Skip to content

Spring storylines: Harper tries to make club

Feb 17, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Bryce Harper will be the biggest story this spring at Nationals camp.

With pitchers and catchers due to report Sunday, we've reached the home stretch of the offseason. All week, we've counted down the five biggest storylines facing the Nationals at spring training. Today, it's storyline No. 1: Bryce Harper's quest to make the Opening Day roster…

Every step Bryce Harper has taken in the last three years — obtaining his GED at 16, getting drafted with the No. 1 pick in the country at 17, playing in the Arizona Fall League and at Class AA at 18 — has been with a single purpose in mind: Reach the major leagues as quickly as possible.

Throughout the three-year stretch, though, that notion had existed only in a conceptual mode. No matter how well he performed on the field, Harper had never been under actual consideration for a big-league debut.

Until now.

When Harper arrives in Viera next week for the start of spring training, he'll at last have a realistic opportunity to crack the Nationals' Opening Day roster. It's still a long shot. But it's not a zero shot, especially withRead more »

207 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Original Nats Fan - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    I am really looking forward to Spring Training this year. I've been trying to remember what it was like to be 19, but it's so many years ago, it's a fog. Watching Bryce will be exciting, but the pitching remains the big story to me.thanks Mark for your great coverage of all things Nats

  2. Whatsanattau - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    40 hr in 2013

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Heading over to Viera this morning. I'll post and put some pics on twitter.

  4. Les in NC - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Whatsanattau, if Harper is on the big league roster by june, I say he will hit 15-20 this year!Best 25 go North!

  5. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    My nephew is 17 and he is a complete knucklehead (not a bad kid, just a big doofus). I can't imagine him being able to handle any of this. I have decided to follow Bryce on Twitter and i read some of his tweets. Nothing is that bad (and 99.9% is harmless). So he likes his sports teams and two of them are the arch rivals of DC area teams (Cowboys/Skins, Duke/Terps). SO What? He is 19. It's not like the Skins have been good during that time (last time they were good was before he was born). And that is what really rubs the goofs over at 106.7 the wrong way. They expect that everyone that is living in this area or is somehow affiliated with a team in this area to swear allegiance to the Deadskins.So good luck Bryce! See you sometime in April! (i am hoping for the end so we can keep you an extra year)

  6. Constant Reader's 8 year old son - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    i cant wait to see the nationals play

  7. Constant Reader - Feb 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    As a parent, this whole learning to read and write thing is annoying.OK friends, is it really any more complicated than this …Why April 27? Because if the Nationals wait until then to promote Harper, he'll have spent at least 21 days in the minors and thus won't be credited with a full year of big-league service time in 2012. That would ensure he cannot become a free agent until after the 2018 season. (If Harper debuts before April 27, and doesn't spend more than 20 days in the minors at any point down the road, he would be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season.)

  8. joemktg - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Throughout, this kid has been battling naysayers, competing against older players, driving himself with more weights, learning how to deal with the press, and so on. He continues to conquer.But there's one foe he cannot defeat: money. No way they bring him up from the beginning. What's 21 days to save 1 full year of non-FA status? He'll look good in pinstripes during the 2018 season, but no sooner.

  9. Positively Half St. - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Let's all hope for April 27th at the earliest, then, with a few extra days thrown in to make sure the math is right.I honestly want him to start in AAA so he can overcome a slow start there, and so he can get more hands-on instruction on how to carry himself. On top of that, I want my sister and family to have a chance to see him play in Syracuse.I guess the countdown will change to "Days until the first spring training game" on Sunday. We will rely on Mark and NatsJack for pictures and info until then.+1/2St.

  10. Gonat - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    MicheleS, at first I was upset with Bryce's frontrunner crap but he isn't from DC. You hope that frontrunner attitude turns to an obsession about winning when he plays here.There were many losing streaks here in DC where players weren't phased by losing. Times are changing in DC and if Bryce Harper is the 3rd best outfielder by the end of Spring Training, best 24 + Wang go North.

  11. Positively Half St. - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Gonat-Don't be so sure that Wang isn't better than Lannan and Detwiler. He has a great history when healthy, and it is finally time to see if he can be what he once was. The Nats put too much time into him not to see if the investment pays off.+1/2St.

  12. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Will be (somewhat, in my case) interesting to see how it plays out with Harper this season. Will be even more interesting to see how the team fares. In both cases, I reckon that's why they play the games. P's and C's this weekend. Can't. Wait.

  13. Avar - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Whoa – 15-20 HRs this year. I'll take the under on that and you name the stakes. Here is the entire list since 1901 of players 19 or younger who hit 15 HRs. Ready? Mel Ott and Ken Griffey. That's it, that's the lsit. Here are some HOFers who did not do it even though they played in the bigs at 19; Mantle (close at 13), Yount, Killebrew, Kaline, Mazeroski, Fox, Bench, Brooks Robinson. ARod also failed to hit 15 at 19.Like I've been saying, 19 year olds almost never do well. About 4 or 5 have had decent to strong seasons. All the rest were lousy. It could happen but the odds are long. Let's hope he blows up next year.

  14. Doofus - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Ouch. Thanks alot Auntie Michele! I could handle the pressure better if you could convince Mom to let me go out tonight.

  15. gonatsgo - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    I think Bryce is colorful but not harmful.He seems to live a very clean lifestyle – not exactly the clubs and women type. I like his intensity and desire to compete and win. I just wish that it wasn't all about the hitting and batting average. He needs to play the field well enough and run the bases well enough. I would like to see attention paid to those skills so that he becomes a complete baseball player. He is very young and has a long career ahead of him – no need to skip steps in his development. He has a chance to win not just batting titles but gold gloves. I think he should be given that chance to develop all aspects of his game, no matter what he thinks or how eager he is to come up to the majors,and not be brought up too fast to sell a few more tickets. No matter what path is chosen, it won't really be very long now until he is at Natspark full time.

  16. Avar - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Oh yeah, the most HRs ever by a player 19 or younger? Tony Conigliaro w/ 24 in 1964. He only exceeded that total two times in his 8 year career in which he was a career ,264 hitter w/ 166 HRs. And, just for the record, I'm rooting for the kid to break ever record in the book, but I'm not expecting it.

  17. Get Some Players - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    NatsJack, what is your twitter handle? Would like to see the pics. Thanks.

  18. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    Doofus…Stop getting bad grades and MAYBE your Mom would let you got out tonight (and she might actually let you go to Nats games with me more!)

  19. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    "Go Out" I need the edit button

  20. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Gonat.I attribute the front runner status to living in Vegas. No major league teams in any sport there. So what games would he get to see on TV every week? The ones that would give the Networks the biggest ratings. In MLB – Yankees, in College BB- Duke, NFl – Cowboys, in NBA – Lakers. I am willing to cut him some slack on this.

  21. Gonat - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Positively Half St. said… Gonat-Don't be so sure that Wang isn't better than Lannan and Detwiler. He has a great history when healthy, and it is finally time to see if he can be what he once was. The Nats put too much time into him not to see if the investment pays off.+1/2St. February 17, 2012 8:09 AM ________________________________Great history when healthy? Do you know why it is history? Its because its in the past. If you think Wang will ever be the pitcher he was in 2006, you're dreaming or extremely optimistic.Based on last year, Lannan was the better player. Lets see how they look during Spring Training. My hope is Wang can be a solid 3.75 ERA guy and step up into the 5th spot in the rotation.Here's the thing with Wang. His best season was 2006 with the Yankees. He had a career best 3.63 ERA. If he played for an offensive deprived team, he probably wouldn't have looked as good in my opinion.I am just one that thinks Wang was never an elite pitcher unless you look at Won/Loss records.Between 2006-2007 Wang got an incredible 6.1 offensive run support. That's how you win 19 games with a 3.63 ERA.

  22. Joe Seamhead - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I'm like everybody else here in Natsland so looking forward to seeing Harper play with the big boys, and also playing with the press. I think that he will be great at both.I'm not on any bandwagons that are discounting Wang, Ross, or John yet. I think that Wang showed enough at the end of the season to have reason to believe that he won't be tentative regarding whether his shoulder has really healed. Just like after T.J. surgery a pitcher coming back has to have confidence that his health isn't likely to get blown out by the next pitch before he can establish his command. Wang seemed to grow much more comfortable by the end of the season. If I'm Detwiler, or Lannan, I am not ready to concede that Jackson is the #4 starter either. I'm going to ST with the intention of making him earn it with this club. I'm happy to have Edwin with us, but he's not all that much better then Lannan historically. I expect to see some very intense, and spirited competition for the rotation spots.

