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Nats sign 9 to minor-league deals

Dec 20, 2011, 4:14 PM EDT

The Nationals announced the signings of nine players to minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training: outfielders Jason Michaels, Xavier Paul and Brett Carroll; infielders Chad Tracy, Andres Blanco and Jarrett Hoffpauir; catcher Carlos Maldonado; and right-handers Jeff Fulchino and Waldis Joaquin.

The club also announced it has extended spring training invitations to reliever Rafael Martin, catcher Sandy Leon and outfielder Corey Brown.

Of the non-roster invitees, Michaels, Tracy and Paul have the most big-league experience.

Michaels, 35, is a career .263 hitter with 59 homers and a .339 on-base percentage in parts of 11 seasons with the Phillies, Indians, Pirates and Astros. The veteran, who has played all three outfield positions, hit just .199 in 89 games with Houston this season.

Tracy, 31, owns a career .278 average, 79 homers and .337 on-base percentage in seven seasons with the Diamondbacks, Marlins and Cubs. Originally drafted in 2001 by Nationals GM Mike Rizzo (when he was scouting director for Arizona), the corner infielder played this season in Japan.

Paul, 26, is a .246 hitter with a .288 on-base percentage in 183 career games (128 of them coming this season with the Dodgers andRead more »

  1. Binx Bolling - Dec 20, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    Paul, Hoffpauir, Blanco and Carroll are AAA fillers, wannabe Bixlers, who are emergency call-ups. Tracy has a good shot. Plays left, right, first and third. Has some power. Hit 27 homers in '05 and 20 in '06. A long time ago. Hasn't had 300 plate appearances in a season since 2006. Michaels is through. Maldonaldo might stick if Flores is traded and the Nats think Ramos can catch 140 games.

  2. Will - Dec 20, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    This makes the loss of Komatsu even more painful.Would it really have been that difficult to have put him on the 40 man?Yeah, I know most Rule 5 draftees don't stay with their teams for a full season, but we have serious OF depth problems. Komatsu would have started in Syracuse and could have been available if either Morse or Werth, god forbid, get injured.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    I dunno. I don't understand these annual, so-called "minor league contracts." Most of these guys seem WAY past their prime and of little or no use to the Nationals, with the possible exception of Maldonaldo. If these are the MEGA additions to the team next year, the Nats are in for a REAL long year (already).

  4. Steady Eddie - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Anon — "Minor league contracts" = spring training tryouts. It's a cattle call to see who might have enough to be on the bench, that's all.

  5. Whatsanattau - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:07 PM

    Oh brother, how can you follow baseball and not understand that these are the types of deals that every major league team does to give themselves the capability of keeping AA talent at AA while filling out AAA rosters and protecting the major league roster against 15 day DL injurries. As for Komatsu, if he sticks with StL too bad, but he won't.

  6. erocks33 - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:08 PM

    One player I want the Nats to sign this offseason to fill a bench role is Reed Johnson. This guy can play all 3 OF positions and is just one of those pesky hitters that somehow always seems to get on-base (well, against the Nats at least).As for all these guys being signed (including Mike Cameron), who cares? They're all minor-league deals and most will have little to no impact on the 25-man roster.

  7. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:09 PM

    Will, Komatsu could be back with the Nats on March 31st. I wouldn't worry about it. He actually struggled in Harrisburg so unless he catches on quickly in Spring Training, they won't carry him onto the 25 man roster.Corey Brown may one day prove to be worth his advanced billing. The pressure is off him now but age is catching up with him. He has gone back to his batting stance he had in 2010 where he showed his power and bat speed. Take his Spring Training ankle injury and add too much tinkering of his swing and then the knee infection in his September call-up and 2011 was a year to write-off.

