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Looking at contract statuses

Aug 9, 2013, 10:00 AM EDT

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Are the Nationals officially out of the pennant race in 2013? No. Obviously, they haven't been mathematically eliminated from anything, and their 9-game deficit in the Wild Card standings — while daunting — isn't so huge that it couldn't be overcome with a major turnaround.

But let's be honest: This club isn't going to be playing this October. Players started to acknowledge that over the last few days as they were swept by the Braves, with Jayson Werth perhaps providing the most-honest assessment of the situation when he started talking about next year and beyond.

So while there are 48 games remaining on the 2013 schedule, there is growing attention now on 2014 and questions about what general manager Mike Rizzo will need to do to his roster between now and next Opening Day.

With that in mind, it's probably worthwhile to take a look at the contract status for everyone on the current roster (plus a couple of key players currently in the minors). These statuses will play aRead more »

  1. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 10:24 AM

    Not on the topic of contracts–this article on the Mets baserunning. Key takeaways for me(1) Influence of 3B coach on changing the culture (and when it started)(2) importance of awareness as much as speed (3) the contest among the players as motivation.Mets Baserunninghttp://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21474

  2. JayB - Aug 9, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Other than Harper and Rendon and Werth where is are the bats that could help this team next year?I do not see any promise on under contract…lots of money to be spent and lots of wasted money already spent. Amazed Rizzo got the extension when you look at how he has spent the Lerners cash to date.

  3. karlkolchak - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:20 PM

    I mentioned when Espinosa was demoted that he was risking big money in arbitration by not getting his shoulder fixed at the end of last season. Had he done so and started the first couple of months of this year on the DL, he would easily have acquired enough service time to be arb eligible and get a big raise. Given his continued struggles at Syracuse, I guarantee he won't be recalled unless Desmond gets injured.Just anthoer head scratching aspect of his whole bizarre situation.

  4. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    This may sounds crazy, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to lock up Jordan Zimmerman long term unless he gives the club a hometown discount. We already have him under control through 2015, his age 29 season. Do we really want him at ages 30-35 if it means we have a lot less money for a free agent bat or an extension for Desmond or maybe even to keep Harper around? It depends on the price tag of course, but I don't think it's a no-brainer.

  5. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    ROSS DETWILER2013 salary: $2.3375 millionFuture status: Eligible for arbitration in 2014, eligible for free agency in 2016Note: Has two more seasons of arbitration-eligibilty. Will need a big bounce-back performance next year before Nats would consider talking about an extension.#1 candidate to be Pattersoned in spring training 2014.

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Bowdenball is making a valid point. Zimmermann's performance in the second half of last year and this year post-ASB doesn't exactly scream, "Sign me, sign me!" There is no need to rush just because he might make a little more money in arbitration.

  7. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    Activation of Zimmerman no-trade protection is disillusioning.

  8. James Joyce - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    They have something like $60M tied up in 4 players — Werth, Zim, Soriano and LaRoche, which would be fine if they were getting great value for that money. But, none of those guys is an elite player. They need to add an elite player. A masher. An every year All Star caliber, 3 or 4 hole hitting guy. In order to do that, they are likely going to have to trade Desmond or Zimmermann, unless they can out-bid the Yankkes for Cano and I don;t see the Lerners going that route.

  9. Oldguy - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    The Pirates' payroll this year is in the $60 million range. Interesting how many teams with a smaller payroll than ours are doing about as well or better. Oakland's is even lower.

  10. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    James Joyce said…"They have something like $60M tied up in 4 players — Werth, Zim, Soriano and LaRoche, which would be fine if they were getting great value for that money."It's fine regardless, since two of them are only under contract through 2014 and won't affect the team's long term plans and ability to sign/re-sign players.Anyway, they have an "elite player" who is a "masher" for 2014 and beyond on the roster already. Young guy, wears #34, I think his name is Bruce Howard or something. Check him out.

  11. John C. - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    (1) Great post; would have been even better if the minor league option status of each player had been included.(2) People who say that next year will be disappointing because this year has been disappointing are making exactly the same mistake as those who assumed that this year would be great because 2012 as great. (3) Although they do nominally have $58.5 million tied up in four players for next year, that figure is misleading because several million of Soriano's salary are deferred for over a decade. (4) More importantly, the team is not committed to Soriano or LaRoche beyond 2014. For 2015 the team's commitment to its top 3 salaried players (Werth,Zimmerman and Gio) is $46.671 million. Even if the team does not raise salary commitments beyond current levels (just uner $120 million), and even counting for the ticking of the arbitration clock on some players, this team is in a position that enables it to take on a big financial commitment, possibly two depending on how it is structured.

