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Payroll could reach $84 million

Feb 3, 2012, 8:02 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Edwin Jackson will earn $9 million this year, with another $2 million paid in 2013.

Somewhat lost amid the news of Edwin Jackson's signing and the domino effect it's going to have on the Nationals rotation is the financial impact of all this.

Even on a one-year rental, Jackson doesn't come cheap. The Nationals are committed to paying him $11 million for his services, though a source familiar with the contract said only $9 million of that will be paid this year, with another $2 million deferred to 2013.

Still, that's a good amount of money the Lerner family just doled out. It's actually the highest one-year salary the Nationals have ever paid to a pitcher.

And this unexpected February signing is going to bump the franchise's payroll to a level it's never seen before, perhaps reaching as high as $84 million come Opening Day. That would represent a 22 percentRead more »

156 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    It would still be $20M less than the 2011 average MLB payroll and they are very likely going to move some payroll via trade.dfh21

  2. upperdeck4 - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Laughing, Mark, you are so stunned look at how you spelled "could" in the headline.

  3. Tcostant - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    A lot of these salaries (about $6.587M) are from guys who won't be on the team on opening day [okay maybe Harper] roster.Mark – Is that major-league median, including items like these or is just straight math of the final 25 guys on the roster opening day?I think this could be a case of "apples and oranges", which one includes such items and others do not.

  4. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Only about $40 million short of contending for a title!

  5. HHover - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Actually, MLB average was $93M last year, dfh21, so you're about $10M off. And with the Yankees spending more than the bottom 4 teams combined, Mark picked the better point of comparison in using median rather than average payroll anyway.

  6. Mick - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    If Desmond can fill a half way decent lead off roll and if LaRouche can at least hit with men in scoring position, the Nats may play ball beyond 162 games. Of course this is all if if. Remember, if your Aunt had balls, she'd be your Uncle, lol

  7. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Gotta love baseball salary structures…your starting catcher, 2B, SS, and potential CF combined will earn less than a spare part long reliever (Gorzellany).

  8. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Tcostant: The official Opening Day payroll numbers always include the 25 guys on the actual roster, plus players on the DL, plus minor-leaguers making guaranteed money. Most teams don't have players in that last category, but the Nats could have four in Harper, Rendon, Purke and Maya.Also, some of you may be wondering why your comments didn't post on the previous thread. Unfortunately, there's still a glitch in the commenting system that prevents you from being able to read anything once there are more than 200 comments per thread. I'm trying to figure out how to fix that. Until then, I'll try my best to make sure there's always a new post up before previous ones reach the 200 limit.

  9. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    HHover,Mark said the median salary was $84 million, not the average(or mean), which is obviously skewed higher by Yanks, Sox, Phils…

  10. John - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    Mark: I sent you this on Twitter, but Gio and Morse are actually making 3.75 this year. I know Cot's breaks up the bonuses over the life of the contract, and I believe MLB does for tax pruposes, but i believe the actual payroll is a little over $85 million.

  11. DFL - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    $ 9 million for a 4.50 ERA pitcher when you have a abundance of starters. And Werth last year. Rizzo's foolish.

  12. HHover - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    Anon @ 3:23Re-read my comment. I was correcting an earlier commenter, and pointing out that Mark used the better measure of central tendency.

  13. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    @Sec3 — On the Strasburg 5 inning idea, the thing is that we'e always been told that the limit is 160 innings, not 26 starts, or 5 months. (@NatsLady, I know you are convinced that the length of the minor league season is significant here, but where's the evidence that that's what the limit is based on?) It's also not 2500 pitches. If the between starts routine, warmup pitches, or total pitches were significant, then you would think that if someone gets knocked out in the first inning that would be counted as more than just 1 inning. But as far as I know, it's not.I've actually never seen an article based on knowledgable sources about the 160 inning limit, where it came from, how it's changed, how it's been interpreted, how it's worked, though I've seen lots of speculation or explanations here. I'd love to see Mark dive into this and perhaps even specifically ask Rizzo or McCatty about creative solutions other than the 6-man rotation which I think is the only idea that Rizzo has specifically dismissed. (@FeelWood, feel free to provide a link to other quotes if you have them.)Also, the idea that this solution would teach Strasburg to be a five inning pitcher or that he needs to learn right now how to go 6 or 7, as suggested by a previous commenter, is silly. I'm sure he can make an adjustment next year to pitch 6-8 innings per start, once his innings limit is gone, just as he made the adjustment when he turned pro to be an every 5 days pitcher instead of a Friday night only pitcher.

  14. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Sorry about that HHover…

  15. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    Salaries for players ranked 3-6 wil be wiped off of the books at the end of the year.

  16. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    HHoover — thanks for the correction on the payroll average. I had eyed it up — the Dodgers were the 12th club on the list I saw at over $104M, so I figured given the Yanks, Phils and Red Sox being well over $160M that the simple average was higher. dfh21

  17. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Anonymous said…Salaries for players ranked 3-6 wil be wiped off of the books at the end of the year.Yes, and the combined salaries for Werth, Zimmerman, Morse, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Clippard, Storen and Desmond should go up at least $25 million next year.

  18. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    I don't agree that the median is the "better meaure of central tendency" — it's just the mid point. Without throwing in the standard deviation it's not so valuable all on its own. dfh21

  19. DJ - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    Mark-Way too early to start singing the praises of the Lerner family, man. They still have a long way to go to improve the major league payroll to get everyone off the LAC (Lerners Are Cheap) bandwagon.Progress? Yes, they are making some. But they aren't there yet. They still need an OF bat by the way.

  20. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    The only significant add in payroll is Jackson, the others are arb player raises and draft bonus money guys mostly. Not time to annoint Ted Lerner as a big spender whether your playing to the mean, median or market levels.

  21. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Okay people.. Whoever started the Take Back the Park/Occupy Nats Park conversation a month or so ago can take credit for today's special sale. Why do you ask. I just got confirmation that the Nats Staff reads Nats Insider.

  22. Oldguy - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    What does everybody think about this "take back the park" idea? There's a lot of chatter going on on the Nats' site, some from po'd Phillies fans. We already have tickets, but I'm going to get more for the other games.Given how we handled them last year, I'm not sure it's necessary, but it will be interesting to see.

  23. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    I guess Gio's 5 year contract extension doesn't count as an add.

  24. Tcostant - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    Mark thanks for the DL, minor league bonus info; I learn something new ever day!Section 222 you should head over to si.com and read each year's "Year After Effect" article. This article yearly labels starters who are yound and had they work load reffed up and the effect. The limit is based on these findings, more or less.

  25. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    NatsJack. You are correct – Gio's future years don't count to this year's payroll.

  26. Mark'd - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    I don't think salaries are a factor any more in a determining factor if the success of this team.

  27. Just sayin' - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    I'm less interested in what the MLB mean/median is and more inclined to shoot for what it takes to get into the post-season. I know that some teams do it on the cheap and others spend excessively but without success. But I think the numbers that playoff-caliber teams are spending is more relevant to the Nats' current direction.

