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Sticking to their plan

Jan 25, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Davey Johnson and Mike Rizzo preside over a Nationals club on the verge of contention.

And so the strangest free-agent sweepstakes baseball has seen in a long time has ended. Prince Fielder is headed to Detroit, and here in Washington the debate rages on. Did the Nationals make the right move or the wrong move in failing to match the Tigers' nine-year, $214 million offer?

If you'd been paying attention all along, you knew the Nationals were never going to come close to offering a package that large to Fielder. Their interest in the 27-year-old slugger was minimal to begin with, and perhaps picked up only when it started to look like no team would meet agent Scott Boras' asking price.

Of course, that didn't prevent the masses from buying into the idea the Nationals were hot-and-heavy over Fielder, so much so that plenty of prominent baseball writers declared Washington the favorites to sign the big first baseman only minutes before news finally broke he had signed with a Tigers club that had never been mentioned seriously as aRead more »

190 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Rabbit - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    The Jason Werth signing had reinforced my belief that many of these players are way over-paid and over-rated. I am not sorry in the least that Fielder didn't become a Nat. We need to solidify right and center field. When Harper gets here and we get a new center fielder, things will really get rolling. In the mean time, we'll have to put up with Werth's strikeouts. All-in-all I like what we have to work with and will probably "be in the hunt" this year. At least it will be interesting.

  2. Joe Seamhead - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Great take on the Fielder – Boras chapter of the Hot Stove League, Mark. At this point in time I tend to agree with you that we're probably one year away from being a serious threat to win the NLEast. Our OF is suspect, and at least right now, our bench looks weak. To me though, there is the one intangible that I wouldn't discount, and that being the managing of Johnson. It's going to be a fun year!

  3. JayB - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    My big problem with your write up Mark is the complete white wash you give the Lerner's and Rizzo for 2006-08. Rizzo was here for the "barren farm system…the has responsibility at some level for the embarrassment they put on the MLB field for year after year.Now they are spending some and now they are have some (still under .500) winning. Rizzo and Lerner do not get a free pass for those failures from me……wonder why they do from you Mark?That said it is finally in the past but it could come rushing back if very quickly because the same owner is here. The current GM was the "brains" that build last years bench……I am not ready to say he has proven anything yet.

  4. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Sourpuss.

  5. gonatsgo - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Aaaaah – the day after. Now everyone can get back to business. 25 days and counting!! Time to get serious. Whatever will everyone find to talk about?

  6. Knoxville Nat - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    JayB, your constant whining about the past is getting so old I wish you would get off this blog and go follow the Wizards. You are deserving of them.

  7. jeeves - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Barring injury (which for the Nats is unlikely), I truly believe the team could be one of the best in the NL, and I mean in 2012. Last year Morse's stats were better than any left fielder not named Braun. Combining Werth's stats over the last four years (including last year's clunker) he would have been ahead of any center other than Kemp. Impossible to make the call on Harper, but it's not out of the question that he could make an immediate impact. Combine the infield corners and the only other team that would challenge them in these areas would be the Mets. Despite his horrendous slump, Espy still ended up with better stats that at least a half of the NL. Ditto Ramos. Desmond, with Davey at the helm, put up very solids stats the second half of the season. Our bullpen was one of the best of the business and still should be. And then there is our young starters who should be among the best in the league.This is a team that in 2012 could be outstanding. Barring injury!

  8. NatsNut - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    It's not as frustrating to me, Mark. The incremental steps forward, as well as a *real* plan, are more and more transparent. I'm getting that giddy feeling I haven't had since opening night 2008. One thing that's missing in signaling to me that we've truly rounded a corner, and I"m not kidding, is Teddy.

  9. alexva - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    JayB, I've come to accept your jaded positions because they often contain valuable insight. In this case you're off base, they were not even awarded the team until May 2006, did you really expect some magical transformation to happen overnight? I'll give you the Lerner's failures with sticking with Bowden too long and Kasten's marketing endeavors were an embarrassment. Look at how many teams languish for years, including the other sports teams in this town and be happy with a five year turnaround from MLB induced oblivion.

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    JayB…. Jim Bowden resigned on March 1, 2009. What EXACTLY would you like the Lerners and Mike Rizzo to do about 2006 through 2008 so we can finally stop hearing your constant whining on this topic?

  11. NatStat - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I think that Borass played the press more than baseball's FOs and owners. This would be consistent with Davey's comments. Davey knows baseball. The press gets paid to speculate, promote, and otherwise obfuscate. Mark, to his credit, may have nibbled, but he didn't bite.That being said, the probabilities would suggest that out of 30 franchises, there would be at least one rich senile owner who would go down the road with Borass and the fat boy.Borass is not so much "brilliant" as he is venal. And he will always find a pizza owner type like Ilitch who has more money than brains.

  12. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Zuck — Some other club signs the monster FA bat and it's some genius Nats non-move, part of the grand Nats plan to REALLY try to win in the ever on the horizon for Nats baseball much fabled next year? You're looking to 2013 in January of 2012?? Not getting a CF now is OK and somehow actually a smart move, because in the future the player we need right now will be more readily available at a cheaper price? Really? dfh21

  13. SpashCity - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Does the non-signing of Prince make it more likely that Harper starts the season in DC?

  14. Wally - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Ok, I'll defer to Mark that they weren't in on Fielder as heavily as reported by national media.But I can't feel as satisfied with the effort this offseason: this is an incomplete team as is, the bench in general and the OF in particular. I really hope that Rizzo has another couple moves coming.

  15. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Oh we are suppose to wait ANOTHER year. Oh no problem it's Only been 7 season and this will make 8. What a joke Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait

  16. natsfan1a - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Preach it, Nats-sister. :-)NatsNut said…… One thing that's missing in signaling to me that we've truly rounded a corner, and I"m not kidding, is Teddy. January 25, 2012 7:08 AM

  17. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Mark gives them too much credit. The BUDGET is what drives the club, nothing else. History bears that out. They will be ready to "go for it" when they think that they have the means to do so.

  18. phil - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    I'm so glad they didn't sell the farm for a Field-er. Stay with the plan.

  19. Friend of all the World - Jan 25, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Harper could hit a homer ever single at bat of spring training and he still Won't be on the opening day roster.

  20. 320R2S15 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    JayB, I agree with you 100%. The proof is in this question; Where is Stan?

  21. Anonymous8 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Wally said… Ok, I'll defer to Mark that they weren't in on Fielder as heavily as reported by national media.But I can't feel as satisfied with the effort this offseason: this is an incomplete team as is, the bench in general and the OF in particular. I really hope that Rizzo has another couple moves coming. January 25, 2012 7:49 AM The national media had it right. If Boras was ready to do a 5 year, the Nats were the place and Boras would have to make some concessions with the Nats if he were to push it past 5 years. The Nats were his fallback to have other teams know they had to do more.Funny thing is yesterday morning Buster Olney was saying the Tigers were willing to do 1 year.My question is what does Boras have on Illitch? Its another deal that makes little sense.

  22. ehay2k - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    My view, and I realize I may be in the minority here, but I do not think the Nats are/were really ready to compete for a WS this year, even WITH Fielder. The starting rotation just isn't going to be able to take us deep into the playoffs. Strasburg and potentially Wang will be shut down by then. So, when I hear people say the Nats should "go for it" in 2012, I am compelled to ask, "go for WHAT?"Do we really need yet another DC team that gets routed out of the postseason early? Do we want to build a WS winner, only to have to blow up the team, Marlins-style?Not me. I want a long term contender. Everything the Nats have been doing seems to be aligned with that in mind.Like I said, I may be in the minority, but I know what I want and so far, I like what I see.

  23. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    320R2S15: huh?

  24. Nats1924 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    Not signing Fielder is a blessing in disguiseThe contract he was given would have killed the Nats cuz of the no DH in NL between years 5-9. Because of the realignment – Any chance they allow all of MLB to use the DH in the coming years? (we can pretty much guarantee the mlbpa will never do away with it entirely)

  25. Los Doce Ocho - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I can't believe I'm more of a Debbie Downer than JayB on this topic, but here goes….I think the Nats made a mistake not signing Prince.Whats the real issue? Overpaying for Prince? Sure, Fielder may not be effective in 2019 while he rakes in $24 mil, but does that potential risk outweigh the increased likelihood of WAS finally having a winning record, making the playoffs or winning a WS?Maybe losing longterm payroll flexibility is the real concern. DET now has 3 $20+ million players. Why not the Nats? PHI has 3 $20+ million players. Why not the Nats. Forbes magazine says the Nats are rolling in profit. NatsInsider says a revised TV deal will bring in minimum $30 mil/yr more. So I guess I don't see where the team loses payroll flexibility until 2020 by signing Fielder. WAS could re-sign Zim, have paid Fielder and continue to arbitrate/extend younger players while still not sniffing the luxury tax threshold. Why is having a $125+ mil payroll wrong when revenue supports it? Because thats less money to pay down debt service?Why can PHI have a payroll twice the amount of WAS?Why do the Milwaukee frickin Brewers spend more on team salary than WAS?I don't know if I am more saddened at the mismanagement of losing out on a possible HOF 1st basemen and being stuck with Werth, or if I just feel ownership/management has tried to convince me spending money like the big boys isnt possible.

  26. ehay2k - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Rizzo IS Stan! Ever see them in the same room together? I think not. All the proof you need! OK, enough with the inanity. I believe Rizzo, after taking the helm, upgraded the scouting, is that an accurate statement? If it is, then you can't hold Rizzo responsible for scouting decisions made by staff he did not feel was adequate. This is especially true since he didn't have control over that staff until after Stan left. Captcha – facti. :-) I am tired of the Rizzo bashing. His batting average is pretty good. Even Ruth struck out, once in a while. :-)

  27. Mark'd - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Mark wrote….Say what you want about the guy, but he's brilliant at what he does for a living.I think Ryan Madson wouldn't agree with you. Boras had a horrible off-season until yesterday.