  8. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    erocks33 said… One player I want the Nats to sign this offseason to fill a bench role is Reed Johnson. This guy can play all 3 OF positions and is just one of those pesky hitters that somehow always seems to get on-base (well, against the Nats at least).As for all these guys being signed (including Mike Cameron), who cares? They're all minor-league deals and most will have little to no impact on the 25-man roster. December 20, 2011 12:08 PM Agreed. I have mentioned his name as bench filler a few times and the fact he is a RH bat would be a nice addition. He's 35 years old and with 200 at-bats a year, he could be a nice addition at a decent price.

  9. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:16 PM

    Corey Brown may one day prove to be worth his advanced billing. The pressure is off him now but age is catching up with him.And injuries as aptly pointed out. I'm not sure he fits on a bench with Bernadina already on it … but given the loss of lefties Nix and likely Ankiel Brown might provide the answer. And it might be a way for him to get more playing time if he does well. But he really has to perform in ST; Morse-like, so maybe the pressure isn't exactly off?

  10. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    Anon, Corey is off the 40 man so he can't sink much lower right now. He has a good attitude and works hard. The kid just doesn't catch any breaks with these injuries.

  11. Wally - Dec 20, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    For bench guys, I'd consider Cody Ross or Andruw Jones for the RH OF slot. Ross probably sees himself as a starter, but if that market doesn't materialize, he might see the chance for 400 ABs here at various OF spots. As for INF, I like Keppinger and Casey Blake (might be the same spot as Ross) or even Russell Branyan. Those guys mostly fill the "bat" requirements.

  12. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:19 PM

    Wally, glad you recognize that the Nats have to address a RH OF bench player. You are correct on Cody Ross that he wants to start and he will be expensive. Andruw Jones is a viable option off the bench except he really hasn't done much as a pinch hitter in his career. He was more a LF fill-in last year and occassional DH.I also like the opportunity for Lombardozzi to compete for the utility IF and hope they get him some outfield reps so he could fit into the Hairston role.

  13. Mark'd - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Steve/Wally, I thought Mike Cameron was brought here as the RH outfielder to platoon with Bryce Harper and Bernadina.

  14. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Mark'd, I don't disagree that Cameron was brought in as a RH bench player, let's face it, Rizzo can do better which is what we are talking about.Andres Blanco is a switch-hitter that Texas was trying to turn into a super utility player but never got much time in the outfield. He seems like Rizzo's best Minor League signing so far as he is 27 years old and had a good 2010 season. Not sure what happened to him in 2011.

  15. Will - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    Wally, good point on Jones. I missed that he was still available.I still think Carlos Beltran makes a lot of sense, if the Nationals are prepared to play Werth in CF. Next year, Morse will move back to 1B, which will give enough space for both Beltran and Harper to start. He was one of the top 5 best batters available this offseason, but considerably cheaper than Pujols or Fielder. He's got great OBP skills, and can still play CF (albeit infrequently).It's also interesting that in 2013, the Astros will move to the AL, and Inter-League games will be played throughout the season. Essentially, you'll have an interleague matchup (and a DH spot when away) evenly throughout the season. It would make players like Beltran more appealing. Instead of benching them for some rest, they could just bat as the DH, adding perhaps another 10 games to their total each season.

  16. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:36 PM

    Wally, glad you recognize that the Nats have to address a RH OF bench player. You are correct on Cody Ross that he wants to start and he will be expensive. Ankiel also wants to start (although only God knows why he thinks he should?) and that is likely why he hasn't signed with the Nats or anyone else but the offseason is still young.The Nats had a right handed bat on the bench and I believe it was Marerro. However, Marerro won't be available until July. The other right handed bat? Jesus Flores. Makes sense if he keeps hitting the way he has in Venezuelan league … BUT if they keep Solano on the roster as a third catcher? With Maldonado and Norris in Syracuse it sure looks like he is going to be on the 24-man to me. Plus its clear that Sandy Leon is going to Harrisburg along with new pickup Beau Seabury. That leaves Nieto, Leonida, and Freitas for Potomac and Wilfri Pena, Mayo et al for Hagerstown. So, I would pencil in Flores as my right-handed bat on the bench. Solano as the backup defensive catcher (although his offense has improved markedly in Syracuse!)It looks like they plan on giving Tyler Moore a full year in AAA. Jesus Valdez was now in Syracuse and could be a decent right handed bat …

  17. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Anon, Davey doesn't believe in using his catcher off the bench. As of right now, JFlo is the only bench player I think guaranteed a spot (if he isn't traded).

