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Spring storylines: Who’s in center field?

Feb 15, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel are among the Nationals' options in center field.

With pitchers and catchers due to report Sunday, we've reached the home stretch of the offseason. All week, we'll count down the five biggest storylines facing the Nationals at spring training. Today, it's storyline No. 3: Who will start in center fielder?…

Mike Rizzo entered this offseason with two clearly stated goals: 1) Add a frontline starting pitcher, and 2) Acquire a starting outfielder, preferably a leadoff-hitting center fielder.

The Nationals general manager had no trouble accomplishing that first goal; he wound up adding two big-time starters in Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson. Finding that starting outfielder, however, proved a more difficult task than Rizzo envisioned.

The free-agent market was underwhelming. The trade market never materialized. And though the Nationals scouted Yoenis Cespedes, ultimately they weren't convinced the Cuban defector was big-league ready or was worth the money he was likely to receive. (The Athletics signed Cespedes this week to a four-year, $36 million contract.)

So, barring an unforeseen and unlikely move in the next four days, the Nationals will report for spring training having failed to address one ofRead more »

191 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. joemktg - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Was this posting a repeat from last year's pre-Spring Training?

  2. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Who SHOULD be in CF?Whoever we can get for John Lannan plus prospects.

  3. A&C - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Who's on first.

  4. Cease the Opportunity - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Why can't they start all three? One can play shallow center and the other two left and right center. That should shut down center field and most of left and right too with Werth playing the right field line and Morse playing the left field line. Let Ankiel and Cameron do the hitting depending on the lefty righty match up and let Bernadina do the running. You can just stage him behind the Home Plate umpire…

  5. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    the time to get this team all put together is this year-not next year. good progress but this is a major miss by Rizzo and will haunt them. BTW-Harper is not exactly assured of blowing thru the minors and will only get called up because the outfield weakness will open the door. If they are contending, a midsummer trade may be in the cards (or dodgers or cubs)

  6. Constant Reader - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Worst case for us as fans … Harper comes to spring training and rakes while the other three (Ankiel, Bernadina, Cameron) play like, well, the other three. Harper gets sent to Syracuse for the obvious financial reason and continues to rake while two of the three come north and continue to play like, well, two of the other three. I am totally bought into the idea of having Harper at 25 over Harper at 19 (the reason for sending him down), but it could be painful for us to watch until June.

  7. fibi - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Does Teddy have an outfielders glove?

  8. blovy8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Why wouldn't they sign Fukodome for 1 million? A .360 OBP outfielder who doesn't embarrass himself in any of the three OF spots, and can fit as a fourth guy when Harper comes up?

  9. Haven't we already talked this all to death? - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    1. Harper doesn't have to wait until June to preserve his extra year of eligibility. That's about Super-2 issues, not about team control. If he proves himself he can easily be brought up by late April.2. Who exactly did Rizzo miss out on? "A major miss" implies there was something to "miss".

  10. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Why should this Spring Training be any different than the previous 2 with the uncertainty in the outfield?DeRosa can play RF and LF also. I like the idea of a very RH lineup against LH pitching with Morse at 1st and the outfield of DeRosa, Cameron and Werth.With all the talk of the BEST 25 GO NORTH, why not let the best of the competitiors decide who is the best out of Ankiel, Bernadina, Cameron and DeRosa as kind of your A,B,C,D's of the role players in the outfield.Yes, there is room for all of them to make the team and DeRosa can play infield as well. On MLB Network last night, 2nd most durable Shortstop was Ian Desmond who was behind Starlin Castro. I had no idea how many Shortstops don't play everyday.

  11. Theophilus - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Bernadina needs to be traded while he still has any value. I'm not saying he has much value, but somebody's "C" prospect. I just can't see him surviving the full season on the 25-man roster. Same for Cameron, but at the moment there's other no RH bat who can play CF. I think Rizzo may be compelled to trade for a RH hitting OF between now and the time they break camp.

  12. HHover - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Does Teddy have an outfielders glove?Yes, but he's slow of foot and prone to taking odd angles to his destination.

  13. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    blovy8,A quick question on Fukodome? Is that a career OBP? What was last year? The reason I ask, is that he seemed to have a poor year in 2011 (and started to have one in 2010). Also, I am not sure he is a better option in CF than Ankiel. I mean, the Indians didn't keep him and the WSox are using him to replace Carlos Quentin (not sure that is a good swap for the WSox)… Just sayin'

  14. blovy8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    This could be a really ugly offense, almost as bad as last year. The idea that LaRoche automatically can come back and be average seems wishful thinking to me all of the sudden. With veteran bats taking less money, I'm really hoping Rizzo is waiting for a bargain to add to the bench.

  15. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    The Nats need a quality CF to compete now, but even if they went and got the guy, they'd have no spot in the lineup for him (Morse, Werth and when it is time Harper are going to play every day, so Morse is the odd man out). So, I am guessing a Lannan-based trade will not be netting us back a starting CF for this season.Bernadina's glove is likely good neough to play CF and he's OK against RHP. Cameron can at least take a walk and provide a touch of pop from the right side. Ankiel will get his starts and can be hte LHB off the bench maybe. There could be a worse platoon set up.The problem is that the 2 hole is likely going to be filled from CF and these guys are not likely to come up with average prodcution there. We'll see.dfh21

  16. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Maybe the Nats will play an all PED abusing OF of Morse, Ankiel and Cameron.

  17. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    DFH21…Watched BBTN yesterday and they had Danny in the 2 hole. Not sure it that is a good idea (of course it was all based on Harper being with the BEST 25 NORTH! and batting 7th behind Werth)

  18. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    This team could be really, really good if everyone plays up to his potential. This team could be really, really bad if people get injured and don't play well. It's a crapshoot.

  19. blovy8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Michele, it looks like Fukodome didn't play well in the AL, but before he was traded he slashed 274/374/369 for the Cubs last year, he's a guy who gets on base better than anyone on the club except maybe Werth.

  20. Joe Seamhead - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    It's been stated on this forum before that Jason Reid has no business writing about baseball. The guy isn't a sportswriter, he's a muckraker. Folks need to back off on the Bryce Harper microscope, "reporting," and often twisting,every gesture and utterance that the kid does or says. Reid's column in this morning's Washington Post was a completely nugatory piece that's only purpose was to insult and irratate Harper and his fans.

  21. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    MicheleSBest 25 go North right back atcha.I just don't see the Nats putting Espi at 2, unless he's made some big adjustments in his approach toward making more contact and swinging for the fences less (he's homer-happy from the left side especially). I think that the pundit guys see Espi as a MI and Switch and assume he'd be the guy for the role (and given the lack of other options on the Nats to some extent). But he's not a high AVG/OBP guy, he's a slugger type. He could go 20/20 in 2012, but he's not likely to hit more than .250 and all of the K's make the top spots in the order tough for the guy in my opinion. dfh21

  22. Mark'd - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Mark Z. wrote "Mike Rizzo entered this offseason with two clearly stated goals: 1) Add a frontline starting pitcher, and 2) Acquire a starting outfielder, preferably a leadoff-hitting center fielder."You have to believe the package of studs traded to Oakland for Gio could have landed the Nats some outfielders early in the off-season.The off-season isn't quite over but if Rizzo's answer to Priority #2 is Ankiel, this makes 2 years in a row a failure achieving priorities.Much like judging in hindsight, the Gio deal will he scrutinized as well after each start.

  23. Mark'd - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    DFH21, Espi will be fine in the 2 hole as a RH batter.

  24. Grandstander - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Mark, I do not think there exists a more appropriate picture for this post. Well done.

  25. Hopeful2012 - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Definitely a missed opportunity on Fukudome, Mark Z can you ask Rizzo if he was even considered as an option!?I was actually thinking about this last night (which may mean this is crazy), but how about Eury Perez (he is on the 40 man unlike Cameron, Ankiel and even Corey Brown). Eury could lead off an bunt his way on bases a good amount of the time and take some walks while larning in Spring Training from Cameron and Ankiel can continue to mentor him during the season. I think it would at least be worth a try. He can defeintley cover the field defensively.Finally NatsJack anything happening yet down at the Carl Barger complex? Any early reports to camp?

