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The rotation: So far, so good

Mar 8, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Gio Gonzalez tossed three scoreless innings on Tuesday.

Yes, it's early. And no, they haven't been stretched out for more than three innings yet. But so far, the Nationals' revamped starting rotation has lived up to the top billing it received when camp opened nearly three weeks ago.

With five Grapefruit League games now in the books, every contender for a spot in the Nationals' Opening Day rotation has had a chance to take the mound and make a case for himself. All have succeeded to at least some level, and several have gone above and beyond to impress.

Jordan Zimmermann was the latest to turn in a strong outing yesterday, scattering three hits over three scoreless innings while striking out three. Add Zimmermann's performance to the four others who have started games so far this spring (Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Edwin Jackson and John Lannan) and the Nationals rotation has combined to post a sparkling 1.98 ERA to date.

That doesn't include Chien-Ming Wang, who was sharp himself during a two-inning outing against minor leaguers on Monday and will next startRead more »

126 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MurrayTheRed - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Looks good!

  2. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    This morning, Baseball Prospectus listed its “10 Choices for 2012 Declines.” I was thrilled to see they did not include Michael Morse on the list. In that vein, I present my list of 10 players/groups of players I wish ill this year, in order. It is not at all meant to be fair or rational, and I really would like to know whom you all would include on your similar list, as long as they don’t play for the Nats.10. Norris/Cole/Milone/Peacock – #10 because I don’t really want them to fail, they are free to fulfill their potential as soon as Gio Gonzalez leads the Nats to the World Series.9. Erik Komatsu/Brad Meyers – I hope they both get their April cups of coffee with the Cardinals and Yankees, respectively, and then are returned to the Nats system where they belong.8. B.J. Upton – Perhaps a poor year will calm Mike Rizzo’s yearning to sign this guy I am not sold on, or at least drop his price if Rizzo is stubborn.7. Felipe Lopez – I admit that this is a spiteful and petty kick to someone who is already down. It still feels good.6. Aroldis Chapman – You are not allowed to be any better than Yunesky Maya, and that is a low ceiling, my friend.5. Ryan Braun – Found “not guilty,” but not believably innocent. Anyway, he plays for Selig’s team.4. Mark Buehrle – I was ready to join Mike Rizzo in singing your praises, you overrated middle-aged hack!3. Aaron Crow – I don’t care if it was Jim Bowden that you made look foolish, punk. You must kneel before Drew Storen.2. Jose Reyes – You manifest all the hopes, dreams and pretentions of the 2012 Miami Marlins, and I do hate me some Marlins.1. Nyjer Morgan – ‘Nuff said. Happily, he was on Baseball Prospectus’s list of players likely to regress this year.+1/2St.

  3. Rabbit - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    The more I look at the names in the starting rotation, the better I'm feeling! This year the playoffs are a definate possibility.

  4. Wily Mo Petersen - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Not sure who the home run leader is but there is baseball in Krgyzstan: http://universityministriesnetwork.org/?p=167

  5. Rabbit - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Half-Street……..You have an entertaining list. Good comments. I do feel sorry for your number 10 selection and wish them well. This season I am going to pay attention to the Athletics and replay the games they are in.

  6. Sunderland - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    +1/2St., great list….Just read it again, and I was right the first time. Great list.

  7. sjm308 - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Is Detwiler still in the picture? It would seem that if so, he actually start a game. There is a huge difference between coming in a game in the 3rd inning and actually starting. I did not see his name listed as a starter in the next set of games, but did see that Wang/Lannan will be starting when we split the squad. Hard to believe that a decision would be made so soon (although every anon in america has already sent Desmond to Kyrgyzstan so he can lead them in home runs and be the answer to Mark's trivia question).

  8. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Rabbit, Sunderland- Thanks. I think you enjoyed it in the way I meant it. I might wish Felipe Lopez a little better luck if he signs to play in Kyrgyzstan.+1/2St.

  9. Nattydread - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Mark,Now you have a project. Who is the all-time home run champion of Kyrgyzstan?

  10. JaneB - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    It feels like forever ago when we were wondering which washed up pitchers would make our rotation. This is nice to read, Mark.So was Half-Street's list. I want the traded Baby Nats to do well…eventually. More baseball and today it will really feel like Spring up here. Life is good!

  11. Uri Blubberoxinski - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Mark, I ressemble that remark.I, Uri Blubbleroxinski, am the All Time Homerun leader of Kyrgyzstan, and all the other Stans.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Chase Hughes says the word is that Rizzo is shopping John Lannan. All I can say is that if he is dealt I sure expect tp get a quality starting ML outfielder n return. A 27 y.o. lefty that throws over a 180 innings a year, with a 3.70 era should be more appreciated then he is here. I could see JL in pinstripes.

