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Espinosa ready for new responsibility

Jul 23, 2012, 2:00 PM EDT

US Presswire photo
Danny Espinosa will be starting at shortstop for a while with Ian Desmond out.

When Ian Desmond's lingering oblique strain first forced him out of the Nationals lineup eight days ago, teammate Danny Espinosa expressed optimism the club's All-Star shortstop's ability to produce at such a high level while injured would allow him to return in short order.

"I'm hoping that's what it is, because he's been too crucial defensively and offensively to our team," Espinosa said that morning in Miami. "To lose him for an extended amount of time, we can't have that."

Except they now have exactly that. With Desmond on the disabled list for at least a month, possibly more after an MRI revealed a slight tear of the oblique muscle, the Nationals find themselves needing to find a way to overcome the extended loss of perhaps their most indispensable player at the moment.

And Espinosa will be right in the thick of it trying to fill that hole as theRead more »

149 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Doc - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    It won't happen this year, unfortunately, but the baseball calendar year will soon record Espi and Desi as the best offensive and defensive middle infield in baseball.Get well Desi!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. ptindc - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Hard to believe after the drubbing Desi took in these comments pages over the last few years that we'd be concerned about his prolonged absence. My new mantra is: if Davey likes the guy, I like the guy. He's shown time and again as our skipper that he knows how to get players to perform at their highest level. Desi's just another example of a player who's delivered after Davey got a hold of him. I hope D.J's in the dugout next season.

  3. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Danny may have found himself, and just in time, too. His offense can go a long way towards making up for Desi's absence.EJax has dropped Boras as his agent and signed with the Legacy group. I think EJax wants to remain with the Nats, and may have seen Boras' hardball negotiating strategy as a roadblock. EJax did not get a long-term deal last year with Boras as his agent.EJax is already thinking about his status as a FA after the season. With Buerhle and Fielder, Rizzo has shown no interest in mortgaging the club's future by over-paying for talent. It will be interesting to see how Rizzo handles this one.

  4. Tcostant - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    A month, didn't realize it would be that long. This team will hang in there, that is what it has done all year.

  5. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… EJax has dropped Boras as his agent and signed with the Legacy group. I think EJax wants to remain with the Nats, and may have seen Boras' hardball negotiating strategy as a roadblock. EJax did not get a long-term deal last year with Boras as his agent.EJax is already thinking about his status as a FA after the season. With Buerhle and Fielder, Rizzo has shown no interest in mortgaging the club's future by over-paying for talent. It will be interesting to see how Rizzo handles this one. Didn't I just link Chase's article an hour ago and write about that or were you waiting for a new post to say you said it first?

  6. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Tcostant said… A month, didn't realize it would be that long. This team will hang in there, that is what it has done all year.Let's hope its no worse than a month as these obliques have their own timeframe. Its truly amazing how quickly the flock turns. Many had Desi as a freebie throw-in to get CF BJ Upton and very few saw the potential year over year improvement in Desi plus his leadership. His intangibles go far beyond his stats. The kid is smart, a great teammate, and fan friendly. He has fought through excruciating pain on a daily basis to put up the numbers he has.I'm happy for Desi that he is finally getting the love he deserves just upset that it took so long for NatsTown to wake up and stop picking on the guy. You all know who I am talking about.

  7. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    If they re-sign EJax then they pretty much have to trade Lannan in the off season, after he helps us through the Stras shutdown. He will be showcased and very motivated to play on a winning team. Right now my concerns have to do with the next transitions when Tracy and Werth return and 2 people have to go – who? And with the Wang situation. I feel that he has become a worse albatross than any other situation in the organization, even the injuries.

  8. Positively Half St. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    I had soured on Desmond, and am quite happy to have been proven wrong. I also have said less than charitable things about Roger Bernadina, and he is also proving that I am not GM material. The one thing I do feel comfortable about, though, is that I have never been that excited about BJ Upton. I hope that Mike Rizzo is with me on that one.+1/2St.

  9. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… http://www.csnwashington.com/baseball-washington-nationals/nationals-talk/Jackson-changes-agents-wants-long-term-d?blockID=744531&feedID=6358Good conversation starter on Edwin Jackson and the curious move to fire Boras now. Do the Nats even want him back -and- does Edwin want to come back. I'm sure he is feeling like a rental himself right now with a lot to prove. His Saturday start was very good even though he took the loss.Interesting that he chose Greg Genske as his agent. Greg reps Adam Dunn and Livo.My source tells me that Boras does not want to negotiate until after the season and EJax would like to get an extension with the Nats.Its a gamble on both sides to be negotiating during the season based on the results. Could Rizzo do a 3 year $40 million extension now? I still think you have to tie up JZim first. July 23, 2012 10:00 AM Lady Blah Blah, just in case you didn't see my post earlier. By the way, the news broke from Ken Rosenthal yesterday that EJax fired Boras but it really happened last week after EJax had lengthy discussions over the All Star break with Boras and his family.It will certainly be an interesting story to follow.

  10. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    For crying out loud. Who cares who was first? As it happens, someone posted the EJax change yesterday already.

  11. waddu eye no - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    runs/hits/errors for the last series:atl – 19/37/3was – 24/49/1and we played two less(fewer?) innings at bat (bottom 9th on wins – you now what i mean. )doesn't look as bad this way. yeah i know, only w&l make it into the standings, but still. can we average 6 runs per game against the mets with stras, zim and gio?

  12. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Danny's natural position is ss, so Nats will not miss a beat with him at short and Lombo has played 2b very well

  13. BigCat - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Ghost….I to have been a Desi fan over the years. You just cannot give up on his athletic ability. But even you gotta admit that this spring Desi was back to his boneheaded errors. I came close to throwing in the towel on him. I will admit I had pretty much given up on Desi after his terrible last half season last year and his horrible start this season. I mean, the guy was missing pitches by 8 inches. Maybe Davey has a crystal ball or something. Whatever, Espi is a great guy to plug in at shortstop while Desi mends. While I got you Ghost….you made a comment a couple days ago about Rizzo not making good trades. Could you elaborate please.

  14. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Who cares who said what first, or who was wrong last week? Or last winter? This site is turning into one giant game of "gotcha" and it's turning me off. The news about EJax was posted on Hardball Talk yesterday afternoon and someone on NI posted a link almost as soon as it appeared there.Now, here is my opinion on EJax. It's just an opinion. It may or may not be correct and it may or may not be first.I like Edwin and I hope something can be worked out so he stays. But I'm not sure I'd offer more than two years, and he probably wants four at the minimum (he's 28 if I recall). Next years' crop of pitching prospects doesn't seem ready, but the following year (2014) should see our farm boys in the majors.If he could show consistency, Jackson would be No. 1 or No. 2 level on a contending team. So, if he is consistently good for the rest of the season, I feel that puts him out of our price range (in years, if not in $$) because we only need him for No. 4-5. However, he has not shown consistency, and so his market value may put him in our range. It's interesting, but puzzling, that he dropped Boras, with whom Rizzo has had generally good relations. Obviously, there was a difference of opinion on Jackson's future worth–possibly stemming from his current contract, but possibly stemming from the Appel situation–who knows? You have two pitchers right now, as I see it, competing for extensions, JZ and EJax. Z'nn's is less urgent, but has to be in consideration. As Tyler Clippard said the other day, "We are going to start costing a lot of money."

