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How will Storen bounce back?

Dec 17, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

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Drew Storen was brilliant down the stretch last season … until Game 5 of the NLDS.

In the solemn minutes that followed the most crushing defeat he had ever experienced, Drew Storen admitted how difficult the task he now faced would be.

"There's a bad taste in my mouth," the young closer said after blowing the Nationals' two-run, ninth-inning lead in Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals. "That's gonna stay there for a couple of months. And it's probably never going to leave."

It's now been more than two months since that fateful night at Nationals Park, and there are still nearly two months until Storen and his teammates take the practice fields in Viera, Fla., for the start of spring training, about 3 1/2 months until they head north for Opening Day.

So there's still plenty of time for Storen to re-live his nightmare ninth inning, the three hits and two walks he issued, the just-off-the-plate pitches he delivered, any of which might have wrapped up the series for the Nationals instead of moving them a step closer to one of theRead more »

147 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Drew will be fine.

  2. JamesFan - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    The pen is the biggest concern to me this year. I does not have depth and Storen is the only viable closer. No real replacement for Burnett yet. Lots of pressure on Storen to close out games for this top flight rotation. I don't worry about the blown save in the playoffs. In fact, the whole team wilted a bit under pressure down the stretch. The Gio/Storen collapse at the end was just the latest case. They will gain maturity from that experience for next year.

  3. MurrayTheRed - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    I think he will be fine!!!!On the otherhand my fingers will be crossed on that first difficult save situation of the year.

  4. UNTERP - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    This is the key to their 2013 season: SP going 7 to 8 innings, instead of 6 to seven; top three starters getting 2 to 4 complete games instead of zero or 1, bottom two starters getting 1 to 2 complete games instead of none. Less relievers, more starters…

  5. sjm308 - Dec 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    He is young enough that this will not be his last blown save and while I don't think you prepare for that type of thing as a closer, the reality is a big part of closing is the ability to bounce back. I am not big at going into stats but how many blown saves does Mariano have? I am guessing its a pretty large number and he will be a first ballot hall of famer. I am pretty sure he was on the mound when Gonzalez hit the single to win the World Series for the D'Backs and he bounced back fine from that.Many have written here about relievers being expendable and they are probably correct. Its not the player on the team you want your young son getting attached to. I love what Clippard has done here but I wonder how many more years he can perform at his high level. I am hoping at least two or three more.I like ability to go Clip to Storen and hope that works for us again this year.As for depth, I tend to agree that we are not as strong. Last year we got excellent results from Stamman, Mattheus, and Clippard and they are the only ones back (with of course Storen). It's a minority position to be sure but I think HRod was not horrible if he was kept out of pressure situations. I am not saying he was good but he is worth looking at again this spring and I would keep him. If they try and move Garcia & Perry to starting roles that leaves Duke as the 6th reliever with one more spot open. I am guessing that NatsJack, Peric, Ghost or Drew will fill us in on minor league possibilities and others will have strong opinions as well. Just another reason I love this site.Go Nats!!

  6. 3on2out - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    On that dark night of October 12th I thought: Drew may never get over this. I remember all too well what happened to Donnie Moore. But since then I am convinced he has all right stuff to bounce back with more focus and more ruthlessness than ever before.

  7. Joe Seamhead - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:15 PM

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  8. Joe Seamhead - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    There were so many aspects of the game five 9th inning that went wrong. The ump's eye of a needle strike zone, the walks, the hit just out of Ian's reach,etc, but one thing that goes too often unmentioned that I believe to be a huge part was the recurring inability to hold a runner on first, basically not only giving them 2nd base, but eliminating the force with less then two outs. It seems that Suzuki could have picked the runner with a throw to first, or at least made a statement that we're not giving it to you. The Cards knew there wasn't any threat of the Nats doing that and they exploited it. That was the weakest fundamental aspect of the Nats through out the season, in my opinion.

  9. SonnyG10 - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    I think Drew will be fine. He just needs the new season to get started.

  10. SCNatsFan - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    I think physically he will be fine; mentally we'll just have to see. Have seen other closers careers ended by this situation and (obviously) I'm hoping Drew isn't one of them. Will be on the edge of my seat the first time he gets into trouble this year.

  11. sm13 - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:30 PM

    A healthy , playoff seasoned Drew will come back strong and give us a reliable, lights out closer even stronger than 2011. With Tyler, Stammen and Mattheus the backend of our pen will be a strength for this team.

  12. Joe Seamhead - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    I expect Storen to come back with very focused anger. It will border on unfair.I'm also hoping that Gio comes back with the same attitude, but I actually worry more about the effects game 5 had on his psyche then I do Storen's.

  13. Carl - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    I recall Brad Lidge giving up a titanic home run to Albert Pujols in the playoffs and everyone wondering how he'd recover. Three years later he had a wire-to-wire perfect season, no blown saves, and closed out the World Series.I think Drew will be fine.

  14. Paul Nichols - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

    As crushing as that was – the only thing I remember as sickening was the 1979 Redskins collapse against the Cowboys – this too shall pass.It was a magical, beautiful season of baseball; one we've waited for for so long. It crashed and burned, yes. But one thing the boys should learn from this is never to think they've got something in the bag. The good teams always learn from these things. One thing I liked about it is that Drew DID take it so hard. That shows that for some guys, it ain't all about the money. When guys get crushed and then act all philosophical about it, that tells me it's not a big deal to them, that they're just doing a job and had a bad day. I think the great thing about this team is that it appears it's made up of guys really love the "highs" and really feel the pain of the "lows". That's what makes a great team.And holy heck – I can't wait for 2013 to start!

  15. BigCat - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    You are right on the money sjm. Also, lets not forget about everyone's punching bag on this site. He should be back healthy. People forget he saved 9 games early in the year before his arm went south. He has unhittable stuff. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome back Henry "The Venezuelan Express" Rodriguez!!!

  16. Don - Dec 17, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Well, to fair to the guy, he was not the only Nat to play poorly in game 5 when the chips were down.Anyway, we won't know if Storen can be the big game, shut down stopper until next fall. His stuff is there and he's got experience in the role and all, but it is hard to argue that he did not have fear in his eyes that night. He was in the biggest game of his life, all eyes on him and he appeared to be in a panic when things started going wrong. The jury is still out on young Drew Storen. Some nights things go a guy's way, other nights they don't. Some guys are big game, big situation players, some are not. We'll see how he responds. I think he can do it.

