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Tuesday morning thoughts

Oct 25, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
C.J. Wilson was erratic but effective last night for the Rangers.

A few scattershot thoughts on this morning after another fantastic game in what has turned into an epic World Series…

– Is C.J. Wilson really worth the money he's going to get this winter? Look, I would never say teams should base their decisions strictly on a couple of postseason appearances, but something tells me the Wilson we saw during Game 5 last night is the same guy you'll see a lot during the regular season. The five walks and elevated pitch count weren't an anomaly. Wilson led the AL with 93 walks last season and posted a 3.0 walks-per-nine-innings rate this year that would have been higher than anyone in the Nationals' rotation besides John Lannan (3.7). I'm not saying Wilson isn't a good pitcher, or that he wouldn't be better than every Nats starter not named Stephen Strasburg or Jordan Zimmermann. But I'm not sure that alone is worth four years and $60 million, or whatever the left-hander is going to wind up getting on the open market. It can be a dangerous thing going after the best available free agent starter when it's a down year for those kind of pitchers.

– Looks like Bryce Harper is starting to heat up in Arizona, just as you figured he would. Since beginning his fall league season 1-for-19,Read more ยป

  1. Will - Oct 25, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Wasn't there a discussion here like a week ago about how Norris is washed up and no longer worthy of his prospect status??

  2. Feel Wood - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Re the managerial announcement, Rizzo admitted last week that he has been conducting interviews. Why is it that no DC journalist can seem to find out who has been interviewed so far and what other interviews might be scheduled prior to an announcement being made? Is it because this is some sort of state secret, or is it just incompetent journalism?

  3. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Feel Wood – I think that we have seen in the past that rizzo could easily work for the cia he plays things so close to the vest. Remember the Jayson Werth signing? – no rumbles beforehand at all.

  4. Gonat - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Will, I was critical and was right about Norris. I found it laughable that some thought a batting average of just above Mendoza was acceptable with a high OBP.Sure enough out of his own mouth, Norris said he was going to stop letting quality strikes go by him and would work on being more aggressive at the plate.That adjustment if he can continue changed him back to a Top Prospect.I am glad some realized there was a problem with Norris and pointed it out. Luckily the people around Norris along with Norris himself knew the same problem and the AFL was his opportunity to prove he could hit. He started off slow and is no on a hot streak.

  5. Gonat - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    http://insider.espn.go.com/insider/features/rumors/_/date/20111025#11212Yankees want Darvish and cooling on CJ Wilson. Maybe they saw something in the post-season?

  6. Gonat - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    Scottsdale Scorpions hitting coach Ken Joyce has provided a "different perception" of Norris game from outside the organization. "Sometimes it is good to get a different opinion from someone who maybe doesn't know you as well," Norris said."I made some adjustments to my approach here in Arizona," Norris said. "It has shown to me that I have a lot that I can do at the plate. I have been able to put the ball in play. At times during the season, I had an inability to pull the trigger. Now I feel a lot better about myself. I am free and easy with my swing. I just pressed at the plate during the season. Here, I just got back to ground zero."

  7. Todd Boss - Oct 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Completely agree on Wilson; I know his reg season numbers were good, but he has been hit far too easily this post-season. He's going to get probably $30M more than he's really worth.

  8. Gonat - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Todd, exactly. He will get $18 mill a year instead of $20. Still there will be teams that will hope he improves in the post-season and can pitch "their" team into the playoffs. His stats from the regular season put him around a top 25 to 40 pitcher depending on which stats you use. His ERA says he is an Ace. His post-season has been a mixed bag with some bad outings. Last night was his best performance of the post-season.

  9. Theophilus - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Two of Wilson's walks were IBBs. That still leaves three in five innings — very Lannanesque. He's better than Lannan (not saying very much, is it?) but not in the stud class of Strasburg and Zimmermann and not worth the $16 MM he's going to be looking for, or even a $12 MM/year 3-4-5 year deal.I have been struck, during the playoffs, by the number of AL "finesse" pitchers — lots of sliders, slurves, change-ups and except for Verlander not a lot of overpowering heat or motion pitches, or even sinkers. You'd think with the DH there'd be more fastball pitchers but the opposite seems to apply: it's like they think they need to be junkballers to get through 6-7 innings without the break at the bottom of the lineup NL pitchers get.I'm not enthused about spending a lot of money on Wilson. Over a long term deal, too much risk. I'd be more interested in seeing whether the Nats could get Oswalt at a reasonable price, or with a lot of incentives, on a one-year deal.

  10. Water23 - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    In preparation for the Off-season, I saw this article about how the Michael Bourn trade between the Braves and Astros developed. It was cool to be able to look behind the curtain and see how a deal gets done.http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/anatomy-of-a-baseball-trade-10202011.html

  11. Anonymous8 - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Will said… Wasn't there a discussion here like a week ago about how Norris is washed up and no longer worthy of his prospect status?? October 25, 2011 7:32 AM I saw people on WaPo say he was washed up. Don't recall that here. I can't stand someone who gives a criticism without providing backup either for or against.Here's the difference on NI. There are people who will stand up against the grain and give an opinion and back it up. On Norris the debate was: does a mid .350's OBP make you disregard a .210 Batting Average.I think that quote from Norris himself backs up that it does NOT.

  12. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:37 PM

    Just got to get rid of Buck and McCarver and this would be a great World Series.

  13. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Since Philly declined his option, I think Oswalt will help bring Wilson's value down. That said, a one or two-year contract to Oswalt might be what the Nats are looking for.

