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Position analysis: Bullpen

Oct 19, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

US Presswire photo
Drew Storen will try to bounce back from his blown save in Game 5 of the NLDS.

As we transition into offseason mode, we'll start by breaking down the Nationals' roster by position (infield, outfield, catcher, rotation and bullpen) this week and examine where things stand at season's end and where things might stand moving forward. Today's position: The bullpen…

RHP DREW STOREN
Stats: 3-1, 2.37 ERA, 4 SV, 30.1 IP, 0.989 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 2.4 BB/9
0.7 WAR
2012 salary: $498,750
Contract status: Arbitration-eligible (Super 2), free agent in 2017
Where he fits in: Everything was going swimmingly for Storen, who had finally made it all the way back from his elbow surgery and had pitched brilliantly down the stretch. Over a 17-inning stretch from Sept. 3 through Game 4 of the NLDS, he allowed one run on nine hits, walking only one batter while striking out 17. But then came his disastrous ninth inning in Game 5, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth for the winter. Can Storen bounce back from that crushing loss? He certainly seems to have the right mindset to do it. And the Nationals certainly have confidence in the young right-hander to return to form.

RHP TYLER CLIPPARD
Stats: 2-6, 3.72 ERA, 32 SV, 72.2 IP, 1.156 WHIP, 10.4 K/9, 3.6 BB/9Read more »

289 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Steady Eddie - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Cole Kimball?

  2. sjm308 - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Good morning all!!Question one – does Garcia have options?? Not that I want to send him down, but if they are trying to re-make him into a starter it would be nice to have that flexibility.Question two – I realize it has been re-hashed over and over but why couldn't LannEn pick up the role that Gorzelanny provided? He is under control next year and I don't see a huge difference. Are you guys saying old dogs can't learn new tricks? Has LannEn been given this chance and failed? OK – enough questions. I have always liked Burnett from when I met him at an autograph thing at the park. Very quiet young man. I realize lots of people are down on him but I would love to see him come back. I realize he is expensive for what his role is but look at how cheap some of these other guys are next year. This is another terrific strength and I would love to see most of it together again. I guess bullpen is one area where there is lots of change. I mean two years ago we did not have Stammen, Matheus, Rodriguez, Garcia or Gonzalez pitching in the bigs from the bullpen. Finally, there is no doubt in my mind that Rizzo made great moves last year. Gio was the big splash, Suzuki got great attention late in the season and both were terrific. Quietly, the move of signing Gonzalez was also very very good. If he can do that type of move once a year we will be just fine.Another thought is that Rizzo or someone in the minor league system will soon be taking starters (like they did Stammen) and converting them because that list Mark ended with did not seem too long. Go Nats!!

  3. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Zach Duke?

  4. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Kimball had rotator cuff surgery a year and a half ago. I see he threw a few innings at Potomac and Harrisburg. I am assuming he had pain. Rotator not a good thing. Hope he can make it back.I don't know if I'd give up on Lannan as a 5th starter. I have always said, on a good team Lannan could win 12-15 games. All he does is take the ball and go out and pitch. He won some huge games for us this year. Ahhhh….but he's not a shiny Cadillac that Rizzo can show off. He only throws 89-91.

  5. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    A sleeper…..Rob Wort. Pitched at Potomac this year. 30th round pick a few years ago. Very live arm. 95 k's in 55 innings. Is 23 years old. Big year for him next year

  6. Mark Zuckerman - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I forgot to mention Cole Kimball, who missed the entire season while recovering from shoulder surgery. The Nats are hopeful he'll be 100 percent healthy next year.Zach Duke was mentioned among the starters yesterday.

  7. Constant Reader - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I'm probably in the minority on this and expect ridicule, but I'll argue we keep HRod come heck or high water. How much the injury effected his '12 performance, we MUST find out before just letting him go. HRod, the video game, is worth more in trade than Michael Morse straight up.

  8. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Sorry, Mark. Missed Zach Duke, will re-read. :)Watching–well, I didn't watch, but I listened to the SF feed–if you want to go deep in the postseason, you need another Ace SP. That could be Lohse, but it can't be Lannan, sorry. I understand the price will be high in either prospects or $$. But if this is our year, you have to go for it.

  9. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    I am also wondering about Kimball. We have not heard anything on this guy. Between injury and money, I also think we have seen last of Burnett in Nats uniform. What other options we have for LH relievers? Affeldt? (doesn't he have some connection with MarkZ?) Here is the list of names available:Jeremy Affeldt (34)Tim Byrdak (39)Randy Choate (37)Dana Eveland (29)Pedro Feliciano (35) – $4.5MM club optionBrian Fuentes (37) – $6.5MM club option with a $500K buyoutMike Gonzalez (35)Alex Hinshaw (30)J.P. Howell (28)Will Ohman (35)Darren Oliver (42) – $3MM club option with a $500K buyoutJ.C. Romero (37)Hisanori Takahashi (38)About Lannen being long reliever, I think it would be unfair to him. The guy is very much capable of being a starter for any other team if Nats are not interested. It would be a shame and a distraction for the team if Lannen is relegated to bullpen. I don't think he would like it very much.I think RH relief is pretty much set at this point: Storen, Clippard, Stammen, Mattheus, and Garcia/HRod.I would prefer someone other Gorzo for long relief. At one point in the season, it seems he would give up at least one run every time he was pitching. He did end his season strong. However, I am not sure he is worth more than $3M. I am not sure about choices either. I am sure of one thing, Rizzo will figure it out.NatsLady, I can't find Duke's name on FA list. It is weird. He could be an option to replace Gorzo?

  10. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    MASN negotiations (non)update.

  11. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    I'm with ya on HRod Constant. You just don't give up on his kind of talent. Wow….we have Storen, Stammen, Garcia, and Mattheus all making less than 500k a year. A bargain for the Lerners. Get up off your wallet and sign Laroche!

  12. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    sjm308 asks a pertinent question re Garcia's options. Again I think the Nats have painted themselves in a corner w/ Rodriguez, not realizing the sensible thing is to show him the door — somehow. So Mark seems to be posing this as a choice between Garcia and Clippard. In my world, it isn't. Clippard is too valuable to part with even if he becomes more expensive (see, the guy the Yankees bought to set up for Rivera). Garcia is a potential fifth starter. If they insist on banging their heads against the Rodriguez wall — there must be a 12-step program for that somewhere — then send Garcia down — assuming he has a remaining option, and I think he must — and let him become a starter at Syracuse while they wait for an epiphany and realize how much better they will feel after Rodriguez is gone.I thought Burnett's was a mutual option and, notwithstanding the surgery, he had indicated his decision, not the team's, to decline. Given the opportunity and good health, I'd keep him.If no Burnett, then serious consideration should be given to bringing M. Gonzalez back. Every team needs a LOOGY. The known is much preferable to picking from some other team's trash heap. (E.g., the schizophrenic Coffey — fireman one day, arsonist the next — and Brian Bruney, among others.)All of the relievers need to work less. Somebody on this list said Johnson "likes" to hold starters to six innings. I certainly hope that isn't the case. Clippard wore down in September. Burnett had to pitch injured. Some of this was the result of Storen's surgery. A lot of it was due to high pitch counts among the starters — all of whom were guilty. If Johnson can't be cured of pulling starters after six then the least he should do is spread the last 12 outs more evenly. More innings to Mattheus, use Garcia — if not sent to Syracus — for whole innings, not thirds of an inning.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    I wish there was a site that keeps tab on which players have how many options remaining.

  14. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    If Garcia is healthy, he is in the bigs…..no ifs or buts.

  15. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    The last observation about Kimball was that he couldn't break your glass window. Seemed to pitch OK in AZ a few days ago but hardly the final verdict. At least equally important he was giving up lots of walks while he was up in 2011 — eleven in 14 innings — and was never better, and usually much worse, than 4.5 BB/9 in his minor league career. That's a recipe for lots of runners in scoring position and something the Nats don't need.

  16. Dave - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    I know next to nothing, but…I had the impression that Lannan was less attractive as a bullpen guy, more suited to 4th or 5th starter role? I could be way off-base, but I recall that being in the discussion about John when we were going into September and October.Sorry to see the Giants lose last night. I'm keeping the faith, but I fear I will be a Detroit fan next week.

  17. Constant Reader - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    I'd like to retract my statement about HRod being worth more than Morse. While I believe what I said is true, there's no way for HRod to demonstrate he can be the video game version again before a Morse decision will be made.

  18. Feel Wood - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Question two – I realize it has been re-hashed over and over but why couldn't LannEn pick up the role that Gorzelanny provided? He is under control next year and I don't see a huge difference. Are you guys saying old dogs can't learn new tricks? Has LannEn been given this chance and failed?He could. But his arbitration status is the same as Gorzelanny's (one year left) and he stands to make a couple million dollars a year more than Gorz in arbitration. (Their 2012 salaries were $2M apart.) So if Gorz is going to be too expensive for his mop-up role, why would they pay even more for Lannan to do the same thing?

  19. Gonat - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Isn't Cole Kimball on the Arizona Fall League roster?

  20. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    I don't think I can bring myself to root for Detroit even if they end up playing Cards in World Series. I just hate how Detroit made it to postseason. They play in the weakest division in baseball, win less than 90 games, and start division series at home? Don't tell me any of that sounds right to you. You can bring me all the arguments you want in the world but I am not convinced one bit that Detroit is a good team. I would hate to see a team like this win World Series. Now that I have said all that, watch them win WS.

