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Howell headed to Dodgers

Jan 5, 2013, 4:28 AM EDT

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J.P. Howell posted a 3.05 ERA in 55 games with the Rays last season.

The final free agent left-hander on the Nationals' radar is headed elsewhere.

J.P. Howell has come to terms on a one-year, $2.85 million contract with the Dodgers, according to multiple reports, electing to head west instead of coming to a Washington franchise that was interested in acquiring him.

Howell, 29, had become the Nationals' top left-handed target after they lost stalwart Sean Burnett to the Angels last month. Since then, they've also seen free agent Michael Gonzalez and the non-tendered Tom Gorzelanny sign with the Brewers.

With no other lefty relievers on the market that pique their interest, the Nationals face the possibility of entering spring training withoutRead more ยป

203 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. peric - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:30 AM

    "I'm not worried", Davey Johnson.

  2. John C. - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:07 AM

    Cue the panic/LoD in 3 … 2 … 1 …

  3. Clip&Store - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:13 AM

    When is Rizzo's next radio interview? I wanna hear his excuse for not matching that offer and what his plan is for a guy who missed all of last year and another guy who was out of the majors before having a renaissance comeback in AAA last year on a world series contender? Ridiculous.

  4. John C. - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    The bullpen of the Nationals has been a strength for the past 2-3 years. The architect? Mike Rizzo. And yet so much of the random fandom would be better at the job, can clearly see what Rizzo should have done, and can clearly read the future as well – if only to predict certain DOOOOM. All that skill, and they spend their time posting on the internet. What a poor use of rare gifts.

  5. Oldguy - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    The Dodgers have been spending money like drunken sailors. No sense getting into a bidding war with them. We've done pretty well with home-grown talent.

  6. peric - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:17 AM

    Great prediction JohnC. ~laughing~ Uhmmm Yah and Bryce Harper's dog Swag will develop a hangnail. OH NO! It could be the end of all things! The Mayan calendar was right!

  7. Clip&Store - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:25 AM

    John, aka dcguy, I am enjoying our talk over on federalbaseball right now

  8. 3on2out - Jan 5, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    John C.: another savvy post. Rizzo got the Nationals where they are…I suspect he has a plan to keep them there. Perhaps Bray will surprise us or perhaps Rizzo will. Either way I believe the bullpen will continue to be a strength.

  9. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    No Dome and Gloom….just noting that currently this team is weaker that last years roster (likely an over achieving team in my view).Several top NL teams are getting stronger and in the case of Dodgers, hugely stronger.That is not a trend I like.Are the Nats a good team, yes for sure.Are the Nats a better team than last year…who knows for sure but they need to be to win it all.Are Nats teams losing out on quality free agents who are willing to take short term deals and for just a few Million Dollars.Yes that is fact and that is a big red flag to me.

  11. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    The Dodgers have spent tons of money on a set of players– they are not necessarily a team. Last year we were all astir over the Marlins. Right now our team is strong– great rotation, good hitting lineup with or without ALR, good defense but better with ALR. They *should* be healthier this season. Bullpen is missing Gorzo and Gonzo- eh. Burnie is the real loss there. I still don't think this is the final roster. Any nifty lefties in the minors? BTW– does Flores have anything yet??

  12. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Oh, and another question. Howell was a Ray last year. Any chance he had residual hard feelings against the Nats from" Pine Tar Gate"? No one else in MLB seemed to do anything other than laugh, but remember how irate Madden was? He predicted there were guys who would not want to play here.

  13. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    I see no ALR as a major weakness…know many of you do not.I see a weaker bull pen that last year (way over achieved in my view).I see injuries as the norm for people like Zimm, Morse and Werth.I see the numbers put up by Werth, Zimm, Ian and ALR as an over achievement and they will all be less productive if just by a little this coming year.I see the numbers by Gio, ZimmNN, Det as all over achieving and not one of them had any injury time….that is not going to hold for ever.Bottom line Nats are not a better team in my view than last year. Others like REDS, LA, ATL, PHL, MIL, SFO, AZ are better in my view.Bad Trend….that is how I see it….By spending some money Nats would be a better team. Rizzo for whatever reason (Lerners or just Ego or Both?) feel that winning with less of a salary gets you something….it gets me nothing but extra risk of not making playoff in the coming year.

  14. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Swami, a month ago Howell said he admired the Nats, said they were "stacked." I think he wanted to play here, I think Gonzalez and Burnett wanted to play here, but Rizzo was not going to get into bidding wars for any of them. Just consider Brad Lidge–it seemed like a great signing at the time; yet Lidge was injured, sulked when he was released, and now has retired. You can argue whether Rizzo learned the correct lesson from that (don't overpay for relievers); same as you can argue if Rizzo is hanging on to Henry too long because he let Gascanrahan go too soon. We shall see. Howellhttp://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20121204&content_id=40530542&c_id=was

  15. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    no..that was covered in several spots….Howell said no not at all and he had played for Johnson in past…..it was about money….Rizzo did not want to spend it.

  16. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    World acccording to JayB… everything always gets worse.

  17. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    JayB, I think Rizzo will spend money when he sees something worth spending it on. Apparently (other than Haren) he hasn't seen what he wants.

  18. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Not really a accurate comparison in my view for HROD and Joel H. HROD was and still is…trending wrong way really…..WILD…He has not clue were the ball is going and looks like a scared deer all the time. Joel H was a pitcher…who had not refined it yet. HROD is a arm that will never have it in my view.

  19. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    JayB, I understand what you are saying. The question is more whether Rizzo is seeing too much in Henry's "talent" because he was not patient enough to let Hanrahan's talent develop. Fan "hatred" of Hanrahan was a factor, I think, and I suspect (just a suspicion) that Rizzo is not going to let fans influence his decisions.

  20. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Njack…do you think this is a better team with the likelihood of putting up better numbers this year as currently put together? Do you think Pitchers will but up better numbers and not miss more time with DL issues? Do you really thing Ian D, Zimm and Werth will but up better numbers? Do you really think Werth and Zimm will not spend time on DL?

  21. UnkyD - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    JayB said:By spending some money Nats would be a better team. Rizzo for whatever reason (Lerners or just Ego or Both?) feel that winning with less of a salary gets you something….it gets me nothing but extra risk of not making playoff in the coming year…………………Stated as fact. More likely, but seldom given any shrift at all, by JayB, is that Rizzo simply has a better idea (that might actually cost MORE money), based on a lot of info that JayB isn't privy to… Just saying

  22. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Talent is one thing but you need more than talent. You need the smarts too in Baseball…you need to understand the game Smarts…HROD does not have that at all…..not a even a little bit.

  23. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Also, as I said previously, "hoarding" the $3M here and there doesn't mean you aren't going to spend it. There will be a failiing team in June or July that wants to do a salary dump and the Nats will need a player due to injury or under-performance–and Rizzo will have the funds to take on that salary.

  24. The Fox - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Jay B, Well that's one way of looking at it ;-).There are some concern's and you listed most of them, I'd add starting pitching depth to the list also.You do also need to add a few positives don't you?The Nat's now have a very good lead-off/CF'r and they will improve greatly behind the plate with Suzuki and Ramos. It's hard to say who over achieved last year especially with young players but I would expect a couple will decline but a few will also improve like Harper. Every team will go into the season with a few question marks. The Nat's still have a young team and that will help them in a 162 game marathon. I'm perplexed at them not signing a LHR but not overly concerned at this point. Bullpens are always difficult to predict.

  25. TimDz - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I still believe ALR signs here for two years and Morse eventually gets traded for a lefty reliever and prospect….Once Adam wraps his head around the concept that he will not be getting a three year deal….

