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VIDEO: On first base and the rotation

Nov 28, 2012, 12:00 PM EST

With the Winter Meetings fast approaching, I stopped by the studio at Comcast SportsNet yesterday to discuss the biggest issues facing the Nationals: Adam LaRoche and the search for a No. 5 starter.

  1. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Zuck, I can never see your videos on this site, I have to go to CSN. But, I may be the only one — I am not so tech savy over here.

  2. baseballswami - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    I tried several times on here and on csn and got a giant black square. I kept refreshing and eventually it came up. I rarely get them on the first try. Once I saw it, though — good stuff.

  3. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    BTW, kudos to Todd Boss for noticing that Lannan has an option remaining.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    If Lannen has an option left, we should definitely keep him even in case of signing another starter. I know it sounds unfair to him but you gotta do it.BTW I was able to see the video just fine on firefox.

  5. MicheleS - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Are we sure that Lannen has an option left? I thought he only had 1 last year when he got sent down and that was used up.

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Michele, that's what I thought too. I honestly have no clue how option calculations work. Hope Todd is right.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    actually Lannen was sent down in 2007. His minor league game logs over at FG reveal that he made one appearance in minors on 29th August after making his 23rd August start in majors. So that accounts for the last option, we thought he had. That one measly appearance has cost us a whole year of Lannen.

  8. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Last year was Lannan's final option year.

  9. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:33 PM

    Not sure if Tood Boss is right on the option remaining, but Zuck seemed to confirm that an option remained in the video.In any event, I am guessing that they non-tender him. There is no real strong reason to keep him on a multi-Million Dollar deal. We'll see.

  10. Water23 - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Either way, I think you tender Lannan. And now that some one like Chooch is suspended, you might want to tender Flores as well.

  11. SonnyG10 - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Don, I had the same problem not being able to see NI videos on my IE browser. I downloaded Chrome and can see them fine on Chrome. I now use Chrome to open NI and IE for everything else.

  12. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Flores might have decent trade value at his salary, Lannan does not.

  13. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Thanks guys. I am trapped in Internet Explorer here at the office, so I'll have to just flip over to CSN and find the vidoe there. No big deal.

  14. sjm308 - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Just viewed the video (I also use firefox) and Mark definitely said LannEn has an option. Don, its not your money and while $5 million is a bunch, look at what they paid Jackson and I believe LannEn could have done what he did. There is absolutely NO reason to cut him free right now. Someone will certainly pick him up and he could start for at least a dozen teams next year. We do not have a 5th starter and until we do, LannEn is a decent fall back. I agree it is not fair to send him down but if we can do that, its also a great backup plan. I just don't see any reason not to keep him. You keep talking about the contract but there are hundreds of poor contracts: see Yankees 2011, and again, its part of the business of baseball that these guys get overpaid. LannEn is actually an asset and as long as we can control him, it makes sense to use that asset, either as a trade chip, an actual #5 starter or depth in the minors.Go Nats!!

  15. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I see Five Million reasons not to keep him. They are going to add a 5th SP via trade or FA this winter. Lannan is very expensive insurance (pretty silly plan to have the guy around just to cut him in ST and pay him close to $1M not to play for us), and they have guys who can spot start effectively already anyway. Lannan will catch on with a second division club that needs an innings eater, but at a lot less money. We'll see what they do.

  16. Unknown - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Flores have value in the trade market? I think not. .220 hitting backup catchers are a dime a dozen.

  17. natsfan1a - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Not sure whether this was posted already but the Post had a piece on the LAD broadcast contract and what it could mean in regards to MASN.

  18. sjm308 - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Don: if it was my money, I might agree but again, the Lerners are not a small market operation anymore. We will probably go over 100 million in salary this year and this is a one year deal. We are not tied into multiple years with Lannan. Name me one guy on our current roster who could have done what Lannan did last year? Duke has some promise but they are really about the same and we have Lannan under contract. Would you have really wanted Gorzolany to start that game against the Braves last year?Let the money thing go and look at #5 starters throughout the league and you will see that Lannan is not a bad alternative. Would I love to see Garcia or someone young make a huge push this spring? Of course but I still don't get rid of someone who has proven to be of worth just because he makes more money then you think he deserves.

