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Saturday news and discussion

Jan 7, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo

I’m out of town on vacation until Jan. 16, but that doesn’t mean this site has to go silent. Please use this thread to discuss any news of the day or other topics you wish to bring up with each other.

I trust you’ll all behave yourselves in my absence. Right? Right???

  1. natsfan1a - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Riiiiiight. (Just kidding. Of course we will. At least, as much as usual.) hmmm…we could always revive sec222's baseball memories/introduction thread.

  2. natsfan1a - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    We definitely won't do anything like this.Marlins games should be "interesting" this year, eh?

  3. natsfan1a - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    In other news, Yoenis Cespedes opted to wait to start his free agency until Mark's vaca is ending. What a considerate young man.

  4. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Allow me to advance a Nats-related claim: I think that in general, folks tend to be dismissive of the ability of any team, including the Nats, to trade redundant players for comparable value. For example, IF LaRoche shows himself to be healthy, I believe that, were the Nats to acquire Fielder, they could trade LaRoche for the value that one would normally get from an average starting first baseman in the Major Leagues. This is because of the concept of leverage, as manifested specifically through demand. In other words, the fact that multiple teams can use an average first baseman largely negates the supply-side issue that the Nats would be a in a redundancy "bind." Make sense?Corky

  5. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Dad's away === paaaaarty!

  6. Joe Seamhead - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Hey! Who threw that? OK, that's it. FOOD FIGHT!

  7. Big Cat - Jan 7, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    The closer we get to spring training and Fielder still isn't signed, I think…."Why not?" Come on Riz, lets get the fat man in here. Open up the wallet, lets get this town buzzing. As George Allen said way back when…."The future is now!"

  8. SCNatsFan - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    The closer we get to ST the closer I think Prince is coming. As his value slides his numbers, and also his years, will drop; at some point he'll become too much of a bargain not to sign (honey, I had to but it, it was on sale) and I think at a discount (and being a Boras client) this ends up the location of the big man.

  9. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Like in The Hustler when Paul Newman says to Jackie Gleason "Fat man, lets you and I play a game of straight pool."

  10. Big Cat - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Now I know why they call you Fast Eddie

  11. Positively Half St. - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Corky-Your point might be stronger if not for Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena, Brad Hawpe, Dan Johnson and others still being available, as well. LaRoche has to be proven healthy before he is worth anything to anyone.I believe that the only approach to Fielder would be Damn the Torpedoes. Sign Fielder, and let the Adam LaRoche situation sort itself out later. If he is healthy, trade him. If he is not, the $8M was sunk money, anyway.+1/2St.

  12. Positively Half St. - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Speaking of those other surplus first basemen, I would love to see Seattle sign one, and then the O's. Let these teams take themselves out of the Fielder equation quickly, and perhaps we will finally have a faster resolution.+1/2St.

  13. Tim - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    @Anon 7:20…You notice that MANY firstbasemen free-agents are unsigned right now. It's obviously because Fielder is unsigned. If Fielder signs with the Nats, LaRoche would the most desirable first baseman available… more than Pena, more than Lee, more than Kotchmann.But the first domino to fall is Yu Darvish. If he signs with the Rangers, then conventional wisdom says the Rangers are out of the Fielder sweepstakes. Then Prince probably gets a little itchy to sign with Spring Training five weeks away. Maybe his price comes down slightly.Once Fielder signs, the other dominos fall.So, the next date to watch is Jan. 13th (?) — the Darvish deadline.

  14. Tim - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    January 18 is the Darvish deadline.

  15. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Thank you for your response, 1/2 St. I agree with it. I am satisfied if people simply recognize that demand is relevant to LaRoche's worth (and the other supply, which you correctly point out), and it is not as simple as "being stuck with a bad deal because other teams know we do not need LaRoche."Corky

  16. Positively Half St. - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    I can't imagine the Rangers failing to sign Darvish after throwing that much money out for the right to do so. I am not that worried about the Blue Jays, either, both because they apparently don't go for contracts over five years, and because tax implications would reduce the value of what they might offer Fielder.I am worried that the Marlins may have totally lost their minds. Of course, they structured the Reyes deal in a way that they could still get out of it with a trade. I think that Boras will look to keep as much leverage with Fielder himself as possible.I admit to a cruel hope that Miami still draws abysmally in spite of their new stadium. I also want their bad chemistry to regularly erupt into teal and orange goo.+1/2St.