  26. UnkyD - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    JayB said…Talent is one thing but you need more than talent. You need the smarts too in Baseball…you need to understand the game Smarts…HROD does not have that at all…..not a even a little bit……………And clearly, JayB possesses the lion's share if smarts, in this town… If the Learners were only willing to spen money, they could get in a bidding war for JayB's services… He knows Rizzo is good…but he knows He would be much better…. It's so easy. All you hafta do is write checks, like the Dodgers!

  27. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Absolutely true that players will be injured–and underperform. The problem is we don't know right now which ones they will be.. So why spend the money now? Spend money on relievers and suddenly both Lombo and Espi will get injured and suddenly the Nats have a hole at 2B and need a quick fix. I say the team is basically built right now (other than 1B). Go into spring training and the first half of the season with maximum flexibility.

  28. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    JayB… I think this is a very talented organization, from top to bottom.Worrying about moves not made in January is just like your proclimations last Spring that the Marlins were a much improved team and the Nats would be a .500 team.

  29. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Agreed….but I think there are lots of examples of "Better Ideas" by Rizzo that were complete flops around the cheaper is better mantraSee Maya and Martin are better than Chapman as the biggest flops….but there are lots more.

  30. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    And a note to Feel Wood…. Rizzo wanted Howell and he wants LaRoche BUT…. at a price for period certain. Otherwise, it's on to contingencies.

  31. Snivius - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Be careful not to automatically infer "gloom and doom" into what may actually be TOUGH LOVE. Sometimes glasses get rose-colored and need to be removed.I'm with JayB on this- not matching LA's smallish offer strikes me as a penny-wise, pound-foolish (non-)deal. This smacks of the bailing wire and duct tape roster-building tactics of yore.One striking thing about the player projections is that aside from a MODEST improvement from Harper and more innings from Strasburg, Bill James and other stat-heads predicted regression from pretty much the entire Nationals, as though Zim and others essentially over-acheived.

  32. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Baseball rosters are not like malls….Rizzo seems to be locked into Lerner business models.We learned the hard way that Lerners do not understand baseball at all. Spending money does not equal winning….but spending money does not hurt winning in the least….more is more. Cutting a bad contract does not cost you anything in wins. Lerners have huge profits from this team alone but also from other sources. If they truly want to win then spend now….the window is going to be shorter than you think.

  33. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    This has nothing to do with the Lerners. This has to do with solid baseball people making sound baseball decisions.As someone who gets to watch the Rays up close and personal, that is a gross overpay for J.P. Howell's talent.

  34. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Still don't think we are done. We also can't possibly know if guys like Desi or Det will regress or if they are just taking off. You also don 't know if guys will have injury time. Last year I saw no way Adam could come right back into baseball after missing so much time. We keep trying to predict, but there are way too many unknowns. I love the guys we have for talent, hard work , baseball smarts and character . Sure will be interesting.

  35. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Njack…that is good input..thank you..I never see the Rays….I did see our LH's last year. I do not see those contracts as gross overpays. Even if they were from a % base the total cost is close to nothing.

  36. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    We learned the hard way that Lerners do not understand baseball at all.Yes, all the Lerners did was take their team from the worst record in baseball in 2009 to the best record in baseball only three years later. Clearly, they don't understand baseball at all, not like all those other owners who haven't done that.

  37. JamesFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    If Howell was that important, the Nats would have topped the Dodger's offer. They must not have wanted him that much and must have some other options. That said, the pen does need to be strengthened.

  38. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    The pen does need to be strengthened, I agree with that. Clip, Storen, Mattheus, Stammen–fine, and I was impressed with the work of Zach Duke. Henry is completely unpredictable. He could find his baseball "smarts" as JayB calls them, or not. We need at least one more strong guy, to me it doesn't matter LH or RH. Rizzo may be waiting for Spring Training, and that doesn't bother me at all.

  39. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Not that this is the issue or that it is even worth a post but…..Lerner insisted on keeping Jimbo. Lerners bought into the E. Dukes approach to building a team. Lerners would not pay scouts and pinched pennies on players bats in season no less….come one Feel Wood….The only thing Lerners know now about baseball is to get out of the way…..not sure they have perfected it yet…..not spending a million or two on LH Relief on a team just missing a few things seems Lernerish.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    Complaing about the Lerners seems "JayB-ish".

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Oh heck…..just complaing in general seems "JayB-ish".

  42. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    JayB, I think it is a valid criticism of the Lerners in the early days that they did not know how to "own" a baseball team. In addition to your list, there were complaints they were late on payments to suppliers and endlessly quarreled with the District about finances for the Park.OTOH, I have in my mind the image of Mark Lerner who said any time he felt low he got out the DVD of Strasburg's debut and watched it, on an airplane or wherever he was. Yes, they did need to learn to "get out of the way," and that was probably difficult for people who were super-competent at their own business. Nevertheless, they have improved, and that's all you can really ask. If you want to hear about bad owners, listen to the fans of, for example, the KC Royals.JayB, I may be an example of the "losing attitude" in that I enjoyed the Nats Park "experience" even when they were losing 100+ games. I appreciate your focus on constant improvement, and your questioning management decisions. But to me it is absolutely amazing that the team I used to compare to a lottery ticket (yeah, greater percent they might win a game than I would win the lottery) became, in THREE YEARS, the team whose fan base was devastated because they DIDN'T WIN THE WORLD SERIES.

  43. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Lernerish = worst to first in three years.

  44. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    NJ, how much would you have paid for Howell? It was a one year deal. You want the best lefty still on the market to sign for $1 million like Lidge did last year? Please. For just a year, why not go $3 million, or even more?We need more than one lefty in the pen, regardless of how good Clipp and Matheus are against lefty hitters. They have other roles. You're not going to bring Clipp in in the 7th to face Utley and Howard if you have him lined up to pitch the 8th. Balance and flexibility was a strength of last year's pen. Remember how the Cardinals suffered with having only one LH reliever? I have hopes for Bray or that Rizzo has some other ideas. But Howell was identified as someone the Nats wanted, and it sure looks like we just didn't want to put out the cash needed to sign him. That's hardly a World Series or bust attitude.

  45. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    JayB-ish = haters gotta hate.

  46. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Another comment. I read a lot of the blogs and articles by analysts who project 2013. They routinely say, the Nats are the best team in MLB (or close to it). Then they go on to discuss issues with OTHER teams. Nats are just in a corner by themselvs…Now, a few years ago, it was exactly the opposite. The Nats were the WORST team in MLB, analysts ranked them–and then went on to discuss issues with other teams. The Nats were then what the Astros are now, just a team you have to list in lists but not worth even discussing.I know it's a long shot, but I would really like Bo Porter and the Astros to show something this season.

  47. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    222, I don't have the benefit of NJ's eyes on the player (although I guess I could watch MLB.tv and check him out). But when we were first discussing Howell on the Nats radar, I looked up his stats–yes, I did, his STATS. I couldn't see what the big fuss was about. (1) Gorzy– not worth the price when you could get Zach Duke to do the same job. If you think he could start, fine, pay him, but he wouldn't be starting for the Nats.(2) Burnett– I liked him a lot. But he has an injury history (back AND elbow) and his history is good year/bad year/good year, etc. He wanted too many years.(3) Gonzalez– try to remember this is a guy we signed to a MINOR-LEAGUE deal, and he had a good year. I liked him too, but to me he's in the Brad Lidge category–the chances of him having another year like 2012 are remote. So that's the guys we didn't re-sign. Howell, as I said above, I was not that impressed. I would rather have guys like Bray, Garcia, etc, who are HUNGRY to re-ignite their careers. It may not work for any particular guy, but if you get enough of them, and your scout's eye is good, it'll work.

