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Marlins’ spree won’t alter Nats’ course

Dec 7, 2011, 1:42 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has been the center of attention at the Winter Meetings.

DALLAS — Ponder this for a moment: Two days into the Winter Meetings, the New York Yankees have been virtually invisible around the Anatole Hotel, barely registering on the awareness meter. Meanwhile, the Miami Marlins are the absolute center of attention, making news by the hour and leaving packs of reporters to trail owner Jeffrey Loria through the lobby like he's the pied piper.

Welcome to the bizarro Winter Meetings.

The Marlins were at it again last night, trying to lock up a 10-year deal with Albert Pujols worth a reported $220 million. The Cardinals were trying their darndest to hang in the race and retain the sport's best player. And supposedly a "mystery team" had emerged as another last-minute suitor for Pujols (though no one could confirm who that team was after the Angels and Cubs insisted it was neither of them).

Watching all this unfold from afar were the Nationals, who are not involved in the Pujols sweepstakes but obviously have some interest in the outcome of this Hot Stove drama. If the slugger winds up in MiamiRead more »

  1. Will - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Can't hurt for the Nats to put in a couple offers to jack the price for Pujols up, Yankees-Red Sox style! $220mil for the best player baseball has seen in decades is not nearly enough. If $220mil is all it takes to sign Pujols then perhaps the Nationals should seriously consider making an offer themselves.The Marlins offer assumes Pujols will basically be a 4.5 WAR player each year over the next 10 years, when over the previous 11 years he's been almost twice that (averaged about 8 WAR over 11 seasons). Between increased attendance, merchandise and Pujols' level of play, that contract could be one of the biggest bargains ever in baseball.

  2. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    I have problems thinking Miami is really trying to put together a long term powerhouse. Their unwillingness to offer a no trade clause to Pujols seems to indicate that they are 'trying something' for a year or two and are going to sell off these players if they fail, either in the standings or at the gate. I'm grateful that the Nats aren't having a knee jerk reaction to this, and I wouldn't want them to, but it is very discouraging after years of having a bad team, and, right at the moment its getting good, have another team in the division buy up every free agent. The analysis that everyone had on the MLB Network is 'they will pass Washington if they get Pujols." That's discouraging, but I don't think Rizzo can handle it any differently than he is.

  3. Friend of all the World - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:02 PM

    Wow, those are ugly caps.

  4. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    In response to Anonymous 9:01My reading based on 46 years of watching sports too fanatically; is that Lorie is preparing to sell the team. Sign a lot of big contracts, get a new stadium and an attendance boost … and then sell.Lorie has always been in the sport for money, not to win. I believe he sees that with the new stadium, the safe, low budget, profit is not longer available so he is going to back load some deals and sell before the risk factor rises.Now, he could sell to good owners, and THAT would be rough on the Nationals; but I don't see the Marlins with the current ownership as a long term threat.

  5. MicheleS - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:07 PM

    Stick to the PLAN!!! Seriously, I know everyone is getting into a twist about the Marlins. I know on Paper they look to be a beast, but you actually have to PLAY the games to see who can actually win. And as stated, they didn't give a no trade clause. Guess what. They will dump him and Reyes in a couple of years when he starts to slow down just like they did with everyone on the World Series teams. You don't think that the Yanks won't look at Reyes at some point when Jeter finally is kicked to the curb or moved to another spot?As someone commented earlier… everyone thought the Eagles had one the Super Bowl in August and where are they now.

  6. MicheleS - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    won.. not one… sigh.. auto correct got me again…

  7. Stew Magnuson - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    As if the Marlins were suddenly emerging as a threat to the Nats. No matter where they are in the standings, the Marlins have had the Nationals' number for years. I don't know how many losses to the Marlins I have sat through. It's depressing thinking about them getting better.

  8. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    The plan is a four letter word. It is owner-speak for keep expectations and/or payroll low. Every club has a freaking plan. The Nats need to make moves to get players the same way every other club does. Our plan is no better than their plans, which is evidenced by the Nats' awful place in the standings year after year after year. Now the Nats are in excuse-making mode – how could they have forseen the Marlins of all clubs actually doing what it takes to improve!? Had they not planned on that happening? The other clubs might make moves to get better, quick!, write hat down so we don;t forget. Good thing that the Nats did not beat them to adding another Batting Title middle infield guy or live arm MLB pitcher to fill a need. No place for those kinds of moves in the Nats plan. Fire Mike Rizzo.

