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Kudos for additional drug testing

Jan 11, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Commissioner Bud Selig and union chief Michael Weiner have worked well together.

No issue has haunted baseball over the last two decades more than steroids — look no further than this week's Hall of Fame vote for evidence of that — and the sport has rightfully been chastised for its unwillingness to address the issue throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s.

But let's give credit where credit's due, because the leaders of this game have done some mighty impressive work in the last few years in an attempt to make up for their previously shameful ignorance of the problem.

And they added one of the most impressive moves to date yesterday, announcing that all major leaguers will be subject to random, in-season, blood testing for human growth hormone beginning in April.

That makes Major League Baseball the first North American professional sports league to require such testing for HGH and further strengthens what has become by far the strictestRead more Β»

251 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. SlowPitch63 - Jan 11, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    PEDs and the HOF,Since no one has the right to be selected for the hof I propose the following:Any player considered may voluntarily submit his medical records covering the time of his playing career to a physician appointed by MLB. This DR would then review the records and with the players permission inform the hof only that the player was "clean" in his opinion. He could also inform the voters that the records seem incomplete to him. No other personnal medical information would be revealed and the records would be returned to the player.To protect the privacy of the player no list would be published of those that "failed" the evaluation or those that did not submit their records only those that "passed".Fire away!Let's Play Two!

  2. Joe Seamhead - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    After reading the past two day's posts on this blog I think maybe Mark should insist on random drug tests for some of the bloggers.Some of you had to have been smoking something!

  3. snopes1 - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    Good for Weiner. The fact is that drug testing helps the players as much as anyone. Steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs are not safe or pleasant, given their side effects. If players feel pressured into taking them in order to compete, the players themselves suffer.And, in the category of talking to myself, a couple of days ago I said this to 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. >>>I've now remembered. It was our very own Adam LaRoche, who was traded to the Red Sox in November 2009 and then traded away to Atlanta for Casey Kotchman only nine days later.Hey! There's a thought. Do you think the Nats might trade Adam LaRoche before Opening Day? After all, they did refuse to give him a no-trade clause. Just think what Denard Span and LaRoche could bring in a package deal.

  4. Tcostant - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    I think one of Selig finest moments as commish was when he appeared before congress with Fehr and a senator was hammer Selid about lack of testing and he just pointed to Fehr and said we proposed a, ba and c, but Fehr rejected it all…He needs to improve on the MASN deal though…

  5. Rabbit34 - Jan 11, 2013 at 1:52 PM

    I don't believe the players, commissioner, or anyone who says they want the drug problem to go away. If they all wanted the problem to go away, there wouldn't be a problem. If the dopes just stopped taking dope, there wouldn't be an issue with it. See, it's simple and logical.

  6. NatsLady - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    I understand that the performance enhancing effects of testosterone are pretty well established. But I read conflicting reports on HGH. If anyone knows of a reputable and recent study, I'd appreciate the link.

  7. MicheleS - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Sounds like the Red Sox are interested in Morse per Rosenthal

  8. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    More random testing will catch a few more and deter more. Keep your eyes on Pujols numbers is all I can say.Players would stay off the testosterone until after their first test hence many slow starts.

  9. SCNatsFan - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    A year from now there will be another designer drug or masking aganet that outpaces detection technology.

  10. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    MicheleS, at least if Morse goes to the Red Sox the Nats won't have to worry about facing them in the World Series as I don't see them as a contender.

  11. Joe Seamhead - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    NLHGH is risky, unless you consider death to be an acceptable side affect:http://www.cnn.com/2011/12/28/health/age-youth-treatment-medication/index.htmlThis is long overdue, not just for the good of the game, but also for the health and well-being of the players. The CNN report is a little sensationalized, but there are numerous examples of the harm HGH can do. Just google "HGH cancer" and you will find much info and research on the connection between them.

  13. JD - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    NatsLady, I've read a couple of articles which suggest a couple of things about HGH. 1) It does not enhance performance. 2) It helps with recovery and stamina. 3) There is no credible documented proof that it is a health hazard. Having said that my position is that until and unless HGH is recognized as acceptable by the sport and is available to anyone who wants it openly; use of it is still cheating and the motivation is to get an unfair advantage on other players.

  14. JD - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Laddie, I don't claim to be an expert on the topic and the article you present may very well be correct. I am just repeating what I read.

  15. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:31 PM

    Joe, any additional suitors will help push his value. I think Morse will have a huge year. I think he could help the Yankees a lot since they need to replace ARod and Swisher.

  16. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    I don't believe you can assign all of the blame to the lower level players. Equally, they can't be completely exonerated. At the start you need to separate the HGH issue from other PEDs; the protocols for HGH testing have been debatable for years and I'm pretty sure we haven't heard the end of explanations why the tests are unreliable — from those who get caught. I think the blame starts with the union and Donald Fehr. The tendency of all of the player unions is to represent the most highly paid players first and the scrubinis later, and that in particular is Fehr's modus operandi — which has been on display in the recent NHL strike. No way were the highly-paid juicers like Bonds and Clemens going to take a chance of getting kicked off the gravy train. At the same time lesser players, either greedy or desparate, were willing to take chances with dangerous drugs (the PEDs) in order to grasp a higher rung on the ladder or stave off the end of their careers. I think we see that in the names of players pinged for PED use under the present system, the vast majority of whom were wannabes, has-beens and never-weres — and greedy little creeps like M. Cabrera.If Weiner is responsible for a change in the union's position it is because he (and some of the players) realized that the guzzling of steroids had so undermined the integrity of the game that the ticket- and jersey-buying public's confidence had sunk to the post-1994 strike level, and the future incomes of every player in the game had been jeopardized.Mark's second point — the acceptance of WADA record-keeping — is at least as important. But the public won't have confidence in the anti-doping program until the protocols are tightened up so there are no Houdini acts like Ryan Braun's. (Not that, so far as I can tell, there was any serious doubt about the chain of custody of Braun's sample, just a lot of Billy Flynn tap dancing.)

  17. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    JDI am certainly not an expert on HGH, either, but any drug that powerful can be misused. If you drink enough of it, you can overdose on water and die. Literally.One definite benefit of outlawing stuff like HGH is that kids with professional aspirations are less likely to experiment with stuff like HGH, steroids, etc. Guys like Bonds and Clemens have enough money to pay experts to advise and administer their PEDs. Kids don't.

  18. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    In case anyone doubts that assertion concerning death by water, here is a case of it in California from 2007:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jan/15/usaI wouldn't want my kid messing with HGH, steroids, or any other PED.

  19. Mark Grabowsky - Jan 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks for the comments on the relatively few replays on the stadium scoreboard. It seems that the Nats have discretion on replays and they are on the conservative side. I was disappointed when the scoreboard replay would show the first three parts of a double play (field, throw, pivot) but not the play at first. But the close play at first on a double play is part of the beauty of the game. Sure, we might yell at the ump on a close call, but that has always been part of the game also.

  20. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    MarkG, I didn't mention this yesterday because I saw your comment well after you made it, but I believe that the "no close play replays on the scoreboard" practice is actually a provision of the umpires' contract. And I can understand why they do it. The first replay isn't always conclusive, and the scoreboard guys sure aren't going to show a whole slew of different angles. I just keep a list of plays I want to watch when I get home before I erase the game from my DVR. :-)

  22. SCNatsFan - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Having friends here in town who are on HGH I can say it makes a remarkable transformation; they work out and for 'old' guys they are in remarkable shape – remarkable. I don't use the stuff, I'm just fat.