  18. The Dude Abides - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    Why do have to keep informing this Anon that it's a TWENT FIVE (that's 25) man roster????Why is that so friggin hard?!?!?

  19. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Anon, Davey doesn't believe in using his catcher off the bench. As of right now, JFlo is the only bench player I think guaranteed a spot (if he isn't traded).That's precisely why he currently HAS THREE Ramos, Flores, and Solano. And of the three Solano is definitely a good choice defensively. Again, there's no room in Syracuse as the catching prospects move up in the pipeline. So, unless Flores is traded I suspect you'll see him as the right handed bat … and who knows perhaps they will try him at other positions? That would definitely work with Solano who has played 2nd base in winter ball and in AAA Syracuse. Rizzo is attempting to build Johnson his veteran bench. But my hunch is that Johnson will select two veterans and find the rest internally. I wouldn't bet against Brown, Bernadina, Flores, Solano, Lombardozzi.

  20. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Carlos Beltran would be an impact player. I just don't see him on Rizzo's radar probably because he is looking for a 2 to 3 year deal. Beltran would play RF which moves Werth to CF. Beltran's numbers against RH pitching is amongst the best in baseball.The problem occurs when you bring Harper up. Who sits or can you rotate them enough to get to the best matchups?I am all for 4 quality outfielders especially when you have a good lefty/righty mix and the fact that Beltran is a switch hitter is perfect.I start writing this stuff and start daydreaming on the possibilities. Just don't see Rizzo doing it.

  21. Just sayin' - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:00 PM

    Per MLBTR, Oswalt is now seeking only a one-year deal.Re the Anon who keeps saying '24-man' roster, I suspect (a) he/she is trying to make some obscure point, (b) he/she is just pulling your chain; or (c) both (a) an (b). Let it go.

  22. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:02 PM

    Anon, no way Davey carries those 3 catchers to start the season. That's what you do in September when you expand the rosters. There's not enough playing time to keep Ramos and Flores happy. The 5 day/2 day rotation is probably the best Flores will get.

  23. wally - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Will – good point on the interleague games, I hadn't thought about it (are there more interleague games, or are they just more spread out?). I like Beltran too. If they could get Prince for 7 years or less, I think that I would pay up, since I see him as an elite hitter through our known window of opportunity. But barring that and with the market as pricey as it has seems to be for players in their prime or under lengthy control, I think the best 'value' could be Oswalt and Beltran on 3/$36m deals. I see both as productive players with injury concerns, but the salaries are reasonable enough, especially during the next few years when team payroll projects to be low, and short term enough that it shouldn't influence any extension decisions for RZimm, JZimm, Stras, etc. But I am with SteveM – I don't see Rizzo going for either guy.

  24. PAY TO PLAY - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    "@Just sayin' said… Per MLBTR, Oswalt is now seeking only a one-year deal."If that's the deal, sign him now! And yes, the Anon with the 24 man complex, you've been corrected 24 times.

  25. Wally - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:28 PM

    Changing topics, I thought that this was a great read on GMs and putting together baseball teams. My takeaway, which maybe isn't completely obvious from the article, is that when you find yourself with some truly talented players, like a Strasburg, RZim, Harper, you should go for it.Overthinking ItKeeping Up with the Friedmanshttp://www.baseballprospectus.com/a/15703

  26. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:35 PM

    Anon, no way Davey carries those 3 catchers to start the season. That's what you do in September when you expand the rosters. There's not enough playing time to keep Ramos and Flores happy. The 5 day/2 day rotation is probably the best Flores will get.Then that means one of Flores or Norris gets traded as there isn't room for Maldonado, Solano, and Norris in Syracuse. If Johnson wants a right-handed bat you're going to do a lot worse than Flores scouring the waiver wires. I guess it boils down to which players will be involved in any big moves Rizzo, Johnson, Clark, etc plan to make before ST.