  15. greg - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    i think it's fair to say desi got the love he deserved when he earned it. he's certainly raised his level of play significantly this season and deserves all the accolades he's gotten.i wasn't as down on him as some over past seasons, but he really hadn't had any consistency in the past and hadn't proven himself yet. i didn't think we should give him away, but i wasn't sold that he was the long-term solution. now that he's playing up to his capabilities, he's getting that love. to be fair, it took him a few seasons to get there, so it's not surprising that people lost patience with him.

  16. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    swami… let me take a crack at it… when Werth and Tracy come back we are talking early August? My guess is that since on Sept 1, the roster can increase by 15 that the moves will based on who has options left. Not knowing who has what options left, my guess would be maybe DeRosa and perhaps a relief pitcher goes down until Sept 1. As far as Wang goes, if there is no improvement with him, I would try to deal him and see what i can get prospect wise. Hrod and Wang should be part of a deal, that will free up spots and would make things less stressful for Rizzo

  17. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Also, I would think with the roster expansion Sept 1 that these decisions are not as difficult as we think they are. Obviously, it is 2013 that these decisions loom larger

  18. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Nats lady…. so well said

  19. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    Mick – you are missing the fact that DeRosa is now our backup middle infielder and the ONLY middle infielder on the 25 man roster. He will not be moved. Reality is, someone who is liked by people on here will be sent down. One will be from the bullpen and my guess is they either DFA Gonzalez or they send Mattheus or even Storen down since both have options. If Storen needs more time, then let him work on that in the minors. If he proves he is ready then it will probably be Matthues. I don't like that but its what I think will happen. If it were me, I would cut ties with HRod even though I have been a huge fan. He just isn't worth keepingi for blowouts and non-pressure situations. Reality is, every game will have pressure of one kind or another.Now for that position player, again options rear their ugly head and its either Brown or TyMo. Again, not what I would want but who else can it be? It can't be DeRosa (see above), I think Bernadina has earned another month and you need two catchers. I guess you could lose two from the bullpen but that would be risky as well.Just my two cents worth but its not going to be DeRosa.Go Nats

  20. fast eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    mick:I agree on trading HRod and Wang, but they have little to no value right now.What could you get for them–maybe an AA prospect or two?

  21. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Baseballswami The Lannan situation is strange since he still has one year left in arbitration.The Nationals will have to decide if they want to go to arbitration with him and if they do he will probably get at least 3 or maybe even 4 million dollars, yea hard to believe for a minor league pitcher. Otherwise the Nats have to non tender him which will make him a free agent probably getting signed for somewhere between 1 and 2 million. So if they don't trade him during the season probably before August 31st. He'd probably clear waivers with his salary, then he will mostly be an expensive insurance policy that gets non-tendered in the off season. I think I have this right someone can correct me if I'm wrong.As for Espinosa the Nats will be fine with him at SS and OK with Lombo at 2nd although he will not be as good as Espinosa who was having a gold glove year at 2nd. DeRosa can fill in at 2nd and 3rd but there is no one else on the team or in the minors who can play SS, Walter can hit but can not field well enough. If Espinosa gets hit by a pitch or fouls a ball off his foot the middle infield goes to hell quickly. Rizzo would be wise to pick up a minor league defensive SS. On another note the Nationals next 21 games are against teams that are currently under .500. It's time to make hay now.

  22. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Ah, sec3 and NatsLady beat me to it. I'm guessing that nobody other than the two principals gives a rat's patootie as to who was first. (Sorry, guys.)

  24. Feel Wood - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    sjm308 you got it right on what will probably happen. I read yesterday that Davey is going to keep 8 in the pen and I think it will stay that way unless they cut ties with HRod. Good players being optioned down is actually a good thing. Right now I'd keep Matthues who is pitching great and option Storen until he is ready but I can see it going the other way too.

  26. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I agree on trading HRod and Wang, but they have little to no value right now.What could you get for them–maybe an AA prospect or two? That's what the Cubs are asking for Dempster. And not getting it. Just saying.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    BigCat said… While I got you Ghost….you made a comment a couple days ago about Rizzo not making good trades. Could you elaborate please.Unfortunately in GM circles, the rumors of Rizzo showing desperation isn't a good reputation to have. I have long felt that Kasten was the negotiator and when he left after the 2010 season that Rizzo had almost complete discretion on trades and signing Free Agents.Some are complaining about rehashing but I will go ahead per your request and rehash.In the 2010 off-season, Rizzo traded Josh Willingham for Henry Rodriguez and Corey Brown. While Willingham needed to be traded, it was a poor trade in my opinion. Rizzo should have received more than what he got. As I said before, he got a Minor League flamethrower who can't find the strike zone and he had no options left. Corey Brown was an oft-injured outfielder with no MLB experience. Rizzo was then enthralled in a Greinke potential trade that would have crippled the Nats. Proposed in the trade was Storen, Espinosa, and Jordan Zimmermann and possibly another player. Luckily the trade never occurred.Then there was Nyjer for Cutter Dykstra. While Nyjer had to go, it just was a poor trade for a player who won't amount to anything. Nyjer should have been traded early in the pre-season when Rizzo had more leverage.Then Rizzo was rumored to be "fixated" on getting a centerfielder and an Ace pitcher. Nothing happened until this off-season when Rizzo traded 3 of the Nats top 10 prospects in a 4 man trade for Gio Gonzalez and an A's low level minor leaguer. My issue as I said with the trade at the time was trading so much for 1 pitcher who looked like a risk of being a #3 with a mid 3.50 ERA (you can check what I wrote at the time). While I liked getting Gio, its the fact that Rizzo probably didn't need to give up 4 prospects. Could Rizzo had held firm and given up 3 players or a different package? It just seemed very rich in terms of a trade in my opinion.Going forward, I am nervous that Rizzo will get fleeced once again. I think this is the one area where Rizzo really has to improve. I know others point out the Capps for Ramos and Langerhans for Morse but those were trades while Kasten was still President.

  28. rdexposfan - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    I grew up watching this franchise as the Montreal Expos and how they brought up very young rookies to learn how to play their position at Major league level so I don't understand the impatience that is displayed on this site with players like HRod, Hanarahan, Desmond and Espinosa. I have watched players like Randy Johnson run out of town due to inconsistiency and watch him bloom elsewhere.I also got to watch my hometown hockey team the Oilers move from the WHA to the NHL and turn into a powerhouse winning 5 Stanley Cup in 7 years and listening to "expert" fans tear into the team wanting to trade bums like Mark Messier in his early years. The Lerner family hired Mike Rizzo to turn this team into a contender and he had a plan. So far he has been successful despite some setbacks and a year earlier as 2013 was the year for contention due to Strass's medical issues and Harper wasn't to be called up until September this year. This is going to be a rollercoaster ride so hang on tight and enjoy the ride.