  17. Theophilus - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    It's gonna be June before other teams around the league forget that LaRoche hit .150 in 2011, missed three-quarters of the season and had surgery. Unfortunately, if the Nats sign Fatso there won't be any occasion for LaRoche to make anyone forget anything. So, any trade of LaRoche will be a straight salary dump, e.g., for some marginal high-A second baseman the Nats don't need, and the Nats might even have to eat a big chunk of his salary. I'm not saying they wouldn't do it but it would grate.Once someone has made the decision to pay Golden Corral's poster child $150MM plus, an extra 3-5% on the check is not a reason to not do the big deal. So, La Roche is not an obstacle.However, there are other, good and sufficient, reasons to not want to splurge on the Prince of French Toast. If you're willing to live with a lineup of three good defensive players, two mediocre, one questionable, one bad and one atrocious, for example, go for it. But only do so at a price, including $$ and duration, that I currently don't believe Boras is willing to accept.

  18. natscan reduxit - Jan 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    … with all the PR talk lately, it might seem to the casual observer that Nats fans are chomping at the bit to sign the big galloot. But hold on, those casual observers only see what the media tells them to see. … I am not so sure I'd roll over and play dead if the kid went elsewhere (except maybe the Marlies). I don't always agree with Boswell, but in this case I do, not because of all the financial implications Fielder's signing would bring about down the road, but because I don't see him as worth all the money and attention. Agreed he can hit a dinger, but after that … there's not much, IMNSHO…. is there anyone else out there like me who would happily go into the 2012 season without the Prince in the lineup and still hold the reasonable belief the Nats can and will field a credible contender?Go Nats!!

  19. Roberto - Jan 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    "I admit to a cruel hope that Miami still draws abysmally in spite of their new stadium. I also want their bad chemistry to regularly erupt into teal and orange goo."Actually, I'm expecting something a lot simpler: Loria is planning on selling the team within 2 years. He's made as much from his sweetheart deals with MLB and Dade County as he can; he signed free agents to spike interest in the team in the short run without actually improving the team all that much (Buerhle is essentially a replacement for Vazquez) via back-loaded contracts; and the SEC is on the case. The odds that this ends well are less than 25%.

  20. natsfan1a - Jan 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    I wouldn't mind seeing that, either, although I think it would be rainbow-colored goo nowadays. I also won't be broken-hearted if the Nats don't sign Fielder.

  21. whatsanattau - Jan 7, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    I was directed to a SD Sports Chat that I thought had remote relevancy to the Nats and mined the following from SD Journalist, Bill Center:Comment From Guest: I read a rumor that Eric Chavez was on the Padres' radar. Is there any truth to that rumor, and if so what position would he play? His natural position is third base, so would that mean Chase is on the way out? I know they like Chase, but there are guys chompin at the bit behind him.Response: There was a time earlier this winter when the Padres talked to Chavez's agent. At the time, they were also studying pissibe deals for Headley. Headley is staying. Chavez will not be joining the Padres. The teams circulated by Chavez's agent do not reflect current interest from the Padres.From Columnist in response to concern about SD middle infield: Sadly, it takes two to tango in trades. Not a lot of teams offering up young middle infielders this springComment From Guest: Bill, why does Buddy Black allow O-dog to do all his bush-league shenanigans? Clearly, Orlando cares more about his buddies, fellow players from around the league, than he does his team-mates, and the city he is hired to play for. A small word here or there to an opposing player is one thing, yucking it up with a guy who just hit a double against us is another.Response: I think you might see some subtle changes in Orlando Hudson this year. The fact that the Padres wanted to move him and no other team wanted him should send a fairly powerful message to Hudson. I think the Padres want to see a lot less fraternazion between Hudson and other players at second — Padres pitchers didn't exactly like Hudson chatting it up with hitters who had just pounded a run-scoring double. I totally agree with this observation. —I thought the note on Chavez was interesting as it may debunk the rumored Nats interest in him. The reported interest may have been pre-DeRosa signing.The middle infielder shortage makes me wonder how many teams have been calling about Lombardozzi et al. And the note about O DOG just makes me more grateful than ever that he never signed with the Nats.