  26. N. Cognito - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Anonymous said… "This team could be really, really good if everyone plays up to his potential."Please define what you mean by "potential." I want to know whether or not I should be laughing.

  27. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Mark'd — Good point. I would not be surprised if Espi abandons hitting from the left side at some point, unless he sees drastic improvement. He was a K/double play ground bal machine from the left side last year.So, maybe Bernadina/Espi platoon in the 2 hole, with Espi batting 7th against RHP. Maybe.dfh21

  28. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    A Bill Ladson classic in his Q&A:I loved what I saw from relievers Henry Rodriguez and Craig Stammen last year. What do you think 2012 has in store for them? — Kyle K., Washington I think Rodriguez is going to have a breakout season, provided that he throws strikes…________________________Well no s**t Bill and I will take it a step further, I think Rodriguez is going to have a breakout season, provided that he throws strikes to where the catcher is set-up.As Dorothy said in Kansas, this isn't AAA any more, these big leaguers can hit 98MPH with no movement on the pitch and over the center of the plate. Well golly gee whiz!

  29. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:52 PM

    +1 (and vocabulary extra credit to Joe Seamhead for "nugatory")On topic, I don't do the armchair GM thing so no opinion on what should be/should have been done.In closing, only four more days. Ahhh….HHover said… Does Teddy have an outfielders glove? Yes, but he's slow of foot and prone to taking odd angles to his destination. February 15, 2012 8:01 AM

  30. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    For some reason, Ladson's projection brings to mind the fan survey to which the team recently sent me a link. A number of the questions related to team slogans. One of them asked whether I recalled last year's slogan. I did, but I'm not sure that's a good thing. :-)I think Rodriguez is going to have a breakout season, provided that he throws strikes…

  31. Feel Wood - Feb 15, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    This team could be really, really good if everyone plays up to his potential. This team could be really, really bad if people get injured and don't play well. It's a crapshoot.A massive improvement from previous years when it was "This team could be adequate if everyone plays up to his potential." And it's always a crapshoot. Ask the World Champion 2011 Red Sox. Or the Braves.

  32. Mark'd - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Gonat, brilliant post on Ladson. I had to check out Ladsons page to make sure he really wrote that and guess what, he actually did.I have a good prediction, I think Desmond is going to have a breakout season, provided he takes a lot of walks.

  33. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I think Ramos is going to have a breakout season, provided that he does.

  34. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    On another note -WE ARE AT 4 DAYS!!!!

  35. Natslifer - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Now that's funny.

  36. DFL - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Most likely we are going to see an Ankiel/Cameron platoon in center and batting eighth. Rizzo failed miserably to upgrade in center. To be fair, I wouldn't call Ankiel "punchless". He did hit 9 homers, knocked in almost 40 runs in 400 plate appearances in 2011 for a struggling offensive team. He's not Ray Oyler or Brian Bixler.

  37. Drew - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Now Jose Guillenpining for work finds he's tarred and he gets no love.(Donnelly's glove.)Then there's Dmitrilosing those 70 pounds didn't make him a Buc.Back to pot luck.All the old outfielderswhere do they all come from?All the old outfielderswhere do they all belong?

  38. Captain Obvious - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Eury Perez can not be considered in the mix.He has never played above High A ball, where his OBP last season was .319. Rushing him to MLB and burning an option year makes no sense.

  39. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    "The Nats may not win the World Series this year. That is completely unacceptable. We won't stand for it.""Was that sarcasm?""Yes, Sheldon.""Oh."

  40. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    dfh21 and Mark'd: The numbers would seem to support your notion of using Mr. Espinosa as a two-hole batter against LH pitchers:Batting right vs. LHP: .283/.361/.496(albeit in only 127 ABs)HIs numbers as a LH hitter against RHPs were, as everyone knows, not as impressive:.223/.314/.393 (in a more meaningful 443 ABs)But his BB and SO rates were not that dissimilar:BB% as LH hitter: 8.6%BB% as RH hitter: 8.9%SO% as LH hitter: 25.9%SO% as RH hitter: 22.6%Also, his GDP numbers were: 4 (total) batting left; 2 (total) batting right (although one of those was against a RHP). So his GDP% was only 0.9% as a left-handed hitter and 1.5% as a right-handed hitter.

  41. Doug - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Rizzo said he wanted to acquire an outfielder and a starting pitcher. Instead he acquired two starting pitchers. So now we'd love to flip Lannan for the "Speedy McOnbase" CF [it was Mark who came up with that last year, right?], but he's not available and Lannan wouldn't be enough if he were. But think the unthinkable — what would Jordan Zimmermann be worth in a trade? He's been one of our untouchables, but what untouchable long-term CF/leadoff guy could he get in return? There's nothing more valuable than a young, controllable, established starting power pitcher fully recovered from Tommy John surgery. What other team's young, controllable, established center fielder isn't worth acquiring Zimmermann?(As Ladson might say, trading Zimmermann would be totally worth it if it works out.)

  42. Roger Dorn - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    UZR, schmoozer. It was out of my reach. What do you want me to do – dive for it?

  43. blovy8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    What can go wrong? Zim finds a new part of his body to hurt and misses half the season, Desmond's small sample from last year that predicts his performance for this season is the early spate of errors, otherwise he's the same lousy hitter, Espinosa's bad atbats from the left side carry over to the right and he misses some time getting hammered on a few late pivots on DP's, LaRoche's shoulder isn't fine but no one finds out again until oh, May or so since he's such a "slow starter", Ramos goes back to the hitter he was projected to be, all the OF are the same as they were last year, except Morse, he's still good, but becomes frustrated with no pitches to hit and drops to about 270 with 20 homers. Harper says DC fans are the worst in baseball and it would take him being in the big leagues to get fans to show up – he proceeds to hit about .250 in AA/AAA after the league outlaws face paint.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Hopeful2012… sent out pics of Jordan Zimmerman and Ross Detwiler last Friday (twitter @NatsJackinFl). Going over Friday and Sunday.

  45. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    For those of you that didn't watch Clubhouse Confidential last night…It looks like Harold Reynolds went out to Vegas and spent a day with Bryce (so I am sure there will be a long form interview with Bryce coming soon). Harold LOVES Bryce and so does one of our cheerleaders Larry Bowa. Now neither of them care about money or Super 2 status, etc. They both said if he tears it up in Spring Training he should be starting in Washington on Opening Day (BEST 25 NORTH). And by the end of the show they had converted Brian Kenney to their way of thinking!And if Lavar Arrington doesn't like Bryce, it just means that we should. I don't think I would ever consider Lavar a good judge of character. So I am jumping on the Bryce bandwagon right now!

  46. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Eugene — I should have been more precise with my language. Espi's severe ground balling tendencies from the left side — especially in the second half last year — might lead to a lot of DP's if he were inserted in the 2 hole this year hitting lefty. Well, provided Desmond gets on that is. And as we all know, Desmond's going to have a breakout year this year if he has one, and that Harper intends to play out his contract as a Nat.dfh21

  47. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Best 25 go North!dfh21

  48. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Seven years to fix this problem and no success to date. There is no guarantee that any of the three 2013 CF free agents would have an interest in playing here either.

  49. Natslifer - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    - I remember the term being "Speedy McLeadoff" – either way it's great. I've never really thought about moving any of the untouchables but Zimmermann for Bourjos would be something you'd have to think about.- In the balance of Sabermetrics vs. "the cagey old scout", the old scout says that Espi's swing is too long and loopy and he can't hit anything above his waist consistently. That makes him a 6/7/8 hitter eventually if he can't figure it out. I hope he does.

  50. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I just want to see a few game with some plays at the plate this year with Werth in left (his long term future spot with this team), Harper in right and Ankiel manning center. That would be some powerful arms out there and would be fun to watch. I hope Ankiel can post some better numbers this year and sees the majority of the time in center before Harper comes up.