  23. Don - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Does the blood test test for PED subtances other than hGH? I think that they will also be doing urine tests and I wonder if there is some split from what they can do with a guy's blood to his urine. Mindboggling stupid for me to think this kind of thing, but I would not be shocked if it was some complicated protocal as to what they can and can;t do with a test.

  24. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    They do both.

  25. sjm308 - Jan 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Snopes – thanks for the answer and I do understand you are not advocating the trade of Span or LaRoche.On the drug issue. I had to deal with random testing as an NCAA coach but that was just having our kids pee in a cup and it was not something I was comfortable with. They now will be taking blood which is way more serious in my opinion. I could be way wrong but I believe none of these drugs allow or improve a hitters ability to make contact with a pitched ball. Now, when he does make contact, it might go farther but he still has to hit it. I can see a pitcher gaining a few mph but to me, the main objective of most of these drugs was to recover from an injury faster or train at a higher lever with the results of increased muscle mass. At no time is their eye/hand coordination improved which is a huge part of the skill of this wonderful game.That all being said until this ban is lifted I think all sports are under a cloud of suspicion.It is another reason I would vote people into the Hall on performance and nothing else. Just make sure their plaque has some notation about what was proven or suspected.I will await the uproar from the purists.

  26. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    Sjm — Once someone said, "Of course,'roids didn't help Bonds see the baseball better." And the response I read was (A) one of the first benefits of steriods is that vision improves and (B) Bonds's vision went from 20/20 to 20/10. (Not to mention his head and feet.) Just repeating what I saw reported quite a few years ago.

  27. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    what about bat speed? we know how bat speed relates to how far ball goes.

  28. sjm308 - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    Theo – thanks, I had not heard that

  29. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… MicheleS, at least if Morse goes to the Red Sox the Nats won't have to worry about facing them in the World Series as I don't see them as a contender. January 11, 2013 9:15 AM ___________________________Ken Rosenthal thought that the Rangers, Yankees, and Tampa would all have incentive to get Morse to keep him away from their competition and I guess you can say the Red Sox would want to keep him away from the Yankees and Rays and vice versa.

  31. MicheleS - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    Well, Gio is on his way to DC.. Hmmm must be the last of the big weddings.

  32. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    There just is no doubt that steroids helped Bonds' performance. The guy clubbed 45 HRs at age 39 (OPS 1.422!) and 28 HRs at age 42 (OPS 1.045!), for goodness sakes. He was a phenomenal player early in his career without the PEDs for sure. His '92 and '93 seasons were stunning. But there's just no way he would have continued that kind of production into his twilight years without a little help from "the clear" and "the cream."

  33. SonnyG10 - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    sjm308 said…I could be way wrong but I believe none of these drugs allow or improve a hitters ability to make contact with a pitched ball. Now, when he does make contact, it might go farther but he still has to hit it.I would disagree with you on this. I know I could swing a lighter bat more accurately than a heavier bat. The extra strength would make a bat seem lighter. Also you can swing a lighter bat with more speed than a heavier bat, thus allowing a hitter to delay his swing until the last moment. Therefore I think there is a competitive advantage in addition to hitting the ball farther.

  34. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Here's an article on Barry Bonds and claims of increased vision: http://www.menshealth.com/health/performance-enhancing-drugs/page/2

  35. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    I just tried to google Barry Bonds' career stats, with no luck. Maybe someone else can find an online source.Anyway, my recollection is that Barry never hit more than 40 HRs in a single year until after he reached the age of 35, when guys like Ruth and Mantle went into steep decline. Bonds, on the other hand, had his best years, by far, after he started doing PEDs at an advanced age (for baseball).HGH can reverse the effects of aging, for example, and is used by older folks to counter the otherwise inevitable decline. Barry reportedly returned to ST after his first winter of doing PEDs with a head 2 sizes larger than when the prior season ended.If you look at a pic, before and after, and his stats, before and after, the effect on both is unmistakeable.

  36. SonnyG10 - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Hmmmm…I take too long to think and compose.

  37. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Bonds hit 46 HRs at the age of 28.

  38. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    Laddie Blah Blah said… I just tried to google Barry Bonds' career stats, with no luck. Maybe someone else can find an online source.Anyway, my recollection is that Barry never hit more than 40 HRs in a single year until after he reached the age of 35, ___________________________________Barry had all the tools before he supposedly started using in 1999.

  39. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Bonds's career stats.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    There are sports Vision experts who can improve some eyesight better than 20/20 with LASIK and it's all legal.Is that cheating? Research Dr. Smithson's bio page at NOVAEyeDocs.com

  41. Unknown - Jan 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I had no idea that pitchers and catchers report in just 31 days. That puts a smile on this no-longer-young guy's face.I remember back in '69 WTOP radio broadcast a spring training game for the Senators (unheard of back then). Some kid by the name of Jeff Volweiller pitched a couple of innings against the Yankees and struck out five of six, something like that. I immediately penciled him into the rotation as a Cy Young candidate. Never did understand that two innings in Pompano Beach did not a career make.Farid @ Idaho

  42. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… There are sports Vision experts who can improve some eyesight better than 20/20 with LASIK and it's all legal.Is that cheating? Research Dr. Smithson's bio page at NOVAEyeDocs.com__________________________________Here's the link to his site: http://www.novaeyedocs.com/sports-vision.php and this portion: "Seeing 20/20 just isn’t enough in the world of sports vision. Serious athletes of all ages who are looking to gain a competitive edge with enhanced visual performance are turning to Dr. Keith Smithson, our sports vision specialist."

  43. JD - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    The anecdotal evidence is so overwhelming where there is no doubt whatever that PED's increased performance exponentially. Records that held for 50 years were shattered by not 1 but 2 players in 1 year and then again the following year. The huge years players had late in their careers which contradicts medical probability and the numbers produced by players who were pretty much fringe players prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that PED's dramatically improved performance.

  44. Don - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Not sure anyone can call out which clubs will be contenders in 2013 and which will not — the A's and Nats would not have been in the pile of likely Division winners at this point in 2012. But the Red Sox are a pretty good looking club right now. They are not the Marlins or Padres or Stros, they have players

  45. JD - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    Mike Piazza is the poster child for people who claim that the voters went overboard with their HOF choices this week; I actually felt the same way until I heard some pretty compelling arguments where Piazza's stats dropped like a rock when testing came into play. The counter argument here is that catchers offense decline late in their careers but I think there is too much coincidence here. It seems that there is no neat way of assessing performance in the steroid era and there will be some babies thrown out with the bath water. I hope Bud Selig and Donald Fehr are properly embarrassed and ashamed but somehow I seriously doubt it.

  46. Joe Seamhead - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    I seem to remember a stat on Bonds that wasn't how many homers he hit after a certain age, but how many were tape measure shots over something akin to 450 feet he hit before he was like 35 vs how many afterwards,and the results were just crazy. I don't remember the numbers, but it was like next to none until he was past 35 and then he then hit dozens over 450 feet. That and the size of his head growing literally several hat sizes made him pretty,pretty suspect.

  47. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    aging curve for catcher should be a bit different I would think.

  48. Feel Wood - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… There are sports Vision experts who can improve some eyesight better than 20/20 with LASIK and it's all legal. Is that cheating?Apparently performance-enhancing surgery (LASIK, Tommy John, etc) is okay, but performance enhancing drugs are cheating. Perhaps they should ban the use of anesthesia and pain killers during surgery/rehab to level the playing field.

