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’12 payroll should increase

Nov 2, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
John Lannan stands to earn a sizable raise through arbitration.

Mike Rizzo was asked during a conference call with reporters last week what kind of budget he's been given for next year's payroll. The Nationals general manager politely declined to divulge any numbers, saying only that he has been given parameters by ownership and knows how much money he has at his disposal to spend in 2012.

This much we can say with a fair amount of certainty: The Nationals' payroll should increase next season, perhaps by a significant amount, depending on what moves Rizzo makes this winter. And if that is the case, this will mark the fifth consecutive year the Nats' payroll has gone up since its low point of $37.3 million on Opening Day 2007.

Some of this has to do with free agents added to the roster, but a good amount also has to do with the raises that will be handed out to current players who are quickly gaining more big-league service time.

Two of the biggest increases from 2011 to 2012 will come from the raises built into the Nationals' two highest-paid players: Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman. Werth will earn a salary of $13 million next
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  1. Aussie Gus - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Speaking of increases, how is Brian?

  2. sjm308 - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    Mark & friends:I need some ammunition. I was talking baseball at the gym and there are still a couple of "fans" who throw the Lerners are cheap line out. I mentioned our last three drafts and paying above slot, I mentioned Werth's contract but it did not seem to move the argument my way. They seem to think that until we resign Zimm its just business as usual down on 1/2 street. Any more bullets out there I can use?Mark – didn't Purke also sign a major league contract and therefore have his $$s up there as well?thanks to all in advance

  3. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Where does Brad Peacock fit?

  4. Nats1924 - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    atn sjmThose bozo's are prob disgruntled O's fans. And if they are O's fans. Ask them, why is the O's paryoll is similar to the Nats; yet Angelos gets 85% of MASN's revenue? Go W's!!!!!

  5. Mark'd - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    Mark, add Purke and Rendon and doublecheck as it looks like Bernadina is not Arb eligible.

  6. Wally - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    I think the Nats will be close to $80-85m in salary next year, when their offseason moves are done. Keep in mind, the median payroll last year was around $87m, so they should still have room to add players, or keep the internal guys who start to get expensive.SteveM – from a few posts ago, the bet that I made with Gonat was pitchers, specifically 2012-2013 WAR. I think Oswalt has a higher WAR over those two years than either Wandy or Beuhrle. Opening Day 2014 at the Red Porch to settle up.

  7. JD - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Wally, I think that there is no question that Oswalt today is a better pitcher than either Beuhrle or Rodriguez. 2 years at $10 mil per would be a nice signing for the Nats.

  8. Doc - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Good stuff MarkMeister–it's not too late to add a CA degree to your resume!

  9. Gonat - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Mark – We actually had this payroll discussion here 2 times so it is a little disconcerting that it seems maybe you don't read our comments although you get a pass as a new papa who is probably sleep deprived. I think the 1st discussion was early in October then Goessling wrote his column and he also missed Rendon and Purke and made those changes. While the arb-eligible's are estimates and we don't know if Gorzo will stay or which new players will be brought in, I think it is safe to say, even if Zim isn't extended, this Payroll is almost certainly going to exceed $70 million and with 1 of the big Free Agents will go over $80 million.

  10. Stew Magnuson - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    As far as pitching, the Nats aren't spending a lot.

  11. Wally - Nov 2, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    JD – if you were Rizzo, what would be your offseason plan? Hold tight, make a big move(s) or make a medium move? Btw, remembering the Norris conversation from a few weeks ago, nice to see him rebuilding his rep some in the AFL, sss aside.

  12. Harper_ROY_2012 - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Lannan should be paying the Nats $2.75 million for them allowing him to keep pitching less than 10 wins does not = an arbitration victory I hope Rizzo argues that he is a marginal major leaguer during the hearing.

  13. Mark'd - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:17 PM

    JD, Oswalt is great when healthy. How many starts does he make in 2012?

  14. MicheleS - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    my only concern with Roy Oswalt is his back! Is he going to have the off season surgery on it? We don't need a pitcher that is going to come in here hurt right off the bat (see J Marquis 2010)

  15. raymitten - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Heyman on MLB Hot Stove continues to assert that the Nats are 'favorites' for Fielder. (He has said this twice in the past two days on MLB Network). Is there any rumblings in the past few weeks to make this viable? I continue to agree with Mark's analysis from September — Fielder is essentially Adam Dunn, and there is no way the Nats have any interest.

