Skip to content

Locking up the future

Jan 16, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez is now signed through 2016, with team options for 2017 and 2018.

There's been some debate this winter over the Nationals' planned timeline for success. Are they trying to win right now, or are they still focused on the future?

In some respects, the answer is: both. The Nats have every reason to believe they can win in 2012 if all the pieces fall into place, and they're certainly doing anything to attempt not to win right now. But neither are they doing anything that might hinder their chances to win down the road in a desperate attempt to enjoy immediate success.

Yesterday's signing of Gio Gonzalez to a long-term extension was a perfect example of that strategy.

The Gonzalez deal — five years for a guaranteed $42 million, plus a pair of one-year club options that could make the entire package worth $65 million — ensures the left-hander is locked up through at least 2016 and perhaps through 2018. It prevents him from ever needing to go toRead more »

  1. dabassguy1 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Welcome back, Mark. I missed having a subject to read everyone's comments on. Things tend to wander when you're away.

  2. JaneB - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Welcome back!

  3. Sunderland - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    The NatGio extension is exactly what I was hoping to start to see from the Nats. Take these arb and pre-arb guys and begin to lock some of them up. There is risk, but there is equal risk in not doing it. If many of these guys actually play to their potential, then no team can afford them all in 5 years. But start locking some of them in through their arb years and a few free agency years, and you can keep the core together for a long time. It's wise. Glad to see it happen.

  4. Constant Reader - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Welcome back Mark. Kind of the Nats to give you something to talk about upon your return.You posed it perfectly:"Or, to put it another way: If Mark Buehrle is worth $54 million over the next four years, isn't Gio Gonzalez worth $42 million over five?"

  5. Will - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    I'd like to see Zimmerman(n)s get locked up ASAP. Jordan has had nothing but success in the big leagues, both pre and post TJ. I think he's a safe bet for the future, especially at such discounted rates through the arb-eligible years.Ryan is arguably at his lowest value right now, and could end up being a steal at ~$17-18mil/season. You can count on him for 5-6 WAR, which at market value is worth $25-30mil per season. Lock him up.

  6. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Woo Hoo.. Dad's back.. he can keep us busy now!Happy about NatGio.. Hopefully, they start locking up the other ones as Mark suggested (Espi, Morse, Ramos, etc.)Now if we could just get that PF Flyer thing settled….(mind you, I am okay either way)

  7. natscan reduxit - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    … so glad to see your new posting this a.m. Mark. Glad to have you back in the saddle; glad to know it all points to Viera and ST. Come, Florida; come soon!Go Nats!!

  8. Tim - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Welcome home Mark. Thanks for the Gio vs Buehrle perspective. That was excellent. Nats seem to be sitting pretty right now.We we just wait til 4pm CT on Wednesday… The Darvish deadline… for some idea whether we have a better chance of landing the Prince of the FA market.I saw on MLBRumors.com that Bowden tweets that the Rangers can afford BOTH Darvish and Prince. Whether they can or not… are they thinking that way?

  9. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Last night on MLB Network, they stated that Darvish would get done.. no mention of PF to the Rangers though. Appartantly Yu wants 5 years and the Rangers want 6.

  10. Positively Half St. - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Bowden goes on and on about how the Nats need and should just sign Fielder on his SiriusXM show. I think that he is almost trying to pressure the Nats by helping Boras put Texas in the conversation. It won't work, I think- Rizzo and the Lerners must have an endgame here.Speaking of Bowden, though, I have to admit that he is very entertaining and interesting on his show. He has enough experience and connections to have insight and inside dirt, and of course he is a natural showman. All in all, a much better radio host than GM.As for Gio, I am totally content with this approach. It is not guaranteed to work, but doesn't it make at least as much sense as signing Yu Darvish for 6 years? At least Gio's success is in the US.+1/2St.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Positively Half St….. I agree with you on Bowden's radio work for MLB. Now that Dibble has gone, I can listen to all three weekday shows with Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette being my favorites.On New Years eve, I heard a call in interview with Brad Peacock that made me want to get him back somehow, but then 3 days later, I heard an interview with Gio Gonzalez on the Bowden show and all was well again.