  51. OhHappyDay - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    @Hopeful2012 – Corey Brown is not on the 40 man roster anymore. He was DFAed, nobody picked him up and the Nats signed him as a spring training NRI so he has the same roster status as Cameron and Ankiel.I commend Rizz on not giving up too much for the prototype CF, the Nats don't have to make all their moves at once and some of the CFs mentioned don't really raise my flag. plus, i would argue that with Laroche on the team, we are better served getting this CF for 2013.the CF we could get for Lannan straight up is not going to be much better than the Ankiel/Cameron combo we will use until Bryce comes up. i don't want to see Werth in CF for the long haul but, given this year's roster, it makes sense.

  52. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    CamerKiel for Center Field!All glove, no (batting g)love!

  53. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Anonymous said… Eugene — I should have been more precise with my language. Espi's severe ground balling tendencies from the left side — especially in the second half last year — might lead to a lot of DP's if he were inserted in the 2 hole this year hitting lefty. Well, provided Desmond gets on that is. And as we all know, Desmond's going to have a breakout year this year if he has one, and that Harper intends to play out his contract as a Nat.dfh21 February 15, 2012 10:14 AM ____________________________Hard to ground into a doubleplay if you don't have a player in a force situation! Seriously though, Espi had 153 plate appearances where he had a man on base in a force situation. Problem is taking 2 out scenarios out of that equation and I don't have the tools to do that.I really like Espi from the right-side and Bernadina from the left-side batting in the 2 hole whereby you can move Werth to 6th in the lineup.

  54. SonnyG10 - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I am satisfied with the Nats CF options for this year. Would not want to trade Zimmermann this year, when the problem can be solved via free agency next year.

  55. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    I can't get excited about Rick Ankiel in CF. His advanced metrics can say whatever they want (that UZR/150 stat is pretty subjective, based on small samples and it fluctuates in crazy ways year to year for a guy, so it's just not a good indicator on its own — e.g., Ankiel's 2008 LF rating was -56.7 and his 2009 rating in LF was +45.8, playing for the same team and in comparable sample sizes). The guy is just not special in terms of running the ball down in CF or positioning, and his killer arm is worth a handful of plays per month. I think that his overall game in CF is ordinary, not by any means sterling. And it does not make up for his likely to be lousy bat.I'd rather have the higher offensive upside of Bernadina against RHP and his big speed batting 2nd as things stand right now at least.dfh21

  56. blovy8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    You probably don't need to move Espy at all if DeRosa can hit lefties and play right.

  57. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    The answer is to trade Morse. Get a big haul and make room for the CF the team needs. Sell high.

  58. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    and who's offering this "big haul" for morse that includes a good CF? it takes two to tango.

  59. Unkyd - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Gulp….BANG!!! (sorry, I'm behind, I know. But i got busy!)Closing my eyes, and wishing/hoping that LaRoche, Shark, and LannEn all start out hot enough to package to someone, for a good CF and a pitcher with options…..And, how cool is it that my spellcheck has learned to spell LannEn this way, as the default! :-)

  60. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    Hard to think that Morse right now would not bring a solid return. It takes the Nats to look for a deal as much as it takes someone offering.

  61. Harper_ROY_2012 - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Mark Z – Any news of early reports in Viera?Manny Acta is already down at Indians camp with the following guys per hs Twitter:Manny Acta @Mactriber_11 Nice to see A-Cab, Santana, Kipnis, Choo, G-Size, Haf, Masterson and Jimenez already here. #LeadingbyexampleI also know that several Yankees including Derek Jeter are already in Tampa working out.Are any Nats leading by example!?

  62. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    blovy8 said… You probably don't need to move Espy at all if DeRosa can hit lefties and play right. February 15, 2012 11:23 AM I made that same point a few times as DeRosa plays a decent corner outfield and is RH. If DeRosa is healthy, he is a much better option than Mike Cameron I believe but agree that Spring Training should be the time at least between Ankiel, Bernadina, and Ankiel who the Opening Day starter is.Gonat's point that maybe you go all in with a RH lineup against LH pitching which the Nats really couldn't do much last year with all the injuries.Desmond SSEspi 2BZim 3BMorse 1BWerth RFRamos CDeRosa LFCameron CFDeRosa has already made this team unless he is just horrible or injured.I really think Lombardozzi needs to play in Syracuse and play some outfield. His value as a switch-hitting Mr. Everything would be huge on this team.Here is a great stat on Espi. When he has a man on 1st base with less than 2 outs, he is slashing .385/.417/.673/1.090 and the sample size is fairly large at 118 PAs in 2011. Espi's overall numbers in the 2 hole are nothing great although I don't have the ability to break out his switch-hitting splits.Espi is best in the 6th hole in the lineup slashing .272/.372/.485/.858 Not sure if Davey goes with his 2011 numbers and keeps Espi permanently in the 6 hole or tries him as a RH batter in the 2 hole this year.

  63. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Given that Ankiel/Cameron/Bernadina are the best options here is my take on the lineup:Desmond SSWerth RFZimmerman 3BLaroche 1BMorse LFRamos CEspinosa 2BAnkiel/Cameron/Bernadina CFP

  64. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Re: the headline "Who's in Center Field?"How many times do we have to keep going over this? WHO'S ON FIRST. Actually the center field is "Because".

  66. Whatsanattau - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I may have mentioned this before, but I don't think Lannan will be traded … and despite rumors to the contrary, I doubt the Nats are pushing hard to do so. Detwiler, Wang, and Gorzelanny seem more likely to be moved to me for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that Lannan is the better, more proven pitcher. I mention this now as we discuss centerfield the pitcher(s) that get traded will help determine which player you get back. And if you ever listened to Abbott and Costello you would know there will be someone playing centerfield everygame: Why? (no he's in left) The player in center is Because.

  67. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    morse might bring a decent return now, but who's looking for a 1B/LF right now that has a quality CF to give in return?as i said, it takes two to tango. you can't just say you're willing to give up someone and expect that someone will be there to offer what you want in return. and not that 1B isn't an easier position to fill than CF, but trading morse right now would leave a hole at 1B if there's any issue with laroche (and going forward in 2013/14). unless you think zimmerman will sign an extension to be a 1B next year.

  68. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Dear people of the Natsmosphere,Those of you who insist that Morse is a better 1B than Laroche are INSANE. Laroche is one of the best defensive 1B ever and Morse has played the position as part of 1 season. Unless Adam bombs, there is no way the Nats do not pick up the 2013 option and they keep him at 1st which keeps Morse in LF!!!!

  69. Doug - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Whatsanattau said: Detwiler, Wang, and Gorzelanny seem more likely to be moved to me for a variety of reasons – not the least of which is that Lannan is the better, more proven pitcher. I don't think Wang can be traded until mid-season because he just signed as a free agent this offseason. I do wish it were easier to find and refer to the roster rules. I think I found them once but don't remember where.

  70. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    dear anon 11:58,if this was all about defense, you would be correct. but we're looking at the full package and morse has proven to be a much better hitter. and he will be significantly less expensive in 2013 than laroche. PLUSthere shouldn't be an OF spot available for morse in 2013 (with werth, harper, and CF to be named later). so if they used their option on laroche, they'd have to either put one of them on the bench (won't happen) or trade morse.

  71. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Steve M….I contend that if DeRosa is healthy, he constitutes the best bench player this club has had.

  72. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    NatsJack, you and I agree there. He now has Wil Nieves power but will be a guy who can give you a clutch hit.Hoping Lombo gets a few months in Syracuse to play some corner OF and then can get promoted and learn under DeRosa and be that guy that can play a multitude of positions and be a key bench guy.

  73. waddu eye no - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Does Teddy have an outfielders glove?Yes, but he's slow of foot and prone to taking odd angles to his destination.————that's not milledge running pass patterns in the teddy suit, is it?

  74. jcj5y - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I think there's a very good chance that we see a Morse-Werth-DeRosa outfield in a lot of games. I don't think Cameron makes the team, and I have some hope that DeRosa is going to be a bargain.

  75. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Those of you who insist that Morse is a better 1B than Laroche are INSANE. Laroche is one of the best defensive 1B ever and Morse has played the position as part of 1 season.And it took the better part of 3-5 seasons in Pittsburgh playing it full time before LaRoche managed achieve that level? In point of fact his career UZR at the position is horrendous as a result and far worst than Morse? I submit that Morse may be the better athlete and os it might take much less time to get better at the position. Why do I claim this? Morse can play 2nd, 3rd, the corner outfield positions and even shortstop. Can LaRoche? No. So, stop with this horse hockey? Morse is a professional hitter on a team that is bereft. Only he and Zimmerman at this point given Werth's decline. And THAT AND NOT CF is the last hurdle they have to overcome because using advanced statistics its easy to see that the Nats lack the offense to compete with the Phillies, Braves, and Marlins UNLESS the newbies like Ramos, Espinosa, and Harper step up.

