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Scrutinizing the Soriano surprise

Jan 16, 2013, 5:19 AM EDT

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Rafael Soriano becomes the Nationals' top closer after signing a $28 million deal.

There's a common wisdom in baseball that says you don't pay big money for a closer. Unless he's the last piece to a championship puzzle.

Were the Nationals a high-priced closer away from being a championship club? And if so, was Rafael Soriano the right guy to fill that all-important role? Check back in October, because we simply don't know the answer to either question right now.

The Nationals certainly didn't appear to be lacking in quality late-inning relievers. Drew Storen was stellar during his first full big-league season in 2011, then arguably was even better last September after making a full return from elbow surgery until one fateful October night against the Cardinals. Tyler Clippard, meanwhile, proved a perfectly capable fill-in closer during Storen's absence, converting 32 of 37 save opportunities, and still remains one of the best and most durable setup men in the game.

So there didn't appear to be a pressing need for Soriano, especially at the price he commanded: two years, $28 million (though half ofRead more »

164 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. NatsFan05 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:46 AM

    What will the opening day 25 man roster look like?Starters:1 – CF Span (L)2 – RF Werth (R)3 – LF Harper (L)4 – 3B Zimmerman (R)5 – 1B LaRoche (L)6 – SS Desmond (R)7 – 2B Espinosa (S)8 – C Suzuki (R)Starting Pitching:9 – SP Strasburg (R)10 – SP Gio (L) 11 – SP Zimmermann (R)12 – SP Detwiler (L)13 – SP Haren (R)Bench:14 – B1 Tracy (L)15 – B2 Lombo (S)16 – B3 Ramos (R)17 – B4 Moore (R)BullPen:18 – BP RHP Soriano Closer 119 – BP RHP Storen Closer 220 – BP RHP Clippard Setup21 – BP RHP Stammen Long RHP22 – BP LHP Duke Long LHRThat leaves the final 3 spots….Your Guesses……23 – ??? …. (L) Rodger Bernadina?24 – ??? …. (L) Billy Bray?25 – ??? …. (R) Henry Rodriguez?—- Choices ………Pitchers: (R) Ryan Mattheus (L) Billy Bray (R) Christien Garcia (R) Henry Rodriguez (R) Ryan PerryHitters: (R) Micky Morse (L) Rodger BernadinaInvitees: (R) Anthony Rendon (L) Corey Brown (R) Carlos Rivero (R) Eury Perez (R) Chris Marrero (L) Matt Purke (R) Cole Kimball (R) Nathan KarnsOthers: ???How to Build a Championship Team! 1. Defense … Check! 2. Offense … Check! 3. Pitching … Check! 4. BullPen … Check! 5. Balance … Check! 6. Speed … Check! 7. World Series Champions ….. ________!Best 25 Goes North! Go Nats!!!!!

  2. PChuck - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    >>>(though half of that money is going to be deferred, paid out between 2018-2024)This is actually the most important part of one of the points Mark's trying to raise, Soriano's price.$14 million deferred makes him a $7 million dollar pitcher for two season, which actually makes him not very expensive at all. So if this isn't the final piece, another can be added.

  3. do1teach1 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    This is a gigantic move. Anyone who cannot see the size of this move is lost in a whirl of insignificance.We will not lose games where we are leading at the end of the 6th inning, because of our lights-out bullpen. And, when we're behind in the 7th, 8th, or 9th, our pitching will keep us close and our offense will get us back in the game–just as they did so many times in 2012.Man this is going to be fun for Washington baseball fans!

  4. tayo - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    @Nastsfan05If we Keep Morse and all of our current relievers which I advocate for, I see Morse as 17 and Moore to AAA.23. Matheus24.Bernadina25. Garcia/Hrod/Bray (Based on talent and expected production, Garcia has the upper hand.)This team is stacked. we will be sending some guys down like More to AAA who have already proven that they belong in the big league. Might have to also give up on/lose some raw talent like Hrod and Ryan Perry(I don't think he has any options left). Brown, Perez and Marrero won't really get a chance to prove that they can contribute for us on the Bench unless there is an injury and Rendon wont be called up until September Call-ups irregardless of how he is performing. This is a long way from 2009/2010 season when I really started following the Nats.

  5. tayo - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:55 AM

    Is there any chance for Corey Brown or Eury Perez to claim Bernadina's spot?

  6. baseballswami - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Storen is still young – he was pushed in 2011, even to 2 saves in one day at the end of the season. Shocker- he started 2012 on the DL. For two years I wouldn't mind him having a veteran closer nearby to watch, giving him time to develop into an elite closer without running him into the ground again. One person can't close all the games when you win a lot of them. I do worry, though, about the chemistry of the team. They need to incorporate Span, Haren and now Soriano. It will take me a while as I despise Yankees. Points to him for refusing their offer.

  7. The Retired Journalist - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Do Brown or Perez have a chance, "tayo". Yes, a chance, but I'd say it's a small one. If Bernadina has an atrocious spring training while one of the two plays incredibly well the Nationals would have to consider it. However, these decisions are not made just from the box scores of 30 or so baseball games in Florida but involve contract details, team chemistry and numerous other considerations as well.

  8. IPLawguy - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    I'd think Stammen and Mattheus could be on the trading block too. For the right price, any of the current RH relievers could be dealt.Sec314

  9. DaveB - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    I don't get why there is a desire to trade relievers. Perhaps you can argue that Storen or Clippard would be worth more to another team now, because they would value them as a closer. Perhaps you can argue that HRod isn't worth the risk / effort to figure out whether his struggles were due to his injury or his "head". But it seems like the reason for this move was to make the BP a strength, so they would at least want to wait through ST to see how things shake out, and whether there are any injuries, before even thinking of any trades.

  10. Alex Wotring - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    The Nationals had a payroll under 100 million last year with the richest owner in MLB. While they overpaid for him, its not going to affect any front office decision over the length of the contract. For a team with very few needs, I like it, especially when you factor in that Clippard had the most innings of any reliever last year and Storen has had injuries in the past.

  11. Gonat - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Jesus Flores on MiLB deal to Dodgers with Spring Training invite.

  12. Gonat - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    NatsFan05, nice job on the 25. I think the bullpen arms that have to go to AAA shouldn't be over-used.I think its imperative to keep the arms fresh.

  13. hiramhover - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Perhaps you can argue that HRod isn't worth the risk / effort to figure out whether his struggles were due to his injury or his "head". Not only can you argue it–it's a very easy argument to make. The harder argument is the one for keeping a reliever prone to melt downs and wildness in a BP already stacked with righties.

