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Werth shouldn’t rush back

Jul 24, 2012, 2:51 PM EST

US Presswire photo
Jayson Werth went 0-for-3 at Class AAA Syracuse last night.

NEW YORK — The Nationals have survived without Jayson Werth for nearly three months now, and the time is fast approaching for the veteran right fielder to rejoin the club after recovering from a broken left wrist.

Werth played in his first rehab game with Class AAA Syracuse last night — he went 0-for-3, grounding into a double play — and general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Davey Johnson have both said they'll let the 33-year-old dictate how much more time he needs in the minors.

That could be as little as one more week, and Johnson acknowledged Werth could come off the disabled list for the start of the Nationals' next homestand. That just so happens to come on July 31, with the Phillies in town. And wouldn't that offer up a juicy storyline, with Werth returning to the field against his former club and against the same team he was facing when he broke the wrist in the first place (with many Philadelphia fans in attendance mocking him as he departed the field in terrible pain).

Obviously, Werth has motivation to make it back for that game. But the Nationals need to be careful not to rush him back too soon, for a coupleRead more »

108 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. SCNatsFan - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Werth needs to prove himself in the minors – like Wang – and not just be recalled because he 'feels good'. Neither of these guys can rehab in DC, we don't have the space.

  2. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    I can't disagree with the sentiment expressed here, but… it's hard to keep a competitor like Werth in the minor leagues. He's going to want to be part of pennant race baseball as soon as possible. And frankly what does "truly ready" really mean. I'm mostly concerned that it removes a LH batter from the line-up and replaces him with a RH.

  3. Kirbs - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    I hate to say it and don't want to jinx anything, but the history of baseball shoes roster issue always seem to work themselves out with additional injuries.

  4. Kirbs - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    *shows. Once again the cell phone keyboard comes back to haunt spelling.

  5. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    From Erickson's report: Facing the ninth-best offense in the ten-team Eastern League, Chien Ming-Wang tossed six and a 1/3rd shutout innings to get the win for Harrisburg, 5-1. Wang allowed two hits and walked none while striking out six.When exactly are his 30 days up? Does anyone know?

  6. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Doesn't sound like that's an issue per his comments in Comak's recent piece.#4 said… I can't disagree with the sentiment expressed here, but… it's hard to keep a competitor like Werth in the minor leagues. He's going to want to be part of pennant race baseball as soon as possible. And frankly what does "truly ready" really mean. I'm mostly concerned that it removes a LH batter from the line-up and replaces him with a RH. July 24, 2012 11:00 AM

  7. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Carrying my post from the last post over to the new one.Cameron. yes their are trolls for every team on the ESPN boards. However, there are also a few regular posters as well as I on the ESPN boards who post during almost every Nats game on a consistent basis. I am sure some of them pay attention to this site. I have been reading this site all year, just barely have posted. I'll send them the message

  8. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    Thanks for sharing that 1a. I hope when the emotion of it becomes a factor, he can stick to that sentiment.

  9. Feel Wood - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    But that arrangement only works if Werth is healthy and ready to face big-league pitchers. One week on rehab may not be enough.If he's playing full games every day in that one week on rehab, then he's healthy. Staying in the minors beyond that is pointless, because that's not going to make him any more ready to face big league pitchers. The only way he can get his timing back against big league pitchers is to face them. There's going to be a ramp-up period a la Morse, Zimmerman, etc, no matter what. Might as well start that ramp-up ASAP rather than delaying it with more weeks of minor league play.

  10. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    They have 2 series with the Phillies in September, including the final 3 games of the season. Plenty of time for Werth to heal and wait for what could be the coup de grace to the Phils and their fans.The Phils will not have a chance at the NL East crown at that late date, but we could personally knock them out of a wild card spot that late in the season, if they are still in the running for one.Much more important for him to get back into game shape and be ready to hit the floor running when he does show up. With Bernie suddenly ripping, Harp's bat waking up, and Morse hitting moon shots again, no need to rush. And Brown can fill any holes that develop in the meantime, like slumps or hangnails, or whatever.Werth is important because of his leadership in the clubhouse and his experience as a former champion, more than for his ability on the field. The Nats have more viable OF options now than when he got hurt, but they need his presence and savvy in the post-season. With him back in play, Harp and Brown will probably learn more about winning in the big games than they ever would have with anyone else as a mentor.

  11. David - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    speaking of wang tho, he finally had his first good outing since spring training…

  12. Feel Wood - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    When exactly are his 30 days up? Does anyone know?It doesn't matter, because whenever they're up he's going to be DFA or traded. There is absolutely no place to put him on the big league roster at this point. It is already over the limit for pitchers. The only thing that could possibly save Wang is for a starter to get hurt, which is why they'll let the 30 days play out before they make any kind of move, just in case. It's the X. Nady situation all over again. Had Desmond gone to the DL a day or two sooner, X would probably still be here. But his rehab time ran out, so they had no choice but to cut him.

  13. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    " I have been reading this site all year, just barely have posted. I'll send them the message"Then of course you know how much we try to keep it friendly and collegial in here. Last thing we need is a fresh hoard of argumentative trolls. Just sayin.

  14. Doc - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Agreed, Mark.Morse was rushed back too!AAA or Bigs, a player has to get his timing back.Best that Werth does it at AAA. The Nats lineup doesn't need someone taking BP until Werth gets his swing back.When he's ready, the Nats will be ready for him!

