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Go for broke in 2013?

Nov 20, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

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Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse would be big pieces in 2013, but after that?

Throughout their history in Washington — and most definitely in the four years since Mike Rizzo became general manager — the Nationals have adhered to one simple philosophy when it comes to player acquisitions and roster building: All moves must be in the best long-term interests of the organization.

It's a philosophy that has done the Nationals well, allowing them to build a team that not only reached the postseason for the first time this year but is built to keep on winning for years to come.

Might it be an appropriate time, however, to tweak that philosophy? For the first time in their history, might the Nationals sacrifice long-term potential in exchange for short-term satisfaction?

This might be the most compelling, over-arching question of the offseason. Clearly, this is a team that will enter 2013 with a real shot at winning the World Series, no matter what moves Rizzo makesRead more »

111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Gonat - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    The Dodgers went for broke and it didn't work well.Stay the course as team chemistry is probably more important than individual stats at this point for a team that won 98 games.

  2. Gonat - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Today is also Rule 5 protection day. Nats Prospects has put together a chart. A lot of interesting names on there: Destin Hood, Danny Rosenbaum, Nathan Karns, and Trevor Holder.http://nationalsprospects.com/2012/11/rule-5-thoughts-2/

  3. MurrayTheRed - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    This may sound bad, but we could sign Bourn without the dreaded "no trade clause". Then trade him when Goodwin is ready. That way if Goodwin or any others flop then we just keep Bourn for the duration. Let the attacks on my intelligence commence!

  4. MurrayTheRed - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    This may sound bad, but we could sign Bourn without the dreaded "no trade clause". Then trade him when Goodwin is ready. That way if Goodwin or any others flop then we just keep Bourn for the duration. Let the attacks on my intelligence commence!

  5. TheRealFrankL - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    There is a danger of Nats being the team of the future, and always being the team of the future. I'm all for making a few moves that make short term success. The Dodgers are a bad example because they went way overboard and, frankly, needed a lot more than the few pieces they had added to be a good team. Same with the Marlins.Overpaying a little to keep LaRoche, or signing a CF that maybe in 5 years is going to have lost a step is acceptable in my books because no one knows what the team will look like in 5 years anyway. I mean, even with plenty of guys locked up for the next few years, there are no guarantees. The team won 98 games this year, but that's a bit of a function of luck. Not to say the Nats are a bad team or anything-but 98 is an insane number, and not one easily repeated even by a good team. With some obvious flaws and a good opportunity to win the NLEast again (just gotta get past Atlanta, maybe Philly, it looks like) I'm all for a bit of a push this year.And I don't think you convince Davey Johnson to come on another year if you're not committed to making that kind of push happen.

  6. Gonat - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    MurrayTheRed said… This may sound bad, but we could sign Bourn without the dreaded "no trade clause". Then trade him when Goodwin is ready. That way if Goodwin or any others flop then we just keep Bourn for the duration. Let the attacks on my intelligence commence! November 20, 2012 7:24 AM _________________________________Doubtful Boras would forego a "no trade clause"

  7. Gonat - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    TheRealFrankL said… There is a danger of Nats being the team of the future, and always being the team of the future.__________________________Well said and its happened before in history but most teams that find their way to winning it all make an X Factor trade in July. Giants have done it twice with small names, Cody Ross 3 years ago and Marco Scutaro this season.I think Rizzo has to suck it up and sign the 3 year deal with LaRoche to put the band back together. 2 years from now Rizzo can decide his LaRoche options going into the last year of that deal and yes, there is a small chance that LaRoche won't be performing well and Rizzo will have to eat a ton of cash. It happens.The other possible X Factor is a Minor Leaguer having a huge year and helping the team in a bigger way than Christian Garcia.

  8. Jimmy - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I'm leaning more and more toward the re-signing of LaRoche being a no-brainer move (in terms of trying to re-sign him – whether he signs is up to him). I think he is young enough that three years isn't a guaranteed albatross. I don't even think it is likely in his case. He's pretty durable, and his game doesn't rely on acrobatics or pure hustle for him to be valuable. As for Morse, keep him for 2013 and then let Moore take over. I don't have high hopes for a big return if we seek to trade Morse. He's been valuable around here, but it's been a pretty small sample considering the length of his career. Add to that the fact that we only control him for one more year and I think teams would be reluctant to pony up much by way of compensation. Keeping him, and thus missing out on a potential trade, doesn't hurt us much in the long run in my view.

  9. 3on2out - Nov 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Paying Adam for 3 years will never look as bad as paying Jayson for 7. I suspect Adam will be productive for 2 of those years anyway…if the Nats have to eat one year that's a chance they should be willing to take. I must admit I was confused by Mark's throwing financial commitments to Bryce and Stephen into the same hopper as Ryan, Jayson and Gio. I can only wish the Nats get to lock both of their number ones up past their free agency.

  10. JamesFan - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    The Nats built a winning team from smart drafting, player development and very selective free-agent signings. They should stay that course and avoid the temptation to go all-in on high ticket free agents who clog the system later. I would much rather have a home grown team than go the route of the Dodgers, Blue Jays, Yankees, Angels or Boston. Use big money to extend exceptional players already on the team–J Zimmerman, Desi,(maybe LaRoche and Morse). Get a capable, experienced free-agent fifth starter below the Greinke price, build up the pen, add to the bench and go from there. This can be done without going crazy in the free agent market.We also have a lot of trade-worthy players to fill the key gaps. I also prefer this course to big ticket free agent signingsBig ticket signings are more marketing than team building. As tempting and exciting as it might be, I hope we stay out of the bidding for the high ticket guys like Hamilton, Greinke or Bourne, but instead build around an existing core set of players.

  11. baseballswami - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    I just don't think the difference between 2 and 3 is going to be a significant drain. 2 or 5 would be, that one year probably not. I would agree that many teams who slap a team together on paper get poor results, though. I think like many other things in life, the thoughtful, careful, slower approach is usually better. I would not think that dramatic changes would be beneficial at this point. Things worked very well in 2012 despite injuries, innings limits and having to use rookies in key spots. Not much is broken.

