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How much better will Harper be at 20?

Dec 11, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

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History suggests Bryce Harper's power numbers will significantly rise next year.

Few 19-year-olds have ever done what Bryce Harper did for the Nationals this season, a fact that was repeated over and over during the course of his award-winning rookie campaign.

All along, there was an assumption that Harper had only scratched the surface of his immense abilities, and that he would be poised to take his game to even greater heights at age 20.

That assumption was based not only on Harper's individual case, but on the history of baseball itself, which features plenty of examples of young players making a significant leap once they turn 20.

How much better, though, can we expect Harper to be in 2013 than he was in 2012? By analyzing the career progressions of otherRead more »

175 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Great topic and well-written story, Mark. Just the thought of Bryce Harper getting even better warms me all over. Keep him batting in the No. 2 slot: it's the easiest spot in the lineup, the rocking chair slot.

  2. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Great artcile, Mark. And Sunshine, you just hit on the importance of re-signing LaRoche so Bryce can stay in the 2 hole and not be placed in the role of the sole left handed power bat.

  3. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    article. duhh

  4. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    I can't wait to watch this unfold this year.

  5. mick - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Bryce Harper, as I have said over the past 6 months will be to D.C. sports, what Jordan was to Chicago and Ruth to NYC. Throw RGIII in this mix and ask yourself, is there any other city you would want to be a sports fan the next dozen years?

  6. mick - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Mark hits the mark again, lol

  7. UnkyD - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Can't wait to see…. And if Trout's numbers are indicative….? {=^D

  8. 320R2S15 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Mick, checking in from the state of Oregon no doubt. I will admit that things are looking up though.

  9. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Let the games begin. (No seriously. Is it time for baseball yet? What? Not until February, you say? Ohh, man…)

  10. 320R2S15 - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Mick, checking in from the state of Oregon no doubt. I will admit that things are looking up though.

  11. 3on2out - Dec 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Mick: I heartily concur with your enthusiasm for the Nationals (and not just Harper: Stras, Zmann, Gio, Ryan, Ian and Drew…to name a few). Unfortunately, the Redskins are a one-man band which they mortgagaged their future to get. When RGIII gets hurt (and its just a matter of when not if) the franchise will implode. The Wizards are the laughing stocks of the NBA and the Caps remain an enigma. The Nationals are by far the brightest light on our DC Christmas Sports Tree.

  12. hiramhover - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:10 PM

    Great stuff, Mark. I will note that Bill James projects only minor improvements for Harper in 2013.HR/AVG/OBP/SLG24/.272/.347/.476I'll take either, but I'd rather see Mark proved right.

  13. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    I was surprised not to see any Trout references since he is the most current player who had some (not 400) PA as 19 year old and should have won MVP as a 20 year old. I don't know if we should expect Harper to put up those kind of numbers, but suggested slashline is good enough for me.I am still hesitant about Harper being primary left handed power bat in our lineup. danny has bouts of power every now and then but how reliable is he?

  14. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    On an ex-Nat note, not having followed either of them, I didn't know until I read this that the recently deceased singer Jenni Rivera had been married to Esteban Loiza for two years.

  15. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    I don't take much stock in extrapolating from the performances a lot of apples and oranges. Harper is a different kind of player from most, with the possible exception of Ott and Griffey II, and he's not playing in the Age of Ott. Much easier for me to look at what Harper did in September/October as the best indicator of his potential — and stretching that out yields much larger nos. than just looking at the Precocious XIII. My guess assumes that (A) he has a full month of April; (B) he doesn't have any more Julys; (C) his May and June show higher averages and more power; (D) there's maybe one outlier month like August (which, we recall, was really two distinct periods) (E) settling in one spot in the order, anywhere from 2 through 5, behind productive hitters, yields many more opportunities to drive in runs; (F) he improves significantly (20+ points) against LH pitchers. In the end he winds up with something like .300, 32 HR and close to 100 RBI.Ultimately, the thing that will keep him from being a 130-140 RBI guy year after year will be Zimmerman cleaning up in front of him and leaving the bases empty.

  16. sjm308 - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I tend to worry just a tad about the automatic assumption that Harper will have this huge jump just because others have. Then I think about what a great talent he is and the excitement takes over. Still, its just not fair to say that because others did such and such so will Harper.I will take the Bill James numbers in a heartbeat and would hope our fans will not be disappointed with those. One thing that was not introduced in this article is the fact that he will once again be playing a fairly new position. I realize he played all 3 positions in the minors but last year he was pretty much a Centerfielder. I am guessing the question will be this, does moving to a corner position make him even more dangerous as a hitter? I can see less stress on his legs, but what other factors in moving would play into his improvement? Flynnie mentioned his difficulties with the slow curve and pitches off the plate. I have to think another year of experience will help solve that issue and if he does, then those huge jumps that Mark talked about might just happen. No matter what, I am loving that Under Armour commercial that shows him hitting in the snow, breaking his bat and the look of determination. Just great stuff.Go Nats!!!

  17. hiramhover - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    FarazDon't expect Harper to match Trout's #s next year–that's setting him up for failure. I'd be astonished if Trout matched those #s next year (tho since I cited the Bill James projections above, I should note that James projects Trout will). I think that was a performance for the ages.

  18. flynnie - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:26 PM

    Love all those stats. Just never let him bat against Pettite. And he should have a long talk with Trout about "How I learned to feast on off speed pitching" between Trout's .169 2011 and glorious 2012. And there's a lefty who hit for average, had power, and rarely got a pitch to hit in SF. Maybe Bryce should talk to him about taking pitches. Although for a 19 year old he had some magnificent veteran at-bats where he took the walk nobly, showing the pitcher for the coward he was.

  19. Rabbit34 - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Bryce, have a year like Mike Trout and everyone will be estatic.

  20. flynnie - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    1A – hearts of Nats Nation go out to Esteban Loiza for the loss of his wife, Jenni Rivera. Good eye, 1A, as always. SJM- Middle position players-catchers, 2b, ss, center f., hate to be moved. They like the action.I can't think that Bryce will like this, but let's hope he takes it out on the opposing pitchers.

  21. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Bill James has done a lot of interesting things w/ nos. but, so far as I can tell, his "projections" are only trend lines. Hence Harper and Trout essentially static until proven otherwise. Not very useful. Clearly his "projection" assumes another couple of months like July and August, and overall no improvement in the weak spots (e.g., against LHs), and no way is that going to happen.

  22. Tcostant - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    MVP type better, think how much better Trout got between 19 and 20 in the bigs.

  23. sm13 - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    It's going to be hard for Davey to resist moving Harper down in the lineup. He won't want two lefties at 1 and 2 in the order and he'll want Bryce to hit for power and more rbi. If Bryce hits 3, 4, or 5, his numbers are bound to go up. – 30 hr, 90+ rbi

  24. Tcostant - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Hey natsfan1a -My wife is so caught up in the Jenni Rivera crash (had been married to Esteban Loiza for two years), but the unknown story was how she kicked him out of the house for sleeping with her 20 something daughter. They are still legally married and the courts will have to decide if he gets her millions.

  25. BigCat - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    One last thing and I'll leave this Laroche thing alone. I understand where all you guys are coming from. I guess I didn't like the way we tossed Lannan to the curb and now it looks like Laroche is leaving. All this talk about clubhouse presence etc. There really is no loyalty anymore……on both sides.And on the money issue. Do you think Werth is gonna last all those years here. We will be paying him around 40 million to "go away" in a year or two. Paying Laroche an extra 10 mil or so is not like giving it to knuckleheads like Reyes or Rameriz….both cancers. The Lerners are looking at 40,000 a night next year. Lets not cry poverty here. 10 mil is a drop in the bucket

  26. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:57 PM

    BigCat–my main point is we don't know LaRoche is leaving, we don't know anything right now. I think Davey would be more comfortable with Adam than without him, and Davey's comfort level is important. But, as himself said, "It's Rizzo's job to sign 'em, it's my job to play 'em." Reasonable people assess that there is not room for both Morse and LaRoche. It's not LaRoche who would be getting the extra millions, it's Morse–if both players were kept–and is it fair to have Morse on the bench in his contract year? Somebody loses in the game of musical chairs when you have a good team. I don't think it's a money issue, it's a roster issue. The Twins just signed Kevin Correia for two years, $10MM. Their GM basically said they are having trouble getting guys to take their money. That used to be the Nats. Now we are looking at a situation where one of two solid players probably has to go.