  22. SonnyG10 - Jan 7, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I won't be upset if Fielder doesn't get signed by the Nats either. I think we are just a little thin in starting pitching, run scoring, and outfield defense for Prince to make that much of a difference in a post=season appearance. Hitting dingers was not our weak spot last year, scoring was.

  23. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 7, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    natscan reduxit asked: … is there anyone else out there like me who would happily go into the 2012 season without the Prince in the lineup and still hold the reasonable belief the Nats can and will field a credible contender?**************************************If the Nats want to contend this season they need to add another solid hitter to the line-up. It doesn't have to be Mr. Fielder (although he's the only proven run creator still available on the free agent market). It could, conceivably, be Mr. Cespedes (although he's not proven at the major league level). It could be someone acquired in a trade (although it's unclear who the Nats have available to make such a deal). It could be Mr. Harper once he's called up in June (although that would be expecting an awful lot from a rookie, even if he is the 'chosen one').But — Boz's and others' back-of-the-envelope WAR calculations notwithstanding — the Nats can't be considered a 'credible contender' based on the hope that all the current players produce at their career averages. That doesn't happen. Someone will get hurt or have a bad year (as we've seen every other year the team has been in DC and as every MLB team experiences).The Nats need an additional, professional bat. And right now, if the Nats really want to content in 2012, the only 'sure thing' (using that terms both loosely and ironically) out there is Mr. Fielder.That being said, if the Nats conclude that Fielder is too risky or that the potential payroll downsides (e.g., not being able to do Mr. Zimmerman's extension, not having the out-year money to lock-up Mr. Strasburg and Mr. Zimmermann) are too great, I can live with that. In that case, however, the Nats go into the season with the hope that they'll be contending and playing meaningful games in August/September, but not necessarily with that expectation.

  24. The Fox - Jan 7, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Not to change subject, if there was one, but I've seen very little discussion on Jorge Soler the 19 year old Cuban Outfielder?Jim Callis from Baseball America states, Soler has explosive bat speed and power potential. He also has plus speed and arm strength and profiles as a classic right fielder, though he runs well enough to play center. Because of his youth, he'll need some time to develop, but he should be worth the wait.This would be a good way to replenish the farm and the cost would be a lot less then Yoennis Cespedes. I thought sometime around Christmas I read the Nationals had interest in him but I have not seen anything since then. Anyone have any news on this?

  25. Drew - Jan 7, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I wouldn't be crushed if Fielder signed elsewhere — as long as the Beast isn't in the NL East.It's fun to imagine the big fella in the middle of the Nats lineup, but it makes the OF a little bit clunky (and I'm a little bit rock and roll.)Tim 8:19 — I don't think LaRoche is the most desirable (attainable) first baseman after PF-F. The Angels have quite a logjam with Mark Trumbo and Kendry Morales behind Prince Albert.I get it that Pena and Lee are more readily available, but the Halos can't play all of those guys. I imagine plenty of teams would rather have Trumbo or Morales.

  26. We'll Miss You Michael - Jan 7, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Thinking through the logic of it all, I think we can all be pretty sure that if Prince signs, Morse has at most one season remaining with the Nats. The consensus seems to be that if the Nats sign Prince then the next step is to go after a legit center fielder, either by trade this year or by free agency next winter. Once that piece is acquired, all of the OF spots are accounted for long-term (Werth/Harper/CF) and 1B is locked up. And many are speculating that if Prince signs here this year that the Nats go after the CF this year too. Morse would be the obvious trade bait.I just do not see a team in DC that can have both Morse and Prince on the same team after this year.Am I wrong?

  27. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Send Morse to the Rays for Upton and a couple top-notch prospects.

