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Worst Moment of 2011

Dec 29, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Livan Hernandez gets yanked after blowing an 8-0 lead to the Cubs on July 7.

Yesterday, we looked at the Nationals' best moments of 2011, and there was little doubt what moment you all felt topped them all. The September four-game sweep of the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park easily won the poll, with Wilson Ramos' June 21 walk-off homer against the Mariners and Stephen Strasburg's Sept. 6 return to the mound finishing well behind.

Today, we turn the tables and look at the worst moments of the year. I was actually surprised how difficult it was to come up with five finalists for this category. If you're looking for evidence of the progress the Nationals made in 2011, this might be it right here. These five moments, while certainly upsetting, really don't seem that terrible in the grand scheme of things.

One quick note before we get to the nominees: You'll notice I haven't included the Ramos kidnapping/rescue in any of these end-of-year polls. That was a conscious decision on my part. Obviously the kidnapping represented the worst moment of the year for the Nationals, and obviously his rescue runs away with the title of best moment of the year. But to lump a life-and-death saga like that alongside mere baseball events would be wholly unfair to Ramos, his family and the Nationals.

With that, here are the nominees for Worst Moment of 2011…

1. APRIL 9: ZIMMERMAN TEARS ABDOMINAL MUSCLE
Ryan Zimmerman had already entered the regular season less than 100 percent healthy, having strained an abdominal muscle and his groinRead more »

198 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:11 PM

    Zim going down… UGH that was awful – no one to truly replace his production in the line up and the glove at third..At least with LaRoche, we were able to find out that Morse was waiting in the wings!

  2. Original Nats Fan - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    I picked the Cubs debacle, because it really hurt to watch them let the Cubs, THE CUBS, come back from so far down and beat them. Zim's injury is a close second.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:18 PM

    I was at the July 7th game — with – wait for it – filly relatives. Oh, the humiliation. Definitely my worst personal fan moment of the year. Although at some point it was just darkly funny. Surprised you didn't add the day that Riggs walked away after the game when we were on a hot streak. Even if you think things turned out ok, at the time it was very confusing and disconcerting. Also — learning that Ramos had been kidnapped – I was terrified.

  4. Donald - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    Not sure if it really qualifies, given that we ended up with an upgrade at manager, but the day Riggleman quit kind of sucked. It was such a high to be on that winning streak and then to have all the headlines be about his drama was a big let-down.

  5. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Hate losing to the Phillies, especially after such a great comeback against Doc Halladay. Set the precedent for poor pinch hitting in clutch situations the rest of the year.

  6. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Our ending record did not feel like a failure to me. Technically I know it was a losing record, but we did finish third and considering the injury issues and offensive struggles it felt like a positive thing.

  7. natsfan1a - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:34 PM

    Thanks for the acknowledgment of and perspective on the magnitude of the Ramos kidnapping, Mark. Of the moments listed, I'd give the nod to Zimmerman's injury. That said, I'm with Anon@9:18 and Donald re. Riggleman's exit. It worked out okay but, given my giddiness at the team's winning streak and at their going over .500 that day, it was like the rug was pulled out from under me when I looked up at the team-store monitor and saw the Riggleman news on the postgame show. I can only imagine how the players felt.

  8. natsfan1a - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Also agree with Anon@9:31 re. the final record. Was disappointed to miss the winning record but also enjoyed the climb in the standings.

  9. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Losing Zim hurt the team badly; micturating away a chance to beat Halladay felt worse.But the April 27th game against the Mets, where Burnett and Riggleman, mainly, with help from some dubious defense from Werth, gave up 5 runs in the last 2 innings, was pretty bad, and did drop them into last place again. In mitigation, that *was* the game Reyes got jobbed out of a triple by an execrable call, Ankiel's excellent throw notwithstanding. So maybe the baseball gods were just taking a hand, there.

  10. Mark Zuckerman - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:42 PM

    For those wondering about the Riggleman resignation, don't forget there's still one more end-of-year poll tomorrow: Strangest Moment of 2011. Something tells me Riggs will find his way into that discussion… :)

  11. Anonymous8 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    The Stairs looking at 3 straight strikes from Halladay was so bad on so many levels. Rizzo caught a lot of heat for giving Stares a roster spot. The roster spot ended up a roaster spot as Stares could have made Rizzo look good if he came through in that situation. It was also a wedge between Rizzo & Riggleman. Rizzo wanted Stares and Riggleman didn't. Funny that Stares outlasted Riggleman but Davey was able to send Stares into permanent retirement.

  12. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    A clue from Mark – I am sure that will result in rampant speculation as to the others. Desi in really tight pants???

  13. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Riggleman quitting was just weird, but in a good way, a classic "…and come out smelling like a rose" example. Loss #81 was really disappointing, especially given how it happened (using Slaten was just asking for it), and that it was to the the Marlins. I'm thinking, if they had won that, and finished 81-80, would *that* have been a top-five moment? I have to think so. So this was pretty bad.

  14. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    "In case of Emergency DON'T take the Stairs"

  15. UNTERP - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    Andrew correcting me about the hoax at Wrigley the day Zimmerman crushed one 445 feet. That was yesterday…

  16. sm13 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Riggleman quitting on us would have been my pick, but I guess that is more "bizarre" than "worst", so I'll go with the blown 8 run lead. It reminded me too much of 07 & 08 and it signalled that this was going to be Livan's last year as a Nat. Fortunately, I'll have much better memories of Livo to sustain me

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Strange Days … are we going to be limited to regular season? I'm thinking you can't do this list without Tony Plush in there somewhere. And I liked the guy.

  18. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:54 PM

    Riggs quitting makes strangest moments but it was also a huge black eye to the organization. I still believe Riggs was completely in the wrong on how he handled the situation. He was a huge baby about it and made everyone look bad. But since this moment isn't technically on the list, I'll go with Zim going down.

  19. Gonat - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    The latest on Scott Boras talking about why it is taking a long time to sign Prince Fielder: “It takes a bit longer because these are ownership decisions. I’ve got to sit down with owners. There are a lot of them interested in Prince.”Boras has a fact/opinion book on why teams should take Prince. I wonder if Ted Lerner has a copy on his desk? When will a Boras-Lerner meeting take place? This should keep the rumor mill open for a long time. This is the best quote:“Prince is not in any way a normal free agent. Owners will move players off their teams that already occupy positions to get him.”

  20. John C. - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    I was at the Cubs game with some good friends who are Cubs fans. It wasn't my worst experience at Nats Park (Opening Day 2010 will hopefully never be beat on that scale), but it was right up there.So glad that the Nationals don't have Slaten to kick around any more. I'm sure he's a good person, nice to strangers and all that – but he was amazingly, consistently awful at baseball last year (and except for 2010 hasn't really ever been good). But the Cubs game was worse.

  21. sjm308 - Dec 29, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    I voted for the Zimm injury but in reading the comments so far, I might be swayed into voting for anything "Stairs" – he really was more than a disappointment.Are you guys sure this was a Rizzo move? Not questioning here, just not sure how he ended up on the 25 man roster. Also wondering who went down to the minors as the 26th man, as Stairs could not play the field either. Was it Bernadina? Sorry my memory is not great here.

  22. The Joker - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    1. Brian Bixler being picked up by the Astros.2. Trading a future Tom Glavine in Tom Milone.3. Trading a future Mickey Tettleton in Derek Norris.4. Trading a future Catfish Hunter in Brad Peacock.5. Drafting the next Elijah Dukes in Brian Goodwin.

  23. NatsNut - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Aw man. Why couldn't you start with the worst and end with the best? I had comfortably forgotten moments like these and reading them knots my stomach all over again. Ugh!

  24. SonnyG10 - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    I echo MicheleS's comment. Zim going down hurt for many games.

  25. Unkyd - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    "micturating"…. Good one, there….

  26. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    I have to say that I think Riggleman's resignation was a big moment in a good way for the Nats. By walking-out Riggleman essentially called out the organization as being bush league (in my opinion he was right) and they had to do something big league (hire a manager with a winning pedigree and who would not be a company man without fail as Riggleman had until that point always been and as Acta was before him) in response to save face and they did. Davey Johnson's hire told the world that they were finally going to try to win.dfh21

  27. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    Unkyd said… "micturating" … Good one, there …We try to keep this a classy joint. ; )

  28. Natslifer - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    To be honest, I don't like the idea of this group focusing on negatives for an entire day. Here's hoping some other news breaks for a new post. But that said, I'll 2cnd DFH here and do what I try to teach my kids and vote for a negative (Riggleman quitting) that turned into a positive (Davey being hired and the team looking great in September). There are a few others I think about that in the spirit of good karma I'll leave on the cutting room floor.

  29. BinM - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Knowing that LaRoche was entering the season at less than 100% made the injury to RZimm that much worse. When you lose 20% of your regular lineup for a period of time like that, it's no wonder the Nationals' offensive numbers were just that (offensive) in 2011.

  30. Gonat - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    Mark, do you have any insight, any comment on who made the decision to sign Stairs and put Stairs on the Opening Day roster.I think ultimately it is on Rizzo but you have to wonder if Stairs was a guy Riggleman felt he needed and asked to be signed. Towards the end, you could see that Riggleman benched Stairs.

  31. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:30 PM

    Worst moment? Well a lot of them revolve around Ian Desmond's game taking a big step back when the club was hoping he'd get better. Hitting .200 and making more errors in April than any other player in the bigs? He finally came arund with the bat and the glove to some extent too, but not until the season was lost. Had Desmond played even slightly below average MLB short stop levels in April and May the club's season may have been a lot brighter.

  32. It's all connected... - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:32 PM

    That Cubs loss really influenced my impression of Davey Johnson. He mismanaged the bullpen that night by not having anyone ready to come in for Livo and admitted as much the next day. It took until September for my opinion on him to come around to the point I thought he had really figured this team out and could get them to win. Then Slaten showed up in that Marlins game on the next-to-last day of the year. And the memories of the Cubs game all came back. So I choose the Slaten loss, which was made more painful based on my memories of the Cubs game.