  9. natscan reduxit - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    … Rizzo doesn't want to part with his major leaguers in any trade talks. Well, if the Nats farm is as good as Mike says it is (and I have no doubt he's correct), then I don't blame other GMs for suggesting he call up those minor leaguers himself, and let go with a couple of big guys if he wants to make a trade.Go Rizzo! Go Nats!!

  10. natscan reduxit - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    … and one more thing: I'm leaving now, and won't be back until the web site no longer carries a photo of "The Carpetbagger from Hell".Go Nats!

  11. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    I don't see this as excuse making. Should they give Pujols a 10 year deal at $250 mil when Pujols is on the downslide? Is his production going to be worth $22 mil at age 40? I don't see the Marlins as 'getting it done', I see them as a paper tiger. By the way, there was a lot of critics of the Nats as 'excuse makers' when they failed to match the Cubs' offer to Soriano. Was that a good move now?

  12. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Get ready for the annual dumpster dipping in January as Rizzo brings in the Matty Stairs types.

  13. NatStat - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Relax sportsfans, Pujols' next 10 years will not be like his last 10 years. Statistically, he has already started his decline, over his last 2-3 years.It's stll about pitching. I don't think that we will have to wait until Pujols is 42 before we beat the Fish in our games, or in the standings.

  14. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    The troll is back. Please don't feed.

  15. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    Wrong question and so wrong answer.The right question? Is Harper capable of an 8 WAR within a year? He's a whole heck of a lot younger than Pujols. Is Zimmerman capable of that again? What about Strasburg and Zimmermann? Will Espinosa break through? Hopefully Morse is good for a 4 or 5 if they can get him back to first base. I think its more important to put together a new contract for Ryan Zimmerman who is just now coming into his prime. I can see Fielder because of his left-handed, impact bat. His offensive stats are actually better than Pujols and would play better at Nats park. Other than Fielder I don't see it? They need to keep slots open for Harper and Rendon at least, they are already paid and on the 40-man. AND there are a few others like Derek Norris.

  16. Steve M. - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    They get Reyes and displace Hanley Ramirez—time will tell if this is a net gain. If they get Pujols in place of Gabby Sanchez—only a gain in the short-term 2 to 5 years possibly and could be a long-term huge loss.

  17. SonnyG10 - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    On paper, the Marlins will look vastly improved if they sign Albert. But if paper were king, the Redskins would have won the super bowl ten years in a row. The proof is in the pudding.

  18. Wally - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Watching the Marlins go after these guys reminds me of Charlie Sheen. They seem to be living solely in the moment, and it feels likely to end badly. The speculation on Loria selling the team is interesting. That being said, even if they stop here, that should be a pretty good team in 2012, IF Josh Johnson can stay healthy. That lineup is scary. It seems odd with all these winter meetings rumors that Edwin Jackson's name hasn't come up once. I actually haven't seen it one time. He isn't in Wilson's class, but with Buehrle looking likely to get 4 years, I think that a decent argument could be made that Jackson is a better value over 4 years. He has brought his walk rates down the last few years (2 of the last 3 years it was under 3.0BB/9), he has been durable (avg. 205 innings over the last 3 years) and productive (basically, each of his last 3 years has yielded a higher WAR than JZimm's 2011). And 2012 will be his age 29 season. I am not saying that he is better than Buehrle, but it does seem odd that we haven't heard ANYONE associated with him.

  19. NatsfanNick - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    I agree with SonnyG10 The Mets are an example of a team gone bad trying to fill the roster with free agents, as are the Cubs and Mariners. The Nats seem to be a "Real Team" with players that know and like each other We also have great pitching, and our farms are well-stocked with future arms. Pitching is at least 80% of the game. Also the Nats bullpend will make it almost impossible for another team to score after the 6th inning. Yep, looking for a great year at Nats Park!!