  12. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Sure am glad we have Scott Hairston locked up for another year as a "key bench player."

  13. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:07 PM

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  14. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:10 PM

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  15. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    Just because the Nats have a player "under control" for the next 2-3 years is not a reason to keep him. The whole object of the off-season — every off season — should be to improve the bottom part of the roster. All of it, because (A) after all, this IS the bottom part of the roster you're talking about and (B) there is every likelihood that some of the players that appear to be among the top of the roster are going to regress/get injured in the following season. (Would anyone be truly gobsmacked if Z'man hit .245 next year?)One mistake (among several) Rizzo made in the last off-season was to start the job but not finish it. He "moved" Jackson, Burnett and Gorzellany but signed Tracy for no apparent reason, kept Bernadina when the potential market was at its all-time high and regression was a foregone conclusion, and let H. Rodriguez fester for another Spring Training.One of the challenges this offseason is to tell where the bottom of the roster starts. For example, Span could return to a .357 OBP, but if he has another bummer of a season his $9.5MM contract for 2015 will become an unmovable albatross. Tracy will be gone, Suzuki and Haren will be gone, but there will be a lot of inertia to overcome if the Nats are to get rid of — and improve on — their other underperformers. Time to say goodbye to Bernadina, Lombardozzi, Hairston. Maybe time to bid farewell to Espinosa, Storen, at least if value can be had in return. Time to admit that Abad's initial excellence was as impermanent as the light from a sparkler.Not only must all of the above be replaced but the Nats' view of the bench needs a major re-think. The bench is not a bunch of veterans to plug in for a day or two in the case of emergency; they need to be looking for younger players who can mature, get experience at the ML level to be future starters. The Nats 1-8 are a veteran team, no longer a young team. Some of them appear to be approaching baseball senesence. The Nats need to be building replacements, not padding pensions.

  16. Section 222 - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    Good analysis Theo. Now is definitely not the time to "stand pat." One quibble, Span's $9.5 million for 2015 is a club option not an albatross. It seems very doubtful it will be picked up unless he has a true renaissance next year. Whether he stays for next year is more a matter of what they can get for him in a possible trade. Replacing some of the bottom part of the roster will have a much bigger impact on the team's fortunes in 2014 than replacing the hitting coach.Hey, there's an idea — re-hire Eck!

  17. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    NL,thanks for the baserunning story link from BP. Interesting points.

  18. SCNatsFan - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Went to the PNats game here in SC to rehab from Nats baseball. PNats were up 6-0 in the bottom of the ninth and lost on a variety of walks, HBP, errors and WPs – lost the game on a strikeout WP. Felt like I was watching the parent club!

  19. natsfan1a - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    hehe, t-shirt to come? :-)Section 222 said… Replacing some of the bottom part of the roster will have a much bigger impact on the team's fortunes in 2014 than replacing the hitting coach. Hey, there's an idea — re-hire Eck! August 09, 2013 9:16 AM

  20. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Replacing the hitting coach will be a function of the next manager. It will be interesting to see to what degree Rizzo allows the new guy to choose his own coaching staff. McCatty would seem to be safe no matter what, but for the rest of them nothing should be taken for granted. Comak seems to think Jewett and Knorr are top candidates for the manager job. I'm sure one or both of them will be interviewed, but I can't see Rizzo choosing either one of them unless everyone else he targets turns him down cold. Would Rizzo impose either or both of Jewett/Knorr on a new manager coming from outside the organization, or would he attempt to keep them around by having them manage in the minors again?

  21. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Not to single anyone out, but this sort of point keeps coming up:"kept Bernadina when the potential market was at its all-time high and regression was a foregone conclusion"If it was so obvious Bernadina was not going to repeat 2012 numbers, what market would there be? It's not as if the 29 other front offices never heard of statistics.

  22. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:47 PM

    My point being, Bernadina was as likely to have a decent season, if not as good as last year, as anybody they might have gotten. Who, for all we know, Rizzo did look to get.

