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Payroll will top $100 million

Jan 10, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

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Jayson Werth's $16.5 million salary tops the Nationals roster in 2013.

Adam LaRoche's decision to return to the Nationals for the next two years has no shortage of ramifications for the franchise, from the makeup of the starting lineup to the nature of the defensive club that will take the field this season to the sudden lack of a job for Michael Morse.

Here's another ramification of LaRoche's now-completed contract: The Nationals' payroll is all but guaranteed to surpass the $100 million mark this season for the first time in franchise history.

This is no insignificant development. The Nationals have never ranked among the top-10 Opening Day payrolls in the major leagues, but they likely will crack that list in 2013 thanks to the return of LaRoche, the addition of right-hander Dan Haren and (most importantly) the escalating salaries of a bunch of young players who have now reached the arbitration stage of theirRead more »

169 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    And now we can put to rest the Lerner's are cheap stuff (at least when it comes to the payroll).Mark, the new twitter feed looks great!

  2. Mark Grabowsky - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    As the Nats progress to being a first class franchise, one thing they can do to improve the fan experience: Show replays of every play on the stadium scoreboard. There are hundreds of video screens under team control throughout the stadium that do. The only one that does not is the big screen.

  3. Positively Half St. - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Interesting that the projected roster doesn't include Michael Morse. It really is more believable to have him gone than here. If the Nats do get major league talent back for him, though, the total likely goes up another million or so.I must say that I love trade rumors. However, the fact that some folks say the Nats can't get much for Morse, and others talk of a potentially high return, makes it just a bunch of noise while we wait for the resolution. It must be very uncomfortable for the Beast and his new bride.+1/2St.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    $3 million for Drew for his first time through arbitration seems a bit high, does it not?

  5. Steady Eddie - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    1/2 St. — what can Morse or anyone else in his position say but "This is the business we've chosen."? ;-)While the skeptical view re Morse's market demand has some merit, there's also some pandering to the anti-Rizzo post-Strasdown sentiment among some GMs in it from the media. The limitations in his fielding and control are a lot less consequential to potential contenders, and who (at least in the AL) couldn't use that "one more BIG bat"?

  6. TimDz - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    I'm not sure how uncomfortable Morse and his new bride. An be…After all…he has a six million dollar contract….I wish someone would make ME that uncomfortable ….

  7. TimDz - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Can be….

  8. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    When are the arbitration hearings? I wonder if we'll see some long term, or at least 2 year deals for players like JZimm, Desi, and Det.Man these guys make a lot of money!

  9. Rabbit34 - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    It will be exciting to see who we fill holes with when these guys are free-agents.

  10. NatsNut - Jan 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Yunesky Maya. Ouch.

  11. NatsNut - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

    I agree, Grabowsky. The video team puts together GREAT video montages, I can't see why a few more replays would be so hard. Except it's more political when it comes to close plays. 222, I think the hearings bump right up against pitchers and catchers, so probably pretty soon.

  12. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Mark G.. at one point I thought I heard or read that the reason they don't show every replay on the big board is they don't want controversial calls to start -umm, shall we say – a negative fan experience.

  13. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Mark G -MLB strongly discourages the replay of close calls on the scoreboard. This is to protect the umpires. ESPN had a short article about the Commissioner's Office reprimanding the Red Sox for violating this rule on July 7 last year:BOSTON — The Red Sox received a call from the commissioner's office complaining that the video board at Fenway Park replayed a controversial umpire's decision during Saturday's game. As a rule, teams are instructed not to replay close calls, for fear that it might incite the crowd. The Red Sox as a rule abide by that policy. But in the sixth inning Saturday, a replay was shown of a play in which first-base umpire Lance Barrett ruled that David Ortiz had been doubled off first after Adrian Gonzalez flied out to left. The relay throw was high, and there was some thought that first baseman Mark Teixeira's foot had come off the bag. The crowd of 38,170 loudly booed when the replay was shown, although on close inspection Teixeira's foot remained in contact with the bag. The umpires are believed to have lodged a complaint between innings to MLB, which subsequently contacted the Red Sox.

  14. NatsNut - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    Okay, that was lazy. Here are dates: JANUARY 18: Salary arbitration figures exchangedFEBRUARY 4-20: Salary arbitration hearings held (if necessary)

  15. Unknown - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    A lot of the criticism hurled at Rizzo is jealousy and discomfort with his candor.As a fan, I find his directness and lack of spin refreshing. As Ken Beatrice used to say: "Beware when other teams' folks say nice things about you. It is almost always patronizing. Rejoice when other teams' folks criticize your team, especially anonymously. This means they fear you.I recall a AA game I was at with two of my sons — Harrisburg at Bowie. Harrisburg had Harper, Moore, and another power hitter the Nats traded to the Reds who's name I've now forgotten. Zach Britton was re-habbing for Bowie and had pitched three perfect innings. Second time around, the Senators crushed him — eight runs in one inning. While us Nats' fans rejoiced, the Bowie fans all around us trashed Harper, saying they didn't want him on their team.My oldest son said, "Ignore them, Dad, their just jealous."Wisdom from youth. Go Nationals.

  16. Unknown - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    The other guys name was bill rhinehart.

  17. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Snopes, thanks for putting that up, that was the article I was thinking about!!!

  18. Nats1924 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Im a Werth fan – ever since he came on board the team has been completely different.I dont think he'll ever live up to his huge contract, but it be nice if he looked close to what he was in Philly.

  19. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Darn: even Mark is against me in my plan to keep Morse!!Mark Grabowsky – not sure you were aware of this but MLB has it set up NOT to show controversial plays on any big screen at the park. They are afraid the crowd will get all upset at the umps. The smaller tvs are running the actual feed from MASN and that is why you get the replays there. To your point, they could show more replays on the big screen but you won't get anything that might involve a close play.So last year we had LannEn in the minors with a 5 million dollar contract and this year it will be Maya at 2 million. This has to be his last year right? I wonder what the odds of him throwing a pitch in the majors is this year? We obviously have no depth at starter and I realize Garcia is being groomed. Would you start Maya or Duke if you had an emergency start or one of those late season double headers (assuming Garcia is not ready)?Go Nats!!

  20. Gonat - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Sect222, didn't someone just suggest in the last day or 2 that the payroll was now over $100 million. Drink time!

  21. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    OK, off to the drink site to add another round for Michele – can one of you add Snopes name so I can add a drink for him as well?

  22. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Well, that was easy – nevermind the offer for help, thanks again for whoever got that set up.

  23. Steady Eddie - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Farid/Unknown — exactly. The GMs trashing Rizzo know they would never have either the leeway or the guts to stand up to their owners and do what Rizzo did with Strasburg. Not that he had to stand up to the Lerners on that; the jealous GMs also wish they had owners who'd give them that kind of room.

  24. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    The drink site?

  25. Tcostant - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Welcome to the big time. We need to average 32K this year with most ever weekend a sellout!

