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Sorting out a suddenly overflow rotation

Feb 3, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

Trivia time: Can you name the five pitchers who made the most starts for the Nationals in 2010?

If you said Livan Hernandez (33), John Lannan (25), Craig Stammen (19), Luis Atilano (16) and Scott Olsen (15), congratulations. You remember the painful history of this franchise far too well.

Was it really less than two years ago the Nationals trotted out that less-than-inspiring rotation? Have they really managed in such short time to go from that to this: Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson and either Chien-Ming Wang, John Lannan or Ross Detwiler?

Any one of the three guys now battling for the final spot in the 2012 rotation would probably have been good enough to start Opening Day inRead more »

213 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Mark.. we need longer episodes of beltway baseball!This is going to be a fun spring training!

  2. alexva - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Everyone pleading for a CF as a necessary piece is looking past the Rizzo plan, pitching and defense. Look at the lineup the 2010 Padres won 90 games with. One player hit better than .275 and only one hit more than 13 home runs. Even with the tougher division schedule, the addition of Jackson makes this more than possible for the 2012 Nats.You can't trade Lannan/Bernadina or any number of marginal players and get a McCutchen type unless you include TOP prpspects. With four dealt in the Gio trade you won't see this happen this year.More likely is dealing surplus for prospects but not until spring training determines whether a surplus exists.Take a good look at the roster, this is what we are going with. For my money, I'm in.

  3. joemktg - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    "You never know who might come down with an arm injury after camp opens…"Especially when you're coming into ST knowing that you're competing for a spot, and you turn it up too fast too soon.And seconding MicheleS on longer (and more frequent) episodes of BB.

  4. Constant Reader - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    It's this type of analysis that keeps me coming back. You've really done a great job at breaking down the situation at the various decision points this off season. Thanks Mark.

  5. Tim - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    I agree that we should hold onto all three #5 starters until Opening Day, however, I woke up this morning with know the reason why it'd be Lannan on the trade block before anyone else:He can't beat the Phillies and that has got to stop! Signing EJax is all about the matchups for a long series: we now have a chance to win every game, no matter who we trot out to the bump. Our #1 matches up with anyone's. Our #2 matches up with anyone's. Our #3 matches up with anybody's and our #4 now matches up with anybody's.

  6. Gonat - Feb 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Mark Zuckerman said…Did you know Jackson and Lannan actually have remarkably similar stats over the last four seasons? Jackson's ERA: 4.06. Lannan's ERA: 4.00. Jackson's games started: 127. Lannan's games started: 122. Jackson's WHIP: 1.395. Lannan's WHIP: 1.418. Number of quality starts by Jackson: 69. Number of quality starts by Lannan: 68.(Either Lannan doesn't get enough credit by the masses, or Jackson is overvalued. Probably a combination of the two.)________________________________Mark, your stats still won't sway any of the Lannan haters. My favorite stat was where Lannan stood on Sept 5th last year with a 3.48 ERA which had him in Top 40 of all MLB pitchers at that point in time and he still wasn't getting respect in Nats Town. Yes, Lannan slipped in his last few starts to 3.70 and seemed to have hit the wall. That is probably the true negative on John is he doesn't go deep into games averaging 6 full innings and does fatigue in September.The fact he doesn't have over-powering Velo and has been dubbed a soft tosser isn't justification in my mind that he isn't good.Wang actually has the lowest potential of all the Nats starters given 2011 stats.

  7. fibi - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Reading between the lines the current plan, written in pencil:CMW- 5th starterDetwiler – bullpenLannen – SyracuseHowever, pencils have erasers and the morning line reads:1 of the 7 starts on the DL: 2:11 of the 7 is traded (package yields mlb bench player) 5:21 of the 7 is dumped (traded for A ball pitcher no one has heard of) 7:21 of the 7 is released (disruptive chemistry) 10:1Finally, it goes as "planned": 2:1Yes, that adds up to 111% likelihood, but the Fibi House of Gambling needs a vigorish…

  8. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    Zuck — your forever encouragement for the club to be passive is something at which I marvel. Timid clubs don't win much in MLB, had you not noticed (and Rizzo is finally assembling a roster that can win, so urgency has come to town to some extent). Do you really think that the Nats should only move guys if someone makes them an offer they cannot refuse? They should always be overwhelmed by their take in a trade? Always?Right now the Nats have a surplus at a position and they have a deficit at other positions, if they can make a reasonable trade to get something else they need/covet — not a trade in which they glaring WIN, as if those come around so often, much less in this market where a lot of pitching has changes hands already and remains available, where the reliever market has crashed, and Oswalt is out there and such — they should be making it. Waiting through the Spring to see if new takers come up is one thing, but holding all of these cards because the Nats are going to need spot starters in August and won’t this be a nice luxury come then should not be a driver.dfh21

  9. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Holy Cow! Occupy Nats Park has started!!! Now if we can get a Winter FanFest we will really be making progresshttp://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120203&content_id=26560556&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

  10. Sunderland - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    fibi, I'm laying a few red chips on the DL

  11. Water23 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Just got the take back the Pack email. Ohh Stan are you bummed!!! Nice, sale to only DC area fans.Nice!!!

  12. Steady Eddie - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Here's the thinking progression:(1) one of the 7 takes himself out of it at least temporarily in ST, either through performance or injury(2) one of the three competitors for #5 (Wang/Lannan/Det) looks so good in ST that their trade value goes (more likely Det tho we want it to be Lannan; still too many question marks re Wang's durability tho you never know), combined with(3) another team has a big SP injury in ST increasing the Nats trade leverage still further.With the Purke/Solis/Meyer troops on the way up, we can afford to deal in this one year time frame.

  13. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Water23.. are you a full season ticket holder? I am a partial and I better get that email!

  14. Gonat - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    MicheleS, you got to it quicker than me! Its in the Washington Post too. Phillies fans will be contacting anyone they know in the DMV to get tix for them!

  15. SCNatsFan - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Can you believe other teams will be looking to DC for pitching? How wild is that?!?

  16. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    GeeeezUS, some of you folks……..Purke will NOT be up until 14/15', Stolis might be up next year!!! Meyer 14/15'The question next offseason will be, do we get Greinke on resing Jackson (assuming Jackson has a good year)?Lipty,

  17. Anonymous8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    “Seriously, for those fans who do come, we treat all guests with respect and courtesy,” Feffer said. “But look, we’re not gonna make it easy for group sales, for buses coming from Philly. I will not make it easy for those guys to buy tickets or get into this ballpark. Once they’re here, obviously we treat all our guests as patrons, with respect.”

  18. Positively Half St. - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I would be sorry to see Lannan go, but I think there probably would be a market for him as Spring Training closes. We need the luck of the Nats rotation staying healthy while some other rotations suffer a setback. I agree that it would be tough to settle the CF situation without taking a hit again in our farm system. However, I think that an established pitcher like Lannan could be used to replenish that system, which took a hit to get Gio. Remember that a partial season of Livo once got us Garrett Mock and Matt Chico. Even less of Mike Stanton got us Shairon Martis. None really worked out, but each had a chance. Perhaps a 1-for-1 trade of Lannan could get a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher who is still several years off. Given the long contracts/control of our top three starters, that might actually be the right time frame.+1/2St.

  19. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Good analysis. I don't have a problem with bringing all seven guys to ST; I just don't think they'll all still be on the team (or in the minors in the case of Lannan) on April 1. This discussion also raises the question once more of how best to deal with Strasburg's innings limit. With the surplus of LH options, it does make Steve M's tandem idea even more appealing. Both Lannan and Detwiler have some trouble getting to six innings. Why not consider making one of them Strasburg's buddy for this starts? Odds are, someone's going to get injured before Opening Day. If it's one of our starters, then we have the surplus to deal with it. If it's a starter on another team, then we have a very good stopgap option for that team if it has something good to offer us in return. All in all, not a bad place to be. Aren't we glad Rizzo decided not to stand pat with the roster choices he had just a few days ago?As for Take Back the Park, the Nats are leading from behind, but at least they are leading. Great idea. But there has to be some follow through and a real effort to block local ticket brokers who will turn around and sell the seats to Phillies fans in bulk. I look forward to seeing curly Ws all over the place that weekend.

  20. NatStat - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Detweiler, Wang, and Stras are guaranteed non 200 innings. It might make some sense to go to a 6-man rotation, like the ChiSox did in the latter stages to 2011. It would lessen the stress on Stras and Wang.Trading a guy like Wang, or even Detweiler/Lannan for some pitchers with options might help. Unfortunately, the Nats are probably going to need all 7 SPs this season, just not right now.

  21. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Things keep getting better and better in NatsTown. Next on the clock is patience for Rizzo's next move. Last I checked too many good players isn't a bad thing! Go Nats!

  22. Nats in Athens - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    When I see posts like this and the ones from last night, all I can remember was thise tryouts for pitchers of years gone by. Because we may have started some really second rate pitchers over those years but remember these were the better ones to audition!So for my money I relish having seven potential starters when the one on the bubble was our openning day starter for both 2009 and 2010. Just love were this team is going!

