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Dec 18, 2012, 12:00 PM EDT

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks for the Nationals since the Winter Meetings wrapped up. There’s still no resolution to negotiations with Adam LaRoche. There’s still no new left-handed reliever to replace Sean Burnett.

But the lack of recent news doesn’t mean there still isn’t plenty to discuss about the Nationals. So CSNwashington.com’s Chase Hughes and I will be tackling a variety of subjects later today when we tape our latest edition of Beltway Baseball.

As always, we’ll answer some of your questions. Submit them here and we’ll pick the best ones to include on the show, which will be posted first thing tomorrow morning.

  1. MurrayTheRed - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    I'm curious how the players feel about facing John Lannan, now on the Philies. What would Zimmerman say if asked?

  2. sjm308 - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Do you think Rizzo has one more "big" move left? Or is it just waiting to see what LaRoche does and signing a lefty relieve pitcher. Not sure which way I lean but its been boring lately.Thanks Mark & Chase

  3. Doc - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    LAA signed Burnett for an amount of $'s for which Rizzo is going have to sign another lefty.Does he really think that he's saving the Learner's money?? Or did he just not want Burnett in the BP?

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Doc, any lefties left on the market won't get Burnett money.

  5. MicheleS - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Any word on Howell or Gonzales as the last LOOGY?

  6. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    What's the alternative to MASN? Can Nationals just get out of that contract and sign one of those million-billion dollar deals with some other TV?

  7. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 18, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Burnett's departure may have involved a cetain amount of fatigue. His second half last season was not sterling, not to mention the injury/surgery. Particularly if the Nats saw these as separate issues, that would have been incentive enough to low-ball any offers. On a team willing to spend — what, $350MM? — on Crawford, Beckett, Ramirez, Greinke, the Dodgers haven't seemed to be deterred by anybody's question marks.

  8. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    One question I'd like an answer to — assuming LaRoche walks, which seems to be a fifty-fifty proposition — will the Nats be willing to take a big chance on Moore and trade Morse while Morse still has a full season of value? By July 31 I don't think Morse will have much trade value left and I doubt they would break up the lineup in mid-season if they were headed back to the playoffs.

  9. Matt - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    1) I second Theophilus's question about trading Morse even if LaRoche doesn't re-sign.2) I've seen a lot of fan chatter about Rendon and bringing him up when it's time to move Zim to first in a couple years, etc. but that's all bored offseason speculation, I think. What is the realistic plan for Rendon? Is this his last chance to prove he can stay healthy and productive for a full season? If he does, then what? It seems he's blocked at third, short, and second — at least for the moment. Is he trade bait?

  10. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Based on Morse's 1st base slash with that huge 1.002 OPS and the fact this is his contract year, do you see big offensive upside going with Morse at 1st?Turn LaRoche into a Draft pick and next year do the same with Morse. That's one way to get back some needed prospects.

  11. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Presuming LaRoche does not re-sign, what is Plan B for 1B? (I am presuming that Plan C is Mike Morse playing 1B, because Rizzo very much wanted a good glove there badly a couple of years back and Morse is a butcher even at 1B.) If Morse gets moved and LaRoche signs in Texas or wherever, who's on first? Thanks.