  33. Todd Boss - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    I was at the #2 game and have never been so enraged at the team as I was that night. Why were we paying Stairs to just have him come up and watch 3 pitches go by? Ugh.In reality the biggest hit was probably LaRoche's complete failure. If he produced at his 2010 levels (25 homers, 100rbi) We may have won 85 games last year. Lets hope he returns to his hitting form.

  34. Tim - Dec 29, 2011 at 3:51 PM

    Watching Werth take Strike Three many, many times and watching him swing in the dirt at Ball Four many other times was quite painful, too.I'm looking forward to a comeback year!

  35. Feel Wood - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    When will a Boras-Lerner meeting take place? This should keep the rumor mill open for a long time.Rumor has it that Fielder was seen in Washington just a few weeks ago. Yet no local beat writer such as Zuckerman or Kilgore deigned to track that rumor down to see if there was any truth to it. Also, the Washington Post gossip columnists reported recently that Mark Lerner, Mike Rizzo and Jayson Werth were seen having dinner together in a local establishment. What might they have been talking about? Was it Werth being called to the principal's office to account for his poor showing in 2011? Or was it perhaps Rizzo with the assistance of Werth making a case to ownership that another long-term, high-priced FA signing would be in order for the Nationals to thrust themselves into the playoff picture? Again, the local beat writers ignored this and did not try to find anything out.It certainly seems like the local beat writers are content to wait and see what happens with the team, and then retweet Jon Heyman or Ken Rosenthal whenever news is made. Where can I get one of those jobs where I never have to do any real work?

  36. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    LaRoche's "complete failure" is a little harsh as the guy was seriously injured and tried to play through it like a gamer, no?dfh21

  37. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    Feel Wood – I think that the beat writers are so concerned about losing their precious access to the club's brain trust that they are not interested in reporting much beyond what comes from the lips of Rizzo or Lerner.

  38. MurrayTheRed - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    I voted for the Losing Record. Not because it was unexpected , or because it was worse then the other 5 items mentioned. We got our hopes up so high when it looked like a winning record was possible, and then to see it dashed. Oh the horror – a 1/2 game off .500! – a 1/2 game over .500 would have been so Sweeet

  39. waddu eye no - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    "Rumor has it that Fielder was seen in Washington just a few weeks ago. "so was i. no offers yet. bummer.

  40. SCNatsFan - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:23 PM

    Obviously losing Zim was the worst as it killed the middle of the lineup, but for me seeing that Stairs at bat brought up the feelings that this team was no different then the other losing teams we had and no progress is being made; I still remember screaming at the TV during that at bat. Best word I can think of after that at bat was despondent.

  41. JayB - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    My top 5 all include Jason W…..countless times taking strike three fastball right down the middle with key runs in scoring position. Mark, that would be interesting reading in the off season if you could get him, Eck and Davey and maybe even Stairs to reflect on what was going on there. Just too many times to be a non story….he was being coached wrong or he was not following coaching….WHAT WAS HE LOOKING FOR? WHAT WAS HE THINKING?

  42. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    LaRoche needing surgery was a drag for him, but it's pretty hard to think of it as a bad moment, much less one of the five worst, considering (1)how bad it was to watch him go up there and be totally ineffective for the first two months of the season and (2) by then Mickey Morse had started to show what he could do playing 1B every day. Just imagine if the news had been that LaRoche didn't need surgery and could rest a few weeks and then come back and stink the place up for the next few months. Now that would have been a bad moment.I'm voting for the collapse against the Cubs over the Stairs/Pudge failure vs. the Phillies mostly because we weren't expecting to beat Halladay anyway. Plus, the disaster that was Matt Stairs happened over a period of months. It was a long, slow, painful experience. The fact that it was a terrible mistake to have him on the roster was obvious to everyone in Nats Town except Rizzo and our managers who kept throwing him out there hoping that the stopped clock would be right once a day, and even batted him cleanup in some interleague games in June. Oy.I was at the Cubs game, upgraded to the S&S club for that night. The Nats had been playing well, we took a big lead, the place was rockin', and then disaster. And to have it happen against Livo was extra painful. I agree with @sm13 that he ceased to be a likely part of our 2012 rotation that night. I also agree with @Tim that at least one K or weak grounder by Werth in a high leverage situation ought to be featured in this discussion, as a reprentative of his general ineffectiveness and the impact it had on the Nats' fortunes this year. But there were so many to choose from…

  43. Slidell - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    I'm with "It's All Connected" (10:32); my sentiments almost exactly as I wrote the next day. I was there. Having suffered rather quietly through 15 years of the Senators and 5 years of the Nats, this was the first "disappointment" I can recall to put me into a rage. Davey must have been the only person in the ballpark who didn't see it coming.

  44. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    waddu eye no said… "Rumor has it that Fielder was seen in Washington just a few weeks ago. "so was i. no offers yet. bummer.You need Scott Boras as your agent, not Boris Badenov.

  45. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    Where can I get one of those jobs?Right here. Same place Mark got this one.

  46. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Worst Moment of 2011 and 2010 and 2009 and 2008 ad nauseum: Any time JayB opens his mouth.

  47. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:35 PM

    Troll.

  48. lesatcsc - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Interesting that the four of the five players that made it into the 5 worst moments for performance related reasons (i.e. not injury related) will all likely be playing elsewhere next season or retired: Stairs, Pudge, Livo and Slaten.

  49. BullpenCatcher - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    blah blah blah end of yeat wrapups…who cares! Let's talk the future not the past (DC fans of all sports always want to talk the past…let's change that culture now!!!)The starting 9 are shaping up nicely and likely will lead to a boring spring trainingn with most battles already won. I am sure 99% of the attention will be rightfully on is argument of "is Bryce Harper ready for the majors" assuming the answer is yes and I think he would have to get injured or have a mjor meltdown in camp for Davey to not bring him North the starting 8 look like this (batting order)Desmond SSWerth CFZimmerman 3BLaRoche 1BMorse LFRamos CHarper RFEspinosa 2BPSure we do not know who the backups will be but that is always a ho-hum argument for me. The biggest battles will be to see if Bernadina and Lombardozzi can stik with the major league club for Opening Day or will they start at AAA.

  50. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Man, can I do without this blog! Worst post of the year!

  51. Exposremains - Dec 29, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I can see a scenario where the Nats sign Fielder to a big contract. Wait a year to see if Zimmerman has a good healthy year. If he doesn't and Rendon progresses, Zim is traded or let go.If the Nats, play well and win a lot of games, the extra money could allow them to have 3 100M+ contract. As much as I would like to believe that Zim will play all of is career in Wash, the business of baseball doesn't guarantee that. This team maybe more than other team is very business like.

  52. Exposremains - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    *by let go, Imean he goes to free agency

  53. MFG - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:05 PM

    BullpenCatcher – I think the starting lineup could look like this:Desmond (R) SSHarper (L) RFZimmerman (R) 3BLaRoche (L) 1BMorse (R) LFWerth (R) CFEspinosa (S) 2BRamos (R) CThis lineup has better variation between the righties and lefties, especially at the top. Also, Zimmerman, LaRoche and Morse will give Harper better protection than Espinosa and the pitcher's spot, as the kid transitions to the majors.

  54. SpashCity - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:11 PM

    Jon Heyman (complete hack) tweet: Spoke to a washington #nationals player today about prince: "we're in the market. we're still shooting for him."

  55. Unkyd - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:12 PM

    "Feel Wood – I think that the beat writers are so concerned about losing their precious access to the club's brain trust that they are not interested in reporting much beyond what comes from the lips of Rizzo or Lerner."/——————I'm just gonna go with "Our excellent beat writers tell us when they learn something, and (intelligently) don't bother to tell us when they can't prove rumors to be false, as proving that something didn't happen, is nearly impossible….. (sheesh…)

  56. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    These Opening Day lineup predictions are funny. I have no idea when Harper will come up to the bigs this year, but there is absolutely no way that he is on the Opening Day roster. None. Nor should he be no matter how well he plays in spring training. Would you rather have him for a few weeks this April, or for an additional year in his prime? To state the question is to answer it.It also seems unlikely that LaRoche is back in the cleanup spot over Morse unless he has a tremendous spring.

  57. MFG - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:19 PM

    Section 222 – If you don't think Harper is on the Opening Day roster, and the Nats are thinking Werth will play CF, then who do you think will be in RF?

  58. lesatcsc - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:20 PM

    I do not see Harper starting the season with the Nats unless the Nats hopelessly mismanage things. It would be an irresponsible business decision. The worst thing that could happen is that Harper makes the team because the Nats have no one else. And right now, they have no one else. They have 2 ML calibre OFs, Morse and Werth. So, if Rizzo does nothing, Harper ends up making the team out of desperation and the Yankees get him a year earlier right in the middle of his prime. That would be big league stupid.

  59. Bozo - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Prince Fielder was seen at the Popeye's on H Street, NE eating a 16 piece chicken dinner, a half-dozen biscuits, three orders of red beans and rice, two large order of Cajun fries, and three large cokes.

  60. Feel Wood - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:23 PM

    Jon Heyman (complete hack) tweet: Spoke to a washington #nationals player today about prince: "we're in the market. we're still shooting for him."But will Kilgore or Zuckerman get off their asses and try to track down that player who talked with Heyman? Nah. They'll continue to fall back on what they heard Rizzo say on the radio while they were sitting in the basement in their underwear."We've more or less decided that Adam is going to be our first baseman unless something extraordinary, out of the ordinary happened," Rizzo said. Yeah, like signing Fielder wouldn't be something extraordinary, out of the ordinary. Of course they're not in on Fielder. Right.