  23. Water23 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    MicheleS.I am a partial STH with some friends but I also buy a flex/opening day package and both my kids are JrNats. GYFNG

  24. DHamm - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    I frequently see "trade _____", and, just as frequently I have to ask, well what team would trade anything of value for ____?So the next time you (and you know who you are) suggest trading _____, at least complete the deal, and don't just throw out trading _____ in a vacuum.

  25. Drew - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    By strengthening the rotation and extending the quality depth, the Jackson acquisition lessens the sting of giving up both Peacock and Milone.(I still wish the Nats had Cole down on the farm, but maybe Meyer or Purke will turn out to be special.)The Nats' great success with with Peacock — transforming his performance by showing him how to disguise his pitches — gives me hope that they can work the same Viera magic with EJAX.

  26. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Apologies if this has already been posted but I just received an email from the team with a subject line of "Invitation to take back the Park." See text below, as cut and pasted from the email. Now we're getting somewhere. February 3, 2012Dear Nationals Insider,Let’s work together to keep Phillies fans out – it’s time to TAKE BACK THE PARK!Starting today, single game tickets for the May 4-6 Nationals vs. Phillies series will be made available only to Nationals fans who reside in Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia.To take advantage of this offer, click on the green Take Back the Park button below to register. Upon successful registration, you will receive an email with a one-time-use password to complete your purchase. Nationals fans may purchase up to eight tickets per game in one transaction, while supplies last.We invite you to show your Nationals pride and TAKE BACK THE PARK!Sincerely,Andrew FefferChief Operating OfficerTake Back the Park >> https://secure.mlb.com/was/ticketing/take_back_park_form.jsp

  27. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I suggest trading Desmond for an actual vacuum. A good one, though, like a Dyson or Eletrolux.

  28. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Both Lannan and Detwiler have some trouble getting to six innings. Why not consider making one of them Strasburg's buddy for this starts?Because Strasburg doesn't need a buddy for his starts. The training wheels are off. He's a full-fledged big league pitcher now.

  29. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Link to "take back the park" info on team site.

  30. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Oh, there's already an article about it on the team site. I was just so excited to see it that I posted before reading. Now, about that *winter* fan fest… :-)

  31. BullpenCatcher - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Quality Start Percentage in 2011 (courtesy of ESPN)1.00 is the best possibleZimmermann 0.62 (#61 in MLB)Gonzalez 0.59 (#70)Jackson 0.58 (#80)Detweiler 0.50 (#121)Lannan 0.48 (#138)Strasburg 0.40 (#164)Gorzelanny 0.40 (#164)Wang 0.36 (#182)

  32. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    MicheleS.I am also only a partial STH through a group (not the lead) and have only bought tickets direct a couple of times, but have registered for a couple of things through the website and now seem to get regular mailings.Frank_in_206(Long time lurker, first time poster)

  33. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Best 25 will go North! (Who is drinking with me?)dfh21

  34. BIGNAT33 - Feb 3, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    There may still be some questions about our lineup, but one thing is certain – we now have the best seven man starting pitching rotation in all of baseball. Go Nats!

  35. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Any chance of a 6 man rotation?

  36. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Thanks, Michele, 222, and 1a: I'm in on Take Back.

  37. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    I doubt I was the only one with the idea and I probably wasn't the first person to suggest it to the Nats, but I sent them an e-mail back, I believe, in October or November (need to check my work e-mail on Monday), suggesting a "Take Back Our Park" effort.IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THIS PURCHASE, BUY TICKETS…BUY EXTRA TICKETS. You'll be able to sell them to your Nats fan friends.Reminder: The 5th is when the troglodytes from Philthy will be coming down in buses.

  38. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:05 PM

    Anonymous said… "Any chance of a 6 man rotation?"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard of…wait…let me rethink that.

  39. natscan reduxit - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    … to comment on the conference call transcript with Mike Rizzo, I believe him when he says he is not looking to make a trade. That's because he has, quite simply, put himself and the Nats in the cat bird seat. With all the assets in his hand now, Rizzo can wait until someone else calls him first. It is pure quality GM-ing…. sure I'd like to see one more move to bring in that elusive CF w/speed. And if some guy calls looking for a starter and has a speedy outfielder to give up, I'd say whoopee. But if nothing more happens until April, I'm happy with who we are today…. I'm not sure if you can select a guy as "GM of the Year" before ST even begins, but if not, maybe we can settle for "Rizzo for President".Go Mike R!Go Nats!!

  40. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Oops, MichelleS beat me to it. fwiw, I'm not a STH but have always put together my own "micro" plans. I've also signed up for the flex plans every year since they started. I'm also signed up for the team's "Insider" newsletters. Not sure whether that list may have generated the initial wave of emails?Anon8, I have no problem with those Feffer comments. He also said this, btw:"Someone asked me, 'What do you think of Philly and Phillies fans and the series?'" said Feffer. "I couldn't be more direct. I said, 'Forget you, Philly. It's our fans, our time, our park and we are going to fill it with Nationals fans.' We are going to do everything we can to ensure our fans here in Washington that first opportunity to make that happen."

  41. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    DFH21.. I am drinking with you!!!

  42. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    "Someone asked me, 'What do you think of Philly and Phillies fans and the series?'" said Feffer. "I couldn't be more direct. I said, 'Forget you, Philly. It's our fans, our time, our park and we are going to fill it with Nationals fans.' We are going to do everything we can to ensure our fans here in Washington that first opportunity to make that happen." Of course, having said that, if this falls on its face, and they either don't get a good turnout, or get Philly fans taking over despite this, it'll be a long time before he hears the end of it. We need to encourage this sort of thing if we want them to do it again.Plan A, as NCognito says, is for Nats fans to buy these seats, esp. 05/05.

  43. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    1A/222/N Cog.For some reason, I am still not getting emails from Nats (not sure why). BUT I just got off the phone with a very nice young man named Eddie from the Season ticket holders office. And Purchased both the Friday and the Sunday games. I already had tickets to the Saturday game. I will be there in FULL force!!!! And I am NOT bringing any Phillie Fans with me (sadly I know a few)!TAKE BACK OUR PARK!GYFNG!!!!

  44. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Good point, sec3, and atta way, MicheleS. I used the site form to sign up for info on purchasing seats. Have to check with my hubby but would be looking at May 5 as we tend to prefer weekend day games.

  45. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Oh, and Sunday, 6 May, is that 8:00 ESPN game.

  46. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    MicheleS, if you're signed up for the various team email alerts, maybe they're not getting through your spam filter? Might want to check that folder. Just a thought. Or maybe they have the addy wrong.

  47. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Can someone please explain why starting the season with a six man rotation would be a bad idea?

  48. fibi - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    Despite the total absence of popular demand, I am updating my odds:1 of the 7 starts on the DL: 2:11 of the 7 is traded (package yields mlb bench player) 5:21 of the 7 is dumped (traded for A ball pitcher no one has heard of) 7:21 of the 7 is released (disruptive chemistry) 10:11 of the 7 (i.e., Lannan) starts in the minors: 2:11 of the 7 is teamed with Stras in "tandem starts:" 99:1The Nats go with a 6 man rotation: 99:1The Fibi House of Gambling is still taking action.

  49. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Anonymous said… "Can someone please explain why starting the season with a six man rotation would be a bad idea?"Primarily because starting pitchers need more work than that – that's how you build up arm strength and stamina.

  50. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Can someone please explain why starting the season with a six man rotation would be a bad idea?Because none of the six pitchers needs an extra day of rest between starts. Because Rizzo just got done signing two guys to pitch 200+ innings each, and there's no way they can do that with a six man rotation. Because it just is a bad idea.Need any more reasons?

  51. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Quality Start Percentage in 2011 (courtesy of ESPN)1.00 is the best possibleZimmermann 0.62 (#61 in MLB)Gonzalez 0.59 (#70)Jackson 0.58 (#80)Detweiler 0.50 (#121)Lannan 0.48 (#138)Strasburg 0.40 (#164)Gorzelanny 0.40 (#164)Wang 0.36 (#182)Strasburg's low number caught my eye. They gave him 2 quality starts out of 5 total. The 5th start was 5 IP, 2H, 0R. I'm assuming he came out for pitch count reasons. His quality start statistic for 2011 should be at least 0.6 (with an asterisk).

  52. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Anonymous said…"Can someone please explain why starting the season with a six man rotation would be a bad idea?"Primarily because starting pitchers need more work than that – that's how you build up arm strength and stamina.That, and starting pitchers are trained and accustomed to a 5-man schedule, and it affects some guys' performance if they deviate much from that regimen. Not that they could not get used to it, but in fact they are not, mostly. That's why injuries and rainouts sometimes require rotation-juggling.Plus, most teams don't have six good starters. They want to use their best ones more. It's been done, but it's unusual.