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 1:58 PM

    Big Cat, none of us are in these discussions. Usually its the team that always looks bad and thats the way it is.Rizzo will not be changing his mind on LaRoche and going to 3 years. He's sticking to 2 years.Like you, I wasn't happy that Lannan is gone but we don't know what went on behind the scenes and we just have to hope Haren is an upgrade over EJax/Lannan.Lets hope it is 40,000 a night but I don't think that is a reasonable expectation. 36,000 on average would be asking for a lot. Payroll will top $100 million and lets face it, the cost to keep JZim and Strasburg and Detwiler just went up significantly. Rizzo has a plan with payroll and player retention–unfortunately players and their agents have their own plan and you have to want to be retained as we know and many players have zero loyalty back to their teams. The river flows both ways.

  28. DaveB - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Two comments:1. I'm a worrier, so I wish Mark would have talked more about those 20 yr olds that regressed … e.g., were there any attributes that make Harper likely to fall into that camp? was it just a "sophomore slump" and they came back stronger, or were they longer term duds?2. I agree with sm13 in that there is no way that Davey will bat 2 lefties at the 1 & 2 spots, so Bryce will move to 3/4/5 regardless of whether ALR re-signs.

  29. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    Whether it is next year, or the year after, or the year after that, Harper will become one of the premier sluggers in the game, if not the premier slugger. He isn't even fully grown. He will be playing a less demanding corner OF position. He is one of the fastest learners and the most conscientious student of the game on the entire squad. He talks to everyone and listens to everything they have to say.Harper is willing to work as hard as necessary to succeed. I cannot wait to see how far that young man will go. As Rizzo has often said, makeup and character are two of the most important factors in evaluating potential additions to the roster. Those are two of Harper's most valuable assets.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    flynnie said… Love all those stats. Just never let him bat against Pettite.They talk about how knuckleballers can mess up your swing so I have to agree with you about what Pettite exposed on Harper. That 5 K day and what it did to him mentally was hard to watch. Bryce went fishing and the fish weren't biting.Luckily not all LHPs have made him look like that. Bryce actually made good adjustments later in the season to similar pitches from other lefties. The solution was don't swing at that crap. Pettite didn't throw more than a couple pitches near the strike zone which is what made Bryce look so awkward that day. It gave new meaning to a Cinco Stinko Sombrero.

  31. Doc - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Bill James is wrong on his trend lines for Harps.I'm sure some SABRmetrics guy has kept track of James' projections and year end correlations therein.I 'project' that James' next season projections on our young hero, one is not going to be one of his better predictions.James needs to make adjustments to his data, equal to the adjustments that Harper will be making!!

  32. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    FWIW, I don't think there is any less or more loyalty than there ever was. If anything, owners are more likely to treat players better now, simply because of the greater investment. It's hard to argue (with a straight face) that players were more loyal to their franchises before free agency.

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    DaveB said… 2. I agree with sm13 in that there is no way that Davey will bat 2 lefties at the 1 & 2 spots, so Bryce will move to 3/4/5 regardless of whether ALR re-signs. December 11, 2012 9:00 AM I agree. Wouldn't want to stack your 2 lefties in the 1-2. Let's see what Davey does. He may want to keep Harper in the 2 hole and keep Werth in leadoff and Zim in the 3. There are many scenarios including moving Ramos to the 5 eventually.

  34. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    And for the record, I too think Harper, barring injury KNOCK*KNOCK*KNOCK will light up the league next year, and several more to come.

  35. bowdenball - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Usually James' predictions are seen as overly optimistic if anything.Really, his numbers aren't that far off from Mark's on Harper. Four points on OBP and twenty on slugging, all due to a difference of seven HRs in the projections. I tend to agree with Mark, but it's not like one guy is projecting him to hit like Babe Ruth and the other is projecting him to hit like Wil Nieves.FWIW ZiPs is more pessimistic than either, projecting a slash like of .265/.337/.467. I can't imagine his OBP being that low.

  36. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    There are many scenarios including moving Ramos to the 5 eventually.Almost seems like too much to hope for, that lineup with Ramos holding down the 5-spot.

  37. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! said… It's hard to argue (with a straight face) that players were more loyal to their franchises before free agency.The America I grew up in was you worked for the same company your whole life and retired with the gold watch. That was then and this is now.I imagine before Curt Flood that baseball was kind of similar. When players were traded like Babe Ruth, there was mass outrage.Now changing teams is commonplace unless Ron Shapiro is your agent and last I checked his last client in his career will be Joe Mauer and most agents to subscribe to Shapiro's theories of loyalty to team & city.

  38. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    BigCat, If you look at what Greinke just signed for it gives you a peek at what Stras will cost in a couple of years, JZimm will be a small fortune too and that's not taking into account Desi, Ramos, Detwiler and finally Harper. When you get to $187 mill payroll you have to also pay a payroll tax not to mention revenue sharing. It's not the $10 mil that's the issue it's the overall ability to keep the payroll from exploding and Rizzo has to start by not giving a 33 year old a contract which will coincide with some of the natural payroll explosion.

  39. Joe Seamhead - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Big Cat, it is a yearly thing with virtually every pro sports team to make tough, and often unpopular decisions.The LaRoche/Morse decision is especially tough. I was one that argued Mikey's virtues with others that said he wasn't an everyday player, one who couldn't hit righthanders back in in Riggleman's days. I still think that his is outfielding skills are overly criticized, though there is no argument from me that he isn't ever going to be a great one. If ALR comes back, we all have a hard time seeing Morse staying here. Make no mistake, many opposing pitchers would be thrilled not to face the Beast. Honestly,though, I don't feel at all comfortable of our chances to repeat as NL East Champions with Morse, or Moore, being our first baseman.As to Bryce Harper, I see a young player that comes back this year feeling much more comfortable with himself. He is now a returning veteran, so to speak. He doesn't have to prove himself to anybody now, not his team mates, manager, or to himself. Everybody knows he belongs here now. Though still only 20, he will be much more comfortable in his own skin this year. As to the position change, as has been mentioned before, he has stated that he gets better reads, and feels more comfortable in CF. RF is actually often the most difficult position to excel at. Many parks have quirky walls in RF, and the slice from right handed bats is often the very toughest play to make in the outfield, not to mention a good throw from right to third base takes a great arm. At this point, I imagine Jayson will still man RF and Harper will move to LF.Tcostant, nothing I had heard about Esteban Loiza and Jenni Rivera made Loiza look good.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage, yes, don't expect anything on Ramos till later in the season but they are looking at him offensively to be a beast himself. Not saying Yadier Molina but others have made the comparison.

  41. hiramhover - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    TheoI take your point about Bill James–all of these sabremetric systems depend on data, and in the case of young players, there just isn't that much. There's a lot of exuberance in the air, and time will tell whether it's irrational or not. Certainly, one can find examples of young phenoms who never matched their initial promise, or who slumped and then rebounded. Tho he was a bit older than Bryce in his rookie season, Jason Heyward would be one cautionary example. He soared in his rookie season, slumped in 2011, and bounced back last year–tho still without matching most of his rookie #s.

  42. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Joe Seamhead, Morse's defensive metrics are measurable to a degree. I understand that UZR metrics are imperfect but they at least give you a relative frame of reference and these metrics say that Morse is a terrible outfielder and a pretty bad 1st baseman as well. This is not personal criticism; it's just an unfortunate fact. If Morse was even a decent fielder Rizzo would not have traded one of his best prospects for Denard Span and there would be no ALR debate but since defense does count and does affect games you can't just punt it.