  12. flynnie - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Last February, when Ryan Braun was attacking the drug testing program that nailed him, Jeff Passan held up Michael Morse as an example of truth and honor. "When it came his turn to explain his violation of baseball’s drug program, Mike Morse did something novel: He told the truth, and it hurt more every time.Morse was 21 when he used Deca-Durabolin. Distraught over a torn thigh muscle, worried about his fledgling career, desperate to heal, he took the oil-based steroid in late 2003. When he tested positive while in the minor leagues in May 2004, he accepted the 15-game penalty and apologized for an error in judgment. He tested positive two months later for the same substance – and baseball suspended him again. When he arrived in the major leagues the next season, the Deca remained in his system – its nandrolone metabolites are present for up to two years – and he received another suspension for the same cycle of drugs. In baseball, triple jeopardy lived.The focus on the sport’s PED program has sharpened since National League MVP Ryan Braun’s positive test for synthetic testosterone was overturned on a chain-of-custody misstep late last week. Criticism has cast the program as everything from inadequate to unfair to, as Braun suggested in the news conference following his victory, “fatally flawed.”More than perhaps anyone else, Morse has good reason to flay the program. It truly, genuinely wronged him. Even the arbitration panel, in its report after his failed appeal, admitted: “The panel recognizes that this result may be viewed as unfair to Michael Morse.”And Saturday, Morse, a soon-to-be 30-year-old outfielder with the Washington Nationals who slugged 31 home runs in a breakout 2011, still said this of a system he knows stunted his growth and stigmatized him for years: “I think it’s a great program. Everything about it is good.”"Ryan Braun should be thankful for procedural flaw." Jeff Passan, Feb. 27, 2012sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-passan_ryan_braun_drug_test_appeal_testosterone_022712&print=1In a brilliant post on this site, John C. said to beware confirmation bias in favor of LaRoche, that Morse's slash line for every clutch hitting metric – close games, risp, hitting in 7th inning and later, was superior.My question: Is Morse still paying for his admitted PED use? Is there a suspicion that he will break down sooner? Just how much in fielding do the Nats lose if LaRoche walks?

  13. Joe Seamhead - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Mark and Chase, it has been speculated here that Denard Span won't be the CF, or the leadoff hitter this year. Do you see any possibility that Span, if healthy, won't be the leadoff hitter playing CF?Also, have any of you personally seen Tyler Moore play enough 1B to have a strong feeling one way or the other that he can play a quality MLB level first base? I have to assume that he is much better at 1b then he was in LF, but he certainly didn't get much of a chance to show us what he could do at first.[Theo, what if ALR walks and MM has a monster first half? ]

  14. flynnie - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    John C's brilliant post:John C. said… "It always seems like ALR …" Beware of confirmation bias. Baseball Reference tracks career stats, RISP, RISP with two outs, after the 7th inning, close games and late. And in category after category, Morse outperforms LaRoche, generally by a substantial margin. Don't take my word for it – look it up yourself. LaRoche also requires more of a commitment, and to a player who is 33 years old. I also looked up performance issues for players past the age of 32; Joe Posnanski ran some numbers here: http://joeposnanski.blogspot.com/2012/02/aging-with-chart.html Again, I don't have a real problem with LaRoche. I like defense, too. If they sign him for two years, hey, I'm OK with that. But there three years to a 33yo player? When the Nats have a 30 HR, 100 RBI bat to play 1b already, who hits RHP just as well as LaRoche, with Tyler Moore ready to back him up? Nah. I'd recommend going with the Beast and the comp pick. December 16, 2012 3:56 PM

  15. SCNatsFan - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Two questions sir…First, what do you see as Christian Garcia's role on the team next year?Second, have you heard anyone on the team discuss moving RZ to first base?Thanks for all the hard work you guys do!

  16. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… What's the alternative to MASN? Can Nationals just get out of that contract and sign one of those million-billion dollar deals with some other TV?There are only two ways the Nats can get out of the MASN deal. Either Angelos agrees to let them out, or they go to court and get a favorable ruling. That's it.

  17. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Feel Wood, or the 3rd way, the Nats buy their way out.

  18. Joe Seamhead - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Also, Mark and Chase, do you see Dan Haren as a major upgrade over Edwin Jackson? Advantages and disadvantages of him with this rotation? Is the loss of velocity on his fastball a major concern with his arsenal of off speed stuff?And one other question of importance, what do you hear about Kristina Akra's status?

  19. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    I have no sympathy for Morse when it comes to PED abuse and him having poorly selected a steroid that is not so easily flushed from one's system. He chose a path.

  20. Water23 - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Mark & Chase, Outside of Rendon, can you give us an update on the Minor leaguers of note? They have trade away a lot of the top tier players so who is left that will make a difference in the near future.