  13. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    +1/2 — that list is some vinegary, bitter stuff. It's like the list the girls on Desperate Housewives would devise over their third glass of Chablis. Old boyfriends we dumped and the ones that got away, be damned! The neighbor's new Cuban sports car is faster than ours, I hope it rusts!It's bad for our karma to wish ill fate on anyone, but if we're gonna do it:1. Roy Halladay2. Cliff Lee3. Cole Hamels 4. Craig Kimbrel5. Dan Uggla6. Tommy Hanson7. Josh Johnson8. Heath Bell9. Giancarlo Stanton10. Mark Buehrle

  14. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    If you don't like the Marlins, you probably won't like their owner, either.marlins-president-calls-miamians-stupid-jose-reyes-greedy

  15. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Anonymous 7:48 – That's the spirit!+1/2St.

  16. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    The return for Lannan is not likely to be very high. Lannan makes a lot of money and stands to make something north of $7-8M in 2013 through arb, so he's arguably a one-year player. Innings eaters can be had for less than $5M without having to give away some quality MLB ready guy in return. Him being a reliable lefty SP helps, but I am not sure that there is a huge market for a guy with his softballing skills given his salary. Lannan's trade if it happens, is likely going to look more like a salary dump than some great haul in return. We'll see.dfh21

  17. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    NatsLady – Wow. It is difficult to imagine that is real, and not just some satire from the Onion.+1/2St.

  18. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    FWIW, Ladson is predicting Lannan will be traded by opening day for prospects. Ladson on Lannan

  19. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    1/2 — yeah. I followed the links to the original article and it's pretty bad stuff– on all sides.

  20. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    I typed in Kyrgyzstan and the autocorrect changed it to Kastenstan.

  21. Theophilus - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    I see Detwiler condemned to the bullpen for the rest of the season unless/until someone gets hurt or traded. He actually has the experience there, so Lannan is the logical sixth starter. Even (especially?) if Lannan turns out to be worse as a reliever than as a starter — Dios mio! — it makes more sense to put him in the rotation. Hence, there is little point in "stretching out" Detwiler in ST — he's just going to congeal into a 1-3 inning guy in the BP anyway. Although I don't particularly want to trade Lannan, because of the lack of depth beyond the top-7 starters, Lannan will be showcased. So Detwiler potentially starts on a couple of split-squad days but not otherwise.

  22. Anonymous8 - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    NatsLady, there were some that had Lannan gone 3 months ago and 3 weeks ago. If Ladson makes enough predictions, eventually he will be right. Remember, he did say 99% chance PFielder wasn't going to sign with the Nats.

  23. Damnatsfan - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Advice…? We're headed to FL next week to catch 3 Nats games, so … 1) any good recommendations on dinner spots down there and 2) any recommendations on watching workouts? Also, I'm thinking of bringing along a CrazyCreek-style chair to plunk down in while hanging out. Worth it or a hassle to lug around?

  24. Anonymous8 - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Anonymous said… I typed in Kyrgyzstan and the autocorrect changed it to Kastenstan. March 08, 2012 8:02 AM That's too good not to laugh along with!

  25. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Damnatsfan– wish I were going! Not sure what a CrazyCreek chair is, but here are some chairs with Nats logo (love yer handle). I'm practicing my links, here are some chairs.

  26. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    1/2 St, where does Emilio Bonifacio fit on your list?

  27. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    DNF, read Mark's posts here and here as well as the comments on both for numerous ST tips.

  28. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    While I'm linking, original Miami Today article, which was referenced in the blog to which NatsLady linked.

  29. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    On topic, would be very happy to see those rotation trends play out in the regular season.

  30. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    NatsLady said… FWIW, Ladson is predicting Lannan will be traded by opening day for prospects. Can't have two minor league pitchers making 4/5 million a year…

  31. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    NatsLady- Ah, Emilio Bonifacio. He is certainly in the top 20, but his crime was not being very good for us, then strangely improving for a competitor. He is like Marlon Byrd, without the charm.+1/2St.

  32. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    1A, did you get your MLB audio? Because I think we have the same situation today, no Charlie and Dave, only the Astros feed.

  33. skidge - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    We're getting ready to go to Viera tomorrow—will be at the Saturday and Monday games. So excited!

  34. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Spring training stats, of course, are as insignificant as the name of the all-time home run champion of Kyrgyzstan.Beats being the Mario Mendoza of Kyrgyzstan. Just sayin.

  35. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    If you follow the link to the Washington Nationals chairs, you will see some funny ones– back to 1932.

  36. fibi - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Positively 1/2:That was a great and entertaining list. Even more entertaining that someone whose handle is "Postively" wrote it!Of course, I am deeply concerned that you forgot to include Peter Angelos. While repressing memories is a natural human reaction to stress and anxiety, it isn't a healthy response long term.