  43. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    "The America I grew up in was you worked for the same company your whole life and retired with the gold watch. That was then and this is now."There are still a few iconic players who will retire with the same team they started with – Ryan Zimmerman, Derek Jeter, David Wright. Hope the Nats can add a few more to that list, like Strasburg, Harper, Desi, JZ, et. al. Pujols diminished himself, IMO, going to LA, where California taxes make it likely he did not net as much as he would have if he had stayed in Mizzou. Stan Musial would never, ever have left the Cards for more money. For some players, its all about the money, and even more about ego gratification, but not everyone.

  44. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Tcostant, hadn't heard about that aspect of the relationship. As noted, I didn't really follow either of them.On topic, I don't do predictions, but I promise to cheer for Bryce and the others no matter what. :-)

  45. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah, Chipper Jones is on that retirement list as well. :-)

  46. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Laddie, The reason it's not practical for a team to keep most of it's players forever is that when they all hit their peak earning years the payroll would balloon to $300 million. In order to avoid that you must always insert young 'cheap' talent. I too grew up in an era where there was very little player movement but in fairness; in those days the players had no leverage to maximize their earning power.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Thanks Laddie.

  48. Sam - Dec 11, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    This is where a nice, simple multiple regtession model would come in handy. I read a few journal articles about the path of most player's career progressions while doing some of my own research. Most of it centered around at what age a player peaks (generally accepted to be 29) and how quickly they decline thereupon after.Suffice it to say, a player who has enough talent to stick around in the Major Leagues for nearly a full year at age 19 probably has a long career ahead of him. And even if he does not drastically improve next year, 10-15 years of what he did last year would still make him a great player by the time his career is over.

  49. John C. - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Harper may progress, he may regress a bit. The overall trend line is still up. The one thing that fans should not do is to peg his season to the one that Trout just had, which was unique. Heck, Trout is not likely to ever approach that level again even as he moves through his 20's.I can't see Harper batting in the #2 spot next year, because the team is not likely to stack their lefties that way – it's just inviting the opponent to get the maximum use out of their LOOGYs. Especially since most of the bench, who would potentially be PH in the #9 spot for the pitcher, either bat LH (Tracey, Bernadina/Brown) or struggle against LHP (Lombardozzi). That leaves Tyler Moore, and the backup catcher, as the only threats from the right handed side.Even a 100% Ramos isn't going to bat #5 if this lineup is remotely healthy. Ramos has a plus bat for a catcher, but I can't see him hitting higher than #6. That would require him to be hitting in front of Span (in the unlikely event that Span isn't hitting leadoff) as well as the Espinosa and the pitcher. Beyond that, his moving up would only be due to injury or severe slumpage by someone else in the lineup.

  50. Section 222 - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    As others have noted, it seems very unlikely that Harper will bat 2nd. Werth makes a lot more sense there, and that should help Harper's RBIs if nothing else, not that that stat means anything. I feel like Harper is destined to be a No. 3 hitter. I wonder if Zim will resist that move. I really like a lineup of Span, Werth, Harper, Zim, LaRoche/Morse, Desi.

  51. Joe Seamhead - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    JD, before Werth came here, Morse played RF, and though it wasn't graceful , it was adequate. Actually he went an impressively long time without ever being charged with an error. Last year when he came back from his injuries he was undoubtedly the weakest defender on the Nats when he was in LF. Whether he was still not 100%, or more likely, just didn't play LF as well as he played he played RF, fact is, when a guy can hit like he can, baseball wisdom has always said you have to find a place for him. Long ago,Frank Howard was a case in point, as Josh Willingham is today. Ultimately, the AL will be where Mikey likely finds a home.

  52. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    1a-Right you are. Did not mean to omit anyone. Guys like Chipper and the others add value to a franchise, IMO. The fans are loyal to them, and appreciate the reciprocity. JDRemember that Ryan signed for below market value so he could remain a National throughout his career, and so that the team could use some of that saved money to sign others of their young stars in the future. Rizzo will not be able to keep all of them, but he does not have to. I think Rizzo appreciates how to enhance franchise value better than most GMs, and will act accordingly. With his recent injury history, RZ is not guaranteed to last the full tenure of his contract, and Rizzo surely knows that. But Ryan is important as the personification of the franchise , and his treatment by the GM tells everyone in the game that money is not the only parameter by which players are evaluated in Nats Town.If Ryan were not such an exemplary role model, as both a player and a citizen, he would not be viewed as such an asset to the team and its image. I like the way both Rizzo and Ryan handled the contract extension. That said "class act" all the way around.No wonder other players see the Nats as a preferred destination. Money isn't everything.

  53. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Atlanta looks strong for 2013, so don't count too many chickens…Previewhttp://mlbreports.com/2012/12/10/stateatl/

  54. sm13 - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    222 – I agree with that lineup. Werth should do very well as a number two and there was something special about having Bryce follow him in the lineup.

  55. Nats1924 - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    On another note – apparently MLB brass have asked Angelos to sell MASN!…I wonder how that would work for the Nats? Seriously, Im still shocked how under-the-radar this MASN contract status is in this areaThis is prob the MOST important battle the Lerners will endure during their baseball ownership. If they don't get what revenue they should receive you can kiss goodbye Stras, Harper, Rendon, etc.

  56. rmoore446 - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    I would be surprised if Harper only reached 75 RBIs in 2013. With Span leading off and setting the table and Harper likely moving down in the order, I would expect Harper RBIs in the high eighties or low nineties.Can't wait for Spring Training!!

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Nats1924 said… On another note – apparently MLB brass have asked Angelos to sell MASN!Unless something has changed that's old news. Angelos supposedly was asked by MLB to look at a buyout from Comcast or FOX which he supposedly turned down.Do you have different news?

  58. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Nats1924, I presume you're talking about this article, which was linked to in the comments here at some point.

  59. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    What's your beverage of choice, Ghost? :-)

  60. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    natsfan1a, I have a ledger showing I owe you one from a few weeks ago!Its so nice to read good posts and civility, kindness and friendship amongst posters.

  61. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    Okay, then. Sounds like we're even. :-) (And agreed on posts.)

  62. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Nats1924 said… On another note – apparently MLB brass have asked Angelos to sell MASN!…I wonder how that would work for the Nats?It's not the ownership of MASN that's the problem for the Nats, it's the requirement that only MASN can hold the Nats TV rights. Since the Nats also own a minority share of MASN in addition to Angelos's majority stake, the sale of the network to a third party, e.g. Fox, Comcast, etc., is basically an attempt by that party to buy both the Nats and O's TV rights. If so, what would the term be for that, and how much will be paid to each team? Even though the Nats are only minority owners of MASN, the current deal specifies that their yearly payout must be equal to the Orioles payout. If Angelos sells the network, is he going to allow it to stay that way, or will he insist that the Orioles get a larger rights fee than the Nats since they own the larger share of the network? There are a lot of issues involved here beyond just selling a network. This would also be a simultaneous sale of the TV rights for TWO teams. It would be very very difficult to work something like that out. It's definitely beyond the scope of Selig, who is incapable of making a decision himself. Look how long it took him to resolve the eventual move of the Expos, and look at the (lack of) progress on the A's to San Jose. You can add the MASN deal to the list of things that will not be resolved until one of the parties takes it to court.

  63. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    Watching HotStove (on MLB Network–OK, I didn't cancel cable), Mike Morse is top on their list of trade candidates (pending ALR, of course). They expect a big market for him.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    From the SBJ article:Fox’s efforts to land the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, where Orioles owner Peter Angelos serves as majority owner, are not moving as smoothly. Sources say Fox has spent the past several months in on-again, off-again talks to acquire all or part of MASN, which holds the rights to the Orioles and Nationals. Fox currently is not in that market and this would fit with its strategy to build on its RSN business. Comcast, which operates Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, also had preliminary talks, which sources say did not progress far.Several sources described those negotiations as currently off, saying that Angelos opted not to sell the RSN.Fox’s involvement in talks with MASN came at MLB’s urging, sources said. MASN still is involved in a rights fee dispute with the Nationals. That dispute hasn’t been resolved, though both parties met at MLB’s New York offices last week. MLB hoped that a deal with Fox would solve the dispute. MASN and Fox have not met for several weeks, and no further talks are scheduled.