  14. Harper_ROY_2012 - Oct 25, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Regarding CJ Wilson, it seems that he is a bit of a paper tiger. After seeing CJ Wilson perform in the postseason I took a look at his record which looks good until you look deeper into it. I know some people here do not put any stock into wins and losses by a pitcher (mainly because Nats pitchers do not get wins so they need to justify feeling good about the team) but I do, given the lack of run support Nats pitchers get especially compared to the Rangers! I would not sign him to anywhere near the $60-100 million number that is being thrown out there, maybe 2 years $10 million. While CJ went 16-7 during the 2011 campaign, 9 of those wins were against sub .500 teams and of his 7 losses 4 of those were to sub .500 teams. BHarp – come'on was there any doubt about his skills…every reporter within 50 miles of DC rushed to spread the hate about how bad he was doing in the AFL and then BOOM he goes into Beast Mode.Norris- glad to see Derek is killing the ball, it is great to have two good catchers in Flores and Ramos and then Norris waiting in the wings.Purke – He had not pitched to live batters since he was at TCU so his first outing is not something you can judge him on. He is a winner and will prove he is major league ready by 2013 the latest.

  15. Nats1924 - Oct 25, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Wilson – Not too sold on this guy. If your going to drop the speculated $100M on Wilson, why not drop $120m on Sabathia?Sabathia was naughty when he played in the NL for the Brewers. Sabathia & Wilson are only a year apart. Granted, Sabathia does have more mileage, but it seems like his arm is holding up just fine.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 25, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Harper_ROY_2012…. You obviously don't read NI regularly as I reported on Purkes two outings over the past two weeks in the Florida Fall Instructional League games.He is obviously not ready for the kind of competition the Arizona Fall League provides as he couldn't get out the kids from low "A" ball that perform in Florida. Fastball topped out at 94 with poor command and an extremely hittable breaking ball.He'll work himself up to speed though but don't expect much till 2013.

  17. SCNatsFan - Oct 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    You add a healthy Wang and a healthy Oswalt to this staff and get someone to play CF that can set the table and we are a playoff team next year. The problem as I see it would be what to do with Detwiler; he's out of options and I think moving him to the pen would set back the development we've seen.

  18. Nats1924 - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    How much do you think Oswalt will fetch in FA?

  19. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Gonat said… http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/anatomy-of-a-baseball-trade-10202011.htmlDetails of text messages between the Braves and Astros to do the Bourn trade October 23, 2011 11:02 PM Water23, thanks for also pointing that article out. Always interesting to read the inside. Still not sure if Rizzo could have been "in" on Bourn.I still contend Atlanta didn't give up much as Philadelphia got Pence for some mid prospects also.Speaking of Prospects, Derek Norris has helped his "stock" with this AFL showing. I have also been in the Derek Norris can't let good pitches go by and have said that even last year. OBP translates from the Minors to the Majors when it is accompanied by a high batting average.Baseball Prospectus did a great analysis of Passive/Aggressive hitters. I wish they went further to show BA and OBP as with some hitters it doesn't translate into success although they explain "This is a bit of a mixed bag. Some players, including the top 3, had good years. Nobody on this list dominated the league, though. In fact, none of the top 20 most passive players finished with a wOBA of .350 or higher. Only 3 of the top 50 most passive players had a .350+ wOBA (Kevin Youkilis at 24.9%, Desmond Jennings at 23.3%, and Dustin Pedroia at 22.6%).I think it's fair to say that, though a very high Passiveness does not automatically prevent a player from getting good offensive results, those extra strikes add a degree of difficulty for a hitter."http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2011/10/23/2507020/rating-hitters-by-passiveness-and-aggressivenessThis is exactly what Derek Norris fell into being a passive hitter. Now he is taking advantage of quality strikes in his at-bats. He is still a work-in-progress. Like they say, others can tell you that you have a problem but until you admit it yourself then you can change. Looks like Norris admitted he had a problem. This is a major step in the right direction for Norris if he can keep it up.Like they say, others can tell you that you have a problem but until you admit it yourself then you can change. Looks like Norris admitted he had a problem.

  20. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:33 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Harper_ROY_2012…. You obviously don't read NI regularly as I reported on Purkes two outings over the past two weeks in the Florida Fall Instructional League games.He is obviously not ready for the kind of competition the Arizona Fall League provides as he couldn't get out the kids from low "A" ball that perform in Florida. Fastball topped out at 94 with poor command and an extremely hittable breaking ball.He'll work himself up to speed though but don't expect much till 2013. October 25, 2011 10:23 AMDo you think it was a mistake to send him to the AFL?There's still 3 weeks left to hope he improves. A buddy of mine said he isn't locating any of his pitches and is working in side sessions there.From what I saw of him at TCU, he is a real deal pitcher so I'm not panicking.

  21. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Nats1924 said… How much do you think Oswalt will fetch in FA? October 25, 2011 11:07 AM The Free Agent market on starters is thin. I think Oswalt is worth #3 money and $9 million on the low end which he won't accept to $14 million on the high end for a 1 year deal. If I had to guess, he gets 2 years for $25 million with a 3rd year option.

