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LaRoche on returning to the Nats

Jan 9, 2013, 10:26 PM EDT

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Adam LaRoche signed a two-year, $24 million contract yesterday.

Adam LaRoche held a conference call this afternoon to discuss his decision to re-sign with the Nationals for two years and a guaranteed $24 million. Here's a full transcript for your reading enjoyment…

Q: What made you decide to re-sign with the Nationals and what kind of offers did you get from other teams?
"I don't mind you asking, but as far as the other teams go, I'm going to keep this out of the discussion. You guys probably have an idea who some of them are, but the offers from other teams and some of the teams that were involved, I'm going to stay away from. I can say that the reason it took as long as it did — and there are a couple of them — but one of the big ones was I fighting to do what I could to get back to Washington. I made that very clear at the end of the season that this is where I wanted to be. And honestly as far as my personal preference throughout the offseason, that never changed.

"Now, there were points in the offseason where I thought that it may not happen, it may not be realistic to end up back inRead more »

  1. Section 222 - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    This is so much fun to read!

  2. Don - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    Love me some ALR.

  3. NCNatsie - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Class guy. What's the sabermetric for that?

  4. BigCat - Jan 9, 2013 at 10:46 PM

    i think Werth loves leading off. Does anyone have his average in the leadoff spot compared to the others spots in the lineup?

  5. snopes1 - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    I'm not predicting this by any means, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the surplus outfielder who is traded turn out to be Denard Span rather than Michael Morse. Putting aside outmoded ideas about the "type" of player who should hit leadoff, it seems pretty obvious that an outfield of Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, and Michael Morse would be far more valuable offensively than a Werth/Harper/Span outfield (just look at OPS's). There would be some defensive loss if Morse is kept instead of Span, but it wouldn't be nearly enough to offset the additional runs lost by moving Morse. Span is better than Harper in CF, but Harper was getting better and better as the season progressed, so I don't think you'd give away much there. And while Harper is much better defensively than Morse, the importance of defense isn't nearly as great in LF as it is in CF.It wouldn't surprise me if Rizzo signed Span to give the team leverage in its negotiations with LaRoche. With that mission accomplished, he might now flip Span for a prospect (in essence trading Alex Meyer for another prospect and the return of Adam LaRoche). It would certainly be a popular move in the clubhouse.My preferred lineup:1 – Jayson Werth2 – Bryce Harper3 – Ryan Zimmerman4 – Michael Morse5 – Adam LaRoche6 – Ian Desmond7 – Wilson Ramos (flip 7 and 8 when Suzuki starts)8 – Danny Espinosa

  6. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Snopes….All I can do is shake my head.

  7. peric - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    If they did decide to keep Morse, Span and Werth could both have someone breathing down their necks … might be a good thing perhaps?

  8. peric - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Ramos might not be ready when spring training rolls around … he might end up doing some rehab assignment after Florida. Pencil Suzuki in.

  9. peric - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:14 PM

    Snopes….All I can do is shake my head.If Span becomes somewhat ineffective or inconsistent like Morgan (another Rizzo / FO choice) and Morse is tearing it up somewhere else?What do you think everyone is going to say genius?

  10. Unknown - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Imagine if the Nationals were an AL team or the NL adopts the DH. I do not like the DH, but, man, the Nats would be heck on wheels! Line up of Werth, Harper, Zim, LaRoche, Morse, Desmond, Espinosa, Suzuki and Ramos, Span and Davey able to match up pitchers without worrying about burning his bench. Oh, my!Anyway, I hope they keep Morse or get a huge return. Nice problems to have. Remember the old problems? Lannan or Oldalis Perez as #1 starter?These are the good old days!

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    Still shaking my head but now snickering.

  12. Gonat - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    I can't believe what I read here some days. That $10 mill contract for LARoche allows Riz the flexibility to keep Morse but he isn't trading Span this season.

  13. natsfan1a - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    "I've got a barn out at the ranch, we've got a weight room and a cage."Wait, he's doing cage matches to get in shape? What, oh, for batting. Never mind…Anyway, nice piece, Mark. Thanks.

