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Nats have surprised at Winter Meetings before

Nov 30, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire file photo
The Nationals traded for Alfonso Soriano during the 2005 Winter Meetings in Dallas.

The last time they convened at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas for baseball’s Winter Meetings, the Nationals did so with a clear-cut wish list. The Nationals’ top priority during that week in Dec. 2005? Acquire a veteran starting pitcher.

By the end of those meetings, former general manager Jim Bowden had done nothing to address his club’s rotation but instead made headlines with a surprise deal: the acquisition of Alfonso Soriano from the Rangers for Brad Wilkerson, Terrmel Sledge and Armando Galarraga.

The Soriano trade caught everyone by surprise. Though his name had been floated around before, no one was speculating about the possibility of that trade going down during the Winter Meetings. Instead, the focus on Bowden and the Nationals that week was on his pursuit of a reliable starting pitcher to join John Patterson and Livan Hernandez atop their 2006 rotation. Their No. 1 target at the time: A.J. Burnett.

It’s always amusing to think back to weeks like that and remember how out-of-the-loop I (and my fellow beat writers) were when it came to the Soriano trade talks. Nobody had reported any hint of evidence to suggest a deal was in the works until it had already been finalized.

Last year’s Winter Meetings at Walt Disney World brought a similar surprise deal, seemingly out of nowhere. Nobody predicted Jayson Werth would sign with the Nationals for seven years and $126 million, and nobody knew GM Mike Rizzo had been quietly working on that deal for several weeks.

Point is, you never really know what the Nationals might have up their sleeves this time of the year.

Rizzo has repeatedly said his two priorities this winter are acquiring a veteran starting pitcher (just as was the case back in 2005) and a starting center fielder. And there’s no reason to question his sincerity in that regard.

At the same time, history suggests there could be more going on behind the scenes than we realize. Maybe Rizzo has been ironing out details of a possible trade. Maybe he’s trying to convince a top international free agent to come to D.C. Or maybe he’s just doing what he’s claimed to be doing all along: Trying to fill those two previously revealed roster holes.

This much I know for certain: After learning our lesson the last time we gathered in Dallas, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be surprised if the Nationals do indeed pull off another Winter Meetings surprise.

  1. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    Mark.. any update on the TV Booth Team?Also, yesterday on MLB Network, they talked about CJ Wilson and the Nats. Any real interest in that one? Or are they just kicking the tires?

  2. joemktg - Nov 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Two of the restaurants at the Anatole Hotel in Dallas: the Media Grill + Bar, and the Gossip Bar. Perfect for the Winter Meetings.If you rent a car, you can leave the hotel to eat so that you don't have to pay $20 for a sandwich. Downside is that self parking is $17 per day. Screwed either way.

  3. Traveler8 - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    I expect Rizzo to try to do deals for a starting pitcher and a center fielder, and that's about it, because he has identified what the Nats need, and will focus attentions on that. Bowden surprised everyone because he wasn't following a plan despite claims to the contrary. He was really just grabbing for brass rings when he thought he saw one.

  4. LoveDaNats - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    Please let it be a good surprise.

  5. Joe S. - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I agree with Traveler that Rizzo has a plan and Bowden never did. But is Rizzo's plan his announced one? Generally, when you are in a negotiating position, you want to create as much uncertainty about your position as possible.

  6. Joe Seamhead - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:24 PM

    At least we didn't wake up this morning to hear that Bobby Valentine was our new manager!GYFNG!!!

  7. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    History tells us that Rizzo is not the most active of GM's when it comes to the trade market. Mike did not actively shop for a deal for Dunn at the deadline in 2010, and he said over and over that he'd have to be blown away to move Dunn in any event. That approach was a head-scratcher. Not sure if it is Rizzo or Mark Lerner, but the organization seems to have too much lust for its currently held talent (Lerner equating the prospects to his children). As if they are more valuable than whatever return could be received for them in trade — the Nats have to be blown away to move most guys it seems. Another example, Rizzo had no interest in moving Pudge last year mid-season, because Rizzo would need to get a long-term piece in return due to Pudge being such a solid mentoring guy and Pudge being very valuable for a club making a playoff run. What club was going to give up a long term piece for a short term rental of a guy who was then a back-up catcher with a big contract and questionable durability? I am hoping that Rizzo is bolder, more of a risk taker this off-season. Dare I say, more Bowdenesque. Hard not to love that Soriano trade from 2005, if maybe not much else about Jimbo.dfh21

  8. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Just to be clear, that Soriano deal was a very good one that worked out exceptionally well. They gave up nothing of value, got a great yearfrom Soriano and converted the draft picks. I think that was the plan

  9. BethesdaFan - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Has the Nats spring training schedule been issued? When and where will it be available?

