones before Markakis. It will be interesting what direction their new GM will move in.That Koji Uehara trade they made to Texas turned out interesting. Uehara has pitched so poorly they left him off of the World Series roster. They gave up Hunter and Chris Davis for Uehara which gives Baltimore some trade chips of their own.Baltimore I think also made a good trade for Mark Reynolds for relievers.Still, Baltimore lacks pitching. They have essentially all young pitchers and need a true veteran presence. I could see them trading Reynolds or Jones for pitching. Markakis is Angelos's guy and is untouchable. I think Weiters is untouchabble also. Adam Jones has 2 years left under team control so my guess is he is available for the right deal.

  45. Anonymous - Oct 20, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    Seattle would require a lot more quality than "John Lannan, Chris Marrero, Derek Norris, Stephen Lombardozzi and Roger Bernadina" for King Felix. Felix may be the most talented starting pitcher in baseball. Last year for Zach Greinke, the Nats reportedly offered Storen, Espinosa, Zimmerman and Norris. It would take more to land Felix as he is a better more durable pitcher, Seattle is going to want a #1 or #2 starter so, Jordan Zimmerman (or Strasburg) would have to be part of the package along with Storen, Espinosa or Desmond, Norris and Peacock. Also, I love the Nats bullpen in 2011, but there is no position where players' performances fluctuate more than in the bullpen (which is why a decent CF like Denard Span is considered with more than a stud closer like Drew Storen). So, the Nats may be willing to deal a bullpen arm, but don't be surprised at how little return that it brings. As for acquiring Denard Span, his head injury concerns me, and I don't have a ton of faith that he will be more than an adequate offensive player. I would not deal for him unless it is bargain.Finally, where was it reported that the Nats have interest in Jose Reyes? If that happened, a trade would soon follow.Pilchard

  46. Wally - Oct 20, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Steve M – I like Alex Gordon better than Span, too. I am not as optimistic that he is available, though, but if he is, count me in. If the package necessary to get him is exorbitant, I might see if Bourjos is available for the same package. If neither work, I would bottom-fish for Span. Minnesota doesn't really need him any more (OFs seem to be an organizational strength) and might be willing to do something just to get out of his contract (which is reasonable if he plays, sunk cost if he doesn't). I agree concussions are very tricky.Farid – I think King Felix is one of the top 5 pitchers in the game, and would love him. Unfortunately, I see no way that package gets it done. If you look beyond his obvious numbers into his peripherals, he has been the same high quality for the last three or four years. Plus, he isn't even 26 yet. His ERA jumped last year, but his BABIP was up 40 points of so, and his FIP/xFIP were right in line with the past 3 years. I can't imagine a deal getting it done without Harper in there (and I would NOT do that). If you could trade Rendon(which you can't yet), maybe, maybe him plus a lot more.

  47. alexva - Oct 20, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    @Toby, lucky for you. What modern medicine tells us is that post-concussion syndrome causes more problems down the line. Players are rightfully taking no chances as second time occurrences are more dangerous yet.

  48. Steve M. - Oct 20, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    The goal in moving to a playoff team from a team that is close is to not give up key components. I think Lannan has a better 2012 and to throw him into a trade doesn't make sense.Again, FIP, BABIP, is all great when saying who is better than another, but if last night told you anything, Chris Carpenter found himself in June and went from a pitcher who looked like he was heading to the scrap heap to a bona fide Ace once again. CJ Wilson has looked good at times, just not great overall.King Felix was the best pitcher in the AL in 2010 and fell off in 2011. His ERA rose almost 1 1/4 runs per game. Whatever his FIP and BABIP, it didn't translate to holding opponents runs from scoring.You would have to trade too many pieces for him. Ryan Zimmerman said it, "Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, John Lannan". Add a tough #3 and you have a great rotation that will be better than the Braves. The Nats were already the #7 rotation in baseball and close to the worst in offense.Save the main trade pieces to improve the offense and hope Rizzo can get it done.

  49. Tom - Oct 20, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    I would love to see us get Yu Darvish. Signing foreign players is kind of a crap shoot, but it is not my money, so I love that it doesn't cost any prospects. What I would also love to see is a trade with the Dodgers for Matt Kemp (contingent on negotiating a contract extension). If we could do that without trading Stras or Zimm, then I think losing pitching depth would be worth it. Not that it will or could happen, but a future outfield of Harper, Kemp and Werth sounds pretty good to me (with Morse back at 1st).

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 20, 2011 at 7:32 PM

    Simple 2 word answer to the original question…..Not yet.

  51. phil dunn - Oct 20, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Is Alex Gordon available? He was a 3rd baseman & a higher draft choice than Zim in the same year but was a bust for four seasons. KC stuck him in LF this season and he finally produced but I doubt he could plug our hole in CF. Last time I checked, we had a left fielder in Michael Morse.

