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Cameron to retire

Feb 19, 2012, 4:34 PM EDT

US Presswire file photo
Mike Cameron never made it to Nationals camp before deciding to retire.

VIERA, Fla. — Veteran outfielder Mike Cameron, who was expected to make the Nationals' roster as at least part of a center field platoon, has instead informed the club he will retire.

Cameron, 39, had a locker prepared at Space Coast Stadium, and his No. 44 jersey was hanging from it this morning as pitchers and catchers officially reported for spring training. The three-time Gold Glove Award winner, though, informed the Nationals of his decision before ever arriving in Viera, throwing something of a wrench into the club's short-term plans.

Though Cameron was due to participate in camp on a minor-league contract, he was expected to make the Opening Day roster and share the center field job with Rick Ankiel and/or Roger Bernadina, serving as the right-handed half of a platoon. The Nationals now will either have to find another right-handed-hitting center fielder, let either Ankiel orRead more »

  1. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Wow, good thing we got Ankiel…

  2. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    And just to add to your spring training items..President's Race!!!Presidents Race

  3. JayB - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Anyone willing to admit i had a point that rizzo failed to make the moves this team needs to win?

  4. Joe Seamhead - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    Wow. Didn't see that one coming.

  5. JayB - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    De rosa is done 4 years too late for that move ….he will be no help playing rf innings mark…..just goes to show how weak a off season rizzo had

  6. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Gonat said… JayB said… Matt Stairs, Mike Cameron, Cora, these are the types Mike Rizzo thinks can bring winning to DC? February 19, 2012 11:28 AM _________________________________I am with Jayb on Stairs and Cameron. The fact Rizzo stuck with Stairs as long as he did was a joke.Now Cameron retires! As Bryce Harper would say Hah!I didn't have Cameron on my 25 man. I had DeRosa going to RF and Werth going to CF against LH pitching. I don't see this as a big deal—–just some egg on Mike Rizzo's face. February 19, 2012 11:33 AM

  7. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Not me JayB. No deal made sense. I consider it a failure of circumstance, not of action.re Cameron: marginal player at best at this point in his career. I don't think this is major news.

  8. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    JayB.. got the point, but I don't think this will kill us. Plus it could help one of the Youngsters get a chance and it could make them get in on Soler (sp?) bidding. I don't think this one move will kill us.I think by May 1. Werth in Center, Harp in Right, Morse in Left. Ankiel/Bernadina is the 4.

  9. Sunderland - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    JayB, every single team did not get everything they needed this winter. We're in the same boat as everyone else.

  10. SCNatsFan - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    JayB, I can't wait to see the negative things you post about Harper… or the weather at the parade once we win it all…Cameron retiring tells me he doesn't think he has anything left and that would have shown at ST. Huge loss? Nah. True, we have no CF we are proud of but Ankiel/Shark can hold down CF until Harper arrives, pushing Werth the center for this year. Then when LaRoche leaves and we sign a CF and Morse moves to first our outfield is set.Am I the only one who sees this? You really think playing Ankiel/Shark for 2 months is going to change us from a contender to the same 'ol Nats?

  11. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    JayB said… De rosa is done 4 years too late for that move ….he will be no help playing rf innings mark…..just goes to show how weak a off season rizzo had February 19, 2012 11:47 AM _______________________________DeRosa has no power left but he can still hit if he is healthy and he can play RF.Read some of our comments when Cameron was signed. Many of us were shaking our heads side by side then.He did us a favor because if he didn't retire he probably would have made the Opening Day roster.

  12. Mick - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    The pressure on Desmond to be a good lead off is probably very significant

  13. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Also in the Print edition of WaPo, (page D2) Sports Bog has a nice article on Charlie and Dave. I can't find it online or I would post the link

  14. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    JayB…Please. Rizzo failed to meet YOUR expectations. We get it. Most of us saw Cameron as nothing more than a short term filler until the club can obtain the guy THEY WANT.There are those of us that see a healthy DeRosa as the best bench guy the club has ever had.Davey Johnson has convinced everyone aroud him that Ian Desmond will be fine as lead off for the near term.We know your assessment is the only one that matters. Rizzo, Davey Johnson, Bob Boone, Roy Clark pale in comparison to your abilities to construct a baseball team. We get it.

  15. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Mark wrote: One other possible scenario: Werth could shift back and forth between right field and center field depending on the opposing starter on any given day. Against right-handers, Werth could be in right field with Ankiel in center. Against lefties, Werth could be in center field with veteran Mark DeRosa in right.__________________________I have written this scenario several times so its great you are embracing it Mark.You have a knack for taking some of your posters comments and making them appear to be your own brainstorm.