  37. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Asked which team will win this year, these Kyrgyz kids are unanimous: NATIONALS!Kyrgyzstan baseball prospects

  38. blovy8 - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Have to find guys Pittsburgh or KC are willing to give up for Lannan to make it work. Those teams need innings this year while prospects develop and they may think they're able to compete in their weakened divisions. He's still probably worth more to the Nats as insurance than any players they'd get back from other clubs.

  39. bdrube - Mar 8, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    I don't understand the hurry to trade Lannan. We're not going to get much in return given his salary and we need the pitching depth. The team has the option to send him to AAA until he is needed, perfectly legitimate under the rules, so why wouldn't they? If he's traded it will be a simple salary dump and could well hurt them later on this season.

  40. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Not yet, NatsLady. Thanks for thinking of me, though. May try again later.NatsLady said… 1A, did you get your MLB audio? Because I think we have the same situation today, no Charlie and Dave, only the Astros feed. March 08, 2012 8:38 AM

  41. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Mark Z, roundtrip airfare DCA to Kyrgyzstan is $2009 according to CheapFlights. Lot more expensive than flying Miss Iowa here…

  42. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    fibi-You know, I thought of adding an Oriole just because of Angelos, but I couldn't think of a player for the team that could suffer more than he is already.Thanks,+1/2St.

  43. SCNatsFan - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    +1/2St., excellent list. Could only add I hope Riggleman gets a managing job and promptly loses every game.

  44. Constant Reader - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:17 PM

    The Kyrgyzstan Ambassador lives at the end of my street. That is all.

  45. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    SCNAtsFan-Hah! Yes! May he be consigned to try inspiring Felipe Lopez!+1/2St.

  46. HHover - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    One sign of success for this year's starting rotation will be for the high BB guys–EJax, Gio, and Lannan (if he is a starter)–to get and keep those numbers down. That's something to keep an eye on as ST continues.

  47. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    HHover, also for JZimm not to strike out so many guys and run up his pitch count. I've noticed that when he's in trouble, he goes for the strikeout. Succeeds a lot, too, but has to be hard on the arm.

  48. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    bdrube said… I don't understand the hurry to trade Lannan. Cease the Opportunity said… NatsLady said… FWIW, Ladson is predicting Lannan will be traded by opening day for prospects. Can't have two minor league pitchers making 4/5 million a year…This is still a business. If i'm playing with their money I keep him. If i'm playing with my money I let him go.

  49. bdrube - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    @Cease the Opportunity – agreed, it is a business. And nothing will goose the business more than making the playoffs. A couple of August losses that might have been wins but weren't because there was no suitable emergency starter available could mean the difference between playoffs/no playoffs.

  50. HHover - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Good point, NatsLady. I believe Mark quoted Stras to that effect already this ST–that it's often better to get the 2-3 pitch out on a ball in play as opposed to the 5-6 pitch SO.

  51. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Prediction: when LannEn is traded (and he WILL be, at some point, this year), Rizzo will get more than most here think is reasonable. Homeys are always tough evaluators of their own talent, and JL's gonna look very good to some team looking at a pennant/WC chase, with 1 or 2 DL'd pitchers…. Hope it's a mid-summer deal, for a contributor (bench?) and a good, controllable prospect…

  52. SCNatsFan - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Wait until someone needs to have Lannan because of an injury before you trade him; right now I would think his value is at it lowest as every starter in every camp still has 'potential' to be who the organization hopes he is.

  53. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I can just repeat what I wrote after JZim finished up yesterday:Steve M. said… We have now seen all 5 Nats starters or some may say all 6 with Wang pitching on the other field. I would say Gio, Stras and JZim all did very well. EJax did good w/ some struggles against Houston and Lannan had a couple errant pitches.All in all. A good first 5 days in ST. March 07, 2012 2:01 PM

  54. Sean Kelly - Mar 8, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    AHHHH virtual waiting room for single game ticket purchase is brutal!Anyone else slogging through the wait this morning to snag opening day tickets. Taking my dad to his first Nats game since they returned to DC – Can't wait.

  55. Feel Wood - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Prediction: when LannEn is traded (and he WILL be, at some point, this year), Rizzo will get more than most here think is reasonable. Homeys are always tough evaluators of their own talent, and JL's gonna look very good to some team looking at a pennant/WC chase, with 1 or 2 DL'd pitchers….By the trading deadline, one would hope the Nats are a team looking at a pennant/WC chase. And even if they don't have one or two pitchers on the DL, they will be facing the looming shutdown of Strasburg. Lannan will be worth much more to the Nats at that point than what he might bring back in trade.Prediction: Lannan will be in the Nats organization all season. Either in the rotation, or in the bullpen (with Gorzelanny either cut or traded), or in AAA. He is basically an insurance policy for the rotation this year, and with his option providing a guaranteed place to stash him his salary is well within the limits of what such an insurance policy should cost.