  21. flynnie - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    After Game 5, top of the 9th, do you see Drew Storen successfully closing for the Nats?

  22. hiramhover - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    DonYour presumption is wrong–Morse is Plan B at 1B, if not Plan A. He's not as good a defensive 1B as ALR, no doubt, and he does approach being a butcher in the OF. But Morse can play 1B adequately.

  23. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:44 PM

    Gonat said… Feel Wood, or the 3rd way, the Nats buy their way out.They do not have that option. They are minority owners of MASN. Angelos is the majority owner. Minority owners of anything cannot buy their way out unless the majority owner agrees to sell. Even if the Nats were to just abandon their part ownership of MASN, giving Angelos nothing for it, MASN would still hold their TV rights until either Angelos or a court releases them.

  24. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

    Don said… I have no sympathy for Morse when it comes to PED abuse and him having poorly selected a steroid that is not so easily flushed from one's system. He chose a path.He was a naive 21 year old kid who made a mistake and paid the price for it. Don't try to turn him into Barry Bonds or ARod.

  25. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Feel Wood, if the Nats get awarded $70 to $120 million plus the arrearages already accrued for 2012, Angelos may be forced to sell to come up with that amount of cash for not only the Nats but the Os also. Of course he could borrow the money the old fashioned way but I think it will get him moving on real alternatives based on how large the amount is.

  26. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    I'm interested in knowing about this, too, but given that CSN was reportedly one of the entities involved in discussions regarding MASN, I wouldn't be surprised if Mark and Chase opted not to address it in this forum.Faraz Shaikh said… What's the alternative to MASN? Can Nationals just get out of that contract and sign one of those million-billion dollar deals with some other TV? December 18, 2012 7:44 AM

  27. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Feel Wood, if the Nats get awarded $70 to $120 million plus the arrearages already accrued for 2012, Angelos may be forced to sell to come up with that amount of cash for not only the Nats but the Os also.Why do you think he is resisting the solution that Boswell reported was already proposed by Selig's commission that included an award that is less than that? If Selig imposes the award you state here, Angelos will sue. Hence the two ways out of the MASN deal as I stated. Either Angelos agrees or a court orders it. Which do you think is going to happen?

  28. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    I cheer his dingers as much as the next fan, but agreed.Don said…He chose a path.December 18, 2012 8:40 AM

  29. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Feel Wood said… Minority owners of anything cannot buy their way out unless the majority owner agrees to sell.December 18, 2012 8:44 AM ____________________________________That's exactly right which is a possibility albeit a small one as Angelos will want MASN as a Regional carrier for fear the DC area cable companies drop the Orioles.Remember if you buy the MLB ticket or the GameDay App, that money is shared equally between all owners. Angelos is well aware of what he loses if MASN splits up and he loses the DC market. The Nats would do even better if they were able to do their own deal which is why it was rumored Angelos is trying to offer the Nats a larger equity stake and accept his $35 million offer for annual fees.Also keep in mind that any annual contract fees is counted as team revenue and if that amount pushes total revenue past what MLB considers small market, the Orioles won't participate in the lucrative revenue share. Remember, the Nats are no longer part of the MLB revenue share program. Reportedly based on the fact the Orioles would get a matching amount to what the Nats receive, a $100 million annual contract fee for the Orioles will push them past the revenue limit and make them ineligible for the Revenue share program.The Nats have a lot of leverage and that Dodgers TV deal is now the Nats best chance to break the bank.

  30. NatsLady - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:12 PM

    Denard Span is going to be on MLB Network (Hot Stove program) this morning. Not a question, just letting y'all know. He is active on the Tweeter, also. I understand that in Minneapolis he appeared on a weekly radio show, so maybe Mark or someone can find an outlet like that for him here.

  31. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Feel, I'm hoping FOX or Comcast takes over. I think that's what will happen as Angelos at some point knows his group has done a poor job maximizing revenues and he will make more money selling the rights.Gonat, agreed on your points. Angelos doesn't want to lose his small market revenue share.