  22. Will - Oct 25, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Gonat said…Will, I was critical and was right about Norris. I found it laughable that some thought a batting average of just above Mendoza was acceptable with a high OBP.I don't think anyone said this, or at least I didn't. What I did say was that it was easy to look past Norris' .210 average, for several reasons, namely he was very unlucky. He sported an uncharacteristically low BABIP of .256, which was about 75 points below his career average. Normalize his BABIP, and suddenly that batting average isn't a problem, and you have a monster .260/.420/.500 season.The talent is still there, except his batting average (a relatively useless statistic anyway) didn't show it. That's no reason to demote his status (or leave him open to the Rule 5 draft, as someone suggested). Prospect status is based solely on potential (hence the scouting and projections), and what Norris did this year was prove that he had recovered his power after his hammate injury in 2010 (2009 ISO: .227, '10 ISO: .185, '11 ISO: .237), while his defense continues to make modest strides.

  23. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    SCNatsFan said… The problem as I see it would be what to do with Detwiler; he's out of options and I think moving him to the pen would set back the development we've seen. October 25, 2011 10:40 AMI think it is an illusion that putting a potential starter in the 'pen affects a "starters" development in the long-term.There are many cases to say that is false. Look no further than CJ Wilson and David Price. Until Detwiler fills out his frame, I don't see him as a long-term part in the rotation. He will frustrate you more than Lannan. Go through Detwiler's AAA game log in Syracuse. With all that said, Detwiler is a prime candidate for a trade anyway. If he isn't traded, I think he goes to the bullpen. Tyler Clippard was once known as the Yankee Clippard, a top prospect in the Yankees system and a front of the rotation starter. Now he is an All Star set-up man and essential part of the Nats success. I think if Detwiler stays, he can follow what Clippard has done.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Steve M…… re; Purke…. He got smacked around pretty good here in Florida and his command was awful. He actually hit a batter in every inning (3) that he worked. But he does seem to be extremely mature and polished and performed all his tasks (running the radar gun and charting pitches) with an air of professionalism. I doubt he'll be adversely affected by the pounding he's received and will work through this in time. I just think the 40 man roster spot is shot for a year, at least.

  25. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    We need offense, not starting pitching. We need hitters who can work the count, get on base and hit in the clutch. Forget Wilson and Oswalt, they aren't worth the money. Furthermore, Oswalt has chronic back problems.

  26. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I don't want to get into too much of a semantic argument here, but I was one of those defending Norris a few weeks ago based on his past numbers and his 2011 OBP and SLG. My position then — which I may not have made as well as I could/should have — was that he remained a 'top prospect' despite his low BA in 2011. And, I would argue now, his improved approach and improved BA only confirm that.The key point is that his relatively high 2011 OBP (driven by walks) demonstrated that he understood the strike zone well; Mark Z, above, used the term 'good eye at the plate' to mean the same thing. And his SLG demonstrated that when he made contact, he made solid contact.But the knowledge of the strike zone is the key point; good hitters understand and recognize what is and isn't a strike. Norris is able to make adjustments within the broader context that he knows (he sees) the strike zone well. But — as Gonat and others point out — he needed to improve/revise his approach at the plate, which he seemingly has done. That, to me, only confirms that he understands hitting and baseball. And that he never ceased being a top prospect.

  27. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Will said… The talent is still there, except his batting average (a relatively useless statistic anyway) didn't show it. October 25, 2011 11:59 AMWill, you are joking with that comment right? You can't drive in a man from 2nd with a walk. Men on base is important, but it starts with a productive batting average and then to OBP.As far as unlucky BABIP, I buy it for the short term, but not for a full season.

  28. Court - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    FA pitching – The main problem with Oswalt is that we'd lose our 1st round pick to sign him as MZ points out, thus raising his price (same with CJ or CC). Buerhle is only a type B, would come relatively cheap in both dollars and years, is a horse and is LH. Other than Darvish, that would be my main target considering the FA class. I think it makes more sense to pursue a trade as we now have pieces to deal. Peacock would probably have to be included but that would not sting too much due to the depth our system has stockpiled.Purke – It's more important to see how he's pitching at the end of the AFL, not the beginning. Let's not forget he's in Spring Training mode and doesn't have the command or arm strength that he's going to have. As long as he finishes healthy, I'm not too concerned about his numbers.

  29. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:34 PM

    Eugene in Oregon, I think you said that well. I just don't think Derek Norris would agree with you in terms of his rating. Players are always moving up/down in ratings. I believe it is unfair to judge players with temporary slumps/hot streaks but you judge them on the trends they are in.Each of the "baby Nats" got off-season orders from Rizzo and Davey. Norris knew what he had to do in the AFL, change his approach from "passive". All the "baby Nats" should be working on their short-comings. Derek Norris had a good year in 2011, it just wasn't as good as 2010. His ratings dropped due to the Batting Average. He has admitted to the issues and in quick order changed his approach. Its truly remarkable to me as he was 3 for 14 in his first 4 games how quick he has turned it. They key will be sustaining it. Where do you go from here with Norris? See if he can translate this AFL approach to higher in 2012. If he can get his BA to that .250 to .270 range with a .350 OBP, he will be quite the Top Prospect with his power potential.

  30. Mark'd - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    I am extremely happy to see Derek's new approach. I would also say if he finishes in AzFallLeague strong, he is a Top Prospect. With Harper, Rendon, Cole, Peacock, Lombo, Marrero, Milone, Purke, Meyer, Taylor, Perez and others, the Top 10 list of prospects is tight.

  31. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 25, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    Steve M: I think we're on the same page here, but one question: You wrote "I just don't think Derek Norris would agree with you in terms of his rating." Are you saying he'd be more critical of himself, i.e., that he wouldn't consider himself a 'top prospect,' but instead is working to reclaim that status? If so, that's fine with me — that's a fair approach for anyone to take until (and even after) they've made the big leagues for good.