  10. natsfan1a - Nov 30, 2011 at 1:52 PM

    I don't think so, but there's a master schedule with some Nats games here.

  11. natsfan1a - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    After looking, that schedule has had multiple updates since the last time I looked at it, and now includes 30 WAS games.

  12. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I am not looking for any surprises from Rizzo this year. Who knows what he will do on the starting pitching front but for the last 5 years the oraganization has been looking for a top starter and has failed to get one, so whatever happens there happens, I think we will know more around late January. That being said, filling the three holes for position players on the 25 man roster will be pretty easy:OF – Sign Ankiel, he can play all 3 positions, has a decent bat and a great defensive replacement coming off the bench. Then you either sign Cespedes or trade for BJ Upton and then you are set with 5 outfielders and at least three of them can play multiple OF positions.IF – We need a backup 1B until June 1st when Marrero will likely be 100%. One train of thought is let Tyler Moore take the job, which is ok but then he is just a backup 1B. My thought is signing Carlos Guillen or Mark DeRosa and they can play multiple IF positions so in combination with Lombardozzi we can give the other infielders some rest.So while it is hot stove time, the Nats stove is set on low simmer for a nice slow cook!

  13. Paul - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    dfh21:Ivan Rodriguez went on the DL last season on July 8th, leaving him shelved during prime trading season. Who is going to trade for an injured, past-his-prime catcher that didn't even make it back to the bigs until August? The answer is literally no one. I doubt that anyone would have even picked his contract up on waivers. All told, Pudge played 44 games for the Nats last year–guys like that don't have trade value. Also, the Dunn non-move needs to be put in context. The 2011 draft was regarded as one of the deepest in history. The high draft picks that the Nats received (Meyer and Goodwin) could arguably turn into premier impact players. Granted, there is a lot of risk associated with player development and trading for an established prospect is more of a sure thing, but it was not as if Rizzo's decision to sit on his hands didn't have any justification.

  14. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    "IF – We need a backup 1B until June 1st when Marrero will likely be 100%."Wow. Has there been a report that optimistic? Or is this breaking news….?

  15. bethesdafan - Nov 30, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    To natsfan1a –Thanks for the info on the spring/ March schedule.

  16. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    I thought the big Hot Stove news was Brian Bruney signing a Minor League deal with the White Sox.

  17. Jeeves - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    I find it strange that in all the trade talk, Gio Gonzalez is not mentioned more. He seems to fit perfectly as the type of pitcher the Nats would want and there are hints, that for the right price he would be available. He's young, has pitched 200 innings the last two years and had an era in the low threes during that time. And he's a lefty.

  18. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    "IF – We need a backup 1B until June 1st when Marrero will likely be 100%."Wow. Has there been a report that optimistic? Or is this breaking news….? If he has surgery on his hamstring he will not play for the Nats in 2012. Not gonna happen.

  19. Natslifer - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Listened to a great conversation on XM MLB about how the Pirates are considering trading Andrew McCutcheon – they didn't think it would happen but there's a guy that I'd love to see here (and be happy about giving up a couple of key prospects).

  20. Steve M. - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    To me the glass is more than 1/2 full. The team has quality pitching depth for the first time. The team has 7 solid starting position players and will have 8 if Bryce Harper is ready. I believe worse case that Werth/Bernadina could play CF as a tandem to wait for Bryce Harper to play RF. I still hope that Rizzo finds a better solution for CF, but if not those 2 could get the job done and then Rizzo can get a RF until Bryce Harper is ready. Player depth in position players does concern me as Lombardozzi, Flores, and Bernadina are the only depth I see to jump in there. Many have astutely pointed out that LaRoche still may not be ready for Opening Day to which the answer is Michael Morse which then leaves a potential hole in the outfield and back to looking like the offensively challenged 2011 lineup.The team needs a Jerry Hairston type and Lombardozzi could be that guy if he could play outfield. Can he? Many don't agree with me but I see Espinosa staying at 2nd base and winning numerous Gold Gloves and if Desmond can't make 2012 the year where he puts it all together than that will be the position to replace in 2013. This allows Rendon to develop as an outfielder in that Alex Gordon/Ryan Braun/Alfonso Soriano changeover.The other big question mark is the backup plan at leadoff if Desmond doesn't work out.For all the positives that Rizzo has done, it can't be overlooked that the last 2 Spring Trainings he shocked NatsTown by getting rid of a starting outfielder (Dukes in Spring 2010 & Nyjer in Spring 2011) which left gaping holes. He has to fill the holes now with proven players and give Davey a 25 man roster that can compete on Opening Day.3 most important issues I still see:1) Find the 1 impact outfielder for either CF or RF2) Have a backup plan for leadoff in place in case Desmond can't get the job done3) Have a LF on your bench in case LaRoche can't play and Morse has to be the 1st baseman or have a backup plan for a new 1st baseman