  20. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM

    I can't see Miami supporting any team, over the long run, with the attendance, even in a new stadium, necessary to pay a 37-year old Pujols $22MM a year. That's why I concur that drawing the line on a no-trade clause is a signal that, 3-4 years from now, they'll be looking to move Pujols and come in with a budget more attuned to a mediocre — at best — baseball market. One plus for the Marlins — assuming they don't get Pujols — is that Reyes will drive Ramirez into "trade me or else" rebellion, allowing them to trade him for a half-dozen prospects that will make the Marlins contenders in 2014 or '15. (Of course, if they get Pujols, they can't trade Ramirez, at least for a couple of years until playing conjoined knuckleheads on the left side of the infield makes management looks like idiots. To get a sense of what that would be like, imagine Nyjer Morgan and Elijah Dukes competing for attention in the same outfield.)

  21. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Add to my reasoning that the Marlins' commitment to Pujols is not nearly as long as the length of the offer the rumor that the deal is built on long term deferred compensation.

  22. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    The reason no one has talked about Edwin Jackson is that the playoffs/World Series were on television.

  23. SCNatsFan - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    I don't know Theophilus Ramirez has always been such a team player (cough cough)… and I agree with the thoughts that no way the Miami fan base supports these type of contracts long term. For all those clammoring for the Nats to make a splash, I like the direction the team is headed, let Rizzo do his job. I'm as interested as any of you to see what is going to happen but lets not throw money away just to show we can.

  24. NatsTraveler - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    NatsfanNick said… The Nats seem to be a "Real Team" with players that know and like each other December 7, 2011 10:07 AM That is what scares me about BJ Upton, the Nats chemistry is there and to bring in a 1 year piece could have a reverse negative effect or he could play lights out knowing he is in a contract year.

  25. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Actually, we did see Morgan and Dukes together a little bit. Seemed to calm Nyjer down, from what I could tell. And trading Ramirez (which I agree looks like better than even money right now) might not be so easy–I think they would not get that handful of genuine prospects for him, in those circumstances.

  26. Unkyd - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Sorry Theo… Maybe it's a punctuation issue, but WTH did you just say?

  27. Binx Bolling - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    Pitching+Fielding+Timely Hitting=Winning Baseball. Always keep that in mind. Ignore that man behind the curtain.

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Re: Loria and the Marlins headlines…. Remember, their is a Security Excange Commission investigation of the whole stadium deal hanging over his head. Funny how he was SCREAMING poor house to get the politicos to fund his stadium and now he throws egg on all their faces by tossing all this cash around.

  29. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Last thought for the morning. I've sorta changed my mind about OF FAs, for those of you who are comfortable watching Werth struggle on balls hit over his head in CF. If you can live with that, the Nats should go all in for Carlos Beltran or Cuddyer. You get a corner outfielder (in Beltran's case, for 125 games) in the event Harper isn't ready/needs to be red-shirted until June/July, and a great trade chip in July. In Cuddyer's case, he's a backup at both corner IF spots, maybe even 2B; Beltran, if succeeded by Harper, is Johnson's ultimate hairy-chested guy off the bench.

  30. Section 222 - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Have to agree with Anon 9:26, except for the Fire Rizzo part. By the way, all you anons, did you know you can just pick a name by choosing "Name/URL" in the drop down menu? You don't have to sign up for anything to use it, nor do you need to put anything in the URL box. But I digress. The point is not that the Nats should all of a sudden try to get Pujols. But the idea that just sitting back and hoping that natural development of our young players will all come together at a magic moment a few years down the line and lead us to the promised land (or to a dynasty as somebody said) is fanciful. We have two or maybe three teams to get past to win the NL East, which has already become the best division in baseball. All of them are improving (with the exception of the Phillies I guess, but with that rotation, they are going to be pretty darn good for at least the next three years). Unless we want to be the Blue Jays or the Orioles of this division, we need to step up and invest in competing. To me, that means going after Prince — the premier LH bat on the market. It means upgrading our rotation to be able to shut down a pretty darn imposing new lineup for the Fish, a team that already has had our number for the past seven years. It means being willing to part with young fan favorites (Bernadina, Desmond) if they aren't living up to expectations and have value in a trade. It means building a bench that's not simply old guys found in the dumpster. Most of all, it means resetting our expectations and what we're going to be satisfied with. We have very rich owners in a very rich market. There is no reason we have to be content with being an ok team that is always three years away from contending.

