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Why Buehrle but not Livo?

Nov 22, 2011, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Like Mark Buehrle, Livan Hernandez has been known to eat a lot of innings.

Yesterday's revelation that Mike Rizzo paid a visit to Mark Buehrle's house outside St. Louis in an attempt to recruit the veteran left-hander to sign with the Nationals brought some mixed reactions from all of you.

Some are in favor of paying top dollar for Buehrle, who would seem to slide nicely into the Nationals' rotation behind Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann and ahead of Chien-Ming Wang and John Lannan. Others don't think Buehrle is worth the money and would rather see the Nationals go hard after Roy Oswalt.

But the comments that caught my attention most were those of you who questioned why the Nationals would be willing to offer a three- or four-year contract for Buehrle when they could instead lock up another veteran starter who would happily sign for one year and a modest salary. A guy by the name of Livan Hernandez.

Is there really that much difference between the two soft-tossing,Read more ยป

  1. MicheleS - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Good Morning Mark! The Little Guy (2031 starting CF for the Nats) must love the early morning posts!I love Livo and would love to see the big guy in the Pen, but not sure he is cut out for that. He is not a #3 and that is what we need. Buerhle is 4 years younger (at least that we have knowledge of) and has consistency. I am willing to gamble on this and the Lerners have the $$$ to cough up.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Yeah, but can he hit?

  3. Gonat - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM

    I think the fact that Livo's innings per game fell again is even larger of an issue. Livo averaged exactly 6 innings per start. Clearly he is no longer a workhorse due to his inconsistency. In 11 of his 29 starts, he was pulled mid-inning and even worse, 5 of his 29 starts he was pulled prior to the 5th inning.Buehrle holds the record for W/L in inter-league. His upside is tremendous in a National League city.

  4. Mark'd - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    Gonat, those stats are all part of the Good/Bad Livan inconsistency. To have just under 20% of your starts to not even make the 5th inning is real Bad.Most Livan supporters are living in the past plus his legal issues and off-field behavior makes him someone I wouldn't want on my team, regardless.

  5. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    Mark'd…..the "legal" issues have been around for 4 years now. Other than that, what off-field issues?The only reason to keep Livo around would be because the price was right. If the Nats are serious about winning, Livo isn't part of the picture.People are just going to have to get used to seeing friendly old faces disappear if winning consistently is going to become a Nats reality.

  6. sjm308 - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Point not mentioned is that as good a fielder as Livo was, Buehrle is even better. Not a huge reason for signing him but the man has won multiple gold gloves. I am still on the fence with this because of what we have coming up but I also trust Rizzo to make the right moves. When do we make a decision on Gorzolany? I am thinking if we non-tender him its a sign we are moving Detwiler to the pen. Personally, I would keep him for that last year of his contract and go to spring training with a huge pitching battle for spots in the pen and as starters but if the sign Buehrle there really won't be much of a battle.

  7. Natslifer - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:45 PM

    Livo = Right handed – between SS, JZ, CMW, and BP we don't have a spot.Buehrle = Left handed – we need one (if Det makes starting rotation, Lannen is traded and Milone isn't ready yet)

  8. Mark'd - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:46 PM

    NatsJack, while some may take lightly failure to pay debts, when someone makes millions and is being taken to court for debt judgements, it says something. Yes, those are legal issues. Do a Google search, there's plenty to read.

  9. Will - Nov 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Joe,Since 2008, Buehrle is batting .176/.176/.412/.588, which compares favorably to his teammate Adam Dunn's 2011 season (.159/.292/.277/.569).The problem is Buehrle has only had 21 ABs and 3 huts in the previous 4 seasons (but one was a HR).

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:00 PM

    Mark'd… the current issue is all part of the original Fed investigation.Yep… he's got problems but he's had them for quite awhile.

  11. Rabbit - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Mark is right. The Nationals have become too good for Livo. But, becomming too good for Livo is due, in large part, to the immense contributions of Livo to the Nationals. In a large part, Livo should feel proud of this development….helping his team actually become too good for him to continue. Congratulations Livo!!!!!!! You did well.

  12. Joe S. - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM

    Mark'd:NatsJack isn't arguing with the legal issues. But you seemed to imply that there are off-field issues that are independent of his legal issues. Did you really mean to do so? Or is there something else, not legal in nature, but unfavorable to Livo?(On the merits, I share the thread's consensus. The Nats are too good for Livo, which makes me sad.)