  12. Anonymous - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    1/2 St.Worth pointing out that yesterday (it may have been a re-broadcast), Bowden pointed out how he got used by Kuroda's people in order to push the Yankees. Bowden had reported that Kuroda was close to a deal with Boston, but now he sees that it wasn't true and that it was a ploy to force the Yankees hand. So his 'connections' may just demonstrate that he is a tool (in every sense of the word).jindc

  13. Raleighnat - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Let bygones be bygones…Bowden is great on his show…seems like a good guy and is fun to listen to. Just because he wasn't a good GM doesn't mean we can't like him now.Good deal on Gio…now do the same with Ryan

  14. ehay2k - Jan 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Mark Z, Did you mean to write "The Nats have every reason to believe they can win in 2012 if all the pieces fall into place, and they're certainly **NOT** doing anything to attempt not to win right now. " ?ehay2k

  15. NatsBrat - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Welcome back Mark!Mom said that you were supposed to pick up Prince on the way back–wad' happened?

  16. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Very nice to see a new, substantive MZ post this morning. Hope that you'll let us know when you've landed safely in DC as well, assuming you didn't take a red-eye flight back. I also wondered about that wording, ehay2K.Also nice to see those particular young fellas in our rotation locked into place for some years.I don't get Sirius radio so no opinion in that regard.

  17. Big Cat - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Good move Riz.only 34 more days now

  18. #4 - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    I'm glad they've locked up Gio. I don't agree though with those who are clamoring to do the same with JZ. There is a big difference between the two. Gio has gone to the post 32 and 33 times the past two years and thrown 200+ innings. He's proven that he's durable. JZ has yet to prove he can do that. Before sinking significant money into a pitcher, I'd like to see he can go a whole season at least once.I feel the same way about RZ. I'd like to see him play 155 games and not have throwing problems before giving him "Tulo-type money". Zim's only played 150+ in three out of his six big league years and he's not a SS. I'm not even sure he's a 3B long term until he proves he's fixed his throwing. Even after last year's work, he still looked very uncomfortable to me.

  19. baseballswami - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    If there had not been an innings limit on JZ he looked like he easily could have gone 200+, even in his first full season after TJ. You just know that crazy Davey wanted to ignore the limits and keep him going. I say lock him up for at least a couple of years. That low era with the anemic run support? Please don't fall for the wins vs losses stats – go watch some video highlights on the nats official sight. It will perk you up on a winter day for sure. Solid as a rock. I am going out on a limb – JZ will be the first Nat to throw a no-hitter. And no – I am not superstitious enough to think I just jinxed him. I am well aware that I have absolutely no power over the universe or baseball.

  20. Sunderland - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    #4, IMO there is a big difference between extending R Zimmerman now and extending J Zimmermann now. Ryan will want and expect top dollar. He already has banked $45M. he has no financial anxiety. He will want top dollar or he'll be content to play out the contract and become a free agent.Jordan Zimmermann is in a completely different situation. He has not banked any serious money. He could set his mom and dad and a couple generations up for life by inking a deal now. Consider a deal guaranteeing him $30M for the next 6 years. A steal if he hits his potential. But for Jordan, it removes the financial risk. If you wait a year, and JZ throws as well as we hope, then the cost of that deal just went up by $3M a season. And if he gets hurt, then maybe he loses it all.It makes sense for the team to pursue this now with JZ, and it makes sense for JZ to consider an offer.

  21. SonnyG10 - Jan 16, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Great to have you back, Mark. I also like the Gio extension. As for PF, I can go either way with him. The offense would be nice, assuming he doesn't go into an extended slump, but his defense gives me concern.I really enjoyed reading about how various Nats Insider posters were connected with baseball a few blogs ago, so before we get too busy here, I thought I would throw in my own. I hope more of you will also consider doing the same.My love of baseball started when I was 6 years old, 62 years ago. By 7 years old I was playing on a team in pre-little league in Winchester, Virginia. I had a strong arm and fairly good control so I was made a pitcher. I graduated up to Little League, Pony League, then American Legion. I played baseball for my high school, James Wood in Winchester. I earned my letter in baseball as a freshman and also earned varsity letters in football and track. I played for the University of Virginia my final two years of college. I was good enough to make the team, but not good enough to get into any games. While not in school, I played for a semi-pro team in a tri-county league near Winchester.I grew up rooting for the Washington Senators and on rare occasions, my dad would take me to see a double-header in old Griffith stadium. I have some nice memories of those games. Normally I would have to be satisfied watching the Senators on TV. My dad gave me the task of writing down the score each inning of the game. Apparently there was some kind of pool going on at his work that required the inning by inning score and he volunteered my services to provide the information, which he would take back to work each day.I have played every position on a team in organized baseball, except for first base. I was a little too short to be a good first baseman. I have two regrets regarding baseball. I wish I had had a proper teacher to teach me more about pitching. I had a 4-seam fastball, a regular curveball, a big-bender, and a knuckle ball. It never dawned on me to throw a two-seam fastball and oh how I wish I had. The second regret is that I was never clocked by radar on my fastball. I wish I knew how hard I could throw.I have many other wonderful memories of baseball and playing in all-star games, but I need to cut this short. Hope more of you will share your baseball experience.

