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More tough roster decisions looming

Jul 20, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Chad Tracy is close to returning from sports hernia surgery.

Yesterday's Drew Storen-for-Rick Ankiel swap left the Nationals with an unconventional roster: an eight-man bullpen and a four-man bench. And Mike Rizzo made it clear that odd alignment was created to keep as many relievers as possible in the mix for this weekend's four-game/three-day showdown with the Braves.

But Rizzo also made it clear this arrangement won't last long. The Nationals don't need eight relievers long-term, and they do need a fifth player off the bench. So we should be expecting more roster moves from Rizzo in the near future as the club tries to put together various pieces of a complicated, 25-man puzzle.

"We're going to go with it until we have to make another roster move that's dictated by the health of somebody coming back," the GM said yesterday.

In that regard, there are two names of rehabbing players to keep in mind: Jayson Werth and Chad Tracy. Each is close to coming off the
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120 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Andrew - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    didn't we debate this before and then they just used the DL? can they just do that again to get to sept?

  2. clintkhoury - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    When are playoff rosters set? It's all well and good that we can bring back the folks with options in September, but we need our best available players for the playoffs.

  3. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Washington Nationals ‏@NationalsHappy 24th birthday to @stras37, who takes the hill tonight for the #Nats!Gonna rain. Maybe it will be over by 7.

  4. blovy8 - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I agree this only becomes a real issue when you have to set a postseason roster. The options guys are going down, if they feel like the DeRosa and Gonzalez have anything to offer when these decisions are necessary. I think the Lannan example at the beginning of the year shows that. Ankiel was made superfluous by Bernadina, and Corey Brown's good AAA season. I wonder if DeRosa would slip through waivers? I can't imagine a big demand for that guy, really.

  5. alexva - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    My guess would be Werth comes up first and Gonzalez gets dfa'd. Tracy comes up next and Moore gets optioned. If the order of activations is reversed I'd still expect the same order for the demotions.

  6. Feel Wood - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Ultimately, Rizzo will have no choice but to part ways with two players from his current roster. That parting, though, doesn't have to be permanent. Should he choose to send down those players who still have minor-league options, Rizzo could ensure all remain in the organization. And all could be brought back on Sept. 1 once rosters expand to 40.Since Werth is on the 60 day DL and the 40 man roster is full, they will have to part with someone when Werth returns. And unless they option down both Lombo and Moore, there's not room for both Tracy and DeRosa. Mark does not even mention X. Nady, so it seems that's who he's saying they will cut from the 40 man roster. But Mark assumes Lombo stays up, which means either DeRosa or Tracy will ultimately have to go.

  7. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    August 31. To be eligible for playoffs, players have to be on the 25-man active roster, the DL, the bereavement list, or the suspension list. So, basically, the playoff roster is set the day before September callups. If Rizzo sends Mattheus or Stammen down, he would have to call them back up before expanded rosters.

  8. SCNatsFan - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    I still think a deal gets done to clear some space. With the dearth of relievers out there (yeah, I used dearth) someone like Gonzales could be moved for something reasonable.

  9. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Anyone who knows what Rizzo is going to do is way ahead of me, but I would option Stammen and bring him back up in September. To me, if not to Davey or Rizzo, DeRosa and Nady are no-brainers to go, with Brown coming up in September. Brown seems to be one more reason that Davey was willing to part with Rick. According to Federal Baseball:"Davey Johnson on Rick Ankiel being DFA'd before today's game: "With the maturation process of some of the young players, [Bryce] Harper in particular, playing every day, [Michael] Morse coming back, [Steve Lombardozzi] doing a good job leading off and [Jayson] Werth… looks pretty good to me, he's getting close… it felt like… and I've got a left-handed bat down in Triple-A that can do some of things that Rick [can]… maybe not as good a defender, but maybe a better hitter in Corey Brown. But to have to replace a guy in my bullpen with some people I've got down there. No, I don't have it. So, it was a tough choice, but it was the right choice."And what do they do with CMW if he does not return to form by September? If they can work a trade, I am sure Rizzo will part with Lannen, which would create another opening on the 40-man for someone.Lots of possibilities, and the answers will come soon enough.

  10. Positively Half St. - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    SCNatsFan-I agree that trading Michael Gonzalez makes the most sense. I am glad that he has turned out to be valuable, but what can you do? It is such an odd thing to finally have more than 25 men who are worthy major leaguers.+1/2St.

  11. ExposedinDC - Jul 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Don't forget about the possibility of a trade as well, no way Rizzo stands pat and the Lerners have indicated that highly rated minor league prospects won't be part of any deal, meaning possibly that the beast or Lombo might be in play, not that I support that but you never know.