  14. UnkyD - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Breathtaking, Snopes…… I'm buying none of that nonsense…. Sure, Rizzo trades his best pitching prospect for a CF he's been publicly interested in for two years, as a ruse to wrestle ALR back into the fold, thinking he can flip Span for a comparable prospect, broadcasting to the free agent population, now and on the future, that he'll whisper ANYTHING in your ear, in order to callously use you work down the price of another player…….. Did you devote ANY time to thinking that one through?! As I said….breathtaking….

  15. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:56 PM

    Still snickering.

  16. UnkyD - Jan 9, 2013 at 11:58 PM

    Oh, I'd also love the rational behind the bit about that being a popular move, in the clubhouse…. Mikey is certainly popular, but Span seems like a really cool cat, from the little I've heard since the deal. The clubhouse would be pleased to find that such cold calculations are made…..Breathtaking….

  17. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:04 AM

    hmmm…ran that trade scenario through the snopes.com urban legends database, but came up with nada. :-)

  18. Joe Seamhead - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    Snopes, if Rizzo had never made the trade for Span I would have been happy with Morse as the primary leftfielder with Harp in CF. Once the Span trade happened that whole scenario went out the window. Would Morse put up more offense then Span? No question, of course he would. Is the lineup as a whole superior with Span leading off, sans Morse? I believe it will be. I really think that the Nats will score more runs, and wear other pitchers down more with Span leading off. Rizzo must think so, too. The only thing that Span and Morgan have in common that I see is that they both are lefthanded hitters and they are both African Americans. Nyjer Morgan was awarded centerfield by default when he got here, as he was better then anybody else we had at the time. Today, that Nyjer Morgan would be DFA on this team. I will give you that if Morse is traded he probably will put up great numbers wherever he goes. Folks, Span, barring injury, will play centerfield and will be the everyday leadoff hitter. Anything else thrown out on this blog is fantasy babbleball, and no, Ryan Zimmerman will not play first base for the Nationals, barring injury, no matter what Rendon does, at least not before the 2015 season, IMHO.

  19. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    One other major difference between Morgan and Span. One has a ML contract that covers him for 2 more years + an option and the other is looking for work.

  20. SCNatsFan - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    peric I don't know why you have it in for Span but Rizzo did not get him to sit him on the bench – period. And Lord knows we didn't give up Meyer to trade him. Like all players he will have to produce to be in the lineup but he will be given every opportunity to stay in the lineup.

  21. TheManBearPig - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:21 AM

    Cat, Werth's OBP was .388 hitting leadoff in 2012 (best among NL leadoff hitters, although he had just under 150 AB as a leadoff hitter). Too few AB in any other slot to be a big enough sample size to tell, but he's unlike a lot of other players in that his OBP over the last 3 years is a little better with bases empty than with runers on, and even a little better than that when he's leading off an inning. So, even if Werth isn't the typical leadoff hitter, he's very good in that slot. He'll probably fill the #2 slot just about as well. It will be good to have opposing pitchers throw 12+/- pitches in the 1st inning before they see the #3 hitter.

  22. Unknown - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:25 AM

    "Desi and Espi…"I love how the baseball world gives you a nickname and it remains part of you forever.By the second day of my covering the Nationals last May, everyone started calling me "Rush." "Hey Davey, this is Rush, he's from Idaho." "Hey Bryce, this is Rush of the Idaho State Journal."Even the emails were "Dear Rush…"There is something about baseball where everyone associated with the team–no matter how unimportant–is part of that team through and through.Way cool.Farid Rushdi@ Idaho

  23. JayB - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:26 AM

    This was a very good move and very important to winning WS. Thank you Lerners, Rizzo and Davey

  24. JayB - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    Morgan should learn from Lastings…..Japan is where they can shine…..for some reason that fan base values their show boat act.

  25. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    JayB…..do they have professional ice hockey in Japan.Morgan needs all the options he can get.