  53. Exposremains - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Wasn't there rumors about the Rays being interested in Detwiler for Upton?There's often talk about how you need a lot of lefty pitchers to pitch against lefty heavy National East? Wang seems to be the pitcher the Nats need the less. The only problem is that he kind re-sign with the Nats on friendly terms. Maybe he got the D. Young hand shake (we're not gonna trade you) deal…

  54. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Discussing any seasonal statistic that was based on 5 games is a waste of time.

  55. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Even if it does fail, it can't be as bad as 10 cent beer night…or…or…disco demolition night, right? Even if it is Phillies Phans. heh.Of course, having said that, if this falls on its face, and they either don't get a good turnout, or get Philly fans taking over despite this, it'll be a long time before he hears the end of it. We need to encourage this sort of thing if we want them to do it again.

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Even if it does fail, it can't be as bad as 10 cent beer night…or…or…disco demolition night, right? Even if it is Phillies Phans. I would put inviting them down for opening day in the first place as just a notch below that (and not a large notch, either).captcha: megulpt. Which me did, on seeing that crowd.

  57. Unkyd - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Gulp…BANG!!! (sound of shot, followed by shotglass hitting the bar)To be repeated every time we hear "The best 25 will head north"(right there with ya, dfh21…)

  58. fibi - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    A six man rotation means taking a total of 15-16 starts away from Gio, Zimmerman, and Jackson to give them to Lannan or Detwiler.If the Nats traded for a Gio-caliber pitcher at the All Star break and bumped a Lannan-caliber pitcher from the rotation as a consequence we would all see this as a huge move. Of course, someone, somewhere would be complaining that Rizzo overpaid, but not many people would argue that the Nats weren't improved.Well, going to a six man rotation weakens our starting pitching exactly as much as a Lannan for Gio trade at the all star break would strengthen it.

  59. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Speaking of the Phillies (Rollins, specifically), interesting piece in the Times regarding a Ugandan Little League team. Good on him for helping them out.On a Nats note, the same site's Nationals Watch blog had this disappointing tidbit re. fan fest (or lack of) for this year:In 2011, the Nationals held their FanFest at Nationals Park on the day before Opening Day. Unfortunately, rain forced most of the activities inside, but the plan was to do something like that again this season. Scheduling conflicts, though, prevented that this year. The Nationals won't arrive in D.C. until Tuesday, April 3 — the day they will play the Boston Red Sox in an exhibition game — and will be leaving town immediately for a workout in Chicago before Thursday's Opening Day at Wrigley Field against the Cubs. When the team returns home it will be just in time for the home opener and for the full grind of the baseball schedule to begin.

  60. Let Teddy Win - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    "Rizzo doesn't move a guy just for the sake of moving him…" Can you say Nyjer Morgan?

  61. #4 - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    I think it's pretty clear the Nats do not want to part with the pieces that would yield a McCutchen or some similarly rated CF. How about one a notch below though? Somebody like Dexter Fowler. He has a high OBP, plays a serviceable CF, can run a little bit, and is under team control. He also gives them another LH bat (actually a switch hitter). Would the pitching-starved Rockies want Detwiler for him?

  62. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    That was more of a travesty than a misfire, imho. But whatever one terms it, definitely not good.I would put inviting them down for opening day in the first place as just a notch below that (and not a large notch, either).captcha: megulpt. Which me did, on seeing that crowd.

  63. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Would the pitching-starved Rockies want Detwiler for [Dexter Fowler]?As I recall, Fowler was sent down last year, partly for injury rehab, partly because he wasn't hitting.

  64. #4 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    I'm not suggesting that Fowler is an all-star, but that .363 OBA he produced last year would look pretty good at the top of the Nats line-up. I remind everyone that no Nat including Morse had one that high. Werth was .330, Desmond .298.

  65. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Not only how to you keep them all, but where does Davey slot them? Knowing you are going to lose Strassy in Sept(if not Zimm too), you'd think he'd be lower, but putting him 4th or 5th is ridiculous, he's got #1 stuff.Sending Lannan down, even with an option left is a horrible idea!!! Even if it's just a juggling act, you'd risk killing his desire to remain a Nat long-term.If everyone is healthy and able to go the whole year, slotting is easy, losing 2-3 guys 3/4 through the year makes this the biggest decision of the year. But this is what is called a "high-quality problem." I don't mind it at all. This will be a fun year.

  66. Unkyd - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Isn't Fowler the the possibility that was floated here yesterday, only to be shot down by a couple of NIs, citing stats indicating that he is a fairly miserable wretch? Can we get a fresh wretch proposal, please?

  67. #4 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Sorry. Very busy day at work yesterday, so I didn't have time to keep up with the comments. I hadn't heard anywhere about him being a miserable wretch.I typed "Dexter Fowler miserable wretch" into Google. Nothing came up.

  68. NatsLady - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    OK, I'm making the commitment for the Sunday mini-plan… got my credit card out… Got on the phone, NatGio welcomes you, which is kind of cool, then (after a long wait) a young man comes on who addresses you by your first name (without the "Miss")…and… waiting for a call-back…

  69. NatsLady - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    In the sad news category, Josh Hamilton relapsed. In the strange news category, Nyger Morgan made a goal while the goalie politely watched…http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_19869850

  70. SCNatsFan - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    The problem is if you spend to get a player like Fowler or Upton then where does Harper fit when he arrives – and he'll be here 2 months into the season. Is Bernadina that bad that we thro away a Lannan or Detwiler for a guy who starts for 2 months?

  71. Unkyd - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    My bad, #4…. the Blue Jays' Rajai Davis was the wretch proposed in one of yesterday's thread. Fowler's OPB is reasonably attractive, but I'd rather trade for prospects, or keep the powder dry for a long term solution at CF. Is Fowler that guy?

  72. David - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    What about trading Lannan to the Rockies for Dexter Fowley. Danny R on 106.7 was going off about it last night, as a great fit. What do you guys think? Sorry if this has been covered in the comments already, I didn't read through them.

  73. Mike - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    According to Kilgore, Wang can't be traded until June, because he signed as a free agent. Ditto Jackson.

  74. Mark'd - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Unkyd, Dexter Fowler is a stud. Rockies not giving him up. Road stats are even better for him.

  75. Water23 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    So, there is a CBSsports has good article two part article on on the worst baseball contracts by position . Of course, Werth is named as the worst RF deal. But it has a special note about the Mets. Bobby Bonilla, Mets: This is both hilarious and sad at the same time. When the Mets bought out Bonilla's $5.9 million contract in 2000, they agreed to repay him with interest starting 11 years later. Beginning July 1, 2011, the Mets are paying Bonilla an annual salary of roughly $1.2 million until 2035. Or around $35 million in all. In 2012, the Mets will pay Bonilla more than the following regulars/rotation members: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.Wow, I thought the deal for Werth or ARod might hurt a team's finances but this is amazing!

  76. Constant Reader - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Expanding on fibi's work to discuss this particular quote from Mark's piece "So what's the answer? For now, the Nationals appear willing to sit back and let this thing play out over its natural course."So what is the natural course? There are four pitchers (Stras, JZimm, Gio, EJax) that will be in the rotation unless, God forbid, they are injured in ST. My two cents on the Nats best case and worst case scenario for how "things play out". And let me be clear, I am defining best case as the easiest decision for the Nats and worst case as the hardest decision for the Nats.CMWBest case: He comes to ST looking like '06/'07 CMW justifying the money spent on him. Alternate best case: He comes in, gets off to a slow start, never picks it up, has to be left in extended ST or even released outright.Worst case: He comes in, gets off to a slow start, pitches just well enough that the Nats have to keep him the rotation to justify their expense even though Lannan and Detwiler are more deserving.DetwilerBest case: He comes to ST and pitches so well that he either becomes trade bait for the CFOTF (centerfielder of the future) or he bumps a poor performing CMW.Alternate best case: He comes to ST and struggles mightily making it possible for the Nats to send him down to because no other team will claim him.Worst case: He comes in and pitches well in a starting role, but after it becomes clear CMW will be the number five, he turns into a basket case when we try to convert him to a middle reliever.LannanBest case: He comes in and pitchers like John Lannan. He readily takes the number five slot as the other two struggle.Alternate best case: He comes in and pitches like John Lannan late spring '10 and warrants being sent to AAA to work it out.Worst case: He pitches like John Lannan and we are stuck with the sending him to AAA or trading him for a bag of baseballs. Enjoying the heck out of talking out this 'problem'.

  77. blovy8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    The Indians will need a starter and don't seem to have any lefty starting pitchers on their 40 man roster better than David Huff. Since they just signed Kotchman, it also looks like LaPorta will have to play more corner outfield when he's not taking DH atbats from Hafner, so he gets added to Sizemore, Choo, Brantley, Cunningham, Carrera, maybe even Duncan out there. They could spare Ezequiel Carrera and a starter with an option left.

