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Sunday news and discussion

Jan 8, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

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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.

  1. Tim - Jan 8, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    If the Nationals pull off one more major move before the start of Spring Training, what is your REALISTIC preference? Maybe Cespedes? Fielder? Or would you just stand pat and concentrate on shoring up the bench and bullpen?

  2. The Big E - Jan 8, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    How many games do you think the dreadful Wizards will win this year? I'll say 13.

  3. Joe Seamhead - Jan 8, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Man, I hate it when Jason Reid tries to write about baseball as he did in this morning's Washington Post.

  4. Oldguy - Jan 8, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Agreed, Joe. I nominate this for the stupidest comment made about sports so far this year:"The Lerners should follow the lead of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, who knows little about football but is second to none at marketing."(And he has a lot of competition.)

  5. Grandstander - Jan 8, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    If we're talking about stupid sports quotes over the past year, I believe this one wins:“The Rays are not going to win tonight. The one thing that we have eliminated tonight is that the Red Sox season is not going to end tonight. They live to play another day. … The worst thing that could happen would be to have to play that game in Tampa tomorrow… But the Rays are not going to come back from 7-0 with an inning-and-a-half to go."- Dan Shaughnessy

  6. Positively Half St. - Jan 8, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I agree that Reid does not write well about baseball, but I prefer his chiming in from time to time to the months of silence that used to occur. Wilbon and Kornheiser would NEVER write about the Nats – it seemed they both resented that the team came to town. Mike Wise wrote maybe twice a year, and his columns were nasty and ill-informed. Perhaps the Post will finally spend more space on the team now that they might join the Caps on the winning side of the ledger.I do put myself in Reid's camp this time, though. I may be the only one of us who really wants the team to sign Prince Fielder. Enough patience- we have waited 7 full seasons for a winner, and Prince would probably do the trick. The fact that he is a black guy really would matter, as Reid suggested.I truly don't care about the Lerners' money, except to the extent that I might feel they are not spending enough of it. It has been noted by many that the Nats should get more TV revenue soon. I tried to look up what Fielder paraphernalia revenus was for last year, but that and increased ticket sales would probably put another good dent in the cost of signing him.Why so much concern about what flexibility the team might have 6 years from now? It is a great luxury to talk about "sustained excellence" when your team has never tasted excellence even once. I want to see the Nats in the playoffs, andd I want a World Series championship. I firmly believe that a single title justifies big contracts, even if the team is hamstrung later.Do yo think the Cubs would care so much about the rebuilding they have to do now if the Soriano and Zambrano contracts netted them just one championship, or even on NL pennant?+1/2St.

  7. Positively Half St. - Jan 8, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    "revenues were"I really ought to preview my posts.

  8. Another_Sam - Jan 8, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Any of you guys going to spring training?

  9. Oldguy - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Yes, going about March 9 or 10–already have some tix. (Nats at Yankees in Tampa.)

  10. lesatcsc - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    In response to your question Tim, "If the Nationals pull off one more major move before the start of Spring Training, what is your REALISTIC preference?" I would say Fielder. I think Cespedes might be nice, but he won't help them this year. I would actually prefer they go after Soler and develop him themselves to Cespedes. If not Fielder, they desperately need an OF that can hit.

  11. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Positively:I agree about the posts' columnists, and also about the fact that Fielder's black. Have you noticed that most of the "bad character" guys on the Nats who've been run out of town are black? (Dukes, Milledge, T-Plush) In fact, other than dark-skinned latinos, I don't think there are any black guys on the roster. Now, I'm all over signing Fielder for 5 years or less. Pay him whatever he asks for. His VORP for the next 5 years should be around 50, meaning the team can basically count on 5 extra wins per season with him playing 1b. Now, on a team expected to win in the mid-80s already, that puts their anticipated win total in the upper 80s to low 90s. See the chart from BP a few years ago about the monetary value of increased wins (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5852) where the difference in team revenue between "ain't half bad" and "likely playoff team" comes to about $4-5 million *PER WIN*. That puts Fielder's base value to the team at $20-25M per season. Now, my biggest concern is paying him through his fading years, which he probably won't have anywhere near as much value. (In fact, I'd say it's 50-50 he's still playing at 34.) But up to $30M per season for the next 5 years, I'm game.

  12. Waddu eye no - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Didnt reid guarantee john beck would be #1 this year?