  13. gonatsgo - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    Yes, Buehrle is better than Livo, yes, we do need to accept that some of our beloved nats will be gone – we are out-growing them. But,can Buehrle lay down a bunt on cue like Livo? He seems to have the skills and personality type that the organization is looking for. Can they sell him on the Nats franchise? Surely he doesn't think he has a better chance at the playoffs in Chicago.

  14. Mark'd - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Joe, there is a great saying "judge those by the company they keep". He hung around with some people with criminal ties. I like Livan but given what I read, the Nats don't need any of Livans issues to convolute the message going forward.

  15. Section 222 - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    NatsJack makes an important point. Some of the friendly old faces that we've enjoyed watching and admire and respect during the last several years of losing baseball are simply not going to be part of the Nats future if we are to become a consistent winner. Livo, Desmond, Ankiel, Nix, LaRoche, Bernadina, Gomes, Gorzalanny. All good guys who from time to time do good things on the field, but not the kind of players who will take us to the WC and ultimately a championship. That we're ready to let Livo go is a sign of how far we've come. Keep it up Rizzo. Folks who have sentimental attachments are just going to have to get over it.And MicheleS is right, the Lerners have the money to reel in Buehrle if that is who Rizzo thinks is the best fit for the rotation in '12 and beyond. After all, they are BILLIONAIRES!

  16. Theophilus - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    The guy who linked Livo to the alleged money laundering, supposedly in the hope of gathering Brownie points, was recently convicted. I don't think he has been sentenced, yet. This will be the Feds' last opportunity to squeeze information out of him. When that process is finished, they will decide whether to indict Hernandez or anyone else. I think, with the auto title, etc., they've got enough on paper for an indictment. Will they decide they have enough for a conviction? Will they be motivated? Federal prosecutors always love making a big splash, and Hernandez would be a big fish. The calculus may be more complicated in either PR or Miami, as juries in the former might be more tolerant, and in Miami the gov't would be taking a local hero/refugee from Fidel.I would put the chance of an indictment in the range of 40-50 percent.

  17. Theophilus - Nov 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    Beuhrle is at the Mussina-point of his career where a long (4+) contract makes sense only if you accept the high probability that 50 percent of it is going to be flushed. So, assuming for sake of argument Beuhrle thinks he can go to another WS in Washington, two years of Oswalt makes more sense than 4-5-6 of Beuhrle. I'd rather take a short-term bet on Oswalt's health than a long-term bet on Beuhrle's, because Oswalt is a better pitcher when healthy.

  18. Wally - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    SJM – I think that we would be unwise to non tender Gorzy, with the prices that relievers are getting this offseason. At the outswet, I thought that was a real possibility, but it shouldn't happen now. At worst, he is an effective lefty in the pen. SF just signed a guy like that for 2/$8m. He also has upside as a spot starter. I'll bet we could re-sign him and trade him for something, if we didn't want to keep him (although I would keep him).NatsJack (from previous thread) – I agree that the Angels don't need to dump salary, but not sure that I agree that they prefer Prince for 8/$200m over two years of Morse, plus maybe a short extension. Prince is the better player, but that is an awfully big financial commitment. I know that given a choice of Morse for the next two years at arb rates, or Prince for 8/$200m, I take Morse easily (and I don't think that is just as a Nats fan). Haren only has 1 year left of control, so maybe they do it as an enticement? Obviously, I am just speculating. Who knows how these guys value the players. I am almost always wrong on guessing relative value.

  19. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    You seriously are asking this question!? Buehrle is much more than an innings eater. You insult the future star of the Nats rotation with your dribble!

  20. Psdfx - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I've seen comments (in a previous thread) that speculated that the Nats might move Morse. This, for me, would be the single most surprising thing they could do this offseason.

  21. Richard - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Livo, sadly, isn't remotely part of the discussion. In any case, the thought of paying $12M or more for a guy with a career ERA of almost 4 — and running off to try to convince with, owner in tow — is insane, especially when you've got 7 starters of your own who are probably as good as ERA = 4. Buehrle is another Marquis. Rizzo/Nats Big Ticket FA track record is terrible — Marquis, LaRoche, Werth. I've resigned myself to it. It's Bad Rizzo. Good Rizzo is the draft. Maybe that's because Roy Clark does the draft.