  78. blovy8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Also, have to figure even if aka Carmona comes back for Cleveland, Lannan or Detwiler are probably better than Tomlin as it is.

  79. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Adios John Lannan, you've tossed your last pitch as a Nat.

  80. just for old times' sake - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Ny JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJer

  81. Diz - Feb 3, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Kind of interesting on MLB Network last night, "Hot Stove", 2 out of the 3 analysts, when asked who were their top 5 NL teams (i.e. playoff teams), 2 of them included the Nats.Then Buster Olney tweets the same thing. Nats in the playoffs. All of this because of Jackson? So, basically, if we would have gotten PF, everyone says that would have made us an instant playoff contender and now, so does EJ?So is everyone saying that EJ has the same impact as PF?I don't see it, but I hope they are right.Meaningful games in September would be a pleasant surprise.

  82. blovy8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Yeah the same guys who constantly forgot LaRoche was on the team, now think we're in the playoffs.

  83. Water23 - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    MicheleS,Maybe the Nats have notice that you are not a true fan. You may buy tickets in bunches but have you purchased a Curly W pretzel? Curly W pencil? Ben's Chili Bowl? Donated to the Dream Foundation? Eaten at the Shake Shack twelve times? Bought ten Home Run ales? Purchased a giant Nats hand.I mean all of these things are what get you into that special, secret Nats email club. :)Actually, I signed up for the newsletter and seem to get a bunch of promotions. Go figure.

  84. sm13 - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Glad to see that we've pulled back the welcome mat from the Philly fans. I will be ending my personal boycott of Philly games and buying extra tix for the May weekend. Now, about that winter fanfest…..

  85. TBass - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Why not a seven man rotation? Saves all young pitchers arms.

  86. Can I Read? - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Can this be right?I looked up Edwin Jackson on Baseball Reference. Is it possible he doesn't have one sacrifice bunt in his career?

  87. Bowdenball - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Mark-Do your comparative stats account for the fact that Jackson posted most of his stats in the AL and the remainder while pitching home games in the most hitter-friendly park in baseball, while Lannan posted his in the NL at a neutral park?Advanced stats are advanced for a reason. The fact that Jackson has slightly better ERA and WHIP numbers despite those factors tells me that he's a MUCH better pitcher, not a virtually identical one.

  88. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Diz.. Saw that Hot Stove as well.. Bowa/Williams/ Plesac have been drinking the Nats koolaid all off season. Did you notice that Bill Ripken wasn't drinking any of it…Anyhow… Baseball Tonight has premier episode on Tuesday at 3:30.

  89. SCNatsFan - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Constant Reader, I don't think Detwiler could pitch bad enough for no one to take a flier on him but I agree with the rest of your assessment. Great problem to have, much better then wondering who will be the 4 starters behind Cabrera or Simontacci

  90. The Fox - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    ESPN threw out these names as possible trades for Lannan: Eric Thames, Travis Snider, Jarrod Dyson, Delmon Young, Andy Dirks, and Marlon Byrd.Now I'm not sure that any of them answer our need of a lead-off CF but I did notice that Detroit's starting rotation which is very good is really all right handed. Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello,and Penny. Phil Coke who was 3-9 with a 4.47 ERA started 14 games and he was their best starting southpaw. Ilitch the 82 year old owner who just signed PF could easily take on a 5 million dollar contract if they wanted and I think he has dreams of WS rings in his not too distant future. Delmon not a CF anymore, did not have a good year in 2011 but he is only 26 and in 2010 he was really good with the Twins. Like I said not a perfect fit but I'm sure there is someone in the Tigers organization that might interest the Nats.Having too many starting pitchers especially left handed ones should not present much of a problem for Rizzo.

  91. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Unless the first two guys in the order are getting on base at a fairly good rate, a playoff run will probably fizzle.

  92. Mississippi Snopes - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    You do have to wonder if Rizzo is dealing with a sore arm that has not yet been disclosed. Maybe Chien-Ming Wang?

  93. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    NatsLady: Sad news — whatever you think about him or the Rangers — about Mr. Hamilton. When I was tracking lots of different websites during the Prince Fielder sweepstakes, I recall several comments among Ranger faithful wondering which would be a bigger long-term risk: taking the chance on Mr. Fielder's size/weight issues or offering an extension to Mr. Hamilton given his addiction problems. Given that one of the questions in Texas seemed to be whether they could afford both Mr. Fielder on a multi-year contract and extending Mr. Hamilton for a chunk of years, you've got to wonder if the Rangers management isn't second-guessing themselves right now.

  94. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Baseball Tonight cant hold MLB's Hotstove and other Programming's jockstraps.Lipty,

  95. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    MicheleS said… "Saw that Hot Stove as well.. Bowa/Williams/ Plesac have been drinking the Nats koolaid all off season. Did you notice that Bill Ripken wasn't drinking any of it…"That's because Ripken, as an expert, knows bad hitting when he sees it.

  96. N. Cognito - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Anonymous said… "Baseball Tonight cant hold MLB's Hotstove and other Programming's jockstraps."That's because ESPN has a slight problem – they SUCK!

  97. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Who's Billy Ripken? Oh, you meant *%^# face. ;-)Re. the Phillies series, things that make you go hmmm (URL as seen on the team site message board).

  98. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Maybe they should add Desmond to the roation, there's about as much reason for the Nats to think that Ian can pitch as there is for them to think he can field or hit. And unlike his long record of SS badness there is no evidence of him actually sucking at pitching, so what the hay!

  99. Bowdenball - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    N. Cognito-The Cardinals had Theriot lead off Game 7 of the World Series. He had a .321 OBP. Other guys they used near the top of their order last season include Furcal (.316) and John Jay (.344). Team OBP is very important, but batting order is not. If Desmond has a .295 OBP season he's gonna kill us no matter where he's batting, and if Werth bounces back and has a .370 type season he'll help us about the same if he's second or fifth.

  100. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    I also prefer MLB Network programming or even TWIB to Baseball Tonight, but some don't have MLB Network in their cable package.

  101. psdfx - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Every pitcher who becomes very good gets to a point in his career when he turns the corner. I have no data on when that point most often occurs, but it is at least possible that the turning point for Detwiler was last fall. Or it could have been the fall mirage that often happens. But if he DID turn the corner and the fall was a sign of things to come, I believe the best case scenario for the entire staff is for him to dominate the competition for the #5 spot and force Rizzo to figure out what to do with Lannan and Wang.

  102. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    ESPN/Baseball Tonight vs MLB Network Hot Stove..Totally agree with everyone the Hot Stove is MUCH better. My point is there is something to watch on ESPN besides football now! Some don't get MLB Network.

  103. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Things that make you go hmmm…take two

  104. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    I think that batting order matters a lot. The guy's most likely to get on (and to be able to score on a hit) go before the guys who are likely to hit for power, and the more AB's your better hitters and OBP guys get the better. Hence pithcers batting last, they are the worst thus the less chances given to them the better. Desmond can actually be a productive player for the Nats with a .295 OBP, but only if he's batting 8th and only if his glove makes up for the bad bat. Rafael Santana could not hit a lick for the 86 Mets, but the guy made all of the plays at SS and so he played most of hte games at SS even though het hit less than .220. The big problem is that if Desmond does not hit at the top, then who does? They need to find someone who can do it.dfh21

  105. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    If you dont have MLBnetwork in your cable package, you should upgrade. The programming on MLB network rivals NFLnetwork….in fact, it might be better, now that I think of it….it is better than NFLnetwork.Lipty,

  106. FS - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    that's a lot of money for EJax. Good thing it is just a one year deal with no player options or anything else that could handicap us from going after Cain or Hamels or Greinke next off-season.

  107. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    1A.. you should send that link to the BOG at WaPo. I bet he would be interested in that…TAKE BACK OUR PARK!

  108. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Did anyone see that Greinke is now agentless?

  109. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    MicheleS, too cumbersome for me to post on the WaPo site with the current interface but looks like someone did comment regarding such tours.

  110. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    The sad thing is that during the offseason MLB Network actually has more Nats-centric programming than MASN does.

  111. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    "Because Strasburg doesn't need a buddy for his starts. The training wheels are off. He's a full-fledged big league pitcher now."Actually, he's not. He has a 160 inning limit this year. You think the Nats should deal with that by letting him go full out for as long as that limit will let him, probably until late August. Some of us think that other creative approaches might provide more value to the team, which is pretty clearly going to contend for a WC spot this year, without undermining his development or future ace-dom. So we disagree. Nothing new about that.

  112. Scooter - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    I'm behind on reading, y'all, so please forgive my off-topic-itude. I've just read the "2nd anniversary" post. I know we've moved on, but I really thought some folks should see my comment:Like everyone else, I want to say thanks. But I want to thank the readers. I've been reading since the beginning, but I did not contribute money at the beginning of that year — I didn't know Zuckerman's writing, so I didn't know whether he was worth it. Without your contributions, I would not have been able to read this excellent weblog, with its excellent blogger and just as excellent comments section, lo these two years. So, thank you, friends.