  32. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Also, here's a more recent link on the MASN situation, just in case some did not see it previously.

  33. Matt - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    To jump on the TV questions train: any chance more games get shown over the air? What arrangement needs to occur for this to happen? I don't have cable and MLBTV naturally blacks out the Nats games.

  34. Gonat - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Feel, I'm hoping FOX or Comcast takes over. I think that's what will happen as Angelos at some point knows his group has done a poor job maximizing revenues and he will make more money selling the rights________________________________Here's the possible problem is the disparity in the market sizes of Baltimore and Washington. I don't see FOX or Comcast willing to pay the Orioles the same amount as the Nationals. Not only a huge disparity in market sizes but also in wealth distribution which is huge in advertising dollars.FOX and Comcast are going to want to offer one of those 20 year deals based on true FMV.Lets say Angelos is getting 87% of MASN's profit and that is $50 million plus he gets $35 million in the annual fee. That's roughly $78 million a year and while the annual fee grows his profit percentage only drops 1% a year until the final share goes to 67% to 33% in 20 years.FOX and Comcast would need to offer him much more than that amount but that probably isn't realistic to what they are worth. Again if they did pay that to Angelos, he would then lose his Revenue share from MLB.

  35. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Naive 21 year old kid? Whatever. I am not cursing the guy, and I am not turning him into Bonds or anyone else for that matter. Nonsense. But, think about it Morse had finished his 4th season as a pro ball player by Nov 2003 and he knew what he was doing. He roided-up to get an advantage (the fabled muscle that would not heal correctly is what tempted him to abuse, not the edge in performance, of course — talk about naive) and him whining that he was punished multiple times for one abuse (if he is to be believed that it was just one cycle he took in 2003) just makes me want to respond "Serves you right." That was then and this is now, and I don't hold it agtainst him, but I don't go out of my way trying to make him some victim either.

  36. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    Mark and Chase,How much of a factor has the prospect of losing a draft choice been in setting the market for Adam LaRoche (and other free agents who were extended qualifying offers). By my count, of the nine players who received such offers, only three have signed: Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton, and Hiroki Kuroda (who, of course, re-signed with the Yankees, so no draft choice was lost). The others — MIchael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Kyle Lohse, and Rafael Soriano — seem to be in a state of limbo. Coincidence? Or are likely suitors treating the potential lost draft choice as equivalent to an additional contract year (or two) or a large chunk of cash?

  37. sjm308 - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Seamhead: I am in noway an insider on this and I hate to bare bad news but as of yesterday Kristina is the only one not to sign a new deal. Doubt if Mark would answer that one anyway.Agree with Hiram that Morse is a strong plan for first if not the first choice since Rizzo has not budged from his original offer. Like flynie I have moved to approving the draft pick for LaRoche and staying away from 3 years. I also like the fact that the worst that can happen if Morse has a great year is that we pickup another draft pick the following year. If Rendon is what everyone says, I just can't see Morse staying past this season.Go Nats!!

  38. Eugene in Oregon - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Sorry: Should read: "…of the eight…"

  39. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

    Possibly too early to ask, given that rosters aren't set, but what the heck. :-) Would either of you care to prognosticate regarding the Nats chances of reaching and advancing in the postseason in 2013?

  40. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 18, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Joe Seam'd — If LaRoche is gone and Morse has a monster first half, you give him an extension — without a no-trade clause — that knocks his socks off (but allowing him to be traded to the Red Socks).

  41. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Did you know Andy Reid's son who OD'd on heroin had anabolic steroids in his room at Eagles training camp.Steroids are still a part of the old culture. Once they test twice a month then I will believe the various sports are serious. When will the NBA and NHL test?