  21. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Natslifer, I think 2 hours after the Andrew McCutcheon rumors started the Pirates GM came out and said they are NOT trading Andrew McCutcheon.

  22. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    McCutchen (or Adam Jones) should be overpriced, if the Pirates or O's have any sense–they'd be nuts to trade them otherwise. FWIW, the Giants released Darren Ford the other day–not much hitting, but man, he's fast. There is that little misunderstanding with the law a few years back, of course.captcha: "chrychea"–which I'm thinking is pronounced "Crikey!"

  23. Feel Wood - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:46 PM

    For all the positives that Rizzo has done, it can't be overlooked that the last 2 Spring Trainings he shocked NatsTown by getting rid of a starting outfielder (Dukes in Spring 2010Rizzo didn't get rid of Dukes. Dukes got rid of himself.

  24. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Marrero alredy had the surgery a week ago and typical rehab time is two to three months so he should be ready to do some physical activities in February and probably baseball activities in late April, so a rehab assignment in May and a callup in June. All these chuckleheads saying this a career threatening or a one year injury like TJ surgery are full of S!

  25. Jim Riggleman - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Wait, I thought I was the one who got rid of myself?Feel Wood said…Rizzo didn't get rid of Dukes. Dukes got rid of himself.

  26. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    Jeeves,Talk on Gio Gonzalez is not happening. The price would BE OUTRAGEOUSLY High. I saw somewhere yesterday that they are asking for the ENTIRE FARM for him.

  27. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Being ignorant, I request that someone please cite a source, or two, as regards prognosis for recovery from hammy surgery… Until Anon, on this post, I haven't heard anyone suggest that Marrero has much of a chance of playing… But I'm no doctor….

  28. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    …playing this year, that is….

  29. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Paul.In May of last year when Pudge was healthy, playing only every third day or so and hitting .211 Mike said he'd need a long term piece in order to move Pudge. http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/newsstand/discussion/mike_rizzo_wont_trade_ivan_rodriguez_for_a_quick_fix/On Dunn, when a GM has something of serious value (Dunn mid-season 2010) that he can move at the deadline and that GM "sits on his hands" there is something wrong. I don't blame Rizzo for not making a deal to trade Dunn (but going for the pick compensation was a big risk in that Dunn almost slipped to Type B, it cost the club a lot of money to pay Dunn and to pony up the draft bonus money and it likely put the rebuilding plan on an even longer schedule than trading for MLB ready talent might have), but the fact that Mike did not actually actively shop Dunn is mind-blowing. How does he not call this or that club and say, "we'll give you Dunn, if you'll give us ____________"?Rizzo has done a nice job with the draft, but in trade he's been iffy (Ramos and Morse were great, Hanrahan bad, and the rest not so memorable), he's had some awkward moments trying to land (and landing in terms of the Werth contract, at least as it stands now, the prior deals to Wang, the money to Pudge, Maya) FA players, he's been ham-handed with the media and with the Riggleman situation, and he has not assembled a roster that has a chance to win yet. All of my negativism notwithstanding, I think that the guy can get it done and I am hoping that this is the off-season that Rizzo makes the leap to being a top-teir GM running a relevant club.dfh21dfh21

  30. Steve M. - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    FeelWood, Dukes certainly added to his own demise and not going to rehash that ancient history rather the point being that it left the Nats with a hole going into the 2010 regular season in the outfield.To cause the same problem in Spring 2011 when Nyjer was cut loose is mind baffling. Your pool of players only had 1 guaranteed starter in Jayson Werth and the other 2 spots were to be a pick 'em from Nyjer, Ankiel, Morse, Bernadina and Nix, then days before Opening Day you get rid of your Leadoff Hitter with no proven comodity to step in.In hindsight and just looking at stats of the leadoff, it may have cost the Nats a serious run at the playoffs given the horrific production out of the leadoff spot.To go in with Desmond as your leadoff is fine if you have a backup plan. Leadoff is again the biggest question mark in this off-season which is why Coco Crisp is the low risk solution. Even if the team gets another CF, then Davey has an outfield with greater depth. What if LaRoche isn't ready? Do you have Laynce Nix as a bench player in case or do you move Michael Morse to 1st?

