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Why LaRoche won’t be rushed

Dec 13, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

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Adam LaRoche has been content to remain unsigned since season's end.

It's been more than six weeks since the Giants won the World Series and Adam LaRoche became a free agent, more than six weeks of the Nationals saying how much they want LaRoche back and of LaRoche saying how much he wants to come back.

So why don't the two sides appear to be any closer to a new contract than they were at season's end? Because LaRoche, plain and simple, doesn't feel like he needs to make the decision quite yet, not until he's convinced every best offer has been presented to him.

And it's entirely possible the best offer has yet to be made … by the Rangers.

All along, the Nationals' biggest competition for LaRoche has probably been Texas, the only other likely suitor who could offer the 33-year-old both a fair contract and a realistic opportunity to obtainRead more »

165 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Mark, what about the rumors of the Xmas deadline? That's less than 2 weeks away.

  2. mick - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    I would be very disappointed in ALR if he leaves

  3. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Harlan - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Mark, don't forget about the possible collapse of the Napoli deal in Boston (if it is, in fact, a problem with his physical).

  5. mick - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    at a certain point, how critical is the money? i would think that ALR would want to win a WS more than anything else since his own window is closing. I never saw ALR has one thinking monies first, I will be wrong if he leaves. I think Rizzo is right on this.

  6. mick - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    also, my gut tells me that the rangers are on a down side not an upside

  7. Nats fan in NJ - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I think 3-years at TX would be enough of an offer for ALR to go there. Frankly, I don't think he'd seriously consider 3-years in Seattle or Baltimore over 2-years back with a curly W on his cap. Can't blame him, or the Nats, for the stances being taken. It's hard to take emotion out of it, but it is a business, after all…

  8. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Guys (scooter, eugene, and gorse hackage), thank you for pointers last night.what I was trying to look at is pitcher/PA and BB/K rates but it isn't actually helpful when I thought about it some more. Players that see more pitches are either striking out (at least 3 pitches) or walking (at least 4 pitches) so not that helpful since BB/K rates will be all over the place for these players. but I am interested in looking at XBH% for those with high Ks and those with high walks. it will likely be higher for K guys than BB guys. ugh, that seems another obvious.About PAs cutoff,scooter your link is pretty helpful. I need to think a bit more about it in relation to WAR though.About first base, I am worried what happens after ALR does not sign and Morse leaves through FA. Everyone of us is assuming that Rendon will be healthy and ready to produce in 2014 but how likely is that given his health history.

  9. Steady Eddie - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    Steve, that"deadline" has to be regarded — and I believe was framed — as we really want it done by then, not we will insist on doing it by then. And it was certainly premised on the reasonable assumption that the market for Hamilton around the mid-winter meeting would be similar to what it was for Pujols last year, or at least Grienke this year. That means Rizzo expected Texas to be in or out — resolved — by now. If Texas got Hamilton and was out on ALR, Rizzo didn't want ALR taking weeks to dig up a secondary offer from a phantom contender (no way does ALR go to Seattle).After all, how would it be in the Nats' rational self-interest to say "we're out, done" on ALR after Xmas when Texas could sign Hamilton the first week in January and ALR then wants to come back here? That would be a rational, not-jerking-around process from ALR's position, and if Rizzo then said "we're out", it would be cutting off his nose to spite his face. Also not something that other FAs would find appealling.Which is also why ALR will not go to Boston even if the Napoli deal falls through. Between the gyrations of the BoSox FO in the past year, they way they handled ALR the last time they had him, for 9 days, and the fact that they s aid "like him, don't love him" about ALR last month– no.

  10. Feel Wood - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    No matter which team he chooses, there is no guarantee of a World Series in the next three years. Money and contract years are guaranteed, though, wherever he signs. He wants a guarantee that he will still be playing and still getting paid for as long as possible. He'll go with whatever team offers him three years, no matter what their "window" is.

  11. SCNatsFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    Per Bowden DeRosa wants to return. Why not, back the truck up and steal some more money.

  12. Rabbit34 - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    I would LOVE to see LaRoche go to the Rangers….and then have the Nationals defeat them in the World Series!!

  13. hiramhover - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    No one other than ALR's family and close friends (and maybe his agent) is in a position to know his views on the relative appeal of $$$, the chance at a WS ring, team chemistry, etc. Statements of the "he isn't about the money" or "he just wants to win" stripe are almost always wrong. Exhibit # the most recent: Zack Greinke.

  14. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Rabbit — if there is some anticipatory schadenfreude-ism in that post, you need to stifle it. LaRoche gave you a division championship the Nats wouldn't have won without him. There is no reason to be gleeful if he picks the wrong horse in the race. If, on the other hand, you mean, simply, "I'll be over the wall w/ excitement if the Nats beat anybody in the WS," I have no problem w/ that.

  15. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Zach Greinke isn't an exhibit for any universal proposition — just for samples composed entirely of people with prior histories of irrational behavior.

  16. baseballswami - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Choices- three years in hell or two in heaven!!!!!???? Come on, Adam, you know you love being a Nat. Although, (disclaimer), I love Mikey Morse, too. Denard Span just tweeted that he will be in DC this weekend. I thought there might have been a Span/ Haren introduction thingy by now.

  17. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    SCNatsFan, I am picturing Kearns, LoDuca and Wang with robbers masks at the Brinks armour truck.DeRosa was invaluable as a mentor even though he didn't contribute much as a player. Commendable. If Rizzo brings him back as a player, that's on Rizzo

  18. JamesFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:06 PM

    The Rangers touch all ALR buttons on many levels. I'm sure he's waiting for them to make an offer–and they will for sure if they lose Hamilton. The Red Sox are a remote possiblity, but other teams might come out of nowhere to make a significant offer.At his age, it's mostly about the money and chance to play in October.The Nats are in no position to set a deadline unless they are willing to take the offer off the table, and that decision would be bad PR for the fan base. I suspect that this will play out like Dunn. They set a number and will stick with it. ALR can take it or move on. I do not expect ALR back, and I'm fine with that. I like younger players and Morse is a better hitter.

  19. Don - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Napoli is not in the barn yet in Boston for some reason and there are clubs with needs at 1B that might be the mystery team that gets in on him too. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Seattle, Baltimore, maybe even Miami of all places. A trade, another unexpected FA signing or an odd injury could shift the market considerably.

  20. hiramhover - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    TheoIf by universe of irrational people, you mean pro athletes taking the biggest, best contract they can get–yes.

  21. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    What did Greinke do that was irrational?

  22. Squiffy - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Faraz said:About first base, I am worried what happens after ALR does not sign and Morse leaves through FA. Everyone of us is assuming that Rendon will be healthy and ready to produce in 2014 but how likely is that given his health history.We still have Tyler Moore to hold down 1B after Morse leaves, until the heir apparent is ready, be it Rendon, Zimmerman, Skole, et al.

  23. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    LaRoche has said money is not the issue. He wants to know, now, where he's playing in 2015, which he seems to have penciled in as his last season. Tired of the hopscotching, and I can see that. At this point, he knows where his next meal is coming from (well, figuratively speaking–he's probably stalking his next meal now) and how he's going to pay for his kid's education–his great-grandkids' educations, in fact. He just doesn't strike me as the sort to obfuscate. If his agent said those things, OK, it's PR, but he said them.

  24. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    They have a couple of guys in line for first base in 2015, and if none of them works out for whatever reason, there will still be free agents as Plan D. As it's been said, it's better to lose a guy a year too soon than a year too late.