  113. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    MicheleS, prior to last season Greinke fired his long-time agent at SFX and switched to CAA and then fired them rather quickly. I spoke to an agent friend of mine if he would attempt to rep Greinke and he said the money would be good but wouldn't do it and then elaborated with some words I won't repeat. What's the old saying, do it to me once shame on you, do it to me twice shame on me.

  114. CN - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Besides the replays of past big games on MASN, there isn't much Nats coverage. However, every Sat morning, there is 1 hr of Nats Talk live, which I'm definitely Tivo'ing to get more thoughts on the rotation…Captcha is "ancers" as in "The Nats have a lot of ancers at SP"

  115. Just sayin' - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    The money being spent on Jackson for a one-year contract only serves to underscore that the Nats are seriously trying to reach the playoffs this year (particularly when combined with the Lidge signing). You don't make those two deals for longer-term (or even mid-term, i.e., 2013-14) development purposes. You make them purely and simply to get into the playoffs now, while those two players are under contract. But the Nats front office is smart enough to realize that they can't seriously contend without scoring more runs. That means one more deal is coming, almost certainly for a CF who can legitimately bat in the number one or two position. I'm not going to pretend I know who they'll trade (although it will likely include one of the excess starting pitchers) or who precisely the target will be. But that's the logical move following the Jackson signing.As for the argument that acquiring a CF now will 'waste' that player when Harper comes up, the Nats have at least three decent choices at that point, revolving around Morse and LaRoche. But the biggest 'waste' would be to keep an inefficient player in CF for the first few months of the season when you could be adding even two or three extra wins that might well make all the difference in the world come September.

  116. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Again, defending Lannan I see? That's his big strength … politics both with teammates and off. Nothing less save that ERA and WHIP a beating than guys from the bullpen rushing in to put out his fires Mark.And so let's compare Jackson (high ceiling mid 90's fast ball with Lannan?Let's do it the RIGHT WAY with park and defense neutral stats shall we?We'll, also, to just stick in your ERA WHIP equivalent eye throw in the guy Rizzo et al were after, Mark Buehrle. Essentially Buehrle is who Lannan should be if we listen to Mark and all the other biased media types who can't read stats … or fudge stats to make their point.2011Mark Buehrle : 208.5 xIP, 4.15 tRA, 7.7 pRAA (he was not the ace of that staff)Edwin Jackson: 123.2 xIP, 4.35 tRA, 1.7 pRAA (PaleHose)Edwin Jackson: 76.0 xIP, 5.23 tRA, -7.9 pRAA (Cardinals)The great (according to Mark) John Lannan?182.3 xIP, 5.05 tRA, -15.1 pRAA Still, absolutely abysmal Mark. Given all the chances and opportunities? WTF dude do you want this team to keep losing 100 games likethe Orioles? Are you in Angelos' pocket?Rizzo put hit best: Jackson still has some ceiling left. So, signing him for one year and trying to see if they can work with him makes sense in a wide plethora of ways. As Rizzo discussed and described. Lannan has NO CEILING to work with. He is what he is Mark. PERIOD.

  117. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Steve M.. thanks for providing the insight and that should be interesting for whoever deals with him.MASN vs. MLB Network. NO comparison. I watched MASN last night, got some insight, but when they started talking about some O's guy that was signed to a minor league deal. I gave up. I even watch Intentional Talk for more info than MASN gives out.Give FP a show on MASN. That would be really good!

  118. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    The addition of Edwin Jackson has the Nats almost toe to toe with the Atlanta Braves. Heyward has lost 20 pounds and saying he is in the best shape of his career. Chipper Jones will be 40 and Jurjjens and Hanson still may have lingering health issues. They still have their stealth bullpen in place.Edwin Jackson's contract is $11 million, Lannan at $5 million, Wang at $4 million and Detwiler at $450K. The weakest links also seem to follow the money. Obviously Edwin Jackson is the #4 man but I wonder, is it really a competition to #5? Lannan is the next reliable and we all know the question marks around Wang and Detwiler.Simpler solution is trade Henry Rodriguez and work Wang and Detwiler out of the 'pen.To "Give away" any of these pitchers like Nyjer was handed over last year would be ridiculous.I would rather put Wang in the 'pen then give any starter away. Just my 2 cents.

  119. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    "Because Strasburg doesn't need a buddy for his starts. The training wheels are off. He's a full-fledged big league pitcher now."Actually, he's not. He has a 160 inning limit this year. You think the Nats should deal with that by letting him go full out for as long as that limit will let him, probably until late August.Forcing Strasburg to artificially limit himself to five innings per start, as you advocate, helps neither him nor the team. Believe me, they won't do it. They won't even consider it.

  120. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    But the Nats front office is smart enough to realize that they can't seriously contend without scoring more runs. That means one more deal is coming, almost certainly for a CF who can legitimately bat in the number one or two position.Certainly Upton projects pretty high ceiling-wise. That's who I believe they will get by hook or by free agent acquisition. However, he wasn't enough. They needed Fielder to dramatically improve run production. Now, its been thrown into Davey's lap. He will try to get Harper up to speed as quickly as possible (hopefully foregoing what happened to Daryl Strawberry) … I suspect given the current FO they won't push Harper any further than he can go. If he is truly like Ted Williams the distance he might go might be incredible. But we'll have to see he has yet to produce William's number in the minors so …. There are also Stephen Lombardozzi, Tyler Moore, and even Corey Brown. Destin Hood is no longer a distant hope. Wilson Ramos has the potential to be a big bat as does Danny Espinosa. All that is required is time and additional development. They are still rebuilding … but doing it the right way.The offense in 2012, without Fielder, isn't going to be anything to brag about. But then it really wasn't in 2009, 2010 … there has been marked improvement.

  121. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    MicheleS said… Steve M.. thanks for providing the insight and that should be interesting for whoever deals with him.MASN vs. MLB Network. NO comparison. I watched MASN last night, got some insight, but when they started talking about some O's guy that was signed to a minor league deal. I gave up. I even watch Intentional Talk for more info than MASN gives out.Give FP a show on MASN. That would be really good! February 03, 2012 12:34 PM MLB Network is the place to watch. Great Nats coverage amongst Hot Stove, Intentional Talk and Clubhouse Confidential. I watched the replays too.I am addicted. MASN is trash. It was nice to see WUSA9 cover the Nats in their sports segment opening salvo last night.

  122. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Right now, Rizzo is on MLB radio.

  123. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    NatsJack.. Recap please. Can't get MLB radio in the office.

  124. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Simpler solution is trade Henry Rodriguez and work Wang and Detwiler out of the 'pen.Wang's warmup routine rivals that of Livan Hernandez. He's not "get him up quick" bullpen material. Detwiler OTOH has shown that he can pitch out of the bullpen. Wang will either be in the rotation or on the DL.

  125. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Feelwood is holier than thou. Watch out as he knows all. Sheesh, get off of your perch. All ideas will be on the table including taking advantage of off days to move him back.

  126. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Feel Wood, you could be right about Wang. I have also heard he has a long warmup routine. Rizzo and McCatty have some planning to do.

  127. Bowdenball - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    dfh21-It is pretty much accepted fact at this point that batting order doesn't matter all that much. It's worth maybe 10 runs a season over a , and that assumes optimal batting order, which is virtually impossible and usually assumes the pitcher bats eighth. A google search of "does batting order matter?" will give you all the evidence you need.

  128. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    There are only two, yes I said two, position players in the Nats minor league system that are currently on track for future starting spots with the big club and none of them are named Lombardozz, Moore, or Brown.

  129. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    I stood over the bullpen and watched Wang warm up prior to his first start last July. (I may have been the only non-Asian there.) His routine did not include as many pitches as Livo's does (what other pitcher's would?) but it looked pretty exacting and meticulous.

  130. Theophilus - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    Limiting Strasburg to 5 IP per start is saying kids shouldn't play dodge ball. Training him to be a five-inning pitcher is antithetical to his and the team's long-term interest. Stop inhaling.Don't quite understand giving Jackson all that money. He's basically a RH Lannan except that (A) they won't be mistaken for twins and (B) he has a fastball so doesn't need to pray for a DP to get him out of his own mess (sometimes). There was so much hype when the Dodgers brought him up, and so little production. I have to think Nats aren't the first team to think they could "tweak" his delivery, which makes me believe he could just be one of those hard-headed pitchers who believes he can get by throwing heat and doesn't need to learn anything. He will likely pitch more innings than Lannan but most likely will just take up space between Gonzalez and Wang. It wouldn't be classic, but Nats should hang onto all of their starters until they get something worthwhile in return. Lannan should fetch a high-A level pitcher who looks to be at least a future no. 3 starter. It's not a "fair" exchange for the other team, but GMs of needy teams will recognize that 8 wins this year are worth 15 wins three years from now. A bullpen-dwelling Lannan could spot-start for Wang (or Jackson) against LH-heavy teams (except Philly) and be in the mix when they shut down Strasburg in mid-August. I hope they find a deal before then but agree they will need at least seven starters to finish the season and there's no one at Syracuse or Harrisburg right now who's gonna be ML-ready before next year (if then).