  32. RPrecupjr - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    I'm not convinced that going after Darvish is a good idea, especially after reading this article:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/sports/baseball/japans-standardized-baseballs-are-popular-with-pitchers.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha27

  33. Paul - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    Steve M. is in love with batting average–currently one of the least relevant baseball statistics for hitting when viewed in isolation. At least jump on the OPS bandwagon, then you won't seem so completely behind the times.

  34. JD - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Paul, I hate to tell you but OPS is a fairly poor stat as well because it measures OBP and slugging equally where statistical data has proven that OBP is at least twice as significant as slugging in predicting win shares. For all the posters weighing in on Norris let's be honest; many here have flat out dismissed him as a prospect saying he won't be anything more than a backup. I am a big proponent in OBP analysis and I believe that once you have a knowledge of the strike zone you can tweak your approach and conversely if you are over aggressive you can learn to modify your approach ALA Desmond but if you don't have strike zone discipline you will forever be Yunesky Betancourt. Finally; let's not get crazy happy with AFL results based on tiny sample sizes; meaningless.

  35. The Joker - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Batting average is pretty useless. Dave Kingman was a greater player than George Brett or Pete Rose.

  36. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Court, the Nats would only lose a draft pick for signing Oswalt if he was offered arbitration. I highly doubt the Phillies would do that because Oswalt would then accept their offer and make around $15 million next year.I think he is going to be able to get a 1 year deal worth around $10m or so due to his injury history. So a 1 year deal for $10m or so with an option for the next season might not be a bad ivnestment. He could really help Stras and Zimmermann out and has playoff and big game experience.An Oswalt signing and a move to pick up a CFer would make the offseason succesful in my book.-PDowdy83

  37. Eugene in Oregon - Oct 25, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    RPrecupjr said…I'm not convinced that going after Darvish is a good idea, especially after reading this article:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/23/sports/baseball/japans-standardized-baseballs-are-popular-with-pitchers.html?_r=1&nl=todaysheadlines&emc=tha27*****************************************************Thanks for the link. But I'm not sure it says that the Japanese ball unfairly favors pitchers (and would thus lead one to devalue Darvish). Based on the numbers it cites, I can certainly understand why pitchers would like the standardized ball better — as the headline says — but it seems to have been designed to more closely resemble the MLB ball, not to give pitchers the advantage. It may well be that it was the Japanese hitters, over all these years, who were taking advantage of 'juiced' (or, at least, hitter-friendly) balls in the past. Or, at a minimum, it may have been a wash in the past, as some clubs used hitter-friendly ball and others used pitcher-friendly ball based on each club's perceived advantage. So the standardized ball should be a fairer comparative measure, not an indicator that Darvish's numbers should be discounted. At least that's how I read it.

  38. Paul - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    JD, Totally agree with you that OPS is not that great of a stat either. But it is certainly a better indicator of player value than AVG. I love stats and have a particular affinity for wOBA right now… but that is neither here nor there. My main point is that there are way better ways that are more comprehensive and more normalized to measure player value these days–so why does anyone place so much stock in traditional statistics such as BA and RBIs?

  39. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Eugene in Oregon said… Steve M: I think we're on the same page here, but one question: You wrote "I just don't think Derek Norris would agree with you in terms of his rating." Are you saying he'd be more critical of himself, i.e., that he wouldn't consider himself a 'top prospect,' but instead is working to reclaim that status? If so, that's fine with me — that's a fair approach for anyone to take until (and even after) they've made the big leagues for good. October 25, 2011 12:58 PM Eugene – Yes, I think Derek would be thrilled with what he is doing now and probably reclaimed his status. I don't think he ever fell too far in my mind around that Top 10 to 15. MLB's Jonathan Mayo does a top 15. Callis has his Top 10. I think when you are a AA or AAA, you need to be in that Top 10. I read a few comments Norris made after the season and the one Gonat posted above was good. I don't think anyone wants to relinquish their Top Prospect status for the sake of relevance but I think Norris would tell you he is better now than what he did in Harrisburg. I am with JD on "small sample" sizes as I won't get too excited until the AFL is over.So far, the AFL is a small sample size but stars are born as they say in the AFL which seems to be they step above the crowd. I want to see where Norris finishes.For anyone who doesn't understand my feeling on OBP, it is the primary component of offensive production but it doesn't start and end there. Norris's numbers wouldn't translate from AA to MLB at .367 if he doesn't improve his batting average. That was the issue.His BA and OPS has dropped from 2009 to 2010 to 2011. That's not a trend you want to see. I think Norris will start 2012 in Syracuse and hopefully show that he can get his hits, his XBH, and show that great plate discipline. Everything in the proper perspective!

  40. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Paul, get a clue. Batting average is a component of OBP and OPS. Hits + Walks + HBP. Adam Dunn with a .159 BA and .292 OBP stinks anyway you look at it. If Dunn hit .200 his OBP would have been exactly .333.

  41. Dawn - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    For a good price I like Wilson, a lefty with the deception he has. McCatty could work wonders with his landing and release point and diminish the walk numbers. I would be more worried about Roy Oswalt's back problems then anything else.Always wonder about AFL batting numbers what Purke is going through could be said about the pitchers Harper and Norris are facing, not enough info for me.Even though my two teams aren't in it, really can't say the last time I have watched each and every game in the World Series. Enjoying it.