  48. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    222… You don't have to hope Rizzo has some other ideas. Rest assured that he does.And for the record, I've never been a big fan of J.P. Howell so I wouldn't have pain him anything except for the fact that he's left handed. He can fill out a bullpen but there are right handers that can do the job just as well.

  49. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    paid.

  50. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Bad owners= Marlins. The Lerners might not be perfect, but the combination of them, Rizzo and Davey is not too shabby. Not to mention some of the solid people who work for Rizzo. More to be done in the next 6 weeks. ALR situation holding things up. Will they really wait things out? Seems to me that the longer things go, the less Nats fans care about keeping him, especially for 3 years. Napoli to the Red Sox deal seems like a domino also. They need to start falling.

  51. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    And also… I'm finally going to say it.I told you guys about Ryan Mattheus and Christian Garcia before both had even gotten out of their first Fall Instructs with the Nats.

  52. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    222, the other problem with Howell is he signed for almost $3M "plus incentives." I'm very dubious of these plus incentives deals as I fear it ties the manager's hands or could create disruption in the bullpen if one guy needs to be brought in to make up his $$. I've read a lot about these type deals in the pointy-ball game, where careers are even shorter. Guys want to come in for a certain number of snaps to make their $$ even if that is not the right decision for the game/coach/team. If you don't bring the guy in and he loses his money by a small amount of snaps, it also messes with morale from the other guys (veterans) who know that your time to make the money is short and may feel that their teammate and friend has been shafted. On a non-contending team, I can see the point of incentive deals, particularly if a guy is coming off injury. But on a team like the Nats, you don't want to offer that kind of deal because you don't want ANYTHING interfering with the manager making the best possible game decision.

  53. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    It's easy in retrospect to say you're not impressed with Howell, wouldn't have given a bag of balls for him anyway. But I didn't hear anyone dispute that the Nats were interested in him and talked seriously with him. So Rizzo liked him, he just didn't want to pay more than $2.85 million (plus incentives, whatever) for him. Penny wise might have been a good strategy in previous years, but now is the time to spend (or risk) a few extra million to bring home a World Series title. Bill Bray on a minor league deal, no matter how much he hopes to reignite his career, can't be your best hope. And yes, I'm sure Rizzo has other ideas. Whether the alternatives are any better than Howell remains to be seen.

  54. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    NL, I seriously doubt that DJ gives a rat's patootie about his players' incentive deals.

  55. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I'll say it again, 222. Have faith in the Nats talent evaluators. They are among the best.

  56. Ren - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Who says Howell even gave the Nats a chance to counter the Dodgers offer? The whole lefty/righty matchup this is totally overblown. Good relievers will get hitters out regardless. I think Bray can be that matchup guy… You never know, the Nats could do a sign/trade deal with ALR for another reliever. The Red Sox have some bullpen arms that would fit in with the bullpen…

  57. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    ALR situation holding things up.Only in the minds of the media and people who pay attention to them. Rizzo gave ALR a chance to jump on board. Two chances, actually – the qualifying offer and the beg-fest at Davey's golf tournament. ALR rejected both of them. Rizzo has moved on. He's not holding a door open for ALR.

  58. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Also, I'd like to thank Jayson Werth for informing fans that the Nats are not a minor-league team and the "main event" is not a mascot race.

  59. sjm308 - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    JayB – you won't change other peoples minds here and they obviously won't change yours. I will say that I think you are incorrect about the number of teams you list that are better while saying the Nationals have regressed. We were the best team in the regular season last year with 98 wins and the safe bet would be to say we would not be number 1. I chose to think that we will contend and I am honestly happy about that. I was one of those who just loved having baseball back and the thrills I have now about having an honest to goodness contender are enough for me. You want that World Series win and I hope we get it but for now, I am going to enjoy my team and not worry about minutiae like you do. I won't break my elbow patting myself on the back but if HRod is a positive for us this year I will be really really happy. If he flames out, Rizzo will do something else. Its just that simple. Besides that one area, we are set. One last thought. I also read a lot of other baseball news and the worst I have seen our lads ranked in the early posts is 2nd in the National League and I think Vegas has us as the 5th best team in odds of making the series. Where were we last year?? Faraz: won't bore you but Les Miz did not workout. I now have two free passes but it's no fun sitting in a theater for over 15 min. watching a blank screen.

  60. Mark P - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    To those ready to hit the panic button, the offseason did not end today. Remember how late the Gio trade occurred last year? Based on his track record thus far, I think Rizzo has a "pretty good" idea what he's doing. Of all the roles on a ballclub, lefty relieving specialists are easy to find. In Rizzo we trust!

  61. Exposremains - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I think Rizzo will get a really good rh reliever either by trade of MOrse or a FA. Even a guy like Soriano wouldn't surprise me. I could see Valverde too. A really good RH that can blow hitters away is better than a soft tossing LH in my view.

  62. Mark P - Jan 5, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    To those ready to hit the panic button, the offseason did not end today. Remember how late the Gio trade occurred last year? Based on his track record thus far, I think Rizzo has a "pretty good" idea what he's doing. Of all the roles on a ballclub, lefty relieving specialists are easy to find. In Rizzo we trust!

  63. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    No panic here–just really miss baseball. Hope everyone is getting to that best shape we all hear about. I think the Nats organization, not just Rizzo , has a giant mental chessboard and they have options in mind always. In fact, they always seem to come up with something that surprises me at the time, but makes perfect sense. I was watching a highlight show and Span was on. He was pretty darned good. He is also on twitter and seems to be psyched up for the season and working out to get ready. Can't wait to see him patrolling CF.

  64. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    From last Feb 19:JayB said… Anyone willing to admit i had a point that rizzo failed to make the moves this team needs to win? February 19, 2012 11:43 AM +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Sorry, pal, but there were no takers. Last year the big gripe was we didn't solve the lead off CF problem, nor did we improve the bench. [Oh yeah,then a few other bloggers were upset that we didn't re-sign Todd Coffey]. I still feel the key to whether we are better then last year, or not, is hinged on Adam's return. The starting pitching should be improved, and we should score more runs then the other guys more often regardless of who's on first. Emotionally,as a fan, I'll miss Sean Burnett, but Gorzo and Gonzo? Not so much. I, for one, am certainly not getting my bowels in an uproar on Jan.5th because we don't have a one out LHRP type guy. There's a lot of time yet.

  65. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Rizzo has a long history of developing options, fallbacks, trade-offs and possibilities as a standard part of his managerial repertoire. Not to worry. The guy has a small army of talent evaluators who almost certainly have helped him compile a list of options for any number of contingencies.Neither Dan Haren not Billy Bray registered on my radar as such possibilities until they were actually signed, and there are more where they came from.

  66. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    http://bit.ly/VKu1zcback to regular Nats talk.

  67. happy 2 pylon - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    dad – call mom. she needs money to pay our prozac billjayb's kids

  68. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Good points all who say don't press the panic button. I'm not panicing, I just wish we had been able to get the lefty who has been our top target, at least according to media reports, ever since Burnett left. I'm not going to miss Gorzo either. Duke will be just fine in the long reliever/garbage man role. Gonzo wasn't going to step into Burnett's role, but he pitched well last year. Maybe Bray will work out for that spot (but maybe he won't). But I still think that a high quality lefty in the pen who can pitch the 7th, 8th, or even the first out or two of the 9th, against certain lineups is a key spot to fill. We've been spoiled with Burnett for the last several years. Joe Beimel to a certain extent filled that spot before him. So here's hoping that Rizzo isn't content with the plan B of RH relievers who have decent splits against LH hitters. I'm just not convinced that's the way to go when you're trying to go all the way, as we are this year.Finally, i just don't understand the antagonism ("haters gotta hate," "3-2-1" etc) against people who express opinions contrary to the conventional cheerleading wisdom. What is this, the Politburo?