  31. Steve M. - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:27 PM

    Theophilus, I mentioned Cuddyer also a few days ago and think Cuddyer being RH makes some sense given all the positions he can play including RF and 1B and even 3B. Don't know how is defensive metrics are in RF. He is also a Tidewater guy.

  32. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Theophilus said… Add to my reasoning that the Marlins' commitment to Pujols is not nearly as long as the length of the offer the rumor that the deal is built on long term deferred compensation. December 7, 2011 10:13 AM ———————-Unkyd said… Sorry Theo… Maybe it's a punctuation issue, but WTH did you just say? December 7, 2011 10:19 AM This one, Unk?If I may take a stab at translating…"Another reason I think the Marlins do not intend to keep Pujols for anything like the full ten years of the reported deal is the structure of the compensation, much of which is said to be in deferred payments beyond the ten years."

  33. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:29 PM

    Unkyd — Sorry, but I double-checked my punctuation. Other than a typo ("looks" instead of "look"), it is correct. Most people use too many commas. So I don't know which of my comments you don't understand.

  34. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    Thanks, Sofa.

  35. Wally - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    If the Nats sign a pitcher and can't trade for a CF, I think that they should think about offering Lannan to COL for Seth Smith (I like Lannan, but I think if they sign a SP, they will look to fill the #5 slot with a pre-arb guy like Det or Peacock or Milone). He is youngish, and could hit 1 or 2 (career line of .275/.348/.485 over 1,500 ABs, and his home/away splits aren't too bad). He also is a career + defender, although last year was a down year defensively.Theophilus said… The reason no one has talked about Edwin Jackson is that the playoffs/World Series were on television.Doesn't seem to have affected Wilson's market much.

  36. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    By the way, all you anons, did you know you can just pick a name by choosing "Name/URL" in the drop down menu? You don't have to sign up for anything to use it, nor do you need to put anything in the URL box.I already do that. The name I choose is Anonymous. You got a problem with that?

  37. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    I keep getting drawn into the conversation . . .. Steve M, based on Harper's 6-7 error performance in AZ, I don't think Cuddyer's defensive metrics in RF are an issue. If you can live w/ a guy in RF who makes an error every 4-5 games, you could live w/ Cuddyer (unless he turned out to be Adam Dunn). The only distinction is that Harper may get better. In time.

  38. Section 222 - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    Anon 10:36. Not really, just making sure that you and all the other anons know there is an easy way to participate in the discussion without being referred to as an always changing timestamp. But thanks for reposting my suggestion in case there's a less snarky anon out there who missed it.

  39. NatsTraveler - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    The big key in the Marlins push is the sale of suites in 3 yr and 5 yr commitments and advertising. Supposedly sales have really picked up and you would expect that with all the buzz.Is it all smoke and mirrors? Is there some other sinister plot? Loria, once a snake, always a snake. Tread lightly with caution tape!

  40. CN - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Pagan's name was thrown out there as a possibility, but the Mets traded him to SF for a reserve OF & reliever. Pagan did have a lot of mental lapses on the field, so I wonder if Rizzo talked to the Mets about him…http://espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/story/_/id/7325546/2011-winter-meetings-angel-pagan-san-francisco-giants-new-york-mets-moves

  41. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    The name I choose is Anonymous. You got a problem with that?We're already using that. Go find another one.

  42. Steve M. - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Theophilus, I am not worried at all about Harper's defense. 6 of his AZFL errors were on throws and most were of the aggressive nature.The Twins aren't a team I watch much so I have no recent visual knowledge of Cuddyer. I'm hoping he is better than Willingham and could be a 3 yr. $36 mill deal that gives Rizzo OF depth.The Nats pitchers deserve a decent defensive outfield but they also deserve run support which Cuddyer can give.

  43. Unkyd - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    That's the one! Thanks… I'm definitely guilty of hyper-commaing, so perhaps that's why I was a little in doubt… I had the gist, as it turned out, but I hadn't seen any $$ particulars…

  44. Jim Webster - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    May Loria do for the fish what he did for the Expos.