  14. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Thanks Gonat – my son and I were just talking about how strange it was no one had picked Flores up. Like most of our lads, we probably over estimate value because we grow close to them.I thought I read somewhere that deferred contracts were not allowed in the new CBA. Not upset about it and I think at 7 million/year its a much fairer deal.OK Rizzo, what can you do for us next? One thing about being a Nationals fan, its not boring in the off-season.Go Nats!! World Series or Bust!! Keep Morse!!

  15. alexva - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    there is one more move coming. my instincts tell me it's going to be a big one.

  16. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    It's hard to teach 100 mph on the gun though. If he shows any control at all, there are plenty of clubs willing to take a flier on Henry. If he's not destined to become the next Kimbrel here, someone else will try.

  17. ChiefWJ - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    So, does Morse, Detwiler & either Storen or Clippard buy David Price or King Felix? Or would you have to throw in more? One possible analysis is that the timing of the signing–on the heels of signing LaRoche–suggests there's a deal brewing. If you know you can deal Morse & someone else for pitching, you need to first know that you don't need Morse and that you've replaced (or improved on) the RP you're going to move. So, you don't sign Soriano unless you think you will move Morse and a RP.

  18. SCNatsFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    blovy8, and good luck to that team. Henry has had 3 seasons here to figure it out; if he hasn't by now it's someone else's turn to try. He might mature and make Rizzo look like a putz but there isn't room to carry a guy who acts like a rule 5 plyer on this team. Years ago we could have – heck, he would have been our closer – but now more then ever we can't.

  19. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Strength is good; stronger is better. Rizzo doesn't have relievers burning a hole in his pocket, he will keep them if he can.

  20. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Mark, excellent commentary.Do1teach1 – spot on.The Nats would have easily surpassed 100 wins last year, except for the very winnable games which were blown by HRod and Lidge. They did not last as closers, but they cost the Nats 3-4 wins while they were in that role. We all know what happened in game 5. Much less likely that Davey will let that kind of thing happen again, with this crew.Davey's strong suit is managing the clubhouse, motivating his players, and maintaining team morale. If anyone can manage the social dynamics of the Nats new pen it is he. I suspect he is looking forward to it. That does not mean Rizzo won't make another trade, with a reliever thrown in, but Rizzo still has left himself with a number of options and possibilities to remedy any temporary deficiency – Garcia, Bray, Perry, et. al.I have only one thing to add to the many observations posted here since yesterday. It seems to me that Rizzo keeps a list of Boras clients in his back pocket, and checks it out near the end of the Hot Stove season to see if any of Boras' clients are available to fill any remaining team needs before spring training. At that point money becomes less important than filling in a big missing piece, especially when it comes to pitching – Rizzo's primary concern. Last year it was EJax. This year it is Soriano. Boras is Rizzo's personal ace in the hole, and he will draw to it when the time comes to play a winning hand, if he has to. The Soriano signing appears uncharacteristic. At first glance it is, but a second look says that it's not. It is part of the way Rizzo plays the game. He is playing all winter long knowing that he can reveal that ace when the time comes to show your hand.Cash 'em in, Mike.

  21. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    So Last year we had Lidge to provide the coach/mentor role in the Bullpen, didn't work, but Mike G filled in (and helped Det) and that worked out.So I wonder if Soriano is being brought in to help get Henry fixed or at least not vomit inducing?And Laddie.. agree.. Rizzo/Lerner can help Boras out, it's a chip they can cash in when it comes time to sign Stras and Harper long term.

  22. Jimmy - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    I dont know what this team should (Im torn) or will do with Morse, but this signing suggests to me that the whole issue of paying Morse too much to be a bench/regular sub is not much of a deciding factor anymore. The Lerners are willing and able to shell out the cash (120 mil roster so far). The team is well built for the long haul, and is ready to win now, and ownership has now seen the draw a winning team brings in this town, something that managed to be impressive even with the O's playing hot just 45 minutes from here. Imagine the draw when the O's regress this year (as should be expected) and aren't selling out too. Also, another good season only furthers our case for getting a bigger share of the MASN revenue.

  23. Kiterp - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Rizzo just inserted a world full of playoff experience from an elite ball club … added a bit of “been there, done that” to a bullpen of inexperience. This is the year

  24. Dave - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Mark wrote:Assuming Duke is safe to make the squad as Johnson's primary long reliever and emergency starter, that final spot will be up for grabs in spring training, with Rodriguez holding the upper hand because he's out of minor-league options.Gotta think that leash is going to be very, very short on HRod.

  25. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    'Were the Nationals a high-priced closer away from being a championship club? And if so, was Rafael Soriano the right guy to fill that all-important role? Check back in October, because we simply don't know the answer to either question right now.'This sums up the signing for me.I am not a fan of this move but if Soriano delivers in Octobers then I will re-consider my stance.

  26. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    So, are the Lerners still cheap? Just checking. :-)Also, carrying forward a background note on "Buy me a Coke":Speaking of beverages and for the record, when I originally used the "Jinx. Buy me a Coke" construct here, it was a salute to the childhood jinx game. In that game, the sequence is triggered when two people inadvertently speak at the same time. I applied it to commenting at the same time with similar thoughts/words.It has nothing to do with who said what first (days, weeks, months, or even years ago), or with forcing soft drinks on those who would rather not partake. In my mind, any beverages were virtual, not tangible.I didn't create the NIDO spreadsheet, but I'm pretty sure that anyone who wants to can partake or not, either virtually or in reality (that's up to the two parties in question, I would think).

  27. NatsNut - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    I think so too.alexva said… there is one more move coming. my instincts tell me it's going to be a big one.

  28. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Eh, I forgot my link.

  29. SCNatsFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    Initially I thought Morse and Clip were sure to go; now I'm not so sure. The best thing for the current team is to keep them both, which won't be the best thing for the players as individuals; still, you are employed by the team and should do what is best for them (in an ideal world). The million dollar question is how would the attitudes of Morse, Clip and Storen be if forced into reduced roles; what this team doesn't need is for infighting to ruin this well assembled (on paper) team.

  30. LoveDaNats - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I can see pluses and minuses to this deal and I'm not yet sure how I feel about it. Mark, I think you're right about the issue of Druu's psyche. But if Ted Lerner truly got a taste for winning last year like Boz says this morning, he may keep it all in place as is (storen, clip, beast) and just order more champagne for October.