  23. Drew - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Of course, Tony C. would have far exceeded those numbers had he not been beaned.At 22, he was the second-quickest to reach 100 home runs, just behind Mel Ott.As noted before, many future greats got their feet wet at 19 or 20 — Mantle, Aaron, AROD, Griffey — and showed glints of future promise. But one or two years later, look out!Can't wait to see this lineup a year from now:CFTBNL cfRendon 2bZimm 3bMorse 1bHarper rfWerth lfEspy ssRamos cStras spCourse, if it's Upton and not Bourn or Victorino you could move Rendon to the top. I suspect Upton will be Rizzo's target given that at 28 he's the youngest of the free-agent crop and would be in his prime for the Strassy-Harper run.If Rizzo can't get Upton, maybe he tries for Victorino as a bridge to Goodwin. I love Bourn's game, but he's already 30 and he's a Scott Boras guy, which means he'd want a long-term deal.

  24. Unkyd - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Confused…. How did Conigliaro hit 24 taters, but miss being on the "whole entire list"?

  25. Avar - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    You're both making some good points. Wang won a lot but wins is maybe the worst measure of a pitcher you can get. His FIP, which is a much better measure, was 3.8 and 3.9 in his two big years. Those are the same as Livo and Jason Marquis last year. Not very good. However, Lannan's was 4.28. So, yes Gonat, Wang's best years were overrated. But, he still was a good bit better than Lannan. Wang was better in '06 and '07 than Lannan has ever been. By just about any measure.But, you're right that betting on Wang to perform like '06-'07 is a good way to lose money.

  26. N. Cognito - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Seems as if most here have Harper and Rendon penciled in to the Hall of Fame. I wonder how this board will react if Harper and/or Rendon don't make it in the majors.

  27. The Retired Journalist - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    When I watched him last March it was clear Harper has the skills to play in the majors but hadn't yet learned how to use them. That's one of the big things I'll be watching this March, to see how much a year of seasoning has helped him.I also expect, just from the very logical "it helps the club long-term" standpoint that Harper will get his 21 days of minor league service in April no matter how ready he appears to be. C'mon, really — a month at 19 or an extra season at 25? Is that really a hard choice for any front office to make?

  28. ehay2k - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Bryce is 19. We really shouldn't expect him to act 28. That he can handle all the hype at his age is amazing, IMO.Off topic, great, absolutely withering article in WaPo today by Sally Jenkins about CPO Edsall.

  29. Natslifer - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I didn't understand the April 27th date before. 1/6th of the season for an entire year of control on the back end – this is a complete no brainer.

  30. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    The way this roster has been constructed, they seem to be depending on Harper having a big role on the club this year, because the outfield without him has a good chance of being worse than it was last year. Of course, no one on the club has said this team is trying to make the playoffs this year, IIRC. Common sense says he has to start off in the minors, but my question is, if he hits .240 and makes a bunch of fundamental mistakes fielding and base running in AA, are they going to bring him up anyway? He could come up and struggle like Trout did last year for the Angels, and where does that get the club if they're contending? It's hard to imagine a guy like Bernadina or Ankiel and their sub-700 ops being better, but this year – they might be. For all the hype, that might actually be more likely.

  31. ehay2k - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Bryce is 19. We really shouldn't expect him to act 28. That he can handle all the hype at his age is amazing, IMO.Off topic, great, absolutely withering article in WaPo today by Sally Jenkins about CPO Edsall.

  32. Natslifer - Feb 17, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    And as baseball fans, let's all rally around the notion that this kid is 19 and needs some slack. I came here in '94 and personally feel sorry for Redskins fans. Tough to be abused in the present and constantly live in a past that keeps getting farther away.

  33. HHover - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Re: WangBe careful about comparing pitching stats from 2006-7 to 2011. It's only a few years, but average ERA and FIP have dropped more than 1/2 a point (4.69 average ERA for starters in 2006, vs 4.06 last year). I wouldn't say Wang was ever truly elite, but context matters, and his 3.65 ERA for 2006-07 was about a full point better than the average for that time.

  34. Positively Half St. - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Gonat-You wrote:If you think Wang will ever be the pitcher he was in 2006, you're dreaming or extremely optimistic.Well, isn't that what Spring Training is all about?+1/2St.

  35. JaneB - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Thanks for explaining the Super 2 deal, Mark.So, my money is on Bryce becomes the OppoBoppo Prince of Nats Park on May 1 against the Braves. They'd be nuts to waste he is debut on the road.

  36. jcj5y - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    I know we're dealing with Scott Boras here, but wouldn't it make a bit of sense to at least broach the idea of an Evan Longoria-style contract extension? Harper can start the year in the majors if he agrees to a contract through 2018. He gets paid like a Super-2 starting in 2015. If he's half the player he's supposed to be, his arbitration numbers are going to be astronomical. Why not try to see if there's some common ground now? It won't be as good a deal as with Longoria, but it could give the Nats cost certainty, allow Harper to play in the majors without any artifical constraints, and keep him around through 2018.

  37. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    jcj5y…That makes sense, but as you said…"I know we're dealing with Scott Boras here.."

  38. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Um, I don't know who/what a CPO Edsall is. Wait. Isn't it a car? No? Then I got nothing. Sorry.On topic, there's an alternative viewpoint to the earlier Reid column over on the Times site.

  39. Diz - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Question for everyone.Would you sign Harper now, if you were Rizzo and could, for say….an additional 4 years? From his 26 – 29 years of age? Before even seeing him take the field in the majors?Don't know if this is a good comparison, but PF spent 6 years in Milwaukee and his last 3 years, made $7M, $11M, and $15.5M. His first 4 years in Detroit avgs $23.5M.So, we'll split it and say you could sign Harper now….for an additional $80M for 4 years and buy out his first 4 FA years. Would you?It would definitely by an unorthodox move and I don't think I have ever heard it being done, but if he's such a sure thing….

  40. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Wang, now and in his previous prime (contrasted to "prime yet to come"), has to be watched to be appreciated. He was capable of getting three ground ball outs faster than anybody I recall. There are going to be those days when everybody hits 'em where they ain't, and some guys run around the bases. But if he gets his sinker back anywhere near his 19-win form, he'll be the most efficient pitcher in the rotation.Harper is becoming a great big concern. Whether or not the stuff coming out of his Tweet so far has been "innocent" — and offending the home crowd doesn't qualify as "innocent" — he really has no business tweeting about anything that doesn't go through an editor. Sooner rather than later, he's likely to give up something stoopid or offensive (a la Ryan Church, to pick a mostly-benign example) without beginning to fathom that he should be keeping his mouth shut. I also wonder who's going to be keeping an eye on him. I hope there's a family "handler" who can fly to 29 major league cities with him. I don't want a 19-year old kid hanging out w/ a bunch of 27-28 year-old teammates even if I think, for the most part, the Nats' top-25 are people of good character. Unless maybe there are more Mormons on the roster than I'm led to believe.At a pessimistic level, I'm sort of in favor of finding out as soon as possible whether he's going to be a knucklehead so we can trade him for a truck load of prospects and a Cy Young candidate.

  41. jcj5y - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    I like the Prince comparison from Diz; if his final three years of arbitration were 7/11/15.5, you can expect Harper to make something similar. Before that, he's club controlled, so he won't make too much. If you could get him to sign through 2018 for something like $50 million (factoring in 4 years of arb instead of 3, that seems like a very good decision. You might even be able to spread the money out over the life of the contract instead of having it backloaded like it would be if he goes through the arb process.As for signing him through his free agent years, I defintely think Boras says no to that. The contract through arbitration may be a little easier to calculate.

  42. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM

    Speaking of which, reposting my book recommendation from just before our first ST trip last year. In particular, those fans who are visiting Viera for the first time might enjoy it…In other news, I just finished reading "Spring Training," by William Zinsser. The book features a behind-the-scenes look at Spring Training with the 1988 Pirates of GM Syd Thrift and skipper Jim Leyland. Very interesting read about one team's approach to teaching fundamentals in Spring Training. I really enjoyed the book, and it whetted my appetite for my first ever visit to Viera. Well, isn't that what Spring Training is all about?

  43. natscan reduxit - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    … Steve McCatty made the mundane observation any of us could make: "… he wanted everyone to finish healthy. And then he paused. And I don’t just mean Strasburg and Zimmermann."… and being the knee-jerk pessimist I am, those words lit a flame of fear under me. In all the uber-exhuberance we've shared over the fate and fortunes of this year's edition of the Nats, let us all fall down and pray that we don't run into even one serious, season-altering injury…. I wonder about the 'spring training' of the team's training and medical staffs, about how they use this time to both bring players along for the first of April, and to prepare the whole team for 162 + games. That could make for a good story, IMNSHO.Go Nats! … and Don't Stop!

