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What’s left to do before spring training?

Jan 26, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Mike Rizzo again suggested Jayson Werth could wind up in center field this year.

There are 24 days remaining before pitchers and catchers report to Viera, Fla., for the start of spring training, which is still plenty of time for the Nationals to add or subtract from their roster.

Listening to Mike Rizzo speak yesterday after the Gio Gonzalez introductory news conference, though, it sure sounded like the Nationals general manager doesn't plan on making many more moves of consequence between now and Feb. 19.

"We feel good about where we're at," Rizzo said. "You're never satisfied. We need more arms, to improve the bullpen, improve the bench, all those factors. But with that said, we're comfortable going into [spring training] with what we've got."

Those few potential additions over the next 3 1/2 weeks would be more of the roster-tweaking variety than the roster-overhaul variety. Rizzo would like to supplement his bench with another potent bat, preferablyRead more »

  1. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    SO…..let me get this right…Rizzo is now fine with the CF/Lead Off and Bench Needs….he is just going to see if anything cheap falls into his lap in Feb and March……DeRosa and Mike Cameron were results of his self identified major need of improving his bench as a top priority of this winter?You all fine with that?Not me…..same old same old and we know this approach will hold the team back. 5-7 wins at least…think back on how many games this team lost last year and for the past 3 because they had no effective or at least league average PH/Bench options…….Amazingly short sighted for a GM that I do like and that has done many things well…..just amazing he has such a blind spot for building a MLB roster that is going to win now…..not some point later….for all the good Rizzo does I am not sure at all he understands winning now.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Can't wait for the JayB rant that this will trigger on the CF/leadoff issue. Please JayB, tell us who we should get and how we should get him.I have complete faith in Rizzo and his ability to improve this team on a continuing basis. It can't all happen in one fell swoop if you want to be in it for the long term.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    oops… he beat me. Someone let me know what he said.

  4. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    No wonder Nats have refused to sit down with season ticket holders for lunch and fanfest events the past few years……a few years back I recall a lunch where Rizzo said in response to my public question that he is fine with Anderson Hernandez as his starting 2b option….an hour later was we walked out of the room I asked again and he said off the record he later said he was still hoping for a better solution which weeks later turned out to be dumpster dive Adam Kennedy. Rizzo does not seem to get the importance of a good PH at bat with the game of the line. Kind of makes sense given his background as a drafter and PD guy. Not sure he is a Good GM for a team ready to win.

  5. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    M Bourn was the move that should have been made last July…you do not get that type of player in Feb…….you get them when they are traded or sign them in Nov/Dec as FA…..he has failed to get it done and that is just a fact. Braves got it done.As I said Njack….I do think Rizzo has done good things….not hard to get the first pick right the past few years but he does draft well…..He does not sign value FA/Sign FA well. He does not Value/sign International players well…..Maya, Martin are not major league ready and major steps forward as he said…..and the Bench….just a joke.Yes…he is better than Jimbo….is that the bar you really want for your GM?

  6. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    JayB..I think that we would have our CF if we were willing to give up Espi. Are you ready to do that? Because that is the rumor that has been floated about who people want in return for a CF.

  7. joemktg - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    NatsJack requested a summary of JayB. Summary:-Assessment of current situation in CF-Rizzo stinks-Summary of what should've been done-Rizzo stinksPotential solutions not broached.

  8. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Do like the fact that Rizzo said "we don't have to overpay anymore.." We did our bad team tax last year with Werth (and I still think he has time to earn at least 80% of the value of that contract), now we just need to start locking up more of the young guys long term or to buy out the arb years

  9. Tim - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    JayB, just like the business model proports: If you're gonna show me a problem, then give me a solution.How about a Gio for Bourn trade? Gio just signed an extension and he is relatively cheap for years to come. Either you wait til the end of the year and pray that Bourn doesn't sign an extension with the Braves (which he will) OR sign a worn-out Victorino (who wouldn't leave Philly unless forced out) OR you believe that we have a candidate down on the farm.My preference is to stand pat and see 1) how Desi does at leadoff 2) how Goodwin or Corey Brown develop 3) groom Harpee to play CF

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    joemktg….thanks for the summary. I figured as much.

