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The burden of trading a beast

Jan 17, 2013, 6:00 AM EST

USA Today Sports Images
Michael Morse was popular with Nationals teammates and fans alike.

Michael Morse's arrival in Washington on Aug. 21, 2009, barely merited even the briefest of mentions.

Acquired from the Mariners for Ryan Langerhans two months earlier in what was universally described as a "swap of minor leaguers," Morse was promoted to D.C. after producing a robust .339 batting average at Class AAA Syracuse. His first appearance in a Nationals uniform came in the bottom of the eighth of a meaningless game against the Brewers. Pinch-hitting for Tyler Clippard, Morse swung at the very first pitch he saw from Milwaukee's Todd Coffey and lined out to first baseman Prince Fielder.

Few among the announced crowd of 26,307 that Friday night bothered to applaud the newest member of the Nationals bench, a big galoot of a ballplayer with no natural position and a track record for getting hurt.

Who could have imagined at the time what Morse's final at-bat in a Nats uniform would look and sound like: bottom of the eighthRead more »

101 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Unknown - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:26 AM

    There are two things I have little doubt about regarding this move:1)If he remains healthy, Michael Morse will without question outhit Adam LaRoche.Here are there comparative numbers based on 162 games:LaRoche: .268-27-93Morse: .294-29-90(*)(*)Based on time with Nationals2)The Nationals will win more games with LaRoche at first.Since the off-season began, one day I'd hope LaRoche would return and the next I'd want Morse. But LaRoche's defense doesn't just make first base better defensively, he probably saved 20 errors for his infield teammates.That said, I still think the team may have won a few more games with Morse in left and Harper in center. But like Mark said, Morse would have basically been a one-year rental and this way we got A.J. Cole back, who I think could be better in the long run than Alex Meyer.Or not.See? When I started this comment I was happy to have LaRoche at first and already I'm missing Morse.Sigh …..Farid @ Idaho

  2. The Retired Journalist - Jan 17, 2013 at 6:48 AM

    If Washington's baseball team were still the Senators (I or II) and still played in the American League, Morse would have made great sense as the DH and fill-in/injury insurance player. But the Nationals play in the National League so that was never an option. As noted here and as has been noted before, saying bye-bye to The Beast was both sad and it was best for both the Nats and Morse himself.

  3. Laddie Blah Blah - Jan 17, 2013 at 9:58 AM

    Right on every point Mark."Rizzo knew that and didn't want to stand in his way."Rizzo did the right thing by big Mike. Mike knows it, too. He did not have to thank Rizzo for the chance to play in DC, but he did. Classy guys, both.

  4. Another_Sam - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Very nice piece, MZ. Thank you.

  5. baseballswami - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Thanks for acknowledging that the fans have conflicting feelings. I also will miss Flo, Lannan, and Burnett. Wishing them all well with their new teams!!

  6. Dave - Jan 17, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    I will always remember the Beast's first batting practice in DC. I was only very vaguely aware that Langerhans had been traded for…somebody. Standing in section 103, I looked toward home plate and saw this tall guy wearing #28 absolutely kill the ball, sending shot after shot into the seats all around the park. I figured out who it was fairly quickly, but had no idea what he'd mean to the team three and a half years later.Have a great time in Seattle, Michael. You may be my new favorite American League player.

  7. Ryan Eades - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I've never wished the Nationals to have a DH as I'm definitely an NL guy and more on the "purist" side, but today I find myself wishing we had that DH option. Gonna miss ya Mikey Mo!

  8. DaveB - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    So basically we traded one year of Morse plus Meyer for 3 years of Span plus Cole/Treinen/PTBNL. Probably a slight loss for one year (big gain on defense / speed, but bigger loss on offense) but sure seems like the Nats win that swap over the long term. I'll miss Mikey tho.

  9. Dave - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:01 PM

    Here's the line from NJ this morning that made me a bit misty:On taking “Take On Me” with him to Seattle:“I’m 50-50 right now. I feel like that’s something me and the people of D.C. kind of shared. We’ll see how it goes.”