  28. RickH - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    Looks like one sportswriter was right all along about the Fielder sweepstakes. Guy named Zuckerman.

  29. Big Cat - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    In about 4 years, maybe sooner, the Tigers are gonna be saying "What the hell did we do?" They are gonna have a big tub at first base hitting .180 with little pop. I would of liked to of had him here….for 4-5 years. 9 years is absurd. Remember Dimitri.

  30. Gonat - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    RickH said… Looks like one sportswriter was right all along about the Fielder sweepstakes. Guy named Zuckerman. January 25, 2012 8:30 AM _____________________________2 guys were right. Ladson said 99% chance it wouldn't happen. Do you remember when Boras laughed right before New Years that he wasn't going to do a 3 year deal, it proved to be right.The Nats were his "default" button. If all else failed, Mr. Lerner would have been his 5 year deal.Now we will have to see if Fielder becomes Mo Vaughn or Hank Aaron.

  31. Tim - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    I think the most interesting thing you said, Mark, was the quote from Davey that we may not have had an offer on the table. Lots of anguish here for not having an offer on the table.What are the remaining moves we need to make? Sign Todd Coffey? Sign Rick Ankiel or Marlon Byrd?Like I said yesterday, watch LaRoche have a monster year, and right out of the chute: .285/.375/.525 with 38 HR and 120 RBI. LaRoche for MVP!BTW, the over-under for "There's no way Prince would've gotten to that ball." is one game.

  32. Joe Seamhead - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    I'm not in the least bit surprised that we didn't make a serious run for Prince for the simple reasons that he doesn't fit the model of what Mike Rizzo wants playing behind his pitchers on the field and the long term effects his signing would have had on "the Plan." I honestly don't believe that there was any serious intent to sign Prince at all by the Nats. HE DOES NOT FIT the MOLD! They are still committed to Desmond, at least for another year. You're JZimm on the mound. Who would you rather have scooping and/or leaping for Ian's errant throws?I've been a huge supporter of Mike Rizzo, though I was very dismayed by what we gave up for Gio Gonzalez, but I do remember Davey's statement last year after Peacock's last appearance regarding that the league could see what we had in him, which some on this board rightly took as we were making a statement that he was available for the right deal. I have to believe that Johnson had a major say in that deal. Still, the Rizzo Kool-Ade that I've been passing around left a sour taste in my mouth, at least at first.

  33. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    Looks like one sportswriter was right all along about the Fielder sweepstakes. Guy named Zuckerman.Zuckerman maintained all along that the Nationals weren't really in on Fielder. He was flat out wrong. Listen to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports: "The Nationals and a mystery team were strongly in on Fielder, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com." (MLBTR)

  34. Nats1924 - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Attn Los Doce Ocho said…This was not so much about the money It's about where do you put him when he can't play in the field. He is now considered, at best an average 1B – Where do you put him in 5 years?

  35. natscan reduxit - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    … he was not the most likeable Expo; he was, to put it mildly, so cheerful and upbeat you just knew there had to be a dark side somewhere. But boy, he could play ball, and he did that for the Expos for the bulk of his career…. now Gary Carter is suffering through the long dark night of body and soul, something which happens to way too may people day in and day out. It is a life sentence no one should ever have to endure. But life ain't fair, and sometimes there's not a lot of life left to wait for natural justice to come along…. "The Kid" is going through the worst the fates can throw at him, and it looks like his baseball skills simply won't be enough this time. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/24/sports/baseball/chronicling-a-catchers-final-ups-and-downs.htmlThanx Kid! Go Nats!!

  36. Roberto - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    For me, the biggest negative to not signing Fielder has nothing to do with the game itself — it's that it feeds the whole "the Lerners are cheap/Rizzo is an idiot" meme.To be fair, some of this meme's staying power is the Nationals' fault: 8 years of bad, often terrible, baseball burns through a lot of good will and willingness to extend the benefit of the doubt. "Like I said yesterday, watch LaRoche have a monster year, and right out of the chute: .285/.375/.525 with 38 HR and 120 RBI. LaRoche for MVP!"I'm assuming that this is tongue-in-cheek but it is not entirely outside the realm of possibility that a healthy LaRoche could put up numbers that could rival Fielder's. Comerica is a much less hitter-friendly park than Miller. Fielder's home-away slugging differential was 100 points.By "rival," I mean that if LaRoche were to put up numbers close to our host's projections, .275/.350/.475 with, say, 20-25 HRs, the difference between him and Fielder wouldn't be $16 million worth. $16 million represents a 3-4 win difference in WAR. Lord, this reads like spin.

  37. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Did Mark actually opine that Rizzo may have been pretending to have interest in Fielder to drive the price up for a rival club? That kind of nonsense makes me wonder if Mark guzzling Scotch with his oat meal before he posts.

  38. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Mr. MacFeely said:Zuckerman maintained all along that the Nationals weren't really in on Fielder. He was flat out wrong. Listen to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports: "The Nationals and a mystery team were strongly in on Fielder, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com." (MLBTR)—————————And why are we to take JH's take as flat out more accurate than Mark's?

  39. HHover - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Feel WoodSure, and Heyman obviously isn't alone in claiming that. But, really, how do we know? What are their sources? Are they hearing that from Boras? From the front offices of other teams? Or is it at some point just the conventional wisdom of people who write about these things?

  40. sjm308 - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    To all of our statistical experts in NI land.We have improved by 10 games each of the last two years. What is the statistical chances of doing that again? I think we over achieved a little last year and while I expect us to improve, I just don't think we can jump another 10 games. I realize the game is played with real actual people and not with numbers but I wanted some idea of mathmatical probablity to go with my hopes of challenging for the wild card.In advance, thanks.On a sad note, my brother-in-law suffered from brain cancer and I think about Gary Carter and his family often. Its a very difficult road and my thoughts are with him.

  41. BIGNAT33 - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    I like the traditional, no DH National league rules. But it does give AL teams a decided advantage in bidding on guys like Prince and Pujols. A National League team can't compete with 9 or 10 year offers to a guy that will be a DH for the latter part of that deal. Definitely an inequity in the MLB as it is now. I would have loved to see Prince as a Nat, but anything more than five or six years would have made no sense.

  42. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    And why are we to take JH's take as flat out more accurate than Mark's?Perhaps because Heyman was one of the first to report Fielder's ultimate signing with Detroit? Heyman was clearly reporting the Fielder saga all along. He had his finger on the pulse of it. Zuckerman was sitting back all along saying "Oh, the Nats will never make a serious run at Fielder." Zuckerman was opining from his basement lair, Heyman was working sources and doing actual reporting.

  43. DL in VA - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Add to that, BIGNAT33, but without the DH, NO TEAM signs Fielder or Pujols for 9 years. Simple as that.

  44. Dawn - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Okay, perhaps the Nationals never made an offer, but they were very interested. Sorry Mark, but the Tigers who I follow as closely as the Nats I believe had no interest in paying Fielder ANYTHING until Victor Martinez blew out his knee less than two weeks ago. Dave D. listens to everyone, but they have an MVP candidate at 1st Base (who doesn't like to DH).In this situation, Mike Illitch stepped up and brought it to Dombrowski "What about that 1st Baseman Fielder?" same as he did in 2004 "What about that catcher Pudge?". He is in his 80's he wants a World Series and be there to see it. You have to play the games of course, but signing Fielder will help.The Nationals are trying to save face now, and that is just fine. LaRoche and Morse are good players and can fill that spot nicely.

  45. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    BIGNAT33…. I understand where you are coming from, but who in their righ mind wants to pay a 39 year old (Albert Pujols) 24 Million a year to DH?Even the Yankees are now contemplating using their high priced aging vets in the DH role and it's going to hurt them in the long run.

  46. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Did Mark actually opine that Rizzo may have been pretending to have interest in Fielder to drive the price up for a rival club? That kind of nonsense makes me wonder if Mark guzzling Scotch with his oat meal before he posts.January 25, 2012 9:08 AM———————————What am I missing? Would that be inherently unethical? If Rizzo could have a hand in placing PF in the other league, where he's less of a hazard to us, and further his "relationship" with Borus, where's the nonsense in that?

  47. HHover - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Perhaps because Heyman was one of the first to report Fielder's ultimate signing with Detroit? Heyman was clearly reporting the Fielder saga all along. He had his finger on the pulse of it.Or alternately, maybe Heyman's "reporting" just consisted of his being a mouthpiece for Boras, spreading misinformation about the depth of the Nats' interest in PF as a way to drive up his price. Heyman obligingly printed it–maybe knowing it was BS, maybe not knowing, maybe not really caring one way or the other. But the BS worked, and Heyman's payback was an early tip about the signing with Detroit.

  48. NatsNut - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    My theory is that the Nats made one offer. Say, 5 years, $125M, then, like us, sat back and watched it all play out, thinking there's a chance Boras would bite, but otherwise let's just watch and see who the sucker is this time.The whole Boras routine, if it resembles at all what Mark suggests, cracks me up.