  17. BigCat - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    As long as Drew is healthy he will be fine. If I remember right, he had added a nice 2 seamer that dove about 3 inches at the plate. Drew is gonna be filthy this year

  18. Tcostant - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    I'm not worried. Give me Storen with a one run lead in Game 7 of the World Series in 2013 and I'll be giddy!

  19. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    I'd be more worried if he'd blown consecutive saves, and that's mostly from seeing what happened to Byung Hyun Kim after the 2001 World Series. I don't believe he ever got over that.

  20. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Just be looking at Kim's stats, he was even better next season in 2002.

  21. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    I am a big fan of Storen and I too think that if one of about 5 things had happened we would have been celebrating a series win and I would have been on the way to DC. What happened that night was a perfect storm. Storen is tough as nails and he will come back better for the experience.

  22. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Have there been any Rafael Soriano sightings in DC? Amazing there's been no Boras/Rizzo dinners. Outside of the obvious early buzz that Bourn was coming to Washington, it never materialized.

  23. Laddie Blah Blah - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    Forget about it, Drew. If that's the worst thing that ever happens to you, count your blessings. Really.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    The Padres and Jackson continue to negotiate towards a three-year deal, a team source tells Jim Bowden of ESPN.comInteresting.

  25. NatsLady - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    MLB Network ‏@MLBNetworkFans have voted for Ryan Zimmerman as the #MLBNHotStove #FaceofNationals!He got 66% of the vote. Stras and Harper got some. There was 2% for Gio, 2% for "management" and 1% for Werth. I voted for RZ.

  26. NatsLady - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Remember the guy the Nats traded for Tyler Clippard? He's still around.MLB Daily Dish ‏@mlbdailydish#Marlins sign RHP Jonathan Albaladejo, INF Ed Lucas, RHP Amaury Rivas to minor-league deals. http://sbn.to/Tr7iJi

  27. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Nats' contract talks with LaRoche at 'stalemate'By Bill Ladson / MLB.com | 12/16/12 10:59 PM ETNot new news. I guess Ladson thought he would write about it. Usually when Ladson writes about it, the opposite happens. Maybe today is the day ALR comes to agreement with Riz.

  28. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    This, and it would be awesome if our guys were in a position to find out next fall. :-)Don said… Well, to fair to the guy, he was not the only Nat to play poorly in game 5 when the chips were down. Anyway, we won't know if Storen can be the big game, shut down stopper until next fall.

  29. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    Ghost, I firmly believe that the ALR situation is getting resolved this week. Most of the large pieces have fallen into place so basically either Texas gives him 3 years or they don't. There may be a team out of left field but I don't see it.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    JD, Texas needs Michael Bourn, and ALR is an upgrade for them. Not sure how they see their priorities but losing JHam to their division rival has to hurt and I would think they have to replace CF as their top priority. I still think they want the RH Justin Upton and will add one impact lefty (Bourn or ALR).

  31. MicheleS - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Mariano Rivera (ever hear of him?), has blown saves in October (I am sure Red Sox fans will remind you, in case you can't remember)

  32. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    MichelleS, Mariano Rivera who is universally considered the best closer of all time blew a game 7 in the world series to Arizona so yes you are right; this is the nature of the beast and if you can't handle failure you can't be a closer. I think Drew will be just fine.

  33. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    This wasn't in October but remains one of my fave in-person games from the RFK days (also the next day's game).My husband wanted to leave after the Damon grand slam. I'm like, "Um, no. We need to stay until the last [daggone] out." As it turned out, we were both very happy that we stayed to the end. As Rivera entered the game, I'm like "Eh, he's human. He can blow a save just like the next guy." (Okay, so there was a bit of false bravado and a bit of optimism in action there but it turned out well, so there.). We had fun at the next day's game, too. :-)

  34. Section 222 - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:12 PM

    I'm not worried about Storen. It was Davey's fault anyway. Shouldn't have left him in after those two walks with Mattheus cooling his jets in the pen. And I totally agree with JoeS about holding the runners on. Molina was almost entirely to second before Storen threw the pitch. That's on Storen. He was frozen in concentration on the enormity of the moment. I'm a longtime critic of the "cult of the closer." There should always be another reliever up and ready in case the closer doesn't have it on a given night, and the manager shouldn't hesitate to "hook him," as Davey says. Lots of blown saves could be avoided. Remember the H-Rod meltdowns?And yes, there were plenty of other goats in Game 5.

  35. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:13 PM

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  36. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Now, with link!(Of course, the next day's fun was thanks to a different pitcher…cough Wang.

  37. Doc - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:18 PM

    I'm in 'ditto mode' and echoing the majority opinion that Storen is as resilient as they come.Now if Drew, and the other guys, could get a grip on throwing over to 1B and holding a few runners on life would be good!

  38. John C. - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    With Rivera, the true comparable to Drew Storen's situation was in 1997. In 1996 the Yankees won the WS with John Wetteland (later Nats' pitching coach, briefly – Frank Robinson fired him in midseason). In 1997 the Yankees made the playoffs, but Rivera blew the save in a game that would have given the Yankees the ALDS, giving up a crucial home run to Sandy Alomar, Jr. The Yankees ended up losing the game and, one game later, the series. Like Storen, it was Rivera's first time on the big stage as a closer, and there were a lot of questions asked about whether he had the mental stuff to be a closer.Rivera didn't blow another post season save until the 2001 World Series; 11 post season series and three championships later. Let's not write Drew off just yet.

  39. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. Don - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Wettleland was the bull pen coach and I think that Big Frank hated his "let's have some fun out here" attitude.

  42. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    ^ Ah, finally. Couldn't get a hyperlink to work for me. :-)

  43. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

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  44. natsfan1a - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    But first, er, more coffee? kthxbai.===I seem to recall that there was something about relief pitchers throwing baseballs at bobbleheads during games as well (in the 'pen), but I couldn't find that in a quick search. Guess I should go do some actual, you know, work now. :-)

  45. JaneB - Dec 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Drew will be back, and he'll keep getting better. He blew the save, but that's the past. And as others point out, there were a few runs on the board that oughtn't to have been there but for some earlier mis-placed pitches, a blind ump, and some errant bounces. No little red cardinal bird ornaments on the Christmas tree this year, in solidarity with my Nationals.

  46. flynnie - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    I hope he gets over it, and I hope the Nats get back to the playoffs, but it is smug to assume that they will. Davey managed the top of the 9th Game 5 like it was opening day. Drew Storen, like Chad Cordero, closed in college. Chad had a brilliant, but short career because he had used up his arm in college. Storen had surgery last year. Unlike The Chief, Storen is excitable and fragile. He needs a low strike, and falls apart if he doesn't get it. Does Storen need to be traded for his own good, and if you don't think so, remember Donnie Moore, Mitch Williams, Calvin Schiraldi, Bob Stanley, Mark Wohlers, and other closers who lost crucial games? Storen was chosen as the 9th pick in the same draft where the Angels picked Mike Trout at 25.