  10. Joe Seamhead - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    If I do say so, Mr. Zuckerman, It appears from your column that like in MicheleS' house, there may be a little dust in yours, too. Nicely written piece that seemed even a little emotional! LI won't be surprised if Morse hits 40 dingers this this year, but regardless, there's no looking back.

  11. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    It will be interesting to see how Mike fairs with his new hitting instructor in Seattle. Mike would be the first to tell you that Rick Eckstein played a big part in his ability to obtain consistency at the ML level.

  12. BIGNAT33 - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    Knew it was coming, and still it makes me sad to see him go. MM was a joy to watch, a very productive hitter – the kind of guy you really want to root for. I wish him nothing but the best in Seattle – Mariner fans should be in for a real treat!

  13. MicheleS - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    I am glad that Rizzo did right by Morse. He had one shot at Lannaning someone and he did that last year. Can't get a reputation of treating players like crap.Good luck to Mikey, I will cheer for him no matter what team he plays for -unless he is playing agains the Nats. I hope he gets a really good contract out of this so that he and the Mrs Beast can have a really fun life together.

  14. Rabbit34 - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    Yes, it was nice having Morse. Yes, Morse enjoyed the "ride". But, as MZ said: "he would have walked away as a free agent next winter. So, he enjoyed playing here, liked the fans and team mates. But, in the end they all like George Washington better! As they should.

  15. Mark Grabowsky - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    When I first saw Morse in Spring Training in 2011 I had.a #38 MLB jersey made and got season tix in section 107 second row to watch him in LF. When MM moved to 1B the next year I moved by season tix to section 130. He was the most entertaining player I have watched. Maybe it was because he reminded me of the days I watched Mike Epstien play 1B for the Senators. He'll be missed. Do I keep wearing my #38 or find a new one?

  16. Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    As I've stated throughout this off-season this is another example of the style of management that Rizzo has wanted to establish for this team– that this is a place where free agents want to come not only because there's winning baseball here but because they are respected. Same thing as when he let Lannan and Flores walk and determine where they could go on their own rather than packaging them for some very marginal trade. This is the style he wants for this team. Notwithstanding the claims of the weird wuss who manages Tampa Bay, this is a place where many great free agents want to and will continue to want to come.

  17. Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Mark Grabowski — Mike Epstein — there's a blast from the past, SuperJew, as he called himself. Heck of a 3-4 punch after Hondo back in '68. Nice for him that he was able to play on the great World Champion A's teams of a few years later. Another big-personality guy, too.

  18. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    In all phases of ML baseball management…."IN RIZZO WE TRUST".

  19. Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Nice tribute of Michael Morse moments on the WaPo's DC sports bog this morning. So good that the Phantom grand slam only ranked number six.

  20. hiramhover - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I'm sorry to see the Beast go. I wish there were room for him on the club, but there's not. Also – I can't help but note that in his tweets, he thanks and says he'll miss his teammates, the fans, the Lerners, Rizzo. Hmmm … who's not on that list?

  21. NatsNut - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Steinberg at the Post has a nice 9-best-moments tribute, though there are probably dozens more than that. Repeating what I said there…The song was so great because it evolved so organically. Early in the season, the crowd singing started off very faint, with only some scattered fans singing it. Mid-season, the music guys learned to time the song well enough for us to catch the best part. It helped that he only played the song toward his final at-bat, so anticipation grew during the game. Then as the season crescendo-ed, so did the crowds. I didn't know this until reading Mark's piece, but it's only fitting that his last at-bat, in the 8th inning of Game 5, while we were still ahead, he hit a single right at the high-pitched moment of the song. He managed to get out (albeit involuntarily) right at the very PEAK of the 2012 season. Best memory-maker ever.

  22. NatsNut - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Eddie, jinx. I think I owe you a coke (or beverage of your choice) now. Where's that spreadsheet thingy?

  23. Doc - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Nice article Mark. Dave, thanks for the post on The Beast thinking that he'd like to keep his A-Ha song to Nats' fans and himself. The guy was our biggest fan and our best cheerleader. Kinda think that the Mariners' fans will similarly adopt him and we will continue to hear the same walk-up music.Like most Nats' fans I'll be checking the box scores to see what Mikey Mo is doin' in Seattle.Hope to be moving there in the coming year, so maybe I'll get to watch him at the park, while I'm checking the latest Nats' scores.