  11. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    I have given now and at the time the Bourn missed opportunity..but I am not the GM…Rizzo is and he has had enough time and opportunity to fill the need at CF he missed with Morgan…he missed on Bourn…..he has missed…that is all we know for a fact.Bigger issue is Bench…..M. Cameron at this point is a joke as is DeRosa….but less of one…..still a M. Kennedy type move and that does not work for winning team. Pay market value for players and you get them. Say I do not think they are worth what other teams paid…you do not get them….simple as that.Oh and Njack I will be in Vira this weekend seeing who is around….I will look for you.

  12. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Mike Rizzo at his latest presser:"Ladies & Gentleman, I just want you to know I have failed miserably in my quest for a CF and added bench play. The players we have are inadequate and I just don't know how we will get through the season. Thanks for playing"Is that what you really want to hear JayB. or is what you really want this: "JayB is a genius, I am not worthy to walk in his shoes and I will resign today and let him take over"We got your point about twenty posts ago, I wish I could be like natsjack and just scroll down (actually after reading Joemkting I did that and it was fun). You actually made a good point that Bourn was available and we, along with 30 other teams missed out. So stay miserable, move to another negative point and at least I will appreciate that. I will fall back to my original premise of years and years. Baseball is my favorite sport bar none, we have a major league team after 30+ years, it is my team to root for, and lately we have been getting better each year. Life is good.

  13. JayBSpeak Translator - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Spew.Rant.Spittle.2006.Lather.Rinse.Repeat.

  14. Gonat - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    NatsJack, JB is waiting for 7:00AM. LOL

  15. Mark'd - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Rizzos quote above on CF may be to set expectations low and not look desperate as he continues to look around. Each season he is kind enough to publicly set his goals which also let's his competition know his level of eagerness. Never show all of your cards.

  16. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    How about…."we are not done yet. We have bench and CF needs to address. We have been working on them but to date have not been able to fill them. They remain a top priority and must be addressed if we are going to capitalize on the progress we have made in other areas in the organization"….is that so hard to say?

  17. gonatsgo - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Would it be nice to have a great lead-off centerfielder? Of course it would. I would also love to have a nice sports car, a new house and a vacation in Hawaii. However – I can't afford those things at what they cost today. Which centerfielder should we have gotten and at what cost? It's not that we are ecstatically happy with the status quo, it's just that we are accepting it — for now, because the alternatives are worse. Contracts these days are very long and if you sign one today for a player you have just settled for, then you can't sign the better one in a year. It's not giving up , it's just waiting for the right situation. You also can't go on tv and trash your players and say – you know the guys we have right now really suck and I can't wait to replace them. The players we have are just fine and dandy for now – until we can pick up someone better in a fair deal that doesn't compromise the future of the franchise. Simmer down – I remember most of the last few years a lot of our roster spots were not determined until the end of spring training – I like how we look this year going into the beginning of it.

  18. psdfx - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Rizzo is exhibiting that strange and difficult-to-recognize-for-Redskin-fans discipline called … discipline. He could have gotten a CF. He could have gotten Prince (perhaps). He could have done a lot of things. But he deemed the price to be too high for what he was getting in return. This team is steadily improving, will be much better this year, and should be better (perhaps MUCH better) in 2013 and beyond. It appears that the 2013-2016 window is the endgame—and I love it. I love seeing a plan. The Gio trade was expensive, but they obviously love him, and if he is as good as they think he is (as evidenced by their already signing him to the new contract), the extension was brilliant.Steady as she goes, Mike Rizzo. Great work to date, and by the time Harper, Purke, Rendon are MLB ready (and SS, JZ, GG have had another year under their belts), we'll have had plenty of time to land the perfect-fit CF.(P.S. Note the Ernie Grunfeld and the hapless Wizards owner, Teddy L. BUILD WITH GUYS YOU WANT TO BUILD AROUND … patience is EASY if you see a plan, and players worth building around in their youth… You are trying to sell us on building around bozos like Nick Young and Andre Blatche?? Sorry for the Wizards diversion, they are the anti-Nats.)

  19. psdfx - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Re: my prior post, I am SO excited about the Nats plan, and SO disgusted with the Wizards' that I apparently lose the ability to use decent grammar when writing about the Wizards.