  26. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Things that amuse me today.(1) People who wonder why Rizzo didn't shell out $3M here and $3M there for LH relievers, who, though good pitchers, are RELIEVERS, not young and not completely healthy. If Rizzo spent all the money proposed by fans, the payroll would be around $112 by now and still going.(2) People who worry worry worry that the Nats need starting pitching depth and then worry worry worry about what will happen if Vazquez gets signed. Hey, let Mike enjoy his vacation in Puerto Rice in peace.(3) People who think GMs are "holding a grudge" against Rizzo because he DIDN'T win the World Series. Also people who think GMs have a chance at a firesale price for Morse because there's "no room" for him on the Nats. Um, did youse GM types pay ANY attention to the ALR poker game? Other than the $2 million dollar buyout, ALR got nothing of what he wanted, not 3 years guaranteed, not a no-trade clause… Oh, yeah, he DOES get to play on the Nats!!(4) People who think that after coveting Denard Span for YEARS, and finally getting him for a (relatively) cheap price, Rizzo is going to trade him before April 1. People who think Jordan Zimmerman is going to the minors or the bullpen (other than for rehab or postseason appearances).I grant you Davey is a creative thinker. That's how we got Werth leading off…P.S. I was thinking why Lannan signed with the Fillies for what might be below his market value. Yeah, it could be revenge. It could also be his wife is with child and a Joisey boy wants to be close to home.

  27. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    +n

  28. Tcostant - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Best part of reading the ALR article, was he started that Rizzo now has a policy to no longer give out no trade clauses. That was a long time coming for me, as I think he offered one last year to Mark Buehrle, but not enough years for him to take it.My tue biggest beefs with Rizzo are now gone: 1)giving out no trade clause like candy and 2) give major league contracts to draft picks (no longer allowed by the CBA.Didn't Zimmerman get a partcial no trade clause?

  29. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Great post NatsLady. That's why I've adopted the "shaking my head and snickering" after some of these comments.

  30. Joseph Rizzo - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    I look at the payroll, and I say the same thing I say to my clients when it comes to marketing spending: BFD. It's not the spending, it's the ROI. So to that end: what's the projected ROI on this spend, both qualitative and quantitative?

  31. Don - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    The Lerners are geniuses, they always had this plan that called for gradual increase in payroll as the club got better? I am not buying it. Clubs get better in large part by increasing payroll, not by hoping to get good and then, once good, increasing payroll. Every other MLB club has gone big when getting a new park, but not the Nats. The DBax won a Division in their second year and soon after the WS. I guess the DBax organization should have spent 4-5 years with rosters full of reclamation projects, maybe-somedays and has-beens and lost 100 games a bunch of times and then lucked into a couple of once in a generation draftee talents and THEN start increasing the payroll with significance to try to win that Division crown. I mean they should have inflicted more pain on themselves and their top-Dollar paying fanbase first, right? OK, I will stop whining, and I get why Zuck can admire the plan as it has been successful, but from where I sit I just cannot help seeing it as the club having been more timid than prudent. Not trying to win for years at a time is different than being shrewd (they did not have a full front office or scouting staff for years). The Lerners were pinching pennies (top third prices, bottom third payrolls in publicly financed park, etc.) and they were afraid to be bold, they did not want a dynamic manager or star FA players or to have even a middle of the pack payroll to get good faster. If the plan really was to lose to beat the band in order to be good years and years down the road after they got lucky as can be with once in a generation talents like Stras and Harper and such, it was a pretty crazy plan. Why would that roadmap be successful? What club was their model? If it was Tampa, it took them more than a generation of disinterested Rays fans to be good and it took amazing luck to finally get there (and now they struggle to get those long-disinterested fans to the park). But, the Lerners as we all know did land the big talents and they did build this nice club, so maybe they are geniuses but I don't think that we had to suffer the way we did to get to this point.

  32. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    It took new ownership to get the Rays good. Get your facts right.It took a learning curve for the Lerners.

  33. Joe Seamhead - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Maybe Mark should put a link to the drink site under "Other Nats Blogs."Nats Lady, thanks for the smile this morning that your post brought to me. I could add a couple more silly, amusing muses by posters.Jack, I'm more the "raising my eyebrows and rolling my eyes" type. Though I do admit to snickering at some of them.Don, turn the page and walk away. That horse is dead.

  34. Tcostant - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I think Don makes a lot of good points, but I do think the Lerners have learn a lot during the way. But I won't forget in those early years that they were witholding rent from the city (while games where being played at Nationals Park), because the park was finished in their view. Or that they were famous in those early days of paying vendors and scout reimbusements late.I think Rizzo changed a lot of that and taugh them how to be a first class org. But Don is right we lucked into the best pitcher and hitter at the top of the draft. Moveover, baseball use alternated the #1 picks between years, so 20 years ago no team could have two straight #1 picks.We have slam dunk #1 picks, but sometimes teams draft a Matt Bush. Take a look at the #1 picks since 1965 (http://www.baseball-almanac.com/feats/feats7.shtml).But I do think the Lerners have "learned" a lot, mainly do what Rizzo wants.

  35. SCNatsFan - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I have always been of the opinion there are no no trade clauses. All it is is leverage for the player to renegotiate his contract. Given the option of remaining on a team where you are not wanted, riding the bench and collecting a check vs. playing somewhere and making more money as well as contributing then most players choose the latter.

  36. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    I see an easy way to save $500,000.

  37. Don - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Joeseamhead– Zuck opened the door with a post on payrool, no? He's not so naive as to think he could drop the "hey look they are spending real money" post without the fans comparing the nows to the thens on the coins.And NatsJack my facts are wrong? – the Rays had a change of ownership in maybe 2004-05 and it took 3 years of them having the lowest payroll in MLB before they lucked into the magic 2008 season (they alomst doubled spedning from 2007 to 08 to do so by the way). But I agree, it has been a learning curve for the Lerners much more than it has been some design.

  38. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    Don, one thing you need to look at now with the Dbacks is the most recent history – off the field. That team has been having financial problems and the FO has had tons of turnover. They have had a couple of playoff runs since the WS, but no consistency. and TB, that plan they have is exactly like the Nats (See the drafting of Price and Longoria and how they got those draft picks) except that they have to trade or let most of their best players go. They may be able to stay in the mix, but I am not sure with the turnover they can win a WS (not impossible, just more difficult).

  39. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    bowdenball, I don't see anything wrong with $112M. I think you might have missed my point, which was $112M and NOT DONE YET. Right now, the Nats have the worst of both worlds. They are not considered a "small market" team, so they don't partake in revenue sharing. Yet, the TV deal is not providing the revenue it fairly should. My own feeling is that by "saving" $3M here and there, Rizzo is keeping his flexibility for a mid-season trade with a non-contending team making a salary dump. The new CBA means that free-agents on non-contending teams will WANT to get traded mid-season so that they don't have draft picks dragging down their market value. Hence, if the Nats have any needs in July (which they easily could) Rizzo will have funds available. So I do think the money will be spent, I just have no problem at all with the money being spent on high-return players (ROI, as was pointed out above). I don't consider lefty specialist as "high-return" players–although there is no doubt you might need one.We are so used to thinking of the Nats as young and "cheap." Mark has shown–they aren't, not any more.