  24. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    Strange, I didn't sleep good last night.

  25. Steady Eddie - Jan 17, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    I'm in firm agreement with all those who want to make A-Ha's chorus into the seventh inning stretch song. Andy Feffer, you did good on Natitude — are you listening?

  26. sm13 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Michael Morse earned his spot in Natonals folk lore. He was a key part of the transition of this team from very bad to very good and the transition of the ballpark crowds from small and sleepy to big and loud. I will miss the Beast, but treasure the memories.

  27. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    nice article mark. enjoyed it very much reading that piece.Good to have Cole back and two more. hopefully they pan out.

  28. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    NN, the NIDO Spreadsheet awaits. I think even 1a would approve this time. :-)

  29. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:12 PM

    I love the Beast and wish him well. But was he needed right now on this team? Probably not. Over 500 ABs, how much worse would Moore's numbers be? I know that doesn't take the field into play, but only at the plate I think we have a great option to replace this guy already on our roster.

  30. alexva - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    to Lannan, Flores & Morse, thanks for your efforts. you all did the curly W proud

  31. ehay2k - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Steady – you took the words (or should that be beverage?) right out of my mouth. This was a class move by Rizzo and will make the Nats even more attractive to FA's down the road. As for being "Lannaned", I'm still not sure there was an option there. If no teams wanted to take on Lannan's $5M salary, and also were not going to give up much of anything in the event Rizzo ate a part of that in a trade, why trade him? And cutting him loose would have made zero sense. so, you (over)pay the guy and he goes to the minors because he still has an option available. If Det had not had a leather-pants-wearing barista, this would have been a non-issue.Happy trails and best of success to you, Michael Morse!

  32. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Comparison to Mike Epstein is unfair to both; Epstein was a much worse defender.

  33. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Also – I can't help but note that in his tweets, he thanks and says he'll miss his teammates, the fans, the Lerners, Rizzo. Hmmm … who's not on that list?Riggleman.

  34. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    SCNat — Bite your tongue. Every team needs as many 30 HR, .295 guys as they can squeeze into a 25-man roster. Call me if Moore ever actually does it.

  35. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Do I keep wearing my #38 or find a new one?Be careful what you do here. In July 2010, after much deliberation, I bought a player jersey. Josh Willingham #16. He hit one more homer after that, went on the DL and got traded.Last season I decided I should retire the Willingham jersey and get another player. After much deliberation, who did I choose? Michael Morse.Let's hope that the time never comes that Adam LaRoche's performance sinks so low that I am forced to buy his jersey.

  36. The Fox - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    It's analysis and writing like this that makes me come here to get my Nat's fix everyday. It's been fun watching Mikey Mo become the Beast and I wish him the best in Seattle.

  37. LoveDaNats - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    I will miss him so much. I miss every Nat who leaves but this one stings a little more. Maybe because I was one of the ones singing "Take On Me" at the top of my lungs, watching him dump Gatorade and shaving cream on his teammates, just enjoying his smile and sense of fun. He seemed accessible to us and that's what I love about him. I hope his success continues in Seattle and I wish him all the best.

  38. sjm308 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Thanks to steady eddie and nats nut for the headsup on the WP stuff. Reading Mark and then comments here and finally the Post does bring up emotion. He was a true goof but his love of the game comes out and will be missed by us and his teammates. Not sure we have anyone that can honestly step into that role. I spent way too much time talking about extensions and super sub roles and insurance but I really did want Mikey Morse on my team. I do understand the business of baseball and I also trust that Rizzo did the right thing but I don't have to be happy about it.As for the song, in my opinion, it just won't be the same to sing it without Morse actually being a part of it. That brief clip in Steinberg's Bog was so moving that I played it several times. god, were we excited and Morse was a huge part of that!!Again, good luck Mr.Morse and stay healthy.Go Nats!! World Series or Bust!!