  49. NatsLady - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I think the original idea was LASIK and knee surgeries and prescription pain meds are available to the general population, and so should be "allowed" for athletes, whereas "steroids" are illegal. However, it seems from my reading that HGH is legal with a prescription. (I wouldn't want to be the lady who injected HGH into her thigh 6 times a week and developed cancer–of course). Athletes, including our own Nats, have received blood-platelet injections and cortisone shots. Seems to me the PED thing is getting murky and arbitrary.However, in the end, it's a "level playing field" if all athletes are subject to the same rules and the same testing–even if the rules seem arbitrary and illogical.

  50. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 11, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    I'm not saying that better vision as a collateral effect of PEDs is cheating and LASIK is not; the point of taking PEDs isn't to be better able to ogle the women in the field-level seats behind the dugout but to be bigger, faster, stronger. Those are the effects of PEDs that baseball wants to avoid.

  51. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Feelwood, if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'. Just kidding but anything that is legal with the drug prevention rules and not against US law I think is okay and that includes food supplements. In 1998 McGwire wasn't using anabolics he was using Andro and Creatine that were sold over the counter at GNC.I never had a problem with that. At that time it was legal and not a banned MLB substance.

  52. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Piazza's issue, in some minds, was that he had a case of acne (supposedly a steriod-related symptom) that looked like he slept on a bed of sea urchins. Add to that the facts that his all-around skills (e.g., defense) weren't much above Edgar Martinez's level and his body of work at the plate wasn't up to the level of others (e.g., Martinez, Trammell — a defensive star) whom Mark rejected as unworthy. Piazza's most compelling argument for notoriety — not HOF — is that he was a 26th round draft pick (or was it 62nd?).

  53. NatsLady - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:08 PM

    There's cheating, and there's cheating. You fake a caught ball that you actually trapped–that's on the umpire to spot. You fake that you grabbed a foul ball that a fan actually caught–again, BAD on the umpire. In the "privacy" of your basement you stick a needle full of PEDs into your thigh or butt–vastly different, IMO.

  54. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    NatsLady, you mean like Jeter faking he got a HBP? The guy is an amazing actor.

  55. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    Theo, I think you are correct on Piazza. 100% certainty is the tough call on him or anyone else. Remember the Russian athletes were using anabolic steroids in the late 1950's.There is plenty of articles that said 'roids were rampant in the NFL in the 1970's. Can we say with 100% certainty that any athlete that spiked in performance from 1960 on didn't do it with anabolic help?All I know is Babe Ruth and Ted Williams were clean from anabolics.

  56. TimDz - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:22 PM

    Well done, Bud….Now, how about doing something with the ridiculous MASN deal ….

  57. baseballswami - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Verducci, one of the first to report on ped's comprehensively, said yesterday on mlb that in his interview with a player ( caminitti?),he talked frankly and openly about ped use. One of the things he told Verducci was that he felt like superman in all respects physically. And he felt that way all the time. Seems like ped's are not the only problem. There was a time in mlb that amphetamines were common. Now it seems like ADD drugs are a problem. Anything that gives a player an edge physically is not fair. There will always be players that try to cheat the system. I think today's players mostly want clean careers. If their numbers are lower, then everyone's numbers are lower and so be it. MLB seasons are very long, grinding and challenging.

  58. The Fox - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    Form Boswell in the comment section:Enjoying all the comments this a.m. Just to give you an update on the status of Morse. "They'll be able to put a pretty good deal together for Morse," an industry source told me this a.m. (Meaning a real prospect or prospects with more value than just a middle-of-bullpen LH reliever.) Hope he's right.

  59. NatsLady - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:41 PM

    I have no "problem" with Jeter faking a HBP, or even Peralta using pine-tar–because that kind of "cheating" can be caught by alert players and umpires on the field, and if they don't catch it, too bad. In fact, the whole pine-tar thing (Peralta's and Harper's) was very entertaining. The fans were "in" on it and could watch the managers and players duke it out. With medical "cheating" there is no chance for fans to witness what is going on–and in the end, it's the fans who are paying the tab. I don't remember the 1989 "juiced" WS because I was in grad school at the time and baseball was not a priority. But I do remember the Sosa/McGwire HR contest. Fans bought into it without any concrete reporting that it was "fixed."

  60. NatsLady - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    All I know is Babe Ruth and Ted Williams were clean from anabolics.Yeah, but not for lack of trying on Ruth's part.

  61. The Fox - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Sources are saying Javier Vazquez has signed with the Washington Nationals and the deal will be announced in a few dayshttp://throughthefencebaseball.com/sources-nationals-sign-javier-vazquez/28184/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sources-nationals-sign-javier-vazquez

  62. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    Sources are saying Javier Vazquez has signed with the Washington Nationals and the deal will be announced in a few daysAnyone want to help me with this large serving of crow I'm about to eat?

  63. peric - Jan 11, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    Sources are saying Javier Vazquez has signed with the Washington Nationals and the deal will be announced in a few daysHah! The plot thickens … I wonder if JayB will consider that an International Signing? ~smiles~ There's going to be competition for starting rotation and long relief slots after all. Especially if the convert Christian Garcia to a starter in camp again Davey is going to love this …Now let's just let Morse, Span, and Werth compete for a starters spot to make it all even.

  64. NatsLady - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    OK, if that is true about Vazquez, I bow down before the greatness that is Mike Rizzo and I apologize for thinking even for a millisecond that he was on vacation in Puerto Rico. Man, it will be interesting to see the terms of the deal!

  65. The Fox - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Section 222,I thought it was unlikely too but when Rizzo flew there I knew if he liked what he saw he would make an offer. I could not say that Vazquez would take the offer but Rizzo can be quite compelling. We will see if it's a MLB or Mil contract.Maybe Rizzo said come to Spring training and if you are one of my best 10 pitchers you will go north. Have to wait on the details and it is still not official.

  66. peric - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    We'll share … Boz answering the comments below this morning's article. Way cool. Maybe that's an artifact of getting poopy__mcpoop out of there albeit I miss the guy he was fun to torture … ~laughing~@Boz: Enjoying all the comments this a.m. Just to give you an update on the status of Morse. "They'll be able to put a pretty good deal together for Morse," an industry source told me this a.m. (Meaning a real prospect or prospects with more value than just a middle-of-bullpen LH reliever.) The Nats don't have to be in a hurry to trade Morse and they won't be. He has value though it's crimped by only one yr left on his contract. But they WILL end up trading him __98%. (Unless somebody got hurt before they got a deal done and they NEEDED to keep him.) It's only fair to Morse to trade him __he's had an .857 OPS for the last three years. Anybody that good, in his walk year and still only 31 (by Opening Day) deserves to play and will find a buyer. (He's a higher level performer than Lannan was, so it's not comparable. They couldn't get beans for Lannan, so didn't trade him __luckily.) If you want "bad chemistry," just imagine what it would be like trying to find >400 AB playing time for Morse by rotating him with other players. A nightmare for him, the team, his teammates and for the manager. It's a non-starter. Besides, w LaRoche back, Tyler Moore can fill any Morse role. Redundant. You might even want to bring up Rendon by July if he looked ready and you could get him enough ABs. Talked to Rizzo after LaRoche signed. He was prepared to go with MM at 1st, no problem with that and thought MM and ALaR were of similar value for '13. But NOT equal value. "We're a better team with LaRoche (than Morse) because of his defense, he's a LHed bat and, knock on wood, he's been durable." So, there will be no Beast Insurance Policy. The insurance is now Moore. Will the (in effect) Span for Morse trade look smart in 2-or-3 years? (Nats control Span through '15). We'll see. As you can see by the We'll see. Boswell infers that we Rizzo might just have made a Morgan-like error again. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