  26. TheManBearPig - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:32 AM

    It's not hard to be a skeptic about the Span deal if you're a Nats fan who hasn't watched him a lot – based on past numbers, you could reasonably (albeit a bit pessimistically) project him to be a .330-ish OBP hitter, which would be a disappointment. But I'm guessing that Rizzo knows something that tells him Span is on his way back to being the .380+ OBP hitter he was before his injury. Maybe Span in/Morse out is still a net loss offensively, but it's probably more likely a wash. IMO, it's more likely that ALR instead of Morse is a net loss offensively, but that's only because I think Morse is going to have a beastly walk year, not because I think ALR's production is going to drop off a lot.

  27. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:37 AM

    Wow,, just spit my glass of wine out… JoeS.. yup, that hole Ryan Z to 1b just took a little hit. I believe the prediction was that he would be at 1b full time by end of 2013.I think Rizzo does right by Beast and trades him (as much as I would love to keep him for the bench or emergency). He deserves a starting job, it's his FA year and he only has ONE SHOT at a big/good contract. Plus, Tyler is on the bench and Tarasco can work with him on the OF Skills.

  28. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:38 AM

    BTW.. Bryce will be at Nats Fest

  29. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:02 AM

    OT, but can someone explain the whole than/then confusion thing? I don't remember ever seeing it until a few years ago, and now it's all over the place. WTH?

  30. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Hey LOOK a LOOGY Candidate:Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosiFree agent LHP Brandon Mann signs minor-league deal with #Nats including invite to ML camp, according to agent Steve Canter.

  31. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    and more info (rizzo looking for diamond in the rough):Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosiMann pitched in Rays and Dodgers farm systems and for Yokohama Bay Stars in Japan last two seasons.

  32. BigCat - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:09 AM

    I will hate to see the big galoot Morse traded. I to would be fine without Span, but Riz has something for those speedy CF's that lead off. And he is tremendous on D. But knowing Harper's work ethic, it probably wouldn't be long before he was one of the top CF in the game also. But, it is what it is. Im gonna miss those booming shots to right center from Mike. I hope we hold him till the end of spring to guard against injury though.Nyjer? Good God…..good riddance

  33. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    WOW!!!!Ken Rosenthal‏@Ken_RosenthalSource: #Nationals GM Mike Rizzo is in Puerto Rico tonight watching Javier Vazquez pitch.

  34. sm13 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:19 AM

    Adam is total class. Easy to see why Rizzo worked to get him back. You've got to feel for Morse, though. I hope the trade happens soon for his sake.

  35. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:32 AM

    What else is there to do in Puerto Rico?

  36. TimDz - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    I don't see Morse being traded immediately…a lot of what is being written about him is that the Nats shouldn't expect to get too much for a guy who is a free agent at the end of the year…Personally, I think Rizzo will sit back for a while and let the potential suitors play off each other to extract the best possible deal…

  37. Joe Seamhead - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    JayB, just curious, how do you think the Nats should handle Morse now that ALR is re-signed?

  38. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:55 AM

    Jon Morosi‏@jonmorosiFree agent LHP Brandon Mann signs minor-league deal with #Nats including invite to ML camp, according to agent Steve Canter.So whatever happened to Sean West coming here?

  39. baseballswami - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:56 AM

    It's such a relief to talk about something other than the hof. Only a month or so to go! Can't wait!

  40. MurrayTheRed - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    Gee Adam didn't mention MicheleS's offer of the side of beef – must of slipped his mind. ;) I was actually reading carefully to see if he mentioned it! Snopes1, Peric that is some really crazy conspiracy theory stuff. No way. I predict a trade announcement for Morse in the next 48 hours. I love Morse in more ways then you know, and hope it all works out best for him. Allow me to tell a story I think you all will like. I fellow season ticket holder sits near us, and almost always brings his small son even to late night games. They are big Morse fans, and call out to him every time he's in the on-deck circle. Most players never look into nor acknowledge the fans when they are on-deck. Morse is not one of those (Werth also, he always scans the crowd like he's looking for someone). Most of the time Morse gives the kid or his dad a head-bob. One day late last year, before the start of the game, he called the boy over and handed him a bat. Not just any bat but one of the ones that are custom made for Morse, not cheap. Morse signed it with an inscription that read: "Couldn't have done it without you!" Wow, what a guy. You should have seen the father, he showed that bat to me with a smile that was ear to ear. And immediately went to the team store to buy one of those protective clear tubes to store it in. Morse deserves an every day job, and should get a big contract next off-season.