  22. SonnyG10 - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I agree with you baseballswami on Jordan Zimmermann. I just watched an archive of the game between the Nats and the Rockies on 10 Jul 2011 in which Jordan was the starting pitcher. What a masterful game that was. The Nats won 2-0. Roger Bernadina drove in Ian Desmond for one run and Rick Ankiel drove in the other with a home run. Great job by the bull pen also.

  23. BinM - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Looking at the NatGio contract, it should be fairly team-friendly, topping out at $12M/year. Year 1 (2012) = $3.75M approx. Year 2 (2013) = $5.25M approx. Year 3 (2014) = $8.0M approx. Year 4 (2015) = $12M approx. Year 5 (2016) = $12M approx totals $41M. Option 1 ('17) = $1M buyout or $12M. Option 2 ('18) = $1M buyout or $12M. As long as he stays healthy, that's a good contract for both parties.

  24. NatinBeantown - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I love this sentence from Mark's post:"How many other major-league clubs can say they've got their top three starting pitchers locked up for at least four more years?" Even more, I love that he could have added, "…through their prime years, since after the 2015 season they will still be 27, 29 and 30 years old." That's exciting.

  25. sm13 - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Great point Mark that Rizzo wisely spent the money on a young Gio rather than an aging Beurhle. Now he can pass on Prince and sign Ryan!

  26. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    sm13: not trying to be negative but why couldn't he do both? I, like many others here can go either way on Prince but I guess if you held my hand to the fire I would rather see him play here than not. As for Ryan, I love what he has done and want to be able to take my grandson to see him play (he is just 9 months old so we need a nice long extention).Nice to have Mark back and also nice to start out with an article that almost is impossible to disagree with. This was smart management to say the least. Money spent on Gio vs. either Beurle or Darvish looks very smart. Of course there can be injuries but all teams have that to deal with.Go Nats!!ps: Natsjack – have you started getting in shape for spring training yet?

  27. SpingfieldNatsFan1 - Jan 16, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Gio's contract extension affects the rest of our soon-to-be free agents like Ryan Z. Does it show that Rizzo and the Nationals are serious about winning long term and therefore a place they want to stay and try and win a title? Or does it create some resentment that Rizzo and the Nationals are taking financially care of someone who's done nothing yet for this franchise over players that have been here for some time…ala Danny boy and the Redskins????

  28. Mick - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    The difference between Gio and all the free agent garbage Danny boy would go after is that Gio can play!

  29. Sean Kelly - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    welcome back Mark! Good post and hope time away was well spent

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Sjm 308….. I can't wait. I'm going to practice on the 24th and 25th. I've got a Twitter account (NatsJackinFl) and for anybody interested I plan on sending tweets and pictures. I plan on doing the same from games

  31. BinM - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    SpringfieldNats: I also had that thought initially, but then realized that this was an Arb-Eligible player. Apparently Gio & his agent were open to a long term deal, so Rizzo & the FO hammered one out that offers Gio some security and doesn't hamstring the club. There's nothing that says the same thing couldn't happen with JZimm when they exchange figures.

  32. Just sayin' - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Springfield,Whether or not the Nats sign Fielder, I wouldn't be surprised to see another arbitration-eligible player (or two or three) sign similar extensions over the coming days. In fact, you could make the argument that signing Fielder would call for more such deals, as the Nats could thus achieve some certainty in their out-year payrolls. My guess is that with all the arb-eligibles, the Nats are asking "can we do this for more than one year?"

  33. Tiny - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I wish Rizzo would get off his duff and sign Cody Ross for centerfield and Jeff Keppinger for the infield.

  34. Anonymous - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Cody Ross? Really?

  35. Gonat - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    I like Positively 1/2 St thoughts on Bowden. Everyone has their motivations and Boras has even more. Tough offseason for him so far and trust me, I don't feel sorry for Boras or Bowden

  36. Sunderland - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Yeah, we ain't going anywhere without Cody and Keppy.

  37. Joe Seamhead - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Tiny said…I wish Rizzo would get off his duff and sign Cody Ross for centerfield and Jeff Keppinger for the infield.11:37 AM——————————————Huh?