  44. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Jason Reid thinks 19 year old Bryce Harper needs to "grow up" – particularly with respect to his tweets. Do you think Reid would be satisfied if Harper started tweeting like 24 year old Logan Morrison? Here are a couple of his recent efforts:February 12:I just received a #GRAMMYs nomination for the fart I just ripped #GonnaNeedaWetnapFebruary 14:There are 3 certainties in life; Death, Taxes & I will trim my pubes on Feb 13th of every year… #VeteranMove #PaysOffEverytimeSuddenly Bryce Harper's "immature" tweets don't look so bad, do they?

  45. HHover - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Are people really talking about signing Harper to an extension now, when he's A) under team control thru 2017 in the worst case, and B) has never had a single AB in a major league game?Is the natsinsider comments section now some alternate universe where that conversation makes any sense at all?

  46. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    I don't think that Jesus Flores thinks that Rizzo has always espoused caution with young talent. Jesus likely wants the 2 years of his baseball life back.

  47. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    They can't sign Zimmerman to an extension and you think one with Harper can happen?

  48. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    For Natscan and other interested parties, in case you didn't see this. On behalf of the Nationals, Davey Johnson released a beautiful (imo) statement about Gary Carter:“Today, the world of baseball lost a Hall-of-Famer and I have lost a treasured friend. Anyone lucky enough to have been part of Gary Carter's world will agree…nobody loved life in a bigger way than Gary. He seized every opportunity to savor what mattered most to him: his close-knit, loving family; meaningful, enduring friendships; an unbridled passion for baseball; and the fulfillment he felt from making a difference in his community. Gary's brave battle has ended, but his from-the-gut laughter will be heard and his vitality and spirit will be felt forever. I loved him very much, and I know he is finally at peace.”

  49. natscan reduxit - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    … one small thing that concerns me about Bryce Harper is not his 'in-your-face' attitude to life and the game. That served Gary Carter pretty well, and I've no doubt Bryce will make hi sway just fine…. what I have a nag about is this: he's gone on record as saying he wants to be in the bigs a.s.a.p. I love that. Davey Johnson has said the kid should be given a chance right now – if he proves he can do it. I love that too, with conditions. With Bryce's stated preference already made known, and Johnson's stated preference as a backdrop, if Harper shows he isn't ready, the let-down could be quite harmful to his ego. … it might have been better to let the kid do the talking and rein in Davey's words of willingness, just to avoid any kind of hurt emotions in the case of 'Plan B'.Go Bryce! Go Nats!!

  50. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    I think the twitter stuff is overblown. I don't think it'll matter too much about his arrogance if he hits, because Davey has made it clear he could care less about that in his clubhouse. A good portion of the team may hate him, but we totally excuse it in postgame comments when he goofs around after he hits a homer to help them win. He can be as big a jerk as Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, or Barry Bonds as long as he backs it up with numbers.

  51. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    will instead of we there

  52. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    natscan reduxit… … Steve McCatty made the mundane observation any of us could make: "… he wanted everyone to finish healthy. And then he paused. And I don’t just mean Strasburg and Zimmermann."… and being the knee-jerk pessimist I am, those words lit a flame of fear under me. In all the uber-exhuberance we've shared over the fate and fortunes of this year's edition of the Nats, let us all fall down and pray that we don't run into even one serious, season-altering injury.________________________________________________Instead of being a pessimist. Put your conspiracy theory hat on. He is laying the ground work for one of the Pitchers to start the year on the DL so we don't trade Lannan.

  53. natscan reduxit - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    … the bottom line for me, re when does Bryce arrive, is this: if the team finds a way to trade John Lannan for someone who can run, play CF and bat first or second, it seems to me that Harper will be in Syracuse until September.Go (north) Nats!

  54. Feel Wood - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    I don't think that Jesus Flores thinks that Rizzo has always espoused caution with young talent. Jesus likely wants the 2 years of his baseball life back.Jesus Flores was in a much different situation than prospects like Harper, Strasburg, etc. As a Rule 5 pick, he was required to spend the entire 2007 on the MLB roster or else be returned to the Mets. In 2008, he was slated to play in AAA Columbus to develop, but because the two veteran catchers brought in to fill the position (LoDuca and Estrada) underperformed and eventually got hurt, they were forced to bring him up fairly early in the season to be the primary catcher with Wil Nieves as the backup. Then Chase Utley took him out at the plate in early September, breaking his ankle and ending his season. Then he took the foul ball off his shoulder in May 2009 that ended up costing him the rest of 2009 and 2010. I'm sure Flores would like to have those two years back, but Rizzo's development policies have nothing to do with it.

  55. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Anon 9:44On LoMo's tweets… Oh good lord. I will take Bryce over that any day! All Bryce tweets lately have been about working out, eating, not being able to sleep, getting ready for spring training, and hanging out with friends.1A.. thanks for the link to the alternative view article …

  56. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    People are wondering out loud about contract extensions that won't ever get suggested anywhere else for pretty much the same reasons some folks are worried about some thoroughly harmless tweets–it's the middle of February, and there isn't much else to do. Yeah, talk of extending Harper now is barely even academic, and certainly never going to happen (why on earth would Harper and Boras, of all people, ever consider that?), but it's harmless. Bashing a kid for some totally trumped-up bushwa, maybe not, but somehow I think his ego is up to the flak he'll catch. If there's one thing about Harper I'm *not* worried about, it's damage to his ego.

  57. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Good news and bad news today in Viera.First the good news. There are at least 20 guys from both the big club and the farm system in camp. I will list the guys I identified a little later.Now the bad news. Some jerkwad stole some equipment yesterday while the guys were going through their paces so now the public is locked out till Tuesday. I had to stand outside the left field fence to get any pictures.Fortuneatly, an Associated Press photographer was locked out too so he used his ginourmous telephoto lense to take pictures while I became his identifier. Since I don't hold much hope for the long distance shots I took with this droid, I got him to promise to e-mail me a link to his pics.Maybe later I can pass on some pics from that link.

  58. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    That stinks, NatsJack. And the idiot is probably going to put it on Ebay using his real name.

  59. natscan reduxit - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    … thanks natsfan1a, for Davey's remarks. The Canadian papers have been full of the most marvellous tributes to The Kid this morning. Many made the point that whereas at one time many fans and fellow players looked on him with sarcasm, that all changed when it finally dawned on everyone he was simply the real deal; his persona was aptly named as The Kid.

  60. DaveB - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    It appears that Mark Zuckerman isn't up to speed with the new CBA, changes in the player's favor regarding the Super-Two status now mean that Harper would have to stay down until the 1st or 2nd week of July, not June as with Strasburg, in order to keep him from gaining Super-Two status.Also note that the Super-Two status issue is different from the 'service-time' issue and the April 27th date that is being discussed, that still applies.

  61. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    To add to twist here and i am sure I am stating the obvious..Does anyone else think its a coincidence that Boras hired a Nats PR guy to be his man on the east coast, specifically to stay in DC?PR Guy… Bryce Harper…Hmmm..just something to chew on…

  62. LoveDaNats - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    There is nothing more immature than a teenage boy. Harper will grow into his new role once he gets here. If he is called up in May, his antics will be closely scrutinized by his teammates and I have no doubt that several of the veterans will yank him up by the scruff of his neck and show him how it's supposed to be done. We won't hear what happens, (what goes on in the clubhouse stays in the clubhouse), but his own teammates will be modeling behavior and giving the kid "advice". I personally think Ryan Zimmerman did it the right way. Kept his head down rookie year, worked hard, didn't say much in public and proved himself before taking on leadership duties.

  63. HHover - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    It appears that Mark Zuckerman isn't up to speed with the new CBAActually, Mark did a report about exactly that issue three months ago. Here's the link, in case DaveB and others may find it useful as a refresher:http://www.csnwashington.com/blog/nationals-talk/post/Harpers-debut-could-be-delayed?blockID=599402&feedID=6458

  64. Sunderland - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    HHover @ 9:04, very nice observation and perspective about Wang and stats 5 years old.

  65. SayNoToClint - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    JaneB said… Thanks for explaining the Super 2 deal, Mark. So, my money is on Bryce becomes the OppoBoppo Prince of Nats Park on May 1 against the Braves. They'd be nuts to waste he is debut on the road._____________________________________Maybe they time his arrival to coincide with the weekend "take back the park" series against the Phillies. Of course that would require a competent marketing department with lots of pull with the GM and manager.

  66. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    It's actually easier to name the guys who were't working out today and reportedly not here yet.Strasburg, Gonzalez, Clippard, Storen, Rodriguez, Ramos and Flores not here yet. But pretty much everybody else including Lidge, Edwin Jackson and Chien Ming Wang.Also draftees Matt Purke and Alex Meyer are here.

  67. sjm308 - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    The posts on here that drive me nuts are those moaning about things in the past. That being said, is it too late to think about moving BH to CF or has that time line run out? It was a smart move to take him from behind the plate, and I realize he is still learning the outfield. If its obvious that we need a CF why have they not tried to see if Bryce can perform out there? Will look forward to the intelligent answers provided here.

