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Strangest Moment of 2011

Dec 30, 2011, 2:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Jim Riggleman's resignation minutes after a walk-off win? Doesn't get much stranger.

OK, we've run through the greatest moments of the year and we've looked at the worst moments of the year. Now, before we tie a bow on 2011 and move ahead to the promise of 2012, we take one final look back … at the strangest moments of the year.

And make no mistake, there were some strange moments in NatsTown. There was a previously popular center fielder getting traded for a bag of peanuts days after getting into a clubhouse fight with a teammate. There was a manager resigning moments after his team won in dramatic fashion. There was an interim manager getting ejected during his first game at the helm. There was a rookie pitcher hitting a home run on the very first pitch he ever saw in the big leagues. And there was the sight of a $126 million right fielder knocking giant foam presidential caricatures to the ground, winning the nightly race himself and then declaring himself "the last remaining member of the Bull Moose Party."

Let's run through the five finalists, one bizarre moment at a time…

MARCH 27: MORGAN TRADED TO MILWAUKEE
That Nyjer Morgan and the Nationals parted ways in less-than-loving fashion was no surprise. That relationship has steadily deteriorated overRead more »

254 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Constant Reader - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    Riggleman, hands down. That goes down as one of the most bizarre managerial moves EVER.After a few days of 2011 review, I am wondering what we will be talking about this time next year. Here's hoping we will be talking about the amazing pennant race and being in Nats Stadium on the night of our first ever playoff game. What the heck, I'll be the crazy, mad optimist and say the highlight of '12 for me was crying like a baby while Bud Selig handed Ted Lerner (oh, so that's what he looks like) hardware.Be safe and behave tomorrow night all.

  2. joemktg - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:14 PM

    Hands down the resignation was the most bizarre moment, and at that time, demonstrated that the organization was not clear of the institutionalized nuttiness that brought on so much derision. However, it was a blessing for the GM and the club, as it cleanly allowed for a transition to steadier hands, and was yet another step in the right direction. Clearly there was a struggle to come up with bizarre moments for the club if you're including Werth's tremendously entertaining participation in the President's race, topped off with that quote regarding the Bull Moose party. That was great stuff.

  3. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Rizzo's reaction to Riggleman quitting was strange — he acted like his high school girl friend dumped him the week before the Prom.

  4. Just sayin' - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Can a poll like this end up with 100% of voters opting for the same choice? This one may.

  5. stublues33 - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    My most vivid memory of the Riggleman resignation was the MASN post game show with Byron Kerr & Phil Wood. As they were recaping the game they both got a look on their faces. Kerr continued his train of thought, and Wood continued to look at and react to Kerr; but they were both clearly intent on whatever was coming through their earpieces. Well handled by a couple of pros.

  6. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:26 PM

    Milone's HR was great, but shouldn't this have been on the list somewhere? Never happened before, unlikely to every happen again…So, I'm re-posting because maybe this is No. 6.Tyler Clippard became the first pitcher in Major League history to earn a win in an All-Star Game or a posteason game facing only one batter and allowing a hit.(Thank you, Hunter Pence.)Also, the winning pitcher for two years in a row was a Nationals relief pitcher (Matt Capps won in 2010).

  7. UNTERP - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:33 PM

    Constant Reader said… Riggleman, hands down. That goes down as one of the most bizarre managerial moves EVER.This would be absolutely true for only the reason that the title should read: "Stupidest Moment of 2011"

  8. The Fox - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Riggleman wins this hands down!I was traveling overseas and I saw a headline on my phone and I thought that it said Riggleman re-signed with the Nationals meaning he would be the manager for the next year.I was kind of surprised that that the Nat's would extend his contract in June but I guessed they extended him because of the winning streak. Luckily I was able to log on to Nats Insder and get the full story. Still seems like the strangest timing for a resignation? I still think something precipitated this drastic foolhardy action because it seemed un-Riggleman.

  9. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    The May Marquis/Riggleman confrontation was kinda strange. Interesting take on it and the resignation here.Mark's items are all noteworthy, but I gotta give the nod to the Riggs resignation. I was at the game and went from elated to baffled in short order. On the Metro ride home, we fans were discussing/speculating on what might have happened.Re. the McLaren era, loved the moment when he was being interviewed after (if memory serves) his final game as skipper. Off camera you could hear a player shouting "We love you, Mac!" Kinda sounded like Desmond to me.The All-Star moment is quirky, but it's not a Nats team moment and could just have easily ended in a loss, imho.

  10. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:43 PM

    …could have just as easily… (yes, I'd love to have some more coffee, thanks)

  11. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:45 PM

    No doubt on the Riggs moment, just thought I'd throw Clipp and Capps in there.

  12. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Look at that picture of Riggs. Sad Man at his finest..

  13. MicheleS - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:47 PM

    Riggs definitely. Then he went on his post Nats Rant on the radio shows and morphed into Charlie Sheen.I was at the Milone Homer and The Werth Game. I love Tommy.. I am going to miss him. Werth.. eh.. I appreciate that he is tired of the Teddy Act.. we all are. As FP said "Teddy, losing is a disease"I am just glad that John McLaren got some love and a winning record as the Nats manager. Class guy, would have loved to see him stay.And I think TPlush will wear out his welcome with the Brewers. Prince won't be there to keep him in line and neither will Braun (possibly the first 50 games). Remember, we all loved him the first year he was here and then the act got old quick

  14. baseballswami - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:48 PM

    I will vote for the Riggs exit also — I am glad I am not the only fan that thought I was seeing re-signed, not resigned. That day stands out for me because of the extreme high of how the game ended , followed by immediate and utter confusion. I thought it would kill our momentum and I am still glad that they pulled it back together at the end of the season. Tommy Milone's HR is a second for me and much more positive.

  15. Traveler8 - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    I think Milone's homer qualifies as the most serendipitous moment of the year. I'm with everyone else on Riggleman's resignation as the strangest moment of 2011.

  16. MurrayTheRed - Dec 30, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    An interesting Riggleman story. Early in the season I went to a game with a good friend. After the game we went into the Presidents Club to watch the post game press conference. We were in a corner near an exit door. After the press conference Riggleman pops out of that door, he doesn't come all the way into the room. He shakes the hand of someone that apparently was his guest or friend/family in the room. Since we were so close, I said something and shook his hand. My friend is right next to me, here is where it gets interesting. My friend had rotator cuff surgery on his right shoulder about a month or so earlier. He was too macho to wear a sling. So after Riggleman shakes my hand he extends his hand for my friend – who in turn recoils in horror, and Riggleman disappears back through the door. He described it later as "He came at me with those Popeye arms, I think he saw the fear in my eyes as I backed up. He probably thinks I'm a weirdo now." I still don't understand why he didn't just extend his left hand, and say something about having a bad shoulder.So on June 23 we go to another game together. His shoulder is completely healed and after the game he is eager to watch the press conference and hope that Riggleman will pop out and shake his hand. We make sure we are near that back door, and we wait, and we wait, something strange is going on. You can see all the reporters in the room whispering amongst themselves, then Rizzo comes into the room by himself and makes the announcement that Riggleman has suddenly resigned. The most disappointed person in the room, or in all of NatsTown is my friend who now will never again get a chance to shake Riggleman's hand.

  17. DL in VA - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    I don't know if anything anywhere in baseball compares to Riggleman quitting during a hot streak, mid-season. My bet is that the voters will agree in a landslide.

  18. Feel Wood - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    The strange thing was not the way Riggleman quit. The strange thing was that anyone – including Riggleman himself – ever thought of him as an adequate major league manager in the first place.

  19. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Honorable mention: Rizzo's Citi Field ump incident. (My guess is that it was Pudge who mouthed off about umps and accountability after the game.)

  20. Anonymous8 - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:05 PM

    Riggleman resigning and the way it went down has to be the most shocking moment in Nats history.The Nyjer Morgan trade with days left in Spring Training to leave the Nats without a true leadoff man was shocking also. Not a carbon copy replay of the previous Spring Training when Dukes was released but this was mis-management 2 years in a row.

  21. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    MicheleS, I'm with you, Jayson, and FP on Teddy losing.Agreed re. McLaren as well. He seemed to be a class act and a real standup guy. Clearly the guys loved him.

  22. Gonat - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    I think the mistake Riggleman made pulling Marquis after he finished pitching the 4th inning leading 6-5 in Baltimore before seeing what his offense did at the top of the next inning (scored 6 more runs) was a huge managerial mistake. It cost Marquis to pick up a win since he only pitched 4 innings and wouldn't be eligible for the win and then the ruhbarb ensued because Riggleman didn't use his head. The rumors of Riggleman challenging Marquis to a fist fight are beyond bizarre making it the 2nd strangest moment of 2011 to me.3rd would be Nyjer Morgan traded for Cutter Dykstra.

  23. Feel Wood - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    Now if Clint would only quit in a fit of pique because the Nationals won't give him a long-term contract.

  24. SayNoToClint - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:13 PM

    "Every young pitcher dreams about his major-league debut. He envisions himself striking out the very first batter he faces, carrying a shutout into the seventh inning and then perhaps departing to a standing ovation and tipping his cap to the adoring masses."Good list. My vote goes to Riggleman's resignation. But if the above is true, that's a horrible commentary on today's pitchers. They should be dreaming of a 9 inning complete game shutout.

  25. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:14 PM

    btw, as we move from 2011 to 2012, it would be great to see a Bonus Baby New Year pic. ;-)

  26. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:17 PM

    Michele, I'd think you've hit on a defense strategy for Braun: "It wasn't my cup–I accidentally used Morgan's for the sample!" Guy's a hockey player, his testosterone is off the charts IRL, just like the sample.But I'm going with Werth. One, because I'm tired of the Teddy thing, too, and I hate to see anything with Teddy in it getting shut out; and B., because it was the least likely of the five to produce the intended result (unless Riggleman actually thought an ultimatum was going to work–I bet he never even packed a bag). Milone and McClaren were, as Traveler8 says, more serendipitous than strange, really. Although "strange and wonderful" can also count, I suppose. (My Currently Strawberry Blonde Cubs Fan Wife have a strange and wonderful relationship. I'm strange, and she's wonderful.)

  27. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    "They should be dreaming of a 9 inning complete game shutout."I was thinking Perfect Game. I mean, they are *dreaming*, after all…

  28. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    Bos on the near slug-out in the dugout.

  29. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    btw, as we move from 2011 to 2012, it would be great to see a Bonus Baby New Year pic. ;-) That is a baby pic at the top of this column. Poor kid has a face only a mother would give a longterm contract to.

  30. Section 222 - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Riggleman's self-destruction has to be one of the srangest moments in baseball history, much less this year. Here's hoping that this post doesn't ignite yet another endless discussion/argument over whether he was justified etc. etc. etc. Been there done that. Thanks for recalling some other bizarre occurrences this past season. Milone, Werth/Teddy, and McLaren's first game are good memories indeed.

  31. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    Riggleman dreams of getting a beer at Caddie's that doesn't have a cigarette butt dropped in it.

  32. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:22 PM

    My nomination for best resignation-related post:rmoore446 said… The only time I can recall a negotiating tactic similar to Riggleman's working was by Cleavon Little in the movie "Blazing Saddles". June 24, 2011 9:32 AM

  33. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:23 PM

    There's an old Sylvia cartoon, in which a nondescript middle-aged man is telling Satan, "I'd like a two-bedroom house, with a nice yard, maybe on cul-de-sac…" and the devil, obviously very frustrated, saying "I'M OFFERING YOU UNLIMITED MASTERY OF SPACE AND TIME!!!!"Caption: The devil tempts a man who thinks small.

  34. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    I second that emotion. However, even as a glass-half-full type of gal, I fear that we may be dreaming there.Here's hoping that this post doesn't ignite yet another endless discussion/argument over whether he was justified etc. etc. etc. Been there done that.