  56. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    Mark's title "The rotation: So far, so good" could also read "The rotation: So gooood…so far to go"

  57. Mike Hall - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    One point on Detweiler. Remember, Jackson left after two innings and got work in the pen even though his count was low. That's unlike the other starters who got to come back for a third. The difference? They probably want Detweiler to have a starter's experience. In other words, warm up, head in and not worry about whether or not the warm up is in vein.

  58. waddu eye no - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    maybe the "stupid miamians" should burn that ugly statue on the owner's front lawn. stink up the neighborhood more than the team

  59. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Lannan's value is hard to measure. He's a take the ball every 5 days LH SP who can keep you in games. But he gives up a lot of walks and a good share of long balls too and he's not a strikeout pitcher. Most clubs that might want the guy likely have cheaper options in tow now with comparable projections in terms of effectiveness, if not reliablility. I can't see the Nats keeping the guy as there is really no place for him long term as things stand now and next year he'll really be pricey — a potential non-tender kind of guy. At the end of the day, I just don't see the Nats paying the guy $5M to be insurance on the farm when they have other options on the roster for that role already. We'll see.dfh21

  60. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    Feel Wood: you're hard to argue with, here, but IF we're reasonably healthy, even with Stras bowing out, we're still at Det, Gorzo and Stammen, on the 40 man, with a few RPs available, if it's Det or Gorzo, from the pen. So… it's possible that we'll be in better shape than other folks, at the deadline. I'm right with you, if the stars don't align, giving us that much depth… We may need him all the way, and it's a luxurious insurance policy….

  61. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Quote of the day from Davey on Bryce Harper getting to start on Saturday against the Tigers and Justin Verlander:"I'm trying to build up his confidence".

  62. NatinBeantown - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    1/2 Street: I really can't hate Reyes. I would replace him with the easily hatable and equally Fishy Logan Morrison.A-Rod I always wish ill, hoping his chemically-enhanced career does not end with him owning most offensive records.Kimbrell is on my list only because he somehow overshadows Storen and because of the direct competition.And more petty than petty, I hope that somewhere Paul LoDuca is having indigestion.

  63. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    dfh21: you (and others) have mentioned the price tag here, before. My question; Why would $5 mil be an issue for a team without immediate salary concerns, who just traded a bunch of good prospects for Gio, then dropped $11 mil on EJax, indicating (to me, anyway) that they are preparing to be in the hunt, this year? If you dump this salary, and need a pitcher in July, you then have to trade for someone you may or may not have to pay even more (pro rata) for the stretch. It just doesn't seem like enough $$ to USA about, even if you wind up non tendering him next fall, when the price goes up.For the right deal, absolutely. Just to dump $5mil…. don't think so, IMHO…

  64. Section 222 - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Ah, Emilio Bonifacio. He is certainly in the top 20, but his crime was not being very good for us, then strangely improving for a competitor. He is like Marlon Byrd, without the charm.This took me back to the first few games after we acquired Bonifacio from the Diamondbacks for Jon Rauch. Huge excitement for our double play combination of the future — Bonifacio at 2B and Alberto Gonzales at SS. They played with a lot of energy for about a week. Bonifacio could fly and Gonzales was surehanded in the field and gave no signs that he would be a 5 RBI per year guy in the future. How far we've come since then. It's amusing to think, however, of the progression — Rauch became Bonifacio, who became Willingham and Scott Olsen, who became H-Rod. What goes around comes around I guess.

  65. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    USA?! Cuss…. Cuss about….

  66. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    Davey and his hummingbird– a funny guy.Steve M. said…Quote of the day from Davey on Bryce Harper getting to start on Saturday against the Tigers and Justin Verlander:"I'm trying to build up his confidence".

  67. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    I would not rush to trade Lannan. Keep in mind that even if everyone stays healthy EJax and CMW are FA at the end of the year. I don't think Meyer or Purke will be ready to step in next year and Maya, Stammen and Gorzo are a big drop off IMO. I think we have to be very sure that Det can pitch effectively and deep into games before we jettison Lannan who in my opinion is an excellent bottom of the rotation option.

  68. Sunderland - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Re: Lannan, somehow I see a scenario where Rizzo got the OK to spend $11M on EJax with the understanding that $5M would be coming back by trading Lannan. But who knows.I'll tell you what I do know. I like John Boy and I'm rotting for him to make the rotation and pitch for a good ball club for the first time in his career.