  16. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    If Rizzo and Davey want to win the pennant next year they better sign Reyes to play short. He dominates from the leadoff position like no one else since Ricky Henderson. Yeah, I know he can be a jerk, but unless Davey thinks Desi can hit .340 and steal 50 bases per year, Desi needs to take a seat. The Nats are a baseball team, not a social club. If Davey is as good a manager as he thinks he is, then he can keep Reyes under control. There are plenty of team leaders on the Nats who can help with that.Trade Desi to the Cards for their top farmhand, a lefty power-hitting first baseman who will never play for the Cards as long as Albert is there. Furcal stank up the World Series at SS. The Cards get an upgrade where they badly need one, and give up a guy they will never use. And if they sign Albert to his mega-deal, they will not be able to bid on Reyes. He is there for the taking.For Desi, the Nats get a big lefty bat who can step up when Morse poops out, or gets traded, himself. When LaRoche leaves, they will be too right-handed, with only Harper as an everyday, full-time lefty hitter. When Rendon comes up the Nats would have the best leadoff guy in the game, followed by the best OBP guy in the game, for years to come, batting 1-2. Hell, I could manage that team to a world title.

  17. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:31 PM

    Harper_ROY, did you really just base Lannan's value on wins? It isn't his fault the offense has been terrible for him over the last 3 years. Over his career Lannan has only gotten 2.6 runs of support per start. If you put Lannan on a team like the Phillies or Cardinals the last 4 season and he is probably 51 – 38 instead of the other way around.While he isn't one of the top starters in the league he has been fairly consistent minus about 12 starts at the beginning of last season. The guy is going to give you 30+ starts and between 180 and 205 innings a year of sub 4.00 ERA. In a market where decent starting pitchers with very little injury history are few and far between I would be quite happy with Lannan landing a $4.5 – 5 million contract. He has been worth that according to fangraphs each of the last 4 seasons.-PDowdy83

  18. Mark Zuckerman - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    OK, I got confused and included Bernadina among the arbitration-eligibles. Turns out he came up a couple of days short of Super-2 status, so that will cost him a couple hundred thousand dollars.Also, you guys are correct that Rendon and Purke have big-league contracts. I don't have their year-by-year salaries, but their '12 numbers are going to be minimal and not alter the Nats' overall payroll total much at all.

  19. Mark'd - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    PDowdy83, very true on Lannan and especially JZim. I think you quoted JZim run support numbers though and the point is Lannan's numbers were a Top #3 pitcher this season and then he hit the wall mid-August. Lannan still finished as a top #4 pitcher and in 2012 may get that ERA below 3.25

  20. jd - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Wally, I would definitely try to add a significant pitcher and all the pitchers discussed here (Oswalt, Buehrle, Rodriguez) make some sense although to me Oswalt is a cut above the other 2. I would also address the center field issue (I think Werth in center is asking for an injury at this stage of his career) without hurting our future. I think trading any of our relievers for a viable every day center fielder is a great idea. Mark'd saidJD, Oswalt is great when healthy. How many starts does he make in 2012? That can be said about any veteran pitcher and it's a valid point. Do you know for sure that Beuhrle will answer the bell every time out?'

  21. jd - Nov 2, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Harper_ROY, The following stats are almost completely irrelevant and recognized as such by almost every serious baseball analyst who is not stubbornly holding on to old myths: 1) Win/loss records of pitchers. 2) RBI's/ runs scored – this depends too much on what other people do. 3) Relievers ERA Other overrated stats are: 1) Batting average without looking at OBP. 2) Stolen base totals without taking into account caught stealing and picked off. 3) OPS without the understanding that OBP is much more significant than slugging. Just my opinion.

  22. JD - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Wally, As you may have noticed I am a big proponent on judging players offense by their ability to get on base and as such I have always been a fan of what Norris brings to the table. Having said that I refuse to get over excited over a small sample of success in the AFL, same for Harper.

  23. Mark'd - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    JD, my crystal ball broke so no clue if Buehrle keeps up his 200 innings he normally throws. Back issues usually don't get better is the key on Oswalt. He had 23 starts last year and he had 2 starts of 3 innings or less.Don't get me wrong, he is a good pitcher, I just think Wandy and Buehrle are safer bets.

  24. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:05 PM

    Wally said… SteveM – from a few posts ago, the bet that I made with Gonat was pitchers, specifically 2012-2013 WAR. I think Oswalt has a higher WAR over those two years than either Wandy or Beuhrle. Opening Day 2014 at the Red Porch to settle up. November 2, 2011 8:36 AM WAR is cumulative so much of it will come from longevity on the mound. Sounds like a good challenge!