  21. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Hate to hear that about Kimball not being able to break glass. I still remember his first game in the bigs. Came in throwing 95 mph and then threw this splitter that exploded down about 2 feet. I thought I was seeing things. Good luck Cole

  22. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Theo, agree on Clippard. Even if more expensive than the average "setup" guy, he isn't your average setup guy. Other than shoulder problems in the spring and fatigue later in the year, he was phenomenal. Think of June, when he won the award for best reliever. Because he relies on the change-up (and soon, cutter) he probably won't blow out his arm. It's true that some teams would pay him to be their closer, and it's true he's said he wanted to close and has demonstrated he's capable of closing. Nevertheless, if you are going for all the marbles, you keep–and pay for–the top talent.

  23. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Yes, Kimball in Arizona. Looks like they are throwing him every 3 days. Has pitched 3 times. Rough outing first go….ok last 2

  24. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    FS, Detroit has good pitching, great pitching, and enough offense to overcome their well-below-grade defense. The Cards–who haven't won it yet–are living a charmed life with the likes of Kozma and Descalso (and Matt Carpenter) overperforming. Verlander&Co are not going to be beat by Kozma and Descalso. The Cards have to hope Beltran can get back out there.

  25. hiramhover - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Great individual summaries, Mark–thanks!When you put them all together, it's at least at mildly worrisome picture:- Clip, Storen, Mattheus, and Stammen are all coming back; – Garcia will surely be back, but maybe not as a reliever; – you've got Burnett, Gorzo, and Gonzalez as likely departures, creating 3 vacancies; – HRod comes back, but with a huge question mark. That could leave the Nats with close to a half empty BP, and esp. weak in middle/long relievers.

  26. Gonat - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Constant Reader said… I'd like to retract my statement about HRod being worth more than Morse. While I believe what I said is true, there's no way for HRod to demonstrate he can be the video game version again before a Morse decision will be made. October 19, 2012 8:41 AM _________________________________I've watched Henry for 2 years. Was his elbow a problem in 2011? Doubtful.I don't think he is worth much on the trade market which is why he will be in Spring Training. I don't see him being a better pitcher in front of the 5 RHs that did the job. Pitching is all about consistency. Henry is the model of inconsistency.

  27. SCNatsFan - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    After being a strength last year you wonder just hoe reliable this group is going forward. Again, if you sign LaRoche then a trio of Morse/Moore, Clippard and Flores should bring a pretty damn good startre of the organization goes that way.

  28. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    We could have beat the Giants. I am not sure we could beat Detroit. That is my feeling observing the teams at this point.

  29. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    hh, not only short on long/middle relievers but short on lefties, and you know Davey loves him some lefty relievers. Maybe someone like Danny Rosenbaum, who "faded" later in the season, could be converted to a long reliever?According to baseballreference.com, Zach Duke is a free agent. (He signed as a minor league free agent after being released by the Astros.)

  30. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    I don't know that I'll watch. Have barely clicked over at all to watch either LCS (#Saditude, #Flatitude). DET was also in top 5 or 6 MLB teams as far as payroll, I believe, so there's that.Faraz Shaikh said… I don't think I can bring myself to root for Detroit even if they end up playing Cards in World Series. I just hate how Detroit made it to postseason. They play in the weakest division in baseball, win less than 90 games, and start division series at home? Don't tell me any of that sounds right to you. You can bring me all the arguments you want in the world but I am not convinced one bit that Detroit is a good team. I would hate to see a team like this win World Series. Now that I have said all that, watch them win WS. October 19, 2012 8:48 AM

  31. SCNatsFan - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Have to think Duke, based his history, will get a look somewhere to be a 5. Can't see him coming back.NatsLady, I agree… we could have beat the Giants but when Detroits bats and arms are on they are a hard team to beat… but they tend to have bad spells. Sounds alot like us.

  32. MicheleS - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    I think if Gorzo goes (and I am NOT saying he should), Zach Duke could be his replacement. The question will be the short Lefty relievers. Sean is having that bone spur removed soon and who would sign a FA that just came off surgery – besides the Nats. Mike G would be good to keep.I can't recall any of us screaming for any of the relievers to be DFA'd (remember Doug Slaten?). How nice was that this year? And we never called for Henry to be DFA'd, just put on the DL. Henry has 1 shot in Spring Training and that's it. Can't have a Good Henry/Bad Henry any more. I can't handle the stress anymore. There is not enough Maalox and Bourbon to have me go through that again.

  33. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Detroit's pitching (outside of Valverde) could break postseason records. Here are some stats to show them in historical perspective–so far. Best MLB postseason pitchinghttp://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/10/18/3518456/mlb-best-post-season-playoffs-pitching-staffs

  34. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  35. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Duke being a free agent and showing that he is healthy suggests to me he's not coming back. His salary in 2011 was $3.5 MM and he could surely get a team to pay him that as a starter. Is that what we want to pay for a lefty long-reliever? I think I'd pay him that over paying Gorzy that, because I think he's a better pitcher than Gorzy, but I don't know if Duke would take it. In his situation, I wouldn't, but it comes down to intangibles–do you want to be a No. 5 starter on some team like Cleveland, KC or the Mets, or do you want to be a long reliever on a playoff-bound team?

  36. MikeinDC - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Seems as this is the dept that will most change over the offseason. But with back-end guys like Clip and Storen, Nats should be just fine.Hope Burnett comes back, he has made himself into a really good reliever over the past two seasons. Would hate to see another team get him.

  37. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    FYI:@Duffysirishpub 1-3 tomorrow. Nats season wrap party.

  38. Knoxville Nat - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Completely off topic (and I apologize for this)but if you have a chance be sure to read the story "Mourning Glory" in the October 22nd issue of Sports Illustrated magazine. A great inspirational baseball story on young men (including a young coach), and how they dealt with tragedy before becoming state champions in the high school playoffs. Having one lived near this area of maryland I can attest to the town's passion for high school baseball.Oh, and I must say I love the team's baseball caps!

  39. Knoxville Nat - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Of course that should be "having ONCE lived near.."I think I have NatsJack's fat thumbs disease.

  40. Steady Eddie - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    NatsLady — exactly right questions re Duke, and agree that he's a better choice than Gorzy if he'll take the role. And not an easy answer, given that pitching in a pennant race and postseason is an unmatched way to showcase yourself for a starter's deal in the following year, versus perpetual frustration at no run support and bad defense in an also-ran team. Depends on whether he wants the $ security now at the price of frustration in your daily work, forced to pitch for yourself rather than the team's fate; or take a trade-off of somewhat less (but still decent) money and a smaller role for the potential of a big payoff later. May ultimately depend on the degree of confidence he has in himself for a spotlight role.Re Burnett, for whatever his future is going to be, he needs to get full medical diagnosis and treatment for whatever is ailing his elbow. He's clearly on the record that every team can read as worried about what an MRI will show. Until he gets that condition clarified, very few teams will want to risk that kind of money on such a big question mark about what they're getting. And the few that might (NYY, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels) seem not to be in a position to outlay rashly at this point.

  41. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    I think that Burnett is/was a critical piece of the puzzle and would be sorely missed if he does not return healthy. I think he is well worth the gamble at $3.5 mil. I think the role of the long reliever can be filled in many ways and there is no need to spend the big bucks for that especially since Stammen can do some of that as well. I think Lannan is fine as a 5th starter when your other 4 starters are as good as ours. The difference in team wins between having someone like EJax at no. 5 and Lannan would be negligible at best. At a reasonable price I'd love to have Anibal Sanchez to fill out the rotation but he's likely to get a multi year expensive deal somewhere.

  42. MicheleS - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Eddie.. ask and you shall receive:Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWP Sean Burnett underwent arthroscopic surgery Thursday two remove two small bone spurs. It shouldn't even interrupt his throwing program.

  43. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Duke pitched for 5 years with the Pirates, so he knows what it's like to pitch for a losing team–the 2011 Diamondbacks and September 2012 gave him the feel for what it's like to be on a playoff team. It will be interesting to watch his choice.

  44. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    I would like to think Tigers 'great' postseason pitching is more of a function of facing average offense (A's) and then a lineup full of chokers (yankees). there is nothing great about Detroit pitching outside Verlander and maybe Fister. I think we will know that soon enough. Whoever wins NLCS, hope to see them sweep Tigers to win WS.

  45. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Postseason bright side from Brandon McCarthy:Brandon McCarthy ‏@BMcCarthy32If asked, I'd say the best part of the offseason is not having to end everyday by showering with all of my co-workers.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    JD said… I think that Burnett is/was a critical piece of the puzzle and would be sorely missed if he does not return healthy. I think he is well worth the gamble at $3.5 mil.I think the role of the long reliever can be filled in many ways and there is no need to spend the big bucks for that especially since Stammen can do some of that as well.I think Lannan is fine as a 5th starter when your other 4 starters are as good as ours. The difference in team wins between having someone like EJax at no. 5 and Lannan would be negligible at best.At a reasonable price I'd love to have Anibal Sanchez to fill out the rotation but he's likely to get a multi year expensive deal somewhere.JD, a lot of good points. Burnett is a versatile part of the bullpen. I heard he was going to turn down the $3.5 million mutual option anyway to get a new deal.The Nats were much more efficient with 2 lefty specialists in MGonzo & Burnie and there is still the possibility both return, 1 returns or neither.A big need for the Nats is AAA pitching depth with 2 MLB ready players like Zach Duke. With doubleheaders and the always ready need to have depth, it has to be a priority. The Nats were fortunate that Wang was their only unforseen casualty in 2012.The Nats need for the a 5th starter has to be a significant upgrade over Lannan or why bother as the Nats could go to the trade deadline in July 2013 and reassess their situation. I'm sure the Nats are going to be "in" on many players and see what they get including Lohse, Anibal and maybe Peavy.