  38. waddu eye no - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    mark – welcome home. and just in time. we were resorting to haiku and limericks to keep entertained ;-/GYFNG

  39. Tiny - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Nats can do better than a Bernandina-Cameron platoon in center.

  40. Farid @ Idaho - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    SonnyG10 ~Great baseball memories, and I'm glad to see there is at least one person who posts here older than me!I spend a lot of time at RFK in the '60's & that miracle year of '69 still remains one of the special periods in my life. I was lucky enough to live in West Palm Beach FLorida for a few years and experience spring training first hand. When I moved to Idaho, I got a job as the PA announcer for the Idaho Falls Braves in the late '80's and worked for the Pocatello Posse (both rookie league teams)in '93 as the team photographer. I lived in Winchester for a few years and took photos for the Winchester Royals (was that the semi-pro team you mentioned?) and saw some pretty good college kids do their thing in the early-to-mid '80.s There was a young man named Rozier Jordan who hit balls a long, long way.I've lived in a dozen countries, more than 20 states, and Winchester is still one of my favorite places to live.

  41. Nattydread - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Nice to have you back Mark. 34 days to go. Hope you had a relaxing time.Waiting for your Nats arbitration predictions.

  42. SpingfieldNatsFan1 - Jan 16, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Just saying':I hope your right. I'd like to see some more of these long term extensions, particularly JZimm. I like what Rizzo has done so far in running the Nationals…it's such a nice contrast to the Redskins under Vinny and Co. Opening day can't come soon enough!

  43. greg - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    i think cody ross would be fine as a 4th OF. the reality is werth is our CF this season (whenever harper shows up), barring some surprise trade. what we don't have is anyone else likely to be on the 25 man roster other than bernadina who can play CF. i wouldn't mind seeing ross on a 1 yr contract and let him play all over the OF and pick up 300 ABs along the way. probably better than any other options out there. but i'm not pining for him. ;)

  44. Anonymous - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Looks like the Lerner's are cheap … at least that's what too many here will say in spite of the Gio contract. Either they have a real plan architected by Mike Rizzo and his brain trust … OR … they are cheap which is it? Looks to me like Ted Lerner is way smarter than Peter Angelos … just saying …

  45. baseballswami - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    I would be good with Cody Ross, too, and have said so before. He had a tough season, as did ALL of the giants but I don't think that's who he is. Good clubhouse guy, been in the playoffs — he would be a nice addition to the team. I posted yesterday that I think he is still hoping to be a starter – seems like the main thing with guys who end up being your bench.

  46. natscan reduxit - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    .. thx SonnyG10. It would appear I'm about the same age as you – 66 this summer. … but my baseball background is vastly different from yours. I was born and live in the capitol region of the province of New Brunswick, Canada, not exactly what most people would think is a hot bed of baseball … except that it most certainly is. … I never played organised ball; only with the bunch of kids around my home when we'd toss a bat and choose up sides. We played inside the boards of a hockey rink (flooded and used for hockey in the winter of course). … but my background comes from my uncle. He was only ten years old (in 1914) when he fell off a barn roof and severly injured his spine. From that point on, he walked with crutches, but that didn't stop him from being engaged with the activities of his peers. And the main sporting activity of that group was baseball, played on an old cow pasture. Now my uncle hated to see the talent these guys exhibited go to waste, so to speak, so he took charge. First thing he did was buy the field from the old farmer, had it conditioned for serious play, built bleachers and outfield fence, and thereby announced to all and sundry baseball was here to stay and anyone who wanted to play had better be serious about it…. he got hold of the best of the local guys and formed the nucleus of a new team, advertised in the nearby city for other potential players and in a short time, had put together a team which from the mid 1930's until today has never been less than the favourite in the provincial senior leagues. They Marysville Royals became known across Canada for the quality of their play, and through the years a great many were scouted by MLB scouts, about a dozen or so signed minor league contracts and a few made it to the show, the most notable being Matt Stairs. (I'll pause here for the guffaws to die down.)… every summer the Royals would engage the services of a hotshot college kid from New England, give him the status of working in the local mill (where he would never show his face), and pay him per game under the table. These guys would board in our home paying rent to my mother. All summer I'd watch the Saturday afternoon game of the week with them, listening to Pee Wee and Dizzy, watching Mantle and Maris, Colavito and Kuenn, Koufax and Drysdale and a gazillion others. I'd tag along behind our imports as they tossed outfield warmups, hit fungoes and generally hung around the diamond basking in the glory they'd never get back home. I'd learn how to switch hit, how to throw a curve, how to be smart at running bases. But I never was good enough to find an organised league in which to try out my skills. But this was baseball, and as long as I was involved directly, I was happy…. we kids would attend every game, chasing down foul balls for a dime a piece, and gawking every time somebody's windshield got dinged in the parking lot. But we never went home with any money, only stomaches full of potato chips, Coke and candy… when I was old enough to be considered an adult, I made my way to Fenway, but more often to Jarry park and later Olympic Stadium in Montreal. I had by then become just another fan, but the baseball years of my youth were and still are enough to have played a part in the kind of person I've turned into. I don't know of another sport that has that much of a positive influence in a kid's life…. but now I'm rambling. Over to you … next.Go Nats!

