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Video: Hot Stove talk on CSN

Dec 22, 2011, 4:00 PM EST

The Nationals’ name has come up plenty of times this winter as potential suitors for a host of available player, but until news broke late last night about a near-deal with utilityman Mark DeRosa they had yet to sign anyone to a major-league contract.

What about some of those ever-present rumors? Are the Nationals serious about acquiring either Roy Oswalt or Gio Gonzalez to be their No. 3 starter? Are they still looking for a center fielder, or was the Mike Cameron move all we can expect? And what about that Prince Fielder-to-D.C. rumor that just won’t go away?

I addressed all of those topics last night during a segment on CSN’s SportsNet Central with anchor Julie Donaldson. Click on the above video to watch. (Note: The segment aired before the DeRosa news broke, so there’s no mention of it.)

  1. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    I think that they will add Gio, and that he'll be #2. Might trade for Span. And I think that if they do not add an established CF talent they will make a run at Beltran. If healthy, which he appeared to be last year, a 34 yr old switch who hits for average and power, who can still play CF in a pinch, and who can be had on a 2-3 yr deal at 25% of the Fielder cost. Why not. I think that Rizzo and the Lerners feel the heat and that they'll respond with some more bold moves. We'll see.dfh21

  2. warm stove at best..... - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    i wont play the "cheap" card, not sure it applies. However, there is something amiss when they identify the same 2 needs, (SP, CF/LO) the past two off seasons and have yet to address it.there IS something behind it. It makes it worse, when the targets wind up with division rivals (Buerle, Bourn.

  3. PAY TO PLAY - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    They signed some guy named Wang to a Major League deal.

  4. JamesFan - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    The needs are known. The talent to fill the needs are out there. Unfortunately, the Nats are not willing to go after the top candidates to fill the gaps and try to make do with cheap alternatives on one year deals. How come other teams in our division are able to trade for the likes of Bourne and the Nats can't? How can we let Aoki go off the board for a cheap posting fee of $2.5m to the Brewers? Look at the deals being made all over baseball with mid-market teams like Denver and Arizona and the Nats sit on their hands. Very frustrating.Make a reasonable offer for Gio. If that doesn't work, move on and buy Oswalt on a one year deal. If that doesn't work, get Saunders. Like any market, the stock is getting picked over.

  5. Water23 - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    If the O's do move Jones for Jurgens, do the Braves look to move Bourn? He is a FA next year and they would have two starting CF? Or do they move Jones to another OF position. Would we be interested in Bourn? Without knowing the Morse/LaRoche and Werth/Harper situation it might be difficult to act on Bourn. Getting a CF may end up making a mess as too many OF (with Harper in the mix) and trouble ahead.Then agian, Bourn is exactly the type of leadoff/solid defensive CF the Nats need. What would it take to get him? Milone + other? Hmm, maybe that is why Rizzo is waiting?

  6. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    Mark, no mention of my new man crush Joe Saunders?

  7. Wally - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    With Mark squashing Prince rumors yet again, I just have to accept it. But it is disappointing.SteveM – do tell your story

  8. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Water23 is right. Bourne might fit next season but they will have more than Bourne to choose from at that point. And JamesFan the Braves might just extend him if they like him before that happens. So, that's a long way off. In the end the Nats have to make a plan and stick to it. And that means ownership has to buy into it and not renege.

  9. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    Boras should have Prince talk to Dmitri Young about his diet. Too many trips to McDonald's for Prince.

  10. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I took a little lead from Feel Wood yesterday to call a junior agent who has been around for a while to get some intel on Prince Fielder. I got nothing but stonewalled and no confirmation if he was in Washington.The conversation turned to how he felt about the Nats hitting coaches in the system to which I have always been a strong defender of Rick Eckstein and how hard he works and how its not always the teacher, its usually the student to which I was schooled on it doesn't matter how hard you work if your teacher doesn't know how to teach.OK, I'm open to listening to other viewpoints and got an earfull from someone who knows every team and every hitting coach and he rattled off the problem with Rick Eckstein in comparing him to three top hitting coaches.He said a good hitting coach will never try to change your entire approach like Eckstein does rather make small adjustments. I don't know this for fact but he was adament that it is the case with Eckstein. He also said a good hitting coach has you prepared for the situation and confident for the situation when he steps into the batters box as he said Mark McGwire has made that a basis for his approach in St. Louis as their hitting coach this year.He also brought up a good point that Youkilis has the craziest stance and its not always how you start your swing it is how you are set-up at the point of impact from bat to ball which is why the Boston hitting coach has let him alone.He felt the mental aspect from positive reinforcement and entering the batter's box feeling confident and with a plan gives a batter a slightly better advantage over a batter that may not have the same mental prep.Its an interesting discussion point and may have no relevance but 2 years ago I heard this directly from a player who is no longer with the Nats that Rick wanted him going more opposite field and to do so he tried changing his whole approach which zapped his power and made him uneasy.On the other side, Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman praise Rick Eckstein, so is it the teacher or the student?