  69. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    rotting / rooting – you get the idea

  70. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    NatsLady, I get your point re pitch count but the counter argument is that when you allow a ball to be in play there is a 30% chance it will be a hit. When you strike someone out there is almost 0% chance that the hitter will get on base.

  71. RPrecupjr - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    dfh21 said:But he (Lannan) gives up a lot of walks and a good share of long balls tooUm, not really. A career 2.66 BB/9 while not stellar, is hardly "a lot of walks", and I really must take issue with the comment about HRs. His career number is one HR every 9.75 innings. He gave up 15 last season in 184+ IP. You know who else gave up 15? Some guys named Kershaw, Lincecum and Vogelsong. You know who gave up 24? Some guy named Verlander. You know who gave 35? 35?!?! Some guy named CJ Lewis, he of the huge free agent signing this offseason. So while Lannan may not be any of the aforementioned pitchers, let's make sure we have facts, not impressions.

  72. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    jd–true, and of course chicks dig strikeouts.

  73. Sunderland - Mar 8, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Hey all, I'm blocking off my calendar for Opening Day on Thursday Arpil 5 and would love to get together at a local watering hole to watch the game with some of my imaginary friends. Since I've seen it mentioned here once or twice, I'll offer up Duffy's Irish Pub at Florida / Vermont / 9th /V St, NW. Game time is 2:20 local time, so I'm aiming for arriving by 2:00. Please join. I'll be in the #11 home white jersey.

  74. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    NatinBeanTown-The LoDuca comment cracked me up.+1/2St.

  75. NatsJack in Florida - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Random thoughts on what I've seen so far. Rendon.. I'm going to have to reasess my original impression on him. It is very apparent that he is in rehab mode having not seen competitive pitching for almost 10 months. And the pitching he is seeing now is alot better than anything he's seen before. I'm especially suprised to see his inability to make solid contact on breaking stuff. He'll be alright but he's definitely not ready for AA like I thought and he may even need some time in Hagerstown unless his bat comes around pretty soon.The starting staff is beyond solid. Wang looks to be even stronger than what he was at the end of last season. That means, unless someone becomes injured, Lannen is odd man out but I don't see him as being traded, in spite of Ladson's comments.The bench….. DeRosa is defintely the best bench guy this club has ever had and Brett Carroll shows some promise. Teahan doesn't make enough contact and Tracy hasn't shown much yet so it looks like Benadina/Ankiel in CF to start until Bryce comes up at the end of April with Lombardozzi making it as a utility guy.And so far, the only thing consitent about Desmond is his inconsitency. I'm looking forward to see Henry Rodriguez today.

  76. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I hate the idea of losing Lannan just as the team appears is ready to win. I want him to be a part of it. That's the sentimental take. The empirical take is they really don't have anyone better to step in when one of the 5 goes down and there ain't no way one of them ain't going down. Also, I take him over Wang and Detwiler. Letting him go is purely a business decision NOT a baseball decision. And that's the way it goes. When the Nationals lose in the 2012 WS and the other team exuberantly celebrates their crowning achievement, I will be drinking down an adult beverage and so will Lannan…

  77. Tcostant - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Just a heads up to anyone who missed out early, I was able to pickup tickets to all the Yankees game on the single game sale this morning. I know these were blacked out as part of the insider sale for a while; so in case you missed out – now is your chance.

  78. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Sunderland said… I'll tell you what I do know. I like John Boy and I'm rooting for him to make the rotation and pitch for a good ball club for the first time in his career. March 08, 2012 10:43 AM Like Ryan Zimmerman, the guys who have suffered through those lean years deserve better. If the Nats could drum up some offense for Lannan's and JZim's starts, you could be looking at 18 to 20 game winners.Stras, Gio and JZim each have 20 win stuff as we know and Lannan and EJax have 15 to 20 win stuff. Look, we won't see 4 x 20 game winners out of this bunch in the same season but certainly the potential is there.I expect all of them to do their part but as I have said ad nauseum, if you don't score runs for these guys their records can only reflect reasonable results in the W/L column.

  79. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    NatsJack, What do you think of Jason Michaels for the bench?