  69. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    222. With me, no matter what I think, if the Nats brain trust sees fit to do something, I will always acquiesce.They are the pros…. not me.

  70. peric - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    I told you guys about Ryan Mattheus And I'm fairly certain I talked about Mattheus first, mentioned as a potential power armed closer with a killer slider … and of course I got slammed. Still can't believe how many were enthralled with Lidge and Durbin … especially players like Zimmerman!?

  71. peric - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Still think we should do a wait and see with the two lefties Rizzo did pick up starting with Bray. I'm sure he will try to acquire more as he loves his contingency plans.

  72. whatsanattau - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    I note that Jay B made rational in emotional statements up top, but the blog team jumped on them as a continuation of a theme. I simply point out that the tone of his comments were not overly negative. I do disagree with the assertion that management is making unwise and or financially motivated unwise decisions. I think the tapestry is unfinished. I think we need to find more pitching and I think they will. I also think the landscape in the NL east has changed since last spring and the needs we had last year are not the same as this year. There are less left handed impact bats I to face in NL east at present.

  73. whatsanattau - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Rational unemotional

  74. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    peric…..check with our fearless leader. I was 6 months ahead of you on Mattheus. Even saved a comment by you laughing at my mentioning Garcia last May.

  75. whatsanattau - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    I was the first one to think of it. I remember it clearly.

  76. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    I'm not panicing, I just wish we had been able to get the lefty who has been our top target, at least according to media reports, ever since Burnett left. You need to quit paying attention to media reports. How often are they ever right?It's easy in retrospect to say you're not impressed with Howell, wouldn't have given a bag of balls for him anyway. But I didn't hear anyone dispute that the Nats were interested in him and talked seriously with him.Have you never had your eye caught by some big ticket item, say a car, thought seriously about it, talked with the dealer, researched it to high heaven, and come to the conclusion that you either didn't want it or didn't need it? Just because Rizzo spent time exploring the possibility of signing Howell doesn't mean he has to do it.

  77. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Rizzo could walk on water and some people would complain because obviously he can't swim.Focusing on mistakes instead of outcomes is counter-productive.

  78. mick - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    bad move Rizzo, are you going to blow it on ALR too??

  79. mick - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    this is the kind of arrogance that will hurt you in the long run

  80. mick - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    or are the Lerners just cheap??

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    Relax mick…..it's going lt's to be OK.

  82. mick - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:43 PM

    BTW: Terps look good, sweet 16 for them and I bet 2nd place in ACC

  83. mick - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Natsjack…. I know… I'm just nervous

  84. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    The second a team from California became interest in signing Howell, the chances of his ever signing with the Nats dropped to almost zero.Howell is from California, went to college in California and the odds of his not signing with a California team were greatly increased once a team, or teams from the Sunshine State started showing interest.At $2.85 million on a one year deal, if Rizzo wasn't able to beat that, he must be working with a handicap and doesn't have the budget many think he has. Because of that, I don't see Adam LaRoche returning with the Nats, and because of budget, I see a less expensive, better hitting, slightly above average defender in Morse playing getting the nod to play first. That is, unless Rizzo gets an offer for Morse that's too tempting to turn down and he makes Moore his first baseman in 2013. A move I for one, would love to see.

  85. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Nats Lady was exactly right — each of the LHs the Nats passed up was flawed: Burnett coming off injury; Gonzalez hammered by RHs; Howell, too prone to walk people. Rizzo/Johnson relief pitchers are expected to work a full inning, not just one LH batter. What could be more disastrous than a LOOGY who walks people? Still, you need LHs to make opposing managers pinch hit and so Johnson can do match-ups. So I think they have to trade for one more in the event Bray doesn't impress in ST. The problem is I don't think there are very many average+ LH relievers anywhere in the majors. Teams seem to cultivate specialists, not LHs who can get RHs out as well as LHs. There's a guy on the Angels who's been consistent for several seasons but other than that I can't think of many that I'd been really excited to add to this team. Darren Oliver is apparently unhappy in Toronto, muttering about retiring, so maybe they would give him up for a mid-level prospect.

  86. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 5, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Well to me not signing Howell signifies that the Nats are banking on ALR returning and then trading morse for a lefty and a prospect

  87. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Kenz, just wondering why you'd love to see Tyler Moore on first? I didn't see enough of Tyler playing first base to draw any conclusions about him one way, or the other He might be great, but he sure wasn't given many innings by Davey, which kind of left me feeling that they didn't have much confidence in his glove there. I'm guessing that Randy Knorr may have seen him, but I'm not sure of that. Has anybody here in NI Land seen much of him play first at any level?

  88. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Joe….Tyler has improved iimmensely at first but he's no ALR. I wouln't want to start the year with him as a starter but as a fallback, I like him.

  89. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    @ John C. on January 05, 2013 12:22 AMThe bullpen "strength" the past few years has been anchored by Storen, Clippard and Burnett, and to a lesser degree, guys like Gorzelanny and Mattheus. Two members of that stronghold, both lefthanders are gone, leaving in their place, two lefties, basically Duke and Bray, neither of which is guaranteed to pitch past the first month, let alone through the entire season.The Nats would have a much stronger foundation to build a bullpen on if either of those lefties could be replaced with a lefty who has a history of getting the job done. As of yet, they haven't, instead they are "hopping" things work out so that two of; Zach Duke, Bill Bray and Fernando Abad (so far) earn and keep spots on the Active Roster. We already know the Nats are short on lefthanded pitchers at both Syracuse and Harrisburg. They have all of one listed on the two rosters combined.Yes, the bullpen has been one of the Nationals strength the last 203 years, but that's in the past, and until it establishes itself a team strength again, there are a lot of uncertainties.Then you, who prognosticate and opine just as much as many fans, had the balls to say, and I quote, "All that skill, and they spend their time posting on the internet. What a poor use of rare gifts."We are all so incredibly sorry if our offering thoughts and opinions upset you so much that you couldn't resist using subtleties to put others down.I'm a baseball fan, more, I'm a Washington Nationals fan, and I'll be damned if anyone thinks they can prevent me from offering an opinion, suggesting a trade or signing, or prognosticating as to what might happen with the team, and if anyone is ever able to, it certainly wont be you.

  90. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    This place is really boring when people start arguing over who noticed what prospect first. zzzzzzzzz. I'd say that peric usually is the first to mention a prospect, but of course, he notices every prospect and touts virtually all of them. A stopped clock is right twice a day. Matt Antonelli, anyone? How about Hassan Pena? And Feel, no, I'm not going to stop paying attention to media reports. Unlike you, I'm not clairvoyant, so I don't know exactly what Rizzo is thinking and planning to do. All I can do is read what reporters who are talking to him or to sources on the team write about it. Do tell us how you knew Rizzo had given up on Howell, like some used car he once saw in a showroom. That doesn't mean I believe everything is written or trust all reporters equally. But Howell had been on the Nats radar for a long time. He may be damaged goods, but he scored a nice chunk of change from the Dodgers and I'm sure a lot of people here would have been singing Rizzo's praises if he landed him. Even NJ, because if Rizzo signed him it must have been a good move.

  91. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    I claim Ryan Mattheus and Christian Garcia. If A.J. Green makes it with the Cubs, I'll claim that one, too.