  16. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    And for those of you that don't have the DVD. Today at 2pm on MASN.. STRASMAS!!!!

  17. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    I actually didn't think Cameron was going to make the team anyway. Werth seems destined for a one year stint in CF. I would think Harper in left at some point with Morse in right. Until Harper comes up Bernidina in left.

  18. Wally - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Michelle – I agree that the timing of this decision could help us, because Rizzo won't have to wait weeks to see if Cameron has anything left in the tank. It does seem like we could use a RH OF with some ability to play CF for stretches. I think Gonat is right that Werth can handle it, but don't want to see his body wear down because of it. Despite his detractors, he is a very important part of this team.I hope Gonat and NatsJack are right about DeRosa. I loved the guy a few years back, but two years of injuries plus advancing age have me concerned whether he has anything left in the tank.

  19. greg - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    come on, gonat. you think nobody else could have thought of that without reading it in the comments here? sheesh.

  20. natsfan1a - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    I'm also surprised, Joe Seamhead. I'm not an armchair GM so I won't attempt any virtual lineup/roster changes.Gonat, really? I don't see Mark as setting out to deliberately steal anyone's commenting thunder, but that's just me.

  21. ehay2k - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    JayB, I don't understand the driver for your post. Are you saying that if Cameron had not decided to retire, then Rizzo would have been closer to meeting (your) expectations?You can't have it both ways. Asking us to agree to wallow in your misery because Cameron retired just makes no sense.I will say it again: We don't yet know who our lead off and CF players will be in 2012 because there are a lot of possibilities, including in-house talent yet to be seen, injuries yet to be had, and trades yet to be made. No team knows until the end of ST what their opening day weaknesses truly are. So, please, stop belly aching and let us enjoy ST for what it is: a time of renewal, discovery, and optimism. Some posters here may need to Google the definition of that last word. Learn it, live it, love it!

  22. pyoungone - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    No doubt Greg. I think Mark threw the idea of DeRosa in right right after he got signed. Comments like gonat's…they are ubiquitous on forums and blogs. Ego trumps rational thought. I'm glad most of the folks here avoid such hyperbole.Go Nats!

  23. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    JayB is just pissed because he finally figured out how to spell Cameron's name (well, almost – Camron would have got his meaning across) and he was all set to write comments hating on him all spring, and now the dude retires. Sucks to be JayB.

  24. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    I have been scanning old posts for the NO Cameron lineup that was suggested while Cameron was still in the plans.______________________ Steve M. said… If Davey isn't into platooning, Brewers GM Doug Melvin reminded us that it is alive and well. He took Nyjer Morgan and paired him up with Carlos Gomez to create 5/7 + 2/7 is greater than 1 statistically using weighted average and it worked brilliantly for the Brewers in CF.Bernadina can't hit LH pitching (well) and not sure if Cameron can hit any pitching. That has me nervous. The better solution is Werth moves to CF against LH pitching and DeRosa plays RF against LH pitching. Problem solved.When Bryce Harper comes up, I hear he will sit against LH pitching also. Against RH pitching Opening Day:Outfield is Morse, Bernie, WerthAgainst LH pitching Opening Day:Outfield is Morse, Werth, DeRosaAgainst RH pitching on July 1st:Outfield is Morse, Werth, Harper and Bernadina will give Werth/Morse some days off as the 4th OFAgainst LH pitching on July 1st:Outfield is Morse, Werth, DeRosa January 31, 2012 11:19 AM

  25. Another_Sam - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Has anyone here seen Harper play? Wasn't he a career catcher? Is it possible he could have developed into a major league outfielder? Every position has a lot of very subtle, unique physical and mental things involved — that's what makes the game so interesting. Do you guys think Harper is major leage outfielder? And for that matter, do you think that Werth over the long haul can play center field anywhere nearly as well as a career centerfielder?Full disclosure — I'm speaking from the armchair. I've not seen Harper play.

  26. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Hmmm.. might be time for the Chick Fest….

  27. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Another_Sam, Werth isn't the long-term answer in CF but he could certainly do it if he had to this season.

  28. Sunderland - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Another_Sam, I've seen Harper play outfield. He seemed very raw, late jumps, still learning to read balls. Harper also likes to show off his arm, and has had a propensity to uncork wild throws with little to no chance of nailing a runner. Some people float the notion that since Harper has good speed, he could play CF. I think this could never happen. He might become a very good defensive outfielder over time, I kinda expect that he will. But he ain't there yet.