  28. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Thanks for the tip Tcostant. I'll definitely check that out. If anyone follows the Phillies' blogs, it would be interesting to hear what people are saying about Take Back the Park. I'm guessing that there will still be a lot of Philly fans in attendance that weekend, since many live in the DC metro area and can buy tickets now. But I was glad to learn from my Nats season ticket rep that there is a limit of 8 tickets per game for the presale, which means that a clever Phillies fan who lives here in town (or is that an oxymoron?) won't be able to buy a ton of tickets and sell them to a bus operator or broker in Philly. Good move Nats!

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    But the $2 million increase over the three minimum salary guys he replaces does.

  30. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    Mark'd — How do you figure? Only a handful of bottom 50% of the pile payroll clubs have been in the playoffs over the last 15 years.

  31. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Taking into account the young age of many of the Nats and the fact that many are still under team control (facts the whiners seem to ignore), an $84 million is quite healthy.

  32. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Here's all the quote you need about why an arbitrary five inning per start limit for Strasburg is ridiculous."Okay, guys. Big game tonight. We're going all out to win it. We're throwing our best pitcher at them…for five whole innings. After that, you're on your own."Having Strasburg start a game knowing he's being pulled after five innings is basically diluting the product. It's as bad as watering down the beer to stretch it out. They just don't do that kind of thing in the big leagues.

  33. Just sayin' - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    Just noticed a snarky reference to "Take Back Our Park" by a Phillies fan over on MBLTR…

  34. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:23 PM

    That should be "…an $84 million payroll is quite healthy."

  35. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    NatsJack. No, it doesn't. We're not netting out Gio against some set of players — its just total spending in a given year — and if we were, then why not compare him to Livan or Pudge and call it a push?

  36. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Jon Heyman reported that Jackson had a couple of three year, $30 million offers from other clubs. It is strange that he didn't opt for 3 years as his record over many seasons is mostly mediocre (60-60 with an ERA of 4.46). If he was any good, he wouldn't be pitching for a different team every season. In fact, last season he pitched for two teams. I would not throw John Lannan (4.00 ERA) under the bus for one year of Jackson.

  37. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Here's this year's Year After Effect article by Tom Verducci:http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tom_verducci/01/18/year.after.effect/index.htmlInterestingly, everyone seems to think that there are no limits on how many innings JZnn can pitch this year now that he is a full 2 1/2 years removed from his TJ surgery. But it sounds like Verducci would consider him "at risk" next season if he throws more than 190 innings this year. Verducci's rule of thumb is that no pitcher should throw more than 30 innings more than his previous high number of innings (whenever that occurred). I still have no clue where the 160 inning limit came from.

  38. Just sayin' - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    I'm much less interested in how the Nats' payroll compares to the average (whether expressed as mean or median) MLB team and much more concerned about how it stacks up against playoff-caliber teams. I know that payroll isn't a perfect predictor of success — some low-salary teams make the post-season, some high-salary teams flop badly — but there is a relationship between spending and winning.

  39. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    or apply Pudge, Livo, Gomes, Coffey, Slaten, etc. to Jackson. The total salaries increased $16 million. Hats off to the Lerner's for a sensible approach and allowing Rizzo to work his plan.

  40. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    $84 million is pocket change for Ted Lerner. He is the richest owner in baseball with a net worth of over $3.5 billion. He has been very frugal all his life. Why worry about him finally spending a small fraction of his loot at the age of 86? He could outspend the Yankees if he was so inclined.

  41. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    "If he was any good, he wouldn't be pitching for a different team every season."Wow. Now there's a wild overstatement. It's significant that this is Jackson's first time signing as a free agent. All of his other moves have been in trades. That says to me that he was good enough for another team to want him enough to give something up for him. I guess it's fair to say at this point that EJax hasn't been viewed as good enough to be untouchable by the teams he has played for. But that's a far cry from saying that he's no good.I think this was a great move. Low cost, no risk, big possible reward.

  42. Anonymous8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    Anonymous said… $84 million is pocket change for Ted Lerner. He is the richest owner in baseball with a net worth of over $3.5 billion. He has been very frugal all his life. Why worry about him finally spending a small fraction of his loot at the age of 86? He could outspend the Yankees if he was so inclined. February 03, 2012 4:36 PM You have to love big spending Anon's. I bet you spend freely on your business too! You don't stay in business long without a good plan.The Lerner's have over a dozen partners. They have a fiduciary responsibility to make prudent decisions. Minority shareholders have legal rights. Mr. Lerner may want to do something that the partners don't agree with. Keep that in mind. Obviously I don't know anything but I'm not making disparaging remarks about an 86 year old man who isn't here to defend himself.GYDNG

  43. John C. - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    Anonyhaters who bitch that the Lerners aren't just pouring money into the Nationals for our benefit just irritate me. Baseball is a diversion, an entertainment expense. Telling someone else that "you're rich,you can afford to entertain me" is great as long as I'm the one telling Rich Guy Lerner to spend. Flip it around, so that broke college student is asking me to give (for example) free tickets to movies in my multiplex because I can afford it and they like movies … well, I'm less enthusiastic about it. I could do things like that if I were so inclined – and I daresay so could virtually everyone reading this. Think you're not rich? Tell that to the family in rural West Virginia, or better yet to the subsistence farmer in asia someplace. Your pocket change could buy a lot of entertainment for those people, so why worry about holding back a small fraction of your loot?I give a substantial amount to charity, and think other people should, too. But it's hard to think of entertainment (baseball) as a worthwhile charitable expense.

  44. JaneB - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Of course there will be snarky comments about "take back the park." I don't care about those snarksters. I DO care that FINALLY the Nats' management realized that we need to build a fan base and not just sell tickets. I know he was joking, but I loved the comments about parking the buses across the river and making them swim. I don't miss Stan Kasten's attitude at all. This is a much better change.Maybe they WILL let Teddy win. Finally. I hope they're paying attention to that too. Because it would be a GREAT, WE MEAN BUSINESS change, right out of the gate.

  45. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    Section 222 I did not say Jackson was no good, I said his record was very mediocre. Teams don't trade away good pitchers and Jackson has been traded 5 times in 7 seasons.

  46. lesatcsc - Feb 3, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    Right on, John C.

  47. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    The Nationals are a business. The Lerners have no obligation to dig into their pockets to supplement the payroll. If you believe Steinbrenner dug into his pockets, you're a fool.

  48. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Anon 4:36 PM. The Lerners own 90% of the Nats. The last time I checked, that is a controlling interest. A controlling interest allows them to do anything they want to do. If I owned the Nats, had a net worth of $3.5 billion and was 86 years old, I would sign Prince Fielder in a heart beat.

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    great post John C.

  50. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:03 PM

    Not for 9 years, I wouldn't.

  51. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    Dang, seems like I missed the sock puppet show in the previous thread. Oh well, I'll catch the next one. :-)

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:05 PM

    The Yes Network is the Yankees cash cow, not the Steinbrenners.

  53. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Cliff Lee has been traded 3 times in 5 years. He must be mediocre, too.