  29. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Well, the Braves hunted around the minors for help at SS (they needed it worse that we do), and all they were able to get was Jannish. Not a lot out there.

  30. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    NatsLady,The O's picked up Omar Quintanilla for cash from the Mets. Not a great player but I'd rather have him playing SS then DeRosa or Lombo. The player he gets is an emergency insurance policy nothing more and it would be even better if we could keep him in Syracuse.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    The Fox said… sjm308 you got it right on what will probably happen. I read yesterday that Davey is going to keep 8 in the pen and I think it will stay that way unless they cut ties with HRod. Good players being optioned down is actually a good thing. Right now I'd keep Matthues who is pitching great and option Storen until he is ready but I can see it going the other way too.That's a good point. I didn't even think about a possible option on Storen. He looks like he did in Spring of 2011 where he isn't ready. Needs more time to get that movement on his pitches and get that confidence back but maybe he can put it together with some sidework. His short stint in the Minors was not great.

  32. NatsNut - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    1a: Such language! natsfan1a said… …I'm guessing that nobody other than the two principals gives a rat's patootie as to who was first.

  33. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Agree with Fox that we do not have a backup shortstop, not just on the 25 man roster but even in our minor league system that can step in. Plus, if you do bring up anyone not named Rivera (who is definitely not the answer!) you then need to make a move on the 40 man roster as well. I don't have an answer here, just making sure we all send Danny and Lombo good thoughts while Ian is healing. I guess Davey can give each a day with Lombo moving to SS for one day every two weeks and DeRosa will be ok at 2nd but its not a great situation.Go Nats!!!

  34. Section 222 - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    On another note the Nationals next 21 games are against teams that are currently under .500. It's time to make hay now.And so great that two of those teams are the Phillies and the Marlins. Who would've thunk?Kudos to Sofa and NL for quick ripostes to the "I wrote about it first" squabble. Who cares? There sure has been alot of macho preening going on in here recently. What's up with that? We're in first place people!!

  35. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    My thoughts on Storen being optioned can be related to "the blind squirrel finding an acorn" every now and then I have a decent thought, but thanks to you both.also love the new sofa with "chili mo" and I feel I had a small part in that. Make sure you have a cover on that sofa, it gets messy.

  36. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Ghost, It's "Laddie," not "Lady" Blah Blah. Small point, or a big difference, depending on your point of view.

  37. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Regarding Rizzo:Trading isn't everything, it may not even be the most important thing. Some teams trade a lot (as even the players on the A's know and expect). Some teams rely more on scouting and player development, and only occasionally trade. The very fact that the Nats had a Gold Glove quality SS playing 2B, and a perfectly adequate 2B platooning in LF, plus the catcher situation, shows the strength and depth of Mike Rizzo's team. Rizzo and Davey looked at the talent on the team and said, we could contend ("play meaningful games in September") in 2012, and not just twiddle our thumbs waiting for the stars to align in 2013. Hence the Gio trade and the Jackson signing. Those may not have been the best trade and the most economical signing, but there was a solid purpose behind them.As far as the Willingham trade, he needed to go. There are only so many often-injured, chancy-fielding sluggers that you can have on any one team, especially one built on pitching and D. If you say Rizzo should have gotten more than Henry and Corey Brown in return–maybe. But if Henry can get his head together I still say he is PFB–he's high-risk/high reward and that's clearly Rizzo's style, like it or not. We haven't opened the package yet on Corey Brown.

  38. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    rdexposfan"The Lerner family hired Mike Rizzo to turn this team into a contender and he had a plan."How easy it is to forget where this team was just 2 years ago. Cannot think of another GM who has been so successful in turning around one team in so short a time. Two years ago, the Nats were little more than a joke, and now they are the best team in the NL.The GM deserves the lion's share of the credit for that.

  39. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    sjm … good point on DeRosaeddie… would only getting a AA prospect for HRod not be fair value, I guess that is the question?

  40. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    As I see it, Mark DeRosa is this year's Jerry Hairston. Rizzo wasn't willing to give Hairston two years, he got DeRosa instead. You have to have guys like that on the team.

  41. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    nats lady.. I wish he could hit like Jerry, lol

  42. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    I forgot wwhat the circumstances were for trading Willingham

  43. fast eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Off topic, but I wanted some NI expertise on this.I live in SC and had all 4 Braves games blacked out on MASN. I was forced to watch and listen to Braves' announcers. On Sat., they said all Braves players think they'll win the division since they have the better overall team than the Nats. They gave us the edge in SP, but believe their position players and bullpen are better than ours. I'll concede C (McCann), 1B (Freeman) and CF (Bourn)but not much else. I also like our bullpen better. Any thoughts?

  44. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Well, I didn't post it (shame on me for not being first) but the thought did cross my mind on Friday that if Storen isn't ready to pitch two days in a row he might need to go back down until he is. There's no shame involved, it's not a "demotion."

  45. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Ghost… just saw your post on Willingham trade… thanks

  46. NCNatsie - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Couldn't Teahen be a serviceable ss in an emerency?Waddu, it's fewer. Here's how I learned it from a great teacher: if you can count them, it's fewer; if not, it's less."How much less blood, and fewer tearsWould have been shed down through the years…"Thanks for asking.

  47. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    Ghost"Didn't I just link Chase's article an hour ago and write about that or were you waiting for a new post to say you said it first?" Don't know. Did not see your link. I never "claimed" to be first, and what difference does it make? I do not read every comment here, and do not plan to. There are days when I do not have the time nor the inclination.I like the site, but don't live here. I like the interplay of opinion, but do not denigrate other posters just because they have a different one. And I don't keep score. What for?

  48. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Why did Willingham have to go? He is so much better than Jayson Werth it isn't even funny…and he cost $7 million for 3 years. Sounds just about perfect to me. 23 HR, 68 RBI, .275 AVG., .389 OBP.,.560 SLG…sure am glad we gave up that for Henry Rodriguez, Jayson Werth, an extra 4 years of contract to a 33 year old injured player and an extra $105 million. Yep…he sure needed to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  49. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    hehe, I see what you did there. Kudos to them for being first. ;-)Kudos to Sofa and NL for quick ripostes to the "I wrote about it first" squabble.

  50. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    fast eddie. Our SP and bullpen are better (except Kimbrall, and even he blew a save on Friday). RZ and Chipper are a wash, both with substantial injury risk. Before Desi went on the DL, SS/2B weren't even close! Now it's close(r) but I still give middle infield to the Nats. Not so sure on 1B that I would give it to Freeman. ALR can heat up any time and he's generally been a 2nd half guy.Outfield has to go to the Barves, but if Harper can rest and hit, and Morse keeps up his level of production, that could balance the scales. Catcher goes to them, but our situation could improve with Flores resting and Leon/Solano learning on the job. It will definitely improve when rosters expand and we can carry 3 catchers.Thought since day one it would be us and Atlanta. Gonna be a rough ride, a lot will depend on how well we play against the Mets/Fillies/Fish and teams like the Brewers. Need to do what we did in April, namely clean up on the not-so-great teams.