  12. JamesFan - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Everyone is looking for relievers. i would move Gonzolez at the deadline for a prospect in a low profile trade.

  13. Nick Rodriguez - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Why cant we spell our players names correctly?

  14. Section 222 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    This discussion shows how unlikely it is that Corey Brown will get MLB playing time before the September callups. Give it up peric. And yes, Nady is gone. Another casualty of the "veterans are great, but they have to be able to hit" mentality that thankfully has taken over.Given that Gonzalez has been effective (and Davey likes having multiple LH options), and they are not willing to part with H-Rod, it sounds to me like unless an "injury" can be found, Mattheus will be sent down until September (or until Aug 31 when Davey will decide who he wants in his post season bullpen). Stammen is too valuable as a RH long reliever. They need someone to pitch multiple innings when either Gio or Det have an off night. This is an unbelievable situation to be in when you think about it. Would have been unthinkable even last year. Well done Rizzo and Davey.

  15. joemktg - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    Love Moore, but he'll be back a bit later on when the rosters are expanded. Gonzalez is going to get picked up by someone in the playoff race as a specialist, so his career continues onward (with a tip of the cap to the Nats).

  16. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Ankiel vs Bernadina — yeah, I get that Bernie makes mistakes (in the field and at bat), but, still: Ankiel struck out *well over* 1/3 of his plate appearances. When a guy can't even make a productive out . . . his BA, OBP was .228/.282. As a PH he was 2 for 11. In June and July he batted .219; his WAR is -0.7Bernie's comparable stats: BA/OBP are .258/.345; as a PH, 6 for 17 (.353), in June and July he's batting .324; his WAR is -0.1Does seem to be much of a comparison to me.

  17. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    This is just crazy. I think they will, again, make creative use of the dl. I also think someone will get traded, but that doesn't clear a spot, it just exchanges one, unless you are getting minor leaguers in return. I think Mattheus goes down because others can set up, you can't do without Stammen and only have a lh long guy, especially Gorzelanny who serves up at least one run per game. Moore will probably go back down, but maybe for a month. This is not really his year. I think we have a couple of weeks – I don't think they make the same mistakes they made earlier this year and bring Werth back too soon. Tracy is not even out on his rehab assignment yet. Of course, it kind of depends on how we play the next two weeks, doesn't it?

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    And Brown remains what he has always been, injury insurance. With Bryce and Bernie maning CF and Werth on the way, Brown will be a Sept. call up. Hopefully, he'll be able to show alot more than he has in his other 2 call ups.

  19. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    And while I'm at it, I guess I don't get the perceived expendability of Morse. He's a lifetime .295 hitter. If you take away his first 20 games this year (when he was in pseudo spring training), he's batting .357/.368/.500/.868For those on the Nats with over 150 plate appearances — hit .288 average is second on the team (to Ian's .289).

  20. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    The August 31 roster is the real conundrum. If not on the 25-man as of 8/31, they can be added to the playoff roster only in the event of injury. This is particularly significant for players like Moore, who would be useful in certain situations (especially the World Serious) but probably need to be sent down temporarily in order to make room for Werth, et al., and Brown, who right now is surplus but probably the organization's fourth best OF option (behind Harper, Werth and Morse).I foresee people being stacked on the DL like cordwood around 8/30.

  21. Tcostant - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Bernadina is just to valueable as a pinch hitter right now. His on base % as a PH is at or .500Thats crazy.

  22. Section 222 - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    Wonk, I'm with you completely on Morse and the Ankiel/Bernadina comparison. It's good that people who don't let emotional attachment get in the way of good baseball decisions are in charge of the moves the team makes. Ankiel in the end was much like Stairs and Nady. A good guy who you wish would be a good player, but just isn't (other than his ARM). I kind of feel like DeRosa is another of those, but he's been doing well as a PH lately. So he gets a reprieve until both Werth and Tracy are back. But let's not forget how much of a role luck plays in all this. If Zimmerman and then Werth hadn't been injured, we would have had to wait a lot longer to see Bryce Harper in DC.

  23. Unknown - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Dump H-Rod because he is totally unreliable. He doesn't know where he is throwing the ball and he can't handle pressure situations. Those are two bad qualities that are lethal for a relief pitcher. Either platoon Tyler Moore at 1B with Laroche or send him to Syracuse. He is a huge liability in left field.