  31. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    dfh21, Rizzo did shop Dunn and reportly was offered Edwin Jackson which wasn't what Rizzo wanted. If you recall when Cincy traded Dunn as a deadline deal to Ariz in 2008 they got Micah Owings and a Minor League player in return.I think Rizzo made a good move. Under the old CBA, you wouldn't give away Type A free agents when you knew you would get good compensation worse case.

  32. Mark'd - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:45 PM

    SteveM, proactive thinking is what Rizzo has to do. He has been reactive the last 2 years and while we all knew Nyjer wasn't the guy, Rizzo went thru almost the entire ST with no good plan to replace Nyjer at the leadoff.

  33. sjm308 - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    this will not be the definitive answer to Marrero because each injury is different. to operate on a torn muscle is not common. Muscle will heal on its own and again it depends on the tear and the person who has torn it. To perform surgery means the medical staff felt it was a significant tear that would heal quicker by basically helping it along (placing a small piece of mesh at the tear that the muscle will attach to). I never had one of my athletes operated on for this but understand that 1. it is not career ending and2. he actually could be playing this yearI think the people screaming "the sky is falling" are just not experienced with this type of injury and again, to be honest, its not something that occurs on a regular basis (the surgery, not the torn hamstring). If Marrero is a slow healer or there are complications, he certainly could miss the entire season but my money is on a return by June/July. Good news is he can perform most baseball related activities without risk of tearing it again. Swinging a bat and throwing and catching will be easy, its that long stretch that will bother him. More good news in my mind is that this is not a huge loss. At best he was the backup 1b and a bat off the bench.

  34. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    Get Dunn cheap and have him be the big lefty bat in the lineup if fielder doesn't happen. Maybe being back in DC makes him happy and he comes back to old form.

  35. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    There is no definitive website on hamstring tears, but the average recovery time for the worst complete tear and muscle retraction is 8 to 10 weeks with only 15% of athletes not returning to their previous strength and agility and a lesser chance of a re-tear of the hamstring. Again, I have no idea where the Nats beat repoirters and bloggers are getting information that it takes a year to a year and a half to recover from this injury if at all!?

  36. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:04 PM

    To go with Desmond at leadoff is fine if you're looking to lose a bunch of baseball games.

  37. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    Did a quick search (1/2 doz sites, under "hamstring tear surgery recovery time". Nothing definitive, but worth noting that, surgery only seems to be called for if the muscle is completely torn, or becomes unattached from the pelvis. No mention of rehab longer than 3 months, so perhaps he will be available early next year. Again, nothing definitive, or I would post a link….

  38. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:22 PM

    Pay to Play — Rizzo was reportedly offered Edwin Jackson and he turned it down, but Rizzo proclaimed all over the place that he was not trying to move Adam Dunn. He'd listen to offers, sure, but he claims that he was not actively shopping Adam Dunn. He was demanding equal or greater value for Dunn, which sounds fine, but I think Rizzo saw Dunn, the 40HR LH sullger, as having more value to his last place club in walk year for Dunn than the rest of the league seemingly thought Dunn was worth to their contending club, and Dunn was likely worth more than what Rizzo was going to get for him when he held on to him (the compensation picks, which almost turned into only one pick).http://www.masnsports.com/mike_rizzo/2010/08/looking-back-on-a-busy-july.htmldfh21

  39. Anon's fact-checker - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    What is the source for your remarks?Anonymous said… There is no definitive website on hamstring tears, but the average recovery time for the worst complete tear and muscle retraction is 8 to 10 weeks with only 15% of athletes not returning to their previous strength and agility and a lesser chance of a re-tear of the hamstring. Again, I have no idea where the Nats beat repoirters and bloggers are getting information that it takes a year to a year and a half to recover from this injury if at all!? November 30, 2011 12:04 PM

  40. Poopy__McPoop - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:26 PM

    Ryan Sandberg would've been a great hire. Instead DC's baseball team went with someone who manages like it's still the early/mid-90's. Does that please you? Offering an actual name of someone DC's baseball team should've gotten?????