  22. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. waddu eye no - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    psdfx:I've seen comments (in a previous thread) that speculated that the Nats might move Morse. This, for me, would be the single most surprising thing they could do this offseason.and one of the dumbest.

  24. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Delete Comment From: Nats InsiderNatsLady said…Buerhle wants to retire. Offer him 1 or 2 years with the opportunity to mentor young pitchers, play in the National League, and possibly go to (another) playoff. I don't think money is what motivates him. Oops, misspelled his name. Will have to get used to were "H" the "H" goes…Buehrle — there I think I got it.Very sorry to hear about Mariners player who was killed (allegedly by his brother) in the Netherlands. There is also a saying, "Judge not…". I think Livo's legal issues should be left to the legal system and we should evaluate him on his baseball qualities. That said, with much reluctance, I think he will have to become a coach or a player-coach, and teach bunting.I got blasted a couple of months ago for even speculating that Morse could be traded. I don't think it will happen, but–and I'm not the first one with this thought–with the state of other teams in this city, the Nats have a real marketing opportunity. If they want to make a "BIG SPLASH", and sign Prince F., Morse will have to go.

  25. NatinBeantown - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    Richard, I couldn't disagree more.First, Marquis got hurt. That is not Rizzo's fault. (despite wacky internet speculation otherwise) The Marquis that pitched the first half of 2011 and then was flipped was exactly who we thought we were getting. If you think the Nats are the only team signing guys who are injury letdowns, you should read more league-wide stuff.Second, I don't dispute that there are a lot of exciting pitching prospects in our system knocking on the door, the difference between FutureNats and PastNats is that they are no longer going to count on unproven arms to be rotation mainstays. They WILL need 6th, 7th and 8th starters as injuries and trades warrant, but you've got to go into the season with proven starters at least 1-4. Exciting that only post-injury CMW doesn't have a good track record of the top 4 projected starters at present.I am going to go on record as saying that LaRoche is going to be the single biggest difference between last year and this in terms of productivity. People who only follow the Nats really do not realize what a solid player he is, and it would have made a huge run-producing improvement to have him in there. Werth-Zim-Morse-LaRoche is a nice 2-5.

  26. Steve M. - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    Getting Buehrle or even a Verlander won't matter if the Nats don't improve the offensive run support. Let me state that first.Also don't be surprised if Buehrle and Rizzo work out a 2 or 3 year deal with a 4th year option. Diminishing returns on long-term contracts is always a risk and expect diminishing returns in Year 3 and 4. That's just the way it is.The bigger picture here is that if Rizzo/Lerner get this done:1) The quality of the staff is improved2) Sends a message to the league, other players, and Nats players that the Nats are improving any way they can, including big $ contracts3) Quality lefties are needed in this rotation4) Buehrle has excellent fielding fundamentals5) Becomes a mentor to the young pitching staff6) Solid Character guy7) Top Won/Loss record in MLB history in interleague8) Many believe he will pitch better in a home city with better weatherFor my negative, Buehrle is a better pitcher in April to August. Some way, I think Chicago worked him extra hard. I am also hoping McCatty works his magic!Now the major details, Buehrle has to want to take Mr. Lerner's money!

  27. JaneB - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Okay. Thank you. Darn it. But thank you.

  28. Theophilus - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    W/ all due respect to Nats Lady, whose insights I regard highly, I don't see how you can separate Livan's legal exposure from his value as a baseball player. How do you expect a guy to pitch every fifth day and confine his worries about spending time in the joint to the other four days? Possibilities: (A) Nats have a clearer take on his exposure than is available from spotty media coverage; (B) he gets a minor-league contract w/ the expectation that (1) the legal picture becomes more clear by the end or March or (2) he just isn't going to make the team anyway; (C) he signs w/ the Marlins, the only team that would think they could afford the risk in exchange for the fannies he puts in the seats.

  29. Feel Wood - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I'm not the first one with this thought–with the state of other teams in this city, the Nats have a real marketing opportunity. If they want to make a "BIG SPLASH", and sign Prince F., Morse will have to go.If you or anyone else really believe that the Nats ever consider the state of other teams in the city when they are making baseball decisions such as which players to sign, you are seriously deluded. MLB attendance is not star-driven like the NBA, where the Wizards were able to sell out their season by signing Michael Jordan. If the Nats were to sign Pujols or Fielder, it would not do the same thing for them. When Pujols or Fielder came here in the past as visiting players, their presence did not cause a huge attendance bump. Indeed it was barely noticed. So why would having them here for 81 games be any different? The one and only thing that will cause a long-term attendance increase for the Nationals is consistent winning. And they can do that without Pujols or Fielder.