  131. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    There are only two, yes I said two, position players in the Nats minor league system that are currently on track for future starting spots with the big club and none of them are named Lombardozz, Moore, or Brown.I wouldn't count out Lombardozzi Natsjack. He is the superior leadoff hitter in the minors … just have to see if that translates along with the platoon bat to the majors.Again, what has Johnson been saying from day one? THE BENCH PRODUCES A LOT of RUNS. Repeat 1000 times and then write it a few on the white board okay? The Nats bench under Riggleman has been dismal and pathetic offensively. Any of these guys (and Marerro if he recovers completely) could improve that? They might as well avail themselves of the depth they've build up in the #1 BA farm system.

  132. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Its time for Mike Rizzo to get even more creative and get a multi-team trade going and make it a matter of filling needs instead of getting the upper hand.Most teams still have a couple of areas they would like to improve in. This will take creativity and I'm sure Mike Rizzo is up to the task!

  133. Feel Wood - Feb 3, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Feelwood is holier than thou. Watch out as he knows all. Sheesh, get off of your perch. All ideas will be on the table including taking advantage of off days to move him back.Every time he is asked about a six-man rotation or other means of stretching out Strasburg, Rizzo shoots it down immediately, saying they're going to pitch him like normal until he hits his innings limit, and then they'll shut him down. Perhaps Rizzo knows more about the situation than you or I do.

  134. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Rendon and Harper are 2 future starters and hopefully Goodwin also so I come up with 3.

  135. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    MichelleS,Watch to the left of your browser. Undoubtedly Patrick is also listening to Rizzo and will give you a full recap and perhaps a link to it under Federal Baseball.

  136. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    MicheleS…..he only said "we will break camp with our 25 best players" once, and he said that "in defference to Davey, I'll keep an open mind" when discussing Harper.But, if you listened closely, he spoke about his (Rizzo's) experience with player developement anf how he would err on the side of developement with such a young player.

  137. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    PAY TO PLAY said…Rendon and Harper are 2 future starters and hopefully Goodwin also so I come up with 3.Throw in Lombardozzi and his platoon bat and one could count 4. Of course Corey Brown could steal Goodwin's job starting off on the bench for Johnson. Its possible if improbable. But at this point he looks like a potentially better bench player than Bernadina due to his fabulous CF fielding.

  138. jcj5y - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I am a long-time Lombardozzi skeptic, but in the course of this year's prospect review season, I have seen more experts buying in. Even BA, which tends to be more tools focused, is quite high on him.There are a number of other position players in the Nats system (outside of Harper and Rendon) who have the potential to be quality big leaguers. As always, there's uncertainty. But Goodwin, Hood and Taylor are all relatively high to very high ceiling players.

  139. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Bowdenball — I don't buy it. Having the best hitters, best OBP guys best sluggers get more AB's than the lousy ones is worth a lot. You get 27 outs, throwing them away with extra AB's for your pitcher would make a difference. And protection in a lineup also factors in — Ryan Braun saw a lot more pitches to hit with Prince behind him than Matt Kemp did with Juan Rivera on deck, no? And I can understand OBP or OPS being more important, but speed and baserunning ability is not some negligible part of the game. David Ortiz is not scoring from First on a double very often, but Ellsbury sure is. I dunno.But it does not matter in any event to the Nats, because the question is whether Desmond can get on base to a high enough level to throw an extra AB at him every game over another guy, not whether he has traditional leadoff man speed, which ironically he does have — speed is the only thing that Desmond has without question. dfh21

  140. NatsJack on Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    PAY TO PLAY…..Goodwin has a long way to go. I doubt he gets to come to ML camp.

  141. NatsLady - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Steve M., with respect, there is no one less suited to working out of the bullpen than Wang. His warm-up routine is at least as long as Livo's, if not longer. Forty-five minutes, minimum, and a simulated first inning. I watched him in Wrigley, where the pitchers throw along the foul lines. With McCatty looking on, Wang warmed up for almost a half-hour more than the Cubs' guy–and Wang pitched a great game that day.I'm glad there is a rule about not trading FA's until June–we need to see what these guys have. Also, I agree VERY much with the poster who said let's not play inefficient outfielders for two months while we wait for Prince Oppo-Boppo:(1) April and May games count;(2) Prince O may not be that efficient himself when he first arrives;(3) What is wrong with "renting" a good outfielder for three months and then flipping him at the deadline? We will have a much better feel for injuries, team needs and playoff chances in June than we do now. But let's start off with the best possible team.(4) I still think Prince O will be up for the home opener if he mashes in spring training.

  142. Rat Man - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    Strasburg, Detwiler and Desmond are going to New York for Robinson Cano, Bret Gardner and Brandon Laird. Oswalt is signed. Espinosa is moved to short.

  143. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    I don't ask anyone about potential. If they don't have potential, they don't get signed in the first place.

  144. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    (4) I still think Prince O will be up for the home opener if he mashes in spring training.Both he and Corey Brown have to look like Ted Williams ready to bat in 145 RBI and 100 runs. Well, so if either or both look like Morse did last spring? Then yes. The Nats need a bench and apparently Davey is holding out on that thinking he can fill the rest of the slots internally. And, surely Rizzo is still working on that final trade …

  145. Theophilus - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    It occurs to me that the loser in this game of musical chairs may be Burnett. They can't possibly go into the season w/ four LHs in the bullpen. Burnett is probably the least flexible, so is probably available. Lannan should be worth most, followed by Gorzelany, but Burnett probably shouldn't be signing any long-term leases.

  146. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    I don't ask anyone about potential. If they don't have potential, they don't get signed in the first place.Rizzo isn't a big fan of potential even when its his own scouting and drafting. He much prefers proven major league talent (albeit young with high ceilings). I.E. the Gio Gonzalez trade.

  147. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    MicheleS and SteveM, I love me some Intentional Talk. Haven't gotten into Clubhouse Confidential so much but maybe I'll warm up to it. I also enjoy Hot Stove and the Countdown programs, and, of course, the actual games during the season. Seems like they should be starting up the 30 Clubs in 30 Days program soon, if they're doing it this year. Only watched one episode of the new game show so far, the one with the Nats guy vs. the Brewers guy.

  148. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    In other news, watched a bit of the CWS Venezuela/Puerto Rico game yesterday (late innings). Someone other than Ramos was catching. They had a Ruiz jersey hung in the Puerto Rico dugout. Not sure what that was about as I couldn't understand the broadcast.

  149. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    At least someone knows why I said "only two".

  150. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    World Series Prediction; You heard it hear first…Nats VS Tigers. Lerner Vs Illich (battle of the 80 year olds)Hiccup… must have had too many beers/bourbons/wines/maalox from the Best 25 men go north…Best 25 will go North! (Who is drinking with me?)dfh21

  151. Bowdenball - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    dfh21-I understand the reasoning, but the facts are the facts. People have run the projections over and over. It mattes a tiny little bit of course, but not really very much. Not enough that having a guy with a .310 OBP bat first instead of seventh or eighth is gonna kill you, for sure. And in case you didn't believe it before, the Cardinals showed us last year.I like the Nats-Tigers prediction, though!

  152. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    It occurs to me that the loser in this game of musical chairs may be Burnett.Astute observation.Of all the relievers Slaten was the worst … followed by Burnett. Gorzelanny was reasonably effective both starting and relieving. He is a valuable commodity. Can Atahualpa or 'Attie' step up and be that lefty specialist? The Nats are alarmingly short in that area. Which is why one still has to believe another trade is in the offing.

  153. Section 222 - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    "Forcing Strasburg to artificially limit himself to five innings per start, as you advocate, helps neither him nor the team. Believe me, they won't do it. They won't even consider it."I doubt they will do it either. But I don't know, since I don't have the same certainty about my opinions as you do. Nor am I as quick to assert that my armchair opinions are shared by Rizzo and DJ as you are. But let's get to the nub of our disagreement, which is whether a creative solution would help the team. (I've never asserted that the five inning limit would help Strasburg, nor does that really matter, though if there is reason to believe it would actually hurt him, that is obviously very significant.) I think a 5 inning limit would help the Nats, and I will lay my case out briefly. Perhaps you can do the same and our fellow commenters can weigh in if they wish. Jordan Znn started 26 games last year, averaging between 6.21 innings per start. If Strasburg averages 5 innings per start, he could start 32 games. (If you make 5 innings a maximum rather than an average and he gets pulled in the third or fourth inning a few times, there might be a 33rd start.) Strasburg's career ERA in 17 starts is 2.54. His ERA in the 6 starts he made last year was 1.50. Let's assume for purposes of this discussion that he matches his career ERA. That works out to 1.41 runs per five innings. I think that having six more games where the Nats have given up just 1 or 2 runs before turning to the bullpen (whether or not Strasburg has a designated buddy), would help the team. I'm not sure how best to quantify this, but one way to think about it is that those six starts after late August will otherwise have to be picked up by our No. 6 starter at best. Last year our sixth best starter in ERA terms was Tommy Milone (3.81). If you leave out Peacock and Milone, who started just 7 games between them, it was Tom Gorzalanny (4.03). Using Milone's ERA for the sake of argument, that's 2.12 runs per five innings. Gorzo's ERA yields 2.24. So that's a difference of either .71 or .83 in those five innings. Nearly a run per game seems significant to me. It's the difference between starting your ace, or starting your No. 6, and ought to be worth a couple of wins, but maybe I'm wrong. Or maybe there's a better way to analyze it.Six starts is another month of the Nats benefiting from Straburg's pitching. With creative use of off days, rainouts and the All Star break, he might even be available to pitch the Wild Card game. Now that would help the team, wouldn't it?