  12. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    first of all, I can't believe people were arguing for Pierre last night. We already have a better LH bench/platoon player in Bernie. Why should we bother with Juan, not to mention he is nowhere good anymore?Second, bigger headline is rule 5 today of course. 4 spots left and Karns and rosenbaum (NP's picks) make sense. of course they can non-tender flores and lannen (if that's the plan which I doubt) and create more space but for who.Third, ALR is first priority. After him, Nats still want to pursue an OF. fine with me but Bourn's numbers against LHs worry me over the last few years. We all have memorized BJ's flaws by now. Hamilton is going to be an expensive problem to have (I still like him on a short term deal if he is willing). I think I would keep offense as it is by re-signing ALR.Fourth, anyone worried about number of innings we will get from RD next season? we need more innings from our starters and there is not one guy we can count on that can give us 200+ or 220+ innings. Gio was one of our best starters and he could not crack 200 innings plateau. Gio and JZ should be able to do that next season. I doubt SS would pitch close to 200 regular season innings if we are in the hunt. RD's durability still worries me. thus we need to add a veteran starter who is a sure shot for 220+ innings. of course there aren't many available on FA market. I like GoSM's suggestion of Felix more and more by each passing day.

  13. sm13 - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    I agree that signing, Adam even for that unneeded 3rd year makes the most sense. We can't underestimate the impact that team chemistry had on our 98 win seasom, and Adam is a big part of that mix. Signing LaRoche will not break the bank or get in the way of extending Jordan and Ian. Neither Bourne or BJ Upton are such big impact players that they are worth breaking the bank. I'd rather see Goodwin get a shot at leadoff later in the year. oh, and by the way, we already have a plus centerfielder in our lineup – a converted catcher named Harper who has an unlimited ceilimg

  14. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Does going for a Felix or a Shields mean we are going for broke? I don't necessarily think so given that most of our starting players and pitchers are under control and not even arbitration eligible for a year or two. Both Felix and Shields are under control for two years I believe so I think we can trade for them and let them go in two seasons if our minor leaguers develop to take over their duties. Of course the tough part is getting these without moving someone special.

  15. Will - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Sign LaRoche to a 3 year contract or whatever, and refuse to give him a no-trade clause (if he's even asking for one). As soon as the contract turns sour, ship him off to the Pirates or someone, eat a little bit of salary, and move on. No long-term damage.If the Nats resign LaRoche, then Morse should be traded. Morse is really bad defensively in the OF, and should not begin the season as an OF. I'd be fine with him starting at 1B, with Moore getting some starts vs. RHPs, if LaRoche goes elsewhere, but he doesn't fit into the Nats short of long term plans as a LF.

  16. UnkyD - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    The reason I'd pay Adam for 3 years, is the clubhouse. Swisher is a similar player, but we know ALR has real, tangible value to his teammates, that goes beyond his exceptional play, on the field. He represents roster flexibility that no FA option will give us, in that having him here for 3 years makes Morse, Moore, Brown, Lombo…all available for making a deal, in July, if we need to. Pay the man… Sign a pitcher, and see if a youngster forces himself onto the 25 man by ASB…The Best 25 Come North!!! (Gulp, BANG!!!)

  17. 320R2S15 - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Yea, real good post TRF, and I agree that three years for ALR is not such a risk. 1st base is such a low effort position, plus he will never hurt himself with that swing…so get er done. I'm in favor of adding a top tier starter instead of a center fielder. lord knows the owners have the cash, I just hope they can psrt with it.

  18. Joe Seamhead - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    This team won 98 games last season in spite of a lot of bad luck, i.e. injuries to Morse, Werth,Zimmerman,Desmond,Ramos,Storen,Strasburg,Leon, HRod, and CM Wang. One guy that is a lot smarter then any of us says that resigning ALR is the most important move that the Nats need to make. I agree 100%, but Rizzo will probably make a move that none of us havee anticapated. I am amazed that so many want to make major changes to a team that won 98 games, and if they basically stand pat, would be much better just by being healthy. I'd like to see another quality starter to replace Jackson, and shore up the bullpen if Sean Burnett leaves. The 40 man will be adjusted. Questions, or just some of the guys guys that may not be on it for 2013 include Maya, Perry, Wang, Jackson, Flores, C. Rivera, and possibly Chris Marrero.Of course what to do with John Lannan is a huge question. He certainly is still of some value, whether to us, or some other team.

  19. bowdenball - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Absolutely do not go for broke. As Billy Beane said, the postseason is a crapshoot. This year the third best NL team in terms of win total defeated the seventh best AL team in the World Series. Last year the fourth best NL team won it all.The best way to win a World Series is by making the playoffs as often as possible, not by building a 100+ win team for a single season.

  20. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Re: Rule 5 — Rosenbaum and Karns are the only ones on the list with a sniff at a job in the majors. Maybe Kobernus or Jordan but only on odd-numbered days. The Nats currently have 37 players on the 40-man, not including Burnett and LaRoche, and 2-3 players on the 40-man they could torpedo without a heart flutter if a spot is needed, without non-tendering Flores or Lannan. So they could add all four of the afore-mentioned but, if/when Burnett/LaRoche are re-signed they'll just have to throw one of the newbies back out into the cold. And that doesn't take into account the desire to add players.If they were willing to lose Brad Myers (injured or not) they won't lose sleep over losing Kobernus or Jordan or any of the others.

  21. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 20, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    "Going for broke" suggests "throw caution to the wins, do great things" attitude, which is neither necessary nor likely. The Nats are already at the top of baseball by at least one measure (wins) and in fact could have reached the top of the mountain if a couple of pitchers hadn't turned into opossums in the NLDS.What's needed is to patch the obvious holes, not to spend wildly. To me this means sign LaRoche and sign a decent doesn't-need-a-five-year contract pitcher. (Dempster is starting to appeal to me more and more.) Starting pitching depth — meaning five reliable starters, not the four with which they labored last year, is a high priority. Though the necessities are few, they can't be bothered by the idea of spending too much for the critical parts. E.g., a third year for LaRoche. An extra $13MM or #14MM is nothing compared to the possibilities of reaching the WS. First, he may well be productive; second, he may be tradeable (Mark Reynolds had a job last year, after all); three, the Lerners can afford it. Once you have reached the top, you can't tolerate the idea of sliding back. The Nats need to find an execute a plan that works for at least the next four-five years.

  22. Don - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    It's a balance, but a GM's job is to do what it takes to build a winner, not to do what it takes to be less likely to be a loser in the future. The plan was to build a club that could win year in and year out, that has essentially been completed. Now they have to modify the old plan and do what it takes to take the club to the next level. That means going for broke more than playing it safe for 2015. We'll see.

  23. natsfan1a - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Put me down for whatever Davey and Rizzo think.In other news, a little early but here's to a safe and happy turkey day for all, with plenty for which to be thankful.