  19. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Unknown, but for a few stars most catchers don't hit very well in the post-steroid era. Russell Martin hit .210 and a few clubs are chasing him right now. Flores had pretty good power and contact skills once and he is finally back from the shoulder surgery and no less than a dozen clubs have C openings. I am not saying he's going to garner some wild return but he has value. If he gets non-tendered, then he'll very likely play for some other MLB club in 2103. We'll see.

  20. DaveB - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I agree that Flores has little trade value at this point (and almost zero chance of playing). However, given the inflation we are seeing in FA salaries this year, I actually think Lannan might have trade value this time around. For example, I think he'd be a fit for the Rockies, as they can't recruit FAs to go there, and they don't seem to mind having pitchers that can't go deep into a game. Would be worth $5M for them to have a reasonably durable guy like John.

  21. Faraz Shaikh - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    If each player has 3 minor league options, then Lannen's all been used. Once in 2007, once in 2010, and once in 2012. He has no options left. I still tender him a contract since we can part ways and pay minimum if we find an upgrade through FA.

  22. sjm308 - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I agree with Don – just like Lannan, I feel Flores does have value. The difference is, he does not have options. If he does not make the 25 man roster, (and I doubt that it happens if Ramos is well) he will be gone. He does not have to accept the move to the minors and then someone will take him for free. I still keep him just to make sure that Ramos is ok although I am fine with either of our two young catchers as a back up. These tendering decisions will definitely keep us interested for the next few days.

  23. sjm308 - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Faraz: I don't understand the option thing either but ToddBoss did a really nice job of explaining Lannan's minor league moves a couple of posts back. Apparently the move in 2007 was injury related or something (my memory is poor and I am too lazy to go back and check). The fact that Mark also mentioned the option on CSN makes me believe its factual. Like you, I would keep him option or no and then see what happens this spring. If he does have the option, I send him down if he is not deserving of the #5 role with the idea we can not be as lucky with our starters health as we were this past year. Even with good health I believe Wang, Lannan and even Gorzolany all started games for us this past season so we need more then just Maya and Dukes down there.Go Nats!!

  24. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:50 PM

    sjm — I hear you, but the money thing is THE thing. The resources are not unlimited, they work within a budget and it is our money, essentially. If the club spends it poorly, then we are less likely to have a winner compared to if the club spends it wisely. (e.g., MVP considerdation performaance from LaRoche, Cy Young caliber stuff from Stras compared to John Lackey, Vernon Wells or Jason Bay or Chone Figgins, etc.) If the plan were for Lannan to be the 5th guy, ok fine. But Rizzo seemingly wants someone else for the role. It is hard for me to accept that paying a guy $5M to be in Cuse for spot-start potential is a wise move.

  25. Theophilus T. S. - Nov 28, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Lannan is not necessarily a match for the Rockies, for the reason DaveB mentions: No FA pitcher will sign w/ Colorado and Lannan will be a FA after 2013 season. Better possibility is Minnesota, who needs pitching so badly they are signing anyone who isn't a double amputee. The Cubs are also desperate but Wrigley is a bad park for him after mid-May. The "other best bet" for Lannan would be the Mets, which is where I would expect him to go if non-tendered.The other possibilities are SD, Houston, Cleveland, KC and any team that loses a #4 or #5 to arm trouble between the opening of ST and Opening Day.Minnesota or one of those other teams should be willing to give something — not much, but something — for Lannan just for the right to control him before he becomes a FA and sells himself to the Mets.

  26. Water23 - Nov 28, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Don,One additional valuations is who would take a decent MLB 4/5 starter signed as a FA. I can list at least two teams in our division that would seriously consider signing Lannan if the Nats do not tender him. (Mets and Marlins). Why give them a free bite at the apple? If needed, the Nats could move him to Astros or others including the Mets & Marlins. As to JFlo, well Chooch is down for 25 games and makes sense to pay a little and have more flexibility later.

  27. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Nov 28, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Now that we've finally resolved that LannEn is out of options, can we rehash one more issue:Can we trade our draft picks?

  28. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    Ha. Funny stuff Sunshine.

  29. Kenz aFan - Nov 28, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said…"actually Lannen was sent down in 2007. His minor league game logs over at FG reveal that he made one appearance in minors on 29th August after making his 23rd August start in majors. So that accounts for the last option, we thought he had. That one measly appearance has cost us a whole year of Lannen."Close but no cigar… Lannan was sent down and played in only one game, but for a player to lose an option, he must spend at least 20 days in the minors after being sent down. I'm sure the Nats are much more aware of the option rules than any of us are, and that they made sure he wasn't in the minors for those required 20 days. Not even Jim Bowden would be that stupid. Well, maybe… So it would seem that Lannan indeed still has an option left.