  20. Knoxville Nat - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    I wonder, if JayB had been the Nationals GM last season, what would he have been willing to trade to get a Michael Bourn from Houston? I'll challenge him to post his response here and let the NI crew evaluate his proposed trade offer from both a Nats and Astros perspective.

  21. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    Not Danny E but yes on any other young prospect type…a subset of the Gio trade types sure. The Braves did not pay much in my view for the value.

  22. Positively Half St. - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Who might still be a good candidate to obtain for the bench, or for the bullpen?Rick Ankiel is still out there, although I am not super excited about that. I look at the rest of the available hitters, and I don't see anybody else that seems much better. Does anybody have a better insight?As best as I can tell, nobody has signed Todd Coffey yet. Anyone else come to mind? I don't see bringing in Livo.+1/2St.

  23. 320R2S15 - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Hey, get off JayB, he happens to be right.Here is what I think Rizzo should do;1. Take an English class.2. Whatever Davy tells him to do.Stay on it Jay.

  24. BinM - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Full quote from Rizzo on the CF situation (via Pete Kerzel-MASN)… "I think we have candidates in-house that we'll go to spring training with. That's not to say that we've abandoned the search for the right fit for us, but we like the options that we have going into spring training and we do have multiple options of what to play, be it Jayson Werth moving to center or a platoon in center field, that type of thing. (We're) not satisfied with not getting the long-term solution that we had, but we're satisfied with the in-house candidates and we feel that we're going to field the right type of team going into spring training."Sounds to me like Rizzo is fully aware of what needs to be done, and is still looking for ways to improve the team.

  25. DFL - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    1. Sign Ankiel2. Sign Oswalt3. Sign Ross4. Sign Keppinger5. Trade Desmond6. Install Lombardozzi at second and lead-off

  26. Section 215 Row A - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    JayB Translator:Bingo!

  27. dj in Fl. - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Ouality leadoff/centerfielder current market value"Never say never," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington to Jeff Nelson and Jim Memolo of MLB Network Radio when asked about a potential Andrew McCutchen trade. "If someone wants to back up the truck and give us one of those organization-altering deals, it's something that we'd have to listen to…It would have to be a dramatic overpay on the part of the other club."I prefer to see how in house develops with this price. I am happy to be down to filling one spot and only tweaking another instead of finding 25 warm bodies.

  28. Tcostant - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Mark -For fun, lets say Haprer come up in late April enough to push his FA clock to 2018. Even though he would be a "Super 2" player, won't he be still under that first contact and there for already be sign and not go to arbitration? What am I missing…

  29. JayB - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Nice DFL…agree with it all…..Desmond is a huge negative in the field and at the plate. I would be so much comfortable with Danny E at SS and Rendon at 2nd base until Zimm needs to go to 1B for injury reasons….Lombo is fine until Rendon is ready. He sure would not hurt the team in Desmond is who he replaces in this years lineup

  30. fpcsteve - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Holy smokes, give JayB a break. He has an opinion. That's what NI is for, right?

  31. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Too many yes men and women spoils the brew. JayB, you have my ear, left and right.

  32. HHover - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    JayB – I'm with you, man. The Lerners are cheap and Rizzo's an idiot. The solution is clear:1. The Lerners break open their piggy bank2. Rizzo spends the money on a time machine3. They go back to July 2011 and snatch up Michael Bourn, using their post facto knowledge of what it would have taken to get him in the first place4. Voila!It's a plan that can't fail, really.

  33. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    JayB's also passionate about the team and obviously still cares about their fortunes. He's stuck around like the rest of us hard-core fans, and some day (hopefully soon, knock wood) we'll all be able lord it over the Nats bandwagon fans. (Humph. I was a Nats fan back when [insert name of less-than-awesomely-gifted-player-here] was a starter.

  34. Golfersal - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Mark, your late in giving us the dirt on Debbi Taylor getting fired.Do I feel sorry that Debbi is not coming back, no. I don't think see was that great, way to bubbly for me. It's a bit like drinking too much at night and waking up the next morning next to some nice looking girl that starts driving you crazy with kindness. Debbi was way to bubbly if you know what I mean.As for do I feel sorry that Peter Angelos is fired Debbi as a pawn in negations with the Nats, yes I hate that Debbi got fired. I really feel that the Nats need and should have a sideline reporter to do interviews and it's crap that MASN is not hiring anyone to replace Debbi saying it's a budget cut because Angelos isn't going to continue making millions off the Nationals. Sorry but the Nats have paid back Peter Angelos enough, probably close to $100 million that he has made in MASN which was part of the deal to allow the Nats to move to D.C. in 2005. So we shouldn't have this prick dictate on if the Nats will have a sideline reporter for the year or not. Sorry but I am pissed.