  15. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    For sure. Wait, who hoards trolls? That's just creepy. :-)

  16. David - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    does Corey Brown finally get a start to rest Harper or Morse at some point during this series?

  17. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Chili Mo said, "Last thing we need is a fresh hoard of argumentative trolls."Oh. Wait. The toothpaste is out of that tube.I keep waiting for someone to take issue tonight with Mark's headline: "Game 96."

  18. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    natsfan1aThanks for the link. Money quote:"On if he'd push to be ready by the July 31 series against the Phillies: "Nah. I want to get to a point where I’m ready to play up here. I don’t want to be a detriment to the team because I’m trying to play hero and come back early. I want to be able to play when I come back. In ’05, I got misdiagnosed. I knew I wasn’t right, but I was told that I was fine. I knew that I wasn’t fine. The production just wasn’t there. I had an injury, and I was trying to play through. I’ve done that before. The team is playing good. There’s no reason to come up here before I’m ready to go."The guy is putting the team ahead of everything else. That's one big reason why he is more valuable than the sum of his athletic parts.

  19. Section 222 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Thanks for the link to Amanda's piece 1a. Sounds like Jayson has a great attitude about his return, which doesn't surprise me. The team has chemistry and he knows he needs to enhance it, not mess it up by returning too soon. I'm hoping for great things from Werth when he comes back, but it's tough to jump right in as Morse, Lidge, and Storen have shown. One plus is that Bernadina was producing off the bench, so a return to that role when the time comes shouldn't cool him down much. When all the parts are back in place (Werth, Desi, Tracy), this team is looking very strong for the stretch run.

  20. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    OK – one decent outing in the minor leagues. Doesn't prove anything yet.Whose starter spot does he take the way the 5 of them are pitching? Not Det this time – he is pitching out of his mind and shouldn't be messed with anymore. What's next for Wang – a hangnail? I still think he needs to man up and offer to finish the season at Syracuse. They can't make him, but he can go voluntarily. Re: Werth – this team has set a bad precedent this year of rushing people back from the DL – they should know by now that players lie because they want to play. Morse is the poster child. But now, it's later in the season and we can't just stick him in there if he is not even an equal replacement. He needs to have his legs under him so that he can be the base runner we all know and love, he needs the stamina to play outfield, too. Above all – when he comes back he can't just be put in the lineup all game every game immediately. He needs to be phased back in. Maybe the recent handling of Storen shows they are changing their ways.

  21. 704ee192-d59b-11e1-b06c-000bcdcb2996 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Section 3, No Worries, like I said, the few posters I'm referring to are regular posters who prefer to keep it clean as well.-Wadlez

  22. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    "Oh. Wait. The toothpaste is out of that tube."My point egzackly. We don't need more piles of toothpaste. I think I stepped in one already…

  23. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Thanks, Wads, and belatedly welcome.

  24. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Hadn't read the Jayson quote when I posted – what a stand up guy. My Philly relatives were kind of snickering about the Werth deal and his hitting last year. I quickly informed them that we love him here and are thrilled to have him – his contributions to this club have been much more than batting average. I know this sounds smug – but I truly think the DC fans are just a bit more sophisticated and can recognize intangibles and not just go straight to BA.

  25. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    No, wait. There's still time to save the 'paste.

  26. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    You saved it? So what did I step in, then?

  27. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:19 PM

    Off topic, but I have been checking out some DVR replays from last night. Finally getting towards the end. Field conditions look awful- that's a new stadium with poor drainage? Didn't look like downpours, play didn't stop. Looks to me like their own home field conditions led to their defensive issues in the 10th. Very slick . How can you let that happen in a home game? Sounds like Bryce got booed a lot. Don't they know he loves that?

  28. Section 222 - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    The weather and field conditions made Zim's play in the 9th all the more impressive. Kilgore has a nice piece up about how he went for it on that play despite having botched a similar chance in the debacle against the Braves.But of course he should be playing 1B instead…

  29. rogieshan - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    It will be interesting to see what the batting order looks like with a full lineup. I don't know who Davey Johnson has in mind for the leadoff spot down the stretch, but my vote is Harper, although I suspect it will be Espinosa by default. I hope Desmond doesn't end up there again.

  30. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    Responding to a veritable plethora of comments:1. A whole bunch of y'all are saying that Davey's handling of the pitching last night was good, and the hook on JZ made sense. My question is: where the heck were you last night?! I couldn't had a bit of help defending that decision! ;-) (It's ok. I'm just teasing.)(sort of)2. Laddie Blah Blah wrote a nice piece in the last thread that ended with:Laddie Blah Blah said… Sometimes I think the Nats faithful, even here, do not fully appreciate how dominant the Nats have become…. They are actually stronger now than they were when the season began…. Ladies and Gentleman, I give you a champion in the making.That post, actually, makes a lot of sense. If anyone reading this hasn't seen it, go read it!3. Laddie Blah Blah said…I think Davey made a similar prediciton before the season started…Indeed he did. Perhaps only by implication. But he did say something like "if we don't win the division, they should fire me" or something like that. (Anyone have the exact quote?)4. NatsLady said…but McCatty's visit … Holy moley. I've watched a lot of baseball over the years, and I have never, ever, seen, so completely consistently, over and over and over again, the difference between the pitches before and after a McCatty visit.Steady Eddie might remember a game where we sat together. Perhaps it was Gio piching? Can't remember. Anyways, he had a rough first couple of innings, he had let in already 3 runs or something, and in the third inning, after a hit or two, he walked two weak hitters, and was 2-0 in on the next hitter. McCatty came out, and the pitcher (Gio?) retired the next 9 out of 10 batters.Again last night: Gonzo throws five straight balls. McCatty visits, and next pitch is a ground-ball DP. Next batter, ball one, then fly out, game over.