  52. Anonymous - Oct 20, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    1. First as Mark recently stated (and he should repeat it a few thousand times to that stubborn ex-Moonie Ben Goessling) Rizzo built a roster designed around Jim Riggleman's requirements and managing style. Riggleman CLEARLY wanted to go outside for utility player type VETERAN multi-role players that he could trust and use for his double-switching from the first inning on. This includes players like Miguel Batista, LIvan Hernandez, et al pitching-wise. 2. THIS AIN'T Riggleman's team NO MOAH. Johnson LIKES to use cocky, young, superior athletes who know their baseball. Both positionally and pitching-wise. On more than one occasion he has stated (as did Jayson Werth at the end of the season) that he was happy to go with what he already had in his clubhouse and down in the farm system. Johnson like the 3-run homer which means a guy like Tyler Moore has a definite edge if he were to prove he could do the same in Syracuse as he did first in Potomac and then in Harrisburg. And that is hit 30+ homers. Why go outside when Morse could move to left and you could bring this guy up? A guy who ostensibly would be under team control for years. 3. As for the CF / leadoff Johnson seems to think things are fine as they stand. In the end its not just the lead off but the #2 guy as well. Both are needed to work in tandem. The Nats aren't going to transform overnight with a slap hitting CF leading off. That would be Nyjer Morgan redux. Can Desmond and Espinosa combine to fill those two spots? Depends on whether Espinosa finally conquers the platoon-bat and Desmond really gets it. Do they need Desmond to hit deep in the order as Zim mentioned? Why? With Ramos, Morse, Harper, perhaps Moore / LaRoche, Werth and Zim himself, why? There's no logic to batting him seventh or eight if he is as good as Zim claims. If anyone should bat lower in the order it should be Espinosa but why waste his pure athleticism batting seventh? He should be batting second. Period. 4. Okay, so what's left? Easy THEY NEED A TOP-OF-THE-ROTATION starter or two. Not someone hitting their mid-30's, a guy still in his twenties. That means a Grienke or a Cain. That's what any trade boils down to. Getting a guy like that to lead the staff and push the young pitchers they decide to keep and continue developing down … so that Stras isn't the ace in an innings limit year, in his first full year in the majors. So, that Zimmermann can be a #3/#4 in his second full year, first not under an innings limitation. Detwiler has yet to play a full year. If they want to compete they can no longer throw guys like Marquis or Livo in front of these two pitchers. This is the one and only trade they absolutely must make NOW.

  53. N. Cognito - Oct 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    On the surface, pass on Yu Darvish. Japanese pitchers have, for what they signed for, been major busts.

  54. Water23 - Oct 20, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    In Looking at our division – Phils – are getting older and Howard may be out for a while, Oswalt balky back and losing Madsen, Rollins Polanco and Ibanez is a lot of turnover (some good and some bad) should regressBraves – have a lot of part but we should be able to pace them for the first halfMets – Losing Reyes plus somewhat rebuilding should keep them out of contentionMarlins – Wildcard as they always seem to find a way to be competitive but Ramirez is injured so maybe they finally fade.Which leaves us sitting pretty So, I like the "spend money not picks to start the season" to start the season. Snag Reyes, Crisp and if possible 1B. Then let the team play. The Nats will have a stocked lineup ReyesCrispZimBeastWerthLaRocheEspyRamosPAnd a bunch of chips to offer. Desi and Flores + PTBNL might garner a top pitcher near the deadline. Worst that happens is we are in contention but need to make a big move at the deadline. Then maybe Farid gets his wish and we get King Felix for Detwiler, Peacock, Norris, Desmond, Perez and a PTNL – Purke

  55. Water23 - Oct 20, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Meant to add Yu to the spend not trade offer. Granted N.Cognito makes a decent point but Nomo was worth it.

  56. sjm308 - Oct 20, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    Does everyone notice (including I hope Mark) that when a post is written concerning the Nationals and their future, the comments double and even triple the posts written about the baseball still being played. One thing about us NI's we love us some nationals!!!Can't wait for the hot stove league to actually start and therein lies my question. When can trades actually start being made and when does a player officially become a Free Agent.As always, thanks for the excellent posts here, and you guys make my day when I actually get a compliment as well.