  40. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    I don't consider the Diamondbacks a well-run team. I have questions about their scouting, their coaching and with how they treat their players.

  41. Dave - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    And so a landmark (albeit arbitrary) in payroll has been reached. The Lerners are not cheap after all.But that MASN-deal debacle needs to get resolved. The organization needs to get the TV money it deserves to keep this level of payroll viable.

  42. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    NatsLady, well said on all of the above!

  43. bowdenball - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    I see where you're coming from NatsLady. I don't see a problem with $112 million and not done yet, so my point remains, but you're right that they're not as well off as some teams. And they TV deal is a crime. But on the flip side, the Nats' ticket prices are astronomical compared to virtually every team in the league. Look at some other teams' sites and you'll be shocked; even the Giants, with two World Series wins in the last three years in one of the most expensive cities in the world, charge less for tickets than the Nats for comparable seats. The team makes money hand over fist at the gate. And having the rights to sell Harper and Strasburg jerseys for years to come is a cash cow, too. There's plenty of money for whatever they need in 2013.

  44. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Theo, that was MEAN. But I laughed, yes, I laughed out loud!

  45. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Lannan's not from Jersey, he's from Long Island.

  46. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    That's what I meant about the Rays. New ownership in 2005 with a new business plan and 3 years later they're winning. Sounds similar with the Nats except insert Rizzo instead of ownership.

  47. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    bowdenball, I understand what you are saying, and wouldn't it be something if we ever got financial reporting from baseball teams?!!?? However, it's one thing to sign a FA for a one-year deal, but you have to be careful about multi-year deals. They (and arbitration) really add up. I'm not one to complain about the seat prices. I upped my seats from $10 seats to $12 seats and I am now looking down on home plate. That is amazing to me–that is what, 1/10 or 1/20 of what it would cost me to look down on the 50 yard line. It's approximately the same as a movie ticket. Yes, the jerseys are a gold-mine. Makes you really feel sorry for Macy's or wherever else affluent people were going to buy clothes for their kids, right?

  48. hiramhover - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    NatsLadyI second (or is it third or fourth now?) your comments about payroll.I'd just add this: anyone who thinks the Nats are going to drop $2M, $3M, or $5M on a marginal or part time player–just cause they can–has not been paying much attention to Rizzo's MO.

  49. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Eh, Jersey, Longgggg Island. Close enough.

  50. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    SCNatsFan said… I have always been of the opinion there are no no trade clauses. All it is is leverage for the player to renegotiate his contract.True, but GMs don't want to have to deal with getting the approval of players every step of the way as they conduct trade negotiations. That's like making them do their job with one hand tied behind their back. That alone is one big reason for not giving out no-trade clauses.

  51. JD - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Don, There is a problem with your thinking IMO and I have debated this with JayB for years. If you spend without a plan by adding a free agent here and a free agent there before you build a skeleton of good young players you run the risk of being perennially mediocre. Yes you are likely to avoid 100 loss seasons but you also don't get to draft Strasbourg,Harper and Rendon. You can run a team which is always around .500 but I think the better way is understanding that your core stinks, keep your powder dry and strike when you are ready to compete for the whole enchilada. If you think $100 mil or even $112 mil is high wait until you have to start paying Stras and Harper and Desmond and JZim etc the big bucks. $200 mil is not far off.

  52. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Didn't Zimmerman get a partcial no trade clause?He got a year or two of no-trade protection to cover him til he becomes a 10 and 5 guy. But that is just academic, because there is no way they would even have considered trading Zimmerman in that timeframe.

  53. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    NatsLady said… Eh, Jersey, Longgggg Island. Close enough.Okay. Enjoy the season at Camden Yards. Close enough.

  54. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    What section are these $12 seats that look down on home plate?

  55. Don - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    JD — OK, but which clubs in baseball are perennially better then mediorce? Are they the ones that take last place clubs and inch spending up $5-6M per year hoping the draft saves them or are they the ones that go build quality MLB rosters at market Dollars and sustain that effort?

  56. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    JD, this is what I have said, over and over. To just spend money in 2007 because you are opening a new ballpark makes no sense unless you are just interested in putting on a show. Look no further than the Pirates for a team whose goal is to get to .500. That's their GOAL. Ours–well within reach–is a World Series win. The Pirates have a star player and the most beautiful park in MLB, but they have not been able to build those assets into anything like a contending team in the same years the Nats have gone from 59 wins to 98. The Nats have spent money in the past not always wisely (Yunesky Maya, anyone?) But some things needed to be built up before you could justify spending more–namely, scouting, front-office, minor-leagues coaching and training, minor-league players, etc. Remember when Rizzo had to get involved in the drainage system for the P-Nats??? Think "infra-structure." Now you are looking at an organization that attracts not only ML free-agents, but minor-league prospects. A while back, Christian Garcia was interviewed. He toured the minor-league clubs and chose the Nats because he felt he had the best chance to rehab with the Nats. I think Rizzo has made mistakes. He can be impulsive and emotional. But he learns from his mistakes, and for a 50-something year-old guy to still be learning, you have to like that.

  57. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    309.

  58. bowdenball - Jan 10, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    NatsLady said… "People who wonder why Rizzo didn't shell out $3M here and $3M there for LH relievers, who, though good pitchers, are RELIEVERS, not young and not completely healthy. If Rizzo spent all the money proposed by fans, the payroll would be around $112 by now and still going."So? What's wrong with a payroll of $112 million and still going? The team and the owners have the money and then some, and if the deals are one-year deals they don't hamstring us going forward. People need to adjust to the new reality of baseball's finances. The TV deals are a golden goose (yes I know the Nats' situation is unsettled but they are clearly gonna get some sort of significant uptick in TV revenue). Attendance is booming. Whatever you thought about salaries five years ago or even two years ago, throw it out the window. Heck, it wouldn't surprise me that much if a couple years from now Werth's deal doesn't even seem that extravagant.

  59. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    NatsLady – I am one section over and my seats are 20 to 24 dollars depending on the team we play. I only have a 20 game plan but I can't believe a full season plan would drop the price that much

  60. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Show me the money. I wish I had a million dollars. Hot dog! Ka-ching! (Okay, I think I'm done now.)On the drink site's background, it's a tip of the hat to a commenter-originated virtual drinking game. The site was recently created by sec 222 and tweaked by Candide. Anybody who wishes to can add to it, I believe.On another note, that's one of my fave movie quotes, Steady Eddie. :-)And, carrying forward my earlier post for Snopes:natsfan1a said: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_trilogyJanuary 10, 2013 12:37 AM

  61. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I had not thought much about ticket prices but I think people are correct about our cost vs. other teams. I usually try to get to at least two other parks each year and I have never had to pay more then I do for my Nationals tickets to get decent seats. I have a friend that has the full season at Camden Yards and his seats are 12 rows back of the 3rd base dugout. His cost per ticket is around $50 and those same seats at Nationals Park are at least 25 dollars more.