  61. natsfan1a - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:24 PM

    Really? 'cause that sounds more like Red Sox pitcher food to me (get me Popeyes on the bullpen phone, would ya?)Bozo said… Prince Fielder was seen at the Popeye's on H Street, NE eating a 16 piece chicken dinner, a half-dozen biscuits, three orders of red beans and rice, two large order of Cajun fries, and three large cokes. December 29, 2011 12:23 PM

  62. separated at birth? - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:25 PM

    Feel Wood and Coverage Is Lacking

  63. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    MFG — It's a good question. I'm just sure it won't be Harper. I'm hoping the Nats are looking at acquiring a good bench player who can play the corner OF positions, if they can't find a CF. That person is our 4th OF once Harper comes up, whenever that is. If not, I guess we'll see Bernadina start in LF or CF, with Werth in RF. Let's hope that the DeRosa signing isn't Rizzo's last best move this off season.

  64. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    I don't share @FeelWood's disdain for Mark and the other beat writers, but I do agree that putting any stock in what Rizzo has said so far about Prince and the 1B situation is foolish. And, of course, I hope we're in that market and will land him.It's amazing how many people enjoy making fun of an overweight guy, even one that had an OBP over .400 last year, can hit 40HRs a year, and has played 155-162 games of baseball each year. Could you do that? Not to mention that he will soon be a bagillionaire.

  65. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    Zim's injury was certainly the biggest disappointment. The day to day lineup just was not the same without my fellow Wahoo leading the way. It makes me realize just how important it is to lock him up in a long term contract.

  66. Wally - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:49 PM

    I also keep coming back to what are they going to do in the OF for 2012? I no longer think in terms of just a CF fix, because the market for a good CF just doesn't seem there, at least so far. But we are missing a 3rd starting OF, and I do think it is a significant issue, because I assume that they don't trade for Gio if they weren't also planning to upgrade the offense more than a simple bounceback year from Werth, Laroche, etc provides. I buy into the Werth in CF theory, but I do not see him able to give 130 games in CF (I don't see Cameron able to do that, but maybe I am wrong). So we need a good bat, a guy who can play 75 games or so there and preferably hits LH. Seems hard to see someone fitting all the criteria. Here are the options, as I see it:1) trade for Parra. I like the guy, and he certainly fits Rizzo/Lerners idea of cost. But I don't see the trade match up. Sure, Lannan would probably interest AZ, but I don't see how we get roughly 1,000 innings from the remaining pool of starters, when factoring in the likelihood of missing starts and year-to-year innings jumps. So unless they get another vet starter on a minor league deal that can take 15-20 starts during the year, this seems risky. Detwiler might also work, but you have the same problem just a little less risky, plus it seems like Davey would fight this because he likes Det. I guess that they could try a lower level prospect package, but that would really deplete our farm. Would like to find a way to make this work: maybe Bernie plus a Freitas or someone like that could work?2) sign Cody Ross. Good bat, excellent corner D and could give you 74 games or so with passable D in CF. Not a LH, though. 3) trade for Span or Revere. Same issues as Parra regarding fit for trade, plus injury concerns for Span. Seems unlikely. Ditto for Upton, seems like it would have happened by now if it was going to happen.4) Trade for a good D, light hitting O CF, like Gutierrez or carlos Gomez. Satisfy defense but limited O, and probably doesn't help the overall team prospects. Gomez might make sense as a 4th OF candidate, and if MIL signs the japanese guy, they might want to take some prospects. Shouldn't cost much.5) just sign or trade for a big bat, bad defense guy like Quentin, JD Drew, Burrell. Help the offense, but man, would that be some poor D.6) just muddle through with what we have, giving Cameron and Bernie a lot of playing time. This would be the worst option, to me.7) go with Harper by May. This gets lot of discussion, I don't personally think it is the right thing, but it still leaves us without a CF backup for 75 games. This would work in concert with 6.Out of all these, 1 and 2 make the most sense to me, and the added benefit is that both guys could slide back when Harper is ready, and before they have freed up Laroche or Morse. Signing Ross to a 2/$10m deal seems like the easiest option, and it addresses most (but not all) issues. Still hope to be surprised by a trade, either for Parra or someone that I haven't thought of.

  67. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:55 PM

    So you're saying Rizzo actually *is* talking to Boras, or Boras is talking to Lerner, but they are keeping it hush-hush so as not to screw it up, or drive the price up further, BUT they are telling players with big mouths about it, who pass that on to national journalists? I think it is unlikely they would do that. It is more likely Heyman talked to a player who has no knowledge of anything like that, but doesn't mind winding up a sportswriter.

  68. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 5:59 PM

    The coverage here is terrible, but you are here every day. It costs you just as much to read Zuckerman as it costs you to read my comments. You want your money back or something?

  69. Natisfaction - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Like some of the other comments here, mine is more of a process than a specific moment in time, but I would say the worst moment was:Jason Werth's entire season at the plate.It was like watching a long, slow, agonizing death. The constant sense that he would break out, when it never happened. Night after night watching strike after strike, with his signature gesture of closing his eyes and tilting his head back in disgust at one more K, looking. The HR on his bobblehead night, followed by team and broadcaster assurances that now he was coming back to his old form, only to be followed by more futility and frustration.Blowing a big lead is a bad moment, all would agree. But the string of awful moments at the plate that Werth gave us last year comprise a combined #1 worst moment overall.

  70. SpashCity - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    More from Heyman and the "mystery" Nats player who apparently is also an assistant GM:http://jon-heyman.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/33714192/34081193

  71. N. Cognito - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Hands down, the worst "moment" of 2011 had to be the pinch hitters, led by Matt "I have no business being on a major league roster" Stares.

  72. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Ramos stats showed him an ump an coming offensive threat … perhaps more so than any other young player. But his winter league stats ended up as an entirely different story. Let's hope that the kidnapping doesn't linger into the long regular baseball season. But unfortunately it may. Its not by chance that Flores remains on the roster.

  73. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    At the beginning of the season, I was all set to use the nickname "In case of emergency, use Stairs"By May, I just wanted to jump out a window when he was in the on deck circle.

  74. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    1) trade for Parra. I like the guy, and he certainly fits Hopefully, they are in on Seth Smith. They need that guy. He is a left-handed bat and a pretty decent offensive threat from the bench or as a starter. He has some power. He is only 28 and still a couple of years away from free agency.

  75. DFL - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    RE: Fielder, 28 years old in May 20121Prince Fielder has been a consistent power hitter for 6 years. He's played 157-162 games in each of his six seasons. He's driven in 80 runs+ each of six seasons and 100+ in four. He's walked 80+ in five of six seasons and over 100 in his last three. His BB-to-K ratio is very good for a slugger. His OBP has been .395+ in four of his last five seasons and over .400 his last three. He's averaged 38 homers a year in six years, almost exactly like Adam Dunn has done in his career and in his two years in Washington.What to worry about Fielder. His fielding range is not so good and bound to get worse. Arguably his worst season since his rookie year was in 2010. His best power years were in 2007 and 2009. Fielder will be 28 in May, 2012 and wants a ten year deal. Large power hitters tend to decline in their early thirties, sometimes precipitously. Adam Dunn and Troy Glaus are two unhappy recent examples. Even the very athletic Frank Thomas(TE for Auburn football) had erratic numbers after age thirty and certainly wasn't the dominant hitter that we was from age 23-30. Finally, the Milwaukee Brewers have been to the playoffs only twice in Fielder's six years with the team, five of which Ryan Braun played on the team. Power hitting is a smaller part of the equation when building championship baseball teams than other aspects of the game like pitching, fielding and timely hitting.Fielder would give the Nats a third first-baseman. The money spent on Fielder would be better spent in other areas. A healthy LaRoche gives the Nats 80 % of Fielder's offense but adds 10 % to Fielder's defense.

  76. N. Cognito - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Feel Wood said… "Where can I get one of those jobs where I never have to do any real work?"Nice cheap shot.

  77. MicheleS - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Spash..Could the player be Werth? Wasn't he at Dinner with Rizzo/Lerner as stated above? Plus he is a Boras client.. needs to drum up some dough for his agent. I can see that as the source.

  78. SpashCity - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    MicheleS – Heyman's source could very well be Werth. I'm sure Werth would love to have another $100 million bat in the line up to take some of the pressure off him, and he might be trying to sell the idea to Rizzo.I don't agree with the "Werth needs to drum up some dough for his agent" theory though. Boras works for the players, not the other way around.

  79. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Definitely Matt Stairs. While here he produced virtually nothing in multiple bigtime situations. Big waste of a roster spot! Pudge I'm ok with because he helped Ramos and young pitchers and got some big hits later in the season. I hate to see him and Livan go.

  80. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    That Cubs loss really influenced my impression of Davey Johnson. He mismanaged the bullpen that night by not having anyone ready to come in for Livo and admitted as much the next day.Johnson's from the Missouri school of management. Show me what you've got or don't have. From Johnson's perspective, while he was trying to win, he was also determining who he wanted to see on the roster this year. His stated goal was to set up the roster for the next manager. Which turned out to be Johnson himself.Thus the debacles where Johnson would allow pitchers to try to work their way out of jams.IMO he's not even close to done yet. There are still a lot of holes Davey especially the dearth of left-handed impact bats. There are none. La Roche is not and really never has been one of those. Bernadina likely is not one of those. Corey Brown, you still haven't seen him yet. So? Where's the beef Davey?

  81. N. Cognito - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:14 PM

    The only issue with Fielder possibly signing with the Nats is the length of the contract.LaRoche is already declining and has only one year left on his contract – $8 million that the Nats can swallow for one season if he can't be moved.If Harper proves his hype, which is no certainty, and Werth moves to left to make way for a true centerfielder in a season or two (assuming Harper's not going to be a centerfielder), Morse can be moved to fill other holes in the lineup (SS?) or to restock the minors.