  13. JayB - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    I agree with 1/2 S…..sorry…I know that makes your view instantly wrong but…..Now is the time and they need all the offensive help they can get. They need a big time CF contract next year as well……Do not care if their Payroll gets above $125M or whatever Boz and Mark think is "too much"…..it is not too high it is what it takes to win in this division…….that is the point of owning a team and it is time to win now. (Lerner saved well over 200 Million the past 7 years by being cheap)This year's trip to Spring Training comes very early for me. It is interesting that it is before P and C report….I did this once before mixed with a second trip….it is very cool to be there when just your hard core types are in…..Strass will be there as will both Zimms and Harper I bet!I will b

  14. Feel Wood - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    "The Lerners should follow the lead of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, who knows little about football but is second to none at marketing."So that's why the Post devotes an inordinate amount of space to the Redskins all year round. Daniel Snyder's superior marketing. Glad we cleared that one up.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Jan 8, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    OK, Here's an example of why I don't believe Fielder's bat is worth the trade off for his mediocre glove: In 2010 Adam Dunn hit 38 home runs and had 103 RBI's and played us into arguably the worst defensive NL team and we lost 91 games. The pitchers were dying out there because of crappy defense. In spite of a more productive bat then Prince Fielder, we sucked. Getting rid of Dunn was one of the best moves that Rizzo has made, both because of what we got in return in the draft, and because his defense at first base killed us.Fielder, though marginally better then Dunn at 1B, that's all he is, marginally better.. He'll destroy us.Then there is the long term money issue for a guy that isn't exactly built for excellence into his 30's. I'd like to see us stick with LaRoche, Morse, and Marrero. If Chris Marrero doesn't work out then maybe groom Rendon into a first baseman for the longterm.Prince Fielder had 32 home runs and 83 RBI's in 161 games in 2010.

  16. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Jason Reid's article this morning was an embarassment to the Post. It shows how little depth of knowledge he has about baseball and the Nationals organization in particular. It was also shocking that he would raise the issue of race into this discussion. We Nats fans want success for our team, and I for one don't care about the race, nationality or religious background of our players. I want talented, dedicated players with a srtong morale compass.

  17. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Feel Wood said… "The Lerners should follow the lead of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, who knows little about football but is second to none at marketing." So that's why the Post devotes an inordinate amount of space to the Redskins all year round. Daniel Snyder's superior marketing. Glad we cleared that one up.Post of the Day nominee.

  18. Theophilus - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    "Have you noticed that most of the "bad character" guys on the Nats who've been run out of town are black?"What is that supposed to mean? (A) Are you suggesting these guys (1) weren't bad characters after all? (2) should have been tolerated? (Oh, by the way, you forgot Marlon Byrd, who refused coaching from Frank Robinson.)(B) Are you forgetting Tomo Okha, Brian Schneider, Flop Lopez and Bonafacio?

  19. sjm308 - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    I have long been a proponent of hoping that LaRoche will return to his norms of the 8 years before injury because in the short amount of time he played, I saw actual defense at First base for the first time since Nick Johnson. It was amazing to me how many errant throws he was able to track down from Zimm, Desmond and Espinoza. I don't know how they would track things like that but to my eye he seemed to save at least one error each game he played. I am not saying Fielder is as poor as Dunn(doubt if anyone would be) but I think with our pitching staff, if we add a weak fielding firstbaseman to our iffy outfield situation its just asking for problems. The issue of course is, has LaRoche healed and will he hit to his norm? If either of those does not workout then we will still have problems but I still have not seen or heard Rizzo make one strong commitment toward Fielder and don't think he will. I would love to see our CF situation solved and I am not smart enough to figure out who that would be. Finally, I also was not believing that Jason Reid would use Dan Snyder as an example of any kind of success but at least there was an article on baseball and it went against one of his colleages which is always fun. Question for this group. Wouldn't you rather have the Nationals out there in print, even if its poorly written, then read more garbage about the Bullets or Redskins?

  20. JaneB - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    OldGuy said: (that jason Reid said)"The Lerners should follow the lead of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, who knows little about football but is second to none at marketing."And because he knew so little about football, he made a boatload of bad decisions, messed around where he shouldn't and killed the team. I'll take the Lerners and the Nats, any day.And FeelWood's comment was right on, and hilariouslI THOUGHT I was going to spring training, but now the family plans have changed and I am not going. I haven't torn up my personal "count down till I see baseball live" calendar; I just have to figure out a way to amend it so I can go beforehand. I hope.