  62. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    NatsLady said… 309.I'm in 309. Those seats aren't $12, except maybe on the secondary market. They also don't look down on home plate.

  63. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Parial plan (George) $210 (plus $20 "handling charge")). That was for sec 304. I will re-check what I am paying for 309. I don't think it was $20 but maybe it was. At any rate, still what I consider a bargain for "entertainment."

  64. natsfan1a - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Sounds more like upper outfield gallery prices, unless I'm missing something. Not that I'm one to complain about my (nosebleed section) ticket prices either.On another note, I also like the look of the new Tweeter feed.

  65. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Thanks for info, Feel Wood. I will see if it's not too late to change my seats.

  66. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    Wait, Feel and NL are going to be in the same section? Uh oh. :-) Well, maybe they'll end up being friends once they meet in person. Both know alot about baseball and love the Nats. That should be enough, right?I guess whether they look down on home plate depends on what the meaning of "look down" is. They certainly have a good view of the plate. If you only paid $12 per seat NL, you got a very good deal. The STH price is $20, and they are $24 at the gate. Still a great bargain compared too football and basketball tix. And when you factor in Red Carpet, the per seat cost goes down. Glad I locked in for 3 years because once we win the WS this year, I very much doubt those seats will be as reasonably priced.

  67. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Candide deserves mention on the NIDO Spreadsheet for much more than tweaking. His creative design skills made it much more visually pleasing. And Gorse/Sofa deserves credit for creating the separate Glossary and How To sheets that seem to be good for at least one good chuckle every day. Cheers! Gulp!

  68. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    I love my seats in 308 and honestly would not mind 309 or any other seats moving closer to home plate. I just checked and they are listed at over $400 for the 20 game plan. It will certainly make meeting up before a game easy for at least a few of us. I talked to my agent late last year and the Red Carpet plan will change drastically this year. My son and I were able to catch 12 extra games each last year with Red Carpet but that won't be happening this year. Agree that locking in for 3 years was a good move and I feel good about that as well.

  69. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Ok, I have the parial plan. Twenty tickets, not counting the Yankees game. $357.00 So that is a little under $18 per ticket. I don't know why I was thinking $12, maybe because I sat in that section last year a couple of times for $12 or $15. Or maybe they would be cheaper on a mult-year plan, which I did not select, since I don't know how long I will be in DC.

  70. Traveler8 - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Off this topic, but I just read the Hall of Fame column – this is probably my favorite column every year, as I appreciate the reasoned approach to considering HOF candidates. Well done as usual, Mark, thanks.

  71. Steady Eddie - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    NL — (3) People who think GMs are "holding a grudge" against Rizzo because he DIDN'T win the World Series.Good that that gave you a chuckle this morning, though I have no idea who those "people" are. What some GMs do hold a grudge against Rizzo for is that the Strasburg shutdown showed them up/made them look bad as short-sighted handlers of their top players, indifferent to the players' best interests. Those GMs are actually playing a slightly more nuanced game than you might think, in that a lot of the fury of their "you're running a place that doesn't know how to win it all" tone is aimed at the same hypercompetitive side of the players that Stras himself voiced. It's trying to appeal to the side of/send the message to players, "do you really want to go to a place that won't give you a voice in when you're able to play?" Delayed gratification is hard to find in the DNA of professional sports. There's a pretty fundamental argument going on there.

  72. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    NatsLady said… Ok, I have the parial plan. Twenty tickets, not counting the Yankees game. $357.00Either someone cut you a deal or you got scammed. My invoice for Teddy's Plan in 309 for 2013 is $462 plus $20 service charge.Don't be surprised if you show up for your first game and find someone else already sitting in the seat.

  73. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    Section 222 said… Wait, Feel and NL are going to be in the same section? Uh oh. :-) Well, maybe they'll end up being friends once they meet in person.That ain't happening. Why would I want to meet in person people who have nothing but animosity toward me online? I go to the ballpark to enjoy the games and get away from people like that.

  74. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Steady, I know and I agree. I just short-circuited the argument for humor purposes. No chance I am sitting in the same section as Feel Wood. About that we agree. Am getting on the phone with my agent as soon as Mr. Tony gets off the radio.

  75. UnkyD - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    (Shakes his head…..)

  76. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    NL, you are welcome to come to 313 (home of N-A-T-S, Nats, Nats, Nats!) or 314 (which is where my seats are), right behind the plate, if you can score a seat in one of those. Be aware that the 3B side gets shady quicker on sunny days. Plus, as you know I'm sure, you can see the scoreboard better which I think is a significant advantage. 308 is also a very hospitable section as we all know. sjm and his group are great guys. I have found that meeting people in person tends to make things more civil and reduce the friction that sometimes flares up here. But to each his own.

  77. UnkyD - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    ROFLMBO!!!!"Why would I want to meet in person people who have nothing but animosity toward me online?"—————-Mr Pot? May I present Mr Kettle…..?(Wipes hilarity tear from his eye….) (ogod…)

  78. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    222, thanks. I will see what is still available. I have sat in 304 for a few years and am friendly with the ushers there. Might just go back. I don't mind socializing before games, but during the game I prefer to keep score and focus on the field.

  79. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:19 PM

    On another topic, and I'm really not trying to re-start the discussion of a couple of days ago, BUT, I am simply AMAZED at the number of sports writers/bloggers who are trashing Shanahan (and saying who would play for him, if they were a free-agent). I haven't taken a survey, but aren't a lot of them the same people who trashed Rizzo for putting his player's future above the short term present? (Not Boz, but some of the national writers.)This is in the context of Steady Eddie's comment. Shanahan got the worst of both worlds–lost the game and his player is injured, and may never be quite the same. If you were a free agent, would you want to play for Shanahan? If you were Rick Giolito, would you want your son to sign for Rizzo?

  80. JD - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Don at 10:03. I think it depends where you are starting from. If you have only a few core pieces you can't buy 15 – 20 FA pieces. Once you get to a point where you have a great young core and a steady pipeline it behooves you to add a piece or 2 every year to maintain your ability to compete for a championship and Rizzo has done just that. Last year he added Jackson and Gio, this year he added Haren and Span all at great costs either in dollars or prospects. The trick now is to rebuild the pipeline which is almost completely dry; the good news is that Rizzo has a 2-3 year window to do this because he has such a strong young core.

  81. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    JD–This is the exact, key point. Excellent. If you have only a few core pieces you can't buy 15 – 20 FA pieces. Once you get to a point where you have a great young core and a steady pipeline it behooves you to add a piece or 2 every year to maintain your ability to compete for a championship and Rizzo has done just that.

  82. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    JD, the issue will now be with lower draft picks and the CBA limiting flexibility on spending–can Rizzo re-build the farm system. He did so once, and utilized it, IMO, correctly to feed the ML team with promotions and trades. His job the second time around will be MUCH more challenging.