  54. Joe Seamhead - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    I am a very happy guy. I am partners with another guy for 4 partial plan tix in sec. 311, but they're all in his name, as he bought them early, and he's away, and I can't get into the plan info to see what game we have for the Phillies weekend. No matter. I went ahead and bought 4 more tix for the Sunday night ESPN game. If I end up with extra tickets, I'll figure it out. Now why am I so happy, you may ask? I got four seats down low in section 140 in the RF lower deck, right where the blocks of Phillbillies sit and harass Jason Werth. Well, there's four seats that they won't have on National's TV! I was bummed by how many Nats fans wouldn't go to the park when Philly was in town last year. I relish it. I loved watching them go home after the Zimm walk off HR and the Jonny Gomes walk off HBP! I sure hope that this push by Nats ticket manager Mr, Feffer works as good as he hopes for it to work. I will say that I think that $21.00 in fees to buy the tickets is excessive, however.

  55. stereotypical phillies fan - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:11 PM

    Don't get too good or you'll have to deal with me talking smack on your blog everyday!

  56. NatsLady - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    The fees are excessive. You can avoid them by calling on the phone or going to the box office (box office not open yet.).I am a proud Season Ticket Holder (for the first time). Got the George Plan, which includes the Sunday Phillies game. I won't be able to go to the Saturday game, but I might take off work for the Friday game– will have to see about the weather.

  57. JaneB - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:21 PM

    Dear stereo: start now. Because we WILL be that good.(and nice post, John C)

  58. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Sorry John C. (and everyone else who is so quick to attack someone who suggests that our billionaire owners should spend some of their money to bring a winner to DC), but I think your analogies are way off base. The Lerners are not garden variety business owners with the right to do whatever they want with their business and responsibility to their customers. They were chosen by MLB over several competing potential ownership groups and handed an enormous cash cow. They run a hugely profitable franchise. They got public money to build Nats Park. They charge us $8 for a beer and more money for tickets than all but a few teams in MLB. We have every right to urge them to spend. Having said that, as much as I wanted Prince to come to DC, I can't say I'm sure a nine year deal would have made sense. And we just landed the best remaining free agent pitcher. So today I didn't capitalize BILLIONAIRE. Still, there's simply no reasonable comparison to be drawn between their resources and responsibilities to the community and those of the average or even relatively well off fan.

  59. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    John C. — that is some funny stuff. i was not complainging about the spending levles of the Nats or calling out Ted as being some tight-wad, well not today at least, but charity? Do you think demands from fans that Ted Lerner spending at a league average level for his club is demanding charity from hte guy? Listen, friend — I am a full STH and have been since day 1, 4 seats on the Club Level, the Nats have oceans of my money. In return for it they have delivered bottom 10 payrolls, top ticket prices and iffy service while playing in a DC taxpayer funded park and losing all the while to beat the mothereffing band. Ted Lerner going cheap with his ball club's payroll has zero to do with farmers in Asia and I am not looking for Ted's chairty no matter how you slice it, I'm just looking for the guy to do what it takes to deliver a winning club, like he promised me he would. Got it?dfh21

  60. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    I think that these Janes and Johns posters work for hte Nats, no other real explanation for the content.

  61. Roberto - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    "They were chosen by MLB over several competing potential ownership groups and handed an enormous cash cow. They run a hugely profitable franchise. They got public money to build Nats Park. They charge us $8 for a beer and more money for tickets than all but a few teams in MLB. We have every right to urge them to spend."Agreed. I don't think that the Lerners are "cheap" and I am glad that the Tigers and not the Nats overpaid for Fielder. Still, this isn't Tysons Corner or White Flint — they are the beneficiaries of a helluva lot of public largesse. We, as their customers, have every right to demand that they spend whatever is reasonably necessary to put a quality and competitive product on the field. Like I said, reasonable people can disagree about this or that free agent or even contract extension. I think that the correlation between payroll and performance is complicated: while spending the most doesn't guarantee championships, there is a threshold amount that must be spent to assure consistent competitiveness. And someone who spends a lot of his entertainment and discretionary dollars at Half Street, I expect the team to be committed to meeting that threshold. There's no excuse for not doing that, especially in this market.

  62. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 10:53 PM

    "Having Strasburg start a game knowing he's being pulled after five innings is basically diluting the product. It's as bad as watering down the beer to stretch it out. They just don't do that kind of thing in the big leagues."Baloney. Every team does it every night in the big leagues with the 100 pitch limit. That generally means 6 innings for starters. What's the big difference between 5 and 6? Not much in any given game. But 2 or 3 more wins in the season because Strasburg starts 6 more times, and maybe having him available for the WC game — that could be significant. "Here's all the quote you need about why an arbitrary five inning per start limit for Strasburg is ridiculous….'We're throwing our best pitcher at them…for five whole innings. After that, you're on your own.'"I wonder how Clippard and Storen and now Lidge would feel about your characterization of what is widely considered to be one of the best bullpens in baseball. Guess we should have known that the only quote you'd have would be fictitious snark.

  63. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    Best 25 will go North!!Have a great weekend all.dfh21

  64. Joe Seamhead - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    stereotypical phillies fan said…Don't get too good or you'll have to deal with me talking smack on your blog everyday!February 03, 2012 5:11 PM———————————————————— Hey, pal, you're welcome here to talk smack as long as you bring intelligent smack to the table.

  65. natscan reduxit - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:20 PM

    … money, money, money; every time I turn around, it's all about the money. According to the top of this website, there're only sixteen days until BASEBALL, BABY! At this point I couldn't care less about the money. … after years of whinging and whining about the cheap Lerners, I'm ready to say 'good on ya' boys, now let's play ball.Go Nats!!

  66. Gonat - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Correct me if I am wrong but wasn't the Lerner/Kasten ownership group the High Bidder at $450 million?Didn't all the other 29 owners get a 1/29 share of the profit on the sale?Haven't the Nats poured additional money into the stadium for capital improvements?Didn't MLB have the stadium deal complete before the sale?I think there are a lot of people that bend the truth to sound like the Lerner's took advantage of a publicly funded stadium when that was all part of a deal.4 years after the Lerner group purchased the Nats, Forbes Magazine estimated the team valuation at $417 million. If that's the case, what they paid for the team declined in value.Lastly, if you don't like the product the team puts out there, don't pay the price of admission and stock the continual b-tching.

  67. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    If Section222 owned a nice shiny new fast car, he'd drive it 350 miles in the Indy 500 and then pull it out to save wear and tear on the tires. You know, the warranty only lasts for a certain number of miles, wouldn't want to use it all up so early in the season. No problem, he'll just finish the race in his Yugo.Good luck with that.

  68. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Hey Gonat….sweet post!

  69. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:48 PM

    Gonat. The Lerners added signage upgrades — revenue increasers. Sure, part of the deal they bought was the public park, but they are under-spending the market average (year in and year out as they lose) compared to clubs that did not have that luxury. Every other club over the last 10 years to open a new park went big with payroll to build a winner, but the Nats, only the Nats, kept the wallet in their pocket. Forbes also claims that the Nats have made big money year after year, operating at a nice profit, annual profit well in excess of the potential decline in sale value from the original sales price the Lerners paid sicne 2008 (more than 4 years ago). And telling the fans not to bitch and to stay away from the park if they don’t like the fact that the Lerners have been very slow, relative to their peers in comparable markets and in new parks, to put a quality club on the field is just not fair. You can't blame frustration over the club’s poor performance and management’s poor execution and a lack of will to win on the fans.