  11. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    On the other side, Michael Morse and Ryan Zimmerman praise Rick Eckstein, so is it the teacher or the student?He certainly didn't change Morse's stance!! And when they did and with negative results he went back. Same is true with Zim I believe.Now, in the case of younger, less successful students say … like Corey Brown? It might have been a different story … and now he too is returning to his original batting stance from the close of 2010.So, it may be that your junior agent has it wrong and you have it right. It all depends upon whom the student happens to be, and where he stands in the pecking order … it may be that Eckstein (who never played in the MLB) is better with the more experienced, confident and discriminating hitters versus the young wannbe's? But we'll see what kind of effect Davey Johnson has. He has strong opinions on this topic. He liked Frank Howard as a hitting coach … still recounts his famous adage : "turn on the fan!". I think things will be different with Davey in the dugout along with having some say in how the prospects in the minors are trained. Hopefully, with positive results.

  12. Mark'd - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    SteveM, you can tell Davey has stepped in as an active participant in the teams approach. Davey isn't stupid, he saw the whole offense struggling except for Morse and Zim.

  13. Wally - Dec 22, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    SteveM – That is interesting, and surprising. I would not have thought that most hitters would allow a hitting coach to radically change their approach once they got to the majors. Eckstein also doesn't seem to have the ego to require wholesale changes, but I am just speculating. Does that agent have a particularly disgruntled former Nat as a client?By the way, what do you make of the stonewalling on Prince? It kind of sounds to me as if the Nats really aren't involved, but rather than flat out lie, he can say no comment and hope people speculate that it might be true? But I have no idea how the game-within-the-game works.

  14. NatsLady - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    I'm a teacher, so I'll weigh in here. Can't comment on Eckstein, but I can say that although the "student" carries the burden, it is important–very important–both WHAT the teacher teaches (content) and HOW the teacher teaches (method). A third factor is individualizing both to the needs of the student. The hitting coach, to me, has a two-part job:(1) long-term improvement of the player's approach to hitting;(2) immediate, game-time advice.So, especially for the younger players, Eckstein would need to step up and say, blah, blah, blah, based on the fielders' capabilities, the pitcher's level of fatigue, etc. Now, some of this is homework the players should do in the film room, but there have been a lot of situations where it was clear to me that the player was fairly clueless as to the game/opponents' situation.Now, as to the long-term improvement of hitting, to me, you have to remember these guys are major-leaguers and that to attempt–during the season!–to make big adjustments is not a good strategy. RZimm changed his throwing, but that was not easy and a few errors resulted…Bottom line, I think the hitting coach could have a big impact on our much-lacking offense.

  15. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    Anon @ 1232 — Fielder is a known vegetarian.

  16. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:16 PM

    The Nats are in for Prince. In spite of Mark's protests. (Sometimes he sounds like Ben Goessling!). Its just that Boras and Prince will have to make certain concessions for that to happen. And those concessions are likely steep. Still, I suspect it just might.I'm going by Ladson who said it could happen even while Mark and Ben were poo-poohing it. Ladson too has his connections. And more often than not Ladson's sources have turned out to be dead-on. You just have to carefully read his stuff as to which is Ladson's opinion and which tid-bits come from his sources.Fielder's physicality is going to cost him millions of dollars. I wonder if he is going to make any effort to do something about that.

  17. Constant Reader - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Well then the produce section must shudder in fear when they see Prince coming.

  18. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    Anon @ 1232 — Fielder is a known vegetarian.The milkshakes are made with soy.

  19. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    Going with Prince gives the Nats a left-handed bat on the bench to go with DeRosa in LaRoche. That in and of itself should improve the offensive output of the bench significantly this season.