  21. sjm308 - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Theo: Except for Brian Schneider the others you mention all stand out to me as negatives, especially Lopez who I remember basically not hustling at all. What did Brian do to get on your list? I always thought he was pretty solid. Thanks,

  22. lesatcsc - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Joe Seemhead, are you really trying to pin the 91 losses on Dunn's defence? Really? There were no other factors that could have contributed to a 91-loss season? Like having a terrible pitching staff? Having minor league players at any number of positions? Last year we had a decent defensive first baseman for 6 weeks. I don't recall the Nats sitting at the top of the standings during those six weeks. After that we had a variety of first basemen, none of whom were superior to Fielder defensively. What Morse changed was he gave the Nats some offence from the position.I don't disagree that letting Dunn leave was a a good move, but I don't think that translates to getting Fielder being a mistake. There are lots of parts in a successful baseball team, the trick is finding the balance between all of them. I think the current Nats with Dunn having a typical Dunn Nats season would win a lot of games because they're better on the mound, in the bullpen, at catcher and in the MI. The biggest weaknesses with the current team are their offence and the lack of a proper CF. Fielder helps with one of those things.

  23. Feel Wood - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Wouldn't you rather have the Nationals out there in print, even if its poorly written, then read more garbage about the Bullets or Redskins?I'd rather have less garbage written overall than to have a greater percentage of the garbage written be about the Nats.

  24. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    wouldn't it be nice if the Nats haven't announced the signing of fielder yet because they're putting the final touches on a contract extension for Zim and want to have the press conference at the same time?

  25. Feel Wood - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    If Jason Reid thinks racism is such a big problem with the Nats, why have there never been any "Matt Kemp [or Ryan Howard or even Prince Fielder of the Brewers] Integrated the Nationals Park Outfield Fences" headlines in the Post?And apparently Jason Reid thinks that signing black quarterback Donovan McNabb was a great marketing move for the Redskins in an area with a lot of black fans, even though they had to run black quarterback Jason Campbell out of town to do it. Come again?

  26. Will B - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Mr. Reid, I knew Mike Wilbon. Mike Wilbon was a great columnist. You, sir, are no Mike Wilbon.

  27. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Has anyone actually seen Fielder play first? From what I saw in the 30 or so games I've seen him play I'd rate him way above Dunn, less than Laroche but better than Marrero. Morse I like because of his height but glove is about the same as Fielder. Fielder gets to an amazing amount of balls for someone his size. Remember he is huge because of genetics not because of physical condition. I'd venture to guess he is in better shape than most players. He would instantly become the best player on our team for years to come if he signs. DEM

  28. Farid - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    From a glitz and glamor perspective, signing Fielder makes the most sense. But Keeping (a healthy)LaRoche and finding a center fielder makes the most baseball sense.

  29. Joe Seamhead - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Fielder had the lowest fielding percentage and the most errors of any NL first baseman with 100 or more games played at 1B last year.lesatac, I didn't say that Dunn was the only reason that we lost 91 games in 2010. I said he was the # one reason that we had the worst defense in the NL and his lousy play at first made our pitchers even worse, and in spite of him having 38 HR's and 103 rbi's we still lost 91 games.My feeling is Fielder will have much the same effect for this team as he won't bail out the other three infielders in the way that LaRoche does, thus making our pitchers have to get 4, or more, outs in way too many innings. That's my opinion, I don't expect to change anybody's mind, and if we sign Fielder, I hope that I'm proven wrong.

  30. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    According to Fangraphs, Fielder's fielding, historically, costs his team about 6 runs per season. This translates to about 6/10 of a win per season. If you count his ENTIRE career, Fielder is worth about 4 wins per season, EVEN WHEN INCLUDING DEFENSE in the calculation. He is now in his prime, so more reasonable projections have him worth about 5.5 wins per season, again, EVEN INCLUDING his defense. Sign him, trade LaRoche for whatever value he has, and you have added 5-6 wins to your team, and gone from a marginal play-off caliber team, to a STRONG play-off caliber team.Corky

  31. NatsLady - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Was listening to Baseball America. Rays need a first baseman and a catcher… Hmmmmm…..

  32. Just sayin' - Jan 8, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Don't you just love selective use of stats? A poster above wants to focus on 2010 to argue that Fielder is only 'marginally' better than Dunn. And if you only look at 2010, you get a Fielder WAR of 2.7 and a Dunn WAR of 3.6. Wow. But what if you look at the years on either side of 2010? In 2009, Fielder's WAR was 6.1. In 2011, it was 5.2. As for Dunn, his 2009 WAR was 0.5 and his 2011 was -2.7.And what about the claim above that Dunn was mainly responsible for the defensive failures in 2010? Well, 1B (Dunn mostly) was responsible for giving up 8 runs more than the average 1B. But guess what? 2B (various players) was responsible for giving up 9 runs more than average. And SS (various) was responsible for giving up 7 runs more than average. And the OF was responsible for giving up 3 runs more than average. Even the pitchers (combined) were at -2. Only 3B (Zimmerman) was in positive numbers at +31. So if you want to blame Dunn alone for that bad defense, go ahead, but recognize that you're doing so based on impressions, not statistics.Bottom line? Don't give Dunn too much credit for that one year in which he outshone Fielder at the plate. At the same time, don't blame just Dunn for what was a pretty awful year defensively in 2010.