  31. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Anybody on this site or any other Nats blog that thinks they can "armchair GM" the Nats next move has no clue what they are talking about.

  32. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    From the Department of Whoops, in the course of posting my jinx game explanation to the NIDO as background, I inadvertently deleted another usage note in the same cell (for the kitty entry). Apologies to whoever posted the original note, and if you can figure out how to repost it in the same cell while retaining my background note, have at it. (I'm no Excel wiz.) :-)

  33. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    NatsJack, I think there's a reason it's called "fantasy" baseball. ;-)

  34. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    tayo said… Is there any chance for Corey Brown or Eury Perez to claim Bernadina's spot? January 16, 2013 2:55 AMShort answer: no.Long answer: no.

  35. Tcostant - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I was listen to the MLB channel on SIRIUS satellite radio and thet are so possitive of this move. They noted that the Nationals have no flaws. I'm not sure about it, but a few national radio guys thing this is a great move and said the Nationals should be a World Series favorite and are "better than a 98 win team".Wow!

  36. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    NatsJack – I am not or never have predicted any moves to prove I am smarter than anyone else. I just like to think about what might happen. Of course we have no clue, this is not what we do for a living. Its fun!! Am I reading too much into it or are you honestly saying we should not post our ideas?

  37. Tcostant - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Bottom line is that Rizzo saw Storen shaking while on the bump in game 5 and couldn't have that this year. Storen will need to get over it or become a 7th inning pitcher elsewhere. If anyone can manage this pen, it Davey!

  38. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Just watched Bill Ripken and some other guy on MLB present a trade of Espinosa, Morse and Storen for Cano. I am guessing Peric is on the phone to them right now calling them idiots as well. I honestly would not make that move but man are the Nationals getting all the press. They had another guy on who said we were the odds on favorite to be playing in Oct. I think after this past year we all know that is a crap shoot but we certainly are one of the favorites.

  39. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Off to the gym, I have a lunch "date" with a retired friend to try the various taps at The Ale House in Columbia so my workout will be rushed. My final thoughts are no more trades but I really do respect much of what alexva writes and he/she could very well be correct. Whatever happens, I think we will be OK.

  40. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    No sjm308… you've said it perfectly. However, there are a few that post here that take themselves way too seriously.

  41. John C - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I have a good feeling that nobody is getting traded !! Rizz isn't going to give anyone up just for sakes of making the move (I think we all know that). Unfortunately for Morse, (who deserves to play everyday) I believe will be around until July when teams are willing to give up a lot for that missing piece. It gives us extra insurance in case of an injury and it gives us time to see if we have any needs. As for the pen.. I think H-Rod will get his stuff together and be they guy that Rizz knows he can be. RHP Soriano (Closer A) RHP Storen (Closer B)RHP Clippard Setup RHP Stammen Long RHPLHP Duke Long LHR RHP Ryan Mattheus (one-batter relievers)RHP Henry Rodriguez (one-batter relievers)

  42. SCNatsFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    I will not sully another thread with the relative merits of Cano vs. Espinosa

  43. Exposremains - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    The Cano trade makes no sense if you think that Rendon will become a force

  44. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Matthues is to good for a1 batter releiver

  45. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    That vesting option of 120 GF tells me Soriano is closer A and B. Storen and Clip will take care of 7th and 8th innings. In what particular order? I don't know.

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I slept real good again last night NatsJack. For all those complaining 2 weeks ago the Nats weren't doing anything —-> BAM!

  47. bowdenball - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    There's no way Bernadina is going anywhere. He offers them a competent left-handed bat with enough speed to pinch-run and the ability to play average or better defense at all three OF positions. In other words he's basically a combination of Eury Perez AND Corey Brown. No way they sacrifice that kind of flexibility on the bench just to get a little extra speed in the case of Perez or a little extra pop in the case of Brown.I think the 25 is just as NatsFan05 has it except with Mattheus instead of HRod.

  48. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    I thought I read somewhere that deferred contracts were not allowed in the new CBA.You're probably thinking about the personal services contract on the back end that they gave Ryan Zimmerman. That's different than deferred payments, which is what Soriano got.

  49. John C - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    good point…. Teddy Rochlis said… Matthues is to good for a1 batter releiver

  50. tayo - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    I dont know why some here think we need to trade Storen or Clippard or even Matheus or Stamen. In fact, I like this move less if this happens. For one, you don't know what injuries might arise between Spring training and the beginning of the season. Losing one of them also turns an excellent bullpen to a "just good" bullpen. Storen can be the primary setup man for two years and still be our future closer.

  51. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Anybody on this site or any other Nats blog that thinks they can "armchair GM" the Nats next move has no clue what they are talking about. January 16, 2013 9:08 AM Its a game of dominos. Even Rizzo doesn't always get what he wants. There's 29 other teams competing with him.This morning he is fielding more phone calls for Storen and Clippard. He's going to listen. I doubt he will pull the trigger.The Nats bullpen now has depth. Rizzo tried to do that with Lidge last year and instead of going retread he went after the best closer available. As NatsFan05 diagrams, there is plenty of depth in the bullpen now. Best 8 go to the playoffs.

  52. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    Thanks FW. What is the difference? I feel like both are doing same thing but given different meaning. Personal services, I assume, in exchange for some service player will be paid for some years. While deferred payments are that player is not part of organization but still getting paid.

  53. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    "Anybody on this site or any other Nats blog that thinks they can "armchair GM" the Nats next move has no clue what they are talking about."NatsJack is certainly right about that. However, . . .. The majority of the comments this morning regard the Nats' ability to keep all of the spare parts and push all of the money into the middle of the table, going for the WS. As exciting as this idea seems, we are overlooking the reason why people saw an upside to dealing Morse, which is now even higher with the possibility of dealing Clippard — or maybe Soren. And that is the acute need, which signing Soriano makes even more imperative, to replenish the farm system. BBecause of the Soriano deal (and, maybe, a weak draft class), it certainly isn't going to happen this year. And with a bottom-of-the-first round pick likely in 2014 it isn't very likely to happen next year. And in any case, draftees are unlikely to help the major league club for three years anyway.There are a number of teams who think they are one big bat away from contending to the playoffs. There are at least as many teams who think they're a closer or elite setup man away from the playoffs. (A delusion that's enhanced by how relatively inexpensive both Storen and Clippard are in the new bullpen market that has been created by the Nats and other teams.)Morse and Clippard (or Storen), and potentially others, in a single deal could bring a wave of good, young prospects. For that reason I think the hoarding strategy will not be followed and that a big deal is in the offing.