  82. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:17 PM

    There may be something to the idea that the beat writers tread very lightly in terms of criticism of the club or of reporting stuff that makes the Nats organization look bad. Think about it. How is it that no one in the local Nats media thinks Ian Desmond with his very iffy resume is not the answer at lead off for the Nats or even at shortstop itself? Not Zuckerman, Sheinin, Kilgore, Wood, Ladson, Loverro, Boz, they are ALL believers to one extent or another. Ian’s errors and hundreds of K’s are of little concern to the local media. How do they all see his flaws as just bumps in the road for his development? Do you think that they are all just such good judges of talent that they see Ian as being as good as Rizzo expects him to become some day? Maybe, but the national media guys are not so sure about Ian in either the lead off role or as an every day shortstop for that matter. So little bad press for Jayson Werth last year, no hint about Marquis undermining Riggleman when it was going down, never a bad word about Saint Zimmerman’s arguably lousy arm, very little heat when Rizzo deems Eckstein off limits to the press . . . it’s almost always lovey-dovey in the local media. What is the worst thing that Chico, Kilgore or Zuckerman ever said about Mike Rizzo's job performance? How strongly do they say that the Lerners are acused of micro-managing and or going cheap? Only the untouchable Boz dare go there and even he cowers when push comes to shove – he likes the view from the owner’s box at Nats park. They rarely call the Nats out for anything bad, they shoot very little from a negative point of view, though there is certainly some ammo out there. The national reporters can afford to say what they hear and think and not worry that Mike Rizzo will never come on their local radio show or grant them an interview again.

  83. MFG - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    Re: FielderI have said this before. If the Nats sign Fielder, Morse will have to be traded. It doesn't necessarily have to be this winter, or even next winter, but there just aren't enough positions on the field.If Fielder becomes a National, that locks up 1B for the next 5-8 years. We know Werth will be in the outfield somewhere, and we can assume Harper will also be out there. While the Nats may feel comfortable with Werth in CF for 2012, there is no way he can play there in 2013 and beyond. I don't think the Nats want Harper to be the long-term solution in CF, even though I know he has played there some in the minors. Morse clearly isn't a CF, since he is an average (maybe below-average) defensive LF.With Fielder, Werth and Harper locked up for the next several years, Morse has no position, and the Nats would be wise to trade him while his value is highest – while he still has some arbitration years left and before his production declines due to age/the league figuring him out (I'm not sure the league can figure him out since he has been putting up these numbers for a year and a half now, but the point remains the same).

  84. Scooter - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:27 PM

    So, thinking about the poll for a second (if y'all don't mind): if memory serves, when Zimmerman got hurt he was only going to be out for like 3 weeks of rest and rehab. Yes? Of course that wasn't certain, and of course some of our commenters knew for a fact that he needed surgery, he didn't eat enough veggies, he was actually the milkman's son, etc., etc., etc.I'm just thinking, that's one reason why The Day Zimmerman Got Hurt doesn't stick out to me as such a terrible moment.Anyway.

  85. Wally - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:35 PM

    MFG – I think there is logic in what you say, but the good thing is that they don't have to decide now. They could let the 2012 season play out and then decide. If Morse holds this level of production, they'll get value for him. If he declines, he becomes an excellent bench bat and corner MI/OF back up. If Werth can go another year or two CF, Morse could still start. Heck, even could Werth could get traded. Bottom line, they do not have a Harper or Rendon type that Prince would block, and there are options for everyone else. It is a good problem for the team to have. The fact that Fielder fits so well organizationally and for the Nats ascent into the realm of legit contenders is why the rumors won't die, IMO. But while I usually never believe what a player or GM says in the media, Rizzo's repeated denials are starting to make me believe him that the Nats are not after him. Hope I am wrong.

  86. Mark'd - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    2 months ago I wasn't buying Prince. Today, it makes sense. Only problem is the Nats have competition to sign him.

  87. Feel Wood - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Heck, even could Werth could get traded.Not likely. He has a no-trade clause in his contract.

  88. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    Fielder would give the Nats a third first-baseman. The money spent on Fielder would be better spent in other areas. A healthy LaRoche gives the Nats 80 % of Fielder's offense but adds 10 % to Fielder's defense.More like less than 50% of Fielder. La Roche's strength is his fielding. He strikes out a lot and doesn't walk as much as Fielder. Fielder's main advantage in Nats park is his gap power. He hits a lot of doubles. You and Boz seem hooked on the home run. That is not what makes anelite impact hitter. Ted Williams was an elite hitter. Prince Fielder is an elitehitter. Adam Dunn IS NOT an elite hitter even at his best. Adam LaRoche lies beneath Adam Dunn.The only flaw in Prince is probably the same one that affects his fielding: his weight and conditioning. It will effect him more and more as he gets older.Defense and baseball park neutral stats:Adam LaRoche 2011 : 177 PA, 0.260 wOBA, -9.3 bRAAAdam LaRoche 2010 : 615 PA, 0.325 wOBA, 0.0 bRAAAdam LaRoche 2009 ATL : 242 PA, 0.416 wOBA, 17.4 bRAAAdam LaRoche 2009 PIT : 368 PA. 0.336 wOBA, 1.3 bRAAPrince Fielder 2011 : 692 PA, 0.407 wOBA, 49.9 bRAAPrince Fielder 2010 : 714 PA, 0.377 wOBA, 31.5 bRAAPrince Fielder 2009 : 720 PA, 0.417 wOBA, 52.4 bRAAAdam Dunn 2011 : 496 PA, 0.264 wOBA, -27.5 bRAAAdam Dunn 2010 : 648 PA, 0.381 wOBA, 30.9 bRAAAdam Dunn 2009 : 668 PA, 0.395 wOBA, 36.4 bRAAWhile Ryan Braun did put up similar stats the last 3 years. He is alsoaccused of using PED's and he is right-handed. His best, overwhelmingMVP figures were this past season. The same year he was caught.If you put Prince in a lineup with Zimmerman and Morse on both sides he should be just fine if you assume Zim's stats will revert to 2010 and Morse will continue as he has the past 3 years between AAA and the majors.

  89. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    I have said this before. If the Nats sign Fielder, Morse will have to be traded. It doesn't necessarily have to be this winter, or even next winter, but there just aren't enough positions on the field.Yes, Morse will likely get traded (And I am the ORIGINAL Morse fan!) when Rendon and Goodwin are ready and if Rendon truly does have a gold glove to go with an impact bat. And Desmond also probably gets moved because you're not moving Espinosa. Its why Desmond at short and Espinosa at second makes less and less sense as time goes by.Morse will be over 30 and closing in on free agency. It will weaken the offense until and if the two players get their feet under them in the majors.

  90. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 6:57 PM

    "Yes, Morse will likely get traded (And I am the ORIGINAL Morse fan!)"Momma Morse?

  91. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    IMO once Werth is in CF and looks good there. Davey will keep him there in order to get bats in the lineup. This year, next year, and the following year. And please don't disparage his future fielding because of his age people? Cameron still fields close to gold-glove and he is 40.So, if Morse continues to hit he will be in the lineup until he hits free agency. Then they'll likely go with Rendon.

  92. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    Momma Morse?No his uncle Mickey.

  93. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    In three years perhaps left-handed hitters Caleb Ramsay and Matt Skole might be in AAA as top MLB prospects ready to hit the majors. Can the fan base wait another three years? Or not?

  94. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    Prince Fielder struck out fewer times last year (107) than Werth, Desmond, Espinosa, or Morse. He struck out only 11 more times than Ankiel, who had 277 fewer plate appearances. He walked 33 more times than Werth, who was our team leader with 74. His OPS+ last year was 164. His average OPS+ over the past 5 years is 150. (Morse's last year was 147.) His career OPB is .390 and he's been over .400 the past three years. But he's fat. And his uniform number is 28, and we sure wouldn't want a logjam there with Werth. Just imagine the bidding war. Who would Boras represent?

  95. Stairs seemed a good idea at the time - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Amazing how everyone's hindsight is so crystal clear on Matt Stairs. Last March, I thought he was a decent cheap pickup with a sufficiently hairy chest for the occasional bomb off the bench. His OPS was actually better in 2010 (.781) than it was in 2009 (.720). Even with something like a 10-20 percent decline, he would have been passable. I don't think Rizzo couldn't have expected a dramatic drop off in skill to an OPS of .426. I certainly didn't.

  96. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    "What is the worst thing that Chico, Kilgore or Zuckerman ever said about Mike Rizzo's job performance?"Hmmm, good question . . . that he tries too hard? that the market shifted under his feet and how could he see that coming? that he's hamstrung because Bowden caused so much woe? that some other club was willing to go way higher for this or that player and thus they are nuts for the big spending and Mike is smart for being frugal (Chapman, Dunn, Buehrle)? or that Mike had to go way higher than the other clubs were willing to pay to get the guy he wanted and thus they are nuts for being frugal and Mike is smart for spending big (Pudge, Werth)? He largely gets a free pass from the media.

  97. He sure did... - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:31 PM

    Obviously Rizzo didn't expect Stairs to strike out every single time he went up to bat (at least thats the way I remember it). That's why it was such a disappointment. You, me, Rizzo and Nats Town expected a solid bench bat out of Stairs and got next to nothing.

  98. sjm308 - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  99. Not a troll - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:36 PM

    Instead of shooting daggers at Mr. Zuckerman over the discretion he (of necessity) needs to show regarding negative commentary about the team, it would be more charitable to regard this discretion as a necessary constraint. Do we really need to have stating-the-obvious articles bashing the Lerners in order to enhance the absolute informational value of the vast number of other articles that are enabled by his continued good graces with the team by virtue of his access? I think not. I take it as a given that there are places he can't go, and do not assume that the total content of his online prose encapsulates his entire feelings about the team and its ownership.