  67. Steady Eddie - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Fox — thanks for the link.222 — it's really pretty remarkable. This and the Haren signing are the most dramatic illustrations of how far this team has come. It's kind of mind-blowing that, even though the Nats have a full rotation and no particular reason before the fact to expect that they'll enter opening day with a different rotation, a guy with Vasquez's resume still wants to take his chances in ST here. Of course, his contract obviously will have some interesting provisions about the timing and circumstances of his right to move on. But the fact that he's signing here when his best chances to start with a contender are somewhere else speaks volumes about how great a showcase Vasquez believes the Nats will provide for his talent in ST, with the very outside chance (which we hope will not happen) that he gets onto the rotation through injury. (Wouldn't think this was primarily intended as competition for the rotation. Rizzo didn't pay Haren $13m to sit in the bullpen, and Det would have every reason to be furious to be competing for a starting spot after his last season — and especially the end of his season. Can't think Vasquez is coming back to baseball to accept a roster spot as a long reliever, especially when there's no way we'd then pay him what he's worth as a starter.)It's quite unreal, especially when you consider how out-of-sync this team was as a team as recently as June 2011, before the RiggleMan walked out.

  68. SonnyG10 - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    Starting to look like we don't have room to hide HRod anymore.

  69. peric - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    Starting to look like we don't have room to hide HRod anymore.He might get dealt as well. We'll have to wait and see. Trading Morse could provide an opportunity to trade players that are out of options and might not make the 25 out of camp. I'm sure the FO will take advantage of every opportunity this affords in order to bring the best set of players they possibly can to camp in Florida.

  70. Steady Eddie - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    Sorry if this gets posted twice — my comment seems to have disappeared so I'm reposting it below.Fox — thanks for the link.222 — it's really pretty remarkable. This and the Haren signing are the most dramatic illustrations of how far this team has come. It's kind of mind-blowing that, even though the Nats have a full rotation and no particular reason before the fact to expect that they'll enter opening day with a different rotation, a guy with Vasquez's resume still wants to take his chances in ST here. Of course, his contract obviously will have some interesting provisions about the timing and circumstances of his right to move on. But the fact that he's signing here when his best chances to start with a contender are somewhere else speaks volumes about how great a showcase Vasquez believes the Nats will provide for his talent in ST, with the very outside chance (which we hope will not happen) that he gets onto the rotation through injury. (Wouldn't be competition for the rotation — Rizzo didn't pay Haren $13m to sit in the bullpen, and Det would have every reason to be furious to be competing for a starting spot after his last season — and especially the end of his season. Also, Det has starter's stuff and it would have to damage his development as a starter for him not to continue to build IPs over last year, not regress back to the BP. Can't think Vasquez is coming back to baseball to accept a roster spot as a long reliever, especially when there's no way we'd then pay him what he's worth as a starter.)

  71. Steady Eddie - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:40 PM

    I guess it's at least conceivable that if Vasquez doesn't get an adequate offer from another contending team to be a starter, he might be willing to accept a long reliever role at a long reliever's pay level, in order to play on the Nats under Davey. I have a hard time seeing that, but if it happens it would be even more incredible.

  72. IKN8wxU2 - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    If you're Vasquez and you want a shot at a ring, you might be willing to start the season in the bullpen, knowing that it's very unlikely that all 5 starters make it through the season. He's old enough and wise enough to know that and not to worry about his role in April. Plus, the Nats are a very good local geographically.Having said that, apparently that story about Vasquez signing was wrong. I think we won't know until March where he goes.

  73. Steady Eddie - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    apparently that story about Vasquez signing was wrongWhile I'm not surprised — as per the above I was a bit incredulous about it at this point — but what made you conclude that? (I haven't seen any Tweets about it from anyone, either.)

  74. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    This is surreal given the discussions yesterday on Vazquez and planning out the Bullpen if its true that he is getting a MLB deal.We have some very smart posters who foresaw that as a possibility if that indeed happens.

  75. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Maybe a Vazquez signing is Zim's wedding present from Rizzo but I think the LaRoche "scoop" saving Zim all those throwing errors is a huge gift!

  76. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    The article on Vazquez looks better in Spanish.http://www.primerahora.com/javiervazquezpodriafirmarconlosnationalsdewashington-760542.html

  77. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Didn't Vasquez say he wasn't going to make a decision until after the WBC?

  78. Tcostant - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    I read somewhere that Vasquez said we won't sign anywhere until after the World Baseball Classic, so that is mid-March at the earliest.

  79. Tcostant - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Yeah – what 222 said…

  80. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Tcostant, in case you are looking for the NIDO Spreadsheet. There you go. :-)

  81. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    Some irony, Vazquez agent also reps Michael Morse and I believe it can work in Rizzo's favor. Also Gio shares the same agent FWIW.

  82. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:26 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Some irony, Vazquez agent also reps Michael Morse and I believe it can work in Rizzo's favor. Also Gio shares the same agent FWIW. January 11, 2013 3:12 PM __________________________________How do you see this working in Rizzo's favor?

  83. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Gonat, off the record Morse is more valuable in terms of future contracts. The agent wants to make sure Morse gets to a team that he wants to go to and that type of favor is appreciated by that agent. Capisci (in my Italian accent)?

  84. natsfan1a - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    Who runs Through the Fence Baseball? They don't give any sources for their story. I don't see anything about Vazquez signing on MLB Trade Rumors. I'll be inclined to give more credence after I see it there.On topic, as others have noted before me, good to see additional measures being taken (Although part of me is skeptical, MLB: "We're really serious this time." Me: "Uh-huh."). Also as others have noted – now get on that MASN contract, Bud. ("Uh-huh.") :-)

  85. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    Ghost, gotcha. Grazie!

  86. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Thanks, Gonat, for the link to the Vasquez article in Spanish.

  87. JD - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Ghost, That's an excellent observation and I think Rizzo operates that way. He understands that what goes around comes around and players and agents in particular keep score. I have bee racking my brain for 3 days and I can't figure out how an accomplished pitcher like Vazquez fits our team. Could Rizzo consider trading someone like JZimm or Det? Nah.

  88. baseballswami - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Nooooooooooooooo!

  89. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    I was going to say that we have to look at the guy reporting it. I don't think it is true.

  90. JD - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    Faraz, I have my doubts too.

  91. Section 222 - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    And here I was, all ready to dive into the steaming pile of crow on my plate. Whew!

  92. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  93. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  94. IKN8wxU2 - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    Someone commenting at Federal Baseball said the Vasquez signing report was false, according to a reporter who asked Vasquez. Look in the comments on the article about Rizzo scouting Vasquez.

  95. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    natsfan1a said… Who runs Through the Fence Baseball?_________________________________________I did some snooping and they are out of Pittsburgh and their address 1525 Park Manor Blvd, Suite #294 appears to be a UPS store drop-box. Throughthefencebaseball.com was registered on 26 Jan 2011. Jamie Shoemaker and Jeff Dickinson are the writers per their site.

  96. baseballswami - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Interesting…. Have you all ever watched a Nats Classic circa 2009? Almost unwatchable- and I am not referring only to the team. Dreadful.

