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Beltway Baseball Live – 11/3/11

Nov 3, 2011, 7:00 PM EST

The Hot Stove League is officially underway — free agents were allowed to begin negotiating with all clubs at 12:01 a.m. today — and there’s no shortage of topics to discuss about the Nationals.

Chase Hughes and I delved into a bunch of topics this afternoon on our latest live edition of Beltway Baseball. We talked about Davey Johnson’s return to the dugout in 2012, Bryce Harper’s dominance in the Arizona Fall League and take a look at some potential free agent targets of the Nats this winter. And, as always, we answered your questions.

If you missed the show live, no worries. Here’s the full episode for your viewing pleasure.

  1. Dawn - Nov 3, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    Good Morning! Assuming Wang is aboard the Nationals train, what free agent starter would YOU two add to the rotation (no budget), and where would you put him in the rotation? Thanks!

  2. joemktg - Nov 3, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    If the Chosen One Redux continues to tear it up in the AFL, and kills it during ST, will that impact his MLB start date? And if so, does this scenario have any impact on the pursuit of a CF?

  3. ehay2k - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    With Harper coming soon, but not early 2012, and Werth here forever, and guy like Kemp available via FA in 2013, what rental OF/Leadoff Hitter (1 year) makes the most sense from a cost – players and/or cash – perspective?And what other MiLB pitchers are or should be on the radar? (Not just Nats pitchers.)

  4. baseballswami - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    The questions at this point are just so obvious that we all have them memorized. Lead-off CF, another guy in the rotation, extend RZim, payroll numbers, starting rotation, yadda, yadda. How are we going to make it until the winter meetings at this point? We need some real news. Here is my only trivial question — How much will Mikey Morse get in arbitration? Even in the off-season he crushes a ball in Taiwan – did the cash register go "ding" when it hit the wall?

  5. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    What 2 or 3 names do you have for potential outfielder acquisition?

  6. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:27 PM

    My question is: Do the Nats think Desmond is the SS for this club, or do they move in another direction? (Desi's career .700 OPS at all levels and his moments of greatness and moments of awfulness glove beg some questions as to whether he can be the guy and coming off his hot finish there may be a market for the guy in a trade. If they decide to move away from Desmond at SS, are they in on Reyes, Rollins or Furcal, would a position switch back to SS for Espinosa be a serious consideration? Might they go for a low Dollar yet dependable glove guy to bat 8th (anyone remember Rafael Santana from Davey's killer '86 Mets team?) and use resources for a top of the order OF bat instead? Thanks.dfh21

  7. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

    With the team apparently turning a corner in public perception,, both in baseball and fan interest, any news of the Nationals beefing up, or shaking up, the marketing?

  8. Anonymous8 - Nov 3, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    Sec 3, marketing? Its a joke. They have an opportunity with as bad as the Redskins are playing to get some air time on 106.7 and 980 like they did with Davey Johnson this week.

  9. Mark'd - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Mark, do you go CJ Wilson, Buehrle, Oswalt, Edwin Jackson or the trade route for Wandy or Brandon McCarthy

  10. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:03 PM

    Yes, A8, we know it's bad. I've been ranting so for years. Hence the question.

  11. joemktg - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    Sec 3: if you find out that they are beefing up the marketing, please let me know

  12. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Mark, the Nats got, arguably, the best player in the draft last year in Rendon. He is a 3rd baseman. He is blocked at that position by the FOF. He is also, arguably, the best OBP man in the organization, if not in all of baseball. If Rendon is healthy, he is going to make the bigs, perhaps as soon as 2013, but where? How will his entry into the bigs affect the middle infield situation, and Desi and Espy, in particular?Also, the leadoff problem has an obvious solution – Jose Reyes. They do not need to settle for Coco Crisp as their leadoff guy when the best leadoff man in the NL is there for the taking. Do you see them taking Reyes, instead of an OF, to solve the leadoff problem? And, again, what would that do to the middle infield situation?

  13. John C. - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    (1) Do you have a sense from your contacts whether the team is seriously interested in Yu Darvish? If he posts, do you anticipate that the Nationals will submit a bid? For the record, I advocate the Nationals submitting a substantial but not stupid bid ($35-40 million posting fee). If someone else beats that, the only cost for doing so is the bid preparation itself. Don't get into a situation like the Red Sox did with Dice-K and the team is essentially bidding against itself and overpays by $15 million.And of course, more importantly … (2) Has the team opened negotiations yet with Matt Antonelli? ;)PS: I'm not related to the man, I just like a good rags-to-riches story and so I'm rooting for him. Unless the Nationals trade a middle infielder in their hunt for a starter or an OF that can hit leadoff I don't think they have room for him, but if they do open a spot I think they should re-sign him.