  42. flynnie - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:08 PM

    Doesn't Farid in Idaho esplain why Rizzo will never offer LaRoche a 3rd year, and prefers that he signs elsewhere if that's what he wants? What are the chances for the Nats to go into 2013 with Tyler Moore starting at 1st and neither Morse nor LaRoche on the team? Thanks to Farid for the following magnificent post:I want Adam LaRoche to return as bad as anyone but like the Nats, it needs to be for just two seasons.I picked four first baseman at random. The first set of stats are at ages 30-32 (like LaRoche) and second at ages 33-35.I'm sure there are other first baseman who continued to hit at the same pace, but:(based on a 162 game season and not actual games played)Frank Howard30-32: .284-45-11433-35: .264-23-71Jeff Bagwell30-32: .301-44-13133-35: .278-34-99Ernie Banks30-32: .266-30-9733-35: .271-23-71Willie McCovey30-32: .297-41-12133-35: .247-32-83Fred McGriff30-32: .296-35-11533-35: .290-27-95Most of these players still produced good numbers, but there was a definite drop-off. Based on these numbers, I would guess LaRoche's numbers for his next three years would look something like this:.260-24-88Nothing wrong with that, but Michael Morse will be in his prime over the next three years. Since he's been in Washington he's averaged over a 162 game season:.296/.345/.516 with 33 doubles, 2 triples, 31 home runs and 95 RBI.And Tyler Moore, based on his 2012 numbers and based on 162 games:.263-35-101Based on his last two seasons in the minors-he averaged .270/.320/.542, 31HR, 100RBI–he seems like a 30 home run, 100 RBI slugger. My head says the Nationals would be far better off with Morse at first and letting LaRoche go and getting that sandwich pick draft choice. I think the Nationals would be best served by letting LaRoche walk, trading Morse for prospects and making Moore their first baseman. No, he's not a great first baseman but he's good enough. And even if Moore doesn't produce like LaRoche did, say something around .260-25-80, they won't miss the 8 homers and 20 RBI. I think the other infield positions will produce more than they did last year, maybe +3 at third and short, +2 at second and +6 at catcher (assuming Wilson Ramos is healthy).Harper/Werth/Span should hit about 55 homers next year, about the same as Harper/Morse/Werth and Werth's replacements while on the DL. They could easily carry a first baseman on a learning curve. My guess on the 2013 lineup:CF–Span: .290-4-55RF–Werth: .275-23-753B–Zimmerman: .285-30-110LF–Harper: .290-30-95SS–Desmond: .280-27-851B–Moore: .260-25-802B–Espinosa: .250-20-65C–Ramos/Suzuki: .260-18-50Man, I can live with that.Farid @ Idaho

  43. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    What are the chances for the Nats to go into 2013 with Tyler Moore starting at 1st and neither Morse nor LaRoche on the team?On his postgame call-in show last season, my brother Phil was repeatedly asked this question by fans impressed by one of Tyler Moore's game day performances. His response was invariably this: He could not foresee a scenario where Mike Rizzo would come off a pennant winning season and install a rookie as his regular first baseman the following year. I have to agree with the excellent judgement of my brother Phil. Either LaRoche or Morse will be the first baseman in 2013, with Tyler Moore as his backup/utility guy.

  44. flynnie - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    When Kurt Suzuki arrived from Oakland, his slash line was .250/.286/.536. After Davey and Exckstein shortened his swing, he went to .267/.321/.404. This when most catchers decline from being beat up in the 2d half of the season. e.g. Brian McCann. Does Davey get enough credit as a swing doctor? Isn't he responsible for teaching Mike Morse to put his hip into it, a la henry Aaron?

  45. JaneB - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I, too, am interested in what you all see in Tyler Moore. I don't mean that to sound as if i don't see anything — just that I'd love to hear expert voices who have seen more of him than I have.

  46. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Does Davey get enough credit as a swing doctor? Isn't he responsible for teaching Mike Morse to put his hip into it, a la henry Aaron?I think the Samurai Cobra Snake move came from Eckstein, not Davey.

  47. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    The Nats have a history of awkward conversations with players near the end of March–Patterson, Shawn Hill, Nyjer Morgan, and John Lannan, for instance. Who's this season's early pick for 2013?

  48. JaneB - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Feel Wood, you're right and the Samurai Cobra Snake. That was Eck.