  25. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    jd said… Harper_ROY,The following stats are almost completely irrelevant and recognized as such by almost every serious baseball analyst who is not stubbornly holding on to old myths:1) Win/loss records of pitchers.2) RBI's/ runs scored – this depends too much on what other people do.3) Relievers ERAOther overrated stats are:1) Batting average without looking at OBP.2) Stolen base totals without taking into account caught stealing and picked off.3) OPS without the understanding that OBP is much more significant than slugging.Just my opinion. November 2, 2011 9:59 AM 1) Win/loss records of pitchers. Yes, agreed. Until they come up with a stat for all pitchers doing win adjustments to a mean run support, it is irrelevant for all pitchers.2) RBI's/ runs scored – this depends too much on what other people do. Yes, Morse was hurt by this stat with less runners on base. I think the Runs Created stat is slightly better. I am a proponent of what you do with runners on base and RISP + HRs3) Relievers ERA Yes, because they don't absorb any inherited runners and on the other hand, thats why straight ERA to a starter on runs inherited that scored isn't always fair. Burnett and Slaten come to mind.

  26. Slidell - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    JD: Point taken on the sample size rationale, but Harper hit another dinger last night. Despite his wretched start, he is now among the League leaders in HR as well as closing in on .300 BA.His pattern of "adjustment" is fairly consistent and while we shouldn't get overheated quite yet, it does give one a good feeling for the future.

  27. Wally - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Re: Oswalt (and all pitchers), I agree that their health is a wild card. But both Beuhrle and Oswalt have, careerwise, been very durable for pitchers. For Oswalt specifically, two reasons that I feel he is worth the chance is (i) when he came back from the back injury, he made every start the rest of the year (10 starts), his velocity ticked up to career normal levels, and he only threw less than 6 innings once (5.2), and (ii) looking at his innings year by year, 2011 is the blip, especially if he is over it. 2011- 139 innings, 2010-211 innings, 2009-181, 2008-208 (then 200+ innings all the way back to 2004). Anyway, either would be good, just think Oswalt is better.JD – I know, I was just acknowledging that you were getting bashed a few weeks ago for defending Norris after his .210 BA, and that it was nice to see him have some success. Yes, small sample but it is pretty good competition. It doesn't mean everything, but it is still positive. Re: CF, wouldn't you trade some part of the future for a CF that is also part of it? I am not saying that we could get them, but take your pick of the younger ones out there – Kemp, Bourjos, whichever CF you like best. Would you trade a good prospect or two for them? Asked another way, do you feel like there is a CF in the system worth waiting for (and not blocking), like we would do with Harper? I don't. If they could get someone to fill the spot well for the next several years, I would pay a good price for it. SteveM – Since injuries are the worry with Oswalt, that is why I think it is a good measure for the bet.

  28. FS - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Anon 9:25, you should be Nats GM. I mean obviously Rizzo did not see Cardinals offer Shelby Miller and Matt Adams for one Desi. WOW how hard it is to take those away from Cardinals?

  29. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    Wally, you make a good point on Oswalt. I think any of those pitchers mentioned in that 3.50s ERA range will be an upgrade. Still, the team has to add that outfielder to the mix with a high OBP.

  30. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/11/lacava-turns-down-orioles-offer.htmlA big smack in Baltimore. LaCava is offered the GM job and turns it down to stay as the Assistant in Toronto.

  31. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    ESPN did the Gold Glove show last night. The only sniff of a Nats was in Top 5 plays of the year where Bernadina's catch in CF made it to the Top 5.Alex Gordon won the Gold Glove over Brett Gardner and others. Gordon had 20 outfield assists which led the AL. I am starting to think the cost for the Royals to trade him just got more complicated.

  32. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Michael Morse is having a great time in Taiwan. Not sure if it is his being a teammate with Chien-Ming Wang or that they appreciate him as a player participating in this All Star event for all the attention Michael is getting there.Morse went to an autograph signing session on Wednesday at the MLB Store there and gave a great Morse quote: "I feel like Brad Pitt or something". Some kid told him he was predicting 50 HRs for Morse in 2012. Have to like that too.

  33. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    I wish I can get a payraise like that. Its been four years with benefit reductions for me. At least somebody making out in this economic downturn. Maybe I can get one next year and renew my ticket package that I gave up.