  24. mick - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    It would seem logical, to proceed as follows for the stretch run…DeRosa should be a no brainer and sent down. I really like Moore and since we would not lose him because he has options left, send him down now, Bernadina is now playing very well and his speed is an asset. Let Tyler work on his approach to sinking fast balls a few weeks in AA ball and bring him back in Sept. So, it seems that would clear the way for Tracy and Werth. As far as pitching goes… I am not a Gonzales fan at all and since Davey is obsessed with Henry, then get rid of Gonzales. I suppose Gorzolany stays over Stammen only because we need a lefty in long relief? If it were me, I would let both Hrod and Gonzales go and be done with it. i know, depending on how Lannan does could complicate things or make things easierOne more thing… I do not have good vibes on Corey Brown… my logic, when he played up he was lost. So was Moore, with less playing time, but Tyler adjusted, Brown who is older did notI a wait Peric to blast me, lol

  25. Grandstander - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    HRod has actually been pretty effective since coming off the DL. He's pitched 5.0 innings and given up only 2 hits, 2 walks and 1 run, for a 1.80 ERA, and opponents are batting .118 against him.Just sayin…

  26. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    mick said… One more thing… I do not have good vibes on Corey Brown… my logic, when he played up he was lost. So was Moore, with less playing time, but Tyler adjusted, Brown who is older did notSelective memory _and_ too quick to judge. Grand total: Corey Brown had four, count 'em, four plate appearances. (And one of them resulted in a Sac Fly and RBI). And that was it.Tyler Moore's first 12 games: he batted .158, hitting only singles, not even a walk, and struck out over 1/3 of his at bats (Ankiel proportions). And so his BA/OBA/SLG was .158/.158/.158It was when Moore came up a second time he started hitting.I'm not saying Brown will do that, but we can say that he's not gotten the chance.

  27. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    Grandstander, walks have always been HRod's problem, not hits. Even before he got injured, hitters could not really put the bat on his pitches. I still wanna see him become big part of this club.

  28. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    NatsJack, By moving Goodwin to AA and Perez to AAA Rizzo is signalling (at least to me) that Brown is either on his way up or in a trade and his upside is better than Bernadina who has already had several years to establish himself. Mick, How can you say that Brown hasn't adjusted? he has had 4 MLB plate appearances this year and Mike Gonzalez is the only classic LOOGY we have he has been effective and Johnson really likes that role. I think that there are a bunch of moves yet to happen before July 31st which will clarify the situation. I would also not be so sure that DeRosa is going anywhere especially if Desmond remains questionable.

  29. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Unknown said… Dump H-Rod because he is totally unreliable. He doesn't know where he is throwing the ball and he can't handle pressure situations.Totally. Completely. I mean, look he came in with two outs and a man on second yesterday, and, hmmm, retired the batter. Ahh, but the next inning? Oh, wait, he had a 1-2-3 inning after that.In fact, the Mets went down 1-2-3 only three innings out of nine. HRod threw one (as did Stammen and Storen).

  30. UnkyD - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Ya beat me, Wonk… If Corey looked lost in 4 PAs, it's just because he hadn't time to find the light switch! GM Unkyd's Plan (repost):Love Mikey, but agree-no better time to move him…for prospects. I like to see Laroche's option picked up, Rendon up this time next year, Zim to first (agree with Peric-it's the only way to keep his bat in he line-up, long term), and Adam traded for more prospects, at that point. Gimme Brown, now, and move him, for more prospects, when Goodwin comes to town, next year…This pie in the sky brought to you by Mrs. Smith!!!

  31. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Have to agree on DeRosa (he stays, at least for a while) because of Desi (and RZ) needing breaks. Just don't, please, don't put DeRosa in the outfield.

  32. mick - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    I hope I am dead wrong about Brown. if he comes in Sept and lights up the offense, that would be great.

  33. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Henry is a good pitcher to use when we are behind in a game even if it's close. He appears to relax and get the job done but when brought in with a lead, even a comfortable lead he is a bundle of nerves. Matthues and Storen are now pretty much in the same role and with too many arms around theis also smells trade to me; lots of teams are looking for bullpen help and we need catching help.

  34. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    btw september callups are eligible for postseason roster, right?

  35. mick - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    trading Lombo would be a huge mistake, unless the team that wants him is giving a way the store.The only trade that should be made, if ANY,would be for a Grienke,Dempster or stud pitcher, and that is only if Lannan bombs and there is n viable 5th starter. Clearly Detweiler is the 4th starter now and has earned it.

  36. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    JD, agree about HRod's usage. He seems to do just fine when team is losing.and doesn't Matthues has options? If so, they should sent him down when werth or tracy (whoever comes first) is called up.

  37. Jim - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    The Johnson Kiss Of Demotion/DFA … "Mark's (DeRosa) my guy."

  38. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Lannan has 8 wins against Braves. I am looking forward to that second game tomorrow. I think he will pitch his usual, plenty of baserunners but not much runs for atlanta.