  47. pdowdy83 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    What makes Duke a better choice than Gorzelanny if the money is about the same? Duke doesn't strike people out at all. His career 4.7 K/9 is incredibly low for a reliever. While he did strike out 10 in 13 innings (super small sample size) as a reliever this season he doesn't throw very hard and I wouldn't expect to see him keep that up.Gorzelanny on the other hand, as a releiver, has pitched 114 innings. In those 114 innings he has struck out 96 hitters, posted a whip of 1.25, an ERA of 3.32 and has career inherited runners strand rate of 84%. Why put a soft tosser like Duke in an unfamiliar role when Gorzelanny has proven he can already do it?

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    MicheleS said… I can't recall any of us screaming for any of the relievers to be DFA'd (remember Doug Slaten?). How nice was that this year? And we never called for Henry to be DFA'd, just put on the DL. Henry has 1 shot in Spring Training and that's it. Can't have a Good Henry/Bad Henry any more. I can't handle the stress anymore. There is not enough Maalox and Bourbon to have me go through that again. October 19, 2012 9:26 AM Did you forget about Brad Lidge? Henry will get 1 more shot in Spring Training but I don't think you can fix Henry's problem which is his mind. In pressure situations he folds to the pressure. While maybe he did have some elbow ailment, that in my opinion isn't his biggest issue. Wild pitches, walks, and that 5.83 ERA are all bad news for a team pushing for post-season.

  49. pdowdy83 - Oct 19, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Faraz,Max Sherzer and his 231 Ks and 11.1 K/9 inning numbers may have something to say about Detroit not having very good starting pitching. I would take Verlander/Fister/Sherzer above A LOT of teams 3 best starters. Not to mention Anibal Sanchez is in the mix there too.

  50. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    pdowdy, grant the low strikeout rate, but bear in mind he wasn't a reliever when he accumulated that history. Maybe I'm just tired of Gorzy and his giving up runs when it matters and then pitching 3 innings of scoreless relief when it doesn't. Duke did fine in that "unfamiliar role" in September. However, I don't think he'll take the assignment. Some team that is paying attention will grab him up as a starter.

  51. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Ghost 'A big need for the Nats is AAA pitching depth with 2 MLB ready players like Zach Duke. With doubleheaders and the always ready need to have depth, it has to be a priority. The Nats were fortunate that Wang was their only unforseen casualty in 2012.' I agree 100%.

  52. MicheleS - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    GHOST.. I have erased Lidge from the Memory banks. Thanks for that slap in the face. All those bad games just came rushing back. ;-)

  53. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Ghost and JD, it's clear that's why they are hoping Garcia can start. Maybe they can trade Perry for a guy with an option (again!). I bet Rizzo hunts around for another team's injured starter he can rehab or someone in Japan, etc. Zach Duke, whatever he does, isn't going to spend another year in the minors.

  54. pdowdy83 - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Natslady, I think our discussion is probably a moot point since I doubt Gorzelanny will be back either. He will be due to make over $4 mil next season through arbitration. Like you said some pitching deprived team like the Royals, Rockies, Twins etc will jump on Duke and hope he can return to his 2010 form as a serviceable major league starter. The in house options of Stammen and Garcia (based on the talk of turning him into a starter) who can pitch multiple innings AND be effective late in games is good and someone will be brought in on a minor league deal for depth I'm sure.

  55. JamesFan - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    The pen is an area requiring attention and upgrade over 2012. The Card's pen was better than ours in the playoffs. The Braves have a better pen and can cut the game down to six innings. Davey hooks pitchers after 5 or 6 most days. We rarely have a complete game. Teams with mediocre pens reduce their chances dramatically.We need depth. Storen is really the only closer although Garcia might work. Clip is overused and fades in August. I would certainly give Henry every chance. If he can get his head straight, he changes the entire picture for the Nats. Mattheus and Stammen round out the righties.Lefties are another issue. Here I think we need an upgrade. Burnett can be great. I never trust Gorzy in a key spot. Gonzolez is ok.This is possibly the most important area of attention this winter and will be critical to the team next year.

  56. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    NatsLady, I like Zach Duke but I think he is likely to always be in between the minors and majors. On a good team he is a no. 5 at best; maybe he'l find a niche in the pen like Gorzo did but I wouldn't pay $3 – $4 mil for the no. 12 pitcher on the staff.

  57. mick - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Here is what is weird… if HRod gets control of is nerves and command of his pitches, the Nats solve EVERY bull pen issue for the next 5 seasons. Having said that, I think Mark;s analysis is spot on about the bull pen. I am just not a huge Burnett fan anymore, Gonzo i like, but if they have a future stud in the minors, why spend the money?On another note, is it true that ARod gave a ball to some gals asking for their telephone number during the Tigers game?? If so, let me just say, i am so glad that our organization is classy and has young men who care about winning. ARod, if this is true, you are a clown and a selfish disgrace to this game, I hope you retire.

  58. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    pdowdy83, all sound arguments but that team still sucks.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    NatsLady, I'm not sure what to think about Garcia and his true chances to be a starter. All I know for certain is he was a bright spot in the bullpen and wasn't used enough.I liked his calm demeanor and would hate to convert him to a starter when you have a controllable arm and a spot in the bullpen.As we saw in the playoffs, you can never have enough shutdown arms in the bullpen (see Mattheus bases loaded Houdini act in Game 1 with his 2 pitch 3 out performance).

  60. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    FS, it's hard to root for Detroit because they have some real "non-character" types on that team. But realistically, they will clobber the Giants (as we would have) and will out pitch the Cards unless the Cards continue to have "luck." I think Leyland is smarter than Methany, also.

  61. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    JamesFan, I disagree with your conclusions. 1) When comparing pens between the Cards and us you can't just go on a 5 game sample; yes they out pitched us in the NLDS but our pen had much better results than theirs over the season and in fact it was a top echelon pen throughout most of the year. 2) I don't think it's Davie's philosophy to go 6 innings with the starters; I think it was more a function of being ultra careful with Stras, very careful with JZim and Det and the fact that Gio and EJax were not always efficient. I expect Stras,JZim and Det to give us many more 7 – 8 inning games next year (especially JZimm).

  62. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    mick has a good point. If Henry could be Trevor Rosenthal that would solve a lot of problems…

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    mick said… Here is what is weird… if HRod gets control of is nerves and command of his pitches, the Nats solve EVERY bull pen issue for the next 5 seasons. October 19, 2012 11:14 AM You said it "IF". If Brad Lidge's slider still slid, he would have been great too.Think of Yogi "90% of the game is mental". HenRod hasn't been able to overcome the mental part. He is not Trevor Rosenthal or Aroldis Chapman.Here's a Henry chart from May. The ump felt sorry for him and gave him 2 strikes. He's missing high and higher and low and lower.This isn't pitching:http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/numlocation.php-pitchSel=469159&game=gid_2012_05_14_sdnmlb_wasmlb_1&batterX=0&innings=yyyyyyyyy&sp_type=1&s_type=3.gif

  64. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    One more thing: Clippard was tired mainly because Storen was injured for much of the year.

  65. Tcostant - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    LaRoche finished 3rd in Comeback of the Year vote:http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121018&content_id=39894690&c_id=mlb

  66. hiramhover - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    if HRod gets control of is nerves and command of his pitches, the Nats solve EVERY bull pen issue for the next 5 seasons.And to recall that old SNL skit, if Eleanor Roosevelt could fly, WW2 would have turned out very differently.

  67. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    One thing to remember in trying to game out next year's bullpen is that while we have had remarkable continuity with Clip, Storen, and Burnett, there is always something new and unexpected in the bullpen situation, whether because of injuries, contract issues, options, or loss of effectiveness. Last year at this time we were penciling in H-Rod as a dominant 7th inning guy based on his awesome September. We didn't expect Stammen to even make the 25-man out of spring training because he had options and H-Rod didn't. And we didn't even know who Mike Gonzales was. Here are the eight relievers who appeared in the most games for the Nats from 2010-2012. It's an interesting trip down memory lane, but also demonstrates that the bullpen is probably the toughest thing to predict (and in some ways the least important to worry about) at this stage.Notice I did not go back to 2009. Revisiting hte bullpen for that year could be hazardous to your mental health. 2012Clip – 74Burnett – 70Mattheus – 66Stammen – 59Gonzales – 47Gorzo – 44Storen – 37H-Rod — 352011Storen – 73Clippard – 72Coffey –69Burnett – 69H-Rod = 59Mattheus – 35Slaten –31Balester – 232010 Clip – 78Burnett—73Battista — 57Storen – 54Slaten — 49Capps – 43Peralta – 39Bruney — 19

  68. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    I agree on Davey going longer with the starters. JZimm is about ready to go complete games. Stras may be on a pitch count (as JZ was this year) but I fully expect him to pitch at least on CG–the no-hitter, y'see, Davey will have to leave him in for the no-hitter. Gio will go longer into games when the weather is warm (or the BP is tired) because he's a trouper. My only uncertainty is Detwiler.