  30. Steve M. - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    NatinBeantown said… Richard, I couldn't disagree more.First, Marquis got hurt. That is not Rizzo's fault. (despite wacky internet speculation otherwise) The Marquis that pitched the first half of 2011 and then was flipped was exactly who we thought we were getting. If you think the Nats are the only team signing guys who are injury letdowns, you should read more league-wide stuff.Second, I don't dispute that there are a lot of exciting pitching prospects in our system knocking on the door, the difference between FutureNats and PastNats is that they are no longer going to count on unproven arms to be rotation mainstays. They WILL need 6th, 7th and 8th starters as injuries and trades warrant, but you've got to go into the season with proven starters at least 1-4. Exciting that only post-injury CMW doesn't have a good track record of the top 4 projected starters at present.I am going to go on record as saying that LaRoche is going to be the single biggest difference between last year and this in terms of productivity. People who only follow the Nats really do not realize what a solid player he is, and it would have made a huge run-producing improvement to have him in there. Werth-Zim-Morse-LaRoche is a nice 2-5. November 22, 2011 10:03 AM Great post! On the Marquis part, I thought when Rizzo signed him it was an excellent signing. That guy has intangibles that just add to a decent starters resume'. Marquis will make a fine #3 or #4 on another team's roster in 2012.Buehrle is a step up from Marquis and nobody is saying Buehrle is a #2 or if they are, they aren't following closely. Clearly he isn't a #2 but you need at least 5 starters and if you can upgrade at the #3, then do it. I feel more comfortable with Buehrle then CJ Wilson.

  31. Theophilus - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    If you've got La Roche for one or two years, and Morse for two years, no way do you throw a blimp full of money at Fielder. Worry about 2014 when it comes. Huge, huge risk Fielder turns out to be the next Mo Vaughan. Matt Kemp, at age 27, loses 20 pounds because he realizes he needs to be more fit to be a great player. Fielder? "Bring on another Baked Alaska." If he tears an Achilles, or blows out a knee, what are the chances, with that frame, he's going to rehab himself to the point he earns $20MM/yr plus?

  32. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    FW– are you KIDDING????? Of course the Nats, who are owned by mall moguls, consider the marketing void left by other teams in this city. It's not that baseball is star-driven, but you only had to watch the Stras phenomenon to see that stars MATTER. People latch on to specific players, don't delude yourself. What do you think this whole discussion is about, namely reluctance to let go of old "friends." I went to a Safeway in MD on Sunday, the store staff there had on Deadskins jerseys. The Nats could do that, and they might. You see ads for them everywhere, bus stops, banner ads on Farmville, radio ads… And if you don't think Prince F. is an improvement over Mike Morse (fun as the Beast is)– in what universe have you been residing? Prince F. could WELL contribute to consistent winning, that is what we are going for. I'm not saying he sells tees like No. 37 or Prince Oppo Boppo, I'm saying, if you want to use THIS YEAR to win, spend the $$ to get Fielder. Plus, the PR of him and those cute kids–wow!! They are still showing that clip of Drew Brees at the Super Bowl with his kid in the headphones. I'd like to have all three, Fielder, Morse and Harper, slamming them out of the park, and Davey would, too, but there isn't room. What would slow us down from getting Fielder is not Morse, but LaRoche. I'm in the camp of "he's a solid player." Also, you would have to dump big bucks to trade him (you would have to eat a lot of his salary). Unfortunately, you can't wait until May or June to decide between Fielder and LaRoche.

  33. David - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Oswalt is a better pitcher when healthy than Buerhle. And would probably be fine with a 2 year contract. Those are the 2 main reasons I want Oswalt over Buerhle. When Oswalt starts breaking down we have in-house candidates to take over…

  34. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    David, 100% agree on Oswalt vs. Buehrle, except, Oswalt is a righty. That is why I would go for Buehrle for 2 years over Oswalt.

  35. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    NatsLady. Point well taken. However, nothing markets a team better than wins. Lots of em.Just ask the jock-sniffing star-gazer, Daniel Snyder. He spent the first 15 years of ownership grabbing every star out there, with no regard for the cost or the benefit to the team. Look where that got him.