  35. LoveDaNats - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    I went back and forth between Riggs and McLaren. I had never before seen another umpire overturn a perfectly good call by the first base ump from ninety feet away! Had I been there that day, they would have had to throw me out, too. Too much power for some of these guys, but don't get me started on that.But Riggs wins hands down. Strangest moment of 2011 indeed.

  36. Binx Bolling - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    Trading Tom Milone is one of the strangest moments of the year. His K-to-BB of 155-16 at Syracuse points to a long career. The Nats should have kept him, Peacock and Norris.

  37. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    So we've nominated Best Moments for the NI itself, and wisely stayed away from any discussion of worst moments (it's a self-answering question–that WOULD be the worst). Strange moments here? There's the Zuckerman Effect, where the Nats scored whenever Mark left the booth for photos, for a while.

  38. Wally - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:45 PM

    Interesting article on our CF situation on Fangraphs today (link below). Here is the rub: As it currently stands, there are four realistic options: trade for Marlon Byrd, trade for B.J. Upton, sign Coco Crisp, or shift Jayson Werth over while installing someone else in right field.http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/is-byrd-the-word-for-washington/

  39. Andrew - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    My shocking moment was signing Jayson Werth to a $126 million contract last off-season. It took everyone by surprise especially the baseball world and writers.Only problem for Rizzo this year is that NatsInsider posters got out there early and identified the Top 5 Free Agents before the season was over probably in an attempt to never be shocked again. Buerhle was identified early and trades were discussed.If the Nats sign Prince Fielder, I know one person who will be shocked—-MARK ZUCKERMAN.

  40. Wally - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    Here's a quote about Werth-in-CF that I found interesting (for those not going to read the article):He [Werth] has played the position before, but sparingly, and while Harper could prove studly right away, the combination of his readiness and Werth’s ability to handle CF on an everyday basis is fairly unrealistic.

  41. bobfromalexandria - Dec 30, 2011 at 3:58 PM

    Re The Fox "I still think something precipitated…"Several days before the signation the Post had a story about MLB managers' salaries. Riggs, on a winning streak, was the lowest paid. I've always thought that was a motivator.

  42. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    $126,000,000 to a 31 yr-old OF who never knocked in 100 RBI. Strange days indeed.

  43. SonnyG10 - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    I think Riggleman's resignation is by far the strangest moment. I also think Werth taking matters in his own hands re the Presidents race is also a strange moment. I am also disgusted that Teddy never wins…its bad karma for the team.

  44. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:21 PM

    Good call.Sec 3, My Sofa said… Strange moments here? There's the Zuckerman Effect, where the Nats scored whenever Mark left the booth for photos, for a while.

  45. MurrayTheRed - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Sec 3 My Sofa – I see you are a Star Trek fan!

  46. JayB - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    Riggs hands down winner…..Morgan will be not a Brewer by June 1 and out of Major Leagues by Sept 1……Rizzo not making a proactive move to fire Riggs and get a real manager at the end of 2010 was really strange but then again…that is out of the date range we are talking.

  47. N. Cognito - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    LoveDaNats said… "I went back and forth between Riggs and McLaren. I had never before seen another umpire overturn a perfectly good call by the first base ump from ninety feet away! Had I been there that day, they would have had to throw me out, too. Too much power for some of these guys, but don't get me started on that."Joe West actually got the call right IIRC, which in itself could qualify as the strangest moment of 2011. The problem was that Joe West should have waited until the other umpire asked for help, but Joe being Joe, he had to insert himself into the play. You'll never see another umpire do that.As for strangest moment, any votes not for Riggs are just efforts to pick something different than the obvious (and that's okay).

  48. The Fox - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    bobfromalexandria You might be right but I would think he probably knew that when he signed the contract. As Mark mentioned I saw it as committing career suicide as if he woke up that day like Chief Dan George in "Little Big Man" saying "today is a good day to die". The "Blazing Saddles" reference is a great visual and probably would have worked better if Riggleman did just point a gun at his head, (kids don't do this at home).Wally thanks for the FanGraphs article. It seems to me Crisp is the best alternative and probably would not cost too much. I would offer him a fair contract (not more than 2 years)and see if he would sign. Reports say he would like to stay on the West coast but I'd still make the offer.Also on FanGraphs is Best Quotes of 2011. With this one:“As an organization, we [use data] a lot. That said, certain guys are able to use it and some guys aren’t, at least not as much. It’s our job to be able to give information according. Guys like Brandon McCarthy want a bunch, but a guy like Gio Gonzalez maybe doesn’t need as much.” — Bob Melvin, December 2011I guess it depends on how you interpret it?http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/fangraphs-qa-the-best-quotes-of-2011/

  49. John C. - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:51 PM

    RE: the Fangraphs article on the Nationals' CF situation. It pretty much rules out any internal option, and doesn't really discuss the possibility of trading for Adam Jones either. I would add these options:Option #1: (of course) Bryce Harper. I can't see the Nationals starting the season with him on the ML club when even a two week hold gives them another full year of Harper, and a year when he should be much closer to his prime at that. Option #2: Platoon of Bernadina and Cameron in CF, Werth remains in RF. This will involve a lot more Bernadina than Cameron because of the relative scarcity of LHP. It does save wear & tear on Werth so you can slide him to CF when/if Harper is called up later in the season.Option #3: Trade for Adam Jones. Worth exploring, but not likely because I doubt that Angelos would approve of anything reasonable for his geographic rivals to the south. I think that Option #2 is the most likely outcome, more so than signing Crisp or trading for Upton or Byrd at this point, but we shall see.

  50. DFL - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:54 PM

    Just as shocking as Werth's super-exhorbitant contract is that a 31 year old man can get so worked up and upset over a staged sixth inning race between four fake presidents dressed for Mardi Gras. Does Werth get upset when his favorite wrastler gets beat up on Vince McMahon's WWF? Better that Werth take more batting practice. He could use a good haircut as well.

  51. Binx Bolling - Dec 30, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    Regarding John C's centerfield post. Why not stick Corey Brown in center, bat him eighth, and see whether he can hack major league pitching? Brown either makes it now or becomes a lifetime minor leaguer.

  52. Sunderland - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    Binx, I'm hopeful that Corey Brown is healthy and gets a long look during Spring Training. But based on his MiLB production, it's hard to be optimistic.

  53. Scooter - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    I messed up. Of course Riggleman is the weirdest, but I think I kind of voted for second place. I picked Werth and the presidents thing, because it seems like in any other year, on any other team, a bunch of alleged major-league ballplayers [messing] around with the between-innings entertainment would be the oddest thing, by a landslide. Even today, I still can't believe they made such fools of themselves.

  54. Feel Wood - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I picked Werth and the presidents thing, because it seems like in any other year, on any other team, a bunch of alleged major-league ballplayers [messing] around with the between-innings entertainment would be the oddest thing, by a landslide. Even today, I still can't believe they made such fools of themselves.You need to get out more, and loosen up a bit too. This kind of thing happens all the time. Baseball is not high art, it's entertainment. It's sport, not war. War is serious, sport is not. Having fun is allowed, by all participants. Why, Tommy Lasorda who was a major league manager once got in a fight with the Phillie Phanatic, and the world didn't end. As for major league players interacting with off-the-field stuff, how about when Clippard and the other relievers changed the Powerball jackpot on the sign in the visitors bullpen in Philly? Were they making fools of themselves there? How about when they had all the rookies, including Strasburg, paint themselves blue and dress as Smurfs for a road trip? It's stuff like this that takes the edge off a long season and keeps it from becoming boring and routine, for players and fans alike.

  55. Scooter - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Reading the thread for detail …Thanks for mentioning Rizzo, 1a. Ours is the only GM I can recall getting ejected for arguing with the umpires.And I can't believe I missed DFL on Werth: [it's shocking] that a 31 year old man can get so worked up and upset over a staged sixth inning race between four fake presidents dressed for Mardi Gras.Ha! Your rant is better than mine!

  56. Farid - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:37 PM

    I have no desire to sign Prince Fielder, assuming, of course, that Adam LaRoche is 100% healthy. LaRoche provides far superior defense, and offensively, probably 12 less homers and 15 less RBI. That's just not enough to spend all that money on Fielder.That said, he may not be ready for spring. How many times were we told that Nick Johnson would be ready only to find out that he was nowhere near ready to play.If it's not 100% certain that he's back, then make another move.

  57. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    I think that Option #2 is the most likely outcome, more so than signing Crisp or trading for Upton or Byrd at this point, but we shall see.Option #5: The one no one is expecting. Corey Brown finally shows why he was a 1st round draft pick of the reasonably intelligently managed Oakland A's and makes it too hard to send him back down to AAA during spring training. He ends up capturing the job eventually.

  58. Scooter - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:45 PM

    Fair points, Feel Wood, though your tone could perhaps be less confrontational. My thoughts: the Smurfs thing is dumb*, and the lottery thing was cute. Ordering pizza on the bullpen phone? Also funny. But for some reason, watching Jayson Werth wrestle that young man or woman in that big-ass president costume, and pull him or her to the ground by the costume's nose … I didn't like that. No sir, I did not like it one bit.* The Smurfs thing? I think it's dumb, but it's their business. I don't much care how they relax on their own time.

  59. JaneB - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    DFL, it's bothered me for a long time that the culture of things i that Teddy never wins, and lovable losers are "in" at Nats Park. I don't get paid gazillions, but I hate that this happens. They should have gone with Werth's idea and let Teddy win the last home game of the season. Or the first one of the new season. Change things up for goodness sakes. No more "losing is fine as long as you are cute." No more, "We're waiting to be in the Series" or whatever other timetable they have for Teddy. I could go on and on and just did, but (fortunately for you all) I erased it.I will so miss seeing Milone grow into a for real pitcher. Nyjer's trade was strange/deserved. Riggleman quitting was strange/bizarre. McLaren getting ousted but strange/outrageous. Milone homering was strange/beautiful. Werth's race was strange/'bout darn time. I voted for beautiful. But really, there was nothing stranger than Riggleman quitting.

  60. Wally - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    The Fox said… The "Blazing Saddles" reference is a great visual and probably would have worked better if Riggleman did just point a gun at his head, (kids don't do this at home).Or quote the line!Fox – thanks for pointing out the Best Quotes article, I had missed that. here was my favorite:“El Duque ranks right up there. He would give me signs from the mound, I’d put down the sign he wanted and he’d shake me off. That was always fun.” — A.J. Pierzynski, July 2011

  61. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    LaRoche provides far superior defense, and offensively, probably 12 less homers and 15 less RBI. That's just not enough to spend all that money on Fielder.As I've tried to show … perhaps too many times … LaRoche and his plethora of strike outs do not hold a candle to an elite hitter like Prince Fielder. Farid, dude, its like comparing Nyjer Morgan to Mickey Mantle and saying Nyjer is close. Fielder's stats show that he truly is an elite hitter something his father really was not. And it isn't about home run production. That really must stop.LaRoche's fielding is better. He went from being a nightmare at first base to a smooth fielding first bagger. But it did take him 3 or 4 years in Pittsburgh to do that. IMO Fielder's problem is his weight and physical conditioning. I believe that affects his fielding prowess. A hugely important criteria to current GM Mike Rizzo (as opposed again to JimBo). If you are going to criticize Fielder that's really the ONLY area. Period. Offensively Fielder compares well to Pujols, Berkman, and Votto. Comparing him to LaRoche is just plain horse hockey with lots of straw sticking out. Which leads me to what I deem to be a strange moment: Signing Matt Stairs after an entire offseason where Rizzo was pointedly vocal about players getting in excellent shape for the season AND honing their fielding. Here is an overweight, overaged player who couldn't play the field, had lost his legs on a National League team? That followed by allowing Riggleman to make Pudge Rodriguez the starting catcher given that they now had Ramos. Pudge was completely done offensively.