  29. whatsanattau - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    I suspect that no one – absolutely no one – in the Nationals organization was counting on Cameron to be a major part of the organization success in 2012. (I actually thought Cameron was supposed to be a right handed pinch hitter, not a starting center fielder)In the meantime, Tyler Moore and Jason Michaels are already in the organization and there are at least 15 pitchers deserving to fill 12 roster spots so the roster construction is not yet done. Congrats to Mike Cameron on a fine career.

  30. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    whatsanattau said… I suspect that no one – absolutely no one – in the Nationals organization was counting on Cameron to be a major part of the organization success in 2012. (I actually thought Cameron was supposed to be a right handed pinch hitter, not a starting center fielder)In the meantime, Tyler Moore and Jason Michaels are already in the organization and there are at least 15 pitchers deserving to fill 12 roster spots so the roster construction is not yet done. Congrats to Mike Cameron on a fine career. February 19, 2012 12:49 PM ________________________________Are you for real? He was listed by most of the "experts" as the 2 time a week starting CF against LH pitching.That's sort of "major" and a lot more than the role that Stairs had last year.

  31. Joe Seamhead - Feb 19, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Ok, It's an uninspiring, cloudy, 42 degree day here in my neck of the woods and I'm bored. So can take a couple of minutes to post some random thoughts: Gonat, I agree that Mark does sometimes take some our expressed takes on the Nats and incorporates them into his columns. That is because there are a lot of articulate posters on this board and our fearless leader actually reads the board. That speaks volumes of the quality of many of the posters here.I, for one don't totally disagree with JayB in that I wish there had been more done to improve our bench, CF and lead off situation. However, where I part company with him is when he constantly puts another quarter in the juke box and plays the same damned song over, and over again. This time last year there were a considerable number here that said that the Nats were heading towards a 100 loss season, and how much Michael Morse sucked.This time time last year I was looking forward to the Nats at least playing competitive baseball. Fast forward to the here and now, and I see them playing winning baseball this year. The reasons are that we are entering 2012 with a very, very good pitching staff, we are healthier, we have the possibility of bringing up some minor league guys that could make a difference, and Davey Johnson is our manager, with Randy Knorr as our bench coach. We may yet improve our bench via trade in the next 45 days, but if we don't, Johnson says that he has the talent available in the organization to win with. I have a lot more confidence in Davey then I do with the constant naysayers here. I have one prediction for this year: Davey Johnson will be the manager of the year.Spring training is in progress. Hope springs eternal! GYFNG!

  32. NatsFanJim - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    It's just as well. Cameron was beyond any point of productivity – he was washed up. Good news for Ankiel though. And please, haven't we seen enough of Bernadina? Trade this guy or release him — we have seen all there is to see of Bernie. Also good news for Harper. This doesnt hurt his chances of making the club for opening day — that is for sure.

  33. FS - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    Wonder how much Davey had to do with this. Next up is Ankiel, who will mysteriously get injured and all platoon planning for CF will be put to rest once Bernie is moved to bench. Davey will have his wish and Harper will be patrolling OF by opening day.

  34. Unkyd - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Goodbye, JayB. This will be my last acknowledgment of you existance. I'll be paging down through any posting with your handle affixed, henceforth. Post as freely as you wish, it's your right, and your opinion is certainly valid. But your relentless negativity, in the face of such obvious improvement, in so many areas of the running of this team, tells me the bitter taste will remain in your mouth until the team wins a championship, and if that happens in a manner that runs contrary to your personal agenda, it may still be too bitter for you to enjoy. I'm not judging you, just not playing anymore.

  35. NatsFanJim - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Response to Another Sam.Do you honestly think Morse is — as you style it — a "major league outfielder?" While Morse is a near phenomenal first baseman, his outfield skills are low. Harper is a good outfielder already. Major league ready, I am sure. There are scores of outfielders playing in the Bigs right now who probably wouldnt qualify as a "major league outfielder" in your book. But playing left field 'ain't that hard.' Center is another story, as is right, but nearly any big leaguer, no matter his skill set, can and does play left field.

  36. Unkyd - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    LOVE the jukebox analogy, Seams… spot-on!

  37. N. Cognito - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Unkyd said… "Goodbye, JayB."Welcome to the club.

  38. MicheleS - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    Joe Seamhead…"I have one prediction for this year: Davey Johnson will be the manager of the year.Spring training is in progress. Hope springs eternal! GYFNG!"I like this one!!! I have only gotten winning and Playoff Baseball 3 years of my semi-young life. 2 years of the O's with Davey and 1 year in CA with the Angels. That's it! Every other team that I lived by STUNK (Cubs/Rangers/Dodgers).If Davey thinks he can win with this team as constructed, then I am good (which I am sure behind the scenes he and Rizzo are doing everything they can to improve the team).