  57. Gonat - Oct 20, 2011 at 10:49 PM

    Tom said… I would love to see us get Yu Darvish. Signing foreign players is kind of a crap shoot, but it is not my money, so I love that it doesn't cost any prospects. What I would also love to see is a trade with the Dodgers for Matt Kemp (contingent on negotiating a contract extension). If we could do that without trading Stras or Zimm, then I think losing pitching depth would be worth it. Not that it will or could happen, but a future outfield of Harper, Kemp and Werth sounds pretty good to me (with Morse back at 1st). October 20, 2011 3:14 PM _______________________________-He will be a Free Agent in a year. Why trade anyone when you can stopgap until then and go all out for him. The Yankees have Granderson and the Red Sox have Ellsbury. It doesn't mean the Yankees or Red Sox won't be in the running but maybe the Nats have a good path to him with a backup plan of Michael Bourn who is also a Free Agent.

  58. Gonat - Oct 20, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    phil dunn said… Is Alex Gordon available? He was a 3rd baseman & a higher draft choice than Zim in the same year but was a bust for four seasons. KC stuck him in LF this season and he finally produced but I doubt he could plug our hole in CF. Last time I checked, we had a left fielder in Michael Morse. October 20, 2011 3:47 PM _______________________________Gordon wants a long-term deal and as cheap as the Royals are, it creates a similar issue that they had with Greinke. A player with 2 years of team control and the propensity not to spend cash.The Nats have trade bait now and a relationship with the Royals from last years Greinke sweepstakes.The Royals need a middle infielder and possibly a catcher if they don't re-sign Kendall and of course a pitcher. If they move Crow to the starting rotation, they will need a closer.Rizzo hopefully gets in there early and strikes while nobody is looking.

  59. Wally - Oct 20, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    As cheap as the Royals may be, and they do seem pretty cheap, I just struggle with believing Gordon is available, at least for anything that looks like a reasonable deal. I mean, I am all for it, but he didn't just break out this year, he had either the 9th or 11th best offensive season in baseball (depending on whether you like Fangraphs or B-R). Ahead of people like AGon, Tulo, etc.So, going by Gonats suggestion above, if you meant Desi or Espy, Norris and Peacock, ok that might get it done although I doubt people would pay that price (I might go Desi, Norris and Det, tho). But if it was Lombo, Flores and Milone, I just don't see the Royals biting.

  60. Anonymous8 - Oct 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    Wally, they traded their best pitcher in decades in Greinke. Why is trading an outfielder for starting pitching hard to believe?

  61. Wally - Oct 21, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Anon8 -I guess not hard to believe they'll do it, but I think it is a big package. I also think the sitution is a little different. from the reports that I read, Greinke asked to be traded and said he wouldn't resign. He also started being critical publicly, trying to force their hand. I haven't heard Gordon was discontented (but he might be, has anyone heard anything?) Plus, the Royals have made a big deal to their fans about their prospects, a number of which like Hosmer and Moustaskas are up now. I think it will be hard to explain another dump right now.Anyway, would love to be wrong here because I think he is a good player, but I don't think he comes cheaply.

  62. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2011 at 12:40 AM

    Put me down as one who doesn't want to see Detwiler traded. I've always been a fan of his and this season he looked really impressive. Sometimes, it takes a player a little while to adjust to the majors, but not only he's a lefty, he's a left-hander that can throw with some zip too.Wally, I agree with your idea about Span. Trading Storen for Span in my opinion would be absolutely ridiculous; however, trading Lombardozzi and Milone for him I may consider. From the Twin's perspective, that would be getting 2 pretty good prospects for someone who is still a health concern (until he proves otherwise). For us, it would be a gamble but it would be trading from positions of strength for a big-time need.

  63. Mark'd - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    Wally, unless the track record has changed with the Royals, Gordon is as good as gone. Royals get an All Star game infusion of cash this year, maybe they spend some of it.

  64. Mark'd - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    When I say as good as gone, I mean in 2 years for Free Agency or prior in a trade. Also, the ex head of CAA Baseball Casey Close is his agent, the same guy who hardballed the Yankees on Jeter.

  65. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:35 PM

    "I don't get the concussion problems where players miss long periods of time. Until modern times, I can only remember Frank Gifford losing much time to a concussion. I experienced a concussion as a high school footballer, had no ill effects, and played the next week."How can you forget Tony Conigliaro? At 22, in 1967, he was beaned by Jack Hamilton. Tony C had already hit more homers than any other player in history to that point. He never really recovered from that, being plagued by double vision and who knows what else? He died in 1990.I wish Spann all the best, but I do not take a chance on him.

  66. Anonymous - Oct 21, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    The Nats with a healthy Strasburg are a 90 win team with no changes right now. They need to package Lannen, Marrero and Flores for a decent (not great) centerfielder. Detweiler is Lannen with a better fastball. Peacock may turn out to be a stud just a tick below Zimmerman. If you have three .500 pitchers and two high win studs (Zimmerman, Strasburg) you are in the hunt. I think the Nats have that now. Don't overpay for a C.J. Wilson ( Milone is a clone of this guy) that comes from a great hitting team that colors his performance.

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