  41. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    dfh21, I see that as dealing from a position of strength. Don't let the other side know you are anxious. It was handled well. If Meyer and Goodwin work out well, then it will be a great move.

  42. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Sorry Mark I still Rizzo's main plan as trying to address the dearth of left-handed hitting … just sticking someone like Laynce Nix or whomever on the bench just isn't going to cut it for Johnson and Rizzo.That is why Fielder was and is their number 1 priority. I'm not saying its the right thing … I'm just saying Rizzo is pretty consistent … Look at it logically. Johnson a guy Rizzo apparently really trusts doesn't think they need a CF. Seems happy with Werth wants to see what Corey Brown has. IS HAPPY with Desmond leading off. He also wants to try to use the young pitchers coming up from the system.What Johnson didn't like was the lack of left-handed power. Lack of consistent solid left-handed hitting and the weak offensive bench. Think about it Mark. Are you going to listen to the smokescreen or are you going to listen to Johnson? And Rizzo and Johnson appear to be in violent agreement on most of how they see developing the prospects and the Nationals system.

  43. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    I can't see Rizzo's handling of the Dunn trade deadline as being well played. Sure, the Nats got lucky and ended up with two picks, and hopefully those picks will turn out to be very, very valuable, but, we'll never know what Rizzo may have been able to get for Dunn had he actually tried to move Dunn (notwithstanding whether or not anyone thinks that Rizzo should have taken Edwin Jackson). How does Rizzo not call some contending club with a perceived need for Dunn and ask for something very shiny in return for him? How does he justify not being proactive, not doing the full due diligence in gaguing the market for his asset?I hope taht he learned some valuable lessons from that failure.dfh21

  44. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    I hope taht he learned some valuable lessons from that failure.I assume you don't believe the scuttlebutt that said the Stan Kasten and the ownership steering committee nixed the trade? At that point Rizzo was not in complete control of the operation.

  45. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    "I hope taht he learned some valuable lessons from that failure."I don't reckon there'll be any lessons learned, for at least a couple more years, til we see how the youngsters pan out. How can you cry "failure", without knowing what was offered, or how the youngsters pan out? If Dunn had any real value, Rizzo's phone would have been ringing…a strong negotiator doesn't burn the phone lines up, begging for a deal. Banging this particular drum, ad infinitum, makes little sense to me, as you are defending you own (apparently lonely) opinion, as though it were widely accepted fact.And, Poopster…. The Oyo's seem in far more dire need of Ryne's help than us…Jes' sayin'

  46. markfd - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    for those advocating the signing of David DeJesus…@ESPNChiCubs Bruce Levine BREAKING NEWS: Cubs sign OF David DeJesus to two-year deal. DeJesus was .240/10/46 last year in 131 games for Oakland. http://es.pn/3T7Ufa

  47. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    @ Anon's fact-checker … Several studies have been done if you fact check via google you can figure out the laundry list of URLs!

  48. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Cubs got David DeJesus so scratch him off the 2nd page list. The Dodgers got our old friend (LOL) Adam Kennedy.

  49. raymitten - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:21 PM

    This is off-topic but I have a question. I just saw on MLB Trade Rumors that Baltimore qualifies, based on market size and revenues, to be in this new 'supplmental lottery' draft pick, but the Nationals do not. How is this possible? Wasn't the whole MASN deal based on Angelos' contention that the Washington DC area is his 'market'? If DC is Baltimore's 'market', then how does Baltimore qualify for the supplemental draft? If DC isn't Baltimore's market, then why is MLB tying the hands of the Nats ability to get TV revenue by making them be subject to Angelos?

  50. PAY TO PLAY - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    markfd, reasons I should refresh my browser to see you posted on DeJesus…..ok, how's about Danny Espinosa was named Topps Rookie 2nd baseman for 2011. JP Arencibia beat out Wilson Ramos.

  51. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Unkyd — you're right about me banging the drum on this Rizzo Dunn stuff way too much, and I'll let history lay where it is from now on, but let's be clear: Rizzo did not seek to trade Dunn in 2010, that is not my opinion, that is fact (according to Rizzo). Maybe I am being too strong in calling his unwillingness to actively seek a potential deal a failure, but I am ok with being lonely on the issue if being popular means I have to find some kind of wobbly construct that makes Rizzo's inaction seem clever in retrospect. dfh21

  52. Hotdiggitydog - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    DFH, 1) We don't whether Rizzo was actively shopping Dunn or not. If he was, I would fully expect his public statements to be exactly as they were. 2) That said, I don't think it was all that risky to assume Dunn would be a Type A free agent.3) And, the fact is that the Nats did get two picks for compensation – Meyer and Goodwin. Both guys are top-tier prospects. I'm not sure Rizzo would have gotten such a haul by trading Dunn.