  76. Markfd - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    I agree jcj5y, if DeRosa is healhty and productive

  77. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Anon 113Except for 1 of 8 seasons Laroche has been above the league average in fielding percentage and he has committed ONLY 33 errors in 8880 chances. As for Mikey Mo he has committed 6 errors 955 chances in 122 games at 1B and if you calculate that for as many chances as Laroche that gives THE BEAST 55.74 errors so let's say 56 errors, I think 33 is better than 56. Also I should point out that Morse has NEVER made a single appearance at 2B in his major league career (you claim he can play there I see no evidence of that in MLB) and has only made 9 games at 3B and 57 games at SS out of 343 games in his career, so 155 games in the OF, this makes him an OF by trade. Also let's take into account when he played anywhere besides 1B or OF: Morse played 55 of his 57 career games at SS in 2005 (SEVEN SEASONS AGO he also played 1 games in 2006 and 1 in 2007 at SS, in case you were curious). As for 3B and the 9 games he has played there, 5 of them were in 2006 (3 in 2007 and 1 in 2009)! SO, while he may be athletic he is an Outfielder by trade where he is Good only 1 error and 259 chances and a 1B second (where his fielding percentage is just league average) but a utility man he is NOT!Oh I almost forgot in 2011, when Morse gain 85 of his 122 games experience at 1B, he was below league average in fielding percentage and commited all 6 of his career errors in ONE SEASON!!!Care to reconsider your argument now Mr UZR!?

  78. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    UZR is kind of useless for 1B's as it does not count digging balls in the dirt, the stretch, slapping a tag from the throw over, catching foul pop ups.

  79. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    jcj5y said… I think there's a very good chance that we see a Morse-Werth-DeRosa outfield in a lot of games. I don't think Cameron makes the team, and I have some hope that DeRosa is going to be a bargain. February 15, 2012 12:53 PM Cameron is probably short-term (up to 2 months) even if he makes the roster as when the sooner of Bryce Harper or Chris Marrero is available to come to DC the Nats will have to drop 1 player for each occurence.I have been saying IF DeRosa stays healthy, that would be the RH outfield Morse-Werth-DeRosa. I expect even when Harper comes up that he will play mostly against RH pitching.Certainly a lot of moves can get made during the season.

  80. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    SteveM, still a big "if" on DeRosa and his ailments.Forgot all about Chris Marrero. How is he doing? Anyone know?

  81. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Anon 113 – I forgot to mention this stat too:Career RBat:Morse 50Laroche 58If you throw out each players best and worst year it looks like this:Morse 27Laroche 28so at worst they are equal offensively* Rbat — Runs BattingNumber of runs better or worse than average the player was as a hitter.For some years it will include factors for inducing reached on error and avoiding double plays.Developed by Sean Smith of BaseballProjection.com

  82. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Care to reconsider your argument now Mr UZR!?NO, because you don't know how to read stats. You haven't been following Morse's career and you don't know baseball period.Let's check in with Fangraph's the ultimate source and see what they have to say shall we? Its not about errors its about range. One of the reasons Morse gets errors is because his range is greater than Marerro's, for example. He manages to get to balls others can't. But then you wouldn't know about that would you?Let's just look at your claim that LaRoche is the best ever? He isn't even half as good as Nick Johnson fielding the position for starters …Adam LaRoche:Total career UZR -12.1 HORRENDOUS worse than Fielder.2004 -0.6 UZR2005 -18,2 UZR worse than Tyler Moore at his worst. First full season.2006 -4.6 UZR still really really BAD!2007 7.0 UZR looking better but then ???2008 -4.8 UZR going back to his rookie year ??? After 2008 the trend has been pretty much on the positive side of theUZR (the official fielding measure for major league baseball NOT ERRORSdude.So, yes I think Morse has the potential to be a better fielder at the position that LaRoche especially since he actually played shortstop in the major leagues? Could LaRoche even dream of dong that? NO. Would it take Morse five years as it did LaRoche? NO. So stop being a baseball dolt.

  83. Positively Half St. - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    I looked at the article talking about Angelos looking to sell, and it said he wanted to keep his stake in MASN. Sorry, but I will be unable to cease hating the Orioles until Angelos's claws are totally unclenched from the team.ESPN is ranking the 30 teams by their potential for the next 5 years. Buster Olney, Keith Law and Jim Bowden are doing the ratings. They ranked the Nats at 14, but Olney said they are the one team out of the top 10 that could be in the top 5 next year. They rated the Orioles last of 30, behiind the A's and Astros, even.I wonder how the Nats might have rated without Laws venom in the cocktail.+1/2St.

  84. baseballswami - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Natsjack – would love to hear news from viera/ see pics but am not a tweeter person. Anything you can link from here?

  85. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Anon 113Wow name calling cool, you ar smarter than me. UZR is not an official MLB stat and a made up Billy Beane-esque stat (and we see how many world series rings he has)I never even mentioned Marrero, so not sure what your beef is there.Oh Fangraphs, nerds who sit in front of computers and rarely go to baseball games, oh yes they are the people who THINK they are GMs but are not, obviously they know more than me, you probably work for them. The bottom line, MORSE is as slow as a donkey in the field and he no range at 1B or in the OF, many a catchable ball drops in front of him or goes over his head routinely. I see the games with my eyes not through a computer. I have also played the game at the professional level, have you!?Morse is an OF (LF really because he is slow and his arm is too weak to play RF) and if there was not an injury last season to Laroche he would NEVER EVER played even 1 game at 1B in the majors, the Nats were just that bad that he got a chance.

  86. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Positively Half St. said… ESPN is ranking the 30 teams by their potential for the next 5 years. Buster Olney, Keith Law and Jim Bowden are doing the ratings. They ranked the Nats at 14, but Olney said they are the one team out of the top 10 that could be in the top 5 next year. They rated the Orioles last of 30, behiind the A's and Astros, even.I wonder how the Nats might have rated without Laws venom in the cocktail.+1/2St. February 15, 2012 2:21 PM ____________________________Their little asterik from 14 to Top 5 is so they don't look stupid. The 14th overall is almost where they finished 2011.

  87. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    boldanon, you really are quite a jerk in the way you address things. if there is baseball knowledge in your posts, it's obscured by obnoxiousness.

  88. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    For some years it will include factors for inducing reached on error and avoiding double plays.Developed by Sean Smith of BaseballProjection.comAgain, we prefer fan graphs well because they are better and their stats generally tend to reflect the real truth? So, let's look at last year and 2010 shall we? Since that is measuring Apples and Apples instead of Apples and Oranges. Morse's longest periods in the majors. Baseball projections bah mere amateurs.2010 Michael Morse 293 PA, 0.389 wOBA, 16.2 bRAA2011 Michael Morse 575 PA, 0.393 wOBA, 36.2 bRAA 2010 Adam LaRoche 615 PA, 0.325 wOBA, 0.0 bRAA2011 Adam LaRoche 177 PA, 0.260 PA, -9.3 bRAANOTE the last number (bRAA) and the upward trending for Morse.NOTE the last number (bRAA) and the decided downward trend for LaRoche.These are defense and park neutral stats by the way.LaRoche is OLDER than Morse and just might be declining … and itcould be steep given his injury and lack of real athleticism. Again you don't know how to read stats dude. Sorry but you just don't.

  89. BullpenCatcher - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Greg – I doubt there is any knowledge at all in those post except enthusiam for Morse's role on the team.

  90. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Wow name calling cool, you ar smarter than me.At least you got that right … your decided lack of knowledge of baseball and Morse is appalling but what else is new?

  91. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    Anon (BOLD) or should I say DUDENo matter what stats you throw out there, you cannot count 2011 stats for Laroche he was hurt from the ST on and tried to play through an injury.