  97. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

    NatsFan1a, here is the Twitter of Jamie Shoemaker from Through THe Fence Baseball: https://twitter.com/shoemakerbraves

  98. The Fox - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    FYII was looking at Vazquez stats under B-R.com and it was under the players news.The Spanish article uses TTFB as the source so it is not an additional source. Rizzo having been a scout for so many years he knows that everyone talks in baseball. Scouts many times are at the same games scouting the same player and they defiantly know each other. The pick up of Vasquez does have its problems but I do believe that Rizzo thinks competition brings out the best in his players so I can kind of see why Rizzo might want him but I'd like to know why Vasquez wants to come back? Does he want a ring? Does he want to play for more than one year? Does he want a job in baseball after he retires? That is the bigger question mark for me. Vasquez will make at best half as much in 2013 then he would have made in 2012 so its got to be more than money. Who knows maybe Rizzo is helping his agent by floating the story ;-) .

  99. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    so how many drinks sec22 owes now?

  100. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    Fox, yes, that was the same source in Spanish. It just looked better in Spanish!

  101. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM

    The Spanish article Gonat linked to said Rizzo was there, and that Vasquez could sign, not that he did. It also said they had not confirmed any of it.

  102. Feel Wood - Jan 11, 2013 at 10:23 PM

    Scouts many times are at the same games scouting the same player and they defiantly know each other.Wow. Fisticuffs?

  103. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    You don't know me. You just think you do.

  104. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:23 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  105. peric - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:26 PM

    Where there's smoke there's fire and Rizzo showing up to see for himself constitutes fire.Renember! A Morse trade to the always canny Ray's GM could end up as a package given Morse is a one year rental. I still don't see the Spankees but even with them a package is a more likely scenario. Rizzo likes Karns and Davey likes Christian Garcia as starters. So … improvement of starting pitching in the minors prospect wise has to be the highest priority today for the FO. Have to think Lonbo is tradeable … and some pitching. And I still think a catcher could be part of any deal,

  106. Gonat - Jan 11, 2013 at 11:53 PM

    Catch this, MLB Network just announced their Ultimate Rotation:1. Justin Verlander2. Zach Greinke3. Jordan Zimmermann4. Anibal Sanchez5. Ross Detwiler

  107. baseballswami - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    What? That's cool!

  108. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:05 AM

    I ripped it off of Twitter and confirmed by a photo Screen Grab! Yep, looks like Al Leiter presented it! I wonder what he had to say about each! Anyone see it?

  109. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:07 AM

    Baseballswami, Check out Twitter of @jakeNATS24 for the photo. Good follow and he is a great Nats fan. I think he's 8 years old.

  110. Feel Wood - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:11 AM

    That doesn't mean Jordan Zimmermann and Ross Detwiler are the third and fifth best pitchers in MLB. It means JZimm is the best #3 and Det is the best #5.

  111. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    i think cliff lee beats four of those.what does ultimate mean anyway?

  112. sjm308 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    Faraz – just what Feel says it doesThey are looking at the best #1 through #5, not the 5 best pitchers. Still great that we have 2 of the 5 and interesting that MLB network has moved Haren in at #4 before throwing a pitch in spring training.

  113. NatsNut - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Gonat, nice one. I love MLB network. I can think of another sports network who probably doesn't even know who they are.

  114. sjm308 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    So all the talk about Vazquez is just hoooey??Have to love the internet where someone can just write a story and people jump all over it.

  115. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:09 AM

    Just went through the thread. Banging my head against the wall is getting old.

  116. baseballswami - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    Interesting stuff. I get the idea behind the list now. Still pretty cool. Everyone seems to have relegated Det to the five spot. We'll see.

  117. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    Listening to Classic Vinyl on Sirius.I will make a trip yo Viera next Friday and report back what I see.Pics will be on twitter @natsjackinfl.

  118. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    NatsJack, I'm going to sleep well tonight, how about you.

  119. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    NatsJack, I'm going to sleep well tonight, how about you..

  120. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    Me tkk.

  121. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:39 AM

    me too(fat thumbs)

  122. Section 222 - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:28 AM

    I didn't see the MLB segment, but it sounds like a huge compliment to the Nats rotation. When you have the best #3 and #5, it says that the #3 (JZnn) would be a #2 or a #1 elsewhere, and the #5 would be a #4 or a #3 elsewhere. But because we have Stras, Gio, and Haren, our guys are #3 and #5. Would you rather have the best #3 in baseball, or the best #1? I'll take the best #3 any day.

  123. snopes1 - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:32 AM

    >>>>JD said…Mike Piazza is the poster child for people who claim that the voters went overboard with their HOF choices this week; I actually felt the same way until I heard some pretty compelling arguments where Piazza's stats dropped like a rock when testing came into play. >>>>>Well, if you apply that argument Barry Bonds looks pretty straight. Random testing started in 2004. For the post-testing portion of his career, here are Bonds' OPS:2004 – 1.4222005 – 1.0712006 – .9992007 – 1.045It's hard to believe that Bonds continued cheating in those final years of his career, with the focus so directly on him (and Brian McNamee out of the steroids business). I don't remember if it was 2006 or 2007, but one of those years late in the season Bonds hit the hardest home run I've ever seen. It hit the upper deck at RFK, about 450 feet out, and I swear it was still rising. An absolute rocket. The fact that Bonds continued to produce at super-human levels even after testing came into effect leads me to believe that, even though he was probably a cheater to some extent, he really was an extraordinary Hall of Fame talent.

  124. SonnyG10 - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:08 AM

    Good night, peeps.

  125. baseballswami - Jan 12, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    About the ultimate rotation– having a good 3-5 is very important . Lots of teams have a one, two. We have one through five. I remember years, very recently, when we had no idea who our starters were going to be. I recently watched a game from 09- not long ago. Starters were Stammen, Det, Martis, Olsen. Who else I don 't even remember. Maybe a brand new JZim.

  126. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Oh,no, Mark can't leave us with this for the weekend, can he?

  127. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:28 PM

    MLB Network replays "Clubhouse Confidential" and "MLB Tonight" in the morning. I'll see if they have the Ultimate Rotation discussion, and why they think Greinke is better than Gio. IF IF they ever stop talking about the HoF.

  128. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    snopes, I would be skeptical of any player having their best years from age 36-39. That's taking 'blooming late' a bit too far.On another point regarding steroids, I honestly think that there needs to be more accountability for commissioners and others involved with baseball besides players. How come commissioners get to stay at their positions for as long as they do? Why do only owners get to choose commissioner? Selig has been running things for a while and I have not seen many fans of him but he is still at his position for such a long time, why?

  129. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 12, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I think Cliff Lee is #2 or 3 in Phillies rotation and he is better than either Zack or JZ. When either of them pitch a game like 2010 ALCS game 3, then I will think about replacing Lee with either.

  130. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Why Selig keeps his job:(1) Labor peace.(2) Increasing attendance almost every year.(3) New/updated stadia in almost every city.(4) TV revenues(5) Best sports app and best individual sports cable network (MLB Network)(6) Increased international interest in the sport.What are his downsides?(1) Late late late on PEDs(2) Indecisive/slow on San Jose, MASN and Mets finances–issues of interest locally but probably not nationally.(3) Seems to play favorites among owners. (4) Unattractive personality and public image.Feel free to add to either list, folks!Believe me, there have been WAY worse commissioners than Bud Selig.

  131. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    Oh, and part of Selig being late on PEDs was obstruction by Fehr (previous MLBPA leader).