  53. MicheleS - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Kilgore posted that Rizzo was in the Dominican scouting Cespedas

  54. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    David de Jesus? Not Ivan Jr.? Too bad. They traded Ivan Sr. to Phila. for Larry Bowa and some minor league second baseman who was blocked in the Phillies system. I think that guy later became a manager in the Cubs system, but didn't make it back to the Show as a manager–not yet, anyway. (see how it all ties together?)

  55. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Why would Rizzo lie publicly about not actively trying to trade a guy after the fact? So, if Rizzo gets lucky and the picks pan out, then it was a good move not to trade Dunn for Jackson (who threw 200 innings of quality ball last year and ended up with a ring), and if the draft picks don't pan out, then is it a bad move to have held on to Dunn paying him a bunch of money to finish last with him? Hmm, he blew it.

  56. Old School Researcher - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Fact checking on the Google? I think my head just exploded.Anonymous said… @ Anon's fact-checker … Several studies have been done if you fact check via google you can figure out the laundry list of URLs! November 30, 2011 1:07 PM

  57. Farid Rushdi - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:40 PM

    Marrero's injury has thrown a wrench into the works, so to speak, but I think first is a concern for other reasons.Take a look at Michael Morse's splits while playing first and left (homers and RBI in parenthesis are based on 550 at-bats for easier comparison):1B: .336/.401/.601, 19 HR, 62 RBI (34 HR, 113 RBI)LF: .254/.293/.482, 12 HR, 33 RBI (37 HR, 103 RBI)While home run production and RBI production is equal, on-base percent and batting average is pretty bad when he plays in left as opposed to first.To get the most out of him, I think the Nationals need to commit to him at first and trade LaRoche (a player I really like) or trade Morse while his value is still high.

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    If DC isn't Baltimore's market, then why is MLB tying the hands of the Nats ability to get TV revenue by making them be subject to Angelos? Not "is tying" so much as "did tie" their hands, years ago, just to shut him up. Angelos has no incentive to let them change it now.

  59. Eugene in Oregon - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:43 PM

    Several thoughts:– To say that the Hanrahan trade was 'bad' is really applying 20/20 hindsight to that deal. At the time he was moved, Hanrahan had an ERA of 7+ and a WHIP that was on the order of 1.9, and Millings was downright embarrassing in the outfield. Barnett and Morgan certainly aren't Hall of Famers, but given the inherent uncertainties whenever you make a trade or an acquisition this one was perfectly reasonable.– I second the notion that keeping Dunn (and then letting him walk as a Type A) was exactly the right move. The Nats were in the middle of miserable season and weren't going anywhere. Unless someone knows something I don't, the Nats weren't offered anyone for Dunn who would have represented even half the potential that the two draft picks have gotten them. Again, to criticize Rizzo for that non-trade strikes me as illogical.– None of us has any earthly idea what the real prospects are for Mr. Marerro to recover by any particular date. But if you're the GM, you have to prepare for the worst, i.e., that he won't be back anytime soon. And chances are that Mr. Rizzo and company have a much better appreciation of the likely prognosis than Dr. Google does.– Finally, I had exactly the same reaction as RayMitten to the news about Baltimore. I fully appreciate that we're comparing apples and pears here, but there needs to be a bit more consistency in the way that two media markets are treated. The real answer has to be that the Nats need to find a way out of that awful MASN deal (which –I know, I know — is much easier said than done).–

  60. Hotdiggitydog - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Well one reason to lie about actively trying to trade Dunn is that the interview was conducted during the season. Telling the truth to a reporter in that situation could have "soured" Dunn on the Nats and corrupted the clubhouse. Also, there was still a small chance that Rizzo might have re-signed Dunn. In hindsight, we know Rizzo wasn't going to offer very much, but there was still a chance.I suppose there's lots of reasons for Rizzo to "lie" in that situation. And, we could speculate about it all afternoon. But, one thing we know for sure is that Rizzo is not a big fan of the media. He prefers to work behind the scenes. I like that about him.