  25. hiramhover - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    GorseExcept that a third year means a third year of getting paid.

  26. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:37 PM

    Squiffy, Moore can hold down 1B but how long? No point worrying now even if ALR signs a two year deal.Gorse, ALR is not that old. I would be surprised if he retired after two more seasons.

  27. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Hiram/Package — Greinke is a squirrel. A compilation of his idiosyncracies, to use a polite word, would fill a shrink's notebook.

  28. 4571c960-cc1f-11e1-909b-000bcdcb471e - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    I'd rather have Morse in the lineup than LaRoche anyway. Take the two year off the table, let LaRoche walk. No one is breaking his door down, let someone else pay for last year's career contract year. Get a left hander for the bullpen, and move on.

  29. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Faraz, Your point on Rendon's health or lack thereof is well taken. I am sure that Rizzo does not view Rendon to 3rd and Zim to 1st as a certainty; it's just one plausible scenario. I think Morse is a possibility, Moore is a possibility, Skole is a possibility and of course ALR is a possibility (for 2014) and if all of this doesn't work there are always free agents you can use to bridge the gap until the next phenom is identified.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5bo4VDEH-USubstitute "you" with "LaRoche" and Davey singing it.

  31. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    It's a cliche, but when someone says 'it's not about the money' you pretty much know it's about the money. Sure, the contract length is part of it, but we're really talking dollars + years to create a total package. A bottom line. That doesn't make it bad; it doesn't make Adam LaRoche greedy or evil. He's a professional athlete and that's the way free agency works.

  32. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I don't believe you can have an offer on the table indefinitely. At some point (Christmas sounds pretty good to me) Rizzo has the right to continue constructing his team with or without ALR. Don't assume that this holding pattern is not causing Rizzo some problems with roster management. I think he could potentially lose out on a deal for Morse while waiting on ALR. I think ALR deserves some consideration based on his exceptional year and the fact that he is a good player and a good team mate but I think that this consideration should come with an expiration date.

  33. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Eugene, Your point is spot on. 95% of all players and agents won't leave 5 cents on the table. These athletes make enough more where they can be comfortable anywhere. The idea of playing for a contender comes into it but it's not usually the deciding factor.

  34. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:02 PM

    There's another 6'5" nimble guy who will be looking to play 1st base at some point. He's older than LaRoche and over 5 years older than Ryan Zimmerman and under team control for 5 more years.

  35. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

    I agree JD. All the feel good talk is just good PR. The money will talk.The guy I feel bad for is Michael Morse. Its kind of a slap in the face moreso than it was to LaRoche last year with the Princey talk.

  36. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:06 PM

    I don't think you can rationally expect ALR to leave more than $5 or $6MM "on the table." You have to make it worth it to him to retire a year early (or grab that $5MM as a DH if he wants). MLB doesn't allow "personal services" in contracts any longer, so Rizzo is limited in his ability to be "creative" about the third year. If LaRoche gets an offer from the Rangers of 3/39 ($13MM per year), the Nats would have to offer around 2/34 ($17 MM per year). According to fangraphs, LaRoche was "worth" $17MM in 2012. Let's say you expect him to decline about 10-20%. That means you are overpaying him several million, overpaying him for Davey's comfort level, for his experience, the stablility of the infield, and his genial clubhouse presence. If you trade Morse for prospects or cheap relievers, you recoup that overpayment for 2013, though not for 2014. If a team offers much more than 3/40, I think the Nats won't match it. Bottom line, the Nats can "afford" to overpay LaRoche for two years, but probably not for three years.

  37. Nats1924 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    I'd move on if I were the Nats. Morse has a better chance of having the bigger explosive year than LaRoche, so just slot him at 1B. Love LaRoche, its just that he really isnt that good with the stick if you compare him to Morse. I know LaRoche's glove is a gold glove, but I think Morse isn't too far off given his size.

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

    Ghost,Werth eventually moving to first is a much more likely scenario than Zimmerman moving to first, /. It possibly could give solutions to outfield logjams.

  39. Kenz aFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    Mark Said:"So why don't the two sides appear to be any closer to a new contract than they were at season's end? Because LaRoche, plain and simple, doesn't feel like he needs to make the decision quite yet, not until he's convinced every best offer has been presented to him."While I understand that he wants to take care of his family, when you're talking about a contract, even at 2 years, that's in the tens of millions, all I see is that for Adam LaRoche, it's not the least bit about winning, it's about money, plain and simple.Let LaRoche walk and have Morse play First Base. In 2011, Morse proved he was a slightly above average first baseman. Add to that the fact that he's a happier player when he's playing first, you have a potentially very productive player, which translates into a happier club house as well as into wins.Let LaRoche walk, the Nats don't need him.

  40. Kenz aFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

    Joe Seamhead said…"Ghost,Werth eventually moving to first is a much more likely scenario than Zimmerman moving to first, /. It possibly could give solutions to outfield logjams."Because of Zimmerman's arm, which seems to effect his play in one way or another every year, there's a much greater chance of him moving to first than is Werth. I could see Harper taking over RF, and Werth crossing the outfield to play LF, but playing him at first? I don't think so.Don't forget that the Nats have a very good 3B in the minors, who's very close to Major League ready, named Anthony Rendon, who can play very solid defense and hit as well as almost anyone.

  41. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    On the question of Mike Napoli, I was googling around and found an NESN piece from last night. The somewhat contradictory report was that it was a 'contractual issue' based on Mr. Napoli's physical. The reporter seemed to be saying — although not very clearly — that the physical had discovered a potential (undefined) problem, but the Red Sox still wanted to sign Mr. Napoli. They were now trying to draft contract language that would cover the Red Sox if they problem developed or worsened or whatever (again, lots of ambiguity in the report). The reporter's overly cheerful news-reader colleague then asked if Andy (sic) LaRoche was still an option.

  42. Nats1924 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    attn kenz fan- I agree. I'd rather have a player in his "walk year" than a player who has signed his "last contract". stick w Morse

  43. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    NatsLady said…According to fangraphs, LaRoche was "worth" $17MM in 2012.Guess what, he was worth $420,000 in 2011 so things equal out.Also consider that LaRoche's career is over when either the player decides to stop playing or nobody wants that player. Who's to say 2 years from now that the Nats won't offer him an extension? Rizzo just doesn't want to be boxed in the corner right now and its understandable.

  44. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Kenz aFan, I'm just saying there's another player under a long-term contract to consider. All the Zim to 1st talk is still premature until there's a problem. His arm isn't at the point of no return right now.

  45. Feel Wood - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    For ALR, one thing is clear. It's ALL about the years. Not the total contract value. As long as the AAV isn't insulting, if he gets a 3 year offer from any team, he is taking it. Rizzo sweetening the pot on a 2 year deal won't change his mind. If his priority was staying with the Nats and/ or being on a team with a chance to win now, he would have signed the Nats deal by now. His delay simply means that he knows a 3 year deal will be there for him once the dominoes start to fall. There may already be several teams that have approached him with 3 years and he's put them on hold pending Hamilton/Texas.

  46. Don - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    I think that Rizzo simply might not want ALR. This is the same kind of stuff the club did with Dunn. They said over and over that they wanted him back, and that they were willing to do X, and if Dunn wanted Y (which was well more than likely available on the market, and which he ended up getting) then he could walk away. Rizzo never wanted to re-sign Adam Dunn, if he did he would have given a market offer. Right now the makret for under 35 yr old high quality FA position players is at a minimum 2 yrs plus an option. Rizzo might end up getting ALR on a 2 year deal, anything can happen, but it would have to be at a premium per annum I would think. There are several clubs still in the mix for the guy (at least in theory) and while Adam wants to play for a winner and wants to play in DC, he's not going to turn down something like 50% more guaranteed money to play for another club that might contend either now or very soon. He's not stupid.