  30. Kenz aFan - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    sjm308 said…"Would I love to see Garcia or someone young make a huge push this spring? Of course…"The Nats would never risk ruining Garcia's arm, it's simply too much of a risk to throw him into the rotation. Besides he has a much better chance of long term success out of the bullpen, where's he's shown himself to be a potentially extremely valuable asset.The talk from the Nats front office about putting him in the rotation is 100% pure spin doctoring, because there's no way the Nats can risk his arm falling off and ending his career.Remember Garcia has had 2 surgeries on his arm.

  31. sjm308 - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    Kenz: i thought the same thing and was wondering why they would mess with the successful season he had out of the pen. I guess I am just too trusting and believe what I read and hear from the FO and Davey. Can you tell me where you got your information from?

  32. Candide - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said…Minnesota, who needs pitching so badly they are signing anyone who isn't a double amputee.Oooh, oooh!!! I have two arms and can throw 60' 6" with my right one!!! I'll even be willing to sign for the MLB minimum! Hell, I'll sign for half of the MLB minimum!!! I'm a bargain!!!

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Holy flippin hamburgers Batman! Lannan has an option left?

  34. baseballswami - Nov 28, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I have some questions for you about the fifth starter issue. First – how many wins can a team reasonably expect out of their fifth starter? Second – how much money do fifth starters usually make? Off hand I might guess that Jackson made more than the average and his win totals were probably average? If you pay Lannan five million and he gets ten wins, then is that a good value in major league baseball? I think this must be relative to what is happening in the other 29 organizations. It just seems that there is usually a market for left handed veterans and that it might not make sense to pay an outsider more money for the same results. I feel that Lannan could have equalled Jackson's win totals for a whole lot less money last year.

  35. peric - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Holy flippin hamburgers Batman! Lannan has an option left?If Lannan is reading this I'm sure he is on the phone to his agent asking the Nats to non-tender him Friday. Doubtless it'll end up badly for Johnny Lannan but you have to figure he isn't going to take a chance on ending up in Syracuse again.

  36. 995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Looks like Bo Porter is already helping out the Phillies. Wilton Lopez had great numbers the last 3 years (3.14 ERA in 223 IP)…very similar to Clippard, but with a better ERA.

  37. peric - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I feel that Lannan could have equalled Jackson's win totals for a whole lot less money last year.His real, non-biased park and defense neutral stats don't indicate that. In fact just the opposite. And you have to figure the Nats were looking at the same things that I was. Losing Milone left the Nats without any real options if Lannan faltered so they signed Jackson. Milone should have been that fourth or fifth starter. Same situation this year and since Detwiler really has put in parts of a good year for them it could be considered a bit worse.Again, look for the Nats to attempt to trade for a top of the rotation team-controllable starter that is under 30. Left-handed will be the preference. And Grienke will get serious consideration as well I suspect.

  38. peric - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Can we trade our draft picks?That's one of the true strengths of the organization.Maybe but highly unlikely.

  39. Feel Wood - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    peric said… I feel that Lannan could have equalled Jackson's win totals for a whole lot less money last year.His real, non-biased park and defense neutral stats don't indicate that.Jackson won 10 games pitching for a 98-win team in 2012. Lannan won 10 games pitching for an 80-win team in 2011. His real, non-biased on-field performance trumps your pseudostats any day.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    And every time.

  41. UnkyD - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    (…burn…)

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Peric, when will you stop with your complete fabrications. It just hurts your credibility.Give Lannan the credit he is due. The team went 4-2 in games Lannan started in 2012 and they were all HUGE games. He put them in a position to win and win they did. That's what you want from your starters.Any time your team is winning at a .667 clip you are on a 108 win pace. Not to make this about EJax, he was the only starter with a losing record and was unfortunately very inconsistent and that's why Rizzo cut ties with him. Not that his losing record was a total reflection on him, the starting pitcher has to take some of the blame.

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:32 PM

    995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 said… Looks like Bo Porter is already helping out the Phillies. Wilton Lopez had great numbers the last 3 years (3.14 ERA in 223 IP)…very similar to Clippard, but with a better ERA. November 28, 2012 1:05 PM Yah, wasn't happy to read that plus Lopez had a good 2012.What is it with Houston continually helping out the Phillies and Braves? They have used the Astros as part of their player development system.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    I'm thinking Bourn, Pence, Oswalt, Lopez were all sent to the Braves and Phillies from the Astros.Maybe some others also that I can't readily recall.