  51. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Oh, and fast eddie, manager goes to Davey. By a LOT.

  52. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Nats Lady — I agree on Storen — his rehab was a far-too-short ST for him and w/o consecutive days there he needs more.On EJax, I think it's what I wrote yesterday, which is that it's not so much about EJax's future value specifically but Boras wants to make EJax his latest demonstration of $ maximization, and at this stage and level of income, EJax wants to settle down with a good chemistry contending team — that is, the Nsts — rather than maximize $ and end up with the Red Sox or worse, the Marlins. EJax does not want to be used for purposes that are more about Boras and his I come than about what EJax wants.That's my take, anyway, FWIW.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM

    NatsLady, I did say "While Willingham needed to be traded, it was a poor trade in my opinion" He did have to go as I said as he didn't fit into the framework Rizzo set which was athletic 1st to 3rd type of players who can play defense and hit.Again to restate, you had to get more than what Rizzo got in my opinion. The Nats are still waiting on Corey Brown and Henry has been nothing short of a disaster. If you keep waiting for your "PFB", you will be waiting a long time. I don't ever see Henry being anything near an Armando Benitez until Henry gets his other issues fixed.If Henry/CBrown was the best trade Rizzo could find, then I don't think he worked it enough. Willingham was ranked much higher than most of the available corner OFs and DHs at the time.

  55. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Willingham also has 6 outfield assists and just 2 errors…not exactly a back-breaker. It was a bad move…no two ways about it!!!

  56. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    On the outfield (comparing to ATL), I think a lot will depend on how Werth does when he gets back. He will be rested and not banged up, that is on the good side, and gives me some hope he can go back to the level of production he had when he got injured.

  57. Feel Wood - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    Waddu, it's fewer. Here's how I learned it from a great teacher: if you can count them, it's fewer; if not, it's less."How much less blood, and fewer tearsWould have been shed down through the years…"Your teacher's rule may be right, but his mnemonic is lousy. Tears and blood are both liquids. If you can count one, you can count the other. You can have a stream of tears and a drop of blood. He should have come up with a quote that associates "less" with something that's not countable at all (like, say, stupidity) and "fewer" with something that is (such as rocks in the head.) Perhaps your teacher was not so great after all.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said… Why did Willingham have to go? He is so much better than Jayson Werth it isn't even funny…and he cost $7 million for 3 years. Sounds just about perfect to me. 23 HR, 68 RBI, .275 AVG., .389 OBP.,.560 SLG…sure am glad we gave up that for Henry Rodriguez, Jayson Werth, an extra 4 years of contract to a 33 year old injured player and an extra $105 million. Yep…he sure needed to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rizzo made it clear without naming Willingham that he was looking for more athletic 1st to 3rd players who could play defense, and specifically it sounded that Willingham was going to be traded. Like I said, it just wasn't a great trade unless Corey Brown turns out to be a very good player.I would have kept Willingham if the choice was getting HenRod/CBrown but Rizzo wanted to change his team makeup plus Willingham was on his last year of his contract.

  59. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Semantically, blood is a volume, and tears are discrete units.

  60. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Willingham has had a better season than I expected (and probably than Rizzo expected) and whether he has another in him remains to be seen. I more prefer to look at the future than the past. The question is not whether Rizzo should have traded the Hammer, or whether he should have gotten more in return. Maybe Rizzo learned something from that experience, as clearly Davey did from Friday night, and hopefully Clip did from the last week. Bear in mind that if you allow Davey a bad game, you can allow Rizzo a "bad" trade without thinking he will screw up the next trade. And the next trade is the one I care about.

  61. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Fear and Ignorance said… Willingham also has 6 outfield assists and just 2 errors…not exactly a back-breaker. It was a bad move…no two ways about it!!! July 23, 2012 12:26 PM My point was it was a poor trade and I guess you agree with that. Still, Willingham was on the last year of his contract so unless you extend him he needed to be traded. My contention was you don't trade him unless you get good trade value in return or like I said you keep him until a team has a need.

  62. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Are all uneven trades necessarily bad moves? Certainly, it's not wise to always hold out for top dollar. It's not "compared to perfect," it's "compared to the alternative." Keeping Willingham had costs, too–maybe would have cost Morse, for instance. For my part, I'm willing to give Rizzo the benefit of the doubt, since nobody knows for sure what the better deal would have been. We can speculate all year, and have, on what we think it might have been, but that's all just fantasy. Well-informed fantasy, perhaps, but still.

  63. Feel Wood - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    If Henry/CBrown was the best trade Rizzo could find, then I don't think he worked it enough. Willingham was ranked much higher than most of the available corner OFs and DHs at the time.Willingham was coming off injury at the time he was traded. He missed the last several months of the 2010 season. He may have been higher-ranked than other players at the time, but he was damaged goods. That had to have decreased his trade value. The fact that he has rebounded from his injury before the two unproven prospects he brought back have panned out (and one or both of them may pan out yet) doesn't say anything about whether or not the trade was good. That will be determined in the long run. Right now, it's just luck.

  64. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Ghost-I hear what you're saying about Willingham…it just seems to me that Rizzo has gotten sucked in to the whole "potential" trap quite often in his short tenure. This is baseball…not football. Teams don't win World Series because they are "athletic". Same thing with Lannan…he has taken a proven good MLB starter and basically killed any value that he had on the trade market.

  65. Steady Eddie - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Freudian slip — I thought I wrote "income" but when it's about Boras, "I come" is just as accurate.

  66. NCNatsie - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Thanks, Chili. You are correct. You can count drops, whetever they are drops of, but you can't count blood, or water for that matter. And just to set the record straight, the rule came from the teacher. The couplet is from an old poem of mine.

  67. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    I would have kept Willingham if the choice was getting HenRod/CBrown but Rizzo wanted to change his team makeup plus Willingham was on his last year of his contract. I think that's the best summary. Rizzo had decided in advance to trade Willingham, and then looked around for a trading partner. In April or even May we fans would not have claimed he mistraded, because Henry was PFB and Corey Brown was a nonentity. Now with Henry flailing, everyone is quick to say Rizzo didn't get value for Willingham, but as Ghost points out, getting maximum value for Willingham was not his primary objective. It's possible that his scouting eye failed him on Henry, but so also did Davey's, McCatty's and a lot of fans', if indeed Henry doesn't work out. In the meantime, excuse me, but with Willingham the Twins are 40-55 and without him the Nats are 55-39. One player does not make a team.