  70. John C. - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    dfh, it wasn't you I was responding to – it was the Anon at 4:36. Actually, dfh, I think that you and I do have some common ground on the spending issue. For me it's not the need to hit some payroll level to keep me satisfied. I'm not about payroll, I'd like to see a truly competitive team on the field. As Roberto notes, the relationship between spending in baseball is complicated. There is some correlation but not a lot. So for me, I'm looking for a team that doesn't back away from an otherwise sensible decision solely because of money. Where I get off the bus is when posters essentially say "why don't the Lerners [do something really stupid, like outbid the Tigers for Fielder]? They can afford it!" That's where my analogy comes into full force. What you talk about is the need to make smart investments in the quality of the team on the field and the quality of the overall fan experience. Where we may differ is that I think that over the past 15 months the Nationals have shown sufficient willingness to spend (Werth, Gonzalez's extension, signing Jackson) that it's pretty clear that keeping costs down is no longer the primary consideration in putting this team together. My point is that of course cost is a consideration, and that's completely legitimate. But the Nationals aren't Bowden dumpster-diving anymore, and anyone who says that that they are simply isn't paying attention.We can't get the past few years back. The team has hurt its own potential by providing such a lousy team from 2006-2010, and part of that pain is the loss of fan support, including the outright anger that many fans feel. Winning would help a lot in that regard, and I think that's one reason why the pursestrings are opening. So keep the heat on, absolutely! But be OK with it if the Nationals don't do 100% of what you or I think is the right thing to do. By showing their willingness to spend, they've earned (with me, at least) a probationary right to assume that they know what they are doing enough to keep the team heading in the right direction. 16 more days!

  71. Wally - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Looking over Mark's projected roster, I was surprised that Lombo made it. I figured that he would either find a starting job or start in Syracuse. Is he the only back up MI currently on the roster?I wonder what happens if Desi gets hurt during the season. Does Espy slide over, after not playing there for two years, or does Lombo try to stick there? I didn't think that he had played much SS in the minors. neither of those seem like great in-season options. Maybe we ought to break out the live rooster to make sure Ian can play 162 games.

  72. Joe Seamhead - Feb 3, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Folks, they are in an uproar up there over the "take back the park" campaign. Go to this page and check out the tweets on the bottom left corner!http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/

  73. MicheleS - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    In Other news..The Big Pot of Coffey is now with the Dodgers. Sigh.. going to miss the run in from the bullpen.

  74. Joe Seamhead - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    oops. you might have to hit "featured" when you go to the box in the bottom left corner. "featured is in the upper right side of the box. They are finding a zillion ways to get around our ploy. Honestly, it's time Nats Fans! Buy those tickets for that weekend now!

  75. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    I decided to put some money in the May 4th to 6th weekend. It only let me buy 1 game so I called my buddy and he bought the other game so we purchased 4 seats each for Saturday and Sunday.I encourage everyone here to do the same so we don't have bitching and moaning that there were to many Phillie fans. Lower level outfield seats were $26 each. I will be sitting in RF watching Werth or maybe even Bryce Harper.Maybe the Nats are finally listening!

  76. fpcsteve - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Well said, John C.

  77. natsfan1a - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:24 AM

    Have to put this here because of the post-200 comments not showing up in the previous thread:Yes, and she did it in high heels, too. Thanks for putting it on a tee for me, sofa. :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… YOU NEVER GO 1 STEP FORWARD AND 2 STEPS BACKWARDS AND SUCCEED I dunno, Ginger Rogers did OK. February 03, 2012 2:53 PM

  78. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    fpcsteve and John C,Its very clear to me that the Nationals do HAVE A PLAN … a REAL PLAN … not a plan that says keep the payroll low and convince Philly Phans to come south for games featuring their team. Its NOT STAN's PLAN nor JIMBO's JOY RIDING. Its a concerted and carefully crafted plan by REAL baseball experts coordinating with ownership, taking all aspects of building a franchise into consideration. Not a bunch of schlubs throwing darts in the air. NationalsProspects isn't big on the BA announcement of the Nats making it to #1. I agree with the rationale stated there. But one cannot understate the import of that announcement in the context of knowing for certain that:1. The Lerner's aren't cheap, they learn fast. Pun intended yet still very true.2. Rizzo, Roy Clark, Harris et al are probably better than Epstein, Hoyer, Beane, et al on their worst best days. 3. The Redskins are no longer the top sports franchise in town. The Nationals are. Period.

  79. natsfan1a - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    In other news, my hubby and I will be at the May 5 game, because we tend to go to the weekend day games.

  80. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Looking over Mark's projected roster, I was surprised that Lombo made it. I figured that he would either find a starting job or start in Syracuse. Is he the only back up MI currently on the roster?Mark knows the Nats need a leadoff hitter. Lombo had been schooled to do exactly that in the old school way. He isn't a home run hitter but his hitting is fundamentally sound. He understands how to get on base and make things happen. He also happens to feature a platoon bat. If he can hit from both sides reasonably well then he might just get the jump on Desmond and Johnson might be inclined to move Espinosa over. That would give him two additional left-handed bats with speed. One with significant power potential.

  81. BethesdaFan - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    A question. Wilson Ramos did not play yesterday in the Caribbean Series and is not in the lineup tonight for Venezuela? Thought he was playing. Any info?

  82. MicheleS - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Some interestinng reading from the philly's persprective on the nats. Read the comments. Not all Phillie's fans are knuckleheads.

  83. MicheleS - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    and it would help if i copied the link..http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/phillies/20120202_Nationals_looking_more_formidable_in_NL_East.html1a.. I need your tech saviness…

  84. Wally - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:55 AM

    Anon @7:38 – ok, I know that is essentially the pro-Lombo argument. But I was questioning a slightly different take on it: if a change from Desi @ SS happens during the season (for any reason), what do you think the plan is? Moving Espy midseason, after two seasons at 2B and without the practice time of ST, seems like a risky plan. And I hadn't thought that Lombo was considered able to handle SS on a full time basis.

  85. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    Here we go again with the "Lombo" love.The only reason Mark has him listed is because Chavez or somebody else hasn't been signed yet

  86. Drew - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    I got three good seats in Section 128 for Saturday May 5. That's three that won't go to the Philly busboys.

  87. Theophilus - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:18 AM

    Aces, Gonat.