  39. Feel Wood - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… btw september callups are eligible for postseason roster, right?Nope.

  40. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Sometimes I hate it that the decisions are made, not on merit, but on who has options. Handcuffs the GM. I get it from a collective bargaining standpoint so that veterans are protected- sort of like tenure for teachers, but it can get in the way.

  41. Grandstander - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Grandstander, walks have always been HRod's problem, not hits. Even before he got injured, hitters could not really put the bat on his pitches. I still wanna see him become big part of this club.2 walks over 5 innings seems pretty good to me.

  42. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    JD….trade is more like it. Bernie has now become proven off the bench and there is no need for a third left handed bat in CF with him and Bryce, hence the Ankiel move. And with Tracy getting close there is little need for another left handed bat.I can't see Brown coming up to sit on the bench and he certainly isn't going to start with Werth 10 days away.I see Eury's promotion as more of a Xavier Paul replacement.

  43. alexva - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    it would be very risky to make a trade of a player who is a regular contributor, e.g. Morse. rogieshan noted yesterday the Ankiel release comes on the same day as a flat performance. they are rolling along just fine right now, no need to upset the apple cart.

  44. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    C'mon Swami. This is how it's done when you are on stage in the Big Time. You have to always look to improve your roster and be prepared for injuries.It's alot easier when you stink like the Nats did in the past.

  45. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    This is a different world for us as fans. Wow.What is the plan for tomorrow if the afternoon game gets rained out? Does EJax pitch the night game? Tonight's game we might get in with a delay or two, which Stras won't like but y'know…

  46. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Yeah, I know. It just stinks that guys like Wang are an albatross. Some young guy might be performing better, but Wang would stay because he has no options. Mattheus might be more valuable to the pen, but Gonzalez is a veteran and can't be sent down.I get it from an employee/employer standpoint, but it does tie their hands at times. Things are not so warm and fuzzy anymore, folks, it's time for hard, unemotional thinking. I support it even when it's tough. Right now, I want the organization to do whatever they have to do to make this team the best it can be. You have to admit, though, that some of these contracts are tough to work around.

  47. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    NatsLady – interesting point — doubler header Sunday instead? Ejax Sat. night, Lannan Sunday afternoon? I think we are just in for long rain delays but eventually they get all the games in. The concert Saturday night would make things interesting, though. Remember the night of the gala? Extra innings. It's all Braves — all the time this weekend.

  48. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    2 hits per 5 innings is good but 2 walks per inning isn't. As far as I understand, hits are the work of hitters and walks are pitchers' fault.overall, he has a better BAA than clippard, our best reliever. it is the walks that have hurt him.also in your calculations, you are forgetting the fact that Hrod had a terrible outing in Miami when he retired one out of four batters he faced and left with bases loaded. if he was in there any longer, he would have completely different numbers right now.I am not saying he is a terrible pitcher and should be cut.

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Swami's got it right. Short of a Biblical storm, be prepared for long delays.Another reason for the overstocked bullpen.

  50. Unknown - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I dont think its too complicated assuming no other moves before trading deadline.Tracy returns — Mattheus goes to AAA simply becuase he has options and Stammen is more valuable as RH long man. Keep Gonzo as LOOG and HROD becuase his stuff is too good to give up on.Werth – 60 day roster Nady gets DFAd. Moore goes down to AAA – again becuase he has options. Also with JW back in lineup that will be the end of the Lombo/Moore LF platoon as everyday OF lineup will be (from L-R) MM-BH-JW. Then your bench is Derosa, Tracy, Lombo, Bernie, Leon/Solano.Thye can also bring Moore or Mattheus back when Strasburg hits his limit. They send SS to AAA simply for roster flexibility and that way they have moore for postseason roster.

  51. Faraz Shaikh - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Unknown, I think Moore can still be eligible for postseason roster if he is called up again after roster expansion because he has already spent much time on major league roster. am I right on that?

  52. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    NatsJack – possible weather, metro issues, ( what else is new?), and possibly added security after last night due to fear of copy cats? Probably a full house – division fight, lots of Braves fans around, concert Saturday, promotions/giveaways. Could be an interesting weekend on and off the field. Keeping everyone safe and healthy is priority #1,though, all the time.

  53. natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    The other factor is the Fox game(s) of the week, which are to air at 4 PM on Saturday. If the 1:05 Nats game were rain-delayed and didn't start until 4, would that mean that the MASN broadcast would not be aired? Alternatively, if the 1:05 game ran into the 4 PM slot, would they just pull the plug on MASN at 4? hmmm, at least we'd have Charlie and Dave if so.baseballswami said… NatsLady – interesting point — doubler header Sunday instead? Ejax Sat. night, Lannan Sunday afternoon? I think we are just in for long rain delays but eventually they get all the games in. The concert Saturday night would make things interesting, though. Remember the night of the gala? Extra innings. It's all Braves — all the time this weekend. July 20, 2012 11:32 AM

  54. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    What this series needs is a few more complications….