  39. Another_Sam - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    NFJ – no I don't think Morse is a major leage outfielder. I've opined that IMHO [or NSHO as one poster puts it here. lol ] is thatit's no coincidence that he thrived in every aspect of his game when he moved to first base. I predict he'll revert to form [his form -- occasional contributer at the plate,but nothing reliable] when first base is no longer in his sphere.I guess I was being subtle, so I'll be overt: IMNSHO I don't think a club that aspires to actually win can do it with players being asked to play as regulars at positions they don't play.The only position I play — and I play it well and regurlarly — is the couch in front of the tube. Occasionally — semi regurlarly, I gess I fill in by taking a seat at the ballpark.

  40. DL in VA - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    How would you rate Harper as a CF/RF compared to Miguel Cabrera as a 3B?

  41. Gonat - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Gonat, I agree that Mark does sometimes take some our expressed takes on the Nats and incorporates them into his columns. That is because there are a lot of articulate posters on this board and our fearless leader actually reads the board. That speaks volumes of the quality of many of the posters here. Hope springs eternal! GYFNG! February 19, 2012 12:57 PM __________________________________I agree, but some of us do a lot of research and put in a lot of time and this isn't our "paid" job. No other site had suggested 3 weeks ago that Cameron was a downgrade and DeRosa in RF was a better alternative.That post above was clearly thought out in detail. Give credit for it.

  42. Another_Sam - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Reggie Jackson — now there was a major league outfielder. Who is going to be the first to opine that Bryce is the next Reggie?

  43. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    That post above was clearly thought out in detail. Give credit for it.This post is also clearly thought out in detail. Get a life, dweeb.

  44. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    DL in VA — I can't comment on Bryce vs. Miguel Cabrera. I've not seen Bryce in a major league game at CF, RF, or any other position.

  45. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    New post from Mark. Let's discuss that instead of this driblle.

  46. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    BTW dweeb, Kilgore just stole your idea too.

  47. natsfan1a - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    Exactly. That, or don our raincoats/ponchos so as not to get wet. Better yet, a new post. :-)MicheleS said… Hmmm.. might be time for the Chick Fest…. February 19, 2012 12:41 PM

  48. fpcsteve - Feb 19, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    It's just a game. And it's just Spring Training. Just a little perspective…

  49. Sec 3, My Sofa - Feb 19, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Went back to catch up on my reading–that'll teach me.

  50. waddu eye no - Feb 19, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    michele s – thanks for the info on strasmas on tv. wish i'd known in time to see that second pitch to milledge. i'll remember that movement forever.hope jayb doesn't watch. he'll be on here talking about what an awful game it was. gyfng!

  51. Linsanaty - Feb 19, 2012 at 7:51 PM

    The Cameron retirement seems more than a little embarrassing to me. Did the Nats FO do their homework in advance of telling us they'd brought Cameron on board?We're going to pay a price for losing Hairston and Nix too.Some bad tidings in a generally good picture.

  52. sm13 - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Cameron might have filled a small niche, nothing more. Just the type of veteran you sign to a minor league deal – no risk, no downside.

  53. sm13 - Feb 19, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    Cameron might have filled a small niche, nothing more. Just the type of veteran you sign to a minor league deal – no risk, no downside.

  54. Joel K - Feb 19, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    So if DeRosa ends up playing in RF against lefties does that mean that certain commentors here will then accuse the Nats organization of stealing their idea?

  55. Ray - Feb 19, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    JayB. It's the first day of spring training and the season is ruined! You told us and no one would listen, All hope is lost forever and no one but you is smart enough to figure it out, Mike Cameron retired off a minor league contract! Get some perspective,

  56. Steady Eddie - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    I'll say it again as I did the last two years:JayB=Eeyore.He's a lot easier to take — to read, chuckle at as NatsInsider's own totally predictable Eeyore, and then immediately forget — if you look at him that way. Or just ignore him.

  57. nationals7 - Feb 19, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Shoot! Missed Strasmas replay!

  58. Anonymous - Feb 19, 2012 at 11:34 PM

    I wonder what Rizzo is saying publicly about this?

  59. -bdbd - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:58 AM

    In the long-run this probably won't be a huge deal. It does take out some of the competition I think Rizzo was hoping for among MC, Shark, Ankiel, De Rosa and maybe one or two others. It probably bodes a little well for marginal final-25 players like Lombo, whose chances of being on the roster come April 5th just increased some. It also puts a little more pressure on the GM to make tha Lannan (+ prospects)-for-a-OF trade.Anyone think Rizzo goes out and acquires another FA like Damon now (yes, I know he's not a great glove, but might be manageable in RF or off the bench)?

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