  100. Natty Go Round the Roses - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    I agree with Anon at 117, pretty much.I think one of the best examples of this is the beat reporters' non-interest in how often the Nats whiff at the plate. I believe we led all baseball in K's last season, and the previous three or four seasons, we moved "up" in the K standings every single year. The combined K's by Werth, Espi, and Desi are horrendous by themselves; when you add in the whole team's K's, it's truly execrable.But I don't remember a beat reporter asking, at a post-gamer, why this team strikes out so much? Sure don't remember a three-part series on the topic on any blog or paper. It's a question that goes beyond the futility of the offense, to the question of the philosophy of watching lots and lots and lots of strikes on purpose. No one wants to be seen as questioning basic philosophy, so the question is not asked, and fans scream at their TVs while the Nats lead the world in K's again.

  101. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    @Ssagiatt — It not that everyone knew when Stairs made the team that it would be a disaster. Rather, it was clear it was a disaster as early as the April 13 game that's on Mark's list and certainly by the end of April by which time he had 18 plate appearances and, wait for it, no hits. NO HITS. Yet we were stuck with him until July. That's not hindsight, it's math.

  102. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    I blame TMZ and the other gossip outlets for the loss of the distinction in some people's understanding between "beat writer" and "columnnist," fact and opinion, reportage and gossip.

  103. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Anon 1:54,Almost on the same page. Nats will sign Zim to a LT deal before or during ST, and it's clear that they'll need to find room for Rendon, and that's at 2B, not the OF. Espi gets shifted over, Desmond to bench or gone. No need to rush this one: give Rendon time to learn the MI at Hagerstown, Potomac, Harrisonburg.No idea what the problem is putting Fielder at 1B, and LaRoche as the late inning defensive replacement as well as the LH bat off the bench. Keep Morse where he is, and should he move via FA down the road, then the minors will have sufficient replacements by then (thinking of Destin Hood).2013: Fielder, Rendon, Espi, Zim and Werth, Harper, Morse.

  104. Binx Bolling - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    Apparently not many teams are standing in line to pay Fielder. The Rangers will have to pay Darvish $100 million. Will they pay Fielder big money? Although Fielder is a good fit for Wrigley, the Cubs may be dumping salary right now. The Blue Jays and Orioles may be willing to pay Fielder a low-ball price. We know the Angelos Orioles are always apt to place hitting before pitching. The Mariners might bite but does Fielder wish to play on such a miserable team. One wonders whether the Marlins, previously willing to pay Pujols big money, might wish to do the same for Fielder. A team with a line-up of Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Logan Morrison, Fielder, Mike Stanton, John Buck, Omar Infante, a resurgent Chris Coghlan and Emilio Bonafacio as a utilityman would be formidable.

  105. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:48 PM

    "It not that everyone knew when Stairs made the team that it would be a disaster."Actually, quite a few people said it would be. I wasn't one of them, but I was one of the people convinced by that particular at-bat.

  106. Stairs seemed a good idea at the time - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:49 PM

    Fair enough- a meaningful distinction. Yes, after 0-for-18, it was indeed a sign to cut bait– assuming better options were available that did not involve removing a developing player from regular time in the minors. Then again, just as with all the hopes that "maybe this is the at-bat that gets it all going again" that accompanied the maddening Werth at-bats, perhaps too there was a hope that Stairs would get it back again…The vast majority of comments seem to focus on Stairs' mere existence as part of the team. He has always been a stand-up player and person, IMO.

  107. Young Pitchers - Dec 29, 2011 at 7:59 PM

    the nats ended season with morse-ankiel/bernie-werth. i didn't find it too terrible.how much worse would a morse-werth-harper/harper-werth-morse be, W-L-wise? keep in mind the nats likely will have three strike out starters and two ground-ballers in '12. wouldn't these three improve enough in their positions to handle the load?would it be worse than the marlins? with 2011 nats' superior fielding/defense it's still no match to the mashing marlins' man-handling.M-W-H could easily be a 90-hr, 250-rbi OF combo if you order their bats around Fielder.

  108. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:01 PM

    The hope that Stairs would get going definitely continued, even into the DJ era. Davey gave him several starts in AL parks at DH, and even started him at 1B at least once. It was ridiculous. AL teams are built with a DH in mind, and we counter with… Matt Stairs?? I'm sure he was a stand up guy, and I'm glad he won that game against the Pirates with his walkoff single off the right field wall. But he should have retired on May 1, or Rizzo should have replaced him.Too bad nothing can be done about the $126 million man. Everyone seems to think he'll get it all together this year though, so that must be true….

  109. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:13 PM

    Ok, the opinion writers and the reporters are different animals, and people largely forget that, but is iether crowd really asking hard questions to the Nats? I have never even seen Lerner or Rizzo or Kasten uncomfortable, much less being challenged by a reporter over some club fumble. And this organization has been horrible. Bad press, bad PR, bad marketing, bad rosters, bad TV (how long did it take to get the games in HD?), bad in the standings, bad radio signals, bad internationally in the DR, etc. Yet no one but Jim Bowden is responsible for anything negative. Can maybe the press hold these guys to some standard higher than occupying their own suits?

  110. Feel Wood - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Instead of shooting daggers at Mr. Zuckerman over the discretion he (of necessity) needs to show regarding negative commentary about the team, it would be more charitable to regard this discretion as a necessary constraint.Attempting to establish the veracity of rumors that are floating around about the team, and reporting truthfully about who did or did not appear in a public space and/or have discussions with someone else in a public space is not "negative reporting about the team." Asking someone to confirm or deny legitimate rumors and accurately reporting their response, even if it be "no comment," is not "negative reporting about the team." What kind of bizarro world do you live in, anyway?

  111. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    Peter Angelos gets some blame too, don't forget Lord Vader.

  112. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    FA down the road, then the minors will have sufficient replacements by then (thinking of Destin Hood).Not with Werth and his no-trade clause at age 37 in right field along with the "mystery" CF. Werth seems more and more like something ownership and Boras cooked up … not Rizzo. He doesn't fit Rizzo, Clark, etc. MO? He's more a fly in the ointment blocking prospects ala Soriano with the Cubs.

  113. NatsNut - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    I'm not disparaging Werth's fielding because of his age, I'm disparaging it because it stinks now. He's got a lot of talent and he gets by in RF, but his fielding is way too cautious for CF.Anonymous said…And please don't disparage his future fielding because of his age people? Cameron still fields close to gold-glove and he is 40.

  114. Not a troll - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    What kind of bizarro world do you live in, anyway? —One where I see rude comments like this all the time, but need not reply in kind.Go Nats!

  115. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:27 PM

    Rumor has it the Nats may be in on Marlon Byrd from the Cubs to play CF.dfh21

  116. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    Ok, the opinion writers and the reporters are different animals, and people largely forget that, but is iether crowd really asking hard questions to the Nats? I have never even seen Lerner or Rizzo or Kasten uncomfortable, much less being challenged by a reporter over some club fumble. And this organization has been horrible. Bad press, bad PR, bad marketing, bad rosters, bad TV (how long did it take to get the games in HD?), bad in the standings, bad radio signals, bad internationally in the DR, etc.Well, you seem to have found out that all these aspects of the Nats are horrible without any reporter ever asking anyone a hard question, so one has to wonder what more might have been gained if hard questions were asked. And what kind of hard questions are you looking to have asked, anyway? Something like "Did you grow up wanting to be incompetent, or did you just happen into it?" Geez Louise. Did you grow up wanting to be an asshat, or did you just stumble into it?

  117. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Strange Days … are we going to be limited to regular season? I'm thinking you can't do this list without Tony Plush in there somewhere. And I liked the guy.I like him too. Would've worked fine in a platoon situation. Its funny how that all worked out … as FJB said you can blame Jim Riggleman. Giggleman's Island was a strange and whacky place as can be. No resemblance to a major league baseball team. I doubt that Werth will have as much say about someone like Morgan under Davey Johnson. Particularly since, so far, the only Werth is doing well is blocking developing prospects with his no-trade clause. He looked worse than Soriano ever did with the Cubs. That said, he wasn't the worst hitter in the lineup. He ended up about 4th or 5th best after Espinosa. Yes, the Nats were that pathetic offensively outside of Morse, Zim, and an up and coming Ramos.

  118. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    I don't know about you folks but I found the choice of Stairs by Rizzo to be nothing short of BIZARRE from the get-go. A player with no-legs who could no longer play the field on a National league team? One that was still rebuilding/developing and needed to look at young prospects? Prospects like Roger Bernadina odd man out.I had a long interminable argument with that idiot Ben Goesling over this. He continued to claim that Riggleman had absolutely no say in the roster. That is was all on Rizzo. He used Werth as an example of Riggleman not knowing what was happening until it happened. Well, if you read what Shenin and others have said its also possible Rizzo didn't know what was happening until the owners approached him after negotiating with Bora on the sly. Now c'mon who's idea does Stairs seem like Riggleman or Rizzo? Remember, Rizzo is the one who sent both Dunn and Willingham away because he felt they weren't athletic/healthy enough to play the field for him? Its probably the giant roadblock where Prince is concerned. And Rizzo would pick Stairs? That's Riggleman picking his bench almost certainly.

  119. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:41 PM

    Asshat? Was not my comment, but that was a bit over the top. Anyway . . . Questions I'd like asked and answered: Why'd the club go so cheap when it opened the new park? Why'd they lie about being out there doing all they could to build the best farm in the game and then not hire a full scouting or front office staff for another 3 years?

  120. Feel Wood - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:43 PM

    Now c'mon who's idea does Stairs seem like Riggleman or Rizzo?Who cares? Two of those three guys are ancient history. You might as well keep asking what Nook Logan was thinking, what was he doing, where was he going?

  121. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Ha. Mike Teflon Rizzo gets the benefit of the doubt so much that the theory that Riggleman must have demanded Stairs has been thrown out there? Wow.

