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Expectations raised

Nov 1, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

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Davey Johnson expects to do this plenty of times in 2012.

When Davey Johnson, asked Monday what his expectation for the Nationals will be next season, responded that he'd be "sorely disappointed" if they don't contend for the NL pennant, you might have predicted the response to sound something like a pack of laughing hyenas.

Except that's not what you heard, around D.C. or around baseball. The prevailing sentiment across the sport was something along the lines of: "Wow, these guys mean business."

That's not to say the majority of observers out there — Nationals supporters or not — honestly believe this franchise is going to seriously contend for a spot in the 2012 World Series. But it does appear most everyone acknowledges it won't be much longer before the Nats will be in position to do just that.

All anyone has to do is look at a roster that will include Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Jayson Werth,Read more ยป

  1. MurrayTheRed - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Let's go Nats. I'm already ready for 2012!

  2. Joe Seamhead - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    I honestly think that the last regular season series against the Phillies next year will be meaningless. The Nats will have the division sewn up and the Phillies will be out of the playoffs. Regardless of what Vegas says, the Phillies are in serious trouble. Starting with Howard, moving on to old age setting in, and with few guys coming up from within. Utley is a shell of his former self, Rollins is insisting on a new five year contract, Polanco and Ibanez are toast, and I don't see the starters carrying this team as they did last year. Those guys threw a lot of innings with a " win now" mentality, and it will show next season. Their bullpen is questionable, at best. The torch gets passed to the Nationals and Braves, starting now, and the Washington club has a better manager and similar talent. GYFNG!!!

  3. MicheleS - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Mark..can you put a countdown clock on this page to let us know how many days until Pitchers and Catchers report?Spring training cannot come fast enough.I did love your comment about free agents linked (correctly/incorrectly) to the Nats. Last night on MLB Network, just about every high profile free agent they talked about, they had the Nats bidding on! I know the Lerners a filthy rich, but even I thought that was a bit much!Spend wisely please!Also, what is your take now that Sizemore has entered the FA pool?

  4. Joe S. - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Mmmmmm, Sizemore.A risk, not a compromise.

  5. joemktg - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    They ARE expected to win: they ended up the season as a .500 ball club, this after two disastrous stretches (losing 9/10 and 8/9 or something akin to that). And that's without their #1 on the bump, their 3B on the mend, their RF acquisition wallowing in mediocrity (for most of the season), and without a high OBP leadoff hitter.Going into the campaign, I was looking for a competitive team, and hoping for a .500 season. Got both. Now expecting to be in the mix for a playoff spot: put me on the edge of my seat through September. I don't think that's asking for the world.Also hoping for an easier drive from western FFX County, but that's asking for too much.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Grady Sizemore is a terrific ballplayer when healthy, which isn't very often. Both knees are already way past their prime at only 29 years old.

  7. MicheleS - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    I think with Sizemore, should we do it if we get a low risk, high incentive clause contract. Is he better than a Trade (Span – concussions, Upton – not the bat we need) and the players we would lose in the trade, or is there something in house that can solve the CF/Leadoff/Bat problem? Is Sizemore's upside worth more than any of the above or even Coco Crisp?Everyone one of these options has risk vs reward. Just wondering which one the Nats go with.

  8. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Evidently Vegas odds don't have all that much meaning late in the season either. (And weren't the Phillies projected to win it all last season? Except that they didn't make it out of the first round.) I'm just saying.Definitely looking forward to seeing what 2012 brings for the Nats (or what the Nats bring for 2012).Vegas odds on October 31, of course, are meaningless.

  9. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Oops. Should have posted this link.

  10. Joe Seamhead - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    One more thing; I think that it's high time that we knock this crap off of letting Philly making our house their home away from home, starting now. I want to start a movement, "Occupy Nats Park". I think that bars and restaurants could run promos for spiffs if you bring in any ticket stub from a Nats-Phillies game. This whining from our fans that they won't go to the park for Phillie games has got to stop.Michele, I love your countdown clock until the start of ST idea. What say you , Mark? Can it be done?