  80. Cease the Opportunity - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    I hate the idea of losing Lannan just as the team appears is ready to win. I want him to be a part of it. That's the sentimental take. The empirical take is they really don't have anyone better to step in when one of the 5 goes down and there ain't no way one of them ain't going down. Also, I take him over Wang and Detwiler. Letting him go is purely a business decision NOT a baseball decision. And that's the way it goes. When the Nationals lose in the 2012 WS and the other team exuberantly celebrates their crowning achievement, I will be drinking down an adult beverage and so will Lannan…

  81. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Steve M-I like the idea of Lannan being around for the team's first taste of success, but I hope that Mike Rizzo looks at it a bit more cold-bloodedly. Fans have a way of favoring our home-grown players, and I doubt that many neutral observers would say that Lannan has 15 to 20 win stuff. I think the number that would say that about Edwin Jackson is even fairly small by now.The fact is that a team gets to be good enough for the playoffs when it no longer has room for some of the old friends that played during the bad times. This is why Livo is gone, and on a sentimental basis he certainly belings with the team.If Lannan stays, I hope it is only because Rizzo think he is good enough to keep on a playoff-caliber team. If he has to go, I hope he can convince someone else that he has really high value.+1/2St.

  82. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Mark'd said… I just got back from Florida. Very fun week! Rendon has been out of baseball for a while so this is like rehab for him. I love how some people think he and Lombo are ready to start and others are thinking more seasoning in the Minors.I tend to think Minors for both. March 07, 2012 6:30 PM Mark'd, good points. I think NatsJack and you are right on Rendon although I tend to agree with NatsJack that Lombo will probably be the 4th bench guy just leaving one more spot to fill.Jason Michaels looks best so far to grab that 5th spot.Problem is when Harper gets called up, someone is going to have to leave and I would guess it will be a LH outfielder who won't clear waivers.

  83. NatsLady - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    One of my student's mother was able to get Yankee game seats for Friday night (sec 103) but not for Sunday.

  84. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Steve M. I guess I'm in the minority but I still feel that Harper needs 1 more full year in the minors before he comes up.

  85. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Positively Half St., I agree about cold-blooded. I also think the best man gets the #5 but in reality we know other factors come into play.I was very tough on Lannan in 2010. His head was in another place and after his demotion to the Minors, it could have been the end of JL. After the season, he got serious about his pitching. He would be pissed at me saying that because he thinks doing off-season workouts is being serious. Last off-season he talked to top pitchers about what they did to prepare and he came into 2011 in his best shape and added a few MPH to his fastball. If he got Greinke type of run support he could of won 18 games. Let's face it, John causes a lot of his own problems but we need to give this guy some credit. WHIP and FIP aside and unfortunately his showings against the PPs, this guy is a Houdini on the stats. His ERA clearly said last year that he is a solid #3 in this league. We also know he is durable.For my money, I'm sticking with Lannan with 2 years of team control left. Rizzo and trade partners could say something else. This will be the biggest story of this off-season.

  86. Mark'd - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    SteveM, thanks for the compliment and glad NatsJack agrees on my assessment on Rendon.

  87. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Groundouts are pretty nifty, too, as well as being neither boring nor fascist. :-)NatsLady said… jd–true, and of course chicks dig strikeouts. March 08, 2012 10:49 AM

  88. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    The Spankees are in our flex plan (for the Sunday game, if memory serves).

  89. erocks33 - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    I think Lannan stays, at least up to the trade deadline. There has to be some insurance in case of an injury to one of the SP's.I also think that the Nats will take care of the innings-limit on Strasburg (and possibly CMW) by signing Roy Oswalt sometime in June/July. Oswalt has stated that he will continue to work out and stay in shape so that he can be brought on by clubs looking for SP come mid-season (like Pedro and Clemens did years ago). Imagine a stretch-drive rotation of JZ, Gio, EJax, Oswalt and Wang/Lannan/Detwiler? Wouldn't be too shabby …

  90. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    jd said… Steve M.I guess I'm in the minority but I still feel that Harper needs 1 more full year in the minors before he comes up. March 08, 2012 11:42 AM jd, I err on the side of caution and believe BH stays in the Minors until he gets on a hot streak and "earns" the callup. I also think he starts in Harrisburg due to the weather in Syracuse.I spoke to a scout that says physically the kid is ready and mentally wondered if he can make his way through a bad slump.My guess is we see Bryce somewhere between end of April and July 1st.

  91. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    I have another take on Lombo. I think he is too young to be labelled a utility infielder. I prefer he goes down and plays every day.

  92. Mark'd - Mar 8, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    If Bryce Harper gets 2 hits off of Verlander on Saturday he probably will convince us all he is ready.Hoping NatsJack has video on his cellphone!

  93. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Steve M. I read where BH had trouble recognizing the breaking stuff and also chased low and away and thus struggled some in Harrisburg last year. IMO it's better to call him up when he has mastered these flaws (he will) and is ready to have success from the get go. I have no doubt that BH could hit 15 home runs in the big leagues right now but from my point of view I am looking for bigger numbers and I think he gets there faster by completing his apprenticeship.

  94. jd - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:04 PM

    Mark'd, I think one should never look at small samples like this to make big time decisions however it is valid to evaluate BH based on the entire spring body of work once he faces many big league pitchers.