  33. Kevin Rusch, Section406 - Jan 8, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Of course, we should all realize that defensive stats can be difficult to measure. They're counted by errors (which are notoriously subjective), range (which can also be — if you have a SS playing at 2b, perhaps the 1b doesn't try for as many balls because he knows 2b will get it, so he just hangs by the bag), foul putouts (park-dependent as well as RF/2B dependent), and the difference between fielding and corralling errant throws from other infielders. (Which, if you're careful and have plenty of data, you could maybe show a difference between one 1b and another assuming the rest of the infield is the same).So, while the numbers aren't irrelevant by any means, they should also be taken with a grain or 10 of salt. So while the numbers help, we're left with a lot of subjectives. Dunn seems to be terrible at 1b. (However, Zimm loved throwing to him because he was enormous; he could afford to be less precise when throwing. He had problems with other guys at 1b.) Morse seemed pretty good. (He certainly looks more comfortable there than LF) LaRoche seemed even better. From all accounts, Fielder's nowhere near as bad as you'd think, but that's probably because from looking at him you'd think he couldn't move at all. So who knows, on that front?As for the "black/character" issues, I'm not really insinuating anything — I'm just overly aware of political issues, and the fact that all of your black players have been unloaded for "character" issues tends to get noticed, rightly or wrongly. (Now, it's a mitigating factor that 2 of the 3 that come to mind are now out of baseball, and the third is wearing out his welcome in Milwaukee. But still, perceptions can be powerful. Just sayin'.)Now, if LaRoche is healthy, we'll be pretty good at 1b. And of course, I'd rather have a plus CF, but those simply aren't available. And getting a premier talent over a pretty-good one for simply writing a check for the years that he's at his peak — say it like the DA from Law & Order: "make the deal."

  34. SonnyG10 - Jan 8, 2012 at 6:12 PM

    Currently I am in agreement with Joe Seamhead regarding Fielder. However, if we do sign him, I also see some positives, like attracting other free agents. In any case, if we sign him, I hope Joe and I are proven wrong.

  35. #4 - Jan 8, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    FWIW (and perhaps not much), Cecil Fielder said this morning in a radio interview that he expects Prince to end up in DC. They have had a rocky relationship, so perhaps he's not the greatest source. Nonetheless it's a nugget to feed on.#4

  36. Section 222 - Jan 8, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    1/2 St — You're far from alone here in wanting the Nats to sign Fielder. He'd instantly make this team a contender, for years to come. Some commenters are arguing that we'd actually be better off to rely on ALR and go get a CF. But Rizzo has been trying to get a CF and all he's come up with so far is Cameron. I sure hope to be proven wrong, but I don't think there's a CF available at reasonable price this year. And all this confidence that ALR will return to his 25 HR/80 RBI of 2008-2010 is just wishful thinking. His history of starting slow plus coming back from a serious injury suggests that it's much more likely he'll be nowhere near that pace when we have to get rid of him at the trading deadline to get even a bag of balls for him. Kevin Rusch, shame on you. At least you put your name on your post though.The idea that Dunn was singlehandedly or even most responsible for the Nats' lousy 2010 season is laughable. His WAR was 3.6. He probably saved Desmond from having even more than his league leading 34 errors. And how soon they forget how awful our starting pitching was that year.The Nats will improve from last year's win total, but they aren't going to contend unless they seriously upgrade their offense. So far they haven't done that.

  37. Feel Wood - Jan 8, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    As for the "black/character" issues, I'm not really insinuating anything — I'm just overly aware of political issues, and the fact that all of your black players have been unloaded for "character" issues tends to get noticed, rightly or wrongly.Dmitri Young wasn't unloaded for "character" issues. Marlon Byrd wasn't unloaded for "character" issues. Willie Harris wasn't unloaded for "character" issues. Jerry Hairston Jr. wasn't unloaded for "character" issues. Need I go on?

  38. natsfan1a - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    I see that Feel Wood beat me to the punch. Other players who come to my (admittedly flu-addled) mind as not having been let go for "character issues" so far as I'm aware include Marlon Anderson, Ray King, Nook Logan, Corey Patterson, Termel Sledge, Junior Spivey, Daryl Ward, Jerome Williams, and Preston Wilson. And I know I'm missing some but, like I said, flu-addled and all.