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Dec 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Yep. The much maligned (by those that don't know what hitting coaches do) Rick Eckstein gets that credit. And Davey will be the first to tell you.

  50. UnkyD - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    Gonat@8:35…… That's actually Feel Wood's first way, isn't it? And it's a fantasy, right? Unless and until some factor makes that option more profitable to The Dick, it won't happen.Don@8:40….. Was someone asking for your sympathy? Morse has been nothing but contrite, on this issue. Lay off…. He's never whined.

  51. sometimesitrains - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    Mark, any updates on how Giolito is recovering from his TJ surgery and the team's current timeline for him? Thanks.

  52. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    UnkyD — Not sure he was asking for my sympathy specifically, but Feelwood at 8:46 a.m. claimed Morse to be a naive kid who made a mistake with roids. I don't agree. And back in 2005 when Morse got his MLB punishment he was indeed contrite but he also said "It's just unfair." that he had trace amounts of the same steroid in his tests multiple times and thus was punished in the minors and in the majors for what he claims is one cycle of use from late 2003. Again, I am not looking for Morse to be punished further, just calling out that the guy made a moral decision several years into his pro career and he took a chance that he might get caught, he knew what he was doing, he chose a path. He deserved whatever punishment goes with the violation, even if it is due to some anomoly in the rules that puts him into some gray area. Don't use banned PEDs and you avoid that gray area altogether, no?

  53. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Not to pile on Don, but nothing there conflicts with "made a mistake" and "naive." And getting busted three times for the same mistake because you didn't cheat well enough and naively used something that shows up two years later might well strike a reasonable person as unfair.

  54. flynnie - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    JaneB and Feel – Davey had Zook on the team that went to Cuba and preferred his swing to Saltalamacchia's. "“I thought when he first got here, he actually had a little bigger swing, he was swinging up on the ball, a little longer swing,” Johnson said. “Eckstein’s done a good job. We had him in Cuba in the Olympic qualifier and he swung the bat good there, we liked him a whole lot … He had a nice short, quick strong then. When he came over, he was a little long, but he’s getting back to it.” I think Davey and Eckstein get the credit. I also thing that Zook is a better player than when he arrived from Oakland. If Davey and Eckstein can do the same to Espinosa – whom Davey calls "stubborn" – the Nats may have more power next year, even w/o ALR and Morse. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/nationals-journal/wp/2012/09/02/how-kurt-suzuki-worked-with-nationals-coach-to-shorten-his-swing-spark-hitting-surge/

  55. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Unless, of course, by "mistake" you mean "used what he thought was Icy Hot without reading the label," and not "used a substance he knew was banned and thought he could get away with it." Some people do draw as distinction there, in fairness.

  56. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    * a distinction.Typos are mistakes, but at this point, as the judge said, "{I find it hard to consider you a naive youth."

  57. SCNatsFan - Dec 18, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    About Suzuki; to be fair, on his 146 ABs as a Nat the difference in those ABs from 250 to 267 is 2 hits. Unless Davey taught him to lay off bad pitches and take more walks then I wouldn't use this is an example of making someone a better hitter.

  58. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! said… Unless, of course, by "mistake" you mean "used what he thought was Icy Hot without reading the label," and not "used a substance he knew was banned and thought he could get away with it." Some people do draw as distinction there, in fairness.For a 21 year old minor leaguer, both are mistakes. The only difference is the degree of it. Even if Morse knew that whatever he used was banned (which is doubtful, since the timeframe was 2003 when the whole concept of what was banned and what was not was in serious doubt) he was not "choosing a path" (as Don tarred him) but trying to heal. And if in that process he wandered down a path he shouldn't have been on, once he was made aware of that (the hard way, by getting caught) he got off the path. Even with the increased standard of testing in place now, he continues to come up clean. If his breakout 2011 year was PED-fueled, he's got to be one of the craftiest users in all of MLB.