  68. Ratiocinational - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Feel Wood, "less blood, and fewer tears" is a perfect illustration. The rule has to do with whether the term can be made singular or not ("tears" can, "blood" can't).However, it would be even better if it was "How much less blood, and how many fewer tears," since the much/many distinction follows the same rule as the less/fewer distinction.

  69. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    NatsLady-Willingham has more HR's and RBI's than our entire outfield put together this year. Just saying. Hindsight is 20/20, but Rizzo's foresight on this one was about 20/600.

  70. John C. - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Ghost of Steve M. said… Unfortunately in GM circles, the rumors of Rizzo showing desperation isn't a good reputation to have. I have long felt that Kasten was the negotiator and when he left after the 2010 season that Rizzo had almost complete discretion on trades and signing Free Agents…Going forward, I am nervous that Rizzo will get fleeced once again. I think this is the one area where Rizzo really has to improve. I know others point out the Capps for Ramos and Langerhans for Morse but those were trades while Kasten was still President.Kasten the negotiator? From Atlanta through DC, Kasten was regarded as the organization builder, not the talent acquisition guy. In Atlanta Schuerholz handled all that (and very well). In DC, it was Bowden (less well) and Rizzo in turn. If you say that Kasten was the trade negotiator, then you either have to give him "credit" for the Bowden years or say that when Bowden left Kasten took over a function he'd never done before. It doesn't make sense.You also just assume the Nats could have gotten more for the Hammer – but you weren't seeing the offers or lack thereof. Remember, at the time Willingham was traded, HE was the oft-injured player, not Corey Brown. In four years in the minors Brown only missed time with injuries one season, in 2009, and in 2010 played 131 games (a full minor league season). A former top prospect, he was only available because he bounced hard off of AAA his first time around; injuries had nothing to do with it. Willingham was 31yo, moderately pricey for his final year of team control (final arbitration year), a mediocre outfielder at best, and had missed an average of just under a third of the season over the previous three years. You can look it up (I did). In the land of the DH the Hammer has done better, and good for him. But it's no wonder that no one wanted to offer much for him two years ago.The mythical Greinke trade offers have pretty much been debunked by a number of sources, Bos included – but lives on in legend like many things do in the land of the internet. It's gotten to the point where every Nats player that could have been a part of the conversation is now assumed to have been part of the final package offered.Even the Gio trade was value for value, although like any trade the full tale won't be told for years. I'm still skeptical of Tommy Milone (his home/road splits are amazing; it's fair to wonder how much of his success is because of ballpark). A.J. Cole got sent back to low A ball after posting a 7.82 ERA in high A, and Peacock has posted a 6.63 ERA and 1.659 WHIP in AAA. Derek Norris, while still promising, is hitting .183/.258/.283 at the major league level.Rizzo's record as a trader is just fine, thanks.

  71. Feel Wood - Jul 23, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    tears are discrete unitsThen for your sake I hope your discrete units never flow like water.A tear is a discrete unit. Tears may be, but just as easily may not be. When I hear that teacher's saying, the first thing about tears that jumps into my mind is not "Oh, so it's all about discrete units. Now it makes sense."

  72. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    As long as we're speculationating, here's a thought experiment:Assume, arguendo, the Willingham trade was a bad idea, and the Nats would have been better with him. Maybe Morse never gets a shot and they trade HIM for Henry and Corey, whatever. But assuming the Nats would have been better, what if that means Riggleman never quits, and the team finishes about where they did, in third place. Don't they keep him on, then? That's like the laptop commercials, I know. But isn't it almost as scarey as sour-milk zombies?

  73. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Again, you're thinking physics, not semantics. It's a semantic distinction.

  74. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Well, emo poetry and physics.

  75. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Wait a minute…"never flow like water"? What would they flow like, if not water? OK, I'm getting way off topic here. Lunch.

  76. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    With John C., and I didn't look it up. I'm not going to argue with ignorance, because I agree with Ghost that trading Willingham was the correct move. Because Henry didn't have options, he got Corey Brown. Ghost goes on to argue that Rizzo should have gotten more than Henry and C. Brown, yet doesn't tell us who was available at that time for trade and why that trading partner would have given up those chips for Willingham. All he says is, if that's all Rizzo got, he didn't work it hard enough. Really? All the Braves could find at SS was Jannish, does that mean they didn't look hard enough? Or that there isn't always the ideal trade out there when you want to trade.

  77. Feel Wood - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    How much less blood, sweat and fewer tears were spent by that teacher in not coming up with a better example? That's the real question.

  78. NCNatsie - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    Feel, again, the teacher didn't come up with the example, only the rule. I put the example in the post because it has always seemed to me a good illustration of the rule, and since it was an original line, I could easily remember it.So if you don't like the example, blame me, not Mrs. Haar.Sorry I brought the whole thing up. I thought I was just doing a favor for Waddu eye no, who had questioned which was right in his earlier post.

  79. #4 - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Bo Porter cost the Nats another rally yesterday. He is going to cost them a game soon. He's quickly becoming Tim Tolman. Yesterday's decision to send Harper was among the dumber I've seen in a long time. Consider the factors: 1. There was only one out. 2. Harper is a bit gimpy 3. A hot Espinosa is coming up next 4. The ball was hit on a line directly at the right fielder 5. Heyward has a ton of outfield assists. These are all things (except maybe #4) that a good 3rd base coach thinks about BEFORE the ball is even hit. I don't think Porter does that. He seems to go by "instinct" which is not very good.As for the Willingham trade argument… JW is a nice hitter with low energy. He's the kind of guy that bats in the middle of the order for a losing team. Those who would rather have him than Jayson Werth don't understand team chemistry and dynamics. In seven MLB seasons, Willingham's teams have won 78,71,84,59,69,74, and(on pace for) 68 games. There's a reason for that. Adam Dunn has the same problem.I don't know if HRod and Corey Brown will ever work out. I do know you don't win with Josh Willingham.

  80. blovy8 - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Some club might have poor enough 3B depth to take Rivero for a late-20s, defense-only, stalled at AAA type of shortstop. I don't think they want to waste an option year for Walters.

  81. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    NatsLady, I think it's 100% not clear yet that Rizzo made a bad trade. 1) Willingham no longer plays for the team that traded for him while both players Rizzo got are still with the Nats. 2) HR is as you say high risk/ high reward and he may or may not work out the jury is still out. 3) Brown may yet accomplish what Willingham accomplished but with better defense and many more years ahead of him; this too may or may not work out but it's clearly not a slam dunk that it won't. In conclusion it may be that this will prove to be a bad trade eventually but the jury is still out and Rizzo does not have the advantage of hindsight when making these deals.

  82. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    #4-I guess you should trade the whole Nationals team by that reasoning, because they have 2 players who have ever played on a team above .500. DeRosa (our 25th guy) and LaRoche who played on the Braves early in his career.

  83. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    It takes quite a bit of chutzpah to criticize a GM who has build this team which is only now scratching the surface of it's potential and if you are in the mood to regurgitate trades please check out the respective records of :A.J Cole, Brad Peacock and Derek Norris.

