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Saturday news and discussion

Jan 14, 2012, 12:00 PM EST

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I’m out of town on vacation until Monday, 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.

Also, I managed to figure out how to disable the “threaded” comments function that Google’s Blogger program instituted on the site earlier in the week. It appears everything is back to the way it originally was, including the type size and spacing on comments, as well as the correct time stamps.

Thanks for your patience the last few days.

  1. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Thanks, Mark!

  2. Les in NC - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    yeah…. much better! Thanks, Mark!

  3. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Mark you should have a guest writer in your absense. This is boring.

  4. Anonymous8 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    I kind of liked direct replies except a pain reading the latest comments.

  5. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    My eyes thank you Mark!

  6. JayB - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Thanks Mark…..Not much happening this off season..loved the Gio trade but still have major needs to be addressed…Need a lead off hitter and CFer if we are going to make a run this year. Almost equal to those needs are proven (yet not over the hill like Stairs) bats off the bench. Roger B. can not be on this roster. Need proven players who can hit off the bench.

  7. Les in NC - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    So,Over on the Federal Baseball website, they're saying the Nats have until next Tuesday to come to terms with the arb eligible guys or they will go to hearings. I sincerely hope they they can avoid the hearings, as each player that is eligible has earned a significant bump in salary (except for maybe Flores). Every time I read on mlbtraderumors that another team has agreed to terms with one of their players I worry that our players will have to have hearings….Here's to hoping it doesn't come to that!

  8. MicheleS - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Les..Didn't we agree last year before the deadline with all of our players that were arb eligible? I also thought it was all done at the last minute too.

  9. JayB - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Yea this year has a lot more money on the line….which as we know means everything to Lerners….I see several of these going to Arb hearing this year.

  10. Tim - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    The Yankees were busy yesterday after hibernating all Winter.

  11. NatsLady - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Thank you, Mark Z. Have a safe flight home.

  12. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Thanks to Mark for fixing the format!Corky

  13. #4 - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    With nothing Nats-related to say, I will point out that the Pineda/Montero trade helps clear the way for local product Danny Hultzen (Bethesda/St. Albans/UVA)to make the Mariners rotation out of spring training.Like the return to the old format.

  14. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Now that would be boring.Mark you should have a guest writer in your absense. This is boring.

  15. Joe Seamhead - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Mark, great job, as always! Thanks!

  16. Doc - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Thanks Mark, for keeping the Google nerds at bay.Beyond keeping track of their bank accounts, they must be running out of things to do in Mountain View.

  17. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    some one give a lineup with Fielder and Harper on roster, i would love to imagine it

  18. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    and would LaRouche and Morse share at 1st base in such a scenario?

  19. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Show of hands, whose parents ever told them "only boring people are bored"? Some ideas for baseball-related things to do until Mark gets back: read a baseball book; watch a baseball movie; watch replays of Nats games as sec222 has been doing; create and run a draft for imaginary teams (All Moustachioed Team, All Hothead Team, etc.); organize your baseball card collection – or if you must, put a few cards in the spokes of your bike and go for a ride; go out and have a catch with somebody; stare out the window and wait for spring (or for Mark to get back, whichever comes first). :-)

  20. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    for what its worth, Mick's NFL picks: Patriots, Ravens, Pack and Saints

  21. BinM - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Les: My understanding of the Arbitration rules is that players posted their asking price yesterday; The teams have until Tuesday to post their offers. The League then sets arbitration hearing dates. Negotiations between team & player can take place right up to the hearing deadline.

  22. Feel Wood - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Over on the Federal Baseball website, they're saying the Nats have until next Tuesday to come to terms with the arb eligible guys or they will go to hearings. I sincerely hope they they can avoid the hearingsThat's not quite true. If the two sides have not reached agreement by Tuesday, hearings will be scheduled. But they can continue to negotiate and avoid the hearing right up until the time the hearing begins. Recall several years ago when Zimmerman was scheduled for an arbitration hearing. He and his agent as well as Bowden all flew to Arizona from Florida for the hearing, reached agreement a few hours before it was scheduled to start, and then they all flew right back to Florida. I believe that hearings aren't scheduled to start until February, so there's plenty of time yet.