  28. jeeves - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Natscan, I definitely think the Nats can contend this year with status quo. The popular stance seems to be the conservative approach which I don't get. Barring injury the pitching is as good as or better than most nl teams. The offensive potential in the outfield could be outstanding. The infield corners combined could be the best in the league. Ramos can hang in there with any nl catchers this side of McCann, Posey, and Espinosa, despite a tremendous slump, still as good or better stats than many other nl second basemen. Try comparing the nats offensive potential position by position with the other nl teams and don't get bogged down by last year's offensive production. Sure if one believes that last year's Werth is suddenly what he is, that Zimm and Laroche will be injured, that our youngsters will all regress and that Harper is not ready, then hey, guess we're a few years away. But, I could put up an arguement that this year's version is better at every single position–Morse in left, Werth in center, Harper in right (because Werth was so poor last year), health on the infield corners, and continuing improvement by the kids. Could make the same kind of arguement about the pitching, only there it would be obvious.Okay, I concede that first base offense would likely be better last year with Morse there.And the team, despite all the injuries, rookies, mediocre substitutes, still managed to play 500 ball, well almost.

  29. jeeves - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Last time I don't reread my post. Shoud say…nl catchers this side of McCann, Posey, and Montero. And Espinosa…. I don't have the energy to rewrite some of the rest.

  30. #4 - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    One way the Nats could have Fielder and Morse in the same line-up is if the NL adopts the DH by the 2014 season – not as far-fetched as some might think. Please count me in the no column on BJ Upton. I noticed someone a couple of days ago posted something like, "Justin and BJ Upton have been highly regarded in baseball circles for years." Actually, the truth is that baseball people draw a sharp contrast between these two brothers when it comes to their make-up. Justin is seen as a hard-working, straight arrow. BJ is seen as an on-field malingerer with bad off-field habits.#4#4

  31. sjm308 - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Reduxit: I am with you that it is not essential to sign Prince and if we go more then 5 years I am thinking its not a good deal for us. It would be fun and I would love the big bat but 5 years from now when we have Werth on the bench as a 4th outfielder along with Prince it makes me worry. Now, if Boras works the deal with a 3 or 4 year buyout I am ok with that.Has anyone heard if the Brewers would ever get back into the discussion? I don't think they have signed a firstbaseman and wonder if Prince's market keeps dwindling if they would not be approachable by Boras. Or, did he burn bridges there. If we don't get him, I want him the AL where he can eat and dh to his hearts content.Mr. Oregon – agreed about the need of a big bat. How does this sound. 1. Werth rebounds to normal numbers (which is still not a big bat but certainly a boost)2. LaRoche rebounds to normal numbers (again not huge like Prince but again a boost). 3. Zimm plays the entire season healthy which is another boost. I can't imagine Morse doing what he has done for a 3rd year but also don't think he will fall much. Now the "ifs" are how our youngsters progress. If they do we are definitely a contender without Prince. If not then we will still be better just with our pitching. The other question mark is of course CF and I have not even brought up the 19 year old who also should provide some sort of punch. I think 85-90 wins is a decent hope, at least for this old fan.Go Nats

  32. LoveDaNats - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I would much rather sign Cespedes than Fielder. From my lips to Rizzo's ear.

  33. N. Cognito - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Fielder signing coming in 1,000,000; 999,999; 999,998…

  34. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    sjm308 (and jeeves),I certainly and sincerely hope you're both right, i.e., that the Nats can contend without an additional bat (and, to be clear, I don't think it has to 'big' one — if 'big' means a slugger — but rather a run-creating one, which can be achieved in several different ways).If everything you've laid out (i.e., pitching remains solid, Mr. Werth returns to norms, Mr. LaRoche recovers and returns to his norms, Mr. Zimmerman plays a full year at his norms, Messrs. Espinosa and Ramos again have solid years, perhaps even getting better), that will be wonderful and I'll happily be watching meaningful Nats games next September. But that will require everything to go right — no injuries, no sophomore slumps, etc. — which isn't something anyone can count on.Given the Nats' offensive woes in 2011, I have to believe that the Nats still need to add one more significant run creator to the equation. Mr. Fielder is the obvious choice, but not the only option. If it doesn't happen, fine. We cross our fingers and hope. But I would prefer that the Nats add one more piece to the puzzle before they break camp in Florida and head for Opening Day in Chicago.