  11. raymitten - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    MLB Network had the Nats in on Fielder (based apparently solely because he was a Boras client) and Reyes (do they not know that the organization loves Desmond and we already have a crowded middle infield?. I think this is crazy talk. Does anyone think this is even remotely possible? I can see the Nats in on Pujols (good D along with his bat) and CJ Wilson (top of the rotation guy, but doesn't have to be THE ace with Stras around). Many have predicted Wilson to end up with the Nats — but surprisingly no one seems to link the Nats to Pujols.

  12. Nats1924 - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    Go W's! Its goin to be interesting to see what happens

  13. baseballswami - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    Mark – please, yes, on a countdown? I love that this next year seems to be teasing us with possibilities. I am very excited about the make-up of our team right now, but have a wait and see attitude about what might happen in the off-season. The huge X factor is – can everyone stay healthy? I hope they are all working hard in the off-season and come into st ready to go. Even though I am well aware that I am the lone Davey -dissenter – I am still worried about him as our manager, mostly because everyone seems to have forgotten how bad he is at managing pitchers. Sure – September was great but he had every pitcher on the 40 man in the bullpen.Our team turned into a pretty good team right when call-ups happened. I hope he gets everything he wants for his bullpen and bench from Santa in his stocking and listens to McCatty and does a much better job with the pitchers. GYFNG!!! Is it February soon?

  14. Gonat - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    This is a year the Nats will have raised expectations along with the pressure to perform.Now Rizzo needs to do his job.

  15. Jon Heyman - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    In addition to having the Nats in on Fielder, C.J. Wilson, Jose Reyes and maybe Yu Darvish, I also predict that they'll make a run at Tony La Russa as a bench coach. Trust me, I tweet a lot and am always getting tips from agents.

  16. Gonat - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    JonHeyman, thats very funny.

  17. DFL - Nov 1, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Sizemore is probably through as a star and may not even be a major league talent any longer. If Cleveland is wise enough to let him go, with the Lerner money I'd say go ahead and sign Sizemore for a million and add some incentives to the contract. That is, unless Co Co Crisp is signed. Crisp is not only a better fit for the Nats right now, he's a better player than Sizemore.

  18. Jeeves - Nov 1, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Here's a trade to ponder: Price and Upton for Peacock, Norris, Marrero, and Milone. How about Price and Upton for Morse and Peacock. Maybe one of our young pitchers such as Cole or Rays might factor into the equation. I'm not saying I would like any of these deals, but they do sound possible. Of course, Peacock might be as good as Price and Upton doesn't solve the leadoff position. Wait, that's when we sign Reyes.

  19. Drew8 - Nov 1, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    With Sabathia off the boards, I can see the Nats making a run at C.J. Wilson. Beyond him, the free agent pitching prospects aren't too enticing.Course, the great cf/leadoff quandary is the biggie. I'd shy away from Sizemore — I'm not sure he could stay on the field.The same goes for Denard Span. I hope he's OK, but Brian Roberts has had a difficult time returning from his concussions.P.S. White-hot Harper goes 2-4 with a double and two more RBIs. In his last 10 games he's hitting .385 with 4 homers, 17 RBIs, a .444 on base percentage and an OPS of 1.265.That'll do.

  20. Dawn - Nov 1, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Grady seems like a great kid, but, he gets bad reads on balls in the outfield, then has to go all out to make the hi-light reel plays. Makes him an injury risk everyday he plays. Can he improve, perhaps, just don't know if there is somebody on the Nats coaching staff to do it. He has a good bat.

  21. MicheleS - Nov 1, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Dawn.. I think Bo Porter can help Grady in the Field.

  22. Just sayin' - Nov 1, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    Would have been interesting to have been reading Mr. Rizzo's mind when Mr. Johnson said that…was he thinking "Go Davey!" or was it "Baby steps, take it easy, let's not create unreasonable expectations"?