  39. sjm308 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    SCNat – you might be able to replace the numbers but you will never be able to replace the actual joy that he brought to the clubhouse. Maybe Gio can continue some of it but Morse was usually the one with the gatorade or creampie or the new t-shirt that brought a smile not just to our faces but his teammates. That is what can't be replaced and oh by the way, he hit the ball really really far.

  40. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:42 PM

    List of off-season moves:1. letting go of Jackson, Flores, MGonzo, Lannen, Burnett, DeRosa, CMW, and Gorzalenny.2. Signing Duke, Haren, LaRoche, and Bray.3. Trading for Span and Cole.4. Trading Morse and Meyer.did I miss anything?Quite an eventful off-season.

  41. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Feel Wood… so now we know the reason for your wanting LaRoche to sign elsewhere.

  42. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    One of the questions Morse must be asking himself is whether the fences at SAFECO have been moved in enough to allow him to duplicate (or exceed?) his nos. in DC. Or whether his tape-measure power is enough to reach even the old fences? Or whether that annoying train beyond RF will disrupt his concentration at the plate?

  43. alexva - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Soriano maybe?

  44. Rabbit34 - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    And, from the MLB website: "I love it out there and I told [general manager Jack Zduriencik], I always felt I had unfinished business in Seattle," Morse said. " Hey, I'm just saying! GO NATIONALS!!

  45. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    thanks alexva. off-season has been so crazy that I missed that signing in the list.

  46. Muddy - Jan 17, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Rizzo apparently had been lusting for Span for years. Rizzo presumably wants Span because (1) he wants Harper to concentrate on hitting and not playing centerfield; and (2) he wants a natural lead-off hitter. Okay, fine. Makes sense. But the Beast was a feared presence in the lineup. He was very productive in key spots, although he had a history of getting hurt. He was a "good-chemistry" guy and big fan favorite. … Is Span a great lead-off hitter? His OBP in 2010 and 2012, the last two years that he played more than 120 games, was .331 and .342, respectively — not that great. He is a natural lead-off guy and great defender. But he, too, has a history of getting hurt. Keeping Morse, having Werth lead off, and putting Harp in center made sense to me. I think Harper can handle centerfield, which he'll probably have to do some anyway if/when Span gets hurt. … On the other hand, last September the team wasn't that productive offensively even with Morse, Werth, etc. … Anyway, Rizzo is nothing if not true to his convictions — it's that scout's eye of his that guides him. He wanted Span badly. I hope he's right. 98 wins is hard to argue with. Mike Rizzo, may you be right all the time.

  47. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    I'm not dicounting Morse's clubhouse demeanor or team chemistry; I wish he was still here but he's not. Sure it stinks that the guys who were hear during the lean years are leaving but that's the nature of the sport; remember everyone was also upset about Dunn and (egads) Livo. I have faith in the product Rizzo has contructed so far so I give him a pass on all these moves; they are considred good moves until they prove themselves not to be.

  48. MicheleS - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    OOOO Napoli only got a 1 year deal from the Red Sox.

  49. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    NatsJack in Florida said… Feel Wood… so now we know the reason for your wanting LaRoche to sign elsewhere.The reason has always been that in any choice between LaRoche and Morse, Morse would be the better option. I have said that all along. If you didn't know that was my reason, then you weren't paying attention.

  50. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    MicheleS–saw that. ALR made the right decision, he would still have been on the outside looking in if he was waiting for the Red Sox. Also this Francona book, Epstein refuting Francona==> Yuck. Give me Stras and the "innings limit, any time.BTW, did you see that someone on MLB Network (forgot who) said Stras wouldn't win the Cy Young this year if he "only" pitches 200 innings because you have guys like Verlander out there.Well (1), last time I checked, Verlander was in the AL. (2) last time I checked, a LOT more goes into being a Cy Young pitcher than number of innings. But, let the stupidity continue…

  51. JamesFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    Morse had to go, but we gave up a lot. LaRoche better have a great year to compensate for the loss of a .300/30 homer guy with solid defense at first. I suppose Morse's light hearted attitude kept him from being taken seriously enough.I wish Morse well in Seattle. They got a great deal here.

  52. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    It's called humor, Feel. Most of us knew your take on those two.