  35. N. Cognito - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    #4 said… "One way the Nats could have Fielder and Morse in the same line-up is if the NL adopts the DH by the 2014 season – not as far-fetched as some might think."Is this the same dream where you had visions of sugarplums dancing in your head?

  36. #4 - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Well… with full-time interleague play imagine this scenario. The Yankees are tied with the Red Sox with three games to play. The Red Sox are finishing their season in Cincinnati. In the most crucial three game series of the year, they have to bench David Ortiz.At some point the leagues will have to get into alignment. The union will not go for the elimination of a "tenth" starter. Remember the NL is the only baseball league IN THE WORLD that does not have a DH.#4

  37. BinM - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    I think the team is an 80-85 game winner in 2012 without Fielder; The rotation is improved with Strasburg & Gio over Livo & Gorzelanny, and the offense gains LaRoche & RZim from OD, and Harper at some point as well. Defensively, the infield is rock-solid everywhere but Desmond at SS; the OF is a bit less certain, projecting Morse / Bernadina-Cameron / Werth, or Morse / Werth / Harper. The bullpen is solid, and sometimes spectacular as well. The bench needs some work however, to cover for some early-season nicks that are bound to occur. Unless Rizzo is convinced that 2012 starts the 'window of contention', I think he stays away from Fielder. The only thing that would change my mind would be Boras shifting gears & reducing the # of years asked on the contract to five. That might bring a lot more teams into the bidding process, and raise Fielder's AAV return. The 8-10 years Boras is currently looking for is turning off a lot of teams, imo.

  38. Joe Seamhead - Jan 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I am a big believer in a very important component to winning baseball rarely brought up on this board and that component is team chemistry. It doesn't show up in all of the sabermatic stats but it is a very real part of good baseball teams. Talk of "oh just trade Morse for Upton" doesn't seem to take into consideration what that would do to our clubhouse. Morse is not just a good player, he has a contagious joy of playing ML baseball that rubs off on the whole bench. Upton may not be the head case that some say that he is, but he's also not the character of a Beast Mode Mike Morse, either.I wouldn't mind BJ on our team, but not if it means in exchange for Morse.I personally do not want the Nats to sign Prince Fielder. Our team got a lot better last year by playing much more solid defense then they did in 2010. The improved defense made the pitchers better. Fielder is just not a very good first baseman. I think that he would change the soundness of our team in an overall negative way. Just my opinion.

  39. Joe Seamhead - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    One more point regarding team chemistry. Other then his mediocre glove at first base I always thought that Adam Dunn was faun guy in the locker room, but he brought way too much of an "oh, well" attitude to losing. I think that Rizzo saw it too.

  40. NeedANatsFix - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    I've been trying to figure out how the Nats can turn the current roster into a long term winner this year if they sign the PF Flyer. Werth, Morse, Harper and a CF…last time I checked there were only three outfield positions. So what about multiple trades to get the line-up where it needs to be? Morse only has a few more years left before hitting free agency and seems to be the odd man out if he is not moved to 1B. What about moving Morse, LaRoche and Jesus Flores to Tampa for James Shields and a prospect, fills needs for Tampa with a 1B and C for this year and possibly a 1B for next year with Morse as well. The Nats then turn around and deal James Shields to another team for a young controllable CF? Would the Angels give up Bourjos straight up for Shields to have a rotation with Weaver, Wilson, Shields, Haren and Santana and still have Mike Trout in the OF? I have tried to find other young CF's who seem to either already have the .350 OBP + terrific defense in the majors, but it really is hard to find much. Span has injury concerns, Revere hasn't done much yet, Upton is not controllable, Lorenzo Cain is untouchable, Brett Gardner is not a true CF. Any other thoughts on young CFs for Rizzo to target with a trade chip like Shields?

  41. Joe Seamhead - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    OOPS, I meant to say that Adam Dunn was a fun guy in the locker room.

  42. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    It's gonna be June before other teams around the league forget …"It's gonna be June before I can see the name Prince Fielder in print and not glaze over. He's going to the Mystery Team. (I heard they let no stranger wait outside their door.)