  23. NatinBeantown - Nov 1, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    Jeeves, I think you undervalue Price.

  24. sjm308 - Nov 1, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    Couple thoughts on various postings this morning.Sizemore is a definite risk, especially if you look at the last 3 years and yet if he would sign for a million with major incentives I would take that risk. I have read somewhere that we won't have to worry about a trade for Upton in that the Rays are very close to not signing and he will be on the open market in the near future. I don't really want Upton but I am guessing they won't part with Price and I hate to give up that many prospects.I would still love Reyes and raymitten is correct that the FO & Davey are constantly praising Desmond but Reyes just fills a huge hole at leadoff which should guarantee more runs next season and also plays a superior defense to Desmond. I have to believe that Ian and one of our catchers would also make an attractive trade for that pitcher we need.I do not want to spend all that money & all those years on either Firstbaseman. Pujols would be exciting for about 4 or 5 years but those last 5 years could prove painful and I want to savoir our success for the next decade.Can't wait to see Harper this spring!! What is this groups thoughts on him playing at the major league level next year?

  25. MicheleS - Nov 1, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Harper won't be up until mid june at the earliest because of Super 2 status. If he blows through AA in May/June, goes to AAA in July. If he does his usual slow start in AAA, then he won't be up until September. If he gets a Hot start in AAA, then maybe we see him at the end of July/early August

  26. yankish2 - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    All the comments about Sizemore's injuries are spot on.Also, he's not your classic lead-off hitter and strikes out at a high rate. We have enough strike out 'hitters' already on the Nats

  27. Joe Seamhead - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Like everyone else I am looking forward to young Mr. Harper's MLB debut, but he has a long way to go before he's not a liability in the OF.

  28. Bowdenball - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    Saying "Sizemore is a risk" when discussing his free agency prospects is like saying "Pudge is old" or "Pujols is a good hitter."OF COURSE he's a risk. Everyone knows he's a risk, so it's meaningless to point it out. The risk will factor into the deal he gets. You can't dismiss him until you know how much it impacts his market value. If he's going for $20 million per for eight years, he's obviously not worth it. If he's going for a half-million per for two years, he obviously is. The issue isn't whether he's a risk, its where that risk and his talents place him on the spectrum between those two extremes. Does anyone have a feel for what his value might be on the open market, or what they personally think he might be worth?

  29. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:18 PM

    sjm308, good point on BJ Upton. They may non-tender him or they may end up in a Nyjer Morgan situation where they have to let him go for a Cutter Dykstra prior to a non-tender. The Rays have been playing a game with the other GMs in over-valuing BJ Upton. Luckily Rizzo didn't fall for it although some on here thought Desmond + Jesus Flores or other crazy packages should have been made. Just read Jeeves ideas above. Its beyond ridiciulous the value on a player that the Tampa Bay Rays don't want.BJ Upton is a K machine with a questionable baseball IQ and a problem in team chemistry. All of those are issues the Nats don't need then there is his perceived lack of energy which the team doesn't need to be subjected to.I would go as far as to say even if he is non-tendered and becomes a Free Agent, I wouldn't want him on the Nats. He's not a leadoff man or a big bat by definition. He is probably a #2 hitter which is really the spot that Werth fills in better.I would rather take a shot on Coco Crisp 1st or Grady Sizemore because you need players that have to know they could become bench players and accept it. With Morse in LF, Werth in either CF or RF, you have Prince Oppo Boppo possibly in June 2012 ready for prime time.The fact that Coco Crisp doesn't even cost the Nats a #2 pick since he is no longer a Type B Free Agent is a huge bonus.

  30. Mark'd - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    SteveM, I can't get that image of Longoria in Uptons face 2 years ago out of mind. Watching him in the playoffs this year was not inspiring. He has POP in the bat and good speed then makes a base running mistake to get you shaking your head.His UZR is great but he wasn't getting great reads off of the bat on balls with warning track depth.I have never seen Grady Sizemore play and wonder how many here making opinions can honestly say they have seen him and analyzed him. Stats are great when he actually plays.My thought is the Nats need SURE THINGS at this point in the teams progression. I feel like I am surrounded by a bunch of JimBos trying to sniff out the WalMart deal of the week.YOU USUALLY GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

  31. Wally - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    Well, certainly a changed atmosphere from past years. It is amazing to feel like the ghost of Kory Casto is finally slipping away. Odalis Perez from ST invitee to Opening Day starter in 4 weeks? That happened to a different team in another world. Amen.Here are my offseason predictions (not recommendations):We sign Edwin Jackson, I am guessing 4 /$50m.We acquire Span We resign Nix, not Ankiel.We don't resign Wang, Livo or Pudge.My recommendations:Sign Oswalt for 2/$25mTrade a good package for BourjosResign Wang, Ankiel and NixStart Milone & Peacock at AAA ( if not traded)