  122. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:45 PM

    Rumor has it the Nats may be in on Marlon Byrd from the Cubs to play CF.Been there done that. Not happening under Davey Johnson. He said he was going with Werth last FALL. MONTHS AGO! Right!? Sheesh! Rizzo has given him plenty of backup both young and old (Camerron) at CF. Now its a matter of evaluating Corey Brown, Brian Goodwin, Eury Perez, and Michael Taylor; possibly even Curran this season to see where they're at.Johnson wants Harper's and Morse's bat in his lineup more than the graceful ballet dancer Rizzo describes for CF. Johnson wants production from his offense. He will get it from Morse. He is hoping he might get a good bit from Harper as a rookie as well.That's it. End of Story. Hasta la Vista baybeee!

  123. Here's an answer - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:46 PM

    Questions I'd like asked and answered: Why'd the club go so cheap when it opened the new park? Why'd they lie about being out there doing all they could to build the best farm in the game and then not hire a full scouting or front office staff for another 3 years?I dunno. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

  124. Gonat - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:47 PM

    dfh, Marlon Byrd. The Nats needed him in 2007. Next year he will be 35. Certainly would be a decent addition but don't expect his 2008 season again.

  125. Binx Bolling - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    One thing to consider when fans plead for the Lerners to blow big money on players is that the world may be heading into a fresh new recession next year. Europe may already be in recession, a situation exacerbated by the debt crisis.

  126. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Stairs was not a bad call as a bench guy, it just did not work out. Rizzo's not to blame becausee the guy imploded and Riggleman is not to blame for going to him late in games either. Stairs had a good history in the role and that's what they had to go on. And Stairs not performing was not as big of a deal at all compared to Werth or Demsond not playing well or LaRoche or Zim getting hurt.dfh21

  127. gonatsgo - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:51 PM

    It seems like every year there is an injury that makes me nauseous. First jzim in 09, stras in 10 and Zim in 11. Please, guys, be careful out there in 2012!!! Those moments are right up there for me in worst nats fan moments of the last few years. Cubs game was my worst on the field fan moment for this last season – it felt like those 100-loss season type games. It is obvious to me that fans out there are not yet recovered from the great Riggs defection – even when they say we are better off , you can detect the anger and resentment. Have we really moved on or will that not happen until DJ has a full season with the nats and his own spring training?

  128. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Why'd they lie about being out there doing all they could to build the best farm in the game and then not hire a full scouting or front office staff for another 3 years?That's like asking why Jim Bowden brought in all his favorite prospects, players, coaches, etc. from Cincinnati? He kept extending what was a fairly worthless shortstop named Cristian Guzman over and over again. He traded for Kearns with Cincinnati and FLOP and gave Kearns a huge contract extension? So, the answer? Bowden figured he'd use Cincinnati Reds castoffs that Jocketty threw away. Saves money looks good to ownership. Meanwhile, Bowden got Rizzo in 2007 to help him draft prospects that might look good in trades with the Reds eventually.

  129. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 8:56 PM

    I am not advocating Marlon Byrd as a trade target for the Nats, just pointing out that a rumor is out there that the Nats might be interested. Buster Olney says that Nats could have interest — whatever that means. dfh21

  130. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:02 PM

    And Stairs not performing was not as big of a deal at all compared to Werth or Demsond not playing well or LaRoche or Zim getting hurt.No, dfh21 IT WAS A BAD IDEA from the beginning. And many here, and especially NFA_Brian and SuDinem railed against it immediately! Right then and there. It made NO SENSE period.Riggleman had to keep him hidden on the bench taking a slot a young player could have had given the injuries to Zim, LaRoche, etc? Marerro could have been called up early for example? Lombardozzi the switch-hitter? But that would have taken a slot away from a veteran and we know how Riggleman felt about that. The only advantage Stairs had was that he was a left-handed bat on a team badly in need of one or more. The problem was neither bat nor legs worked anymore. The only guy who really seemed to want him (and he may have been involved in asking for him) was Jayson Werth. Maybe he was Werth's idea of a replacement for Morgan.

  131. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:05 PM

    For Riggleman it was more important to have his decrepit, weak hitting veterans running his clubhouse while he relaxed with the door shut in his office that it was to win.

  132. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:06 PM

    So, Anon 3:55, the Nats went with the short staff and had Kasten out telling fables about their efforts because Jim Bowden wanted to save money for his owners? And isn't the big Bowden bashing you did there doing much other than feeding the prior poster's fire about how all the media does in blame Bowden and Angelos for Rizzo's and the Lerners failures?

  133. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:11 PM

    Blah blah blah, the Nats are terrible. The owners are cheap. The GM is an idiot. The beat writers are tools. The players all suck. Blah blah blah. No real point, just feeling wood.

  134. Anonymous8 - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Stairs was just another lefty in a heavy lefty reserve OF bench. My biggest issue was his age and dropping production and that I felt giving an opportunity to Nix from the left side would be more productive. Rizzo needed a better version of Gomes and didn't find it which made it a shame. Rizzo just didn't bring in the right player.Rizzo has to get on these earlier and dictate the market instead of allowing the market to dictate to him.

  135. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    I just don't think that it is fair to Rizzo — and I am no defemnder of the guy generally –to say that the Stairs contract was a bad idea from the beginning. It turned out to be a bad idea in hindsight, sure. But Stairs was the best PH available, the Nats had no one o nthe MLB roster for the role, he was healthy and was coming off of back to back solid seasons (more than 12 PH's in each of 2009 and 2010). Having Lombo or Marrero sit on the bench and get 1 AB a night, if that, was not really going to be smart for their development or for the team's success as neither guy had a track record of success in the PH role. Maybe people did not like the move or maybe they even predicted that Stairs would not produce, but the odds were, when the decision was made, that Stairs would likely be a valuable guy for the role and for the money. Hard to knock Rizzo for having gone for Stairs, all things considered.dfh21

  136. Will - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    I know it wasn't technically 2011, but can I still vote for signing Jayson Werth to a $116mil contract the worst moment of 2011??

  137. Will - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    dfh21, if you go back to last year's article, you will find myself and numerous others calling the Stairs deal a bad one before the season began.At the time, it made absolutely no sense to sign a career DH to a National League team, nevermind his recent abysmal offensive numbers.

  138. Carl Bernstein - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:21 PM

    "Rumor has it that Fielder was seen in Washington just a few weeks ago. Yet no local beat writer such as Zuckerman or Kilgore deigned to track that rumor down to see if there was any truth to it. Also, the Washington Post gossip columnists reported recently that Mark Lerner, Mike Rizzo and Jayson Werth were seen having dinner together in a local establishment."Suppose Prince Fielder were to sign a contract and none of these questions were ever answered? Clearly, we're dealing with a murky conspiracy of dinner-eating and sight-seeing. Follow the money!

  139. Anonymous (The Dude Abides) - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    Notice how low the quality of the posts have become lately?Must be that Peter Angelos has joined us as an Anonymous poster.

  140. NatsLady - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:24 PM

    Re: Cubs game. I was at that game, having taken the day off work. There was a lot going on.(1) Livo got a bad call and just lost it. He started throwing instead of pitching. (2) It was hot.(3) "Crafty, innings-eater" Livo had the rep of being able to settle down and outlast both the heat and the bad umps.(4) Livo didn't do either…and Davey wasn't ready.Contrast that with Clipp. He got a bad call from an ump and just threw another strike. That ball hit the batter (or didn't). Davey was out to argue the call, Clipp shook him off. The umps gave Clipp the call, because they owed him a strike. It seems to me that the starters (Livo, Lannan, and JZimm, not to mention Marquis) had a tendency to let game situations get ahold of them. Wang and Stras have the cool heads. Will be interesting to see how Gio fits in this.

  141. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:28 PM

    Boooo–ooo! I am the ghost of Jim Bowden!! . . . . booooooooo . . . I am riding a spooky ghost Segway, waiving Austin Kearns's bad contract from 2008 and wearing leather pants in the baseball after life! . . . I will haunt Mike Rizzo FOREVER to make his job of assembling a quality MLB team impossible . . . boooo–ooo! Blame me for the futility, do not blame him!!

  142. Will - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    I went and looked. Check out this article posted on March 24th (a week before the season began), there's quite a bit of criticism of Stairs already. I'll also take the opportunity to quote myself,"Will said…Why any NL team would sign Matt Stairs is beyond me.Why any NL team would consider keeping Laynce "No Upside" Nix instead of Nyjer Morgan is also beyond me. Morgan might be an idiot, but he has the potential to be something that we in desperate need of now: a lead off batter. Nix is just another low-on-base AAAA batter with some pop. A dime a dozen.This is awful roster management on Rizzo's part if any of it comes true.March 26, 2011 6:21 AM"Read it yourself

  143. Section 222 - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    I remember being surprised at Stairs beating out Bernadina for the last roster spot because he pretty clearly couldn't play the field except in an emergency. But I thought, oh well, if he turns out to be the great PH that everyone says he is, that wouldn't be the worst thing. The problem, I repeat, is that he stuck around until July when it was clear, months before, even to Riggleman, that he no longer could be a decent PH or DH, or any other kind of H.

  144. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    Matt Stairs had been a career PH for years before the Nats inked him, not a DH. They did not sign the guy to be the 4th OF, they signed him to face RHP, Closers mostly, late in games in tough situations. He had shown some very good skills in that role. He did not do well, as we all know, but did Rizzo make a bad judgment in adding the LH PH specialist to a club that had no one for the job?dfh21

  145. kevinx - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    For the record, Prince Fielder has been a vegetarian since 2008.