  41. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:36 AM

    So whatever happened to Sean West coming here?Potential AAA / AA org filler left-handed starter. Former 1st round pick of the Marlins. I don't think he pitched last year in the minors or majors. Perhaps Japan? He didn't get an invite to major league camp as far as I know.

  42. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:37 AM

    Personally, I think Rizzo will sit back for a while and let the potential suitors play off each other to extract the best possible deal…Or injuries happen … sometimes fairly early in the year. He has two guys in the middle 30's in LaRoche and Werth … so …

  43. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    peric said… Looks like Rizzo picked up another left hander and this one is only 26: Sean West January 08, 2013 8:00 PM OK. so this was?

  44. baseballswami - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    I seriously doubt it.

  45. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Boy Boz didn't even use his "flame-on" rhetoric … in fact it was quite sympathetic yet he still managed to neatly slice and dice Shanahan in his veg-o-matic for not doing for him what Rizzo did for Strasburg.Rizzo/Davey/the Lerners rise and Shanahan/Snyder fall. As it should be.Class versus a scum bucket franchise.

  46. sometimesitrains - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    just to echo what others have said, ALR is such a class act; and having him back with the team for the next two years is such a boon.(P.S. Unknown — don't even jest about the NL adopting the DH. :shuuders: .)

  47. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    OK. so this was?Same guy. He's a starter NOT a LOOGY replacement part. At least not yet, not until player development gets him. He may end up as a pseudo prospect in that respect given his age. They may try to work with him the way they did with Erik Davis. Or he might not even make the team.

  48. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    Unknown is Farid from Idaho.

  49. SCNatsFan - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    Someone smarter then me explain this… where would we fit Vazquez? He isn't going to AAA or pitch long relief.

  50. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    Someone smarter then me explain this… where would we fit Vazquez? He isn't going to AAA or pitch long relief.THAT IS the million dollar question. He was good enough before he retired to command a major league contract. Still might. Is he better than Harren? Possibly. Interesting turn of events I must say!

  51. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    @TopProspectAlert: Javier Vazquez continues pitch like it's a decade ago. He went 6IP, 1ER, 6H, 1BB, 10K tonight in Puerto Rico Playoff action.

  52. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:07 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  53. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    "He looked great, in very good shape": Mike Rizzo, @Nats GM on Javier Vazquez performance tonight at Juncos, winter ball.Alex Cora–yes, "our" Alex Cora–is the GM of Vazguez team. Said he hit 95.

  54. Doc - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    Really good interview Mark.I was particularly wondering about ALR's off-season conditioning, and you touched on it.Not everybody can do a good interview, but you did—-tnanks!

  55. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    MurrayTheRed,Morse had to work fairly hard to get to the bigs and stay. A lot of folks had a hand in helping him get there. Including the humidor for his bats that came as a gift from none other than Ichiro Suzuki. He deeply appreciates this and every opportunity he gets. He is the polar opposite of many players in this regard.Baseball is a strange and fickle beast. You might be right in what you are saying but Rizzo might also be serious about not giving him away and may value Morse enough as that "hot spare" he thinks he might need sooner rather than later. You never know what might happen.

  56. baseballswami - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    MM does seem to have a joy for the game and an appreciation for his better-late-than-never place in baseball. I love it that he doesn't even try to play it cool.