  55. Feel Wood - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    They send SS to AAA simply for roster flexibility and that way they have moore for postseason roster.No need for that since at his current rate Strasburg won't hit 160 innings until sometime in September. He'll sit on the bench as part of the expanded roster like JZimm did last year.

  56. Feel Wood - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    If the 1:05 Nats game were rain-delayed and didn't start until 4, would that mean that the MASN broadcast would not be aired? Alternatively, if the 1:05 game ran into the 4 PM slot, would they just pull the plug on MASN at 4? hmmm, at least we'd have Charlie and Dave if so.They base the blackout window on scheduled start time of the game, not actual start time. If another game is scheduled to start at anytime during the three hour blackout window, it can't be aired locally until the end of the window. That's why a year or two ago when Tampa Bay scheduled a game to start at 6:00 on a Saturday the MASN broadcast had to pick it up midstream at 7:00.

  57. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Sunday double headers are tough, and not just because of the TV rights. The CBA has a bunch of rules about scheduling double-headers on the day before travel to another city and off-days but they can all be waived. Neither team has an off-day on Monday. Nats going to NY and Braves going to Miami.

  58. TimDz - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    I think Henry sticks around for this season …during the offseason, he needs to see a sports psychologist …I think his problems are between his ears…if he can't get it together next season, cut him loose.

  59. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    baseballswami said…What this series needs is a few more complications….That's why they pay Rizzo and Davey the big bucks. Glad I just get to watch.

  60. A DC Wonk - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    Swami: copy-cat from last night? I obviously missed something. Can you fill me in?

  61. Section 222 - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    They have all day and most of the night to play that doubleheader tomorrow. I have no doubt that they'll find 6-7 hours of dry or misty weather to get both games in.

  62. natsfan1a - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    DC Wonk, perhaps a reference to the theater shootings in Colorado.

  63. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Wonk, I assume swami is referring to the Aurora shooting.I was thinking about the possibilities. Shooter would have no chance of getting to the park via metro with guns, ammo, and gas cannisters on his person. So, would have to drive and park–but where? Have to be the garage on the grounds. So he would have to have a parking pass or the cash money, and that lot fills up so he would have to arrive pretty early if cash. Then what? Sit in his car? That would attract attention? Come down the stairwell… and what? Can't imagine he'd make it down the stairwell and into that entrance area without encountering security. Set off the gas at the entrance? I guess, but probably wouldn't get to the point of shooting before he was tackled pretty hard.

  64. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    Yes, apparently extra security is being advised at large gatherings. It would seem that crazy people like to imitate one another. As if it wasn't sad and tragic enough. Colorado is havIng a tough year- not the team, the state.

  65. JaneB - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    I predict Bernie gets traded, probably for minor league options. And I think HRod MUST be traded, if he is ever going to reach his potential. he needs a fresh start — players coaches and fans who believe he can become PFB again. I just don't see it happening here. The only reason NOT to trade him is if he would go to Atlanta or maybe the Muts (I love them still, by the way) because when he IS PFB, he is unhittable. But I don't think we will see it here,

  66. JaneB - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Thanks for the alert UnkyD! Just bought myself one, too!

  67. TheManBearPig - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Any trade while the Nats are in a pennant race has to pass the "first, do no harm" test. That probably means no trade involving Morse. It's hard to imagine anyone giving up enough offense in a trade for Morse for the Nats to avoid a drop-off in run production.As for Bowden's rumor-mongering about a Morse for Upton trade, well, we should all hope it's just that. Morse is in his second month of the 2012 season and is getting better at the plate. No one should be surprised if he finishes with numbers that are comparable to his career (.295/.350./.488). Upton has had one year where he's come close to Morse's career numbers and that was five years ago. He's a career .250 hitter and he'll be sub-.700 OPS in 2012. Centerfield belongs to Bryce Harper long-term, and Upton isn't even a poor man's Bryce Harper.

  68. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    TheManBearPig, I agree with your premise in principal and I really don't think trading Morse now is even a consideration but I don't agree that Harper is your long term center fielder; I think he profiles more as a corner outfielder. I do see Morse moving to 1st base next year or even getting traded in the off season and I do think that the eventual center fielder will come from within (Brown, Goodwin?)

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    JD…..Count on Bryce being in CF for the near future short an off season acquisition.