  27. Tcostant - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Random thoughts on comments here:Reed Johnson would be a great addition.Ankiel thinks his market value is what the Dodgers gave Rivera. When his price comes down (and it will) he will re-sign.Oswalt has said he would take a one-year deal, so he is not getting good enough overs. This is Rizzo's chance to offer two years and steal him before the Yankees over one year.I still love them to play for Gio.Happy Holidays!

  28. Will - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Regarding Beltran,No team has been willing to give him 3 years. It seems like his sticking point. I'd offer 2/$28mil, but if 3/$30mil would do the trick, there's really no harm in adding a 3rd year for $2mil. I think it's definitely something Rizzo would be smart to explore.Oswalt on a 1 year deal is very appealing. But I'm not convinced that we need another pitcher. I'd be more than happy to see Peacock, Milone and Detwiler battle for starts. Oswalt would just block Milone and Peacock from getting starts.

  29. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Wally, thanks for the read. The GMs office seems more evolving from hardened scout driven to a higher IQ guy at the top surrounded by good scouts and a planned direction. Rizzo seems to be born of "scout" and more old school. Theo Epstein, DiPoto, Friedman, etc and these younger guys are this new breed.I think Friedman is the best of them all. What that guy has done on a small budget is simply amazing. The new CBA doesn't favor losing Free Agents as much so the other key is evolving to the ever changing environment.I also think owners deserve credit in the process also. Hard to believe any GM could make the bad situation in Baltimore into a good one.This is well put:An impressive resume doesn’t always translate into success. This is true in any field, but with a job as demanding and pressure-packed as the modern general manager’s, there’s always some uncertainty. Maybe the GM won't prove to be good at motivating or delegating when he's the top dog. Maybe he'll tire of the big-market media grind. Maybe he'll act out of self-interest instead of doing what's best for the organization. No GM comes with a guarantee, even if he's already succeeded somewhere else

  30. blovy8 - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    Nothing is going to happen. Maybe some of these guys are waiting for their market, but I am dubious.

  31. blovy8 - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:02 PM

    As a scout, Rizzo parts hard with his guys. Perhaps that's as it should be. But if you believe that, there aren't going to be any blockbuster deals, and there just aren't any free agents to buy who are better than his own guys, or a Cespedes bid to believe will beat another club.

  32. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Will, I would take Oswalt for a 1 year deal but he is as much a liability or more than Wang and Detwiler.I thought Rizzo's plan to have a #3 pitcher who wouldn't strain the bullpen was a very good idea until he didn't get Buehrle.Strasburg has a 160 innings limit. JZim can go 180 to 200 innings. Lannan 180 to 200 innings.Wang and Detwiler are big question marks. In AAA, Milone and Peacock are available for spot starts and can take over for Strasburg.In theory, it all sounds good until you have one of those bad weeks where 3 starters can't make it through 5 innings.I felt good coming into the off-season that the team could use Mark Buehrle. I probably like the upside and cost of Joe Saunders even better. Very similar pitchers and Saunders is younger and pitches much better on the road.Oswalt when healthy is a #2 or #3. If you can't get Saunders, get Oswalt.

  33. blovy8 - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    Oswalt on a one year with an option is a no-brainer. They're insured on these things, and the option is contingent. You get your third starter for this year, and have the freedom to try out the arms that deserve starts so you have a better idea of what you need when Strasburg can pitch a full year.