  57. JayB - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    I would trade Morse for top MLB relief help and pitching at AA and AAA levels.I would not want to have HROD on the team but they need a closer in my view and another LH arm that can do 7,8,9 type innings in a close game.Tyler Moore is better than Morse in my view and much more durable. Morse will get hurt every year from here forward and his PED body breaks down past 30 Years

  58. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Just looked up Vazquez's #s and he had 12 straight years of 10 or more wins before retiring. I am not sure how many other pitchers can claim that with injuries etc. I just can't see him accepting a role in the minors but its neat that Rizzo is down there.On my dream of Morse staying. Even though I realize it is a dream I do think we should keep him through the beginning of Spring Training as a minimum. Great story by Murray the Red and just another reason I really want him in our dugout.I am wondering if I can go a post without mentioning Morse staying? As long as Natsjack does not snicker, I will persist. MicheleS, I am wondering if we can get some sort of bribe going for Mickey? Give me some ideas please. I realize you are already out a side of beef and the Johnny Walker Blue so these bribes will be on my tab. Maybe we can add them to our spread sheet?Go Nats!!

  59. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    Tyler Moore is better than Morse in my view and much more durable. Morse will get hurt every year from here forward and his PED body breaks down past 30 YearsHe hasn't taken them in years JayB? Tyler Moore is younger but he is also going to be 26. There is no evidence as to whether Moore will be any more durable than Morse. Morse's baseball injuries came from playing positions other than first base. I fear Tyler Moore in left field …. If what you say is true then Adam LaRoche and Jayson Werth might be due given the age of their bodies. And Morse at age 30 would fit well enough in either spot. Moore would not.

  60. Pat - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    Any interest in Boone Logan + Nik Turley package for Morse?Turley, a left handed starter, is a bit of a late bloomer but his last 2 seasons in low A and high A have both been excellent… Scheduled to start this season in AA. Turley has become a borderline top 10 2013 Yankee prospect on most lists.http://www.milb.com/milb/stats/stats.jsp?pos=&sid=t586&t=p_pbp&pid=543867I doubt the Yanks would move Nova or Phelps with Logan for Morse

  61. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:34 AM

    As long as Natsjack does not snicker,That's okay when the resident baseball genius turns out to be wrong we can make him eat his words along with his snicker.

  62. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    The scuttlebutt says the Yanks are way at the back of the line for Morse. They have nothing to offer that interests Rizzo.At the front are the Tampa Bay Rays and that's where you should be looking not at the Spankees.

  63. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    The Beast likes DanceMoms according to his latest tweet for whatever that's worth.

  64. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:40 AM

    SCNatsFan said… Someone smarter then me explain this… where would we fit Vazquez? He isn't going to AAA or pitch long relief.Rizzo would sign Vazquez to a minor league contract which would give him a chance to make the rotation during spring training. If Vazquez does make the team, then Det or JZim could become this year's Lannan, either going to AAA or to the bullpen. If Vazquez doesn't make the team out of ST, he'll have an out clause in that minor league contract that lets him become a FA. Of course this will only happen if no other club is willing to give him a major league deal.

  65. Pat - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:45 AM

    Oh please, if the Yankees offered Logan + Nova Rizzo would certainly be enticed… I highly doubt you get a return that matches that package considering other teams realize you have no place for Morse. I'm also sure the Nats would have no interest in any of the Yanks 4 top 100 prospects…. Silly comment.

  66. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    Remember, Morse = Willingham. Willingham brought back HRod + Corey Brown. Morse will not bring back anything more than that.

  67. SCNatsFan - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:04 AM

    There is no way JZim goes to the minors and I can't believe with all the patience they have shown with Detwiler, with good returns, they option him. Unless Rizzo plans to move one of the starters I don't see this move msking sense unless Vazquez wants to come for the spring, see if someone gets hurt and signs somewhere else if no one does.

  68. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:21 AM

    "He looked great, in very good shape": Mike Rizzo, @Nats GM on Javier Vazquez performance tonight at Juncos, winter ball.Yes, but is he in the best shape of his life? At his age, that would really be saying something!