  23. JD - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    It just seems that the gang here is always looking to target one player or another as the designated 'goat' and the player most likely to have caused the downturn. This year it was Espinosa and Duke and Rodriguez and Storen. Did you all notice that replacing these guys did not have the desired effect on the W/L record? that the record is actually significantly worse now? Did we also notice that almost everyone joining the Braves is smelling like a rose? Gatis,Terdaslovich,Schaffer,Costanza? the entire bullpen? My point is that the problem is deeper than a player here and a player there. In the end it all seems to go back to DJ and his staff I,m afraid. If you think that replacing Tracy and Hairston will do the trick then you will be disappointed once again.

  24. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:00 PM

    Section 222 — Thank you for the clarification re Span, which is puts his situation in a somewhat different light. If he's having a crumby season next year, his trade value is still near zero. Unless management has unshakeable confidence in his return to form, or a contract with Mr. Applegate, I'd still trade him in favor of a FA, even if it means moving Harper back to CF temporarily.I was somewhat surprised checking out the box score in a recent Potomac game to see that Michael Taylor had 72 RBI. After he was hyped up during 2012 ST he seemed to disappear, and I guess he had some issues last year. But the notion that he has that kind of pop was a welcome revelation. You'd think that, sooner or later, the Nats will produce their own CF.

  25. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    Michael Taylor is a 22 year old with a .767 OPS in High A ball. He won't be playing in the big leagues any time soon, maybe ever.

  26. raymitten - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:04 PM

    I really hope they get rid of Span and get a power hitter in the outfield, moving Harper back to center. Span is the kind of player that is okay on a subpar team, but if the team wants to be better than average, they need to rid themselves of players that are medicore. His defense is sound, but he is completely ineffective at the plate (unless you think grounding out to the right side is exciting). He's not a good baserunner either, he gets picked off first way too much and has an under 50% success rate when stealing. His OBP at its best is just ordinary. Not my idea of an offense igniter. Ankiel was equally good defensively, and had a much better arm.

  27. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Sofa — Someone, I don't know who, would have given them a Class A pitcher, or a AA infielder — a Pineyro or Souza equivalent, if you will — for Bernadina. More would have been nice but that would have been acceptable. His value to any other team, though speculative, was higher than it was going to be to the Nats. Once the Nats acquired Span, with Werth and Harper in the day-to-day lineup and presumably no long term injuries to both corner OF, it was apparent that Bernadina wouldn't get nearly the PA in 2013 that he received in 2012. So he wasn't going to be nearly as significant in 2013 as he turned out to be in 2012. It was time for him to go.If the Nats end up non-tendering him — why would they make a qualifying offer? — then they get nothing. That's better than letting him tie up a roster spot a la H. Rodriguez but they could have done better.

  28. jeffwx - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I'm not ready to give up on the season….a couple of series wins will help…We just played two of the hottest teams in baseball

  29. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    jeffwx, I'm with you. The Fillies are AWFUL. Yes, they beat the Cubs yesterday, but their stats, expecially since the All-Star Break, are terrible and they are trying out prospects already. It's hard to expain what happened to the Giants (Lincecum was great last night) but bottom line, we have six games against bad teams. Win 5/6, win all six. Look at Kansas City, are they such a great team? Yes, we need some other teams to slump, but that's happened before.

  30. James Joyce - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Bowdenball — #34, Brent Hoffner, or whatever his name is, is not enough. The Nats need much more offense if they are going to compete.

  31. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    It's fine to say they need more offense, James Joyce, I agree with that. But you seemed to be saying the needed another MVP-caliber "masher." I don't agree with that at all. The Braves don't have one- the highest OPS on their roster is McCann's .868. For that matter neither do the Cardinals- the highest OPS on their roster is Molina's .854. Same for the Rays, whose highest OPS other than rookie callup Wil Myers is Longoria at .835. Hell, for that matter the 2012 Nats didn't have one either, the highest OPS on that team was LaRoche's .853. What they need is to get rid of the huge holes in the lineup by upgrading the bench and maybe to replace LaRoche or Span with a moderate upgrade.

  32. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Headline under "Local" on nbcnews.com, "Nats Trade in Bats for Shovels for 'Green Up' Day."What makes anybody think they could make contact with the ground using a shovel?

  33. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    Throw me in with NatsLady and JeffWX: I don't think this season is shot just yet. If nothing else, it's a proving ground for the likes of Lombo, Ohly and a few others. But the Reds are gasping and the WC is not exactly out of reach.Biggest question mark in my mind is who succeeds Davey, if he actually walks away. I'm not 100 percent convinced this is his swan song. He has too much pride to let this season be his calling card. I would not be shocked if he reverses course and re-ups for 2014.Call me crazy, as I'm sure some of you will.