  31. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    rogie, I think the Desi-at-leadoff experiment is over. Clearly, he was flourishing later in the order where his power was more important than taking pitches or walking. With regard to CMW, I don't know what to expect. You all know I'm a fan, but the injuries have just been devastating to him. I think we have to see how well Lannan does in the next doubleheader. If Lannan repeats, then we won't see CMW. If Lannan blows up, then Rizzo could say, look, are you willing to sit in Syracuse for a chance to help the team that has done a lot for you? Because if they DFA him, even with his performance this year, contending teams teams are SO desperate for starting pitching they would pick him up.

  32. Cameron - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Rogie, Much rather have Espinossa hitting leadoff if he keeps up what he is doing now. Also Werth with a OBP of .372 before he was injured could be an option.

  33. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    #4… I think Bo will be the Nats manager after Davey retiresRight now it looks like Randy Knorr Mick.

  34. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    My daughter and I were reviewing all the catchers this year — and we had forgotten Carlos Maldonado. What happened to him? Is he still in AAA?

  35. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Wonk, I was working last night, not posting. But I was critical of Davey for (a) letting Stras pitch the 6th, and so far into the 6th on Friday night and (b) putting Storen in for two nights' running.So, I'm absolutely OK with JZ coming out on a rainy night. He did his job, and he left with a lead, that's what you want for a pitcher–a good result for a good day's work. He was in line for the win, and at worst a no-decision. If you leave him in for the 7th and he gives up a run and leaves with a runner on base, he is in line for a no-decision or a loss. If he gives up a run and finishes the inning, then he's made a lot more pitches for a no-decision. So, the only time you have gained is if he pitches a clean 7th, and you are still only saving your BP one inning. Also am OK with Storen going in, as long as he's on a very short leash. I really have no criticism of Davey on last night's game, and I hope I'm not just going by results.McCatty trips to the mound are amazing, "no question about it."

  36. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Ladies and Gentleman, I give you a champion in the making.That post, actually, makes a lot of sense. If anyone reading this hasn't seen it, go read it!As I said from the beginning the Nats win the division because the bullpen gets them there. Most of the starters (except for EJax) are young and haven't had that much experience pitching over 200 innings. Even Gio is still relatively new. They are still developing and are a work in progress. Meanwhile, the younger "prospect" types in the eight man bullpen are falling all over each other trying to make it hard for management to take them off the 25-man. And the offense has been inconsistent as expected. The return of Jayson Werth might just make them swing the other way again. And have every doomsday fan calling for Rizzo's head.Either way they still win the division because of their bullpen and a manager who knows how to put together and manage one. Davey takes pride in the fact that is his strongest suit as a manager.

  37. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    But the playoffs are a different matter entirely. This is where we get to see just how good a manager Davey Johnson still is. Whether he has lost anything due to the long layoff or not.

  38. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    "I think the Desi-at-leadoff experiment is over."Yeah. Desi has been great ever since he was moved down, and Danny is finally starting to click, as well. I have been wondering if they will try Bernie up there, again. He has been getting on, getting over, and getting in, just like a leadoff hitter should. He has stopped swinging for the fences, become much more selective, and is striking out at a much lower rate than before – he has become a contact guy.I gotta believe Davey is at least thinking about it.

  39. Steady Eddie - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Wonk — yeah you right, that was against the Rays in late June. The best thing is that the Cat's messages are (reportedly) basically like "don't be an idiot, just throw strikes!" THAT's old school.As long as you brought it up, the only beef I stated here against Davey re pitching last night was being a little too clever by half in using Storen as a ROOGY. I get the whole thing about working him back in (having sat through the Friday night torture where he shouldn't have been brought in at all on a second straight night after not having done so in his rehab, which was also his ST), and agree it shouldn't have been for an inning, but two pitches to get the first out of an inning is not even an appearance. OTOH, taking out JZimm after 6 was right and totally consistent with the "save the ace who's never pitched an entire season for September and after" philosophy Davey has talked about for weeks.Sorry to rehash that, but I didn't want to get lumped in with the (former) neganons.

  40. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    And if you think about it Werth really hasn't contributed all that much this year or last year for that matter. Werth is a bench bat that was mistakenly signed to a perennial star's long-term contract. Most every team makes this mistake at least once … except current Tampa Bay mgmt … but hey he isn't the most egregious mistake you could make. He isn't as bad as Marquis and somewhat better offensively than Austin Kearns.