  65. hiramhover - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    LaddieI was very happy when Zim's contract extension came thru, and it's true he structured it in a team friendly way. But the $$$ involved didn't really reflect a "discount"–most assessments at the time were that it was a fair contract for both sides, but that given Zim's injury history, by no means is it a sure thing or a bargain for the Nats. I know folks like to pine for what they think was a better and less $$$ driven era. But the fact is that baseball has been big business for a long time, even if there used to be fewer zeroes on the ends of the numbers. The players and teams who behave otherwise have always been the exception, not the rule.

  66. Nats1924 - Dec 11, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    uughh, I cant stand the Os and Angelosthks for the insight guys

  67. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    But the fact is that baseball has been big business for a long time, even if there used to be fewer zeroes on the ends of the numbers. It's been big business since it was small business, but it's always been business. The only time it wasn't business was when we were kids, and didn't know that yet–then, it wasn't business to us. But it was always business to the owners.

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    hiramhover, I agree with you on RZim. With that personal services contract in addition to the player deal, it certainly seemed near market value. If Zim stays healthy and performs like he did the 2nd half, that contract will look like a team bargain. Like most deals, it will probably be judged better many years from now in hindsight.

  69. Joe Seamhead - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    NatsLady, I read your link regarding the Braves and I gotta say, though I see two huge holes left by Chipper and Bourn, they will be the Nats biggest adversary again next year. I don't see Upton as being a huge upgrade at all, more like another hole in that his defense isn't as good as Bourn's and he is a strikeout machine. This year the Nats have the potential starting pitching to just dominate a team like the Braves. A stronger, healthier Strasburg in itself is daunting. Add in the maturation of Detwiler, an even stronger JZimm,an angry Gio Gonzalez,and the presence, and influence of Haren and this staff has the potential to be much better then the Phillies heyday of Doc, Lee, etc. Gotta jump on 'em early and keep 'em down to minimize the strength of their bullpen.I don't see the Phillies as having improved their lot by even one iota. That is a team in disarray. Chooch's drug suspension,an aging Utley and Howard certainly isn't offset by the additions of Michael Young and Revere.

  70. rarumberger - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    Laddie – I call bull on your "Musial would never have left" statement. Stan Musial was never offered the chance. He was the bought and paid for property of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball club. No one will ever know what Musial would have done had he been allowed the same freedom every other American takes for granted, because he wasn't.(For what it's worth, Musial was one of baseball's first $100,000 men, even without the right of free agency. He may well have stayed a Cardinal given the choice, but it's also quite possible that the Cardinals would have offered him the most money anyway.)

  71. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    NatsLady said… Watching HotStove (on MLB Network–OK, I didn't cancel cable), Mike Morse is top on their list of trade candidates (pending ALR, of course). They expect a big market for him.When teams come calling on Morse, you can be sure Rizzo will be quoting a high price for him. That price is likely to be high enough to send those teams looking for a FA who would fill all the same needs for them that Morse would, and more. That FA's name is Adam LaRoche. You have to figure that keeping Morse over LaRoche is Rizzo's preference, so he's going to do everything he can to get LaRoche signed elsewhere.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    Nats 1924, search the internet for Angelos reputation as a lawyer. Words to describe him: slimey, sleazy, greedy.Angelos appears to be dug in and with lawyers tactics will try to drag this out for years unless MLB finally steps up to the plate and enforces the arbitration clause in the contract.The best outcome is that MLB awards the Nats over $100 million which according to the contract will give the Orioles the same contractual amount of $100 million. From there, maybe that will cause Angelos to sell.It is believed that revenue from the TV contract is considered operating revenue which could have a ripple effect on the Orioles revenue share as a small market team. If the Orioles receive to large of a TV revenue, it could eliminate that "free" money in the revenue share. Keep in mind, dividends from income derived from ownership of MASN is not counted as operating income and doesn't affect the revenue share. This is how Angelos gets away with shell game.Cry poor Peter!

  73. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    more like another hole in that his defense isn't as good as Bourn's and he is a strikeout machine. Advanced stats (if you bother to even look at them but I know you don't … ever) show that Upton is in the top 5 fielding wise in CF. There have been 2 or 3 articles on that topic. Unlike Bourn Upton is a power bat. It seems unlikely they will put him at lead-off given the loss of Chipper. Upton brings a power bat to replace Chippers and a glove to replace Bourn's. Its just not a switch-hitting bat.

  74. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    So, Woody, according to that scenario, Rizzo is inking in Tyler Moore at first in 2014?

  75. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Ah. I'll take the answer off the air.

  76. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    So, Woody, according to that scenario, Rizzo is inking in Tyler Moore at first in 2014?NO. As many have already attested. The current plan moves Ryan Zimmerman moves to first base and Anthony Rendon moves to third. There have been no plans to move Rendon to any other position at this time. If he remains healthy he could be one of the top 10 perhaps even top 5 prospects in all of baseball next season.Superior defense with no loss in offense. Of course those plans could change depending on the progression of Danny Espinosa and to some extent Ian Desmond. Injuries.

  77. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    A nice tidbit from AmandaAmanda Comak‏@acomak Ross Detwiler & Craig Stammen are going on a USO Tour this month with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.

  78. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    The best outcome is that MLB awards the Nats over $100 million which according to the contract will give the Orioles the same contractual amount of $100 million. From there, maybe that will cause Angelos to sell.No, he probably then take them to court. He is a lawyer. Apparently, MLB's lawyer's fear that scenario. The must fear losing and having to pay Angelo's millions in damages. It would be the MLB not the Lerner's.

  79. hiramhover - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    Among players who logged at least 2,500 innings at CF over the last three years (~90 games per season), the best in terms of UZR/150 are:1. Bourn2. Chris Young3. Span…9. Upton

  80. SCNatsFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Peric I haven't seen anyone in the organization publically talk about moving Zim to 1st to accomodate Rendon although you keep saying it as fact. Its a scenario but so is moving Rendon for another need.

  81. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    So what does Rays have that we might want?Jonah Keri‏@jonahkeriThey have $12M freed up after KC trade. Deal for Morse or similar would make sense RT @FLKeysBeachBum @me Rays still need to add another bat

  82. Joe Seamhead - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Hey, everybody! It's been a great morning reading the posts without any personal insults. Have a nice day… before somebody comes along and screws it up.

  83. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Peric I haven't seen anyone in the organization publically talk about moving Zim to 1st to accomodate Rendon although you keep saying it as fact. Its a scenario but so is moving Rendon for another need.Kilgore, Boz, Ladson, Kolko, and Kerr have all quotes sources stating as much. Along with that there is a consensus within the organization that Danny Espinosa will "get it". Rendon at third, Zim at first base. If Rendon ends up in AAA early and Zim is injured watch for his first appearance there this season.

  84. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! said… So, Woody, according to that scenario, Rizzo is inking in Tyler Moore at first in 2014?No. He's maintaining roster flexibility for 2014. No one has to be inked in now for that spot, allowing the various options that are available to play themselves out and reveal the best choice. Those options could include Tyler Moore (should he continue his progress as a utility guy in 2013), Michael Morse (unlikely, sure, but what if he puts up Triple Crown numbers in 2013?), acquiring someone by FA or trade, or even the Zimmerman option. Signing LaRoche to a two year deal cuts off all those possibilities until 2015 and costs the Nats upwards of $20M in the process. Rizzo has to think that Morse in 2013 for $6.5M is the far better choice, doesn't he?

  85. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    So what does Rays have that we might want?Highly rated and ranked prospects. BUT, the Rays went to KC instead of the Nats in the Shields deal and came away with some additional, really great prospects.If I'm the Rays I'd be more interested in Tyler Moore since offensively he projects to be better than what they've had at first base. He won't hit .300 like Morse but he is young and team controllable.