  24. natscan reduxit - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    … look, I want the Nats to win it all, and as soon as possible. But the bottom line for me is that they finished ahead of the projected curve this year. If that projected curve was the right course of action for the long haul to the Big Trophy, and I think it was, then they ought to stay on the same path. That path wouldn't have seen them get as far this year as they did, but it will see them get to the top as soon as is reasonably possible.… so, trade Morse and open a spot for Tyler M; leave Bryce in center right now and bring Goodwin up when he's ready; get a solid number 4 starter with three years of consistency.… i.e., build for a winner in 2015 (2014 if things all fall easily into place); look for a solid NLCS spot in 2013, and a WS appearance in 2014. If that all happens as it should, the Nats will be a top contender for years to come. Come Nats!

  25. Teddy Rochlis - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    After reading some of these comments, and my own observations, i think that we should NOT go for broke, as said perviously the playoffs is a crapshoot, the more opputunities we are given the better chance we have, we want to be prennial contenders not 1 shot wonders. Look at (hate to say it) the braves in the 1990s 14 divisions in a row thats we should be trying to do string together division championships, even though they only won it once they went to the WS what 3 or 4 times and always gave themselves the oppurtunity to succeed in the playoffs.

  26. Don - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    I might be the only guy that does not want ALR back. I like the guy's game a ton but not at the cost, not with Zim looking like he cannot throw and with Rendon looking like he can hit. 1Bs grow on trees. Morse can play 1B, or FAs can be had to play a very capable 1B (or LF or CF should Morse go to 1B) on short term deals or via trade. I'd rather the club spend the big coins of the budget on a high caliber starter. SP is the name of the game as successful clubs like the Giants and Rays can attest. Forget all of this waiting for LaRoche to drop before doing anything esle. Go get Grienke. Go for broke on a guy who will likely pitch 200+ innings of 3 ERA ball for years to come, who will give the Nats the best rotation in the NL for years (fits both the go for broek and the long haul plans) and find a quality 1B another way.

  27. SonnyG10 - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Lots of good insight here. I think giving Adam a three year deal would not be so bad. If he slows down too much in the third year, he could be one of the hairy apes on the bench.I would like to see Rizzo stay the course also. The post season is too much of a crap shoot to blow away your future. We were good enough to have won it all in 2012. We just needed a little more experience. Practically no one on our team had post season experience (couple of exceptions) before 2012. Now we have a whole team with post season experience, plus Stras for a complete season. We don't need to do anything crazy.

  28. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    yep Don, you are the only one. I realize ALR had a career year last season but to replace his LH power bat (and gold glove) will be a bit more difficult than you are suggesting I think.

  29. SonnyG10 - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    natsfan1a said…Put me down for whatever Davey and Rizzo think.What natsfan1a said…I love the fact we have good experts to lead the way.

  30. Mike Hall - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Rizzo seems to have been pretty clear about this, no? He's said on numerous occasions that the flexibility the roster offers allows him to find "good deals". He wants to steal good additions for cheap, like we did with Jackson. I would be shocked, and annoyed, if he "went for broke" when there is no reason to do that.Lots of people want to play here. We will get the right additions for a good price.

  31. MicheleS - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    1A/Sonny G10.. Ditto.

  32. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    "Going For Broke", sounds like putting all your chips in for all or nothing. I don't like that term and prefer "Going For it".Staying the course with an impactful July 31st pickup is smart. I said last year if the Nats wanted to "Go For It" the guy to get was King Felix and then of course after I said that he threw the Perfecto and the chances of prying him away now is between slim and none. I still believe there was an opportunity last July to get him and timing is everything and believed with his team control the Nats would have been the WS favorite for several years. Oh well.This year I would look the same at July 31st and I'm not sure pitching will be needed. Have to wait and see how Detwiler does as the #4 but knowing you need 4 studs for the Postseason, 1. Stras 2. Gio 3. JZim 4. Det should be plenty and the concentration should be for 1 position player upgrade on July 31st.

  33. Teddy Rochlis - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Mike, Jackson didn't come cheap, what was he 11m+ last year

  34. Don - Nov 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Faraz: I hear you. I think ALR would be a big loss, of course, but Harper could move down in the order and the club could ink guy like Carlos Pena on a 1 year deal — comparable glove, comparable big power but Espi-like AVG — ouch, but they'd also have something like an additional $10M to throw at another impact player. Or they could move Morse to 1B and get any number of decent quality LF/CF guys either via FA or via trade, or they could platoon Bernadina in LF. Getting a great 1B glove is not the hard part (there are several FA 1Bs who rate out very well with the glove), getting a LH power bat is (pretty thin crop of power guys at 1B). If Espi gets it together, then it is less of an issue, but that is a big if. I am not against ALR so much as I am for them going after the best SP they can land, and I am presuming that there is only so much money in the budget. We'll see what they do.

  35. UnkyD - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Cheap in years, teddy…I just don't see any advantage in Swisher over Adam. One year younger, but ALR plays a less demanding position. I keep seeing that Adam had a "career year" used as a caveat… Weren't his #s pretty much in line with his career, prior to '11? Isn't that why he was here, in the first place? Sounds like they'll get similar contracts…. Gimme Adam.

  36. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    For what he accomplished, Jackson was garishly expensive. If that's what "going for broke" means, I'm against it.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:16 PM

    UnkyD said… Cheap in years, teddy…I just don't see any advantage in Swisher over Adam. One year younger, but ALR plays a less demanding position. I keep seeing that Adam had a "career year" used as a caveat… Weren't his #s pretty much in line with his career, prior to '11? Isn't that why he was here, in the first place? Sounds like they'll get similar contracts…. Gimme Adam.I agree with you. He has been a 100 RBI guy before with power. His glove on the bag is the best in the game.His clutch numbers are better and that in part could be due to the cast of characters around him.Like all contracts, they are judged in hindsight. His 2011 was horrible as we know so hopefully he got that 1 bad one out of the way and we don't know if he has more to give than what we saw in 2012. Even Adam is smart enough to know the ballpark and team you play for has much impact on how well you will perform.

  38. ExposedinDC - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Don, I am with you, plenty of other 1b options, grab a Grienke and make a run

  39. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    Lannan $5 million – EJax $11 million The good news about EJax is he was impactful to start the season and get the season off to a good start. Unfortunately he faded badly at the end and I said Rizzo should sit him for the playoffs but knew he wouldn't and as we know, he didn't. Best 4 go to the Postseason!