  84. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    I can't believe we are discussing the Willingham trade that occurred before the 2011 season now because it makes absolutely no difference as to how the 2012 Nationals are playing.What was the worth of Willingham who was often injured and did not fit into the long range plans of the Nationals? Very little! Don't think so, think Rizzo could have gotten more? How come Billy Beane the genius trader who has books and movies about him didn't trade him when Willingham hit more HRs and RBI than he ever had before? Do you know why because he could not get anything of value for him. Why didn't Billy Beane resign him? Because he found out that he could not trade him.Josh is have a great year in Minnesota with a really bad team and I'm happy for him but unless I see him traded this year for some really good prospect, which I doubt than Rizzo found out what Beane found out and what Terry Ryan is finding out that it is cheaper to keep him than what a bad team can get in prospects. Rizzo may not be the best trader and I'm not sure about that one way or the other yet but he does know talent and his team is in first place so I'm not really sure why we are having this discussion.

  85. Joe Seamhead - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    #4 said, Great post. I agree 100%

  86. A DC Wonk - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Responding to a couple of posts:Ghost-I hear what you're saying about Willingham…it just seems to me that Rizzo has gotten sucked in to the whole "potential" trap quite often in his short tenure.Uhhh . . . when you're a sub-.500 team, you look for "potential." Davey saw that Desi and Espi had potential and kept playing them — one among tons of other examples.As for the trading issues, Rizzo has done fine enough, a number of folks above have given the reasons (with which I agree), but I'll add two more:a. The jury is still out on HRod. I realize I'm part of a minority that grows smaller every week, but I've maintained from the start that history shows too many fireballers who get their act together _after_ age 25, and not before. See Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, etc.b. While getting Morse for in the Langerhans deal may have been done under the Kasten regime (was it?), it was Rizzo who was insistent that Seattle include Morse as part of the deal.c. I'm amazed that anyone is still doubting that the Gio trade wasn't great for us. He's only 26.Oh, and one other thing:I'm guessing that nobody other than the two principals gives a rat's patootie as to who was first.We also have to know who owes whom a coke! ;-)

  87. #4 - Jul 23, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    F and I:I would only say that Willingham has a long and proven track record of playing for losers. There isn't one Nat that does, except maybe for Zimmerman. The only veterans on the roster have played for winners – DeRosa, Laroche (as you pointed out), and Werth. Ryan Zimmerman has played for six losers, yes. I have to say I'm not completely sold on him as a winner, yet. I will say though that his penchant for walk-off HRs and his recent hot streak when they've needed him most are starting to make a believer out of me.Rizzo's greatest strength as a GM, I think, is identifying guys who play with the energy required to win over the course of 162 games. He likes the "gamers". It's why he paid high for Werth. It's why he stuck so long with Desmond. Davey's cut of the same cloth as a manager.

  88. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    #4Sending Harper when the Nats had a lead knowing that even if it was close, which it wasn't, there would be a play at the plate was reckless and I hope someone talked to him. Would he have sent Strasburg too? I know that sounds foolish but after yesterday I'm not sure anymore.

  89. alexva - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    F&I said re Lannan- he has taken a proven good MLB starter and basically killed any value that he had on the trade market. and how has he done that? by starting players better than him and getting his team in first place? John Lannan is worth exactly what he was worth on the last days of 2011, no more no less.

  90. #4 - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    You're right. Fox. I didn't even mention the score of the game in my diatribe, but that was certainly another factor. Regardless of the score though, he killed the rally. You simply don't take that chance with one out.It wasn't even a particularly good throw from Heyward.

  91. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    #4, I agree he probably shouldn't have sent Harper there, for the reasons you mention, mainly–not sure if I was the first one to say so, but I did say so at the time, so I suppose I shouldn't change my mind now–but I don't agree with your characterization of him as a bad coach. He's an aggressive third base coach, with an aggressive runner who's run through his stops recently, with success, and a lead to pile onto. Aggressive baserunning runs into outs sometimes, but it also can create opportunities for itself. He's right often enough, I think.

  92. A DC Wonk - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    JD, good comments. Criticizing one of the most succesful GM's in recent years is amazing?!Other things, for those with short memories:- he single handedly cleaned up the Dominican Republic mess- he got Stras and Harper signed, with reasonable prices, staring eyeball-to-eyeball with Boras and going to the last minute with Stras, and he made Boras blink- he played the draft game better than everybody else, compiling what others thought was the best draft class in MLB baseball two years ago, by drafting low-signability guys, and paying way-over-slot to get them (during the very last year that paying over slot was allowed); and went to the limit (and last minute) getting Giolito signed- letting Dunn walk, getting an extra first round pick, and the first compensatory draft pick, for him (and those two picks turned into part of that "best draft class" in the prior item)- and dozens of other things that don't come to the top of my head

  93. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    It wasn't a perfect throw, but it was on the mark enough for the catcher to take it and spin for the tag, without any extra steps. It was a good throw. The whole point to being aggressive is that, even when you run into outs, you put pressure on the defense–including *everybody else's* defense–to make plays, because they know you're coming for them. That creates opportunities, and if you do it right, and have the right personnel, it creates more than it costs you. I think they are mostly doing it right.

  94. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Dempster to the Braves.

  95. Tcostant - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    Sounds like the Braves are about to aquire Dempster…http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/07/23/the-braves-are-closing-in-on-a-starting-pitcher/

  96. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Figures, after yesterday, but that's going to help them.

  97. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Swami, After watching Hanson on Friday and Jurgens yesterday I am not surprised. I am also not that upset about it.

  98. #4 - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Chill Mo -Aggressiveness is fine in the right situations, I agree. I would offer though these things to consider for the rest of the season:1. Look at how many times he gives tentative signals to runners as they head into 2nd base looking for help from him as to whether they should advance to 3rd.2. Look at how many times he gets guys thrown out at home as the 1st or 2nd out of an inning. I don't know if there's a SABR study out there, but I'm guessing that the break even safe rate on sending guys with no one out has to be well above 90%. With one out, I bet it's well above 80%. Those are just high-risk, low reward situations that he seems to get himself into. I doesn't help that he has several runners that appear to ignore his signs. I wonder sometimes if that's them being aggressive or realizing that Porter isn't very good.

  99. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    Why did Willingham have to go? He is so much better than Jayson Werth it isn't even funny…and he cost $7 million for 3 years.Where have you been F&I? Even the Orioles know better look at their outfield and they are in the American League !!!! Sheesh!!!That was pretty simple to understand. The guy couldn't run after 2 knee surgeries and back issues. He can't last an entire season in the outfield which is why he is better positioned on an American League team where he can DH. The Twins have been using him in the outfield but they are taking a risk there. And Rizzo (like your Orioles F&I, just like your Orioles) wanted an athletic, young outfield. Willingham, the ex-catcher, just didn't fit that model. Now putting Morse and Moore out there as Davey may be in opposition to that model … but then he wasn't here and smart-ball, small brain was. Willingham wasn't going to bunt to get on. Morse has better legs than Willingham, way better for comparison. And now you've got young Tyler Moore. I'd rather have MUCH younger Tyler Moore in the outfield than 30+ Willingham. Moore hasn't really been given a chance but I believe he is capable of 30 homers and 30 doubles on a consistent basis.