  47. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    I like this Christian Garcia. The kid is cool as a cucumber. I like this Drew Storen kid too. Davey will figure it all out.

  48. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Molina was almost entirely to second before Storen threw the pitch. That's on Storen. He was frozen in concentration on the enormity of the moment.Mark points out in his article that Storen gave up only one run in 19 appearances between Labor Day and Game 4. But that conviently avoids his appearance against the same Cardinals on Sept. 1 at Nationals Park. He came in to get the last out of the 8th after Burnett gave up a run to tie the game at 9-9. Then in the top of the 9th he lost the game due to the same issue of not being able to hold runners. Craig singled, and after being unable to advance on a Molina fly out, he stole second base unchallenged. Then Freese singled to score Craig with what turned out to be the winning run. Freese himself then stole second unchallenged, but Storen got out of the inning without him scoring.So in Game 5, the Cardinals clearly knew they would be able to run on Storen, and once they got men on that's exactly what they did. Holding runners on is clearly the weakest part of Storen's game. Hopefully he is working on improving that.I'm a longtime critic of the "cult of the closer." There should always be another reliever up and ready in case the closer doesn't have it on a given night, and the manager shouldn't hesitate to "hook him," as Davey says. Lots of blown saves could be avoided. Remember the H-Rod meltdowns?"Cult of the closer" has nothing to do with it. Managers almost never warm up relievers in pairs except in lefty/righty situations when they plan for the reliever to face only one or two batters before they bring in the next guy. You almost never see two guys warming up so that one can be brought in to start an inning clean, again with the exception of needing a lefty to get the first guy out before you're facing a string of righthanders again. Ninth inning or not, you don't build a staff of confident relievers if every time you use them you've got another guy warmed up right behind them "just in case." With the way most managers employ their bullpens these days, with 7th-8th-9th inning roles, the expectation in bring any of those guys into the game is "this inning is yours." A necessary byproduct of that is that if the guy starts to fall apart you're going to need a few batters to get a replacement warmed up. But the expectation in bringing in any reliever is that he is going to do his job. Why make it more difficult for him by showing such a lack of confidence that you've already got his replacement breathing down his neck before he even gets in trouble?

  49. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    'if you can't handle failure you can't be a closer' i think you can replace closer with any player, JD.

  50. flynnie - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:20 PM

    Boz is chatting over on WaPo.

  51. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:22 PM

    Faraz, Yes and no. Failure by a closer almost always means turning a win into a loss; most other player's failures can be overcome.

  52. Section 222 - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    Needless to say Feel, I disagree. But I'm glad you found my statement provocative enough to lay out in such detail exactly what I mean by "the cult of the closer." When you say, "You almost never see", "the expectation", "the way most managers employee their bullpens" etc. etc., that's precisely the problem. That's what needs to change in the 9th inning, but just the 9th, since bullpen management would not permit always having replacements warm and ready in earlier innings.My view is that teams lose too many winnable games because of this approach, which, you are exactly right, is just the way things are done. But I just don't accept that having to wait a few batters to warm up a replacement is a "necessary byproduct." That's the problem that needs to be fixed, not an unalterable law of baseball.The manager simply needs to adopt and explain an alternative approach and make it clear to the bullpen from day one. I believe they will understand and embrace it as professionals, and it will not have the ill-effects you seem to think are a given. Here's the speech: "Gentlemen of the bullpen, we're going to do something different this year. If we have a lead in the 9th inning, I expect to win the game. Period. And I will do everything in my power to make that happen. That means if my closer just doesn't have it that night (and two straight walks is a sure sign, as is a wild pitch with a man on base), he will be replaced if I have a rested replacement available who I think has a better chance of getting out of the inning and winning the game. That replacement will warm up with the closer and be ready to come in at a moment's notice. "That doesn't mean that you are failure if you are hooked, and it certainly doesn't mean that you're going to lose your job. It just means that winning the game takes priority. "If you can't handle that, if you're going to feel that I don't have confidence in you, or you can't function unless I've said "this inning is yours, win or lose" then I'm going to hand the ball to someone else who can. Because I am not going to lose winnable ballgames to protect your fragile ego. The object here is to win. So get over it." We had lengthy discussions about this when H-Rod was the closer. He blew that save against the Dodgers on April 28 (Harper's debut, which Gorzo eventually lost on the Kemp homerun). Then he blew a save and lost the game against the Pirates on May 8 (on the Barajas homerun), and he blew the save and lost the game against the Reds in that wild rain delayed game on May 13. The next night against the Padres, H-Rod came in with a 3 run lead in the 9th. Davey, this time, finally, was ready for his meltdown, and when H-Rod walked three of the first four batters, he was hooked for Burnett. Burnett got the first batter he faced to hit into a double play, and the game was over.

  53. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Ghost — Not only does Tejas need both Bourn and LaRoche (in their minds, anyway, they think they need Bourn), there are two questions: (A) do they really want to spend $110 MM on two FAs who are below the top tier; (B) do they want to give up two first round picks (they do, don't they?)? Hamilton, had they re-signed him, would have been — sorta — a freebie. No compensation was attached. So now they have an OF hole as well as a LH power bat hole. They need to decide if either Bourn or LaRoche, or possibly both, is/are worth losing a top pick.For Rizzo the question would be easy: Hell no! For Daniels/Ryan, its not so clear. They've been much more willing to build their roster by trade. I'm not sure what condition their farm system is in but somehow I doubt that player development is a higher priority than than beating the Angels and Rays this year.

  54. Joe Seamhead - Dec 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Feel Wood, Not being able to hold runners wasn't just a weakness of Storen's, it was the entire pitching staff. Jackson was probably the most aggressive at holding runners, at least when he wasn't throwing the ball away on pick-off attempts. Stras really is deficient at holding them also.None of our catchers are great at throwing out runners, but with our pitchers it is pretty tough on the catchers when the runners are already a third of the way to 2nd when the ball is released. Even Utley stole at will, gimpy knees and all when we played Philly in September.

  55. NatsNut - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    What I'm worried about is when we all cheer "Drewwwwwwww" for him on opening day, I don't want him thinking we're booing him.