  45. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    The Astros former GM Ed Wade was crushed in the Astros blogs for some of his trades especially since he previously worked for the Phillies. People were questioning if there was funny business going on with the trades.I think almost all of those "prospects" picked up in those trades last I checked only 2 are in Houston's Top 10 prospects. I think they recently DFA'd Schafer and 1 other and none as of yet have made any impact.Just pathetic and we thought Jim Bowden was bad?

  47. 995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Well, hopefully the fact that Rizzo has obviously made enemies with his Strasburg decision won't have the entire National League colluding against us. (See Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones with the salary cap hit this past year). After hearing what other GM's said about Rizzo and the Nats, I would not be surprised to see NL teams helping each other out, if/when possible, to stick it to them. Right or wrong, that Strasburg decision pissed a lot of people off about the Nationals.

  48. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    Det was the 5th starter last year, not Jackson. I think that clubs think more about how many Starts and quality innings they can get out of a SP not the number of Wins they can bank on a pitcher getting (not really in the SP's control in a lot of ways). I think that Lannan has value (lefty, rubber arm innings eater who can keep you in a game), just not for the Nats as much as some other club and for that other club he likely does not have $5M worth of value (plus whatever they trade away to get him).

  49. snopes1 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    I'm curious why some here spell John Lannan's name "LannEn."

  50. blovy8 - Nov 28, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    Maybe now that Wesley Wright is arbitration eligible they'll trade him to the Nats for as little. Sizes up as a good loogy team controlled for four years.

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    995c0828-8d78-11e1-b794-000bcdcb5194 said… Well, hopefully the fact that Rizzo has obviously made enemies with his Strasburg decision won't have the entire National League colluding against us. (See Daniel Snyder and Jerry Jones with the salary cap hit this past year). After hearing what other GM's said about Rizzo and the Nats, I would not be surprised to see NL teams helping each other out, if/when possible, to stick it to them. Right or wrong, that Strasburg decision pissed a lot of people off about the Nationals. November 28, 2012 1:46 PM I believe the dbag who bad-mouthed Rizzo was Braves GM Frank Wren and beyond him most like Mike Rizzo but don't think "like" between any GMs makes it any more that what it is because they are competitors. Ruben Amaro doesn't want the Nats to get better either. That's the Nats toughest competition, the guys you face 18 times a year. You sometimes have to make moves to block your competitor. Rizzo needs to make sure he drives the price up on BJ Upton for instance. That's what the Red Sox and Yankees have been doing to each other for decades.

  52. Don - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Snopes. I have no Enswer for you.

  53. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Don said… Det was the 5th starter last year, not Jackson.Not sure who you are responding to but I agree that's how the season started but it sure didn't end that way.Det is now the 4th starter until the last starter in the rotation is named and Davey sets the order but I think most agree its 1) Stras 2) Gio 3) JZim 4) Det and anyone of these guys and possibly all could be in the 2013 Cy discussion. On July 31st it was JZim getting Cy buzz.

  54. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:07 PM

    LannEn was the spelling Riggleman used for Lannan in a Phillies game on the lineup card and Lannan won.

  55. UnkyD - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    The Story of LannEn (courtesy natsfan1A and JaneB, lifted from a thread in September…:natsfan1aSeptember 12, 2012 4:31 PMrdn, Riggleman misspelled his last name on a lineup card. The Nats went on to win the game (if memory serves, they'd been on a losing streak). The rest is history. :-)JaneB saidrdn, Riggleman didn't misspell LannEn on just any old line up card.mit was a game against the Phillies, and the Phillies had John LannAn's number big time. When he pitched, it was like those guys got staked to five runs. But that day, John LannEn was the winner, and the rest is history. Just like the guys don't mess with things that occurred at the start of a streak (underwear, meals, etc), WE don't mess with new, empowered spelling of LannEn.

  56. Ghost Of Steve M. - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    UnkyD, but it should be noted that Riggleman purposely misspelled Lannan's name to reverse his Phillies curse as I think Lannan had either never beaten him and now LannEn is the Phillies slayer ;)

  57. UnkyD - Nov 28, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    Ghost…where's the like button….? :-)

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