  34. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Zuck — this piece tells so little of the story it is almost reckelss to post it. Franchise record setting payroll is on the way! FIFTH consecutive year of raising payroll!! Come on. The flat numbers only tell a part of the story. Compare the salary levels of other big market clubs, other clubs opening new parks, other clubs with new, publicly financed parks, the Division (Marlins announced today they are going to at least $85M for 2012). The Nats have been slow to spend what it takes to compete (the results have been objectively awful in the standings year after year), and because they have lacked the will or skill to assemble a quality club, they are now still way behind the curve in the NL East. Some projection to a $75M payroll (likely the lowest in the NL East for 2012) is not going to have them picked to finish better than 4th.dfh21

  35. Wally - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Steve M. said…A big smack in Baltimore. LaCava is offered the GM job and turns it down to stay as the Assistant in Toronto …. Alex Gordon won the Gold Glove over Brett Gardner and others. Gordon had 20 outfield assists which led the AL. I am starting to think the cost for the Royals to trade him just got more complicated.Huge smackdown. Its amazing how things turned sour for the O's even in just the last year. A year ago, Matusz, Britton, Arrieta, Tillman seemed like a promising group of pitchers. Add Markakis, Jones and some of their draftees like Machado, and they looked on the rise. Now, it is just a mess. Getting turned down for a GM job by a guy who's never had one before – more embarrassing than 'Natinals' to me.I had no idea Gordon was that good defensively. +10 UZR for the year. Looks like his arm, as you suggest, is a key part of his value. Funny, he was negative defensively at 3B every year (according to UZR).His trade cost is always what worried me about getting him.

  36. Doc - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    @ Steve M. 11:20For those of us who supported Morse from his Nats' debut in the latter part of the 2009 season, we can only continue to feel proud of his adulation in Taiwan. We persevered through Ladson quoting unnamed FO sources saying that Morse's swing was "too long" and "he couldn't hit the league's best SPs". Additionally, we had to confront the Sad Man's incompetent analysis that Morse was a bench player that couldn't hit righties. What's totally neat is how they are following his career in Taiwan. Go Mickey Morse!!!!!

  37. SCNatsFan - Nov 2, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    I still don't get why people think KC is trading Gordon at this point

  38. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    SCNatsFan said… I still don't get why people think KC is trading Gordon at this point November 2, 2011 11:55 AM It may not happen because the trade demands may be too much but the Royals have had no luck on contract extensions as Gordon is arb-eligible again this year and next and goes to Free Agency. Dayton Moore will also explore his options.The Royals have Myer and Cain + Francouer and Melky which could make Gordon expendable -IF- they can't extend him.Its not apples to apples with the Greinke deal but give it time before Gordon becomes annoyed at not getting his big payday. His agent is Casey Close who has been Derek Jeter's agent and hasn't been an agent willing to give a "hometown" discount.

  39. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:11 PM

    The Royals will host the 2012 All Star game which brings in a cash infusion to the host team. The Royals may be willing to spend a little more in 2012 and could pull off signing Gordon long-term. It is still within the realm of possibilities but the track record of the Royals goes against them.They have a stacked Minor League system and need pitching and another middle infielder which may be the carrot to dangle in front of them.The risk as I see it is Alex Gordon was a breakout player in a career where you have to wonder if he will fall back to earth. The Royals may have those same worries which is why I believe they traded Greinke in a "sell high" situation.

  40. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    Alex Gordon is not getting traded barring some wacky situation. The guy is a stud and is team under control. Why would KC move that guy?dfh21

  41. Theophilus - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Someone suggested "put Lannan in Philly . . .." Please! That'd be four more wins for the Nats every year.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Theophilus…. And 4 less losses.

  43. Nats Fan in Annandale - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Anon @11:32, I definitely hear you. Non-baseball, but impacting STH status: as a Fed retiree, I'm hopeful for the first COLA against bennies reduction in 3 yrs. However, if they can do anything, I bet the Supercommittee takes it. :-(Mark: about time for a new Brian pic!

  44. Theophilus - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    NJack — Pro'ly more than four fewer losses.

  45. Scooter - Nov 2, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Just as an aside, I think the whole Rendon/Purke thing demonstrates how silly it is to use the "major-league payroll" to learn much of anything about a club. What these two minor-leaguers are getting paid, and which column you put them in, will have no bearing on how many games the Nationals win this year. I mean, if they had been paid the same amount of money, only it was all in a one-time bonus, that would lower the 2012 payroll number. But it wouldn't matter in the slightest. (The only difference would actually be that the Nats would have less cash currently on hand.)Just a quick thought. Maybe next I'll talk about how there are some new-fangled stats that are more useful than batting average.

  46. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Scooter, the whole payroll summation and using guaranteed 40 man contracts doesn't help the MLB team but when you are comparing, all teams have to show it that way so it is what it is.That Nats are heading over $70 million and could end up $80 to $90 million with a top Free Agent signing. I hear what the Marlins are saying about raising their payroll considerably and for them, seeing will be believing.The market is so thin on quality Free Agents that guys like CJ Wilson, Fielder, etc will get overpaid in a supply/demand situation. I just don't see the Marlins jumping in for snagging a Top 10 Free Agent.