  92. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    Do tell us how you knew Rizzo had given up on Howell, like some used car he once saw in a showroom.As usual, you miss the point. Rizzo may have lost out on Howell, or maybe he looked into him and decided he wasn't worth the chase. There were one or two media reports about a month ago that said the Nats were interested in Howell. Then, nothing. You talk about Howell being on the Nats' radar screen all that time. If he was that important to them, why were there no reports of them getting closer to a deal?The Nats watched Javier Vasquez work out the other day. If a month goes by and he signs somewhere else, will it be because Rizzo lost out on him or because Rizzo was not that interested in him in the first place?

  93. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    Amen, Feel Wood. I'm with you on how these things are perceived.

  94. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    @ Joe Seamhead & NatsJack in FloridaEven living almost 600 miles away for Nationals Park, I still was able to see every game but two (both in Atlanta) last year. I saw so much potential in Tyler MooreMoore played a potpourri of rolls for the Nats and did better than expected and hoped for. So well in fact when everyone thought he'd be tagged to return to Syracuse, he played well enough to have earned a spot to finish the year, including the post season. He didn't commit any errors at any of the three positions he played. He showed himself to be more than adequate in the outfield, and even demonstrated some skills at first base. He produced some clutch hits at a starter and coming off the bench, and I think most here would agree, that Moore has the most power among all first base candidates.When he played first, Tyler looked extremely comfortable, not just defensively, but he seemed more relaxed at the plate on those occasions.I believe that if he was given the job, he'd make Nats fans quickly forget about Adam LaRoche and Michael Morse, by putting up some impressive numbers and by hitting some monster home runs. I also believe that if he got to play a full season Moore could come close to smashing 40 homers while driving in over 100 RBI. However, all that said, I'm probably the person who believes that.IMO, Tyler Moore's bat has too much potential to be wasted coming off the bench.

  95. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:06 PM

    Heck, Kenz, you go, man, I'm all for everybody's take on everything Nats.Nobody is going to agree with everything that any other single person posts.Jack, it was late summer 2010 when I thought out loud here that I thought that Davey Johnson should, and would, be the next manager. Kenz, you want to talk about getting a beating? Good grief, people moved away from like they thought I had leprosy. One regular poster even went so far as to not only tell me how ignorant I was, but that if I even mentioned the idea of Davey as manager again that I should be forever banned from the board all together.The only thing that drives many of us to drink, [even more then many already do], is when someone keeps putting another quarter in the jukebox and playing the same damned song over, and over, and over again.

  96. baseballswami - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Unfair to say that Tyler Moore is no Adam LaRoche- was Adam the player he is now at that age? Maybe TyMo will turn out to be better than Adam is now. You cannot compare a veteran with barely a rookie. Will Nats fans ever know? Or will he always be blocked or traded? Would hate to see him become a superstar on another club. Who do you develop, who do you trade, who do you relegate to the bench ? Questions far above my pay grade. As a life long baseball fan I like to see lots of home- grown guys with key, more pricey pros mixed in. Makes financial sense and is good for the fan base. Our minor league system went from nothing to really good in a relatively short time and is supplying some real gems.

  97. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    Sorry, Kenz — I watched Tyler Moore crash into the LF wall twelve feet away from the baseball. Not sure who you were watching.

  98. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Njack…simple question….was Maya and Martin > value than A. Chapman?That is what Rizzo said. He said to a group based on my question that he felt strongly that he had a better option. He said he did not regret losing out on Chapman and that team was better off with Maya. Really, do you believe that?

  99. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    Kenz, one of the oldest adages of baseball is"if you can hit, they'll find a place for you." That said, I do disagree with you on Tyler in the OF. He reminds me of Duda of the Mets when he's out there. I know that he never really played the position before, but he really seemed somewhere between lost out there, and looking like a deer caught in the headlights. I now see that as a non-issue with the addition of Span, but Davey may surprise us. Peace & Harmony, and GYFNG!!!

  100. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    This is an example of my point. Clearly Rizzo felt that Chapman was not worth the money……problem is the alt plan was not worth anything at all. Sometimes you have to pay the market price and Rizzo seems to really have a hard time with that and that often means plan be is bad….See Brad L. type moves. Sure Rizzo has done well….really well…sure every GM makes mistakes….Rizzo just seems to have this major blind spot when it comes to paying more than he wants for things. The plan B is often not anywhere close to as good as Plan A with an extra year or extra million.

  101. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    I have no idea what Maya's character is like, none at all. But from what I've seen in the papers, yes, I would rather have Maya in Syracuse than Chapman on my ML team. Now, maybe Chapman will improve but I'm pretty much done with guys who need "minders."

  102. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    JayB, you're right about Maya/Chapman. Mike Rizzo might do it differently if he had it to do over again, and he might also take Trout instead of Storen, too. Sometimes all the sabermatics and all of the scouts eyes don't get it right.

  103. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Brad Lidge and M. Gonzalez were both risky pickups. One worked out, one didn't. Based on that percent, I don't see spending millions of dollars on any one over-30 "specialist" relievers, especially this early in the year.

  104. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    JayB….the Chapman deal was a CLOSED BID! The Nats were second. $30 Million is just stupid for a reliever.Please be factual.

  105. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    @ Feel WoodIf Vazquez signs for anything more than a Minor League contract, that team will likely be more desperate for a starting pitcher than the Nats are. What the Nats need is pitching depth, especially starters. Then again, with Rizzo, we can never be sure about anything.

  106. Rabbit34 - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    If not getting Howell costs us a World Series, we didn't deserve the World Series in the first place. Forget about it. No prob.

  107. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Yes I know that and that is why I asked him after the fact…He said he did not regret not bidding higher….he said Chapman was not worth it and that Maya was a better choice for this team….that is an example of Rizzo after the fact holding on to the concept that he will never pay more than what he thinks a player is worth. He could have said yes….we lost out…if I had known the price was X I would have bid X =1…..but he did not say that….he said Maya was a better value. Maya value is 0.

  108. JayB - Jan 5, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    X+1

  109. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Kenz, right on Vazquez. But I hope there will be others like him that come along after teams have set their major-league rosters, and who are willing to sign a minor-league deal.

  110. sjm308 - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Some really good stuff this afternoon (and morning).I also like the varied opinions and learn much more that way. I will say that Mick is starting the new year out with a bunch of negativity. How do you know Rizzo is arrogant?? Why is sticking to his plan of 2 years with LaRoche blowing it? Mick, we have less than 2 months, just relax. Are you upset with the Lerners or Rizzo, you bounced around there so I wasn't sure. So much angst over the 25th spot on the roster and a position (first base) that is going to be strong no matter which of the 3 guys ends up there.Not a basketball blog but I was at the Terps game and the crowd was not that loud but it did look like a sell-out. We totally dominated Va. Tech but I am not convinced we are a sweet 16 team just yet. I do think we will be back in the tourney for the first time in several years and that will be a good thing.1. Washington Nationals2. Baseball3. Maryland Terp Basketball4. NCAA Basketball5. That pointy ball thing

  111. DaveB - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    JayB … I think Rizzo would gladly agree with you that his approach is to stay disciplined and not pay more than a player is "worth" (in his assessment) just because the market is going higher on an individual player. Sometimes he'll be right with that and sometimes wrong, but it works for him over the long term. I think his approach to LH relievers probably indicates that he thinks he'll be able to find someone he likes in the $1-2M range instead of the $2-4M range that Howell / Gonzales went for. Lots of opportunities still ahead as teams make their final cuts in ST, need to free up 40 man space for final FA acquisitions, etc.. He might also feel that all is not lost if we try Bray (et al) for awhile and then need to make a trade deadline pickup for the playoff run.

  112. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:23 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said…"Sorry, Kenz — I watched Tyler Moore crash into the LF wall twelve feet away from the baseball. Not sure who you were watching."I saw that play too. Still he was never charged with an error. I was speaking overall, not specifics and as much as I like Moore, I want him at first, not the outfield.