  69. mick - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Ghost… I know that is a huge if, but I thought Davey and Rizzo's rationale is that HRod is only 25-26 years old and that maybe in 2013 he will find himself?

  70. hiramhover - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    MickThat's been the rationale with HRod every year, hasn't it–that next year he will find his command?

  71. mick - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Natslady… I think Det has a chance to be a great starter… the elimination game he pitched in showed me a great deal about this young man, all of which i like very much!

  72. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Wow. Brad Lidge. That seems like such a long time ago.I'm stubborn, hard-headed and still drive a 1994 Chrysler New Yorker (No, it doesn't have an eight-track tape). But I wouldn't give up on MPH-Rod just yet. I know, I know, as Michele says, there isn't enough bourbon and Maalox to cover Bad Henry even through spring training. But if we cut him, two words just keep haunting me over and over:Joel Gascanrahan.

  73. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Thanks for the link, tcostant. Sorry about ALR but happy for my brother's fave, Buster.

  74. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Ghost, I agree with you about HRod. He was clearly spooked by high stress situations and I don't know if he has it in him to change. You needs someone who has nerves of steel to close. On the other hand he might be ok if used earlier in games.

  75. mick - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    hiramhover…. I know, and you along with Ghost in the end are probably right… I'm just hoping.

  76. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:34 PM

    JD–good point on why Clip got tired late in the season. He really did a lot. Same for the previous two years, overused. Have to build a staff good enough to win 95+ games AND have stamina for the postseason.

  77. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    er, that would be "Buster" as in Posey, not as in an old school and generic form of address. :-)natsfan1a said… Thanks for the link, tcostant. Sorry about ALR but happy for my brother's fave, Buster. October 19, 2012 11:33 AM

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    There's a handful of pitchers who can reach 100 mph. Only a few can do it with control and Henry is not in that category.There are plenty of relievers who throw 95 to 96. Give me 95 to 96 with control any time over 100 with control issues. The 3% extra velo you are talking about isn't worth what you lose on WHIP and Earned Runs given up.

  79. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Didn't Hanrahan blow a bunch of games right as the Pirates headed downhill?

  80. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  81. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    I refuse to give up on HRod. Hire a psych or someone but don't just let him go please.

  82. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    Wait, it's presented by Viagra? uhhh…[your joke here]. :-)

  83. mick - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Ghost… here is a hypothetical question… Can HRod get by on 2 pitches, one of course being the 100 mph fast ball and if so, why not have him focus on only one other pitch? Could that be the solution or is this all mental with him? I say this because Mike Wallce points out that HRod throws 4-5 different pitches in relief.

  84. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    FS, I'm with you on Henry. (Always have been.) It isn't just the velocity, it's the slider. If he can hit his spots on the FB and command the slider, that's dynamite.

  85. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    if waino and medlen were eligible, why was SS not eligible? I am pretty sure SS outperformed both of these pitchers.

  86. hiramhover - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    NatsLadyYou're absolutely right above, re lefties. Sec 222Thanks for putting together that list, and you're right about turn over in the BP and unexpected contributions. The BP situation certainly doesn't merit panic, but it does merit attention in the off-season given the number of questions.

  87. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    mick, he doesn't need 4-5 pitches, right. He can get by with two (lots of relievers do). The FB and the slider. Those should be his focus.

  88. mick - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    natslady… agreed

  89. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    JD said… Ghost,I agree with you about HRod. He was clearly spooked by high stress situations and I don't know if he has it in him to change. You needs someone who has nerves of steel to close. On the other hand he might be ok if used earlier in games. October 19, 2012 11:33 AM That's it "nerves of steel". You are correct.I'm concerned likewise with Gio Gonzalez. He got the ball many times on nationally televised games and didn't do well. No bigger stage than the postseason and he walked 11 batters and had to do his own Houdini act to survive walking 4 in 1 innings and a Wild Pitch.Some said it was the cold weather but I don't think it was cold on July 1st in Atlanta or July 19th in Washington or Sept 16th in Atlanta.

  90. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    mick said… Ghost… here is a hypothetical question… Can HRod get by on 2 pitches, one of course being the 100 mph fast ball and if so, why not have him focus on only one other pitch? Could that be the solution or is this all mental with him? I say this because Mike Wallce points out that HRod throws 4-5 different pitches in relief. October 19, 2012 11:39 AM For most relievers that throw heat, absolutely. 2 pitches. Just have to throw them for strikes.

  91. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    I have to say that it drives me nuts when people use :Descalso, Kosma, Kelly and Rosenthal as examples of our players should be like. This is a perfect example of using tiny sample sizes to draw giant conclusions. Let's see these guys perform at this level over a full season at least before we put them in the hall of fame.

  92. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    One other thought about our bullpens over the last three years. We went from three relievers generally regarded as subpar being in our top 8 by number of appearannces in 2010 (Battista, Slaten, and Bruney), to two in 2011 (Slaten and Balester), to one in 2012 (H-Rod). It's probably too much to ask to never have a blowup appearance by a reliever. But if no one in our top eight is a serious risk for a bad outing every time he goes out, that would be a huge help to the team.

  93. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    FS and NL, It's not gonna happen with HRod. You can't be a closer or even pitch in any high stress situation and be afraid. With Henry the panic starts the minute he walks in from the pen. NatsJack pointed out several times that when you throw 100 MPH your secondary pitch does not have to be great; it just has to be around the plate somewhere. Henry gets into trouble and starts throwing his slider all over the place.

  94. Faraz Shaikh - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    About HRod, for someone who induces less percentage of swings than any other nats reliever, his swingingstrike% is pretty good. a batter swings at 42.7% of his pitches and 10.6% times a batter swings and misses. in comparison, let's look at Clip (I love him as much as the next fan). clip has batters swinging at 49.5% of his pitches but induces same percent of swinging strikes, 10.6%. storen, stammen, burnett all induce at least 5% more swings than HRod. that's what leads to their slightly better numbers in swgstrk% of 10.8% and 13.4%. This is mainly due to first strike% of HRod, which is at least 5% less than all the other guys. However his percent of pitches that a batter sees inside the strike zone is better than stammen (might experience regression next season), mattheus, and burnett. bottom line, for someone who induces fewer swings, his swgstrk% is pretty good and main problem is first pitch. Also Hrod was supreme unlucky on flyballs. his HR/FB% was uncharacteristically high at 12%. obviously last season was a bit unlucky and yes he has mental issues but I don't want to give up without trying.also for comparison sake, I looked up other relievers with swing% around 42% and except Tim Collins of Royals, no one touches HRod's swgstrk% of 10.6%. The names of those other relievers are David Robertson of Yankees, Jim Johnson of Orioles, Same LeCure of Reds, K-Rod of Brewers among others.

  95. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Ghost, Re Gio. Let's keep in mind that he won 21 games with an ERA under 3 and is very much in the Cy Young discussion. He has this uncanny ability to avoid major damage even when he is not on and he doesn't give up home runs. Clearly Gio was not at his best in the playoffs but when Stras is leading the rotation and Gio doesn't have to be the man he will be a superb no. 2 (Along with JZim).

  96. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    FS The problem with not giving up on HRod is that he has no options so I don't know how long we can play musical chairs with the DL to keep this experiment going.

  97. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I would like to see Henry with Suzuki. As for Gio, he did fine in the spotlight. Think of the All-Star game or when he was competing in the Cy Young. He eats up the spotlight because he's a showman. I don't think that's the problem. I think when he can't find the curve he panics and speeds up the game. I would look into a couple things with Gio(1) Can he learn another pitch, a pitch he can throw on days when he can't find the curve?(2) Can he stabilize his warmup routine? After that, you have to remember he wants to be an Ace as much as the next guy.

  98. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    JD, thats what I am hoping that Gio in the #2 will be more effective and won't feel the burden of the team on his shoulders.This is also why I think a vet like Lohse would be a good pickup to possibly be the #2 for postseason.

  99. NatsJack in Florida - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    And my problem with Henry start with his mechanics..He has none.He resembles me in my day as a catcher, standind on the mound and replicating my throw to second from home, only in reverse and covering the 60'6" back to the plate.He's a thrower, with not alot to work with mechanical wise.

  100. hiramhover - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    FSDoesn't that still boil down to–the strikes he throws are good, but he doesn't (or can't) throw enough of them?

  101. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Ghost–I don't think Gio minds having the "burden" of the team on his shoulders. I keep thinking back to the CG he pitched when the bullpen was batsh**t beatup. I don't think he folded under the pressure or the spotlight (as I said above). I think there was something mechanically wrong, and Davey, who has seen Gio fix himself before, thought he could do it again.

  102. rogieshan - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    There is no need to invest time and energy with HRod in the hopes he will find his game. The Nats have an embarrassment of riches in the bullpen, already proven with quality and now battle-tested. This is a team that will be focused – and determined – to win it all next year. HRod's status (out of minor-league options) is problematic. And the roster no longer has room for nursing projects.