  32. Big Cat - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:35 PM

    So Wang is on the market now? Will be interesting how much loyalty he shows to us….if any at all

  33. Water23 - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    How about Crisp on a 1 year deal and an team option. See how the OF plays out this year and next year you can have Beast at 1B and go after Bourn when he is a FA. Also, talk about getting fleeced. Bonafacio for Olsen and Willingham looked good but now the Marlins seemed to have come out ahead on that deal.

  34. Stew Magnuson - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    In light of last week's World Series, there has been a lot of talk of the 1991 World Series. A reminder that it was known as the "Worst to First series." Both the Braves and Twins were last place in their divisions in 1990. Do I believe it? Yes, I do!

  35. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Wally, interesting predictions. I have to agree with Mark'd. Sign "sure things". Span is just another name of a "what if" and I think that ship has sailed.I like Oswalt if you can't get the 3 or 4 pitchers ranked in front of him and yes, I would take Oswalt on a 2 year before commiting to Edwin Jackson for 4 years. Bourjos is a possibility with the Angels crowded outfield. It would take a lot. I still think Nats are better served by CF stop-gaps with the great 2012 Free Agent class.If you don't get Coco Crisp, you move Jayson Werth to CF with Ankiel as his back-up and then find the corner outfielder who can bat 5th or 6th or work that deal for Alex Gordon who was the league's best leadoff guy and has 2 years left on his team control. To Mark'd point on people actually seeing Grady Sizemore play, I checked and Sizemore didn't play in any of the games vs. the Nats in 2010 interleague. In fact, over the last 3 years Sizemore has only appeared in 210 combined games. I have seen him play and he is an all out player. I like his style and think he would fit in well, just don't know if you can change the fact that he is so injury prone like our Nick Johnson.

  36. Dawn - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Mark'd; I have watched pretty much every Tiger/Indian's game for the last 8 years. What else have I observed when Grady has played? He is cute, polite, seems to be a good teammate and has a unique fan group called "Grady's Ladies". Add that to what I posted earlier and that's all I know.

  37. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    Water23 said… How about Crisp on a 1 year deal and an team option. See how the OF plays out this year and next year you can have Beast at 1B and go after Bourn when he is a FA. Also, talk about getting fleeced. Bonafacio for Olsen and Willingham looked good but now the Marlins seemed to have come out ahead on that deal. November 1, 2011 11:39 AM The Free Agent market is thin. While the Nats would love that on Coco, I am sure Crisp will have several offers to ponder and he will get a 2 year or maybe even a 3 year deal.This is from his agent 4 years ago, different tiem, different place, same old story:http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2007/12/coco-crisps-age.html

  38. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Just heard.. Davey will be on WTEM Sports Talk 980 – local ESPN affiliate at 12:30

  39. Mark'd - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    Dawn, if cute was the factor than Brad Pitt of Moneyball fame could be playing for the A's right now. LOLI have never seen the guy play or if I did see Sizemore I don't remember it. I made it a priority in September to watch Span which didn't happen but did see BJ Upton and Crisp.

  40. WillieHarrisUnderpants - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    This is a long shot, but who'd be willing to bring back Josh Willingham on a 1-year deal? Put him in left, Werth in center, Morse in right, Ankiel as 4th OF. Trade him when Prince Oppo comes up.Does that make any sense at all, or am I just wistful for the Hammer days of yore?

  41. Bowdenball - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:17 PM

    Water23 said…How about Crisp on a 1 year deal and an team option. See how the OF plays out this year and next year you can have Beast at 1B and go after Bourn when he is a FA.Also, talk about getting fleeced. Bonifacio for Olsen and Willingham looked good but now the Marlins seemed to have come out ahead on that deal.November 1, 2011 11:39 AM I disagree.Bonifacio's aggregate WAR according to Fangraphs since the trade is 4.2. Willingham alone was worth 5.6 wins above replacement for the Nats in the two years he was with the team after the deal, and the Nats also flipped him for Henry Rodruiguez and Corey Brown.5.6 wins + HRod + Corey Brown >>> Emilio Bonifacio and his 4.2 wins even when you add in his potential: arb-eligible this year, FA after 2014, and I pesonally think his 2011 was an aberration and not a trend based on his BABIP among other things.