  35. Tom in AR - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Tcostant – as I understand it, it is standard procedure to put an opt out in major league contracts so that if they are eligible for Super Two they can take advantage of that. Perhaps someone can confirm…

  36. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    I don't think you have to break the bank to sign a couple of high end bench players.

  37. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Well, if we're gonna talk Debbi Taylor, I'll repost this so as to have something positive about her: ;-)natsfan1a said…Regardless of what one thinks of sideline reporters (I'm looking at you, Ken Rosenthal), she seemed like a very nice lady and I hope she lands a job somewhere else. January 26, 2012 9:06 AM

  38. GP in Richmond - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    The Braves made the move for Bourn because they were still in a fight for the division title and were sitting pretty for the wild card during the summer. The Nats still had faint wild card hopes at that point but not enough to go on a spending spree. They knew that JZimm's season was coming to a close in late August and the team had just gone through a managerial change. We've got a great, young nucleus that is hungry and talented. I want them to grow together with some vets installed to show them the way to win.

  39. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Mark, your late in giving us the dirt on Debbi Taylor getting fired.Hey, give Zuckerman a break. Kilgore's the one who broke that story, and it's only because he's a well known sports babe stalker. Watch him drool and get positively giddy when he did a stand-up with Heidi Watney, who's in a whole 'nother league of hotness compared with Debbi Taylor.

  40. saxguy007 - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    The two most sensible things written so far here have been:1) Rizzo does not want to tip his hand to agents on how much he'd really like better bench players.2) Rizzo does not want to dis his own players (Bernadina, Cameron)3) Bargains will be had in the next few weeks, when the music stops and few chairs are left for the likes of Johnny Damon and Raul Ibanez4) JayB is entitled to his opinion, even though I disagree with the extent of the negativity

  41. saxguy007 - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    D'oh! Make that FOUR things…

  42. greg - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    DFL Said:DFL said… 1. Sign Ankiel 2. Sign Oswalt 3. Sign Ross 4. Sign Keppinger 5. Trade Desmond 6. Install Lombardozzi at second and lead-off=====1. sure2. meh. before gio? sure. after? not so much. 3. he's supposedly signed with the red sox4. he's supposedly signed with the rays5/6. i'd wait and see on both of those until we get into the season.

  43. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    JayB is passionate about the team the way Hannibal Lecter was passionate about the guy whose liver he ate with some fava beans and a nice chianti.

  44. Steve M. - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I was very impressed by 26 year old Gio Gonzalez. If he plays as well as the passion I saw, #27, #37, and #47 will make quite the 3 Aces!Now if we can only feel that good about the starting lineup.I too am scratching my head on what Rizzo meant about the bullpen when he let the bargain )1 year $8.5mm) that Ryan Madson was get away. All I can think of is he was concentrated on Prince at the time.

  45. Bowdenball - Jan 26, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    JayB said… How about…."we are not done yet. We have bench and CF needs to address. We have been working on them but to date have not been able to fill them. They remain a top priority and must be addressed if we are going to capitalize on the progress we have made in other areas in the organization"….is that so hard to say?It's not hard to say- that's basically what he said when he said "We're not satisfied with not getting the long-term solution that we had wanted."Beyond that, you're just arguing about tone and having to read between the lines. But here's the thing: GMs aren't in the business of being 100% honest and straightforward about their personnel. They're in the business of doing what's in the best interests of the ballclub, and optimism about the existing product is always in the best interests of the ballclub. It sells tickets, it fosters confidence, it makes your assets appear more valuable. If he'd said exactly what you want him to say, some fans might interpret that as saying "wait until next year." That's bad for ticket sales and thus bad for the club. Other GMs might interpret that as saying "we're not confident in Roger Bernadina's ability to contribute." That's bad for his trade value and thus bad for the club. And there are any number of other reasons why that sort of direct honesty isn't in the club's (or his) best interest.So why would he do that? That's a steep price to pay just so be can be seen as being more straightforward by hardcore fans like us- people who frankly are gonna buy tickets and watch games anyway. It just doesn't make sense.