  103. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    rogieshan said… There is no need to invest time and energy with HRod in the hopes he will find his game. The Nats have an embarrassment of riches in the bullpen, already proven with quality and now battle-tested. This is a team that will be focused – and determined – to win it all next year. HRod's status (out of minor-league options) is problematic. And the roster no longer has room for nursing projects. October 19, 2012 12:17 PM Well said. They were able to get him through the season without a DFA by utilizing the DL stints.Now they should trade him to an AL team for whatever they can

  104. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Rizzo/Davey's approach to H-Rod will be a good window into how they view the team's chances in 2013. Last year, when most people, probably including Rizzo if not Davey, thought we were still a year away from making a run, the initial "let's keep giving him a chance because he could be really awesome" approach made some sense, as frustrating as it was. Next year is our year, for a number of reasons, and I tend to agree with rogieshan and JD that H-Rod's time has run out. To me, that doesn't mean you cut him now or before the season starts. It does mean that he has to show he's figured it out. And if he regresses, we have to have enough faith in other guys cut the cord, regardless of his potential.

  105. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    222, et al: I think that's what will happen. If Henry shows well with Suzuki, when he's healthy and is used in non-stress innings, fine. If not, no excuses, he is part of a trade package. Rizzo showed last year when he cut Ankiel that the time for "nice guys" or "potential" is over. I'm rooting for Henry because he's a rare bird. But he must perform, talent isn't enough.

  106. hiramhover - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    Whether to keep or get rid of Henry–and if the latter, when–will depend in part on how the Nats fill the other holes in the BP. It doesn't help that lefties are what they need, and he isn't one. On the other hand, if they fill some of those holes as they did this year, with guys signed late, to minor league contracts–the 2013 equivalent of Mike Gonzalez and/or Zach Duke–then Henry gets a little bit more rope. In the end, tho, I'm pretty sure what he'll do with it.

  107. do1teach1 - Oct 19, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I have written on this blog about the failure of our relievers to hold runners. Others have too.Mike Rizzo did a phone-in session on The Fan just prior to home game one of the NLDS. I was the final caller. I asked him what was being done to correct this problem–he said they were on it and not to worry about it.Game 5. Two outs. We're up 7-5. Card first and third–Yadi is the guy on first. One of the slowest men in baseball. Storen in the stretch, comes to the set position. Yadi starts walking toward second, cautiously, then jogging then running. STOREN NEVER LOOKS OVER ONE TIME. One look over, we pick off Yadi and game ends. But for some reason our relievers just focus on the plate and forget the runner.St Louis, amazed at our indifference in letting Yadi move into scoring position without a throw, puts in a pinch runner and he scores on a single (after the Freese walk).No one has been held to account for this.If we don't hold runners, it really doesn't matter who is in our bullpen.

  108. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    do1teach1, I thought the same. And the Descalso steal wasn't any better. If he doesn't steal, you have runners at 1st and 3rd, and even if Kozma gets a "single", it only brings in one run or maybe the guy gets thrown out at 2nd.BTW, thinking it over and even reading Knorr's comments, I would not walk Kozma. The percentages are not with you. You have a 1-2 count on him and he is not a good hitter. Any ball in the air, a strike out, a weak grounder and you are into the ninth at home with plenty of bullets left and with the Cards not having anybody good left, except Motte for the 9th. So he pitches a clean 9th, so what? We still had Garcia and Mattheus plus the lefties for the 10th and beyond.

  109. sm13 - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I have no doubt that Druuu will bouce back. He's got the talent and the swagger to be a reliable closer for years to come. I think the Nats should pay closer money for Tyler to pitch the 8th. It's a cliche, but it's true: not all saves occur in the 9th inning.

  110. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    sm13, 100% agree. In Game 4, if I recall correctly, Clip pitched to the heart of the order (Beltran, Holliday, Craig and Molina).

  111. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    do1teach1 – You are so right. That was the last out, right there, even if Drew woke up when Molina was halfway to second. I could see it happening before my eyes from my perch in section 318. What a nightmare!

  112. Tcostant - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Random thoughts from things I've seen here:1. No way Duke gets anything close to $3M, he had spring training invite with a $1M salary if he makes the team; wtritten all over him2. HRod – I'm hoping health was the issue and in the right role could be a great help.3. Go to the 3rd year on LaRoche's contract; he just make all the IF defense better. I assume he will win the gold glove this year.

  113. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    do1teach1 and sec222, I can't be sure about this case because I was watching on TV but very often in these situations you don't hold the runner so the 1st baseman has a better chance to field a grounder so if the 1st baseman isn't on the bag you can look all you want but you have no one to throw to.

  114. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    JD, I haven't had the stomach to watch the replay, but my memory is crystal clear — Molina actually stole the base before Drew even pitched the ball. All he had to do was look, realize Molina had taken off, and throw to second or to ALR, and he had Molina in a run down or tagged out at second. Or, if he looked early enough, he wouldn't have anyone to throw over to, but Molina wouldn't have gone to second base either. It was just a completely negligent play. The third out in the inning was there for the taking, without having to throw another strike.

  115. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    I often think Major Leagues should have something like the NBAs "amnesty" rule (release one player a year w/out counting against cap) combined w/ soccer's practice of "lending" players to lower-tiered teams. In my CBA, each year teams would able to lend one player (insert your least favorite player's name here) to a team in Korea, Taiwan or Italy until they work things out.

  116. TheManBearPig - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    "Again, if you sign LaRoche then a trio of Morse/Moore, Clippard and Flores should bring a pretty damn good startre of the organization goes that way."I don't get the enthusiasm for giving up Morse and his .900+ OPS, 30HR and 90+ RBI for a player that will play only every 5th game, especially when what the Nats need is a 5th starter, not someone at the top of the rotation. Those numbers are what you get from Morse when he's healthy and with 2013 being his contract year, I think he's going to do whatever it takes to be more like the 2011 version than the 2012 version, which itself wasn't bad. Morse's glove is good and his arm is ok. His defensive weakness comes from his not having much speed, but his bat will help the Nats a lot more than his defensive shortcomings will hurt. Tyler Moore is weaker defensively than Morse in LF and as good of a hitter as he may be, he's less likely than Morse to put up Morse's beast-like 2011 numbers in 2013.

  117. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    TheManBearPig, You underestimate Morse's poor defense. This year he was 0.3 WAR player specifically because his defense almost completely counter acted his offense. In 2011 which was a superb offensive year for Morse he was still only a 3.3 WAR player because he was a -13.0 on defense. BTW, he is equally poor at 1st base and in the outfield, he is a classic AL player. I agree that Moore as equally as inept defensively as Morse therefore there is a good possibility that Rizzo will find a solution elsewhere especially if he brings LaRoche back.

  118. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Those of you who can't stand to watch the playoffs – it's time to dip your toe back in. The game got moving too fast for the nats, but they still took the defending world champs to five games and down to the wire. There are occasional comments made about the Nats, like last night talking about Wainwrights awful start against us. But we are no longer the object of ridicule and the games have moved on. I have always enjoyed the playoffs for their unpredictability and excitement. There 's some good baseball out there to watch and I hope you will see some of it because the off season is just around the corner – the great, black, baseball void. HRod – who knows? Cole Kimball? We start with Storen, Clippard, Mattheus, STammen and go from there. You never know what Rizzo has up his sleeve.

  119. Don - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    I think that Gorz might get a look for a rotation spot — lefties with swing and miss stuff are pretty essential in the NL East.The club has to shop Morse (love the bat potential, but he's no kid, he has trouble staying on the field and he fields no position well). If ever there was an AL guy on the Nats roster not named Dunn, it is Morse. Maybe some club with a CF lead-off type needs some RH power?And as mush as I like LaRoche, the club can't make a multi-year commitment to the guy as Zim might very likely be the 1B of the near future in Natstown and Rendon should be ready sooner than later to fill another infield spot. Rizzo can get creative, and for all I care he could move Espi or Desi or Lombo or Moore. The club should be aggressive, not stand back and think that they can fire it up all over again so easily. No one was thinking the Nats would have the best record in the bigs back in March, based upon the roster they had; so expecting a repeat as NL East Champs in 2013 based on basically that same roster does not make much sense. They need to keep improving.Best 25 go North!!dfh21

  120. 4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e - Oct 19, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    Does the last paragraph of this article really suggest getting rid of Clippard to keep Henry Rodriguez? That's a joke, right?

  121. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Don, There will be moves to be sure but there won't be an overhaul and there doesn't need to be. The more I think about it the more I expect ALR back; this may come at the expense of some decline especially if there is a 3rd year but at least you know that 1st base is in good defensive hands and you can certainly expect a decent LH bat as well.

  122. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    the off season is just around the corner – the great, black, baseball void. This seems as good a time as any to recommend the condensed games on MLB Media Center as way to relive this great season. It's free on the MLB website. Each game is between 10 and 20 minutes long depending on how much action there was. No narration or announcing — just the video of the games with a small amount of crowd noise, covering virtually every hit, walk, and strikeout, and virtually every out. I plan to once again re-watch the Nats' whole season between now and spring training, probably starting after the World Series, which hopefully will provide a decent interval after the tragedy of October 12.

  123. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    Swami, Not for me. I said all along that the playoffs are a crap shoot and look where we are; the World series will have the 2nd wild card team from the NL and the division winner with the worst record in the AL and this happens almost every year. When is the last time the best overall team (based on 162 games) won the WS? If you consider the fact that we lost on a couple of walks and a grounder 6 inches from being the final out not to mention 2 pitches which were 3 inches from strike 3 and a check swing which could have been called a 3rd strike. Does it make sense that this is more important than 98 wins over 162 games (10 games better than the team that beat us)?

  124. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    "Does the last paragraph of this article really suggest getting rid of Clippard to keep Henry Rodriguez? That's a joke, right?"I'm sure Mark wishes by now he had expressed the idea differently. Right, Mark? Mark?The very notion of a Clippard or Henry conumdrum illustrates the absurdity of continuing even to give Henry meal money if it means that a real, useful warm body has to be let go.