  86. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    hiramhover, are you able to see anywhere how Upton's UZR is in CFs where the outfield isn't symetrical?I want to see how well he handles AT&T, Nats Park, Marlins, Philly, Citi, Petco, Pitt and all the crazy CF dimensions. I believe CF in the NL is much tougher overall than the AL.Bourn is an excellent CF and probably the best in the Majors. He doesn't make a lot of WebGems because he gets a good jump on the ball and has tremendous speed.

  87. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    Rizzo has to think that Morse in 2013 for $6.5M is the far better choice, doesn't he?He might very well. I just don't get the sense that Rizzo is a "cross that bridge when we get there" kind of GM. You may well be right.

  88. hiramhover - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    GhostThat's a great question. I can't easily find splits for the advanced defensive stats. I do know that UZR includes a park factor, so that to the extent Upton has been playing in an "easy" OF, that is factored in somehow. It will be interesting to watch Upton try to master a bunch of new OFs from the ones he's played in for his career to date.

  89. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Arizona is desperately trying to get a SS. They were in on Cabrera and Andrus and they are dangling Upton and Bauer. If I'm Rizzo I try to find a way to get Trevor Bauer. Wouldn't he be a nice replacement for Haren after 2013?

  90. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I believe CF in the NL is much tougher overall than the AL.Although moving Houston should even it out a little bit. Or crooked it out. Whatever.

  91. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    "Laddie – I call bull on your "Musial would never have left" statement. Stan Musial was never offered the chance."Do you have anything other than your opinion to base that on? My next door neighbor knew Musial in HS, when they both lived in Pennsylvania – dated him, in fact. Said he was as fine a gentleman as she ever met. Musial was cheered by the fans at Ebbets Field in spite of the fact that he lived off Dodger pitchers and just killed that team. Believe me, I was there. We all booed Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, et. al., but no one ever booed Stan Musial.Pujols took what amounted to about a 10% increase in salary to move to the West Coast, where taxes are more than 10% higher than in Mizzou. He wanted bragging rights that went with the higher salary. If you think Stan Musial had the same crass makeup, I suggest to you that you have no idea what kind of man Stan Musial is, and was.

  92. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    JD, who did you have in mind? They aren't exactly hip-deep in shortstops here.

  93. John C. - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Upton is a competent CF, but he's not Michael Bourn – Bourn is an excellent CF. The difference isn't as stark as their UZR/150 numbers for 2012 (Bourn 22.5, Upton -3.2) but Bourn is the better fielder by virtually any metric. Atlanta has essentially sacrificed defense and OBP for power (Upton is also younger). Atlanta is interesting. The link that Natslady provided has caveats in its overall glowing assessment. But even assuming Medlen regresses (to merely "really good"), a rotation of Medlen, Hudson, Delgado, Minor and Maholm is above average. And Beachy should be back some time during the year to fill in. The article touts Teheran as an option, but he's really struggled last year in AAA (5.08 ERA; 1.44 WHIP). Still, a good and deep rotation. The Nats' rotation should be better, but that's yet to be proven.Their bullpen is aces, even with Fredi Gonzalez managing them.The lineup is the key. Can McCann and Uggla bounce back? Is Simmons really as good as he looked last year? If he is, and can stay healthy, he may lead off for them next year. If Prado takes over 3b from Chipper the Braves still need another OF to go with Heyward and Upton. They do have some payroll flexibility, since McCann, Hudson, Maholm, Prado and Flaherty are all free agents after 2013.

  94. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Gorse, I'm thinking Danny Espinosa.

  95. waddu eye no - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    and for you nats & duffy's bar fans:http://www.groupon.com/deals/duffys-irish-restaurant-pub-2

  96. SCNatsFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Peric I hadn't seen those quotes. I wonder if Zim got hurt early season if erndon would get the call or if the organization would want him to season more (and not start the arbitration clock) and rely on someone else. Hopefully we don't have to make that choice.

  97. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    "The players and teams who behave otherwise have always been the exception, not the rule."More the reason to appreciate it when we see it. Ryan could have hit the free agent market, and given the market for 3rd basemen these days, he would almost certainly have gotten more than what he got with the Nats.And Rizzo steadfastly refuses to get in the sandbox and play the same game as most big market GMs. He will not overpay or over-commit the organization for short term gain, and is committed to building the team from within with draft picks and the young prospects he often trades veteran players for.I'm not speculating here. I have often commented on Rizzo's managerial strategy and how superior I believe it is to any other GM's out there. Long before the Hot Stove League action began, I correctly predicted he would not sign Bourne, or Greinke, or any other over-priced free agent looking to lock in a long-term deal.In spite of my own over-developed, over the top sense of modesty, I must admit I was right on target.

  98. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    My feelings about Atlanta: – Their lineup struggled when Chipper didn't play. – McCann and Uggla may bounce back but they will be one year older so the odds are they won't. – Bourne was the Braves MVP in the 1st half; not sure how that lineup will function without him. – Simmons, Heyward and Freeman are the bats that scare me. – Hudson should regress – age. – Medlen should regress – no one is that good. – Maholm should regress – age and coming off a career year. – Minor – not that great. – Delgado and Tehran are the ones who could take the next step; really talented. Over all I think they are our main competition but I think they are a level or 2 below us on talent.

  99. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:32 PM

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  100. Unknown - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    Speaking about gold watches and "lifers," I don't think Strasburg and Harper will remain with the Nationals for their six years before free agency, little alone their entire careers. If both become as good as we suspect (Harper=Pujols, Strasburg=Sabathia), they are going to end up costing the team a combined $50 million a year for 10 years. Not sure any team has ever had two $25 million contracts on their team at the same time except maybe the Yankees.The Nationals can't keep them for six years and then let them walk for a draft pick. That would be a fraction of a fraction of what they are worth.No, I think about the only option would be to trade them with two years remaining on their contracts for four or five players/prospects each.That's what the Rangers did when they shipped Mark Teixiera to the Braves for four prospects:Elvis Andrus (.275-4-54, 34 SB average over four years)Neftali Feliz (4-3, 2.67, 30 saves average in four years)Matt Harrison (16-9, 3.34 average in 2 years as starter)Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.225-20-60 last 2 years)In return, the Rangers got an All Star shortstop who is still just 23, a 26-year-old All Star starting pitcher, an All Star closer who was also Rookie of the Year and Saltalamacchia.Using Nats' players, it would have been like getting Ian Desmond, Sandy Leon, Gio Gonzalez and Drew Storen. I think the Nats might be able to keep one but not both, and really, the haul they could get for the two of them would stock the minor league shelves for a decade. And the team could plug in a couple of free agents into Strasburg's and Harper's spot and still be just as competitive until the next generation of kids mature.Not saying I'd like it to happen, but I think that's probably what's going to happen.Farid @ Idaho

  101. Water23 - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    NatLady,Remember the other team schedule to contract with the Expos was the Twins. In fact, the Minnesota legislature saved them and as a result was instrumental in DC getting baseball.JD,Greinke = SS – agreed. And his contract is one of the crazy no trade clause per se but with a no trade clause in fact. I think if he get traded he can void the rest of the contract at the end of that season.Once SS dominates for a few seasons, let's hope the Lerners pony up.

  102. SCNatsFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Hey, I'm not looking to get into an argument THIS early in the thread lol I know its Peric's opinion that's what the team will do I just didn't know if this was the organizations plan but I just hadn't read it. I think all Nats fans are wondering if Rendon is as good as we hope then where does he fit in but I wasn't aware of anyone in the organization speculating about it.

  103. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    FS, I agree with your assessment. The key is drafting and especially, especially development. You have to be willing to pay to have good coaches at the minor league levels, feed the guys, treat them like professional athletes. In regard to the Royals trade. The Royals lost five guys in the Rule 5 drafts, the Nats lost four. That was the maximum any organization lost. They (and we) need to make sure the guys are promoted or traded at a steady rate. That's why I'm not so down on the Royals trade as many are. Your talented minor league guys have to see that they have a path upwards or they will just goof off (they're young, remember) and p*** away their chance. The Royals had the best-rated farm system but they had only one season over .500 in the last gazillion years. So, either they weren't developing them, or they weren't promoting/trading them–probably both. Yes, they traded their best prospect, but the guys just below him now have a chance to move up. It will be interesting to see if that was a good strategy for the Royals, meaning can they will the AL Central or at least grab a wildcard. I have read some optimism because their position players (except Franceour) are young and talented.