  70. Drew - Jul 20, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Moving Goodwin up two levels to AA is hugely significant.I can't see the Nats giving Michael Bourn four or five years if they think Goodwin is a year away from Washington.(And I love Bourn's game.)

  71. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Drew. That's why I said "near future" for Bryce in CF.

  72. Unknown - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Feel Wood — even so they should send him down on 8/31 – especially if he wont miss a start. he wont be on the ps roster and it would be better to have another player eligible for the ps roster.My understanding is that to be eligible for a team’s playoff roster a player must be on either a)the 25 man active roster, b)the disabled list, c)the bereavement list, d)the suspended list as of August 31st at midnight.

  73. baseballswami - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Funny how none of us cared about these rules before.

  74. Feel Wood - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Feel Wood — even so they should send him down on 8/31 – especially if he wont miss a start.If they option Strasburg (or anyone else) to the minors, they can't bring him back up for 10 days – although there is an injury exception to that rule. But nevertheless there is absolutely no way Stephen Strasburg will ever go to the minors again, unless it's on a rehab assignment.

  75. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    I think a trade is going to happen but it won't involve Michael Gonzalez. He is their only left-handed reliever besides Burnett and Burnett has elbow issues. People here have problems seeing past their favorites and putting their thinking caps on … seeing how Davey manages his bullpen. Its almost like some here never watch these games they just play fantasy baseball in their head or something?According to Bowden they've been talking to Tampa Bay. And the Rays are in the wildcard hunt. They need relief pitching and have lots of great prospects and to spare. None need be added to the 40-man. The only prospects that look ready for call up are older prospects Christian Garcia and Jeff Mandel. Mandel has been having a break out season and with the new pitch he developed he could be a lot better than Stammen. IN point of fact he looks heads-and-tails above Lannan as a starter in AAA!!! Garcia is another of Rizzo's ubiquitous power arm closer/setup types. Both are right-handed and have been very effective. NO left-handers. Attie Severino continues to underachieve and has injury issues this year.This is the time to make those kind of deals and Rizzo is going to have to really avoid overvaluing his players … even though he has been proven right with the first place start.

  76. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Note on above: I consider Gorzelanny more of a starter / long relief he isn't really well suited to short relief like Burnett and Gonzalez. And because he can be an effective starter he too should be considered trade bait. But, he is left-handed and they need 2-3 if not more in the bullpen in the NL East. And to those who haven't been watching? NO. John Lannan can't and won't do that.

  77. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    peric, I know Lannan wouldn't work out of the bullpen, but you have to ask if the months in Syracuse have softened his stance on that. Now, whether he could pitch effectively in relief is a good question.

  78. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    JD…..Count on Bryce being in CF for the near future short an off season acquisition.Kind of interesting how Bryce said he would like to play right field to Trout's center at the All Star game. Kind of spoke volumes about where Bryce feels he belongs over the long-term. So, I wouldn't count on that.The Morse for BJ Upton trade makes sense if you think about it from the Rizzo perspective because all along he wanted athletic guys in his outfield. Right now he has two not so athletic fielders in Morse and Moore out there at times. With his right fielder playing in center. Morse and his leg issues and size specs out as a potentially athletic first baseman and DH i.e. American League. Morse's power potential is just what the doctor ordered both for the Nats and for the Rays. It just hasn't been happening of late.Morse also has excellent makeup and works out extremely well in the locker room. Upton less so apparently. Davey's opinion is going to count heavily in this. At this point I sincerely doubt that trade would occur. BUT I understand Rizzo and the FO's thinking. And all of these players: Brown, Harper, Upton, Werth, Bernadina, Perez, Goodwin either have played or are being taught to play any of the three positions in the outfield and all have the athleticism to do that. That is what Rizzo and the FO undoubtedly have in their plan. Tyler Moore doesn't fit from the FO's perspective … however Davey Johnson is another story.

  79. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    So, Natslady I think you are just going to have to get used to Michael Morse when he starts rocking homers out of the park on a consistent basis and if LaRoche starts slumping you could see him back at first base. And there's Tyler Moore pushing both of those veterans.

  80. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    I know Lannan wouldn't work out of the bullpen, but you have to ask if the months in Syracuse have softened his stance on that.He hasn't pitching an inning in relief in Syracuse and that is where you would try something like that. While Jeff Mandel is comfortable in both roles BUT he is a right-handed pitcher.Needless to say the Nats top left-handed power pitchers (Solis and Purke) are both down with injuries and Purke is on the 40-man. Kylin Turnbull is still learning the ropes. If Purke were healthy and pitching well doubtless you'd be seeing him instead of Johnny Lannan.