  83. SteveRep44 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Nats1924 said…I dont think he'll ever live up to his huge contract, but it be nice if he looked close to what he was in Philly.And that starts in earnest when he moves down in the lineup. Granted, he performed well in the leadoff spot but you have to figure that was simply because he wound up being the best option.Now, I think I can see him in the 5 slot: Span-Harper-Zim-ALR-Werth-Des-Espi-(catcher)-(pitcher)

  84. Water23 - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Tcostant:Glad to see that LaRoche did not get a no-trade but Zim has accelerators in his contract if he is traded and of course after 2014 then Zim's 10-5 rights kick in.

  85. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    NatsLady said…(4) People who think that after coveting Denard Span for YEARS, and finally getting him for a (relatively) cheap price, Rizzo is going to trade him before April 1. People who think Jordan Zimmerman is going to the minors or the bullpen (other than for rehab or postseason appearances).I'm laughing at what Peric wrote about Span and his Nyjer comparison.Didn't see the posts on JZim, probably glad I didn't.I got asked if the Nats got Javier Vazquez if Detwiler would become the lefty in the bullpen. I don't think so but you never say never with Rizzo. From what I'm hearing Vazquez will take the best offer from a playoff contender. The Red Sox will offer him a starters deal. Are the Red Sox a contender would then be my question.I think all along Rizzo is "in" on Vazquez for a Minor League deal with ST invite. This will be interesting to see what happens.

  86. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Ghost, I agree with this. I think all along Rizzo is "in" on Vazquez for a Minor League deal with ST invite. He might take it though. I'm not clear on why he took a year off but he did say he would only sign with a "contending" team. It's not clear the Red Sox are going to contend this season.

  87. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    NatsLady, as I recall, and as this old article says, he just wanted to spend more time with his family. He missed his kids.

  88. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 4:56 PM

    you can't buy 15 – 20 FA piecesStan Kasten called, he said "Watch me."

  89. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Another thing about Vasquez….. He pitched for the Marlins so he could be close to his family in Puerto Rico.I'm not sure if that is a consideration this time around but if it is, that may eliminate West Coast teams.

  90. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    NL – please come by 308 if you are nearby and say hi. It was great to see 222 and DC Wonk last year and we do have a good group. My Bob Carpenter score book is over 3/4 full and I still go back and look at Strasburg's first game just for the memories. Feel – I am not sure that because we disagree at times that it is animosity but if so, have fun in 309. On Vazquez – I would love to see that signing but think it would be a deal that allows him to opt out at the end of spring training if its obvious he will not go north. I am pretty sure Detwiler will not be in the bullpen at the start of the season but you never say never. My thoughts are Detwiler is going to have a huge huge year and breakout to heights he has not seen before.Go Nats!

  91. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Sofa, y'know, I understand Vazquez missing his kids. I visit my family and I go through WEEKS of withdrawal when I get home. So far, though, I have not brought myself to move to Fargo.

  92. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Even with an opt out after ST or some early date certain, I would think Vasquez would rather take a deal with a team that offers him a clear route to a spot in the rotation. The idea that JZnn will be Lannaned seems far fetched, Det is out of options (right?),and neither of them is going to be traded. I suppose it's possible Haren will get injured during ST, but unlikely. Why would Vasquez want to be back in exactly the same place he is today, looking for a team to pitch for, on March 30?

  93. Don - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    Hindsight is 20/20 and all. And that goes both ways – – I can look back and see it one way and Ted Lerner can see it another. He sees his Plan has having led to the big success, I see his Plan as having allowed for a lot of losing baseball and having less to do with the success than a lot of dumb luck. They had Zim and a bunch of pieces on day 1 when they bought the club, they went slow and low for years without much of a real strategy and they scratched some lottery tickets with the draft. Maybe Ted's vision is right, maybe neither of us is right. Not sure it matters. But going forward, the Nats need to show that now that it is assembled that they can push the club farther, make it better and that they can maintain it. They went for this sustained, long term winner, now they have to deliver on that promise. They can't be timid about it.

  94. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Well, without the Red Hawks, what else is there to go back for? ; )

  95. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Don, I agree that the Lerners made mistakes along the way. I also agree that Rizzo/Lerners' approach is the Nats need to be in the "contending" mix for the forseeable future. It will be interesting to see if they can deliver on that. What you hope is that profit and winning work together and that the latter is not sacrificed for the former. How we got here is "history." It may have been painful, but it's OVER.

  96. SCNatsFan - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    About Vazquez, maybe Rizzo will show his hand and tell us what he is thinking.You know because he is so free with information.

  97. Don - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Amen NatsLady. I'll stop harping on the past (though I blame Zuckerman for even going there on the payroll issue — Welcome to Landmine City, Population YOU.)

  98. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Hadn't read your post while I was composing mine. I think we are in agreement here. Wasn't able to do anything but leave a voice-mail message for my rep. Okay, it's lunch time in January. I got that. But get moving, Nats customer service.

  99. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    SCNats==>loving the humor here! Not the "snark" that trashes our beloved host for trying to be both humble and thoughtful. Rather, the humor.You know because he is so free with information.

  100. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:32 PM

    I'm actually suprised anyone recognized Mike when he was watching Vasquez since he was probably wearing his Groucho Marx scouting mask.

  101. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    NJ, yeah, but his SHIRTS!! The Martians could spot him with low-level binoculars. :)Rizzopic.twitter.com/13JlIx3I

  102. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    Buster Olney picked the Nats to beat the Tigers in the 2013 WS. God I hope he isn't the kiss of death

  103. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:48 PM

    This is significant. I hope hope hope the Nats are clean–if ANY team is clean.Jon Heyman ‏@JonHeymanCBSMLB will announce agreement for random, unannounced in-season hgh blood testing. first major US sport to test for hgh.

  104. DaveB - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I don't see many true contenders that would offer Vazquez a "clear route to a spot in the rotation". Boston maybe if you consider them a contender after finishing last in the AL East and swapping half the team. Perhaps the Angels need another starter, but I haven't heard them mentioned as being "in". Everyone else at the top tier seems to have stronger options than a player who has been retired at home for a year. I think the Nats offer two strengths given his desire to be on a contender:1. He would almost certainly be the clear #6, ready to step in if someone did get injured.2. It's not like there aren't members of the staff with injury histories / risks.If he feels that he may need ST (perhaps plus a little extra time) to prove his worth and get back into "the best shape of his life", the Nats (and maybe even Syracuse for a month or so) could be as good a spot as any as long as he has an out clause.

  105. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 10, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    Michele… seeing how he had Tampa Bay beating the D-Backs last year…I don't think much of his prognostications and neither does he.

  106. snopes1 - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Oh, no! Et tu, Nats Lady?>>>Things that amuse me today…. People who think that after coveting Denard Span for YEARS, and finally getting him for a (relatively) cheap price, Rizzo is going to trade him before April 1.My wife and I went out to dinner last month with out-of-town friends of our son who are fanatical Nats fans and regular readers of Nats Insider. We had a lively conversation about the various bloggers who populate Mark's world, but there was a consensus on one thing — "Nats Lady is great." There are nice people here and there are knowledgeable people here and there are a few people, led by you, who are both nice and knowledgeable.Actually, I was glad to have amused you, since that was the purpose of my post. As I said, I'm NOT predicting Span's trade. But I am saying that I wouldn't be surprised by it. If some GM makes a nice offer of prospects for Span, I don't believe either Rizzo or Davey would reject it out of hand (for the reasons I outlined last night). They think analytically and aren't afraid of being unconventional.