  49. natsfan1a - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    I have no idea what Heyman's methods are, or what facility he works in. Nor do I know whether Mark pens his posts from a Comcast office/cubicle or his home. I also have no idea what either of them eats for breakfast. Don't much care, either. I do know that this site is my go-to source for Nats news. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't read it. Your collective commenter mileage may vary. Oh, and I also don't care what y'all eat for breakfast, or if you're posting from your basements or offices. (Well, unless I'm paying your salary, in which case – get back to work, you slackers! Oh, wait. I do pay my own salary. Dang, it's hard to get good employees these days…)

  50. Bill Stoneman - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Mgt has a plan and I believe they're on the right path. Braves are a good example. An interesting read:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/cliff_corcoran/01/24/prince.fielder/index.html?eref=sihp&sct=hp_t11_a2

  51. Diz - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    A couple of random items. First, regarding Bryce, all you have to do is look at the Lincecum buy out to know why BH can't be on the roster come April. You wait two months and you get him for $10M cheaper and for another full year when he's 25. Should be a no brainer.Second, besides a CF, which we all know we need, if we are going to make a run at the "magical" 2013 as it's suggested, we will also need:If we don't get that CF, we'll need a LF/1B, depending where Morse is playing next year.SP, since Wang will probably be gone if he pitches well this season. Then you have Lannan and Det for your #4/#5 and nothing else close to being Major League ready.

  52. Positively Half St. - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    JayB may be more pessimistic than I am, but I do think that it is important for the fan base to express its displeasure with 6 losing seasons in a row. I completely agree that Rizzo has improved the team, and that this year promises to be the most exciting one since the first. However, we are fans, and are not required to be patient and accept failure. The Lerners chose this approach, but they didn't have to – we can hope that the slow build-up works, but aren't required to take it on faith.If the Nats make the playoffs a few times in the next 5 years, and maybe even win a title, I will happily declare that they did it the right way. If they do not, I may be upset, but wouldn't say "I told you so." What do I know? I just want the results – I have to be rational in all the other parts of my life, but in this case I do not.I am a fan.+1/2St.

  53. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    They are on the right track, but for being about $30M light in payroll to get the impact players at the postions of need year in and year out. If they want to compete now, they can have it, but the money shows that they don't want it. The Nats are choosing to be a mediocre club.

  54. Tim - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I know this isn't "Tigers Insider" but I bet Miguel Cabrera is having a Hanley Complex, knowing that he'll have to move to 3B, LF, and DH to make room for Prince. The defense in Detroit will be woeful.

  55. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    Feel Wood said… And why are we to take JH's take as flat out more accurate than Mark's?Perhaps because Heyman was one of the first to report Fielder's ultimate signing with Detroit? Heyman was clearly reporting the Fielder saga all along. He had his finger on the pulse of it. Zuckerman was sitting back all along saying "Oh, the Nats will never make a serious run at Fielder." Zuckerman was opining from his basement lair, Heyman was working sources and doing actual reporting. January 25, 2012 9:28 AM I don't think at first anyone thought the Nats would be bidding on Fielder. When the takers were few out there, why not tell Boras you will take 3 to 5 years and see if you catch the prize while everyone is watching.We all knew Prince was in DC "sightseeing" and we all knew Boras met with Mr. Lerner at the owners meeting. The Nats were in it with the safety net for Boras if he fell and couldn't get a better deal. The Nats helped Boras once again.I don't know how Boras pulled it off. Its insanity. How do you convince a business to sign a 9 year lease and throw away money on a machine that you know will be obsolete in 6 to 7 years? Answer: Mr. Smoke meet Mr. Mirrors

  56. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    None of this happens if Victor Martinez doesn't have a knee injury during a workout.I am beginning to wonder if this guy in the surveilance photo was the one who kicked VMart in the back of the knee?http://cache4.asset-cache.net/xc/124088764.jpg?v=1&c=IWSAsset&k=2&d=77BFBA49EF8789219B309651A2344B3F425999654150E260BCCA216EB64C07B9324E92376683C8D2

  57. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    So happy my faith in Rizzo and the Lerner's grand plan panned out. Fielder never made sense to me in the plan that they've been building and executing the last couple of years.

  58. Tedv15Nats05 - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    Great analysis Mark, thanks for the insight.

  59. Sunderland - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    BigNat, you're exactly right, and it's one of the serious consequences of having DH in one league and not the other. And it is why the MLBPA will NEVER agree to give up the DH. Having the DH makes long term deals less risky, thereby increasing the value of players, thereby increasing the salaries of the players.At some point, a couple NL owners will get tired of always losing their guys to AL clubs and eventually, the NL will go the way of the DH as well.As for the Nats, I agree they were never really in, they were content to stick with LaRoche as Plan A and Morse as Plan B. And I'm OK with that.

  60. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Any confirmation on Adam Kilgore's post that Debbi Taylor won't be back and won't be replaced.Is this a cost cutting measure by mAsNGELO$?

  61. Tedv15 2 - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    It was the right decision on Fielder, 5 yrs 125 mil would have worked but, not 9 yrs 200+mil. I place my trust in Rizzo and we will get there."Good things come to those who wait".

  62. UNTERP - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    As far as I know (and this is not much about anything and particularly baseball) the key to the Nationals future success barring unreasonable luck, is Harper and/or Rendon. I think Harper more than anyone has to come through for the Nationals to become a championship caliber team. But I'm going to say this from a personal perspective. I recognize opportunity when I see it and I've seen opportunity pass by because the moment wasn't ceased. Getting Fielder was the opportunity to make everyone in the lineup much much better, and offense is where the Nationals lacked. Be that as it may, from the for what it's worth department, I am glad Fielder didn't come here, even for 3 years, or six, or 9. He didn't want to come here, so it wasn't meant to be anyway. That said, if LaRoche can come near his average and I'm not really expecting he will, I'm hoping he will, the Nationals will have a successful season. And the luck of mention above is this, good health: 89 – 73…

  63. jcj5y - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    I saw a comment yesterday on Twitter suggesting that Scott Boras should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And you know, I think I agree with that. I cannot fathom how he managed to pull off a 9-year, $214 million deal when it was quite clear as late as yesterday morning that no one was going to approach that. I was starting to believe that the "deal of a lifetime" might actually fall into the Nats' laps. I will never doubt Boras again.

  64. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    The Nats threw a ton of money at an older than anyone is comfortable with OF who never knocked in 100 runs last year and then this year they finally made a trade after swinging and missing at everything they really wanted since 2009. Tex? no. Chapman? no. Grienke? no. Beuhrle? no. More young, under control SP than in recent memory was traded this off season and it's not over yet, so the Nats jumped in. There is no big-brained master plan in the works. They are fishing.

  65. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    If the Nats weren't in the Prince sweepstakes, you wouldn't be getting quotes like this from Adam LaRoche because Rizzo would have told him you will hear rumors and don't pay attention as the the Nats have no intention of getting Prince.(good job Kilgore) The Nats were obviously pursuing Prince with cautious optomism.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/adam-laroche-not-fazed-by-prince-fielder-rumors-happy-to-stay-with-nationals/2012/01/24/gIQAsG25OQ_blog.html?wprss=nationals-journal

  66. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Pay to Play…. I'm with you. I've been waiting for a confirmation on the Debbie Taylor tweet from Kilgore yesterday, too.

  67. Theophilus - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Foolish Dan Snyder wannabes who mourn refusing to spend in excess of revenue on a guy who's likely to turn into Steve Bilko in 4-5 years (if not sooner).Separate (?) group of dummies who think Nats should trade for a CF who was already run out of town once for being a knucklehead. Maybe they want to re-acquire Morgan and Flop and get the band back together.If that's the kind of day its gonna be I'll check out now and look in tomorrow and see if the sane people were just taking a day off.

  68. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    jcj5y said… I saw a comment yesterday on Twitter suggesting that Scott Boras should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And you know, I think I agree with that. I cannot fathom how he managed to pull off a 9-year, $214 million deal when it was quite clear as late as yesterday morning that no one was going to approach that. I was starting to believe that the "deal of a lifetime" might actually fall into the Nats' laps. I will never doubt Boras again. January 25, 2012 10:13 AM Ryan Madson saw his 4 year deal disappear with Philly and he defaulted to a 1 year $8.5 million deal with the Reds and Carlos Pena 2nd year in a row took a 1 year deal.Rick Ankiel, Pudge and Edwin Jackson are all unsigned.Yes, he pulled off a major score for Prince Fielder just like he did last year for Jayson Werth.He has this knack recently for getting owners that are over 80 years old to do crazy deals. I wouldn't be surprised if he got himself written into Ted Lerner's and Illitch's codicile to their will.

  69. jd - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    From a realistic stand point last year's team wasn't really a .500 team. In the end push they won games in September which they wouldn't wouldn't normally win. Do you really think that the sweep in Philly was reflective of the relative team's ability? To me this was a 75 win team. The starting rotation should be light years ahead of last year and one can hope for a healthier year from the team's stars. As the team is constituted now I think this is an 85-88 win team which is still a year away from serious contention. I see people's analysis where they have every player with somewhat better numbers than last year. That's nice except it doesn't usually happen. Some players may progress(Desmond, Espinosa?) but some may regress (Morse, Ramos?) I think that Fielder may have added 3 – 4 wins in 2012 and that may have put us on the cusp of contention but you can't give someone 9 years at $23 mil per on that basis alone.

  70. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    I saw a comment yesterday on Twitter suggesting that Scott Boras should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. And you know, I think I agree with that.Boras should not go into the HoF. Marvin Miller should. Boras did not change the game, he just figured out how best to exploit the changes in the game that Miller brought about. It's like comparing the Wright brothers to the designer of the Concorde. Everyone knows who the Wright brothers are, more than 100 years after the fact. Who even remembers who designed the Concorde?

  71. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    "Never made an offer" does not necessarily mean the Nats never floated an amount and years to Boras.

  72. Diz - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    PtoP and NatsJack, I am glad if Debbi is gonzo, she really grated on me with all of her asinine questions. It was like listening to the last years of Madden on MNF, stating the obvious, without the genius."Ryan, after you hit that game winning home run in the 11th, what did you think the key play of the game was?"Although, I don't see how MASN can do a broadcast without a "sideline" reporter.