  68. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Maybe they time his arrival to coincide with the weekend "take back the park" series against the Phillies.Not sure I'd recommend that, if I were marketing them. The place is still going to be overrun with Phillies fans. Yeah, I'll be there anyway, but still.Not to mention, I can't see Davey making out his lineup card based on what the non-baseball people think.

  69. jd - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    The bigger issue with Harper is that he is still learning to recognize off speed pitches and how to lay off the low outside pitches. There is no question that he is a rare talent whose upside is MVP but that doesn't mean that it would serve the Nats better to throw him to the wolves before he is ready. The twitter stuff and all the other supposed immaturity stuff is just noise. How many 19 year olds do any of you know who are mature? I think Harrisburg from April to July, Syracuse from July to September and a September call up sounds pretty good to me.

  70. Feel Wood - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Strasburg, Gonzalez, Clippard, Storen, Rodriguez, Ramos and Flores not here yet. But pretty much everybody else including Lidge, Edwin Jackson and Chien Ming Wang.Presume you're talking pitchers and catchers only. Or are all the position players (including Harper) already there?

  71. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    I stand corrected. Gio Gonzalez just jogged by my car while I was catching up on posys here.

  72. lefty1950 - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    With SP starting, all the speculation on the pitching rotation, Harper, CF position, draftees, etc. will now be settled on the field. All of our what-ifs and who is better will be settled.Cannot wait.GO NATS!

  73. NatJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Fat thumbs again. Posts

  74. Tom in AR - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    sjm30 – the argument I have heard against Bryce in Center is 1 – it is more challenging defensively so it would take him longer to learn the position (primarily reads and routes) and possibly slow down his ascent to the majors, 2 – there is an increased possibility of injury. I believe he has played some centerfield in the minors, but with his great arm he profiles well as a right fielder.

  75. Saxman - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    Is anyone else irritated by what has to be a bald-faced lie by the Nats- that Harper's service time and financial considerations will play NO role in decisions about his promotion?Yes, I know that life is full of elephants in the room that everyone knows is there, but are never discussed. However, both owners and players consented to the labor agreement knowing full-well it would be "gamed" by the owners to the max. They're all adults (Harper, barely), and should know this is a business.Honestly, what is so terrible about at least making vague reference to "consideration of long-term planning by the Nationals franchise" as "part" of the decision-making, as an alternative to outright lying.**on the 1% chance that the Nats are telling the truth (that super-2 is not even a factor), I will be astounded by their willingness to truly send the "best 25" north, and also appalled by their short-sightedness.

  76. Tom in AR - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Also, I think some believe that as his body grows he will lose some of his speed, so it wouldn't work long term.

  77. sjm308 - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    thanks Tom:Natsjack – you have no idea how great it is to hear your reports. I don't understand twitter but thanks for what you do on this site.Go Nats!!

  78. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    sjm, that's been discussed here several times. Short answer: not gonna happen.Longer answer: Not going to happen, because 1) it would delay his MLB debut significantly, possibly by a full year, and nobody on the Nats' side wants that; 2) he's more likely to get seriously injured in CF than a corner, and nobody anywhere wants that; 3) he's still learning the outfield, period, and not looking impressive enough to make you think he should be in center; 4) he doesn't "project" as a classic CF anyway–he's fairly fast, especially for a (former) catcher, but he's not all that fast, really, even at 19.

  79. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Nobody except pitchers and catchers on the fields today. All the playing field mounds are covered with a tarp and the batting cages aren't in place. I'm hanging around till noon just in case anybody does come out for bp.Harper tweeted that he'll be here Monday.

  80. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Wise words from Richard Justice on gm's and trades…Hyperlink Code

  81. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    I'll be there, too, for the Saturday game. If y'all don't yet have tix, get on over to the team site and buy them before single-game tix go on sale (March 8). Looks like the "Take Back the Park" sale is still active. Heck, you could even get a mini-plan that contains one of those games. :-)Sec 3, My Sofa said… Maybe they time his arrival to coincide with the weekend "take back the park" series against the Phillies. Not sure I'd recommend that, if I were marketing them. The place is still going to be overrun with Phillies fans. Yeah, I'll be there anyway, but still. Not to mention, I can't see Davey making out his lineup card based on what the non-baseball people think. February 17, 2012 10:32 AM

  82. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Is anyone else irritated by what has to be a bald-faced lie by the Nats- that Harper's service time and financial considerations will play NO role in decisions about his promotion?Saxman, I missed where they said that. Link?

  83. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    NatsJack, you didn't name Lannan. Have you seen him? Thanks for being our eyes and ears there!

  84. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Hey Saxman……. For a fact……Super 2 status is NOT a factor but the additional year of control is. Hence, if he's ready, we'll all see him in DC early May.

  85. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  86. Feel Wood - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Is anyone else irritated by what has to be a bald-faced lie by the Nats- that Harper's service time and financial considerations will play NO role in decisions about his promotion?It's not a bald-faced lie. It's the only answer they can possibly give to the question. The minute they admit that any decisions about any player are based on service time and financial considerations rather than performance on the field, the Players Association would be all over them like white on rice. That's also why they staunchly deny that they might stash Lannan in AAA because he has an option left, even though they very well might do it.

  87. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    It'll be May. He's impatient, and he won't wait much longer in AA or AAA. You can explain the 21-day rule, but his attention span isn't any longer than that…Boras and Davey will want him up. Rizzo isn't going to fight Boras, Davey, Harper and the fans beyond April, and why should he?Harper may flub like a Trout, but he would still rather be up, taking his chances with big-league pitchers. Wang will be great. Seriously.

  88. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    SteveM…..please don't make name everbody I saw. But, yes, Lannen threw a 10 minute bull pen session after long tossI named the guys who I didn't see plus a couple I thought were notable like Lidge, Wang, and eventually Gio Gonzalez who apparently was running on the back field and not with the gang of 20 plus I did see.

  89. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    1/2 St./Gonat/HHover, love the stats on Wang. HHover brings up a good point on how ERAs have changed in a few years. I am a "show me" guy and Wang has shown some signs of brilliance but also some poor performances. He will have Spring Training to prove in short order what he has for 2012. Lannan on the other hand is a known commodity. Nothing fancy. Nothing overpowering. Walks too many batters. When John is low in the zone he is an above average pitcher. Over the season he will have some bad outings and some great outings but you have to give him credit that he keeps his team in a position to win almost every game on average. The fact he gets low run support hence not giving him a stellar W/L record shouldn't be the ultimate reflection on him as a pitcher.

  90. Saxman - Feb 17, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    I was referring to Mark's original post this morning, where I'm presuming he's paraphrasing comments made to him and other press people by Nats leadership.Feel Wood- While your suspicion is indeed why I suspect the elephant in the room is not pointed out. However, I simply don't understand under what grounds the union can raise cain. In the text of the labor agreement, is there some language that specifically FORBIDS clubs from deliberately holding back players– such that potential violations of this would go to some kind of arbiter for redress?

  91. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    Sorry, Steve. Wang doesn't have to show anything in Spring Training, except a slow, steady regimen that doesn't re-injure anything. His place in the rotation is assured.

  92. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Things that make you go hmmm…Just noticed that the 5 game flex plans no longer list the May Phillies series among the options for the Davey's Lineup and Beasts of the East plans. (I'd printed the plan games listing from the website when I ordered my flex plan tix on January 31.) Here's hoping that flex plan tix to the games in question were bought up by Nats fans.

  93. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    NatsJack, I wouldn't do that to you and thanks for confirming Lannan is there early. I think that is significant.With all the speculation that he will be traded or sent to the Minors has to be a huge burden on him. That $5 million contract may be great for his bank account, but any thoughts of spending time in Syracuse or worrying about being shipped to another team has to be a burden.

  94. jeeves - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Thanks for the reference, natsfan. (alternative view) Excellent writeup by Mr. Snyder and I agree completely. My only fear is that Bryce's aplomb and straightforwardness will result in undeserved reprisals from, for example, the other team's pitcher. The jock mentality, often a product of jealously and insecurity, needs very little excuse to put an opponent down.And anon at 9:44, interesting (and disgusting) comments by Morrison. I can't imagine what would be said by fans and media if Harper had made those twitters.

  95. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    The rotation is1-2: Stras-JZ'nn3: Gio4-5: Wang-EJaxThe only way this could change is if someone is injured in spring training or if they decide to delay Stras for a month and start him in May. Or if they trade J'Znn for McCutchen.

  96. Manassas Nats Fan - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Bring him up May 1. They are in LA on April 27th.