  34. Wally - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:18 PM

    SteveM – agreed on Friedman. When I think about what might be the last area of true competitive advantage, I think about medical work and Tampa is one of the teams trying to push the envelope there. If you think about it, all of us usually just shrug our shoulders about injuries (and I think that GMs mostly do the same thing). I mean, players need to train and take it seriously, but injuries just happen, right, especially to pitchers? No way to predict them, or avoid them. But if you are a GM and could crack that nut and keep your better players on the field 95% of the time? Pretty big advantage. I remember reading Keri's book on Tampa (Extra 2% or something like that) and he talked about how they are trying to push the envelope on medical training and injury avoidance. They analyzed changes to a pitcher's delivery when he gets tired, and then incorporate PitchFx data into their daily analysis, in real time, if I remember correctly, and relay to Madden in the clubhouse if they see a pitcher's mechanics starting to slip a little bit so that madden pulls him. I don't know if that is actually working, but I thought it extremely innovative.But what I meant about going for it when you have the players: with so many teams getting 'smart', the deviations (both high and low) are less (meaning more teams regressive to average) and 1990's era ATL extended excellence may be a thing of the past. So that if you find yourself with control of truly exceptional players during their peak period, it is unusual (or lucky) so it might be worth a lot to double down and maximize your wins during that span, because when they are gone, you will likely spend a lot of time back in the middle of the pack, regardless of how good your farm system seems right now. Could apply to the Nats over the next 4-6 years.

  35. lesatcsc - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    I sure like Oswalt at one year better than three. It says that he has confidence that his back will hold up and allow him to command huge dollars next year as a FA. If he was uncertain that he was going to hold up, I suspect he would be waiting for someone to give him the extra years – and sooner or later someone would have, there just aren't enough quality pitchers floating around. He might have taken a slight discount for added security but he would have gotten it. Obviously he doesn't feel he needs it.I like Saunders too, but Oswalt gives you an ace and Saunders doesn't. Oswalt only pitched 139 innings last year, but he pitched over 200 6 of the 7 years before that and has done it 7 times in his career. Either will do, but I like Oswalt better for either one year or two.I also like Oswalt better than trading for Gio. Oswalt only costs money.

  36. DL in VA - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    "Oswalt on a 1 year deal is very appealing. But I'm not convinced that we need another pitcher. I'd be more than happy to see Peacock, Milone and Detwiler battle for starts. Oswalt would just block Milone and Peacock from getting starts."If Oz just wants 1 year, I say we offer him 1 year with a mutual option for a second year and another mutual option for the third. A relaxation in Oz's demands is just what we need to pounce! As for him blocking Milone and Peacock, note how many Syracuse starters got starts during the season over the last few years. Milone and Peacock will certainly see time in DC in 2012, even if they start the year in Syracuse. In 2011, we used 11 starters over the course of the year. In 2010 we used 14. In 2009, we used 12. Believe me, we'll see plenty of Milone and Peacock in 2012.

  37. DL in VA - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    And Detwiler, unless we trade him.

  38. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    blovy8 said… As a scout, Rizzo parts hard with his guys. Perhaps that's as it should be. But if you believe that, there aren't going to be any blockbuster deals, and there just aren't any free agents to buy who are better than his own guys, or a Cespedes bid to believe will beat another club. December 20, 2011 3:02 PM That was a big issue last year sticking with "his" guys. Rizzo stuck with Stairs and tried to almost prove a point. It was costly as Stairs was one of the worst players in the Majors. He was actually worse than the 2010 version of Justin Maxwell.Part of my criticism in 2011 with Rizzo was his inability to make changes on the fly with guys like Gaudin, Broderick, Burnett, Slaten, and HenRod in the bullpen and Stairs and Cora on the bench and the injury with LaRoche and Zimmerman.This 2012 team already looks to be better on paper so I don't see quite as many variables of concern outside of the usual issues all clubs face with injuries and under-performance. Its how you deal with them. With Davey at the helm, I think we can say there's a new sheriff in town.