  46. MicheleS - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I think I am past the could have/should have/would have stage (and I think most others are as well).Right now we have our team (or 99% of it). It may not be perfect, it may not be what we have at the end of the season, but it is what we have now.I just want that countdown clock to go faster!

  47. N. Cognito - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    I don't care how Harper does in ST, I wouldn't bring him up until June. That extra year of control is signigficant.

  48. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    DFL, Greg, seems a no-brainer to sign Ankiel but the serious consideration is which outfielder gets DFA'd or sent down when lefty Harper is called up.Not sure if you want to be overloaded with lefties. Sounds like Corey Brown will be competing.At this point, the Nats could have used Nix. I think they need someone more like him.

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Great post Bowdenball.I'm off to Sarasota for the day. Can't wait to read the posts later tonite when I get back.

  50. saxguy007 - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Bowdenball said-"But here's the thing: GMs aren't in the business of being 100% honest and straightforward about their personnel. They're in the business of doing what's in the best interests of the ballclub, and optimism about the existing product is always in the best interests of the ballclub. It sells tickets, it fosters confidence, it makes your assets appear more valuable."Amen. All these demands for GM's (and managers, for that matter) "keep it real" in public comments to reporters and the fan base are simply not realistic. Being a GM has a political and diplomatic dimension– at least if done with skill.If our bench is not bolstered from the outside by the conclusion of spring training, then I'll be concerned.

  51. N. Cognito - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Steve M. said… "I too am scratching my head on what Rizzo meant about the bullpen when he let the bargain )1 year $8.5mm) that Ryan Madson was get away."It would have been great to have Madson on the staff, but what makes you believe that Rizzo "let Ryan Madson get away?" I would not be surprised if Madson had no interest in the Nats. Madson wants to be a closer and the Reds are in better position to compete for a playoff spot than the Nats are.

  52. Just sayin' - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Since this thread has turned into a discussion of center fielders, here is MBLTR's list of free agent CFs that will be available NEXT offseason:Alfredo Amezaga (35)Michael Bourn (30)Marlon Byrd (35)Melky Cabrera (28)Mike Cameron (40)Curtis Granderson (32) – $13MM club option with a $2MM buyoutScott Hairston (33)Angel Pagan (31)Cody Ross (32)Aaron Rowand (35)Grady Sizemore (30)Ryan Spilborghs (33)B.J. Upton (28)Shane Victorino (32)I don't believe any of those recently signed (e.g., Pagan) or traded (e.g., Cabrera) have signed extensions, but I could be wrong.From this list, I could only imagine the Nats actively pursuing Bourn, Cabrera, or Upton (i.e., those that are 30 or under); I guess Sizemore might become an option if he has a 'Comeback Player of the Year' season. I assume the Yankees will exercise Granderson's option, unless he's had such an off year that he's not attractive to anyone.

  53. Steve M. - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    N. Cognito, I remember when Werth was talking to Madson and everyone liked the idea then but we all knew Madson would cost too much.I am sure Rizzo and Davey would have fixed the situation if it went Storen to Madson or Madson to Storen, but I believe that Rizzo thought he had a good chance of getting Prince and needed his cash for that acquisition. Just my thoughts on it.A chance like that to replicate what the Braves and Yankees have is a great opportunity. Lets face it, Clip to Storen is great but who is the dominant 3rd guy? It was supposed to be Burnett. When Rizzo talks about "improving the bullpen" I have to believe he is looking for 1 more dominant guy to join Clip/Storen

  54. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    onymous said… Mark, your late in giving us the dirt on Debbi Taylor getting fired.Hey, give Zuckerman a break. Kilgore's the one who broke that story, and it's only because he's a well known sports babe stalker. Watch him drool and get positively giddy when he did a stand-up with Heidi Watney, who's in a whole 'nother league of hotness compared with Debbi Taylor. January 26, 2012 9:45 AM All I can say is OH MY GOD. Kilgore, what a goof.

  55. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Melky Cabrera is 28 years old? I really thought he was 35. Why has he turned into such a journeyman?