  39. natsfan1a - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    On another note, I wasn't able to make a compelling case for a ST trip this year but an AFL trip may be a possibility. We'll see…

  40. Ernie - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    I haven't posted on here for a long time, but I still read pretty regularly. I thought I might as well weigh in on the Fielder/race thing. I teach at a high school in Southeast DC that is pretty much 100% African American. I talk up the team a lot at the school, but the children consistently tell me they see the Nats as a team for "whites and hispanics". I have a lot of boys who want to play baseball – we've tried starting a team before and might do it again – but their interest is not in following the Nats. If they follow any MLB teams they are all teams outside of DC – teams with black stars. But most of the boys are interested in other sports and most of the boys who want to play are even indifferent to baseball as anything beyond something to do when the basketball courts are not free. (Interestingly, I have a number of girls who follow the Nats at least in passing and who will call themselves Nats fans and go to games, but the boys don't seem as willing to do it.) I'm not saying that signing Fielder would change any of those students' attitudes towards baseball, but I do think it is a possibility, and certainly not something that would be ridiculous to speculate about. When boys growing up less than a mile from a MLB stadium will say that baseball is a "white and hispanic" sport, something needs to change about the perception of the team and the sport. I don't think the issue is necessarily something that the Lerners or Rizzo are responsible for, but the potential impact of Fielder on the racial divide in the city is definitely interesting to me.I really hope this does not start a flame war. I am sure it probably will. That's why I stopped posting last year anyway. I apologize to the regulars if this would all be letter left unsaid on here. The internet is not really known as a place for calm, rational discussion of racial issues, after all.)

  41. gonatsgo - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Fielder – ok if the price ( and especially years) are reasonable. Players of color – choose the best players for your team and let the chips fall where they may. I don't care what your background is – can you hit a curveball? Spring training – trying real hard to get down there about mid-March. I have never been and it's a goal of mine. Who will I see there? We still — don't — know!!! Jason Reid using Dan Snyder as an example? — so bizarre and ridiculous that I just don't know what else to say.

  42. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Nice comment Ernie. My first reaction to Reid's article was the same as many, he doesn't seem to know much about the Nats. But, frankly, I hadn't thought about him being black and what it could mean to the franchise and the city until he mentioned it. I for one am glad he brought it up.

  43. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:25 PM

    Pronoun fail above. You get the point though.

  44. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 8, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    In support of Section 222's assertion that "the Nats will improve from last year's win total, but they aren't going to contend unless they seriously upgrade their offense" I'd like to offer a few Pythagorean calculations to back that up.First, assume that it will take 90 wins to lock-up (pretty much) the second wild card spot. That would have done it in all but two seasons since 2000, so it's a good proxy number.Second, recall that the Nats scored 624 runs in 161 games and allowed 643 runs. Adjust that for 162 games and you get 628 scored, 647 allowed and we'll treat that as our baseline.If you then assume the Nats' pitching will improve a bit — let's say they hold opposing teams to the number of (adjusted) runs the Nats themselves scored in 2011 — then the Nats need to score 705 runs to get to a 90-win season. That's an improvement of 77 runs scored.If you assume the pitching gets much better in 2012 — let's say to the level of the 2011 Atlanta Braves (605 runs allowed) — then the Nats still need to score 679 runs to reach the 90-win mark. That's only 51 additional runs, but remember that it's assuming the Nats give up .25 runs/game less than in 2010, a pretty significant improvement.And what if the pitching doesn't improve at all (remember it was pretty good in 2011)? Then the Nats would have to score 726 runs to get to 90 wins, a 98 run improvement.I know that the Pythagorean formula is only an approximation, but it's one that works most of the time, within a win or two or three. And it suggests the Nats need more scoring, even with an improvement in the pitching staff.

  45. natsfan1a - Jan 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    Speaking only for myself, my comment related to the use of gross generalizations (i.e., all of the players were let go for a specific reason). Such generalizations tend to rattle my chain whether on the Internet or not. I don't disagree with the idea that more black players in baseball (or in DC) would be a positive development. One can't know what is in the mind of others, and it's best not to jump to conclusions in that regard, imho.On a somewhat related note, just read the Reid piece and he states that the Phillies have long reigned at the top of the NL East. I guess that depends on what the meaning of "long" is. :-)

  46. Drew - Jan 8, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    Ernie: Thanks for your contemplative post.I think it's fair and reasonable to say that Prince Fielder might draw additional black fans to the park — as he would all other types of fans.I think it's unfair and unreasonable to suggest that Lastings Milledge, Elijah Dukes and Nyjer Morgan were ousted as some sort of racial purge.I can hear my college philosophy professor saying: "Correlation does not provide causation. The rooster does not make the sun rise."If you act like a knucklehead (Lastings Milledge) or if you can't play anymore (Matt Stairs) or both (Paul LoDuca) you're not going to last long on Rizzo's ballclub.I'm glad Milledge and Dukes are gone, but I'd sure love to see Michael Bourn in centerfield at Nats Park.