  41. Feel Wood - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    The Mets grounds crew did absolutely nothing to the field until after the ninth inning, at which point there were visible puddles on the infield dirt that reflected the glare of the stadium lights. Then they came out and put a minimal amount of that diamond dry stuff in streaks in front of the plate and near the bases. Contrast this with the behavior of the Nats grounds crew on Friday night under a similar amount of rain, when they were slapping the stuff all over about every other inning. The Mets must have been running low on the stuff, or perhaps they figured the only way they could level the playing field against the Nats was to induce a comedy of errors and hope they came out on top.

  42. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    "Because if they DFA him, even with his performance this year, contending teams teams are SO desperate for starting pitching they would pick him up."NatsLady, you mean Lannan, or Wang?

  43. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    and agree it shouldn't have been for an inning, but two pitches to get the first out of an inning is not even an appearance.The warmup counts too albeit not as much but they do take that into account. They were also warming H-Rod last night.

  44. Steady Eddie - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Nats Lady @ 12:41 — I think you're right about Wang. Only question I have is, do you or anyone else know who takes on the salary of a DFA'd player who gets picked up by someone else? If it's the signing team, then DFAing marginal guys makes more sense, rather than paying a guy to play for someone else.

  45. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    NatsLady, you mean Lannan, or Wang?Either. But since Lannan has an option and so there is no reason to DFA him it would assuredly be Wang.

  46. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    peric — agree except that the offense had certainly become more consistent lately. Nats are now as a team 7th in team BA and runs, 5th in SLG, and 4th in OPS. Given what those stats were in May, and even June — that's quite an improvement.Pitching is outstanding: great SP, great middle relievers (compared to other teams), and a great bullpen. (Which is why the Nats lead the league in ERA, WHIP, etc.) And, you're right: Davey is outstanding at managing a pitching staff, and he's maximizing his talent here.In most sports — including baseball — the old adage is: defense will keep you in the game when your offense is sputtering. That is so true here. The pitching carried the entire team for the first entire month to month-and-a-half of the season. Now the bats have heated up, and the pitching has regressed from "unbelievably spectacular off the charts" to merely "best in baseball".Put it all together — and you get a great, solid, team.

  47. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    If it's the signing team, then DFAing marginal guys makes more sense, rather than paying a guy to play for someone else.The money is guaranteed they lose it.

  48. Steady Eddie - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    peric — but a warmup is not exactly pitching in competition, which is the point.Sofa — I assume she was talking about Wang. DFAing Lannan at this point in the season, given September and what he just did, would make little sense.

  49. Laddie Blah Blah - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    "We had forgotten Carlos Maldonado. What happened to him? Is he still in AAA?"Last I heard he was back at Syracuse, but he is now backing up Koyle Hill. At 33, the Nats have better, younger players than Carlos, especially Jhonaton Solano and Sandy Leon, not to mention Wilson Ramos and Jesus Flores. The Nats are loaded at catcher, more so than at any other position.

  50. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I have to believe a fully healthy roster has Espi leading off against RHP and LHP. Against RHP, the 5,6, 7 will be Laroche, Desmond, Werth. Against LHP it will be Desmond, Werth, Laroche. Harp,Zim and Morse bat 2,3,4. The catcher bats 8.Sorry I wasn't there to back you up last night on the pitching change, Wonk. I tend not to post during games because I only have my phone with me.

  51. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Meant Wang, sorry if I was not clear. They are not DFA'ing Lannan, why would they? The whole point was to keep him in Syracuse for insurance and doubleheaders. He's a known quantity. The situation with CMW is more complicated, because his future performance is so uncertain.

  52. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Watching that last couple of innings. Yes, the conditions looked as bad as I have ever seen them. But it seemed like our players were taking it into account and the Mets were playing a bit out of control. There seemed to be situations where a runner might have scored, but didn't push it, the defense was good, but careful. The Mets fell right into their own slick trap and it was almost slapstick out there. By the way, we have talked Nats pitching and hitting to death. Our defensive is just silly.

  53. hiramhover - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    They are actually stronger now than they were when the season beganIn a lot of ways, yeah – for July, Nats are the best hitting team in the NL, as measured by wRC+; starting pitching is best in the NL too (per ERA and FIP); bullpen is actually not so great–6th worst in NL (measuring by FIP and ERA).What impresses me just as much is their ability to achieve strong production even in the midst of injuries to the line-up and BP, so that they've gotten good results out of a changing mix of players. The starting rotation–knock wood–is the one element of the team that hasn't suffered depletion due to injury so far–unless you count Wang, and that's perhaps addition by subtraction. Stras's shutdown is looming, but let's hope others step up to fill to keep the rotation strong.

  54. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    A lot of Wang's salary is incentive-based, whereas Lannan's is guaranteed. So a team could pick up Wang with less risk than you might think.

  55. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Now the bats have heated up, If they force the square peg in the round hole of inserting Werth in there they could go south fast. As Mark appears to imply and I agree.As we saw last year he seems to have lost some of his power … and he isn't a consistent .300 hitter like Morse. While Morse "ramps up" he still hits. A hit is a hit. Werth Natslady's favorite fielder does not. His best years were the final two with the Phillies before that his offense was inconsistent and mixed. Werth may make Natslady happy to see him in the field and unhappy to see Morse out there, but he makes me unhappy when he comes to the plate and I am always happy to see Morse there. I'll take Morse Natslady you can have almost 34 year old Werth. He can join Ankiel on your fantasy team of NO BATS but smooth fielding.Werth is not even close to as good a hitter as Zimmerman, Morse is better yet he is paid better than both. That is egregious. And its not just me saying that you can look at what fan graphs says, KLaw, etc. All are pretty much in agreement on this. Albeit I don't agree with them on Zimmerman. KLaw likes to put Zim in that box as well but the advanced stats bear out that when Zim is healthy he is this team's best hitter bar none.