  56. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Remember, the Nats can get their CF at July 31st if they are in contention. There will be some team who is looking to dump payroll. Lets hope the Braves fall apart early so JayB can get Bourn again.

  57. NatStat - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    @ Anonymous 10:19, RE: Melky Cabrera's age.In response to your question–probably because he actually is closer to 35 in American birth years!

  58. jcj5y - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    I think the team is counting on getting some bench production from players in the system, including Lombardozzi and, when healthy, Marrero. I'd like to see Ankiel come back instead of having Bernadina on the bench. Maybe not Davey's ideal bench filled with big power bats, but I don't think it's going to cost the team wins.As for centerfield, I'm assuming the team has made multiple plays for Upton, but the Rays are sticking to a high price. If that's right, the Nats are better off with a 2012 outfield of Morse-Werth-Harper and then going for Upton (or someone else) next off season.

  59. Theophilus - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I don't see how Nats expect Cameron to play CF unless Harris-Teeter tosses in an electric shopping scooter as part of their sponsorship deal. Hope Rizzo has an open mind and eyes. Ankiel looks very good at this point, and Fukodome not so bad. Maybe they're willing to give C. Brown an extended trial. Doubt it, but Spring Training is the season of perpetual hope.

  60. DFL - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Research has proved greg correct in that Ross has signed with Boston for $ 3 million plus incentives for a year and that Keppinger is close to signing with Tampa.

  61. Steve M. - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Last year I discussed one of the cascading effects of Ryan Zimmerman signing long-term is a position change for Anthony Rendon.Rendon wants to play and if it means 2nd base or LF then it needs to be done.I am more optimistic than most on Ian Desmond but this is it for me. He has 2012 to prove that he is a shortstop or else the Nats need to make changes. Lets just say this is the crossroad for Desmond. I would rather sign a shortstop from outside the organization as I prefer Espi at 2nd. That would mean Rendon would be a LF which means at some point Werth could become a 4th outfielder. Thats what good teams do. Regardless of salary the best have to play.

  62. sjm308 - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Good posts as usual and I want to make it clear that I love JayB's passion but just tire of hearing the same thing over and over. He makes great points and I learn from him just like others.As a former coach, that is what I was trying to say in my last post. You never throw your team or players under the bus in public. You rant in your office and then come out and say we are still working on getting it right or something like that. Now, Davey is a little more direct and does seem to motivate with negativity at times but I don't think Rizzo is in the same position.Back to baseball. I like signing Oswalt although I am not sure what that does to back end of our rotation. It has already been discussed here that Lannan and Wang are not candidates for the pen. I do like Oswalt for the fact that when SS is shut down we still have the ability to contend.I realize Corey Brown has shown absolutely nothing in his time with us but I am still holding out hope that he will have a terrific spring training and make this CF thing work. These are the kind of things that jumps a team into playoff contention. I just don't see Cameron/Bernadina as an answer so I do agree with JayB on that point. Something needs to be done, I just don't have an answer.

  63. WTFRizzo - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    A) Debbi Taylor got fired, wow you leave town for a week and BOOM…one of my prayers is answered also happy to hear they got rid of the position entirely, "sideline repoorters" in baseball make absolutely NO SENSE! Debi was horrible and I hope she will enjoy being a WalMart greeter.B) UGH! Just when I was optimistic about the offseason, Rizzo opens his FAT YAP and spews the same garbage this organization has been spewing since the Lerner's took over: Theme 1) we tried hard to get a player we really wanted but in the end he asked for too much Theme 2) we like where our team is now (despite acknowledging just weeks before there were holes to fill) There 3) STILL no CF or leadoff hitter, how many years can this be an identified gap that does not get filled without someone getting firedSo with that said ladies and gentleman here are your liklely 2012 Nats:Pitchers (12)SP: Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez, Lannan, WangRP: Burnett, Clippard, Detweiler, Gorzelanny, Perry, Rodriguez, StorenPosition Players (13)C: Ramos, FloresIF: LaRoche, Espinosa, Zimmerman, Desmond, DeRosaOF: Morse, WerthAs you can see we have about 4 blank slots to fill in during Spring Training and I would break it down that we need OF/bench players and another backup infielder, so taking Rizo at face value (hard to do) and only choosing from people in the organization, here are Opening Day roster possibilities:IF: Steve Lombardozzi – Everyone thinks he could start if Desi or Espi were not in front of him and I would argue that defensively he is there but offensively he has too much work to do to sit on the pine at Nats Park rather than get regular ABs at Syracuse. An item on the pro side for him is he is already on the 40-manCarlos Rivero – He is onthe 40 man, I do not know much more about him but since we are choosing from within he reamins a possibilityAndres Blanco – A non-roster invitee rarely makes the team where only a few spots are open and lots of prospects are on the 40 man and not ready for prime time. Blanco is coming off a decent winter season so he deserves a good look.OF:Bryce Harper – As Mark laid out above, it is very unlikely for business reasons that Harper is on the opening day roster.Mike Cameron – Non-roster invitee and old. I would not like to see him on the team but my gut says he has a really good chance of making it.Roger Bernadina – It would be logical for the shark to make the team BUT Rizzo dislikes him so he is a long shot in my book.Xavier Paul – Also a non-roster invitee but I really think he could become something (as a back up not a starter).