  61. A DC Wonk - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Steve M. said… To cause the same problem in Spring 2011 when Nyjer was cut loose is mind baffling. Your pool of players only had 1 guaranteed starter in Jayson Werth and the other 2 spots were to be a pick 'em from Nyjer, Ankiel, Morse, Bernadina and Nix, then days before Opening Day you get rid of your Leadoff Hitter with no proven comodity to step in. In hindsight and just looking at stats of the leadoff, it may have cost the Nats a serious run at the playoffs given the horrific production out of the leadoff spot.What stats are you looking at? I'm looking at Fangraphs:I see that Rick Ankiel and Morgan played about the same amount, and that Ankiel has a WAR of 1.1, and Morgan had one of 4.0. That's a difference of only three games.

  62. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Looking back at the Hanrahan trade with 20/20 hindsight and calling it bad is not fair, but we can do so for the Morse deal and call it good, I guess? Is that it? Didn't Rizzo sell Hanrahan when his value was low? The Bucs got a stud closer, were they just lucky when Hanrahan came around or was it skill to spt the guy's potential? Did Rizzo get lucky when Morse bloomed?

  63. Steve M. - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Good recap post Eugene. 2 Draft Picks to go into the Farm System seemed like a good gamble at the time. Time will tell how this trade did just like the Alfonso Soriano = Jordan Zimmermann and Josh Smoker.

  64. Mike R - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    I'm sending Desi, Lannan and Slaton up to Baltimore for Hardy. Count Ross signed for center and Oswalt to pitch. Peacock, Detwiler and Milone will fight for number 5. Hardy leads off. Line-up is Hardy-Werth-Zim-Morse,LaRoche, Ross, Danny E and Patty Hearst.

  65. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    I am done looking back at the past. I am interested in what Rizzo does now with what he has to work with. They have pieces to move, they have money to spend, they have identified needs and they have a good core of players and a chance to be good. I hope Rizzo goes wild and brings us a winner!dfh21

  66. slidell - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    My vague recollection is that while Rizzo's offer to Dunn, while certainly less, was not shabby.I suspect that along about August Adam was secretly wishing that he could have a "do-over".

  67. Hotdiggitydog - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    DFH, agreed. Also, I do generally agree with you that Rizzo has been far better at drafting players than at signing or trading for players. Not that he's bad at signing or trading for guys, just that he's really, really good at the draft part.

  68. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Anonymous said…Unkyd — you're right about me banging the drum on this Rizzo Dunn stuff way too much, and I'll let history lay where it is from now on, but let's be clear: Rizzo did not seek to trade Dunn in 2010, that is not my opinion, that is fact (according to Rizzo). Maybe I am being too strong in calling his unwillingness to actively seek a potential deal a failure, but I am ok with being lonely on the issue if being popular means I have to find some kind of wobbly construct that makes Rizzo's inaction seem clever in retrospect. dfh21November 30, 2011 1:23 PM———————–Excellent post. Disagreeing, agreeably… That's what I'm talking about.———————-Diggity:"And, we could speculate about it all afternoon"Prolly will!! I love this place!!! =^D

  69. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:12 PM

    If you haven't read the X-rated version (with photos) of top agent Dan Lozano (Pujols, Beltran, etc) on Deadspin.com, you should. Unfortunately many agents and GM's lie…imagine that! Some stoop to levels of pimps and yes, some will lie to your face. They also withhold information and distort facts and guess what, thats how its done in real life. We may not like it.They knew Strasburgs injury within a day after the injury and withheld the news for days. They have inquired about players for trades that you dont know about and they dont want you to know about. Next week is the Winter Meetings and the best part is where Scott Boras hangs with his posse where everyone can see them. Scott Boras all suited up with his underlings that are shorter than him encircling him. I wish I took a picture of it when I was there 2 years ago. This year Boras has Prince Fielder and Lozano has Pujols. Roll the cameras!

  70. Sec 3, My Sofa - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    FWIW, the MASN deal improves with age for the Nats–their percentage of ownership increases from 10% to 33% over the twenty years of the contract. Which is still not great, but better.

  71. Steve M. - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    slidell said… My vague recollection is that while Rizzo's offer to Dunn, while certainly less, was not shabby.I suspect that along about August Adam was secretly wishing that he could have a "do-over". November 30, 2011 2:03 PM Yes, another case of buyer's remorse. I think Prince Fielder should stay in Milwaukee however I think his agent has convinced him another town is what's best for him. Time will tell.

  72. J. Montefusco - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    Who's this Count Ross guy, and why is he using my nickname?

  73. K. Williams - Nov 30, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    I suspect that along about August Adam was secretly wishing that he could have a "do-over".HE wants a do-over?? Don't get me started!