  47. Nattydread - Jan 8, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    There are quite a few folks wanting to see the PF Flyer on DC!1) The big splash would draw needed attention to baseball here. Incremental improvements are fine, but contention gets people to the park.2) Offense offense offense.3) The CF/lead-off hitter issue isn't easily solved. But the added power of Fielder lessens our need for a high OBP guy.I hear the warnings about payroll but don't get them. Let's win first, worry about the big payroll later.

  48. Positively Half St. - Jan 8, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Now that my Giants seem to have things under control, I want to catch up on my favorite team:Ernie- Thank you. Leaving aside the black players of the past on the Nats, Fielder would be our first black superstar. I don't know if that would bridge a gap, but it does at least seem reasonable that he would be more of a draw for much of DC.JayB- Your agreeing with me deosn't make me wrong; I'm wrong often enough on my own. Still, I have taken great pleasure in your contrarian approach for years- I think that we will have a truly developed fan base when we have a lot of contrarian posters who are not as thoughtful or intelligent as you are.Of course, a bunch of you have been great reads for years. We might finally get to read what each of us say under conditions of well-founded optimism.+1/2St.

  49. Nats Fan in Athens - Jan 8, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    In view of the possible willingness to sign Prince Fielder would it not have been a better idea to sign Jise Reyes instead? Reyes would have covered the requirement for a lead off hitter and come in for a lot less than what it may cost to sign Fielder. Having said that what I agree with in the Reid article is that DC is a major market and if the Lerners take the opportunity that is there for the taking they could own the city in a few years (unless Snyder decides to sell to someone who at least knows what shape a football is) and signing Fielder could go way to achieving this.

  50. Sunderland - Jan 8, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Reyes is such a risk. He's missed significant time each of the past three years with injuries. You take a risk with every FA signing of course, but it just seems that the odds are that Reyes is going to spend a lot of time on the DL over term of that contract.

  51. NatsJackinFl - Jan 8, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    Anybody else watching MASN's Strasburgs first start against the Pirates? Man I can't stand Dribble. Thank God MLB radio dimped him too.

  52. Joe Seamhead - Jan 8, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Unlike Reyes, Fielder doesn't strike me as being any kind of a head case. I like his hustle and public persona. I just don't like his defensive ability. As to Reid's thing that a black superstar would be a good thing for the Nationals, nobody can seriously argue that point, nor are they. Like Drew said also, we'd all love to see Michael Bourn in CF, or Andrew McCutcheon. Now for most of us, I really think that we're color blind when it comes to our roster. White, black, brown, light brown, red, yellow? Can he catch, hit a curve, or throw a 100 m.p.h. fastball? Should color be any kind of a criteria? Overall, if the Nats start contending fans will show up. If there were more African Americans playing and we are winning and more African Americans come to the stadium?… better yet.

  53. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    The Nats swept the Brewers this year at home. The first game was the one where Werth's aggressive baserunning won it for us, iirc. And a bad throw home from Fielder sealed the deal. Just not a good defender.

  54. LoveDaNats - Jan 8, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Do you really think the Fielder thing won't be settled until Darvish is signed? Just wondering what the holdup is.Also, I will be at ST mid-march. So……how will we know each other? Special shirts? Hats? Secret handshake?

  55. Positively Half St. - Jan 8, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    I was watching the Strasburg game. I missed it the first time, so I enjoyed seeing it this time.+1/2St.