  14. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:50 PM

    I have a very tough question based on Michael Morse's trip to Taiwan. Michael Morse says he feels like Brad Pitt, do you think he looks like Brad Pitt?

  15. Wally - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    MarkRZim, Morse, JZimm, and to lesser extents, Espy and Ramos are extension candidates. What are your expectations for extensions this offseason?

  16. Steve M. - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Let's assume the Phillies are going to take the NL East which would leaves the Nats fighting for the Wild Card.Historically it appears 92 wins is the magic number to guarantee a win/tie of the Wild Card. Many years 89 to 91 can get you a Wild Card. The starters last year had a combined ERA of 3.80, even if they can knock that down a 1/4 run a game that only achieves 4 to 5 more wins. Rizzo should be able to improve the bullpen some more to achieve 1 to 2 more wins. The rest of the production is going to have to come from the offense.The Nats were 44 runs below league average at 3.88 runs per game scored. If the Nats can score 50 more runs next season and average 4.16 runs per game that should give them 5 more wins based on 162 game season.Can the Nats count on improvement in the youth core of Espinosa, Ramos, Desmond to achieve more runs created and then a healthy season of Zim and LaRoche to get the offense on the right track with a conservative type of acquisition for CF like a Coco Crisp or Marlon Byrd?

  17. Natslifer - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Is Rendon healthy? (I don't buy that he is)

  18. DCJohn - Nov 3, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    BJ Upton—He wants to play for the Nationals. I wouldn't trade for him, but I would sign him as a free agent. Any thoughts?

  19. natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Maybe we should get you on their case, Joe. :-)joemktg said… Sec 3: if you find out that they are beefing up the marketing, please let me know November 3, 2011 9:14 AM Finally a question that I can field. I love Morse but, um, no.PAY TO PLAY said… I have a very tough question based on Michael Morse's trip to Taiwan. Michael Morse says he feels like Brad Pitt, do you think he looks like Brad Pitt? November 3, 2011 9:50 AM

  20. Scooter - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Morse is way taller.

  21. Constant Reader - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    A couple of national writers have suggested the Nats are the favorites to sign Reyes or Fielder. Can you think of a time where a team signed a major free agent to play a position where they already had established depth and it worked out positively?

  22. natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:42 PM

    Yeah, he's a total beast.On the Hot Stove question front, what are the odds of the Nats taking a chance on Grady Sizemore, who has had his share of injuries of late, to fill the current leadoff CF slot?

  23. natsfan1a - Nov 3, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    D'oh! My question is covered in the new post.

  24. Scooter - Nov 3, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Come on, 1a, get your head in the game.

  25. Just sayin' - Nov 3, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    Astros have reported claimed Brian Bixler off waivers (according to mlbtraderumors)…

  26. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 5:44 PM

    Does Rendon actually block us from going after Reyes?

  27. joemktg - Nov 3, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Is a Tulo-like contract in the making for Zim this off-season, and if so, how will it impact the club's FA spending strategy?

  28. Natslifer - Nov 3, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    What do you hear about Carpenter coming back to the booth?

  29. raymitten - Nov 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    My question is the Prince Fielder question. Every night on the MLB Network, their analyists state that they believe Fielder is coming to the Nats. (Millar, Rose, Heyman, Rosenthal, just to name four). Mark you've stated adamantly that you think this rumor is false a month ago. Is there anything now to change your mind? I tend to agree with you that Fielder doesn't seem like a Rizzo kind of guy, but where's there is smoke, you begin to wonder if there is fire.

  30. ehay2k - Nov 3, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    There was a lot of smoke regarding T.O. coming to DC because McNabb requested it – a claim that was utterly false. So I don't believe media-generated smoke, because it is usually the talking heads that are smoking something. Heyman is a glory-hound and a tool. The MLB equivalent of A. Shechter.

  31. Slidell - Nov 3, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    Bryce just hit ANOTHER one (his 6th).

  32. baseballswami - Nov 3, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    Slidell – Seriously???? That is awesome – and where are following the game?