  56. bowdenball - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    NatsLady said… "The situation with CMW is more complicated, because his future performance is so uncertain."I think it's pretty certain: He won't miss bats against major league hitters, who will hang 5 or 6 runs on him in 4+ innings unless he gets really really lucky on balls in play. Then after the game, a few people will comment that he would've done much better if his sinker had been sinking, and will point to the fact that he won 19 games five years ago while getting 7 runs per game of support as evidence of his potential.It's happened like 50 times in a row now. How much more certain can you be?

  57. Feel Wood - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    As long as you brought it up, the only beef I stated here against Davey re pitching last night was being a little too clever by half in using Storen as a ROOGY. I get the whole thing about working him back in (having sat through the Friday night torture where he shouldn't have been brought in at all on a second straight night after not having done so in his rehab, which was also his ST), and agree it shouldn't have been for an inning, but two pitches to get the first out of an inning is not even an appearance.Had Leon not walked, forcing him to pinch hit for Zimmermann, Davey might well have left him in to pitch to Wright before he brought in Gonzales to face the lefties. He could have let Zimmermann hit there, but with two out and a runner on first with a 2-1 lead, he probably figured the best chance to add on was with someone like Moore who could drive the ball – even though Zimmermann can hit. He probably had Storen warmed up for exactly that situation, and had it not played out that way Storen would not have pitched last night. Keep in mind that even though easing players back in after DL stints is a goal, the real goal is to do what he needs to do to win the game. Friday night Davey lost sight of that. Last night he didn't.

  58. alexva - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    peric said "Werth really hasn't contributed all that much this year or last year for that matter. Werth is a bench bat"get your head out of your stats and realize that a lot goes into transforming a losing team to a winning one. was he an overpay?, yes. has he been an important contributor?, yes times two.

  59. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Koyle Hill. At 33, Laddie Blah Blah, that is your veteran defensive catcher. He is in great physical shape. He has thrown out 45% of the base stealers in Syracuse since he's been there. His management of the pitching staff brought forth improvement in all starters including John Lannan. Syracuse's sudden steep rise in the standings can be traced back to when he arrived. He isn't a great hitter after almost losing fingers to a table saw. But he can catch. If Flores goes on the DL he may end up being the man.

  60. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Steady Eddie wrote "…but two pitches to get the first out of an inning is not even an appearance…."You know what I think?I don't think Davey was trying to use Drew as a ROOGY. I suspect that we saw "bad Drew" last night, we were lucky as heck to get one out. Recall that first pitch to Wright was over his head. The second pitch was hit almost to the warning track.I think Davey saw enough, and that, combined with the fact that the next guys were lefties, he'd take him out and save the game and save Drew's ego.I thought that immediately, but hadn't written it down. I didn't see anybody else write this, and so I ask:Thoughts, anyone?

  61. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Can you imagine, if Werth and Ramos did not get injured? The down side would have been it would have given less time to Lombo, Moore and Solano, but Werth was hitting about 280 before the injury… We would be talking about a line up 8 deep

  62. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    yes. has he been an important contributor?, yes times two.More than Zim? Harper? Bernadina? Desmond? Even Ankiel who was actually here? No. You can get his intangibles just as well with Werth on the bench. Doubt he'll go for that though … and that could turn the offense sour.

  63. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Re: DFA Wang vs. Lannan: yes, that's why I was confused, it read to me like you meant Lannan, but there's no reason to just let Lannan go away for nothing. Got it now.When a player under contract is put on waivers, and claimed by another team, the other team takes on his contract. If he's not claimed, and his original team releases him (maybe because he refused to be assigned, as a 5-year+ player, e.g., Nady, can do), then the original team pays his salary, because they have a contract, and if another team signs him, they only have to play the MLB minimum, pro-rated (around $500,000/year), and the original team is still on the hook for the difference.

  64. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  65. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    but Werth was hitting about 280 before the injury…Small sample size. Average those at bats out with last year and what do you have? A bench bat.

  66. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    DC wonk… perhaps the ball hit by Wright gave Davey the feeling he had dodged a bullet? who knows.

  67. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    (and perhaps I'm totally wrong and Davey's already said that he was intending to use him as a ROOGY — but _I_ was happy to see the hook after two pitches, and I didn't see any evidence that is _wasn't_ "bad Drew" last night).

  68. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    peric.. I thought Werth was hitting better this season with men on base and I think Werth's average was up because of a stronger lineup in front and in back of him.

  69. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    mick said… DC wonk… perhaps the ball hit by Wright gave Davey the feeling he had dodged a bullet? who knows.Given that Drew's only other pitch was over Wright's head — I know that's what _I_ was thinking!