  53. NatsNut - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    On jinxed shirseys, my very first shirsey, as well as first player attachment and subsequent heartbreak, was Brian Schneider. I haven't bought one since.

  54. sm13 - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I still have my Jose Vidro shirsey.

  55. MicheleS - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    NatsNut. I spent $$$ on an Espinosa Rookie Jersey (18) and haven't worn since the All Star break in 2011. That's when I switched to shirsey's (but made an exception for Bryce)

  56. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    People in this forum tend to remember ALRs lost 2011 more then the fact when Zim and Morse were out early last year ALR carried the team. Plus with him at 1B Espi's defense markedly improved. ALR doesn't have to have a monster year he just has to have an ALR year. All this talk of Morse putting up bigger numbers because he is in a walk year vs. ALR letting down because he signed a 2 year deal is sour grapes.

  57. natsfan1a - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    Carrying forward. Wishing Michael good luck and happy gorse-hacking in Seattle.natsfan1a said… Same here. First time I cried over a player transaction was when they sold Jamey Carroll. I told my husband then they'd never make me do so again. Okay, so I may have gotten a little misty over baseball a time or two since then. But for whatever reason, it didn't happen this time. Yeah, I enjoyed his hijinks and dingers but he never captured that special player place in my heart. Or maybe I closed that place up in self-defense after other beloved players left. Last, I'm not even an armchair GM but trading Morse (with one season to go before free agency) for a couple of prospects and a PTBNL does not seem horrible to me. Dave said… Gonna miss old Mikey Mo. But I'm still feeling very good about our team this year and next–apparently unlike a few folks here. January 16, 2013 10:24 PM January 17, 2013 8:44 AM

  58. Nats106 - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:50 PM

    I have August 2-4 on my calendar. Mariners pay a visit to Camden Yards

  59. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    MicheleS said… OOOO Napoli only got a 1 year deal from the Red Sox. January 17, 2013 9:19 AM Yep, the Red Sox were trying for Morse so they did what they had to do and at least had a Plan B in Napoli.It will be interesting to see what the Yankees do for a big bat to replace what they lost in Swisher and ARod.The Rangers who lost Josh Hamilton will have a difficult time getting close to replacing that loss in offense.Tampa Bay hasn't replaced what they lost in BJ Upton.There's 3 teams that could have used Morse but when you read the comments from Seattle, they act like Morse is some 'roided waste of time that will get injured. Sad.

  60. natsfan1a - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  61. natsfan1a - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Not sure what that means but, for the record, I never said that I disapproved. I merely provided background on how the "buy me a coke" thing came about. I thought that was appropriate, seeing as how I was the instigator of the tradition. It seemed to have morphed from a funny, inadvertent simultaneous post thing into an "I said it first, back in 05, and I can prove it" one-upsmanship thing, and that was never my intent. I've also contributed how-to and glossary items. So, no, not disapproving but rather trying to keep things friendly.Section 222 said…NN, the NIDO Spreadsheet awaits. I think even 1a would approve this time. :-)January 17, 2013 8:11 AM

  62. Joe Seamhead - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    SCNatsFan: BINGO! By making Espy, Desi, and Ryan look better ALR makes the pitching staff look better. Add in the defensive quality of the new outfield,and the speed factor in the top of the lineup, the improvements on the mound, and by most observations this is a better ball club then last year's.

  63. natsfan1a - Jan 17, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick Johnson here. Sorry about that, big guy. :-)NatsNut said… On jinxed shirseys, my very first shirsey, as well as first player attachment and subsequent heartbreak, was Brian Schneider. I haven't bought one since. January 17, 2013 9:30 AM

  64. MicheleS - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    1A.. I think the comment about approving of the drink list has to do with the "Jinx owe me a coke" vs the Punch in the arm

  65. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    No Nats on the WBC USA roster.

  66. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    1a, I was winking as I said that. NN's offer of beverage seemed like a perfect example of your original drinking game since she highlighted the Bog post about Morse just a few minutes after Steady did. I heartily endorse the friendly version of the game.Seems like there are some raw emotions in here this morning. Completely understandable given the roller coaster of the past week. This too shall pass, and ST is right around the corner. Thank goodness.