  81. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    Peric, I agree that Gorzelany and Mike Gonzalez have unique roles Davie really likes to have and are therefore valuable to the Nats pennant run. Mattheus, Storen, Rodriguez currently occupy a similar role to each other and that's why I can see 1 of them being dealt.

  82. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Mattheus, Storen, Rodriguez currently occupy a similar role to each other and that's why I can see 1 of them being dealt.And with Christian Garcia and perhaps Hector Nelo they may have it covered … and so you ask who has the highest value to say, the Tampa Bay Rays who are pitching prospect laden? The answer would be Drew Storen.

  83. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    I agree for the reasons outlined above (Nats need offense, why disturb clubhouse amity, etc.) a Morse trade right now is unlikely. But I would foresee a future trade, esp. in the offseason.

  84. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    There is no way the Nationals go for 35 year old Dempster unless he is really cheap and knowing Hoyer ad Epstein … they are looking for top pitching prospects to build what the Rays have and the Nats consistently pursuing. The Nats absolutely have to say no to that even if Johnson wants the guy. They've already spent too much time and money on CM Wang. Its time to go with their prospects.

  85. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    But I would foresee a future trade, esp. in the offseason.If Morse starts hitting like he did last season? Unlikely unless the Nats get blown away with the offer. Morse is really inexpensive relative to that kind of production.Right now Tyler Moore looks like a younger plug-in replacement for both Morse and to some extent ALR. We'll have to see how it goes. The Nats DO NOT have any really power threat in the minors right now. Rendon might, and that's very much up for discussion, be another Zimmerman but the closest they have to Fielder/Dunn power potential is Matt Skole in Hagerstown and soon Potomac. Morse and Moore are valuable and difficult to replace internally right now.

  86. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    So I guess somebody has jumped off the Matthew Skole band wagionthat was drummed in our heads for 6 weeks.

  87. alexva - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    why must you poke the (un)bear(able)

  88. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Houston and Toronto in a 10 player trade with Houston getting 37 year old Francisco Cordero + pieces + prospects (you gotta believe Houston will flip Cordero to someone like the Mets) and Toronto gets J.A Happ (meh) and Brandon Lyon. Kansas city traded Jonathan Sanchez to Colorado for Guthrie (good deal for Colorado if Sanchez regains his San Francisco form).

  89. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Peric, Tampa Bay has Fernando Rodney and they won't give you 'A' prospects for any reliever (they are much too smart for that). I am not against trading Storen or Mattheus if someone is ready to give us serious prospects (ALA Wilson Ramos).

  90. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Alexva….because it makes me smile.

  91. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Sorry, trying to give attention to this but my heart isn't in it because of watching Aurora presser where they upped the no. of injured to 71. Our boys Clip and Store were looking for 4 tickets last night to the movie, and got at least 2, so assume they went. You have to figure our boys have friends there. AFIK, I have no acquaintance with anyone in Colo who was injured though I do have cousins in Denver area and my sis will contact them. I hope they will have a moment of silence tonight. That is all.

  92. mick - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    I notice Col is on the road verse San Diego. That is kinda weird because the dirt bag who did this terrible act is from San Diego. I wonder if MLB should post pone tonight's game and play a double header on Sunday? just wondering…. this is so tragic!

  93. mick - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    nats lady…. well said

  94. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    I don't think they should postpone in San Diego (maybe if game were in Denver). Governor of Col said we cannot let this stop our joy and freedom, of which baseball is a great part.

  95. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    Obviously this is beyond horrific and tragic. Puts everything else in perspective; that's for sure.

  96. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    He didn't say that about baseball, I added that.

  97. NatsFanSinceStart - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    What a difference a year or two makes. Couple years ago, I wouldn't have any trouble cutting loose with 10 or more players on the current roster. Now, it's almost painful to cut anyone. Nevertheless, I do agree with some above that would trade M. Gonzalex. I also would outright DFA Henry — yes, I have given up on Henry. If he turns out to be a star, let someone else deal with the rough patches getting him there – we just can't afford that anymore.And I would say so long to DeRosa when Werth is ready. I would rather cut Bernie than Moore, but Bernie is hot, and we need his OF skills, speed, and left-handed bat. I probably wouldn't be bringing him back for '13.Tough, tough decisions — especially for longtime fans who have gotten to know and like this entire team. What a difference a year or two makes. Makes the head swim.

  98. mick - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    agreed Nats lady and JD… very sad but life must go on, though very sad at times like this. Although it gets lively and a bit testy in here at times, I like all of you and at times like this, I am glad to know you all and glad we all are together to talk Nats. see you all tonight

  99. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    Randy Knorr will be talking Nats on Syracuse radio at 3:00. Kilgore is talking to them now but he has a lousy connection.thescore1260http://thescore1260.com/

  100. NatsFanSinceStart - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    NatsLady Reminder: You predicted a Morse trade last offseason too. Get over it — he's staying.