  97. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    NatsLady said… Sorry, Steve. Wang doesn't have to show anything in Spring Training, except a slow, steady regimen that doesn't re-injure anything. His place in the rotation is assured. February 17, 2012 11:01 AM I would say it is his spot to lose but if he stinks up the joint I would hope the Nats wouldn't hesitate to place him on waivers. Unfortunately, the Nats have been hesitant to be quickly reactive to DFA sizeable contracts but if you want to be a playoff team, sometimes tough decisions come with the territory.When the Nats signed EJax, the entire starting rotation scenario changed.For the record and I hope I eat my words, I don't think Wang is better than Lannan or Detwiler but of course hope Wang does great and is good enough to give the Nats many W's.

  98. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Just a note for anyone planning on watching pitchers and catchers this week end.They are not going to let the public into the training complex till Tuesday. Take note DJ in Florida.

  99. JackBauerInFlorida - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…SteveM…..please don't make name everbody I saw.I'll make him tell us. Give me five minutes.

  100. Manassas Nats Fan - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Strasburg will start as the number 3. That way he can start the second home game. That will assure starting the season with 2 sell outs.

  101. Sunderland - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    saxman – No, I am not bothered by what you call a bald face lie. Execs, coaches, players, manager, on all teams and in all sports say things all the time that anyone with any discernment realizes may not be completely true, but is what they need to say. Adam LaRoche is our first baseman, we're not looking to trade John Lannan, Bryce Harper will make the team if his play deserves it, we fully support Nyjer Morgan, yada, yada. They say what they need to say. All the time. Not just Rizzo, not just the Nats, everybody, across all leagues.

  102. Jon Kyl in Arizona - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    bald-faced lieIt was not intended to be a factual statement.

  103. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Manassas, I would agree except it's a little difficult to predict the weather this far in advance. Let's just say the Nats may plan for Stras to start the second home game…

  104. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    NatsLady..Not sure if you saw this yesterday, but MLB Network is doing the Nats Preview on 3/27. They said on the website that they will be posting the video on the website the following day.

  105. Section 222 - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    It'll be May. He's impatient, and he won't wait much longer in AA or AAA. You can explain the 21-day rule, but his attention span isn't any longer than that… Everyone seems awfully confident that Harper would be our starting RF were it not for the free agency time clock, and that he'll be brought up at the earliest opportunity if that clock becomes the deciding factor. I'm not so sure. He was just starting to heat up in AA when he got hurt. Then he started cold, but finished strong in the AZ Fall League. Does that really mean he's ready to face MLB pitching on Opening Day? Even a good spring training might not be enough to convince Davey and Rizzo that he's ready. And what about his defense and baserunning? Doesn't he still have something to learn in AAA on that score? I wouldn't be surprised to see him take at least a few months to show that he's ready for the show. The fact that he's impatient doesn't mean much if his performance doesn't warrant the promotion.

  106. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Michele, 3/27 or 2/27?

  107. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Just a note for anyone planning on watching pitchers and catchers this weekend: They are not going to let the public into the training complex till Tuesday. Something else for the kids to do to pass the time: play Spot the Plainclothes.

  108. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Section222, Great post. I agree with you. I think when he he is red hot for a prolonged period in AAA is the time he gets his call-up as long as that is after May 1st.

  109. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    The more I think about it, the more I think this might be the solution: if all the starting pitchers come out of spring training healthy and Lannan or J'Znn have not been traded, I would delay Stras a month, and start him up in May (or whenever someone is traded/injured) so he would be available in September. I'm not sure Stras is a guaranteed sellout on a chilly April weekday.

  110. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Correct me if I'm wrong … but is the Super 2 / arbitration thing even relevant with Harper? He signed a big league contract from the beginning, so even when he gets to the point where he would technically be eligible for Super 2 under normal circumstances, wouldn't he still be getting whatever he signed for at the beginning? "He receives salaries of $500,000 each in 2011 and 2012, $750,000 in 2013, $900,000 in 2014 and $1 million in 2015." — nbcsports.comSo seems to me he's gonna get 900k in 2014 no matter when he comes up, and would only have to worry about arbitration in 2016-17, after the original deal expires if he hasn't been extended by then. Obviously the service time issue still applies.

  111. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    Steve M.. It's 3/27 at 10 PM on the networkMLB Network Schedule

  112. natscan reduxit - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:25 PM

    … can someone remind me? Pitchers and catchers on Sunday; when does the rest of the team check in?Go Nats!!

  113. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I would delay Stras a month, and start him up in May (or whenever someone is traded/injured) so he would be available in September. If you shut him down for a month, he would need to work his way back into shape–that's what spring training is for. And games won in April count just as much as in September, except the September games might well not be relevant. The April ones certainly will be. So I don't think that's a good idea.

  114. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Oh, I agree Harper has plenty learn, and he might, might learn it in AA or AAA. I just don't think he will or he should after his 21 days. There is just too much pulling him to the majors. If his fielding is dreadful, well, so be it. If he stumbles on the basepaths or gets picked off a lot, so be it. He's got the mental toughness and athletic ability to serve his apprenticeship flying charter planes, and no doubt he will take guff from players who served theirs riding buses. I said this a while back: I don't expect Harper to be an All-Star this July. But he needs to learn how to play in the majors in the majors.

  115. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    The other thing about Harper coming north with the best 25 (does that count for a shot?) is, what if he's lighting it up, but the rest of the team, for whatever reason, isn't? What if Werth or Morse blows out a knee?

  116. Saxman - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    Yes, I'll admit, I'm about as "keepin' it real" as anyone on the planet, short of giving honest answers to "Do these pants make me look fat?" kinds of queries from my wife.So, this dancing around the truth, however Machiavellian, bothers me.I guess I'll just suck it up and file this under the: "We neither confirm nor deny we have nuclear weapons" category.I still would be interested in the agreement language. It fascinates me that both sides (by allowing these arbitrary 21-day contingencies) are so willing to deal with the fiction.As long as Harper stays down until April 27th… for his "continued development as a complete player."

  117. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    MicheleS, thanks. Gotcha, Arizona 1st then to Florida. That's actually good because we will see more of what the final product will be like.

  118. sjm308 - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    There is no way they will just waive CMW – what will happen, if he is not pitching well, is that he will "develop" tightness in his shoulder giving the Nationals and CMW another month in Fla to work things out. Now, I believe he will be just fine but my point is that they will not just put him on waivers. Bottom line is either someone is honestly injured, someone develops a mystery injury or they send LannEn to AAA. We are not getting rid of starting pitching until we see that Purke or someone else can fill the spot.Go Nats

  119. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Just another note while I watch Roger Bernadina get his throwing arm loose.Now that Livo and Marquis are gone, I fear our sac bunting situation is probably going to pretty much suck. But then again, Davey doesn't much care as long as they don't bunt into a double play.

  120. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I understand about Stras/spring training. And I 100% agree that April games count, I've said so many a time. But Stras surely has options–or doesn't he? So he can do his spring training in 'Cuse if necessary.Everyone is saying that Lannan can win games. So if Lannan/Detwiler are great in Spring Training, let them win the April games. Just trying to think outside the box.

  121. Theophilus - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Starting up Strasburg in May? Come on, now. The fantasy of every team is to be the 1984 Tigers — go 35-5 at the start and lead wire-to-wire. Especially given the youth of this team, which Nats' scenario is more likely? 20-5 with Strasburg? Or 5-20 without him? Please re-think that idea.

  122. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Sec 3, My Sofa said… I would delay Stras a month, and start him up in May (or whenever someone is traded/injured) so he would be available in September. If you shut him down for a month, he would need to work his way back into shape–that's what spring training is for. And games won in April count just as much as in September, except the September games might well not be relevant. The April ones certainly will be. So I don't think that's a good idea. February 17, 2012 11:31 AM Totally agree. I would say the April fast start will set the pace for the push to the trade deadline. That May 4th series in DC against Philly should be for 1st place. Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace!I wouldn't be surprised if Wang has the mysterious shoulder tightness and starts the season on the DL.

  123. Mark'd - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Don't take this the wrong way, but clearly NatsLady loves Wang. Her love of Wang is clouding her brain with crazy thoughts like sending Strasburg to Syracuse for April.

  124. N. Cognito - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Zimmermann, Strasburg, Gonzalez and Jackson are 1-4, in some order. Other than lefty/righty or fastball/junkball, I've never figured out why anyone cares what the order is.If Harper is called up some time this season, his most likely impact on a pennant race is that he will hinder it.

  125. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    I would like an April fast start as much as the next person. I just don't think we are going to have it. There are too many pieces not in place. (The outfield, first base, Desi's "comeback.") The pieces will fall into place in May-June, and that's when we need to get HOT HOT HOT. So, recognizing that I'm in the minority (and that Davey will not be on my side here), I say let April be an extended Spring Training. We are playing the not-so-great teams (Cubs, Mets, Astros, Padres? Dodgers?). Get the wins from them and sort out the pieces. Get the feel of what the Marlins are. And get ready for May. The schedule in May is a lot tougher.