  69. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:27 AM

    Well, I hoped to provoke a little more thoughtful comments than "snicker." And some here seem to think that I compared Denard Span (class act, good player) with Nyjer Morgan (head case, terrible player). I'm not sure where that one came from at all. I didn't even mention Nyjer Morgan (I try not to think about him, actually). Okay, you can all go back to arguing about whether it would be better to bat Bryce Harper second or third now (despite a boatload of studies showing that batting order makes essentially no difference to the bottom line of runs scored). Back inside the box, little minds. No way that the Nats could do something as dumb as, say, play an all-thumbs third baseman at shortstop just to get his bat in the lineup. Only a fool would do something that would give up so much defense for offense (a fool like Davey Johnson, who moved Howard Johnson to shortstop in 1986 and won the World Series as a result).Anyone want to give a reasoned (non-pejorative) response to why the Nats wouldn't be a better team for 2013 (remember, they're all in this year) with Morse instead of Span? I'm betting not. Here's the equation you'd have to work through: (1) How many offensive runs does Morse add over Span? This is tougher than you might think, you can't just rely on OPS or WAR (minus UZR), because neither fully accounts for Span's basepath prowess. (2) How many defensive runs does Span in CF subtract over Harper in CF? This also isn't an easy calculation, since anyone who has looked carefully knows that UZR or FRAA or any other defensive metric is far from reliable at this point — and the same can be said for subjective scouting reports.(3) On the countervailing side, how many defensive runs does Harper subtract over Morse in LF? The same UZR/FRAA/scouting issues apply.(4) Are there intangible clubhouse factors that actually affect runs scored/runs allowed? And even if there are (doubtful), would Morse (a big personality) really play better in the clubhouse with the self-effacing Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche than the nose-to-the-grindstone Span?Nah, that's too much work. Let's just snicker and go back to our "I'm in with the in-crowd" discussions about minutiae. As I said, I'm not predicting a Span trade. But you can bet that Rizzo and Johnson haven't ruled it out with a "snicker." They think.

  70. sometimesitrains - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    Snopes — without getting into the statistical thicket, i think it's important to recognize how limited the relative significant is of advanced statistics when applied to outfield defense. when a ball is hit to the outfield, and a third-base coach has seconds to make a determination about whether to put on the stop sign or whether to impersonate a Dutch windmill, he's not going to be pulling out his smartphone to calculate the fielder's dWAR. rather, he's going to be making an instantaneous judgment call reflecting his instincts about the fielder's positional sense and arm strength and accuracy as well as the speed and canniness of the baserunner (as filtered through his own tendency to be risk-positive versus risk-averse). realistically, it's hard for me to believe that a LF-CF combo of Harper and Span isn't going to stop a slew of runners from even attempting to score compared with the alternative pairing of Morse and Harper.

  71. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:46 AM

    Michael Morse = Josh Willingham. Let's look at the evidence (based on Morse's only 3 seasons as a regular).Age 28 season – Morse .870 OPS, Willingham .834 OPSAge 29 season – Morse .910 OPS, Willingham .863 OPSAge 30 season – Morse .791 OPS, Willingham .848 OPSYep, Morse does pretty much equal Willingham.But I think it's likely that Morse would get less in return than Willingham did, given Morse's late-blooming and injury-riddled career — and especially with Rizzo telegraphing that Morse MUST GO NOW! Span, on the other, who is contractually tied up through 2015, would produce some serious prospects in return. Yes, Mike Morse only has one year left to go on his contract — but the Nats say they want to win in 2013. The best way to do that is to keep Morse, and it would be a bonus to get a blue chip prospect who could project beyond 2013.

  72. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:52 AM

    If Vazquez does make the team, then Det or JZim could become this year's Lannan, either going to AAA or to the bullpen.Detwiler is out of options so that isn't happening. Bullpen? Possibly but given Detwiler's progression that seems doubtful. Another possibility could be a trade of Harren (as opposed to the young pitchers). I strongly doubt Rizzo will trade any young pitcher in his rotation unless a David Price is involved in the swap. Adding a Vazquez might make that possible but you'd still have to find a way to dispense with Harren unless two of the pitchers went and honestly I can't see Rizzo doing that.If Rizzo signs Vazquez he would have to give him a major league contract I suspect as there are other teams that will. He is almost forced into a trade scenario at that point.And Tampa NOT THE Spankees would be the logical trade partner Pat.