  67. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    No Nats on the WBC USA roster.Good.

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    https://twitter.com/WBCBaseball/status/291924367137460224/photo/1Thats the roster for Team USA.

  69. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I think Bernadia will be on the Dutch team.

  70. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:15 PM

    ALR doesn't have to have a monster year he just has to have an ALR year.ALR years are why ALR still gets booed in Pittsburgh, a town where baseball fans barely have enough energy to boo or cheer or even show up most of the time. ALR years typically start slow and don't pick up until after the All Star Break. About the only year that ALR ever had that wasn't like that was 2012, which by some strange coincidence happened to be the walk year on his contract.All this talk of Morse putting up bigger numbers because he is in a walk year vs. ALR letting down because he signed a 2 year deal is sour grapes.See the above example plus countless others of players putting up good to great numbers in their walk years. Also there are countless examples of players signing big new contracts and falling short in the first year. Werth, Dunn, Carl Crawford to name but three. What's that old line? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  71. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    And Feel there are examples going the other way too. Use an open mind when viewing history.

  72. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    Jeff Passan ‏@JeffPassan Ideal Team USA rotation: Verlander, Kershaw, Price, Strasburg, with Lee, Hamels, Cain, Weaver, Sabathia and Greinke next. None going to WBC.

  73. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    SCNatsFan said… And Feel there are examples going the other way too. Use an open mind when viewing history.Of course. Which is why I'm not calling history "just sour grapes" like you did.Another example of a player underperforming in the first year of a new contract: Adam LaRoche, 2011.

  74. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Right Feel… if it was a walk year then ALR would have played thru the shoulder injury and psted a monster year on your theory. Not really strengthening your argument there.

  75. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:36 PM

    There are many people that think the Nats did great with this trade. I like AJ Cole a lot so I think we will know in a few years how the Nats did.The Nats added some badly needed organizational depth. Rizzo will be making sure Cole is put back on track in the Nats organization.My question is should Rizzo have held on a little bit longer before pulling the trigger?I talked yesterday morning that I felt a 3 team trade might be happening although I felt it would be most likely with Texas.

  76. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:38 PM

    SCNatsFan said… Right Feel… if it was a walk year then ALR would have played thru the shoulder injury and psted a monster year on your theory. Not really strengthening your argument there.I'm not postulating a theory or arguing any points here. I'm merely pointing out incidents of fact and noticing some trends. You can make of them what you will. That's what people do when they learn from history.

  77. Nats In Athens - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I have not posted since late October, as I was stunned by what has been happenning. This trade is a fitting conclusion to a disastrous off season. Our esteemed and much idolized front office got rid of Burnett because he was too expensive and hired Soriano who will cost 25 million dollars!!! They gave away our top pitching prospect for Denard Span (possibly the only trade that could work out). They sign ALR to 12 million per year and get rid of Morse because at 6 million he was too expensive. So we increase our payroll by 25 million without getting any better and go for older players. Mike Rizzo was lucky once when he inherited a team with a lot of pieces already in the system. Most of our 2012 heroes where drafted by Jim Bowden. He then got lucky a second time by being able to draft Strasburg and Harper back to back. And by gaming the draft signing process for three years running he got great talent in those drafts. Great talent that he then went ahead and traded all away. Even the Gio trade for me was a tossup at best. We got a great pitcher but gave away the farm including two major league players and 12 months later sent Morse West to get the weakest of the four players back. Yes the team is winning now but he has done nothing to ensure it will continue to do so. I am starting to really miss Jim Bowden and that is saying something…

  78. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:54 PM

    And my history tells me to trust Rizzo with his assessment of this team and its players

  79. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    I went to an early season Nats game in Pittsburgh in 2011, and they booed ALR heartily. The fans there told me it wasn't so much his performance but his stoic demeanor. They thought he just didn't care when he struck out or popped up with men on base. We've come to appreciate his even keel, but last year's hot start sure helped.