  34. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    My opinion is the last thing the Nats need to do is get rid of Span. The Nats have the 23th ranked team by fielding pct and the 25th ranked team by defensive efficiency. Errors cost games. A run saved is a RUN. Errors cost the pitchers extra pitches, stress, runners on base etc.

  35. John C. - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:15 PM

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  36. John C. - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:16 PM

    I certainly agee that the team needs a bat. I do think that the offense would improve some regardless, as LaRoche bounces back a bit (not to 2012, but better than 2013; for cynics, it's his walk year), Span bounces back a bit (not to the advertised .350 OBP, but his .312 OBP this year is his career worst by a good distance), Ramos gets to play more and Rendon and Harper continue to develop. Even Zimmerman should improve, although he's been better offensively than some have given him credit for.That said, a big bat would really lengthen the lineup and make it effective. The problem is that finding the bat is going to be difficult; there's not much in the free agent market at first base to move LaRoche, or even at third base if you want to bench LaRoche and shift Zim over. Mike Napoli? Mark Reynolds? The decaying remains of either Justin Morneau (.737 OPS) or Paul Konerko (37yo, .658 OPS)? Even putting aside the cost, none of them are an upgrade even over the 2013 LaRoche (.730 OPS).The "swing for the fences" free agent option is Robinson Cano, which would move Rendon to third and Zim to first. That would take some serious coin given that the Yankees are likely to escape paying A-Rod's $25 mil contract. Even if you're lucky enough to only sign him for five years, you're paying for his age 31-35 seasons – risky.So there's no cavalry coming in the infield unless you leverage the few top end pitching prospects (Giolito, Cole) to trade for one – and even then I'm not sure what is truly available. But if you look to the OF there are some options (Ellsbury, Choo, Beltran). It would require dumping Bernadina and keeping Span as a fourth OF, which I would be perfectly OK with.

  37. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:19 PM

    NatsLady-I agree with you, but they can keep Span while also replacing him in the lineup some of the time. It might be as simple as getting a decent right-handed corner OF bat- those are a dime a dozen in free agency. Then you could bench Span against lefties while still giving him 100+ starts AND having him available as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, and you could also pinch hit for Span late when the team is trailing and needs offense if the opportunity arises. Plus you'd have the depth to absorb injury without the offense falling apart, something that was a real problem this year.

  38. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    I guess whether you'd want to do that or not depends on whether you believe in Scott Hairston and if he can fill that role. Personally I don't and I think we can do much better, but Rizzo probably thinks Hairston is sufficient.

  39. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    bowdenball, Span's split against lefties is very puzzling, and different from his career norms. I wonder what changed, and I wonder if he can recover his norms next spring.

  40. John C. - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Theophilus, T.S. said … …The Nats 1-8 are a veteran team, no longer a young team. Some of them appear to be approaching baseball senesence. The Nats need to be building replacements, not padding pensions.Actually, they are a "young team" by pretty much any measure you choose. Overall they are the third youngest in baseball. Even if they hang onto everyone they can (Haren and Tracy are gone) from the current roster, here is the list of players that will be over 30 next year: Werth; LaRoche; Soriano; Hairston. That's it. And of those, Werth is the only one the team is committed to beyond 2014. He's also the only one having a very good season.Even the lineup 1-8 is young. Harper is 20, Rendon 23, Ramos 25, Desmond 27 and Zimmerman is 28. Only Zim has entered what are generally regarded as a position player's "peak seasons" (~28-31). Harper, Rendon, Ramos and Desmond are still at an age where there skills are likely to improve.So yes, the Nationals are still a young team. They still obviously need to work on being a better team.

  41. JD - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Span is fine provided you don't expect him to be the engine which drives the offense I.E leadoff hitter. His actual value is almost certain to exceed his salary based on a very team friendly contract. The more I look at things the more I am coming to the conclusion that this team can easily improve by 10 games without making any substantial changes with better management and a little luck. Yes the bench and the BP should be improved but raise your hand if you expected Joey Terodaslevich to be a key bench contributor for the Braves.

  42. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    it feels like ages that we have seen that picture in real.

  43. JD - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Bowdenball, Hairston has been a good RH bench bat for a number of years. He just needs to play more than he's been playing here. If you look at his numbers you'l see that he can be very productive off the bench.