  104. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    The Ladson quote in question might be this one:"A baseball source left open the possibility that Zimmerman could be switched to first base while Anthony Rendon could be given a chance to start at third base."Likewise kinda vague, and it doesn't say "Nats source" but FWIW. I don't recall a Kalko quote, I don't follow MASN that much.

  105. Water23 - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:52 PM

    So, how about a gutsy move – Cano (1yr from FA) for Danny, Morse(when ALR signs) and maybe something?

  106. Section 222 - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    Saying "someday" Zim "may" move to 1B is a little different than asserting that that is Rizzo's "current plan" for 2014. Just sayin'

  107. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    Not sure any team has ever had two $25 million contracts on their team at the same time except maybe the Yankees.Take a look at the Phillies and the Dodgers then. Times have changed.

  108. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 5:58 PM

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  109. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    thanks NatsLady for reading my thoughts without me having to type it. :D

  110. Section 222 - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    So if the Lerners decide they can afford a long term contract with only one of SS or BH, who should it be? Discuss.

  111. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Someone had said maybe Morse as a bench player could be getting at-bats as DH in interleague. But:We play the White Sox (here) in April–so plan for extra security.We play the Tigers (here) in May.We play the Twins (here) in June.We play the O's 2 here and 2 there in May.We play the Royals (there) in August.Looking at this, we would only need a DH for five games altogether–and only two games before the trade deadline.

  112. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    But seriously, I agree with everyone Farid has said. I have said it before that no way Nationals can hope to retain all their major league talent if they succeed.

  113. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    section 222, harper. hitters don't break as often as pitchers I think.

  114. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    FS–sorry. Meant Farid!!! Glad we are in sync.

  115. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    *everything, not everyone. multitasking is not my strongest suit.NatsLady, NP. I think the problem with Royals' trade is that their rotation is still nothing significant. Tigers and White Sox are likely to have better rotations than Royals even after multiple moves to improve their rotations. that's why everyone is acting out since they traded their top prospect to improve their rotation from mediocre to unremarkable.

  116. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Section 222 said… So if the Lerners decide they can afford a long term contract with only one of SS or BH, who should it be? Discuss.No need to make that choice any time soon. Strasburg could turn into Lincecum or he could turn into Cain. Harper could turn into a Longoria/Tulo or he could turn into a bust. And they both have the same agent, a guy called Boras who always takes his clients into FA instead of selling away their arb years.

  117. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    FW, it was just a hypothetical question. a what if? scenario.

  118. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    "Speaking about gold watches and "lifers," I don't think Strasburg and Harper will remain with the Nationals for their six years before free agency, little alone their entire careers."We will see, and it will take a few years to play out. Note that Harp lives here now, just as Ryan does, and has said he wants to remain a Nat for life. He is only 20 and may change his mind, but I take that as a very good indication of what he is likely to do.He probably will succeed Ryan as the FOF, but that does not mean he will be alone. Rizzo always has options and plans for contingencies, and has developed a team culture second to none. Makeup and character are 2 variables he considers very highly in evaluating players for the franchise. If he does not think a player conforms to the franchise model, he may very well try to move him. Desi also fits the Nats team model to a "T".Way too soon to be making assumptions about Strasburg, or anyone else other than Harp, who has already made his preferences known.Frankly, I think makeup is one reason why the Beast is marked for the trade market, and not Moore. They may keep Morse for one year if they can't sign La Roche, but he will not be re-signed by the Nats as a free agent, IMO. Better to trade Morse before the season, while he still has some value on the trade market. Seattle needs offense, and they have some good young pitching prospects. Morse is the best power-hitting bargain on this year's market. When all the others have been signed, the Beast will be in greater demand than he is now, but the Nats should not wait too long after the start of ST. You never know when Morse is going to suffer another injury.

  119. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:24 PM

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  120. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Laddie, Harp doesn't live here. He is still in Vegas. Only Lombo, Ryan and Werth live here full time.

  121. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    NatsLady said… Someone had said maybe Morse as a bench player could be getting at-bats as DH in interleague. But:We play the White Sox (here) in April–so plan for extra security.We play the Tigers (here) in May.We play the Twins (here) in June.We play the O's 2 here and 2 there in May.We play the Royals (there) in August.Looking at this, we would only need a DH for five games altogether–and only two games before the trade deadline.@CLE: 6/14, 6/15, 6/16 @DET: 7/30, 7/31Also, there is no way Morse will be here as a bench player.

  122. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:27 PM

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  123. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    The only thing that makes wonder about Stras being here long term is the Mark Lerner has been to every game that he has pitched from the Minors, to the Rehab starts, and the home and away game in the Majors. My hope is that tie will make him crack open the check book.

  124. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    Harper doesn't live here. He has an apartment here in season, but he lives in Vegas and has a girlfriend there.

  125. NatsLady - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Oh, I looked twice, I don't see how I missed Cleveland and Detroit. Oh, well.

  126. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:31 PM

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  127. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:34 PM

    NatsLady, the Royals needed top MLB ready pitching and haven't been able to develop it from within even with all those Top picks and #1's like Hochevar.They just have not been good at developing top Draft Picks unless you consider Hochevar (5.73 ERA), Hosmer (.304 OBP), Moustakas (.296 OBP), and Gordon all big successes but when you look at the stats, all of them struggled mightily last year except Gordon. I was just reading on Alex Gordon that he was a late bloomer. He's 28 years old and was a #2 overall pick so I'm not buying that was the case. He has now become a star but it took him from the 2005 Draft (#2 overall) as the top 3rd baseman (taken prior to Zimmerman and Braun) going forward 8 years for Gordon to become a star player. Gordon is about the same age as Zim.The price of continued failure in the Royals Farm system finally cost them the need to trade their top prospect (Wil Myers) for pitching. The rest of the trade bait are all top picks who never materialized in the Royals system.Tampa is betting on turning each of those picks into what they were supposed to be when they were drafted. A tall order but Jake Odorizzi who the Royals got over 2 years ago in the Greinke trade is a hard throwing RHP and Montgomery is a hard throwing LHP that the Rays think they can develop.The year the Royals took Hochevar #1 overall, they passed up on Kershaw and Lincecum, Longoria and others. Part of their problem could be scouting Draft picks or it could be in developing Draft picks.

  128. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:36 PM

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  129. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    The price of continued failure in the Royals Farm system finally cost them the need to trade their top prospect (Wil Myers) for pitching. The rest of the trade bait are all top picks who never materialized in the Royals system.As I recall Matt Moore one of the Rays starters came from KC as well …Seems like the weakness is in player development not in the selection of talent.

  130. flynnie - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    Walter 23 – Your Cano trade puts me in mind of 2006 or so, when A-Rod was having troubles with the Yankees and someone asked WaPo Nats beat writer what it would cost to get A-rod, who could play his natural position at SS. Svrluga answered: "The National Mall."

  131. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    peric, Matt Moore was drafted by Rays.

  132. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    My hope is that tie will make him crack open the check book.This is why many of the local beat writers … starting with Byron Kerr predicted they would be prudent in order to prepare for the eventual extension of these players. Things look optimistic given that LA is the only team pushing the envelope and paying the luxury tax. That'll change if they don't make it far into the playoffs again. Or don't make it all. So, Boras wants to get Bourn a long-term contract? Doesn't look like it will happen he looks like another 1 year deal and then wait to see what things look like for 2014. As happened with EJax. You have to wonder how well EJax will do without Boras.

  133. rmoore446 - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    I want to thank the blog administrator for continuing to police this blog.

  134. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    peric, Matt Moore was drafted by Rays.Yup. My mistake.