  73. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I've seen opportunity pass by because the moment wasn't ceased.If you don't seize a dictionary first you really ought to cease posting here.

  74. Bowdenball - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Good post, Steve M. It's remarkable how many people have completely forgotten how Boras completely misfired on Madson in the wake of the Prince deal. He certainly maximized Prince's contract, but any idiot can get a huge deal for 27 year old perennial MVP candidate. There are far more variables in play for a talented reliever, and he couldn't possibly have done a worse job with Madson. Madson probably would have been far better off if he didn't have an agent at all.

  75. BinM - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Some random thoughts… Glad the PF Flyer sweepstakes is complete, with Detroit being the team to cave to most of Boras' checklist items. As to the Nationals interest, I think Rizzo was interested, but only at his price (no more than 6 years, $150M). As to who was right or wrong in their coverage of this circus, I think Mark was the only beat writer who held his ground from day 1. He had an opinion & stuck with it; good for him. In looking at the offensive posibilities for the 2012 version of the Nationals, the healthy return of both RZim & LaRoche will help, Werth should give some rebound in either RF or CF, Morse>Nix/Gomes in LF, and Ramos/Flores>Ramos/Pudge behind the plate; Harper is the wild-card. The bench still looks a little soft, but Rizzo still has a couple of months to sort that out.

  76. jd - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    SteveM, Your examples are valid and Boras does play high stakes poker with his clients and sometimes his bluff is called but if my son was an MLB player I'd want Boras to be his agent hands down.

  77. 320R2S15 - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Listen unkyd. If you know why Stan left then you know what the problem is. The owners have the money (i know that cuz a small part of it used to be mine)but won't risk it. This is pure business to them which is why MLB handed us a turd when they awarded the team to them. I'm just not as interested as I used to be. Think that's a problem unkyd?

  78. UNTERP - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Theophilus said…Like I've said above, I'm glad Fielder didn't come here. But had he come here I'd be ecstatic. In "4-5 years" forget years 5,6,7,8, and 9, in four years they could have won two WS. That's how it works. Either you're smart enough or insightful enough to go for it or you don't, and the Nationals chose not to go for it (or maybe no matter what weren't going to get him). There is no perfect time table for anything. This waiting for Harper and Strasburg, this waiting period is being penny wise perhaps and a pound foolish in regards to time. And to be a bit more cliche, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. You knew what you had in Fielder for at least a few years. Harper and Rendon may never be anything more than average…

  79. UNTERP - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Feel Wood said… I've seen opportunity pass by because the moment wasn't ceased. If you don't seize a dictionary first you really ought to cease posting here.thanks for correcting me. I'll do better…

  80. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Pay to Play…. I'm with you. I've been waiting for a confirmation on the Debbie Taylor tweet from Kilgore yesterday, too. January 25, 2012 10:20 AM That saves MASN a ton of money when you think that Debbi's travel and hotel bill probably exceeded her salary.I see a return to not having a sideline reporter on MASN and getting the guys out of the booth after the game and into in the clubhouse asking real baseball questions with none of this scripted "How do you feel" and "What was working for you" stuff.Debbi did what she was told to do. It is the problem with MASN that it looked so bad. Lack of professional production quality. I'll tell you how pathetic MASN is. I saw a name I knew on MASN named Chris Kremonis many times on the screen when they would do a question from a fan. I saw Chris one day and asked him about being on MASN all the time with these questions and he said none of those were his questions as he knew someone in the truck who would make up questions and put people's names to it. Just pathetic. Maybe they used some real ones, who knows but it just shows the true quality of their work so the guys in the booth can answer them beforehand and look intelligent just like the trivia question that the get the answer right 158 times a year.

  81. UNTERP - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Feel Wood said…I thought there was something wrong with that word. :|

  82. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    If the Nats listened to JayB and his like, they would have won a few more games each year, there would be no Strasburg, Harper, Rendon, etc. and they'd still be struggling to win 80 games.The Nats chose a rebuilding plan that meant sucking; getting the best draft picks possible and accepting the fact that attendance would suffer. There's always the chance that they will make poor decisions, but the strategy is sound and barring Yankee-esque revenue streams, is more likely to produce a long term winning team than other rebuilding strategies.

  83. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Glad the PF Flyer sweepstakes is complete, with Detroit being the team to cave to most of Boras' checklist items. As to the Nationals interest, I think Rizzo was interested, but only at his price (no more than 6 years, $150M).Rizzo wasn't involved in these negotiations, Ted Lerner was. So it didn't matter what Rizzo's price might have been. In the end it may be that no team made an offer until the very end. Look at Nolan Ryan's comments from a week or so ago. Boras wasn't "accepting offers", he was trying to drive a sale at the price he wanted. Ted Lerner could have told him to get lost at any one of their meetings, but clearly he never did.

  84. jcj5y - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    OK, I concede that Boras didn't work his magic for Madson. Although he does seem to have read the market correctly by trying to get the Phillies to sign Madson to a huge deal very early in the off-season. I'll also agree that Marvin Miller should be in the Hall, though I suspect that like Ron Santo, his election will be posthumous. But when the time comes, Boras should get in too. Miller can be Babe Ruth, but Boras is still Willie Mays.

  85. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    From that photo angle, Mr. Rizzo's head is almost square.

  86. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    jd said… SteveM,Your examples are valid and Boras does play high stakes poker with his clients and sometimes his bluff is called but if my son was an MLB player I'd want Boras to be his agent hands down. January 25, 2012 10:32 AM Me too. He is brilliant in the Draft and for the first time stumbled on the Madson deal. He had the one hiccup with ARod and other than that, the guy gets his guys unbelievable deals.He now has aging players who he is having a hard time finding homes for.Ankiel will find a spot somewhere as he still has baseball in him and now Boras can get to work on Edwin Jackson, lets see if he finds him a 5 to 7 year deal!

  87. John C. - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    One thing that the internet has taught me over the years is that, at any particular moment, the 30 dumbest people on the planet are the managers of the 30 major league teams. Almost everyone on the internet is convinced that (a) if they can't see a reason that something was or wasn't done, then it was idiotic; and (b) if they don't understand something they are entitled to an explanation that satisfies them. It used to be that only people in the stands were smarter than the manager, then it expanded to those watching on TV, and now with the internet for all practical purposes it has become universal. The ML managers are the 30 dumbest people on the planet.Now we can add general managers to the list. For me, it's impossible not to notice that since Mike Rizzo took over the team has shown constant, consistent improvement. I'm not in the "Rizzo is a moron" camp or the "in Rizzo we trust" camp. He has made great moves (Ramos!) and terrible moves (Gomes!). The overall improvement is undeniable, but we're not there yet. Twenty-five days until pitchers and catchers report, and the next chapter begins. I'm looking forward to it!

  88. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Anonymous said… "They are on the right track, but for being about $30M light in payroll to get the impact players at the postions of need year in and year out. If they want to compete now, they can have it, but the money shows that they don't want it. The Nats are choosing to be a mediocre club."The payroll argument, sans the context of having a very young team, with players under team control, continues to be about the dumbest argument I've ever seen complaining about the Nats.What would the payroll be if you took the current roster and added 3 years service time to every player?

  89. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    So first Ben Goessling leaves MASN and is not replaced. Now Debbi Taylor leaves MASN and is not replaced. No similar cutbacks on the Orioles side, though. Amber Theoharis still going strong with her blog. Can there be any doubt that MASN continues to favor the Orioles? Boy are they gonna be pissed if the arbitrator awards the Nats big bucks in the contract reset. No doubt they will try to argue that the Nats don't get good ratings, but the obvious counter to that is that the MASN product isn't worth watching. And that's all on MASN.

  90. jd - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    N.Cognito, Excatly right !!

  91. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Wait, is someone actually championing sucking as a strategy?? Uhhmm, no. Sucking sucks. Tampa finally got wildly lucky after sucking forever. No other club has sucked its way out of sucking and hoping to get lucky is not a good strategy in Vegas much less in MLB, especially when your club has the means to radically improve its chances of winning by spending to the level of its market.dfh21

  92. Mick - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    As long as they now reward Ryan Z, all is good

  93. joemktg - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Feel Wood:Debbi is a sweet person: very friendly, engaging. However, is her exit really a negative?

  94. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    N Cognito — so the payroll has nothing to do with the quality of the club? The only real benefit of having a very young team under control is the value of having payroll flexibility, no? Why is it smart to not add the FA players they need when they can afford them right now?

  95. Rat Man - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Fielder will be a DH in 3 years and his output will be in serious decline in 4. If Fielder is even in baseball 9 years from now, he'll be a platoon player or a slovenly pinch hitter like Rusty Staub was at the end of Staub's career. Unfortunately for Fielder, the cuisine of Detroit is not up to New York's standards. However, if McDonald's, KFC and Church's meet his needs, he'll do well if he can prevent being carjeacked.

  96. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Teh payroll argument – that the Nats will not spend to even the middle of the pack — is about the best argument out there for why the Lerners don't get it.

  97. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Someone needs to check Tampa Bay Rays developement into a winning franchise and use the arrival of Andrew Friedman as the start. Their rise has been due to intelligent management with a solid plan. Seem familiar?

  98. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Feel Wood:Debbi is a sweet person: very friendly, engaging. However, is her exit really a negative?Not really. But the "not being replaced" part is.