  42. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    Darvish is probably in that super high risk/high reward category and there is history behind that Japanese pitchers don't translate well as starters in the MLB. Still, not a lot of history to define it.I don't think the Nats can't afford that risk on Darvish. They can more afford the risk on a very short contract on Oswalt. Good points on his back problems, age and relative success. Still should be considered as a #3 and PDowdy83 is correct, if Oswalt is not offered FA Arb, he is free to go. Time will tell if he is offerered FA Arb and that has to be a factor of taking the risk.

  43. Mark'd - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Notice they only say a walk is as good as a hit when you are 9 years old. The largest component of OBP is the BA. BA is calculated by hits/at-bats.

  44. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    Mark'd, your stats lesson is enlightening and the 9 year old in me remembers parents yelling "a walk is as good as a hit" but do you remember the kid they yelled that at? It was the kid who couldn't hit.When Zim had the bases loaded against Philly and hit the Walk-off Grand Slam, I didnt hear anyone yelling "Take a walk"!

  45. David - Oct 25, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Whats the latest on Brian Goodwin? Is he not playing right now somewhere either? …

  46. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    Now that the Phillies have not taken the options on Lidge and Oswalt, the Phillies blogs are taking shots at both players. One commentor had an interesting observation on Oswalt, "At 34 years old he isnt getting younger. 2 DL appearances and 139 innings could get worse next year".That's a valid point. You can't count on Oswalt for long stretches in the season; however, that does give a Peacock or Milone a chance to step in during mid-season for meaningful baseball. Oswalt still is a viable pitcher. I still favor Wandy Rodriguez and Mark Buehrle as the 2 pitchers who fit the best. CJ Wilson at the right price still could be viable. I think Oswalt falls to #4 on my wishlist.

  47. JD - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    'Notice they only say a walk is as good as a hit when you are 9 years old. The largest component of OBP is the BA. BA is calculated by hits/at-bats.' Says who? A walk is not as good as a double, triple or a home run but is nearly as good as a single (app 97%) it is better than a sacrifice a sacrifice fly or any kind of 'productive out.As far as OBP is concerned a hit a walk a HBP count exactly the same. In simple terms a hitter's objective is to avoid making an out and if that means taking a walk rather than swinging at garbage ALA Espinosa then so be it.

  48. JD - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Steve M. I would take Oswalt for $10 mil a year for 2 years in a hearth beat. He's still a good pitcher and he will benefit in getting away from bandboxes like Philly and Houston (same for Wandy).

  49. David - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    10 mil x 2 for Oswalt? Agreed. I would take that in a heartbeat. If he'd sign for that…

  50. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    jd, I think Oswalt goes back to Philly for $10 mil. If I had to guess, he gets 2 years for $25 million with a 3rd year option. Still, I go after Wandy, Buehrle and CJ Wilson first.

  51. Harper_ROY_2012 - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    NatsJack -I have been out of the country for about a month so I did not see your update on Purke in the FIL but that is not really indicative of anything because it is not a real game just artificial situations, I think the AFL will be more indicative of where Purke is.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    Steve M….. I'm with you on Wandy Rodriguez as long as the price isn't too high. And Mark Buerhle still is an option for a year or so but I would be afraid of Oswalt for more than a 1 year commitment. (Notice how I stay with the lefthanders?)

  53. JD - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    NatsJack, I wouldn't go near any of the veteran pitchers for more than 2 years and I think they all get 2 years at least elsewhere. I think Wilso will be way overpriced in both years and money and the others may be as well. I would hate to see Rizzo pull a Werth and give an aging pitcher 4 – 5 years.

  54. JD - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Steve M, I think Philly might be having second thoughts about the concept of going with 4 aces because it doesn't matter by how many games you win your division and when you get to the playoffs you can get by with 3 good starters.

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 25, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    And JD…. my mantra is "Just say No to Wilson".Way too much money for way too many years. I think at some point this off season, Rizzo is going to blow us away with another signing nobody saw coming. It could be a trade (and I don't mean Upton cause that sure wouldn't blow me away)or it could be free agency (maybe Reyes but I doubt it).

  56. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Steve M….. I'm with you on Wandy Rodriguez as long as the price isn't too high. And Mark Buerhle still is an option for a year or so but I would be afraid of Oswalt for more than a 1 year commitment. (Notice how I stay with the lefthanders?) October 25, 2011 3:44 PM I think you have been with me for 3 months now on this for anyone keeping score. Buehrle did give us a souring taste in September but based on what is out there, his numbers are still a solid 3 starter. He makes good sense. With CJ Wilson's stock falling some, he is a better pitcher just not worth a 5 year deal vs. giving Buehrle 2 years. Then you have the issue of A vs B compensation.I think you get Wandy for Detwiler + Bernadina or a similar package. That would be good for both teams. I think Rizzo will be early out of the gate after the World Series with a few announcements including the Davey Johnson signing so the next 45 days will be real fun. The Nats will be up there with the Yankees this year on most speculated buyers out there.jd, I think the Phillies have 3 great starters and 1 up and comer with Worley. The Phillies got old real quick and right before our eyes. They lost because they couldn't get their offense moving in the playoffs. One of my highlights was watching Carpenter out-do Halladay in the deciding game of the 1st round. How great was that!