  132. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Faraz, Cliff Lee has been a tremendous pitcher in his career, but Lee is a horse that has been ridden hard and put away wet, in my opinion. Charlie Manuel has left him, and Roy Halladay in for way too many innings since they came to Philly and the signs of wear are becoming pretty evident on both of them.Incidentally, Cole Hamels had a sore shoulder this winter that is being reported as "it's nothing."

  133. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    OK, the Ultimate Rotation is coming up on MLB Network in the next 1/2 hour. :)

  134. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Bowie Kuhn was a dunce in comparison, NL. Faraz, the owners get to choose the commissioner, quite simply, because they are the owners of the teams individually, and collectively of the league. The same applies to the NFL.

  135. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Interesting analysis on the Ultimate Rotation from Al Leiter. Points I especially liked- The Ace not only has to be a great pitcher, but he has to be aware of the rest of the team, status of the bullpen, what the other guys in the rotation are doing. An Ace "doesn't need a coach." It will be interesting to see if Stras develops those aspects of his game. It seems like Leiter is saying the Ace doesn't just go out there to win every 5th day, he goes out there to help his team win every day.- The No 3, 4 have to COMPETE. Likes the "bulldog" mentality of JZ, Need to reach back, get through the 6th inning…- He is a BIG fan of Detwiler. Says Detwiler has the stuff for a No. 2, and he's only going to get better.Leiter did not talk much about the pitchers he didn't select for each slot, more about the criteria he used.Next Friday they will do the Ultimate Bullpen. I like our bullpen, but I don't see us having a lot of slots in it except maybe Stammen.

  136. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    I like Storen, but he has yet to prove he is the best closer in the business. Love me some Clip, but is he the best setup guy? What we have is good combos, with flexibility.

  137. Section 222 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Clipp could be in the top 10 or even top 5 of setup guys, but not the best. Drew as best closer? Not even close at this point. Maybe Stammen has a shot. Al Leiter seems to know our staff.

  138. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    NatsLady, thanks for the summation on the Ultimate Rotation. That is quite the accomplishment to see 2 Nats take those slots especially when you consider Hamels is a #3.I agree on what Leiter said on the #1 but I still think they over-use Verlander and it costs him in the post-season.

  139. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    I have a question for our MUSICALLY INCLINED INSIDERS:Anybody know a good store to get instruments fixed? I have an instrument that needs some work (or a lot – since its old) b/c one of my niece's wants to play it.

  140. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    MichelleS, you can go to Music&Arts (several stores in the area). If it's a minor repair, they'll do it in-store, otherwise they send it out.

  141. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    MicheleS, you got the right person in that job with NatsLady! Wooooohoooooo!

  142. sjm308 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    How great to just talk baseball and not just listen to criticisms of others comments.When they do bullpens, where do you place Rivera? Is he healed? I realize he is the all-time greatest closer but would he still be ranked the best? I doubt it.On the starters, If SS is our #1 (and I believe he is) Gio would have had to have been at least in the top 3 for #2's and I think he is better than Grienke. Maybe because SS was shut down, they had Gio as our #1.They did top 10 second basemen and center fielders yesterday and we did not place in those (although Harold Reynolds had Danny at 9th on his list). I think we will win this year with great pitching, great defense and timely hitting. We might have just one or two players who make those top 10 lists, and maybe no one. My choices would be Zimm at 3rd and Desmond at SS, and LaRoche might sneak in at first but look at all the great players at that position. With all his injury time I can see them leaving Zimm out as well. Hard to rank Harper when you don't know what position he will be playing. OK, off for a long hike on this warm winter day.

  143. sjm308 - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    MicheleS – if the instrument is a guitar, I have a guy who builds them from scratch and he has been terrific at fixing major and minor problems. If its a kazoo I can't help you.

  144. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    SJM.. it's a flute and it needs some serious work.Thanks NatsLady, I will look for a store out by me. Have a feeling it's going to a job that get's shipped out.

  145. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 12, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Their rankings are based on "projections" spit out on a tape by a fortune-telling machine. Who knows where anybody will rank? (Except, maybe, Trout; did they include him among the CFs?) The clue to how worthless they are is the "comparison" — based on more quarters dropped in the slot — to the previous year's predictions, which bear very little resemblance.

  146. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:06 PM

    MicheleS, here's their main site. You can search for locations there. (Sporadic, amateur, avocational musician here. :-))

  147. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    What Leiter seems to be saying about Z'mann is that he's something of a Bulldog, but not very much. Which is what we observed toward the end of the season and is consistent with the comment regarding the sixth inning.I like Leiter and his view of Detweiler should put the cork in anybody on this list who mulls moving him back to the BP or trying to get Greinke or Price in a mid-season deal with the fourth-place Dodgers/Rays in exchange for Espinosa, Goodwin, Solis and Karns.

  148. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Thanks 1A!!!!

  149. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    MicheleS, if it's a student flute you might be better off renting/buying a new one. If it's a professional flute or family heirloom, you could end up spending big bucks on the repair but it might be worth it to you.

  150. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    It's an heirloom, so yes, I will be spending the $$$ for. This neice is really talented, so it will be worth it. She already plays piano and violin and want to learn a wind instrument.

  151. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    MicheleS: I always prefer to trust my treasured guitars to small, local craftsmen, with a stack of satisfied customers, or one referral from a trusted friend. Don't have any wind instruments. Music and Arts has been around a long time, but I'll confess to having a bad experience with them a long time ago…nothing nasty, just poor quality work, on my oldest and dearest. If you take it there, find out who they will send it out to, and do some homework. Also I'm sure the instrument's manufacturer has a website and may list certified repair facilities in the area. Whoever you go with… Know something about their background and reputation. You mentioned that its an old piece… Perhaps it's been in the fam, and has sentimental value? It's enormously disappointing to have shoddy work done on something you love. Properly repaired and cared for, it should only need to be done once, so cost shouldn't need to be much of a factor… Sorry so long winded….. Maybe Chase will rescue us with some weekend chat… :-)

  152. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Even the depths of January, Phil Wood and Cueball are on TV talking to old guys on the phone, about, I dunno, spring training sites and what happened in 1957. All is well with the world.

  153. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    I thought you didn't do wind instruments? Just kidding. :-) Sorry so long winded….. Maybe Chase will rescue us with some weekend chat… :-)

  154. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    1A: lol :)

  155. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    :-)

  156. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    So… I finally managed to post a photo yo my blogger profile… How do I induce the photo (of me and my oldest and dearest) to appear by my posts?

  157. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:06 PM

    Oh! Apparently, I needed to make a new post!!! Hello, Everybody!!!

  158. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring said… The Spanish article Gonat linked to said Rizzo was there, and that Vasquez could sign, not that he did. It also said they had not confirmed any of it. January 11, 2013 5:09 PM __________________________________Our biggest off-season concern was replacing EJax and getting a #6 starter. If Rizzo pulls off signing Javier Vazquez, this rates as a great off-season IMHO.Also Rizzo completed his final transformation of that athleticism he coveted 3 years ago when he talked about how the Nats were then the worst 1st to 3rd team in terms of taking that extra base as they were a station to station team.Span, Werth, Harper as the 1-2-3 in the lineup gives that rare outfield that can actually go 1-2-3 with that athleticism with speed, and RBI potential with some pop in the 2-3 hole and of course they will provide top defense.

  159. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    Hi, Unk. (waves) :-)On a Vazquez note, here's some background on Rizzo's visit and what Vazquez has been up to from Wagner at the WaPo. Also discusses speculative signing scenario (i.e., should the team decide to sign him, this is the writer's concept of what they could do). Special guest appearance by his current skipper, former Nat Alex Cora.