  107. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    Cue in JayB who leads the choir of the Lerner's are Cheap of not the LoD.

  108. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    Rizzo's not going to trade Span. He wouldn't have traded Morgan were it not for Riggleman's (and perhaps Werth's) complaints about him. Morgan for Cutter Dykstra? That was a rush job if there ever was one.HOWEVER, HE COULD CERTAINLY LAND ON THE BENCH as backup if / when others outperform him. That could start with Morse and Harper if not Goodwin in the future. Given his salary Rizzo and Johnson would not have any qualms about doing that. Its still THE BEST 8 start isn't it? BOTH Rizzo AND Johnson believe in competition. Else how did John Lannan with his salary wind up in AAA?It could happen people believe it.

  109. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    Your highlighted link isn't working Natslady.

  110. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    Rizzo's Vazquez scouting trip is "interesting"?When Vazquez retired some of you might remember that he was red hot. He won his last 7 games only once pitching less than 7 inning (6), 2 CG's, with a 3-0 shutout I got to see at Nat's park.It was reported that the pitching coach saw a flaw in his delivery and when it was corrected he was as good as any pitcher those last 7 games. If I remember correctly his ending era of 3.69 was the lowest of any starting pitcher retiring with enough qualifying innings since Eddie Cicotte, who had to leave for some small rule infarction. Rizzo will have to get very creative to sign him. Since Vazquez started as an Expo I'd have no problem adding his name to the ring of honor if that helps.

  111. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    1. He would almost certainly be the clear #6, ready to step in if someone did get injured.He looks like #3 to me as opposed to Harren's #5. And Detwiler can't be optioned and he is one of two left-handed starters (okay 3 if you count Zach Duke. JZimmnn will certainly NOT be optioned no ands ifs or buts about it. The only possibility I foresee … Stammen still can be optioned and Syracuse could certainly use him in their rotation. Who loses their spot in the rotation? My guess is Harren. A way over paid long relief guy? Maybe. Spring will be very, very interesting if they do end up signing Vasquez to a major league or even a minor league contract.

  112. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    I think I got the Cicotte info wrong. It must be voluntarily retired not due to injury. That may be wrong too? He was some how connected to Cicotte maybe one of you knows?

  113. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    Shanahan got the worst of both worlds–lost the game and his player is injured, and may never be quite the same. If you were a free agent, would you want to play for Shanahan? If you were Rick Giolito, would you want your son to sign for Rizzo?Next year may be Kirk Cousins' year. Will the Redskins do as well with no top draft pick? And have to figure Shanahan drafts yet another quarterback. They get Orapko back and Rob Jackson has come into his own finally so the defense might actually be improved with some judicious draft picks for that side of things in the defensive back field. They will need OL help desperately and that's where the free agents woudl come in. Would they sign to play with Cousins, Griffin eventually, and Alfred Morris with Helu and Royster in reserve? Hell yes they will. OL love the running game and the Skins had the best in the NFL in 2012. Its on defense and wide receiver where things will be unsettled … at WR the Skins should be able to get some quality wide outs. The real question is: Are the Redskins still a scum bucket organization with Snyder at the top that got lucky with RG III and Alfred Morris? HELL YES. As for Mike Rizzo, his lineup is backlogged now with Rendon, Goodwin, Brown, Komatsu, and eventually Skole. Pitching is weaker if injuries decimate the rotation. And that's where the surplus should go. But Rizzo isn't going to take damaged goods (unless the ceiling is extremely high as with Mattheus, Giolito, etc.) for his surplus. Free agents might want to come but where would you put them?

  114. VP81955 - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    What some GMs do hold a grudge against Rizzo for is that the Strasburg shutdown showed them up/made them look bad as short-sighted handlers of their top players, indifferent to the players' best interests.I can think of one in Ashburn who probably feels that way right now…

  115. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:13 PM

    peric said… 1. He would almost certainly be the clear #6, ready to step in if someone did get injured.He looks like #3 to me as opposed to Harren's #5. And Detwiler can't be optioned and he is one of two left-handed starters (okay 3 if you count Zach Duke. JZimmnn will certainly NOT be optioned no ands ifs or buts about it. The only possibility I foresee … Stammen still can be optioned and Syracuse could certainly use him in their rotation. Who loses their spot in the rotation? My guess is Harren. A way over paid long relief guy? Maybe. Spring will be very, very interesting if they do end up signing Vasquez to a major league or even a minor league contract. January 10, 2013 1:47 PM Rizzo is "in" on Vazquez, no doubt about it and if he accepts Rizzo's offer I would think he would be in AAA.The other possibility is that he is a power arm in the bullpen and the 1st man added into the rotation if there was a need.

  116. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Ghost, Vasquez as a Nat sounds fantastic, but I still think it is highly unlikely. Do you really think he'd be willing to pitch from the bullpen rather than take a starter job somewhere else? And assuming it happens, is Stammen the odd man out? I'm just amazed there are people who think Rizzo gives even the slightest thought to trading or benching Span or not using Haren, if healthy of course, in the starting rotation. It would be so out of character for him to make these moves and then not follow through with them, at least for awhile. When has he ever done that before? Nyjer had his chance, so did E-Jax. Even Daniel Cabrera got a few starts.

  117. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:31 PM

    As I theorized at 11:41AM, Vázquez will most likely look for a starter's deal from a contender and look at other options if the former doesn't suit him.James Wagner an hour ago also wrote this: "It’s unclear if Vazquez would be interested in such a minor league deal or would hold out for a major league deal."Let's see if Rizzo can work his magic. I also suggested possibly starting Vázquez off as a power arm out of the bullpen and the Yankees had Vázquez in the 'pen for 5 games a few years ago so he has done it.

  118. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Sect222, I think Stammen is in. The guys on the fence are Bray, Christian Garcia, Mattheus and HenRod. Bray accepted a MiLB deal and Garcia and Mattheus has options. HenRod doesn't have options.Duke, Stammen, _______, _______, _______, Clippard, Storen

  119. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:37 PM

    why did we sign someone with an era of wait for it …. 7.77 whats the point? Hoping our amazing pitching coaches in triple can improve him to an era of 5?

  120. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    Rizzo gives even the slightest thought to trading or benching Span or not using Haren,Rizzo DOESN'T MAKE THAT CALL. Not when you've hired a manager of Davey Johnson's stature. What planet have you been visiting since Davey became manager? Its not this one.Johnson fills out the lineup card. He determines who plays and who doesn't. He picks the final 25 that go north and the eight in the lineup. Rizzo fills out the initial depth chart into the minors. The two meet to discuss their decisions and Davey DOESN'T BACK DOWN when he feels strongly about something as we saw last season.But if you were on another planet, perhaps planet pointy ball, you might have missed that.