  64. PAY TO PLAY - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Theo, Cameron is a 2 day a week guy. Thats it. RH compliment to Bernadina if the Nats can't find anyone else. Kind of pathetic that was the best Rizzo could do.

  65. greg - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    a random thought, what about ibanez as the bench PH/OF? he had a down year last year, and i wouldn't necessarily want him to be a starter all year, but the four years before that he was pretty consistent. not very good defensively, but he would be a good bat off of the bench with a little pop, which is something that doesn't really exist on this roster right now.

  66. blovy8 - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Losing Nix really screwed things up for the bench actually. I know he's close to done, and would want more than he's worth for pride's sake, but I would sign Vlad so he could retire with his original franchise. He certainly could still be a viable pinch hitter, there's no one more aggressive up there, he could probably hit hard liners until he's 40, anyway.

  67. jcj5y - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Umm, sounds like the bullpen is about to get a little more crowded . . .

  68. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    I am fully in the JayB camp, not that anyone cares. The club is looking MUCH better, but stiill has some obvious and significant flaws, and Rizzo comes over to me as fairly satified with himself. His internal optiosn for CF are not that good, they just aren't. The club has pieces that have value in trade: Flores, Desmond, Storen, etc.; and the Nats can take on salary if they need to. I'd like to see Rizzo be agressive and try to get that long term CF or a substantial upgrade at middle infield (Espi to SS if need be) before ST starts. dfh21

  69. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Nice, like the Lidge add if it happens.dfh21

  70. fpcsteve - Jan 26, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Nice touch on the "Bourn again" line, Pay To Play. Will "Bourn again" turn out to be the way to heaven (i.e, "playoffs")? Also agree with N. Cognito on keeping Harper down until June. Dollars and cents/sense… Selling short-term sucess to buy long-term success instead.

  71. Positively Half St. - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Hah!!! I ask what to do for the bullpen, never thinking that signing Brad Lidge was an option! I have to think that should put everybody in a better mood about Mr. Rizzo, huh?Now, I can't imagine Lidge being anything but an 8th or 9th inning guy. Does this set up a big trade?+1/2St.

  72. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    If Harper can play in the bigs on day 1, then he should play in the bigs. They are going to buy-out some of his free agency at some point anyway. The whole discussion is about leverage for ownership over the Dollars they'll pay this kid years and years down the road. They need to just start playing the game to win.dfh21

  73. Anonymous - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Storen to hte Twins for Span?dfh21

  74. blovy8 - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Flawed as he is, Bernadina is the best option right now. He's actually getting fairly decent projections – for some reason it seems like at least one system think he can hit .260. If that happens, you can live with him against righties until June and go with Werth as plan B. They really could use Fukodome, but I would think he's holding out for more certain playing time and are hedging about when Harper should arrive. Still, Fukodome never had much power or speed, and it looks like he's not drawing as many walks if last year is any indication. Something like a DeJesus level player, useful, but not going to change your team's outcome much.