  54. Tcostant - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:48 PM

    I've said this before, but it is worth repeating here. The next time Cano runs hard to first base, will be the first time Cano runs hard to first base. No thanks. I wouldn't want Harper seeing his lack of hustle.

  55. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:49 PM

    Storen is too much in that Yankee deal…Just kidding.It won't happen, but how friggin crazy would that lineup be?

  56. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Yep, Ghost. No doubt his cell phones are ringing off the hook.I just go back to his original statement that moves are made that not only improve the team today, they also improve the team for the near future and long tem betterment of the franchise.I don't see him moving anybody unless it meets that criteria. And that's extemely hard to do with a guy like Andrew Friedman.

  57. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    There's no harm is having the offers come, it's likely to give Rizzo information about what the other clubs think their own weaknesses are.

  58. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    People who think H. Rodriguez will ever, in Washington or anywhere else, amount to a hill of beans need professional help, possibly psychiatric or maybe for addiction to psychotropic drugs. If this includes the Nats' FO, so be it.

  59. tayo - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Also, why not let Espi have his chance for a Desmond like turnaround before him becoming part of a trade for a 30yr old 2b that is a free agent after this season. This team is built to actually thrive even if he has the same year he had last year.

  60. Joe Seamhead - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Oh, come on Nats Jack! It's still the Hot Stove season and that's what baseball fans do best[?] during these dog days of winter. Of course we don't have to know what we're talking about.Alex Wotring, I agree with your assessment that though we may have overpaid, it will not effect decisions long term, or even for the 2-3 years that this contract could cover. And ultimately, assuming neither of them are traded, it could actually help Storen and Clippard make it into October with plenty of gas left in the tank. sjm308, I can't see the Nats pursuing Robinson Cano for the two reasons that he costs too much in salary, and we'd have to give up too much talent to get him.Now, as to the argument presented last night that Cano was a Gold Glove 2nd baseman only because he is a Yankee, and that Michael Morse could play as well at 2nd base with a better bat then Cano, is, shall we say, at best, a questionable position to take. I found it despicable for him to deride another poster with name calling, whether the other guy was right, or not, which in this case the other guy was as right as could be.

  61. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    blovy8, my lineup looks like Span, Harper, RZ, ALR, Cano, Desi, Werth, Ramozuki, P against RHP and Span, Werth, Harper, RZ, Cano, Desi, ALR, Ramozuki, P against LHP.

  62. tayo - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    I say keep what we have. Don't make any trades until after Spring training.

  63. JamesFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    This move puts the Nats on a par or better with the elite teams in the game today–on paper. Now we have to play the games.One thing is for sure, fans fall in love with players (Dunn, Morse, Lannan, Storen, Clip…). Rizzo does not. He obviously takes a hard-eyed look at what is needed to improve the team.The competition for bullpen positions in the spring is going to be intense, and a serious trade is coming.Cano talk is a fantasy. He is the future face of the Yanks. They will build around him.

  64. MikeinDC - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    This post made me think of another GREAT reason for the signing that isn't negative for Storen or Clip. If he was signed to ALSO teach them how to close, not just do it himself, then we may be looking at a great closer, whomever it is, for years and years to come. That part, I very much agree with.

  65. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    It seems to me that Rizzo keeps a list of Boras clients in his back pocket, and checks it out near the end of the Hot Stove season to see if any of Boras' clients are available to fill any remaining team needs before spring training.He doesn't need to do that. Boras is probably texting Rizzo and other GMs daily to let them know who he's got available. If any GMs ever happen to return a Boras text, then they get on the list for a weekly mailing of the three ring binder in PDF format.

  66. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I don't think anyone can contend that Cano is a gold-glove 2B, just that he could be an MVP 2B.2b's the last three years in adjusted runs created per year:Cano 142Pedroia 124Zobrist 122Utley 119Weeks 117Uggla 116Espinosa is 15th with 98He's right there with Joey Votto and Miguel Cabrera in fWAR over the last three years. He's a great hitter, considering that he's average to below-average in fielding and baserunning.

  67. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    The Yankees can't afford Cano next year, they have to get down to around 170 million in payroll, and there's little chance they can dump A-Rod and Teixeira's 50 million in contracts. They probably can't even keep Granderson.

  68. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I mean in 2014 for the above, this year they'll be paying luxury tax or whatever it's called again.

  69. #4 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Morse and Clippard to the Mariners for Danny Hultzen. Get the local guy on the roster

  70. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Rizzo can't trade Morse for a trade like he did with Willingham, and to even consider a trade would be somewhat contingent on getting a new CF or corner outfielder and seeing what the Nats do with Adam LaRoche. October 13, 2012 1:25 PMEJax is gone and failed at exactly what he was brought here for which was to be a top of the rotation starter and postseason leader. October 13, 2012 1:25 PMI believe the Nats can start to settle in around $120 million in payroll. Easy for me to spend their money. They will no longer be spending big on Draft Picks and the shift now has to be to extending current players (JZim and Desi) while re-signing ALR and grabbing 1 key starter that will make an impact. If they do that, all key roster spots will be under control in 2014 and 2015 as well with the exception of Morse and a backup catcher. October 18, 2012 10:56 AMI don't see Bourn fitting the plan but I believe Rizzo should pursue Lohse and will be tied to Boras's closers. October 21, 2012 8:03 PMThanks to Section222 and Gonat for researching some of my past quotes. I had another quote, could have been somewhere else that Davey threw Storen under the bus after game 5 as he expects his closer to close out a game with a 2 run lead. That told me all I needed to know.

  71. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    I bet Joel Zumaya got three shots at figuring out how to stay healthy throwing 100. Considering he's the seventh guy at this point, how good does he actually have to be? We don't know how much the injury or the pressure screwed him up, but seriously, H-Rod's breaking pitch is actually the unholy thing he throws. Now, I don't disagree that the Nats might not be the best club to gamble on it again this year, but for most of the clubs who have a stinky seventh guy in their pen, what have they got to lose?