  92. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    There isn't one with a capital 1, professional baseeball scout, player personnel manager, coach, manager, or GM that would put Michael Morse anywhere but a corner outfield spot or first baae.It is one of the reasons that, when healthy, he didn't have a position anyone felt comfortable playing him.

  93. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    boldanon, you really are quite a jerk in the way you address things. if there is baseball knowledge in your posts, it's obscured by obnoxiousness.Everyone has a right to post things the way the deem dude. I am not any worst than Jason Reid. Have you nothing better to do than bellyache about other people's posts? Do you need a real job?

  94. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    Anon (BOLD) IDIOTSince you like to name call I will lay out what you are an IDIOT! I played the game professionally, coached itcollegiately? I have! Have you ever played it expect on a video game or in Little League!?

  95. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    No matter what stats you throw out there, you cannot count 2011 stats for Laroche he was hurt from the ST on and tried to play through an injury.Sure I can DUDE because yours included 2008 when Morse was out the entire year with an injury.Now, NatsJack is right about Morse … albeit I bet he could manage to play third base … clearly not as well as Zimmerman or Rendon … his biggest problem is his height not his speed by the way … he has to stoop down for grounders … that is a disadvantage in the majors in the infield. Which, again, is why Natsjack is correct.

  96. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    I played the game professionally, coached itcollegiately? I have! Have you ever played it expect on a video game or in Little League!?Actually, YES. And I also know how to spell and read statistics. I happen to like mathematics how about you?

  97. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    Range is not much of a factor at 1B. They play the line most of the time to save extra bases and because ranging to the right, into an area where the 2B has a shot at a play, creates a problem for covering the bag quickly enough (pitcher can't get over so fast). 1B is like third base, only you play further back and then you add the stretch/dig/holding the runner stuff. Just sayin. It's not such a hard position. LaRoche is stellar, Morse is passable. Not sure it matters much.

  98. jcj5y - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Not to completely dismiss UZR, but I think it has some serious flaws. Keep in mind that it isn't based on indisputable data, like times on base or number of home runs, but rather on human observations of plays made in the field, and a determination of whether those plays are in or out of a player's fielding "zone." On top of that, a commenter above was correct in noting that it does not account for the significant part of a first baseman's defensive value that stems from saving errant throws by other infielders.So while I would never measure a defender's value by errors or fielding percentage, UZR is not the be-all, end-all. I think there is general agreement among those in the industry that LaRoche is a substantially better first baseman than Morse.

  99. Just sayin' - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    I'm not a medical professional, but I believe Anonymous has a serious case of schizophrenia. It's kind of like watching Gollum talk to himself other in the Lord of the Rings movies.

  100. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Guys who hit 30 HR's and bat .300 can pretty much always play SOME position, no?Best 25 go North!dfh21

  101. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    So while I would never measure a defender's value by errors or fielding percentage, UZR is not the be-all, end-all. I think there is general agreement among those in the industry that LaRoche is a substantially better first baseman than Morse.AND it also took him FIVE YEARS to get to that point. Again, I submit that Morse would not take that much time to learn the position given his skill set playing so many other positions.

  102. Eugene in Oregon - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    dfh21 @ 2;52: Yes.

  103. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 7:54 PM

    LaRoche is stellar, Morse is passable. Not sure it matters much.LaRoche is not stellar he is good. And when it comes to saving errant throws doubtless Morse is better. Why? Because he is taller and reach throws that LaRoche can't. And he does have decent range unlike Adam Dunn.

  104. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Just Sayin'Agree on the Anon's.. someone must be off their meds…And since it's 5 O'Clock somewhere:BEST 25 GO NORTH! (slam/chug)Gosh I need that!

  105. baseballswami - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    It sure would be nice if we could go back to discussing the team we love ( we do, don't we?) without the personal attacks. Dudes – you need to chill – it's just a game and it's just an opinion. Pitchers and catchers are reporting as we speak – this is a great thing if you love baseball ( we do, don't we?)!

  106. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    seriously, let's work on the anger management and stop acting like jerks. sorry if it bothers you to be called out on acting like a jerk, boldanon, but, to use your own words, i'm just calling it like i see it. your posts are full of vitriol and personal attacks. i'm not sure what a washington post columnist has to do with the attitude in your posts…anyway… the number of the day is 4.

  107. JaneB - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    We can't actually be in the business of finding a CF UNTIL we know (a) when Harper is likely to come up, (b) whether someone might like LannEn and LaRoche for someone, so that Michael Morse can move over to first. We HAVE our three everyday OF players this season; we just don't yet know when Harper becomes one. We'd be nuts to blow any serious dough on someone we won't have but a few months. And Boldface Anon: seriously, we are a pretty openhearted, non-name- calling contingent here (with a few exceptions, and they get called on it). One opinion you don't agree with doesn't make the opinion holder a dolt. How about just say you disagree and leave it at that? I take offense when people trash talk my imaginary friends. Thanks.

  108. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… There isn't one with a capital 1, professional baseeball scout, player personnel manager, coach, manager, or GM that would put Michael Morse anywhere but a corner outfield spot or first baae.It is one of the reasons that, when healthy, he didn't have a position anyone felt comfortable playing him. February 15, 2012 2:44 PM Permanently I agree with you. I know it was tossed around him being an emergency 3rd person. Probably like #4 or #5 on the depth chart.

  109. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    Let's try that again, darn spell check. 3rd baseman.

  110. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Hurump. Well I think it starts with an inane poster claiming that anyone that would pick the best hitter on the Nats in 2011 to play first base over declining Adam LaRoche as INSANE in all caps????Many of you fail to read the posts … I called him out and he should have been called out.

  111. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    i'm not sure what a washington post columnist has to do with the attitude in your posts … If you can read what he has to say about the Nats, and typically its dismally negative (I suspect due to the lack of enough African American presence in the starting lineup.) you can read my posts.

  112. Code Anon - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    If Author = AnonThen Scroll MaxLength 22 linesIf Font = BoldThen Scroll MaxLength 33 linesElse Read Post

  113. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Agree on the Anon's.. someone must be off their meds…Speaking of offensive name calling MicheleS? Are you off of your meds?Seems to me too many of you are like the pot calling the kettle black. Need to get on those meds people!

  114. Unkyd - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Just sayin' said…I'm not a medical professional, but I believe Anonymous has a serious case of schizophrenia. It's kind of like watching Gollum talk to himself other in the Lord of the Rings movies.————————Gollum's usage and punctuation are better….(gulp, BANG!!!)

  115. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Greg – I feel your pain. Just try not to read their postings. Its like trying to read some of the comments on Ladson's blog.

  116. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    Best 25 go North!!Werth hits at least 25 and knocks in 90+, LaRoche essentially in a walk year does the same, hitting .285, Zim earns his big extension with an All Star year, Morse hits .275 with 25+ bombs, Ramos, Espi and Desi all play a little better, pen performs, bench of vets is not terrible, Stras wins 13-14 games, Gio wins 15-16, JZimm 15-16 too . . . who knows.None of those are wacky predictions and many of them will come true. This club has a shot to be in the hunt in September. Nats baseball is going to be fun this season. I am very excited. So much so that a couple of fools butting heads over Michael Morse's glove of all things — it's like questioning whether Gisele's lousy housekeeping skills would keep her out of the running as a bride — has no chance of bringing me down.dfh21

  117. Joel K - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    You know you've reached that glacier slow news period right before ST when you find yourself clicking refresh over and over so you can keep up with an Anon fight… name calling, people bragging about their 'maybe/maybe not' baseball experience, misuse of stats, misuse of CAPS, and general trollish behavior. Good times…. 4 more days!

  118. Tom in AR - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    My two cents: If I could only have one on the team, it would be Morse. He is a better hitter, he is a decent (and improving) fielder at a position where hitting is more premium than fielding (and he did come up as a short stop which speaks well for his fielding abilities), plus he is younger, cheaper, and not coming off of a significant injury. No doubt at this point in their careers LaRoche is a better fielder, but he is only an average hitter for a 1st baseman. Morse was elite last year, and I am a big believer that he will continue to be.I hope they both have tremendous years, but if we have the ability to add Dreamy McAwesomeCF, I would rather pair him (or her, to be fair) with Werth and Harper in the OF, slide Morse to 1st and trade or pass on the option with LaRoche. This seems patently obvious to me even though one of the anonymi seems to think LaRoche is a better 1st baseman. I am not sure because it got really confusing about who was duding who and bolding and UZRing, etc.