  154. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Bowdenball — I am not sure we're talking about the same things. I ran that Google search and what the sites talk about is whether and to what extent a traditional lineup (small ballers, speed guys at the top) versus some OBP/OPS driven lineup makes a difference. They are not saying that lineup order itself does not matter. At least not the couple I looked at. But after all of the Best 25 go North shots I have had at this point with MicheleS (credit card roulette to see who pays the tab?), my even when sober not so powerful brain is not producing much value.dfh21

  155. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    Wait, was that MicheleS or dfh21?MicheleS said… World Series Prediction; You heard it hear first… Nats VS Tigers. Lerner Vs Illich (battle of the 80 year olds) Hiccup… must have had too many beers/bourbons/wines/maalox from the Best 25 men go north… Best 25 will go North! (Who is drinking with me?) dfh21 February 03, 2012 1:29 PM

  156. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    Rat Man said…Strasburg, Detwiler and Desmond are going to New York for Robinson Cano, Bret Gardner and Brandon Laird. Oswalt is signed. Espinosa is moved to short.WTH, it's a slow day. I'll bite–why do you think that?

  157. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Okay, I've got my two tix for Saturday, May 5 (for the hubby and me). Who's with us? 'cause we can only take back the two seats and all.

  158. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    @222, since you invited comments: As you know, it's not just a flat-rate count of how many guys he gets out that matters–innings is just a convenient way of approximating a safe limit. Even if a pitcher only goes 5 innings precisely in every start, his warmup routine is probably not going to change, and his between-starts routine isn't going to change, all of which includes him throwing a baseball. Basically, five months of work is five months of work, and they are unlikely to risk breaking him again by going counter to generally accepted best practices.

  159. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    1A…It was me!!! Woo Hoo..Hiccup…And i will be there with you on May 5 (and the 4th and the 6th – for those attending on those days)

  160. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    NatsLady, I believe you are right about Wang and his time to get loose. Like I said, leave it up to Rizzo, Davey and McCatty to sort it all out. Its a good thing to have too many guys but a shame if you cut a valuable pitcher loose for a Cutter Dykstra prototype.

  161. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    For those of us who have suffered from the very start in 2005 of the Expos relocation and each year since and before that for decades dreamed each time a distant franchise wanted to relocate to Washington and was heartbroken when the SeNATors left30+ years ago and then had to suffer through the years of baseball inside I-695 in Bal'more especially under the ruling of Peter the Un-Great-ful, its time for us to hope for the deliverence of post-season pride to the Washington Nationals.I don't know about the best 25 will go North—-I just want a team that will compete and be pissed when they lose and celebrate when they win and go for it and be a buyer at the trade deadline in July. Meaningful baseball in DC in Sept/Oct would be great!

  162. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Sofa…I took Rat Man's comment at sarcasm to throwing the trade out there….

  163. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Longtime reader, first time poster.I think the curveball Rizzo is planning is not Lannan at all, but JZimm.We just added another power righty, 28 and worth keeping around if he develops. He makes another power righty more expendable than he does a qualified southpaw.A Lannan package does not get you McCutchen-Ellsbury caliber talent.But a JZimm package does.Now THAT is dealing from depth, especially if its a JZimm-Lannan-plus caliber package for a multiplayer return of a superstar CF, under control (Maybe Ellsbury), or a similar effort to try to get a bat and talent like Hanley Ramirez.I think the head fake here is that EJax makes the righty above him expendable, not the people below, if the Nats are truly looking to reel in ELITE talent.If aiming high at Gio (from depth) is any indication, that is how I think Rizzo can and should think without necessarily overpaying.Perhaps the idea of what an elite player addition would do for the Nats now, in 2012, is the desirable windfall from the Fielder process alone. Were I to be the GM, and Rizzo is a lot better at this than we are, that is how I would be thinking.Thoughts?ForensicMic

  164. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Thanks, MicheleS, I was a little confused. I'll definitely take the Nats in the WS! :-)And atta way re. May 5.

  165. natsfan1a - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Or to be more precise "re. May 4-6." :-)And atta way re. May 5.

  166. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    ForensicMic..NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is my thought on a JZNN trade.

  167. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    ForensicMic, you don't trade a future piece that is essential from your core unless you can replace that exact piece with someone as good or better.The core of this team is Stras, JZim, Gio, Ramos, Zim, and BHarper should be part of the core. Yes, Werth is along for the ride since he signed a long-term deal. Other moving parts are Espi and time will tell on Michael Morse and the bullpen duo of Clip/Storen. Question mark of course on Desmond.EJax was signed for 1 year and so is Wang and Lannan is a Free Agent after next year.I can't see trading any core piece to fix another area. If Lannan isn't traded, next years rotation could be:Stras, Gio, JZim, VACANT, Lannan

  168. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    MicheleSA lot of people said that about Peacock plus AJ Cole, too. Look what we got!But it almost happened last year to JZimm, no? And he's worth a LOT more now. You don't need expensive players to win a WS. But you do need elite players and pitchers who gel together.ForensicMic

  169. Theophilus - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Just watching Josh Hamilton presser (such as it was). If Rangers aren't willing to go deep for him next year, Nats should get into the bidding.

  170. The Fox - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    dfh21 Bowdenball is correct when it comes to the math of it. I still struggle with it because of many of the examples you gave. There is one caveat if you bat at the top of the order especially the first 3 you get more AB's in a season. I still think some players play better when they have assigned roles which gives them a comfort factor, especially young players. I can't prove this it just seems undeniable to me but I could be wrong. Wait until you see Gio's curve-ball we then can argue that it really does not break as much as it seems its an optical illusion.

  171. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    I can't see Pittsburgh taking Znn for McCutchen straight up. It is the Pirates, so you never know, but Huntington did sound like he meant it when he said it would take a franchise-changing deal to get him.

  172. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    SteveM……Just think back to how long Rizzo hung on to Mock. And someone actually thinks he'd trade the first real nugget he personally found (Jordan Zimmermann) as Director of Player Personnel?I DON'T THINK SO!

  173. NatsLady - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Steve M., Re: Strasburg and "being creative." I don't think it works that way. You put him out there for 5 months (i.e., the length of the minor-league season), and let him pitch as many innings/games as appropriate based on the rotation and the game, and then you shut him down completely. Just what they did for Z'nn. That's what they are going to do. The reasons for this are several (I'm not a doctor).Five inning limit: He's a competitor. He is not going to come out after 5 innings, and you don't want him to. He needs to build up both stamina and tactics for facing hitters the third time around.Once he has invested in the warm-up, you are not necessarily saving his arm by restricting him to 5 innings. You may not want him to pitch 150 count but you do want him to go as deeply into the game as is reasonable and not have a pre-set limit.Stretching out the season by a six-man rotation, etc.: Also not what they are going to do. You want him to pitch a full season, in a normal rotation, just a shorter season, so his arm has a longer time to recuperate. Yes, it will be hard for him to sit out September, and possibly a Wild Card game. But it comes with the territory of rehab.

  174. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    ForensicMic, JZim's ERC, WHIP, ERA has him as a Top 20 pitcher in the entire Majors. If he can pitch even deeper into games this year he will be up there with the Aces of the game. His stuff is that good.The Nats could potentially have 3 Aces to rival the best in the Majors and you want to break that up to fix centerfield?NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  175. jcj5y - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    ForensicMic makes an interesting point. There's no reason to think that Zimmermann is untouchable. Looks like Ellsbury is a free agent after '13, McCutchen after '15, so that's a big difference in value. I'm not sure either the Nats or the Red Sox would pull the trigger on Zimmermann-for-Ellsbury straight up. Too much risk trading established stars like that. I think the Nats would have to say yes on McCutchen-for-Zimmermann, but I'm not sure it's a smart move for the Pirates. Zimmermann is a free agent after '15, just like McCutchen. So the Pirates wouldn't get a player who is cheaper or who would be around when they are ready to contend.In any case, I suspect Rizzo is thinking out-of-the-box like this.