  47. Nats1924 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    attn Ghostwe don't know if RZims accuracy will ever return (see Chuck Knoblauch)It seems he only has issues with routine stuff not the hard play. eerily similar to Chuck – hope i am wrong

  48. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    Ghost, I assume you are talking about Werth, and he may indeed hope that 1B is in his future, rather than sitting on the bench for the last year or two of his contract or being given away to a losing franchise for a prospect or two. The thing is that he's not nearly as productive a hitter even now to take the 1B spot. By the time he'll need to move he probably will be even less able to fill that power spot in the lineup. Ask Chris Marrero about that.1B is one position I'm just not worried about for 2015 and beyond. Moore or Skole might work out, Zim could move over, or a free agent will be fill the gap. I'd like to see ALR for the next two years as we start the Nats dynasty, but if it's Morse for this year and an open competition for next year, that's ok too.

  49. Nats1924 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    attn Don.great point and that might mildly be the case.for the record tho, Dunn might have been the WORST fielder I have ever seen. single would turn to doubles when he was in left and the guy had zero range at 1B

  50. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    LaRoche strikes me as a "player" who regards baseball as a profession (and a business). He comes from a baseball family, keeps himself in shape (he loses 20-30 pounds during the season), and doesn't intend to hang on as a DH forever and ever because baseball is his whole life and he wouldn't know what to do with himself if he weren't playing. I don't think he feels pressured by deadlines because he knows he will get an offer that is at least as good as the Nats' offer. So there is no harm in waiting.IMO, there is no harm in Rizzo waiting either. I disagree with JD that Morse's trade value goes down as time passes. Rather, I think it goes up and up and up until Opening Day, at which point it stabilizes until July (should the Nats keep both players). When Hamilton is gone, Morse will be one of the few big bats that are "available." If/when the Nats sign ALR, Rizzo's phone will be ringing off the hook. Although reasonable people think Rizzo won't keep both, other reasonable people observe that there is actually nothing stopping him from keeping both, at least through spring training and maybe until the trade deadline. Remember, he kept Lannan even though it didn't seem economical and it didn't seem fair.The Christmas "deadline" is artificial. I don't expect anything to happen until Hamilton makes his move.

  51. John C. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    I'm willing to cut LaRoche some slack on the "it's not [all] about money" line of reasoning. Money can be a factor without being the sole deciding criterion. And As for Theo taking potshots at Greinke for "irrational behavior," well, I'm shocked … shocked … that a major league baseball player exhibits irrational behavior. Jim Palmer worked his neurosis to the Hall of Fame. Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game he played. Let's not even talk about the "rally thong" (google it if you must). There was a relief pitcher in the 60's and 70's, Moe Drabowski, whose nickname was "toys in the attic" (one of my favorite baseball nicknames, btw).Even if you're right that Greinke has his quirks (and I have doubts about your sources of information), that has very little to nothing to do with whether he is a good pitcher.

  52. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:41 PM

    I disagree that "It's about the years not the total value." It's about the total money. Why would anyone work three years for the same amount of money he could get for working only two years? That makes no sense. It's not a game to LaRoche, it's a job. So the question is, if the total value of a three-year contract (guaranteed) is $X, and the total value of a two-year contract is $Y, how much does ALR want to get paid for that extra year of working?

  53. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    I also agree that there is some discount given for a good workplace. And ALR may indeed charge extra for working in some place like Pittsburgh or Cleveland. But that probably doesn't apply to Texas.

  54. hiramhover - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    NatsLadyOne qualification about your projections for ALR– the typical practice is to rely on more than the most recent year's performance. At fangraphs, as I recall, some of the writers use a 50-30-20 weighting of the last 3 years, with the most recent year getting the 50% weight, and then making a downward adjustment for age after a point(typically, I think, 0.5 or 0.7 each year). In ALR's case, that gives you a baseline of more like 2 WAR, and that's before you make any adjustments for age. If you throw out 2011 altogether and weighted 2012 and 2010 by a 70-30 formula, you get a baseline of ~3 WAR.All of which is a convoluted way to say what we kind of already knew–that $10-12M seems a lot more reasonable for ALR, with a longer contract probably at the lower AAV.FeelI hear you about the contract length, and I agree about the likely outcome. I do wonder, tho, at what pt the AAV would get insulting. If, for example, the Nats offered $24M/2 years, and a second team offered $24M/3, or $25M/3, would ALR really pick the latter–or would he be "insulted"? I know that's a hypothetical we're unlikely to see, but it seems to me something like that would be the test of whether it's really "all about the years."

  55. SCNatsFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    Spring training is months away and this team has a 1B on the roster so the urgency created in a blog is by fans who just want something now. ALR has earned the right to take his time and pick whatever offer suits him best just as Rizzo has the option to persue other players that would make the team better.The process will play out. Until the big money is thrown at Hamilton and Bourne then the lesser FAs – LaRoche, Swisher, Ross – are going to wait to see what leverage they have gained. Its how the system is set up and you can't blame ALR for taking advantage of that.Last year Fielder was the player left standing when the music stoppped and he did pretty darn good showing there is no reason to sign just so you get an Xmas card from management. In light of Napoli's problems in Beantown, perhaps opening another door, ALR would be foolish to sign right now without a 3rd year on the table here.

  56. John C. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Nats at first base: add Rendon to the list of long term options at first base. He is the same size and weight as Steve Garvey, and Garvey did all right at first base (10 time All Star, four time Gold Glove, MVP in 1974 and finished in the top six MVP voting four other times).If Zim's occasional throwing woes are more a factor of his shoulder injury and he stabilizes and Espi makes the "great Desmond leap" in 2013 (or if Rendon's ankles don't permit him to play 2b), then Rendon may well end up at 1b. There are still a lot of variable yet to play out, let's focus on 2013 for now :)

  57. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I wouldn't discount the value of the years to ALR. It has to be stressful to do this free agent thing and likely have to move every two years as he has done for most of his career. At this point, an additional year in the same city has to have some value. I seriously doubt that the Nats are going to be willing to offer enough to him over two years to forgo a three year deal offered by a team (like the Rangers) that has a shot at contending. Lots of folks have argued that "he would have taken the Nats offer by now if X". That makes no sense. First of all, we have no idea what the Nats have actually offered other than it's a two year deal. Second, why would ALR take what Rizzo is offering before he knows what his alternatives are and how much Rizzo's offer might go up in response to those alternatives. I don't expect that this will go on all the way to mid-February, but I doubt there's any kind of Christmas deadline on either side.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Sect222, just food for thought when I threw out the mystery player, and yes, its Jayson Werth. I'm not ready to say Zim is Chuck Knoblauch and I'm sure Zim would be offended if people said he was. I'm very sensitive to the Knoblauch issue as I know someone whose career ended because of it. I'm sure its very common, just not as common in the MLB.

  59. 3on2out - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Brace yourself John C. Peric will have your head for suggesting Rendon goes to first. He's already explained that Rendon will play third. Zimmerman will play first. He gets tired of repeating himself to us hoi polloi.