  113. NatsLady - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Boston may want Vazquez more than the Nats, at this point. The Royals probably do, too, but they are not on the East Coast.http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/31888/red-sox-havent-improved-rotation-enough

  114. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Joe Seamhead said…"Kenz…… I do disagree with you on Tyler in the OF."Sorry, but remind me again, what part of the outfield is first base located? I never once said I wanted Moore playing the outfield, but that he basically did a decent job when he was throw out there.

  115. DaveB - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    Looks like Rangers are signing Lance Berkman. I think that probably takes away whatever potential interest they had in ALR. Boston might now be his last good opportunity, so if that gets resolved with Napoli, he might be coming back to the Nats happy to take whatever 2 year offer is available.

  116. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Kenz, it's no big deal, but what I what I was disagreeing with was your statement at 2:06 p.m."He showed himself to be more than adequate in the outfield."

  117. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:34 PM

    Kenz — The Babe Ruth statue in CF in Yankee Stadium has never been charged with an error, either. That doesn't mean it should start every day in LF. I like Moore, really, and for a guy with a rep as a butcher @ 1B his imitation of an outfielder was OK. Even though he has confounded the pundits at every level, he is still a "project," as the football people say whenever they see a 6'4", 320# lineman. His 170 major league ABs is about 300 less than I'd like to see before making him my everyday 1B.

  118. Kenz aFan - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Joe, Tyler Moore was no better or worse than Michael Morse, who I also don't like watching play the outfield. Moore got to balls no one ever thought he would, and came far short of some catches that fans expected him to make. The same can be said for Morse. Both are better suited for first base and shouldn't be playing the outfield except in an emergency.

  119. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Well, Kenz, we must agree to disagree regarding Tyler if the OF. As to first base, I saw the same thing you did then in that he had appearances in 14 games for a total of 69 innings played at first. For me, it wasn't enough for me to get a strong feeling of him at first, though I do agree that he seemed more comfortable playing there.Thanks for your feedback, and to NatsJack also.

  120. sjm308 - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    With the roster we have this year we should not have to see either Morse or Moore in the outfield unless of the dreaded injury bug. Werth, Span, Harper and Bernadina should get the majority of time.I started talking about keeping Morse months ago but the closer we come to having LaRoche take the two year deal the more I realize that he just won't get the at bats here. I really don't want to give him up for a relief pitcher and prospects as others have suggested and I am of course, not sure how Rizzo will handle this, but with LaRoche back even for two years it really does limit Tyler Moore's progress. I do know that whatever Rizzo does will be both applauded and criticized. What a job??

  121. sjm308 - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Very poor editing on my part "unless of course we get hit by the dreaded injury bug"

  122. Feel Wood - Jan 5, 2013 at 8:57 PM

    When LaRoche signs somewhere else, will it be because Rizzo lost out on him or because Rizzo didn't want him in the first place?

  123. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Six weeks from Monday until catchers and pitchers report.Then we go through all of spring training. Wow! Seems like an eternity until opening day.

  124. Candide - Jan 5, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said…Joe….Tyler has improved iimmensely at first but he's no ALR.Is this scenario plausible? Apologies if it's been bruited about before…LaRoche walks, Morse takes 1B as a perfectly adequate replacement, for one year. Moore goes to Syracuse for the season, learns 1B there. Then he comes up in 2014 as the regular 1B when Morse walks after 2013. Nats get a 1st-round draft pick in 2014 for ALR, and 2015 for Morse.Still leaves you with a 5-man infield with Zimm/Rendon at 3B, Lombo and Espi up the middle, and Moore/Zimm at 1B.Though I can think of much worse problems to have…

  125. John C. - Jan 5, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Moore doesn't need to go to Syracuse to learn to play 1b; he's been playing first the past few years in the minors. Besides, Syracuse has a 1b already (Marrero). Now you might want him to get better at LF there, but any improvement at first is likely to be incremental.

  126. D'Gourds - Jan 5, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    EVERYTHING depends on ALR. There's no use in overpaying for a left handed specialist if we end up signing Adam and can trade Morse. We really have just two needs 1) a lefty power hitting 1b and 2) a left handed specialist. Signing ALR will get us both via trading Morse. It bothers me when people comment on how "cheap" the Lerners are. JayB says they make a huge profit on the Nats. How do you know that? They have the worst tv deal in mlb. Attendance is average. It's a business! There has to be limits. And they certainly have been generous to Werth, Zimmerman, Haren, Gio, etc.

  127. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    John C, assuming at least for this year the OF is Werth in RF, Span in CF, and Harper in LF, who is going to tell Bryce that he's sitting? Davey may play Tyler in the OF to get his bat in the lineup, but we really do have logjam out there. Give Mike Rizzo credit for this "problem."

  128. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:08 PM

    Alot of people here don't know it's not time to worry about anything.

  129. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    NatsJack,.the same people worry about the obtuse angle of their free bobblehead.Rizzo has a plan. I slept well last night.

  130. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:29 PM

    So did I.

  131. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Youse guys are killin' me!

  132. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Additions of Denard Span and Dan Haren with Wilson Ramos is like 3 new pickups. Morse to 1st base and Bray to the bullpen.Only loss I miss is Sean Burnett.

  133. Joe Seamhead - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    I just realized that the Nats drafted Tyler Moore 3 times. I wonder if that's a team record?

  134. Exposremains - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    I could see Detwiler as a force in the bullpen and an emergency starter while they sign Loshe or Vasquez. Maybe a small possibility but not impossible.

  135. waddu eye no - Jan 5, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    seamhead : "someone keeps putting another quarter in the jukebox and playing the same damned song over, and over, and over again."i used to love doing that. until they stopped serving me drinks.gyfng

  136. Section 222 - Jan 5, 2013 at 11:13 PM

    There were one or two media reports about a month ago that said the Nats were interested in Howell. Then, nothing. You talk about Howell being on the Nats' radar screen all that time. If he was that important to them, why were there no reports of them getting closer to a deal?Oh really? How about this?December 19And this.December 28And this.January 3You may think I enjoy checking your factual statements so I can respond to your arguments, but I don't. I'd much rather you just told the truth.I never said the Nats were close to a deal with Howell, just that they were interested in him. And numerous reports of Howell's deal with the Dodgers indicated that the Nats had been talking to him. Besides, before you were saying that media reports on these things weren't worth anything and now you're asking why there weren't more media reports of the Nats being close to a deal. Sorry, but that makes no sense.

  137. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 5, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Me and Gator John are watching NFL footall just waitimg for mid February. Let sense start Feb. 15th.

  138. UnkyD - Jan 5, 2013 at 11:34 PM

    In all fairness, 222, there didn't ever seem to be much about a deal, or even any talks w/ Howell. I recall Howell being quoted as to how he'd love to be here, and then some writer or other talking about the Nat's "radar"… No real sourcing, so I never got the impression they were much interested..,

  139. NatsLady - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:03 AM

    Wow, $11 million for Lance Berkman??? I guess that talked him out of retirement.

  140. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    Section 222 said… There were one or two media reports about a month ago that said the Nats were interested in Howell. Then, nothing. You talk about Howell being on the Nats' radar screen all that time. If he was that important to them, why were there no reports of them getting closer to a deal? Oh really? How about this? December 19 And this. December 28 And this. January 3Sorry, but Boswell, SBNation et al rehashing the same old thing, i.e. "Nats are interested in Howell" just doesn't cut it. If there were quotes from Rizzo, Howell, and/or Howell's agent, then maybe it would be worth paying attention to. But there weren't.The same thing applies with LaRoche. Just because Kilgore or Zuckerman say something every other day that the Nats might sign LaRoche, that doesn't mean he's still on their radar screen. The news cycle demands that these guys produce something constantly. But that doesn't make the stuff they produce news.