  119. anon fight? - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    or sock puppet show

  120. Joel K - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:57 PM

    Tom in AR said… "I am not sure because it got really confusing about who was duding who and bolding and UZRing, etc."That's the thing about these Anons… they all look alike!

  121. blovy8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    Agreed JaneB, but there just seem to be a lot of guys in camp fighting for outfield jobs that really don't have a chance to be any better than mediocre overall if Harper takes longer than we expect to "master" the lower levels, or when/if injuries happen. I don't think you can expect better offense from this club unless they stay really healthy and younger guys take a step forward, and Harper adjusts to the ML quickly. Even if the best case scenerio means the hitter they acquire only get 200 at bats, it's not exorbitant to spend 1-2 million on a solid bench bat for insurance, but I suppose minor league deals and invitations to spring training are all that's left, even with two spots open on the 40-man list somehow.

  122. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:59 PM

    You all do know that bold anon is Periculum? Don't you? But I bet you don't know that when you type bold anon into an iPhone as one word, autocorrect turns it into 'volcanic'? So even an inert iPhone is smarter than Periculum? No question?

  123. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:01 PM

    (anon, i don't read jason reid's articles (particularly about baseball, he has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to the nats). take that for whatever it's worth in context.)aside from all of the weird bashing and crap going on, i'm on board with morse going forward. whether you buy into metrics or what scouts say, the difference between their fielding is much smaller than the difference between their hitting. and with 1B being a position that places a premium on hitting over defense, in general, and with morse being less expensive and younger, the latest i see laroche on this roster is the last game the nats play this season. and it's altogether possible he gets moved before then. especially if he's hitting well.

  124. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    I like Jason Reid because even though I don't agree with him often; he says what he thinks and more often thatn not he's done his homework. Boz is too concerned about some combo of his ego and his access to the owner's box at Nats Park. Tracy is out of her depth. Sally's layers of Live Strong bracelets get in the way when she types. Wilbon might as well be talking Rugby for all he knows about baseball, etc. Reid's better than most.And Gisele can junk up my house anytime. My wife would even be OK with it, I'm pretty sure.dfh21

  125. Steve M. - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    Here's what I'm being told is the Orioles deal. The minority shareholders are more restless than usual and want to take their plight public. Almost a mini-coup attempt but obviously nobody wants it to get ugly (right?). To placate them Angelos told them to buy him out for north of $300 million plus he retains the Orioles interest in MASN.Sounds like that won't go anywhere. Angelos is just not a good guy.I saw a Twitter post from Adam Jones today #Loyalty. Its a 2 way street. Supposedly he was pissed to hear their lowball bid to buy out his 2 remaining arb years and the extension into his Free Agent years.I really feel sorry for those guys. When you read you are getting picked behind the Houston Astros for the worst franchise in baseball, you have problems. I just don't see that its that bad.Adam Jones will absolutely be traded by July 31st as the Orioles don't want to get stuck like they did with Guthrie.

  126. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Greg – I feel your pain. Just try not to read their postings. Its like trying to read some of the comments on Ladson's blog.Strangely enough I find I feel the same way about some of your posts SteveM? I'm not sure where you get some of your information and you try to portray yourself as some sort of expert but … well … sorry …

  127. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    he *should* be traded by 7/31, but these are the orioles under angelos. they know how to muck up a personnel issue better than any team in baseball. even dan snyder is more apt than angelos at personnel. i haven't read a reid article on baseball in a while. i read a couple and they seemed a little out-of-touch. like he was just jumping in because something popped into his peripheral vision. honestly, the post has gone way downhill in the sports dept as far as columnists go. i agree on boswell. really don't know what happened there. he seems to have lost a big step. sally and wilbon are really out-of-touch with what's going on in DC and seem to come out of the blue with their articles, to me. and they all seem to be like a lot of the rest of the dc media: skins-focused to the point of not really getting baseball. even the caps and bull…er… wizards seem to get more coherent coverage outside of the beat guys.

  128. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    SteveM, the O's fanbase and press have to see the Nationals making progress and wondering why they can't make progress. Once they decide to adapt the Rays model of success aka Stan The Plan, it will be the same tired act of smoke and mirrors by Angelos.I hope they do bring it public. Each state has minority owners rights laws. If they don't collectively own over 50% they still have rights albeit, narrow in scope and enforcement.

  129. John C. - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Not to interrupt the Anon vs. Anon smackdown, a thought on the backup OF situation: MLBTR today posted a list of players on each team that are out of options and must pass through waivers to be sent to the minors. Listed for the Nationals: Roger Bernadina; Tyler Clippard; Ross Detwiler; Tom Gorzelanny; and Henry Rodriguez. No surprises there.In other news, Justin Maxwell is out of options. If the Yankees waive him (although I think he has a better chance of making that team than Meyers does) I’d take him for the Nationals before I’d take Mike Cameron. Before you all recoil in horror, remember that we're talking about the 25th man on the roster. Maxwell did OPS .945 with 16 HRs in just 48 games at AAA last year before tearing the labrum in his shoulder while going over a wall to rob a player of a HR. What tips it for me is that, in addition to being 10 years younger than Cameron, Maxwell has pretty consistently toasted LH pitching. As bad as he's been (and I used to call his career the "quest for contact") he OPS’s .753 against LHP at the big league level and consistently mashed them in the minors. As a guy who can be a defensive replacement, PR, and perhaps give you decent at bats against lefties. He could fill a niche for the Nationals if he doesn’t make the Yankees. It may be moot; he may well make the Yankees, although his odds took a hit when they re-signed Andruw Jones. Even if he doesn't, he's may well get claimed on waivers by the Orioles, Astros or another bottom feeding team. But it's something I'd keep an eye on if I were Rizzo, because if Cameron is the answer it's a pretty stupid question.

  130. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    and it's altogether possible he gets moved before then. especially if he's hitting well.Clearly, I am a Morse fan … maybe before anyone else was (likely that). But I know he has a short time line as well. I can't see the Nats keeping him more than 2-3 years including this season. With Harper, Rendon, and possibly Marerro, Hood, and Tyler Moore … The caveat? If Morse achieves elite level hitting (which is possible) then it will be very hard for the Nats to let him go given the current dearth of offense. After Zimmerman Morse is about it. And puhleeese let's not start with "defined as average if that" Adam LaRoche making up the difference? My hope is on Harper and Rendon … and possibly Hood. To use Rizzo's words its the wave of the future. In 3 years Morse will be 33.

  131. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    I’d take him for the Nationals before I’d take Mike Cameron. Before you all recoil in horror, remember that we're talking about the 25th man on the roster. With Riggleman now gone? And given his age. It would be a good call. But they may have already decided on Cameron.

  132. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    The O's just might trade Adam Jones with J-Max in hand. Seems like a move the Orioles might make.

  133. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Justin Maxwell coming off injury? I appreciate the idea but that's some desperado stuff there. The kid was marginal at his best in the bigs when healthy.

  134. baseballswami - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    This is just too strange – all winter posters have been just trashing Lannan, then Desi. Then when we got the post about Zim, people started talking him down, too – now Morse. I hope they just prove you all dead wrong!!!!!I am one proud homer and I think all four of those guys are pretty darn good. GYFNG!!!!!

  135. baseballswami - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:39 PM

    And just to prove I am not a robot I actually had to type the letters mors in the little box!!!

  136. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    baseballswami – The sum total of 5 negative posters shouldn't ruin it for the rest of us.