  47. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    I see why the GRAND TOTAL is now $66,916,000 + Purke and Rendon and if the Nats announce Wang coming back that could spike up that number quickly. My guess is Wang's contract would be an unknown since it will be a very incentive laden so you probably only count the guaranteed portion.A lot can also take place prior to arbitration like long-term deals for JZim and Morse and possibly Lannan. Then you have a possibly RZim contract extension.

  48. Richard - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    I'd be interested to hear more re why Morse only gets $4M in arbitration. His numbers are superstar level. He led the team in most offensive categories. Davey J. said, at the end of the year, he didn't know where the Nats would've been without him. Why doesn't he get a lot more than $4M? Maybe there's a rationale, for example, arbitrators have never bumped a $1M guy to more than about $4M. … I don't think it'd be unthinkable for the Nats to offer to buyout his last two years of arbitration and offer, say, 5 years at an average of $8-10M. Any thoughts?

  49. baseballswami - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    Re: Free agents — I really wonder how good Fielder will be out of Milwaukee, and , especially away from Braun. I also wonder about Pujols in another city – he is such a big cheese there, the manager gives him authority to make plays on the field. I think they are both excellent players, but I also think they are in ideal situations for them and a change of venue might take something away from them. Some of these big changes just don't seem to work out. I LOVE seeing Morse getting some attention overseas- I hope he is having a great time. My last comment – stop making Lannan the goat. He is not cy young, but he is a solid lefty and a veteran nat.

  50. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:33 PM

    When did this turn into a KC Royals blog?

  51. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7177877/san-francisco-giants-carlos-beltran-switches-scott-boras-agency-dan-lozano-source-saysThe business of baseball is crazy. Carlos Beltran enters Free Agency with a new agent after dumping Scott Boras! Beltran dumped Boras and is now with Dan Lozano who went independent this year leaving the Beverly Hills agency he was with.While Boras has Prince Fielder and Edwin Jackson in this years crop of Free Agents, Lozano has Pujols, Jimmy Rollins and now Beltran. CJ Wilson has Bob Garber.I wonder who will be busier?

  52. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Richard @ 1:22 p.m.,MLBTadeRumors.com recently ran a nice three-part series on the various stats — and other factors — that seem to have the most influence on arbitration decisions (recognizing, of course, that very few cases actually reach the arbitration panels). Two take-aways, for me, at least: Old school and 'counting' stats seem to have the most influence (e.g., BA, RBIs, HRs, ERA, W-L record) and they do seem to take in account your value compared to your 'class' (i.e., first-year eligibles, second-year eligibles, etc.) as opposed to comparing you to the broader FA market. Also, why the panels are rarely called upon to make the final decision, their decisions impact what players seek and teams offer and thus, by extension, influence the market even when players and teams reach their own agreements.

  53. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:48 PM

    Richard said… I'd be interested to hear more re why Morse only gets $4M in arbitration. His numbers are superstar level. He led the team in most offensive categories. Davey J. said, at the end of the year, he didn't know where the Nats would've been without him. Why doesn't he get a lot more than $4M? Maybe there's a rationale, for example, arbitrators have never bumped a $1M guy to more than about $4M. … I don't think it'd be unthinkable for the Nats to offer to buyout his last two years of arbitration and offer, say, 5 years at an average of $8-10M. Any thoughts? November 2, 2011 1:22 PM They could certainly offer him a 3 to 5 year deal with escalating salary to buy out his remaining arb years and 1st couple of Free Agent years. Its whether Rizzo believes he is a long-term guy with long-term production. I think it is a good move for both sides to hammer something longer-term out and Morse is the type who would take it to guarantee himself a guaranteed deal with financial security in a town he loves. I think he may take 4 years $28 million w/ an option year.

  54. jd - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:50 PM

    Wally, I would trade a piece of our future (Rendon, Ray) if I can get my hands on a sure fire superstar such as Matt Kemp. I just don't want to trade those pieces for a question mark like Span. If you are considering players such as Lombo, Bernadina, Marrero and even Milone as part of the future I feel that these are relatively fringe players and can be included in any trade which improves the team in any way. Now that the Dodgers are on the market I think we can all stop fantasizing about their best players because whoever buys the team isn't going to allow it to be gutted. Steve M. has been promoting Gordon but I don't believe the Royals will let him go without getting some serious talent back. At the end of the day it just might have to be Coco Crisp which is an improvement over what we have.