  45. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    Section 222 said… Anon 10:36. Not really, just making sure that you and all the other anons know there is an easy way to participate in the discussion without being referred to as an always changing timestamp.What's your problem with someone joining the discussion without having a cutesy nickname? If you're standing in the beer line at the ballpark shootin' the sh*t with the guys around you, do you demand ID before you deign to consider their comments? You think you're better than me just because you're speaking for an entire section? If I call myself Section 8, will that make you happy?

  46. Tegwar - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    I will be surprised but not shocked if the Cardinals do not match that offer. 22 million a year would make Pujols the third highest paid 1st baseman after Howard and Teixeira. Albert wants to be the highest paid 1st baseman and I think he will get that distinction.As for Ramirez it does not fit the narrative that the Marlins are trying to sell the fan base if they trade him. Not saying its impossible but I don't think its likely. Maybe management never let Ramirez know that they planned to sign Reyes but I doubt it.Also Reyes is a much better defensive SS than Ramirez. In fact Ramirez at best is an average defensive SS. He is a great hitter and I don't know if he can play 3rd but usually infielder don't like to become outfielders. Yea I know Yount did it and even got an MVP at both positions but I'm old enough to remember the switch and he had to learn that position and the first year was pretty tough.All these long term contract have a lot of risk but I think Reyes had the least risk of the big contracts given his age and the position he plays.As for upsetting the apple cart offer Pujols 3 years at 33 million making him the highest paid player in baseball and see if he takes it. Maybe 150 million over 5 years back loaded that will make his yearly contract bigger than Alex Rodriguez.

  47. lesatcsc - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Why anyone would sign with the Marlins is beyond me. First there is the owner. I don't know what Mr Loria is like as a human being, but as an owner he's a scuzzbag. Once a scuzzbag, always a scuzzbag. He talks a big game, but mostly fails to deliver. Pujols will rue the day he signs with themif he does.Second, there are the uniforms. What self-respecting professional baseball player would want their picture taken in those cartoon-like duds. That's just flat out embarassing!Third, if WS winning teams couldn't draw flies in Florida, what makes people believe this team will do any better. They won't give no-trade clauses because there is nothing they like better in Florida than the regular Marlin fire sales.Here's hoping that Hanley Ramirez categorically refuses to move positions, the team divides down Ramirez – Reyes lines and by July they are flying to road games on separate planes.

  48. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  49. Young Pitchers - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    does anyone have any update on Purke's supposedly 'trip' to Alabama? I believe I first read it here? Solis and Purke both? Yikes!

  50. Avar - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    My two cents on the Reyes signing is that it's risky. $20m per for a guy w/ injury problems.When healthy, he’s one of the best and is a 6 WAR guy. So, if he plays next year, they just picked up 6 wins because whoever plays SS/3B between he and Hanley, Reyes take at bats away from the hodge-podge of guys who played 3B for them last year and they were about replacement level. I think Bell was a waste for them as he’s not very good so nets them zero extra wins. So, for all their splash, I think they are up 6 wins at this point, best case. If Reyes can’t be on the field, then even less. I’m not that worried about the Fish yet.

  51. Jeeves - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    Exactly Steve M. I would bet that, very quickly, Harper will be an above average right fielder. He's a quick study, and would not embarrass himself even if he were to begin the season in the majors.

  52. DFL - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I like the idea of Cuddyer if the Nats are content that 1) LaRoche will be traded or won't be re-signed and Morse is moved to first opening left-field for Harper and 2) Werth will be the regular center-fielder for 3 years. Potentially, the Nats would have one of the heaviest hit attacks in baseball at the expense of a less than stellar outfield on defense. On Opening Day 2012 the Nats could field a line-up of Desmond, Werth, Zimmerman, Morse, LaRoche, Cuddyer, Espinosa and Ramos with Harper replacing LaRoche on September 1 or thereabouts.

  53. Got a handle - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    I note that spending a few extra seconds to create a temporary name (for others to conveniently refer in conversation) does not preclude someone from remaining anonymous (and therefore rude).