  60. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    hh, what is the going rate for WAR? If it's $5MM, then at ~3WAR ALR should be getting an offer of $15MM, and $17MM would be an overpay of a couple of million in 2013, and probably and overpay of at least $4MM in 2014–which is what I said, though I calculated it differently than you did. Of course the price per WAR depends on your projected wins. If ALR's 3 WAR are the difference between 95 and 98 wins, and you still win the division with 95, he's not worth as much to the Nats as he is to a team where his three WAR are the difference between 85 and 88 wins, and a pretty sure trip to the post-season–even if it's only the wildcard game. Some writers go with $6 or $7 MM per WAR, but given the Nats' and Rangers' expectations, I would go with the conservative figure. All in all, it's a pretty close calculation, which explains why neither side has moved yet.

  61. sjm308 - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    Some excellent discussion this morning and it took me quite awhile to digest it all.Going way back to Mick, no reason for LaRoche or anyone who provides for his family to take LESS money for his craft. I want him here but understand as many have said that if he gets three years from any other team he has to take that.It was interesting to think about Werth at first but I don't see it if his power continues to ebb. Lots of ifs here but what if Morse has a huge year and also improves in the field (which I think he will with a full year at first)? Would you try and re-sign him? I suppose not with Moore in the wings and Rendon coming on but its a thought.Finally from early this morning on the last post, I appreciated JayB explaining his thoughts on Rizzo in a very civil manner. Great fans don't always have to agree on all counts and I have a deeper understanding on baseball because of lots of what is discussed here. Thanks to you all.GoNats!!

  62. Nattering Nat - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    FWIW, I think a complicating factor in the ALR equation is that Davey says he'll only be managing for one more year. That means it's not just a "2 years vs. 3" money question. Even if LaRoche settles for 2 years with the Nats, there is no guarantee in his mind that he wouldn't be platooned the second year, once Davey is no loner the manager. This is where the extra, third year, becomes more meaningful, I believe. While he may not know or care who the manager in Texas might be for three years–or in DC–if he's being compensated for three years, he must figure he's taken care of through the end of his career. RIght now, with the Nats, he sees the prospect of two years, the second of which might turn out to be unexpectedly unpleasant, were he platooned. So, that is why I think that extra, third year is important to him even beyond the money. If he might not be playing full-time by then, he wants extra financial security for that risk. Makes sense to me.

  63. Joe Seamhead - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Ghost I see the possibility of Zimm, Werth, Rendon,etc. ever moving to 1B to be just a bunch of Hot Stove folks throwing out possible scenarios. a form of fantasy baseball,if you will. But in the cases of Zimm and Jayson you do have two guys with awful long guaranteed contracts on a club that has a GM building for the long haul, not for one season. If Espy starts hitting better, and Desi keeps hitting better, and if Ryan's throwing issues persist, and if ALR stays, or if ALR walks, or Mikey stays, or Mikey gets traded, if Rendon hits .350 in Syracuse, if so on and so on…As to the way that the ALR situation is being handled resembling the Adam Dunn situation, I see similarities also, but with two major differences, one being ALR's superior glove, and the other being Davey Johnson's wants.

  64. Don - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Nats 1924 @ 10:28 am. I don't think that Rizzo wants Morse at 1B either. I think that Morse is likely going to be traded in any event. The Nats likely need both a LH bat to at least platoon at 1B and a decent glove there too (Morse is not much better than Dunn with the glove and his health is fragile). Yanks, Mariners, Stros maybe. We'll see.

  65. SCNatsFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    I also take Davey's statement that this is the last year with a grain of salt.

  66. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:27 PM

    sjm, agree, this morning's has been an enjoyable and thoughtful discussion. Nattering, good point. My thought is if he can get the financial security for two years of working, then he would just retire at 35, why not? So that extra year has to be worth it to him, because it IS an extra year of work.However, I'm not sure why platooning would be "unpleasant" in the second or third year. It's only unpleasant if you are looking to build up your stats to get more money in free-agency. If you are retiring, and you aren't looking to be in the Hall-of-Fame, what is the point of exhausting yourself in the July heat? Go ahead and let Tyler Moore develop.I'm taking him at his word that he wants to retire in three years. I wouldn't necessarily believe that for every player who says it, but I can believe that for him retiring at 35 or 36 to enjoy time with his still-young family and build up his business is a goal.

  67. Joe Seamhead - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    SCNatsFan, my wife says a woman has a right to change her mind, and so does Davey.

  68. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I find it comical to hear so many people buy in to the "playoffs are a crapshoot" model. Being a great team is not luck. The Nats lost last year because they choked away a 5-run lead at home and shut down their best pitcher…they didn't fall victim to bad luck. I hope if/when they win a World Series, the same people will post about how lucky they were, rather than how great they were. I guess that only applies to other teams.

  69. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    sjm, you're a true gentleman. I also want to express my appreciation to JayB and encourage him to continue adding to the discussion. To call him a "hater" as someone did yesterday is unfair. He's a longtime and dedicated fan and has earned the right to express his opinion, even when it goes against the grain of most of the comments here. To paraphrase George Mitchell: "In Natstown, criticism of Rizzo, Davey, or a player, is not evidence of lack of fanhood." Besides, he's right about Game 5. We should have won it. :-)

  70. hiramhover - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:35 PM

    NLEven if you start with the 3 WAR baseline–which is generous to ALR, as last year was the only time he's broken 2.5 in his career–you still need to regress it for age, with 0.7 as one rule of thumb, for each year past 32.So you get 2.3 WAR in 2013, 1.6 WAR in 2014, or 3.9 total; @ $5.5M/WAR, that equals ~$21-22M for 2 years.

  71. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    See also Bill Lee and Mark Fidrych. :-)John C. said… I'm willing to cut LaRoche some slack on the "it's not [all] about money" line of reasoning. Money can be a factor without being the sole deciding criterion. And As for Theo taking potshots at Greinke for "irrational behavior," well, I'm shocked … shocked … that a major league baseball player exhibits irrational behavior. Jim Palmer worked his neurosis to the Hall of Fame. Wade Boggs ate chicken before every game he played. Let's not even talk about the "rally thong" (google it if you must). There was a relief pitcher in the 60's and 70's, Moe Drabowski, whose nickname was "toys in the attic" (one of my favorite baseball nicknames, btw). Even if you're right that Greinke has his quirks (and I have doubts about your sources of information), that has very little to nothing to do with whether he is a good pitcher. December 13, 2012 10:39 AM

  72. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    0.7 is a significant change but anyways his WAR was 3.8 in 2012.

  73. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    I wonder if Davey's declaration that he's going to retire after this year is part of the inspirational mind games he plays with his players…

  74. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Every time we have this same conversation (several times a year, I think), I remember the scene from The Magnificent Seven.——-Hilario: Did you have any luck?Chris: Found a man who would have been perfect. Couldn't ask for any better. But he wouldn't do it.Hilario : The money, it was not enough?Chris: He doesn't give a hoot about money.Hilario: A man in this line of work who doesn't care about money?Chris: Men in this line of work are not all alike. Some care about nothing but money. Others, for reasons of their own, enjoy only the danger.Vin: And the competition.Miguel: If he is the best, with whom does he compete?Chris: Himself. ——————–

  75. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    hh, ok, then I misunderstood your post, I thought you were having him at ~3 WAR. His 2012 WAR was 3.8, so you are thinking he would drop off to 2.3? Seems like you are double-counting a bit–you are dropping him off for overperforming in 2012 AND for age. Do you think the dropoff would come in offense or defense? However, he is streaky and had that unexpected excellent spring. By your calculation, 2/$34MM would be a vast overpay and so would almost any three-year offer.