  56. flynnie - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Great post, section 222. Would that Davey had followed it in Game 5. One of the terrifying things about this year is whether the Nats will ever have another chance like that. The Phils were hampered by injury the 1st half, the Braves took a while to find their best arms. That won't be the case this year. If Storen is closing lights-out, then his spirit has triumphed over adversity, and we'll all heave a sigh of relief. But Game 5, the top of the 9th with a two run lead may be as close as this team gets. We won't know until next fall.

  57. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

    JD said… Faraz,Yes and no. Failure by a closer almost always means turning a win into a loss; most other player's failures can be overcome. December 17, 2012 11:22 AM Failure. Interesting word. A batter that fails over a 15 year career on average 7 out of 10 times with a bat is a Hall Of Famer.A starting pitcher that fails 12 out of 32 times in a season usually gets Cy Young votes.A closer who fails less than 1 out of 8 attempts is considered an elite closer. Drew Storen in 2011 only failed 1 out of 10 attempts and was an elite closer.Welcome to what have you done for me lately. Failure, it happens.

  58. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Theo, good analysis. Nats can't lose in my opinion on what happens. If someone else takes ALR, the Nats get a Comp pick. If the Nats get ALR, they trade Morse. I think Rizzo would rather have the Comp pick as that is probably worth more than the comp he would receive on trading Morse IMO.

  59. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Joe Seamhead said… Feel Wood, Not being able to hold runners wasn't just a weakness of Storen's, it was the entire pitching staff.Never said that wasn't the case. But of all of them, Storen was by far the worst. So in a situation when the game is on the line and the other team always has to think twice before running, having Storen out there means they don't have to think so long. And in the case of the Cardinals, they had already proved to their satisfaction on Sept 1 that running on Storen in the 9th inning of Game 5 would be no risk at all.

  60. sm13 - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Good points Ghost. Sometimes a closer "fails" because his teammates fail to get clutch hits, or his fellow relievers give up late runs and leave a one-run mess for the closer to clean up.

  61. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    Ghost is right. That's the thing that Davey believes he is the best in the game at managing : the bullpen. It may be that original Expo's first round draft pick Bill Bray will be able to handle Burnett's job for a year or two while someone is developed in the minors. Plus they'll have Zach Duke. I expect Rizzo will find a way to pick up another lefty or two to compete wit them in camp.And I agree with the notion (as I've also thought and written) that Rizzo would rather have the value encompassed in the compensation supplemental pick as it will have more value than anything he could get or Morse or Tyler Moore for that matter. But, he has due process in attempting to make his manager happy by tendering two separate offers to Adam LaRoche. Highly unlikely he goes to three years. The Rangers or Mariners might do that but the Nats will not. Rizzo will continue on course for sector 0,0,0 as they say in Star Trek.

  62. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    Faraz, Exactly! As a closer you can save 40 out of 43 or whatever but if you don't save the one game which counted the most people are worried about your ability to ever close again. This is why this is such a difficult job.

  63. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    I'm not sure what condition their farm system is in but somehow I doubt that player development is a higher priority than than beating the Angels and Rays this year.The farm system is in better shape than the Nat's. But yes Daniels does tend to use his prospects as assets to be traded rather to be developed and brought up to the big club.

  64. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:27 PM

    Sec 222, I agree with you in principal; I think teams also lose lots of games because they wont use their best reliever in a high leverage situation when it's not the 9th inning. I think that managers who think outside the box in this area should have a distinct advantage, Having said that I disagree with your assertion that Storen should have been taken out; the walks were not a result of wildness; he wasn't missing by much and he could have easily gotten a call or two. But the best reason for not using Matheus in that situation is that Storen is a better pitcher than Matheus and when you have to make a decision without the benefit of hindsight you have to go with the better pitcher.

  65. do1teach1 - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    What's strange is that Storen didn't even have to throw a strike to win the game. He let Molina, one of the slowest men in baseball, steal second with men on first and second and two outs. Storen never even looked over. One lob to first or second and Molina would've been toast.I heard someone call into the Fan to talk to Rizzo, on the day of the first home playoff game, about the problem of Nats relievers not holding runners. Rizzo said don't worry about that, we're all over it.But it bit us again, in the biggest way possible. I bet Storen will be thinking about this during the off-season as well.

  66. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    do1teach1, I think this will be a major focus in spring training.

  67. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    My prediction is that somebody else will be closing by the time the trade deadline is over. Drew seems like a great guy, smart guy, nice guy…not things you look for in a closer…and he will always have those demons of Game 5 in his mind. Hopefully I am wrong, because he has good enough stuff to close, but I would relate his stuff more to that of a starter. Not sure if this was ever discussed, but most teams that were thinking of drafting him (with a 1st round pick) were going to use him as a starter. Obviously not going to happen any time soon, but definitely think his baseball intelligence might better be used that way. Closing is not for everyone.

  68. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    erik, Drew has been a closer through college. He was groomed that way and was always gonna be a close in the bigs. I think he has what it takes to put game 5 behind him but I guess we'll have to see.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    What made Storen's 2011 so remarkable was the amount of 1 run games he had to save.Game 5 was a team loss. Easy to place blame and certainly Storen shares in it.

  70. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    ""Gentlemen of the bullpen, we're going to do something different this year. If we have a lead in the 9th inning, I expect to win the game. Period. And I will do everything in my power to make that happen. That means if my closer just doesn't have it that night (and two straight walks is a sure sign, as is a wild pitch with a man on base), he will be replaced if I have a rested replacement available who I think has a better chance of getting out of the inning and winning the game. That replacement will warm up with the closer and be ready to come in at a moment's notice."If this is your approach, aren't you just taking all the pressure to not screw up off the closer and dumping it squarely on the shoulders of the guy who will replace him? To be absolutely sure the save doesn't get blown, maybe you'd better have a third guy warmed up too just in case the closer-replacement can't get the job done. Look, at some point a manager needs to bring someone in to get the final outs of tight games. He's not always going to have the luxury of having another guy to warm up right behind that guy. If there's a guy the manager feels he can trust with the final outs because way more often than not he's going to get them, why shouldn't the manager just bring that guy in night after night to do that job? How is that any different than having a #1 pinch hitter you can trust to get the big hit when you absolutely need it? That hitter's not going to be on his game every single night. Are you going to have another guy swinging in the on-deck circle behind him to take his place if he gets to an 0-2 count on a couple of really bad swings?"Fragile ego" is every bit as much a myth as "cult of the closer."

  71. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    The NL East won't have to worry about Mickey. Looks Luke he accepted the contract extension.Mets and Marlins will be fighting it out together.