  59. Theophilus T. S. - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    Farid –Unfortunately your projections for an age 33-35 LaRoche are based on apples and oranges and, in fact, dont support the premise.McCovey was injured (knees) throughout his career. His knees hurt every day he was in the majors. His knees were the proximate cause of most of his strikeouts (couldn't get down on low pitches).Howard's career was also compromised by injuries. Even before he came up, a shoulder injury gave him a chicken-winged arm — and that's an insult to a chicken. He also had knee issues as early as his Age 24 o5 25 seasons. And a body — 6'7" and 285 lbs — that didn't lend itself to rehabilitation. By the time he arrived in Detroit at 35 — and he was still fun to watch and played as hard as his body would allow — he had braces on at least one if not both knees and needed to hit the wall to be reasonably confident of safely reaching first. Similarly, Banks had a major knee injury playing SS that necessitated moving him to 1B and handicapped him the rest of his career. Remember, back in that time, orthopedic surgeons did not have the tools or protocols for surgeries that are common in this day and age. Moreover rehabilitation routines and kineseology were not sophisticated. There's nothing at all wrong either Bags' or Big Dog's Age 34-35 numbers. In fact they're damn good. In fact, the 34-35 numbers of all five are pretty acceptable, and the only things that would deter the Nationals and other teams from happily offering a three-year deal based on those numbers are their respective "Plan Bs" and the mode now of emphasizing player development and plans based on a five-year+ overview.

  60. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    Pile on away! I don’t buy the poorly healing thigh muscle that required Morse to self-medicate with anabolic steroids story. And Morse “deeply regrets” injecting himself multiple times with what he knew were banned PEDs back in 2003, because he got caught, not because it was some moral failing on his part. Some (the Commissioner's office maybe) might think it unfair that Morse did not get punished as a big leaguer as if he had multiple failed tests (which he did). His tests in the minors did not add to his punishment in gthe Bigs — he was a first-time violator as of his 3rd failed test as far as MLB was concerned. The rule is that if the stuff is in your blood then you get punishment. Nothing all that unfair about it. And his claim is one cycle of use in 2003, but no one knows whether he used it more than once, all we know is that it was in his blood. He willfully broke the PED rules and his tests came up positive over and over – no one’s fault but his own. I just don’t see him as sympathetic here.

  61. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    I have no sympathy for Morse when it comes to PED abuse and him having poorly selected a steroid that is not so easily flushed from one's system. He chose a path.So did Pudge! For crying out loud! So did lots maybe even MOST major league ball players during that period.As someone who has been getting "steroid" injections regularly for a very long time now I can tell you it doesn't make you are better or "great" athlete. What it can do is help you ward off injuries and work much, much harder. The operative point? In order for it to work REALLY HARD WORK is required. Looking at Morse he looks like he puts in the work … as did and does Pudge. Compare to Adam Dunn. Knock it off already.

  62. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I just noticed that SS, JZ, and Giolito all had TJS in the month of August.

  63. JD - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Faraz, So what that probably means that Giolito will return in August; probably pitch in rookie league until the season ends on Sept. 1st. If everything is optimal he will likely start in low A ball in 2014 (he will still be only 19) and start his development.No chance he gets to the bigs before 2016.

  64. Ghost Of Steve M. - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Unkyd, love The Dick comment!On the 2nd, I agree with you. It was an unfortunate mistake like Andy Pettitte where the shortcut solution tainted quite a few players and many users have never been caught. Innocent until proven guilty I guess.Current testing still doesn't go far enough. Too many players who know the testing cycles that are still circumventing the current system. They must test more.

  65. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Cheating is cheating…age is no excuse. Doing steroids was a well known "choice" way before 2003, especially in minor league baseball. As a fan, it definitely diminishes my enthusiasm for him as a player. Ask all of those other 21 year old non-steroid users who never made it past AAA if he should get a pass for being young and naive. I fail to see how he is any different than Bonds or AROD. I don't hold grudges really against any of them…because 50% or more of players may have been doing it, but that still doesn't give Morse a free pass.

  66. Faraz Shaikh - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    JD, I thought as much but I was just pointing out the coincidence of Nats pitchers having TJS in August.