  126. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Mark'd, you are right. Not saying it would happen, just speculating. Yep, I got the two pitchers I follow (CMW and Clipp). I love all the Nats, of course, but got a special place for them two.

  127. Feel Wood - Feb 17, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Feel Wood- While your suspicion is indeed why I suspect the elephant in the room is not pointed out. However, I simply don't understand under what grounds the union can raise cain. In the text of the labor agreement, is there some language that specifically FORBIDS clubs from deliberately holding back players– such that potential violations of this would go to some kind of arbiter for redress?Nothing forbids any GM or owner from saying anything, and there is nothing in particular that they might say that would trigger the union. But go back and read the history regarding collusion (Lords of the Realm, a book by John Helyar is a great way to do that) and you'll see why everyone involved will always err on the side of caution when they say anything that might affect player-management relations.

  128. Tom in AR - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    How do you shut him down? Just tell him not to pitch for a month? If he is in Syracuse he will still be pitching and those innings count against the 160, just like major league ones (although honestly, "innings" seems like a really dumb way to track a guy's usage. Remember when Livo pitched before and after a couple rain delays last year and they said he threw 300 pitches or something to stay warm?)

  129. Feel Wood - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Strasburg will start as the number 3. That way he can start the second home game. That will assure starting the season with 2 sell outs.More likely he will make the fourth start of the season (Monday in New York) so he can start the third home game, which is (a) Strasburg bobblehead day and (b) a 4:05 Saturday afternoon Fox Game of the Week. That's where you want the sellout, not on Friday night when the game is only on MASN.

  130. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    That May 4th series in DC against Philly should be for 1st place. Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace!The Phillies should hope they're still that close by May.

  131. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    In news that will get the Desmond haters excited, he was spotted by the AP photographer I met this morning working out at the Pirates complex in Bradenton.

  132. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Steve M and sect. 222, that's what I said. There's an assumption that he's already at major league level. Last year's AA numbers don't tell you that. And the AZ league numbers were the about the same as what he did the year before, he just played more. If he struggles, we don't probably don't have a third OF who's any good this year, plan B is gonna suck. That kind of flies in the face of acquiring two starters on 1-yr deals for 15 million to give you innings this year so you can be "competitive". I mean, if they didn't think they could win this year, why spend that money as insurance on the innings you are probably going to need from starters, but not spend any on the games you're going to need from outfielders?

  133. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Remember when Livo pitched before and after a couple rain delays last year and they said he threw 300 pitches or something to stay warm? A cherished Livo mememto. I remember him afterwards saying something to the effect of, "You find someone else who can sit for two and a half hours and then come back out, you call me."

  134. DFL - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Prediction- Harper doesn't make the big squad until September call-ups.Another prediction- One in four chance that Johnson is out before season's end. Bo Porter is 50-50 replacement.Another prediction- One starter will be on the Disabled List coming out of Spring Training and another will be out for the season by the All Star game.Prediction- One of the big three relievers- Clippard, Storen and Lidge- will miss a large chunk of the season on the DL.Prediction- One of the Nats starting line-up will be hitting less than .200 by Memorial Day and three will be hitting less than .230.Prediction- At least three in the Opening Day starting line-up will not be starting by Labor Day(pitcher not included)Prediction- Cameron will be given his release by Memorial Day.Prediction- Two of the starting line-up will miss a big chunk of the season due to injury.Prediction- At least four Nats who begin the season in the minors will make important contributions to the team this season.Prediction- At least three players who start the season on other teams will make important contributions to the Nats.Prediction- One of the Phillies aces misses most of the season and that team shows its age and flounders at the .500 mark all season.Prediction- The Braves, Marlins and Nats fight it out for first place from Memorial Day on with none of the three teams more than seven games out of first.Prediction- Nats attendance falls just short of 3 million.Prediction- Either Ian Desmond, Jayson Werth or Ryan Zimmerman causes a controversy with comments made to reporters.Prediction- The Orioles will finish the season with baseball's worst record with 55 or so wins. Peter Angelos does not die.

  135. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    TominAR, now that is a good question. Do ST innings count toward the "160" (if that is even the number?). The other issue is you simply don't know that all the pitchers will emerge healthy from ST–I'm not talking about "phantom" injuries. If you were going to start Stras up a month late, you would have to make that decision now, before you know the other factors (trades, injuries). So, although it's a wild speculation, it's not really gonna happen.

  136. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    With all the long men Davey will have to carry, are starting pitchers coming up more than twice a game very often? None of these guys are horses who are in danger of racking up complete games.

  137. NatsNuts - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    NatsLady, you may enjoy this story. My 6 year old son is watching MLB Network with me last night and they are doing the Gary Carter story and how he is in the Hall of Fame.My son turns to me and asks, are all players in the Hall of Fame? I said no, only the very best that have played the game are in the HOF. True story, he says, oh then Tyler Clippard is in the Hall of Fame.

  138. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    I would like an April fast start as much as the next person. I just don't think we are going to have it. You might be right, but you can't possibly know that, and I submit it's a mistake to over-hedge one's bets.

  139. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    NatsNut– that is funny! You heard it here first, Clipp for HOF.

  140. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    DFL, provacative list. I like it. Getting to be that time.

  141. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    *provocative

  142. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Sec 3, of course I don't know the Nats will have a slow April. And the plethora of bad teams we are playing makes me hopeful. But LaRoche being a slow starter, Werth being a 2nd half guy, plus several other factors make me cautious about predicting the Nats will lead coming out of the gate. I would rather lead in September…

  143. Mark'd - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    NatsJack, are you thinking Desmond has been traded to Pittsburgh or is it because he grew up in Sarasota and uses their facilities?

  144. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Natscan, it's Feb. 24 for other players, with the mandatory reporting date being March 2.MicheleS, I see that you've crossed the final frontier as far as naming your links. Props. :-)

  145. Section 222 - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    I said this a while back: I don't expect Harper to be an All-Star this July. But he needs to learn how to play in the majors in the majors.I don't get that. It's like the people who argue that the Nats should put Desi in the leadoff spot and keep him there for the whole season no matter what because he has to learn how to be successful there. If Harper is botching plays in the field or on the basepaths, he's hurting the team. He can much more easily fix those kinds of mistakes (which may be mental as much as physical) away from the glare of being in the majors. Plus, he'll have more confidence in himself, and fewer butterflies, once he has shredded the pitching in the International League. That should improve this performance.I don't expect him to be an all-star in his rookie year either, but I do hope he'll do more for the Nats than sell tickets. And I want him to be ready to start and contribute, not sit on the bench or platoon, when he comes up. Until we see him play in Florida we really have no idea how soon he'll be ready to start in the majors.

  146. blovy8 - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Jordan Zimmerman looks like a decent hitter. Jackson went 8 for 30 last year. Lannan is just hopeless up there, but that's fun too.

  147. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Gosh, DFL I hope the reliever you predict on the DL isn't Storen. He's so young and so eager, I worry about his arm. Can't see RZimm or Desi saying much that's controversial, so will have to go for Werth on the reporter thing.

  148. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    1A.. it only took 2 years to get me to figure the link thing out properly. I am slow like that! ;-)

  149. Feel Wood - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    The more I think about it, the more I think this might be the solution: if all the starting pitchers come out of spring training healthy and Lannan or J'Znn have not been traded, I would delay Stras a month, and start him up in May (or whenever someone is traded/injured) so he would be available in September. In order to delay Strasburg for a month, they would need to either option him to the minors or put him on the DL. They will do neither of those things. If you think that optioning Lannan would cause an uproar, imagine what it would be like if they optioned Strasburg. Plus, if he's in the minors, he will be pitching, not sitting around. And unless he really is hurt, he's not going on the DL. The uproar from Strasburg being on the DL is something the organization does not want to deal with, unless it truly is medically necessary.

  150. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    NatsJack, are you thinking Desmond has been traded to Pittsburgh or is it because he grew up in Sarasota and uses their facilities?Well, they are good facilities at Pirate City, but didn't Sarasota refurbish the Ed Smith complex, last year?FWIW, I understood NJack to be saying it would set the speculation-machine spinning, that's all.

  151. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    I'm with sec222 on Harper. I'm glad that we're past the "teaching and preaching" phase when our young players needed to learn at the MLB level. I suppose that came from having a barren farm system, in part. Not that they'll stop learning when they reach the bigs, but let 'em come through the ranks.I think it took me longer than that to learn it, MicheleS!