  176. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:26 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… SteveM……Just think back to how long Rizzo hung on to Mock. And someone actually thinks he'd trade the first real nugget he personally found (Jordan Zimmermann) as Director of Player Personnel?I DON'T THINK SO! February 03, 2012 2:22 PM My core is shaking from just the thought. I would expect a Philly fan to suggest something like that. Also keep in mind that JZim is under 4 more years of team control.

  177. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Actually, Rizzo's title was Assistant GM but responsable for Player Personnel.

  178. MicheleS - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    Nice piece on Larkin and Desi/Ryan. And you could have a shortstop in Ryan (for all you Desi haters).. Larkin was working with him on it… http://washington.nationals.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120201&content_id=26534936&vkey=news_was&c_id=was

  179. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    P2P, If that one crazy pop-up to right center field doesn't get lost in the sun between Bernadina and Werth and those 2 runs walk home on that play, JZim probably finishes his season with a 2.98 ERA. That's how good of a season Jordan Zimmermann had. That's why quite a few people believe he earned Opening Day honors.

  180. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Pay to Play…Rather than argue the point, because for an everyday superstar for this anemic offense that can also steal bases, let me point out that Rizzo has coveted Jackson for awhile.For that reason alone, don't see him as a rent-a-player a la David Wells. I think if Edwin takes his game up a quantum level, the Nats will seriously consider locking him up. They were willing to pay Buerhle more, and the Rizzo vision is clearly to get people in who have WS experience.ForensicMic

  181. jcj5y - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Upon further reflection, I think the Nats say yes to Ellsbury-for-Zimmermann. Fix center through '13, when you can decide whether Goodwin or someone else is ready, or potentially re-sign Ellsbury. Yes, you lose your #3 starter, but Ellsbury is a proven game-changer. The team as a whole would be better off. Red Sox might still say no, as they don't have a reasonable replacement for Ellsbury.

  182. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    jcj5y said… In any case, I suspect Rizzo is thinking out-of-the-box like this. February 03, 2012 2:24 PM Many trades and free agents don't work out because a change of scenery and chemistry and lineups and coaching changes a lot for the future.If McCutcheon comes to Washington the Nats rotation is:Strasburg, Gio, VACANT, VACANT, Lannan. McCutcheon may drop off from his change in teams. Why give up your stud for a chance of filling one hole when you just created a bigger hole? It makes little sense in my opinion.

  183. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    dfh21 and Bowdenball: You're both right, but for different time horizons. Bowdenball is looking at an entire season. As the sabrmetricians have repeatedly shown, if you simulate 162 games using an 'optimized' line-up (which you can define a couple of different ways, but essentially you're setting your batting order based on OBP or OPS, highest to lowest) you'll end up with approximately 10-20 extra runs per season, which should translate to an extra win or two for the season.But dfh21, I believe, is essentially looking at any given game. And in any individual game, you may well find yourself in situations in which it's better to go with a more traditional line-up. Again, you can define that in a couple of different ways, but essentially you'd prefer to have Big Papi trying to advance Carl Crawford from first to third, rather than having Mr. Crawford trying to advance Mr. Ortiz if you were in the bottom of the ninth inning with the score tied. But in an exclusively OBP-based line-up, Mr. Ortiz might well be batting ahead of Mr. Crawford. That might be best for the Red Sox in general terms over the course of the season, but maybe not in that particular situation.What you're paying your manager for, presumably, is to find the right line-up that blends the traditional with the modern (if you will).

  184. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    Steve MVacant, nothing. These are not the Montreal Expos. If EJax and Wang are stars, they'll be resigned at or above market value.Gio could drop off from a change in teams, anyone could, and JZimms arm could fall off tomorrow, and if my aunt had balls, she'd be my uncle. :)ForensicMic

  185. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    ForensicMic, Scott Boras is Jackson's agent. Good luck if you think it is anything past a 1 year rental at this point in time. Boras placed him with the Nats to shine and raise his value. More wishful thinking on your part.

  186. blovy8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    It makes little sense to trade JZimm, because you'll need to replace that talent next year ALONG with the Wang and Jackson spots. Wang is trying to rebuild his value, and Jackson has for whatever reason been convinced he can make more next year. Those guys aren't coming back again unless their market falls apart. We have less major league starting pitching than last year, fer crissakes.

  187. blovy8 - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    In the minors, that is…

  188. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    My momma taught me not to argue with fools. Steve, don't be baited into arguing with that fool.

  189. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Upon further reflection, I think the Nats say yes to Ellsbury-for-Zimmermann. Fix center through '13, when you can decide whether Goodwin or someone else is ready, or potentially re-sign Ellsbury.They're never going to do this? Has no one been reading and watching, it was made blatantly obvious by Fangraphs of all places. The PERFECT CF for the Nationals is BJ Upton. He combines a still young player athlete with a high attainable ceiling. His fielding is sublime. His bat improves on a yearly basis. Again, he is still young and he is a free agent in 2013. So of course the Nats are going to sign him. Forget Ellsbury. Forget the rest. If they had signed Fielder they would already have advanced to make the deal for Upton by now because he would have provided enough of an offensive plus to go for it all now. Anything else is just fantasy baseball and doesn't follow Rizzo and his FO's blueprint.

  190. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    It's not wishful thinking. When the owner can afford to raise payroll and pays what they paid for Purke, and for Werth, the ownership will pay Boras for what they believe to be worth it.I am sure they offered plenty for Fielder.Bottom line is, Rizzo coveted Jackson. Just as he has coveted BJ Upton. I can't see this being a rental if EJax proves to raise his game and gels into an integral part of the team fabric with the "experienced, mentor, clubhouse guyetc." personality that the front office is clearly recruiting (see Lidge, Gio, and Fielder)ForensicMic

  191. jcj5y - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Steve M.McCutcheon has put up three straight years of above .800 OPS and plus centerfield defense. He's not likely to "drop-off," and is defintely a surer bet to repeat 2011 than Zimmermann.If Zimmermann were traded, the 2013 rotation would be Stras, Gio, VACANT, Detwiler, Lannan. At this time last year, the 2012 rotation didn't include Gio, Wang or Jackson. Filling in a third starter is much easier than acquiring a cost-controlled All-Star centerfielder.

  192. Mark'd - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Holy moly, this place just got stupid real quick. All the joy has clouded some brains. YOU NEVER GO 1 STEP FORWARD AND 2 STEPS BACKWARDS AND SUCCEED

  193. Steve M. - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    ForensicMic, I am signing out and taking some previous advice. Everyone have a great weekend.

  194. Anonymous - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I think if Edwin takes his game up a quantum level, the Nats will seriously consider locking him up. They were willing to pay Buerhle more, and the Rizzo vision is clearly to get people in who have WS experience.Precisely put! If EJax sees the Nats as perennial contenders with himself a solid part of a top ML rotation? Why wouldn't he resign to play for the Nats again? Is more than a one year rental (remember, he gave up a couple of 3 year deals) this is an audition for both sides. If they like each other then …As for John Lannan his days are numbered. Have to think Gorzelanny might still improve and finally come back from the 2007 rookie arm blow-out. Detwiler has to like Davey Johnson a lot better than Riggleman. And then there's Gio. Plus? Solis and Purke bringing up the rear. No room for Johnny Lannan and he will likely go the way of LIvo to a non-contender rebuilding … or the Orioles who will never compete.

  195. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    I don't happen to agree with FMic on this, but there's no call for insulting people (anonymously, at that).

  196. greg - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    [b]you don't want him to. He needs to build up both stamina and tactics for facing hitters the third time around.[/b]this is why you don't want to pitch strasburg 5 innings only. the third time around is always the most difficult for a young (or mediocre) starter. that's when the hitters adjust and the SP has to adjust as well. this is where lannan's value plummets, as he struggles with the third time through the order.

  197. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    YOU NEVER GO 1 STEP FORWARD AND 2 STEPS BACKWARDS AND SUCCEED I dunno, Ginger Rogers did OK.

  198. Constant Reader - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    SCNatsFan, if the Nats waive Detwiler, any team that claims him has to put him on their 25 man roster. My thought was that he could actually pitch badly enough (especially in relief) that we would take a shot at getting him through waivers because no one would risk a rotation spot for him. Obviously is he is pitching remotely well, you are exactly right.

  199. jcj5y - Feb 3, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    I don't think it's "stupid" to think that Jordan Zimmermann is available in the right trade. It would have to be a tremendous blockbuster, but as we learned with Gio, you have to give something (sometimes a lot) to get something.Zimmermann has incredible value given his 2011 season and team control through 2015. But that doesn't mean he's without some questions. I woudl be shocked if his name hasn't come up in trade discussions, even though the odds that he's actually traded are very small. Given the logjam at starting pitcher, the potential development of Detwiler, Solis, Purke and Meyer, and the team's needs in other positions, it would be stupid for the Nats not to consider any offers.

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