  40. Teddy Rochlis - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    EJax got the 2nd highest contract (i beleive) behind Werth, now for what he did i wouldn't want another player like that, personally I'd rather get someone like greinke who you know will eat up innings and be a consistent 3-3.3 era guy for the next 3-4 years, even if it will amount to a 100mil contract, the time for the nats to shine is now. And grenike will make the rotation the best in the mlb for the next 3-4 years

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

    ExposedinDC said… grab a Grienke and make a run November 20, 2012 10:17 AM What do you see with Greinke that tells you he will be better than Stras, Gio or JZim. I think he is way over-rated, inconsistent and still living off of what he did over 3 years ago. Since then, he's been a solid #2 and unfortunately on this team would be a solid #4.Would love to hear why you think differently and willing to spend on him vs. Anibal Sanchez or Lohse who are my pitchers to target if you want to upgrade what you have in the starting rotation.

  42. Capitol Heel - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    The beauty of the way Rizzo has built this team is that we don't have to "go for broke." The Blue Jays are going for broke. Signing ALR, even for 3 years, isn't going for broke. Neither is signing Bourne. The core of this team will remain the core of this team.

  43. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Laroche's ISO, BB/K, FB%, LD%, and HR/FB% were all career best I believe. you can still expect 150 hits, 60 XBHs, 25 HRs, and 85+ RBIs on this team if he stays, along with good defense. I don't think anyone else on FA market can provide that guarantee. almost all 'better' FAs come with some sort of baggage which we know ALR does not have. 3 years is my limit and 4th year should be a vesting with difficult terms if there has to be a fourth year involved.I would like to know all these plenty of other 1B and OF options that come with as much consistency as ALR.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Teddy Rochlis said… I'd rather get someone like greinke who you know will eat up innings and be a consistent 3-3.3 era guy What tells you he can get to 3.00 to 3.30 ERA since he hasn't been there since 2009 and only better than 3.46 once in his career.

  45. Feel Wood - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    the club could ink guy like Carlos Pena on a 1 year deal — comparable glove, comparable big power but Espi-like AVGThat's an insult to both ALR and Espi. Carlos Pena's 19 HR and .354 SLG is in no way comparable to ALR's 33/.510, and his .197 BA was a full 50 points lower than Espi's .247. To his credit(?) though he did manage to have fewer Ks than Espi, 182 to 189. Okay, so Pena had 87 walks to put his OBP at .330. But Espi's OBP was .315! Carlos Pena is a TTO guy who underachieves in the two outcomes you actually want.First Juan Pierre, now Carlos Pena. Who's the next retread you want to see in a Nats uniform?

  46. staring out the window waiting for spring - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    "In baseball, nobody knows nothing." It's possible they could sign LaRoche for three years, and by the middle of year three be kicking themselves they didn't get four or five years. Not the most likely, but possible.They're playing percentages, which will win over the long run, but two years–the difference between one and three years–isn't a long run. And you can't win the playoffs if you don't get in. Win your division, and then hope you're still healthy enough to make a run.

  47. sm13 - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Ghost – agree on Grienke, but I'm not sold on Sanchez. He's going to be overpaid for overperforming the 2nd half of last season. i like the idea of anothet EJax-like one year deal ( Dempster?) As we wait for Purke, Meyer, or Christian Garcia to step into the rotation.

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I've heard the argument that Greinke would be even better if he had a top defense behind him and people used his FIP and xFIP to make that arguement. He had a very good defense behind him with the Angels and he didn't improve as he went to a 3.53 ERA with them.

  49. staring out the window waiting for spring - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    And IMO, the time to "go for broke" is when you're new in town, or have a new ballpark–some way to lay off some of that risk–because most people who go for broke wind up broke.

  50. DCTom - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  51. Kenz aFan - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Why the talk about long term ramifications or effects on payroll?In five years the Nats TV revenues will be much higher than they are now. Even though the current agreement hasn't been completely ironed out yet, this current 5 year deal will have been improved on again in 5 years.So I ask again, why the talk about long term ramifications?

  52. Daylos - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Sanchez will come much cheaper than Greinke and should produce acceptable results. If the Nats weren't good enough for Greinke when the team was building, then he doesn't deserve a roster spot now that the team has arrived.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    sm13 said… Ghost – agree on Grienke, but I'm not sold on Sanchez. He's going to be overpaid for overperforming the 2nd half of last season. i like the idea of anothet EJax-like one year deal ( Dempster?) As we wait for Purke, Meyer, or Christian Garcia to step into the rotation. November 20, 2012 10:37 AM I'm betting on what Anibal was able to do on the road in 2012 (3.29 ERA) plus his career stats in Nats Park which is in a small sample size (6 starts). His 1.13 ERA in Nats Park and the 0.933 WHIP is crazy good. Anibal is the youngest of the big name Free Agents and should be approaching his best years.When you consider Anibal will pitch 16 times in Nats Park and the fact he had a Road ERA of 3.29 this year in 16 starts, his upside is huge!

  54. DCTom - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    I think it's a false choice to say that signing LaRoche for three years necessarily blocks Tyler Moore in left (or Rendon at third, for that matter).There is a danger to overthinking all of this, and making decisions in 2012 about what player will be ready and playing where in 2015. Players get hurt, fortunes change. At any point in time, we are only one awkward step on a base, one torn tendon while shagging flies, one face-plant slide into home, or one torn meniscus away from all of those plans changing.Signing ALR by itself for three years does not block any player — signing him simply means you have to pay him for three years. It is better viewed as whether it is worth $10-12 million to have the *option* of playing ALR at first base in 2015.In my opinion, that option is valuable and likely worth the cost.Moore and possibly Rendon likely will get significant playing time in 2013-14 even if they are officially "blocked" on the depth chart. Morse, Zimm, and LaRoche get hurt. Even if they only miss 20 games each in each of the next two seasons, that is 120 games. Pluse there is insurance value to having Moore and Rendon on the bench or in AAA. Finally, the Nats should be thinking about the overall value to the franchise of winning and continued winning. This is where a pure sabermetric "wins above replacement" analysis goes awry, because there most definitely is a difference between the wins the Nats had last year as opposed to the wins that, say, the Royals had. For example, if you believe as I do that Lannan's win against the Braves in the doubleheader was the biggest win of the year and propelled us to the playoffs, that start alone was worth the $5 million salary the Nats paid him to sit in Syracuse. Lannan was a bargain.I feel the same way about committing to pay ALR $10-12 million in 2015. So what if there is a 50% chance that he may not play a single inning for us that year? If that's the case, we may trade him to an AL team and eat 90% of that salary. But again…so what? Two years is a long time and a lot can happen. There is the 50% chance that he will be our best option at first base that year. If you view a 2015 commitment to ALR as an insurance policy and option — and not as a playing time commitment — it starts to look pretty cheap. And a pretty easy choice, in my opinion.