  160. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Unkyd, cool bio and photo. I see you are from Knoxville, MD. My good friend has been working on the restoration of the Brunswick historic train buildings. Nice area up there!

  161. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    Hi, Gonat! Very cool, with in 10 minnits of me… I can just hear the rumble of freight trains, walking pup pup, on a quiet night…

  162. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    NatsFan1a, Wagner writes a nice story but my thinking is Vazquez will have good offers and first and foremost wants to be on a MLB roster as a starter but maybe would take a bullpen slot.3rd choice makes sense on a Minors deal with the out clause.

  163. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    UnkyD, that is beautiful country out there!

  164. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    UnkyD. Thanks for the tips. will definitely keep that in mind.

  165. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Brunswick historic train buildings? Not that very cool turntable and roundhouse?

  166. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Michele — Re: your flute, suggest you call someone at U-MD School of Music. Someone who teaches performance for the flute is, or knows, a master flute mechanic who can repair them as well as they can play them.

  167. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    FWIW… I just fleshed out my blogger profile… Check me out! Also, would love to friend anyone who's on FB. If you care to, email me, via the blogger link on my profile, and I'll respond with my email address, which will make it easy for you to find, and message/friend me…. SeeYa!!!

  168. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    As noted, the piece was speculative, writer's concept, etc. etc. etc. I don't have any speculation myself, not being an armchair GM type. That said, the background information and confirmation of Rizzo's presence were interesting, I thought.Ghost Of Steve M. said… NatsFan1a, Wagner writes a nice story but my thinking is Vazquez will have good offers and first and foremost wants to be on a MLB roster as a starter but maybe would take a bullpen slot. 3rd choice makes sense on a Minors deal with the out clause. January 12, 2013 11:30 AM

  169. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    peric said… Brunswick historic train buildings? Not that very cool turntable and roundhouse? January 12, 2013 11:44 AM ________________________________It turns out historic buildings on train property may not be protected by Historic Building rules and they tore down the roundhouse before my friend stepped in. The building they are relocating and storing is the Tower building and they raised over $60,000 in private and public funds for the project.From what I understand, with all the train technology they don't need all the infrastructure they once needed and even train cabooses are not needed anymore.Many of these railroad buildings date back to the 1800's.

  170. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Jan. 12 and it's a beautiful sunny 83 degrees here in Winter Park, Fl.Just thought you'd like to know.

  171. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    natsfan1a said… As noted, the piece was speculative, writer's concept, etc. etc. etc. I don't have any speculation myself, not being an armchair GM type. That said, the background information and confirmation of Rizzo's presence were interesting, I thought.January 12, 2013 12:14 PM _______________________________Ken Rosenthal broke the news via a Tweeter that Rizzo was there in person and others confirmed it as it was happening.I think SteveM's priority list makes sense but you never know what Vazquez decides in the end as it has to be a myriad of factors. Vazquez has said he wants to be on a contender so that has to be factored in plus the all important money!You know contract $'s will be a factor.

  172. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    Many of these railroad buildings date back to the 1800's.I know I've been there and seen it all … very sad about the roundhouse … it was a real doozy but it was in very poor dilapidated condition … kind of like tearing down the C&O canal but …. that's what they often do … roundhouses that large are difficult to find.

  173. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Jan. 12 and it's a beautiful sunny 83 degrees here in Winter Park, Fl.Just thought you'd like to know. January 12, 2013 12:45 PM ___________________________________Its 55 degrees in DC and headed to 60 and it feels like its 83!

  174. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:56 PM

    Given his age Vasquez wants to be with a winner. The Nats could definitely both afford to sign him and place him on the major league roster. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, I believe he would end up taking Craig Stammen's spot and Stammen would be optioned to AAA Syracuse as Lannan was to provide experienced starting/long relief depth there. I should think Vasquez and Harren would compete for a slot in the rotation may the best pitcher win. Detwiler's slot might even be in peril given a poor spring performance … it would provide something they need: competition versus complacency. Its a good move in my opinion. Rizzo is always touting competition.

  175. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    Its 55 degrees in DC and headed to 60 and it feels like its 83!'bout the same temperature here right now … very sunny and bright.

  176. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    peric said… Many of these railroad buildings date back to the 1800's.I know I've been there and seen it all … very sad about the roundhouse … it was a real doozy but it was in very poor dilapidated condition … kind of like tearing down the C&O canal but …. that's what they often do … roundhouses that large are difficult to find. January 12, 2013 12:51 PM ___________________________________Good point. When I went up to Brunswick to see it, the roundhouse was already gone. It would have been cool to see. The downtown Brunswick area and the Potomac River right there is like a slice of Americana and its worth the visit to see a town so close to DC that is a hidden gem. Its also close to Virgina as there is a bridge over the Potomac that takes you straight to Lovettsville VA.The railroad is such a big part of the town that their High School is the Brunswick Railroaders with a restored caboose in front of the school but I'm sure UnkyD knows much more about his town!

  177. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    peric said… Given his age Vasquez wants to be with a winner. The Nats could definitely both afford to sign him and place him on the major league roster. Unfortunately, as I said earlier, I believe he would end up taking Craig Stammen's spot and Stammen would be optioned to AAA Syracuse as Lannan was to provide experienced starting/long relief depth there. I should think Vasquez and Harren would compete for a slot in the rotation may the best pitcher win. Detwiler's slot might even be in peril given a poor spring performance … it would provide something they need: competition versus complacency. Its a good move in my opinion. Rizzo is always touting competition.January 12, 2013 12:56 PM _____________________________________I think Henry, Stammen, Mattheus, Garcia, and Bray will compete for the final spots on the bullpen.I really see a healthy Haren -absolutely- in the starting rotation to start the season. If Vazquez signed a MLB deal with the Nats, I think he would go into the bullpen and could be the long-man and spot starter.

  178. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I think Henry, Stammen, Mattheus, Garcia, and Bray will compete for the final spots on the bullpen.Fernando Abad has to be considered a potential outside possibility as well … he has an invite to major league camp.If you think about it, Roarke, Stammen, Bradley Meyers, Jeff Mandel, Sean West, plus Ohlendorf and Toma would give the Chiefs a pretty decent starting rotation in 2013. Stammen has options. Mattheus is too good and HRod has no options and if they do sign Vasquez looking at the roster, the handwriting would be on the wall just as happened to Michael Morse.Would they pay Harren 13 million for 1 year to be an insurance policy? Why not? They paid Lannan 5 million and Harren is worth 5 million more than Lannan.

  179. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    Add Garcia to that Syracuse rotation … since Davey seems bound and determined to stretch him out and use him as a starter.

  180. UnkyD - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:19 PM

    I've been up here for 3 years, and I'll confess I've not become intimate with it, at this point. Beautiful old town, and the Railroad history makes it unique. Middletown is very near, too, and full of gorgeous Victorian homes, along the main drag. Many more quaint towns, once you are only an hour west of town. I have an affinity for old graveyards… Not from a morbid point if view, but it creats am appreciation for the times we live in, to see how many mothers and babies share the same "died" date… Or imagining what epidemic took so many children in a particular year…..sobering, that's all…

  181. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    Peric, you are right. Abad has a ST invite. I just don't think Lannan ever had an assurance from Rizzo that he was the #5. I think Rizzo recruited Haren with a handshake that he would be the #5. If Haren gets injured or is not performing then absolutely.