  141. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    Joe Seamhead said… I just realized that the Nats drafted Tyler Moore 3 times. I wonder if that's a team record?Probably. The Nats signed Mike Stanton as a FA, traded him to the Red Sox for prospects, signed him again as a FA, and traded him again for prospects. That's also probably a team record.Unfortunately, it was the pitcher Mike Stanton, not Giancarlo.

  142. Gonat - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    Exposremains said… I could see Detwiler as a force in the bullpen and an emergency starter while they sign Loshe or Vasquez. Maybe a small possibility but not impossible.______________________The Nats will not be taking Lohse and giving up their Draft Pick and Vasquez does give the Nats options.

  143. peric - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    that is an example of Rizzo after the fact holding on to the concept that he will never pay more than what he thinks a player is worth.My impression was the Rizzo saw Maya as a younger version of Livan. Livan could still get hitters out at that point and was a viable starting pitcher. Imagine a younger version with better velocity? Maya features a similar repertoire of pitches but as I pointed out he has lost the ability to hit the strike zone. He is just under 2 to 1 strikes to balls. Compare that to Harren who has similar velocity and as many pitches at his command who has a 4 strikes for ever ball ratio. That's going after hitters instead of "nibbling". Perhaps Maya began nibbling when he lost the velocity on his high inside heat that he used as a strike out pitch? Who knows?But Chapman has yet to prove he is a viable starter JayB. And Maya was the better bet if you are looking for starters and inning eaters and at the time the Nats were. Now, you could make a case that the Nats player development people are better than the Reds, and that perhaps Chapman would have become a reliable, consistent starter and pitcher if Rizzo had won the bid? But it was a closed bid so? Yes, International signings are an issue with the Nats. But that is one case where they put everything out to sign the player. They just guessed wrong.

  144. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    No answer for my Mattheue Garcia commemt, geius?

  145. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    Nats jack – you hitting the sauce or typing on a tiny little phone ?

  146. UnkyD - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:56 AM

    HaHa… :)

  147. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    He's channeling his inner JayB.

  148. Joe Seamhead - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    Thanks, Swami, I thought my monitor was getting slurry…

  149. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    OK…listening to Jefferson Airplane.. Go Ask Alice.

  150. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 1:57 AM

    Going into Roy Orbinson next.

  151. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    OK…hitting the sauce AND listening to "Oldies"

  152. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:12 AM

    Life in the fast lane, NatsJack!

  153. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    ay 65……I considet tjhis the medium lane.

  154. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:17 AM

    at

  155. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Listening to Cousin Brucie.

  156. SonnyG10 - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:24 AM

    Just signed up to get my Washington Nationals Virginia license plates.

  157. waddu eye no - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:33 AM

    nats jack (and other old nooyawkers :http://www.musicradio77.com/miscella.html6th clip down for the four seasons singing the cousin bruce theme.

  158. Gonat - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… NatsJack,.the same people worry about the obtuse angle of their free bobblehead.Rizzo has a plan. I slept well last night. January 05, 2013 5:22 PM _________________________________Sleep well! I'm heading out!

  159. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    Raise your hand if you are not watching pointy ball.

  160. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    *raising*

  161. sjm308 - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    Me as well!!

  162. SonnyG10 - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    "raising"

  163. Nattering Nat - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    OK, it's late in this discussion, and there aren't many folks left posting. But I'll try just one. I was concerned when I read the news today about Howell, and I came here for an explanation and some solace. No definitive explanation, but I got solace.Thanks, NatsJack, for helping me remember, for the umpteenth time, that Rizzo always has fallbacks. I don't really know how interested he was in Howell, but the one thing I DO know is that virtually every singing and trade Rizzo has made has NOT been in the media ahead of time.I also appreciate being reminded that it is January 5, not March or April. I therefore promise not to hyperventilate about the lack of a LH specialist until at least then.And let us all remember this day, Jan 5, if and when Rizzo announces something in February or March concerning a LH reliever.

  164. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    Ah- baseball talk. You all will get me through the dark times after all. Baseball next month!!!

  165. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    raising my hand, too

  166. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    watching godfather I instead of nfl.

  167. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    Strong choice.

  168. peric - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    No answer for my Mattheue Garcia commemt, geius?Kind of the same answer as to how first talked about Nate Karns? Before he had surgery. Before he disappeared and kept asking where he went?The same guy who saw Morse both with Seattle's AAA and then the Chiefs and said he would mash if he was brought up?Natsjack just because you live in Florida doesn't mean you are privy to all baseball knowledge and last I looked and you can check it ** I DID predict the Nats would win the NL East *** and gave an explanation at to why when Mark made his predictions.

  169. peric - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:43 AM

    Just ask NationalsProspects Luke Erickson better yet Nats Jack Mr. Baseball ask Brian Oliver. Not everyone always likes what I say but I have been right and you've been dead wrong on great number of occasions wise guy.

  170. Section 222 - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    Ok great, I get it . Rather than read Kolko, SBNation, and Federal Baseball, what you need to do is read the comment section of NatsInsider and Feel Wood will tell you what's going on, since he has a mind meld with Rizzo and knows, absolutely for sure, what Rizzo is going to do. Good, that will save me a lot of time.!

  171. nats guy - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Peric,Matt Antonelli, Seth Bynum, JD Martin, Jorge Padilla. Think about it.

  172. John C. - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:28 AM

    Hey Kenzafan, sorry I missed your comment when I checked in earlier (it's a long thread and a small phone). I don't want to keep anyone from stating their opinion; heck, we're all baseball fans here. I do respect some opinions more than others – I like reasoned discourse, sourced opinions, and a certain sense of perspective. I don't like personal insults. But as Voltaire once said: "I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." On the merits, I agree that Burnett has been a regular, valued member of the late inning crew – I'm just not convinced that Stammen (who is very tough on LH hitters) can't step very nicely into the 7th inning. Returning with Stammen are Storen, Clippard, Mattheus and (potentially) Garcia. That's pretty good. Sure, I'm hoping that Bray pitches the way he did in 2010 and 2011 – but if the Nats had signed Howell (or Mike Gonzalez, for that matter), I'd really be hoping that he pitched the way he did in 2012 and not the way he pitched in 2011. None of these moves are guaranteed to work. And I disagree strongly that Gorzelanny was ever more than the "lost cause" inning eater in the bullpen – although I'm no fan of Zach Duke, he can easily pitch just as effectively as Gorzelanny in that role.

  173. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Seconded.Faraz Shaikh said… watching godfather I instead of nfl. January 05, 2013 10:31 PM baseballswami said… Strong choice. January 05, 2013 10:37 PM

  174. Feel Wood - Jan 6, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Section 222 said… Ok great, I get it . Rather than read Kolko, SBNation, and Federal Baseball, what you need to do is read the comment section of NatsInsider and Feel Wood will tell you what's going on, since he has a mind meld with Rizzo and knows, absolutely for sure, what Rizzo is going to do. Good, that will save me a lot of time.!Again, you miss the point entirely. Read anything and everything you want to, but do so with a critical eye. Give the most credence to direct quotes from players, managers, GMs, agents, etc. Give less credence to stuff like "according to a baseball source…." Learn to recognize when reporters are just picking up on speculation from other reporters and repeating it days or weeks later, and when they are actually providing new information. Realize that statements like "so-and-so and so-and-so are close to a deal" have a half life. The longer it goes with no deal or no other news after those statements are made, the less chance there will be a deal.If you do these things, you won't know every move Rizzo is going to make before he makes it. No one does, including me. But you won't find yourself surprised or angry when deals you thought for sure were going to be made don't happen – like you were in the Howell situation.