  39. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    lesatcsc said… I also like Oswalt better than trading for Gio. Oswalt only costs money. December 20, 2011 3:19 PM Saunders road numbers are #2 quality. If he could be the typical pitcher and give you better numbers in his home park, Saunders could be a top #2.Oswalt is a solid #2 and he is also RH and I don't think he will do as good as 2011.Give me either, but I love Saunders upside potential.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Most guys want to go into the new year knowing what there future is so I see some big stuff happening in the next 10 days.Blovy…. you bring up a great point on Rizzo…. he really does like his own guys witness the impossible to dump Garrett Mock. He's going to have to learn to leave emotion out of his decisions and listen to his organizational guys.And I really believe Ted Lerner wants to see a bonafide contender in Washington while he's still here so that means sooner than later. And Steve M… I've tossed the Beltran idea around quite a bit and kind of like the idea of a solid switch hitting corner outfielder. But like you, I'm not sure Rizzo wants to commit beyond this year.

  41. markfd - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Blanco could end up being this year's Alex Cora and I like the signing of Xavier Paul, he could be a nice roleplayer in the future, very fast!

  42. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    DL in VA, I also don't see anybody getting blocked. If anything, Peacock and Milone get to take what they learned in their September callups and work on some of their technique. Two good kids. The Nats are doing a good job bringing these kids through the system and not rushing them.

  43. Feel Wood - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    Part of my criticism in 2011 with Rizzo was his inability to make changes on the fly with guys like Gaudin, Broderick, Burnett, Slaten, and HenRod in the bullpen and Stairs and Cora on the bench and the injury with LaRoche and Zimmerman.You've named guys there who were all either out of options or Rule 5 and therefore unable to be moved. Short of cutting them outright (or shutting them down for large chunks or even all of the season in the case of injured players)what is there that a GM could have done "on the fly"? And keep in mind that once the player is cut or 60-day DLed, he has to be replaced and that replacement is going to be, by definition, a step down. Too many such quick hooks and you're fielding a team full of AAAA guys. Thus it makes sense to take a bit of time, see if the player snaps out of his funk or heals a bit from his injury and perhaps starts to be productive again before taking the point-of-no-return action of releasing him or shutting him down. Your "on the fly" approach if applied last year would have had Rizzo shooting his entire wad before the All Star Break. The second half of the season would not have been pretty.Are you really trying to have us believe that a different GM could have taken what Rizzo had going into the 2011 season and pulled better than an 80-81 record out of it? I don't think so.

  44. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    NatsJack, isn't it interesting when you are looking at a quality ballplayer you can find a way to adjust to make him fit especially in the Outfield and even better if he is a switch hitter.I also agree with you on Ted Lerner. I think he wants to win now. They went into the season with a good plan and a friend of mine said the plan was on a tree with branches with many different contingency plans. We also know that the team finished strong last year and there were only 3 to 5 spots to work on. Unfortunately, those 3 to 5 spots haven't been fixed yet.Beltran could be a good fix. Coco Crisp could be a decent fix. Prince Fielder could be over-kill. Joe Saunders and Oswalt could help.I am hoping for 1 decent fix that won't empty the farm system so I prefer Free Agency.

  45. Steve M. - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Feel Wood, you are correct, easier said than done. Rizzo did come to the right decisions eventually, but waited way too long to make them. The only one he stuck with the whole year was Burnett and Cora and Burnett finally got on track and Cora was a non-factor. If Burnett wasn't under contract for 2012, I think he would have DFA'd him too.Rizzo just needs to move quicker is what most saw as the inevitable. It was written about daily on the Blogs especially with Stairs. A total waste of a roster space on Opening Day and beyond.

  46. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    Steve M….We agree 100%….and I'm actually OK if they decide to go all in on Fielder as long as it's no more than 7 years.

  47. BullpenCatcher - Dec 20, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    I am dissappointed that the Nats did not try to reacquire Endy Chavez, he is a guy who can help out at all 3 OF positions, he is better than Bernadina as a utlity OF.