  42. Mark'd - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    WillieHarrisUnderpants said, that is a bad defensive outfield but with a lot of POP! I doubt it

  43. Mark'd - Nov 1, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Davey Johnson with even money for Strasburg on Opening Day at Wrigley.

  44. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Interesting Davey Johnson 5 minute interview. I enjoyed the part about "my bullpen" vs. "their bench" scenarios that Loverro said played out in the World Series and is part of Davey Johnson's strategy.If the weather is good per Davey, Stephen Strasburg on Opening Day in Wrigley. They didn't ask if that were the case if CJ Wilson was signed.Davey seems to think the spare pieces are coming up in the Minors and didn't really answer the question on Free Agents. I was hoping to hear that the Nats were going to "surprise everyone again this off-season" or something more exciting to ponder.I do like Davey's optimism. Its refreshing and I think most of us feel that 1 veteran pitcher, and 1 outfielder away from possible PAYDIRT! The fun is who & how those deals get made.

  45. Wally - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    SteveM – my predictions were just a sense of trying to read Rizzo. I don't think his tastes change that quickly, so I see Jackson, who he was so hot on last year (and fits his stuff and age criteria) as being his primary target. Span is kind of the same way, in that Rizzo was hot for him recently so I expect him to make another run, and the question will be price. I should have said it above, I would NOT be too happy if my predictions come true. I especially don't like Jackson.As for the rest, I could be pretty happy with a variety of outcomes, Crisp included. I think that you are right though, that he gets a 3 yr deal. That seems a little high to me – 3/$25m? On pitching, I would love a good vet on a two year deal. We have several kids who should be ready in 2014, and our payroll should be stepping up then too, making an expensive pitcher a problem. I am not sure those other guys agree to 2 yr deals, but I think Oswalt does.Plus, I think he is still good. He had a very good 2d half. So when I think about pitcher WAR for the next two years, I would bet Oswalt gets beat only by Wilson, of the available guys. I bet Gonat a beer on Opening Day 2014. He took your side of the bet!

  46. Binx Bolling - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    Johnson likes big bats off the bench. Does that mean Laynce Nix stays? What other big bats comfortable in a reserve role are there? Jim Thome? Just kidding. Ryan Ludwick? Cody Ross? Russell Branyan? Xavier Nady? Heck, Ross could actually start in center for the Nats.

  47. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Wally, in agreement with you in Paragraph #1. On Paragraph #2, his agent is going to try to say he is an everyday player and paid like one. No way on 3 & $25. Most feel he is a 2 & $12 with an option year for the 3rd year. I don't think you chase him.Grady Sizemore could be a good backup and would probably fit in well. I just think he is a major gamble, but could fit in well on hitting the CF jackpot in 2012 where Rizzo goes all in on Matt Kemp.My first choice is to get Alex Gordon on a reasonable trade deal. More will be known shortly to see if the Royals get their extension. My guess is it won't happen and the Royals will low-ball him and piss him and his agent off. Gordon quietly had an amazing season living up to his Draft status in 2005.In your scenario, yes on Oswalt if you can't get CJ Wilson, Mark Buehrle or Wandy Rodriguez. I would take those 3 first and they are all lefties.Did you all see what the Indians gave up to the Braves for Derek Lowe? A AAA reliever.Paragraph 3, what's the bet for 2014?

  48. FS - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    I like Crisp in center and Edwin Jackson as #3-4 starter, with CMW coming back to round off the rotation with SS, JZ, and JL.Oswalt would be great too but he is old, wants to win (sure shot), and most likely be back with Phillies. Otherwise I see him go to Cards, close to home?