  121. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    What about Kimball? is he still with us? and he has options or not for AAA?

  122. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Sect222, I totally agree. Haren if healthy is in the starting rotation and Span is your starting CF and leadoff.Haren of course given his health last year is the one we are probably all thinking could have a back/hip flare-up.Christian Garcia gives Rizzo the most flexibility as he has options and could be his spot starter. Once Bray is called up he can't be sent back down without passing waivers and the same would be the case with Vazquez if he starts in the Minors.

  123. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Sect222, I think Stammen is in. Stammen has options. Only ONE guy is going to be long relief to Duke's long relief on the left side. If Vasquez and Harren are in the mix Stammen is the odd man out.Mattheus features closer level, high octane stuff, mid 90's fast ball, killer slider. Believe me Stammen goes before Mattheus.

  124. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Faraz, Kimball is still rehabbing. Not sure on his timetable.

  125. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    I doubt Vaz would sign up for minor league or long relief but it would be great to have him back up our starters.

  126. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    What about Kimball? is he still with us? and he has options or not for AAA?Still has options. Still rehabbing from serious shoulder surgery. May never be the same again.

  127. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    GoSM,I thought he pitched in minors at the end of last season.

  128. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    GoSM,I thought he pitched in minors at the end of last season.sub to low 90's fastball. He might have pitched but he is still working on bringing the shoulder around. He used to pitch mid to upper 90's remember?

  129. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    oh ok. well I hope he can be used if needed later in the season.anyways, I think if we added vaz that would give us the best six-man rotation in baseball including dodgers.

  130. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    oh ok. well I hope he can be used if needed later in the season.You can't rush that kind of injury. See Wang, CM. You'll just have to be patient along with Cole himself.

  131. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Faraz, Kimball did some rehab pitching in AA then injured his lat. Then they brought him into the AFL. I agree with Peric as he may never be the same again but I'm staying optimistic. Its a long process.

  132. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Meawhile Ross Ohlendorf signed with the Nats.

  133. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Section 222,It will be hard to sign Vazquez but not impossible.Money talks and you can get very creative. I would think guaranteed money will be on the table. Maybe incentives could be put in place that vest for him playing next year too? Maybe he wants to be in charge of a Nat's Latin American club? What does he covet? That's what you can offer?

  134. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    From Kimball during the AFL "I feel like I have a brand new arm. I didn't get my usual long toss program during the offseason, so I'm kind of building arm strength while pitching in games now. Just to be able to pitch 14 months out, now that I'm throwing the way I'm throwing, it's getting closer and closer to where I was two years ago. It's a big step for me just to come out and feel healthy every day."

  135. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:55 PM

    Sofa looks like the Blue Jays picked claimed Tommy Hottvy.

  136. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Rizzo continues filling out the AAA Syracuse tryouts for their 2013 rotation. Could end up being an interesting mix when all is said and done. Best go north to Syracuse.

  137. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Fox, all good points. Its a negotiation. Rizzo wants him but the timing has complicated things. If Vazquez was available 3 months ago I think Rizzo would have taken him over Haren but Rizzo has commited to Haren so the rotation is full right now.As can be said though, stuff happens. Just ask Michael Morse.

  138. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Rizzo is just doing his due diligence on Vazquez. According to MLBTR, "Vazquez has been contacted by 15 teams about his services, but does not plan to sign with a club until after the World Baseball Classic in March and will only consider pitching for a contender."So if the scenario plays out that one of the Nats starting 5 gets hurt and/or falters during the first part of ST, and if no other club offers Vazquez a big league deal, Rizzo could sign him to the minor league deal with an opt out, because Vazquez would feel he has a good chance to make the rotation. And when Rizzo is asked which one out of Stras, Gio, JZim, Haren or Det has to make way for Vazquez and what he will do with that pitcher, he gives the standard answer "that's the kind of problem you want to have."

  139. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Looks like Mark tweeted the Sean West LHSP signing that I mentioned 2 or 3 days ago.

  140. peric - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    I don't see how the Nats will be able to avoid signing Vasquez to a major league contract if they truly decide they need him. Have to admit given the consistent loss of velocity on Harren's fastball it makes sense. Harren might just be more effective in long relief at this juncture. But, again, that makes Stammen odd man out because that is his role.

  141. Tcostant - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    I agree Vazquez might before a minor league deal with an out clause, say June 1st. You come, get back into the grind of pitching ever 5th day, if you pitch great you opt out and sign elsewhere if your not in the major league roster. This is very similar to what Rizzo gave Mike Gonzalez last year (he actually put him in the bigs right before the out kicked in).

  142. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:11 PM

    Ghost, here is an option that I would think unlikely but not impossible, a six man rotation. Here's a NYTimes article from 2011 I remember reading. http://bats.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/15/is-the-six-man-rotation-here-to-stay/Don't think Davey would go this way but it's not unheard of.Vazquez can be a dominating pitcher. He has always been healthy and his best years are every other year so this should be a good one. ;-)I agree more with you and Section 222 its unlikely, but the Nationals have had some creative contacts in the past and you can't have too much pitching.

  143. Feel Wood - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    The only way they truly need Vazquez is if one of the current 5 starters gets hurt in ST. Then they can give Vazquez a major league deal. Otherwise, if the conditions are that no other team that Vazquez wants to play for is willing to give him a big league deal, the Nats might be able to get him on a minor league deal and see what happens. Doing something like that would be classic Rizzo MO.

  144. Gonat - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    I agree Ghost that if Vazquez was available 3 months ago Rizzo may have pursued him before Haren.Nothing ventured, nothing gained, might as well push the payroll to $120 mill and keep Morse and sign Vazquez!

  145. Kenz aFan - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    I'm sorry, Mark, but even though odds are Michael Morse will be traded, the fact that you chose to not include him on your roster shows a total lack of respect on your part. Remember, until and only when and if he's traded, Michael Morse is STILL a Washington National, and SHOULD be treated as such. He should be given the same respect you gave every other player, many of which could also be potentially trade candidates.I would have expected much better of you.

  146. Joe Seamhead - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:24 PM

    OK, now I'm rolling my eyes while shaking my head and snickering out loud.Nats Lady, We're in sec311 and it's great, though I like 312 even better. Though we watch the game, there is a bit of cutting up there,too.

  147. NatsLady - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    @snopes1–awwww, geee (blush), thanks. I'm rooting for Span, as I reported a while back. He seems like a fun but hard-working guy, VERY media-savvy–he had a radio show in Minnesota.

  148. UnkyD - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Lol, Kenz….. You sounded serious, for a minnit…

  149. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:33 PM

    Vazquez was pitching the best of his entire career when he retired. I found it very strange that he retired when he did.The Nat's don't need Vazquez and players a year away from the game sometimes never make it back especially at his age but if he is pitching like he did at the end of 2011 he would be better than at least 2 of our starters now and that's saying a lot. He has always been healthy and something has intrigued Rizzo to go to Puerto Rico, unless he was just trying to get the Nat's to pay for his vacation. So unlikely yes, and if Rizzo didn't go to Puerto Rico and they just contacted his agent then I would not even post, but there does seem to be something there and if Rizzo liked what he saw I bet he makes some type of offer.