  43. natscan reduxit - Jan 7, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    … I agree with jeeves, not so much with Eugene, OR. Having said that, it seems to me that a lot of what will transpire this year will depend on a Werth bounce-back. Seems to me that if such a thing happens, we're in pretty good shape right now; if however, Jayson continues dismally, we'll need to do some deck chair rearranging. Just doesn't mean, to me at least, that has to include PR. … to follow Eugene's lead, if we leave Fielder alone, how would we go about getting a bona fide bat to replace another dismal Werth season?… also, #4 said, "the NL is the only baseball league IN THE WORLD that does not have a DH." to which I reply that might doesn't make right. The NL is simply keeping the faith and holding to the truth in this one.Go Nats!!

  44. BinM - Jan 7, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    The current CBL raises no issues or timetable about fully adopting the DL in both leagues. Unless the owners & players opt to address that point over the next five years, the rule will remain status quo until at least 2016. NL v NL = No DH, NL vs AL in NL park = No DH; NL v AL in AL park = DH, AL v AL = DH.

  45. BinM - Jan 7, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    correction – CBA, not CBL.

  46. The Dude Abides - Jan 7, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    #4…..Wrong!….Every minor league with an NL affilited team has the teams play actual baseball when at the NL teams field.

  47. Theophilus - Jan 7, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Olney quoted to effect Mariners the team most interested in Fielder and most willing to spend big money. What I've been saying. Throw in a bunch of gift cards to the Pike Street Market and we've got a deal.

  48. lesatcsc - Jan 7, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    The absolute worst trade the Nats can make this years is two months of Harper at 19 for an extra year of Harper at 26. Maybe DJ doesn't see it that way, but then DJ also realizes it won't be his problem in six years. It would be flat out stupid to go north with Harper on the Nats.Take Harper out of the OF equation, and this is a very, very poor OF. Morse is fine, lots of offence and okay defence. No problem there. Werth should be fine too, but right now he may end up playing the wrong position. That's not good. It's also not clear how much better than a .718 OPS he's going to contribute. The final OF spot, if Harper is not in the mix, is a disaster. We know what Bernadina has to offer. It would be fine for a 4th or 5th OF, but not an everyday starter. A. 664 OPS would make him the worst offensive OF of all the projected everyday OFs playing in DC, Atl, Phi and Fl. Cameron is our guy if the sky falls in. In his entire career he's hit north of .270 once. Last year he hit .203 with an OPS of .643. Given his age, odds are he will be worse this year. If he plays regularly he will quickly have us fondly wishing for Willie Harris during his worst season and Matt Stairs. If he's platooning all year, that is a nightmare scenario. I would love to see the Nats sign Fielder, but won't be heartbroken if they don't (although I reserve the right to complain about it later in the season if they are AGAIN among the worst offensive clubs in baseball). But this team, as constructed only has two major league calibre OFs, and that isn't enough when you need a minimum of 3. Even if they only go 60 days and then call up Harper, unless the pitching staff is lights out for the first two months, this team will already have given up on playing meaningful games in late Aug by the time Mr Harper slaps on his war paint in a Nats uniform.Fielder or no Fielder, they need another OF that can hit. If you sign Fielder you may be able to trade other pieces, if not, then Mr Rizzo will need to great creative.

  49. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 7, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Dude: I can't speak for 'every minor league' or make any broad, all-encompassing pronouncements, but the Eugene Emeralds — a short-season A-level affiliate of the San Diego Padres — use a DH in home games. I don't like it, but that's what they do.natscan reduxit: If the Nats don't sign Mr. Fielder, there are several avenues open for adding another run generator before the season starts. An obvious one would be to sign Mr. Cespedes, although that comes with various risks. Another would be to wait until someone else signs him, then seek to trade for whomever might become surplus on the signing team. A third is to wait and see how Mr. Harper handles Spring Training. If he's projecting exceptionally well, maybe you don't do anything and just wait of his call-up. If he seems to be headed for an extended period in AAA, then you're looking for players who may have become expendable to their current team (some always do, for whatever reason).But whoever the Nats pursue, I see that hitter as in addition to Mr. Werth, not in place of him — assuming the Nats are tying to contend this coming season. If not, then sit tight and hope that the team at least gets a flavor of pennant race in July/August and maybe plays spoiler (again) in September.