  72. Section 222 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    Anybody on this site or any other Nats blog that thinks they can "armchair GM" the Nats next move has no clue what they are talking about.It's very true that no one knows what Rizzo's next step will be (except maybe for JayB, who seems to have a mindmeld with him at this point), but that doesn't mean those who are inclined to prognosticate shouldn't do it. Nor is it somehow out of bounds to state what he *should* do, even if we have no idea what he *will* do. I for one think it makes for entertaining diversion as the days count down to ST to discuss these things.But if you'd rather just sit back and say Rizzo knows best and I'd rather wait and watch the games, that's fine too. It's a free country.Watching the MLB Network guys gush over the Nats last night was so sweet. It's amazing that on January 16, we can say that this team could be favored to win the World Series, without any more moves at all. Feel, thanks for the clarification on the deferred payments vs. personal services contract. I'm not sure why people who originally thought Soriano's contract was an overpay now think it's ok because of the deferred compensation portion. The Lerners can afford to pay now or later. Someone want to explain how it makes any difference from the fan point of view?

  73. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… Thanks FW. What is the difference? I feel like both are doing same thing but given different meaning.The difference is that with the personal services contract the player is still under contract to the team and theoretically performing some non-playing work and getting paid in return for it during that out year, while with a deferred payment he is just getting paid in some future year for work he is doing now. He is not under contract in that future year, and could even accept work with another team while receiving the deferred payments. If you ask why a player would accept a deferred payment deal, the answer is that it reduces his tax liability.

  74. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Gio threw everyone under the bus after game five, when he was the one who couldn't throw strikes to save his life, and there's no way he's gone after two ugly outings. I don't think it's fair to judge Storen on the one, just like it wouldn't be fair to judge Zimmermann on his one ineffective start. Closers occasionally blow leads. Rivera blew games against Cleveland in 1997, Arizona in 2001, Boston in 2004, and he's still the best reliever ever.EJax was the same inconsistent guy he's always been, they just got a better pitcher for one year in Haren with his own issues for about the same rate, rather than giving a lesser guy like Edwin more years. But I do kind of agree with some posters about the starting pitching deal that seems to linger in the subconscious. I mean, next year they'll need another starter AGAIN. I can't imagine any of the top SP prospects, who all seem to have to rehab, would be ready for more than 150 innings next year.

  75. Section 222 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    1a, when I played Jinx as a kid, the first person to say Jinx got to punch the other guy in the arm. Buying cokes, virtual or otherwise, is much more civilized.I'm glad the NIDO spreadsheet has caught on. I hope it continues to be a source of fun, not another point of contention. Some of the glossary definitions are quite humorous, as well as educational. We have some real comedians in this crowd.

  76. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    If nothing else, opening the wallet for Soriano will shut the talking heads up about Strasburg.

  77. Joe Seamhead - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    blovy8 said… I don't think anyone can contend that Cano is a gold-glove 2B, just that he could be an MVP 2B.—————————–blovy8, Seeing as he was awarded the Gold Glove in 2010 and 2012, I can contend that he is a GG 2B.

  78. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:27 PM

    Section222, even Rizzo doesn't know how his next plan will work out. There's so many factors out of his control. Again, this morning he is fielding phone calls. As GMs ask him about Storen and Clippard, he is saying what about Henry Rodriguez and Michael Morse.The Rangers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tampa, and Seattle are all proposing packages. It doesn't mean anything will get done.Let's see what the Nats can do with Texas as they won't trade Profar but maybe one of there other infielders if they get back one in trade + Morse. Expect the unexpected.Phone lines are open!

  79. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    Just went over and read the comments under Boz's column this morning at the WaPo. Remind me to never do that again.

  80. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    NatsJack, I read a comment where someone thought this was Alfonso Soriano.

  81. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Yep, I saw that. This move by the Nats may provide the impetus for the Braves to pull the trigger on a Justin Upton trade. They have to feel like they need to do something big.

  82. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    NatsJack, you read my mind. The Braves and Phillies are sweating now.The Nats I think need to help the Rangers snag Justin Upton to block the Braves and Phillies.Boras is calling the Phillies to try to push Michael Bourn.

  83. Joe Seamhead - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    NatsJack, unlike the WaPo blob, this board is 100% civilized 85% of the time!

  84. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Another $20 million yearly commitment from Phillies would do it for Boras and Bourn.

  85. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Blovy8.. Sorry.. last night when MLB Network was gushing over the Soriano deal, they totally rehashed the StrasNoMas. I wanted to throw a shoe at the TV.FYI.. The StrasNoMas talk will only die down slightly when Stras wins a Cy, WS, and will go away only completely when Stras goes into the HOF

  86. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Faraz, I guess the Phillies can do it in the long-run but in the short-run it will break their bank.That's what I'm hearing.

  87. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Ghost/NatsJack. Not sure if you saw on Twitter Last night, but the Braves fans were having a Hissy fit about this. Oh and the tool beat writer from STL was chiming in about the "Overpay"

  88. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    HA, that's pretty funny Michelle. But I bet it was to say, hey, the Nats are GOING FOR IT, this year, unlike last year. So I'll accept the backhanded thing about Stras, just as I did about the 100 loss seasons they kept having to bring up last year when they still didn't believe Rizzo would do what he said.

  89. sm13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:48 PM

    My head spins everytime someone on mlb tv or radio labels us the favorite for the Word Series. I am very dizzy rigjt now!Rizzo has put us in a great situation – grade trade chits that we choose to use or not. Rizzo can sit back and field offers (as sjm notes he is) and wait for the deal that blows him away. Or, he stands pat and our pen and bench are unbeatable.

  90. BigCat - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    Drew was not shaking on the mound in game 5. Drew saved 43 games in 2011 for this team and came back last year after having bone chips removed from his arm to post a WHIP below 1.00. If I remember correctly he was pretty much unhittable his last 6 or 7 appearances last year. He blew a save…..yes…a very big one in game 5 against the Cards. But to say he was "shaking on the bump" is a little harsh don't you think. This guy is a stud. And watch….when all the dust settles after 162 games…Drew will be our closer in Sept/Oct

  91. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Blovy8, that was part right, but they rehashed the entire year last year with Stras and then were suggesting an innings limit for 2013. UGH.. SHUT UP about it already.

  92. sm13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    Sorry, it was Ghost I should have referred to…

  93. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Well, you got me there Joe Seamhead, but in my "defense" that was TWO years ago… it only makes him a stronger player if the defensive metrics are somewhat wrong on the guy when you're fashioning a fair deal.

  94. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    sm13, yep, sit back with depth and see what materializes.I am hoping for a 3 team trade with Texas and Arizona.