  47. Sunderland - Jan 16, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Cody Ross would be fine, but he doesn't really solve anything. He is a platoon player, his career OPS v righties is .720 and he's been a little worse than that if you combine the past two seasons. This is not better than Bernadina's career OPS v righties. So you end up with Bernadina playing most of the time anyway. And Ross will try to find someplace to sign where he might get 400 AB's. He'd have to decide if that's here or not.

  48. Anonymous - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    With Gio extension done, I'm sure Keppinger moves to the front burner for Rizzo.

  49. Unkyd - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Nice, Natscan…thanks

  50. jeeves - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Interesting stuff, Natscan, at least to this fellow Maritimer. Ditto SonnyG. I still remember coming in from the corn field to watch Don Larson pitch his perfect game in the World Series. Love the personal anecdotes and baseball.

  51. baseballswami - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I love all these great life stories!!

  52. SonnyG10 - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Farid@Idaho and natscan reduxit, great stories. Thanks for sharing. Farid, the team I played for in Winchester was the Northern Virginia Rebels…at least I think the nickname was Rebels. This would be in the 1964 through 1968 time period. We played in a tri-county league that included West Virginia as well as No. VA. I think the field where we played became a part of the Shenandoah College campus. natscan reduxit, I have you by a couple of years. I turned 68 this past December 3rd. Loved you story!

  53. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Also loving the Insider baseball memories.

  54. Mark'd - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Cody Ross doesn't make sense for what he may cost. I like Ankiel better.

  55. Sunderland - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    natscan reduxit, real nice.

  56. jeeves - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Okay, it's oneupmanship time if being the oldest can be considered as such. I'm seventy.

  57. Frediemac - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    #4 said… I'm glad they've locked up Gio. I don't agree though with those who are clamoring to do the same with JZ. There is a big difference between the two. Gio has gone to the post 32 and 33 times the past two years and thrown 200+ innings. He's proven that he's durable. JZ has yet to prove he can do that. Before sinking significant money into a pitcher, I'd like to see he can go a whole season at least once.I feel the same way about RZ. I'd like to see him play 155 games and not have throwing problems before giving him "Tulo-type money". Zim's only played 150+ in three out of his six big league years and he's not a SS. I'm not even sure he's a 3B long term until he proves he's fixed his throwing. Even after last year's work, he still looked very uncomfortable to me. ———————————-I totally disagree. Zimm was playng 3rd base as well as anybody by the end of the last season. His throwing was back to normal. I understand that it's something that must be monitored but he will be just fine. Possibly another gold glove this season.

  58. SonnyG10 - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    Kudos Jeeves, you got me re the age.

  59. lesatcsc - Jan 16, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    the Nats avoided arbitration with Flores this afternoon. Rizzo is busy!

  60. #4 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    Frediemac:I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I think he looks like he's throwing pies at the Illinois State Fair. It gets over there, yes. He had fewer errors as the season went along, yes. I feel like though his throwing mechanics are still dreadful, and he will remain prone to wild streaks. I want to see a full year of health and consistent throwing before I support the Nats investing $100+ million. Perhaps we can put NatsJack on the case when Zim reports in late Feb. I'd like to know if he's still cocking his wrist after taking the ball out of his glove in that really ugly way.Sunderland:I might consider extending JZ for 6 years and $30 million. That's pretty cheap @ $5 million AAV. I doubt Zim would sign that. I was assuming people were suggesting a Gio deal, more in the $8-10 million AAV range.

  61. Sec 3, My Sofa - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Jeeves, it looks like you may be entitled to log in as BigPapi.