  99. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Feel Wood said… So first Ben Goessling leaves MASN and is not replaced. Now Debbi Taylor leaves MASN and is not replaced. No similar cutbacks on the Orioles side, though. Amber Theoharis still going strong with her blog. Can there be any doubt that MASN continues to favor the Orioles? Boy are they gonna be pissed if the arbitrator awards the Nats big bucks in the contract reset. No doubt they will try to argue that the Nats don't get good ratings, but the obvious counter to that is that the MASN product isn't worth watching. And that's all on MASN. January 25, 2012 10:54 AM All valid points. You have Kerzel doing O's and Nats and Amber Theoharis's family is personal friends of Angelos so doubt she is going anywhere. She's actually decent in comparison to what we endured with Debbi.I actually like what FP turned into last year and Bob Carpenter with his botched "See you later" is what he is.What isn't humorous is the O's tilt on the network and seeing Baltimore based ads during Nats games and that horrific dual booth they do during the O's/Nats inter-league matchups.

  100. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    320R2S15 said…Listen unkyd. If you know why Stan left then you know what the problem is. The owners have the money (i know that cuz a small part of it used to be mine)but won't risk it. This is pure business to them which is why MLB handed us a turd when they awarded the team to them. I'm just not as interested as I used to be. Think that's a problem unkyd?January 25, 2012 10:34 AM————————–Fair enough, of course I read those reports, a couple of years ago. Here are a couple of grains of salt: While it's both reasonable and believable to go with that explanation, since Stan didn't (and couldn't, without burning bridges) say in so many words that this was the case, we must allow that there may have been other factors involved in his departure. Also, although Stan has a very impressive record, he is not universally worshipped, judging from comments on this blog, over the couple if years that I've been following it, so I could forgive the Learners for not hanging on his every word.So, as usual, we are left to believe the opinions we prefer to believe; I prefer to believe that the Learners are VERY smart businessmen, who realized that MLB had handed them a franchise which had been, not merely neglected, but pillaged, and that vying to be a competitive club, in anything resembling the short-term, would be a fool's errand. With nothing of value on the farm, and no self-respecting FA of value being willing to play here for less than twice their worth, I believe the Nats are right in line with a very prudent and rational schedule. I honestly don't believe it could be done much faster than they have, with out mortgaging the future on a bunch of FA contracts, half of which (conservatively) would have become albatrosses around our necks, setting the club back many years (see DannyBoy).So, no… No problem. I've never been more interested…

  101. natsfan1a - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    I wish Taylor well wherever she lands. Seemed like a very nice lady, whatever one thought of her role. I don't watch O's broadcasts so no opinion on her counterpart there.On the MASN production values front, I recall one early Nats broadcast, from RFK if memory serves, where the "man behind the curtain" was revealed when he was surprised by the camera and had dropped the backdrop he was holding up behind the broadcasters. If memory serves, he was wearing a very nice Hawaiian shirt, so there's that. But…dang… My husband and I about laughed ourselves off the couch. :-)

  102. SonnyG10 - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    ehay2k said… My view, and I realize I may be in the minority here, but I do not think the Nats are/were really ready to compete for a WS this year, even WITH Fielder. The starting rotation just isn't going to be able to take us deep into the playoffs. Strasburg and potentially Wang will be shut down by then. So, when I hear people say the Nats should "go for it" in 2012, I am compelled to ask, "go for WHAT?"Do we really need yet another DC team that gets routed out of the postseason early? Do we want to build a WS winner, only to have to blow up the team, Marlins-style?Not me. I want a long term contender. Everything the Nats have been doing seems to be aligned with that in mind.Like I said, I may be in the minority, but I know what I want and so far, I like what I see. January 25, 2012 8:10 AM ————————————-I'm with you on this 100%!!!

  103. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Angelos runs MASN like he does his baseball team. Everything is on the cheap. Do you realize that every cable network, Dish, DirecTV, Verizon FIOS, etc pays a usage fee to MASN? Plus they get their advertising money based on their ratings. That's a ton of revenue generated by MASN. Could you imagine if they actually created some decent programming?The more people watching, the more money they will make on ad revenue. That Phil Wood/Mike Wallace show is so bad that sometimes when they have taken call-ins they have nobody calling in. I'm thinking their viewing audience can be counted on 10 fingers sometimes.

  104. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Regardless the sport, I can do without sideline reporters.

  105. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Amber Theoharis's family is personal friends of Angelos so doubt she is going anywhere.Interesting. So that explains how she's able to get away with the same kind of thing that got Jon Miller fired.

  106. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    congratulations on your demonstrated new role as company shill….kasten would be proud.

  107. Los Doce Ocho - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    "What would the payroll be if you took the current roster and added 3 years service time to every player?"$130 mil with RZ re-signed and the current bullpen in place (and making close to 1/5th of total payroll) but without guys like Lannan, Morse, Gorzo & Detwiler. Thats a team payroll that places the Nats on the same level as teams in similar markets. Except those teams in similar markets pay that much now. And win.I'm not frustrated with missing on Fielder. I'm frustrated the Nats decided to use their resources to sign Werth & LaRoche last year instead of going after one of the big 1B this year. $24 mil for Fielder in 2017 looks like a bargain compared to the $20 mil Werth will make. Combine that with adding greater wear/tear on the long term investment by playing him in CF instead of RF because the cost to acquire a CF is prohibitive. Thats not good long term management.

  108. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Anonymous said… "Teh payroll argument – that the Nats will not spend to even the middle of the pack — is about the best argument out there for why the Lerners don't get it."Here's one person who would have been absolutely thrilled to have had the Nats sign mediocre free agents (the best a rebuilding team can attract) over the past 5 years, just so they could have won about 3-5 more games per year. I'm sure this person would also be thrilled that Strasburg and Harper would be on other teams.dfh21 said… "Wait, is someone actually championing sucking as a strategy??"Face Palm. Of course not. Sucking is a by-product of rebuilding, even more so when the rebuilding team has NOTHING in the farm system.

  109. lesatcsc - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    I find myself wondering if Detroit is going to end up feeling like someone that leased a Cadillac but got fleeced by the dealership and took way too long a lease for way too much money. Sure, the Caddy is going to look good for a couple of years, but once they figure out (and it must be obvious to them already that they were outbidding themselves) that they overpaid and once the Caddy starts showing signs of age, will they come to resent it in a huge way? What surprises me is that Boros can fleece guys over and over and they don't get any smarter. It's no wonder he doesn't like dealing with the baseball guys, it's much easier to prey on aging billionaire owners and their fears of a short horizon.Accepting Mark's premise that the Nats "have a plan", it follows that there isn't a snowball's hope in hell that Mr Harper makes the team in ST, regardless of what DJ may say. In the context of a plan, it simply makes no sense to give up a year of Harper in his prime to use him a year sooner than the year you're going to "go for it". That raises the question, who is the third OF (and I don't care where he plays)? Right now they don't have a 3rd OF that is ML average for any of the three positions. If it's Bernadina, that is a flat out admission that the team is not even trying to win. And if it's Bernadina and any of Werth, Morse or ALR gets injured, then what?

  110. Los Doce Ocho - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    "Someone needs to check Tampa Bay Rays developement into a winning franchise and use the arrival of Andrew Friedman as the start. Their rise has been due to intelligent management with a solid plan. Seem familiar?"Not if you are trying to compare TB to WAS. TB started making the playoffs 2 years after Friedman took over. Meanwhile the plan has been recycled and the Nats have yet to play over .500 ball. At least the future is promising!

  111. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Feel Wood said… Amber Theoharis's family is personal friends of Angelos so doubt she is going anywhere.Interesting. So that explains how she's able to get away with the same kind of thing that got Jon Miller fired. January 25, 2012 11:23 AM Feel Wood, I am blown away. I never saw that article before. Talk about speaking from the heart and yes, friends or not, I'm shocked she wasn't fired. The responses she got agreed with her. The fans in Baltimore are in pain. It has to suck.This line from Amber about the Nats says it all "Taking off my journalistic hat for a moment, I'll be honest. As an O's fan, I feel extremely envious." Maybe some of the disgruntled Nats fans should read that article!

  112. phil dunn - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Okay, sticking to their plan, so what about a centerfielder, a leadoff hitter and some decent bench players? As far as I am concerned, Rizzo is batting .250–1 for 4, over the winter. I say one thing, Scott Boros sure knows how to exploit the owners' greed. The Tigers deal with Fielder proves that once again.

  113. jd - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    'I'm not frustrated with missing on Fielder. I'm frustrated the Nats decided to use their resources to sign Werth & LaRoche last year instead of going after one of the big 1B this year. $24 mil for Fielder in 2017 looks like a bargain compared to the $20 mil Werth will make. Combine that with adding greater wear/tear on the long term investment by playing him in CF instead of RF because the cost to acquire a CF is prohibitive. Thats not good long term management.' That is a very solid point. The signing of Werth in particular may yet prove to be Rizzo's legacy.

  114. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    If there was any correlation at all between how much a player is paid in any given year and how good that player is, then all these "Lerners are cheap" arguments based on team payroll would have some validity. But there is no such correlation. Comparing one team's payroll against another's tells you nothing beyond how much money a team spends. Ultimately, as Stan Kasten often said, you don't care about payroll. You're not coming to the ballpark to watch money change hands, you're coming to watch ballgames being played. The results of those games are all that matters.

  115. Water23 - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    So, with ST on a few weeks away, it is time for a few prognostications that of course will comeback to haunt me at the end of the season.1) With LaRoche a known slow starter and Harper also a slow starter, the switcheroo that will happen in June will result in a significantly lower production from the combined 1B/RF position than last year. 2) It is likely that either Epsy or Willie R have the expected Sophomore Slump. Just a normal extension of the league adjusting to them (see J. Heyward). And Jesus Flores begins to hit the stuffing out of the ball making an interesting end of season lineup.3) Ryan gets back to his norm and does well showing no ill effects of last years troubles.4) Morse has a slight decrease in overall production but is still worth the deal he received. 5) An SP misses significant time. My bet is Gio. It is just a law of averages and the Nats are not Immune.6) Bourn, Upton and Victorino – Two of the three sign extensions that remove them from the market. The extension will not be with the Nats.7) The Nats go 75-87. They have not improved their offense and it will prevent their ascension to the playoff caliber team.8) Zimm signs a long-term extension.