  73. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:54 AM

    Oh please, if the Yankees offered Logan + Nova Rizzo would certainly be enticed… Oh puhhhleeeze? Another Spankees fan? Rizzo had Tampa ready to trade Matt Moore for Adam Dunn. Are any of these guys even close to that? No.

  74. sometimesitrains - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    the following is completely unrealistic, i know; it's sleepy, drunken pub-talk. but with Piazza magically getting more than 50% of the HOF vote notwithstanding his negligible catching prowess, it really makes me wish we could find a way to plug Morse in at catcher.

  75. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    Sometimesitrains – I think we're saying the same thing about the unreliability of defensive metrics. We probably differ on whether scouts are any better at gauging defensive abilities — but you make a very interesting point about third base coaches probably being more interested in scouts' views than sabermetricians' views on this.

  76. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    snopes – good analysis on your end but how many trades done in the winter ended with that player getting traded a second time before spending one day in the first teams uniform? I am not saying it won't happen just because it never has happened before because I obviously want Morse as well, but you have to admit it rarely happens. I am never inside most boxes but on this one my scenario has all 4 staying and no one getting traded.

  77. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:57 AM

    Morse will not bring back anything more than that.Not unless there is a multi-player package. Lombardozzi is a starter not a utility guy … its problematic but certainly possible.

  78. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    sometimesitrains -Well, maybe Harper at catcher? Or as someone else here said, Morse at second base?

  79. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:58 AM

    it really makes me wish we could find a way to plug Morse in at catcher.Waaay too late for that … besides you know who will raise his hand and jump and down to convince Rizzo to let him do that: Bryce Harper.

  80. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    Harper would have to spend at least 2 years in the minors to learn to be a major league catcher and it would shorter his career significantly.

  81. sometimesitrains - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:01 AM

    well, Harper was originally a catcher. but it's a waste of his talents to play him at that position now, which is why he was converted to outfield.

  82. RQB - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Am I the only one who is outraged that he refers to the club as they and not we?!?

  83. RQB - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    Am I the only one who is outraged that he refers to the club as they and not we?!?

  84. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:05 AM

    Yeah, I was kidding about Harper at catcher. Maybe I should break down and start using smiley faces to show when I'm joking. But not about Morse at second. Espinosa was a huge hole offensively. Rizzo and Davey are perhaps the two most unconventional thinkers in baseball — both the Hojo to SS and the Strasburg to the bench during the playoffs moves generated baseball-wide ridicule. You'll never hear me saying Rizzo and Davey are wrong about something. Instead, when they do something I don't understand, I just say, "Hmmm, I wonder what they see that I don't."

  85. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:30 AM

    sjm308 – I feel like I'm forgetting a fairly famous trade where the player traded for was traded again before the season started, but I can't remember who it was. But you're certainly right that it's rare. And remember, I'm not predicting it, I just won't be surprised if it happens. Span's skill set is highly valued by a lot of GM's and Morse's is undervalued by a lot of GM's (see how little we received for Willingham). If some other GM makes a great proposal for Span, it wouldn't surprise me to see Rizzo take it. But obviously, that's not the most likely outcome.

  86. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:37 AM

    >>>natsfan1a: hmmm…ran that trade scenario through the snopes.com >>>urban legends database, but came up with nada. :-)Ha! Thanks for the reference. I'm old and have been using the Snopes moniker online for so long that I was a little annoyed when snopes.com "stole" *my* name. For what it's worth, it's a reference to my Mississippi redneck heritage, which the aristocratic-wannabe William Faulkner memorably trashed in his "Snopes trilogy." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes_trilogy

  87. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:43 AM

    You can argue about whether replacing Morse with Span in the lineup was a good move for the offense (the defensive upgrade is undeniable), but I'd be totally shocked if Span is traded at this point. And based on Rizzo's interview with Mark yesterday and various other things he's said, it's pretty clear he's looking to trade Morse. (He's a middle of the order bat with great power, should be a starter, not going to give him away but if the right deal comes along, etc etc.) He's been coveting Span for years and finally got him. He's not going to trade him, just like Davey's not going to bench him before a nearly season long look at him in the leadoff spot. Yeah, Morse came up as a shortstop. That was a long time ago. No one thinks he's capable of playing any position in the infield other than 1B at this point. I don't expect an immediate trade though. Rizzo can afford to wait for the right offer.