  72. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 5:48 PM

    Ghost, Still; that's a great trade for the Mets. They get their catcher for the next x years plus another A pitching prospect. Alderson understands that you can't fix the Mets with band aids and he is going about it the right way.

  73. sm13 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    Agree JD. The Mets are following the Rizzo model and looking to the long term.

  74. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    JD, that was the best trade chip the Mets had. Smart move. Sell high. In the short-term their fan base will hate it. In the long-run, they have to hope those prospects become good MLB players for them.

  75. slidell2 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    Regarding bullpen management in inning 9 of Game 5: however one wishes to ruminate about general practice or fragile egos, this was a sudden-elimination "do-or-die" situation, not a "regular" game. One needs to be able to adapt to special situations; think a bit outside the box. That wasn't done.

  76. sjm308 - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Agree that was the right trade for the Mets but I wonder how David Wright feels?Not sure who wrote it but saying "our" catchers are not good at throwing out baserunners is wrong. If you look at Suzuki's numbers, before coming here, he had a great %. It is all on the pitchers not holding runners. Have to think it will be stressed this spring.Also want to comment on Storen & Gio coming back "angry". These are professional athletes. Their season is 162 games or more. It is not like football where they have 16 games and play once a week and can be aggressive for 2 hours. These guys will not be angry. They might be determined to do better but it will not be anger. That will defeat the purpose of staying focused for 6 months which is what baseball is all about. There are ups/downs, highs/lows and the good ones roll with that and don't get too up or too down.Go Nats!!

  77. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:44 PM

    But the best reason for not using Matheus in that situation is that Storen is a better pitcher than Matheus and when you have to make a decision without the benefit of hindsight you have to go with the better pitcher.I wouldn't go that far. Certainly, Storen had the advantage in major league experience and his fast ball is higher velocity peaking at 98+. But Matheus has some nasty stuff and can be very effective.All of them benefitted from the experience they had last year. Hopefully, it will make them better.

  78. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    JD, that was the best trade chip the Mets had. Smart move. Sell high. In the short-term their fan base will hate it. In the long-run, they have to hope those prospects become good MLB players for them.Yes, but there will be Mets fans sophisticate enough to understand what the process is. And now David Wright must play the role Ryan Zimmerman had played for years as the Met's FOF.

  79. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Lastings Milledge is a star in Japan. They just signed him to a new three-year, $4.4MM contract.

  80. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

    The really huge thing is these players now understand what it means to get through a 162 game tight divisional race and then have to start over in the playoffs.There is nothing you can teach them in the minors that could prepare them for that experience. The only way to get it is to have the experience in and of itself.

  81. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Lastings Milledge is a star in Japan. They just signed him to a new three-year, $4.4MM contract.For Lastings that's like joining the military. They'll see his athleticism if he gets lackadaisical there they'll be all over him. It won't be fun.

  82. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:50 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Lastings Milledge is a star in Japan. They just signed him to a new three-year, $4.4MM contract.And the French love Jerry Lewis. De gustibus non est disputandum.

  83. John C. - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    flynnie said… I hope he gets over it, and I hope the Nats get back to the playoffs, but it is smug to assume that they will.I make no assumptions about what will happen; that's why they play the games. I do think that their chances are good, and that's all you can ask for on December 17.Having a different assessment of the team's strength is not automatically "smug" – it could be an honest and realistic assessment of teh team's strength and weaknesses. Unless it isn't. :D But smugness runs two ways. There is the "we're so great, we're going to the playoffs the next 5-6 years, pave the way to the World Series BAY-BEEE" smugness. And there's the smug school of "the Nats are foolish/idiots/DOOMED because they didn't do everything exactly the way I wanted them to." The latter I came to refer to as the "Legion of DOOM" last year. Time after time, throughout the year, the LOD were there to tell us that the Nats weren't really good, that they were fragile, that they were going to fall apart. That team management was foolish, committing one crippling error after another, and Davey was mostly napping in the dugout. And again and again they were wrong. But let the Nats lose a Game 5 in the NLDS against the defending champions, a game that could have gone either way, and the LOD again comes thundering out, amazingly smug in their own perceptions despite their terrible record of error and poor prognostication along the way.For those new to the list, previous LOD entrants had the Nationals DOOMED without Adam Dunn, DOOMED without signing Prince Fielder, DOOMED for not signing Reyes and dumping Desmond, DOOMED for not signing Mark Buerhle … you get the idea. Others could fill in their own personal favorites from the LOD's "List of DOOM."It's pretty smug in itself to assume that those who disagree with you are foolishly smug, when you stop and think about it :)

  84. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    Ghost, I live in the NY area and I listen to the Mets fans on the talk shows. They won't be angry about this at all. They have an MVP and a CY Young in the past 2 years along with a no hitter but still not a competitive team. They understand that Alderson is doing this the right way.

  85. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    John C, Very well put. I am the 1st to admit that once the games begin stuff happens. Injuries; slumps whatever… The point is that given the current constitution of all the teams in the NL east the Nats are in an exceptional position to finish the year with a very good record. It's not just Nats fans saying that it's people like Jayson Stark, Buster Olney and Keith Law that are throwing the number of 100 wins when discussing the Nats.

  86. Section 222 - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Feel, if I had enough pitchers, hell yes, I'd have someone warming up to replace the replacement. The point is to win that game if you possibly can. But usually you're not going to have a chance to go to Plan C because if Plan B doesn't work, you've probably already blown the save. All I'm saying is that you should have a Plan B ready to go if your closer happens to be wild or not to have good stuff that night. On some nights, obviously, you won't have a decent replacement available to get ready. But it's the cult of the closer that says you should send the guy out there to win or lose, regardless of how obvious it becomes that you're likely to lose. JD, I just disagree that Storen is your best shot to win Game 5, once he's walked two guys (and those weren't bad calls, they were just close calls) and he let Molina "steal" (more like "walk to") second. At that point, you know Storen is out of his depth in that particular game. Mattheus (or JZnn) would have given us a better chance to hold the lead and win the game. Just like Burnett gave us a better chance to win that game against the Padres, even though H-Rod had been annointed the closer. Ah, Lastings, our former leadoff hitter and CF. How far we've come. Thank goodness!