  76. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said… I find it comical to hear so many people buy in to the "playoffs are a crapshoot" model. Being a great team is not luck. The Nats lost last year because they choked away a 5-run lead at home and shut down their best pitcher…they didn't fall victim to bad luck. I hope if/when they win a World Series, the same people will post about how lucky they were, rather than how great they were. I guess that only applies to other teams. December 13, 2012 11:28 AM I wasn't one of those who you are referring to but call it what you want, a "higher power" that BABIP play where the ball is an inch away from Desi ending the game on the shot up the middle. Is it luck or chance or the baseball gods?Unfortunately in a 7 game series, 1 play can doom you. 1 play didn't doom the Nats in Game 5. It was a series of screwups and some unlucky BABIP but the game got out of hand in the 5th inning in my opinion so I tend to agree with you. The fate was just sealed in a heart wretching way in that 9th inning.

  78. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    FS, I think hh is starting from a projected 3.0 WAR (based on ALR never having been over 2.5 in the past) and then taking 30% off that for age and that is how he arrives at 2.7 WAR for 2013.

  79. Doc - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    The greatest challege to running a MLB club these days is payouts to players who are no longer productive. All players want long-term contracts, which are good for them if not for the ball club. A GM's job is to try and keep his club competitive every year–not just go for the big prize all at once.A baseball fan doesn't have to look too far to find ball clubs in decline because of signing players beyond their productive value. Nats have probably more than enough committed to long-term player contracts already.Rizzo is playing it right. Club first, farm system second, long term contracts third. Rendon, Skole, and Goodwin are probably ready next year, with the first two more likely ready sometime in the coming season.

  80. 3on2out - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik:To me, the old "the playoffs are a crapshoot" trope means that once you get there you can't simply assume the best team wins. The Nats loss in Game 5 certainly wasn't bad luck but the Giants back-against-the-wall finishes against the Reds and the Cardinals certainly had elements of good luck. The playoffs now consist of supposedly the ten best teams in MLB, winnowed out after a long 162-game season. At that point, any of those ten is capable of winning the whole enchilda…given a hot hand or two and a…little luck.

  81. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Doc, IMO Rendon – September 2013. Skole – Never played above A+ ball sp projecting him to the majors at any time let alone this year is a leap of faith. Goodwin – Definitely not before 2014 and it's still an open question as to what type of a major league player he will be.

  82. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Erik, Anyway you slice game 5 you have to admit one thing: it was just one game and you also have to admit that the Nats were better than the Cards throughout the year by the fact that they had a much better record than the Cards. If you tell me that the Giants were the best team in 2012 or that the Cards were the best team in 2011 or that the Giants were the best team in 2010 I have a bridge for you at a great price. So yes it's absolutely a crap shoot in the playoffs and I will be the 1st one to say this if and when the Nats win the world series.

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    JD, definitely Rendon by 9/2013. If they start him at 2nd to begin the season, then we know there's another plan.I have to think Rendon is the Ace in the hole for infield depth.By the way, I'm very pleased they didn't trade him and I hope it pays dividends for the Nats in the long-run.Rizzo has to receive dozens of calls asking about Rendon. Just say no Mike.

  84. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    And, again, 'luck' probably isn't the best word to use (I know I used it yesterday). 'Randomness' may be a much better choice. You can minimize the effects of randomness over the course of a season by having a great team (measured player by player). And you can minimize the effects over multiple seasons by building a strong franchise. But in any given game (or short series), randomness — measured by a few inches or a blown call or a fan interfering with a ball in play — can bite you in the butt. (Of course, it also bites the other team sometimes, which only adds to the randomness.)

  85. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    NL, I get it now. I don't think ALR will drop off that much. anyways fixating ourselves on just one stat that does not capture all of ALR's value is not a good idea I think. I understand we are trying to gauge his dollar value but I would rather compare him with his replacement (Morse or Moore) and difference in suggested contracts and then try to decide whether ALR is worth it.I do want to see what Moore can do in 600 PA.

  86. rarumberger - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik, you've got it backwards. Being a great team GETS YOU TO THE PLAYOFFS. Are you honestly arguing that the Tigers were a better team than the Yankees, O's, A's, and Rangers? Because factually, objectively, in any rational evaluation, they weren't. They had a hot streak that coincided with other teams' cold streaks.The Nats were a better team than the Cardinals last year. Period. Yes, they lost three games out of five at the least opportune possible moment, and in the worst, most gut-wrenchingly painful way possible. But those were three games out of the 167 that the Nats played last year.They don't mean more or less than the others in terms of deciding which team is better. They only decide which teams get which trophies.

  87. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    3on2out'The Nats loss in Game 5 certainly wasn't bad luck' No? The missed strike call on Molina wasn't bad luck? The check swing by Freese not called a strike wasn't bad luck? The ground ball by Descalso which Desi missed by 3 inches wasn't bad luck? The Nats didn't pitch well and they didn't score add on runs but you don't think they could have won that game just as easily?

  88. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    JD, I disagree. Elimination games are never just a game. Its "Do or Die" and has to be played that way as every move matters. Its a gun fight where you better not die with your gun full of bullets.You can go back to the comments I was making as the game was playing out. I was shocked that Davey didn't pull Gio in the 4th. The Cardinals smelled blood in the water and they were right because I saw it too. You can't give an opening and I was correct in foresight at the time and again in hindsight. Davey had his foot on Matheny's neck and he didn't snap it.The good news is it wasn't Game 7 of the World Series. To counter my point above, if Davey pulled Gio in the 4th there's no guarantee that something else doesn't go wrong. 2013 – World Series Or Bust

  89. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:20 PM

    rarumberger and Eugene, You said it much better than me.

  90. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I think the Rangers are making the same type of calculation that the Nats are, and I'd be surprised if they made a substantially better offer. They could, but I'd be surprised. They appear to be a well-run team with a deep farm system. What you have to look at is teams like the Red Sox (if Napoli deal falls through) and Mariners that feel pressured to "do something."

  91. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    Ghost, Regarding Rendon; at the end of the day his best value may still be in a trade. Zim is still a young player and if he recovers his throwing consistency at 3rd he's not likely to move off that position. I also do not believe Rendon at 2nd is in the cards at all. I think that even if Rendon is to be used in a trade the Nats are better off letting him establish himself as a can't miss healthy player. We here have already reached that conclusion but other GM's have seen him injured seriously 3 years in a row and they have also not seen him dominate in the minors. We are assuming that Rendon is a coveted top notch prospect based on reputation and a strong AFL season. I think it will take more than that to put him in the same coveted league as say Wil Meyers.

  92. hiramhover - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    FSThe rule of thumb is that you don't just use the player's last year to establish the baseline, but an average of prior seasons. One standard is to weight the last three seasons 50%-30%-20%, which gives you ~2 WAR for ALR if you include 2011, and maybe a very generous ~3 WAR if you throw it out. (You can find articles at fangraphs, and by tom tango at insidethebook, that use generally similar methods, including the deductions for aging.)And you're spot on about the Nats other options–whatever precisely you think is the right projection for ALR, they have guys on the roster who can likely replace it, and at a fraction of the cost. NLOops – you're right! I screwed up my own math–you don't start taking the age deduction until the 2d year. So if you start with the 3.0 WAR baseline, you get more like $29M for 2 years. But as I said, that's an incredibly optimistic baseline, and the result is out of keeping with what other non-marque 1B power bats have been getting over the last few years. Given his internal options, there's no way Rizzo goes that high, and I doubt any other GM would either.