  55. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    The only 27y/o + pitcher in whose performance four years from now I have any confidence is R.A. Dailey, simply because he's a freak. He isn't going to lose any velocity or need elbow surgery. On the theory that one bad year is tolerable, a four-year deal should be the max for any veteran pitcher. Maybe five if you assume some gullible GM will be willing to roll the dice on the walk year. Players like Sanchez and Greinke who demand 6-7 year deals are ticking Zitos. (Not to demean Zito's performance this post-season but reaping value in Year Six of a seven-year deal isn't my idea of sound investing.)Two years for Dempster seems about right for me as I doubt Purke or Meyer will be ready in two years and am skeptical about Garcia ever reaching the rotation. (Meyer might make it in that time frame as a reliever but, if he does, it may because they decide he's not starter material.)

  56. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    R.A. Dickey. Geesh.

  57. fast eddie - Nov 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    To all of you wanting to re-sign ALR for 3 years:that will NOT happen. Someone will go 4-5 years at $12m. per. Here's ALR's stats for last year and the six years when he had at least 400 ABs:2012: .271/.348 33HR/100RBI6-yr.avg: .268/.338 26HR/90RBISo, not much difference. Let's go for four years–if our prospects are "blocked", package them for a front-line SP!

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Theo, I wouldn't give any of these pitchers more than 5 years and if it is Lohse no more than 3 years (hopefully 1 or 2) and if it was Dempster no more than 1 year.

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    fast eddie said… To all of you wanting to re-sign ALR for 3 years:that will NOT happen. Someone will go 4-5 years at $12m. per. Here's ALR's stats for last year and the six years when he had at least 400 ABs:2012: .271/.348 33HR/100RBI6-yr.avg: .268/.338 26HR/90RBISo, not much difference. Let's go for four years–if our prospects are "blocked", package them for a front-line SP! November 20, 2012 10:59 AM I think any team that goes 4 years for LaRoche will want to give him no more than $12.5 per year in a $50 mill package. The Nats can give him 3 years with an option with a buyout and go 3 years $14 mill w/ a $5 mill buyout getting him to $47 million. That will be a better deal in the long-run for him.

  60. Section 222 - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    So glad not to see the name Juan Pierre in these comments. Agree with bowdenball that making the playoffs for years to come is the goal. But I'd put two important glosses on that. First, under the new Wild Card system, the goal really has to be winning the division for years to come. If the playoffs are a crapshoot, the WC game is a coin toss, or a crapshoot without the dice. Second, going deep in the playoffs is really about starting pitching, as is winning the division year after year for that matter. A 1-5 of Stras, Gio, JZnn, Det, and Greinke/Lohse/Sanchez/Price/King Feliz would allow us to both go for it and play for the long term. That's where the focus should be. With the right addition to the rotation we can have our cake and eat it too, so to speak.I hope they can re-sign ALR for 3 years or less., but I doubt they will. But in any event, the kind of money he'll get is not going to keep us from picking up that great starter we need to be playing in October for years to come. And if he leaves, we can still win the division with the right pitching staff no matter who plays 1B or LF.

  61. Don - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Feel Wood — that is funny stuff. Listen, Carlos Pena is the guy Rizzo wanted badly 2 years ago but could not land, if you might remember. His glove is about the same as ALR's and, sure, if you compare his woeful 2012 to ALR's career year in 2012 it's not even close, and ALR is likely a more consistent quality performer in terms of being a guy who will hit 25 HR knock in 85 and hit .270, but that is why he'll get north of $30M and Pena can be had for something south of $5M. Pena has hit 25+ HRs a bunch of times so it is not some wild stretch to think that he can do it again, no? I am not urging the club to get Pena (nor was I with Pierre) just saying that there are ways to get pretty good production that don't invlove a big coin commitment. (I'd take Pierre over Bourn and Pena over ALR only considering the MONEY. I'll take Pierre and Pena and keep the $100M savings for something else.) I don't love retreads so much as I love bargains which might allow the club to go get a bigger impact player that brings production that is harder to replicate. Grienke.

  62. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    What does it mean that Mike Rizzo was named Executive of the Year for the Boston chapter of the BBWAA? Are these awards going to be recognized now from each region?

  63. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Section 222, great point. Winning the Division and go from there!

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Don said… Feel Wood — that is funny stuff. Listen, Carlos Pena is the guy Rizzo wanted badly 2 years agoCarlos Pena's name was tossed around after the 2006 season and again after the 2010 season with a bunch of names including Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche. I think every time his name came up it was always as a grouping with other names. That's smart to do. Rizzo doesn't want to say who his main target was and I don't ever think he was a serious target after 2010. His 2010 stats were not good with that .732 OPS and high K count.

  65. Tcostant - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    I with Don. Sign Grienke, I remember when the Braves sign Greg Maddux; everyone said "the Braves need hitters not pitchers". But it was the smart move. Signing Grienke is genuis. If that doesn't work out, then give ALR 3 years, but that is Plan B in my book…

  66. mick - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Sign Adam, and maybe one stopper, a lefty preferably and that is all!!!

  67. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    I challenged the Greinke people from this morning to put up some stats to support your reasoning for wanting Greinke and neither of you responded. The least you can do support your point with some thought out stats and a plan.My Greinke feeling is "way over-rated".

  68. mick - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Grienke and Upton would be a mistake. I feel for Grienke as he deals with depression issues, he would be a huge risk

  69. Kenz aFan - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    The Nats wont be going for broke, this year or any year. At least not while Rizzo is the GM, and thank God for that.Rizzo's prioritiesJob 1: Resign Adam LaRocheJob 2: Acquire/sign a Starting Pitcher Job 3: Acquire/sign a lefty for the bullpenJob 4: Acquire/sign a solid backup infielderThen head to spring training and let all the other pitchers fight it out for the last spot in the bullpen, assuming that's the only spot left to fill. Trades would or could alter that number.

  70. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    if Atlanta had signed Bonds instead of trading for Maddux and won 2-3 WS over the same 14 year period, I think we will all be saying different things. how one team did in 90s and early 00s has no bearing on what nats should do this season especially when game has changed since those times?