  20. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    Fielder has been off the veggie diet for years. If you don't belive me, look at him.dfh21

  21. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Anon @ 1232 — Fielder is a known vegetarian.The milkshakes are made with soy.And they quit frying the fries in lard. Also, can we even be sure that those burgers actually contain meat?

  22. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Anon @ 1232 — Fielder is a known vegetarian.Not quite. Fielder is known to have eaten a vegetarian. Possibly more than one.

  23. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:34 PM

    Wally, yes the player is still with the Nats. I was very surprised to hear it and it could be just an isolated case or the player finishing up on a down note and blowing off some steam. I do believe that Davey is more closely involved with the batters. By approach, the former player that Eckstein was working with that Eckstein was correct that he wasn't going with the pitch but how many times did we see Werth try to pull an outside pitch? He did it once in a game where he was the last out. It happens. I agree with small adjustments but I think the positive plan is essential. I have seen Rick with his notebook so maybe since he is friends with McGwire he can talk to him and see if he can learn new techniques. I'll say it again, Rick Eckstein is one of the first to the park and just about the last one out.Also, I do believe the Nats are talking to Fielder but think the likelihood of him coming to Washington is remote.I am hoping the Nats are the mystery team talking to Beltran.

  24. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    NatsLady, all good points made. I have been a supporter of Eckstein in the past based on how I see the effort he puts into being a hitting coach, but hearing a compelling story that he is trying to change too many moving parts with a batter just doesn't make a lot of sense.

  25. natsfan1a - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    Speaking of mystery teams, I thought this was kinda funny. That mystery team must have some turnover in jerseys, huh?

  26. Knoxville Nat - Dec 22, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    LaRoche is no bench player, he is too good a glove and a bat for that role. If in fact the Nats do sign Prince look for Rizzo to move LaRoche elsewhere. Besides, the Nats aren't about to pay a bench player $8 million a year as LaRoche's contract calls for this season.

  27. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    At least the Syracuse Chiefs are still hanging in there … this isfairly hilarious (but the link does not lead to any T. Plush crazy GF sighting?) :

  28. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    LaRoche is no bench player, he is too good a glove and a bat for that role.If he's still recovering perhaps not … it may be better for LaRoche to start off slow and work his way back ….Besides, the Nats aren't about to pay a bench player $8 million a year as LaRoche's contract calls for this season.Either way you look at it its almost a complete loss. He could be gone before the trade deadline and so the Nats would really have barely anything to show for it.

  29. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Wally said… But here's a question to SteveM and NatsJack – do I read your reactions correctly to say that if the offseason was over, you would agree with Boz's take? In other words, you would think the Lerners were causing the inactivity rather than Rizzo? Seems like both of you said 'too soon to judge', but I couldn't tell if that meant you would agree with Boz on 'why', if it held up to be true. December 22, 2011 12:08 PM Wally, if today was Opening Day and all Rizzo netted was DeRosa and Mike Cameron I would be extremely disappointed.I thought the Nats would be on a key player early (besides Wang) to get the Hot Stove going. They along with me saw Buehrle as the target. Where's the Plan B? Lucky for them 3 plan B's are there. They have to get Saunders, Oswalt or Gio. They are all strong #3 pitchers with #2 potential. I prefer a LH pitcher so I would like Saunders or Gio. There is risk with all 3 which is why I think Saunders is stictly a money deal as he is an unconditional free agent. 3 years at $27 million should make sense. Oswalt is the same scenario and probably 1 year at $14 million but you have to wonder if Washington is high on his list. Lastly, Gio is very involved in losing coveted prospects which makes that a Plan C.Beltran makes the most sense right now since there are no CFs out there except Crisp. The Cardinals are the front-runner for both Beltran and Coco Crisp and they are only going to take 1. They are both switch hitters and both add flexibility to the lineup. Beltran I prefer for his impact although I stay concerned about his health.Lastly, Rizzo still needs an impact bat for the bench.

  30. natsfan1a - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    In other random baseball culture news, Joe Buck is on Twitter. I think this may be a sign of the Apocalypse but I'm not sure. :-)

  31. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    Lastly, Rizzo still needs an impact bat for the bench.LaRoche and DeRosa would work if they sign Fielder. LaRoche on the bench might send a message to players not to hide their injuries and just sign with the Nationals.