  75. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Well, at least then he wouldn't be a Nats-killer then. :-)Interesting about Lidge. A veteran presence, certainly. Would hope for the "lights out" version, of course.greg said… a random thought, what about ibanez as the bench PH/OF? he had a down year last year, and i wouldn't necessarily want him to be a starter all year, but the four years before that he was pretty consistent. not very good defensively, but he would be a good bat off of the bench with a little pop, which is something that doesn't really exist on this roster right now. January 26, 2012 10:47 AM

  76. natsfan1a - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    um, see you in the new post.

  77. jcj5y - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Lidge isn't an 8th or 9th inning guy anymore, and I'm assuming his contract will reflect that. I'd see him as Henry Rodriguez insurance.

  78. Mongo - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Debbie Taylor and me only pawns in game of life. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKRma7PDW10

  79. NatsLady - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Here are the problems with leaving Harper behind for April and May:1) Games lost in April count just as much as games lost in August;2) If Harper needs time to adjust to major-league pitching and fielding, April and May are better months to do that than June and July;3) We need to see what the outfield situation is before–well before–July 31; we also need to see if we are above .500 at that point. And, most important,4) Davy wants him up, and what Davy wants, Davy will get.I totally grasp the "business reasons" for keeping Harper down for a few months based on the future "return," as was done with Stras. But we could afford to do that then–a last place team, etc. We can't afford to do that now.If we are in the wild-card race for 2012, the payback will FAR FAR outweigh a lost year of Harper (who could, let's face it, get injured anyway). As has been noted, this is the year for the Nats to make their mark as a pro sports team in this area. Gio and Harper have "charisma." We need them plastered all over billboards. Can't do that if Harper is in the minors. We need them all over this city and its suburbs, yakking with kids, etc.Also, you can't assume that you can plan and promote a big debut for Harper and it will sell platinum DVD's like Stras' did. Two different animals. Harper could flub his debut and STILL be a great player. Unless the Nats go 1-12, Harper will be up by Tax Day.

  80. Steve M. - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    NatsLady, you are assuming Bryce Harper will play better than replacement. He is still 19 years old. I personally don't think he is ready but if Davey thinks he is on March 29th than I go with Davey's assesssment.

  81. greg - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    dfh, i don't think the nats will be buying out any of harper's FA years. that's just not how boras lets his clients roll. granted, he could be the exception, but those are rare and it doesn't seem like harper is that kind of exception (from what i've seen/read).

  82. Steve M. - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    blovy8 said… Flawed as he is, Bernadina is the best option right now. He's actually getting fairly decent projections – for some reason it seems like at least one system think he can hit .260. If that happens, you can live with him against righties until June and go with Werth as plan B. They really could use Fukodome, but I would think he's holding out for more certain playing time and are hedging about when Harper should arrive. Still, Fukodome never had much power or speed, and it looks like he's not drawing as many walks if last year is any indication. Something like a DeJesus level player, useful, but not going to change your team's outcome much. January 26, 2012 11:02 AM I tend to agree with you and have said the Bernadina/Cameron could work as an ok option until Harper comes up and Werth moves to CF

  83. Theophilus - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    If Lidge can get the ball over the plate in ST (odds, 50-50) then I think HRodgriguez gets traded. I always thought Rizzo acquired him as a future trade chip. Look for a team that thinks they need a set-up guy and has an underachieving CF. Seattle and Franklin Gutierrez?

  84. blovy8 - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Agreed, Steve M. Before they ran into problems getting a CF, the teamspeak was that they wanted Harper to show mastery over each level before promotion. While he improved after the initial adjustment time in AA, and had fine AZ league numbers, three homers and a 256/329/395 line do not demonstrate mastery over that level.

  85. blovy8 - Jan 26, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Gutierrez might be a worse hitter than Bernadina. Great outfielder though.

  86. waddu eye no - Jan 26, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    curious – if bernie comes up and kicks butt until july, does he have trade value?

  87. Unkyd - Jan 26, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    If he kicks butt, given our current options, I reckon he'd stay right where he is, and kick more butt! Wouldn't be the first time the lightbulb unaccountably just clicked on…..

  88. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2012 at 2:56 AM

    Why has the trail gone cold on Upton?

  89. Anonymous - Jan 27, 2012 at 3:44 AM

    Bourn WILL be available soon. He is a Boras client and the Braves refuse to deal with Boras. There won't be an extension and he'll be on the open market, then we'll see what the Nat's do.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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