  152. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Honestly,Its really a balancing act. The NATIONALS as a team were simply horrendous offensively and especially when compared to the rest of the NL East. And NO they weren't much better when Dunn and Willingham were in the lineup. Also far more pathetic with Dukes, Milledge, Guzman, etc. In this snapshot in time, right now, its the Nationals ONLY weakness. Pitching now has the potential to improve exponentially. Defense has improved and could potentially get even better.The MATIONALS currently HAVE NO OTHER left-handed impact bat on par with Harper. YET. There's potential coming up from the low minors, there's Brian Goodwin but not sure he will even come close to the potential Harper has relatively speaking. But his role is different.There was a cattle call this spring, not for pitching but for left-handed hitting most especially from the bench. Roger Bernadina and Rick Ankiel were nothing short of disappointing as left-handed hitting starters and even as bench players.Let's face facts, right now they have to rely on journeymen veterans with questionable bats to help make up the difference. And that would almost certainly include the average or below hitter named Adam LaRoche. The point is both Rizzo and Johnson are on the same page with this. Many of those veterans who demand respect ALSO require the same from management. That means giving them EVERY possible chance to win as many games as possible. AND to MANY OF them that means starting Bryce Harper in right field. Because they, better than any pundit (Mark) know that Harper might be their best chance to reach a wildcard and even a division title at this point. I am certain they agree with Mike Rizzo in the sense that Harper could use more seasoning and they can see the business side of things wanting to keep him under contract … but for players like Ryan Zimmerman who have been through thick-and-mostly-thin, its well past the time this franchise should have been winning its share of games.And so playing Harper out of ST MIGHT go a very long way toward: convincing both current talented Nats and FA's that the Nats ownership are truly serious about winning. And aren't just blowing smoke like the Orioles. In the end its up to ownership to convince Scott Boras and young Bryce Harper to make Bryce Harper a National into his 30's. And the way to do that and keep Ryan Zimmerman is to win games. Lots of games. Period.

  153. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Harper thrives on "being in the glare of the majors." And, besides, the glare reaches him wherever he is… so that argument is not valid to me. If you were to say there is better coaching at AA or AAA for him, well, maybe. Is there? Otherwise, get him up here where he is playing against the best. If he has mental errors (and I'd bet lots of $$$$ that he does), the second reason is more important–is he hurting the team? Well, Desi hurt the team with his mental errors and he's still here (or is he?). Lots of players make mental errors (three players letting a ball drop in between them flashes to mind). So, is he hurting the team in 2012 by being up earlier rather than later? Maybe. But it won't hinder his development, in fact, it will help his development. He has spent enough time in the minors and the idea that his "confidence" will be blown if he stumble is BS. That kid is not lacking confidence.

  154. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Jordan Zimmerman looks like a decent hitter. Jackson went 8 for 30 last year. Lannan is just hopeless up there, but that's fun too.Although, correct me if I'm wrong, John "Long-ball" LannEn has more home runs than the entire rest of the staff put together.(Just checked: Jackson has one career home run. So, not quite.)

  155. lesatcsc - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    If one assumes for a moment that Harper will start the year in either AA or AAA until at least 21 days have passed, it is interesting to consider under what circumstances they would call him up. It seems to me there are several factors that come into play. First of all there is the contractual backdrop; Rizzo would have to feel there is enough upside to having him on the team in early May as opposed to early July or even Sept to justify the millions of extra dollars it may cost down the road. So what set of circumstances would have to exist for that to be true?There are several different performance indicators that may factor in. How well are the Nats playing, how well is the OF platoon in place playing, and how well is Bryce playing? If Bryce isn't playing well, I think it is a no-brainer that they aren't going to call him up. If the team gets off to a horrible start, there would be little point in rushing him to the bigs. Interestingly, if the Nats play great, which I'm hoping, it probably militates against calling him up, particularly if the OF platoon is putting up good numbers. Do you really mess with a winning combination? Maybe if Bryce is batting .400 and slugging .600 in AAA, but other wise, probably not. It seems to me the scenario that gets him to the big leagues sooner rather than later is, he is killing AAA, the Nats get off to an okay but not dominant start and the OF platoon is not carrying its share of the load. In that scenario bringing Bryce on board to make the team more competitive now makes financial and baseball sense.All that to say, unless that scenario plays out, I think it is more likely Bryce makes the big club at the trade deadline if the Nats make and a deal and move Morse to 1B or later in the season as an audition/seasoning for next year.

  156. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I would delay Stras a month, and start him up in May (or whenever someone is traded/injured) so he would be available in September. They tried delaying Jordan Zimmermann's starts and the result was poor performances. Of course a poor performance for Stras might just be a sterling one for any other pitcher they have. Still, I think it wise not to muck with Stras that way … he's way too valuable.

  157. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    NatsPR tweeted 20+ Nats players already working out at the Spring Training complex in Viera.

  158. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Although, correct me if I'm wrong, John "Long-ball" LannEn has more home runs than the entire rest of the staff put together.(Just checked: Jackson has one career home run. So, not quite.)The real reason they did not bring back Livo and his 10 career homers. Also probably played into the Milone trade. He was just coming on too strong.

  159. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    NatsLady, according to NatsPR, Clippard did arrive today w/ Storen. Looks like all starters are there except for Strasburg.

  160. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    To dispel any rumors, NatsPR just put up another timely tweet that Ian Desmond has already checked in….and Bernadina.

  161. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Harper thrives on "being in the glare of the majors." And, besides, the glare reaches him wherever he is.For sure. Add one more bone he doesn't have: intimidated.That said, I don't assume he'll be all that good this year. Interesting, probably exciting, but definitely green. Now, NEXT year…

  162. NatsBrat - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Goooo NatsJack!Thanks for your early on-site efforts.Sports reporters need to get up-to-date on the current generation. Tweeting is what these kids do. Prince Oppo Boppo is merely a member of the current generation. Writing about his maturity/immaturity is immature. Harp's eye black is fun to see. Those who offer their gratuitious opinions otherwise, need to check out the tats that almost all the players are sportin'!

  163. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Re Desmond…..he lives in Sarasota and prefers the Pirates facility over the Orioles. Plus I'm pretty sure Angelos wants some sort of fee for using his facility.

  164. Nats fan in NJ - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    Can we change the "Best 25 go North" slogan to "Best 25 out of 26 go North"?

  165. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    Comment from a good article on the Astros:J.D. Martinez jumped from Double-A to the majors last year and could offer decent power as the team's everyday left fielder.Difference from Harper? He's 24, not 19.

  166. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Re Desmond…..he lives in Sarasota and prefers the Pirates facility over the Orioles. Plus I'm pretty sure Angelos wants some sort of fee for using his facility. February 17, 2012 12:47 PM LMAO, you may be saying that tongue in cheek but I think you are right about Angelos. If Golds Gym in Sarasota is $25 for a day pass, Angelos probably wants $250 per day.

  167. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    New Boz…Boz Article

  168. NatsLady - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Thanks, Steve M. My day is complete–now I can go to work…NJack, thanks for your reporting. Get on the crime beat, too, willya? That's terrible about the equipment theft.

  169. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    MicheleS, that's Boz on his happy meds. Nice read. Thanks for the link!

  170. Sunderland - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Anon @ 11:25, Super2 does matter with Harper because his contract allows him to get market value through the arbitration process.

  171. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    @Boz: The Nats are young, but in the game’s most important element — pitching — they are not raw at all. Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann had the 10th best ERAs in the American League and National League last season. That’s not potential; it’s proof. Jackson and John Lannan have been credible, durable starters for four straight years. Strasburg, 24 in July, has the most dominant stats through his first 17 career starts since Dwight Gooden in 1984. ——I don't see any mention of Wang until the next paragraph.Boz may get the wrath of NatsLady!

  172. Sunderland - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    Saxman, you're right on about this – "I still would be interested in the agreement language. It fascinates me that both sides (by allowing these arbitrary 21-day contingencies) are so willing to deal with the fiction."And apparently both MLB and the MLBPA are in general agreement, and have talked about how to structure things so that this types of things don't force teams into these kinds of decisions. But I ain't holding my breath. Too many complexities entangled with service time issues.

  173. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Second the thanks for the link, MicheleS. I had a feeling a Boz piece might be coming down the pike. (Was that a Marathon Man reference at the end? Here's hoping that this season will be nothing like having dental work – with or without anesthesia.)

  174. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    No more whiffle balls from Boston, as MLBTR has Tim Wakefield announcing his retirement.

  175. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Looks like AJ Burnett to Pittsburgh for 2 Cutter Dykstra types. Very surprised the Marlins didn't jump into that trade. My guess is the Orioles were probably begging for a deal like that but the Yankees wanted to send him to the National League.

  176. Sunderland - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    When Wakefield and Pedro were both in Boston, I became convinced of the best way to construct a pitching staff. Get 2 knucklers like Wakefield. Have one of those two start every single game, pitching two innings only. Get your regular starter warmed to pitch the third inning, and if he goes 6, then you just need to cover the ninth, so you only need 5 relievers. Imagine facing Wakefield, and then a couple innings later facing Pedro. (Or Stas, Zinn, EJax and Gio for that matter).Brilliant you say? Why thanks.