  95. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    Giving up on Storen as a closer because of game five is like blaming Zimmermann for his one postseason start or Gio for his two lousy ones. Short-sighted. Ok, so Storen doesn't get 40 saves, he doesn't strike me as a guy who won't compete and help them win by getting 30 holds and 10 saves, or whatever.

  96. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    MicheleS said… Ghost/NatsJack. Not sure if you saw on Twitter Last night, but the Braves fans were having a Hissy fit about this. Oh and the tool beat writer from STL was chiming in about the "Overpay" January 16, 2013 10:46 AM Braves have to raise the ante for Justin Upton. Rizzo can make it more difficult in helping Texas.If I'm Rizzo, I'm asking for Ian Kinsler. How do you like those apples! Nats aren't getting Cano. How's about Kinsler?

  97. Tcostant - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    BigCat he was shaking. My wife pointed it out and she was correct. It was not the camera, he was shaking. Can someone back me up here?

  98. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    Yeah, Michelle, I heard that limit crap again someplace, but I don't think it was Rizzo. I do know they are going to limit Soriano to finishing 119 games the next two years.

  99. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    Tcostant, I don't think drew was shaking either. he wouldn't be on a big league mound if he was that afraid. even Hrod sweats, did not shake when he was blowing up game after game.

  100. SCNatsFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    You can also look at it this way; from inning 6 on in if we get in trouble we can bring a closer in – then. Think of how demoralizing it will be for other clubs who, after getting torched by our starters, get a rally started just to see a Storen or Clippard run in and snuff things out then run into the back end of the bullpen. Not a bad problem for Davey to have.

  101. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:04 PM

    Hey, didn't the Braves "overpay" for a .240 hitter recently? If the Braves get Justin, they should acquire Kate so it'll be like that 60's Giants team that had all Alou's in the OF. Even if they'd lose it would improve attendance.

  102. JaneB - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    I love my Nats. I am hoping they keep Morse and Clip and STore, and that this is about keeping bull pen arms fresh and The Kid's legs strong. I really hope this doesn't mess with Drew. He needs to come back strong, not with the rug pulled out from beneath him.But I'm arguing with reality. These moves are done. I hope Alexva is wrong about another big move. Spring training soon, and then we can see them play together and start to jell. World Series or Bust. Best 25 go north. I just hope the best 25 are still playing for US, instead of someone else.

  103. JaneB - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    Stras innings limit crap was in USAToday (can you tell I'm in a business hotel?) yesterday. If I knew how to link here, I would. They all but said there would be limit.They also reported that there's a new rule that says you can take a translator out to the mound with you. I hope HRod goes back to his former GOOD scary self and never needs one.

  104. SCNatsFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    JaneB, as it was explained with the innings limit management is saying they will use their normal guidelines but won't let him pitch a Carlton like 320 innings. He, like all the pitchers, will be on a pitch count.

  105. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Tcostant said… BigCat he was shaking. My wife pointed it out and she was correct. It was not the camera, he was shaking. Can someone back me up here?I was up in the stands and I was shaking then too. It was fricking COLD that night. And I was wearing a lot more layers than Storen was. So get off his case about any shaking you guys in your cozy warm sofas might have seen.

  106. SCNatsFan - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Hrod didn't need an interpreter. He just watche as McCatty walked to the mound and shrugged his shoulders follwed by Davey walking to the mound shaking his head.

  107. sm13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:23 PM

    Ghost – how does your 3-way, AZ, TX, DC trade play out?

  108. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:32 PM

    TX gets Upton and Morse, AZ gets their SS and a starter, and the Nats get Kinsler and a prospect.

  109. NatsNut - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Thing is Ghost, if we were complaining, it was more out of boredom for Nats news than any real pressing needs. Except for a few tweaks (bullpen LHP) the roster really did seem pretty set. Soriano is pure gravy. Pure, delicious gravy. Ghost Of Steve M. said… For all those complaining 2 weeks ago the Nats weren't doing anything —-> BAM!

  110. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    "I was listen to the MLB channel on SIRIUS satellite radio and thet are so possitive of this move. They noted that the Nationals have no flaws. I'm not sure about it, but a few national radio guys thing this is a great move and said the Nationals should be a World Series favorite and are "better than a 98 win team"."Just saw the Hot Stove hosts speculating on a Storen, Morse, Espinoza package for Robinson Cano. Danny would take Cano's spot and move to SS when Jeter hangs 'em up, Storen fills in behind Soriano, and Morse gives them a big RH bat they can put on the field or DH. The reasoning is that the Yanks are reloading and do not want to pay what Cano can get as a FA.If the Nats can swap out Danny and plug in Cano, they would not only have the best team in baseball, right now, they would have one of the greatest lineups in the history of the game, to go along with that great rotation and plus defense.Now, if Rizzo could pull off that one, he would be Exec. of the Decade.

  111. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    NatsNut, pure delicious gravy. LOL

  112. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    "If I'm Rizzo, I'm asking for Ian Kinsler. How do you like those apples! Nats aren't getting Cano. How's about Kinsler?"Kinsler would be great, Cano even better. What's your reasoning on Cano?

  113. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Wouldn't Arizona want more than Espinosa for Upton?

  114. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Laddie, two-fold reason is helping TX get JUpton blocks ATL and Nats get Kinsler and AZ gets Espinosa and a starter from TX. TX also gets Morse.Nats keep team chemistry.

  115. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Ah, I see, a starter from someone, sorry.

  116. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Kinsler is going to be paid a lot in the mid-30s in that deal he's got.

  117. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    GoSM, I doubt you give up Morse and a nameless starter and end up with six years of Kinsler and a prospect. I am guessing you didn't know that Kinsler was under contract for longer than one season.

  118. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    OK. Ignore my last post GoSM. I didn't know you were hinting at danny as AZ's SS.

  119. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    "Laddie, two-fold reason is helping TX get JUpton blocks ATL and Nats get Kinsler and AZ gets Espinosa and a starter from TX. TX also gets Morse.Nats keep team chemistry."That makes sense, but I was really curious as to why you don't think the Nats would get Cano, given the fit that the Nats could offer with a package of Morse, Danny and Storen? I never would have thought of that, because I can't see the Yanks parting with their best player, but the Hot Stove guys seem to think it would help both teams. Their take makes sense, too.Just wondering how you see it. You are a much better fantasy GM than I.