  56. Catcher50 - Jan 8, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    Just a few comments, as I recover from some surgery (I really got screwed and now have the plate to attach them).1. Fielder is a fair, at least average, first baseman. Any limited range will be made up for by Espinosa's range. I'm very ambivalent about signing Fielder, mostly because of the time frame. He's going to be a problem after about 5 years, as he grows older. He is probably worth about $5Million more, per year, to an AL team, the last 5 years of a 10 year contract. $25Mill may not be much to you, but it seems a lot to me.2. Reyes is a dubious pick up for the Fish (do they still call them that?). He has lost a lot of time due to injury and, despite some absolutely spectacular plays, he is rated as, at best, a mediocre short stop by all of those who are currently developing defensive skills stats/ SABRmetric based ratings.3. The lack of black players in DC is an unfortunate situation. I do understand that not having a black player as a star for the Nats is not surprising. It has to do with, primarily, the total lack of a developing system, of any sort, when the Lerners took over and most of what was available was white or Hispanic. It is the job of the Nats to find a way to put a winning team on the field, not to eliminate racial bias. I think it would be wonderful if Anacostia could put a team on the field. I have seen other DC high schools put teams on the field, made up completely of African Americans. However, let's remember that, right now, there is one DC born and raised African American in the Majors…and he went to Wilson. I might also suggest that some of those who are making this criticism take a look at some of the Historically Black Colleges' baseball teams (as a specific, look at Bethune-Cookman), many of those teams are majority white and/or Hispanic. For all of those who listen to baseball historical stories (assuming that you can stay awake for Ken Burns) about kids playing stick-ball in the city and baseball on a somewhat flat field in the country, that is not the path to the majors now. Baseball has become a suburban sport (for a lot of reasons). As more and more African Americans move to the suburbs, where there are available (sort of) fields and competitive, teaching programs, more will reach the Majors (Nats & other teams). By the way, Baltimore has a much greater black population than does DC and when you look at the stands at OPCY you'll see a much larger % of whites than there are in the stands at Nat's Park.

  57. Anonymous - Jan 8, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    I think if Fielder ends up coming to the Nats, it will be resolved shortly BEFORE the January 18 Yu Darvish dealine. That is, this only happens if Boras thinks that the Rangers will not be in on Fielder, and if he believes that, he wants the deal done before he loses leverage when Darvish signs. And if Darvish doesn't sign, the Rangers sign Fielder shortly after the Darvish deadlilne.Corky

  58. Feel Wood - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:10 AM

    By the way, Baltimore has a much greater black population than does DC and when you look at the stands at OPCY you'll see a much larger % of whites than there are in the stands at Nat's Park.And when you look at the concessions workers and ushers at OPCY you'll see almost all are white. A sharp contrast to Nationals Park.

  59. Feel Wood - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:12 AM

    The lack of black players in DC is an unfortunate situation. I do understand that not having a black player as a star for the Nats is not surprising. It has to do with, primarily, the total lack of a developing system, of any sort, when the Lerners took over and most of what was available was white or Hispanic.It has nothing to do with the Lerners. Name one MLB team that has a strong African-American presence. Just one. I'm waiting….

  60. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Let me say this – I am white, and I would be DELIGHTED to unite with my African-American Nats fan brothers and sisters in celebrating the arrival of The Prince.

  61. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Forgot to sign my "uniting" post a moment ago…Corky

  62. Joe Seamhead - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Feel Wood said…The lack of black players in DC is an unfortunate situation. I do understand that not having a black player as a star for the Nats is not surprising. It has to do with, primarily, the total lack of a developing system, of any sort, when the Lerners took over and most of what was available was white or Hispanic.It has nothing to do with the Lerners. Name one MLB team that has a strong African-American presence. Just one. I'm waiting….January 8, 2012 7:12 PMRyan Howard, Jimmy Rollins ,Dontrelle Willis, Mayberry, is a pretty strong AA presence.

  63. NatsLady - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:35 AM

    Story on the percentage of black players in MLB (less than 9%, as of opening day, 2011).http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6401971Detailed report:http://www.tidesport.org/RGRC/2011/2011_MLB_RGRC_FINAL.pdfThere is an interesting paragraph at the end:StackingThe Racial and Gender Report Card examines the issue of stacking for the positions of pitcher, catcher and infielder filled by African-Americans. These are baseball’s primary “thinking positions.” Five percent of pitchers (up one percentage point) and 11 percent of infielders (up two percentage points) were African-American. Twenty-nine percent of outfielders, who rely on speed and reactive ability, were African-American during the 2010 MLB season. This percentage was almost three times that of the total percentage of African-Americans in MLB. Historically, there have been almost no African-American catchers. In fact, in 2010 there were none, decreasing from 1 percent in 2009.

  64. NatsLady - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:41 AM

    On another topic– please, please don't let MLB implement challenges/reviews the way the NFL has… Sheesh, can we play some FOOTBALL here????

  65. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 12:52 AM

    NatsLady, be careful not to conflate the distinction between blacks and African-Americans. There is a good number of black Latinos in the Major Leagues. Unless I am mistaken, they are not African-Americans, but they are black.Corky

  66. NatsLady - Jan 9, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Corky, OK, I'm sorry. I believe the study explains their methodology… Ethnicity is tricky, you need multiple boxes. They found that in the most recent census.