  80. NatsLady - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    I was thinking that ALR's good spring/early summer in 2012 might have had something to do with being in recovery/rehab for most of 2011. These guys' bodies really wear down. ALR noted that he loses 20-30 pounds during the season. That was one of the reasons I so strongly supported the Stras shutdown AND the way it was structured; if he had pitched in September-October, that's much less recovery time.No Nats in the USA WBC team. Wonder if some Nats (Bernadina?) will participate for other teams.

  81. adventurehouse - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    We will miss Morse, but let's not forget what we gained in that Span is a real leadoff hitter with speed and defense. Although Werth played well in a limited role as leadoff…he's not a leadoff hitter. Span will create problems for opposing teams that we've never had before. Although we've given up 90+ RBI's in Morse, we've gained 125+ runs scored in Span, and our 3-4-5 hitters will have more RBI chances than they've had before. Although we could have one of the best fielding outfield in the majors.

  82. Ron In Reston - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:08 PM

    Nats106 said… I have August 2-4 on my calendar. Mariners pay a visit to Camden Yards ——————————————-My daughter's 11th birthday is the 3rd. Maybe we make a trip up there despite my vow not to while that (&^**%^$*&^ Angelos still owns the team. She is going to be very disappointed when I tell her Mikey is gone, but this might help smooth things over.

  83. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM

    SCNatsFan said… And my history tells me to trust Rizzo with his assessment of this team and its playersTwo years ago Rizzo was faced with the choice of keeping a slugger and great OBP guy at first base even though his defense was poor, or dumping him and going with a better defensive player. He chose the defense. Was that the right choice? Not for 2011 it wasn't, because that defense guy got hurt and he ended up with a first baseman whose offensive strengths outshone his defense. It wasn't until 2012 that Rizzo's choice of defense over offense panned out.Now, this year, Rizzo was again faced with the same choice, and once again he chose the defense guy. So that history repeated. We have to hope that the historical results don't repeat, though, because then we'd be waiting til 2014 to see any benefit.

  84. TheManBearPig - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    "But LaRoche's defense doesn't just make first base better defensively, he probably saved 20 errors for his infield teammates."Farid, I don't think there's a 20 error difference between Morse and LaRoche. In fact, there's probably no significant difference. There wasn't in 2011, when LaRoche went down and Morse stepped in at 1b, and the Zim's and Desmond's fielding did not improve significantly from 2011 to 2012. Morse's glove is excellent; it's his range in the OF that's the problem. Morse is a capable 1b, IMO – not as good as LaRoche, but the impact of going from a capable 1b to a very good 1b isn't that much. I do think that LaRoche is the better bet – Morse's injury history makes him a bigger risk, and the Nats have LaRoche for 2 years and they would only have Morse for 1. Sad to see the Beast go, but happy that he has a chance to play every day in Seattle. The Nats are on the road Aug 2-4, so I'm looking forward to cheering for the Beast in Baltimore then.

  85. Section 222 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Was that the right choice? Not for 2011 it wasn't, because that defense guy got hurt and he ended up with a first baseman whose offensive strengths outshone his defense.You conveniently forgot Dunn's historically bad performance in 2011. I'd say Rizzo's move worked out pretty well, though it didn't turn out as planned.

  86. VCUAlum Kyle - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    It would be cool if Morse still came to NatsFest and us fans of DC could say goodbye to him! That would be awesome!

  87. sm13 - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    I am especially relieved that there are no Nats pitchers on the WBC roster. I'm still bitter about Louis Ayala's injury.

  88. natsfan1a - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    Thanks, 222. No raw emotions here, as noted in my earlier post on the trade.Section 222 said… 1a, I was winking as I said that. NN's offer of beverage seemed like a perfect example of your original drinking game since she highlighted the Bog post about Morse just a few minutes after Steady did. I heartily endorse the friendly version of the game. Seems like there are some raw emotions in here this morning. Completely understandable given the roller coaster of the past week. This too shall pass, and ST is right around the corner. Thank goodness. January 17, 2013 10:10 AM

  89. natsfan1a - Jan 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    My sentiments exactly. :-)Section 222 said… No Nats on the WBC USA roster. Good. January 17, 2013 10:10 AM

  90. Joe Seamhead - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Good link, NatsLady.

  91. SCNatsFan - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    But FeelWood you can't hold against the GM a guy who got hurt who had no history of being hurt; that happens. If EJAx signed here and blew his rotator cuff out you couldn't blame that on Rizzo; injuries happen. Now Lidge and CMW, sure you can blame him just like you can blame him for Span or Haren if their injuries repeat.But blaming Rizzo for ALR's 2011 would be equal to blaming him for SS's 2011.