  36. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Oswalt righty-lefty is a non-issue mostly. If Oswalt didn't have the back issues in 2011, the Phillies would have kept him for $16 million on the 1 year option. What does that tell you?

  37. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Anon @10:51– YES. That is what I am saying. Prince F. can get you wins. And you market that while the marketing is good… But, I don't think we are going to go for Fielder because of(a) LaRoche(b) Fielder will want more years than we are willing to give. It's not the money, IMO, it's the years, and the body type he will have at the end of those years. In 8 years, Prince F., will be what, 35 or 36? Unless he is the next Babe Ruth, that will not be good. I don't want to see us turn into the Phillies, I'd like to see no more than 5 or 6 for Fielder and he won't go for it. We will have Jayson and hopefully RZimm on long-term contracts. RZ will probably have to move over to 1B in a couple of years. So there ya go.

  38. Feel Wood - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    FW– are you KIDDING????? Of course the Nats, who are owned by mall moguls, consider the marketing void left by other teams in this city. It's not that baseball is star-driven, but you only had to watch the Stras phenomenon to see that stars MATTER. People latch on to specific players, don't delude yourself.You need to pay attention. True, the Strasburg debut was a sensation. But that was ONE GAME. As the season went on, attendance at Strasburg starts went down, game by game. His return from TJ surgery in 2011 did not even sell out.I repeat. If you seriously think the Lerners ask themselves WWTLD (What would Ted Leonsis do?) or WWDSD (What would Dan Snyder do?) before they do something, you are seriously deluded. There is no marketing competition at play here between the various sports. There just isn't. Which means that no owner is looking on another team's misfortune as an opportunity for himself.

  39. sjm308 - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Beantown: I have also posted about LaRoche's solid numbers (excluding last year of course). I totally agree he is a key for us. Would I like Fielder? of course but if LaRoche and Morse can hit 50 HR and drive in 175 we will be there in Oct.Wally: I am with you on keeping Gorzo as well. I am actually in the crowd that does not want to add another pitcher (even though I think Rizzo will). I am fine with what we have and not sure the mentoring this is all that important. What the hell does McCatty do if not mentor?

  40. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Zimmerman is the best defensive 3b in baseball right now IMHO. I would not be moving him to first. Rendon to 2b before Zimm to 1b.

  41. NatinBeantown - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    Anon @11:09, I think NatsLady is talking about a decrease in RZimm's range from age, not blocking Rendon. But I do think her estimate of "a few years" is more likely 6+ years before he'd need to move. Plenty of time for a lengthy contract with a basher at 1B.

  42. jd - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    'Zimmerman is the best defensive 3b in baseball right now IMHO. I would not be moving him to first. Rendon to 2b before Zimm to 1b.' He wasn't last year; he had a really poor throwing year. Landing at 1st base in 2 years is not a crazy idea. When you eliminate the throwing but focus on the range and athleticism you could see that Zim could very well be a gold glove 1st baseman.

  43. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    The Lerners cannot be mistaken for Snyder. And Leonsis has problems of his own. Not that baseball competes with either basketball or hockey, but one of his teams won't play this season and the other is at war with itself. But the Nats have a chance to turn this town more towards baseball. AND BELIEVE ME, there IS competition between football and baseball in this town. If the Nats can get the sports radio guys talking baseball, people will come to games. It's cheaper, less hassle–now all it needs is the WINNING. That chance should not be muffed.

  44. Feel Wood - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    He wasn't last year; he had a really poor throwing year.No he didn't. He had some issues when he was coming back from surgery and getting used to his new throwing motion, but by the end of the season he was throwing better than he ever has.You probably think Strasburg had a bad pitching year because he spent so much of it recovering from Tommy John, right?

  45. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    My prediction for Prince Fielder will be a Dunn/CarlCrawford/Werth type of drop-off. Sometimes success isn't transferable from one team to another. If Prince was smart, he would stay in Milwaukee.

  46. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    RZimm is a hard worker and an impressive athlete. He'll be great at 3B for several years, IMO. But if we sign him for 10 years (as we should), he will go to 1B eventually, that seems to be the course… That's something we can worry about down the road, but it lets out an 8 year contract for Fielder.

  47. Anonymouse - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

    The Nats only compete against hockey and basketball as those sports are winding down and in the playoffs as baseball is winding up. Its a very small diversion in some cities and as bad as the Capitals are in the post-season, its a non-issue.As for competing with other teams, the only team I would say there is a true competition for is the O's being in that 45 to 60 mile radius that competes for a typical fan that regularly goes to games.