  101. UnkyD - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    You rock, Mick…

  102. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Jon Heyman reports that the Nats are trying very hard to acquire Dempster but that the Dodgers are the favorites for him. Atlanta and Detroit are also still in; Boston apparently is out.

  103. JD - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    And Dempster will likely happen very soon. The Cubs have Germano ready to start tonight if they trade Dempster. They want to move on to other deals such as Garza.

  104. Marty - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Let's hope that "the Nats are trying very hard to acquire Dempster" means Rizzo is calling Epstein over and over, screaming "Lannan and Wang!" and hanging up.

  105. NatsLady - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    NFSS– yes, I did. Although not sure I predicted it as much as recommended it. Got plenty of heat, too. Been wrong before, will be again…

  106. Drew - Jul 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    P.S. NJ, I'm not the bear, but I'm bullish on Matt Skole.A few days ago someone — maybe JD — noted that all of the Nats' elite prospects were at the bottom of the farm system.It's exciting to see Meyer and Goodwin advance and Rendon get back to work.

  107. SonnyG10 - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Well I'm sure glad I don't have to make the roster decisions.

  108. SonnyG10 - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:18 PM

    About time I started heading to the game. Giving extra time because of Metro.

  109. alexva - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Skole has some serious power but he also has 16 errors already this year. While he may be in line for a position change to OF or 1B Rizzo is all about pitching and defense. Untlimately he may have more value if flipped to an AL team.

  110. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  111. peric - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Skole has some serious power but he also has 16 errors already this year. While he may be in line for a position change to OF or 1B Rizzo is all about pitching and defense. Untlimately he may have more value if flipped to an AL team.And because of that Skole is still at least a couple of years away. He needs to improve as Tyler Moore and Chris Marerro did in that area, so he ends up being an older prospect like Tyler Moore as a result.Skole is still their only left-handed power bat and I believe I said as much above, Nats "everyone is a AAAA because I, the ultimate expert in baseball, have said so for five years running" Jack. Hmmm I would add something with an "A" after Jack.As for getting flipped I guess it depends on how good he ends up being offensively and who the manager is and what the team needs will be at the time.

  112. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    As much scorn as has been heaped on Desmond over the past couple of years I continue to be amazed by people who are willing to put human croquet wickets like Rivero and Skole out there on defense. Maybe when the Players Association negotiates for a platoon system to guarantee eight more jobs on each roster . . ..

  113. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    At 23 and low A ball, Skole will need to accelerate his progress to be considered a true prospect. I always like potential power hitters but Skole needs to show "Tyler Moore" numbers on his next assignment.

  114. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    To be fair, Skole has transitioned, from college to pro better than the earliest assessments made likely. However well he does in the low minors — seems to be having some second half issues — I don't think I've heard of a position-less hitter making a jump from low- or high-A to the majors. There might be a couple who never played in the minors, e.g., Kaline, but they were guys who had a position and played it well.

  115. Theophilus T. S. - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    A final — for the moment — thought: Moore put up the nos. for three years plus in the minors, but the Front Office always treated those nos. as "skill not proven." As a result, I keep waiting for him to go into a 1-37 slump. So I'm still not sure we can count him as a success. If Skole ends up at 3B in Washington this season — or next — it will be because the Nats went into a 22 game losing streak and Zimmerman, DeRosa, Tracy, Lombardozzi and Rendonthrew themselves under a Metro train.

  116. Section 222 - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    There is absolutely no way Stephen Strasburg will ever go to the minors again, unless it's on a rehab assignment.Not so sure about that. Of course, he's not going to pitch in the minors, but last year when JZimm was shut down there wasn't an issue of who would be on the post season 25 man roster, because the Nats had no chance of making the playoffs. JZimm could stay on the 40 man September roster. This year, I seriously doubt that Davey will want Strasburg to occupy a position on the 25 man roster that's eligible for the postseason if he's not going to pitch. So unless they put him on the DL when they shut him down, they may actually have to option him to the minors to free up a spot on the 25 man for the playoffs. They could bring him up for September if he hasn't reached his innings limit, as part of the expanded September roster, but that would mean he'd have to wait in the minors for 10 days, right? Am I missing something here?

  117. NatsJack in Florida - Jul 20, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Kent Hrbek….."A" ball directly to the Twins. You can look it up.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 46 --
ATLANTA 58 48 0.5
MIAMI 52 53 6.0
NEW YORK 51 55 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 60 12.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 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

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

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