  62. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:53 PM

    But yeah … Riggleman's resignation might have been one of the strangest moments in baseball in over a decade.

  63. JaneB - Dec 30, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    FeelWood, thanks for mentioning the PowerBall number switch. It was one of my favorite memories of the year!

  64. Young Pitchers - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    Farid – no one pays to watch ALR play ball. that's why stars are paid exponentially more for additional entertainment values. but you know that already.

  65. Wally - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    John C. said…Option #2: Platoon of Bernadina and Cameron in CF, Werth remains in RF. This will involve a lot more Bernadina than Cameron because of the relative scarcity of LHP. It does save wear & tear on Werth so you can slide him to CF when/if Harper is called up later in the season.Seems to be where things are heading, but I really hope that they find a better bat to play than those two, if nothing else.

  66. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:20 PM

    This looks like Fangraph's real suggestion for Nats CF: Not Crisp or Byrd.Trading for B.J. Upton would provide the Nationals with the best available centerfielder. While his bat hasn’t impressed the way many initially thought it would, Upton is still just 26 years old. Further, he has produced two straight above average seasons at the plate, with identical .337 wOBAs. Combine a better bat than Crisp’s with better baserunning and more highly reputed fielding and Upton has tallied 4+ WAR in four of the last five seasons.Upton is entering his last year of arbitration and the Rays have made no real gesture towards re-signing him to a long-term deal. The Rays are also an incredibly savvy organization, and may decide that the compensation picks received when Upton signs elsewhere after the season are worth more than the prospect platter the Nats offer.This only works if they trade Morse to get Upton, sign Prince Fielder, and immediately get a 5 year or more extension from Upton. Why? The lose an impact hitter in Morse by placing Upton in CF. With a seven year contract they are stuck with Werth and his foam racing president tackling. They need to put Harper in the outfield. Upton is right-handed which hurts because the Nats lineup is so lopsided with right handed hitters in a park that favors left-handed bats.FanGraph's is right though. Upton is almost a sure thing outside of the Trop. He seems to hate playing there for some reason … at least until things get interesting and they are in a playoff hunt. But even then the place is like a cave where you can hear echoes. Looking at him statistically might lend some insight as to why the tradedid not occur as many felt it should:2011: 640 PA, 0.345 wOBA, 9.6 bRAA2010: 610 PA, 0.339 wOBA, 4.5 bRAA2009: 626 PA, 0.320 wOBA, -11.7 bRAAOn a club where Ben Zobrist and Casey Kotchman were the best hitter you can certainly see where Morse would fit as a first bagger/DH/left fielder. And the Nats do have players like Ian Desmond that the Rays could certainly use … not to mention Lombardozzi.But as you can see statistically Upton is not worth a Morse who is a rung or so down from being an elite hitter like Fielder, Berkman, Pujols, and Votto. Morse's bRAA of 36.3 in 2011 was higher than anyone batting for the Rays over the past 3 years. With the exception of Zobrist who managed a 40.1 in 2009.Perhaps this is a case where Rizzo is looking at Upton's performance versus what the Rays want in exchange for him. And what they want clearly doesn't measure up unless they throw in one of their young starters. Its a case where the Rays are asking for a return based on Upton's potential and high ceiling as a still young player. Its not based on his past performance.

  67. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:24 PM

    The strangest thing about the 2011 season was how NO ONE in the media has ever attempted to explain the whole story of the Riggleman resignation. Almost sounds like a Dan Synder story where he controls the flow of information that is given. The people made assumptions and criticisms of Jim's actions without hearing both sides of the story….which has never been told. I find it strange that all those who condemn Jim's resignation refuse to think about the facts that seem obvious to me and should to everyone. But like everything else people jump in with opinions without having facts. Experts about everything without common sense and facts. Any logical people can see that Jim was a "dead man walking" and was being used by the Nats…lowest paid manager in baseball. He knew his days were numbered and probably would not have lasted the season. Jim knew that…that is why he wanted to talk to Rizzo…not about more money….he had heard that he was going to be let go and replaced by D Jonson who was waiting for the team to collapse so he could take over….that was Rizzo's plan all along. Does anyone find the love affair of Rizzo and Johnson strange…"As long as I am here, Davy is my Manager" says Rizzo days after the resignation…Jim knew he was going to be replaced sooner rather than later…By the way….Marquis was pitching a terrible game the day Jim pulled him…he was lucky the team was scoring runs. He should have been pulled earlier than that…and had pitched terribly the 3-4 games previous. That is part of the problem…the spoiled individual minded players like J Marquis and J Worth who were more interested in themselves than the team and crucified Jim every chance they got if they didn't get their way. And one last point….I am tired of the data that supports Jim as a bad manager….his win loss record. Any baseball fan should realize that Jim's record was similar to Joe Torre's record before the Yankees and Francona's record before the Red Sox….Mangaers who are lucky enough to manage good teams will have good records. They reap the benefits of good teams. Managers who manage the Nats, Padres, Mariners, and Cubs will not. People should recognize that with each team, the record improved while Jim managed the team. One day the enire story of the resignation will be told and people will realize that Jim really did the only thing he could do. Isn't it strange how Rizzo never tells the truth about anything….especially the Riggleman resignation.

  68. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    What other facts did you have in mind? They *did* explain it, as thoroughly as it warranted, but you apparently don't like or don't accept that explanation. OK. You don't have to. But that is the story. There's no conspiracy of sportswriters supporting Rizzo. Unless … you really ARE Jim Riggleman? Naaaah…

  69. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:33 PM

    but it would explain a great deal…

  70. MicheleS - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Anon 1:20..Have you ever been to the Trop? IT'S AWFUL! and that "turf" doesn't cover up the fact that his sliding/falling on concrete! I think whoever gets Upton (whether is the Nats or not) could be getting a very good CF. Not saying he is going to be a super star, but I think he will thrive once he gets out of that dump!

  71. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:42 PM

    Sorry to be in the minority, but I did pay to watch LaRoche (among others) play. I loves me some smooth defense–like Desi's leaps. I just HATED seeing Dunn at 1B and Morse wasn't much better. Of course, Morse could be better at the position if he'd had the amount of time ALR had to learn it, that's true. But ALR was FUN to watch, truly amazing.

  72. Steve M. - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    John C., I agree with you on that right now. Bernadina's numbers in the 2-hole are surprisingly very good.Loved Mark's description and quote from Werth as the last member of the Bull Moose party. Werth needed a better nickname than the disparaging Werthless moniker he received.To Bull Moose, RamMoose, Michael Moose aka Beast Mode, "JZ"im, Zim, Jeezus, Jesus aka JFlo, Espi, Desi, Lyndon LaRoche, LannEn, NatsGio, Klip, Store-n-, Bernie aka Shark, Prince Oppo Boppo, Burnie, CMW, HenRod aka MPHrod, Gorzo, Det, NJDeRose, Cammy, Lombo, BoPo, Davey, all have a Happy New Year and a very successful 2012!To Mark Z, and Mrs. Z., NatsJack, jd, sjm308, NatsLady, natsfan1A, Gonat, Feel Wood, Sunderland, unTerp, Anon8, Wally, Farid, JaneB, Binx, JohnC, Andrew, The Other Andrew, MarkFD, Mark'd, Farid, Exposremains, farid, Scooter, DebbiTaylor, CIS, Sec3, Sonny, Sec222, Sec314, Sec427, PrezClub, MicheleS, LoveDaNats, NatsNut, P2P, baseballswami, MurrayTheRed, bob, DL, MASNStinks, joemktg, ConstantReader, Joe, Theophilius, DFL, TheFox, Traveler8, JustSayin', dfh21, jcj5y, blovy8, pwilly, MGG, bowdenball, SCNatsFan, JamesFan, Water23, MFG, Doc, ehay2K, Tcostant, Rabbit, Joker, WiseGuy, Canada's #1 Nats Fan, The Michael, DC Wonk, Slidell, JennJ, Sam, erocks33, The Great Unwashed, Unkyd, NatsLifer, N.Cognito, Harper_ROY_2012, Drew8, Tim, BigCat, FS, cwj, Winner, Dave, Bozo, and JayB, thanks for all of your great posts this year and to anyone who I left off, please start a write-in campaign in the Bull Moose party. I know a lot of you take time to help others with stats and information for the betterment of NatsTown. A goodbye and good luck to 3 young men who I will miss in Brad, Tom and AJ. Brad is one of the nicest young men I have met in NatsTown. Never met Derek Norris but wish him luck too.2012 is going to be a great year. I will leave you with one tidbit on Prince F'Bomb, the Nats are in it, they may not get him, but I expect a good effort!

  73. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    What untold story????Of course, Riggs was a dead man walking. And after Baltimore/Marquis, his fate was sealed. The mystery is why he walked so easily into the trap Rizzo set for him…A mystery solved by realizing Riggs' IQ was about 1/4 of his weight.SO glad Riggs is gone. I have very little patience with stupid people.

  74. sjm308 - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:48 PM

    anon@12:40 – count me in on hoping they give C. Brown a fair shot this spring and that he takes advantage of it. I realize he has not even made an impact above AA but stranger things have happened. If nothing else, he has defensive talents that have to help this club. I have never thought of Bernadina as a competent CF, he made a couple of highlight reel catches but I feel he is at best a 4th outfielder and stronger in the corner spots.I would love to have Upton to start this year but I doubt if we have the players needed to make that trade now. I am not good with Pierre or Crisp as they would just be stop gap. So I am guessing its the platoon situation but I will be rooting for Corey.I voted for Riggs resignation. As a coach who has been forced to resign its never fun but for him to leave in the middle of a year like that is just bizzare and his spending that evening in Bethesda having shots with young ladies makes it even stranger.

  75. Steve M. - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    This needs its own post. I haven't posted the past few days as no top moment or worst this or that can compare the the rescue of Wilson Ramos.To Wilson Ram-Moose Ramos and his family, thank God you were delivered back to safety. It was the best thing that happened all off-season. I don't pray every day (I should) but prayed for 3 days straight for your safe return. Can't wait to see you back in a Nats uniform.

  76. Jim Kurtzke - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:52 PM

    Riggleman Not even close.

  77. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Thanks, Steve M. I'll be really surprised if the Nats don't get Prince F, and probably for a reasonable price/years. Boras wants to do business for many a year yet to come with the Nats–and he doesn't want another Madson on his rap sheet.

  78. sjm308 - Dec 30, 2011 at 6:54 PM

    I also wanted to join in on the "Teddy" situation. I have a spousal equivalent and a daughter-in-law that care more about that stupid race then the game. If they are going to keep the race going, its time to let Teddy start to win his fair share. My vote would be to eliminate the entire thing but there is obviously an audience. I do think what has developed though is a culture of losing being celebrated and for this team that needs to stop.

  79. Wally - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:03 PM

    SteveM – thanks, and have a great new year. Really enjoyed your posts and our exchanges.PS also loving the tantalizing Prince tidbit!

  80. Steve M. - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    NatsLady said…Of course, Riggs was a dead man walking. And after Baltimore/Marquis, his fate was sealed. The mystery is why he walked so easily into the trap Rizzo set for him…A mystery solved I've known Riggs for years going back to Chicago. I like him and most don't. I think the sad man loner thing rubs people the wrong way. Inside is a man full of baseball knowledge.I think in a few words you nailed it which is exactly how I think it went down. Rizzo made a horrible working environment but couldn't fire him because somehow the Nats defied the odds and were WINNING. Rizzo got what he wanted because Jim said those magic words you never say to an employer who has the upper hand and doesn't want you anymore "If you don't blah blah blah….I quit" Employer then says "Great, I accept your resignation and good luck to you and don't let the door hit you on the way out". 30 people in the world at any one time are called current MLB managers and 1,000's dream of doing it one day. Jim will regret that fateful day the rest of his life.