  95. JayBSpeak Translator - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    jd–true, and of course chicks dig strikeouts.I strike out with the chicks all the time.

  96. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    jd said… I have another take on Lombo. I think he is too young to be labelled a utility infielder. I prefer he goes down and plays every day. March 08, 2012 11:55 AM Davey says he doesn't see him as a utility infielder and has a formula in his head to get him into many games. I personally don't see it in reality and think he becomes a utility infielder and pinch-hitter.My own observations is that I haven't seen Lombo do anything between September of last year and now to proclaim him as MLB ready but like the Lannan/Wang thing, Rizzo and Davey will figure it out. I would agree with you and send him to the Minors but I am hedging that he makes it as the 4th man on the bench because of his value as a switch-hitter and outside of Michaels, nobody is really standing out.

  97. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    RPrec — Lannan does give up a lot of walks. I am not sure where you got the numbers on Lannan but his carrer BB/9 is 3.4, not 2.66. According to Baseball-Reference, at least.http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lannajo01.shtmlAnd I said he gives up a "good share" of long balls, I did not say he was the worst or anything.The exact stats don't really matter: he's not a control artist and he's not a strikeout guy either, which is why his upside is limited. Hindsight is 20/20 and all, but had they known they were going to land Gio and EJax, he likely would have been non-tendered as there'd be no reason to pay him $5M in arb.dfh21

  98. Mark'd - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    JD, most here think Bryce is ready -now-. I need to see him against guys other than Livo and Gee to tell us he is ready. Verlander is a true test.

  99. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Steve M — what did Espi do in Sept of 2010 to make anyone think he was a major leaguer? Not much. Lombo's been very good at every level in the minors and he has skills the big club needs. He has a good chance to make the club. Especially if Ian Desmond does not get his game together, which we all know is something less than a given. If he mkaes the club and Davey is true to his word when saying that he'll find AB's for Lombo, those AB's would very likely be coming from middle infield and it is not going to be the power-hitting swtich hitter that they send to the bench to get Lombo in, it's gonna be Desi.

  100. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    dfh21, you don't non-tender a guy like Lannan who is great trade bait. Hindsight would say his value was higher 2 months ago. Now you have to wait and see what team caught the injury bug in ST and needs a lefty starter.Worse case scenario is Lannan becomes a very expensive place-sitter in AAA.

  101. Unkyd - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    BTW… Izzat the dreaded Inverted W, Gio is showing us, at the top?

  102. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Anon @12:16, Espi came up in Sept 2010 and was on fire. He cooled off quickly but he made an impression. Lombo not so much but then again, I guess he has on you. The key is to come up and stay up. We have all seen Espi's ups & downs and this is a critical year for him.

  103. FS - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Since list of ill-wish was made earlier, I made my own list of ten non-Nats I would love to see do great in the coming season.1. Ichiro – Last season was forgettable. Not sure how he would handle being #3 hitter, but I hope great things happen for him. Another 200 hit season and driving in a lot of runs would be great.2. Dunn – His status as a slugger took a serious hit. I liked him as a Nats and hate to see him struggle like he did. I hope he bounces back in a big way and proves Ozzie wrong about his swing.3. Posey – After winning ROY and WS in his first season, I was really looking forward to his second season, cut short by injury. Hoping more of 2010 this time around.4. Morneau – Hate to see a really good player's career stalled by injuries. JM was in MVP discussion consistently for 2-3 years and then injuries caught up to him. 5. Beane – Not a player, but been a fan for some time. 6. Bixler – ex-Nats who gives it all on the field. I hope he figures it out for Astros.7. Kemp – Guy was robbed of his MVP trophy last season. I hope he repeats his performance and wins it this time.8. Felix – One of my favorite pitchers. Hoping for a bounce back season.9. Moore – My AL ROY pick.10. MCab – Hope he continues to be the best hitter in both leagues.

  104. FS - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    just found out I share my bday with Millege. so depressing. I wanted to share it with Ichiro or RZ.

  105. Feel Wood - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Worse case scenario is Lannan becomes a very expensive place-sitter in AAA.If he goes to AAA, he won't be a place-sitter. He'll be a yo-yo. First guy up whenever a starter goes down.

  106. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Mark'd said… JD, most here think Bryce is ready -now-. I need to see him against guys other than Livo and Gee to tell us he is ready. Verlander is a true test. March 08, 2012 12:15 PM I said before ST started that if Bryce gets legit hits on top of the rotation guys, that is the true test.I will be a true believer if he gets 2 line drive hits on Verlander.So far I have seen an outfield hit, an Ichiro'd infield hit to 3rd, some infield hard grounders that found their spots between 1st and 2nd and up the middle.We can keep convincing ourselves he is ready but so far in a small sample size its just ST and 4 games for young Bryce. He will get there and his first real test is on Saturday! Up to now has been his warm-up hacks!