  120. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    My only reason to propose this is to crush Atlanta. Nats are better than Dodgers if they could get Kinsler. #1 infield. #1 outfield #1 rotation #2 bullpen

  121. Gardner - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    See 1986-7 Mets. That team had a bevvy of closers (and guys that would go on to be closers). For a few years there McDowell and Orosco were splitting the closer duties. Roger McDowell – 160 career savesJesse Orosco – 144 career savesRandy Myers – 347 career savesRick Aguilera – 318 career saves

  122. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    Laddie, if Texas doesn't want that deal I do go to Yankees but would want a Cano extension.I'm not ok with Atlanta getting JUpton.

  123. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Laddie, I also wouldn't want to trade any bullpen guys in a Texas deal.

  124. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Funny thing is, we now can believe the Nats would not worry about paying Cano 15m in 2013, or Kinsler at Zimmermann rates for a while. With Cano, they'd surely get a pick in compensation though, and have the flexibility to maybe move Rendon to 2nd for 2014.

  125. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Blovy8, good points.

  126. Section 222 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Very creative Ghost. People will pick at it (they already are), but it's a concrete suggestion that's at least plausible. I know that peric thinks Espi is a future Hall of Famer, but I'm fine with including him in a trade for a star like Cano or Kinsler. At this point, he's the weak link in our lineup, notwithstanding his excellent defense.My prediction though is that Rizzo decides to give Espi another to prove himself here and Morse is used to replenish our starting pitching pipeline.

  127. natsfan1a - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Ouch, agreed that buying cokes is much more civilized. :-)Yes, I was hoping to head off potential contention when I commented on it in the prior thread.Section 222 said… 1a, when I played Jinx as a kid, the first person to say Jinx got to punch the other guy in the arm. Buying cokes, virtual or otherwise, is much more civilized. I'm glad the NIDO spreadsheet has caught on. I hope it continues to be a source of fun, not another point of contention. Some of the glossary definitions are quite humorous, as well as educational. We have some real comedians in this crowd. January 16, 2013 10:23 AM

  128. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Thanks Ghost.

  129. blovy8 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    I think the trouble actually is that Kinsler's deal is no hindrance to Texas – they don't need to save money, they need to keep up with LA. They really do have a good fit directly with Arizona, if they parted with Andrus or Profar.

  130. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Section222, chances are it doesn't happen. I know Daniels has phoned Rizzo. Why not dream?Cushman has already talked to Rizzo on Morse. I like a larger deal that greatly improves the Nats at 2nd base.

  131. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    If last year was the start of a trend, Kinsler isn't worth having. His OBP was down, significantly, and other nos. were pedestrian. His bat died in September, etc. In the playoffs, in the field, he was practically stationary. And the Rangers seemingly can't wait to move him to 1B.

  132. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Cashman

  133. Section 222 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Nice ending of Boswell's piece today:"Now, the Nationals, their owner and their fans are left with the last and the best of the all the major problems in pro sports: high and justified expectations. Learn to love the misery. It’s not going away for several years."Pinch yourself. 2009 is becoming a distant memory.

  134. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    Notice my silence the second this went "armchair GM".

  135. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Theo, you are correct that Kinsler had a down year. Still better than Espinosa without all the strikeouts. Kinsler only K'd 90 times. He's a good bat man and I think would flourish further back in the batting order.

  136. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Pinch yourself. 2009 is becoming a distant memory.Not as long as haters like JayB are still around.

  137. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    The things that make the Soriano deal questionable are the intangibles. The thing that improves the flavor the most is that it's essentially two (relatively) cheap years. No long term side financial side effects. Taking on multiple (5-6) year deals for 30-somethings like Soriano, Cano and Kinsler is exactly the same thing that has made the Nats back away from big extensions for Morse and LaRoche. Apart from that is Cano's overall post-season record, over a no. of games and PAs that is significant, as an underachiever. It's not as if he (or Kinsler) is "the final piece" that guarantees a WS Championship. They have plenty of pieces — enough pieces — to do that. No point in over-embellishing a good steak that's ready to be put on the plate — as is.

  138. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Good crop of players coming to NatsFest:Corey BrownTyler Clippard Ian Desmond Ross Detwiler Danny Espinosa Christian Garcia Gio Gonzalez Brian Goodwin Dan Haren Bryce Harper Nathan Karns Steve Lombardozzi Ryan Mattheus Tyler Moore Michael Morse Ryan Perry Anthony Rendon Will Rhymes Matt Skole Denard Span Drew Storen Kurt Suzuki Chad Tracy Jayson Werth Jordan Zimmermann

  139. sm13 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Ghost. That's creative and plausible. It's a good day to be Mike Rizzo.

  140. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Ghost — I think Kinsler demolishes the notion of "the best infield defense in the league."

  141. IKN8wxU2 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I wouldn't trade Danny for Kinsler straight up, let alone with Morse. Danny's still improving and Kinsler is on the downside of his career, with a big and long contract. At this point, Kinsler might be slightly better for 2013, but that's not clear to me, and he certainly isn't better long term.

  142. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    MicheleS, no Ryan Zimmerman on the list? Still on his honeymoon in South Africa.

  143. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    MicheleS said… Good crop of players coming to NatsFest:Where's the so-called savior LaRoche?

  144. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM

    Michael Morse on the list. See the disclaimer at the bottom:NatsFest!Corey BrownTyler ClippardIan DesmondRoss DetwilerDanny EspinosaChristian GarciaGio GonzalezBrian GoodwinDan HarenBryce HarperNathan KarnsSteve LombardozziRyan MattheusTyler MooreMichael MorseRyan PerryAnthony RendonWill RhymesMatt SkoleDenard SpanDrew StorenKurt SuzukiChad TracyJayson WerthJordan ZimmermannAlso appearing in event attractions will be Mike Rizzo and Mark Lerner as well as Bob Carpenter FP Santangelo Charlie Slowes and Phil Wood.All appearances are subject to change

  145. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    I think its cool that Dan Haren will be there. Noticeably missing is Strasburg who has an exclusive autograph deal and RZim who is honeymooning.Get Rafael Soriano on that list!

  146. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Feelwood, Morse is platooning that day for LaRoche.

  147. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    No Strasburg either. Guess he has a NatsFest limit.

  148. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Davey Johnson promised LaRoche he wouldn't platoon him if he signed his contract. Also, it is possible for players with exclusive autograph deals to attend a NatsFest. Zimmerman has an exclusive deal, and he was there in 2009.

  149. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Did you notice the Nats list is 25 players with top prospects filling in for the stars who aren't going to be there.Their original plan was to get some retired players to appear. I think that would be an upgrade if they had followed through on that.