  137. NCNatsfan - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Am I correct in thinking the Nats have not actually announced an innings limit for Stras this year? It seems like a lot of commenters are assuming it will be 160 innings (like JZimm), but I don't recall anybody officially saying that.Here's my point. If they haven't said it, maybe they haven't decided it. If they haven't decided it, that can only (rationally) mean they are considering a number higher than 160.Maybe even no specific limit.Why would the team refrain from setting a limit? Well, the reason could be they're waiting to see if the Nats really are in competition for the playoffs. But even if that's the case, it seems to me there would have to be something more than that for them to go against the accumulated wisdom about such things. Maybe it's this. The 160 number works for a man like JZimm, because outstanding as he is, he's still a normal human being. Stras, arguably is not. I won't use the word "freak" as many do in talking about truly exceptional athletes; I don't like it when they use it, either. But there are athletes about whom it is irrational to utilize statistics developed for other (normal) people. It's like measuring a Greyhound against statistics developed for Labradors. They simply don't apply.Combining that thought really does rationalize holding a decision on Stras until sometime after the all star break, because it mitigates the downside of letting him pitch away.What think ye, friends?

  138. Gonat - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    John C., I am moving backwards in my reading chrologically and just saw your JMax story. This place is getting more bizarre with each passing minute. LOL

  139. Anonymous8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    NCNatsFan, 160 to 169. I don't think a pitch more than that.

  140. greg - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:53 PM

    i don't think they'll make a formal announcement because i'm sure they'll be watching how things are going (like how many pitches, how much stress, etc.) and gauge it with that in mind.that said, i think they feel pretty comfortable with what they did with zimmermann last season and how well it's worked so far. while you may want to rationalize that strasburg is a superman of a pitcher, that doesn't necessarily mean medically he's a superman. i mean, he *DID* tear the ligament and need tommy john surgery, so he's not literally superman physically. there's really no reason to suspect that he can be pushed harder physically than jordan zimmermann was.

  141. Anonymous - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    It could be 150 innings for Stras, maybe less. They may be thinking 20 starts, tops. Who knows.I have to think that they are going to be conservative and err on the side of caution. The guy is so integral to the club going forward, I can't see them extending him beyond the norm and risking being the guys to derail a potential HOF type talent because they wanted to eek a few extra starts out of the kid this year.dfh21

  142. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    Steve M.. thanks for the update on the O's situation. I feel bad for those guys as well. And for Adam J to tweet that, wow, tells you thinks are not getting any better over there. I don't wish bad ownership on anyone after having suffered through the Tribune Corp in ChicagoDFH21.. like your best case/worst case scenario. I remember that Kilgore did one at the beginning of last year and it was like the Apocolyse was going to hit the team. Weirdly, some of them came true on both the bad and good sign (more to the bad) but we still won 80 games and things are looking up for us.

  143. Sunderland - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    Strasburg 2008 – 98 inningsStrasburg 2009 – 109 inningsStrasburg 2010 – 123 inningsStrasburg 2011 – 44 inningsStrasburg 2012 – 160 innings or less.Not a chance he is without a limit.

  144. NatsJack on Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Strasburg……160 innings and somewhere around 25 starts. Write it down.And Maxwell is a AAA if I ever saw one.

  145. John C. - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    C'mon, NatsJack, Maxwell is at least AAAA! If you look at his career numbers he just wears out AAA pitching. It's what makes him the ultimate tease of a player.

  146. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    For those of you not happy with the WaPo coverage… They just announced another round of buyouts. This round won't impact the Sports section, but many of the past buyouts have. Wilbon left during one of the last ones. Very soon, the Print media will be very, very small if they exist at all. I am glad we can get whatever coverage we can. It gives us something to chat about or disagree about.Which is why I am thankful we have Nats Insider and Mark.

  147. Gardner - Feb 15, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    Agree with all on the call for blog civility – this is a great forum that I hit all day everyday – lets not "troll" it up. Agree with most that CF this year will be a super platoon that will almost certainly yield less than amazing results. Question for the folks who have been and are going spring training. When do they typically ship those tickets out? I bought a 3-pack for mid-March on January 17 and expected to see them a month later. Fear assuaging appreciated.

  148. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    My full ST season ticket package showed up on Monday. I' expect the rest to go out next week.

  149. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    MLB Network is getting ready to preview the NL East right now

  150. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:30 PM

    NatsJack.Thanks for that. Love Mitch.. he has to be on the Nats Payroll. Even JH JR is on our band wagon.. but I don't get all the Marlins love.

  151. FS - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Since we are talking Justin, let's not forget all those pinch hit grandslams he hit for us.

  152. Unkyd - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    NCNatsfan: re: "normalcy vs. freak", I'd argue that, SS's special abilities would warrant a shorter leash. The greater power, and "Stuff" he puts on the ball, you would think, would, if anything put greater than "normal" stress on his connective tissue. I'd be really surprised, if they were to try to estimate greater or lesser degrees of risk….expect the JZim treatment- no more, no less…

  153. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:41 PM

    Former Nats in the News Department: Near no-no hurler Ramon Ortiz has a ST invite from the SF Giants. (Didn't one of the Melbourne Aces pitchers get one, too?)

  154. baseballswami - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Michele and NatsJack — JerHair really gave the love to JZim and Ramoose. By the way – he is very good on tv. Always liked him when he was here. I am just supersticious enough to worry when broadcasters predict we will be the wild card next year. It is nice to hear positives, though, instead of jokes about mis-spelled jerseys.

  155. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM

    I can't wait for the Miami implosion. They got stuck at 15,000 season tickets, Ozzie says Hanley still hasn't bought in to playing 3rd and now everybody is disgusted wiith the "unretiring" #5 for the late Carl Barger for Logan Morrison. And Josh Johnson has just started throwing off a mound.

  156. gonatsgo - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    Remember our great big brawl with them that was centered around Nyger? Could be some fisticuffs again this year and that's just in their own dugout! They have a moody Hanley, a self-centered Reyes and Carlos Zambrano – yikes.

  157. natsfan1a - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Didn't see Hairston just now but did see him on a recent episode of Intentional Talk. He is good on tv.Don't forget that we'll able to watch the implosion behind the scenes on The Franchise. Woo. hoo.And yes on the Aces pitcher. (I love it when my memory functions.)

  158. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    NatsJack..Me Too on the Marlins.. I don't get why everyone thinks they are going to be great. I get if Josh is healty, but I suffered with Zambrano, and I don't trust him. Buehle is an even swap for Vasquez. Reyes has to stay healthy and Who knows what is going on with Hanley. Plus Ozzie is liable to get in trouble somehow!

  159. MicheleS - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:50 PM

    Healthy.. not healty for Josh Johnson…it's late.BEST 25 GO NORTH!

  160. Anonymous8 - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    JerHair clearly has a career after his playing days. Reminds me of FP with the microphone.

  161. Wally - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    More O's saga – looks like MLB is going to void their deal with the Korean kid. He wasn't thought to be an exceptional prospect, but it must be very embarrassing for them.I never bought into the Nats-O's rivalry stuff, so I don't have any axe to grind with them. But it has to be very, very tough to be an O's fan these days. Team is weak, Angelos is a bad owner, their young pitching seems to self destruct at every turn, numerous GM wannabes turn down the opportunity to even interview for their job, plus they play against the Yanks and Red Sox. You would have to really stretch reality to feel much hope for the team.I have to say, I feel pretty bad for their fans. And pretty glad about our situation. These last two weeks seem like they are taking forever.

  162. Erik - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    The Marlins have 4 of the top 10 or 15 most talented players in the NL. That is why people think they will be good. Not to mention guys like Gaby Sanchez, Bonafacio, Anibel Sanchez, Heath Bell and Logan Morrison. The Nats will have to have a lot of things go right to finish with a better record.

  163. MicheleS - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:39 AM

    Erik..They had those guys last year.. so what makes this year different?

  164. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 16, 2012 at 12:42 AM

    Fish + Ozzie Guillen + Carlos Zambrano ~ Hanley Ramirez = Implosion. ( and if you included Ramirez in your "10 or 15" best players……wow….are you in for a suprise).

  165. Positively Half St. - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    I enjoyed when Tim Dierkes of MLBTR was asked the chance he thought that Zambrano would pitch well enough to activate the next year's option. He responded 1%.+1/2St.