  44. ehay2k - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM

    Knoxville – responding to you post about the Nats' errors, am I wrong to "remember" that the Nats were much more error prone earlier in the season – especially coming out of ST? How many errors April-May vs June-July? At any rate, I still think they were simply not prepared at the beginning of the season – perhaps DJ was thinking they'd need extra energy for the playoffs. You gotta make it first, skipper.

  45. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    Bowdenball, isn't Scott Hairston your guy for that RH corner OF bat?

  46. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    I guess I owe JD one. I should have mentioned Matt Tuiasosopo's name instead. No one would have guessed that.

  47. John C. - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:02 PM

    JD, Hairston could be a solid bench bat against LHP – his career OPS is .815, nothing to sneeze at (his career OPS vs. RHP, .697, is very sneezable). But the team is not majorly committed to him – only $2 million with the Cubs paying part of his salary. It's not inconceivable that Tyler Moore could beat Hairston out for the RH bench bat position next year – and Moore could platoon with LaRoche while auditioning for the "first baseman of the future" role as well.

  48. JD - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

    John C. I agree. In fact I think Moore should be up with the Nats now and playing every day. Why not start the audition when you are 9 games out and not much to lose?

  49. Faraz Shaikh - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    I will go with Hairston over Moore. more proven and experienced bat. if scott struggles, then we can use Moore in Hairston's rule.

  50. Unknown - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    From MLB Rumors….."As recently extended GM Mike Rizzo looks to right the Nationals going into next season, perhaps his most important task will be to find a replacement for outgoing manager Davey Johnson. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that Diamondbacks coach and longtime Giants third baseman Matt Williams (who Rizzo knows from his days in Arizona) could be among the candidates." It seems like Rizzo can never get beyond his former ties with the Arizona franchise when he is acquiring players and management personnel.

  51. Unknown - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    That said, I'd rather see Matt Williams as the manager next season than anyone in-house. Amanda Comack lists Knorr, Jewett and Bo Porter (formerly with Nats) as candidates. Heck, Jewett isn't even a decent third base coach. Knorr is too close to Davey to suit me but Bo Porter, of the Astros, might be okay. I question his availability since he is in his first year with the Astros.

  52. Daylos - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    This entire season has been one step forward, two steps back. The talk of "WS or Bust" was ridiculous from the start and added more pressure to a team that was already trying to live up to growing expectations after last season. I still have faith in the organization, but there needs to be a lot of soul searching in the off season and refocusing on winning one game at a time.

  53. Unknown - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Nats Lady, Don't underestimate the Phillies. Darin Ruf has a hot bat and he always kills the Nats with it.

  54. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    ehayk, I have tracked the errors week by week and month by month. They haven't gone down noticeably–just different people are making them. Rendon, for example, has had 12 charged to him.Here is the list of errors. Bear in mind, sometimes an error is the scorer's judgement.Errorshttp://espn.go.com/mlb/team/stats/fielding/_/name/wsh/cat/errors/washington-nationals

  55. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Unknown–hey, the Fillies are a major-league team. They are not going to lie down for us. BUT, we have to beat them.

  56. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    By the way, RZimm made 19 errors last year. (17 so far this year.)

  57. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Scott Hairston is a run-of-the-mill utility player. His cred rests almost entirely on his 2012 nos. w/ the Mets. Except in comparison to the Ryan Langerhanses of the world he doesn't add much of anything to the team, talent-wise. If you're keeping a spot for someone on the roster just because he can hit LHs, you're getting about 20 percent of a player. (This may turn out to be true of Moore, also, but at the moment the jury is still out.) The object is to get better, not just fill up the team photograph.

  58. Knoxville Nat - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    ehay2K,I would agree 100% with you assessment that the Nats were not prepared (defensively anyway)at the beginning of the season. And I don't think I said you were "wrong" I just stated that your overall look at the defense as being somewhat average ("meh" was the word I think you used)was not shared by me. I guess I'm holding them to a higher standard based on 2012 defense than you are. Bottom line is they have fallen off defensively in 2013 from 2012, and in what month(s) that might have occured is not really important is it?

  59. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    John C — you miss the point. I said the Nationals are a "veteran" team. With the exception of Harper, Rendon, Lombardozzi and a couple of pitchers who don't matter, every one on the roster is in at least his fourth year in the major leagues. I.e., long enuf so they shouldn't be playing the Hagerstown Suns. Stop making excuses for Stoopid Ball.