  182. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Peric, I also agree that chances are Christian Garcia will start the year in AAA as a starter but I could also see him as the 1st one back to the Nats bullpen if there are any issues..

  183. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    I just don't think Lannan ever had an assurance from Rizzo that he was the #5. Lannan had been there longer than Davey. I believe he naturally assumed he was at least the #3 given the fact that he led the starters in wins in 2011. I think he was shocked to find that Davey preferred Detwiler over him. And then suddenly there was CM Wang. Then, given that Rizzo had signed EJax to fill those innings when Stras was shutdown as a replacement #1/#2 plus the trade for Gio? I don't think Harren got any sort of handshake you're #5 at all. He is being paid 13 million to bridge the gap until they get a promotion or two from the minors next season and afterward (any of Garcia, Karns, Solis, and perhaps Purke). If they bring in Vasquez Harren is still getting paid … a whole lot more than he is worth to do whatever Davey and Rizzo want him to do.

  184. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:47 PM

    Peric, come on, the rotation is set with Haren. Even if Rizzo made a mistake by getting Haren, it's because Vazquez wasn't available.Vazquez is a Rizzo type of guy no doubt. I hope he takes a bullpen spot and presumptive 6th starter.

  185. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    So, I guess what you're saying is that Rosenthal was first? In that case, kudos to him and his bow-tie. :-)Gonat said… Ken Rosenthal broke the news via a Tweeter that Rizzo was there in person and others confirmed it as it was happening. I think SteveM's priority list makes sense but you never know what Vazquez decides in the end as it has to be a myriad of factors. Vazquez has said he wants to be on a contender so that has to be factored in plus the all important money! You know contract $'s will be a factor. January 12, 2013 12:51 PM

  186. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    but I could also see him as the 1st one back to the Nats bullpen if there are any issues…If they stretch him out and make him a starter … he's a starter. As for the bullpen that is why Rizzo is paid the big bucks. He needs to find some guys that can step into that role via some canny trades. He's a bit behind on that but one can see why he is relying on Duke and old Expos 1st rounder Bill Bray both are good choices to go with Storen, Mattheus, Clippard, Stammen, and yes, HRod. But don't forget Rizzo decided to convert the recently converted to relief Erik Davis from the rule 5 draft. He too will be reporting to major league camp as a member of the 40-man roster along with the other player protected starter Nate Karns.But, if you listen to Springfield Fan's Big Board on NationalsProspects.com both she and Luke Erickson prefer to put Karns in the Potomac bullpen even though he has yet to pitch in relief because they 'spec' him out to be a reliever? Since when did they get Doug Harris job? ~laughing~ Well she also put Erik Komatsu in the bullpen and last I looked he was still an outfielder and not a bad one at that. He might end up being better than Span at some point very soon. Something to consider … Not sure if Ryan Perry will end up making it with the Nats given that he has no options but you have to assume he too may now be a permanent starter as proposed for Garcia. In any case long story short, there's nothing to worry about bullpen wise. They have plenty of arms for the major league club even without Garcia. They really don't need Garcia which may be why Davey wants to convert him to a starter. Davey said he looked better than EJax? And unlike Ryan Perry Garcia still has options. Both the major league and AAA rotations look like they will be excellent this season. Which is quite an accomplishment. That means they can use AA Harrisburg to bring the advanced prospects along.

  187. Gonat - Jan 12, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    natsfan1a said… So, I guess what you're saying is that Rosenthal was first? In that case, kudos to him and his bow-tie. :-)_________________________Yes, and kudos to MicheleS for letting me know!We have a great network here!

  188. natsfan1a - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    I was joking on the "first" but that's okay. At least it gave us something semi-baseball related to discuss. :-)

  189. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Congrats to the Face of our Franchise and his lovely bride.It's @heatherdownen wedding day!! πŸ’β€πŸπŸŽ‰πŸ’’ enjoy every second of it! Remember to take time for each other and soak it all in! XO

  190. Exposremains - Jan 12, 2013 at 7:46 PM

    MIchele:I'm a professional musician who plays in a symphony orchestra. I don't play the flute but I play a woodwind instrument. As someone else suggested I would bring it to preferably a flute repairman/technician who works on flutes exclusively. Usually, the best guys don't work out of big shops and can be hard find.(they won't have a website). If you can't find one around washington which I think will not be aproblem you could go to a guy that repairs band instrument for high schools. I would strongly suggest the 1st one. You could call the prominent college music school in your area and ask them if they recommend someone. ;The world of classical music is quite small and people usually help you out with that kind of stuff. Another suggestion, if your niece is only starting it will be hard to tell if the instrument is really in top shape when fix.I would have it played by a person/teacher who can play the flute well. I don't live in your area so I personally don't know anybody. Hope this helps.

  191. Section 222 - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Having avoided that helping of crow that I was all ready to chow down on, I will return to my prediction that Vazquez will sign elsewhere. He's a proven MLB starter and innings eater and will get several MLB offers I'm sure. Whether any will come from a team that he want to play for is uncertain, but I have to think there are teams other than the Nats who have a spot for him and have a chance to win.Rizzo did not sign Haren for $13 million to have him compete for a rotation spot. If he's healthy, there's just no way he goes to the bullpen. UnkyD, great to hear you're a Deadhead as well as a Nats fan! Dating myself here, but I saw my first Dead shows 30 years ago this summer at RFK Stadium. Also on the bill — the Allman Bros., and Jesse Colin Young.

  192. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Peric — Your memory disserves you. Davis was the take from the Marquis trade, a blessed day in franchise history even if Davis never leaves Harrisburg.

  193. baseballswami - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    NstsLady- Chuck Levin 'a Washington Music Center in Wheaton. Worth the drive- music heaven. Music and Arts will send it out and be expensive.

  194. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Well, Det's Hockey fan. He watched Caps Practice. In other news – Gio is spending time re-aquainting himself wiht all the restaurants in the area:Link to Det Interview:Det at Caps Practice

  195. NatsLady - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    I like the idea of going to a local college or high school and have suggested it to students looking for piano tuner.

  196. MicheleS - Jan 12, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Thanks for all the tips everyone!

  197. peric - Jan 12, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    Your memory disserves you. Davis was the take from the Marquis trade, a blessed day in franchise history even if Davis never leaves Harrisburg.Don't recall even saying he wasn't from the Marquis trade? And given his age he'll likely be in Syracuse … they must think pretty highly of him to move him onto the 40-man roster to protect him. When Davis first arrived he was a starter. In fact throughout 2011 he was a starter at age 24 in Potomac and Harrisburg.In 2012 he was converted exclusively to relief and did extremely well finishing out the year in Syracuse.So, I'm not sure where my memory failed me?

  198. Joe Seamhead - Jan 12, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    I'm with Section222 regarding Haren. Unless he falls flat on his face, he's a starter, as is Ross DetweilerOTUnkyd, between Tony Rice< Tedeshi Trucks Band,, the Dead, Clapton, and the Band you and I could spend a long time in a car together not feeling like we had to change the music. The Mr. Natural avatar might be a giveaway to my leanings towards the Dead and the Band.My son lives near Adamstown, just a hop,skip, and a jump from you, so I'm up your way a lot.I live in the Seneca area, which is about 1/2 way between DC and where you are.

  199. baseballswami - Jan 12, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    On the Caps interview, Det was introduced as a Nats reliever. Good interview, though.Det just seems to have matured very much in the last year. I think 2013 is his year, much the way 2012 was Desi's year. Go Nats!!!

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