  92. Feel Wood - Jan 17, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    History doesn't blame, it just reports. You can choose to listen to it, or you can choose not to listen to it. The choice is yours.

  93. Mark Grabowsky - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    My jersey choosing criteria:-Has to be every day player- Abpod one that is being pushed by the team (zim, harp, straw)Must be a player who appreciates fans (Morse saw my #38 at Fenway and game me two thumbs up)-Being quirky helpsContenders: Desmond, Suzuki, HarperWhat am I missing?

  94. peric - Jan 17, 2013 at 7:54 PM

    Well, I am the one who kept saying they needed to restock the A+ level and below with high-ceiling pitching prospects. And certainly AJ Cole fits that to a tee. Even 24 year old Blake Treinen although he could perhaps be another Cole Kimball injury and all in the offing. The PTBNL might even be another ex-Nat prospect who knows? I still wish they could have kept the Beast for at least another 2 years until all the jewels of the farm system were ready to roll in the majors. I do fear LaRoche's performance spiraling down as has Werth's over the past 2 seasons when compared to his past. I guess its now up to Tyler Moore, Anthony Rendon, and perhaps Brian Goodwin and Matt Skole to fill in if they falter. But it won't be the same without MIkeMo who came to the Chiefs and continued to rake in the majors after killing it in two AAA leagues. A true underdog finally makes good story.

  95. peric - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM

    But FeelWood you can't hold against the GM a guy who got hurt who had no history of being hurt; that happens. LaRoche is now 33 years old. He isn't the work out fiend that Werth is not by a long shot. He isn't the athlete or the fielder that Werth is not by a long country mile SCNat? And look at Werth over the past 2 seasons compared to when he was a Phillie? Look at his age? Look at his injuries? Who is higher risk? LaRoche surely is.BUT YOU CAN'T entirely blame Rizzo for this. A great deal of it rests on the shoulders of Davey Johnson who campaigned non-stop for LaRoche's return. From Rizzo's perspective (according to Boz) both Morse and LaRoche were pretty close to equal. Morse the edge offensively, LaRoche the edge defensively. But LaRoche had Davey's (and Mike Rizzo's) coveted left-handed bat. Either way Rizzo, Clark et al knew they were in a good spot with both Tyler Moore and Chris Marerro. With older prospect and power hitting lefty Matt Skole getting closer … and with UBERprospect Anthony Rendon. Rizzo had plenty of insurance.So, FeelWood if you are going to blame anyone you'll have to throw Davey Johnson to some of the lions he is meeting on Safari.

  96. UnkyD - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    Actually, Peric, SC was referring to LaRoche's 2011…. not some future issue (touches wood…)

  97. Brad Phillips - Jan 19, 2013 at 1:38 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  98. Brad Phillips - Jan 19, 2013 at 1:41 AM

    I don't think I have ever been so sad to see a guy go. And yet I know in my heart it's for the best. Man this is a tough pill to swallow. It's hard to not indulge in evisioning a lineup with Harper, Zimmerman, Morse, LaRoche, Desmond, and Werth. It's like a slot machiene of RBI's.

  99. Brad Phillips - Jan 19, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  100. Brad Phillips - Jan 19, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    Report Card1) Out Morse, In Span. Debateable.2) Re-signing LaRoche. Huge3) Out Jackson. In Haren. Upgrade4) Out Meyer. In Cole. Push5) Out Burnett. In Soriano. Upgrade6) Out Gorzelanny In Duke. Mild Upgrade7) Out M Gonzalez. In Bray. Push8) Clearing a bit of room for guys like Moore, Rendon, Goodwin, and Garcia to likely get an opportunity to shine….PRICELESS

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