  150. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:57 PM

    sm13 said… Ghost. That's creative and plausible. It's a good day to be Mike Rizzo. January 16, 2013 12:35 PM It sure is! Its an ala carte menu and he can turn the tables and keep saying NO because Riz doesn't have to do a thing!Here's the thing. The Rangers and Yankees still have holes they have to fill. Bourn fits well in Texas. Texas has an opportunity with some good trades to get younger and get Profar and Olt into their lineup without breaking the bank on Bourn.Sometimes trades are made to block your opponent. Rizzo may make a trade to not only further upgrade the Nats but also block the Braves and Phillies.

  151. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Their original plan was to get some retired players to appear. I think that would be an upgrade if they had followed through on that.First they would need to have a player retire that fans would actually want to come and see. Check back in about 10 years for that. Although I suppose they could have gotten Acta and Riggleman. They have time on their hands right now.

  152. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    Feel Wood said… Davey Johnson promised LaRoche he wouldn't platoon him if he signed his contract.My tongue in cheek comment was Morse is platooning for LaRoche for NatsFest. The difference between Ryan Zimmmerman in 2009 attending and Strasburg now is Ryan Zimmerman's memorabilia contract only precluded him for signing for anyone and receiving payment and that FanFest was free autographs.This FanFest are paid autographs which I believe is an issue for Strasburg from signing is my understanding.

  153. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Feelwood, Jon Patterson, Brad Wilkerson, Jose Vidro, Ryan Church, Chad Cordero, to name a few. Soon Brian Schneider will retire and players like Nick Johnson and Livan Hernandez.

  154. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    Stras has his 5K in SanDiego that day. I am fine with ALR not being there (and I am a big fan). I just wish Davey was there.

  155. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Over this past weekend there was an event hear in VA with Buck Showalter as MC and it was for Frank Howard (it was to benefit a Veterans Organization). My boss went and he said it was a total blast. Lots of ex-Senators were their and apparantly it got a little blue (the organizer got up at the beginning and issued a PG13 warning for language). Boss laughed for 3 hours straight at all the stories. And YES, I am ticked at him for not letting me go.

  156. John C. - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:14 PM

    Hey, there's another John C. posting on NI! No worries – the more the merrier, I say :)I was originally thrown by the Soriano signing, but as more information comes out on the structure of the deal, I think that it's a good one. I certainly don't mind a 7/8/9 of Clippard/Storen/Soriano; while the Nationals don't have anyone like Kimbrel (he is sui generis), I think their bullpen is deeper than the Braves' bullpen. This move also means that the Nationals are serious about stretching Garcia out as a starter; expect him to be in Syracuse to open the season. And unless Morse is dealt, Tyler Moore will be there, too. I'd like to see Moore splitting his time between OF and 1b to increase his versatility (his bat is fine). NatsFan05, I think your roster is basically correct (pending injuries) except with Morse instead of Moore, Bernadina joining him to round out the bench, Mattheus as the #6 reliever and Bray and HRod dueling for the #7 reliever. Since Bray has minor league options HRod will have the inside track, but Viera may change the equation.See y'all at Fan Fest!

  157. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Ghost. Trade to block your opponent: Wasn't Randy Myers (reliever) back in the 90s the biggest mistake trade ever?

  158. MicheleS - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:18 PM

    You want hype:Buster Olney‏@Buster_ESPNNothing more meaningless than predictions, but I think Soriano signing changes the WS pick for me: I've got Washington over Detroit.It's been awhile since we've seen a more complete NL team than what Nats have amassed: Strong units w/ rotation, lineup, bullpen and bench.

  159. Steamer - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    The Angles and Nats in the World Series, Angles win in 7 and Burnett strikes out the side.

  160. Section 222 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:40 PM

    If I'm not mistaken, Bray is long out of options, but he signed a minor league deal so the Nats didn't have to put him on the 40 man and can keep him in Syracuse if they want to. Of course, his contract may allow him to look elsewhere if he doesn't get a spot in the bullpen on opening day (or by some date certain early in the season). Anyone know the details on that?

  161. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Ghost Of Steve M. said… Feelwood, Jon Patterson, Brad Wilkerson, Jose Vidro, Ryan Church, Chad Cordero, to name a few. Soon Brian Schneider will retire and players like Nick Johnson and Livan Hernandez.On that list I see only two or three that would possibly draw any fans to a NatsFest. Cordero and maybe Livo and Feelwood. The rest are long since forgotten.

  162. Feel Wood - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    The difference between Ryan Zimmmerman in 2009 attending and Strasburg now is Ryan Zimmerman's memorabilia contract only precluded him for signing for anyone and receiving payment and that FanFest was free autographs.This FanFest are paid autographs which I believe is an issue for Strasburg from signing is my understanding.Again, players can be at NatsFest without signing. Zimmerman was at NatsFest 2009 and did not sign. The same is true at dozens of other team events where they have signing lines.

  163. sjm308 - Jan 16, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Feel – so Davey promised LaRoche he would not platoon him. Do you really think that with Morse on the bench he would not be in the game vs. tough lefties. Davey also said LannEn was his guy. How did that work out? LaRoche is a vet. and will do what is necessary to make this team a World Series contender. Let it go. Day by day, its getting closer and closer to Morse on the 25 man roster going north.

  164. John C. - Jan 16, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I think Morse can get some at bats whenever the Nats play a tough LHP and not formally platoon with LaRoche. Simply occasionally sit another lefty, either Harper or Span, and Morse plays LF (with Harper moving to CF if Span is sitting out).

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
x-WASHINGTON 91 64 --
ATLANTA 76 80 15.5
NEW YORK 76 80 15.5
MIAMI 74 81 17.0
PHILADELPHIA 71 85 20.5
x-Clinched NL East title
Through Monday's games

NL PLAYOFFS STANDINGS

W L GB WCGB
x-WASHINGTON (4) 91 64 --
y-LOS ANGELES 89 67 2.5
y-ST. LOUIS 88 69 4.0
-------------------------
PITTSBURGH 85 71 6.5 --
SAN FRANCISCO 84 71 7.0 0.5
MILWAUKEE 80 76 11.5 5.0
x-Clinched division title
y-Clinched playoff berth
Through Monday's early games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Marlins at Nats (DH), 1:05 p.m., 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Marlins at Nats, 4:05 p.m.
SUN: Marlins at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
(End of regular season)
MON: OFF
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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