  55. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    jd, you would only trade for Kemp if it included an extension since he is a Free Agent in a year, correct? Now that Mark Cuban (ha ha) is buying the team, they won't be trading Kemp until July 31st.Alex Gordon can be "had", it is the pricetag that worries me so I agree with you JD. Also I am concerned as a breakout player he may never be able to repeat his big 2011.Crisp is the right move to secure early in Free Agency.I keep going back to what I said in early August, get Crisp and Buehrle and get your playoff tickets. I'm not saying the Nats would go past the 1st round given Strasburg's innings limit but if both were a possibility, I think this team will be better than moderate expectations.

  56. jd - Nov 2, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    Steve M. Absolutely on Kemp; no deal for a rental. I think the new owners who ever they are will lock up at least Kemp and Kershaw and probably Ethier for the long haul; it's too much of a big time franchise to let these stars go. As far as Crisp goes it depends on the price; I would do 2 years at $5 mil per but I wouldn't do much higher and certainly not for longer. I don't think anyone is touching the Phills in the division as long as they have the big 3 starters and they are all still effective; you can beat anyone in a short series but over the long haul they are still the team to beat by far. We can compete for a wild card because Milwaukee will decline and Atlanta has Fredi as the manager but I still believe that 2013 is our breakout year.

  57. Wally - Nov 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    jd said… Wally,I would trade a piece of our future (Rendon, Ray) if I can get my hands on a sure fire superstar such as Matt Kemp. I just don't want to trade those pieces for a question mark like Span. If you are considering players such as Lombo, Bernadina, Marrero and even Milone as part of the future I feel that these are relatively fringe players JD – ok, I agree except I might be willing to do it for someone a notch below superstar level. Young and above average My list of guys that I would give up real prospects for goes something like Ellsbury, Kemp, McCutchen, Bourjos and Gardner (none of the guys you mention enough to get any of these guys, it has to include some combo of Rendon, Cole, Norris, Ray, Peacock …). Kemp stands above the others, to me, but all of them are good, young and should be able to stay in CF for several years. Of all of them, Bourjos looks like the one who might be most available, given the rest of their roster, which is why I keep coming back to him.But as you say, none will be easy to get and the price will be high, so Crisp may be the best overall alternative. If we go that route, we should also see what Marlon Byrd would cost to acquire. Pretty similar player to Crisp.

  58. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Wally, the Nats have built this team on home grown talent and small trades. Free Agency is a real gamble on cash to quality and so far hasn't worked out well.If you trade away too much, you trade away your long-term future. The solution this year would be to get your #3 pitcher from Free Agency and moderate pickup like a Crisp or Byrd for the outfield.If the right trade is available, Rizzo should make it. If not, save it for a rainy day which may be on July 31st where the possiblity of getting Bourn from Atlanta or Kemp from the Dodgers may happen for a serious push to the playoffs.

  59. JamesFan - Nov 2, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Winning costs money and the Nats are now coming into a situation in which they must spend to keep or get quality players. They should extend Morse and Zim this year. Go get a pitcher and a leadoff man and stand pat. The potential of this team is exceptional.

  60. Steve M. - Nov 2, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    I always love how someone can concisely say in one paragraph all the right words.Good job JamesFan!

  61. Wally - Nov 2, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    SteveM – agreed, a big trade or high priced FA signing is risky. I usually only advocate it when you think a player or too puts you over the top. If you feel that way, though, I say go for it. You have to be bold sometimes (not saying that about you, just generally). Even the Rays didn't become good solely with homegrown talent. They traded for Zobrist, signed Pena (or traded, can't remember). Granted, not high priced guys, but they did splurge for Burrell, which didn't work so well.So are we that close? It feels that way, but I also realize I WANT it to feel that way. So sometimes I think 'what if we went 9-9 to end the season, instead of 14-4, and finished at 75 wins? Would I feel as excited? Would I want to make a big move now, or wait another year?' That is when a little doubt creeps in.And right now, Davey is the guy that chases those doubts. He has been around so much, with success, that I feel like he knows what he is talking about. And he is enough of a rebel that I don't think he really cares whether what he says is the party line or not, he just says what he thinks. So when he says that he expects we'll contend for the playoffs, I think that he both means it and has reason to know what he is talking about. So yeah, I would like to see them step up and do something bold this offseason. Not crazy, but aggressive. I don't see how to do that without spending some money or trading some of the better kids.Btw, this quote from Boz' article on Davey still makes me laugh:"He told his slugger Bobby Bonilla he’d have to DH a couple of times a week because Davey couldn’t stand to watch him play the outfield every day. "

  62. sjm308 - Nov 2, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    This was mentioned way early in the comment section and by an anon of all people but I support it more than any other move this off-season. If we can sign Reyes for 5 years it solidifies our infield, solves our leadoff situation, increases both our offensive output and helps us defensively. Yes, we still do not have the CF/SP issues solved but we were 7th or 8th in pitching this year and if you think about SS and Wang starting the year the way they finished then our pitching will be much much better. Surely we can win with Ankiel and Werth in CF and maybe our owners surprise us and get Crisp as well as Reyes, but my first and major move is to go after Reyes. Thank you all for playing and pass the fish.