  48. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Amouse– agree on basketball and hockey (I think that's what I said). The O's not putting up much right now to compete with the Nats, I'd say only MD and maybe DC fans would make the trek when the Nats are out of town. We just need to get the TV contract fixed!My question–issue–is how to compete in August, September and hopefully OCTOBER with the f'ball team.

  49. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Some odd notions of history here regarding Marquis. To the awful 2009 club, Rizzo added Marquis, an innings eater, soft-baller, a non-tendered Matt Capps to Close, Brian Bruney in trade, I think, Adam Kennedy and Pudge. Capps played to an All Star level and was flipped for Ramos in what is hands down Rizzo's best move to date. The Nats installed Dunn at 1B where he had never played, Guzman at 2B where he had never played, Desmond to SS, where he had never played well, and trotted out Nyjer in CF, where he had only barely played. The pitching stunk, they could not catch anything and they finished last, as Rizzo failed to trade away the hottest chip at the deadline in Adam Dunn (costing his club a bunch of money, both in Dunn's contract and later in draft bonus money, and a chance to land some desperately needed MLB-ready talent with the lame excuse that the potential draft picks were worth holding him and offering him arb, as the rest of baseball luaghed at him). And he got lucky as Dunn almost slipped to Type B status. I think Kenny Williams still wants to beat him up. Capps was great, and Ramos was a very nice get; none of the other moves worked out so well. (Marquis was not so much "flipped" last summer as he was salary dumped.) In 2010 Rizzo added a No 3 type in Marquis, in 2011 Rizzo added Wang to largely not pitch, again, and Gorzy. He fanned on his stated goal numero uno, the Ace. Now he is setting his sights on something of a 2 for 2012. Aces still are very hard to come by, so why keep pushing that rock up that same old hill just to have it roll right down again, right?

  50. Theophilus - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    NatsLady — Third base is a reflex position, not a range position. At 36, 37 and 38, Cal Ripken was still the best 3B the Orioles had. Similarly, Mike Schmidt. B. Robby won Gold Gloves for 16 consecutive years, until he was 38 (though I don't think Zimmerman is in B. Robby's class). Zimmerman should be able to play 3B as long as his nerves hold out. Pujols moved to 1st because he was never a real 3B; Cabrera because he got fat. No reason to think of Zimmerman @ 3B as a short-timer.

  51. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    But Mark side-steps the **REAL** question and answers the obvious. John Lannan is not Livo's age and has shown some improvement although his FIP and xFIP prove him to be more than #5 starter than a #3 as you have penciled him as … right Mark? Is Buehrle better than any potential ceiling that Lannan has or are you saying Lannan no longer has a ceiling? Inquiring minds want to know?

  52. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:47 PM

    Theo, I see what you are saying, but one of RZ's great attributes at 3B IS his range. Don't get me wrong, though, I'd like to see him stay there as long as possible. Sign him for 10 years, and worry about it later…

  53. Feel Wood - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:48 PM

    There is no competition between the Nats and the Redskins for fans. There are at most three or four days a year when a fan would have to choose between going to or watching on TV a Nats game vs a Redskins game. That leaves 158 or so Nats games a year with no conflict at all – 99% of the season.What they talk about on sports radio or what jerseys the clerks wear in your local Safeway is irrelevant. In case you hadn't noticed, the sports radio stations are among the lowest rated in the area. And I doubt anyone decides to watch a game that day because of the jersey the checkout clerk was wearing at Safeway when they bought their beer.

  54. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    I don't see much of a difference between John Lannan and Buehrle. IN fact Lannan has improved the velocity of his fastball over the last season and so he looks potentially better? Sure seems like a waste going after Buehrle when you have Lannan and YES to whomever claimed he wasn't, Tommy Milone IS READY he does not need to return for another year of AAA. Now you have two left-handed starters who are younger, cheaper, and under team control who are the equivalent of Buehrle. So, again we go back to trading for a Harren, Shields, or Wright … plus a CF as the only truly logical moves.

  55. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Rendon will likely end up at first base … and backup Zim at third. Kind of heavy in the right handed hitting department which means that should be addressed in the outfield. Lombardozzi and Espinosa up the middle might address it if both manage to learn the platoon-bat in the majors. Then Harper. That's three. One more wouldn't hurt. That's why it would be nice to have that special CF be a left-handed hitter thus the draft of Brian Goodwin. The problem there is that like Bernadina he may be more of a left-fielder. There's still Corey Brown and Curran and you never know but their days seem slated as organizational men.