  32. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    If Mike Rizzo does not get some guy who actually resembles a lead off hitter on this roster before Opening Day, then I am going to egg his house.dfh21

  33. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    Buster Olney reporting that the Nats, Red Sox, and Mariners in on Gio Gonzalez.

  34. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:27 PM

    I was walking down an alley in Southeast DC and I heard a rustling noise coming from a nearby dumpster. Being a curious person, I approached the dumpster and threw back its heavy metal lid. I looked in and saw the trash moving around. Something big was moving around underneath the rubbage. I waited and watched. And then I saw it! A bald head skimmed the surface and dove deep again, burrowing to the bottom, rummaging, looking for something, anything. Oh, its just Rizzo dumpster diving I thought to myself. I banged the lid shut and continued on my way.

  35. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    If Mike Rizzo does not get some guy who actually resembles a lead off hitter on this roster before Opening DayLombardozzi (graded B by Sickels) – switch hitter like fav BeltranDesmond – if he continues to improve.Looks like Rizzo is finished. Done. Next.

  36. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    Gio Gonzalez = Oliver Perez?Klaw (1:17 PM)That's pretty harsh, but I would say there's a kernel of truth in it. There have always been concerns about Gio's on-field makeup (and I've witnessed this), and he's not going to be close to the same guy away from Oakland's ballpark and defense. Someone is going to overpay on him and regret the move.And then there's Mark:Trivia: What pitcher has issued the most walks in #MLB last 2 seasons? Answer: Gio Gonzalez (183, 13 more than anyone else).Caveat Emptor?

  37. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:44 PM

    natsfan1a said… In other random baseball culture news, Joe Buck is on Twitter. I think this may be a sign of the Apocalypse but I'm not sure. :-) December 22, 2011 2:16 PM If McCarver was I would be concerned! I'm not on Twitter although I troll there. I tell people there is no way with decent grammar I can make any type of decent point in 140 characters and Jim Bowden is proof positive it can't be done!

  38. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    Jeremy (DC)Worth giving up both Peacock and Cole to get Gio?Klaw (1:54 PM)A reliever and a potential top-end starter who's at least two years away for Gio sounds reasonable if you don't share my fears about Gio in another environment.

  39. jd - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    The standing rumor is: Peacock and Cole for Gio. I don't like it. Cole has too much potential. I'd do Solis and Peacock and even throw in Rosenbaum before giving Cole away.

  40. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

    Jim (Rockville MD)Keith, what's your take on the National's offseason (in)activity? Boswell puts it entirely down to the Lerners being afraid to spend money, but I can't see it. They lost out on Buehrle due to contract length, joined 28 other teams in declining to spend $51 million for the right to pay Yu (not you) $70 million, refused to offer a 3-year deal to an aging, medically questionable pitcher (but are allegedly in the game now that it's 1 year), etc.? I'm afraid of the "panic signing/trade".thanks, and enjoy the tenderloin!Klaw (2:11 PM)Offseason's, what, half over? Too early to start handing out grades like that.Cheese (Washington, DC)National's panic signing? What are they going to do – extend Werth's contract for another 3-4 years? There's really not many players out there TO panic sign right now.Klaw (2:15 PM)Don't taunt them or they'll give Edwin Jackson five years.

  41. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    JimBo finally weighs in:Nats GM Mike Rizzo negotiations regarding Gio Gonzalez appears to be much closer with A's GM Billy Beane than his Ownership Group

  42. natsfan1a - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

    Agreed on both points, SteveM. I don't have an account on there, either, but I did resort to trolling Twitter for updates over the course of the Ramos kidnapping.Steve M. said… If McCarver was I would be concerned! I'm not on Twitter although I troll there. I tell people there is no way with decent grammar I can make any type of decent point in 140 characters and Jim Bowden is proof positive it can't be done! December 22, 2011 2:44 PM Anonymous said…

  43. Steve M. - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

    jd, right there with you. Cole and Purke are the 2 front of the rotation starters the Nats have right now. No way. Big mistake.Peacock is MLB ready for the A's. By Boz pushing as he is, I am afraid Rizzo may do something like this and give up way too much.