  23. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Let's debate what local means again.

  24. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    natsfan1a I agree and how bout Ball Four, it never gets boring. A little racy for the time it was written. One of my favorite passages in the book was the song the Astros would sing about Manager Harry Edwards. This relates to DC because when George Allen came in 71, the Skin's players would sing the same song after a win to the player of the game. So I sing this lyric from Ball Four to our favorite blogger Mark Z: "Hooray for Mark, hooray at last, hooray for Mark he's a horses ass", lol too much caffeine this morning.

  25. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Catch was forwent … As in this space is fo rent …

  26. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Dang spell checker … Forent

  27. Mississippi Snopes - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I'm against the idea of a guest writer — unless, of course, it's natsfan1a. Great list of off-season activities.

  28. LoveDaNats - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    There are two seasons. Baseball season and waiting for baseball season.

  29. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I enjoyed that book as well, Mick.

  30. NatStat - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Guest writer…hmmmm…Tony Plush??

  31. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    LoveDaNats: well said and Thank you natsfan1a. Man this caffeine has me jacked up today, lol

  32. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    food for thought… since NL East is vastly improved and even with an extra playoff team, it seems like 90 wins may not be enough to qualify for post season. any thoughts?

  33. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    With the Yankees swooping in and adding two starting pitchers, does that increase the possibility that our guy from the rule 5 draft will be back sooner than later? I have read we have little depth at AAA and he certainly would fill that need.

  34. SCNatsFan - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    sjm308 I was thinking the same, although you have to think he'd be pitching out of the pen. Still, you have to think the Yanks got the young arm they needed and we all saw with Broderick how tough it is to carry an arm just to mop up in blowouts so I think he'll be back.As for the format, jeez Mark you are on vacation, it could have waited until you were back to the grind.

  35. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Mick: that is a good question. I think the Phillies might actually be a little weaker with Howard out for at least a month (maybe more), plus Oswalt is gone and they really have gotten older quicker (thome, wigginton etc). The Braves have been quiet over the off-season so they are still very good but no great jump. Marlins won 72 games and yes they added a bunch but I am not sold on Reyes making it through an entire year healthy, Buerhle is fine but I like Gio better and Hanley is starting at a new position, not to mention the fires that Ozzie could start on a regular basis. Its possible 90 wins won't do the trick but I am thinking it will. Remember also that Pujols is in another league and Prince might be as well. That doesn't hurt us in the least.I am still thinking 85 wins as a minimum and if we stay healthy maybe more. JB is correct on a very early post. We still do not have a CF and Desmond is a question mark at leadoff as well. I do think that Bernadina or Cameron will be ok as the 4th outfielder since they can play all 3 spots but certainly will not be happy with them as starters or platooning.

  36. Eugene in Oregon - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Mick (on the question of how many wins to get into the playoffs):If you start with the 2000 season and review the W/L columns, you'll find that 90 wins would have gotten a team into a two-team wildcard playoff in 10 of those 12 years (in the National League). Note, of course, that the two-team wildcard is not yet guaranteed for this coming seasons, but signs seem to point in that direction.If you're talking about a single wildcard team (current format), 90 wins would have gotten a team into the playoffs in only five of the 12 years, 91 in seven of the twelve, and 92 in nine of the 12 (and nine of nine if you start counting in 2003).In the American League, 90 wins doesn't get you into any current-format playoffs during that period, but it would have gotten a team into seven of 12 playoffs if a two-team wildcard had been in place (six of those in the past six seasons).

  37. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    The two-team wild card format is not a done deal for 2012, but looks likely. One thing about the whole division getting better, and the Phillies (maybe) getting weaker–they all play each other, with only the Mets looking uncompetitive. Which means, if it actually happens that way, they beat each others' brains out. If four of the teams are above .500, it will be hard for one to run away with anything.