  116. Nattydread - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Lots of great comments here. Thanks Mark and everybody else.I'm wondering how we're going to have a better bench than last year. Not much time to pull moves. So what happens if Adam L doesn't pan out? Morse comes to first. Then the OF is looking barren — unless Bryce is brought up early. Rizzo and Co are far more capable them me of doing the evaluations and getting the spare parts. But I still don't see a loaded offensive gun here, we are still a strikeout lineup (offensively).

  117. NatsNuts - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Is Mark Zuckerman not allowed to call Davey Johnson or players like Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche for comments?To have read you using the quote above from your cometition in Adam Kilgore on that Davey Johnson quote should be of an embarassment to you Mark and you seem ok with it.Amanda Comak and Adam Kilgore and even Bill Ladson get quotes from players. A shame I have to read Kilgore to see how LaRoche is swinging the bat again.And yes, NatsNuts is StunStan backwards.

  118. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    If you think that there is no correlation between high payroll and winning baseball, you're not watching many games. For every Cubs club that spends big and unwisely and does not win, there are 3 clubs that do not spend and do not win. The best clubs are the ones that spendhte most and the worst clubs are the ones that spend the least. Get real.

  119. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I disagree that Harper is necessarily a "slow starter." That label has been applied to him every time he has moved up a level. It's not unusual for a hitter to struggle when he first moves up a level.

  120. JaneB - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    It's probably pointless to ask, but I wonder if we can let go of complaints about what "the Lerners and Rizzo SHOULD HAVE done" years ago, and just focus on the future. It's over. Done is done. No do-overs. Like NatsNut and 1a, I want to see Teddy WIN that first race at home. Nothing would spell "end of the lovable losers era" like that. They need to let go of their old, inside joke reasoning for making him lose and contribute to the greater good of the vibe of winning. New day, new team, new wild card race to be part of.GYFNG.

  121. MicheleS - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Nice Article about Dunn. Hope he has a better year..http://www.suntimes.com/10213410-417/one-stupid-year-adam-dunn-ready-to-put-2011-behind-him.html

  122. UNTERP - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    JaneB said… Like NatsNut and 1a, I want to see Teddy WIN that first race at home. Nothing would spell "end of the lovable losers era" like that. If Teddy winning is the harbinger [and Feel Wood, I had to look up harbinger because I spelled it harborgender but I think I got it right, thank you :)] and catalyst of a terrific season, then by all means please win Teddy…

  123. sjm308 - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    At first, reading JayB, I tended to be a little upset with the negativity. But after reading through more comments I do see his points. No sense looking back to the beginning but as a season ticket holder since the beginning, and loving major league baseball being back, it is time for us to make a big jump to above .500. I do understand the critics and they bring a great deal to this site.I think we obviously have some major holes in CF and the bench and just can't see Werth playing there for the majority of the season. I also agree that its folly to bring Harper north at the beginning of the season.Finally, I am also in the camp of NO sideline reporters in any sport. Besides the silly questions, Debbie drove me crazy with the tilt of her head and smile as she talked. I am sure she is a lovely person but it just didn't work for me.

  124. Section 222 - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    NatsNut's theory would fit very well with the phone conversations intercepted by NSA that we've been reading for the past several days. Hmmm.

  125. natsfan1a - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    The theory was advanced by "NatsNuts," I believe. It's not the same commenter as the original (accept no substitutes) "NatsNut." So, to get all editorial about it, that would be "NatsNuts' theory." :-)

  126. 320R2S15 - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    So, N.cog, you think that the Nats draft position that allowed them to draft SH&R, was some sort of preconceived strategy? If that is so, then it is pitiful. I expected to see and pay for competitive MLB, and I believe that if they had done that then other opportunities would have happened. I can blame Bud for the first couple of seasons, but after that it is the new ownership. All this talk about Rizzo is nuts, he only can do what the boss allows, and I agree, he is good at what he does, but he has one hand tied behind his back. Seriously, this is his first shot at at a real decent sized market GM job, of course he will do as he is told. To be honest, I hope it works, and I lied, as much as I want to not care I can't help it, I really do.

  127. DL in VA - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    I for one am not at all satisfied with this continual "wait for next year" mentality.

  128. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    I for one am not at all satisfied with this continual "wait for next year" mentality.Then you should find another sport. Baseball invented "wait til next year."

  129. NatsNut - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    1a, thank you for your support. =)I think 222 may have meant my theory above about a one-time offer to Boras then sitting back and watching the madness.

  130. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Sorry Mark, you were still wrong about their strategy to begin with. I know you are writing all of this to prove you were right all along but you and your sources were dead wrong … for starters you really don't know what Rizzo is thinking and you don't know what the Lerner's time table is. You've never interviewed Ted Lerner or even talked to him.One could see them going for a top left-handed starter a mile away and you and the other pundits were focused on the CF.And sorry to inform you but the Prince Fielder deal was directly connected to getting the CF. Mark, saying the Nationals weren't interested in a left-handed impact elite bat in their lineup? That was their second goal. Harper isn't it he dude; he is still a rookie and the Nationals like bringing new prospects along slowly. Saying that Fielder wasn't in their plan is like saying they weren't in it for Aroldis Chapman, Mark Texiera, Mark Buehrle, and Zach Grienke. YES MARK you were WRONG they were in it for Fielder from the get-go. Why? Because it makes perfect baseball sense to want and need that YOUNG left-handed elite bat as much as the top of the rotation left-handed starter[s]. Stop trying to justify the fact that you weren't correct about the Nationals modus operandi. Stop blaming Boras. That's ridiculous. Ted Lerner has been dealing with the guy since Texiera. Ted and Mike Rizzo are going to set a price limit on what they are willing to pay in $$ and players for the players they covet most to complete their master plan. And that will include Upton. And its not cheap its just smart business.

  131. natsfan1a - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Oh. Er, oops. I thought he was referring to the comments on Mark making phone calls. As you were. :-) NatsNut said… 1a, thank you for your support. =) I think 222 may have meant my theory above about a one-time offer to Boras then sitting back and watching the madness. January 25, 2012 12:42 PM

  132. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Some one needs to drink decaf….

  133. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    NatsNut said… It's not as frustrating to me, Mark. The incremental steps forward, as well as a *real* plan, are more and more transparent. I'm getting that giddy feeling I haven't had since opening night 2008. One thing that's missing in signaling to me that we've truly rounded a corner, and I"m not kidding, is Teddy. January 25, 2012 7:08 AM Sec222, are you referring to NatsNut or NatsNuts or Nutso or the Charlie Sheen?

  134. Water23 - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    From Kilgore's article in the Post:In his recovery from the labrum surgery that sidelined him for the final 120 or so games of 2011, LaRoche feels almost back to full strength. He has returned to baseball activities and feels his swing returning with no problems. His throwing, he said, has yet to come all the way back to the level it was at before his injury.“It feels good,” LaRoche said. “I’ve been really excited swinging the bat. It feels a lot stronger than it has in a while. I almost forgot that feeling of it feeling really good swinging. I’m able to hit.“As far as throwing, it’s coming along. It’s feeling a lot better than it did. It’s not 100 percent. I think it’s just a matter of stretching it back out. As far as being healed, I think it’s there. It’s just not quite in shape, which is okay. It’ll take time.” ———————————————Arrgghh, this is concerning but not unexpected. ALR is clearly not 100% and may not be 100% when the season starts let alone ST. He is a notorious slow starter so the Nats may have a re-occurrence last year. Solid defense at 1B but little offensive support until later in the season. I am hoping that he heals quickly and gets off to a great start but things might go south just as easily. If that is true, there will be little options for playing or trading him. The Nats need him to return to his norms so that they either get his solid bat & defense or they can move him to solve the roster issues/get prospects.

  135. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Anon @12:43, I agree with some of what you said. I don't think the Nats were in on Prince from the start.I think it started to look like a buyer's market and thinking their strategy is to always take the best player available. They couldn't get the outfielder they wanted and re-thought about getting the production from Fielder instead.In the Free Agent market though you have competition in the bidding and they didn't get Fielder but they also didn't chase him into doing something ridiculous. You won't last long if you make these moves every year like Werth. Most teams can afford a mistake or 2. If you make more than that you start looking like the Chicago Cubs.

  136. ahoya - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    "Let's face it, the Nationals haven't been positioning themselves to win big in 2012. They've been positioning themselves to really 'go for it' in 2013."That's the truth, and what we need to realize as we come down from the Fielder excitement. But while they may not dominate this year, I expect them to be a lot more fun to watch, and isn't that what this is all about?

  137. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Water23, they better not repeat previous years mistakes with injured players. If LaRoche isn't ready he needs to start on the DL and Morse will be the 1st baseman.It may be time to sign Ankiel just in case unless Rizzo's last surprise is making a deal for a true starting CF.

  138. UNTERP - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    ahoya said… "Let's face it, the Nationals haven't been positioning themselves to win big in 2012. They've been positioning themselves to really 'go for it' in 2013." That's the truth, and what we need to realize as we come down from the Fielder excitement. But while they may not dominate this year, I expect them to be a lot more fun to watch, and isn't that what this is all about?Like I've said above I'm glad they didn't sign Fielder now. No particular reason for it except what you say above, it's fun to see how things will turn out…

  139. Bowdenball - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I wonder if we're gonna see a not quite 100% Adam LaRoche platooning with Chris Marrero out of spring training. It wouldn't be the worst idea I've ever heard.