  33. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Bryce has 6? I think Jayson Werth is the new CF Mark and Chase. To believe anything else is ludicrous unless they find a way to unload Adam LaRoche and I don't see them giving up that left-handed bat. With Harper, LaRoche, AND Espinosa you are guaranteed 3 power hitting lefties in the lineup almost every single game. They did not have that last year. Nor even when they still had Adam Dunn. That is something that would be very, very new. Mark I think you AND Chase should try to get Rizzo and Davey Johnson together in one place and pin them down. Because BEFORE, WAY BEFORERizzo said he needed a CF leadoff he said Harper's performance would determine whether he would be in the majors. I think the determination has just been made. The guy is making #1 prospect Trout look like day old fish.

  34. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    PAY TO PLAY said… I have a very tough question based on Michael Morse's trip to Taiwan. Michael Morse says he feels like Brad Pitt, do you think he looks like Brad Pitt? November 3, 2011 9:50 AM _______________________________How did they not answer this question?

  35. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Bryce Harper 2-2 w/ a walk, single, HR. Batting average at .313 now

  36. gonatsgo - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    If Bryce is that so close to being ready that he could be up between June and September – why would we hire a CF at this point?

  37. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    Bryce Harper goes 2 out clutch again scoring 2 more on a single! 3 RBIs, walk, 2 singles, and a Home Run. Batting average at .323 3-3 now.Walters 2-2 and back to Mendoza.

  38. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    Even if you're convinced Harper is heading toward the Nats line-up sometime during the course of 2012, you still need to sign a quality starting OF (Sizemore?) who will then give you two good options in June/July. If that player is doing well, you bring Harper up in June/July, trade LaRoche, move Morse back to 1B and you're in very good shape. If that player is not doing so well, you bring Harper up, that player becomes your 4th (or 5th) OF, and you keep LaRoche. As much as I'd enjoy seeing Harper in the opening day line-up, it's just not going to happen for reasons — both business and developmental — with which we're all familiar.

  39. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Eugene, please look at Sizemore's stats the last 3 seasons.I agree with you last sentence. Harper we all know will see Nats Park this year. It will be mid-June if he tears up MiLB to start his season. He won't be here in April.

  40. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    In today's lineup, the player after Bryce Harper is Cody Overbeck. Overbeck is 25 years old.Bryce Harper is now top 10 in BA and #2 in RBIs with 23 RBIs.

  41. Anonymous8 - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Save your Grady Sizemore money as Ankiel and Bernadina have more to offer at a much lower cost.As said before, it would be a JimBo move to get Sizemore and hope for him to return to his former self of years ago. Get Barry Bonds, you will get better production (*Just kidding)

  42. FS - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Nationals trade for Ichiro, one year rental. hopefully Seattle can take couple of minor leaguers (I am sure they would want Morse back) and be quiet. I would love to see him in DC. We get our lead-off hitter and an OF. After his horrible 2011, I am sure he would be trying to prove his critics wrong. Nats win WS in 2012, he gets his ring and goes back to Seattle and Nationals sign Kemp to play CF, Harper up to play LF, and Morse moved to 1st base. That's just perfect.

  43. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    Kilgore saying Wang deal is done just pending physical.Hate when it says: According to a Nats source

  44. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    Gonat @ 5:26,Two points: First, that history is exactly why I put the question mark after his name. As I posted the other day, I fully understand Sizemore's not a 'sure thing' and I don't believe the Nats should pursue him unless they're convinced he's healthy and that they can get him via a reasonable contract (with 'reasonable' defined in terms of cost, length, incentives, and options). He would, indeed, be a bit of risk.Second, however, it's precisely because I do expect Harper to come up sooner (i.e., once the 'super two' date passes) rather than later (i.e. in September) that I believe the Nats can afford to take a bit of gamble with Sizemore.

  45. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:45 PM

    "I agree with you last sentence. Harper we all know will see Nats Park this year. It will be mid-June if he tears up MiLB to start his season. He won't be here in April. "I don't think Johnson gives two hoots in hell about the super 2 and waiting until June. As Mark said about Rizzo I take Johnson at his word on the Kushner show and think he gets what he wants from Rizzo:" I'm going to take the best 24 with me period … remember Gooden?"Johnson even knows Harper's family. Harper looks like a lock to make the team right from the first April shower.And puuuuleeeese? Sizemore? Ichiro? Old, injured end of story? Johnson alluded to that as well when they asked him about starting pitching. He likes 'em good and young because Johnson himself isn't getting younger and he doesn't appear to be in any mood to wait with 1 year rentals.I see three possibilities: Fielder (Boras), Grienke (again), and Upton. Not Burhle Mark. They've already got John Lannan and Tom Gorzelanny. Other possibilities? Shields. As for CF Davey already picked one: Jayson Werth. Lead off TBD.