  100. A DC Wonk - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    The Fox said…[re Prter] Would he have sent Strasburg too? I know that sounds foolish but after yesterday I'm not sure anymore.You're right!you do sound foolish by asking such a question.Look, these attacks on Porter, Rizzo . . . what's the deal with all this?! _Every_ third base coach is going to make a bad call every once in a while. But we almost never see anybody compliment them for good calls. _Every_ GM makes a trade that doesn't work out. Every manager leaves a pitcher in a batter or two too long, or takes him out one inning too early.But overall, their body of work ranks somewhere between pretty good and outstanding.A teams that, for every three games, wins two and loses one — it's like guys come out of the woodwork, after each loss, to scream about that third game, all the mistakes made, that the team can't sweep a series . . . all the while not seeing the bigger picture that such a team, at .667, would win 108 games.The bigger picture is this:A team that followed two miserable 100+ loss seasons, then improved by 10 or more games two years in a row, and is now on pace, despite a plethora of injuries, to win 95 games, and has the best record in the entire NL.Yeah, lousy GM, lousy manager, lousy coaches.I'm not saying individual actions shouldn't be criticized, but, sheesh, a little perspective please.

  101. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    John Lannan is worth exactly what he was worth on the last days of 2011, no more no less.The problem with Lannan was his 5 million salary which was way over what any other team would pay him. Not the talent. If he makes the grade in Syracuse and with the Nats in September and he makes the playoff roster he will get to prove whether he deserves to be on a winning team in the rotation. Its up to him now.

  102. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    We need a new post. Willingham, blah, blah, blah. 2 years ago, blah,blah, blah. Rizzo , blah, blah, blah. What do you think of Dempster to the Braves—today.

  103. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    #4, yeah, having good baserunners blow off your signs is a red flag, I'll give you that. I haven't noticed those other issues you mentioned, up to now, but I'll look closer.

  104. Tcostant - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    I like Rizzo. Moving Willingham was more about team defense than anything else. Rizzo loves two things: Power pitching arms and good gloves. Like it or not, that is who he is. I like it.

  105. blovy8 - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    Yeah, had to expect that, I guess the only good thing is they didn't want to wait to see if they could get Greinke. Dempster is pretty good, but it seems like he's been a little lucky with batting average on balls in play, leaving guys on base and not giving up homers.

  106. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Apparently Randall Delgado is part of the deal, to the Cubs.

  107. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Right now, I think the Braves would happily take a couple of months of lucky.

  108. #4 - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Last thing on this Chill Mo, I promise. Perhaps I am reading into this because I'm looking for it, but I've also noticed that when Porter gets someone thrown out at home, every time, the runner looks back at him as if to say, "What the heck kind of decision was that?" It's the sort of thing a player does when he doesn't have confidence in a coach.

  109. blovy8 - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    Maybe the wind was blowing in for all his Wrigley starts…nah, he's doing a LOT better away.

  110. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    Does any one know what the Braves traded to get Dempster? If it's Delgado then IMO it's an awful panic move for a rental.

  111. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    DC Wonk I really don't have anything against Porter and I think overall he has done a good job. Harper was playing with a swollen foot they showed it on TV. When they got a 6 run lead I though they might take him out. Yea I know what happened on Friday but that was closer to the perfect storm and its not likely the whole BP will implode again. I would have played it safe with Harper with the lead. The team has played aggressively most of the year and it has worked just in that instance I found the risk much, much greater than the possible reward. In fact I found it reckless and I would talk to him not fire him.

  112. Hondo69 - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    You better worry about Dempster joining that Braves rotation!!I hope I'm wrong but Atlanta just clinched the NL East title with this trade.IMO, Dempster is one of the top 10 to 15 starters in the NL.

  113. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Just looked up Dempster. His career era is 4.31; this year he is at .211. His BABIP this year is .245 compared to a lifetime of .301 so the long and short of it is that he's been very, very lucky this year. I like Dempster and I would have liked to have him for post SS insurance but I wouldn't trade a 22 year old flame thrower with the potential of Randal Delgado for a 3 month rental of a 35 year old.

  114. The Fox - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Ken Rosenthal ‏@Ken_RosenthalDeal indeed done: Dempster to #Braves. No word on financial terms or players involved. @mlbbowman reporting Delgado could be part.

  115. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:51 PM

    Honda, Dempster is NOT one of the top 10 – 15 pitchers in the NL by any standard of measure. We are 8 – 4 against Atlanta this year and really should be 9 -3 so I don't know about you but I am not conceding anything to them.

  116. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    We have 6 more games left with the Braves, 3 in August, 3 in September. We could face him twice or not at all. He can beat up on the Fish, Mets and Phillies all he wants. Greinke and Hamels probably not moving until the off season. Will they both end up in the NL East, too? Go somewhere else, please.

  117. Tcostant - Jul 23, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    Is doesn't matter if Dempster is a top 15 pitcher or not. Dempster is much better that most (if not all) of their current starts; so this improves the Braves and hurt the Nats

  118. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    I hope I'm wrong but Atlanta just clinched the NL East title with this trade.EJax is better.

  119. UnkyD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    NatsNut said…1a: Such language! natsfan1a said… …I'm guessing that nobody other than the two principals gives a rat's patootie as to who was first.————————–I think she said that word over the weekend, too! She's throwing patooties around like it's Christmas……

  120. peric - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Dempster is 35 and its the 2nd half of the season. Watch him fade.

  121. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    JD-Actually by almost all standards of measure…he is a top 5 pitcher in the NL. A good Braves team just added a #1 starter. Dempster is also 9-1 career against the Nationals.

  122. Feel Wood - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    If the Cubs didn't trade Dempster, the Nats would likely be facing him in the four game series with the Cubs here in September. If the Brewers don't trade Grienke to an NL East team, the Nats will probably face him twice in the eight games they have left with Milwaukee. The time to worry about the effect of trades made by other contenders is the offseason, when there's time and reason to possibly counter them with trades and FA signings of your own. In the second half of a season, in a pennant race, the only thing you can do is be as good as you can yourself and not make rash moves to try and counter the moves of other teams.

  123. baseballswami - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    Again – we are almost done with the Braves. He might help them get a few more wins, maybe in our division, which could be ok for us later if one of the other teams makes a run. We'll see. Not like he was there for the last 12 times we played them.

  124. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    peric said… Dempster is 35 and its the 2nd half of the season. Watch him fade. July 23, 2012 3:04 PM _________________________Could happen but credit to them for trying to improve and of course I hope it fails miserably. I also hope they gave up many prospects. I think I will be ticked if all they gave up was Randall Delgado.