  175. Section 222 - Jan 6, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    Thanks for that reading lesson Feel. What would I do without you to instruct me on how to form my opinion? If you read my original post, I wasn't surprised or angry. There are 29 other teams so I never get too excited over any possible FA signing. Nor do I get angry about any move the team makes. It's just a game and I freely confess that Rizzo knows more than I do.If you read my original comments, I was disappointed we because I thought Howell was the best LH option out there to replace Burnett, whose contribution last year and over his entire time in DC was significant. And I guessed, based on the reporting that I read, that the Nats were taking a serious look at him and that they passed because they felt the price had become too steep. Maybe I was wrong about that. I don't know for sure, obviously. But neither do you.

  176. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Right now, the Nats BP looks to me like Storen, Clippard, Mattheus, Stammen, Duke, Bray and (ugh!) Rodriguez. I think they are serious enough about Garcia as a starter that he will at least start the season in the rotation in Syracuse, unless/until (a) he gets rocked in ST (in which case he goes back to AAA as a reliever); (b) there is an injury in the BP; (c) Rodriguez injures somebody, maybe one of his teammates. Bray will be on an early-season tryout. If he makes it through April/early May, picking up another LH RP will be less urgent — they've made it through seasons, e.g., 2010, with only two LHs in the BP before (though that season didn't turn out so well, for a no. of reasons). There simply are no remaining LH RP FAs (worth having). The only possibility is trade. Morse, I think, has too much value to be squandered on a short-term LH BP fix; they need to get prospects for, whether they fill a current roster need or not. The right price for a serviceable LH reliever is Bernadina, whose trade value right now is higher than it will ever be. The Nats decided long ago he isn't an everyday player — lesser teams may want to find out for themselves. He won't get nearly as many ABs w/ the current OF alignment; neither will he be a frequent defensive replacement, nor the prime LH PH off the bench. My longshot LH RP remains — if healthy — Matt Purke. They're burning the second year of his 4-year deal if they leave him in the minors all season. So low pressure relief appearances w/ the big club would help him transition to a role as a starter, a la David Price. Assuming he begins the year at Potomac, he'll probably have a number of three+-inning starts; see where he is on June 15.

  177. BigCat - Jan 6, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    Put me in the JayB camp. Sooner or later you have to spend money. We should of signed Burnett and we should of locked up Laroche 2 weeks after the WS. Its almost like Rizzo enjoys this back and forth bargaining. If Laroche walks, we are in trouble

  178. A Strong Package for Gorse Hackage! - Jan 6, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Put me in the JayB camp.Just be sure you report to camp in the best shape of your life. I hear he's really strict.

  179. Joe Seamhead - Jan 6, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    My kingdom for a new post…

  180. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:16 PM

    Oh,yes. Even though today is a big NFL day and hockey is back. (!). I would talk baseball or watch baseball right now over anything else.

  181. peric - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    Peric,Matt Antonelli, Seth Bynum, JD Martin, Jorge Padilla. Think about it.No, that just serves to prove my point Natsguy. I watch these guys carefully. Once they get to AAA they are technically ready for major league baseball and serve to provide AAA depth.Seth Bynum I thought deserved a cup of coffee in the majors. That's it.Jorge Padilla was hitting better than pretty much anyone else at the AAA level AND THE NATS WERE pathetic remember Natsguy? Damned cretinson this site always love to take things out of context. Would Padilla be someone who would fit on this team now? Of course not. But what about a team that is entrenched in the cellar? As for Antonelli I thought he was a pretty good player and this was before the young prospects the Nats do have started to hit. Hitting was pathetic. Again, see Nats deep in cellar with no hope of getting out. The same with JD Martin who's makeup, so-called, was way off the chart. Lannan posted a video of the guy making a full court set shot. Martin was a tough competitor whose TJ surgery didn't yield the benefits everyone would have liked to see. But he damned well did the best with what he had.And let's face it the Nats did not have a starting rotation then they had a JOKE that Bowden had constructed.Think about it Natsguy. You're the one with the serious problem dude.

  182. peric - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Put me in the JayB camp. Sooner or later you have to spend money. We should of signed Burnett and we should of locked up Laroche 2 weeks after the WS.Burnett is on his way down … as is Howell. So, too, probably is LaRoche at age 33.I don't see spending money on them. Now Berkman the switch hitter? Maybe. But at his age its still a big gamble. C'mon people think! In the end getting Bray back is probably going to be a good move and just as he acquired Burnett Rizzo will find a way to acquire another lefty or two for the bullpen

  183. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  184. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  185. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  186. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    Personally, I always try to do that.C'mon people think!

  187. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Good one !!!

  188. nats guy - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Peric,Every time you get caught in your mistakes you strike out with name calling. I was merely pointing out that you are not perfect as you sometimes seem to think. Cut out the name calling it is very childish. But I suspect you will do it again. Surprise me and and don't do it again, to me or anyone else.

  189. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Any Nats Classics on MASN this week? Desperate. ……

  190. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    fwiw, and probably related more to semantics than to anything else, that sounds to me more like giving the opinions of some folks more *weight* than those of others due to the factors mentioned below. That is a reasoned and reasonable approach, imo. It's also reasonable to respect the opinions of others, or at least their right to express them, which I think you are saying you do as well. Anyway. Just another natsfan1a pinch-lipped editorial type musing on terminology. Thanks for reading, those of you who do or did. Er, is it time for baseball yet?John C. said…I don't want to keep anyone from stating their opinion; heck, we're all baseball fans here. I do respect some opinions more than others – I like reasoned discourse, sourced opinions, and a certain sense of perspective. I don't like personal insults. But as Voltaire once said: "I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

  191. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Before the new season starts- could we just try to disagree without the personal attacks and name calling? I often beg to differ with certain opinions, for example, with anyone who criticizes JZim or the "other rookies". I reserve the right to be a homer about some things without bring called unintelligent. It's part of being a fan to have stars in your eyes and hope in your heart. I don 't care if I am technically wrong, leave me to my delusions. Life, baseball or the Cardinals will crush my dreams soon enough.

  192. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Rizzo has done a good job, but as for getting a lefty, he has been to conservative and Burnette, Gonzalez and now Howell were squndered. I guess Bill Bray will com, but that is a step down.

  193. Manassas Nats' Fan - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Rizzo has done a good job, but as for getting a lefty, he has been to conservative and Burnette, Gonzalez and now Howell were squndered. I guess Bill Bray will com, but that is a step down.

  194. natsfan1a - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Well said, swami. (stoopid Cardinals…grrrr)

  195. UnkyD - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    "Should of"?……. What does that even mean…?

  196. NatsJim - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Swami, don't be a moron – you know that will never happen… 8Pbaseballswami said…Before the new season starts- could we just try to disagree without the personal attacks and name calling?

  197. baseballswami - Jan 6, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    NatsJim—- :)

  198. Candide - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Now that the Redsins are out of the playoffs, Desi tweeted, "Baseball on deck."Would you believe there was no #GYFNG hashtag until a couple of minutes ago?

  199. baseballswami - Jan 7, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    First, some long awaited hockey to fill some space before Spring Training. Then —-play ball !!!!!!!

  200. natsfan1a - Jan 7, 2013 at 1:11 AM

    42 days, 11 hours, 48 minutes, and 30 seconds, give or take a few. Maybe we need a Nats Fest countdown clock, too. :-)

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 55 44 --
ATLANTA 55 46 1.0
NEW YORK 48 53 8.0
MIAMI 47 52 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 43 57 12.5
Through Wednesday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
THU: OFF
FRI: Nats at Reds, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Reds, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Reds, 1:10 p.m.
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

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