  88. Joe Seamhead - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    Thanks for your feedback on Morse, JayB.Snopes, my rambling post earlier was not just in response to your theory on Span, but went on to address another poster comparing Morgan and Span. As to addressing why the team has a good chance to have a more productive lineup with Span vs. Morse, I've given my opinions, in detail, a couple of other times on why I think so. I may be wrong, but I truly believe that high OBP, speedy leadoff guys not only set the table, but upset the opposition's pitchers to a point resulting in mistake pitches, pickoff attempts and errors. With a serious base stealer on, the rest of the batters tend to get more fastballs thrown to them in an attempt to hold the runner. I honestly believe that the Nats will have a good chance of winning more games with the combo of this lineup and a vastly improved defense in the OF. You don't agree, and I respect your opinion.As to your "I'm in with the in crowd" comment, the last time I was in the "in crowd" was 1967 at P Street Beach Be-Ins, and though I wasn't the one snickering at your thought that Span be the one traded rather then Morse did make me roll my eyes. Seeing how Rizzo has had a want for a pro typical leadoff CF every since he became GM and finally lands the guy he has wanted all along, suggestions that he might now trade him seem not only highly unlikely, but ludicrous to me.

  89. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:36 AM

    trade Span, demote RD or JZ to AAA, morse at catcher? where is all this coming from?

  90. baseballswami - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    ZNN to the minors- now that 's just funny. Never spent much time there- never will. I predict he and Det will give SS and Gio a run for their money. These guys compete against each other , pitching and hitting. It's going to be sweet.

  91. Rabbit34 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    I don't believe much about what politicians and sports people say. It is all about money. But, I'm happy Adam is back for a couple more years.

  92. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    Remember, with my plan, no one gets sent to the minors, no one is traded, no one moves to a new position. Morse stays, plays both corner outfield and infield positions as a super sub, is our clutch pinch hitter off the bench and leads us to the World Series.

  93. UnkyD - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Snopes, your musings re: Morse's offense v. Span's have merit, of course, but the point is totally moot. Span is a player, and a type of player whom Rizzo has long coveted, and paid a fairly high price for. And the meat of this lineup doesn't lack firepower, with out Morse, and who looks like they'll score more runs than Span, this year…seriously? With his on base skills, and the bats behind him…. Your beef may be with aquiring Span, in the first place, but that ship has sailed…. That's all I'm saying…

  94. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    And my thanks to you for the literary explanation. I didn't pick up on the Faulkner connection, but I can relate. My husband and I are both descendants of Appalachian folk. :-)snopes1 said… >>>natsfan1a: hmmm…ran that trade scenario through the snopes.com >>>urban legends database, but came up with nada. :-) Ha! Thanks for the reference. I'm old and have been using the Snopes moniker online for so long that I was a little annoyed when snopes.com "stole" *my* name. For what it's worth, it's a reference to my Mississippi redneck heritage, which the aristocratic-wannabe William Faulkner memorably trashed in his "Snopes trilogy." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snopes_trilogy January 10, 2013 12:37 AM

  95. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    OT (and bipartisan) joke alert. Q: How do you know when politicians are lying?A: Their lips are moving.We now return you to your regularly scheduled baseball discussion.Rabbit34 said… I don't believe much about what politicians and sports people say. It is all about money. But, I'm happy Adam is back for a couple more years. January 10, 2013 7:13 AM

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 46 --
ATLANTA 58 48 0.5
MIAMI 52 53 6.0
NEW YORK 51 55 7.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 60 12.5
Through Monday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
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