  146. natsfan1a - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:39 PM

    You forgot to mention the Interwebz and talk radio. But otherwise, I'm on totally on board with what you said. Preach it.Sec 3, My Sofa said… I blame TMZ and the other gossip outlets for the loss of the distinction in some people's understanding between "beat writer" and "columnnist," fact and opinion, reportage and gossip. December 29, 2011 2:45 PM

  147. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:41 PM

    As a couple people have said, the real problem with Stairs wasn't signing him. There's no way anyone could have known that his production would fall off the face of the Earth like that. The real problem is that they hung on to him long after it had become obvious to everyone that this wasn't a "slump" but that he was finished.It's tough to make that call, I know. I eventually had to bench Adam Dunn on my fantasy team, too. But the Nats limped along with Stairs for at least a month longer than they should have, and probably more like two months.

  148. Matt Stairs .... - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:43 PM

    Let it go people, I am up in Bangor Maine now coaching a hockey team. I have retired. Stop kicking a dead horse!

  149. MicheleS - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    DFH21… making some good points today…captcha. ouster.. something that happened eventully to Stairs.. whether or not it was fast enough for some of us

  150. Will - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:47 PM

    Isn't that the point of the worst moments discussion – to beat many dead horses?

  151. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    I think that it is even hard to say that they wiated too long to jetison Stairs last year. He had a total of less than 75 AB's, the vast majority of which were spot starts and PH appearances (he likely never played in back to back ames as a starter, just a guess) and a PH who gets 10 PHs in a season is pretty successful. Stairs has 100 PH's in his career and that puts him in the top 20 of all time. It's a really difficult role. dfh21

  152. natsfan1a - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    I always liked Marlon Byrd. That is all.

  153. natsfan1a - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    Say, can a worst moment be scrolling through a particular comment thread? Eh, never mind. :-)

  154. MicheleS - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Okay.. if we are beating Dead Horses..DOUG SLATEN..how many times were all of us screaming from the rooftops to kick him to the curb.Let the beating begin!

  155. MicheleS - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    1A.. agree with you on Byrd.. Good guy and could be a servicable CF for 1 year. Can we trade him for Cutter Dykstra?

  156. Wally - Dec 29, 2011 at 9:57 PM

    Buster ranks our infield 9th. I think that he kind of likes us (rotation 8th, bullpen 8th, IF 9th).I think Byrd could make sense as a CF option, if we don't have to pay too much. I forgot about him and Crisp in my OF comment this morning.

  157. N. Cognito - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    Binx Bolling said… "Apparently not many teams are standing in line to pay Fielder."Perhaps, but you, we and them(those covering baseball) don't really know that. It could be that Fielder has offers for 7ish years and around $22 million per year but Boras thinks there's time to get a better deal.Those of us that would like the Nats to sign Fielder, but for at most 5 or 6 years, certainly hope you are right.

  158. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    "As a couple people have said, the real problem with Stairs wasn't signing him."Some of us didn't like the signing. From the signing announcements, I thought the bench would be pretty bad. All you had to do was look at their stats and their trends.

  159. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Addendum: Bowden/Rizzo have yet to put together a good bench for the Nats.

  160. MicheleS - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Mark Z…So why are some of the articles in the right hand corner not posted on NI and just on CSN (Werth in Center)? we could use a new post to argue about! ;-)

  161. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    @ Wally,I've been wondering about Coco, too. As in why haven't we heard anything from the Nats about him? I get that he's not a long-term option, but he's a CF who can hit leadoff and steal a few bases. I'd think that he would fit the team's needs as a stopgap for 2012 before the CF market opens up in 2013.

  162. N. Cognito - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:24 PM

    "I've been wondering about Coco, too. As in why haven't we heard anything from the Nats about him? "What makes you think you will or should hear anything from the Nats about Coco Crisp?

  163. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    I'd think that he would fit the team's needs as a stopgap for 2012 before the CF market opens up in 2013.They would be far better off with Seth Smith who is left-handed and is a fairly good bench/PH outfielder. Plus Crisp is likely looking for a three year deal. Where then do you put Harper? Davey has Morse as his left-fielder. If La Roche goes he'll likely either put Marerro there or TylerMoore if Marerro isn't ready. Then there's Fielder. Coco Crisp [ S]: 583 PA, 0.323 wOBA, -2.3 bRAA Meh. That's Bernadina.Seth Smith [LHB]:533 PA, 0.345 wOBA, 11.6 bRAA Better than Ramos.

  164. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    Say, can a worst moment be scrolling through a particular comment thread? Eh, never mind. :-)Yeah huh? Too many Riggleman apologists … ;)

  165. JaneB - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Every time we called on Matt Stairs – a stand up player, former Real Deal but expired label guy — it was bad. But THAT game, where almost anything but a strike out would have helped — that was LOW. Having LaRoche go out was almost a relief, because he was clearly playing injured. I echo natsfan1a in my gratitude for mentioning the Ramos kidnapping but not including it here. It was it's own, may-it-never-be-topped Awful Event.LOVE the coverage here, by the by. Love the comments, including from JayB. Love the Nats, most of all. But you knew that, didn't you?

  166. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    And isn't the big Bowden bashing you did there doing much other than feeding the prior poster's fire about how all the media does in blame Bowden and Angelos for Rizzo's and the Lerners failures?Well, the media can't always be wrong. Look at this way, Bowden has since 2005 to rebuild a farm system and produce a winner. Rizzo may not have produced a winner but by all objective accounts throughout baseball he has managed to rebuild the farm system. It isn't there yet but measurable progress has been made. Whereas under JimBo? Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes became our "top prospects". JimBo bragged on ESPN about how he convinced the Lerners by telling them "either Dukes is in the All Star game or he is in Jail for the price he is worth the risk". That sir is Jim Bowden in a nutshell. Dukes and Milledge so that he can give big contracts to? Cristian Guzman and Austin Kearns? No, Rizzo hasn't produced a winner yet. But, if he can continue to somehow convince the Lerner's to front money for his acquisition of prospects for the minors not only will a winner be produced but it should become almost perennial. Try to follow along will ya?

  167. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:54 PM

    Those of us that would like the Nats to sign Fielder, but for at most 5 or 6 years, certainly hope you are right.Three is even pushing the envelope of risk given the price tag. Unless Fielder brings the weight down and the agility and athleticism up 5,6, or 7 could turn out to be really bad. Doubtless totally unacceptable to the Lerners if Fielder ends up like LaRoche or Dunn. But for three to four with an option? He is exactly what the doctor ordered for the Nats. His fielding can't be as bad as Dunn's was.

  168. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    And really cannot understand trading for Gerardo Parra [LHB] over Seth Smith [LHB] who is being shopped by the Rockies:Gerardo Parra:2011 489 PA, 0.328 wOBA, 3.3 bRAA2010 393 PA, 0.282 wOBA, -14.2 bRAA2009 493 PA, 0.315 wOBA, -6.8 bRAAThey are far better off with Corey Brown and Roger Bernadina.Parra has little to offer offensively. Its basically night-and-daybetween Parra and Smith. Smith is far superior and .. … apparently the Rockies know it given what they wanted for him from the Braves who were willing to let Martin Prado go …Seth Smith2011 533 PA, 0.345 wOBA, 11.6 bRAA2010 398 PA, 0.335 wOBA, 3.4 bRAA2009 387 PA, 0.375 wOBA, 14.6 bRAA

  169. Anonymous - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:24 PM

    JaneB said…Love the comments, including from JayB.Nepotism. It's never a pretty thing.

  170. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    Worst moment? Any Debbie Taylor interview.That also works for the Strangest Moment category.

  171. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:18 AM

    Anon 5:40 — so grumpy and so eager to blame Bowden for so much. The Nats gave up very little for either Lastings or Dukes, why the hate on those moves so very much? Both guys had a shot to make it, and Bowden was dead right on his summing up of Dukes and his owners bought on the move after he told them the guy they were trading for might end up a convict. Dukes had a ton of talent, he was either going to harness it and be special or flame out. Score one for Jimbo on the prediction and for being dead straight with his bosses. Rizzo has not exactly spent so very wisely to date. Wang's made something like $1M per start as a Nat, Marquis and Pudge and Werth to date? Loads of cash and loads of losses. He's had his share of misses on talent too – pretty much every bench player he's ever added to the roster, he traded away Hanrahan just after the club did all it could to diminish his value. Tony Plush is worse than Wily Mo. Jose Flores thinks Rizzo cost him a couple years of his career. Bowden was not exceptional, not good even, but Rizzo is far from flawless. He has had trouble valuing the market (Werth), he's had some problems with personnel management (Riggleman) and public relations (Eckstein’s media bar), he loves his own talent to the point of self-destruction (Desmond must play no matter how poorly he performs, no return was good enough to move Dunn), he's had trouble making trades to the point where other clubs hate his guts (Kenny Williams). Rizzo's finished last, last and third — 20+ games out, he has not lit the world on fire. He added Gomes to the club at the break last year after the Nats were out of it. So far, but for the glaring improvement in the Gio trade, which is big, that Gomes move sums up Mike Rizzo in a nutshell – too little too late. I almost miss Bowden's boldness.

  172. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    Yep. That 80-81 finish by a team filled with young promise sure does make me pine for the days of Elijah Dukes and the Leatherpants Segway.

  173. Jesus Flores - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:30 AM

    Who's Jose Flores?Jose Flores thinks Rizzo cost him a couple years of his career.

  174. Will - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    Under no circumstances am I saying Jim Bowden deserved anything more than getting fired. However, Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Steve Lombardozzi, Chris Marrero, Cole Kimball, Brad Peacock and Tom Milone were drafted by Jim Bowden and Flores was Rule 5 drafted (that's 8 of 25 on the 2012 roster that are products of Jim Bowden).Just sayin'

  175. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:36 AM

    Jesus Flores said…"Who's Jose Flores?"Some evil minion of Mike Rizzo's, no doubt. Probably part of the plot to rob Jesus of two seasons of his career.

  176. whatsanattau - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:01 AM

    BTW, do we have confirmation on whether Bob Carpenter is coming back or not? And if not, who is doing the play by play? And if it is Dave, who is teaming with Charlie?