  57. gonatsgo - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:12 PM

    Again – we are talking about pitching when pitching is not the problem – the problem is the offense. If we had even an average offense then our pitchers' numbers would look as good as some of the guys we are looking at signing. Many times the Nats pitchers don't actually pitch a losing game – the rest of the team just doesn't show up. CJ Wilson had a powerful offensive line-up to bail him out and get him some wins that surely would have been losses on our team. Cut down the strikeouts and get on base more – look how many wins we ended up with this year with a crappy offense – imagine what we could do with even some minor adjustments, a healthy Zim and LaRoche and a productive Werth.

  58. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… I think at some point this off season, Rizzo is going to blow us away with another signing nobody saw coming. It could be a trade October 25, 2011 3:56 PM I agree. The ultimate leadoff man will come via trade and I believe it will be Alex Gordon. Not sure if Rizzo should make 2 big trades this off-season as Gordon will cost him 3 to 4 players and my only hope is he doesn't give up too much. He might have to go Free Agency on his pitcher. Wandy is my 1st choice via trade. Buehrle on the 2 year deal in Free Agency protects the Nats 1st round pick. The Royals purportedly wanted a year ago for Greinke Espinosa who only had 1 month of baseball behind him + a rookie closer in Storen and JZim. You can give them a similar package in HenRod who did some closing, Lombo w/ 1 month's experience and a choice of Detwiler or Milone. Not sure if I would give much more for Gordon as he has 2 years of team control and 2011 was a breakout year of could have been a 1 year fluke. I believe it was a breakout year which is why I think he is still a well kept secret in most of baseball. The Nats could also get him and sign him to a 4 year deal which he has wanted.The key for Rizzo is to strike quick and do it before the Winter meetings.

  59. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Again – we are talking about pitching when pitching is not the problem – the problem is the offense.Honestly, really IT IS NOT. Yes pitching is the problem. Why? Mark put it so well when he said better than two pitchers not named Strasburg and Zimmermann. Maybe, maybe, maybe Detwiler? 1. Strasburg HAS YET to complete a full major league year. He is STILL basically working through an extended rookie year.2. Zimmermann just finished HIS VERY FIRST full year and it had an innings limit due to his TJ recovery. At the beginning of this year the defacto ace probably was 40+ or whatever year old Livan Hernandez. That IS NOT a competitive rotation.Are you seriously going to rely on Detwiler, perhaps one of the other new young pitchers? Wang? Seriously? You are joking aren't you?Rizzo makes huge sense when he speaks of pushing Strasburg, Zimmermann, and Detwiler downin the rotation taking the pressure off. They are after all basically still rookies or just barely past that point. Hitting is better than it looks as Rizzo himself stated when he spoke to Mark. LaRoche returns … no you can't depend on him after should surgery. But Ramos, Desmond, and Espinosa are three guys who will likely be greatly improved next season. Werth should return to his statistical norms now that he has become comfortable with his new abode. Harper is starting to tear up the AFL as expected. It would have been nice to see what Tyler Moore could do? Ryan Zimmerman the FOF should be back for an entire year instead of just 1/2. Its possible that once he is baseball shape Anthony Rendon could surprise you. He is purportedly equally gifted with bat and glove. Their only weakness I can see is a distinct lack of left handed hitting which LaRoche and Harper should remedy … along with improvements by Espinosa's platoon bat. Lombardozzi's doesn't look as far along and may require further seasoning in SYR.Oh lead off. Sure looks to me like Desmond could do it. Harper given the speed he is sporting could do it. Espinosa looks like he might be able to bat 2nd. If he can't there's Werth. Werth plays an above average CF. No, hitting isn't the problem. Its the top of the rotation that is still the problem. I still see a trade for Greinke in the Nats 2012 future. Its what they need the most right now. They have #4/#5 starters coming out of their ears at this point. They need reliable starting pitching in the #1/#2 spot to make any kind of serious attempt to compete with the Braves, Phillies, and yes the Marlins.

  60. jd - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Steve M. I am not sure why you think the Royals will trade Gordon. Keep in mind they have a great minor league crop coming and I think they consider Hosmer and Gordon the heart of their team. I don't think the package you propose will do it but they have done some strange deals.

  61. David - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:35 PM

    In my mind Buerhle = Marquis. We've already done that route, why do it again? Either go for gold (Oswalt, Greinke) or develop our young guys that have the potential to be as good or better than Buerhle/Marquis.

  62. Anonymous - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    I agree. The ultimate leadoff man will come via trade and I believe it will be Alex Gordon.Uhh NO.Davey Johnson seems intent on getting Harper into this year's 2012 lineup if he proves worthy. Where do you put him? Who do you supplant? Morse for Gordon? NOT HARDLY. Werth? What you been smokin' again? And who is the odd man out of Desmond or Espinosa this point? A trade could empty things out a bit and leave an opening but that would likely have to bring a Grienke from the Brewers. That would have to come first before any major changes to the lineup as spec'ed out occur.