  74. greg - Nov 30, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    someone said they wanted to trade for JJ hardy and plant him in the leadoff spot?seriously?hardy, with the career 320 OBP (310 last year)? and to trade three ML players for him?

  75. natsfan1a - Nov 30, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Maybe they meant Shoeless Joe Hardy?

  76. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    (snork!!)

  77. Anonymous - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:27 PM

    I think its pretty stupid to call Cespedes a replacement for Fielder. I sometimes wonder about the IQ of some of the sports pundits out there … in fact more often than not.Cespedes is a CF purportedly. He is raw. He's not ready. He's another Brian Goodwin. He starts in AA if he and the Nats are luck and if they sign him. How is that like Fielder? Sheesh. Idiots. Rizzo has determined that he has a problem both in CF and in the outfield … now and in the future. This is the 3rd year in a row he's purportedly out trying to fill those positions. So far Bernadina and Corey Brown have failed. After Destin Hood and Eury Perez what is there and will they really be all that good at the major league level? I think Kobernus may end up as a better outfielder. As Farid points out Morse is a far better infielder than an outfielder … where he's played the most. Morse really is not a natural outfielder but at least his knees are still reasonably good. And they acquired Werth which at this point looks to be a mixed bag.And then there's Harper that they are still trying to convert from catcher. But he, like Bernadina and Morse looks best in left field.So, what is Rizzo doing? Just like with the pitching and then the MI. Collecting as many CF as he can and letting the minors determine who makes the lineup. Like Cespedes, like Brown, like Komatsu. Like Epstein et al he is collecting as many assets as he can.And given the headaches the outfield has given him he will likely keep on collecting assets … Nothing wrong with that now is there?Does that have anything, anything at all to do with Prince Fielder? No.

  78. The Joker - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    Is Slaton "Major League"?

  79. Wally - Nov 30, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    In situations like potentially trading a player, or even their views on a player, I don't think that you can ever take a GM's public statements at face value. There is no reason for a GM to be honest with the media about a negative appraisal or a desire to trade a guy: (a) despite it being a business, you can alienate a player by saying that, making him feel like you are publicly 'dissing' him (which hurts you with that player, and any other player thinking about coming here), and (b) there will be a perception that you have just lowered the value of your guy for trade purposes. I feel the same way when a player, in the last year of a contract, tells the media that he wants to stay with his current team. Whether he does, who knows, but he wants the fans to think that, and he doesn't want to close any opportunities. Because really, what does the player gain by saying 'no, I don't want to resign here' when he still has two months left to play before the home crowd, and is looking for a new contract?My two cents on Dunn, which of course is just speculation, is that one of the threads above is right: I think that Rizzo did want to trade Dunn, and was offered Hudson by Williams. He wanted more because Hudson was unproven at the time, and asked for other prospects too, or maybe Beckham. Williams said 'what if I can get you Jackson', and Rizzo agreed, only to be rejected when he took it to Kasten and the Lerners for approval. I can't prove it but it fits the facts as I remember at the time, and explains why Williams felt like Rizzo backed out of the trade. And I wish we did that trade. First Hudson, and I still would have done the Jackson one (although I was against it back then). Or said differently, I would trade Meyer and Goodwin for either of those guys right now. I think that I am in the minority on that, but either one would look good as our #3 right now.

  80. Unkyd - Nov 30, 2011 at 11:23 PM

    ……………"Does that have anything, anything at all to do with Prince Fielder? No.November 30, 2011 4:27 PM"Scratched my head….. Read the whole thread-again….scratched my head again….What are you talking about? I don't see anyone saying Cespedes is related to the pursuit of The Big Guy……

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 1, 2011 at 12:48 AM

    Wally… you think waaay too small.

  82. Wally - Dec 1, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    NJ – meaning Jackson or Hudson as the #3? I didn't say that either was my first choice, just that I'd rather have one of them than the two picks. I like Meyers, but he is definitely a work in progress with risk attached. I think Goodwin will be similar to Hood, maybe a little more polished, but even more risk than Meyers. Although I'll say this about Jackson: if you have to go to 4 years on Buehrle, I think Jackson is the better value. Short of that, maybe not.My first choice is still a trade for a high quality guy, like we talked about a week ago. But my prediction is still that Rizzo grabs Jackson, especially now that he doesn't cost a pick.

  83. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 1, 2011 at 10:40 AM

    The last thing Rizzo wants is a high walks and high pitch count guy. Jackson isn't thr "leader" they are looking for.

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