  81. The Fox - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:05 PM

    @ Anonymous 1:24I probably should not bring this up but even if everything you wrote was true Rizzo did not fire Riggleman. Riggleman resigned! I don't know of any person who can go and give their boss an ultimatum which is defined as:A final demand or statement of terms, the rejection of which will result in retaliation or a breakdown in relations.There was no way Riggleman was going to get a positive outcome from the actions he took. If he had been fired by Rizzo he would not have thrown his major league career away. Manager routinly get fired they do not resign. This is very strange behavior.It does matter how you do things.

  82. Steve M. - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:11 PM

    Wally/NatsLady, while the Nats are in it on Prince F'Bomb, the Seattle Mariners have offered more years. If Boras is smart, he swallows some pride and does a 5 year deal with the Nats for the highest per season amount. In 5 years, the economy may be better and the Yankees should be in a position to bid and of course Prince shows everyone that he is in the best shape of his life.Everything would have to fall into place for Prince Fielder to end up playing for the Nats and Boras convincing Mr. Lerner how Prince Fielder is all that stands between the Nats and the post-season.

  83. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    OK, I know what I wrote (repeatedly), but the longer this goes on, and the more smoke we see, I'm starting to wonder where it's coming from. Maybe Boras is blowing it, I don't know. He's surely waiting to make sure Texas does sign Darvish. Still. I asked myself yesterday, if I were a Philadelphia fan (or player), what's the one thing guaranteed to make me go "Oh, [shoot]!" Gotta be Prince signing with DC or Atlanta. And Atlanta is unlikely. Also, I second the New Year well-wishing to all, and thanks to our Z-man, and Mrs. Z-man. Z-woman. Whatever. Happy to all.

  84. sjm308 - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:24 PM

    I will probably not take my computer to DC for our yearly stay at a top hotel (for an amazingly cheap rate), the Kennedy Center Jazz show and dinner after at the Tabbard Inn so Happy New Year to All (even the Anons)!!

  85. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I good contract for Prince would be a 5 year deal around 24 to 25.5 per with a 3 year out clause. If he really is doing great after 3 years he could then retry the free agent market at age 30 and get another longterm deal. If he is so-so he still has the security of knowing he's under contract for 2 more years at 25 per.

  86. sjm308 - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Anon@2:30 has presented a perfect scenerio for both the Nationals and Prince. Now lets try and get Boras to agree.

  87. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:33 PM

    Steve M, I have a lot of respect for you and your posts, but I think liking Riggs must be a guy thing, because I sure don't see it. As for the baseball knowledge in his head, I'm sure he has a fair amount, because, as you say, there many desire but few are chosen… We as fans only see the on-field moves, and Davey's made some dumb ones, so no one has a lock on that. sjm– you're in my neighborhood! (I can walk to the Kennedy Center, though I rarely do.) Enjoy your time here!!!

  88. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 7:37 PM

    I am not Riggleman but have access to information thru my association with major league and minor league baseball. I also personally know Jim and he has shown alot of class not bad mouthing the organization or the Lerner family….Believe it or not he loves the Nats and would die for this team! He was a life long Senators. I have spoken to people/reports and radio announces who cover the Nats and their minor leage teams who have told me that they can't (have been directed not to) talk about certain things regarding Riggleman but confided that Jim had no choice to resign and the the Nats treated Riggleman like trash. Jim is a baseball guy who studied under some of the best in baseball….LaRussa to name one….he will get another chance and will managing long after Johnson retires. I am surprised at how many people don't realize how Riggleman made the Nats competative before all of the young talent began to emerge….He didn't have but one star on that team….Ryan Zimmerman. How many teams have a chance to win with Livan as your #1. Wake up people….you have been sold a bill of goods….What happened to Riggleman was a set up and if he had not resigned…he would have fired days or weeks later….Riggleman was screwing up the master plan by winning….all he wanted was a straight and honest answer from Rizzo….Rizzo refused. He took one for the team….

  89. MicheleS - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    NatsLady.. I am with you on watching ALR do his work at 1B. I saw him make some great plays that first series against Atlanta and All I kept thinking was that guy is our infields best friend. It was sweet! (especially after watching Dunn play there).As far as Prince goes… at this point.. Whatever.. I think we will be in good shape either way.

  90. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    Wake up people….you have been sold a bill of goods….What happened to Riggleman was a set up and if he had not resignedGuzman at second base? Instead of the guy signed to play there Kennedy? Guzman in right field? Instead of Morse? Guzman never coming out? Guzman who was a "hot hitter" who never walked? Bernadina in the minors so that veterans can play? NO YOUNG PROSPECT ALLOWED to get a taste of major league ball in September? NONE unless their name was Strasburg otherwise "I would lose the veterans"? "Respect the veterans, respect the game"? WHAT ABOUT THE DC FANS, one of whom Riggelman claims to be! Did he respect them playing his weak hitting pathetic veterans? PULLING MORSE in the 5th inning of a game for a "defensive replacement" well like crappy right fielder Guzman? A game they lost?Jim Riggleman played politics too dude. And the bad kind. The kind that defers far too much to washed up veterans who have made millions and had their day in the sun and TOO LITTLE to the new kids who are just starting out and trying to get their feet wet; who are the future of the franchise! Riggleman is a terrible manager who will never manage again.

  91. gonatsgo - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:32 PM

    Now that we have been distracted by the good, the bad and the ugly — hopefully things will start popping again in the hot stove world. The suspense is killing me. I am watching the counter daily – do you realize we are just about at 7 weeks until pitchers and catchers report??? Yahoo!!!

  92. Mark'd - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    Anon at 2:37, i thought Whitey Herzog was Rigglemans mentor. I think NatsLady got it right. Riggles wasn't a kiss butt to Rizzo and tow the company line and that infuriated Rizzo. Rizzo made it miserable for Giggles and he took the bait and fell in the trap.Jim's personality and demeanor never came across as a happy man and nobody wants to be around a depressing person. Rah Rah, turn the page.

  93. baseballswami - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:36 PM

    I am still amazed at the level of bile still being spewed about Riggleman. Wow – when he "left" the team was really doing pretty well. He was never given all that much to work with and I think he was pretty much hand-cuffed by Rizzo.I don't think he was in the cards as the future manager of the organization but I also don't think he was the devil incarnate. I guess I am surprised at the length and intensity of the grudges being held. Ok guy most of the time, not the worst manager ever – bad, bad situation. And yes, bizarre time in the 2011 season.

  94. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    "If you don't blah blah blah….I quit" Employer then says "Great, I accept your resignation and good luck to you and don't let the door hit you on the way out".If that is true then why did Rizzo ask Riggleman if he had changed his mind after that great game that put them over .500? It might have given them both a chance to save face. Instead Riggs let his stubbornness take over and said "no I haven't changed my mind". Let's face it Riggleman was not good at helping Rizzo develop theyoung prospects? How can you be when you defer to veterans, play them even in September because "it wouldn't respect the game or the veterans"? Poor working conditions? Making $600,000 a year doing something very few in the world will ever be able to do? And even doing it your own home town! C'mon SteveM let's not be ridiculous about it Rizzo isn't that bad to work for. Yes perhaps Stan would have assuaged hard feeling were he still there … and remember it isn't just Rizzo making the call the Lerners were involved as well. If he had finished the year and they had finished where they finished he would have gotten his contract.But I sincerely doubt that he would have finished close to .500. More like 10 or more below. Riggleman would not have wanted to bring up all of those guys from Syracuse as Johnson did. And they all contributed to the winning streak that led to the improved record. He would have played his veterans to the end and LOST!

  95. Section 222 - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    My initial comment expressed a hope that this post wouldn't re-ignite the Riggleman: Did he Jump or was he Pushed? debate. Oh well. There sure are a whole lot of people on this board who have inside information, know the principals etc. I'm impressed. But @Anon 1:24/2:37, if Riggleman was about to be fired (after bringing the Nats over .500 and winning 10 straight), why didn't he just let it happen? As @The Fox suggested, getting fired is not much of a black mark in the managerial game. Resigning mid-season in the middle of a winning streak certainly is, as demonstrated by Riggleman's subsequent employment history. What he did made no sense, even if he was mistreated by Rizzo.Let me thank everyone who started and participated in another Prince conversation. Until he signs with some other team, I'm going to enjoy every minute of the speculation and continue to beat the drum for him. Thank you @Anon 12:52 for so quickly and convincingly laying waste to @Farid's argument that LaRoche is nearly as good a hitter as Prince. @Sec3MySofa is so right that if we sign Prince, the Phillies will be quaking in their boots and the Nats will be the team to beat in the NL. What a Happy New Year that would be.

  96. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    so right that if we sign Prince, the Phillies will be quaking in their boots and the Nats will be the team to beat in the NL. What a Happy New Year that would be.Yes for two years … maybe three but then? And that is the issue. Unless there's an intervention diet and personal trainers in Prince's future.

  97. Unkyd - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    Had enough of the Riggleman conversation… I wish him all the best.I also wish all of you the Very Best!! Very sweet of you, Steve M. to mention everyone by name. I've learned a lot about The Ballgame, by hanging around here. Absolutely can't wait to follow along this coming year, as I'm CERTAIN the NATS are playoff bound, in '12!!!GYFNGOGOGOGOGOGO!!!!!

  98. Whatsanattau - Dec 30, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Bottom line – Johnson is a better manager than Riggleman. Riggleman signed a contract he was unwilling to honor. Whose fault is that? Only one man failed to honor his side of the deal. But the Nats are better off for it.

  99. Feel Wood - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:00 PM

    Wally/NatsLady, while the Nats are in it on Prince F'Bomb, the Seattle Mariners have offered more years. If Boras is smart, he swallows some pride and does a 5 year deal with the Nats for the highest per season amount.Boras has a track record of doing two things for his clients: getting them the most money possible, and getting them to the right team for them. And in cases where the right team does not offer the most money/years, he chooses the right team over the most money – and usually ends up making the right team pay more than they really want to pay. Look at the Teixeira case. The Nats reportedly offered more money than the Yankees did, but he signed with the Yankees. The Nats were not the right team for him, the Yankees were.No matter how much money/years Seattle offers Fielder, I highly doubt that he and Boras think Seattle is the right team for him. That franchise is just in too bad a shape right now. Boras will find a way to get Fielder signed with the right team, at the highest price he can wring out of them.

  100. Section 222 - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:13 PM

    Anon 3:49: "Yes for two years … maybe three but then? And that is the issue. Unless there's an intervention diet and personal trainers in Prince's future." Yeah, you're right. We don't really want to be the best team in the NL for the next three years, because what would that do to "The Plan" to make the playoffs in 2015? Sheesh.If you'll identify yourself I'll be happy to bet you a beer that Prince is still peforming at a high level in year 4 of his contract, regardless of his weight. You can set your own terms within reason of what that means (30 HR?, .375 OBP?, 130 OPS+?). Better yet, let's bet an order of Hard Times wings. There will be plenty of those to spare with all the 6-run games that Prince will help produce.

  101. Mark'd - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:14 PM

    Before I signoff I want to thank SteveM for a fresh perspective that many times isn't the popular line. I mostly enjoy the daily banter and many of you all have talked me back from the ledge as I have certainly taken much as life and death like the Gio trade. Nats and Washingtonians deserve winning baseball. Hopefully the Lerners see the passion and desire in DC

  102. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:16 PM

    Feel Wood, I was thinking exactly the same. I don't know where the M's are getting the money to be in the game for Prince F, but they are not close to being a good team, let's face it–King Felix only plays every fifth day.The only drawback to DC was mentioned by another poster, namely the weather–not good for a guy of Prince's, er, stature. But I do want to say this on that. His weight does not preclude him being either a good athlete or in good physical condition. Had Christmas dinner with a friend and her pudgy daughter skated up and down the stairs, and in and around the place like any 10 year old. Also, you look at some–not all–football players, and you see some excellent athleticism. Of course it would be nice to see him as svelte as ALR, people, I'd like to be svelte again. But I think you have to look at the player and the stats.