  88. MicheleS - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    I am in Sec 134 for Friday and Saturday and section 131 for Sunday night

  89. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    John C 6:49 — nicely said, and thanks for taking the time to lay it out.dfh21

  90. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:00 AM

    Oh . . .Best 25 will go North!! (ran out of bourbon MicheleS, so chugging beer instead)dfh21

  91. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    You so don't know me FeelWood. But you do have a rapier like wit, I'll give you that. Your analogy totally fails though, unless you complete the story — I finish and win the race in my hopped up Yugo (nicknamed LidgeClippStoren) while the rest of the field runs out of gas before the finish line.JoeSeamhead, thanks for the Philly link. Some hilarious comments in there, as well as a bunch of commenters who say they live in Maryland and will buy plenty of tix. One thing that comes up all the time is true though — the best way to crowd out opposing teams' fans to start winning. Let's all hope that happens this year.And John C., your second post made a lot of sense. I'm with you 100% on cutting the Lerners and Rizzo some slack based on recent moves and spending. Just not with you on the complaining about people who want the Lerners to spend more or the suggestion that to ask them to spend what it takes to build a winner is somehow like a college kid asking you to buy him tickets to the movies. As dfh21 has said very well, they have taken lots of our money in the past five years and so far haven't delivered much.

  92. ehay2k - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Nice post John C. As for the take back the park initiative, it's about time! And I love that the philthy phans are upset about it.I got 5 tickets for the Saturday game. All I can say now is, bring the best 25 north! (Bottoms up, everyone!)Captcha was droutwin.

  93. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    sec 222 said: Also, the idea that this solution would teach Strasburg to be a five inning pitcher or that he needs to learn right now how to go 6 or 7, as suggested by a previous commenter, is silly. I'm sure he can make an adjustment next year to pitch 6-8 innings per start, once his innings limit is gone, just as he made the adjustment when he turned pro to be an every 5 days pitcher instead of a Friday night only pitcher. i was one of those who said it was a bad idea. it's important for a pitcher to face the lineup a 3rd time. if strasburg pitches well for those 5 innings, he will likely face no more than 18-20 batters. he needs to get through at least 25-30 batters so he's facing the whole lineup the 3rd time. this is the key to lasting 7 innings regularly, being able to make it through the lineup the 3rd time when they start to adjust to you and then you adjust to them. this is why lannan doesn't regularly pitch 7 innings. and this is part of why zimmerman sometimes struggled last year heading into the 7th inning. and it's what separates the men from the boys in the starting pitching ranks. so i think limiting his innings per game to 5 is shortchanging his development. and i'd be shocked if the nationals did that. now if you want to say they'd skip him in the rotation every once in a while and give him a long all-star break to try to get him pitching in september, i'd buy that. but i just don't see them limiting his development by limiting his innings per start this year. i think people are trying too hard to force a concept that would let him pitch in october. and i think it's a mistake to try to get too cute doing it.

  94. Anonymous8 - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    The whole Strasburg thing will probably mirror JZim's experience and there seemed to be a pitch count limit most games. I think it is smart to start Strasburg slowly going 5 innings and then move him up and down from there.

  95. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:54 AM

    And I hadn't thought that Lombo was considered able to handle SS on a full time basis.Right now if anyone goes down in the infield its a choice between DeRosa, Lombardozzi … and yes Michael Morse. Morse's bat at third should Zimmerman succumb to an injury might make sense. His glove? Well he played third a significant amount of time in AAA. But he is a big guy and so he has to stoop to get grounders whereas Lombo does not need to so much.

  96. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:57 AM

    strasburg was already pitching 6 innings at the end of last season. and jordan pitched 6, 5.1, 7 and 6 his first four games last year. i think strasburg will go as many innings as his performance takes him. which is what they did with jzimm last season.

  97. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:01 AM

    I think it is smart to start Strasburg slowly going 5 innings and then move him up and down from there.It'll most likely be mostly based on pitch count. They may keep Strasburg to 80-85 initially and then gradually let him go to 90+. We'll have to see how Davey plays it.

  98. Gonat - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:10 AM

    Greg, what were the pitch counts? I don't think it is innings

  99. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:20 AM

    i didn't think zimmermann was on pitch counts. but they were all under 100 in april and only six games were over 100 pitches.i don't expect strasburg to have any higher pitch counts than zimmermann. and i expect he'll be pitching 6+ innings most games (and possibly 7+ quite a bit). http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/gamelog/_/id/30209/jordan-zimmermann

  100. Cwj - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    It's interesting, last year JZimmermann averaged 6 innings per start. Total of 26 starts, 161.1 IP. Very good considering his pitch counts were limited.I think Strasburg could be just as efficient this year as Zimmermann was last season. They're almost exactly one year apart.

  101. Cwj - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:29 AM

    Basically what Greg said :)

  102. Cwj - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    Interesting numbers I found looking at Zimmermanns game log from last year.He pitched 6 innings or more in 16 of his first 18 starts (including 13 in a row)!

  103. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:43 AM

    So, it appears that the Nats have already sold thousands of tickets to Phillies bus tour resellers. I had already went on their Take-Back site and bought tickets. Now I feel used. This smells bad and can't be good business practice, no matter how many tickets they are selling.

  104. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    greg — Your first comment on the Strasburg question actually contained more analysis than the last five from FeelWood combined. All I've been waiting to hear is an actual rationale for having Strasburg pitch more than 5 innings rather than arrogant certainty, snark, and belittling of any opposing view, and you supplied a pretty good one. So thanks for that. And thanks for the link to the ESPN game log. That is very cool. Now I see where people get the monthly stats. Awesome.I tend tend to think that with Strasburg's pitch repertoire, he's not going to have as much trouble the third time through the lineup as certain others in our rotation. He's already shown that, so taking a year off from pitching six innings isn't going to hurt his development I don't think. The 100 pitch limit will likely keep him from going more than five innings sometimes anyway, as it did for Znn, and his pitch count limit could be even less than 100 for the first few months of the season, as Znn's seemed to be. It's one thing to say "let him go as long as he can" if that means he'll go 8 or 9 innings. It's quite another to say "let him go as long as he can as long as he doesn't exceed 90 or 100 pitches." I just don't think the extra inning (which is what JZ averaged and he was generally held to around 100 pitches at most) is worth losing 6 starts over the course of the season. He can quickly get used to going through the order three times when he's able to pitch 200 innings, in 2013.

  105. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:50 AM

    i do agree that he'll be better dealing with the lineup than most pitchers already, purely because of his stuff. but i don't think that's a reason to put off his development in that regard for another year. i really do believe that the more he pitches 7 or more this year, the more dominant he'll be without the hard innings limit next season. and i think the nats are going to approach it the same way, just as they did with zimmermann.

  106. Feel Wood - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:06 AM

    All I've been waiting to hear is an actual rationale for having Strasburg pitch more than 5 innings rather than arrogant certainty, snark, and belittling of any opposing view, and you supplied a pretty good one.How about this: It's a baseball game to be played and won, not a mathematical problem to be solved. Strasburg is a starting pitcher, but your plan to have him pitch five innings every time out and be followed by some other starter like Lannan or Detwiler for the last four treats him as nothing more than a puzzle piece. "Plug this piece in for 5 innings 32 times and you're benefiting the team more than if he makes as many starts as he can of 6, 7, 8 or 9 innings, which would use up his 160 innings sooner." Sounds good on paper, but the game isn't played on paper. It's played on the field, by athletes who are trained to compete until their resources are spent. That's what they want to do, and that's what they should be allowed to do as long as their performance isn't tailing off or their health being dangered. If Strasburg can pitch deep into a game, he should. He shouldn't be told exactly when he's going to be pulled from a game even before he toes the mound for his first pitch. That's not how the game of baseball is played. I'm sorry, but it's just not.