  71. blovy8 - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Let's not forget that LaRoche gave the Nats nothing in 2011. If you go by value, he probably wasn't even worth the two year contract. I think Rizzo has set a value for LaRoche, pretty much indicated by the 13.3 offer that Jackson did not receive. The market will determine this, but I would be surprised to see any club go to four years for LaRoche a that rate. Even three might be stretching it, but I guess there's money out there. You just have to look at his history, and the actual demand for him given the penalty of giving up an unprotected pick goes down. I don't see the Rangers involved because of that despite the rumors, and they have Young and Moreland already – they need a catcher and have a surplus in the middle infield, seems like a trade more than getting LaRoche. The Red Sox have 1st open, but also have three catchers who deserve to play, so unless a deal happens, where does Lavarnway go since he's pretty much ML ready? I doubt they'd want to spend that much on first if they go after Hamilton, for instance. Some of the clubs with rumored interest could get Napoli or Youkilis for less in years and salary right now. Swisher has to be a bigger target for those teams, so this could take a while, especially since it would be dumb to sign anyone until after the Rule 5 draft.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Tcostant, same to you, what do you see Greinke will do for this team that you can't get from some of the others at a much smaller commitment.His 3.53 ERA for the Angels would rank him #4 on this team and #5 if you believe Detwiler will be a 3.25 ERA starter in 2013.Greinke career ERA vs the Braves is 5.73, against the Marlins is 4.85, the Mets 3.21 and against the Orioles is 5.32.

  73. Tcostant - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    Goast I'm play. Greinke is a great addition, and who says he needs to be better than Gio, Zimm or Stras as you indicated earlier; if they can be better than his 3 year average, it is a great problem to have.Some stats.Ever year since 2008 he has been over 200 IP (last three regular seasons innings of 229, 220, 212).Pennent Races: 16-6 for the Brewers and 6-2 for the Angles after the trade. Over 200 K's in most year (except is "bad year" in 2010.The guy is a great addition to any team.

  74. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Tcostant said… Ghost I'm play. Greinke is a great addition, and who says he needs to be better than Gio, Zimm or Stras as you indicated earlier; if they can be better than his 3 year average, it is a great problem to have.Some stats.Ever year since 2008 he has been over 200 IP (last three regular seasons innings of 229, 220, 212).Pennent Races: 16-6 for the Brewers and 6-2 for the Angles after the trade. Over 200 K's in most year (except is "bad year" in 2010.The guy is a great addition to any team. November 20, 2012 11:39 AM #1, you pay the big money for a sure thing and nobody in this FA market is that. He is a big name in a weak FA market.#2, you could have kept EJax if you wanted an innings eater. This team needs innings and dominance#3, Won/Loss. That doesn't matter as his run support has been in the Top 5 in the Majors#4 200 K's. I like strategic K's and believe in the McCatty principle "Strikeouts are bulls*&t".

  75. DCTom - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    What's interesting is that none of the options we're discussion here would constitute "going for broke"!"Going for broke" would be breaking the bank, deliberately overpaying and burdening future years by taking a gamble on finding lightening in a bottle. Signing Ichiro, for example, would be "going for broke".Paying Hideki Matsui oodles to be your lefty pinch hitter off the bench, would qualify.Trading the farm system for a one-year rental like James Shields or Jon Lester would qualify.Off all the moves that are being discussed, only signing Michael Bourne to huge contract would *kinda* qualify as "going for broke." And that's only because I'm not much of a fan of his — if we were to make a change in the outfield, I'd rather us trade Morse and prospects for Alex Gordon.

  76. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Team balance is of uptmost importance. Nats were #2 in Team Pitching and #10 in Team Offense and #8 in Team Fielding.Tampa Bay was #1 in Team Pitching and #18 in Team Offense and didn't make the postseason.TEAM BALANCE. Get Adam LaRoche as priority #1 and follow what Kenz aFan said in Jobs# 1-3 in that order.

  77. SCNatsFan - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Let's not get full of ourselves, Grienke would improve the rotation without a doubt; the question is if we only have X amount of dollars to spend then where is it best spent. An argument can be made for signing a top flight starter as easily as signing a bat but we know we aren't getting them both.For ALR, maybe since he likes it here he stays for 3 at 36 instead of going somewhere for the 4th year; clearly he likes it here and sure, if he signs for 3 instead of 4 it might just cost him 10M but he still has money to live where he wants, hunt and still get appetizers with dinner and not worry about the cost. You can't put a price on staying here if he and his family really want to be here.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    SCNatsFan, I believe Lohse would improve the rotation the most in the short-term. It is much easier looking at the Nats 2013 starting rotation because you are replacing just EJax. Just 1 person. There are 5 or 6 pitchers in the short-term who will improve the Nats over EJax. Yes, Greinke is better than EJax but it goes much beyond that it is which player fits in the best.

  79. blovy8 - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Not arguing FOR signing him but this is the argument: If you look at his numbers by fielding-independent stats he was at 3.10 and his expected FIP was 3.22, In other words, by walks, strikeouts, hits, homers, etc, with an average defense and rate of stranding runners and average on balls in play and homers per fly ball and things that can be easily measured, he was a bit better than his ERA number. I think anyone would get depressed by pitching for the Royals. The guy has pretty much everything you want except maybe that killer instinct. He strikes out lots of guys, he doesn't walk them, he doesn't give up a bunch of homers or hits, he gets lots of ground balls, he's smart and makes adjustments, and has more than one out pitch. He's said he would pitch here, but just as a thinking person would a few years ago, did not feel the franchise could afford to lose the prospects to get him without setting back the timetable for contending. Doesn't that mean he wants to win? I think he was right. Now the question is, would you pay 22 million a year for him? Maybe not, but someone will because he's as good as Hamels and the same age; he just isn't left-handed. You'd have to trade for someone as good, and that costs you as well. Over the last four years, he's just behind Verlander, Lee, King Felix, and Halladay in value. The most similar is Sabathia. You can go back seven years and he's in the top seven.Sanchez will not strike out as many and does not have the same track record, and while he's a year younger, it seems to me that he has plenty of clubs interested so you can be sure his price is going up and it will not be a bargain either anymore.

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    Guthrie stays with the Royals in a 3 year deal.

  81. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    GoSM, I agree with you that Greinke is not the way to go for us but he definitely is an ace level pitcher. Not a JV or Kershaw or Felix but surely one of the best pitchers.

  82. Unknown - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    I continue to fail to see how BJ Upton helps this team. For starters, he would cost big bucks. He's another right handed hitter in the lineup and there are already too many of those. He's a strikeout machine and we already have too many of those. He is only a .250 hitter. If Laroche re-signs, Upton sends Michael Morse to the bench or to another team. I think Morse's bat is far superior to Upton's. Last but certainly not least, he doesn't solve the lead off hitter problem that has plagued the team forever.

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    If Hamels went to Free Agency he would've been the top pitcher in the Free Agent market and been paid more than what he got to stay with the Phillies but I applaud him for giving a small hometown discount and staying with his team.