  125. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    JD, the playoffs are also about getting hot at the right time.The more we contemplate and re-contemplate Yadier stealing 2nd or EJax's relief appearance it will frustrate you even more when you know the Nats probably would have smashed the Giants.Detroit on the other hand looks good on all fronts right now. Can the Cardinals beat them? Of course. Its anyone's game.The Nats are clearly in my mind the best team going into 2013 based on a healthy return of the players that appeared in the post-season except the couple of question marks in the bullpen. Yes, do a smart deal with LaRoche and get Michael Morse healthy to get close to that 3.0 WAR and figure out a way for Danny to become a viable bat in the 7 hole.

  126. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    swami, thanks, but I think that's for each of us to decide. fwiw, potential broadcaster comments are not a factor in why I'm not watching.On a somewhat related note, Game 5 hurt – a lot – but it wasn't a tragedy, sec 222. (Nothing personal, but widespread misapplication of that term is a pet peeve of mine.) Thanks much for the link, though. Will look forward to checking those out at some point.baseballswami said… Those of you who can't stand to watch the playoffs – it's time to dip your toe back in. The game got moving too fast for the nats, but they still took the defending world champs to five games and down to the wire. There are occasional comments made about the Nats, like last night talking about Wainwrights awful start against us. But we are no longer the object of ridicule and the games have moved on.

  127. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    Natsfan1a'swami, thanks, but I think that's for each of us to decide. fwiw, potential broadcaster comments are not a factor in why I'm not watching.' I too have no need to hear anyone confirm the Nats excellence. It doesn't worm my heart to get respect from broadcasters and recognition from talking heads. I already know that the Nats are excellent.

  128. Don - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    I think that the playoffs are about playing well under pressure. The Nats stumbled all over themselves to lose on October 12. Many of the Nats folded like lawn chairs when the chips were down. We can only hope that experience steels them for the next time.I don't know if the Nats are the best on-paper team headed into 2013 (might be Cincy, Atl, Rays or maybe even the Dodgers, who knows), but they are no doubt very good. But they need to get better between now and Opening Day as the Division will again be very tough. The Phils will be back, the Braves will add a bat or 2, the Fish — well who knows what to expect from them, but they have a ton of talent — and the Mets, now climbing out of the economic drama, will be better. Hot Stove is gonna be interesting for this club.dfh21

  129. JD - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Ghost, All true but the Nats can enter next year as the best team and even finish the year as the hottest team and when you get into a 5 or even a 7 game series there is no guarantee that you will come out on top. This is why I say that best a fan can hope for realistically is to have a team that makes it into the playoffs year in/Year out; when the Braves won something like 10 division titles in a row they only won 1 title but it was still a glorious era for them.

  130. Oldguy - Oct 19, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Re Swami's comments.It gives perspective, and I for one am tired of the drum-beating about Storen's "disaster." I have watched most of the other games and have seen some very good veteran pitchers get hammered–Sabathia, for starters.I heard a very enlightening interview this morning with Jim Leland. He was asked about how Verlander got over his post-season less-than-great performances. I checked it out and JV's post season ERA was over 5 in both plaoffs he was in through 2011! At age 25, he led the AL in losses (17) with an ERA of almost 5. Leland said, in effect, it was experience. Learning how to perform in postseason. Drew is going to be fine–he's 25. Let's let that die.And oh yeah, as a former Red Sox fan I enjoyed the hell out of seeing you-know-who fall on their butts.

  131. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Fair enough 1a, not a real tragedy. There was a bit of hyperbole mixed in there, but I take your point. Last year's Cardinals victory was thrilling. Now I'm sick of them and will root for the Tigers. What a difference a year makes.

  132. JSLSais - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    I had to laugh when I saw someone say that Morse's glove is good. Which glove might that be? The one he uses for hitting? Morse has got to be one of the worst outfielders I have ever seen. He is a liability in the outfield. Has anyone noticed how he jogs (almost saunters) when a ball is hit his way? This isn't b/c of a lack of speed, this is b/c he can't play that position. If management insist on keeping Morse than move him over to 1st. For as many RBIs as he may score, he ends up coughing them up with his defense. A single for any other decent outfielder always turns into at least a double when Morse is fielding. Watch the replays if you think I am just jawing.

  133. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:34 PM

    Wow – didn't mean to hit a nerve with my fellow posters. I know a lot of you are long – time baseball fans like me and was just trying to offer some encouraging words. Plus, it's really therapeutic to be able to type on this site — "well, there goes that bleeping Kozma again", and everyone knows exactly what you mean :( Usually everyone here is up on everything minute by minute and it's strange not to have that going on. It's been interesting to realize that what the Cardinals do in the post season is just some weird thing that they do and that it's not just the Nats who have been victimized. We are now in a club with Philly ( I know, yuck),Texas, Atlanta and soon to be the Giants. We all need to gang up on them next year and put a stop to it. I have had just about enough of their antics.

  134. alexva - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    albeit off the bullpen topic, I feel Morse will only be kept if LaRoche cannot be re-signed. he just doesn't seem like Davey's kind of player. not referring to his talents but rather his total makeup. and if you're gonna sell I doubt his value will ever be higher.

  135. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    sec 222, I felt/feel the same way about the Cardinals. Odd how that works. :-) Last year's Cardinals victory was thrilling. Now I'm sick of them and will root for the Tigers. What a difference a year makes.

  136. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Agreed. As Davey might say, I don't give a rat's patoot what they think. ;-)JD said… I too have no need to hear anyone confirm the Nats excellence. It doesn't worm my heart to get respect from broadcasters and recognition from talking heads. I already know that the Nats are excellent. October 19, 2012 2:36 PM

  137. natsfan1a - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM

    No worries, swami. You didn't hit a nerve, and I'm sorry to leave you hanging in your postseason rooting. If it helps any, I, for one, intend to be in the best rooting shape of my life by spring training (Gulp, bang!)baseballswami said… Wow – didn't mean to hit a nerve with my fellow posters. I know a lot of you are long – time baseball fans like me and was just trying to offer some encouraging words. Plus, it's really therapeutic to be able to type on this site — "well, there goes that bleeping Kozma again", and everyone knows exactly what you mean :( Usually everyone here is up on everything minute by minute and it's strange not to have that going on. It's been interesting to realize that what the Cardinals do in the post season is just some weird thing that they do and that it's not just the Nats who have been victimized. We are now in a club with Philly ( I know, yuck),Texas, Atlanta and soon to be the Giants. We all need to gang up on them next year and put a stop to it. I have had just about enough of their antics. October 19, 2012 3:34 PM

  138. JSLSais - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Totally agree with Don. Baseball is a fickled sport and I would not be surprised if we end up 3rd in the division and miss the playoffs in 2013. I do think that this was our year and that next year is going to be really tough. We played in a weak division: Phillies did not wake up until it was too late, Mets started hot than like Teddy got distracted, Marlins were mesmerized by that visual experience called the Home Run Sculpture, and the Braves were hot on our heels. Next year I don't think we will have it as easy as this year. DJ has got to be more engaged with the pitching and not have the mentality that the guy is our Ace, closer, blah blah blah, therefore, he needs to figure it out. It is unrealistc to expect that your players will always bring out their A-game especially when they don't have a lot of experience. But that is DJ and this is how he has always managed his pitchers. I don't know about anyone else but I am under no illusions that we are the best team or that we are the team to beat.

  139. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    alexva, I'm glad you said it first. I don't think Davey likes Morse, and I also agree he'll only stay if ALR goes, and they'll move him to 1B where the other infielders can cover for him. But it puts stress on them, especially RZ.

  140. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    natsfan1a – I am totally serious that all the teams in the NL need to put a stop to the Cardinals late season squeaking in and running the table crap. They look all weak and unassuming and then they swoop in. No more of that stuff. Next year they just have to be shut out. The first year it was kind of cute. Now, not so much. Wild card team and a team with a terrible record end up in the World Series? I have been learning some lessons about the post season, though – they talk a lot about "tournament baseball" and the strategies involved. It's not enough to just get there – you have to figure out the right buttons to push to navigate the format. Next year, I swear to you , next year! I hope everyone is taking care of their physical ailments and wedding planning – come spring 2013 I think you will see a lot of focus and motivation.

  141. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    JSL, I'm a bit more optimistic than you about next year, but I also agree that this year might very well have been our best shot, and we should take nothing for granted about 2013. While we endured a bunch of injuries, our starters (minus Wang) were remarkably injury free. That is not something you can bank on year in and year out. And we had a lot of other things fall into place in a way that might not be repeated (Desi's emergence in the first half, Zim's cortisone-fueled recovery, ALR's career year.) Of course, we'll also have Harper at age 20 rather than 19, so that could make up for a lot.But another comment you made really is on target — Davey's reliance on roles and unwillingness to make a move until it's too late. I really think this worship of the closer has got to stop. Unless the guy is Mariano Rivera or Trevor Hoffman, managers ought to have someone else at the ready just in case the closer doesn't have it that night. Whether the closer is H-Rod, or Lidge, or Clip, or Drew, they can all have bad days. Once a closer blows a save, he should never be left in to lose the game. There's no shame in being pulled at that point. And if he walks more than one guy, that's enough. Take him out and take a shot with another guy (like Mattheus, or even JZnn, in Game 5). Davey is far from the only manager to make this mistake, for sure. Jim Leyland seems to finally be intent on not letting Valverde blow leads, but he never should have been pitching to Ibanez in Game 1.