  107. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    I think the Nats will probably follow the JZnn model too, I just don't think that's the best way to maximize his value to the team. We weren't going to contend last year, this year we will. That's the difference. And I'm not convinced that one more inning in each start, which is likely just three or four more batters not a trip through the whole lineup, will affect how dominant he is in 2013.

  108. Gonat - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    Section 222 said… I think the Nats will probably follow the JZnn model too, I just don't think that's the best way to maximize his value to the team. We weren't going to contend last year, this year we will. That's the difference. And I'm not convinced that one more inning in each start, which is likely just three or four more batters not a trip through the whole lineup, will affect how dominant he is in 2013. February 03, 2012 11:09 PM _________________________________Well said. That's why you have to really consider all sides of what will work.I wonder what the Cardinals will do with Adam Wainwright as he is also coming off of TJ and you know the Cards are going for it again

  109. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:14 AM

    Yeah, and Strasburg should have to bat, too.

  110. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:17 AM

    it won't be just one more inning. it's not like if he's not limited to 5 innings, he's going to be limited to 6. i think he'll pitch 7 innings fairly regularly. the nationals are going to look at strasburg from a long-term perspective, not just from a "this season" perspective. they want to contend for a long time. and i'm not convinced that having strasburg pitch the same amount of innings spread across more games actually makes the team more likely to win more games. if strasburg leaves after 5, you're going to put a lower quality pitcher in for another inning or two and could potentially give up any lead he might have left with. if strasburg pitches less games, you're going to have lower quality pitcher pitching the early innings in those other games.regardless, he's going to affect 160ish innings this year. and whoever makes up those other 40ish innings he would have pitched will be a step down. so let's err on the side of his development and building up his stamina and understanding of going deeper in games.

  111. Feel Wood - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    I wonder what the Cardinals will do with Adam Wainwright as he is also coming off of TJ and you know the Cards are going for it againWainwright is in a different situation than Strasburg and Zimmermann, because he's older and has pitched over 200 innings three times already in his career. He's beyond the Verducci effect and is merely recovering from the TJ surgery. The 160 innings limits on Strasburg and Zimmermann are based on the Verducci effect, not the TJ recovery.

  112. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:22 AM

    "Sounds good on paper, but the game isn't played on paper. It's played on the field, by athletes who are trained to compete until their resources are spent."Yikes, that sounds an awful lot like those stereotypical scouts in Moneyball. Did you used to work for the Oakland As? Just for the record, I thought Steve M's buddy system idea was an ingenious way to kill both the Strasburg and Lannan/Detwiler birds with one stone. But I'd be fine with the bullpen taking the last four innings, perhaps with a long reliever like Gorzo or Detwiler taking two or three of those innings depending on who is rested.Seriously though, Strasburg knows every time he takes the field without being told that he's probably going to be pulled after about 100 pitches no matter how good he feels or how much he thinks he has left in the tank. And he knows he might be pulled for a pinch hitter if we're behind when his spot in the order comes up in the top or the bottom of the 6th, even if he's nowhere near his pitch count maximum. He's not some race horse that has to be pushed to the limit every time he competes or he's never going to reach his potential. He's a thinking ballplayer who wants his team to get to the playoffs and beyond.

  113. sjm308 - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    Sec 222: remember one thing, Feelwood will do things grammatically correct if nothing else.

  114. Cwj - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:27 AM

    For Strasburg, I would expect very similar games and innings numbers as Zimmermann put up last year.Even if Stras only pitches 160 innings, he may be top 5 in strikeouts in the NL :-)What a great top of the rotation. Btw, does anyone know if Edwin Jackson is the first Nats pitcher to have ever thrown a no hitter in his career?

  115. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:28 AM

    have you ever wondered why nobody has ever tried the "tag team" system or stretching a pitcher across a full season by limiting them to 5ip per game? you know, this isn't the first pitcher coming of TJ surgery with an innings limit. or the first time a top pitcher has been in that spot. and i'm sure it's not because nobody's ever said, "hey what if we did XXX?"teams don't do it because it's not the best choice. sometimes, if it sounds a little crazy, it just might be a little crazy.

  116. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    "The 160 innings limits on Strasburg and Zimmermann are based on the Verducci effect, not the TJ recovery." So you think that Wainwright's limit will be 30 more innings than his maximum in any previous year? The year after TJ surgery? Now you've jumped the shark. Strasburg's pitched 68 major league innings in his year before he got hurt. JZnn pitched 91. Yeah, that 160 inning was the result of Verducci effect.

  117. Drew - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:44 AM

    Cwj:EJAX appears to be the first Nats starter to have thrown a no-hitter.Brad Lidge was one of six Astros who combined on a no-hitter in 2003.

  118. Cwj - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:05 AM

    Thanks Drew.I thought so, but wasn't sure.

  119. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Darn you greg. Now I'm going to have to spend a few hours with that nifty ESPN game log tool you just turned me on to looking at the first full year back from TJ surgery for Josh Johnson, Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, and Deion Sanders (just for fun). As far as I can tell, other TJ survivors weren't aces or even good enough pitchers that 6 more starts would make an appreciable difference in their teams' records. I wonder if any of their teams were in a situation similar to the Nats — on the cusp of contending where the returning pitcher's contribution could be the difference between making the playoffs and going fishing at the end of September. 25 years ago, MLB teams paid no attention to OBP or OPS and closers were rare birds called firemen rather than a designated position on every team. Just because no one has ever done it doesn't mean it's been considered in a thoughtful way and rejected based on sound arguments (as opposed to the thoroughbred racehorse theory espoused earlier). I think the 160 inning limit is itself a fairly recent invention, but perhaps someone knows for sure. That said, I certainly don't expect it to happen, so when the Nats don't do it, don't everyone day "I told you so."

  120. Constant Reader - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:12 AM

    I rarely jump into the middle of a fight like this but …I get the role of the Verducci effect in creating an innings limit for young pitchers as the build towards a full season in the bigs. JZimm made 26 starts, pitched 161 innings and threw 2464 pitches. Feel Wood makes the suggestion that by limiting Stras to 5 innings per start her could make 32 starts to reach 160 innings and throw, presumably, about the same number of pitches as JZimm threw last year. The point of this I assume is to have our best starter making six additional appearances during September when we all hope to be in a pennant race (not really a consideration for JZimm last year).I certainly respect some of the points made by those who have disagreed with Feel's suggestion but I actually would like to see a more studied approach to the question. As a matter of physiology or exercise science or whatever MD or PhD could be brought in, why is it better to have a pitcher throw 26 starts at six innings per start one year to then add six starts the following year versus having a pitcher throw 32 starts at five innings per start to then add one inning per start the following year? You end up with the same pitcher the second year in both cases; what is the physiological difference?