  56. David - Nov 22, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    sure Anon 11:09… but theres no guarantee that Rendon is major league ready. I could see Zimm at 1B opening day 2014. with Rendon at 3rd. Lombo at 2nd and Danny the allstar at SS.

  57. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    I doubt anyone decides to watch a game that day because of the jersey the checkout clerk was wearing at Safeway when they bought their beer. I think it's more of a barometer (that came out "barfometer" the first time–gotta remember that one) of a general level of interest. This is, in fact, a football town, where most people who follow sports at all, follow football, *despite* the fact that the franchise has done pretty much everything conceivable to drive them off (except change the name–go figure).

  58. Nats314 - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    NatsLady, The Redskins fan seems different to me. In this town, I see most Caps fans are Nats fans and believe the only reason the Caps are in the same conversation is they went from a fanbase of 10,000 to 20,000+ when the bandwagoneers jumped on board so they are now a sizeable audience. The same will happen to the Nats when they win consistently and do a better job of self-promoting through the media.By the way, if any idiot near me screams RED during the National Anthem near me during a Nats game, I may do something I may later rdgret.

  59. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    the Nationals have become too good for Livan Hernandez.Not to mention Pudge Rodriguez. I loved watching and following 61 here (and FWIW, it's none of his business who I hang out with, and vice versa), but I can see they don't have a job for either of them here. I don't expect Lannan to play his entire career for DC, either. You need back-end starters, but those are the guys you replace, because they are no longer effective, or they are still effective, and therefore getting raises every year, and because you can–there's always 4th and 5th starters available.

  60. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Nats314, I see what you are saying about fandom. I was thinking there is an opportunity to spark interest in the basketball area with no season for that sport if the Nats get out into the neighborhoods in the spring, and if they get some players to "mentor" the kids. People who go to FedEx field are a mystery to me… But football on TV is a good sport, no denying that.

  61. UNTERP - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    NatsLady said… Not only should the team and the organization take advantage of the NBA's lost season, it behooves them to market the fact that it costs a $100 less than attending an NBA game or Redskins game. I am absolutely sure that most people in the DC area are clueless to the reality that they can attend a ML baseball game for only $5 or even $10. Movies start at $15…

  62. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Shairon Martis is now a Pirate.

  63. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    Here's a salacious tidbit for all of us starved for some behind the scenes (way behind the scenes actually) in baseball, the Baseball Wives show debuts next Wednesday and even if the name isn't what it is all about, this will have some ties to the Nats in Ron Villone's wife is on it and one of Nyjer's ex-girlfriends.For anyone who ever met Ron's wife at Spring Training, she is about 6 feet tall and usually gets a 'who dat' when she was around.Just an aside, now back to real baseball! Hope nobody is offended by this.

  64. NatsLady - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    Unterp– exactly! The current marketing campaign is somewhat deceptive, however.(1) You cannot buy a ticket for $30. You have to buy at least two.(2) The fee for two tickets is $15. (And that's before I passed on to the options for "printing fee", etc.).So, to take advantage of the offer, you are spending $75. I didn't do it.

  65. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 22, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Shairon Martis is now a Pirate. November 22, 2011 12:47 PM Martis wasn't a top of the rotation guy, but he sure seemed like a decent body to include in a trade. Pittsburgh got a freebie and I want to hit the "dislike" button——where is it?

  66. UNTERP - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    NatsLady said…I didn't either. I'll wait for the box office to open during the spring. No service charge at the box office…