  166. Erik - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    MicheleS-They didn't have Reyes last year(batting title, capable of stealing 60 bases, .385 OBP, almost .500 Slugging Percentage-only Morse on the Nats was higher). Josh Johnson and Hanley were both hurt and Stanton was only 21 and is the favorite to lead MLB in HR this year. NatsJack-I said "most talented" players, so surely Hanley falls into that category. That being said, I would also say that Ramirez ends up as being one of the best 5 players in the NL this year. The guy has averaged a .306 AVG, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 41 SB, and 117 Runs Scored and just turned 28 years old. Having Reyes and Stanton in that line-up makes him a potential MVP candidate. All of this "unhappy to move to 3B" talk is very overstated.Definitely not trying to be negative here, but this team has a lot of talent.

  167. FS - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    come on Hanley was drafted in seasons before (fantasy leagues) on an average 10 or above of all MLB players, not just NL players. He may have personality issues and had a bad season last year. But he is still a candidate to bounce back and perform at elite level he used to. Heck, according to MLB's fantasy ratings, Hanley is still 15th best out there. I don't agree with Erik's statement, but Marlins have improved this off-season and to expect them roll over would be foolish. Let's not forget how much trouble they give us. If we can count on RZ to be healthy full seasons, why not Reyes? If we can count on LaRoche to bounce back, why not Reyes? If we can hope for 160 innings of around 3 ERA from SS, why not Josh? I think we shouldn't look down on Marlins.

  168. JaneB - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:25 AM

    Is The Season this year about the Marlins? I'd missed that.FS, I well remember JMax's well-timed pinch homers. The one advantage to bringing him back is that maybe people would quit kvetching about Desi.Someone else commented how often they hit refresh and it isn't even Real Baseball yet! I have the same experience. Plus, I'm pretty sure that time is slowing down and these next four days will feel like 14.Best 25 go North! GYFNG!

  169. Anonymous - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    How about the Nats go after McCutchen. It would solve all there CF issues. McCutchen and one of the Pirates three top rated OF's for Lannan and Harper. After all Jason Reid obviously doesn't like Harper's chances of succeeding. DEM

  170. Anonymous - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:31 AM

    Coco Crisp is available now – and pretty ticked off.

  171. Gonat - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    Per Jerry Hairston: "Jordan Zimmermann, this kid is a #1 starter"I will paraphrase this: and Wilson Rammoose "will be the best catcher in the game in 2 to 3 years!"WOW!

  172. greg - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    yeah, but i doubt that the As will eat any of coco's salary to move him and i thought they overpaid for his 2 yrs (wasn't it 2/$14?). meh. granted, he'd likely be better than what we have, but he'd be pissed off again next year when we tried to replace him.

  173. FS - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    JaneB, I still check out that walk-off grandslam against Mets from time to time.Not sure how all Marlins talk started, but I just wanted to remind everyone that even last season Nationals had a losing record against them.Anyways, where can I check out this Jerry Hairston clip? Eager to see him talk Nats.

  174. Feel Wood - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Re the Post buyout, sports columnists are exempt, but they are looking to drop two people from the ranks of sports reporters/editors. To me, it looks like both Sheinin and Svrluga are prime candidates to be offered this buyout. Losing one or both of those guys would make the Post a much worse paper. It would be better if they dumped Jason Reid and Tracee Hamilton instead.

  175. JaneB - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:46 AM

    I agree Feel Wood. I really like reading Sheinin especially. I

  176. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:55 AM

    I've been spending all day researching the history of professional baseball, and I can't find anyone named "anonymous." So there's that. Three more days, baybee. Fantasy is over-rated.Awwww, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan… double captchas, now. This bites.

  177. whatsanattau - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:30 AM

    I have not paid as much attention to the Post in the past year as I did the previous 25, but when I drifted off I remember liking Tracee Hamilton and her work. I love Sheinin and the original god blogger too. But I'm pretty sure I don't get a vote. But if it was my birthday and I could have anything I wanted, I would have Svrluga, Zuckerman, Goesling, Comack, and Sheinin all covering the team on a daily basis.

  178. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:21 AM

    whatsanattau said… What ^^ he said.

  179. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    I still like Mark's work as much as ever, and the dueling Anons, well, I can scroll like a boss, but this double-captcha thing is a massive pain.IMO. FWIW. YMMV. VWP. IITYWYBMAD. For one thing, it was hard enough to divine the auguries for one word. Now it's two, and I don't know what the s/w is trying to tell me.

  180. lesatcsc - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:37 AM

    Why do the Nats have no interest in Soler? I understand that he wouldn't help in the short term, but he still seems to be a good prospect. Is it just too much money for a prospect, or is it that they have prospects they like at a similar age and point in their development? It seems strange given their current woes in the OF that they have no interest in a good young guy with excellent tools even if he is a fair distance away from playing at the big league level.

  181. John C. - Feb 16, 2012 at 4:41 AM

    In addition to the "pass the popcorn" circus possibility in Miami (Ozzie Guillen + Logan Morrison + Hanley Ramirez + Jose Reyes + Carlos Zambrano = ???), I don't think they added that much in Reyes. If they were guaranteed to be getting the 2011 Jose Reyes, they'd be in great shape. But Reyes’s 2011 season just screams “free agent year.” His fielding is mediocre at best, and his career OPS+ is 106 – and that’s including his monster 2011 season! And until 2011 the recent trends weren’t much better than that; in the four seasons before 2011 Reyes posted OPS+ numbers of 103, 101, 118 and 102. Another warning sign that you’re not going to get what you pay for: in 2011 Reyes’s BABIP was .353 – 40 points higher than his career average. When that regressses, it’s taking his offensive production with it.And that’s not even considering the injury issue; Reyes hasn’t played more than 133 games since 2008, and has recurring hamstring issues. Fairly or not, he has a reputation as a selfish player and has been a player involved in the Mets’ spectacular failures over the past few years. In short, Reyes is a contract that just screams “Buy High/Potential Albatross Contract” to me. For their $$$ that they gave Reyes, the Marlins had better be prepared to get a slightly below average fielding, slightly above average hitting, fragile potential malcontent for their money. There were some fans in DC that wanted Reyes on the Nationals, but I am really, really glad that the Marlins got there first.

  182. FS aka Anonymous - Feb 16, 2012 at 5:59 AM

    John C, I am not a fan of Reyes. I am glad Nationals did not sign him to a long term contract given his injury history. But I doubt you or any Nats fan would be unhappy if he was going to be our starting SS on reasonable terms.I don't get why we are just assuming that Marlins are going to be a bust before ST. I mean I would love to be wrong and Marlins will actually be a bust. That's great for us.I also don't understand the emphasis on fake names.

  183. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:14 AM

    I also don't understand the emphasis on fake names. Sorry, but do you mean the objections to anonymity, or the use of noms-de-blog like, well, mine, as opposed to, say, "Jonathan W. Astor"?

  184. Unkyd - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    gulp….BANG!!!!

  185. natsfan1a - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Yes, the Franchise will feature the Fish.

  186. natsfan1a - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    I don't think I got a double captcha. Now I gotta go look up a boatload of acronyms/initialisms. Later.Sec 3, My Sofa said… I still like Mark's work as much as ever, and the dueling Anons, well, I can scroll like a boss, but this double-captcha thing is a massive pain. IMO. FWIW. YMMV. VWP. IITYWYBMAD. For one thing, it was hard enough to divine the auguries for one word. Now it's two, and I don't know what the s/w is trying to tell me. February 15, 2012 11:25 PM

  187. natsfan1a - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    Or Margaret Dumont?Sec 3, My Sofa said… Sorry, but do you mean the objections to anonymity, or the use of noms-de-blog like, well, mine, as opposed to, say, "Jonathan W. Astor"? February 16, 2012 1:14 AM

  188. natsfan1a - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Oh, after reading the new thread, I see that Mark evidently fixed it. Never mind, and thanks. :-)

  189. natsfan1a - Feb 16, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Plus, I didn't type in *any* captcha, evidently. And I was just saying the other day how awesome it was when my memory worked and all. Dang.I don't think I got a double captcha.

  190. Anonymous - Feb 16, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    I see my real question was never answered:Anonymous said… Anon (BOLD) IDIOTSince you like to name call I will lay out what you are an IDIOT! I played the game professionally, coached it collegiately? I have! Have you ever played it expect on a video game or in Little League!? February 15, 2012 2:46 PM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 18.0
Through Tuesday's early games
x-Clinched division title
UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

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