  87. NatsFanGino - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Storen should be fine if Davey uses his brain next year. Sorry if this has been talked about, but why in the world Davey brough Storen into the Game 3 blowout is beyond me. He knew they were going to have to win the next 2 to advance. Of course you might need him both of those nights – so why put him in a position to pitch 3 days in a row unless you have to? I don't think he had ever pithced 3 games in a row in the ML before thatPitching Storen in game 3 was one of the worst managerial decisions I have seen. I like Davey, but I mean, come on?!?!I hope Davey, if he hasn't already, takes 100% of the blame for it and eases Storen's mind.

  88. peric - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Of course you might need him both of those nights – so why put him in a position to pitch 3 days in a row unless you have to? I don't think he had ever pithced 3 games in a row in the ML before that.Of all of Davey's top and most trusted power armed relievers Storen had had the most rest. He really didn't start pitching until late into the season. The other pitchers in some cases (like Burnett) were pitching on fumes. I suspect that would include Clippard. Storen probably had the most left in the tank at that point by a wide margin and the Nats had very carefully weened him along not pushing him too hard to help him completely recover from his surgery …It was time to use Storen. And Storen knew and understood that.Its a learning experience for the entire staff. They really needed H-Rod to come back and pitch as he did at the beginning of the season and that did not happen. They really need Lidge to come back from injury and pitch like his old reliable self. That did not happen.

  89. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:47 PM

    Sec222, I guess will agree to disagree but my last comment on this is that after walking the 2 (I beg to differ on your right call/wrong call position) he got a ground ball from Descalso which was 3 inches from being an easy out. Where I will agree with you is this; after the game was tied Storen was definitely rattled and I would have taken him out. Boy I can't wait for some new games to discuss. This game 5 analysis never ceases to upset me.

  90. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:50 PM

    I don't know about the rest of you but if I never see Henry pitch in the late innings again for the Nats it will be all right with me. Give me Clip and Store every time sprinkled with Matheus, Rivera and whoever the designated lefty is; I promise I won't complain.

  91. John C. - Dec 17, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    Oh, and as a point of clarity on my 1:54pm post, I freely acknowledge that I am not immune from an occasional bout of smugness. Not that this is news to any of you :D I just try to be self-questioning and self-aware about it. Sometimes I even succeed!

  92. SonnyG10 - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:05 PM

    222, I disagree with your premise that a manager should have a second pitcher warming up at the same time as his closer. If you only plan to use the second guy as a backup, you've essentially wasted a roster spot. If you plan to regularly use the backup in another role as well as backing up the closer, then you are overusing his arm. Even if you rotate several guys doing the backup in addition to their usual roles, you are still in danger of overworking them. If the closer is doing his job 8 out of 10 times, you are needlessly overworking the backup guy(s) for 8 out of 10 outings. On the other hand, if you only warm up someone if the closer gets into trouble, you save a lot of wear and tear on the backup.

  93. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:12 PM

    All I'm saying is that you should have a Plan B ready to go if your closer happens to be wild or not to have good stuff that night.No, that's not what you're saying. You're saying you should already have a replacement warmed up and ready to go before you even bring a closer in at all. You're like the guy who's heading out on a business trip who thinks his belt might break so he'd better bring along some suspenders just in case. But instead of putting them in your suitcase like a normal person would, you decide to wear them along with the belt so there's no chance your pants will ever fall down, even for just a second.JD, I just disagree that Storen is your best shot to win Game 5, once he's walked two guys (and those weren't bad calls, they were just close calls) and he let Molina "steal" (more like "walk to") second. At that point, you know Storen is out of his depth in that particular game.It's not like Storen walked those two guys because he was wild. He was just a little off, so close that the ump's calls could be questioned. As Davey said, he was being "too fine." So under your Plan B, you'd have had him yanked at that point for being just a little off on a couple of pitches? If that's your criterion for yanking him, then how do you know that Mattheus or JZim or anyone else is going to be any better? You don't. Saying that they would have been is just a case of the grass always being greener on the other side.It's not just the closer who is put into the game with the expectation that he will succeed. That's true of every player the manager brings in at any point in the game. No manager is going to visibly have a replacement breathing down the neck of a player when he puts him into the game, because that does nothing but erode the confidence of that player and make it less likely that he will succeed. The higher the leverage of a situation, the more that's at risk if the player should fail, the more that is going to be the case. You used Henry Rodriguez as your example of where your Plan B made sense. But that doesn't prove your point at all. Henry failed those 3 or 4 times before Davey implemented his Plan B. But even with Plan B in place, Henry still failed. The lesson to learn from that is not that Plan B is a good idea, the lesson to learn is that Henry was not the right man for the job in the first place.Look, even the best closers will blow saves. And even the best managers will make bad decisions on when to give pitchers the hook. There are absolutely no plans anyone can put into place that would prevent that from happening.

  94. NatsFanGino - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    "It was time to use Storen. And Storen knew and understood that."It was time to use Storen in the 9th inning while losing 8-0? Let Mattheus pitch a second inning.. its not like they had to ph for him in the bottom of the 8th.. You are down 2-1 in the series. You have to win both games to advance. No reason to pitch Storen in case you need him the next 2 nights to close. And of course they did need him. http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2012_10_10_slnmlb_wasmlb_1&mode=box&c_id=was

  95. NatsFanGino - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:16 PM

    (continued)If you want to save Mattheus, put in Gorzo. There are at least 5 better options that using your closer

  96. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Boy I can't wait for some new games to discuss. This game 5 analysis never ceases to upset me.The Game 5 analysis is not going to end just because new games are being played. It won't end until the Nats move past an NLDS and into the NLCS, for the same reason that discussion of Bill Buckner's error did not end for Red Sox fans until 2004, and the same reason that Orioles fans still discuss Jeffrey Maier and Cubs fans still discuss Steve Bartman.

  97. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:24 PM

    Feel Wood, You may be right but I think the daily everyday focus will be on the games being played that day and the memory of game 5 will fade into Nationals history.

  98. Feel Wood - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:37 PM

    You can make a good argument for why Davey had Storen pitch in Game 3 (Oct 10th). He had not pitched since Game 1 (Oct 7th) and if he didn't pitch in Game 3 and was needed in a save situation for Game 4 it would have been after four days rest. That's too long if you expect a pitcher to be sharp. It's unfortunate that by doing that Davey set Storen up to pitch three days in a row, but every closer in the world is expected to do that on occasion, even in the regular season. Davey's decision to pitch Storen in Game 3 is not what lost Game 5.There is actually only one decision Davey made in that NLDS that I can't come up with a rational explanation for. Why use Jackson in relief in Game 5 after he was so bad in Game 3?

  99. baseballswami - Dec 17, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    Lots of things went wrong for the Nats as that game wore on and lots of things went very right for the Cards. Plenty of blame to go around. I think Drew will be fine.