  103. Leo Durocher was right - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    No one can deny that Jim Riggleman is a nice guy.

  104. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    If you'll identify yourself I'll be happy to bet you a beer that Prince is still peforming at a high level in year 4 of his contract, regardless of his weight.Its the injuries. Look at Josh Willingham and his knees. And he doesn't have a weight problem. Its not the lack of ability its more the injuries that should start to occur then or sooner. That's the problem. That's why no major league team will meet Boras price. Because injuries are far more likely to occur and in his case at his weight they will be even more debilitating. That's true for anyone that is in the obsese range no matter who they are.

  105. Leo Durocher really - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    I never did say that you can't be a nice guy and win. I said that if I was playing third base and my mother rounded third with the winning run, I'd trip her up.

  106. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    If you'll identify yourself I'll be happy to bet you a beer that Prince is still peforming at a high level in year 4 of his contract, regardless of his weight.Do you really want to bet on whether an obese Prince Fielder can overcome the adversity of injuries, as a in shape Zim, Stras, and Zimmermann have? This isn't football where lineman of his stature basically have to be able to block or tackle using their weight as leverage. 162 games is a lot of games after a month of exhibition and training. its why five years MAX makes sense at this point. I would say four with player and team options for an additional three.

  107. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:49 PM

    It's like you read my mind, sec3.Sec 3, My Sofa said… What other facts did you have in mind? They *did* explain it, as thoroughly as it warranted, but you apparently don't like or don't accept that explanation. OK. You don't have to. But that is the story. There's no conspiracy of sportswriters supporting Rizzo. Unless … you really ARE Jim Riggleman? Naaaah… December 30, 2011 1:29 PM

  108. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:50 PM

    I'm with you on smooth defense, NatsLady.NatsLady said… Sorry to be in the minority, but I did pay to watch LaRoche (among others) play. I loves me some smooth defense–like Desi's leaps. I just HATED seeing Dunn at 1B and Morse wasn't much better. Of course, Morse could be better at the position if he'd had the amount of time ALR had to learn it, that's true. But ALR was FUN to watch, truly amazing. December 30, 2011 1:42 PM

  109. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:51 PM

    I'm evidently with MicheleS as well, after reading further. :-)MicheleS said… NatsLady.. I am with you on watching ALR do his work at 1B. I saw him make some great plays that first series against Atlanta and All I kept thinking was that guy is our infields best friend. It was sweet! (especially after watching Dunn play there). As far as Prince goes… at this point.. Whatever.. I think we will be in good shape either way. December 30, 2011 3:08 PM

  110. Ted Williams - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:52 PM

    All managers are losers, they are the most expendable pieces of furniture on the face of the Earth.

  111. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    Do you really want to bet on whether an obese Prince Fielder can overcome the adversity of injuries, as a in shape Zim, Stras, and Zimmermann have? I believe that is what he wrote, yes. I'll voluteer to hold the beer in the meantime…

  112. The Ol' Perfessor - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:56 PM

    Managing is getting paid for home runs someone else hits.

  113. tayo - Dec 30, 2011 at 9:59 PM

    Riggleman resigning was bar none the strangiest moment. I came to a realization after the anouncement that this was the reason he never seemed happy after any of the thrilling games during the win streak. And then he goes to the restaurant and posses for pictures with some girls. Truly strange day. Milone Homerun was so much so "strange" as it was cool. It along with HRod ridiculous inning at the end of the season were the Coolest moments of 2011. they may not have been the "best" moment but they were the coolest moments. I remember Bob Carpenter calling it the Ultimate big league at bat or something like that.

  114. Whereas Alvin Dark - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    There are surprisingly few real students of the game in baseball; partly because everybody, my eighty-three year old grandmother included, thinks they learned all there was to know about it at puberty. Baseball is very beguiling that way.

  115. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:01 PM

    I agree on both counts, Unk.I also wish all of you the Very Best!! Very sweet of you, Steve M. to mention everyone by name.

  116. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:08 PM

    Casey Stengel said:There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them.natsfan1a says: Here's wishing plenty of (preferably good) times to the Zuckerman family, NatsInsiders, and the Nationals.

  117. Ted Williams - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:10 PM

    And some in these parts are worried about my prodigy just blowing a kiss at a bush league pitcher?On the other hand, Williams was temperamental, high-strung, and at times tactless. In his biography, Ronald Reis relates how Williams committed two fielding miscues in a doubleheader in 1950 and was roundly booed by Boston fans. He bowed three times to various sections of Fenway Park and made an obscene gesture. When he came to bat he spit in the direction of fans near the dugout. The incident caused an avalanche of negative media reaction, and inspired sportswriter Austen Lake's famous comment that when Williams name was announced the sound was like "autumn wind moaning through an apple orchard."

  118. Ted Williams - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    No one ever referred to me as a nice guy like gentleman Jim the politician but at least I knew what the word gratitude meant:One of the paradoxes of Williams life is that he gave generously to those in need. He was especially linked with the Jimmy Fund of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which provides support for children's cancer research and treatment. Williams used his celebrity to virtually launch the fund, which has raised more that $750 million between 1948 and 2010. Throughout his career, Williams made countless bedside visits to children being treated for cancer, which Williams insisted on going unreported. Often, parents of sick children would learn at check-out time that "Mr. Williams has taken care of your bill." [136] The Fund recently stated that, "Williams would travel everywhere and anywhere, no strings or paychecks attached, to support the cause . . . . His name is synonymous with our battle against all forms of cancer."

  119. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    If I was being paid thirty-thousand dollars a year, the very least I could do was hit .400.

  120. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    Sorry to be in the minority, but I did pay to watch LaRoche (among others) play. I loves me some smooth defense–like Desi's leaps. I just HATED seeing Dunn at 1B and Morse wasn't much better.That's nice NatsLady but he also contributed to what would have been a really pathetic offense were it not for Michael Morse. It wasn't until after LaRoche left the lineup that the Nats prospects improved? There's lots of incredible fielding in the minors believe it not … and why aren't these players some approaching or over 30 in the majors? They can't hit. In fact La Roche was a really horrible first baseman when he started out in Pittsburgh. He was there because of his potential as a hitter.I think that should tell you something.

  121. Tommy LaSorda, referring to a certain player, - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:27 PM

    He is not a dog; a dog is loyal and runs after balls.

  122. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    I think this nice quote from Pete Kerzel describes Michael Morse in the field to a "tee" whether its at first base, the outfield or anywhere else. AND he does HIT. But we usually ignore the decent, unspectacular defender, who, like the umpire, is barely noticed when he's doing his job. Most scouts I've talked to agree that Morse is an adequate major league corner outfielder, athletic enough to get to balls that would elude a less capable defender. Morse hustles, an intangible that cannot be overlooked, and takes it personally when he commits an error or doesn't get to a catchable ball. He makes decent reads, takes good routes, uses the stride that accompanies his 6-foot-5 frame to compensate for a lack of blazing speed and has enough arm strength to make the kind of accurate throws that keep opponents honest. In short, he's no Gold Glove threat, but he's not a defensive liability, either.

  123. NatsLady - Dec 30, 2011 at 10:45 PM

    Anon @5:20– it tells me there's hope for Mike Morse to learn to play 1B, which is what I believe I said.

  124. natsfan1a - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:07 PM

    Yes, I believe that you did, in your second paragraph.NatsLady said… Sorry to be in the minority, but I did pay to watch LaRoche (among others) play. I loves me some smooth defense–like Desi's leaps. I just HATED seeing Dunn at 1B and Morse wasn't much better. Of course, Morse could be better at the position if he'd had the amount of time ALR had to learn it, that's true. But ALR was FUN to watch, truly amazing. December 30, 2011 1:42 PM

  125. Exposremains - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:16 PM

    thanks Steve M., Happy New Year to you too!

  126. Anonymous - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:22 PM

    Just for the RecordDoes anyone find the love affair of Rizzo and Johnson strange…"As long as I am here, Davy is my Manager"That isn't what Rizzo said sir, what he did say was that Johnson would be in the Nats organization in some capacity for as long as he was General Manager.There's a big difference between the two which from my perspective slams your pro-Riggleman argument on the rocks below. Johnson ALREADY had influence on the franchise as a consultant when he stated that Desmond should be a shortstop either in the majors or in AAA. Not a utility guy like Riggleman wanted him to be. In the end the FO overruled Riggleman and put Desmond at shortstop. And Guzman became the utility guy. Taking at bats and playing time away from Adam Kennedy, Willie Harris and even Michael Morse one of the too hitters they had in 2010. And I am certain Rizzo would say the same thing for say, a Roy Clark. Just ask him, should't be a problem for all of you Riggleman lovers and your connections?So far from my perspective, carefully listening and reading what is said and studying the statistics with a more discerning eye has led me to better predictions than any of yours. I knew they would go with Werth in CF even when Rizzo said the search was on for a new CF. I knew they would trade for a left-handed top-of-the-rotation starter because that was what they needed and yes Davey Johnson said he needed more left-handed starters. I also know they WIILL DO SOMETHING to buttress the dearth of left-handed hitting and impact hitting. After the starter its statistically the other thing they really must have to take the next step in the NL East, other than a strong bench.If Upton is the next CF TB's price has to come way down else the Nats will wait until the offseason and he will likely be signed over all the other choices. Why? Because no one is sure that Brian Goodwin and Eury Perez are CF's, the may be corner outfielders, perhaps even 4th outfielders. The only other young CF is Corey Brown and they will find out about him in spring training. His competition is Werth and BJ Upton at this point. He is left-handed and they are right-handed so he has a little leverage if his performance is up to snuff. And speaking of Ted Williams? I think he is the one who said: "Don't let anyone mess around with your swing!" to Carl Yastremski. A good message of Corey Brown and other Nats hitters who buy too much into any batting instructor and not just Rick Eckstein. Happy New Year to all! It looks to be a more exciting hot-stove season than anyone expected … in the end its going to be up to ownership, the Lerners … as to whether or not they buy into Rizzo and his FO braintrust's choices, ideas and gambles.

  127. gonatsgo - Dec 30, 2011 at 11:35 PM

    Regarding the F-bomb — I know he looks terrible, but the guy went out there and played every single day. Sure – at first base, but ALR looked good and he was hurt, Zim looked good and he was hurt,etc, etc. They guy is a vegetarian – granted , that means you can eat all the chips, cookies and ice cream in the world, but – maybe his looks are deceiving. He looks healthier than his dad ever did. He makes really good plays on defense, too. Maybe playing at first will be less wear and tear on him. Does he really want to go to Seattle and play? I know they have a dh, but our team seems much more up and coming.Who knows – the big teams are not in the market, maybe we get him at a fair price by default. I guess the organization can always figure out who plays where in the field if they have him in the line up. The longer this goes on, the more I have considered it to be possible.

  128. Wally - Dec 31, 2011 at 12:16 AM

    Gonatsgo – I agree with you. Prince doesn't look like an athlete, but he has had this same body type his entire career, and he has played at least 157 games EACH of the last 6 seasons. We should at least credit him for what he has been able to do, so far. And he plays 1b, one of the least athletic positions on the field.His dad, who had a worse body type than Prince, was a productive hitter through his age 33 season. So it comes down to length of contract (for me). 5 years is a no brainer, 7 makes me uncomfortable but I would do it, but 10 years is a no. I just don't know if we can get him for 7 or less.