  84. blovy8 - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Look at what the Phllies paid for Lee and Halladay, that's what Greinke will be looking for – personally, I'd take a shot at Haren.

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… GoSM, I agree with you that Greinke is not the way to go for us but he definitely is an ace level pitcher. Not a JV or Kershaw or Felix but surely one of the best pitchers. November 20, 2012 12:03 PM I still think he is living off of what he did in 2009. You are correct, he isn't anywhere close to JV, Kershaw or Felix and he really isn't anywhere near Stras, Gio and JZim.I'm not saying he won't find his 2009 form again but its highly unlikely as has been shown in 2010, 2011 and 2012 stats. His stats say he is a 3.40 to 3.50 ERA guy which is very good just not an Ace unless you are excited by strikeouts which I'm not.

  86. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Blovy8, I think Haren is worth a shot if some of the others don't work out but it could backfire on the team if he is having back or arm issues.2 years ago you would be all over Haren. Not sure today as the Nats really need a sure thing. If you are going to take a chance, the Nats still have rights to John Lannan.

  87. Tim - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Does anyone know if Tampa would trade Price? I think he is a FA in a year or two. No chance he stays, and Tampa could get a decent haul for him. Way more reliable than Grienke. If we want an ace-esque pitcher, let's not settle for best available FA.

  88. Dave - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    I agree with bowdenball that the "all-in", "going-for-broke" thing is a bad idea. But mainly I agree with 1a and Sonny G10 said: In Davey and Mike I trust. I think Rizzo, in particular, is all about building a winner for years to come, not just 2013.We're not the Marlins, after all.

  89. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Tim said… Does anyone know if Tampa would trade Price? I think he is a FA in a year or two. No chance he stays, and Tampa could get a decent haul for him. Way more reliable than Grienke. If we want an ace-esque pitcher, let's not settle for best available FA. November 20, 2012 12:19 PM I would wait until July 31st. His cost will be huge right now. It may be a little less on July 31st but see where you are on July 31.Again, balance.

  90. Teddy Rochlis - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    He could be gone by July though it becomes a question of how much we are willing to give up compared to other teams

  91. NatsLady - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    The Royals just re-signed Guthrie for 3/$25MM. He was terrible in Colorado, but better in KC (for 12 games.) Here is the assessment: "He’s thrown at least 175 innings in six straight seasons, but Guthrie has never managed an above-average strikeout rate despite good velocity and his career ERA as a starter is 4.21. He’s a solid, durable third or fourth starter entering his mid-30s."I guess you could call him an "innings eater" but … the price of pitching is going through the roof!

  92. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    NatsLady said… The Royals just re-signed Guthrie for 3/$25MM. He was terrible in Colorado, but better in KC (for 12 games.) Here is the assessment: "He’s thrown at least 175 innings in six straight seasons, but Guthrie has never managed an above-average strikeout rate despite good velocity and his career ERA as a starter is 4.21. He’s a solid, durable third or fourth starter entering his mid-30s."I guess you could call him an "innings eater" but … the price of pitching is going through the roof! November 20, 2012 12:34 PM Guthrie clearly couldn't pitch in Colorado as several others couldn't but Guthrie's 3.16 ERA in 14 starts for Kansas City seem to have made him a bargain if he found himself in KC.If that 3.16 is a mirage, then its a $25 million gamble but all players are a gamble and I think from what I saw of Guthrie in KC, the Royals may have stolen him.

  93. Drew - Nov 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    To me, the "go for broke" question hinges on how many of the blue-chip prospects Rizzo would deal for Shields or Price.I could understand dealing Morse and Espinosa, but would he give up Rendon? Meyer? Goodwin? Skole?Of course, the Nats could offer up their elite run-producer of a shortstop. (Stop hyper-ventilating. I mean Jason Martinson.)

  94. Unknown - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    I almost love this part of the baseball "season" more than when they actually play the games. Trying to figure out who goes where, who stays and who doesn't is a blast. Before the Nationals came to town, I was an ardent Braves fan and can remember all the consternation over player personnel decisions made during those 15 consecutive divisional titles. But each time they lost or traded a big part of the team, they went out and won it again. Just before the start of the 1997 season, the Braves traded David Justice (.276/.375/.501, 26 HR 82 RBI as a Brave) and Marquis Grissom (.286-20-64, 32SB in two years with Atlanta) for Kenny Lofton and a bunch of guys named Joe. Justice hit .329-33-101 and Grissom .262-12-66, 22 SB with Cleveland in '97. Lofton hit .333-5-48 with 27 steals (20 caught stealing) in '97 before leaving Atlanta via free agency and going back to Cleveland for another four seasons. Point is, Atlanta gave up two great players for one year of Lofton. Atlanta won 101 games in 1997 and won nine more NL East flags before the Phillies took over as bullies of the division in 2006. They remained on top for so long by 1)finding players to fill holes for a year or two, 2)signing quality free agents to long-term deals and 3)using their strong farm system as the backbone of the team.In 1990, they picked up 32-year-old Charlie Leibrandt and in three years averaged 13 wins and a 3.35 ERA. In 1995, they obtained Fred McGriff for three minor leaguers who never made it. In five seasons with the Braves, he averaged .291-30-98.But it was the minor leagues that kept the Braves in first for all those years.By the mid 90's, Chipper Jones, Ryan Kesko, Javy Lopez and Andruw Jones became the backbone of the Braves, all from the team's minor league system.By the early 2000's, a second wave of rookies joined the Braves. Rafael Furcal, Kevin Millwood, Adam LaRoche and Marcus Giles continued the tradition.That's how the Nationals need to do this, and I think that's just how they are going to. They have already have that first wave of rookies make a difference. They could trade many of the AA-AAA type prospects now (no place for them, guys like Rendon and Godwin) but will need to have that second wave ready to go by 2017 or so to fortify an aging roster. I think if the team follows in the footsteps of the Braves, they'll be just fine for the next decade. Farid @ Idaho

  95. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:33 PM

    A little late but I wanted to respond to this:'Job 1: Resign Adam LaRocheJob 2: Acquire/sign a Starting PitcherJob 3: Acquire/sign a lefty for the bullpenJob 4: Acquire/sign a solid backup infielder'I would prioritize a lefty for bullpen as much as the starting pitcher given the market for lefties. as far as I can tell, only burnett is worth having since affeldt already signed. as far as number 4 is concerned, we need not worry unless Lombo is traded. he has proven himself to be an adequate backup MIF.