  142. TheManBearPig - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    JD, I think Morse's defensive deficiencies are overstated. Morse's 3.3 WAR in 2011 was 7th in MLB among left fielders (anyone playing LF is going to get a downward positional adjustment). Only 4 left fielders had WAR over 5 in 2011. 2012 wasn't much different, with the exception of Mike Trout and he's not available. If Morse can return to something close to 2011 form, the Nats will have a player that's a lot like Matt Holliday or Josh Willingham – in other words, not a position you would realistically expect to improve on without paying a lot, both in terms of salary and players/prospects.

  143. Dave - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I wouldn't want to push post-season baseball down anybody's throats, or diminish the pain that folks have trying to watch the playoffs. I totally get that. A week ago this evening (or tomorrow morning) we all experienced a huge disappointment.That said, I agree with swami @ 1:45. Watching the playoffs has been somewhat reassuring for me. The Cardinals really are quite good. That's clear now. I still hold out hope that the Giants may be able to sweep the last three games and take the NLCS–but I must confess that it's just a hope, not an expectation.Naturally, I wanted nothing more this week than for the Giants to sweep the Cards in St. Louis so the Cards could experience standing on their own field and watching the other guys' celebratory glee. But that was not to be.I realized last night that I have developed a thicker skin over the last seven years than I might have realized. After almost a decade of the entire world treating my favorite baseball team as a joke, I find myself coming to a point where I can tune a lot of it out. For example, my faith in Rizzo's decision about Strasburg is steadfast–no matter how many Feinsteins or Karabells keep harping on what a bad idea it was.People who just don't know much about the Nationals just don't know much about the Nationals. It's that simple. We, on the other hand, pay close attention several times every day. Thus, I value the opinions of my fellow Insiders far more than the national media pundits who follow all 30 teams superficially.

  144. TheManBearPig - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    JSLSais, Morse catches the balls he gets to. In the regular season, 0 errors in 84 chances. That's what I meant by a good glove. And I'm pretty sure that in those 84 chances, the number of runs he gave up because he allowed an extra base is insignificant compared to the offensive production. I don't think anyone would call him an above average fielder, even in left field, but in the National League, left field is where you put the player who is a weak fielder but a good power bat. If the Nats would rather give up 100 OPS points and 20 HR, they could try to get a Martin Prado-type player for left field, but there's no chance that the Nats will be able to upgrad defensively and come close to replacing Morse's offensive production.

  145. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    I think Leyland said it best. It's not ideal to have a closer that you use on automatic, but it saves a lot of grief and second-guessing. That's a philosophy that's fine for the regular season. 162 games of constant mixing and matching is wearing on everyone. Guys in the bullpen start getting mentally ready for the inning(s) they expect to pitch, mentally going over their game plan based on who is coming up, etc. But the playoffs are a different game. It's a tournament, not a marathon. :) A guy has it or doesn't, it's not a "learning" experience, or anything. No one's ego can be involved, you are in you are out, go for the win.

  146. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:30 PM

    I think if you have put together a good quality team from top to bottom then you have just as much chance of winning as anyone else. The Phils problems were obvious, as were the yankees. Yes , there were surprises like the O's and the A's, but I think Detroit was predicted to win back in the spring. The Marlins issues were pretty predictable. There will always be surprises where teams play over their heads and there will always be teams that just don't gel, but for the most part, most of those top ten teams that get in the post season are going to be pretty solid teams. One of the things that I think got the Nats into the post season was consistency throughout the season. We didn't have long win streaks but we didn't have long losing streaks either. I very much like the " win the series" approach during the regular season. However, I also very much think that you MUST change some of the ways you do things in the post season.

  147. TheManBearPig - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    JSL and 222, I'm also optimistic about 2013. I think we can expect the Nats starting pitching to be even better than in 2012, with Strasburg another year away from TJ and with a 160+/- inning season under his belt. Having Harper for a full season, Werth in the leadoff spot for a full season (he had the best OPS of any NL leadoff hitter, in a non-qualifying but significant number of at bats), a healthy RZim and, assuming he's still in DC, Morse, plus Desmond and Ramos should put the Nats near the top of the NL in run production. If Espi cuts down on the Ks, that's a bonus. Of course, I'm assuming they'll be healthy.

  148. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    I noticed that the Tigers and the Cards added on runs even when they were well ahead. How many times have the Nats gotten a 4-5-6 run lead in the early innings and just let the pitching staff hold on for dear life? Well, that doesn't work in the playoffs, especially with good offensive teams like the Cards and Tigers. You CAN'T rest, I don't care if it ends up 15-0. On the flip side, the EJax-Carpenter game was disappointing to me. The boys treated a 4-0 lead as if it were insurmountable, when Carpenter was very vulnerable. No reason they couldn't have pecked away at that. It was 4-0 until the SIXTH INNING.

  149. Section 222 - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    But the playoffs are a different game. It's a tournament, not a marathon. :) A guy has it or doesn't, it's not a "learning" experience, or anything. No one's ego can be involved, you are in you are out, go for the win.Amen to that, NL.

  150. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    I think this was where the inexperience showed–not in nerves, but in playing as if it were a 162-game marathon. I remember RZ being satisfied to come home with a 1-1 split. No, no, no. .500 on the road is fine in the season but NOT in a 5 or 7-game series.You go for the sweep, because too much can happen in a short series. You have to play every game as if there is no tomorrow. They will know that for next year.

  151. Dave - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    The Nats didn't really have any star players this year at all, except for Harper (maybe Strasburg? Gio?). Plenty of other teams with lesser records had bigger stars. The Nats have had stars in the past (Soriano, Dunn) when they had terrible seasons.But this year the Nats did the job every series, the whole year long. They did this, as swami said, by being consistently good.I have high hopes for 2013. Nothing's guaranteed, I get that; but I don't accept that 2012 was the one and only year we can have high expectations of this team.

  152. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 8:48 PM

    And that would be where I would fault Davey. Not in his on-field moves. Knorr said they were playing not to lose, they should have been playing to win. Davey should know that, he's the one who's "been there" and he should have told the boys that.

  153. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    The Astros fired their hitting coach. Do you suppose Bo will want any of the Nats' staff (major or minor league?)

  154. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    NL, etal.. I have been watching baseball, and playoff baseball, for a long time. Seems like things have changed to the tournament baseball style. Davey has not been to the post season in a long time. I hope he and the rest of his coaching team are watching how the successful teams are rolling. You know that one of his best qualities is his confidence in himself and one of his worst qualities is his confidence in himself. Hope he is still open to learning some things. My only really true disappointment with him is that he has taken absolutely not one iota of responsibility for not moving on to the next series. I don't care what field you are in – the leader bears ultimate responsibility and doesn't just say that he gave the right directions but his team didn't carry it out. A leader always bears some responsibility.

  155. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Anyone see Bo on MLB Rundown? He was good – seems excited and referenced the way the Nats built their team.

  156. Theophilus T. S. - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    "The Nats have had stars in the past (Soriano, Dunn) when they had terrible seasons."Disagree. Soriano and Dunn were not "stars." They were distractions from how bad the team had become. Soriano got $10MM and the team regressed by 10 wins. The records in Dunn's two seasons (2009, 2010) speak for themselves. Those years should be so far back in the rear view mirror they are forgotten.

  157. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    I disagree on Davey "taking responsibility." He gave explanations of his moves in game 5, and that was fine. In the end, it ISN'T his responsibility, except in the most general sense. It is Rizzo's job to build the team, and the players' responsibility to win. In between is Davey who has two jobs (1) stay out of the way and give the players the right opportunities as suits their talents and (2) manage the game situation. I believe he did both. He didn't lost Game 5, IMO, and he didn't make any egregiously bad moves.

  158. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Davey could have said the game got too fast for his young team, or he could have said (as discussed above) that not enough attention was paid to runners on base. But he also should take credit for getting to 100 wins and getting to a 95+% percent chance of going to the NLCS.

  159. natscan reduxit - Oct 19, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    … now that the Nats are finished for the year (and I have to admit, when they were done, so was I. Instead of watching any more baseball, I went outside and started getting my yard ready for winter, and I'm still working on that), I want to ask two questions of you, my fellow fans. I plan to be back here on this forum again next year and there are a couple of things I wonder about.1/ Davey J will be 70 years old next year. It is quite conceivable that due to any number of situations, health related but not all, he may not be able to continue as manager. Who takes his place? Does Mike and the Lerners put the controls of a team, ready to go all the way, into the hands of an unproven Trent Jewett or Randy Knorr, or do they look elsewhere for someone who can continue what Davey has started?2/ Many of you have the pleasure and ability to watch this team from seats in Nats Park, and most surely on MASN and/or follow on local radio. You have probably had numerous occasions to see things happen in front of your eyes; you have seen numerous interviews and reports on local TV sports shows. You are aware of little things that have become common knowledge among fans around DC. What advice, other than to continue as a member of NatsInsider, could you offer to someone who wants to be as aware and knowledgable as possible but who can only follow the team's fortunes on MLB GameDay, on this forum, and the occasional TV game (usually involving the Braves). How can someone like that – me, for example – get all the info on the team that is available?… until next spring in Florida, Go Nats!!