  44. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    And then there's Mark with positive reinforcement:On the other hand: Gio's 7.73 H/9ip is 16th-lowest among qualifying starters last 2 yrs, better than Halladay, Lee, Lincecum, Sabathia.Plus KLaw apparently fails to read the advanced stats he claims to employ and believe in:Again, park and defense neutral stats for Gio Gonzalez.Gio Gonzalez 204.6 xIP, 4.09 tRA, 8.8 pRAA That's a pretty solid #3 potentially #2 if he still has a ceiling. In other words a younger Buehrle as he had similar stats.Is he worth Norris and Peacock? Not without a prospect thrown in.

  45. Wally - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    jd said…The standing rumor is: Peacock and Cole for Gio.I don't like it. Cole has too much potential. I'd do Solis and Peacock and even throw in Rosenbaum before giving Cole away.Ditto. Cole is close to untouchable, for me. If they are going to put Peacock, Cole and another top prospect in a package for a starter, they ought to to add two more and go for King Felix. Seriously, I would feel better about trading Peacock, Cole, Norris, Lombo and Hood for Felix, than Cole and Peacock for Gio. At least I know that, barring injury, he is one of the top 5 starters in the game. Gio – I am just not convinced that he is a top guy. In his two best seasons, he came in 35th and 43rd in pitcher WAR. Those walks are killer.

  46. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Pete Gammons: Gio will likely go to Washington or Boston today. Leaning Washington…Big news today?

  47. pahou - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    If we aquire a center fielder, and Harper comes up we would have Harper in left, the new center fielder, and Werth in right. Where would Morse go? Can't move him to first with LaRoche there. So my question really is why do we need a new center fielder this year. No matter who is on the free agent market there really is no great player. When LaRoches contract is up then we can move Morse to first and then we would need a center fielder. Signing Fielder would only create the same problem. The same with pitching is there any one out there really worth what they want, don't we have several pitching prospects that we have been raving about, lets see what we have before throwing money at a free agent that no one else wants either. Spending money is not always the answer even if it isnt my money. Spending big money on what is out there in the free agent market would be a foolish waste of money. I don't believe that Rizzo has failed at anything.

  48. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    JimBo :If Gio Gonzalez is traded to Washington…I expect the deal to look something like: A.J. Cole, Brad Peacock, Destin Hood and Derek NorrisBowden is an idiot. Again we see why he made a terrible GM.

  49. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    If Lombo makes the 25 man roster for Opening Day and he's batting lead off, then great, Rizzo's house stays egg free. But that means Desmond is traded away. I am OK with that, are you Anon? If they go with Desmond at lead off, then there will not be enough eggs on the entire Eastern Shore for me to heave at Rizzo's digs. Ian is so very obviously not the guy for the job. dfh21

  50. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    If Mike Rizzo does not get some guy who actually resembles a lead off hitter on this roster before Opening Day, then I am going to egg his house.dfh21Speaking of which, is Rizzo still renting JimBo's old condo for his DC digs?

  51. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    How is Bowden an idiot for that guesson the Gio haul? That is about right — one guy close to MLB ready in Peacock and some high level prospects. If I am Rizzo, I make that deal every day of the week.

  52. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Oh man, if Rizzo is leasing Bowden's condo, the egging would kind of be a two-fer. I almost want Rizzo to blow it now.dfh21

  53. Wally - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    I seriously hope that Bowden is wrong. 3 top 10 projects and another one who is probably #12 for a pitcher who has never been better than 35th in Pitcher WAR? And walks 4 guys a game?No thanks.

  54. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I'd take the deal and run with it. The A level prospects may turn out or be nothing and we know that Gio can heave a lot of innings and make guys swing and miss from the left side. Cole Hamels is going to get in excess of $100M for the time period that Gio is under control and while Cole's a better pitcher at this point, he's not $70M better. This move would give them three very solid front line guys under control for cheap for years to come. It's worth it.dfh21

  55. Nattydread - Dec 22, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Walks kill.

  56. Anonymous - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    Guy won 15 games in back to back years on a bad club with top 10 type ERAa each year. The walks are not exactly killing Gio.

  57. sjm308 - Dec 22, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    I realize that stats are vital to lots of you and walks/9 innings is surely important but isn't the most important stat WHO WON THE GAME!! I have to be honest, I have not seen him pitch but he wins games, pitches 200+ innings and has a decent era. I am ok with this deal if it goes through.





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