  140. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    @12:43…… Funniest post of the young year…. Brilliant parody of an amalgam of various Anons… I especially Ike the bold type. I could almost see the smoke coming out of your ears…..heeheehee……hoot!

  141. lefty1950 - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    As long as the Nats show improvement each year, then I know I will be happy. 80 wins in 2011, 85 wins in 2012, and 90 wins in 2013 would be great.

  142. Section 222 - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    But but but, weren't we just told the following yesterday? "So, there's no reason we shouldn't be able to pencil in LaRoche for roughly 25 homers, a .270 average, a .340 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage in 2012." In the immortal words of Rick Perry, "oops."NatsNut, you were right, I was referring to your theory on Rizzo, Boras, and Fielder. Sorry not to have been clearer.

  143. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    The Lerners are still cheap.

  144. John C. - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Of course the Nationals were in on Fielder – if the market had come back to them, they would have been happy to pick him up. Want to know why they weren't fluffing their payroll to get Fielder? Last October Fangraphs did an interesting article on how "heavy" players age. They defined "heavy" as players who weigh more than 3.25 pounds per inch of height. A six foot tall player would have to weigh a minimum of 234 pounds to be included; at 5'11" and 275 Prince is clearly overqualified.What they found was that for heavy players, not only do they tend to deteriorate more rapidly, but they tend to peak earlier in their careers. Most players stay at their peak from 25-29 or so; heavy players peak earlier (23-24) and fall off more dramatically. By age 31 the difference is pretty stark (30% reduction and falling rapidly). The article concludes that " it is safe to say that signing Fielder to a Mark Teixeira contract (8/180) would be an incredibly risky move, especially considering some of the worst case projections have him providing only $122 million in value. While this figure only encompasses seven years of playing time, he will probably have decayed to the point where he would barely be above replacement level in year 8." If a Texeira contract was risky, 9/214 is virtually insane, even with the DH.Unless one subscribes to the Mayan Theory (the world ends this Fall, so the future doesn't matter), you don't want the Nationals to walk away from a deal like that – you want them to RUN.

  145. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Anonymous said… "The Lerners are still cheap."Don't disagree with you.

  146. natsfan1a - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    LOL, Unk. Sec222, it could have been my reading comprehension skills as well. :-)

  147. baseballswami - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    First time reading all day – and , wow – lots of stuff to read. It makes me laugh when people are so indignant about waiting through 6 years of losing teams, 6 – — single digits. There are lots of fans from other cities who would slap you for that. Ask a cubs fan what it means to wait. Also – posting anonymously in bold doesn't make me pay attention – it makes me skip it. Question for Bowdenball -isn't Chris Marrero injured?I thought he had hurt something pretty badly. Just a few weeks until we get this show on the road. Can't wait! GYFNG!

  148. Mark'd - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Buster Olney on ESPN just said the Nats were in on Prince to the point where they set parameters.I think that could mean the Nats were comfortable with 5 years and if Boras wanted that it would proceed from there.Question to the Lerners are cheap person, what does that say about Angelos. Just wonder what you think he is.

  149. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    320R2S15 said… "So, N.cog, you think that the Nats draft position that allowed them to draft SH&R, was some sort of preconceived strategy?"A preconceived strategy with Strasburg, Harper and Rendon specifically in mind, no.If they were signing free agents (and again, they would be mediocre free agents; top-of-the-line free agents would have signed with teams that were expected to compete for a playoff spot), they would have won a few more games each season and thus drafted lower in each draft, and they would not have had a shot at the best draftees available (Strasburg, Harper and Rendon would be with other organizations).A rebuild would take longer, complainers would have still been complaining and there wouldn't be that many more fans going to the games."Build through the draft and sign key free agents when they're ready to compete," or some such similar words from Kasten, and Kasten telling the Lerners "you'll be called cheap bastards," essentially means they were willing to be bad for a few years ("suck") in order to rebuild the team as quickly as possible.Was it painful? Extremely, and it affected my attendance as well, but it was the right way to go, especially with an almost completely barren minor league system.

  150. Exposremains - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    I know I'm one of the few here but I don't care if you have to pay too much money to get a guy like Fielder in WASH if that means you'll make the playoff. I don't care if in 2016 or 2017 the team is stuck with bad contracts.I've been following this franchise for 25 years and never saw them play 1 playoff game. I'm guessing that if I've had been following this team for 7 years I would be more patient like so many of you. I want to win now, I don't care what it takes.

  151. Tcostant - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Bowdenball said… I wonder if we're gonna see a not quite 100% Adam LaRoche platooning with Chris Marrero out of spring training. It wouldn't be the worst idea I've ever heard. Me –> Chris Marrero is hurt and won't be platooning with anyone in the Spring.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/post/chris-marrero-tears-hamstring-leaves-nationals-looking-for-insurance-at-first-base/2011/11/29/gIQAt4qt8N_blog.html

  152. Bowdenball - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Tcostant-I can't believe I completely forgot about Marrero's injury. How embarrassing. Thanks for taking it easy on me.I had started off wondering if LaRoche could platoon with Morse, with Morse starting at 1B against lefties and in LF against righties, as a way to keep him sharp at 1B. Then I guess my mind just wandered.

  153. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    N Cognito — that is some bunk. They sucked for years, justifiably, to "build the team as quickly as possible"? The Lerners went cheap, plain and simple. Note that ticket prices were top 10 when they were purposefully sucking — sucking our weallets empty. They did not even hire a true front office until the 3rd year of their ownership. Their plan was to collect as much money as they could with a low payroll, taking advanatge of the new park and then to go from there. Now, when they have had the luck of Stras and Harper and Morse, along with some health and Gio, they stand frozen, not yet ready to make the leap to spend to an average club payroll in order to add thep layers they need now to actually build a winner. Talk of next year in January of this year is thte stuff of losing forever.

  154. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    N. Cognito, I am in agreement with you. I didn't like Stan as a person but as a strategist, the guy was exactly right when you start out with a barren farm system.The cast of characters we had to endure in 2006 -2010 was painful at times as you are watching a AAAA team. That Amber Theoharis article gives you the insight of how other fans see the Nats.If you look back on the parts of this team, most key components are all from the Draft or trades + Werth and LaRoche probably won't be back after this season.2013 ProjectionNew Acquistion CFDesmond Draft SS Zim Draft 3BMorse Trade 1BWerth FA RFHarper Draft LFEspi Draft 2BRamos Trade CStrasburg DraftGio TradeJZim DraftLannan DraftPurke DraftThat to me is very impressive.

  155. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Bowdenball said… "I had started off wondering if LaRoche could platoon with Morse, with Morse starting at 1B against lefties and in LF against righties, as a way to keep him sharp at 1B. Then I guess my mind just wandered."So, in a way, you were you fixing a hole where the rain gets in.

  156. DH - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    is anyone else bothered by the new font of the comments section?

  157. MicheleS - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Swammi,My Dad had 75 years of being a cubs fan. I think that actually was what killed him (along with Sosa, Big Z, and now Soriano). Expos Remains.. Feel your pain of 25 years…

  158. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    DH: yep… Mark's working on it…

  159. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Check out Mark's link to Stras interview…

  160. N. Cognito - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:15 PM

    Anonymous said… "N Cognito — that is some bunk. They sucked for years, justifiably, to "build the team as quickly as possible"?"It takes, at a minimum, five years to build a team essentially from scratch to get to a point where you can begin to think about playoffs. You don't get that many guys that only take a couple years in the minors before they are ready for the major leagues, and you'll be lucky to average more than one player in each draft that will be an impact major leaguer.Ticket prices is a separate topic, though I do question the motive of your multiple references to the Lerners and their desire for money.Which festering hole of Lerner haters did you come out of: BPG or WNFF?You also seem predisposed to being miserable. Enjoy.

  161. Steve M. - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Exposremains, I feel for you on the post-season drought. We all want post-season but we want sustained success not just a 1 and out. I am patient because you can finally see that the Nats have perhaps the best core of young players in the NL.

  162. DH - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    could PF have helped them to really "go for it" in 2013? of course. would they have signed PF next year for 9/210? nope. why? because he's and will always be too expensive for the Lerners.

  163. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    N Cognito — ever hear of the D-Bax or Marlins? Those clubs seem to prove your minimum 5 years to even thinking about playoffs theory wrong. They went out and got players and they won Championships, go figure.

  164. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Okay, the Cubs fans have suffered mercilessly for over a hundred years with baseball without winning the World Series and it breaks my heart. Washington DC baseball fans (who were not Orioles fans) have suffered 88 years without winning the World Series, plus 33 years without a team at all. Nuff said.

  165. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    If a club is lucky to get more than one player per draft that will be an impact MLB player, then building through the draft for a club short on talent is a loser's plan, no? And how does the club justify the ticket prices being so high when they are not pushing the revenue (and revenue went up in a huge way in 2008) back into the roster?

  166. FS - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    2010 lineup was not as bad as everyone thinks. We had Dunn, Hammer, and Morgan (who was supposed to be good). We should have done better, if not for Hammer's injuries and Morgan's antics.Anyways, we are much better off now, heading into 2012. However, I hope Nationals intend to win this season, not just look forward to 2013. Realistically speaking, we are not a sure shot for playoffs this season but I hope this trend of publicly talking about "preparing for 2013" changes before 2012 season begins. Real fans or not, it is annoying to hear that from anyone remotely related to Nationals.

  167. Bowdenball - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    N Cognito:Well put. I guess I thought about Morse and I went into a dream. Thankfully it's getting better, with a little help from my friends at Nats Insider.

  168. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    N Cognito — ever hear of the D-Bax or Marlins? Those clubs seem to prove your minimum 5 years to even thinking about playoffs theory wrong. They went out and got players and they won Championships, go figure.Yeah, sure you can go out and bust the bank to put together a team that wins a championship NOW. But those teams never last, and the depths to which those teams descend after that one good year is always painful to see. It happened with the DBacks, and it happened with the Marlins twice (and may yet happen again). Give me a slow build to a long run of every-year contention any day.