  129. sjm308 - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    Thanks Steve M. very impressive and I have enjoyed every day of this back and forth

  130. ehay2k - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    2012 is shaping up to be the best in Nats' history. So looking forward to the start of ST and then the season.For me, any other personnel action this winter is pure icing on a very nice looking cake. We still have a couple of holes, but nothing like in the past. (Lo Duca, really? Perez our opening day SP, REALLY?) The Nats look ready to compete – we just need to play the games and see how things work out. Wishing a safe and happy new year to all!

  131. Gonat - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Steve M., very impressive listing and enjoyed all the nicknames. Happy New Year!

  132. Section 222 - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:36 AM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said…"Do you really want to bet on whether an obese Prince Fielder can overcome the adversity of injuries, as a in shape Zim, Stras, and Zimmermann have?" I believe that is what he wrote, yes. I'll volunteer to hold the beer in the meantime…December 30, 2011 4:54 PMWell played, section 3, well played.And yes, Anon 4:49, I really do want to bet on Prince. I guess you're really impressed with Stras, Zim, and Znn and their "in shape" bodies. They are toned and chiseled Athletes, with a capital A. Only guess what, they all got injured and missed significant portions of their young careers. Stras and Znn basically missed a whole year. And Zim has been seriously injured twice and missed 145 games in the last six years. And how about Prince Fielder, who you and so many others on here take such juvenile pleasure in calling, "fat," "out of shape," "obese," "in need of a personal trainer" etc. How many games has he missed in the past five years? I'll hold on while you look it up…. Oh ok, I'll just tell you — 13. That's not a misprint. 13 games in six years. But you worry about whether he can come back from an injury they way those iron men Stras, Zim, and Znn have. I gotta say, these discussions have revealed a level of prejudice against people who are overweight, even if they are elite athletes who can do things with their bodies that all of us can only dream of, that is simply astounding. All you folks who have made a joke about Prince's weight in the past month as we've had these discussions ought to be ashamed. He's played six straight years of grueling, grinding every day baseball and performed at the very highest level. He's simply put one of the best hitters in the game by just about any measure. He's going to make over $20 million annually for the next 5-10 years. If you don't want him on our team, fine. But you're going to make fun of him?? That's kind of pathetic when you think about it.

  133. Unkyd - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:37 AM

    222@10:36:Hmmmmmmm… Well put, I must say…

  134. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 31, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    This seems a good time to drop this for your ironic postmodern entertainment pleasure: Shatner–"Has-Been""Yeah, you–what's your handle?""Jack. 'Never-done-Jack."

  135. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 6:43 AM

    Here's for Saturday's discussion (since barring the "unexpected" we won't have another post until Monday."MLB salaries by team.http://content.usatoday.com/sportsdata/baseball/mlb/salaries/team

  136. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2011 at 11:56 AM

    I think I went to school with his brother, "Don't-know-Jack." :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… This seems a good time to drop this for your ironic postmodern entertainment pleasure: Shatner–"Has-Been" "Yeah, you–what's your handle?" "Jack. 'Never-done-Jack." December 31, 2011 1:19 AM

  137. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Coming to this thread late (while traveling), but a few quick thoughts/questions:– Who are the 11% who thought that Riggleman's departure/resignation wasn't the strangest story of the year (of the ones listed)? Can't imagine voting for anything else with one possible exception (next).– Shouldn't the kidnapping of Wilson Ramos have also been included in the 'strangest story' category? That's the only other story I can imagine qualifying.– Can we all make a New Year's Resolution to stop refighting the Riggleman era? Whether you loved him or hated him, he's no longer the manager. Let's move on, along with the Nats.

  138. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    A number of us had wondered about that after Mark's first post in this thread (re. good moments). See his comments below, as taken from his worst moments post:"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."

  139. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    And re. Riggleman, there's bound to be lively discussion every time the subject comes up, at least until it's a bit farther off in the rear view mirror. Perhaps because it was such a, you know, strange moment. :-) imo, one great thing about this forum is that discussions, while lively, tend to be civil for the most part, even when very strong feelings are in play on both ends.

  140. Gonat - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/12/31/prince-fielder-was-in-the-baltimore-washington-area-but-not-to-meet-with-the-orioles/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitterThe last line: "….if Boras used his Jedi mind trick on the Rizzo and the Lerners again, look out."

  141. baseballswami - Dec 31, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    I hereby swear that in the year 2012 I will not refer to Jim Riggleman in this post. Letting go…. Anyone care to join me? ( unless of course, there is some random news story where he is in a bar with college girls, then I may just have to comment)

  142. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Looking at the payroll numbers for 2011(a) for all the yapping, Jayson Werth is not in the top 25 players by his yearly salary.(b) not every big spender goes to the off-season and vice-versa, but money doesn't hurt. If Prince F and his charisma and his offense brought 1/2 million more fans to the Park, and, on average, the net proceeds (after ballpark expenses but not player salaries) from the .5 million was $20–is it?–that's $10 million for Prince right there.And, I'm being conservative with the $20, I think. Anybody have a better estimate?

  143. MicheleS - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Swami.. I am with you. I swear that I will not refer to Jim Riggleman on this post.Gonat.. Do we refer to Boras as Darth Vader? Who is Yoda?Happy New Year Everyone!!!

  144. Section 222 - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    Sec3 — "Has been, might again." "They'll laugh at others' failures, though they have not done sh*t." That was a classic. Thanks for pointing me to it. Tremendous. I think I'll just buy you that beer I was going to bet Anon.

  145. Section 222 - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:36 PM

    @NatsLady — I think $20 probably *is* conservative given the prices at Nats Park for both tickets and concessions. Of course, one player isn't going to consistently draw that many extra fans no matter who he is. (Boras is kind of blowing smoke on that one.) But being a contending team is. Just look at the Phillies over the past decade.

  146. Gonat - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    MicheleS said… Gonat.. Do we refer to Boras as Darth Vader? Who is Yoda?Happy New Year Everyone!!! December 31, 2011 10:25 AM ______________________________________Darth Vader for sure!

  147. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:56 PM

    The strangest moment — IMHO — was when the little known fact that Jim Riggleman was in the Teddy Roosevelt costume for each race. That was a funny, shocking bit to learn. After Jimbo left town, Livo was kind enough to carry on the "tradition." Yes, that was very strange.

  148. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Your'e all forgetting the wierdest time to be a National in 2011.When it was learned that Livo was involved with an international drug dealer — even laundering his millions of dollars for him. How did the fan base react? they loved him even more. Go figure.

  149. Anonymous8 - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    NatsLady said… If Prince F and his charisma and his offense brought 1/2 million more fans to the Park, and, on average, the net proceeds (after ballpark expenses but not player salaries) from the .5 million was $20–is it?–that's $10 million for Prince right there.And, I'm being conservative with the $20, I think. Anybody have a better estimate? December 31, 2011 10:21 AM This town (other than the Redskins) have shown that if you field a winner the bandwagon fans will pour in and achieve way past your $20m number.The Red Loft and Red Porch will overflow.The question is whether or not Prince F'Bomb or Prince Oppo Boppo is the last link to make winning a most of the time occurence. I think it is Prince F'Bomb as he will fit this lineup well.The Nats marketing machine stinks. Nobody in this town knows who Jordan Zimmermann or Tyler Clippard are outside of the die-hards. They are 2 of the best pitchers in the game and largely unknown in DC. JZim was a Top 20 pitcher in all of the MLB and Clip in the top 10 relievers.The Nats should have Bryce Harper here for a few weeks in the off-season visiting as many schools as they can especially in the suburbs where the vast wealth of the region resides. The team does a decent job of getting to the inner city schools during the season. It is the kids that tug on their parents to take them to baseball games. Life-long fans are cultivated when they are young.The parent may be a Bosox fan but the kid may turn into a Nats fan.I think the best Ambassador the team has is actually Michael Morse and none of it seems to matter as the Nats don't think outside of the box.

  150. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Responding to Natsfan1aTo make the statement that Michael Morse at first base "wasn't much better" than Adam Dunn is such a ridiculous comment that if Natsfan1a is truly serious, then he cannot be considered a knowledgeable baseball observer. Anyone could see that Morse was an exsceptional First baseman — not just average. Many felt that Morse played as well, if not better than LaRoche. Morse, a former shortstop, knows his infield: I believe he made 5 errors at first base all year while getting to many balls the average first baseman wouldnt be able to.Natsfan1a is an ignorant fool to make such a silly statement. But, one's statement reflect the self.

  151. baseballswami - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    I know a ton of kids that love Harper – no matter what team their parents like. The national baseball press seems to have love for Clippard with a K and JZim, and I know a lot of Fils Fans that actually live up there who definitely know Mikey Morse. They are quite terrified of him – I love it! They sure knew him overseas! I am constantly amazed that the only player I have seen with any kind of endorsement deal for any kind of local business or product is Ryan Zimmerman. I am sure that somebody on our team eats at Subway just like Ryan Howard.

  152. baseballswami - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:15 PM

    To anon 11:07 – name calling – again? sigh….. Remember this — " I disagree", or " I beg to differ" or the ever popular "that's not how I see it". Please help us keep this site civilized.

  153. Section 222 - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Most ignorant post of the year — Anon 12/31 11:07. Morse's skills at first base are debatable. But Natsfan1a being a knowledgable baseball observer is not. Oh, and Natsfan1a is a she, you jerk.

  154. Unkyd - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    11:07…… I love me some Mikey, but there is not one defensive metric to support your thesis. Morse has the skill set to excel at 1B, but not the experience. Marrero actually caused a little stir, by getting to balls Morse apparently didn't know he was supposed to get. Please…save the name-calling for the mirror…

  155. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    re: Marketing. Not sure that the effort is lacking. What's lacking (right now) is the product.1) All local road signs, and now the Metro have Nationals Park or the curly W.2)Never seen or heard an ad that featured JZimm, but there was a radio ad that featured Clipp–I wish I had the "record" button in my car!!(3) However, in season, the bus and bus stops have constant banner ads for the Nats, as do Facebook and Farmville and the baseball sites that allow ads (like baseball.reference, where the Nats pay for a page).And the radio ads for season tickets ("an off-season message from the Nationals") were endless.Re: player endorsements. Ryan Z was on a Geico ad, but you are right, I haven't see other players featured much, and actually, I don't miss it–though they might!I think what's missing in the marketing is a winning team and "name" players to match.If the Nats had a winning team the pieces are in place to gear up. But you can't plaster Jayson Werth's face all over the place unless he improves his batting average. They were hampered on RZimm for a while because you can't really promote a player who is on the DL. Same with Stras, and those were the big names last year, all disqualified from heavy duty for one reason or the other.

  156. Unkyd - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:33 PM

    You're right about one thing, though: Ones statement DOES reflect the self….in your case, anyway….

  157. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  158. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Correcting some typos (I really should use the "preview" button).Anon @ 11:17By the STATS, Morse was very bad as a first baseman, period. Your comments is both rude (to 1a, one of our PREMIER posters) and incorrect. I myself brought in the stats endlessly to prove the case on Morse.Now, that said, Morse made a real solid effort at 1B and the other infielders adjusted to him. He would plant himself on the base and reach for throws with his long legs and arms and often dig them out and that was impressive. Also he had his head in the game and went a long string without making a fielding error. But that is not a good first baseman. That is a good player doing the best he can in an unfamiliar position. He never had an opportunity to learn the position, as Marrero did and as Adam LaRoche did. I feel sure that with his talent and work ethic, if he were given the opportunity and coaching he could improve substantially.

  159. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    One final thought on marketing– They need to keep the name "Nationals Park" for at least another year or two. Even if naming rights brought in a few million, that's not worth the advertising effect of"A military drill is being held at Nationals Park…""Traffic slows right at the exit for Nationals Park…"etc.