  54. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:25 PM

    Well, we sit, usually, in Section 223. So if I'm standing in the beer line w/ some guy whose Nats jersey has "Section 222" on the back, I can say, "Hi. Nice to meet you. I'm Theo." But if his shirt says Anonymous, I'm not so sure. Some of you I like, some of you I can take a pass on.

  55. V for anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    I post with a handle, but I wear a mask and disguise my voice when I do it. So there.

  56. whoa_now - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    the more I think about it the more I think the Nats are going to sign a FA CF. I think Rizzo has talked to everyone and everyone is asking for way too much. I think Rizzo is right for not trading away the future. many time waiting till the right time is an art. Hold back and see what develops. I think the Lerners have given him the go ahead to spend some cash..and he doesn't have to make a ill advised trade (Upton/Span). I think we'll have Aoki or Cespedes as our starting CF. The question is how does he relay this to Buerhle or Oswalt for signing purposes. You want to present to FA that you have a chance to win and win now. We need to prove that we are serious..so one signing is dependent on the other. I keep going back to Prince..and while I would love him. I don't think we need him. I would rather spend the same money on one SP and one elite CF. I think both Aoki or Cespedes (even without complete knowledge) would be equal to Upton or Span, with maybe higher upside…Is it worth it to spend the 40 million to get Cespedes or 25 million to Aoki and keep Detwiler/Lombo/Desmond (probably 2 of these to land Upton or Span)+ their salary. I'd rather spend cash on Aoki and a SP. Then trade something we could use later. It's not my money.

  57. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    I wear a mask and disguise my voice in the beer line. Not to stay anonymous, just so they won't cut me off.

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    I wear a mask in liquor stores, does that count?

  59. Section 222 - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Anon 10:53 — Yikes, did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed today? I was just trying to be helpful. Lighten up. And yes, feel free to adopt Section 8 as your moniker. That way you won't tar all the other Anons with your mean spirited and unnecessary attacks on other commenters.

  60. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Re: Cespedes. Keep in mind the list of Cuban success stories post-Hernandezes. Not long. Re: Aoki. Keep in mind the list of Japanese success stories since post-Ichiro. Also not long. If the Nats were to spend significant dollars on either of them they would be advised to invest heavily in Lotto tickets as an insurance policy.

  61. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Out of the night when the moon is just right comes the "Z" that stands for Zorro …. errr anonymii?

  62. Unkyd - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    Sometimes, I wear a Lone Ranger mask, to bed (my lovely bride has quite a silver bullet collection)…..badum-pissssshhThank you! I'll be here all winter….

  63. Anonymous - Dec 7, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    The Nats are going to stand pat in CF … its why Johnson convinced Rizzo to put Werth in CF for most of the end of last season … to show him that going out and doing something crazy was unnecessary. And you know what? He's right.They still do have Corey Brown who is better than average fielding-wise and left-handed. They have Bernadina. And starting in AAA with Lombardozzi, plus Kobernus and Perez in AA lead-off types are working their way up. They still need to learn to have Derek Norris OBP's. Oh yeah Norris is ready offensively all he needs is better defensive catching in Syracuse. Lots of guys could be ready soon! Not just pitchers! Not just Harper. That's the plan that wrong-side-of-the-bed anonymous is criticizing. While its true that Stan and JimBo did not have one, Rizzo, Clark, Minniti, Harris, and Johnson DO. Let them work it before you dash it on the rocks.

  64. whoa_now - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    I get your point Theo…and I agree. But I'm against trading the farm for Upton/Span/Bourjos. I figure that Cespedes and or Aoki would produce similar to any of those three. I'm sort of with Rizzo here, I want a above avg defensive CF with a good OBP. Aoki seems to fit the bill with OBP..but he lacks an arm. Cespedes is more unknown, but is supposed to be very athletic and the Nats have scouted him forever. I trust them, if they like what they see and think he would be a good fit in CF, then I forget about the posting fee. My point is instead of trading (Det/Lomb) for Upton and then paying him 7-8 million a year in 2013-2016 I'd rather pay the posting fee, call it a sunk cost or call it a fee to keep Det/Lomb and pay one of these Aoki 4-6 million for 4 yrs or 5-8 million to Cepesdes for 4 yrs. The posting fee for Aoki is anywhere from 10-15 million, the posting fee for Cepesdes is 15-25 million…Is it worth the risk? Is retaining Det and/or another prospect worth the 3-5 million per year you would keep them? I kinda think so.