  135. baseballswami - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    None of the comparison players are recent. I think the prevalence of stats and electronic scouting will make it harder for those kinds of players, not just Bryce, now and in the future. The pitchers can target tendencies much better now, and the opposing teams seem to have chosen Bryce as THE GUY that that they are going to get out with soft junk. I think we actually saw a lot of his offensive bump in the second half. If that's the player he is going to be – I am quite ok with that.

  136. Unknown - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    My worry is that Harper will have a really good year in 2013, say .295-28-100, and some will be disappointed that he didn't hit .320-40-120. Harper doesn't need to be the next Mickey Mantle. He just needs not be the next Joe Charboneau. Farid @ Idaho

  137. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Farid, I looked up that guy. His career ended after 3 seasons. that's a very low baseline for Harper I think.

  138. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    peric said… As I recall Matt Moore one of the Rays starters came from KC as well …Seems like the weakness is in player development not in the selection of talent. December 11, 2012 1:38 PM Matt Moore of the Rays was a Rays draft pick. The Angels had a different Matt Moore. Drayton Moore is the Royals inept GM.Peric, certainly development of talent is a problem but some of it has to be the picks they make as when you are constantly picking 1-5 you have to find Blue Chip prospects.

  139. SCNatsFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    You know if few teams have to pay luxury tax then MLB will do what it needs to do… lower he threshold

  140. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Walter, I thought one year of Cano, along with much of his salary, even up for several years of younger, cheaper Danny.

  141. TheManBearPig - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    "That price is likely to be high enough to send those teams looking for a FA [ALR] who would fill all the same needs for them that Morse would, and more."Morse is probably a bit more versatile than ALR. An NL team that doesn't need a first baseman might be willing to put Morse in a corner outfield position to get his bat in the lineup. Probably can't do that with ALR, but I don't think there will ever be a choice between the two for anyone but the Nats – I wouldn't expect Morse to be available to anyone through a trade unless ALR is re-signed by the Nats.

  142. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:11 PM

    I second this!rmoore446 said… I want to thank the blog administrator for continuing to police this blog.

  143. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    "And some will be disappointed he didn't hit .320-40-120"Unless he does. GYFNG.

  144. TheManBearPig - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    "Walter, I thought one year of Cano, along with much of his salary, even up for several years of younger, cheaper Danny."I would hate to see the Nats trade Danny, whether for pitching or to upgrade at 2b. At this point, the Nats don't need either, or they don't need them badly enough to trade an improving young 2b who can also play SS. For a preview of Danny's 2013, look at his July, August and September of 2012. He still has to cut down on the strikeouts, but even with the Ks, he had 11 HR in that 3-month stretch to go along with a .270/.330/.445-ish slash line. If you expect Danny to continue to improve beyond 2013 (he's under Nats control until 2017, I think), trading him for Cano would be a bad deal for the Nats.

  145. 3on2out - Dec 11, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    I offer the following from an October 18th Kenny deJohn(Bleacher Report Columnist) piece:Bill Ladson of MLB.com would not be surprised if third baseman Ryan Zimmerman gets a crack at the first base job this offseason. This could potentially open up third base for Anthony Rendon, one of Washington's top prospects.Zimmerman, a Gold Glove winner in 2009 at the hot corner, is one of the slickest fielding third basemen in the bigs. He contains soft hands, a strong arm and good reaction times when the ball comes off the bat.Soft hands and reaction times translate well to first base, but it would almost be a waste of his arm to put him at first—at least at this point in his career.I would not be opposed to such a move a few years down the line, but it's too early in his career for the Nationals to consider sliding him over to the other side of the diamond.It's also entirely too early to begin considering Rendon for the major league club. He has played in just 43 career minor league games, only 21 of which came with Double-A Harrisburg. Combined, he hit .233/.363/.489 with six home runs and 12 RBI last season.Rendon needs at least another year or two before being ready to step into a full-time role in Washington. At that point, Zimmerman could be a little more ready for a position change.

  146. SCNatsFan - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    Again, my point is this is all people speculation but no one from the organization mentioning it… but good work on the link

  147. TheManBearPig - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    "Soft hands and reaction times translate well to first base, but it would almost be a waste of his arm to put him at first—at least at this point in his career."I'm not quite sure what to make of that part of Ladson's piece. Is Zim's arm a good one? Maybe we'll find out in 2013, after he fully recovers from surgery, but even without the injured shoulder, it seems that Zim's kind of like Sundance – he can't hit his target unless he moves.

  148. sjm308 - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    1 – thanks Mark (& we don't even know what was said)2. Just like I suggested keeping both Morse & LaRoche, Peric talked about Zimmerman at first long before anyone else and unlike my idea, his actually does make sense.3. I keep Harper over SS if forced to make a choice but that is way down the road.4. Very enjoyable afternoon of reading baseball and not insultsGo Nats!!

  149. JD - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    sjm308, In order to avoid a choice between SS and Harper what you do in the interim is avoid signing 33 year old veterans to long term contracts.

  150. MicheleS - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:45 PM

    SJM.. sadly, some of us saw what was said…

  151. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  152. Feel Wood - Dec 11, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    3on2out said… I offer the following from an October 18th Kenny deJohn(Bleacher Report Columnist) piece:Bill Ladson of MLB.com would not be surprised if third baseman Ryan Zimmerman gets a crack at the first base job this offseason. This could potentially open up third base for Anthony Rendon, one of Washington's top prospects.Hard to say which does the most damage to Bill Ladson's reputation as a serious journalist – being relied on as a primary source by conspiracy theorists, or having his articles reprinted on a website that regularly features slideshows of the 50 Hottest NFL Cheerleaders.

  153. John C. - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    I find myself in agreement with FW: the combination of Ladson + Bleacher Report can be summarized as a lack of credibility, squared. In a perfect world Rendon hits and plays his way into a cup of coffee in September 2013, forcing the issue going into the 2014 season. Whether he would then go to 1b, 2b or 3b depends on where the team's needs and his health take them.Double perfect world: LaRoche signs elsewhere (and the Nats pick up a Zimmermann-level prospect] and Morse goes Beast Mode on the league in 2013, slugging his way to a qualifying offer and a big free agent contract elsewhere. The Nats pocket one Goodwin-level prospect with their comp pick for Morse, add another after Haren re-establishes himself as a legit TOR pitcher with a 18-8, 3.01 ERA 1.022 WHIP season, and don't miss a beat in 2014 as Moore takes over at 1b to join an infield of Rendon-Desmond-Zimmerman. Goodwin takes over the Bernadina/Brown "OF in waiting" position and Sammy Solis takes over Haren's spot in the rotation, giving the Nats three tough lefties that neutralize the Braves and what's left of the Phillies.Is it spring yet?

  154. Joe Seamhead - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:22 PM

    Well, I've had a great day! I posted my 2 cents worth this morning, got [unfairly and incorrectly] dissed, laughed it off, went all the way down to the Stadium team store, scored a couple of Christmas presents, stopped at the wharf and bought a beautiful piece of tuna to grill tonight. Then I checked in on the blog to see that statistics, advanced and otherwise, back up that what I feel was at best, a step sideways for the Braves regarding Bourn and Upton. And I got to miss reading posts deemed to be somehow out of bounds by the blog administrator. I'm glad I missed them, but there is one I'd like to say: Thanks, Mark, for all that you say and do.

  155. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:38 PM

    Me, too, Joe. I also missed the fun, having been out to lunch (no, really) and then running errands. Thanks, Mark. Laddie, loved the Musial background, and this "In spite of my own over-developed, over the top sense of modesty, I must admit I was right on target." was also pretty awesome. :-)

  156. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  157. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    Look Seamhead if you want to criticize BJ Upton for almost having a fight with Longoria in the dugout. For the behavior that got him suspended. Fine.But once again you claim to know baseball yet you can't seem to see things? I would not like to have you for my baseball coach that's for damned sure. You must have been terrible if you can't see what so many others see? Either that or you are going blind.Fangraphs has written articles about Upton's prowess in the field. He is consistently ranked in the top 5 year-in and year-out. Its why Rizzo and other GM's were so enamored with him. And he comes with the potential to produce some pretty potent power offense. Its his demeanor that was the problem and as Rizzo put it a couple of years ago a change of scenery probably would change that. Getting away from that city, that clubhouse will do Upton an enormous amount of good. And Mike Rizzo should know as he knows Upton and his family well.Upton has now been freed from Tampa Bay. He has been given another chance. Its seems more likely he will take full advantage of that chance in Atlanta. So, Natslady's contention about fearing the Braves is pretty solid.You are the self-professed expert based on your "coaching background" it sure as heck is not something I've ever claimed. From what I've read your knowledge of athletes, and the players often is lacking.