  93. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    NatsLady,I agree; I would also add the Brewers and the Pirates to that mix and even the Miami Marlins.

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    I've always said making the playoffs in the NBA and especially the NHL is a joke. When more than 1/2 the teams make the playoffs, its not about the best teams its about driving revenue.The NFL and MLB is about the best teams make the playoffs. Only 30% enter the MLB playoffs now and this year the best teams will have the proper homefield advantage.The Nats are now set up to be a perrenial powerhouse in the post-season. Last year was getting our feet wet and no excuses for 2013. World Series or Bust.

  95. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:33 PM

    JD,I will remember you said that. Great teams overcome bad luck and make their own good luck. If the goal is to be a good-very good team, then luck will play a factor because all teams are basically equal. If you truly have a great team, you will win. When you think of greatness in all sports, do you associate the great players and teams with good luck. I certainly don't!!! And YES…absolutely the Giants in 2010 and 2012 (combined 8-1 in the World Series) and the Cards in 2011 were the best teams in baseball. If the goal is to be a truly "great" team rather than just a Rays/Braves successful franchise, then luck should never be enough of a factor for them to lose. The true great teams go on 6-10 game winning streaks in the playoffs. Look at the last truly great team…the Yankees from 1996-2000. Was that luck??? No…that was domination!!! As a fan, that is what I want…not a "shot" every year like the Braves and Rays. I bet they think they are pretty "unlucky."

  96. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    GoSM, I think the argument is about playoffs being crapshoot. Not the best team wins WS all the time and I agree. I don't think Giants were the best team last season and neither were Tigers.

  97. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    JD, excellent points. Wil Myers was the top of the heap and well ahead of Rendon and much of that is because of the health issue.As we know, there's no sure things so it will be a wait and see approach with Rendon and Myers. I specifically got to camp early last year just to watch Rendon and Purke. I was a little disappointed with Rendon's size (not tall, probably 5'10"/5'11") and body shape (dumpy) but when I saw him put bat on ball it was great to see. To see Rendon in the AFL was instantly gratifying. He transformed his body and lost that baby fat and added some muscle. His ability to put bat on ball and barrel up the balls was excellent. He stayed within himself and took what the game gave him except in the AFL Rising Stars game where he tried to hit it out of the park and instead skied a can of corn flyout.If Rendon stays healthy and stays within himself, he will be something special. I don't know Wil Myers except what I saw last year at the AFL. Excellent talent but must show he can hit real MLB pitching.

  98. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    HH, you should definitely throw out his 2011 or at least adjust to 600 PA since he had uncharacteristically low number of PA which led to negative WAR.If I am not mistaken, WAR baseline before is different from WAR now (average replacement level player is different). In his earlier career, ALR's numbers were considered probably average to above average for a 1B but past couple of seasons the numbers ALR produced last season are at least above average since hitting is not what it used to be. I am not suggesting drastic changes but we have all noticed how pitching has seemed more dominant last couple of seasons. If we had complete 2011 numbers for ALR, that would have been better to decide what to expect next season.

  99. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  100. peric - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    LaRoche's 21.3 paV from statcorner.com makes him the 2nd most valuable player relative to a more fine-grained defense and park neutral "WAR". What Natslady didn't tell you is that even playing part-time both Morse and Tyler Moore had pretty significant paV's,The problem again, for the Nats and especially for Davey, is that neither of those two are left-handed bats. Instead of going for Swisher (per NatsGM) and eschewing the slap-hitters the FO decided to go with Atlanta's model from last season. Seems more than a bit possible they could find themselves in the same position in the standings as a result? But, it did save funds that will likely be needed when every attempt is made to keep the core nucleus of young players the Nats have built. Davey probably feels that without LaRoche that becomes a far more distinct possibility. Until Goodwin and/or Skole are major league ready … and that could be 2 years from now the Nats only have Corey Brown as a left-handed major league ready power bat. But he doesn't fit into a lineup with slap-hitting Span. Of course given time Davey might change all of that. But, Davey likes to get off to a fast start … so …Noting also that Josh Hamilton finished with a 20.8 paV (overall player replacment value) whereas LaRoche finished with a 21.3 just behind Espinosa. Defense does get factored into this stat (which should make Natslady happy) and that shows just how important LaRoche's defense was. So, at least by one measure, losing Josh Hamilton and gaining LaRoche (given he is able to reproduce at or close to last year's level) would be a net gain for Texas. And the fielding in CF would likely improve.

  101. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… GoSM, I think the argument is about playoffs being crapshoot. Not the best team wins WS all the time and I agree. I don't think Giants were the best team last season and neither were Tigers. December 13, 2012 12:36 PM That comment was a tangent about baseball over 162 games and 10 out of 30 make the playoffs.I believe in the baseball gods and refer to it often but I also believe in snapping the neck of my opponent in do or die situations. Just too many mistakes and where I agree with JayB, I don't think EJax should've been on the post-season roster and I would have started Lombo against the RH pitchers for sure.

  102. Steady Eddie - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    strong package@11:51 — great and funny as well as right on point. Ballplayers are individuals who don't all have the identical motivations any more than anyone else — and ALR seems to be as much of an individual (in a perfectly functional way) as there is in MLB.

  103. peric - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:51 PM

    JD, definitely Rendon by 9/2013. If they start him at 2nd to begin the season, then we know there's another plan.Rendon is going to start at third base his best position and one where he could conceivably win a gold glove. They HAVE officially already said as much. Go back and look at the surgery history from the last surgery back for Ryan Zimmerman. I do realize Rendon has also had his but his involve broken bones not quite the same. And he is much younger.

  104. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:55 PM

    GoSM, I also remember wondering why EJax was pitching in relief. Enough game 5 talk for me. I have yet to destroy my NLCS tickets I had printed before game 5.

  105. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Craps is my favorite table game and the simplicity is its a game of luck and chance but there is a strategy to be good at it so I buy into the whole "crapshoot" analogy on a simplistic level.The only difference is it is me against the "house" and the house rules don't change so I would say the best gambling analogy is more like Texas Hold'em with bluffing and strategy against your opponent. I'm still partial overall to the analogy that baseball is a chess match. Riggleman's great line "LaRussa is playing chess and I'm playing checkers".

  106. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    A quite fitting quote from ESPN today…"Fantasy Football is all skill." – owners still alive in the playoffs."Fantasy Football is all luck." – owners that have been eliminated.

  107. peric - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Oh, and the paV's (player value) for Span and Revere were very close and equivalent to Desmond last year. A full year of Morse in left-field or first base could be worth a lot more.

  108. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Just heard on MLB tv that Jayson Werth and Mark DeRosa convinced the players to give Scouting&Development a full share. Probably not much for each scout and coach, but a nice gesture.

  109. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    Another good one from a great movie-"Why does this still seem like gambling to you? I mean, why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY SINGLE YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It's a skill game, Jo."

  110. peric - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    If we had complete 2011 numbers for ALR, that would have been better to decide what to expect next season.OR, as with Morse, you can look at them holistically, consider their ages and determine that the relative frequency and probability of DL necessary injury would go up.