  38. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Guest writer: how about Ring Lardner? You Know Me, Al98 years later, and it still reads like a blog entry.

  39. gonatsgo - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Sec 3 – I agree that it's going to be harder in the nl east for one team to run away with anything. We will definitely have to beat up on the nl central and west – perhaps easier with pujols out of the picture and maybe Braun and fielder, too. Looks like our division will be a real battle – I was going to say a slug fest, but with pitching carrying the day and run scoring down , maybe not so much. I think we can hold our own in the pitching department and I hope our offense wakes up.

  40. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    The big news relative to the Yankee move is Jesus Montero likely ending up as the Mariner's first baseman in 2012. That means the Mariners have now left the PF Flyer. Its down to the Nats and Texas, then maybe the Jays, Marlins, Dodgers, and Orioles if the terms were reduced significantly. Given the amount of time that has passed my guess would be that Fielder prefers Texas. Perhaps the Dodgers but its unlikely that would occur until new ownership is in place. It may reach a point where the Nats might ask do we really want this guy? And put everything off for another year.

  41. Gardner - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Potential time killer – how about a guess the opening day 25 man roster game? Tiebreaker for guessing the rotation order.

  42. Drew - Jan 14, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    FWIW:Hondo hit 44 homers in '68, the summer he turned 32.He hit 48 homers in '69, the summer he turned 33.He hit 44 homers in '70, the summer he turned 34.Then he quickly fell off the table, hitting 26 in a last gasp before fading away.A lot of the big fellas are washed up at 34 — Boog Powell, Willie Horton, Greg Luzinski, John Mayberry, George Scott, Mo Vaughn, Jim Rice, and Cecil Fielder, of course.Prince turns 28 on May 9. If the Nats could get him for five or six years — rather than nine or 10 — that would be a beautiful thing.

  43. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Another good one. The missives would probably be shorter, because he'd be tweeting. :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… Guest writer: how about Ring Lardner? You Know Me, Al 98 years later, and it still reads like a blog entry.

  44. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    sjm308 and eugene, thank you for your analysis, both are excellent and make sense!

  45. Mick - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Drew; good points on Hondo, let me add that what helped Hondo in 1969 was he was followed by Mike Epstein who hit 30 HR's that year and I think Ken McMullen who followed Mike hit 26 and was an All Star with Hondo and Darrell Knowles. man I miss those days before Bob Short became DC's All Time A-Hole, lol!!!!

  46. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Actually, probably more like texting, now that I think of it. I enjoyed Alibi Ike as well.natsfan1a said… Another good one. The missives would probably be shorter, because he'd be tweeting. :-)

  47. Positively Half St. - Jan 14, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    With my football team still in the playoffs, I can try to avoid thoughts of Spring Training for a few more days. Perhaps this will distract me until the Fielder saga unwinds around the 19th or so.+1/2St.

  48. natscan reduxit - Jan 14, 2012 at 8:34 PM

    … if mentioning the Post is still allowed here, I'd reply to Mick that Boz cogitated a bit about a line-up with PR and Bryce. He envisioned Fielder hitting four protecting the kid in five…. I'd go along with Ring Lardner as ghost writer, and Grantland Rice as his ghost editor…. now a question of my own: does MLB ever broadcast ST games on their web site? I kinda got hooked last year when they offered Nats games every so often as their daily freebie.Go Nats!!

  49. Anonymous - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    … now a question of my own: does MLB ever broadcast ST games on their web site? I kinda got hooked last year when they offered Nats games every so often as their daily freebie.If you buy an mlbtv subscription you would be able to get those that either MASN or the opposing team televises.

  50. NatinBeantown - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Ladson reporting Nats out on Cespedes. Of true, I'm less disappointed than I thought. Too much money dedicated to a big risk (can he hit an MLB offspeed pitch?). Could easily have a ceiling of a Wily Mo Pena or Elijah Dukes if he can't. Plus, they haven't yet gotten the stench of burned cash from the Maya deal out of the building.