  50. N. Cognito - Jan 7, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    #4 said… "At some point the leagues will have to get into alignment."Why? The DH is going on 40 years old and I've never heard a logical argument of why the two leagues have to have the same DH rule.

  51. Oldguy - Jan 7, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    I think they are going to have to go one way or another with DH now that there is going to be an inter-league series going on all season. Purists hate the DH. My feeling has always been mixed. On one hand, I have said, "I don't want to see a quarterback playing defense." On the other hand, pitchers ought to know how to hit and work on it if they can't–why give up 11% of your offense? I was at the the game where Lannan hit the home run–and that was a big deal–in his first year he couldn't have killed a fly with his swing. That always irritated me. I also remember when pitchers used to be used as PH's, and not just in bunting situations.

  52. swang - Jan 7, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    Riggs pinched Marquis and Livo… both times for suicide squeezes, if I remember correctly. I think he pinched Livo once and Livo swung away another time.Sigh. I'll miss Livo.

  53. Frediemac - Jan 7, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Also I don't think everyone should just assume that Harper is going to be the answer this season either. He may take just a little longer to get MLB Starter ready. They need another big bat in this lineup.Most people are saying Werth n CF, Harper in RF but what if that is a FAIL?

  54. Free Livo! - Jan 7, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Speaking of Livo, whatever happened to those charges related to that drug dealer – where he was hiding assets or something? Did that go away or is it still lingering out there somewhere?

  55. natsfan1a - Jan 7, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    I think it's still not resolved. The most recent story I recall seeing is this.I will miss Livo.

  56. Feel Wood - Jan 7, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    I think they are going to have to go one way or another with DH now that there is going to be an inter-league series going on all season.One interleague game every day of a 162 game season actually results in fewer interleague games than the current arrangement, so no need to change the DH rule on account of that. And the new CBA allows for a 26th man on the roster in certain circumstances such as doubleheaders. They could include interleague games in that to allow NL teams to add an extra bat or AL teams to add an extra pitcher, thereby evening things out a bit while keeping the DH as it is.

  57. Anonymous - Jan 7, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Just looked at the free agent tracker and a couple of names jumped out at me that meets Johnson's type of bench player: Matt Murton and Hideki Matsui. Murton was once considered a big hitting prospect who ended up destroying Japanese pitching the last two years. I could see him being a Willingham type player that could give the Nats depth and spot starter and pinch hitter from the right side. If Matsui doesn't sign as a DH he'd be a great lefty off the bench. He would also be a player that draws some added media coverage. May start seeing Nats hats in Japan. DEM

  58. gonatsgo - Jan 7, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    I have been following discussions about the DH — I am not a big AL fan, but apparently the AL teams are starting to use the dh in a different way and get away from having the one guy that just hits and can't do anything else. Some of what I heard is that even before the start of inter-league play throughout the season, teams are using every -day players and letting them take a turn at dh, kind of like a rest day from defense. Their benches then can carry more utility type players. I think the NL teams will end up making sure that they have some pop on their benches and use their best hitters in the dh spot, resting from regular defense, and play a utility or back up player on defense on those days.We do that now – Zim might dh one day, Morse another. I actually think it will be easier on both leagues to have a strategy that they can use evenly throughout the season rather than just during a couple of weeks. Both leagues can construct their rosters accordingly. It must be difficult , even for al teams, to have guy ( think Matt Stairs), who can't help you anywhere but at the plate. I have been noticing that more teams seem to place value on having players that can function in more than one role.