  70. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    One other point I saw earlier that I wanted to chime in on. Someone said that a good manager can be worth about ten games a year. That seems awfully high to me. Given that an outstanding WAR for a player is not that high would lead me to believe a manager cannot make that much difference. I think Bill James once put the number at three or four.I also think that strategic decisions get way too much scrutiny. They tend to be as good as the player implementing them. As a former Tiger fan, I can tell you that I thought Sparky Anderson may have been one of the worst in-game managers I have ever seen, yet he managed two of the greatest teams in history – the Big Red Machine and the 1984 Tigers. Sparky's brilliance was his ability to construct a 25 man roster that would stand up over 162 games – good chemistry, everyone with roles they knew and accepted. He also created a winning atmosphere with guys who played hard. Davey has many of those same qualities without the numerous bone-headed strategic decisions. I would be willing to accept that this ten game assertion could be made if one is taking into account those attributes I describe above. That's hard to measure though. I do think if it's based solely the decisions to bunt or pull a pitcher, it's way off base.

  71. hiramhover - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    pericCalling Werth "NO BAT" and comparing him to Ankiel is ridiculous. He's a career 122 wRC+ player, and was at 126 this year before his injury–higher than any other Nat is averaging on the season.

  72. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    Davey is not comfortable with the bullpen right now and that scares me. I think he is feeling his way around. Right now, Burnie and Clip are a little tired and had some shaky appearances. Gorzo and Gonzo both tend to give up a run as soon as they enter. HRod he has to use in just the right, no -pressure spot and Drew he has to work back in. That means he can't just put someone in to do what he needs at that point and trust that it will happen. I fear we are in for a few tight spots until he gets them to the point where that's going to happen. I also think that's why we are carrying an extra reliever, because HRod and Storen aren't aren't really fully trust-able yet. Hope they fall into place soon.

  73. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    #4 let's be fair to Sparky… The Reds won NL Titles in 1970, 1972, 1975 and 1976. They won West title in 1973 as well. Back to back WS in 75-76

  74. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    swami you may be right… I'm not sure it is a panic siituation

  75. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Mick:Sparky was a great manager – one of the best of all time. That's my point. Strategic decisions are over rated.

  76. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    peric, I think what others are getting at, re: Werth, is that he added the same kind of spark to the team that, in a way, Harper added this year. When he did get on base (not nearly enough), he looked for a way to manufacture a run. He, like Harper, was always looking to grab an extra base from somewhere. He (e.g.) called out "Teddy's" losses. He really tried, and to some extent succeeded, in changing the losing atmosphere, to a "if you want it, make it happen" atmosphere.What I hadn't thought about until now — is that with Harper, and the others picking up his spunk and/or raising their game — perhaps the Nats don't need that anymore. In other words, the intangibles he brings (and he does bring them), we now already have (while we didn't so much last year).Food for thought . . . On the other hand, it _is_ worth remembering that, although it was only 113 plate appearances, his slash line was .276/.372/.439/.810 which was (probably along with LaRoche) the best on the team at the time he went down. If (a big if, granted) he can continue to do that, that's a plus. (Better numbers than, say, Lombo), and he has a better OPS+ than any other starter on the team.

  77. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    DC Wonk you hit the nail on the head. Assuming Werth is back, does he bat 7th?

  78. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    peric, I got it that you hate Werth, CMW, Ankiel and anyone else over 30… Just post that once a day and we'll be sure not to forget it. :)

  79. baseballswami - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Mick – no, not panic, just a bit iffy. Regarding managers – my Filly relatives feel that Charlie Manuel was never a good manager. He had a team that all he had to do was run them out there every day and let them play and they would win. Lots of veterans, automatic pitching. Now that they have some different players and some younger players he is being exposed. If you watched him during the last few years, he was kind of the anti- Tony LaRussa – a statue could probably have done the job. I think they have a point and they thought this way even back when they were winning. They always thought that if the team ever went younger they would need someone else.

  80. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    swami… good points on ManuelTony L is a hall of fame manager period

  81. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    I guess the point I'm trying to make is that a manager's strategic decisions matter only in as much as they impact the confidence of his players and the chemistry of his team. Their short-term impact on the individual game itself are pretty minimal. It's why good managers sometimes make what seem to be curious decisions. They know something about how the decision will impact the team as a whole, or perhaps an individual player's psyche that we don't.

  82. Fear and Ignorance - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Would love to see the Nats try to get Ramon Hernandez and Marco Scutaro. Wouldn't have to give up too much for either I wouldn't think. Scutaro is probably getting traded to somebody( with Tulo coming back soon and Josh Rutledge looking like their future at 2B) and he would be an upgrade over Lombo as a starter at 2B, albeit a slight one. He would also provide more insurance in case of an injury to Espinosa or Lombo. Hernandez used to be pretty good and is a veteran catcher…worth a look if he can be had on the cheap. I do not trust Leon at all, and think the injury to Flores could bother him the rest of the year. Scutaro makes $6 million a year, so Rockies might be happy to save $2 million at this point.