  150. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    What planet have you been visiting since Davey became manager?Nats Park, Washington, DC, USA, Planet Earth. How about you? Suggesting that Rizzo would pay $13 million for a free agent starting pitcher, only to have him be a long reliever this year suggests somewhere far, far away.

  151. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Fox, the time to have even considered a 6 man rotation would've been 2012 to save Strasburg innings especially when they had John Lannan to be thtat 6th man.Its not going to happen this year. Vazquez becomes a 6th option.

  152. Section 222 - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Fox, sure the Nats could offer Vazquez all kinds of things. Tons of money, incentives, Bowden's old Sedgeway, Nyjer's Silver Elvis wig. But the one thing they can't offer is the one thing he wants — a legitimate shot at claiming a starting rotation spot on a contender. For that reason alone, I just think it's wishful thinking to think there's a snowball's chance he lands here, especially if 15 other teams have contacted him. We may all think that the Nats are the very best place to play if you want to win the World Series this year, but there are other teams that have a shot. And I'm sure not all of them have all five starting pitcher spots locked up.

  153. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Vazquez really is in the drivers seat on this one. His total earnings from baseball reference.com are at 99 million. He did not retire due to injury, just wanted more time with family. He is obviously coming back on his terms. I think if Rizzo is straight with him (and I would expect that is one of his strengths) and he can see that we have 5 starters and we would be using him as insurance he might sign. Fox – don't you remember all the scorn last year when people suggested a 6 man rotation to keep SS around until playoffs? I still love thinking outside the box but doubt if we see it here. I do agree that if we sign Vazquez we have the best 6 man rotation in baseball. Still not sure our 5 guys aren't #1 as well. Peric has given up on both Span and Haren but I am not going that route. I still think that if Haren has a bounce back year that he will be starting one of the many playoff games necessary on our march to the World Series. Depending on who wins the All-Star game will determine how many games Mickey Morse starts for our lads as well.Go Nats!!

  154. sjm308 - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    So Ghost, I will leave it up to you. Do I owe a drink? Got to start writing shorter posts.

  155. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    sjm308 said… Fox – don't you remember all the scorn last year when people suggested a 6 man rotation to keep SS around until playoffs?You may owe me a drink!

  156. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    peric said…Looks like Mark tweeted the Sean West LHSP signing that I mentioned 2 or 3 days ago.So he did. Good call.

  157. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    I'm just looking at the behavior of Rizzo. As far a I see from the reporting of Vazquez, the Red and White Sox both sent scouts but the only GM to go was Rizzo. I can only remember a few times Rizzo went to scout players he was interested in. One was Strasburg and the other Harper. I think there was a third but I can't remember who it was.I'm not saying this is an apples to apples comparison its just a behavioral one. I would need another reason Rizzo is in Puerto Rico, does he have family there? Puerto Rico is not a short flight. When Rizzo has an interest he usually acts on it, like when he wanted Greinke or Buehrle. The offer does not have to make sense to me, the Greinke trade never did. It only has to make sense to Rizzo. Like I said unlikely and when it was discussed before I knew Rizzo went there I snickered, I'm not snickering now. I probably owe NatsJack a drink.

  158. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Kenz aFan said… I'm sorry, Mark, but even though odds are Michael Morse will be traded, the fact that you chose to not include him on your roster shows a total lack of respect on your part. Michael Morse clearly is on the trade block and while I would have liked to see him included with a notation I think Mark is projecting the Opening Day payroll not as it stands today and projections include obvious additions and deletions.As Gonat said in the post right before yours "Nothing ventured, nothing gained, might as well push the payroll to $120 mill and keep Morse and sign Vazquez!"I've said here many times I'm in the Beast Mode Fan Club so the stark reality was the day ALR signed back that Morse was the odd man out and I am indeed saddened to see him with a foot out the door.

  159. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Section 222 said… Bowden's old Sedgeway, Nyjer's Silver Elvis wig.All symbolic to those days of dysfunction. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane and a good laugh.

  160. MicheleS - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Mark new posted us.

  161. The Fox - Jan 10, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Section 222,You are correct in thinking Vazquez wants a starting job, I think the same thing but he is also going to retire soon. I'm old I can remember when Frank Robinson retired. I think they even had a parade. Guess what the god awful Cleveland Indians told him he could become the first black manager if he was a player coach. Frank un-retired.There is something strange with the Vazquez retirement and I don't think we will ever know the truth. Few people walk away from maybe $10 million dollars with-out a very good reason. Vazquez now wants back in why? He still has the part of the 99 million I would think? I don't think we will every know the real story. People say they are going to spend time with their family when someone is sick or dieing of when it is an excuse for something else. I got to go. I'm probably wrong, I've been wrong many times before I just think this is a strange situation.

  162. Kenz aFan - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    UnkyD said…Lol, Kenz….. You sounded serious, for a minnit…That long? ;)

  163. Kenz aFan - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said…As Gonat said in the post right before yours "Nothing ventured, nothing gained, might as well push the payroll to $120 mill and keep Morse and sign Vazquez!"Yea, I know Morse is as good as gone, and yes, I know there's a truckload of fans who want him so stay as a super sub, but there aren't enough at bats for Morse, and as fast as Vazquez goes, I'm already on record as wanting the Nats to pass on him.

  164. realdealnats - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    I would have liked to see Morse's name in Mark's list and I'm not joking. It's an easy enough nod and all the realists can deduct his salary in their heads.

  165. Kirbs - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:52 AM

    Yunesky Maya $2,000,000UHH, Why?

  166. DC - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Keep in mind, our entire starting five rotation is making $26,150,000 that is $1,150,000 more than philly pays cliff lee. We are in an unbelievably envious position financially. Period.

  167. DC - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:53 AM

    Sorry $29,150,000 so $4,150,000 more than cliff lee

  168. The Retired Journalist - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    NatsNut wrote: "Yunesky Maya. Ouch."As the great baseball mind Bill Veeck once said, "It isn’t the high price of stars that is expensive; it’s the high price of mediocrity."With the inflation of payrolls around the majors, (see Yankees, NY or Dodgers, LA) 100 megabucks is not the jawdropping, eyerolling number it once was. If not this year, a $100 million payroll will be middle of the pack soon enough and even such notorious cheapskates as the Marlins will be forced to spend, oh, maybe $75 thousand or so each year on their roster.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB MN
x-WASHINGTON 87 63 -- 0
ATLANTA 75 76 12.5
MIAMI 73 77 14.0
NEW YORK 73 79 15.0
PHILADELPHIA 69 81 18.0
Through Tuesday's early games
x-Clinched division title
UPCOMING SCHEDULE
WED: Nats at Braves, 7:10 p.m.
THU: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SAT: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
SUN: Nats at Marlins, 1:10 p.m.
MON: OFF
TUE: Mets at Nats 7:05 p.m.
Full season schedule

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

ON THE RADIO

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

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

*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.

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