  60. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    I mentioned Hairston in a follow-up post, I just don't know if I have in him that some of you seem to have. When you talk about a player who will be in his age 34 season career numbers don't mean as much as his current numbers. Although he may still be good enough to platoon vs. lefties, which gives us some flexibility.I also think they need to finally cut ties with Lombardozzi, who as dropped off severely from his decent 2012 numbers. Even if they don't got hunting for a free agent middle infielder, Kobernus is a better option than Lombo. And hopefully Espinosa will extract his noggin from his posterior at some point as well.

  61. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    The defense wasn't that much better in 2012 (to my surprise). By fielding pct, it's actually better this year by a small amount.

  62. nats guy - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Hey everybody,What you see is what you are going to get for the long term on RZIM's shoulder. As one who knows they don't really get that much better after surgery. I played for baseball for Maryland as a freshman and hurt my shoulder. Its Ok now for regular activities but I can't throw or hit. At his level its even more pronounced.You can move him to 1B and it will help negate the throwing problems but it won't fix his bat speed or power. Elbows are fixable, shoulders generally aren't. Ask Jesus Flores.

  63. nats guy - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Fieldin PCT only accounts for what they get to not for they don't by lack of range (RZIM).

  64. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Here are the two seasons (2012 and 2013) compared, defensively. You can see that the factors lowered are ARM and Range. I think that comes from playing infielders in the outfield when Harper and Werth were out. (Also not having Ankiel.) defense 2012/2013http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=fld&lg=all&qual=0&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2012&ind=1&team=24,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0

  65. Unknown - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    I suspect Lombo would hit if he played regularly. He did last year when he had much more playing time. Furthermore, .252 isn't that bad coming off the bench when you compare it to the other bench players. If Rendon move to third base in the next year or so, then Lombo is a much better fit at second base than Espinosa, the walking strikeout machine.

  66. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Unknown, if all our bench players hit .250, that would be fine, agreed. Much more than that and a guy probably ISN'T a bench player.

  67. bowdenball - Aug 9, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Unknown said…"I suspect Lombo would hit if he played regularly. He did last year when he had much more playing time." He had 77 plate appearances in May, more than 2 .5 per day, and he hit .236/.250/.306."Furthermore, .252 isn't that bad coming off the bench when you compare it to the other bench players."Other bench players sometimes walk or get extra base hits. Lombardozzi does not. He has a .262 OBP and a .318 SLG. Those are pitcher numbers.

  68. NatsLady - Aug 9, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Lombo is OK if you want someone to bunt, or "put the ball in play" (sac fly or grounder to get a run in.) He seems obliging and professional. But when Rendon came along, there was not question who was the regular and who was the sub.

  69. Sec. 3, My Sofa - Aug 9, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Sofa — Someone, I don't know who, would have given them a Class A pitcher, or a AA infielder — a Pineyro or Souza equivalent, if you will — for Bernadina. More would have been nice but that would have been acceptable. His value to any other team, though speculative, was higher than it was going to be to the Nats. Well, they got Tanner Roark for Cristian Guzman, so you could well be right. My point, which I gather you don't agree with, was that it was reasonable for Rizzo to assume he'd have a decent year by Shark standards, which of course he didn't, but if he had, that would have been worth as much to this team now as the average A-level guy they might have gotten.

  70. Eugene in Oregon - Aug 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    To Mark Zuckerman (if you're reading): Thanks. A very useful post.

  71. John C. - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:01 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said… John C — you miss the point. I said the Nationals are a "veteran" team. With the exception of Harper, Rendon, Lombardozzi and a couple of pitchers who don't matter, every one on the roster is in at least his fourth year in the major leagues. I.e., long enuf so they shouldn't be playing the Hagerstown Suns. Stop making excuses for Stoopid Ball.August 09, 2013 12:44 PMIf that was your point, I am in complete agreement. Expanding the zone and swinging at a 2-0 pitch with two outs against a pitcher who just walked the bases loaded, for example. Dumb!I am a bit mystified that you buried that point so deeply that it was undetectable, since the comment I responded to was about how old the bench players on the Nationals should be given their veteran status – not a word in there about stupid (or even "stoopid") play. Only a snark about the players approaching senescence (biological aging). I responded to what the comment said, not the claimed subtext. So to summarize, we agree: (1) that the Nats are a young team; (2) that many of the regulars are at an age where their performance can reasonably be expected to improve; and (3) they should stop making stoopid mistakes.Roger that. Go Nats!

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