  160. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    aww, thanks for having my back, swami, 222, Unk, and NatsLady! Evidently Anon @ 11:07 did not notice that in the post that s/he quoted, I was quoting the comments of another poster (who is a very knowledgeable baseball fan in her own right and whose observations and opinions I respect). ;-)

  161. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Anon @11:03– you are right on point with the remark about players going out to the schools, etc. Also community service, about which Desi is the most consistent.I have to say, in the players' defense, that when my day is done, I like it to be done. I should go to shows and events to support my students–but I don't. I'm constantly amazed at local teachers who show up on their own time to support students who are performing at my recitals. Yes, I think it would be great if players got out into the schools more, I've often and often said it. But how many (other than RZimm, Jayson Werth, and Lombo) live here off-season? And during the season–? That's a lot to expect. I'm sure they all have contract clauses regarding public appearances and benefits. If they go over and above, kudos!

  162. natsfan1a - Dec 31, 2011 at 5:42 PM

    On the marketing front, I liked it when they held Nats Fest during the doldrums of winter rather than at the start of the season as it was last year. imho, the prior scheduling method helped break up the long, dark days of no baseball and may also have been useful for building buzz around the team and potential ticket package sales that much earlier.Re. ads and plastering players' faces around, I may have told this one before but, as my grandad-in-law used to say "it's worth telling again." There used to be a huge ad on the floor near the ticket machines at the Pentagon City metro station. The ad depicted a smiling Ryan Zimmerman. I'll never forget walking through the gates behind a wad of 20-someting Phillies Phans. If memory serves, we were coming home from a bad loss, which I think may have been the last game of a series in which they'd swept us. At any rate, as they exited the gates, the Phillies Phans were posing for photos at the site of the ad. One gal laughingly wiped her feet on RZ's face as she looked down upon it. I recall thinking at the time that it might not have been the best place for such an ad. The next season, the ad was gone… :-)

  163. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 31, 2011 at 5:47 PM

    Section 222 said…Most ignorant post of the year — Anon 12/31 11:07. Not to mention the Reading Comprehension Fail post of the day.I know, I'm piling on. Can't help it. I'll stop now.I'll take The Riggleman Pledge, too, while I'm at it. And I'll happily take that beer, 222. See you in April.

  164. Sec 3, My Sofa - Dec 31, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    Oh, and everybody be safe out there tonight.

  165. Sunderland - Dec 31, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    Anon 11:07, absurd, uncalled for, and utterly arrogant. One person observes things one way, you observe them differently, ergo the first person is an ignorant fool?That IS the definition of ignorance.

  166. baseballswami - Dec 31, 2011 at 6:00 PM

    2012 tomorrow — since MZ probably will not post until at least Monday – anyone have any resolutions for the Nats players? Jayson Werth — in 2012, please resolve to stop watching the third strike whiz by! Danny – please resolve to quit chewing that vile stuff – you are too young!!! BHarp – please resolve to try as hard as you can to think before you speak or blow kisses! Now – I need to work on my own resolution – namely, limit my Nats Insider time during baseball season so that I am not blowing off work responsibilities in order to read over a hundred posts. I guess you all are just too funny and interesting….. :)

  167. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Can't take the Riggs pledge. The next time Davey makes a dumb move (and it will happen), people will be pining for ol' Sad DoubleSwitch. Gotta nip that in the bud.

  168. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    Can't take the Riggs pledge. The next time Davey makes a dumb move (and it will happen), people will be pining for ol' Sad DoubleSwitch. Gotta nip that in the bud.Yeah kind of like all the guys on the WaPo NJ who continuously reamed Manny Acta while calling Michael Morse a AAAA player. IMO Acta would have been the right manager for a Mike Rizzo managed franchise. Perfect guy to vett and finish the development of young prospects. I'm not saying Johnson won't be good at it that is his forte' and something he apparently fervently believes it. But looking at the age difference you have to wonder if if Acta might work better communication-wise, instead of criminals and players with severe attitude problems giving Acta guys like Strasburg, Storen, Espinosa, Lombardozzi and the whole huge "next wave" that's behind them? Makes me wonder if Davey needs an heir apparent Acta might not be a bad choice. Of the two Clearly Riggs was far, far worse. Playing Guzman, Cora, Harris … and then there was JMax the Nats future CF everyone forgot. Corey Brown can't do worse than that guy did and yet Riggs would keep trotting him up to hit and sending him back to the minors. That you kind of have to blame on JimBo for jumping JMax up from A+ Potomac to the majors. Big mistake. He may never recover from that. Yes, it is a warning where Harper is concerned. If he doesn't have a Morse 2011 ST he will be sent back down to AA. Another Rizzo guy, Carlos Quentin, was traded to the Padres today. But he is a right-handed bat. And Rizzo needs left handed offensive bats. Not defensive replacements like Gerardo Parra. Still wondering if the Nats are in on Seth Smith. If don't can't get Fielder they may need to go to the Rockies and steal that bat from the Braves. He would allow both Rizzo and Davey to send Harper down to the minors for more seasoning knowing they have someone who can play the spot, hit for some pop, and who is also an excellent bench player. Great back-up for both corner outfield positions who is young at 28 and bats left.

  169. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    To make the statement that Michael Morse at first base "wasn't much better" than Adam Dunn is such a ridiculous comment that if Natsfan1a is truly serious,Well, bottom line all the scouts and experts think Morse handled himself extremely well at first base for his first season there on a regular basis. In Dunn's case many said he was losing games for the Nats. They said the opposite about Morse.Morse's range as an ex-shortstop perhaps made him look less competent … in point-of-fact I am fairly confident he has GREATER range the LaRoche based on what I saw. The two women are likely complaining about the way he handled bunts. He did play a lot of third base but that is on the opposite side of the field. And he is HUGE at 6'5". Makes it easy to overrun slow rollers with the long loping stride. He needs practice.So, the lady is clearly exaggerating far more than she should. If Fielder comes he is going to play the spot at a competence level between Morse and Dunn with Dunn at the low end. It won't be pretty at times. But I doubt that natsfan1a will complain in the midst of long winning streaks.

  170. ehay2k - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    OK, my last Riggleman post: You can argue all you want about whether he was a good manager, never had the players, etc. But for my money, if I have to bet on either manager in a cage match, I'm going with Riggs. Happy New Year!

  171. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:21 PM

    By the STATS, Morse was very bad as a first baseman, period. Your comments is both rude (to 1a, one of our PREMIER posters) and incorrect. I myself brought in the stats endlessly to prove the case on Morse.Adam Dunn is a very bad first baseman. Dunn is probably slightly below average when compared to others at the spot.Again, quoting veteran Nats ((but he is an Oriole fan ;)) reporter Pete Kerzel: Purists will debate whether UZR is fair or just another way to crunch numbers in an era where mathematicians are on the payrolls of major league clubs, but taken in larger sample sizes, UZR can be a useful diagnostic tool. So what does UZR say about Morse?For his career, Morse has played 495 2/3 innings in left field during his career, 421 coming in 2011, and has a -7.2 career UZR and a -7.9 in 2011. Now, before you get too freaked out by the negative rating, consider that Adam Dunn had a -15.4 UZR in left field in 2009, and Josh Willingham's ratings at the same position were -4.0 in 2009 and -1.9 in 2010. This represents the difficulty in using UZR as the be-all and end-all of defensive stats – it works best in multiple-year samples, but not all players have that sample size to work from.Morse is a guy who has played shortstop at the major league level. Not to mention the other positions around the diamond and the two corner outfield spots. Can LaRoche do that? Can Dunn do that? Can Fielder do that? And really only Fielder produces better at the plate. The fact that Morse CAN PLAY those other spots without embarrassing himself says that he may have a ceiling for improvement.

  172. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:39 PM

    Adam Dunn is a very bad first baseman. Dunn is probably slightly below average when compared to others at the spot.Meant to say Morse is probably slightly below average at the position. Now let's look at those stats shall we NatsLady? Natsfan1A?A quote from FanGraphs the ultimate source for this and a article called"Worse defenders since 2002" on your better fielding Adam DunnTo determine the worst defenders of the past ten seasons, I sorted players by UZR/150. This was to prevent a player — like Adam Dunn — from dominating the list by simply playing horrendous defense for the better part of a decade. I also set the minimum number of innings at 3,000. We clearly see what Fangraph's think of natsfan1a's opinion on Morse versus Dunn. They probably would laugh uproariously. And quite honestly natsfan1a it is an insult to Michael Morse. And to a Morse fan it can fairly offensive.Adam LaRoche first baseman ONLY:2004: -0.6 UZR2005: -18.2 UZR2006: -4.62007: 7.02008: -4.82009: 0.22010: 5.22011: 3.8Now we let Fangraphs average it out over all the inning played andguess what?OVERALL UZR FOR ADAM LAROCHE IS -12.1 That is truly AWFUL!So, NatsLady if we look at LaRoche over time he doesn't fair well now does he?Now let's look at Michael Morse who I deem to have far greater range thanMr. LaRoche because of those long arms and a shortstops acumen for finding the ball.Michael Morse at first base:2006: -0.1 UZR2007: 0.4 UZR2008: 0.9 UZR2010: 0.6 UZR2011: -5.1 UZRFangraphs, again, totals out the innings and averages it out.Michael Morse First Base: -3.2 UZR which IS close to average andfar and away better than Adam LaRoche at -12.1?So, NatsLady?

  173. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Instead of "fair well" I meant fare wellFor the crotchety purists out there.

  174. Joe Seamhead - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    I've been pretty busy the past few days and have not had much time to post, so sorry for being late to the dance, but I'm going to throw my two pence into the pot.First, regarding the poll for the strangest moment, for me Jim Riggleman's quitting was the the only answer to even consider. I think that Jim Riggleman is basically a very nice man that knows a lot about baseball. Now, that said, I thought his resignation was bizarre. I also thought that many of his managerial decisions were bizarre. So therefor it only stands to reason that I think Riggs is just kind of bizarre. Now, I'm turning the page. It's a new year.As to the discussions regarding Prince Fielder, I would love to see his bat in our lineup. However, I honestly think that Ian Desmond's error numbers would jump back up with Prince at first, and due to the increased number of baserunners reaching by hook or by crook, the result would be that our pitchers end up having to get 4 or more outs in too many innings.The best move Rizzo made last year was letting Adam Dunn walk. ALR and Morse both covered Desi's butt on quite a few errant throws last year. I don't want to see our infield defense backslide, even if Fielders bat came here.I want to wish Mark Z. and everybody on this board, along with our Nationals, a very Happy New Year. It will be the Year of the Nat! GYFNG!!!Lastly, Anon 11:07, I'd rather slip on a bar of soap then read another mindless post from the likes of you again.

  175. whatsanattau - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    You know sometimes I don't have time to read every post, but there are certain authors I scan for with eagerness. Natsfan1a among them. Witty, consistent, informative, and kind. I don't know the woman, but I know she's married, considers herself older (than?) and goes to some but not all games. (If she's also hot, that would make her about the perfect woman.) But I digress, … never pick on the grande dame of the Nats Blog. It's just not right. (And no slight to other faithful bloggers, I love you all equally)

  176. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    UZR, notoriously inaccurate, overly subjective, fairly useless.

  177. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    2006: -0.1 UZR2007: 0.4 UZR2008: 0.9 UZR2010: 0.6 UZR2011: -5.1 UZRMake that2006: -0.1 UZR2007: 0.4 UZR2009: 0.9 UZR2010 0.6 UZR2011 -5.1 UZRfor Michael Morse at first base.

  178. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:57 PM

    And yes, Anon 4:49, I really do want to bet on Prince. I guess you're really impressed with Stras, Zim, and Znn and their "in shape" bodies. They are toned and chiseled Athletes, with a capital A. Only guess what, they all got injured and missed significant portions of their young careers.Not at all. I am going by personal experience as an athlete section 222. As an athlete who has weighed in at over 300 lbs at about 6'1" tall 2 inches more than Prince I can state categorically why this is bad for the knees. Really bad. And then there's the back. Both used to be the strongest parts of my body by far. Which is why I will take that bet.