  65. Tegwar - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    Avar,You are correct the risk is Reyes health but he is still relatively young and I think he can continue to play SS for 4 of those years. If Reyes averages 130 games a season his WAR number would be a little over 4. I think a 1 WAR is now thought to be worth 4.5 million dollars so if that is true he would be worth 18 Million and that is what I think his contract is, six year for 106 million or 18 million a year. If he averages less than 120 games a season or if there is a big drop off in his hitting than he probably won't live up to his contract. However last year was Reyes best hitting year ever so it hard to argue that he is past his prime? Reyes also vastly improves the Marlins defense. Last year with Ramirez injury Bonifacio started 30 games for the Marlins at SS. The bigger question for the Marlins is can Ramirez bounce back from last year because if he didn't and they had not picked up Reyes the team could not win. So a Reyes that can't play makes this a bad deal but one who can play 3/4 of the time makes it a fair deal.

  66. Whoa_now - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Ideally, we could trade for Bourjos. I just don't see us trading for any centerfielder currently in the league without giving up something we would rather keep. Be it Detwiler, Peacock, Lambo, Desi..or a couple of players. good center fielders are hard to come by..which is why we're in this position. The rays are NOT just going to trade Upton for Cutter Dykstra. The Angels aren't going to Bourjos for Detwiler and a PTBNL. They want real MLB talent. We have a couple of outfielders in the pipeline, but they won't be here for a few more years. I say sign one of the internationals to a 4 yr deal and hope he works out. If not, you still can make a trade. Yes you've hurt yourself with the payroll, but you've paid for more options. I'm just not certain who to go after? Aoki or Cepesdes? Depends on the cost.

  67. whoa_now - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    Anon;I don't want Werth in center. I think its a bad idea. Can he play center? yes. Is he a great defensive CF? no. Will it shorten his career? yes. While you mention everyone I'm also excited about, they are all atleast 2 yrs away, with the exception of Lomb. I'm sorry, while I like Bernadina, he is not the answer in center. I've made up my mind, I think it should be Cepesdes.

  68. Tegwar - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:38 PM

    ESPN reports Cardinals match Marlins offer of 220 million. Who guessed that might happen? Unless some Jayson Werth crazy offer comes out of the blue like the ones I suggested to upset the apple cart the Cardinals will match any offer.

  69. Theophilus - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Cespedes is reported to have a weak arm.So, I am firmly in the Status Quo column. Ankiel in CF until Harper comes up, then move Werth over. Hopefully we won't have too many pitchers refusing to pitch w/ a shaky defense behind them.That's the big worry. Long term, Nats need a good glove, good arm CF. Rizzo has spoken of acquiring pieces with an eye on using them to acquire other pieces. That's why I'm warming to the idea of signing Cuddyer or Beltran — come mid-July, they could be traded to a desperate team for a top-level prospect.

  70. the catcher - Dec 7, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    I only wear my mask behind the plate.

  71. Tcostant - Dec 7, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    Prince Albert has to balance two teams, if the report details are correct. Both teams offering about $220M/10 Years with a no trade.Cards – Defacto no trade clause because of 10/5 status. When you career is over, you have a statue at the stadium entrance and never have to pay for a beer in a St/ Louis bar.Marlins – No state sales tax, makes the $220M offer, like $230M in a taxable state like Missouri. Major Latin community. Player’s manager.I would pick St Louis, but it is interesting.

  72. Tcostant - Dec 7, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    Opps – $220M/10 Years without a no trade clause.

  73. Feel Wood - Dec 7, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Marlins – No state sales tax, makes the $220M offer, like $230M in a taxable state like Missouri. Major Latin community. Player’s manager.But with much of the money being deferred (as reported by Peter Gammons last night on MLB Network) makes the $220M offer worth considerably less in today's dollars. Unless the next four or five presidential administrations are able to completely eliminate inflation, of course.

  74. Matt - Dec 7, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    Apparently, Marlins signed Buerhle to 4/58 per MLBTR. Evidently, Marlins spree WILL affect the Nats. Ugh.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 68 4.0
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 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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