  63. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    gonatsgo said… Again – we are talking about pitching when pitching is not the problem – the problem is the offense. If we had even an average offense then our pitchers' numbers would look as good as some of the guys we are looking at signing. Many times the Nats pitchers don't actually pitch a losing game – the rest of the team just doesn't show up. CJ Wilson had a powerful offensive line-up to bail him out and get him some wins that surely would have been losses on our team. Cut down the strikeouts and get on base more – look how many wins we ended up with this year with a crappy offense – imagine what we could do with even some minor adjustments, a healthy Zim and LaRoche and a productive Werth. October 25, 2011 4:12 PM You are preaching to the choir on the offense. Still, the Nats need a veteran #3. If there is pitching there to improve the team, take it. I would rather get a #3 workhorse veteran, a bullpen stud like Madson, a dependable role playing CF like Crisp and then the 1 big trade for the leadoff man of the future.Taking a 2.60 ERA guy that pitches 30 games vs. a 3.60 ERA guy that pitches the same 30 games is worth 30 runs per year. The Nats starters averaged 3.80 ERA with 3.20 out of the bullpen for a 3.58 combined ERA for 7th in the MLB.With Strasburg, JZim, LannEn, Wang and 1 more they should be able to lower that ERA to better than 2011.The bullpen is a pick 'em from the existing group or really upgrade with a Madson and send Gorzo on a non-tender or trade.If the Nats could get Alex Gordon to leadoff with:1) Gordon RF2) Werth CF3) Zim 3B4) Morse LF5) LaRoche 1B6) Desmond SS7) Espinosa 2B8) Ramos Cw/ a bench of Crisp, Flores, Ankiel or Bernadina, Marrero, and an infield specialistStarters1) JZim2) Strasburg3) Wandy or Buehrle or CJ Wilson or Oswalt4) Lannan5) WangBullpen ofBurnett, Clippard, Madson, Storen and 3 othersIf HenRod, Detwiler and Lombo aren't traded they then fit respectively into the bullpen and bench.There really isn't more than 3 to 4 available spots to fill on this 2012 team so they better be impact players.

  64. David - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    I take that back, I looked at his stats again, they are definitely better than Marquis. But like Marquis, he'd be coming to Washington with a streak and reputation for lots of innings, and hitting 10+ wins. And then whamo, injury… id be wary. But I'm not against the idea.

  65. Mark'd - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Anon, Bryce Harper won't start here Opening Day. You have to make room for Harper when he arrives regardless. The weak link may have to sit down and Gordon can play both infield and corner outfielder.If Harper gets here in September, problem solved. LaRoche is gone after 2012 and Morse moves to 1st.

  66. Mark'd - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Buehrle is a Type B free agent and doesn't want a long term deal.

  67. Steve M. - Oct 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    David, Buehrle is a left-hander who should have better NL stats. I think if the Nats curtailed his innings in September it would help as his stats looked great thru August 31st.Ozzie ran him long and hard as his top pitcher. With the Nats, he could fit more into the #3 role.Again, anyone better than a 3.80 ERA as a starter is an upgrade if they average close to 7 innings per game. Just don't want to move backwards.To Anon @ 4:36, Keep improving the offense this off-season, and I don't believe you stand firm on the offense hoping Bryce Harper steps in here in June and becomes an immediate impact player.

  68. Binx Bolling - Oct 25, 2011 at 9:09 PM

    If the Nats feel either that 1) Lombardozzi should spend most of 2012 playing everyday at Syracuse or 2) that something of value can be had for trading Lombardozzi, perhaps the Nats could sign Jack Wilson as the utilityman.

  69. gonatsgo - Oct 25, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    You can bring in a new #3, you can bring in anyone you want, but without run support they still get the L. My problem is that the people you seem to want are not better pitchers, they pitch on better teams. Yes, the offense is the problem. Another pitcher would be nice if the price is not too high – the offense should be better this year all on it's own based on the factors that have already been discussed. I just don't want to literally give up the farm (system) for marginally effective players. Rizzo is pretty cagey and will make productive trades or signings if he thinks they will truly improve the team.

  70. Just wonderin' - Oct 25, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    Mark'd said…Notice they only say a walk is as good as a hit when you are 9 years old.###################Then why do we all get so upset when one of our pitchers walks the first batter of an inning? Or the second batter? Or the third, after getting one out and giving up a single? Or walks a speedster who then steals second? Or the opposing pitcher? Or when our pitcher keeps the inning alive by issuing a two-out walk? Or walks home a run? Or walks the batter just before a slugger is scheduled to bat?

  71. Dawn - Oct 25, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    I like Wandy Rodriguez. Also like John Lannan, but they cancel each other out you can't carry both, too similar.

  72. Gonat - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:20 AM

    Ladson on CF. Funny we were discussing this a year ago when Cain was Milwaukee Brewers property and then was part of the Greinke deal to the Royals._______________________________What are your thoughts on trading a young pitcher for a player like Lorenzo Cain of the Royals? Is he on the Nats' radar or are the Nats looking for someone more established? Or is Cain just not that promising? — Dean O., Winnipeg, Canada I think it's a great idea. I asked Rizzo about Cain and didn't get a response. I honestly think the Nationals are looking for a more established center fielder. There is a possibility that Werth could start the season at the position.

  73. Big Cat - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    I would be willing to go 2 years on Oswalt. The guy is a true professional. He works hard, is a tremendous competitor and would be a good mentor for our youngsters…..notably JZim and Stras. This non tender from the Phils is only gonna make him work harder

  74. Big Cat - Oct 26, 2011 at 10:48 AM

    And NatsJack……was impressed to see you checking out a guys demeanor OFF the mound. you are right, you can tell a lot about a guy by the way he handles himself off the field. Maybe you could contact your buddy Alderson about a scouting job. You would probably be a good one. If not a scout…..maybe a local bird dog for one

  75. Gonat - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    Big Cat said… I would be willing to go 2 years on Oswalt. The guy is a true professional. He works hard, is a tremendous competitor and would be a good mentor for our youngsters…..notably JZim and Stras. This non tender from the Phils is only gonna make him work harder October 26, 2011 6:43 AM ________________________________I think Oswalt can be considered. Just remember, he will end up on the DL most likely making him a drain on Nats resources. There has to be better choices to go through in a progression.CJ Wilson still has to top the list as he will get you into the playoffs. If you match him up as a #3 instead of taking on a Chris Carpenter, he wins that game as his team scores runs.