  59. #4 - Jan 7, 2012 at 11:38 PM

    GoNatsGo:I understand what you are saying, but I don't understand why a team would do that. If I know I'm playing in a league where the DH will be used in 150 or so games, why wouldn't I try to find the best hitter I can find to put in that spot every day? "Rest" here and there for a regular and perhaps slightly better defense by is replacement will not make up for a big bopper in that spot. Also friends, please don't get me wrong. I hate the DH. I'm a life-long Washingtonian and actually used to be an AL fan who thought pitchers hitting was stupid. After the Nats moved here I fell in love with NL baseball with pitchers in the line-up. Nonetheless the argument that it's been split for 40 years holds no water. Baseball has been moving incrementally toward bringing the leagues into alignment – umpire crossover, interleague play, etc. The DH thing is just a matter of time.As for the fact that some NL minor league teams let their pitchers hit when they play each other, that's fine. It still doesn't disprove the fact that every league at every level allows a DH – Little League, HS, college, all minors, Japan, the DR, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, China, Korea, Australia. That some teams don't use it in some minor league games is their choice. It's still allowed if they want to.#4

  60. gonatsgo - Jan 7, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    #4 – Just passing along things I have heard from the mlb talking heads. Their feeling across the board seems to be that guys like Vlad and Big Pappy are dinosaurs.

  61. lesatcsc - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    Quick Question, why do the Nats have no interest in Damon? He's a considerably better hitter than Cameron ever dreamed of being. I wouldn't necessarily want him out there every day, but he would be a great 4th OF. Maybe the answer is that Damon has no interest in the Nats?

  62. Whatsanattau - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:09 AM

    Damon can no longer throw and is considered an AL only player due to his defensive liability.

  63. lesatcsc - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:30 AM

    Okay, but Cameron can no longer hit, so why were we interested in him? Is it just a money thing?

  64. Farid - Jan 8, 2012 at 6:07 AM

    Okay, first let me say I'm not proposing this.But I wonder sometimes what the Nationals could get for Bryce Harper. If the Nationals sign Prince Fielder (which I'm thinking is 60/40 right now), Michael Morse has to stay in left, and he's just too good a hitter to trade, now or in the future. Last year, Morse hit .303-31-95, which is great. But if you figure what Morse hit his first two years in Washington and then expand that out to a 540 at-bat season, it would be .283-31-88. I think it's safe to say that he will be a perennial .280-30-90 guy.Jayson Werth, for better or worse, it in right for the foreseeable future. I think we can throw his 2011 numbers out. He's probably going to average .270-20-80 for the next few years, certainly enough when you consider his superb defense. That leaves center, a place that Werth won't be able to man on an every-day basis, at least not for long. And I don't think that Harper is capable either. So here is the likely lineup with their probable stats:1B–Fielder: .280-30-1002B–Espinosa: .255-22-70SS–Desmond: .265-13-603B–Zimmermann: .285-25-110LF–Morse: .280-25-95CF–????RF–Werth: .270-20-80C–Ramos: .265-15-60With that kind of a lineup, and with Anthony Rendon probably a year or two away (he seems a .300-22-88 kind of hitter), I think the Nationals can go with a veteran Gold Glove defender in center with just an average bat, say .250 or so. Or a Rick Ankiel/Mike Cameron platoon.Or Harper could bring a good-bat veteran center fielder plus a starting pitcher too, maybe more. It wouldn't be these guys, but someone like:Shane Victorino (age 30): .279-17-61Kyle Kendrick (age 26): 8-6, 3.22 in 15 starts (30 games).He could probably also fetch one or two decent prospects too, a young Ian Desmond or another Tommy Milone. Put Victorino in center, and put Kendrick in the rotation, (again, not them, but someone like them) and the Nationals would likely be a perennial post-season team for the next 4-5 years, at least until Strasburg becomes a free agent.If that's the case, then the team wouldn't need Harper. It would be tough to trade him away, but if the players the team would get in return would plug the final two holes, why not?Again, I'm not saying I would. Just wondering if other teams would and what would they give up?

  65. Joe Seamhead - Jan 8, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    A fantasy to trade Harper? For Victorino and Kendrick? I think somebody put something in your brownies.

  66. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    It's a fair question for a slow day in the HSL. No way to know, of course. When was the last time a trade like this actually happened? Ruth to NYY for cash?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
ATLANTA 76 76 12.0
MIAMI 74 78 14.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.5
PHILADELPHIA 70 83 18.5
x-Clinched NL East title

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON 88 64 --
LOS ANGELES 87 66 1.5
ST. LOUIS 85 68 3.5
-----------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 68 4.0 +2.0
PITTSBURGH 82 70 6.0 --
MILWAUKEE 79 74 9.5 3.5
x-Clinched division title

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