  107. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    SteveM. Espi struck out 30 times in 112 PA's in his callup, he hit .214. He showed that he has power and a good glove but he did not exactly stake a claim to never going back to the minors or anything. Lombo only got like 35 PA's, mostly pinch hitting — 3 starts is what the kid got– last year and did little with them, go figure. It sjust does not matter much. They are going to judge Lombo based on what he looks like he'll do in 2012 not what he did in 2011 in a call-up, as they did with Espi last year. Why don't you like the kid? What,too many Z's in his name, this being a one Z per player organization ot something? Are you hoping he does not make it? If so, who should get the spot on the bench?

  108. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Harper's ready. He knows he's ready, Davey knows he's ready. The world knows he's ready. Kid can hit, kid has massive power. He's ready.

  109. Steve M. - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Anon, I move around a lot and lived in Chicago for a little bit and was close enough to St. Louis in the late 90's where I got to follow them closely. They were finding these high OBP infielders year after year. They had this kid Joe McEwing, and another kid either before or after him then the kid I loved named Placido Polanco. The only one to succeed was Placido Polanco. The other 2 looked great and fizzled.Davey Johnson knows middle infielders and he loves Ian Desmond. I believe in Davey.

  110. Positively Half St. - Mar 8, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    FS- Please repost that on the next post, or the next that isn't a game thread. I was thinking of doing something similar, and would like to reply to yours as part of a larger conversation. My first one on the list would be Nick Johnson, even though he is trying to make it with the Orioles.+1/2St.

  111. FS - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Will do it on a non-game thread later.

  112. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Sunderland, Duffy's it is!

  113. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    Except we'd better check they'll be open early (normally 4 pm on weekdays)

  114. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    I'd be up for an OD get-together if schedule permits. Is Duffy's close to a Metro stop? Such a location would be helpful for those coming from farther afield (like me). :-)

  115. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:02 PM

    It's about 2 blocks from the Green Line U St. (10th St., not 13th, exit). Still waiting to hear if they'll be open early (they're in a semi-residential neighborhood, and open at 4 on weekdays, normally). I'll post the info. Those of you on teh Facebooks can see it here: Duffy's Nats Happy Hour Group if you don't trust me. And why should you?

  116. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  117. Scooter - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    They also have a plain old website, which includes directions. Since there's no way 1a uses the Face Book.

  118. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    Thanks, sec3, and right you are, Scooter.

  119. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 8:52 PM

    It's on! Duffy's will open early for opening day.Duffy's happy hour menu

  120. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 9:02 PM

    hmm…some good looking eats on there.If Mark's not on the road then, maybe he'd consider joining us.

  121. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    sec3, you might want to verify with them that you're talking about the *road* opener, just in case. (If you already have then, as always, never mind. Sincerely, E. Litella)

  122. Anonymous - Mar 8, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Steve M. "Davey Johnson knows middle infielders and he loves Ian Desmond. I believe in Davey."I belive in Davey too. Davey does know middle infielders and he does know winning. He's going to play the guys who can help the team win and no matter what anyone says now, Davey included, Desmond's got to prove he can play SS and that he can hit. I am not cheering one guy on over the other, I just want the player who gives the club the best chance to win to be out there playing. Lombo's out-playing Desmond so far this spring. If Lombo can field the position, which by all accounts they think he can, and if he has better offense too, then how can they not go with the kid?

  123. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    Thank You Ms. Litella. I have it on the best authority Andy Duffy will be in center field with a cold beer for the home opener.

  124. Sec 3, My Sofa - Mar 8, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Lombo's out-playing Desmond so far this spring. If Lombo can field the position, which by all accounts they think he can, and if he has better offense too, then how can they not go with the kid? I do not believe Davey agrees with you (it doesn't matter whether I do), for one thing, and for another, they've only been playing for a week. Davey has been watching Desmond play for *years*. Now, Davey may be wrong–it's possible. And he may change his mind; it's been known to happen. But it seems pretty clear what his opinion is at this point. Really, really nice to have the option of "the guy Davey Johnson wants" at short as our worst-case scenario, and have a couple of other guys who might someday be very good, in pocket. All together now: It's a marathon, not a sprint.

  125. natsfan1a - Mar 8, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    You're welcome, and awesome.Gotta go get a bon-bon now. Later.Sec 3, My Sofa said… Thank You Ms. Litella. I have it on the best authority Andy Duffy will be in center field with a cold beer for the home opener. March 08, 2012 5:36 PM

  126. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    But should Mr. Duffy really be drinking beer while he's fielding? Also, can he lead off?

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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.
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.

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