  121. Whatsanattau - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:25 AM

    Fwiw, I'm of the opinion that 25 appearances averaging 7 + innings per start is more valuable to the team than 30 appearances at 5 innings per start. And it is better for both team and individual. Get through August in contention and worry about September then. Also, I predict Wang starts the season on the DL, Detwiler in the pen, and Lannan in the rotation. It's also possible Strasburg's first start does not come until May 1 after extended spring training. Then he could make it into September, though not October.

  122. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 6:10 AM

    Constant Reader — I agree with you, and I'm also afraid you have now exposed yourself to the wrath of FeelWood who is adamantly opposed to the 32 start, 5 inning proposal and has ridiculed me mercilessly for pursuing it. I'd like to see more rigorous analysis of the difference too, since many of the arguments against it seem to come down to: "It's just not done" along with pretty much unsupported claims that his development as a pitcher requires going 6 innings if his pitch count permits it.Whatsanattau — I think you may be right that 25 starts at 7+ would be better than 30 at 5 because that would get us straight to Clipp and Storen in many of those games and and we woudn't have to take our chances with HRod, or Lidge, or Detwiler in middle relief. Unfortunately, 25 starts at 7 totals 175 innings, while 30 at 5 is only 150. Plus, he won't make it to 7 innings in many starts because of the 100 pitch limit. Znn averaged 6 and 1/3 innings for 26 starts. Would you feel the same about 26 at 6 innings vs. 32 at 5? That's the comparison at issue.After this comment, I will leave any of you still reading alone and drop the subject for awhile, but I should point out that the recent history of aces returning from TJ surgery is interesting. Hudson pitched 228 innings his first full year back (2010) with a 2.83 ERA. Last year he pitched 215 innings with a 3.22 ERA. Carpenter pitched 192 innings (2.24 ERA) his first year back in 2009 and 235 in 2010 (3.22 ERA). So maybe FeelWood is right that a veteran pitcher doesn't need a 160 innings limit after TJ. If so, I apologize for my jump the shark comment. Josh Johnson, a much younger pitcher when he had TJ, pitched 209 innings (3.23 ERA) his first full season back in 2009. His previous high was only 157 in his rookie year in 2006. (Does anyone remember that he finished 4th in ROY voting, after Hanley, Zim, and Uggla?) So he was a prime candidate for the Verducci effect (or maybe he should have been subject to a 160 innings limit post TJ because of his age). In 2010, he pitched 184 innings (2.30) before being shut down because of back pain in September. And this past season shoulder problems ended his season in mid-May. So the jury is still out on that most recent example. But since none of these pitchers faced a stringent innings limit like Znn and Strasburg, there was no need to consider the 5 inning solution I have been flogging ad infinitum for most of the day.

  123. Dave_B - Feb 4, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    The 160 innings-limit on Strasburg is based on the practice that is now being used virtually league-wide. The premise is that if you ramp-up the load on a young pitcher's arm over a couple of seasons you will lessen the chance of serious injury. This was explained once in a Wash. Post article a couple of years ago. The key number is 20%, meaning no more than a 20% increase in innings per year until they get to 200 innings. That's why the last total-innings limit before they get to 200 has them stop at 160.

  124. Dave_B - Feb 4, 2012 at 7:22 AM

    @Section 222, I replied after your post up near the top referencing NatsLady and Sec3. I see now you already referenced the Verducci Effect.

  125. natsfan1a - Feb 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    After scrolling (but not reading) through all those comments, I can only say thank g*d there are only 15 more days. However many innings SS or anybody else throws per game, I'm sooo ready to watch them. :-)

  126. MicheleS - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Doh.. My aching head.. All those "Best 25 North" comments yesterday caused a massive hangover. DFH21.. hope you picked up the tab… ;-)and 1A… I TOTALLY AGREE. WE need baseball!

  127. Mick - Feb 4, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    SO… anyone want to take a crack at the rotation in 2012?

  128. sjm308 - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    I was talking baseball with my son this morning, jumped on NI and found whatsanattau had the exact same thought I did. Wang will somehow tweak his shoulder, start the season on the DL, make a few rehab starts and then join the fun late. So to answer Mick – my starting rotation isJZ – GG – SS – EJ – RD with JL starting the year in AAA and CMW on the DL. I also agree with Feel on the innings thing with SS. You can't send a competitor out there with the idea he will just be pitching 5 innings. SS has spent years building a mindset as a starter. Yes, he is pulled from games after a pitch count is reached but its not an inning count.Hopefully some of our regulars are scrolling down because I have a question about rosters and moves that I still don't understand. I do understand that you only have so many options which is why we can start Lannan in AAA if need be and not lose him. When Corey Brown was moved off the roster and cleared waivers does that mean that any team can still sign him now or is he our property for the entire season? I am also not clear about what would happen to Detwiler if we tried to send him down? If someone claimed him, which I am sure they would, can't we remove him from the waiver wire and keep him on the 25 man roster? I hope this is not too lengthy a question but the bottom line is what happens to a player who clears waivers? Thanks in advance to any answers.

  129. Gonat - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Mick, I think when Rizzo signed EJax it meant the Nats are definitely going for it.If nobody gets traded, I think it is Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, John Lannan, and Edwin JacksonI think you have to go with the 5 known guys that will give you innings and the best chance to win each and every night. They are all 3.70's and under in ERA which cumulatively gives the Nats a good chance to win every night. When you figure in the lower ERA of the Nats bullpen, that cumulative ERA comes down further.Wang is now the 6th best starter and Detwiler is probably the same old Detwiler.Given the consensus that Wang can't pitch out of the bullpen, Rizzo either has to move Wang now or hope he can get good trade for Lannan. Personally, I think you have to go with at least 2 lefties in the starting rotation.I totally agree that waiting and getting stuck at a week before Opening Day and then making a Cutter Dykstra type of swap would be a poor trade. The other thought of course is the mysterious 60 day DL for Wang.

  130. Gonat - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    sjm, Corey Brown is Nats property unless they put him back on the 40 man and try to remove him again then the claim game starts all over. At some point he becomes a MiLB Free Agent—-not sure what season that occurs.

  131. Gonat - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Whatsanattau said… Fwiw, I'm of the opinion that 25 appearances averaging 7 + innings per start is more valuable to the team than 30 appearances at 5 innings per start. And it is better for both team and individual. Get through August in contention and worry about September then. Also, I predict Wang starts the season on the DL, Detwiler in the pen, and Lannan in the rotation. It's also possible Strasburg's first start does not come until May 1 after extended spring training. Then he could make it into September, though not October. February 04, 2012 12:25 AM ___________________________I am reading from bottom up. I almost wrote up the exact thing a few minutes ago. I just don't see Strasburg going 7+ per start as he will be on a pitch count.Strasburg most likely will average right around 6 1/2 innings per start which is right about where JZim was. Don't get me wrong, Stras will pitch many 7+ inning games, I'm just talking averages which will also get Stras into early September when rosters will expand.

  132. Feel Wood - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    So you think that Wainwright's limit will be 30 more innings than his maximum in any previous year? The year after TJ surgery? Now you've jumped the shark. No, I'm saying the Verducci effect doesn't apply to Wainwright. He's 30 years old. Verducci's theories are all about the development of young pitchers, i.e. 25 and under. Once they have determined that Wainwright is back to full strength after the TJ surgery, he won't have an innings limit. Until he's full strength, though, they may ramp him up by limiting his innings early.