  83. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    #4 very true

  84. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    F&I I wonder to about Flores injury.. I like both Leon and Solano, maybe I am wrong, but I think Nats will be OK with both

  85. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    #4, you make a good point.There are at least _two_ components to being a manager. One is "in-game strategy". That _might_ be measurable to some extent.But the other, as you noted, and you also noted it'd be nigh impossible to measure, is the managers ability to "manage" 25 players — juggle the bullpen, get players to understand their role, leave pitchers in longer than usual sometimes so they learn something, take pitchers out too early to help their ego sometimes, having their back and playing them through slumps, and etc. etc. etc.Perhaps a third aspect is understanding what pieces a team needs and relaying that to the GM and/or understanding talen. So, e.g., Davey explained to Rizzo why he needed a complete overhaul of the bench. Davey also tried to convince Rizzo that Harper was ready, at 19, to play from opening day.What I learned from Davey with the Mets in the 1980's — is that he's good at all those aspects. His in-game management is very good. He makes mistakes from time-to-time, but, no one bowls 300 every time out. As for "managing" a group of 25 millionaires — he's one of the best. That's why, wherever he manages, the players love him so much.

  86. 'Chili Mo' -- Section 3, My Sofa - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Most of what a manager gets paid for doesn't happen between the lines. All the greats and near-greats have said so, as have most of the simply competent ones. The secret to managing is keeping the 8 guys who hate you away from the 8 who haven't made up their minds."

  87. Tcostant - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Finally a slow re-hab; the answer to my prayers. Now for something completely different.For all those who were calling Giolito a can’t miss star at the time leading up to his signing, I saw these sobering stats in a resent si.com (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/magazine/07/23/dylan-bundy/index.html?sct=mlb_t11_a0) article:“Using a 20-year sample between 1981 and 2000, pitchers drafted and signed out of high school in the first round were more likely to never pitch a day in the big leagues (43%) than they were to reach 20 career wins (34%)……Major league teams signed 102 high school pitchers taken in the first round from 1981 through 2000 (not including supplemental first-round picks). Yet only 15 of those 102 pitchers won 20 games for the team that drafted them, a group that included Dwight Gooden, Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia and Josh Beckett. For every one of those brass rings, there were three total busts. Of those 102 high school first-rounders, 44 never reached the majors.”Me: When they hit, they can hit big; but 44 out of 102 high school first-rounders never reaching the majors is just stunning. It a good risk, with our current pitchers, you get an ace if he make it.

  88. mick - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    sofa… I agree, in the case of the Nats, I don't think any player on this team hates another player.. This is a close knit team, guys hugging each other after plays in the dug out shows me how close they have become

  89. #4 - Jul 24, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Tcostant:I wonder if those percentages will go up as there becomes a greater awareness of the wear and tear on the <25 year old arms. I would think that because most of these guys had MLB stuff, they were pushed along and ruined. It's why we shouldn't count on Giolito for the rotation until maybe 2018.

  90. Tcostant - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:04 PM

    #4 I agree it's at least a 5 year plan. Just look at Josh Smoker (I know he was a supplemental round pick), but we were all high on this hard throwing high school picher and he was sniffed Double A in 5 years. I'm just saying, I think the fan base expects to much of prospects because they happen to run in one in a decade prospect for both pitching and hitting, in years where we happen to have the #1 pick.These are rare things and sometime guys are just busts (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/lee_jenkins/02/12/matt.bush/index.html)

  91. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Would love to see the Nats try to get Ramon Hernandez and Marco Scutaro.Given Koyie Hill who I think might just be better for this team they just really need Scutaro. The problem with both Scutaro and Hernandez is that like Hill they need to be stashed in AAA. Neither is going to go for that.Again, Rizzo and Johnson are on top of things as far as catcher is concerned. They've got Koyie Hill safely stashed and ready to go now. Its shortstop that could be a potential problem if both Espy and Desmond lose games to injuries. Right now, it would be nice if slick fielding Alberto Gonzalez were still here. He could play 3rd, SS, and 2B at gold glove levels. But he has a great gig as a bench player for Texas so getting him back is out. But the Nats need an Alberto Gonzalez type in AAA. The problem is none of the MI they drafted are very good fielders. Zach Walters has 23 errors in 65 games so … he may not be ready defensively. Jason Martinson is still working his way through Potomac. Their Dominican players still deep in the low minors.AAA shortstop Seth Bynum and Jim Negrych aren't going to hack it. Josh Johnson may be a possibility with 6 errors at shortstop and he's about it. So, I imagine Johnson is Rizzo's fall back plan at this point.

  92. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    but we were all high on this hard throwing high school picher and he was sniffed Double A in 5 years.Another TJ arm like McGreary. Both still ensconced in the lower minors.

  93. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    peric, I got it that you hate Werth, CMW, Ankiel and anyone else over 30… Just post that once a day and we'll be sure not to forget it.I don't hate Koyie Hill given what he's done for Syracuse and he's 33. I'll take him over Ramon Hernandez. He's a younger Pudge … lacks offense but great defense. I look at what these plus 30 players are really contributing and in the end it really isn't that much. Only Morse and LaRoche right now and look how LaRoche is fading … Desmond has passed him in homers and matched him in doubles. Zimmerman is about to do the same after the cortisone shot. Ask yourself do you think Werth's bat can match Zim's? And he doesn't have the shoulder problem. NO. But he is paid to match Zim. Yet, instead the team has to rely on Morse and perhaps Tyler Moore if he is given an chance. Why do we need Werth?The same can be said of CMW. With Detwiler and if Lannan proves he can consistently make quality starts like the one he just managed in that doubleheader? Both are under 30 and under team control next year.Why do we need CMW?