  67. Wally - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:41 PM

    Some interesting and diverse topics today.Nats 'window of opportunity' – I agree with NatsLady's general point, that the poor performance of Skins/Caps and NBA lockout creates something of an opportunity for the Nats to increase their following by being more successful in 2012. Not through direct competition with the other teams, but more to woo that lucrative, but fickle, crowd of bandwagoneers that would likely be more open to the Nats if everyone else around them isn't doing well. Seems logical to me, anyway. I don't agree that Prince Fielder is necessarily the way to capitalize on that, though (at the rumored 8/$200m contract, I wouldn't touch him under any conditions). I think that you can get to the same place through other, less costly means. Sign Oswalt AND Buehrle, plus Beltran. Big short term expense, but over with in 3 years. I think all three of those guys would add more to 2012 and 2013 success than just Prince. [I am not saying do this, just that if the Nats were going to 'go for it' this year, that would be more effective than just signing Prince] When does Zimm move to 1st – I think that Zim loses quite a bit of his value the day he can't play 3b any more. He'd go from a top 3 3B to a bottom half 1B (in my opinion, anyway). Bat looks worse v. other 1Bs, and his defensive value goes way down because of the relative value of the position. I think that the Nats know this, and plan on him staying at 3B for his entire career. For similar reasons, I do not see Rendon ever going to 1B. Trading Morse is dumb – Morse had a great season, I don't think it was a fluke, and he seems like a great guy. But for the right deal, he should be available. In fact, I think Rizzo would not be doing his job if he let sentimentality get in the way of improving the team. So, there is some deal in which everyone would be available, including Zim, Stras, and Harper. It would likely be extraordinarily expensive to the other team and virtually DOA because of that, but there are deals that I am pretty certain everyone on this blog would do for any player on our team. In the specific case of Morse, the two trades that were discussed resulted in the Nats getting a top pitcher plus a quality CF; I can see how people could differ whether those specific guys are worth trading Morse for, but I don't really understand why anyone would want to dismiss it without at least considering the players involved. But that is just me (and Rizzo, I hope).

  68. Wally - Nov 22, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Just saw that the Red Sox let go their head of int'l operations. No details why, but assuming that there are no ethical issues, we should think about hiring him. The Red Sox were always real players internationally, and it is the one area of player acquisition that I feel we lack.

  69. Water23 - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…Shairon Martis is now a Pirate. They be trouble waters north 'round the Pitt. Hopefully, he finds calm seas and a fair wind.Another of the players dropped b/c the team has out grown him.

  70. jd - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Wally,Your point is well taken. Fans routinely fall in love with their own players and over estimate their true value. This is why I get criticized when I suggest trading Clippard or Storen even if the return value is clearly at a more valuable position.

  71. gonatsgo - Nov 22, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    First, I buy ten dollars tickets, park in the ten dollar lot and bring a sandwich. Pretty cheap. About Prince Fielder – I just am not sure how he will be without his buddy Ryan Braun (mvp!). Prince really seems to depend on him and they seem to have a real synergistic relationship. and – we just do not need a first baseman. I have just spent way too long reading all the comments from today – interesting and intelligent as usual.My takes on a few more things – RZim stays put and will have a great year this year, LaRoche – my jury is out as to him recovering not just physically, but recovering his actual baseball skills. I see maybe a good second half for him. Yes on Buehrle if possible ( always have to check where the "h" goes) and not too much money. Does anyone think the new restrictions on how much you can spend for your drafted players will hurt the nats?

  72. RPrecupjr - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    That's what my wife, daughter and I do, Gonats. We get $10 seats, buy three $5 footlongs at Subway, and bring 1-liter bottles of water that we freeze the night before during the summer (they thaw and melt fairly quickly) and bring Crystal Light to mix in the water. My daughter gets ice cream after the Presidents' Race and that's about it. So:Tix: $10 x 3 = $30Subs: $5 x 3 = $15.75 (tax)Water: $1 x 3 = $3.15 (tax)Crystal Light: $3.75Ice Cream at stadium: $5Total: $57.65 + $20 parking, so less than $80 for an afternoon spent together enjoying the game. You can't get ONE ticket to a Caps game for that, there IS no basketball (not that what the Bullets (I refuse to use the other name) played could be mistaken for actual basketball) and I'm not sure you can PARK at a Redskins game for that price, either.

  73. Anonymous - Nov 22, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    I made the mistake once of buying a frozen bottle of water from one of those guys out on Half Street and it never thawed completely even by the end of the game. Are y'all stickin yours under your armpit or somethin?

  74. natsfan1a - Nov 23, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Haven't had time to read posts and comments of late but, as an admitted Livo lover, I wanted to thank Mark for the reasoned post. I would guess that the big guy's unresolved legal issues might be a factor as well (at least, the money laundering investigation was unresolved last I heard).

  75. Anonymous - Nov 24, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Rizzo didnt like the very very bad press Livo got this summer about being a front man and money launderer for a drug kingpin.Livo is dirty — and has got to go!!!!!

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 18.0
Through Tuesday's early games
x-Clinched division title
UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
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.

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