  100. upperdeck4 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    This will just make him tougher.

  101. upperdeck4 - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    This will just make him tougher.

  102. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:08 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said…Just [been] looking at Kim's stats, he was even better next season in 2002.Actually, he had a fine 2002. I have no idea what I was thinking of there.

  103. flynnie - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    As to the smug, i.e. complacent, i.e. unaware of actual hazard, Davey's top of the 9th in Game 5 gives us a recent historical example.

  104. Don - Dec 17, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    BK Kim was a total stud in 2001. Brenly ran the kid out there night after night in the 2011 playoffs to get 2 inning saves. He tossed 60 pitches in Game 4 and they pushed him back out the next night to nail down more than 3 outs again. At some point the hitters catch up with a guy. Brenly did all he could to increase the odds that Kim might falter.

  105. John C. - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    flynnie said… As to the smug, i.e. complacent, i.e. unaware of actual hazard, Davey's top of the 9th in Game 5 gives us a recent historical example. December 17, 2012 4:29 PMFlynnie, you and I are just going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I quibble with Davey bringing in EJax, although I understand that he was trying to catch lightning in a bottle the way he did with JZim the game before. But I was completely fine with letting Storen battle through the 9th.Just because a team loses doesn't mean that the manager blew it. Events transpire, particularly in baseball. When a team wins it doesn't mean the manager was a genius either. I will be happy when the team starts playing again. It won't quiet the LOD, but it will give them new things to obsess over!

  106. JD - Dec 17, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    John C. I read a book about the Tampa Rays. There is a story about a particular game where Maddon intentionally walked Josh Hamilton with the Bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th. This brought the winning run to the plate (I think it was Michael Young but I'm not sure); Maddon thought that this gave him the best shot at winning the game. Once he made the decision, Maddon sat back and relaxed because in his mind whatever happens next wasn't going to change the fact (in his mind) that he made the best decision for the situation at hand. The point is as you say that the results in the end do not necessarily invalidate the decision, the game is after all played by humans. The results (which were good) do not also prove that Maddon necessarily made the right choice. I don't think that anything Davie did was smug; he had his closer in whom he trusts in the right situation at the right time. It just didn't work this time.

  107. sjm308 - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:53 PM

    I love Davey's confidence and believe its a huge reason he is as successful as he is as a manager. I don't consider what he does and why he does it smug by any stretch. I also agree with John C. & JD that Davey absolutely made the right move in that painful game 5 with Storen. Not crazy about putting EJax in but again, we are fans so he had his reasons and went with those.Seamhead – there is no way you can warm that many relievers up game after game and still have a bullpen at the end of the year. You have roles established and need to stay with those roles in my opinion. There are very very few teams that use any type of bullpen by committee that you laid out in an early comment. I am all for thinking outside the box but not in this instance.I said it earlier and will repeat it that I am excitied to see HRod return and hope he brings that dominance I saw early last season. I also think SS, JZ and Ross will be given a little more leeway to go an extra inning every now and then which will help the bullpen even more.Flynie: fans might be smug for all the wrong reasons and I am not seeing much of that here. I see lots of excitement about our team which had the best record in all of baseball last year but I don't think there are many that feel we will be walking into the playoffs without competition.Go Nats!!

  108. MicheleS - Dec 17, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Just stating my position that I want Adam back…Kilgore on ALR just hope that the Rangers Sign Swisher or Bourn and the Red sox figure out NapoliI will go back to the corner and sulk until he is signed (and Rizzo.. bottle of Johnny Walker Blue is still on the table)

  109. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    Is there any room left in that corner, Michele? I'll be right there. :-)

  110. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    From the Department of Gulp, Bang.

  111. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    I spoke to Steve Lombardozzi last night and we showed him NatsJack's tattoo. All the people standing around enjoyed it!Tim Kurkjian spoke very highly of the Nats and is picking them to win the East.

  112. Joe Seamhead - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:15 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  113. MicheleS - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    1A.. Gulp Bang! There is always room in the ALR Corner

  114. Joe Seamhead - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    SJM 308,I'm not sure why you are attributing this to me,??? I haven't said shat about warming up relievers.Seamhead – there is no way you can warm that many relievers up game after game and still have a bullpen at the end of the year. You have roles established and need to stay with those roles in my opinion. There are very very few teams that use any type of bullpen by committee that you laid out in an early comment. I am all for thinking outside the box but not in this instance.

  115. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:20 AM

    Wow someone else is using BOLD? Nah … not here.

  116. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:23 AM

    Seamhead – there is no way you can warm that many relievers up game after game and still have a bullpen at the end of the year. You have roles established and need to stay with those roles in my opinion. There are very very few teams that use any type of bullpen by committee that you laid out in an early comment. I am all for thinking outside the box but not in this instance.I think you meant Natsfan Gino who can't get past the fact that Storen pitched an easy ninth in an 8-0 game and wanted to wear out everyone else's arm that had been used and abused due to:1. the complete flop of Brad Lidge2. Henry's eventual melt down.Leaving a bullpen of pretty sore arms by the time they met the Cards.

  117. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    http://www.federalbaseball.com/2012/12/17/3777138/move-washington-nationals-third-baseman-ryan-zimmerman-to-first-basePeric, I think this Blog post could be intended for you. Good statement at the end: "One day in the future Zimmerman might have to move across the infield, but it doesn't appear anyone is in a rush to move him away from third just yet."

  118. Joe Seamhead - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:29 AM

    Wow, Bad enough when I do mess up, but I did say that I expect Drew Storen to come back with a very focused anger. Maybe anger isn't the perfect adjective, but my point is he will come back fine, and he will be on a mission to prove himself, long season, or no.SJM, I said "None of our catchers are great at throwing out runners, but with our pitchers it is pretty tough on the catchers when the runners are already a third of the way to 2nd when the ball is released." Again, my point is the catchers had no chance with the pitcher's lack of being able to pitch the ball in a timely manner with runners on.

  119. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    Thanks Gonat. Glad everyone liked it.

  120. Joe Seamhead - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    I've been mostly lurking for the past couple of days. Much of what is being said is redundant, IMHO, and I haven't felt like I had much new to bring to the table. Still don't. Back to my perch. Carry on, but longwinded seems to be contagious lately! That said, I'm glad that you all are here.