  94. peric - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    And as for Ankiel Natslady?CF depth chart again for your perusal:LHB Bernadina majors LHB Harper majors All StarLHB Brown majors/AAA IL All StarRHB Perez AAA AA All StarLHB Goodwin AA : perhaps like Harper the top prospect in the system.Mmmm why do we need Ankiel again?Taylor

  95. MicheleS - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Peric, Okay, maybe you only like the guys that are in AAA that are over 30, the Werth contract is a sunk cost and it was the bad team tax we HAD to pay. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. NO FA would even think of coming to DC because up until that point the only thing everyone heard was that the Lerners were cheap. They overpaid, whatever. I am fine with it, as I think most people are. You may shout until you turn purple, but he is not going to be sitting on the bench anytime in the near future.And I think NatsLady's point to post it once a day is because that has been your comment on those guys every day since the beginning (probably).

  96. John C. - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Peric, I respect a lot of the time that you put in and the information that you provide, but when you call Werth a "bench bat" you really lose a lot of credibility. As awful as he was last season, his OPS+ was 97 – just under average for a major league player – and he put up a not spectacular but certainly respectable 2.5 fWAR (19th among MLB RF, according to fangraphs). So even at his nadir, he's better than a "bench bat." And other than his "trying to live up to the contract" year, his OPS+ has consistently been in the 120s (including this year), and his fWAR 5 or better. He's never going to produce at the level of his contract, but if you take out the $$ and focus on the player, he's fine. Unless you're using hyperbole, referring to Werth as a "bench bat" indicts your judgment more than the player.

  97. A DC Wonk - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    … and, umm, some of us are getting tired of seeing you picking on NatsLady.

  98. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    (sniffs) um, well, er, heh…'Chili Mo' — Section 3, My Sofa said…You saved it? So what did I step in, then?July 24, 2012 12:05 PM

  99. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    peric doesn't always pick on me, personally, he just has a different view of things, not a problem. I think you need to get past what Werth is paid. Period. Stop worrying about that, it's a sunk cost. Stop worrying about whether it's more cost-efficient to play Werth vs. Morse (or whoever) and just worry about what is the best lineup given the various players and their skills–not their salaries.Now, as to whether we are done needing Werth's intangibles, I would say not. I think the boys are ok through September, but if/when we get to the playoffs you need someone who's been dumped with champagne in the NLCS and realizes that's not the end of the road… Or, you can lose two games in the playoffs and come back to win the series.

  100. rogieshan - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Re: Nats looking to shore up middle infield.My sixth sense tells me it's going to be one of Brian Bixler, Mike McCoy or Billy Hall. Cheap. Versatile.Can't see Rizzo spending too much just for a one-month insurance.

  101. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:20 PM

    Speaking of clubhouses, just caught up on episodes of The Franchise, which I'd recorded but not yet watched this year. Always interesting to see the behind-the-scenes stuff. Only problem is, now I kinda sorta like a Marlins player, Justin Ruggiano. Loved the story of how he paid his dues in the minors, and seeing him interact so sweetly with his little kids. His peanut butter and banana sandwich put it over the top for me. Too bad he's a Marlin, or I could root for him. Eh, he could always get traded out of the division. :-)

  102. NatsLady - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Wouldn't mind seeing our boy Bixler back here–as long as you don't expect him to hit–but isn't that counter to Davey's bench philosophy?

  103. John C. - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Peric said…Why do we need Werth?Because the Nationals are a better team with him on the field and in the lineup. It doesn't matter one bit that he can't hit as well as Zimmerman can – Zim can only play one position at a time, and isn't an OF at all. Harper can only play one position at a time. Assuming arguendo that Morse's bat overcomes his lousy glove and gets him another OF spot, there is still one spot remaining. If you think that Tyler Moore (whose glove is bad and whose upside is a Jayson Werth level bat someday), Roger Bernadina and Corey Brown are as good right now as Jayson Werth, then we will have to agree to disagree. More cost effective? Absolutely! If that matters at all, it matters in the offseason – not now. Like Natslady said, you literally have to forget about his contract. And the reason is that it's not relevant right.And FWIW I am cautiously optmistic about Corey Brown (on another fan site I've been accused of being the "President of the Corey Brown Fan Club"). But I'm under no illusions that he offers what Werth offers right now.

  104. JaneB - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    Thanks for the Werth interview, 1a (and Amanda). The idea that we'd DFA Werth is just crazy talk. Though it was an interesting thought that we may now possess some of the grit ad fire intangibles he delivered was an interesting one (swami said that, I think).To me, the question is does he get back as fast if he stay in AAA than if he starts looking at big league pitching? We want Spring Training Redux over by September 1.

  105. natsfan1a - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Thing is, he was also imparting knowledge to the kid. See, for example, stealing home on Hamels.Though it was an interesting thought that we may now possess some of the grit ad fire intangibles he delivered was an interesting one (swami said that, I think).

  106. NCNatsie - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Comparing Werth's and Morse's comeback isn't quite right, because Morse had NO spring training, whereas Werth did, and 100+ regular season at bats, too. He should not have as long an adjustment period.

  107. rabbit34 - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    I'd give werth all the time he needs…into November.

  108. rmoore446 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    I like our young catchers but my impression is that passed balls have increased when they are behind the plate as have wild pitches that Flores or Ramos would have smothered. They will get better with experience but its sometimes painful to watch.

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