  177. BinM - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:07 AM

    Anon @7:18 – I can't think of a GM in MLB who has been right with 75% of their personnel moves, let alone 100%. Yes, Rizzo has struggled with trades (the Gomes trade sticks in my craw, in particular), and some FA acquisitions (Nix was a nice pickup last year, as was Hairston, but Marquis & LaRoche both breaking down in year one of a 2-yr deal reflect badly), but has done a very solid job in refurbishing the minor league feeder system. Bowden, OTOH, was an idiot in search of a village. The contract extensions / re-signings to the likes of Guzman, DaMeatHook, Kearns; High-risk gambles on HS or 'toolsy' athletes in high rounds of the draft (Willems, McGeary, Burgess, Spradlin) that ended up wasted, leading to the Spring Training 'cattle-call' for pitchers in 2009; The non-tender announcement (on the radio) for the Chief; Nook Logan (Where was he going, What was he thinking?); A penchant for 'quick-fix' trades (Livo for Mock/Martis/Bonifacio, Bonifacio and others for Olsen/Willingham). Actually, that last one might have been Bowden's best trade while with the Nationals, but I think I've stated my point. Need I go on?

  178. ehay2k - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    July 7, 2011 is a day that will live in infamy for Nats fans. Forget about Livo's meltdown. The bigger issue, which started many a 'Fire the hitting coach rant' was the inability to get a run in from third with 1 out or less. Marmol completely lost control, and couldn't get anywhere NEAR the strike zone, and we send up guys who swing at the first pitch. I was beyond angry at that point. Why not fake a bunt? Do something to get into Marmol's head, instead of giving him strike one? Every little league coach was probably screaming along with me that night. Just thinking now about that game ticks me off.That was the worst game, worst moment for me.

  179. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    I applaud those that stayed away from dwelling on the negative as it just seems to dredge up the past.NatsTown with winning will be a hot ticket in 2012. A 5 year deal for Prince Fielder will put this team over the top.

  180. Evan S - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:57 AM

    Snub for worst moment? In Chicago against the Sox with the blown call at 1st.

  181. baseballswami - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:33 AM

    July 7th for sure and I agree with ehay2k that it's easy to blame livo, but that game really showed our ineffective offensive problems. My resolution for the Nats in 2012 — develop some kind of an eye and take a few walks why dontcha!!! Secondary — don't strand runners on third!! Not that I don't have a few things I should be making resolutions about in my own life, mind you…

  182. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    I think that comparing Bowden's follies to Rizzo's flaws is a bit of an apples to oranges situation. Different parks, different budgets, different markets and differing experience levels for ownership. One ahd a lot of Stan K to deal with, the other not much at all. Not sure which guy had it easier/harder. And for all of Bowden's side show drama, he really never tarded away a star and he did not burden the club with any monster bad Wells, Rios, Zambrano, Soriano type contract either. I think that Rizzo's add of Gio is the kind of move that will vault the club to being a winner. That kind of move makes up for this or that failure or miss. You can say Mike lucked inot Stras, but he went out and got Gio, he clutivated Wang (who may be a 15 game winner) and he got Gorz, whom I think will provide great value. The Purke draft/signing was a great move too. But, at the end of the day Mike Rizzo needs Jayson Werth to show value. The big concern on that deal when it was made was the risk that Werth might not return value at the end of the deal, not tha he'd struggle so mightily at the beginning. Bowden's bad deal do not add up in the aggregate to that deal.dfh21

  183. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:34 AM

    Bowden's bad deal do not add up in the aggregate to that deal.Actually, it really didn't affect the payroll all that much at all as numerous posters like to point out … and so your point?Bottom line it will only serve to greater accentuate Rizzo's successes and the very thing he has the most talent in: the draft and the minor league system, the farm. As top prospects appear here, there and everywhere …(Wasn't happening Bowden he had his Strasburg and his name is Aaron Crow! How's he doing right now with KC eh? Don't think the Nats could have used that guy? Sure, sure they got Storen but you can find plenty of closers not top-of-the-rotation starters!!! Sure there's Detwiler, Espinosa, and Peacock but guess who drafted them? Rizzo.), Rizzo will likely be excoriated for doing his job! Producing major league ballplayers from his larder of prospects who will then be blocked by Jayson Werth.

  184. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:39 AM

    However, Ryan Zimmerman, Danny Espinosa, Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, Ross Detwiler, Steve Lombardozzi, Chris Marrero, Cole Kimball, Brad Peacock and Tom Milone were drafted by Jim Bowden and Flores was Rule 5 drafted (that's 8 of 25 on the 2012 roster that are products of Jim Bowden).Just sayin'And guess who ran his drafts (where JimBo would often get in the way of attempts to draft expensive college seniors or guys who weren't his toolsy signability type?) from 2007 on: Mike Rizzo.So, you can have Zimmerman, Lannan. The rest belong to Mike Rizzo too.Just sayin'.

  185. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    Make that Zimmerman, Lannan, and Marerro.

  186. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:42 AM

    And at this point as has been pointed out Rizzo's biggest mistake may have been the Gomes trade and losing left-handed reliever Manno to the Reds.

  187. happenstance - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:03 AM

    Thanks dfh21, your 9:55pm typo has brought us a gem of a new phrase – he "tarded away a star" – a swap of players that in hindsight was so ill-conceived that it casts doubt on the GM's mental development. I love it!

  188. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:05 AM

    Just for the Recordno return was good enough to move Dunn), he's had trouble making trades to the point where other clubs hate his guts (Kenny Williams). Rizzo would have made that move. He was blocked by the ownership steering committee and Stan Kasten. They did not want to lose Dunn. Sounds eerily like one of Boswell's recent rants against the Nats ownership executive advisors … ~smiles~ now doesn't it?At that time Rizzo was just the pro-tem manager, he hadn't received his promotion to executive vice-president in charge of baseball operations and GM. In other words he was handed more of the reins when Kasten left the team.

  189. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    Bowden has been MLB Executive of the Year, Rizzo has not yet earned that distinction. Rizzo learned hs craft at the feet, ankles clad in leather cuffs, of Jim Bowden. Rizzo was the AGM for years — he can't get credit for only the good parts of the Bowden regime. At the end of the say, Rizzo is no Saint and Bowden was no Devil. The big differnce is that Rizzo has the job now and he can make something of this club. I think that he'll get something special together, and if he does, some of the credit for the club has to go to Bowden.

  190. JP - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:22 AM

    Anon 12/29 1:17 for everything after desmond you are SPOT ON. Desi get a pass because almost everyone agrees he is not not leadoff material (despite his late resurgence) and he is the only one who consistently does all the community service efforts which is great for PR. So in a 9 spot he could be worse. Wrt errors I think that is mainly due to his incredible range which just hurts him in the numbers game but is severely undervalued when we are talking about influencing batters approaches.Call me sentimental but my worst 5 would hae definitely included:1. Not supporting Riggleman who only wanted some support combatting stairs, Marquis and werth. Forcing an ultimatium and starting the motivation candle on Johnson 1/2 a year too soon.2. Trading the farm away for above average Gio.3. 5/25 after losing to abysmal marlins, swept by phillies and brewers, and not being able to mount a comeback against the mets ( as we did a week prior) i thought we were a year behind my expectations. Thank god for laynce Nix. 4. . Werth missing a barehanded grounded… Everyday.5. COMPLETELY FALLING ASLEEP AT THE SWITCH ON NORI AOKI. For 2.5 million you could not find a better stop gap for a FA PR Eury.

  191. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:37 AM

    Bowden has been MLB Executive of the Year, Rizzo has not yet earned that distinction. Rizzo learned hs craft at the feet, ankles clad in leather cuffs, of Jim Bowden. Rizzo was the AGM for years — he can't get credit for only the good parts of the Bowden regime.Ask any astute Reds fan the difference between JimBo and Jockety. I guarantee they will laugh hilariously at your defense of him. Bowden: Adam Dunn. Jockety: Joey Votto. I will give Bowden credit for dealing with Marge Schott but the only reason he was successful at all in Cincinnati basically by his own admission was because he hired a manager named Davey Johnson. And according to JImBo the only reason Davey was sent packing was because he was living with his soon-to-be-wife Susan and Schott didn't like that. Needless to say things really unraveled until Jockety took over.

  192. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:40 AM

    Bowden does not and never has understood thing one about player development or scouting. He is not a baseball man in the sense that Rizzo and Clark are. Not even close. And Rizzo learned most of what he knew building an expansion franchise in Arizona called the Diamondbacks working for Jerry DiPoto. Bowden got the benefit of that experience when Rizzo started running his draft in 2007. And that would include the rule 5 that picked up Flores.

  193. yeah, I don't think that one has legs - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    happenstance said… Thanks dfh21, your 9:55pm typo has brought us a gem of a new phrase – he "tarded away a star" – a swap of players that in hindsight was so ill-conceived that it casts doubt on the GM's mental development. I love it! December 30, 2011 12:03 AM

  194. Unkyd - Dec 30, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    Yeah… I hope we can let "tarded" fade quickly away… Thank you.

  195. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 1:25 PM

    Yeah, let's let my typo fade into the mist — with the rest of my cockeyed words — sooner than later.Happe New Year to all.dfh21

  196. nats24 - Dec 31, 2011 at 6:00 AM

    The 80-81 of this year was so much more satisfying than the 81-81 of '05 because it was real progress and a strong finish as opposed to the '05 collapse when Jimbo left the team with just three starters for last two months.

  197. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:12 AM

    To be fair, that wasn't Bowden's fault. MLB didn't allow him any callups.

  198. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    baseball is the gayest sport in the country

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
ATLANTA 76 77 13.0
MIAMI 74 79 15.0
NEW YORK 74 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 84 19.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Friday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 89 64 --
LOS ANGELES 88 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 86 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 69 5.0 +1.0
PITTSBURGH 83 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 75 10.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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.
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.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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