  169. Feel Wood - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    I hope this trend of publicly talking about "preparing for 2013" changes before 2012 season begins. Real fans or not, it is annoying to hear that from anyone remotely related to Nationals.The only place you hear that kind of statement from is the likes of Zuckerman and Kilgore. They don't speak for the team.

  170. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Ok, Feel Wood, the depths of not contending after winning the World Series are worse than the depths of not contending at all?? Wow, the lengths some posters will go to legitimize the lousy management of this club is something to behold.

  171. Natslifer - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Enough Anon (and that is the way it's spelled).- Despite your emotional linkage, this franchise has nothing to do with any previous Washington (or Montreal for that matter) team. This franchise is effectively 6 years old: 2 years of MLB control, 2 years of Bowden/Lerners figuring it out, 2 years of 10 games per year improvement. Go suffer somewhere else because I'm not suffering in the slightest.- I've owned a ticket to every game played here. My ticket prices have gone up twice very minimally in six years and for where my seats are they are way below the price paid in premium markets (that we all think we should be).Geez, this mood in here is not good enough. We have improved 10 games per year for 2 years and are MUCH BETTER on paper right now than we were last year. I've had a standing bet with everyone in my ticket group that we will reach the playoffs this year and I'm sticking by it. And I would much rather have slow, steady growth that leads to a sustained multi-season post-season run (like the Phillies) than any flash in the pan once every five years play that they had in Marlins-land.

  172. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    The Yanks bust the bank to win better than anyone and they seem to have lasted pretty well using that strategy, no? And that is the whole point, it is about SPENDING — bank busting. Clubs need to do it to some level to realistically compete. The Nats are reluctant to spend to the average, yet they see no problem charging top 10 prices. They are obsessed with keeping spending under control. And Zuckerman patting them on the back for having a design on competing in some future year when they are this close just encourages them to be conservative with the STH's money.

  173. Exposremains - Jan 25, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Thanks Michele and Steve!I don't understand the part about building for the long haul but do you know how many promises you hear in 25 years…

  174. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    No, the Nats are heading into year 8 in DC – -not sure hwich forgotten lost 2 years there are for you. The Nats ticket prices are high — the Dodgers and Angels charge less, for example, it is objectively true. The payroll has been bottom 10 (mostly bottom 5) since the Lerners took over — again, not opinion but fact. The improvement by 10 games is nice and all but when you start at 59 wins, it's not so hard to improve as very few clubs are capable of losing that badly. And there is no value going forward to having made incremental improvement in the past. Conjuring ways for the Nats brass to seem successful, when they have not been, and extrapolating out future performance based upon wins and losses of prior versions of the club against prior versions of other clubs, as nonsensical as that exercise is, is one way to feel good about the Nats. I'd like the Lerners and Rizzo to provide something more meaty: a winner NOW.

  175. FS - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:04 PM

    Feel Wood, I get that impression from pretty much every writer who are not quoting any Nats personnel but their impression is built on what Nats do and say.Similar to how some of us view Teddy winning race as end of an era, I view this impression of 'we are not ready yet' as a nuisance.

  176. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    Forget winning now. Let's win in 2013.

  177. Drew - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    Prince Fielder can mash, but by 36 he'll be mashed potatoes. The man is only 5'11. In nine years he'll make Terry Forster look svelte.

  178. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    The Nats are reluctant to spend to the average, yet they see no problem charging top 10 prices. They are obsessed with keeping spending under control.Then why are they doing stuff like spending >$100M for Jayson Werth, and giving Gio Gonzales a contract for $40M and Michael Morse a contract for >$10M covering years that they already had under team control? Shouldn't they have kept that spending under control if they were as obsessed as you say they are?

  179. Natslifer - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I was off by a year (6 vs. 7) – it's not relevant. How much higher are the Dodgers and Angels prices? Since you want us to spend like the Yanks, how do we compare to their prices?So… 10 game improvement per year should have been 15? 20? How many times in the history of baseball has that happened? No, wait, that's not relevant because past performance doesn't equal future success (unless we happened to be successful the year before?).And it's not hard to improve by 10 games per year? Ask that to any cellar dwellar (find any O's fan around here) and see what they say.

  180. Wally - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Steve M. said…..That to me is very impressive. I agree, we have come a long way, and I am excited for baseball to start. And I have no complaint over the Nats balking at Fielder's contract. That being said, I am always surprised by the amount of people that defend the Lerners' record in baseball related spending (just commenting on a number of posts, not yours). In 7 years in DC, they have never once paid a league average payroll, AND they have never once had a winning season. People can add a lot of other things, but it doesn't change those two points, and I am surprised they don't hold more sway.Certainly, spending doesn't guarantee success, but it gets spun by the apologists like it is actually a hindrance, and we are better off spending less. That is probably the part that I find the most remarkable about this debate. Why can't they spend more money in smart ways, and increase the organization's talent? I am excited about the direction of the team, and very thankful that the days of 2006-2010 are behind us, but I think it is coming despite the Lerners, not because of them. I'd trade the whole family for Mike Ilitch, if I could.

  181. The Dude Abides - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    Do I read dueling Anons? Oh my!

  182. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Wally…. they've never had a roster worthy of the league average in salaries. They're getting there.

  183. Bowdenball - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    For those who are curious, here's the most recent and complete data on ticket prices and other fan expenses I could find:https://www.teammarketing.com/public/files/2011_mlb_fci.pdfThe Nats' "Fan Cost Index" comes in right at the league average … which is exactly where they finished in the standings.The Fan Cost Index also isn't quite fair to the Nats because it includes the cost of parking, something that Nats fans can easily avoid because of the park's metro accessibility. It also doesn't account for season ticket prices vs. list prices and things like the Red Carpet Rewards program, although I don't know whether many other clubs have similar programs.

  184. DCXpos Phil - Jan 25, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Exposremains…I can relate – I was born and raised in Montreal and grew up going to 70 games a year at Jarry Park/the Big Owe (father's season's tickets), . Saw them give away Randy Johnson for a 2 month rental (Mark Langston), Pedro Martinez for pittance, and, maybe the worst of all, Brandon Phillips, Grady Sizemore and Cliff Lee for 2 months of Bartolo Colon (wow). Been living in the DC area since 2003.While Im pretty sure that the Nats would have gone for 5 plus 2 option years, they werent going to 8-9 years, and rightly so. Rizzo's plan is to have real athletes at every position who can play some D, and Fielder doesnt fit the mold. His 1B defence is adequate at best and over time wont get better, and with no DH, there's nowhere to hide him in an NL lineup. An AL team made much more sense for him, but Ill tell you this – Its crazy to pay a DH $25M/year.

  185. Unkyd - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    Well, y'all can keep whining…You won't kill my buzz. This clubs heading in the right direction. Right now, at this minnit, we're not quite a legitimate contender, but a wildcats slot is not an outrageous pipedream- and NatsJack's "unexpected move" hasn't happened yet (unless NatGio qualifys?). And starting next year, we ought to be on equal footing with anybody, for a long time. I can see Rizzo as Executive of the Year, and being featured in magazine stories titled "How To Do It". I feel you 'Spo's fans, for your long suffering, but I've been around here for most of my life, and I haven't had a team, AT ALL, since I was 11…. couldn't do the O's…just couldn't do it…I know you don't want my pity, buy you got it. In five years, I'll be looking back on thus year, and last, as having turned the corner, enjoying every minnit of it. I can only suspect some of you will be moaning about how Rizzo doesn't listen to your advice. Lighten up, and enjoy the ride…. IT'S BASEBALL!!!!

  186. Wally - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Wally…. they've never had a roster worthy of the league average in salaries. They're getting there.NJ – I hear you (although I think that there may be a chicken-or-egg question there). I also think that they'll pay Zim and some of the other homegrown guys who become stars to keep them. So I don't see us as Pitt or KC. But I wasn't trying to rehash the past as much as express surprise that they (the Lerners) have as many supporters as they do, since objectively they have neither spent a lot of money nor had on-the-field success. Usually that combination gets hammered by fans. I think that the reason they don't get more heat is essentially your point – things are getting better, so let's just enjoy.I am on board, and looking forward to an enjoyable season. I'll probably never think of the Lerners as great owners, but I like Rizzo and what he has been able to do, so I feel pretty good about things right now.

  187. Anonymous - Jan 25, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    2015 is our year!! I can feel it.

  188. Tom in AR - Jan 25, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    Comparing us to the Yankees is ludicrous. They spend 200 million a year and still turn a profit. At this point we simply cannot compete with their history, their fanbase, their TV contract, their marketing revenue, or their paid attendance. Even if we were perennial contenders, we simply cannot be the Yankees or Red Sox. Hopefully the new CBA will level that somewhat (and the evidence of this offseason is that those teams are reining in the spending). Three years from now, if we are letting our star players walk and don't have a payroll north of 9 figures, then we can all agree that the team is cheap. Throwing away money for the sake of being a high spending team is not the answer. Put me down as someone who is THRILLED that we didn't chase the PF Flyer over 150 million.

  189. lesatcsc - Jan 25, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    This team is still short at least one starting OF, two if Morse has to play 1B because ALR isn't ready to go in April. How many teams play .500+ ball with 1 MLB OF?

  190. 320R2S15 - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    6 years of frustration, are you kidding me? let's see,it started in 1969 with the Senators, then 30 years of nothing, now this. Please. I want to say that there is always hope, but I have less hope than I had in 2005, more hope than I had in 1980.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 73 77 13.5
NEW YORK 73 79 14.5
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

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

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