  67. MicheleS - Jan 9, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Ernie, Thank you for your serious and well thought post. And others for shooting down the notion of some bias on the Nats because of race. I think several african-american/black players such as Derek Lee, Ryan Howard, and Tori Hunter are doing many things to promote the sport through the RBI program. Regardless of whether or not we on this board agree/disagree with the baseball reasons that Fielder would be like on this team, I can only hope that such a signing would be something that a large segment of the DC population would enjoy and also be a good role model for the young boys/girls of this city to see that not just football and basketball are the only sports to play.

  68. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    Well, the weekend is just about over. My guess is Prince is going to Texas once they completely the Darvish negotiations. It looks like he is going to wait on them. Good young team, lots of talent and they can put him in at DH. He may not be a purist like Dunn was.

  69. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:54 AM

    I truly don't care about the Lerners' money, except to the extent that I might feel they are not spending enough of it. It has been noted by many that the Nats should get more TV revenue soon.1/2 Street, the Nats may not have a choice. It may be Fielder himself won't pick them just as has happened over the last 3 or more years starting with Texiera. My guess is Texas and there are a lot of good reasons to go there, given that the Rangers too are young and just went to a world series. I think that once the Darvish negotiations complete (which has complicated this offseason) then he'll sign there. Otherwise, I believe he would have signed by the end of this week as predicted by various sources.

  70. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    From ESPN on opening day last year:The percentage of black players dropped to 8.5 percent on Opening Day this year, down from 9.1 percent at the start of last season and its lowest level since 2007. It was 17 percent when Lapchick began tracking the figure in 1990.The percentage of Latino players dropped from 28.4 percent to 27 percent — baseball's lowest since 1999's 26 percent.

  71. Drew - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:23 AM

    NatsLady quotes the ESPN report, which says: "Historically, there have been almost no African-American catchers."Which is interesting, because, off the top of my head I can name Roy Campanella, Elston Howard, Earl Battey, Elrod Hendricks, John Roseboro, Earl Williams, Lloyd McClendon, Charles Johnson … Of course, from the Negro Leagues you have the great Josh Gibson and Biz Mackey.I wonder whether this recent phenomenon is self-selection by talented athletes who gravitate to other sports, rather than some sort of systematic exclusion.

  72. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    Like Drew said also, we'd all love to see Michael Bourn in CF, or Andrew McCutcheon. Now for most of us, I really think that we're color blind when it comes to our roster. White, black, brown, light brown, red, yellow? DC really one of the very last places to integrate it seems? Like it or not the Nats should reflect diversity while still maintaining a high level of talent. Given his 360 degree change in attitude and work ethic Destin Hood would make a nice addition to the outfield. But there's no room because of Werth's contract. There's Brian Goodwin but we'll have to see how that works out. Werth's contract kind of falls into Jason Reid's hands. The Lerner's will overpay a mediocre OLDER white player but not a younger and let's face it offensively far more talented African American. There's nothing stopping the Nats from adding a clause about conditioning and weight. Of course Fielder might then reject the offer … but I believe he could be a good fielder at first base if he improved his physicality and worked on his fundamentals. He seems pretty quick.

  73. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:51 AM

    Like Drew said also, we'd all love to see Michael Bourn in CF, or Andrew McCutcheon. But when all is said and done BJ Upton is younger and just might end up better than all of the above. Its likely folks here wouldn't have liked Frank Robinson when he was the same age. He was a surly, arrogant player. Racism was very real when he was coming up. BJ Upton is a lot like that I imagine. And he may end up being just as good.

  74. Nattydread - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    Just read Howard Bryants 2010 "Henry Aaron" biography. A great read for anyone interested in race & baseball.The decreasing participation by black players in baseball contrasts starkly with the way the same group — led by people like Jackie Robinson, Aaron and others — stormed the gates of baseball in the '50s. Because black baseball players were (minimally) respected, traveled and had salaries, they became default participants in the civil right movement.Baseball (and the Nats) need to do more to get black kids into the sport today. Jackie Robinson Day is fine. Probably what it required is more real outreach into communities where black kids only play basketball and football today.

  75. Anonymous - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    Check out my Nats Blogwww.thenationals.tumblr.com

  76. Catcher50 - Jan 12, 2012 at 2:19 AM

    Feel Wood…either I misswrote (pain meds) or you missread. I was blaming the lack of black developing system, as well as a lack of a white, Hispanic, or Asian system on MLB, who owned the Nats before the Lerners took over.

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