  46. HabsProf - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    Don't know if someone else has noted this yet, but reports are out that the Nats and Wang have reached an agreement on a 1-year deal (no other details disclosed) pending a successful physical.

  47. JD - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    Anon @ 5:451) I disagree about Harper – as usual everyone is hot to trot about him following a 2 week hot streak in Arizona forgetting the fact that he struggled for half a season in AA. My take September. Of course if he 'tears' milb as some have predicted this may be sooner but I see no historical evidence to suggest that he will 'tear' milb. 2) Werth in center all year is a bad idea. You don't move people from right to center at the age of 33. Usually it's the other way around. 3) I agree with you about Sizemore – he's a small risk the way Nick Johnson is a small risk.

  48. jd - Nov 3, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Also, If AFL stats meant anything at all then Norris is the starting catcher in April. Right?

  49. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    "2) Werth in center all year is a bad idea. You don't move people from right to center at the age of 33. Usually it's the other way around."If they re-up Ankiel to back him up I don't see it as a problem. I don't think the bring back Nix because like Sizemore he appears to be on the downside and picking up injuries. And Corey Brown is still around as well. Say what you will but he is a left-handed bat and a far better than average glove and arm in CF. WHY go outside? Finally six home runs for Harper and a .333 average is not just the last 2 weeks when you add it to the body of work and improvement over the entire year? Dude you aren't watching baseball and not listening to Davey Johnson when speaks.

  50. Anonymous - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    "If AFL stats meant anything at all then Norris is the starting catcher in April. Right?"You mean like uh the passed balls and errors? No he looks AAA Syracuse bound for the entire year. Harper appears to be improving leaps and bounds in the field. That is significant …Look who he's playing next to? The best prospect in all of baseball Trout. Who looks better?

  51. Doc - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    No way Mickey Morse is like Brad Pitt–The Beast is a much better hitter.Tiawanese fans know a true hero; maybe Pitt needs to become more like Morse!Gooooo Beast Mode; Gooooooooooo Nats!!!

  52. gonatsgo - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    I know that Bryce will not be up in April – maybe June at the earliest, probably September — but the CF's we are talking about are going to want more than a one year deal and are going to expect to be "The Guy". We may not even need someone for a whole season so why not stick with Ankiel and Bernie? If we somehow trade LaRoche and move Morse back to first, then that's a different thing entirely. I can see signing a big name player if we need someone for an entire year or two, but it seems like a lot of either money or players in trade for a less than a full season of rental.

  53. jd - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:42 PM

    Harper does not resolve the problem in center and neither does Werth long term. They need to get someone to bridge the gap to Goodwin if he's the real deal. Ankiel and Bernadina are not every day major league players on a contending team.

  54. Anonymous8 - Nov 3, 2011 at 10:46 PM

    If you take Grady Sizemore over Crisp it is a bad decision. If you try to get Crisp and can't get it to wrk and have to settle for Sizemore, fine, if you are willing to cut him at the end of March to make this the best 25 going North.I would rather start Rick Ankiel if I had to choose right now.For the Nick Johnson comparisons, Nick was frail but he put up good numbers in the years before the Nats got him.

  55. Gonat - Nov 3, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    Jayson Werth would have a 'plus' arm in CF and would do fine as a stop gap himself, just not long term.I just think counting on Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, and other Minor Leaguers to contribute in 2012 for the Nats is a mistake. It is a bonus if it happens.Crisp is the best stop gap as you know what you have with him and he plays well off the bench also.

  56. John C. - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:27 AM

    According to the SF papers, Crisp is looking to play on the West Coast. So we may need to turn our attention to Sizemore and the others.

  57. FS - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:31 AM

    I am telling you, Ichiro is our guy. And while we are at it, let's just get Felix also. A rotation of Felix, SS, JZ, JL, and CMW should do the trick.

  58. Slidell - Nov 4, 2011 at 1:39 AM

    BaseballSwami: re the Arizona Fall League; the way I got to it initially before I Bookmarked it- Go to, click on Stats (in the drop-down, click on Off-Season Leagues), then find and click on Arizona Fall League. Then, go to Schedule; when game is in progress, click on Gameday for blow-by-blow coverage. There may be an easier way, but that is how I did it.





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