  158. peric - Dec 11, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    And now the Rays are starting Sam Fuld in that outfield in center. He is a smooth fielder but he doesn't bring what Upton brought to the plate either. Its why Upton was a starter in spite of all the hullabaloo. Desmond Jennings was given opportunities on a golden platter to replace Upton. He couldn't at least not in Maddon's eyes. If anything its the Rays who may end up receiving the services of Bourn for a year. If the other possibilities for Bourn all dry up. The Rays are still a team to reckon with even without Upton and Shields. But I suspect we will come to learn how much more Upton and Shields meant to that 25 man when compared to Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano.

  159. sjm308 - Dec 11, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    MicheleS – ooops, did not know that the comments were actually posted before being removed. Sorry about that. Laddie: how great that in some way you had insight into Musial. The closest I came to that was Claude Osteen married my barber's daughter but I really don't think they compare in talent (ha,ha). I agree with you that Musial was a huge talent and while I got to see Mantle and Williams and Kaline, we really did miss out on NL talent. I was talking at the gym with another "old guy" and we wer talking about how there were very few players you would actually go to a game just to see them. Mantle and Mays immediately came to mind as did Musial & Williams. In today's game we decided Pujols (earlier in his career) & Griffy Jr. and that now it would be Harper, Strasburg, & maybe Verlander. We couldn't get to including Jeter or ARod but maybe others will.

  160. Joe Seamhead - Dec 11, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    peric, this will be the last time that I respond to any of your posts. I wish that you and I could just come to an agreement to ignore each other. I never claimed to have been an expert on all things baseball. I said that I spent a lot of my life around ballfields and ballplayers, both as a player and coaching. I can add on being a fan that has and does love the game, and the Nats particularly. I wasn't trying to make any claim that it made me an expert. On the contrary.my statement was that just because someone played baseball didn't make them an expert, and that some of the dumbest assed people I ever knew were baseball players and managers.You filled in blanks that I never stated, as is often your m.o.As to BJ Upton, I don't think that the Braves made a huge improvement by signing him vs. having Michael Bourn leave. I think that it could be another hole for the Braves. I actually like Bourn better. That's my opinion, and I don't understand why you feel a need to ridicule it,boy. Now, look at the UZR,WAR, and conventional statistics, other then his Upton's power numbers, Bourn, by the numbers comes out as possibly the best overall outfielder in MLB. Now, what I said this morning is that Upton was a strikeout machine, and his defense isn't as good as Bourn's. I didn't say he wasn't a good outfielder, but in my opinion he isn't as good as Bourn. I will also tell you that when BJ played in HS, my son played against him in a showcase tournament. My son said at the time that Upton was an awesome player.Anyway,other then you I have never had a serious issue with another blogger here, so you go your way, and stay out of my way, and we'll get along better. You are always the one that seems to be in the center of controversy, and whose posts that the blog administrator feels the need to remove. I'd rather not have childish confrontations with you. Honestly, you're not worth it.

  161. natsfan1a - Dec 11, 2012 at 11:28 PM

    Wouldn't it have been awesome if it was Sal Maglie? But I digress. :-)sjm308 said… The closest I came to that was Claude Osteen married my barber's daughter but I really don't think they compare in talent (ha,ha).

  162. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:07 AM

    Or Red Barber…

  163. peric - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:22 AM

    As to BJ Upton, I don't think that the Braves made a huge improvement by signing him vs. having Michael Bourn leave. I think that it could be another hole for the Braves. I actually like Bourn better. That's my opinion, and I don't understand why you feel a need to ridicule it,boy. Completely understandable given the issues both brothers have had recently relative to negative publicity both in and out of the clubhouse. I see that in a different light though … I mean some are actually comparing them to Elijah Dukes whom Bowden referred to when he said "he either makes it to the All Star game or he's in jail". That seems unfair and honestly I am not a fan of NY fans I don't know about you. I don't like 'em much and given how much pressure he felt one could see why BJ Upton came a bit unglued with them. Still … The fact is you criticized his physical and athletic skills. Go back and read what you wrote. He is a top five tool potential All Star. He's performed better than several players in CF who actually made the All Star game. One can readily surmise as to why. His attitude. Criticizing his attitude is one thing … and for me its something that's hard to defend but easy to understand and have compassion … because he does put out a lot and was a key reason why Tampa Bay has been a perennial playoff contender. A fact not lost on the canny Braves FO. Criticizing his physical abilities … he actually is faster and better than Bourn in a lot of areas … and his bat packs a wallop when he is on. Mostly he is on … on the road away from Tampa Bay … another thing not lost on the Braves FO.So, you might try to give a fair and more accurate assessment … as he still does have a ceiling at age 28. But, not for much longer.

  164. peric - Dec 12, 2012 at 1:55 AM

    You are always the one that seems to be in the center of controversy, and whose posts that the blog administrator feels the need to remove. I'd rather not have childish confrontations with you. Honestly, you're not worth it.Those happened likely because someone complained to the blog administrator. There have been other blow-ups at least 2 recently that I recall which did not involve me. One involving Ghost of SteveM. I wouldn't read too much into it if I were you.

  165. Feel Wood - Dec 12, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    Peric, denial is not just a river in Egypt. It wasn't someone who complained to the blog admin (aka Mark) about you. It was everyone.

  166. realdealnats - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    1. Span (lh)2. Werth (rh)3. Harper (lh)4. Zim (rh)5. ALR/Morse (lh/rh)6. Desi (rh)7. Espi (l/r h)8. Suzuki/Ramos (rh)

  167. peric - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:39 AM

    Peric, denial is not just a river in Egypt. It wasn't someone who complained to the blog admin (aka Mark) about you. It was everyone.Right and I guess that's why so many of your comments were deleted right FeelWood? I guess that's why denial is your river not mine.

  168. realdealnats - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Harper won't have Trout numbers, but he'll grow close to Mark's figures. His game will lose much of the downside and tighten up across the board from last year. He's special and will hit his great stride in the next couple years.

  169. peric - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Harper won't have Trout numbers, but he'll grow close to Mark's figures.Or he could turn out to be the next Tony C. Which would exceed Trout. You just never know.

  170. realdealnats - Dec 12, 2012 at 3:59 AM

    Peric–That's right. We just make this stuff up to entertain ourselves on Tuesday nights.

  171. realdealnats - Dec 12, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    Speaking of Tony C.–there's a tragic story. Sort of Len Bias-like in that he could have been one of the greats. We think. But we'll never know about either of them.

  172. peric - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Yes, Tony C. was one in a million and then that beanball to the eye. He was never the same. Boston might have won a series with he and Yazstremski plus his brother Billy were it not for that accident. Yes, a tragic story indeed. Bias was more of a self-inflicted tragedy. But Tony C. getting beaned … its hard to think about …

  173. peric - Dec 12, 2012 at 5:07 AM

    If it was an accident …

  174. Ron In Reston - Dec 12, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said… Ultimately, the thing that will keep him (Harper) from being a 130-140 RBI guy year after year will be Zimmerman cleaning up in front of him and leaving the bases empty.——————————————-Not necessarily. There was this guy who averaged 150 RBIs over eight seasons hitting BEHIND a guy who averaged 145 over those same eight seasons. I always wondered how the heck Gehrig did it hitting behind Ruth….but he did. Now if Zim and/or Harper even approach those numbers, I'll be pretty frickin happy.

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