  51. NatinBeantown - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    Captcha = "affro"Clearly telling us we need a classic, powerful CF in the mold of some of the greats like Stargell, Winfield, and Parker.

  52. N. Cognito - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Stargell 8 games in CFWinfield 222 games in CFParker 31 games in CFI don't think these guys are "classic, powerful CF."

  53. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    my vote for mystery writer is showing my home town bias (and alas my age) once again. I would get the Washington Post every morning and head right for the Sports page where Shirley Povich would have a daily column. I believe it was titled "This Morning" but I am not sure about that. Great thing was that in the evening I would grab the Evening Star and read Moe Siegel. We truly were spoiled back in the 50s. Pretty sure even Feel Wood would be ok with Mr. Povich's writing.

  54. NatinBeantown - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    N. Cognito,1) I meant OF as the reference to greats, though we need a CF. I hoped that was obvious, but I guess not.2) It was a joke. I hoped that was obvious, too.I think the fact that you botheted to research a cranky reply to that probably means we are in desperate need of real baseball, or at least real baseball news.

  55. NatinBeantown - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    *bothered* (stupid android keyboard grumblegrumble)

  56. D'Gourds - Jan 15, 2012 at 12:28 AM

    Anybody see that the Yanks picked up Michael Pineda for their minor league catching prospect Jesus Monero? Pineda is 23, righty, throws consistently ovr 94 mph, had 200+ k's, 1.1 WHIP and 3.7 ERA for the Mariners last year. He's arguably a better pick up than Gio and cost a lot less. We gave away the farm for Gio. I really question Rizzo's moves. Werth has been a disaster. Cashman schooled us. I hope I'm wrong though.

  57. Anonymous - Jan 15, 2012 at 1:29 AM

    @D'Gourds. I was gonna post the same thing. My only question is was Rizzo specifically targeting a left hander? If so, then the point it moot since Pineda is a right hander. But still, great trade for the Yanks.

  58. Scooter - Jan 15, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    I dunno, fellas. I'd say you're selling Montero a little short here. b-r tells me he was ranked #4 and #3 going into 2010 and 2011, respectively. One guy ranked that highly is often worth more than several guys down in the 50-200 range.Also, Pineda definitley pitched better at 22 than Gonzalez did at 22. But Gonzalez has those two years of very high quality, and especially with pitchers, being "proven" is pretty valuable.All personal taste, of course. I just don't think the Yanks clearly made out better than the Nats.

  59. Say Hey - Jan 15, 2012 at 2:38 AM


  60. Dryw - Jan 15, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    Say Hey, you just made me laugh! Great post.

  61. Water23 - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:27 AM

    D'Gourds, Would you have traded Harper for Pineda? That is essentially the deal the Yanks made. I am not so sure the Nats have the depth in position players that they have in pitching.

  62. Anonymous - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:42 AM

    Montero is totally incompentant as a defensive player therefore he is not comparable to Harper. He has to be a DH. He is also not capable of stealing 30 or more bases a year. In fact, the Yanks had no place to play him. Seatle was in desparate need of a power hitter we had no one to offer up.

  63. SCNatsFan - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:52 AM

    The Mariners from what I have read believe Montero can be a catcher; if so, not a bad deal. Plus if he doesn't pan out he can DH or play 1B. As much as Pineda has a huge upside he is a arm injury away from being a journeyman, as all pitchers are, so if you get a guy who can impact 162 games instead of every 5th day then you can't argue with the logic. Seattle also figures they can attract pitchers to the NW easier then hitters.

  64. Anonymous - Jan 15, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    He's a good speller, though. So there's that.

  65. nats guy - Jan 15, 2012 at 6:55 AM

    Mick, That was Harry "The Hat" Walker not Harry Edwards. Harry Edwards was a sports sociologist in the 1960's.

  66. Mick - Jan 15, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Man Im losing it, you are correct, thanks!





As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...

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