  111. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    Peric, great to hear your opinion. Chances are Rendon will start at 3rd. Its not etched in stone and they won't say anything publicly to the contrary. My opinion is that Rendon will get some reps at 2nd also. We will see Peric, give it time. I said last year before ST started that Lombo should play some LF and of course I got slammed for saying it–maybe you were one of them slamming me as it was random "Anon's" but as I right.This game is for thinking people and people willing to think out of the box. Rizzo knows what he's going to do and he hasn't told you or I.

  112. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    Poker is a game of skill. My father taught me, and whenever I played in "social games" I always won–without fail. Never played high stakes, but I would imagine the same holds true. I don't know about craps or other gambling because I don't gamble. I don't have anything against it, it's just not how I spend my money.

  113. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    peric, thanks for the tip on statcorner.com. I will check into it.

  114. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Greinke once granted himself a leave of absence from the team because of a "social disorder" that prevented him from interacting w/ his team-mates, peforming in front of large audiences. Hate to think what the counseling bill was for that. He also expressed that he didn't want to go on road trips because not sleeping in his own bed, with his own pillows impaired his ability to perform. Good luck in LA.

  115. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Interesting chat and article on ESPN right now about the Hall of 100. Here is a good time killer for those of you who are trying to look busy at work: Pick the best 4 of all-time for each category:Mount Rushmore of Hitters: Mount Rushmore of Pitcher:Mount Rushmore of Defensive Players:Mount Rushmore of Best All-Around Players:

  116. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:21 PM

    GoSM, I also remember wondering why EJax was pitching in relief. Enough game 5 talk for me. I have yet to destroy my NLCS tickets I had printed before game 5.This reminded me to mention that I took my playoff strips, which included the tie breaker game, wild card game, NLDS, NLCS, and World Series tickets and had them laminated at Staples. They are pristeen since the only ticket I actually used (as opposed to transferring electronically) was the Werth walkoff game and I was able to fit it back into the strip quite nicely. Right now, they are just fun and kind of odd mementos — 10 out of the 13 games were never played. But maybe some day a collector will think they are worth something. Ghost? :-)

  117. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Anybody ever seen this guy play? Nats signed him to a minor league deal. Can't hit so I assume he's got a good SS glove. (Cesar Izturis type?)Brian Bocockhttp://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bococbr01.shtml

  118. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    222: I've got some Tsarist-era Russian railroad bonds if you're interested…

  119. SCNatsFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Where Rendon ends up is anyones guess at this point; geat points on Bauer and Myers being moved so no guarantee talent is enough to crack a lineup. One thing for sure, if he is as good an offensive talent as billed then there will be a spot for him in a lineup either here or somewhere else.

  120. DaveB - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    NL -Izturis was a Major Leaguer on the decline. Bocock is a 27 year old that has never gotten more than a cup a coffee. Sounds like organizational depth after losing Kobernus (and maybe Rivero, as I think he is out of options).

  121. John C. - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Postseason baseball is absolutely a crap shoot. The 2000 Yankees only won 87 games, and actually lost 15 of their final 18 games going into the postseason. That team was not actually very good. They won anyway. The 1996 Yankees WERE very good, but if you ask O's fans, they'll tell you that they should never have been in the World Series (Jeffrey Maier). Even in the WS, the Yankees got thrashed in the first two games of the WS, and were one hung slider from Mark Wohlers away from being down 3-1. The 1960 Yankees were a great team in the midst of the most dominant run in MLB history (14 pennants and nine WS titles in 16 seasons, and they won 104 games one of the years they didn't make it – 1954). They pummelled the Pirates in three games, outscoring them 55-27 in the seven games. Of course the Pirates won anyway. Mickey Mantle later said that, of all the WS he played in, it was the only one that he felt that the better team lost. In baseball, weird things happen in short series. In 2009 the 103 loss Nationals defeated the 103 win eventual champion Yankees two out of three games in New York City. That holds true in the post season as well. A team's quality puts a thumb on the scale of their chances, but it doesn't guarantee anything. The "greatness" narrative is largely an explanation placed after the fact tailored to suit the events.IMHO :)

  122. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    SCNatsFan said… Where Rendon ends up is anyones guess at this point; geat points on Bauer and Myers being moved so no guarantee talent is enough to crack a lineup. One thing for sure, if he is as good an offensive talent as billed then there will be a spot for him in a lineup either here or somewhere else. December 13, 2012 1:28 PM Yep, well said. I'm sure Zim isn't losing sleep over Rendon playing 3rd in the Minors but if they were to make a move of Rendon to 2nd, both Espi and Lombo will get a queezy feeling. Rizzo isn't going to do anything until he has to.I am in a wait and see on Espi. I think his Spring Training will tell us what we need to know. He had a horrific Spring which carried into the season. I think he will be on a short leash.

  123. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    NatsLady,Pilier is 16 years old (I hope).

  124. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:00 PM

    JD, LOL. Are they checking ages better nowadays?

  125. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    NL, You have to figure the Nats are. No?

  126. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    JD, I certainly hope so. The guy from last year is "18" now.Randy Novashttp://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=novas-000ran

  127. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Something might be about to shake lose, according to MLB Trade Rumors:By Ben Nicholson-Smith [December 13, 2012 at 12:59pm CST]The Angels are getting close to a deal with Josh Hamilton, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (on Twitter). The deal with the Moye Sports Associates client is not quite done, Brown adds. Joe McDonnell of FoxSportsWest.com first reported that the Angels were involved in serious talks with Hamilton (Twitter link).

  128. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    The aforementioned Tweeter links.

  129. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    JD, I wouldn't give a lot for that pitcher who nearly beaned our guy, but that was a nice swing for the double. So hard to judge, it's like watching Little League.

  130. Don - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:09 PM

    Ouch, Hamilton is headed to LAA, or it looks that way. Market for ALR did not get any smaller.

  131. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Diet Dr. Pepper. :-)

  132. SCNatsFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:10 PM

    Hamilton and Pujols. That's the Astros payroll right there if that happens.

  133. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    Well, if Hamilton goes to LA, now comes the test if Texas wants to outbid the Nats for a lefty bat. ALR can't play any position except first, and, like us, they have alternatives there.This is a report from Dec. 4.There is a thought gaining momentum internally that Ian Kinsler should be the Rangers' first baseman in 2013, a move that would clear a spot for Jurickson Profar to be the everyday second baseman. The thought is that Kinsler would easily pick up first base, and he has said that he's willing to do whatever the club asks of him.But to move Kinsler would push out a player, Moreland, who pushed out Chris Davis, who hit 33 home runs last season, and futher limit the playing time of Young. That could be taken care of if Philadelphia's interest in Young is sincere; the Phillies and Rangers can work out a deal complicated by the $16 million Young is owed this year; and Young, with full 10-5 rights, approves the trade.Then, there's Mike Olt, who Daniels confirmed is drawing significant interest from teams in need of a first baseman. The Rangers, though, have asked him to pick up first base, as well as right field in case they aren't able to keep soon-to-be free agents David Murphy and Nelson Cruz after next season.The Rangers are not looking outside the organization for help at first base. A source said that they are not talking to Adam LaRoche, despite one report that the Rangers were believed to be the leaders on the free agent.Read more here: http://sportsblogs.star-telegram.com/foul_territory/2012/12/what-will-the-rangers-do-at-first-base.html#storylink=cpy

  134. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:16 PM

    MLB ‏@MLB"The reason I chose the @RedSox … the tradition, the history, the makeup of the team." – @ShaneVictorino: http://atmlb.com/TdKhJB Yeah, money had nothing to do with it.