  49. MicheleS - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    Mark.. thanks for the countdown clock!!!

  50. Just sayin' - Nov 1, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    For those looking for 'sure things' in the free agent and trade markets, it's worth remembering that the White Sox thought Adam Dunn was a 'sure thing' to hit about 40 HRs and drive in about 100 runs, the Red Sox thought Carl Crawford was a 'sure thing' to get on base and generate a lot of runs at Fenway, the Nats thought Jayson Werth was a 'sure thing' to hit at least .270, with 20+ HRs, and at least 85 RBIs, and the Phillies thought Oswalt was a 'sure thing' to — at a minimum — post a winning record.

  51. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    Binx Bolling said… Johnson likes big bats off the bench. Does that mean Laynce Nix stays? What other big bats comfortable in a reserve role are there? Jim Thome? Just kidding. Ryan Ludwick? Cody Ross? Russell Branyan? Xavier Nady? Heck, Ross could actually start in center for the Nats. November 1, 2011 1:37 PM I hope Davey learned from the Matt Stairs debacle that you pay the price for thinking a true bench power hitter will do it for you and this team can't afford a specialty player like that or they could get Wily Mo Pena.Laynce Nix is certainly in play but I think the team has to reserve 1 spot for a player with options and that may be Chris Marrero who would have to be your doubles guy off the bench. Now if they keep Nix and send Marrero back to AAA then Lombo becomes your option eligible guy and Davey carries 6 potential outfielders, 1 infielder and 1 backup catcher. Nix just becomes an expensive guy who won't get much playing time unless you value him more than Ankiel.

  52. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:10 PM

    Just noticed the pitchers and catchers report countdown in the top righthand corner of the page. Yay! Thanks for doing that. Can't wait for live baseball to resume (we now return you to your regularly scheduled armchair GM musings – zzzzz). :-)

  53. Anxious in Arlington - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    DAYS UNTIL PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT: 111+++++++++++++++++++Thanks Mark, but isn't that number much too big? Could you drop it down to about half that?

  54. Steve M. - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Just sayin' said… For those looking for 'sure things' in the free agent and trade markets, it's worth remembering that the White Sox thought Adam Dunn was a 'sure thing' to hit about 40 HRs and drive in about 100 runs, the Red Sox thought Carl Crawford was a 'sure thing' to get on base and generate a lot of runs at Fenway, the Nats thought Jayson Werth was a 'sure thing' to hit at least .270, with 20+ HRs, and at least 85 RBIs, and the Phillies thought Oswalt was a 'sure thing' to — at a minimum — post a winning record. November 1, 2011 1:57 PM Point well taken. We all know there are no sure things in life however we also know Bowdenomics performs far worse.Bowden would be all over Grady Sizemore and BJ Upton with that rags to riches mentality which is why I say NO to both. Sizemore slashed at .224/.285 in 71 games. Desmond slashed at .253/.298. Upton slashed at .243/.331 Crisp slashed at .264/.314 and had 49 steals. Alex Gordon slashed at .303/.376.Out of all of those guys, Alex Gordon got the most time at lead-off in 2011.

  55. baseballswami - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Mark – what a fast response on the countdown! Are you always going cater to our whims so quickly? Did you all notice that the countdown clock says 111 on 11/1/11? Spooky…

  56. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Beast Mode in Taiwan! RBI double off the wall…..

  57. LoveDaNats - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    I love Michael Morse!

  58. Binx Bolling - Nov 1, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    I agree with you, Steve. I like versatile players over Matt Stairs/Manny Mota types. Brian Bixler's ability to play nearly every position is a big plus. Too bad he can't hit much above the Mendoza line.

  59. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Yay – Beast Mode! It won't be live baseball, but I'll be recording and watching the Taiwan All-Star series and AFL broadcasts on MLB Network on November.

  60. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Or even *in* November. Heh.

  61. Water23 - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    If we are going to acquire a player(SP/CF/Lead off hitter) via trade who on our roster is tradeable? You have to look at players that have value from either potential or peformance So potential: Detwiler and Bernadina – Not that I want to move them but they are out of options and have enough value but have not take a starting spot(unlike M. Morse). &Flores – He was a decent catching prospect and looks like he is returning to his former self. Keep on tearing up the Venezuelan Winter League! Performance: Lannan – Solid 3-4 and a lefty. Not sexy but a good starter.Any others?What can we get for these parts? I think we could move Bernie, AA or A prospect and Detwiler or Lannan for Wandy. Maybe Span? What would it take to Bourjos? Some of these plus Milone or Peacock? Not sure.Are we better off? Maybe but some of the parts have to be moved as at least a few are out of options and are replaceable.