  160. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    Local radio mostly does the local football team, but I recommend an app called Tune-in which lets you get radio stations all over the country. Davey came on 106.7 every Wednesday at 8:25 and Rizzo came on at 11:30 a couple of times a week. Mark Z was on ESPN 980. I have the app so I can listen to Minneapolis stations for the Vikings.

  161. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:08 PM

    If you don't have a phone or tablet that does apps, iTunes on your computer does the same thing, you can listen to a zillion radio stations. They cut off during games (because of rights) but you get all the rest of the programming.

  162. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Man….poor Hrod. Thrown under the bus and into the sewer. One thing you gotta remember with HRod is that he has been "unhittable" at the big league level. No, not at Potomac, or Harrisburg, but at the big league level. He started last year great and then had some rough outings. Turns out he had arm problems and refused to say anything. He is a quiet guy, makes the minimum in salary and you guys want to throw him away like a piece of trash.

  163. BigCat - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    Text Buster Posey and see who he'd rather face….HRod or Stammen

  164. NatsLady - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:37 PM

    BigCat, you are makin' me laugh. Don't worry about it. Davey (and Rizzo) stuck with HRod, way past the fans' patience. See also Desmond, Ian and Espinosa, Danny. NOBODY wants to face HROD, he's got a 100MPH fastball and half the time he doesn't know where it's going! We'll see what happens in the spring.

  165. natscan reduxit - Oct 19, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    NatsLady,… thanx for the iTunes radio tips. I'll get that figured out over the winter and be ready for spring. Thx again.

  166. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:05 PM

    NatsLady, NOBODY wants face Henry? You know why?They don't want their career to end with a 100 miler to their earhole. Did you see the chart I put up of Henrys pitches go when he is under pressure? HE HAS NO CLUE WHERE HIS PITCHES ARE GOING! Darn straight they don't want to face him.

  167. baseballswami - Oct 19, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    There is a Nats Classic on masn — joint coverage with Dibble and the O's. Shairon Martis is our starter.Manny Acta era. I just watched 10 minutes and I am full of complete and total gratitude that we have a totally different team now. Some fans long for the good old days. Not us. At the time of the broadcast the nats had a 1-9 homestand going. I think I have blocked some of that stuff out. Back then I wasn't sure we would ever get where we did this year. And that wasn't so very long ago. Thank you, thank you – everyone involved in putting this team together. We don't have to watch that stuff anymore.Turned it off.

  168. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    I remember a discussion last season that HenRod had little trade value. If he was so great, wouldn't he have decent trade value?Just not sure what I'm missing.

  169. Constant Reader - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    I'll step back in on HRod. September 25, 2011. That was the seventh inning of a game we led 1-0 against a team desperately needing a win to stay on top in a pennant race. http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=19647645&c_id=mlbWho knows if he'll heal from his surgery. Who knows if he can ever by that guy consistently. But I am certain you exhaust every possible opportunity to find out.If there's even a hint he can be that guy, someone will trade us something of value for him. Seriously, how many pitchers in baseball can throw video game innings like that? Before we DFA HRod, I want him to have failed so miserably that no one else actually will claim him. That's impression that one inning left on me.

  170. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:26 AM

    Zito is throwing too many right over the plate. Nice play by the Panda.

  171. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    Constant Reader, that was Great Henry on 9/25/11 then we got Oh Henry 2 nights prior. There was no pressure on Henry. Add stress and he cracks like someone skating on thin ice.I fully expect Great Henry in Spring Training when he pitches with no stress and Oh Henry to crack too often if he is part of the 2013 team.I'm not sure the fascination some have here. Maybe its a throwback to falling in love with guys like Garrett Mock.

  172. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    He is pretty agile for a big guy.

  173. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Big zone for Lynn.

  174. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Uh oh. Giants score first. Lynn in trouble.

  175. Constant Reader - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:19 AM

    GoNat …If HRod arrives in Viera on time and healthy and pitches great, then I'd like to see us give him a regular 7th inning role as we contemplated in '12. But if he is pitching great, unload him for someone who could at least warrant an AFL trip. Joel Hanrahan figured it out and became an All-Star after we traded him. The same could happen with HRod; you have to at least admit that. We got Burnett for Hanrahan so not a total loss. I'd like to do better than Cutter Dykstra or nothing for HRod when his upside is so ludicrously high. Did you really have any fear Garrett Mock had a real future when we gave up on him? I want to say the same when we pull the plug on HRod. That's all I'm saying.

  176. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:23 AM

    Barry Zito with an RBI bunt single! Gotta love it.

  177. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:27 AM

    So hard to form an opinion when we seem to know so little about him. The right mind set to handle that kind of arm is critical. Where did we get him and what did he do before we got him? Is this a guy McCatty thought he could fix?

  178. Dave - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:49 AM

    You know, some folks here have been saying (quite rightly) that it's hard to watch the playoffs after the Nats' loss.I have to say, it's hard to bring myself to watch those "Nats Classics" rebroadcasts a lot of the time. They take me back to when things weren't going so great–i.e., every year before 2011.If they run Classics of 2012 games, or of the second half of 2011 (like sweeping the Phillies at CPB), then maybe so. But I don't feel a particular draw to a game started by Martis, I must admit.

  179. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    Constant, you could be right but I never thought Hanrahan was rattled by stress. Joel just had some minor mechanical issues that got fixed. The Nats saw a trade and took it.

  180. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    Trevor Rosenthal does it again. Where in the world did this guy come from?

  181. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:57 AM

    OK, small sample size, but Rosenthal = Good Henry.

  182. NatsLady - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Barry Svrluga ‏@barrysvrlugaRosenthal: 5-2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K in six appearances.

  183. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:03 AM

    Dave- I also find those games hard to stomach. But they do make me appreciate where we are now. The change is shocking. The one that was on tonight was three years ago. Gonat– apparently Rosenthal was a late round pick, former position player, minor league starter, among other things. I think he has found his niche.

  184. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Giants really playing some good defense tonight.

  185. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    We talk alot about starters mixing up pitches and Verlander seems to have a good mix. This week he threw 65% fastballs of the 4 seam variety at varying speeds of 94 to 99mph.His 2nd go to pitch is the changeup at 17% then his slider wasn't used much but he got strikes on each one and threw them only 5% of the time, and he threw his curveball 12% of the time and about 1/2 of those were for strikes.This is what I believe is the formula for both Stras and JZim to follow.

  186. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    NatsLady said… Barry Svrluga ‏@barrysvrlugaRosenthal: 5-2/3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K in six appearances. October 19, 2012 10:01 PM _________________________________Update those numbers. That kid is doing great. His workout partner in the off-season is some guy named Chris Carpenter. Carpenter said he likes helping the Rookies.

  187. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:24 AM

    I guess it takes a Barry Zito or a Ross Detweiler to shut down the Cards offense.

  188. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    The Cardinals are thinking déjà vous with Rosenthal. In the 2006 postseason Adam Wainwright was a shutdown reliever and converted to a starter the next year with great success. Wainwrights mentor in the off-season was some guy named Chris Carpenter.

  189. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:28 AM

    baseballswami said… I guess it takes a Barry Zito or a Ross Detweiler to shut down the Cards offense. October 19, 2012 10:24 PM ________________________________Lefty throwing strikes. Interesting.

  190. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Surprising Bochy has nobody warming as even a 5 run lead isn't enough.

  191. Constant Reader - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:29 AM

    Gonat … Agree with you that HRod may simply not have the 'makeup' to pitch in pressure situations. I'll make every effort to come back and post that you called it, if that is the case.

  192. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:31 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… The Cardinals are thinking déjà vous with Rosenthal. In the 2006 postseason Adam Wainwright was a shutdown reliever and converted to a starter the next year with great success. Wainwrights mentor in the off-season was some guy named Chris Carpenter. October 19, 2012 10:27 PM _____________________________________Well look at that. Great info. They also had a great pitching coach in Dave Duncan.

  193. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:34 AM

    Constant Reader said… Gonat … Agree with you that HRod may simply not have the 'makeup' to pitch in pressure situations. I'll make every effort to come back and post that you called it, if that is the case. October 19, 2012 10:29 PM __________________________________Well put on the "makeup". Not everyone can handle the bright lights.

  194. Gonat - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:40 AM

    OK, Bochy has a tandem of relievers up now.

  195. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 2:50 AM

    One thing (among many) that I learned about the post season is that when the game gets to this point it seems to just grind from pitch to pitch- seems like each hitter takes hours. Every strike and every out seems to be Mt. Everest. At least I can watch this game without the knots in my stomach and with my heart rate somewhere close to normal.

  196. natsfan1a - Oct 20, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    I did click over a few times again. First, just in time to see the Panda belly-bump of Kozma, and second, just in time for Zito's bunt. Woke up to find that the Gints held on for the win. Atta way, boys!

  197. natsfan1a - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Actually, I may have that backwards. I think I rewound to see the belly-bump. Anyhoo, awesome. :-)

  198. baseballswami - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    It was nice to see Zito have that redemption game. It was also nice to see an older pitcher, trying to stay in the game by being smart. He threw from 75 to 86 and fooled some very good hitters with location and by keeping them off balance. That Rosenthal kid from the Cards that throws flame made another appearance. Not looking forward to seeing him next season. He has HRod stuff, but with control and poise.

  199. Ghost Of Steve M. - Oct 20, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    baseballswami, read my post at 10:27. Cardinals contemplating converting Rosenthal back to a starter.

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