  96. JD - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    $25 mil for Guthrie based on less than half a season of 'ok' pitching is why KC is where they are. Everything about Guthrie's career screams mediocre; if you think Guthrie will suddenly become good at the age of 32 you sign him for 1 year not 3.

  97. NatsLady - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Naw, I don't like this part better than when they're playing… a lot of speculation with very few data points, especially because Rizzo & co. don't leak much. That's why you get Juan Pierre threads…

  98. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    The Braves model got us Stan Kasten, which was certainly a mixed blessing. This is like playing w/ Topps baseball cards. "Oh look, these guys both have 25 HR but I like the yellow background on your card better than the green background on mine. You wanna trade?"I can't believe the lust for players whose current teams don't want them. You think Pena would go for "small coin?" Do you see Tampa lining up to give him "small coin?" No, because they are trying to improve and don't want him anymore! Except — possibly — Boston Seattle and Miami, I don't think there's a team in baseball that doesn't have better option at 1B. Not only did he hit .197 last year, that was an improvement over 2010!To see him as an alternative to LaRoche requires someone living in a deep, dark, desolate place.

  99. blovy8 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    I'm a big fan of Burnett, but there are other lefties around. Howell wouldn't be much worse, for instance, though his motion reminds me more of Mike Gonzalez without the velocity.I don't see Rendon involved in a Shields deal, that would be Price-y territory.

  100. blovy8 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Ghost, the whole reason why Haren is in play is because of the back thing, and the Angels thought they could do better. To me, it's not dissimilar to the Jackson decision. But the Nats are in a pretty good position to accept that risk with four good starters. Haren seemed to do fine down the stretch, and velocity isn't necessary for his success, which of course probably doesn't make him Rizzo's kind of RH pitcher. Still, if he goes under eight figures, I think it's a good risk/reward situation for both sides, but yeah, it's unlikely he'd end up here, the Cubs will probably sign him to trade at the deadline.

  101. bowdenball - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Forget about Price, unless you're willing to part ways with more than just prospects. Everyone who fancies themselves a contender over the next two years would want him, which means we'd be competing with about 15 teams. We don't have enough prospects in our entire system to compete with the likes of Texas or St. Louis or Toronto or the Yankees. We'd have to deal some young major league talent like Desmond and take a huge hit to our minor league system just to rent him for a year or two.

  102. dcnatsfan89 - Nov 20, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    I don't think it's wise to add another LHP in our rotation, which leaves Price out. I don't think we should shake our roster up too much. We have all the pieces we need within the farm system. I believe our team chemistry is a reason we did so well this year. Another RHP starting pitcher would be nice, but other than that I think we're set. Wasn't Davey interested in Garcia being a starter…he has some great stuff and could solve the 5th pitcher problem. Save the money to lock up some core guys when their time comes.

  103. natsfan1a - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Agreed. Y'all can have the armchair GM stuff. Just give me the games, baby! :-)NatsLady said… Naw, I don't like this part better than when they're playing..

  104. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    TlI agree. This part sucks. Let's hurry up and get to Spring Training already.

  105. Senators Fan - Nov 20, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    I wonder what Sean Burnett's status is? I like how he came back in 2011 from a horrible first half and pitched really well. I know he had a surgery at the end of the year, so I wonder how that impacts his free agent status. Has he been linked to any other team yet?

  106. JayB - Nov 20, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    I agree with Natsjack….but I also think the team would have won the WS this year had they "gone for it"….It is not likely they ever will win a WS just playing it safe and not going all in for a year….Teams like Giants make trades to add key parts…PENCE….Nats did not.

  107. rabbit34 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    If this statement is true, "Clearly, this is a team that will enter 2013 with a real shot at winning the World Series, no matter what moves Rizzo makes", then young talent shouldn't be traded away for a one-shot chance. The odds of winning the whole "thing" are always against you.

  108. rabbit34 - Nov 21, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    If this statement is true, "Clearly, this is a team that will enter 2013 with a real shot at winning the World Series, no matter what moves Rizzo makes", then young talent shouldn't be traded away for a one-shot chance. The odds of winning the whole "thing" are always against you.

  109. Oldguy - Nov 21, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    There has been a lot of talk here and elsewhere about the Nationals going for a World Series win, whether to go for broke this year or keep building for the future. I am all for high expectations, but from long and often bitter experience, I think focusing on the World Series is a recipe for disappointment for the simple reason that it is very difficult to win a World Series. You have to have a very good team, but you also have to have the breaks. I'm talking about things like a ball crushed with the bases loaded–that goes straight to the shortstop, or a sharp grounder that would bring in runs if it finds a hole, but instead starts a double play. That stuff has to break your way.Eight teams have never won a World Series. Nine other teams have only won one or two. The Cubs won both of theirs in 1907 in 1908. The Phillies have won two in 130 years. The Indians have won two, but their last one was 64 years ago. The White Sox, who have won three, won in 2005, but their previous win was in 1917. The Royals won theirs in 1985, the Diamondbacks in 2001 and the Angels in 2002. None of them have come close since. There have been some very good teams that did not win the WS. The collective record of the last 4 teams to go to their first World Series is 2-16.Two things from memory come to mind. In 2006 the Yankees made it clear that if they didn't win the World Series it would be a lousy season. They made the playoffs, won one game and were done. About the same time Terry Francona, who had already won a World Series with the Red Sox, was asked about the possibility of another. He said something on the order of, "We don't think about that. Our goal is to get to the playoffs, and from there anything can happen." That seems to me to be a much more reasonable goal: Get to the playoffs, and see what happens. If your only goal is winning the World Series, you're going to be one of 29 of teams out of 30 that will be disappointed. I also think it's safe to say that the best team in baseball doesn't necessarily win the World Series every year. In fact, I think if you really dug into the statistics you'd find that a substantial number of World Series winners could not be called the best team in baseball for that year.Am I saying, don't even think about it? No, I'm saying let's be realistic–let's go for the playoffs again and hope we get farther. Here's paragraph from Boz: :"Few World Series winners reach their goal without several colossal disappointments. The 1976-to-’83 Orioles blew a three-games-to-one World Series lead; won 97 and 100 games and didn’t even make the playoffs; missed the ALCS on the last day of the season; and required eight years of beating their heads against walls to win the ’83 Series."

  110. Dave - Nov 21, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Oldguy, your wisdom befits your screen name. Good post.

  111. UnkyD - Nov 22, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    Post of the Year, Oldguy… Thanks

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 64 -- 0
ATLANTA 76 76 11.5
MIAMI 74 77 13.0
NEW YORK 73 80 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 82 18.0
Through Wednesday's early games
x-Clinched division title

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

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

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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