  121. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Nothing against ALR, but I don't want him back. If he'd take one year, sure. Two years, maybe. But three years? No way. The Nats don't need him. They have Mikey Morse, who is the Rodney Dangerfield of ballplayers. I tell ya, he don't get no respect. Why just tonight one of those bozos on MLB Network said the Nats shouldn't use Morse at first base "because he'd have to learn the position in spring training." Really? What position do you think he played for almost the entire 2011 season while LaRoche was on the DL?

  122. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  123. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:56 AM

    Good statement at the end: "One day in the future Zimmerman might have to move across the infield, but it doesn't appear anyone is in a rush to move him away from third just yet."Yeah, I saw it. Most of his argument was an interview with Zim where he says maybe in five years … and Zim, though, doesn't consider what will happen if Rendon is tearing it up offensively in AAA and continuing to dazzle all the scouts with his fielding and then Zim gets injured for the fourth time in four years? Paging Mr. Rendon your flight from Syracuse to third base in Nats park is ready.Of course Rendon has had his injury problems but broken bones are much different and typical the kind Rendon suffered heal better than tendons. Plus he's younger.It'll be interesting to watch their play to see how aggressively they play. If Zim continues to lay back to avoid injury … if his throwing problems continue. If Rendon can consistently be ready to play day-in and day-out relatively injury free.

  124. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:11 AM

    BTW, it seemed pretty clear at the end that Davey had pretty much lost all faith in Gorzo (thus Duke) as a reliever. He wouldn't use him even in low leverage situations in the playoffs.

  125. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:12 AM

    If I'm Rizzo and Clarke that supplemental pick plus the Nat's own first rounder in 2013 looks awfully attractive. LaRoche is going to find hard sledding convincing someone to give up a first rounder to sign him.

  126. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    peric said… If I'm Rizzo and Clarke that supplemental pick plus the Nat's own first rounder in 2013 looks awfully attractive. LaRoche is going to find hard sledding convincing someone to give up a first rounder to sign him. December 17, 2012 8:12 PM _____________________________That's what I'm thinking. The Nats want that Texas 1st round pick.

  127. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  128. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:53 AM

    Lets say the Nats retain Michael Morse and offer him a qualifying offer after the 2013 season, would they get a Draft pick in compensation for him under the new CBA?

  129. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:54 AM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Thanks Gonat. Glad everyone liked it. December 17, 2012 7:37 PM _____________________________You now have an opening for a great conversation starter with Lombo when you see him next!

  130. sjm308 - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:01 AM

    Seamhead: please except my apology it was 222 who was advocating the warming up of two relievers at a time in the 9th.

  131. sjm308 - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:05 AM

    Just to change my mind one more time. If we can get LaRoche for two years I am "ok" but the more I think about that extra draft pick and Morse having a killer year in what is a huge year for his future and the chance that him leaving would again get us an additional pick in 2014 and the fact that I really do think he will improve as a firstbaseman if he starts in spring training. I will be ok if Adam leaves. Still really hard to say that since I absolutely love how he plays first base. It just doesn't make sense for Rizzo to give him 3 years and I do hope he gets that for his sake.Oh, and for you English majors, I realize that Seamhead should "accept" my apology, not except it.

  132. baseballswami - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    MLB commentator– first said that first base would be an entirely new position for Morse, then said Philly to DC is an easy one hour drive. Really? The Nats may have had one break out season, but actual knowledge is still lagging .

  133. Section 222 - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:47 AM

    Yes, that was me sjm. Sorry JoeS. I don't agree at all that having one other reliever warm in the 9th when the closer comes in in case he is off that night will kill the bullpen or make the closer collapse out of lack of confidence. And Storen should have been pulled when it was clear he was pitching "too fine" and didn't have his head in the game enough to see Molina walking toward second base. Or at least after the game was tied. The cult of the closer is a creeping cancer that should contained. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, and I apologize to anyone who is offended by that. You're entitled to your opinions as always, just as I'm entitled to mine. Catching up on the discussion has been interesting and I appreciate everyone's thoughts.

  134. hiramhover - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:48 AM

    From that Kilgore piece:"[LaRoche] turned 33 in November, which means the three-year deal he desires would expire as he is leaving typical prime years."Kilgore has a very generous interpretation of a ball player's "prime years."

  135. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    Gonat said… Lets say the Nats retain Michael Morse and offer him a qualifying offer after the 2013 season, would they get a Draft pick in compensation for him under the new CBA?Yes, assuming they want to go as high as the qualifying offer requires. Wasn't it $13.3M this year? Unlike the old CBA where there were Type A and Type B FAs, now every qualifying offer is the same amount.

  136. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:19 AM

    Feel Wood, thanks for that.

  137. sjm308 - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    222 – I understand your thoughts, just don't agree. And,I appreciate that this is a venue that allows people to post different thoughts. I learn so much more that way.Go Nats!!

  138. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    Apropos of nothing above — but nonetheless potentially of interest to some of you — FanGraphs has a posting today explaining (in general, even-I-could-understand terms) why you shouldn't use normal WAR calculations to rate knuckleball pitchers. The post also includes several useful links to previous posts: two explaining the differences between FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference's pitcher WAR calculations, a couple explaining elements of FIP and its relationship to their WAR numbers, and one listing their amended WAR calculations for "every pitcher in baseball history who has been noted to throw a knuckler" (their claim). If you're interested, you can find and enjoy the posting here:http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/index.php/war-for-knuckleballers/

  139. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Just curious on Rendon. I don't remember a broken bone in his shoulder at Rice. Thought it was more la abrum or ligament thing.

  140. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    a labrum.

  141. JayB - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  142. JayB - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    I do not think Drew S will be effected by melt down…I think he is not that good and is kind of like many closes…hot at first and then teams get a book on him. I think we have seen the best of him already. I think it is slow march to Chad C status over the next two years.

  143. Dave - Dec 18, 2012 at 10:56 AM

    I'm not worried about Drew. I subscribe to Seamhead's "focused anger" theory.I have nothing to say in the lengthy Game 5 analysis, but I'm sure ready for spring training to start. And the LaRoche-Morse question to get settled.

  144. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 18, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    Please describe "not that good".

  145. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    I have this to say about it "woulda coulda shoulda." Good day and have a pleasant tomorrow. :-)Dave said… I have nothing to say in the lengthy Game 5 analysis, but I'm sure ready for spring training to start. And the LaRoche-Morse question to get settled. December 18, 2012 5:56 AM

  146. JT - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Bouncing back from the depths of despair will not be a problem for Drew Storen. From this fans perspective, I think he has the qualities to shed the after effects of such a disastrous blown save. In fact, he will learn from that dreadful day and know exactly how to handle it next time. No problem, I have full confidence in him.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

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

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