  48. NatinBeantown - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    RE: GM styles and roster assembly, I am really struck by one major difference between the Freidmans and Beane's of the world and someone like Rizzo (whom I like and think does a good job).Bad GMs (Minaya, Bowden) load up on names that cost more than there performance, usually on the back end of their careers.Good GMs stockpile cheap, minor league talent. But those GMs fall into two camps once that talent is on the cusp of contributing.Teams like Tampa, SD and Oakland are open to trading their major league players of established value for yields of younger talent, because they know they have solid (cheaper) replacements ready to go. This is due to design or financial circumstance (likely both).Teams like Cincinnati and Washington seem more inclined to keep their MLB players, and more open to trading the "blocked" prospects. This is because there is less risk with the established players and less turnover, but the trade yeilds are less (the Latos deal is a perfect example of both sides of this).The fan experience of the second group is far more rewarding (what Cincy or Nats fan honestly wants to reap the haul that Votto or Zimm would yield)? But the first group is considered the gold standard of MLB front offices.I don't really have a point other than I really appreciate the informed opinions of many regular posters, and would love to hear reaction. (I've always hoped Mark would take this on as a post topic).

  49. blovy8 - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Actually, I think Burnett is a pretty good pitcher. So sue me. Left-handers are a different breed, I think he's pretty solid. I think performance should matter more than a balanced lineup or pitching staff. You can win with one bullpen lefty if you just get guys out, or pitch around the guys you can't get out.

  50. Mark'd - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    I'm a kiss butt. If SteveM and NatsJack are on the same page, you know NatsTown is moving in the right direction. Get Prince!

  51. Gonat - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:23 PM

    I think most of us want to see 1 player picked up that we can see is an improvement over last year. The off-season goal was an outfielder and #3 pitcher. There is still time left to see if Rizzo can improve this team.

  52. NatsLady - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Go for Oswalt– quick!

  53. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    The Nats would likely have to over-pay by multiple Millions to land Oswalt. If he truly wants a 1 year deal to re-establish his value, then he's likely going to do that for a more solidly projected winning club.dfh21

  54. Sunderland - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    I would think Oswalt would want very much to stay in the NL. Switching leagues would be too risky. He'd also want to avoid the west coast. And Philly is out, since they already passed on him at $14M. Atlanta might be ideal for him, closer to home. But I'd say we certainly have a shot.

  55. lesatcsc - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Anon 4:50:Then pay a premium! Besides, who says the Nats aren't a projected winning club? Particularly if they add Oswalt to the rotation?

  56. Sunderland - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    Here's something I had never heard, from wikipedia. Maybe the Nat's shoulda tried this on CMW.In 1999, when Oswalt was with the Class A Michigan Battle Cats in the Midwest League, he suffered an apparently serious shoulder injury. After a month of pain in his upper shoulder, Oswalt was convinced that his shoulder was torn. Shortly thereafter, he was checking the spark plug wires on his pickup truck. He touched one of the spark plug wires, causing the truck's engine to start. The truck's electric current flowed through Oswalt's body, and consequently the muscles in his hand tightened on the spark plug wire. Unable to let go of it, Oswalt grasped the wire for almost one minute. Oswalt then claimed his foot slipped off the truck's bumper and he was finally "thrown off." After the electric shock, Oswalt told his wife that his shoulder's condition improved and that he no longer felt any pain. According to Sports Illustrated, he reported it thus to his wife: "My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don't hurt no more."[2] Apparently, the electric charge loosened accumulated scar tissue in the shoulder. Oswalt claims he has not felt any pain in his shoulder since the incident.

  57. Will - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    NatinBeantown,How often do San Diego and Oakland make the playoffs? And you can't have the Rays of the late 2000s without the abysmal Rays of the late 90s and early 00s.Would you honestly want to be an A's fan? All their best players are dealt as soon as possible. They've had Hudson, Haren, Harden, Carlos Gonzalez, Matt Holliday (just off the top of my head) traded away for mere prospects, most of whom never panned out. Those that did were promptly traded away.There are positive elements of both GM styles you mentioned. The smart GMs are the ones that don't stick to one script, but can act dynamically.