  63. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 2, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    I've read all the scenarios that everyone sees as what the Nats need to accomplish this off season to take us to the next level. Most are reasonable, some are silly but in the end, I'm sticking by my take that whatever gets done, the response is going to be "Boy! I didn't see that coming!

  64. jd - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    sjm308, Do you give Reyes 8 years at $20 mil per? because that's what it'll take. If Sandy Alderson is taking a pass you know it's a bad deal.

  65. David - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    I want to see Sizemore and Oswalt. Both are coming off injuries, but are respected veterans. If they stay healthy they will contribute greatly. If not, we rotate our young guys in find out who can play, ala Morse behind LaRoche. I can see Peacock or Milone being ready to fill in for an injured Oswalt.Just my 2 cents…

  66. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Nats can't trade any player that they drafted in 2011, including Rendon, until next June.Pilchard

  67. baseballswami - Nov 2, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    NatsJack – I agree with you – Rizzo always manages to do something that no one could see coming, but afterwards makes perfect sense. He never gives away anything. Just think if he was in your family or a friend of yours – you could tell him anything and he would never,ever tell anyone! I wonder if he plays poker…..

  68. sjm308 - Nov 2, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    jd:no, that is a little steep even for me spending someone elses money – I obviously did not look into that part of it – I might give him 5 years though and see if he would jump at that. If he gets 8 at 20 million a year, what will Zimm look at?? Forgetting the money for a second, and I know that is impossible and ridiculous, but seriously, doesn't Reyes make even more sense than Albert in that he fills a bigger need? Just my opinion but I think that leadoff spot will be a key to our continued success. Our pitching was good, our CF play was at least ave. but leadoff, eh not so much.NatsJack – it is kinda fun with Rizzo and I love that he doesn't give much away

  69. Anonymous - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    It's not so fun with Rizzo. Not trading Dunn was a tremendous blunder. He thought he had Chapman, a guy he said that he wanted very, very badly, and missed by a mile. He could not make a trade with Kenny Williams of all people. He over-values our prospects and over-pays for treadbear talent. Jesus Flores's shoulder. Werth's contract? He ham-handed Riggleman. Can anyone explain the Gomes trade (if they offer him arb he's taking it folks, there is no draft pick coming our way and the guy is flawed to beat the band even in a bench role)? He has not put together any roster that even makes sense on Opening Day. He has a pension for finishing last. But for the huge splash with Werth, he has not made moves that make the baseball world stand up and shout. The Ramos for Capps trade is his best move and it is not exactly a game changer of a move (Ramos is a nice player, but no one is expecting star performance from the guy at this point). Drafts have been impressive, but we're years off from seeing if the club faired as well as we hope. All in all, Rizzo is at best a middle of the pack performer. Let's keep it real. He's not anything close to a genius.

  70. jd - Nov 2, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    sjm308, Reyes had a career year this year. In previous years he had some holes in his games specifically that he never walks which means that his batting average is also his OBP. That's OK if you hit .350 but when you hit around .300 and never walk then you are not so special. I also didn't like his approach at the end of the year when he was going for the batting title; he bunted in situations which made sense baseball wise and took himself out of games etc. it just seemed to me that it was all about him and not about the team. Unfortunately for him he got hurt twice this year and this may end up costing him mega bucks although I did hear that the Giants will chase him pretty aggressively.

  71. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    $5 million for John Lannan? For about 150K per start you get 5.2 IP, 3 runs, 2 or 3 earned, 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 K'suhhhh, no thanks.