  179. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 7:58 PM

    I would love to see Manny Acta back here, but unfortunately I believe he has a good situation in Cleveland.

  180. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:03 PM

    For Unkyd:its's sleight not slight whatsanattau.Yes, Unkyd having around 300 college credit hours I should know how to spell I just type really fast … And for his first go round Chris Marerro did manage to achieve a better UZR at first base than Morse with a -1.7 UZR versus a -5.1 UZR. He has improved a great deal since Rizzo took over management of player development. IN fact he has taken huge strides in that department. And of all the first baseman he is likely the slowest.

  181. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:05 PM

    Anon @2:39, I'm not interested in what ALR stats were 5 years ago, NOT relevant. As has been remarked, he was learning the position. Just take the last 2 years comparing the two players and you made my case, thank you very much!!!Also, UZR maybe overrated, but I have my eyes to support it.

  182. Unkyd - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    2:39…..Michael Morse First Base: -3.2 UZR which IS close to average andfar and away better than Adam LaRoche at -12.1?11:07…… Anyone could see that Morse was an exsceptional First baseman — not just average. Many felt that Morse played as well, if not better than LaRoche. Assuming these are the same Anon (which of course we must, as there is no distinguishing identifier), which is it…? "exceptional", or merely better that the dreadful Dunn? By all means, comment further….there may be someone here who needs one of your clues….

  183. Section 222 - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Anon 4:49/2:57 — I could say that the offer has expired since I've already promised that beer to Sec3,mysofa for turning us on to the awesome William Shatner Has Been YouTube video. But I'll gladly still make the bet with you. I'll put Prince's historical record up against your personal experience based prediction any day. We can meet at Nats Park (you do go there sometimes, right?) to shake on it, and exchange email addresses so I can collect my beer in 2015. NatsLady, much as I enjoy your comments, I lost a wee bit of respect for you when I heard that you'd take Manny Acta back. If I never see his sphinx-like facade when all hell is breaking loose on the field again, it will be too soon. Also, I just can't seem to forget the excuses he made for his "young" team, like when he blamed an error that Anderson Hernandez made at 2B on the cut of the outfield grass. Spare me.This Morse debate is kind of interesting, but irrelevant. In my view LaRoche is a better fielder than Morse, who is in turn a much better fielder than Dunn. But in the end, I don't much care. 1B is the easiest position on the field. It's where you can put your big bopper in the NL if you have to. Heck, Matt Stairs and Laynce Nix (who hadn't tried the position since high school) played there for us last year and the world didn't end. LaRoche's glove is not going to keep that job for him if Morse needs to move from LF. Likewise, we'll live (I hope) with Prince's defense or lack thereof if we have to get his 40 HR, .400 OBP in the lineup. Sooner or later, Desmond is going to have to learn to be a decent major league SS on his own, not rely on LaRoche or Morse to scoop him out of his error prone grave.

  184. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    "which is why I'll take that bet."But I insist that Sec3MySofa receives the beer in question, regardless of who wins, in respect of his consistent and inspiring awesomeness.

  185. Sunderland - Dec 31, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    Padres ship 2 low rated and older pitching prospects to the White Sox for 1 year rental of Carlos Quentin. Quentin, playing into his first free agency year, must be excited about going back home to SoCal but bummed about having to hit in Petco 80 games a season. Quentin made $5M last season, arbitration might take him to $6M for this season.Quentin compares reasonably well to Willingham. Big, slower, right handed, Quentin a better outfielder by a bit, Hammer paerhaps better AVG hitter, both with good power and both with plenty of recent lost time to injury. When Rizzo sent Willingham to Oakland as a one year rental, the return of Corey Brown and HRod is miles better than the organizational filler the White Sox accepted.

  186. Unkyd - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    its's sleight not slight whatsanattau.Yes, Unkyd having around 300 college credit hours I should know how to spell I just type really fast … ——————————Hmm… Yeah… Spell check, and tiny keypads make many of us seem to be of questionable literacy, but I didn't poke anyone, in this instance. In fact, I try not to be the Language Police….. Except for the "tact vs tack" situation…. Unaccountably, that one makes me crazy……

  187. NatsLady - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    222, I have this to say about the outfield grass: it was in dreadful shape last year, and I can see why they re-did it this winter. Can't say how it was two years ago. Don't know about Manny "making excuses." Another person might say he was standing behind his players…And, I'm sorry, I don't mind "sphinx-like" facades… Personally, I prefer that to Lannan's crawling into a fetal position when something goes wrong–and he IS a tough guy, Lannan, I mean, as you know from getting hit by the come-backer and a dozen other things.Yes, towards the end Manny crawled into a shell, he knew he was going down, but I think he also knew it was not personal. The more interesting comparison is not ALR/Morse, it's Morse/Fielder, because I don't think ALR will be with us past the trade deadline if he returns to good form. My scenario is,(a) Get Prince F, put LaRoche on the bench and use him as a "late-inning defensive replacement." He's a late starter anyway, but if his bat should heat up in June, we might get some value for him, especially if we eat some salary. We will, undoubtedly, have a pitcher or two go down, and as has been remarked, we have lost some depth there. Trade ALR for an MLB pitcher (reliever or starter, depending on what occurs).(b) Morse stays in LF for as long as necessary. When Harper comes up, trade Morse for a real centerfielder.

  188. Gonat - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    Morse was excellent receiving all throws and the errant throws. He was also good on fielding to his glove side. He had all sorts of problems on the back-hand hard hit shots. The good news is those back-hand balls he didn't get to were singles to the right fielder. The glove-hand down the line grounders he got were set to be doubles.I thought Michael was very serviceable and not sure what the UZR was looking at as UZR is very subjective. I think Morse will improve to his back-hand when/if he gets back to 1st base.

  189. Oldguy - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Happy New Year! There's a whole lot of stuff we can now put behind us, thanks to the baseball gods. See many of you in Florida. (By the way, the Nats game in Tampa v NYY has few good seats left.)

  190. BinM - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    MicheleS: If we are comparing Scott Bora$ to Star Wars characters, he is clearly a Dark Lord of the Sith; Perhaps Lord Palpatine himself, since Vadar was only a minion to him in that regard. I tend to draw more of a connection to Don Corleone from the Godfather, in that he has players in his pocket like so much spare change, and controls who they ally (sign) with.

  191. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Assuming these are the same Anon (which of course we must, as there is no distinguishing identifier), which is it…? "exceptional", or merely better that the dreadful Dunn? By all means, comment further….there may be someone here who needs one of your clues….Different Anon's Unkyd. Definitely … besides as they used to say of the great Issac Newton one can see the mark of the Lion's paw even when anonymous … ;)

  192. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 9:54 PM

    BTW, Morse wasn't "exceptional" as I showed through the use of the UZR stat. It clearly shows that both he and Marerro to be below average but not horrendous like Dunn. Just as the stats clearly show that it literally took years for Mr. Svelte LaRoche to rise from Adam Dunn's depths fielding-wise. Clearly showing that Natslady is correct in her exhortation that she believes Michael Morse (and for that matter that slow coach Chris Marerro and perhaps Tyler Moore) can improve with time, training and practice. Certainly Marerro has improved significantly … it may be only a matter of time before he gets his power back … but his biggest drawback is a right-handed bat instead of a left-handed bat.As to the bet. I am clearly the one who stated categorically, using advanced stats that the Nats almost desperately need Prince Fielder in their lineup. There is no doubt in my mind. And as for LaRoche its not like they haven't done this before. Guzman was made a utility guy making close to 8 million when Desmond was made the starting shortstop. So, there is precedent for making LaRoche a high paid PH sitting next to Davey Johnson. IMO it may be good for him to take his time coming back from that injury. I believe it would be a win-wiin for both the Nats and LaRoche.But that doesn't stop me from my conviction that Prince needs an intervention diet before he reaches 30. That's when it all starts to unravel when you are that weight. Believe me I DO KNOW. Guys like Stras and JZimmnn are more likely to last longer in spite of their unary transplants because of their workout ethic. Finally Prince may be a vegetarian but I know from trying that myself that if sugar and places like Panera are on his diet he isn't helping himself. Prince can certainly use raw foods and Whey to replace protein and it would work but he needs to go on a liquid protein shake (Whey) based almost zero carb diet for about 2-3 weeks to shed 25-30. Then work on the rest with a modified hybrid diet that is high in protein and still very low in carbs.Then, if I am Mike Rizzo I would feel more comfortable about 6-7 years with consistent progress and effort on Prince's part. Also I do hope he is working diligently with the owners on an extension for Ryan Zimmerman. I don't think Prince Fielder should replace Zim as the FOF.

  193. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    IMO its either Prince Fielder or Seth Smith for the Nats. It may be that the trade hasn't been consummated for Smith with the Braves yet. Have to wonder if perhaps the Nats offered something more to the Rockies liking but are waiting to see what happens with Prince? For the Braves Smith makes a great insurance policy against a continued decline by Jason Hewyard. In the Nats case he provides an excellent alternative to bringing Harper to the majors too soon ala' Heyward. I don't think Johnson is fixed on Harper in his outfield if he has a viable left-handed alternative. And again, Smith is an excellent offensive threat from the bench. Something that Johnson likely wants as badly as more left-handed impact bats in his lineup.

  194. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    And Unkyd et al? I note that Mark's wife has added a spell checker to the comments entry form. ;)

  195. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Or perhaps it just the new version of Safari? ;)

  196. Just saying - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:09 PM

    I hope Prince Fielder is spending his New Year's Eve searching the comment sections of baseball blogs in search of detailed dietary advice from anonymous posters. Or else someone just wasted a lot of time and effort…

  197. whatsanattau - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    Assertions that Rizzo et al should sign Fielder for 5-6-7-8 years are all dependent on whether Fielder wants to sign for less than 10-9-8 etc…. There is a not so fine line between past and future performance. Last off season many argued that Dunn was as safe a bet for future performance as anyone in baseball. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Fielder is not a safe bet to stay healthy. Someone might win that bet, but its long odds. If they make the big splash signing now, it could look like a big splat in 1-2 years. I would not sign up for that kind of risk if it was my business.

  198. Anonymous - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM

    Trade ALR for an MLB pitcher (reliever or starter, depending on what occurs).(b) Morse stays in LF for as long as necessary. When Harper comes up, trade Morse for a real center fielder.They won't have to trade Morse for a CF. One can almost guarantee that BJ Upton will be signed during the next offseason FA period. Even with Brian Goodwin, Eury Perez et al. In Nats park his above average offensive stats will likely climb into Zim territory. His fielding is is sublime. Morse will likely get flipped for prospects as will ALR. The depth of the farm system at the upper levels has been somewhat drained of prospects because of the trade and the rule 5 draft. Have to assume that perhaps both Komatsu and Meyers are returned to bolster that depth. But they still need more. The only scenario I foresee for a Morse trade is to Tampa Bay for Upton. But the Nats would be exchanging an impact bat under control for another three years for a CF that isn't. It would require ownership to help Rizzo negotiate an extension with Upton. And I doubt that Rizzo will accept just Upton. And that's where the Nats could get another young MLB starter. Perhaps. Its the best source in the MLB for them bar none.As for Lannan I suspect he will join the AAA rotation as veteran depth giving the Nats plenty of starting rotation backup when joined with Meyers, perhaps Stammen, Yunesky Maya, and Matt Buschmann. One of their top prospects Danny Rosenbaum will likely end up there at some point during the season as well.

  199. Aaron S. - Dec 31, 2011 at 10:20 PM

    Great stuff as always Mark. Happy New Year!

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