  58. Mark'd - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    Casey Blake is off the board.

  59. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    Philly Daily News' Bill Conlin off the board too. If ever there was a guy destined to go directly to Hell, it is Bill Conlin.

  60. Section 222 - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:26 PM

    I wouldn't want to disappoint those of you who think I never miss a chance to make a "The Nats should sign Prince Fielder" comment no matter how remotely it is related to the discussion. So here, I just want to make sure everyone saw this trip down memory lane. http://www.natsenquirer.com/2011/12/prince-fielder-in-washington-nationals-1992-mcdonalds.htmlNow cue the jokes about how young Prince must have taken his sponsorship of McDonald's a little too seriously.

  61. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2011 at 11:48 PM

    He does bear a striking resemblance to Mayor McCheese. Which reminds me of a classic Onion story . . .http://www.onionsportsnetwork.com/articles/cc-sabathia-prince-fielder-keep-imagining-each-oth,2493/dfh21

  62. Just sayin' - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    Sunderland @ 5:11 p.m.,Another alternative to improving one's pitching is the Mordecai "Three Fingers" Brown approach…maybe more effective, but certainly messier than an electric shock…

  63. Wally - Dec 21, 2011 at 3:26 AM

    Just saw a blurb on MLB Trade Rumors that the Rox are going to play Cuddyer in RF, and move CarGo to CF. Maybe Fowler is available after all?

  64. Wally - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:26 AM

    Actually, forget that. MLBTR had it wrong, CarGo moves to left, according to the original tweet. Fowler still in CF and Smith to bench

  65. Anonymous - Dec 21, 2011 at 4:28 AM

    They could use both Oswalt and Gio Gonzalez. Make no mistake. After JZimmnn I would put my money on Tommy Milone. Lannan should be trade bait. Peacock probably needs a year of seasoning in Syracuse if Harper does. Detwiler is still an unknown … and still inconsistent.But Milone has done everything you could ask and graduated from every single level of the minors. Far superior to Lannan because he throws strikes and keeps the ball down. OswaltGonzalezJZimmnnStrasburgMiloneDetwiler and Gorzelanny in the bullpen with Stammen. Release or trade Wang. Trade Lannan.

  66. Farid Rushdi - Dec 21, 2011 at 5:32 AM

    Releasing Wang makes no sense, not after patiently waiting for him for two seasons. And after that injury, no one would trade for him.Wang had two full season before injury took away his sinker. Here was that two-year average:19-6. 3.67, 9.3/2.4/3.966% of games started were quality starts.He had a 1.56 ground-out / fly-out ration & 1.56 ground ball / fly ball ratio. Last season–in 12 games–Wang went 4.3 with a 4.04 ERA, 9.3/2.4/3.It seems that Wang seems ready to duplicate those two years in the mid to late 1990's.

  67. Anonymous - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:19 AM

    Jz AND Straz 3 and 4, I don't think so.

  68. Sunderland - Dec 21, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    By "mid to late 1990's" I take it you mean 2006 and 2007? If you have expectation that CMW will again be the pitcher he was 5 years ago, I think you need to reset your expectations. He certainly could be good and useful, but a guy who lands in the top 5 of the Cy Young voting? Not likely.

  69. natsfan1a - Dec 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Sunderland, I always liked that Oswalt story, which I first heard during the 2005 postseason, when he was with the Astros.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 76 57 --
ATLANTA 71 64 6.0
MIAMI 65 68 11.0
NEW YORK 63 72 14.0
PHILADELPHIA 61 73 15.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Mariners, 9:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Mariners, 4:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Dodgers, 8:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Dodgers, 10:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Dodgers, 4:10 p.m.
THU: OFF
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