  72. John C. - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    Anon @6:15pm: Rizzo's record isn't perfect, and he's learning on the job. Especially given that this is his first gig, he's done very well. I don't write off not trading Dunn for a couple of reasons: (1) we don't know what he was offered, and (2) we haven't seen how Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin turn out. That story won't be written for years. The Gomes trade is likely a clunker because Gomes fell so flat he both undermined his value and lost Type B status; it turned out to be a bad bet. How much of a bad bet will be told based on the progress of Manno and Rhinehart.But that's OK; all GMs miss a bunch. Do you think that the Yankees regret trading Clippard for Albaladejo? That the Mariners regret trading Morse for Langerhans? That the Twins regret trading Ramos for Capps? Jesus Flores was a genius move – a Rule 5 pick that panned out. Yes, he got hurt. Ballplayers get hurt, and hanging a misdiagnosis on the GM instead of the Doctor seems odd to me. But YMMV.Check around the industry if you want to know how Rizzo is doing. When people put their name and reputation on opinions of Rizzo, he does much better than at the hands of anonyhaters.

  73. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Clippard trade and Flores Rule 5 were Bowden moves, I think. I think if you checked around the industry, the first thing that would come to mind when you asked about Rizzo might be the huge, now seemingly stupid contract to Werth, but that is just a guess. Finding Morse might be next up.Anyway, Rizzo should not get slack for learning on the job, that is crazy. First, because he's either up to the GM job or he is not; this is the Bigs, no trial runs, no few years to get your feet wet as a GM. Second, he has had a few years to get his feet wet as a GM. This is his club, no more excuses about Jimbo ruining Christmas. Rizzo has been OK, not great. He added so little to the histortically bad 2009 team that it was laughable and they, as predicted, finished last in 2010. He went into 2011 with a very iffy roster, having failed in his off-season Job One, landing an Ace. No real CF, no true lead-off guy, clanky-gloved SS, rookie 2B, no bench depth, only 1 LH power bat on the club. When the club had a chance in July to stay in the WC race he addded nothing until they fell back out of the running and then he inexplicably added Gomes — too little, too late. Davey Johnson was right to complain that the roster was not a winner. So, while Rizzo has made some nice moves, the farm now has some talent, it is hard to argue that he's been some great GM to date. The game is played at the MLB level, not in Hagerstown. The Nats have simply not been good under Rizzo to date.Rizzo has 2 more years of Zim (he's not staying here beyond 2013 if the club's not a lock-down predictable winner by that point). The Division is loading up, again, this time the Marlins and money from their new park will be serious about landing talent too. The pressure is on Mike to produce a club that can and does win. This off season he HAS to land front end SP, he HAS to land a serious leadoff guy, and he HAS to produce a roster of players that the fans can legitimately believe has a shot to be playing baseball in October. Rizzo has money to spend, they have players to deal, the world knows what the Nats need; there is no reason for him to fail in the task of assembling a legit team for 2012. If he does not, then we know he's not the right guy for the GM gig and the Lerners need to cut bait and get someone who can get the job done.dfh21

  74. David - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    The Nats have improved by 10 or more games every year since Rizzo took over. I'd say that's a massive improvement, and the credit goes entirely to Rizzo. What do you expect him to do, turn a 59 game winner into a 100 game winner overnight? One offseason? Get real man. The Nats are on the way up. I fully expect another 10 game win improvement this year, which will put us in the playoffs.

  75. John C. - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:19 PM

    Have you ever noticed that, when an internet commenter puts words in other people's mouths, those words are a lot like the commenter's views? This works for politicians, too. When a politician says "the American people want … " s/he means "I want." When an anonymous commenter on an internet says something like "I think if you checked around the industry, the first thing that would come to mind when you asked about Rizzo might be the huge, now seemingly stupid contract to Werth" s/he means that "the first thing I think when I hear Rizzo's name is the Werth contract."At least dfh21 concedes that he/she is guessing.The Nationals have had some seriously flawed rosters, it's true. Rizzo has had to try to put them together from a really lousy starting point (worse than the O's are in now, actually – and that's going some). Rome wasn't built in a day, and the Nationals haven't been either. There's just no way Rizzo could have reasonably been expected to fix every problem in the roster overnight when he had few tools to repair with. And yet look at the team now and there is no comparison to past seasons of inglory. The roster is younger, more talented, more athletic, without the toolsy attitudinal reclamation projects that Bowden was so fond of. The next step is important, and there is a big difference between building decent team and building a championship team – so to that extent the jury is still out. But Rizzo has earned my respect, at least, and I'm looking forward to see how the team does over the next 3-5 years.

  76. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    John C. I said "I think . . . " and followed it with the "that's just a guess." No words were placed in anyone's mouth — well, other than you telling the world what I really meant. And I THINK that making Werth, at his age, history and skill set, the anchor of the club for a Gazillion Dollars over what feels like more years is the move Rizzo is most known for, I AM GUESSING. Call me crazy, but that is just my humble opinion. dfh21

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