  67. hiramhover - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    If what Morse got was a "free pass," he paid a curiously high price.

  68. peric - Dec 18, 2012 at 5:56 PM

    If what Morse got was a "free pass," he paid a curiously high price.And given his injury history it appears that it didn't help much at all although the bigger injuries came later. Plus most of his bulking up was done the natural way over a long period of time. One can easily see that by looking at photos of Morse from the 2003 or so time frame and now. The natural way is better … always better but it does take longer because you can't work as hard or as long. And in major league baseball time is very fleeting.

  69. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    It's a "free pass" when people start painting a picture of a Morse as some naive kid making a mistake, having a momentary lapse in judgment for which he is sorry to have made. The dude cheated; he decided to inject his way to the bigs and he;s sorry b/c he got caught. Missing the cut-off man is a mistake, cycling deca-durabolin — which is designed to add muscle mass and is known for being very powerful and for having a very long-lasting effect — was more than a mistake.

  70. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:15 PM

    Just heard the Orioles about to sign deal with LaRoche. Anybody else heard anything?

  71. Don - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Alphabet — I am over the Morse stuff and won't post on it again, so no need to create ALR rumors just to chaneg the subject. ;-)

  72. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Don,LOL…dead serious about LaRoche, though. It certainly sounds like the deal is almost done…although we know how that goes. He fills a big hole for them and they needed to sign somebody this season for their fan base.

  73. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Don said… It's a "free pass" when people start painting a picture of a Morse as some naive kid making a mistake, having a momentary lapse in judgment for which he is sorry to have made. The dude cheated; he decided to inject his way to the bigs and he;s sorry b/c he got caught.Whether he's sorry or why he's sorry is irrelevant. Maybe he's sorry because he got caught and nothing more, maybe he got caught and learned a lesson. But he did what he did, he got caught, he paid the price for it (no getting off on a technicality or anything like that, he paid the full price), he has never tried to hide the fact that he did what he did, and he has never once been caught doing it since – even in the face of beefed-up testing. (The fact that current testing is still inadequate is also irrelevant. He has been tested and he has passed every single time.) That is NOT a "free pass."

  74. James Joyce - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:46 PM

    Right Feel Wood, after Mrose got caught a THIRD time he never got caught again. Lesson learned. Thanks for making tha point for us.

  75. Feel Wood - Dec 18, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    James Joyce said… Right Feel Wood, after Mrose got caught a THIRD time he never got caught again. Lesson learned. Thanks for making tha point for us. Read carefully (assuming you can):he took the oil-based steroid in late 2003. When he tested positive while in the minor leagues in May 2004, he accepted the 15-game penalty and apologized for an error in judgment. He tested positive two months later for the same substance – and baseball suspended him again. When he arrived in the major leagues the next season, the Deca remained in his system – its nandrolone metabolites are present for up to two years – and he received another suspension for the same cycle of drugs.He took a substance that lingers in the body for up to two years. Three times in the space of two years he tested positive for it. And for over seven years since that third failed test, he has not tested positive for that substance or any other banned substance. I'll repeat what I said earlier. If Morse has used PEDs at all within the past seven years, he's got to be one of the most clever users in all of MLB. And seven years is more than enough time for whatever advantage he gained from that prior use to have totally worn off.

  76. Alphabet Soup Erik - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:03 PM

    Feel Wood…he cheated bro!!! Period!!! He is no different than any of the other ones. You said that he "probably didn't even know that what he was taking was banned"…give me a break. Nobody can be that naive…I really don't think you can confuse Deca-Durabolin with a Viagra.

  77. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:35 PM

    Eric, where did you see the LaRoche rumor, assuming it wasn't the NBC thing Seamhead posted the URL to, above?

  78. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Dec 18, 2012 at 7:39 PM

    Dan Connolly's story yesterday in The Sun says they are interested, but not at all sure they want to give up a draft pick, or three years.

  79. natsfan1a - Dec 18, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Hey, look! It's a new post.

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