  177. natsfan1a - Feb 17, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I like it, Sunderland. Now we just need to pick up R.A. Dickey. :-)

  178. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    Edwin Jackson wearing #33 1st Nat to wear that number. All this courtesy of NatsPR, btw

  179. gonatsgo - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Can't believe we are actually discussing things that are going on IN VIERA!! My prediction – JZ takes over as staff bunting ace from Livo. He is a really good athlete in general – looks like that farm boy played some football in his day. Seems like all we know about Gio and EJ are era's, etc. Does anyone know how they field their position? I guess Gio will have to learn bunting over again – has he ever been in the NL?

  180. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    Best 25 go North!!dfh21

  181. Just speculatin' - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    In addition to the Burnett signing, the Rangers are about to trade Koji Uehara to the A's which may well be to free up cash to sign Oswalt (although there's also some speculation they'll use the money to sign another reliever). But if Oswalt does go to the Rangers, that means that John Lannan moves the top of the list of 'available' starters. I put the odds of a trade before Sunday as about 40/60. If it doesn't happen by Sunday, it will be at least mid-March before he's moved.

  182. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    From MLBTR: The Marlins aren't interested in Ivan Rodriguez for the backup catching job.

  183. jd - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    NatsLady, I couldn't disagree with you more on the Harper issue. I think Harper had a fairly significant issue dealing with top line AA pitchers last year so it's not reasonable to assume that major league pitchers won't figure his weakness out real quick. I do believe that you can delay development by forcing a return to the minors based on failure and I think there is real potential for that with BH. He won't get bored in AA until he starts experiencing consistent success and he needs a new challenge.

  184. David - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    I see I'm not the only one predicting a mystery injury to Strasburg, Zmann, Gonzalez or Detwiler… With Wang and Ejax on 1 year contracts, they make no sense to end up "injured" to start the season, so they'll both be in the rotation. Sending Lannan to AAA hurts his trade value, as would him being "hurt".

  185. Section 222 - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Harper thrives on "being in the glare of the majors." And, besides, the glare reaches him wherever he is… so that argument is not valid to me.So, is he hurting the team in 2012 by being up earlier rather than later? Maybe. But it won't hinder his development, in fact, it will help his development. He has spent enough time in the minors Not sure how you know that he'll thrive since he's never played in the majors, but I certainly hope you're right. I disagree that the attention and scrutiny he received in Hagerstown and Harrisburg is anything like that which he'll face in DC or Philly or New York. By no means am I expecting him to wilt, but I do think it would be better for him to be as prepared as possible for it, by being even more confident than he already is about his abilities to play and succeed at the highest level. Tearing up AAA can't hurt, right? If Harper isn't expected to play at an All Star level when he first comes up, what exactly would the Nats be losing by giving him a few months to get ready to play even better when he arrives? The idea that coming up too soon will actually help his development seems crazy, and it's certainly not the way that Rizzo views player development.

  186. PAY TO PLAY - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    David, yes, having a mysteriously injured Wang could hurt his trade value if the Nats were to try to trade him after May 31st, but if you are trying to put your best 5 out there and make the playoffs, your choices are limited.I think Boz and others said it right. Also, the Wang of today could have been the #1 a few years ago. Talk about progress.

  187. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    Jackson and John Lannan have been credible, durable starters for four straight years.Edwin Jackson. Yes to some degree. John Lannan? DEFINITELY NOT.When Livo first arrived on the scene for act II he was ostensibly a fifth starter signed to a minor league contract. He was 10-15 years (depending on who you talk to) older than mid twenties Lannan. Ostensibly, both soft-tossing control pitchers. Let's see what the ERA etc. look like when adjust to be park and defense neutral stats say:2011 Livan Hernandez 172.9 xIP, 4.94 tRA, -12.4 pRAA2011 John Lannan 182.3 xIP, 5.04 tRA, -15.1 pRAA2011 Edwin Jackson 123.2 xIP, 4.35 tRA, 1.7 pRAA – AL 2011 Edwin Jackson 76.0 xIP, 5.23 tRA, -7.9 pRAA – NL2010 Livan Hernandez 207.9 xIP, 4.65 tRA, -3.0 pRAA2010 John Lannan 142.6 xIP, 5.74 tRA, -19.3 pRAA2010 Edwin Jackson 77.1 xIP, 3.47 tRA, 8.5 pRAA – AL2010 Edwin Jackson 132.7 xIP, 4.90 tRA, -5.7 pRAA – NL2009 Livan Hernandez 49.3 xIP, 4.57 tRA, 0.2 pRAA2009 John Lannan 196.8 xIP, 5.52 tRA, -20.0 pRAA2009 Edwin Jackson 209.6 xIP, 4.37 tRA, 13.3 pRAA – ALThe pRAA represents a pretty decent compendium of performanceand John Lannan's case it WAS ABYSMAL. Is it any wonder that Livobecame staff ace? That the Nats were often criticized for havingno starting pitching?Lannan's pRAA's read like a baseball horror flick:-20.0, -19.3, -15.1: and fans complain about Garret Mock? Just really TERRIBLE! And why Rizzo et al pursued Buehrle(who basically is the same kind of pitcher as Lannan and Livo),traded for Gio Gonzalez and signed Edwin Jackson relegatingLannan to the 7th or 8th spot in the rotation.While Edwin Jackson's is about where you like to see a #4/#5 power pitcher. Interesting aside even with the DH Jackson's performance in the AL was clearly better than in the NL.

  188. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 7:59 PM

    Not so much progress as it is radical change. Clubs don't have to take years to chnage their dynamics. Look at the A's, in less than one off season they have completely remade their club, and they are not done yet. Not to say they will compete, but they added young talent all over the place and they have coins freed to add pieces going forward. Incrementalism is not the only path.

  189. DWS - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Bryce might surprise us all (hope he does).Having watched Gary Carter at Jarry Park then the Big Owe, I'd love to see that enthusiasm from Bryce.I think we will see it and am looking forward to it. Hope it's contagious.

  190. JaneB - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    gonatsgo, from your fingers to JZimm's bat. Or something like that.

  191. gonatsgo - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Pay to Play – having a mysteriously injured wang? All kidding aside, ( aren't we sick of the wang jokes yet?), I am certain that one of the pitchers will come down with a hangnail right as cuts need to be made. I feel so bad for Pudge – there are many players with less to offer a team than he does that have contracts. I think he would make an outstanding back up for Buster Posey right now. He can't possibly catch every day for a while. I think he is the last one un-signed. I would hate to see his career end this way. A request — whoever goes to Viera – try to report back as much as possible. I am hanging on every eye-witness report! Glad to hear that so many of the guys are reporting ahead of schedule.

  192. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Anon @2:57PM, Lannan was in the Minors part of the season in 2010 so your numbers don't tell the full story.Lannan has completed each season he has started, thats durability. His issue is going longer into games and finishing his seasons strong.On September 5th last season his ERA was at 3.48 then he fell off his last 4 starts.

  193. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    Steve M..BBTN will be in Viera on 2/24

  194. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    We now know Lannan's approximate worth. Bucs paid $5M this year (same as Lannan's 2102) and $8M next year, plus 2 low prospects. A club can walk away from Lannan at year's end or take him to arb at about the same money as that $8M, I am guessing. So, it might be fair to say Lannan is worth more than that with his better numbers recently, his relative youth and his lefthandedness, but not much more. Press SEND Mike, maybe even to the Yanks, get er done.

  195. Tom in AR - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    PAY TO PLAY said… David, yes, having a mysteriously injured Wang could hurt his trade value if the Nats were to try to trade him after May 31st I have heard nothing about a groin injury. Which player are you talking about?(so proud, my first italics. HT to natsfan1a for the advice in yesterday's post)

  196. Steve M. - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Michele – Did I tell you how much I appreciate you too?My prob with BBTN is that show this time of year is often delayed because of college basketball coverage. I'm very impatient.

  197. Mark Zuckerman - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    Not to try to disrupt the excellent conversation going on here, but I need to make everyone aware that there's still a glitch in the blog application that prevents us from being able to read more than 200 comments at the end of any particular post.Since we're about to hit the magic number, I thought I'd redirect everyone to the new posting at the top of the homepage so the conversation can continue.I'm still trying to figure out a way to prevent this glitch and hopefully will have it fixed sometime soon. In the meantime, thanks for understanding.

  198. MicheleS - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Anytime Steve M.I love watching Tim K on BBTN. My frustration with ESPN, is the round the clock coverage of the NFL. It's the offseason.. Move On..

  199. Anonymous - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    200!! New post.dfh21

  200. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 17, 2012 at 9:42 PM

    See? We said you were jumping the gun. ; )200.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 72 53 --
ATLANTA 66 61 7.0
MIAMI 63 63 9.5
NEW YORK 60 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 56 71 17.0
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

Follow us on Twitter