  125. UnkyD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Wink at 2:24: beautiful…. I love you, man….

  126. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    F & I, Dempster a # 1? please. In a career year he is 16th in the NL in WAR. The Nats have at least 3 pitchers better than him.As I said if they traded Delgado then this is a clear over reaction to the fact that they chocked last year. Atlanta has a very good lineup but their rotation with or without Dempster is not in the Nats league.

  127. Marty - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Gonat – I think I will be ticked if all they gave up was Randall Delgado. I mean it is what it is and you don't get decent rentals for free, but this seems to me like a good bit to give up for a 9 week rental.I have to think that the Barves are feeling extra pressure to a) make up for last year's collapse and b) give it an extra solid go for Chipper's last year.

  128. Cameron - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Any pressure on the Nats to make a move now?

  129. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:23 PM

    Gonat, Are you kidding me? Did you watch Delgado on Saturday? You wouldn't rather have his future than a 3 month rental of a 35 year old?

  130. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Just hoping Hondo doesn't really believe what he wrote but then again, why write it? Really, Dempster clinches a 3.5 difference? I think its already been jumped on with stats but I am just happy we did not make that move. I like our starting 4 just fine and think LannEn will be good to adequate in his 4 or 5 starts. The other thing about trading for Dempster if it is Washington making the move is where the hell are you going to pitch him right now?? You certainly don't take the ball from Detwiler or EJax so what do you do with 6 starters? Answer is, you don't trade for them. Good job Rizzo!!Go Nats

  131. NatsLady - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Same reasoning, even more so, if the Mets trade to improve their bullpen. Have at it, and while you are at it, beat up on the rest of the NL East. The Mets should be selling, not buying. Randall Delgado for a two month rental, plus postseason if they get the wildcard, which is no lock with teams in the NL West and Central after it. Atlanta is going for bust to win the division, and I don't think they'll do it. Overpay, IMO, and works against them next year. They are not that old a team, not sure why they would do that.

  132. Gonat - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:30 PM

    JD said… Gonat,Are you kidding me? Did you watch Delgado on Saturday? You wouldn't rather have his future than a 3 month rental of a 35 year old? July 23, 2012 3:23 PM ________________________________I saw Saturday's game and wasn't overly impressed with Randall. Delgado has started 17 games this year and 11 were clunkers including 4 of the 17 games he was pulled before he finished the 4th inning.Could he be a future Ace? Sure, but you won't know that for a few more years. The Braves got the MLB leader in ERA. Score some runs for him and give him good defense and he is a 10 game winner the rest of the year if he can continue to pitch.The question is does Dempster's arm fall apart and does he get injured again.I think it was a good rental for the Braves. I really thought it would have cost more than that but Dempster gave up 4 runs against the Cardinals and thats what happens, the panic flag went up.

  133. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Henry Rodriguez is 25 years old. When Craig Stammen was 26 years old his ERA was north of 5.00. Way too soon to write off HRod, who has stuff Craig can only dream about.Corey Brown is 26 years old. When Josh Willingham was 26 he appeared in 16 games with no HRs. Way too soon to write off Corey Brown.Rizzo traded an aging veteran for youth and athleticism. HRod has shown brilliance that Stammen never had at 25, and Brown is a much better athlete than Willingham.It is premature, in the extreme, to evaluate the Willingham trade while the jury is still out on both HRod and Brown. If the same standards of evaluation had been applied to Stammen and Willingham, at a similar age in their careers, as are being applied to HRod and Brown, now, they would both have been considered ML busts. They were, at similar stages in their respective careers.Let's see how HRod is doing when he is 28, and how Brown does between now and the age of 33, where Josh is now, before pronouncing a final verdict on either of them.

  134. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    If Ryan Dempster is any teams #1 starter then that team does not have a good pitching staff. On this staff he be just where John LannEn is right now.

  135. sjm308 - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Laddie: well stated

  136. bowdenball - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Relax, everyone. The Braves will get at most 12 starts out of Dempster. Those starts previously would have gone to Delgado. The difference between the two is maybe one win over the course of those twelve starts.The 2012 Braves are better than they were yesterday, and that's a negative thing for the 2012 Nats. But not by much. It's possible the single win they picked up will cost the Nats the NL East, but it's not very likely.

  137. bowdenball - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Gonat said… Score some runs for him and give him good defense and he is a 10 game winner the rest of the year if he can continue to pitch.I'd give you 50 to 1 odds he doesn't win ten games for the Braves between now and the end of the season. Not a chance in Hades.

  138. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    Gonat, I don't know about you but I saw a 22 year old throw consistently around 94 – 95 and who was hard to hit. Sure he had some clunkers this year and maybe he is up too soon but I'd take that arm anytime.

  139. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    Bowdenball, Exactly; and at the end of the year they kiss Dempster good bye and Delgado potentially pitches for the Cubs for 10 years.

  140. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    Dempster just Tweeted he has NOT been traded.

  141. mick - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    Steve… I have actually heard that the Dodgers were his first choice

  142. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    SJM-He leads the MLB in ERA!!! When he is on (which he has been all year) he is a great pitcher. I have seen him pitch in person at least a dozen times, and he can be lights out. Is RA Dickey not a #1 starter right now? Dempster has thrown 10 games this year allowing 1 run or less, including 7 shutouts. The Braves needed a pitcher and got one. We need some pieces, too, so I am hoping Rizzo at least gets something to help our chances.

  143. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    F & I. And yet his lifetime ERA is 4.31. Last year it was 4.80. He is having a great year because ball hit into play against him this year are getting caught at an unsustainable rate. I am not saying that the Braves haven't improved in the short term I am saying that they didn't just acquire Tom Seaver.

  144. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    New post up with game thread. That said, feel free to stay here and expend energy on a trade that has not yet been confirmed. ;-)

  145. JD - Jul 23, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Mick, The problem with the Dodgers is that Epstein wants their best prospect (Zach Lee) and the Dodgers don't want to give him up for a rental; that's why they are focusing on Garza.

  146. Section 222 - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    I'm a bit surprised by the criticism of Porter. He's so much better than Tim Tolman and other previous occupants of the position, it's not even funny. Plus, he successfully challenged Heyward's arm at least twice before in this series.I'd much rather have the occasional out than leave runners stranded at 3rd who could have scored. I like his aggressiveness and trust his judgment. No one is right 100% of the time, not even commenters here.

  147. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    I was wrong first!

  148. natsfan1a - Jul 23, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Nuh-uh! I was.'Chili Mo' — Section 3, My Sofa said… I was wrong first!

  149. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    Wow, the Mets bullpen????? Gave up a six-spot and now they walked Gorzy??? Just put the game on. Saw the ATL lost. OK, then.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 79 15.0
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Sunday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 87 69 4.5
-------------------------
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 --
PITTSBURGH 84 71 7.0 --
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 4.5
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

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ON THE RADIO

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