  135. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:19 PM

    Apparently the Hamilton-centric rumor includes the Angels then trading either Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo to the Mets for R.A. Dickey.

  136. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    The Dickey notion may be more speculation than rumor.

  137. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Rangers could go for Swisher (switch hitter), but he supposedly wants "Werth money."If the Angels got Dickey, that would be fine with me, get him out of our Division.

  138. upperdeck4 - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Latest is five year deal for Hamilton done.

  139. Water23 - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:29 PM

    Agreed, let Dickey move West and the other League!!

  140. SCNatsFan - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    I think Swish wanted Werth money until he threw up all over himself in the playoffs this year

  141. MicheleS - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    HOLY POOP! $25M per year! Hamilton goes to LAA? Just RIDICULOUS!

  142. Tom in AR - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Peric – I am trying to understand how any metric could consider Espinosa the most valuable player on the team last year. How does Statcorner figure their numbers?

  143. Drew - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    This is bad news for keeping LaRoche.

  144. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:46 PM

    I think this really opens up the market and the dominoes will start to fall quickly. I think Swisher, LaRoche and Bourne all find employment before Christmas. Motice Texas is in on a lot of FA's and in trade rumors but Daniels won't be intimidated into over paying.

  145. sjm308 - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Wow, just looked at the Angels lineup with Hamilton! Hard to believe they have 50 million a year in just two players as well as the best player in the AL leading off. Thanks Natslady for that article on Texas. It would seem LaRoche is not a fit and that can only help us.I am not sure Espinosa is our most valuable player but like Peric, I do not want to lose him. I can even live with the strikeouts as long as we have his defense at 2nd and his versatility to move to SS if needed. His age leads me to believe he will continue to improve in all areas and he is a keeper. Ghost may be right about Rendon getting some work at 2nd but I am thinking he needs to a full year of health and moving to a new position puts that at risk. His comfort zone is 3rd base and it is where I would play him.Go Nats!! World Series or Bust!

  146. DaveB - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:49 PM

    The Angels seem at least as good as Rizzo at keeping their intentions secret until the deal is done. That one sure surprised me, as they sounded pretty convincing that they were set with Bourjos in CF and Trout moving to Left.

  147. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    The Angels are so top heavy it's ridiculous and I think they still have Vernon Wells for a couple of years. Hamilton is a great player but I think this is a huge risk and an over pay in Dollars and years.

  148. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    Watch out for Seattle. They have been rebuffed all over the place and may sign someone just because.

  149. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:57 PM

    I caution that that article is more than a week old, Young is gone from the Rangers and a lot can happen to change their thinking. Also, I am listening to a podcast interviewing an internet blogger type guy who is now in the Astros organization. He said that what you hear from Heyman, Rosenthal, Olney, Morosi and the beat writers is about 8% of what is going on with any given team. I don't know how he is that precise. :) Nevertheless, there is a LOT going on that we have no clue about.

  150. 5c3cd06e-cef8-11e1-abe6-000bcdcb2996 - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:06 PM

    LaRoche has been in the bigs since 2004 and this past year was his best season. He is 33 and coming off a career season. There is a reason "in rizzo we trust" isn't giving him 3 years…it's because it is a bad deal. If LaRoche was confident in keeping up his numbers he would take the two years and then sign a new contract as a player who just had 3 solid years.As an aside, LaRoche is a boring guy. Compare him to Morse and Gio. Move Morse to first, let ALR walk, and know that it was the best decision.

  151. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    So LaRoche's patience pays off. Texas is desperate for his bat.

  152. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    there is a LOT going on that we have no clue about.Truer words were never spoken. Which is why I take comments here that claim certainty about just about anything on the GM side of the ledger with a gigantic grain of salt. Trout, Hamilton, Pujols, Trumbo. That's a whole heckuva lot of power right there. Whether or not that Dec. 4 article had merit at the time, the Rangers have to be looking to find a power left handed bat at this point. The Hamilton signing could cause some teams to reevaluate their plans and should start to shake things loose on a lot of players.

  153. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    NJ, I wouldn't be so sure. I think they are more likely to go after Swisher.

  154. John C. - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    For those campaigning for LaRoche because he hits from the left side, remember that only makes a difference is the RH batters can't hit RH pitchers. Morse's career splits against RHP are virtually identical to LaRoche's (they are better than LaRoche's against LHP).

  155. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    NatsJack, and Riz will gladly take the comp pick.

  156. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    All alongI felt that's what Rizzo's plan was for not going 3.

  157. Section 222 - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    Kind of ironic that the Hamilton news breaks while the post and discussion here is all about ALR. Good timing Mark!

  158. UnkyD - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:00 PM

    Alphabet Soup Erik said…JD,I will remember you said that. Great teams overcome bad luck and make their own good luck. If the goal is to be a good-very good team, then luck will play a factor because all teams are basically equal. If you truly have a great team, you will win. When you think of greatness in all sports, do you associate the great players and teams with good luck. I certainly don't!!! And YES…absolutely the Giants in 2010 and 2012 (combined 8-1 in the World Series) and the Cards in 2011 were the best teams in baseball. If the goal is to be a truly "great" team rather than just a Rays/Braves successful franchise, then luck should never be enough of a factor for them to lose. The true great teams go on 6-10 game winning streaks in the playoffs. Look at the last truly great team…the Yankees from 1996-2000. Was that luck??? No…that was domination!!! As a fan, that is what I want…not a "shot" every year like the Braves and Rays. I bet they think they are pretty "unlucky."December 13, 2012 12:33 PM ———————-No offense is intended here, Eric….. Your posts, regarding luck, read like those of a young person, who still expects life to be fair. The best teams usually make it to the postseason (especially on the age of wild card teams), but the best team does not, by any objective measure, win the championship, every year. The most qualified candidate does not always get the job. Good does not always prevail over evil. Randomness lives in every aspect of the game…odd bounces… bad calls…injuries…minor illness…unusual errors…experience. No team can do more but minimize the effects of randomness, by being as talented and as deep and as smart as possible. The Braves were a GREAT team. Jim Kelly's Bills were DOMINANT, with four consecutive appearances in the Super Bowl… They didn't lose because they were a bad team, but because they didn't outplay their opponent, that day. Luck is not the refuge of losers, but that of realists.

  159. Gonat - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    I think the Rangers will target Michael Bourn before LaRoche but we will see.

  160. NatsLady - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    The podcase I was listening to was Baseball Prospectus, Effectively Wild No. 100. Among other things, the writer-turned-scout said teams get scouting reports every day on all their players. They each have their own (proprietary) formulas for evaluating them, their own acronyms, etc. So however much we look at fangraphs, baseballreference, traderumers.com etc., we are not getting anything near the level of information teams are getting. We are guessing, and guessing with maybe 8% of the information.

  161. natsfan1a - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Likewise. Section 222 said… Truer words were never spoken. Which is why I take comments here that claim certainty about just about anything on the GM side of the ledger with a gigantic grain of salt.

  162. MicheleS - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:20 PM

    New Post

  163. JD - Dec 13, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    Dempster signed with the Red Sox for 2 years. The secondary pitching market should open up as well with: Sanchez, Lohse and EJax on deck followed by the group including John Lannan.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 71 53 --
ATLANTA 66 60 6.0
MIAMI 63 62 8.5
NEW YORK 59 68 13.5
PHILADELPHIA 55 71 17.0
Through Tuesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Diamondbacks at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Diamondbacks at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
FRI: Giants at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Giants at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Giants at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Phillies, 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

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