  133. Gonat - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Constant Reader, great post above about Strasburg. I totally don't know what the answer is but what you say makes sense to me. It is basically putting him on a 75 – 80 pitch count to keep him at 5 innings. Wasn't JZim on a 90 pitch count which essentially meant 6 innings?I really like the idea of Detwiler coming in from the left side in the middle of the game with the Nats winning 3-0 to close it out.

  134. Feel Wood - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    That said, I certainly don't expect it to happen, so when the Nats don't do it, don't everyone day "I told you so."Why? If by some oddball chance they do adopt your wacky scheme, you're gonna be all over here screaming "I called it! I called it! In your face, Feel Wood!" Don't try to tell me you won't.

  135. Feel Wood - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Feel Wood makes the suggestion that by limiting Stras to 5 innings per start her could make 32 starts to reach 160 innings and throw, presumably, about the same number of pitches as JZimm threw last year.Let's get things straight. That's section222's idea, not mine. I think it's a ridiculous idea.

  136. Anonymous8 - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Feel Wood, I think that makes sense with Wainwright. He has no innings in over a year. His arm strength has to be built up slowly I would think.Not sure on Strasburg. I would think you take the same approach and it is a pitch count to build up the arm strength. I don't get 160 innings. I think he pitches as long as his arm is fine and the pitch count each game is the key.

  137. Anonymous - Feb 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Who is this Verducci guy and what is his qualifcations to give suggestions on pitchers who have had tendon replacement.Jordan Zimmermann wasn't pitching in a season the Nats were in position to make a playoff run. This season is.

  138. Whatsanattau - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Math=sux.Or at least my math does. But it was late and I was happy. Still fewer starts longer better than more starts shorter… Ugh.

  139. Just sayin' - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    Gonat said: "I totally agree that waiting and getting stuck at a week before Opening Day and then making a Cutter Dykstra type of swap would be a poor trade."=========================I didn't interpret the Nats getting stuck with Cutter Dykstra as a function of their having waited too long. They ended up with Dykstra because Morgan had little trade value of any kind given his poor performance the previous season and the questions other teams had about his 'make up' (to use the current euphemism).The argument for holding onto to one of the Nats' excess SPs until part-way or even all-the-way through Spring Training is much stronger. If you look at some of the other clubs out there, there are some (like the Angels) who potentially have excess position players but will want to see how things shake out in Spring Training. Those kinds of teams, may be willing to move a decent hitter for the same reasons the Nats may want to move a decent starting pitcher. There are other teams that have real doubts about their prospective rotations and want to see how some of their offseason acquisitions actually perform or how/whether their injured veterans come back. We can be pretty certain that one or more of those sorts of teams will be seeking a fourth or fifth starter before Opening Day. Assuming six or seven of the Nats legitimate SPs have decent springs, the Nats should find themselves in a very strong position come the second half of March.

  140. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Feel Wood's take on all things pitching concerning Stras, Zim, and even Wainwright are correct.Limiting a starting pitcher to 5 innings during the regular season for any reason is just silly.

  141. greg - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    constant reader, i really don't think it's just about physiology (the reason not to limit him to 5 over 33 start as opposed to 6.5 over 25 starts). i really think it's about having him pitch like a normal pitcher and go as deep as he reasonably can in games. that builds endurance and gets him into or through the lineup a 3rd time. you want strasburg in 2013 to be ready to be pitching into the 8th regularly (and i think he will do that regularly). if he's not pitching into the 6th this year, i think that will be less likely.

  142. Just sayin' - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    A couple of posters noted that Wilson Ramos had not yet appeared in any of Venezuela's games in the Caribbean Series. But it seems he is not even on the roster for the Venezuelan team. That's actually not uncommon, as the MLB players who have helped lead their home-town teams to league championships often opt to take a few weeks off before spring training.Separately, there's a link to article suggesting that Cuba might — nothing certain yet — be part of next year's Caribbean Series. Now that would fun.

  143. Tweak - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    This 5 inning concept that feel wood keeps talking about is absurd. It makes you wonder if he knows anything about baseball at all.

  144. NatJack in Florida - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    It wasn'f Feel Wood! He's calling the 5 inning limit absurd too.

  145. Tweak 2 - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Heh heh

  146. Sunderland - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    sjm – regarding Detwiler being waived – There are periods of revocable waivers and irrevocable waivers.During a period of revocable waivers you can pull a guy back. This is from the end of the trading deadline (late on July 31) until the end of the World Series. All other times of the year, waivers are irrevocable.The notion put out by some that the Nats might DFA Detwiler and try to get him to pass through waivers seems far fetched to me. Someone would claim Detwiler for sure.

  147. Sunderland - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Whatsanattau said…"Still fewer starts longer better than more starts shorter… Ugh"I'm bettin' you couldn't say this again if you tried.Feel Wood, as usual, knows what he's talking about. I'm predicting Wang to 15 day DL and a month of rehab starts, Detwiler to bullpen, and Lannan at #5 during April.

  148. Sunderland - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… "Limiting a starting pitcher to 5 innings during the regular season for any reason is just silly."C'mon NJ, you're forgetting the Cabrera Exclusion.Limiting Daniel Cabrera to 3 innings always made perfectly good sense to me.

  149. Mick - Feb 4, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    "Just Win Baby"

  150. Section 222 - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Good morning all. I will cop to being the 5 inning guy. It wasn't FeelWood's idea; he's been the most strident objector. He's definitely wrong about (at least) one thing — if the Nats do it, I won't be crowing that I called it. I'll be crowing that I pressed the idea even when attacked by our blog's most disdainful and know it all commenters. (When FeelWood and NatsJack line up against you, you might as well pack it in.) As I've said many times, I think they should do it, but I don't think they will — they are as caught in the "it's never done" mentality as many of my distinguished opponents here. I'm glad to have inspired some discussion though, as we anxiously await the arrival of Ps and Cs, and learned quite a bit in the process — ESPN's game log for one, and the possibility of finding an actual article about the innings limit referenced by Dave B. And I now know about the Verducci effect, though various commenters seem to interpret the theory differently. Plus, I learned that the Marlins might have screwed up in their treatment of Josh Johnson after TJ, which might explain his continued injury problems. May JZnn and Strasburg be spared that.Thanks for the conversation.

  151. Sunderland - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Section 222, nice post."caught in the "it's never done" mentality" as you well know common in all professional sports.

  152. Tweak - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    222 having fun at their expense not yours.

  153. NatsNuts - Feb 4, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Davey Johnson will be told the Strasburg plan by Rizzo and we won't be privy to it. It has to be a pitch count. The idea of Detwiler or Gorzo in relief sounds smart.

  154. DWS - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    If you're interested in franchise no hittershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_StonemanAlso http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=3251261Obviously an old Expo fan. Wish I could embed.Vin's call is terrific.

  155. Feel Wood - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    There's nothing wrong with section222 that taking the chip off his shoulder wouldn't solve.

  156. The Dude Abides - Feb 4, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Pot……meet kettle

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