  76. alexva - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    jd has it right, the Royals will not trade Gordon. he is a local kid who just had his breakout year. he'll be extended this off season by the Royals.

  77. natsfan1a - Oct 26, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    On a more Serious note and for future reference, jersey fails are one way to identify bandwagon fans. In the immortal words of Nelson Muntz: ha-ha!

  78. Steve M. - Oct 26, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    alexva said… jd has it right, the Royals will not trade Gordon. he is a local kid who just had his breakout year. he'll be extended this off season by the Royals. October 26, 2011 8:46 AM You keep thinking that. From what I have heard, the Royals were going to see if they can extend him and if they can't they are willing to hear offers. This was a quote from August when asked about staying in Kansas City, Gordon said, "Heck, yeah." Gordon's agent Casey Close has spoken to Royals GM Dayton Moore, and the two agreed to discuss an extension in the offseason.They had Greinke one year removed from a Cy Young who wasn't happy in Kansas City and they traded him with 2 years left on his contract. Not the same scenario because Gordon isn't disgruntled, but not too different either. Greinke was a fan favorite and top earner in Kansas City.First off, Alex Gordon is represented by Casey Close. Casey is big time and split earlier in the year from CAA where he ran their baseball division and now is with Excel Sports. His negotiations with the Yankees over Jeter were good old fashioned country hard ball. Close left behind many clients when he left CAA so he has plenty of time to represent the remaining clients like Alex Gordon.Now my guess is Alex Gordon is going to take his agents advice and not sign a hometown discount extension. Jeter wouldn't sign on a discount or even FMV. I don't know Gordon personally. Maybe he feels allegiance to the Royals.Now consider this, the Royals leadoff man of the future needs a spot. His name is Lorenzo Cain plus they have Wil Myers who may be ready. Melky Cabrera and Alex Gordon are both arbitration eligible unless they get contracts. Then there is Jeff Francoeur who has a mutual option for 2012.There starting outfield for much of 2011 was Melky, Francoeur and Gordon.

  79. Dave - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    i think we should sign Reyes, deal Desmond and a pitcher (Milone?) to TB for Upton, and sign one of the #3 pitchers mentioned above (Oswalt, Buehrle, etc).Reyes leads off, Upton plays a good defensive CF and fits more naturally into the bottom part of the order, and we still have Lombo to play when Reyes gets hurt!

  80. sjm308 - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Dave: My son & I have been tossing this around. He is back in this area after 6 years in NYC and he is a big Reyes fan (he is a bigger Nationals fan!!). I thought Reyes was a bit of a hotdog but my son insists he is quite a competitor and would love to see him here. He is injury prone but we have depth there. He solves our leadoff situation and I think Desmond and one of our young starting pitchers would bring a decent return. The reality is, most reports have the FO & Davey liking Desmond & Espinosa for the future. I was a big Desmond backer early in the season when people were bashing him but I have to think Reyes is a big upgrade and solves the lead-off situation as well.

  81. Steve M. - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Reyes is another injury case. The lesson learned from 2011 is that injuries to key players can derail a season. "Lombo to play when Reyes gets hurt!" You are joking, right?The Nats found a way around Zim and LaRoche's injuries but there is no way to find your way around a Jose Reyes injury who you pencil in at shortstop & leadoff. Just can't take a chance on a "what if" like Reyes.Are you talking BJ Upton or Justin Upton? I will assume you are talking BJ Upton. Are you nuts?Dealing Ian Desmond even straight up for Upton who has 1 year left before Free Agency vs. Desmond with 4 years of team control left let alone take your suggestion of Desmond + (Milone?) is just ridiculous. I don't even know if I would trade straight up Jesus Flores for BJ Upton.

  82. Steve M. - Oct 26, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    A friend of mine was looking to bring his extended family to the Father's Day game and buy 30 or more tickets in the upper deck. The game is against the Yankees.He calls up the Nats and gets routed to Group Sales. He is told by the Rep that Group Sales hasn't started for the 2012 season. He told the rep that is "bull" that the Nats have been selling group tix for the Phillies games already. The rep said that was a false rumor that had been written about and not accurate. Group sales for 2012 are not available for any games.I just thought I would pass that along as I also read that the Phillies groups already have their tickets. Here is to hoping that 2012 brings a solution to the Phillies invasion.

  83. JD - Oct 26, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    In talking about Reyes; forget the injury risk for a second. Are you willing to give him 7 years at $125 mil? because that's what it will take. I am betting the Giants sign him. I lost all respect for Reyes when in a battle for the batting title he bunted for a single in the 1st inning of the last game and then took himself out of the game to preserve the title. Not the kind of player I want on my team.

  84. Anonymous - Oct 26, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    On the group sales to Phillies game question: Be aware that some tour operators will sell seats in a package (i.e., tour bus round trip, ticket to game, maybe lunch or something else thrown in) even if they don't have the actual game tickets in hand. They may or may not include a disclaimer to that affect, but even if they don't they work under the assumption that they can get the tickets once they go on sale.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 83 19.0
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's early games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 68 4.5 +1.5
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

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TUE: 2:30 p.m.
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