  62. HAL jr - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    I beat all you fella's, turning 75 soon. Grew up in the years that females were not allowed to play organized sports with any heavy running (1/2 court basketball for instance) so my baseball start was listening to games with my dad and older brothers, occasionally going to Griffith to catch a game. That Dad was a fishing and hunting buddy of The Big Train only made the game more enjoyable. Wish I had the expertise of all here as I enjoy reading all the posts.

  63. Unkyd - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!!!! One degree of separation, from Walter?

  64. Gonat - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    lesatcsc said… the Nats avoided arbitration with Flores this afternoon. Rizzo is busy! 3:59 PM _____________________Gio sets up the perfect offer to Jordan Zimmermann's people. It would be nice to tie up JZ for 5 to 7 years.Morse deserves a 3 year $18 million + Option deal which will give the Nats even more flexibility and value on Morse if they trade him. I'm not suggesting doing that but if they ride the PF Flyer, it opens up options based on Rendon, Zim, BHarper and other things that can play into it.It was about 11 months ago that the Phillies were trying to trade for Morse. His value has skyrocketed!

  65. HALjr - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Unkyd,Parents moved to Bethesda in 1926. Dad was awakened one night by his dog barking. He looked out and saw a fox in the yard, got his handy 12 guage, shot the animal. In the morn, noticed the fox had a collar, found out it was Walter Johnson's pet. He was forgiven, they became buddies. Too bad he left town before I was born but Dad had lots of Walter Johnson hunting and fishing stories.

  66. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    I am one of the puppies of this group at 66 but what great stories!! Thank you all.Put me in the camp of Ankiel over Ross just because he is familiar with things here and would not the adjustments that a new player would have. Don't get me wrong, this does not fix CF but its a stopgap until the right one comes along. I am also still holding out hope that Brown has some sort of huge jump and makes Rizzo look like a genius but that is not based on anything but fandom.Keep those stories coming people. The baseball knowledge here is outstanding and so are the backgrounds.

  67. Bill Stoneman - Jan 16, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Thanks to my Dad I had the opportunity to see Mack Jones, Coco Leboy and Rusty Staub amongst others play at Jarry Park.I remember reading about the "best young out field in baseball" Ellis valentine, Warren Cromartie and Andre Dawson. The Sporting News. Saw them play. Thanks Dad.Borrowed his name but a great pitcher (two no-hitters).

  68. Positively Half St. - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    natscan, SonnyG10, HalJR -Thanks for the stories, insight. I especially grateful for those of you in Canada, and for those in SC, ID, MN, etc. The team needs to build more of a following at home, and that would come with winning. Still, though, I wish there were a way to market successfully to parts beyond our territory. MLB wouldn't allow it, of course- Toronto needs all of Canada to be viable, I guess.I really think the Fielder saga is completed within a week, and I feel good about our team either way. My strong preference is to sign him, though; I am getting really fond of hearing others speak of the Nats with respect.I'll keep reading my New York Giants stories in the meantime to distract me from the off-season grind. If they make it to the Super Bowl, I will have no more than 2 weeks before I really start counting the days. I don't know how it is that the Giants trade draft picks for a QB just once and have it work famously, while the Redskins do it multiple times to no effect. I will just count my blessings.+1/2St.

  69. Just sayin' - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    +1/2St.,Because the Giants picked a Manning.

  70. Sunderland - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    The Giants did not draft Manning.

  71. Bill Stoneman - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:35 PM

    They traded for him, (draft choice) This a baseball blog?

  72. Positively Half St. - Jan 16, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    I apologize for the football distraction.+1/2St.

  73. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    realize its a baseball blog but it was basically Rivers for Manning who was drafted as #1 by the Chargers

  74. Positively Half St. - Jan 16, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    Nyjer Morgan signed with the Brewers for 1 year at $2.35M. I would like to get over my distaste and feel good for him. Getting to that one multi-million contract is enough to make the rest of one's life a bit easier. That is probably not as true for impulsive types like Nyjer, but he at least has the opportunity for real flexibility in his life choices from now on.+1/2St.

  75. Wally - Jan 17, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    sjm308 said…realize its a baseball blog but it was basically Rivers for Manning who was drafted as #1 by the ChargersIt became Manning for Rivers, Merriman and Nate Kaeding, all good players (yes, picks were traded but became those players). Hard to argue with that trade for either team (and I am a huge NYG fan).

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 47 1.5
MIAMI 48 52 8.0
NEW YORK 48 54 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 44 58 12.5
Through Thursday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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

Follow us on Twitter