  62. Bowdenball - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Steve M:Just a minor complaint, but when people refer to "slashing" they're usually talking about either BA/OBP/SLG, or just OBP/SLG. The "slashes" you used- BA/OBP- are misleading and don't really tell us anything we can't gather from OBP alone. They miss, for example, the fact that Sizemore slugged .422. Which, while not all that good, certainly makes him a better hitter than, say, Ian Desmond, even though your "slash" numbers suggest that Desmond is the better hitter. They also suggest that Upton and Crisp are similar hitters/players. They are not, and it is not close.

  63. Mark'd - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Nix had a great first half. It was his 2nd half that has you wondering if there are better options.

  64. Water23 - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Mark'd,I guess an achilles injury will limit your production.

  65. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    How do you know what's going on in Taiwan? Do tell! I don't mind you spoiling it for tonight – I just want to know.

  66. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    ESPN posted a recap

  67. Mark'd - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    Water23, yes, Achilles did limit Nix production. Again, are there better options?

  68. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    I have said this before, I have always been a Washington Nationals fan but in years past the only player I saw to build around was Ryan Zimmerman and that is just not the case anymore. This has become in my opinion one of the most exciting franchises to keep an eye on. With players like Strasburg, Zimmermann, Detwiller, Peacock, Ramos, Zimmerman, Desmond, Espionsa, Werth, Morse, Storen, Clippard, H – Rod, Kimball, Burnett and guys on the way like Harper, Solis, Norris, Rendon, Goodwin, Purke, Meyer, Cole, Ray, and others, for me I love being a Washington Nationals fan. Now we just have to be patient and dont make any trades that make us go backwards (like the Greinke trade would have done). Thank god that didnt happen.

  69. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Re. the Taiwan game, there's a gamer on the MLB site but no boxscore that I saw.Also, the gamer notes that the games will be streamed via the MLB site (or whatever you call that feature) as well as being broadcast on MLB Network.

  70. JaneB - Nov 1, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Thank you for the countdown, Mark! ANd for the suggestion Michelle S and the push, swami. It makes me feel less like spring will never come. Capcha is flores. hmmmmm…

  71. FS - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    I just figured out that we could have had Trout also in our future OF, if we had drafted him instead of Storen. Just imagine him and Harper for years in our OF. That would have been something. Anyways, I am glad to have Drew in the bullpen, but I like playing IF game (like imagine Bumgarner instead of Detwiler).

  72. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2011 at 11:37 PM

    You post a list of notable players, including Werth????, but not Michael Morse? Are you kidding? Did you watch the same games that I did last year? Werth was very much less-than-average and even stunk at the plate for long stretches, whereas Michael shined pretty much all year long, except for the first month. Come on, now!

  73. Gonat - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:08 AM

    Anon @7:37, reference the post you are reading.

  74. Gonat - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:29 AM

    Anon @ 7;37, ok, I see you are referring to Mark's post.Good point. Where is Michael Morse in: Mark Z. wrote…All anyone has to do is look at a roster that will include Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Jayson Werth, Danny Espinosa, Wilson Ramos, Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard — with the promise of Bryce Harper to join the fray at some point — to realize this will be a good ballclub next season.

  75. Tom - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Yeah, the exclusion of Morse was my first thought when I read it. Clearly an accidental oversight. He was only the best player on the team last year.

  76. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Not sure why everyone seems to be excited about balky Sizemore, but no one mentions balky Carlos Beltran. A high BA, good fielding switch hitting Beltran might be just what the doctor ordered.Oops, what is this? Beltran just fired Scott Boras? Never mind.

  77. Bigfish - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Grady Sizemore = Nick Johnson. Brittle AND a slow healer. Bad combination.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 47 --
ATLANTA 58 49 1.0
MIAMI 53 54 6.0
NEW YORK 52 56 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 47 61 12.5
Through Wednesday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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

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